10 Awesome Things I Do for Health, Happiness & Balance

It’s Day 7 of the #loveblog2018! Today’s prompt is ‘Wellness’ and this is a topic that has become a huge focus in my life so I’ve very excited to be sharing my thoughts about it today. Make sure to check out my post about Guilty Pleasures’ from earlier in the season and all the other prompts from the series too at www.bellebrita.com. One of the reasons I love participating in the #loveblog so much is because it gives me (or pushes me more) to share my story in a more personal way. 

I grew up with a mom in the medical field and a dad in safety management so I guess wellness has always been a part of my life in some way or another but it didn’t really become such a main focus for me until I was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis and Fibromyalgia in my twenties. At that time my mindset around wellness wasn’t very well at all though. I felt like true wellness was going to be something that would always be out of my reach after being diagnosed. I thought I’m always going to feel crappy, achy, tired, and everything that comes with that. I felt saddened that I was in my twenties and couldn’t keep up with my friends. I was taking nine pills a day and a bi-weekly injection just to ‘survive’, just to escape the pain. I felt like a zombie most days and if I wasn’t at work I was on the couch or in bed. It wasn’t how I dreamed of spending a good part of my twenties. I carried on like this, having ups and downs, good days and bad days, some weeks better than others…side note – *this is a general overview, I still had good trips and happy days but overall it wasn’t what I dreamed of for myself. The energy I dreamed of having I couldn’t sustain. Everything was in spurts. I craved consistency. I craved to be able to express the energy that filled my mind in physical expressions and actions. 

The year I turned thirty, I lost my job. I found myself home and on the search…it turned out to be a huge blessing for me, it turned out to be an opportunity to change my life. The job I was working I had very long hours and it was emotionally and physically stressful on a daily basis (which I laugh because my first Rheumatologist had told me that the best thing for me was to stay away from stress – ummm, right.) With losing my job I also lost my Healthcare benefits and that left me unable to afford my medications (it sounds awful, but really it was a blessing in disguise). So I went off my pills and off the injections. I started working towards a complete lifestyle change. 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.

It took me about a year and a half to find a new job but fast forward and now I’m working at a job that even though can be stressful and have long hours (that seems to be a common thing in today’s world), I have the flexibility to work from home, I have a management team that understands I may burnout sometimes and need some downtime, and I have co-workers that get the idea of how important wellness is to me and they motivate and inspire me to stick with it. I’m naturally a Type A Personality so I always have a lot on my plate (i just don’t know what to do with myself if I don’t have a whole bunch of projects going on at one time) but I’m getting better each day at managing them realistically and being more forgiving of myself when I need to shift things or when I slip and I keep the focus on if I want to feel good then I need to continuously take care of myself. Today some of the words used to describe me is ‘energetic’ and ‘positive’ and ‘motivated’ and that feels good, they describe more of who I aspire to be. I owe so much of that to the idea of wellness, to the changes I made to bring wellness to be a reality in my world.

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

 

  1. Daily vitamins – Women’s Multivitamin (currently loving SmartyPants for Women), Vitamin D supplements, and a Vitamin C supplement
  2. 30 crunches daily and participating in a 30 days plank challenge – I co-manage a local healthy lifestyles/fitness group at work called No Sweat York and we’ve committed to doing a 30 day challenge this month – check out our No Sweat York Instagram Page for photos and thoughts from our challenge
  3. A Greek Yogurt daily during the week at the office – Yogurt was something I just couldn’t get myself to eat except for one – I love the Fage Greek Yogurts with fruit <3
  4. Gave up eating out so much and am cooking healthier meals at home – helps keep my sodium intake down which helps with decreasing inflammation
  5. Personal Training at my gym for strength training – Legs one day, Arms another
  6. Making sure I schedule down time each week for lazy days, just to mellow out and recoup
  7. Washing my face every night with Alba Organic Make-up Wipes
  8. Scheduling my tasks out throughout the week so I’m balancing out my time better
  9. Journaling ‘one sentence a day’ to help keep my mind clear
  10. Participating in my #FebruaryArtChallenge for some daily/weekly art therapy to release stress

Wellness is about being well rounded to me, it’s about being real and honest, rolling with the punches sometimes and having balance in my life. That’s what keeps me feeling good, keeps me happier. Wellness is something that I am continuously working towards and adapting to fit into what’s going on in my life. It is not only about health and fitness physically but also keeping our minds and our hearts healthy. What does wellness mean to you? 

This week’s giveaway is brought to you by Callie Richards, LuLaRoe Fashion Retailer. One lucky winner will receive a fabulous LuLaRoe outfit in the size(s) of their choice. The giveaway ends on February 14th. US residents only. While Callie will consider your style preferences, she cannot guarantee any patterns or colors in your outfit. Enter to win here: http://bellebrita.com/2018/02/winter-date-night-outfits/ Brita Long of Belle Brita will verify the winning entry before emailing the winner during the third week of February. If the winner doesn’t respond, she will start the process over again. Good luck!

Meet Your Hosts

Brita from bellabrita.comBrita Long is the pink and sparkly personality behind the Christian feminist lifestyle blog, Belle Brita. While her first love will always be Paris, she lives happily with her husband Daniel Fleck in the Atlanta area.

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Amritha from joinmeintransit.com. Amritha is a travel and food blogger offering travel, dining and healthy recipe guides for vegetarians who love to vacation. Her mission is to guide others in creating meaningful life experiences with friends and family through mindful travel, vegetarian food, and an active lifestyle.

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Laura from dofivethingsaday.com. Laura is a big dreamer, full time marketing manager, blogger, and part-time artist. She aspires to inspire people in their everyday lives and help them to live towards their dreams and making the most out of every day by sharing her own experiences and stories.

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7 Super Reasons Parsnips Help You Get Healthier

I have always had a love for root vegetables – potatoes, carrots, fennel, and more – but over the past few years I have truly come to love parsnips. Not quite as common as their closely related cousin the carrot, parsnips are an easy vegetable to add to many recipes and are a perfect dish to enjoy during colder months.

7 Health Benefits of Parsnips

1.) High in dietary fiber. Parsnips are packed with soluble fiber which helps reduce cholesterol levels and helps maintain healthy digestive function.

2.) Is a great resource of folate which is needed for the formation of red and white blood cells in bone marrow, is important for the development stages, and aids in energy metabolism.

3.) Contains high level of potassium which is needed for skeletal, cardiac and smooth muscle function. This nutrient is important for healthy heart function.

4.) Are high in Vitamin C which helps improve eye health, helps repair and regenerate connective tissues, protect against heart disease, and aids in the absorption of iron.

5.) Good resource of manganese and Vitamin K which helps with digestive health and wound healing.

6.) Due to high dietary fiber content, parsnips are great at helping you stay fuller longer.

7.) They are packed with antioxidants, vitamins and organic compounds which helps fight against disease.

Some Delicious Recipes to Try

Oven Roasted Parsnips with Thyme from FoodnessGracious

Paleo Risotto with ‘Parsnip “Rice” from Empowered Sustenance

Baked Parsnip Fries from Sweet as Honey

Roasted Parsnip Salad from Girl Gone Gourmet

Roasted Parsnip & Garlic Soup from Sharing Our Food Adventures

 

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

We all have that occasional sweet tooth…I know…but there are many healthy options out there. One of my favorite sweet treats is honey. I remember eating spoonfuls of honey with my Grandpa on a Sunday afternoon. It always brings so much warmth to my heart. 

Honey:

  • Studies have shown that replacing sugar with honey has helped with weight management and with lowering blood sugars.
  • It has also been shown that raw honey can trigger certain hormones that will help suppress the appetite.
  • Honey is a natural energy source. It has been nicknamed, “the perfect running fuel”, containing carbohydrates that can be easily processed into energy.
  • It’s packed with anti-oxidants that helps boost memory.
  • Honey contains no fat or cholesterol.
  • It holds anti-inflammatory properties.
  • It can help with allergies due to the small amount of bee pollen it contains and can also help reduce sinus inflammation.
  • Honey coats the throat which can act as a natural cough suppressant.
  • Some studies shows it can aid in a good night’s rest.
  • It can reduce acid reflux and heartburn.
  • Honey boosts your immune system.
  • It helps cleanse and strengthen your digestive system.
  • It is a natural aphrodisiac.
  • It has antimicrobial properties which can help fight gum disease.
  • And honey has carcinogen-preventing properties that aid in cancer prevention.

Honey is a natural sweetener…but be weary of processed honey, raw honey is the best way to go. Remember that honey still contains fructose so be sure to use it in balance and moderation.

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

Why not celebrate this fuzzy, sweet fruit this month?

August is National Peach Month and for good reason with all the farmers markets bringing them to the table. This sweet fruit is more than just yummy to eat, it is packed with vitamins and nutrients to help you get going each day!

1.) High in fiber which aids in digestion and helps you stay full longer.

2.) Filled with antioxidants.

3.) High in phenolic and carotenoid compounds which help prevent cancer.

4.) High in vitamin C which helps maintain healthy skin.

5.) Also high in beta-carotene which helps improve eye health.

6.) Useful in pregnancy because they are packed with many essential vitamins and minerals.

7.) Contain magnesium which can help in managing stress and anxiety.

8.) Studies have shown that peaches have some anti-inflammatory properties.

9.) Peaches boost your immune system.

10.) Are a great source of zinc, which has anti-aging properties.

11.) Contain phosphorous which aids in strengthening bones and teeth.

12.) Peaches are great at detoxifying the body.

13. Are a good source of iron.

 

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

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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.

 

10 Simple Morning Self-Care Routines for an Amazing Day

The start of the day is the moment when we stage how our day is going to roll out. We can decide in those moments if we are going to make it a good day. Set yourself up for success by practicing self-care rituals to strengthen yourself for anything the day may bring.

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  1. Before you get out of bed, take three deep breaths. Clear your mind of any lingering thoughts before getting up. My rule is that I do not get up until I have breathed and let go and cleared my mind. I tell myself that I refuse to take negativity into my new day.
  2. Get out of bed and stretch. Stand tall and reach up high, elongating your body as much as you can. Reach back and pull your body into an arch, then lean forward and touch the floor. Or do a Morning Yoga Routine – https://yogainternational.com/article/view/graceful-morning-flow
  3. Make your bed. Tidy up your room. Create a clean area for a clean mind, an open mind.
  4. Make a cup of tea. Tea has been proven to be calming and cleansing. Creating a calm atmosphere prepares you for a calm day.
  5. Review your planner. See what is on your agenda for the day, create your thoughts around planning for an efficient and productive day.
  6. Read an affirmation or a Mantra. Read it aloud to yourself, write it down. Here are some I use for my Self-Care:
  7. “May my heart be brave, my mind fierce, and my spirit free.”
  8. “My soul is ready to live the life of my dreams.” ~ Sarah Prout
  9. “Special things are about to happen for me and I am ready to allow it.”
  10. “I am focused and persistent. I will never quit.”
  11. “When we change the way we look at things, the things we look at change.” ~ Wayne Dyer
  12. Be still and just listen. After reading your mantra, take a moment to process it. Listen to the sounds around you, whether it is rain falling, birds singing, or cars bustling by on a busy street, just listen, find peace in the morning sounds.
  13. Write down three things you are grateful for. Write them in your planner so that you can be reminded of them throughout the day.
  14. Give your pup or your kitty a hug. Or child, or parent, or significant other, or your best friend… Feel the unconditional love they have for you fill you. Let that unconditional love stay with you all day. When you become frustrated, think of them.
  15. Before you walk out the door, say to yourself, “I’ve got this. I will make today amazing. No matter what today brings, I can handle it.” Say this as many times as you need to today because you do have this. You are strong enough to handle anything, you just have to believe it.

So go out into the world today and have a wonderful day, not because of what happens to you, but because you choose to.