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10 Healthy & Happy Habits To Start Today

We are all striving to feel our best and to do our best. But without taking care of ourselves how can we keep doing just that? Healthy habits can be simple and easily worked into your days. Whether it’s taking some time to yourself to recharge by taking a hot bath in the evening, or calling up a friend to vent about your day, or walking down the drive to get the mail instead of driving, every little bit makes a difference in how you feel each day. 

Here are 10 Simple, Healthy & Happy Habits to start doing today to feel your best! 

  1. Drink more water.
  2. Reward yourself for meeting goals.
  3. Get more sleep.
  4. Include “me” time in each week.
  5. Keep your to-do list organized.
  6. Talk to your friends and family routinely.
  7. Get active every day.
  8. Wash your face and moisturize each day.
  9. Reflect often.
  10. Smile more.

Want more tips for a happier and healthier life? Check out these posts:

10 Tips To Get A Restful Sleep

How To Build A Better To-Do List

Reflect On How Far You’ve Come

Top Tips For Managing Stress

5 Apps To Stay Balanced In A Busy Life

 

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Winning With Rheumatoid Arthritis – Overcoming My Fear Of Failure

Adrenaline was coursing through my veins. I started my Fitbit too soon, I had to stop it. I was nervous. I was anxious. I was excited. One by one, clouds of emotions rolled over me. Here I was standing under an over cast sky on an early Saturday morning in June waiting for the announcer to yell, “Go!”. I stood still, holding my balance strong while being bumped around by runners rearing to take off just as much as I was. I was at the starting line of The Baltimore 10 Miler. Thoughts of doubt, thoughts of disbelief, and thoughts of pride circulated through my mind.

Twelve years ago I couldn’t have foreseen this race on my calendar. I wouldn’t have even entertained the idea of running a ten mile race. I had been diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis at age twenty. I cried when I learned of my diagnosis. All I could imagine in that moment was myself crippled and helpless by thirties. I found myself taking nine pills a day and a bi-weekly injection just to relieve the pain from the disease, spending my twenties in a mostly zombie state from the medications. I passed on activities with my friends and spent many of my days on the couch or in bed, too tired to even play with my son. I felt lifeless.

Four years ago, my life was shaken when I was let go from a very stressful and long job. I lost my healthcare benefits and was left unable to afford my medications. Though I didn’t realize it then, this was one of the best things that happened to me. This was an opportunity for a transformation. It was in those moments after that I woke up and realized it was now or never for a lifestyle change or I would wither away, drowned by the pain and the frustration of the disease.  I started practicing yoga twice a day. I gave up fast food and junk food and I started studying my disease. I started reading how to manage it organically. I taught myself how to eat better. I started using essential oil therapies. I meditated, and I learned my limits and how to schedule resting and recoup time into my weeks.

At the end of April of this year I committed to The Baltimore 10 Mile Race. I only had a few weeks to train. My mind was reminding me how tough this was going to be but in my heart I knew this was something I needed to do. I started running about two years ago but not consistently. I hadn’t run more than three miles prior to this. My training was slack and race day came upon me fast. I set a goal for myself to finish the race in two hours.

Standing at the start line I shook, this was really happening. The first mile was awesome. I knocked it out in ten minutes. I felt absolutely liberated. By mile five, I was hurting. This was a challenge, but I refused to give up. I was determined to finish. I told myself to let the fear and doubts go. I told myself that pain was temporary but conquering this was going to change me forever. I continued to push on, through mile six, seven and eight. I made it to mile nine and tears rolled down my cheeks. It all hit me at once. I was beating my disease, and I was beating my fear. Almost every muscle and joint ached. My knees and hips were stiff. Yet I pushed on still. This was it, one more mile…uphill.

The moment I crossed the finish line was so much more than I thought it would be. In all of my life, I had never pushed myself that hard physically. The thoughts racing through my mind were chaotic. I was so proud, so happy, so relieved. I finished in two hours, 10 minutes, and thirty-six seconds. This event was truly a life changer. In that last moment crossing the finish line was the moment I knew from the bottom of my soul that I had made the decision to not let anything stand in my way of the life I wanted.

 

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10 Tips To Get A Restful Sleep

A good night’s rest is a key to good preparation for a good day the next. I, however as much as I know this, am one of those peeps with a racing mind and can be much of a night owl, finding it a struggle to wind down sometimes at night for bed. I keep some tips and tricks up my sleeve to help me prepare to hit the sack each night so that I can ensure I get a restful night to be ready to go for the next busy day.

1.) Eat earlier. Try and eat at least three hours before bed. A tip to remember is that food fuels us which can in turn make you feel more awake and not able to settle down as easily for bed.

2.) Schedule wind down time. Set reminders on your phone to remind you to start winding down for bed. I set my Fitbit to notify me when it’s 15 minutes before bed so that I can shut down all my screens and meditate before laying my head on the pillow.

3.) Scent therapies. Aromatherapy is a wonderful way to unwind after a busy day.

4.) Take a warm bath or shower. This is a great way to wind down after a busy day and relax your muscles.

5.) Read. Curl up in bed with a good story and read for at least 15 minutes to calm your mind.

6.) Drink a cup of hot tea. Try to choose something decaf. Chamomile is a great choice to sip on.

7.) Complete a wind down yoga sequence. My favorite night time poses are legs up on the wall, child pose, and cobra.

8.) No screen time. Electronics stimulate the mind. Turn off the TV, the computer, and put the phone down.

9.) Dim the lights. Turn a soft lamp on while you wind down. Set your phone to turn down the blue light.

10.) Meditate. This is a great way to clear your mind before bed.

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How Yoga Changed My Life

I awoke that morning filled with energy. I climbed out of bed without the aches and pains I had felt so many mornings before. I could stretch my arms above my head without feeling sharpness in my neck, standing tall without the soreness in my knees. I stood in front of my closet that morning trying to find something to wear, none of my clothes fit……they were too big.

Two years ago, I would wake up in pure pain all through out my body. Each day I started exhausted and filled with anxiety about the day ahead. Then I found myself without a job. The main stress driver in my life had been lifted off my shoulders. Without all of that in front of me I saw what I had become. I was 50 pounds heavier, worn out and my Rheumatoid Arthritis and Fibromyalgia had stripped me of some many things in my life. That’s when I knew it was time. I had the chance to reinvent my life, my body and how I chose to feel every day.

I had bought a yoga mat a several years back and it sat stored on the top shelf in my closet, still in the wrapping. I started doing yoga at home twice a day, in the morning and in the evening before bed. I started with just 10 minutes a day using a Yoga app I found and downloaded to my phone. A month later I attended my first class at a yoga studio. I was amazed I could do tree pose without completely falling over, though I still wobbled (and still do today). Six months later, I was down 40 pounds and off the pills and injections for my Rheumatoid Arthritis and Fibromyalgia. I found myself filled with more energy and happier. I had a thirst for life and adventure again.

Today I’m two and a half years into Yoga, still learning, still growing, still consider myself a newer yogi. I have fallen in and out of daily routine and each time I tell myself the story of how Yoga changed my life to remind myself why I practice.

Photo Credit: Anthony Machcinski. Check out more of his work here – Photos by Anthony Machcinski. His work is beautiful and each photo has a story behind it.

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6 Exercises You Can Do Anywhere Using A Resistance Band

Vacation season is among us and that means busy schedules and travel leaving us out of our usual exercise routines. Don’t give up on your fitness goals and don’t get stuck inside at the gym at the hotel. Grab a resistance band that packs away easily in your bag and work up a little sweat in the sunshine!

Bicep Curls

Squats

Shoulder Press

Rear Shoulder Pull

Leg Press

Row

Resistance bands don’t take up much space and can provide a great work out any where you are. Pick up the right weighted one for you, I started with a lightweight one with several repetitions. I picked mine up from ProSource, they have a great selection and great prices.

All opinions are my own. This post contains affiliate links, which means I receive payments for leads/sales. For more information please reference my disclosure page

Photo Credit: Anthony Machcinski. Check out more of his work here – Photos by Anthony Machcinski. His work is beautiful and each photo has a story behind it.

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12 Benefits of the Sweet Summer Melon Cantaloupe

Who doesn’t love some delicious, sweet melons? Especially on a hot summer day! This has to be one of my favorite things about summertime! 

1.) They have a high water content which provides a refreshing treat.

2.) Cantaloupes contain Vitamin C which is important for a healthy immune system.

3.) Because of their great amounts of fiber, Vitamin C and choline they help support a healthy heart.

4.) Cantaloupes have nutrients that help prevent cancer.

5.) The beta-carotene found in cantaloupes helps aid in healthy skin.

6.) They are a good source of potassium.

7.) The nutrients found in cantaloupes have anti-inflammatory properties.

8.) The high fiber content aids in digestion.

9.) Cantaloupes contain carotenoids which help maintain healthy eyes.

10.) Studies have shown that nutrients found in cantaloupes can improve insulin metabolism.

11.) They help maintain kidney health.

12.) Cantaloupes provide a natural energy boost.

 * Disclaimer: I am not a nutritionist or a medical professional. These are healthy suggestions based solely on personal experiences, personal opinions, and light research. 

12 Powerful Ways Meditation Benefits You

Meditation quiets the mind, opens the heart, and lets the soul speak. It is a place where we can find answers, heal our hearts, souls and minds, and a place where we can find peace away from the chaos of our worlds. 

– Helps you with focus and awareness.

– Helps you manage stress and anxiety.

– Increases your energy levels.

– Clears you mind.

– Teaches  patience, discipline, and self-control.

– Can increase your creativity.

– Improves sleep.

– Makes you happier.

– Teaches you how to control your breath.

– Helps you manage pain better.

– Increases self-discovery and self-awareness.

– It strengthens your senses.

Meditation can come in many forms. 

12 Ways I Meditate:

-Sitting still for moments and focusing on only my breath-

-During Yoga-

-Art Journaling-

-Earthing-

-Laying with my crystals placed and listening to meditation music-

-Singing along to my favorite songs-

-Moon Bathing-

-Coloring Mandalas-

-Laying in the grass looking at the sky-

-Guided Meditation Series-

-Mountain Pose in the shower-

-Painting-

14 Reasons You Should Be Going Bananas Every Week

Bananas are an quick and easy go-to snack or addition…I love some in a bowl of cereal! 

Bananas fall onto the Power Foods list for many many reasons:

  • Most commonly known for being high in Potassium –
    • essential for good heart health
    • helps maintain healthy blood pressure levels
    • Potassium also helps you be more mentally alert
  • A great source of fiber (about 3grams per medium banana)
    • helps aid and regulate digestion
  • A calcium rich fruit
  • Low in sodium
  • Low Fat
    • Bananas do contain a type of fat called sterols though, which helps keep blood cholesterol levels controlled by blocking the absorption of dietary cholesterol
  • High in vitamin B-6
    • helps in the production of white blood cells
    • strengthens the nervous system
    • studies have shown it to help in protecting against Type 2 Diabetes
    • helps reduce swelling
    • Aids in weight loss
  • They are high in antioxidants
  • Bananas are high in pectin
    • Pectin helps with digestion and gently removes toxins and heavy metals from the body
  • Contains high levels of trytophan which converts to serotonin (the happy good feeling chemical in our brain)
  • Are high in magnesium
  • Higher in sugar with approx 14-15 grams of sugar per medium banana, but the sugars are of low glycemic value.
  • Contain fructooligosaccharides which act as a natural prebiotic
    • helps maintain good bacteria in our lower intestines
    • supports overall digestive health
  • Are a natural antacid
  • They help restore electrolytes to the body

So to sum it up they are a yummy treat that helps keep your gut healthy, your sugars in check, and give you energy!

Here’s my Grandmother’s Banana Bread Recipe for you to try too : Throwback Thursday Recipe Post – Grandma’s Banana Bread

 

 

* Disclaimer: I am not a nutritionist or a medical professional. These are healthy suggestions based solely on personal experiences, personal opinions, and light research. 

9 Reasons I Am In Love With Avocados

With warmer weather in the forecast, Spring finally here, I have been starting to crave those tropical feeling foods. When I was younger, I wouldn’t touch an avocado, fast forward to today and they are one of my favorite foods. Packed with super benefits, tasty, and a great combo to most dishes, avocados have become a staple in my diet.

Avocados are considered a SuperFood because of how high they are in nutrients and studies continue to find new health benefits of it.

Avocados are:

  1. High in healthy fats
  2. Contain no Cholesterol or Sodium
  3. Low in Saturated Fats
  4. High in Fiber
  5. High in Nutrients – Vitamin K, Vitamin C, Vitamin B5, Folate, Vitamin B6, Vitamin E, Potassium (contains more than in a Banana)
  6. Also contain Magnesium, Manganese, Iron, Copper, Zinc, Phosphorus, Vitamin A, B1 (Thiamine), B2 (Riboflavin), and B3 (Niacin)
  7. Shown to help lower Cholesterol and Triglyceride levels
  8. High in antioxidants
  9. Some studies show it has anti-swelling properties that can help reduce symptoms of arthritis
  • Avocados are a great addition to salads
  • Make for a great toast
  • Can be an uplifting snack
  • And…well um guac…yum! 

Recipes to Try:

Avocado Deviled Eggs

Avocado Mozza Puffs

Cucumber Tomato Avocado Salad

 

* Disclaimer: I am not a nutritionist or a medical professional. These are healthy suggestions based solely on personal experiences, personal opinions, and light research.