How to de-stress at home

Life is a whirlwind! Always changing, speeding up, then slowing down….then inevitably speeding right back up again! It’s exhausting! In the midst of this glorious chaos, do you ever feel like you need some time to check out and get pampered? That sounds wonderfully luxurious doesn’t it? Well, I’ve got some good news for you, it’s just within your reach and you don’t even need to leave your home and nor spend a fortune (#winnning ). charcoal

I’m sharing some of my favorite “go-to’s” for when I need to get some spa-laxation at home. I hope you’ll give these a try!

1) Quiet time – I can be quite the energizer bunny when I want to be. Between running errands & chores, parenting, working out, and building my health coaching and Beautycounter businesses, I can get myself worked up into a serious self-induced tizzy. Often times this causes me to unnecessarily stress myself out. It’s not a good look…Can you relate? When I get into this state I know how important it is for me to take a time out and just a few minutes can do the trick to help me hit the reset button. Typically when my son takes his afternoon nap, I jam in as many things as I can off my to-do list at home, tackling laundry, tidying up, answering emails, etc. More recently, after a friend of mine (who is a mother with two young children) reminded me that parenting is a truly 24 hour job, I realized that it was ok to use some of my son’s nap time to have some quiet time for myself even if it means simply sitting down and flipping through a magazine or spending 10 minutes in quiet meditation. Being that I am a stay-at home mom, I have the luxury of this built in time during the day and can use it when I need to. Of course, I fully recognize that not everyone’s day or life is like this. Some other moments where you may be able to take some time to yourself is during your bath/shower time and before you go to bed. Take the time. You need it and you DESERVE it.

2) Yoga– My relationship with my yoga practice is always changing. I find that certain times of my life allow for more dedication, formal classes at a studio, and regular practice. But lately, I’ve found that less is sometimes more (or honestly all I can squeeze in) and a few sun salutations will really bring me back down to earth. If that’s not in the cards for me I’ll do some light stretching on the floor and rest in a few poses for as long as it feels good. Some favorites include “legs up the wall” and “child’s pose.”  Both are truly restorative.

3) Mask & Scrub – Out with old and in with the new. Skin, that is! There’s no reason why you can’t give yourself a great facial or body treatment at home. Sure it’s not EXACTLY the same as having an esthetician perform the service but I can assure you that if you use great products during your “quiet time” you can reap the benefits all on your own. If you are short on time, combine your mask and scrub experience in the tub! Right now, I’m loving the charcoal mask by Beautycounter and use that weekly. It’s awesome at drawing out impurities in your skin and has a cooling peppermint feel. For my scrub, the Beautycounter Lustro Body Scrub is divine. Truly, it smells like heaven in a jar. Nothing feels better than scrubbing off the day with this citrus smelling scrub and the silky smooth feeling you get afterwards!

maskscrub

To shop these items click here.

4) Soothing sippers– I often drink tea several times a day depending on my mood or need for a pick me up. Sometimes a cup of tea is just what you need to satisfy or calm you during an anxious moment. Personally, I don’t discriminate on most of my teas but just like produce, it’s good to look for organic teas when possible. I love the brand Aloha! Also, be aware of caffeine. For those who are easily made anxious, caffeine can hurt you more than help you.

In the evening sometimes a “sleepy” time tea will do. Something with chamomile or valerian root will help me settle into a calm state of mind. But, If I’m feeling particularly stressed I love to mix up a glass of Natural Calm. Natural Calm is magnesium supplement that helps to balance out your magnesium and calcium balance and provides a natural assistance for stress relief. I love the raspberry-lemon flavor and it’s delicious both hot and cold. You can learn more Natural Calm by clicking here!

naturalcalm

5) Aromatherapy – Essential oils became a part of my life in the last few months thanks to a fellow health coach, Julie Sanella. Julie introduced me to the many benefits of essential oils and I soon I began diffusing essential oils in my bedroom in the late afternoon and early evening. Certain oils have healing properties but for me a simple lavender scent really does the trick. Then I met “Peace” an oil blend made by Doterra. My first whiff of the scent immediately gave me a feeling of PEACE and so for me, diffusing this oil in my bedroom in the evening is such a treat and really calms me down for a restful night.

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* Please remember that herbs, supplements, and oils can sometimes interact with medications and are not always safe depending on a specific health conditions, pregnancy, or breastfeeding. Pay particular attention to what is or isn’t safe for children. Always educate yourself first and consult your physician to be on the safe side.

Now that you’ve read some of my favorite spa-laxing tips and tricks, I hope you’ll take sometime for yourself to try some of them! If you want to super stack these for an ultimate R&R session then try these tips one evening as a relaxation routine:

1) First, diffuse some soothing essential oils in your bedroom and set the tone for the evening.

2) Next, draw a warm bath.

3) While you prepare your tub, in the privacy of your bedroom/ bathroom, stretch or practice an easy yoga flow.

4) Apply a mask then enjoy a nice loooooong soak.

5) Try a body scrub using circular motions and moving upwards towards your heart.

6) Dry off and moisturize.

7) Get ready for bed, sip on something soothing and snuggle up

ENJOY!

Letting go of your “gym class” past

 

Maybe you were picked last for capture the flag.  Maybe you hated changing into your dreaded gym uniform. Maybe it was performing pull-ups while the ENTIRE class watched. Or, perhaps it was that one kid –a bully — who launched a foam dodgeball at your face when you were tying your laces. Sadly, we can all most certainly remember a moment from our Physical Education experience that wasn’t pleasant. **I promise to share my thoughts in a future post on how the world of physical education pedagogy is changing (thanks goodness!). For now, I’m wondering if some of you are struggling to take a group fitness class, join a recreational team, or simply start working out because you are holding on to a fear of embarassement or bad memory from your early years?

If the answer is “yes”, then let’s take a few minutes to talk about why you simply need to let go and how to do just that.

As we all know, holding onto things, especially traumatic events, never does anyone any good. Eventually, the issue will resurface and rear it’s ugly head in some way. Time and time again that fear can hold us back from participating in social and health-focused events, even fundraisers or charity events that we’d like to be a part of simply because we don’t feel “ready” or fit enough to participate. Now, as gently as I can say this —  If you truly desire to become a more active, healthy, and fit human being, you’re going to have to get over it. I mean that in the nicest way possible. It’s time to take a deep breath, let it out, and give yourself new start. Leave the memory or fear behind you — start fresh!

Here are some thoughts to help you get started.

  1. It’s ok to be a beginner. We all must start somewhere. IMG_6218There will only be one time in a fitness class that is your FIRST time. No one, especially a good instructor, will expect you to know what you are doing. The best thing you can do is tell your instructor that you are new to the class. Most instructors really appreciate knowing this and they will be better able to assist you.
  2. Find a place that’s comfortable. Try out a few gyms, studios, or trainers and see where you feel comfortable. Look for an environment that supports “newbies”. If you are not sure where to look in your area, contact me for a consult.
  3. Surround yourself with supportive people. friends
    Hang out with people who support your desire for self-improvement. These people should be positive influences and positive people. It’s great if you can find a friend or co-worker to buddy up with on a fitness journey.
  4. Think positively. You have no time for negative vibes if you are looking to become a CONFIDENT health-focused person. While it’s completely normal to have bad days, you mustn’t let negative moments or pessimistic people distract your from your goals. Getting a journal can help you to work out any frustrations that crop up and many are filled with positive quotes to help you along the way. You can try barnesandnoble.com for these. If you are interested specifically in running, my friends at Gone for Run make great journals!
  5. Keep track of your progress. Piggy backing off of the previous comment. Journaling is a nice way to keep track of your progress. Specific to weight loss and increasing fitness levels, many people find motivation by taking selfies along their journey (* you do not need to post selfies online for the world to see but some do and this helps them. Different strokes for different folks!). Photo-journaling allows one to see the physical changes as they are happening over time. This may not be for everyone but I do feel that combing these methods (personal journaling and pictures) over time does give people the ressaureance and confidence that they’re working towards.
  6. BONUS: Get involved! I’ve added this last one because it simply cannot be left out. There are an enormous number of incredible charitable and philanthropic fitness related events that are nothing short of AMAZING. By signing up and participating in these events, you are helping others improve their health while also working on your own goals. image1I have participated for many years in Cycle for Survival, an indoor cycling and fundraising event sponsored by Equinox that donates to cancer research for Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. This October, I am over the moon to be participating in an incredible event through Movemeant Foundation called Dare to Bare. I will be cycling with some incredible Soul Cycle instructors in the middle of Union Square in New York City. IMG_5852Movemeant Foundation helps young women feel confident about their bodies by empowering them with the tools they need to be active through “positive mentorship, engaging content about health, nutrition and well-being, and grants that make fitness and physical movement a reality.” To learn more about this event and/or sign up, click here.

So now that we’ve talked a little bit about letting go, what will you do to move forward?

 

Need assistance getting started? Contact me for a consultation or email me directly at mindbodybespoke@gmail.com. Personalized wellness coaching may be exactly what you need to get started !

MBB New Cover

 

 

Exploring Natural Deodorants

I’m always making the effort to use natural skin care products as much as I can. While I am definitely not using 100% natural 100% of the time, trying out and making natural products has been another step in the right direction. Our skin is our largest organ and is incredibly important. I’m trying to give mine the TLC it deserves!

You may have been wondering what the fuss is all about regarding natural deodorants or perhaps you’re just curious as to why my friend Laura Lea (llbalanced.com) and I decided to stay in on a Friday night this summer and make homemade deodorant. Well, besides the obvious ( we are total health nerds), we wanted to see if we could use natural ingredients to make a daily, skin friendly, and chemical free deodorant that would work. This all stared when I read an article in a wellness journal on my flight down to Nashville a few weeks ago. So far, we have found that our homemade deodorant actually works! Awesome!

makingdeodorant

Home deodorant making. Melting beeswax and coconut oil! (See link below for recipe from Wellness Mama)

My curiosity about natural deodorants started a few years ago while I was teaching middle school physical education. I asked my students to bring some deodorant into school to keep in their gym lockers. As I’m sure many of you can recall, middle school years can be brutal and no one, NO ONE, wants to be the “stinky kid”. As I expected, many kids brought in a variety of different brands of common deodorants, but more and more I began to notice that students were bringing in natural deodorants or more natural mainstream brands. These students voiced that their parents had said regular brands contained dangerous chemicals or were too strong for young kids. This sparked my interested and I started to look into these claims a bit. At the time, I settled on Dove brand as it seemed relatively gentle.

There is a ton of reserach to argue several points on the matter, and while I’m certainly no scientist, it simply took me getting pregnant to explore further into the idea of natural deodorant. When I found out I was pregnant the intensity in which I read about healthy living material doubled. This was likely because of my somewhat neurotic personality and the fact that I took my pregnancy very seriously. I felt strongly that I had a responsibility to take the best care of myself as humanly possible. Certainly this did not mean being “perfect” (whatever that even means..), but it did mean that I immediately wanted to limit the potential for chemicals being absorbed into my skin on the chance that they would reach the placenta. This is not something I’m being “over the top” about, this is a reality. Our skin absorbs everything and so we need to pay close attention to that fact. (Click here to read more on skin care during pregnancy).  At the recommendation of a friend, I started using a wonderful brand of spray organic deodorant by the company EO products. They make amazing products that smell unbelievable and can be founds at many locations such as your local Whole Body at Whole Foods Market.  I used this throughout my entire pregnancy. What’s nice is that you can reapply it throughout the day without the yucky layering affect of most solid sticks. I do want to say , however,  that I did continue to use Dove only when I had a special event such as a wedding.

eo

After giving birth I continued to use my natural spray deodorant and started to explore other options. In fact, there are a ton of natural deodorants out there and more are coming on the market as we speak! In fact, recently The Honest Company released a spray on deodorant which I absolutely LOVE. Many people are finding that they like the Thai crystal deodorant as well, I have yet to try that one so I can’t comment on it just yet!

honest

Some of you may still be thinking “ok, what’s the big deal ? ” and are not convinced it’s worth the switch. I’m not trying to convince but simply raise awareness that it may be something worth looking into. Check out this article from mindbodygreen.com and do be aware that the internet is filled with opposing views on the matter. It’s totally up to you how YOU feel about it. I do encourage you to explore if you are finding that you want to learn more about this topic.

For the recipe on the homemade deordant that my friend Laura Lea and I made, check out Wellness Mama (another outstanding resource!).

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So how many of you out there are using natural deodorants or other beauty products? Feel free to share you recommendations in the comments section!

My Healthy “High” Trifecta

Feeling a bit lethargic or in a rut? Perhaps you need to hit the reset button.  If you’ve been following my instagram account, you’re sure to see some “summery” posts but let’s chat a bit further about how to utilize this time of year to your benefit.

With summer now in full force, and (hopefully) the unseasonably cold days behind us, it’s the perfect time to reboot your mind and body for healthy living. There’s something about this time of year that makes it so much easier to do this. Perhaps it’s our childhood memories of “summer break” that help set this mindset into motion for us. While most Americans are not getting three months off of school for summer break, the weather, the celebrations, and the opportunities to be outdoors, still make everything feel a little “lighter” around this time of year. Less clothing means moving with more ease (Hello Commando! …just kidding). Driving with your windows down brings fresh air right into your system. Take advantage of this sweet summertime! For me, exercising, enjoying healthy nutritious meals, and spending time outdoors with friends and family is the perfect equation for a fabulous day. The positivity, the endorphins, the sunshine, creates this “high” for me. On a day where I can get all three, I sleep like a baby. In fact, I see this happen right before my eyes with my 18 month old son. On days where he gets to be outside and have a lot of activity, eats well, and is social, he sleeps so much better at night.

So if you are in a bit of a lull and need some pep in your step, ask yourself how you can find ways to make the most out of summer. Perhaps you’ll start to feel the “high” I’ve referenced. Below I’ll elaborate on this healthy “high” trifecta and share a few ideas with you!

Exercise: It’s pretty simple folks. The more you move, the better you’ll feel. Commit to a routine and when you simply can’t get to your workout class or the gym, go for a walk or workout in your living room (EVEN IF YOU ONLY HAVE TEN MINUTES). The truth is, it doesn’t matter where you do it, as long as you do something. It may be hard to get going, but once you’ve gotten through it (whether you enjoyed it or not) you WILL FEEL BETTER afterwards. You will not regret the workout you did once you feel the “high” from the endorphins released into your system.

workoutregrets

In a nutshell, when we exercise our brain releases neurotransmitters called endorphins.  This release creates a positive feeling in the body and mind. Many describe this feeling as euphoric and chances are you’ve heard this from your friends who run regularly. They experience that “runner’s high”. Note, you don’t have to actually RUN to experience this. You can achieve this feeling through a variety of workouts and the truth is, it’s probably different for each individual.   In addition, endorphins can help us to have decreased feelings of pain, better appetite control, and even release sex hormones (YOWZA!). If you would like to read a bit further about endorphins check out these links: medicine net and web md.

Healthy Food: This may seems obvious as well but I simply can’t not talk about it. Eating well makes you feel alive. Stop for a second and think about how you feel AFTER a big greasy meal. Sluggish, heavy, and after a sugar crash, you may even feel slightly depressed. Again, I’m talking about AFTER. I would never say that sitting down to a meal of a juicy cheeseburger and fries is not delicious (that would be a crazy thing to say) but that is DURING the meal when your tastebuds for salt, fat, and sugar are being turned on. On the flip side, when you sit down to a fresh summer salad with avocado and some grilled chicken or wild salmon (and a green juice if you’re like me!), I guarantee that afterwards you’ll feel lighter and generally more energetic. I’ve had many conversations with clients and friends about how one meal can wreck their day due to feeing heavy and tired. The digestive process uses a lot of energy so this makes perfect sense. Eating heavy foods tend to be a total energy zap.

KaleSalasMarinated Kale Salad from Green and Tonic

Keeping things light in regards to eating means:

  • Eating lot of fresh fruits and veggies
  • Staying hydrated throughout the day
  • Having healthy snacks on hand
  • Grocery shopping regularly as to always have healthy options
  • Including fresh cold-pressed juices and/or green smoothies daily

Sunshine & Fresh Air:  To complete this trifecta, which is often overlooked, is getting your booty outdoors at some point during the day. Getting outside in the sunshine can boost your mood instantly. Grab your shades and walk to work if you have that luxury.  Take your lunch outdoors or take your office break on a near by park bench (leave the ciggies behind- YUCK). Take it all in, the birds, the way the light feels on your face, the summer sun on your skin, and the fresh air going in and out with each breath. If you are alone, sit for a 5 minute mediation and totally disconnect from your phone.

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Beyond the health benefits of vitamin D, sitting outside can simply boost your mood. You may have heard of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD),  where people can become depressed due to a change in seasons. Even if you don’t suffer from SAD, you may notice that you do get blue when the weather changes and the days are less bright. When a nice day presents itself, take advantage. As a child, you longed for sunny beach days and perfect playground whether. This doesn’t need to change for you in adulthood. Don’t miss out on a chance to get outside, especially if you are having a tough day at work. Chances are you will re-enter the workplace feeling more calm and generally happier, making you better equipped to tackle the tasks ahead.

I’d love to hear from you this summer. What workouts are giving you the healthy “high” that I’ve discussed with you? What are you eating that gives you energy? What outdoor activities totally turn your mood around?

“One day at a time” –with help.

 

Take a few minutes to think about these questions in relation to your own personal health and wellness.

 Where are you now? Where do you want to be?

How do you feel now? How do you want to feel?

 Now, How will you get there?

 Let’s start with this simple yet perfect phrase – ONE DAY AT A TIME. You will get there, one day at a time. – WITH HELP.

  1. Count on you: The hardest part about making a change to living a more health-focused life is taking the time to be honest with yourself about where you really are. Reflect on how you got there and then admit that change needs to occur. Once you’ve done this and said it out loud to yourself, it’s out there. By putting it out there, you bring it out into the light, drawing attention and focus to the issue and your readiness to do something about it. It’s time to take action!changinglife
  1. Tell your peeps: The most important element to your self-improvement is to have support. Though some may be able to do it “on their own” there is absolutely no reason to do so. Why limit yourself to being alone with your challenge? Whether it is weight loss, improving diet, or another health-related goal, you absolutely don’t need to climb that hill solo. First, tell your family what you’re going to do and why it is important to you. Do the same with your friends or co-workers that you’re close with. If you don’t feel like sitting down with them, put it in an email. If you share your goals with them, they are way more likely to encourage and support you. Some may even decide to join you!
  1. Find a #fitfam community: There are countless communities dedicated to self-improvement. Social media has exploded with support networks for weight loss and people across the globe are cheering for each other as body or behavior transformations occur. It’s really quite awesome to see people supporting complete strangers on their journey.  Instagram is amazing for this. If you’re following this blog, you are now part of the MindBodyBespoke community and I can promise you, you’ll find support here!
  1. Connect with a gym/studio: If you have the financial means to join a gym or studio (Yoga, Pilates, Spin, etc), do so! With the right attitude (positive, friendly, and open) there are immediate supportive relationships awaiting you. For some this may take some extra effort but take the time to get to know the staff, teachers, and trainers at your gym. The person that checks you in, isn’t just a person that checks you in. They are part of your support system. Introduce yourself and learn their name. They will more than likely do the same. This only further enhances the environment of your gym as being YOUR community. One caveat; do take the time to research gyms and studios. There are definitely cultural vibes to each one and you’ll want a place where you feel comfortable.
  1. Lastly, Buddy Up: This is truly icing on the cake. Find someone, a family member, a friend, a co-worker, anyone, and make them your workout buddy. Having someone else to help keep you accountable and on track, particularly if they have similar goals, it is incredibly helpful on your journey. Make health and fitness a social affair by doing fun things together that are associated with reaching your goals. Take classes together, cook together, read literature and discuss it together, and most importantly – celebrate your victories together. * If you are pregnant, hit up a prenatal yoga class. You are sure to find women there who will want to buddy up for walks and other activities.IMG_0116

Support can come in a variety of places. Whether it’s working with a coach or trainer, becoming part of a gym community, or setting up “walking” dates with your BFF, it’s all good. You’ve got to find what works for you –but remember, there’s no good reason for going after it alone. You’re more likely to have success and reach your goals with caring people supporting you every step of the way!

Feel free to comment or share below what has worked for you!