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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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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How to Manage Stress, Top Tips from Wellness Bloggers

Life can be tough. It can be challenging, busy, and stressful. Sometimes stress is unavoidable. But becoming over-stressed can hurt our health, state of mind, and our happiness. It’s important to make it a priority to help keep stress at bay no matter how hectic things get. I reached out to my community of Wellness Bloggers for their expertise on how to keep stress under control so that you can keep the joy high in your life and keep on managing every day beautifully and strong.

Julie Voss

www.hellopeacefulmind.com

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Julie was diagnosed with anxiety and depression during the summer of 2016 and has since helped hundreds of people fight these mental illnesses and become happier. Read Julie’s inspiring story, “My Journey Into Acknowledging The Depression” on www.hellopeacefulmind.com and find out how you can become happier too!

1.) The first thing to reduce your stress is to find out its source.

I used to start every day with one sentence “I don’t want to go to work.” At the time, I would wake up at 6:30 am, take a quick shower and rush toward the door with a snack in hand to be stuck in traffic for an hour.
No wonder I couldn’t get out of bed. Who is excited to start the day stuck in traffic?

So I realized that I needed to change my morning routine. Starting the day in such a negative and stressful note was transforming the whole week into a nightmare.

Now, I wake up at 7 am to do things that I love like working on Hello Peaceful Mind. I am no longer rushing out for work. I take the time to enjoy my morning by sitting down for breakfast and then I get ready to go to work.
By the time I leave the house there’s no more traffic and when I get home at night it only takes me 20 minutes!
I have to tell you that since I changed my schedule to avoid traffic (which was my main source of stress) I am so much happier!

So what is stressing you out and how can you change that?

2.) Break down your goals into smaller tasks.

Stress can come from many different reasons. For me, it’s usually because I have too many projects on my plate and I overwhelm myself.What happens is that I think about everything that needs to be done and get overwhelmed. So I don’t do anything. Then I stress about it and I am even less likely to work on it. Do you know this feeling?

Basically I get stuck in this vicious cycle.

But I decided to break this cycle and started writing down my goals and big projects. Then I break it down into smaller tasks. And every day, I add only 3 of these tasks into my to do list. This way I am no longer overwhelmed and I feel good every time I cross something off the list!

You should give it a try and let me know how you feel!

Laura Brassie

www.ivoryandpine.com

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Laura is a mental health therapist who works full-time in a hospital with patients in crisis. She launched the blog Ivory & Pine in September 2016, which focuses on intentional living, self care, and mental health. She loves spending time with friends, lots of coffee, hiking in the mountains, exploring new music, and helping others grow their own intentional life. She lives in Colorado.

1.) Build self-care into your busy day.

You don’t have to get a massage once a week or practice yoga for 3 hours a day, although more power to you if you can. Download podcasts so that you can listen to words of encouragement and learn something new during your commute. Get an essential oil diffuser and switch out scent combinations to help get you energized in the morning and relaxed at night. Do your best to meal prep the night before… it seriously feels so nice to be hungry and have a healthy meal right there, ready for you. Make your bed in the morning.

Sometimes, it’s the little things that help you feel like you are proactive about having a good day, rather than reacting to circumstances.

2.) Take a retreat.

I love the idea of periodic retreats.

If you can, take an hour a week, a day a month, and a weekend a year to totally disconnect from electronics, get away from the daily grind, and push that reset button on your soul.

Use this dedicated time to journal, meditate, pray, exercise, be out in nature… whatever helps you de-stress! It’s important to ask yourself tough questions during this time and answer them thoughtfully… increasing self-awareness is important.

You can do this retreat by yourself, with a partner, or a couple friends, but I would leave the group quite small. We can practice these things at home of course, and we should…. but distractions still come up constantly. I really value nature, and so I try to take my retreats out on trails or in the mountains. I always come back with a greater sense of peace.

Jessica Bignell

www.moderndaygirlblog.com

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Jess is a mental health blogger devoted to helping improve the lives of anxiety sufferers. She shares tips, help and advice for those struggling, so that they can live a better life. Anxiety can be controlled, rather than it controlling you.

1.) Look for the signs. 

Dealing with stress can be difficult. I find that sometimes I’m much more stressed than I might realize, and that my body is actually telling me more than I realize.

If this sounds like you, I would definitely pay more attention to what your body is telling you. It could be the little things like shaky hands, headaches, chest pains or back pain. Maybe you’re not sleeping well, or sleeping too much. If you can catch the stress early, you can work on how to make it better. For anxiety sufferers, it’s very easy to ignore the signs and thinking that you’re okay when you’re not.

As Julie mentioned, once you’ve figured out what is causing you extra stress, you can work on improving your situation.

2.) I find that writing can often be the best therapy for stress and anxiety.

You don’t even need to be a blogger to benefit from the therapeutic qualities writing has.

Quite a few of my friends suffer from anxiety and I always recommend writing as a way of releasing whatever is bothering them. I advise them to start with whatever is bothering them first (as sometimes you don’t always have someone to talk to). It doesn’t even to make a whole lot of sense, just getting it from inside the mind and onto paper helps relieve strain.

So the next time you’re feeling a little anxious, write about it, put pen to paper and write about how you’re feeling. What caused it? Is your stress and anxiety as a result of a situation you can work on? Do you need help from anyone else?

Get it written down.

Laura Romberger

www.dofivethingsaday.com

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Laura is a big dreamer, full time marketing manager, blogger, and part-time artist. She brings an eclectic mix of excitement, passion, and a story to tell of self-discovery, development, and love.

1.) Make sure you are well rested and getting enough sleep.

When we are overtired we aren’t as capable to manage emotions and stress. Being well rested will help you stay calmer and able to process situations better before reacting to them. I always find that I’m less stressed when I’m not so tired! 

2.) Set Boundaries.

Make sure you only take on what you can really handle. Steer clear of negativity. Take time for yourself.

I am a sensitive person and I naturally suck in everything around me. I need to make sure that I am setting limits on the amount of negativity I consume and I need to ensure I have time set for “me time” so I can recharge. 

Boundaries are important to keep you balanced.

Stress is a part of life but you can choose to not let it control you. We all have those days, don’t beat yourself up for it. When in doubt, reach out to your tribe, your close friends. Look for inspiration in all the RIGHT places. It’ll get you back on track.

You got this!

Fit Body, Mind, & Spirit: My 12 Rules For A Healthy, Happy Life

I’ve been spending some time reading over old posts and it’s been enlightening seeing how far I’ve come. Nothing brings me more comfort than knowing that I am continuously growing and moving towards become more like me and working towards creating a life that I love and am destined to live. 

In 2014, I wrote a list post “If I knew what I know now (in reference to if I knew what I knew then when I had been nineteen) some particular things stuck out to me:

“I would have spent less time trying to “fix” other people and more time focused on myself.” 

“I would have appreciated the things I already had more and less time worrying about the things I didn’t have.”

“I would have accepted failure as steps to success.”

About a year ago, I wrote a post of things I had learned about myself – What I’ve Learned About Myself in which I discovered more some simple things like how managing my blood sugar levels also helps me manage my moods but also things such as alone time and organization are key factors to staying balanced. 

Once again I’ve come to reflect on how much I have grown, how much stronger I have become, and how much progress I have made with my internal goals…and how much further I have yet to go. 

1. Do not judge. 

2. Let go of anger.

3. Be patient, with life, with yourself, with ones around you.

4. Focus on the present.

5. Do all things in love.

6. Live simply.

7. Only allow things that bring value and joy into your life.

8. Take care of yourself first.

9. Live your life like you are an example.

10. Live with intention not regret. 

11. Take a break once in awhile.

12. Keep learning, keep trying, and keep growing. 

I have many plans in mind for myself and this year that focus will not change. I am very happy of how far I’ve come and that motivates me to continue to strive for more. What do I have in store for myself this year? I plan to work towards a more minimalist lifestyle, continue working towards becoming a pro at self care, continuing to focus on steps to make my dreams come true, refocus on my spiritual studies, and yoga & meditation practices, and become all-around more fit – in mind, body, and spirit. 

How To Recognize When You’re Doing Too Much

I found myself on my vacation day in bed sick, stuffy nose, achy, and exhausted. Darn, I had so many plans! I wanted to catch up more on office work, get more forms organized for my Blog, write more Blog posts, finish some paintings for upcoming art shows, start some new paintings, needed to do laundry, had some research topics to tackle, clean and organize my room, post some new items in my Poshmark Closet…the list was forever long (geez I’m tired just typing some of my goals for my vacation day!). Well my day rounded up with me in bed watching Law & Order all day.

I needed to come to the realization that I had worn myself down. Maybe I picked up a virus somewhere too but I had worn myself out with late nights, early mornings, skipped meals, and a go-go-go attitude…and that was really why I was sick. I needed a down day and my body was telling me so, screaming it at me making it very obvious that my focus was to be to rest for the day.

We all do it, we get so excited,  or so inundated with a super long to-do list that we fall into just go do it and don’t stop until it’s done mode, and then we crash. We find ourselves so drained that we end up out of commission for a bit…and then we are at a stall, a stall in working towards our goals, a delay in life. We want so much out of life and we want to have it all done now that we push ourselves so much that we end up not functioning at all. We keep saying to ourselves “I got this”, and “Just push through” to stay pumped but are we doing too much? So how do we get it all done and not crash? We learn to recognize when we are doing too much, and then we shift, we re-adjust. To name a few, ones that I had to teach myself to be aware of:

  1. If you are finding yourself making silly mistakes – forgetting to turn the coffee pot on or put the K-Cup in the Kuerig before hitting brew, or you are making little slips during the like bad simple math solving or forgetting words frequently – then you are doing too much. Our brain starts having hiccups when it’s over-worked.
  2. If you are waking up in the morning feeling drained then you are doing too much. When I’m super busy I hate getting up in the mornings but when I’m on key I pop out of bed early happy to take on the morning.
  3. If you’re finding yourself having frequent negative thoughts or starting to dislike your daily activities. When you are over-exhausted you start to lose your passion, your drive.
  4. When you’re feeling cranky a lot or catch yourself snapping about things.
  5. When you feel so overwhelmed or so worried about meeting deadlines or completing tasks it’s keeping you awake at night then there’s too much on your mind.

So now what? How do we slow down? Each of us will have our own things, our own habits to put in place, that will work best but here’s my tips:

  1. Schedule a lazy day at least once a month. A day with nothing on the schedule, let the day lead you. If it turns out you curl up on the couch and watch a tv marathon then so be it. It’s okay to have days like this, it’s good to have days like this, not every day but a day here and there is healthy. Whether it’s once a week or once a month is going to be up to what works for you. For me I need to have one at least once a month, preferably I like one once every couple of weeks, that’s my balance.
  2. Drink water. I know you probably hear this one all time but hydration is sooo important. Water is a healing element, and it happens to be a big part of our natural make-up.
  3. Make it a habit to eat regularly, choose healthy and revitalizing foods – good proteins, fruits and vegetables, energizing grains. Keeping your blood sugars level will help you process things better and help you make better decisions. It keeps your energy levels even so you’ll have less dips and spikes throughout the day too.
  4. Make sure you do at at least three tasks or activities that bring you joy every day. Keeping your mind happy keeps you motivated and lessens the opportunity of emotional burnout.
  5. Stay organized. This not only keeps you accountable and more productive (so you can get more done more efficiently!)  but it also gives you awareness, it gives you an overall look of what all you have going on so you can assess the big picture. After being stuck in bed all day sick I was able to slow down enough to see how much I was doing day by day. I was able to put things into a better perspective and build a (more) reasonable timeline.
  6. Listen to your body. I’ve heard this so many times but I’ve finally started following that advice and it makes a difference. When my body is telling me I’m tired, I sleep. When I’m sore or achy, I need to rest my body. When I’m sick, I take time to recuperate. I fight the urge to ‘push through’ by reminding myself it’s better to rest now than crash and have to rest for days to bounce back.

I get wanting to accomplish everything, I really do. I am constantly telling myself not to fret that there is another day, “What doesn’t get done today will either get done another day or sometimes just won’t get done. It’s okay”. I have the kind of to-do list that is a rolling list, it just keeps going. This may sound like a very long list (which it usually is) but I’ve found it’s what works well for me. For me I’m creating an opportunity to keep working on this list, creating the expectation that this is a list that moves with me from day to day instead of having an end of day deadline (I put specific deadlines next to the actual task if need be).

Create a balance between a motivated, calm mindset and a well taken care of and rested body. With the Holiday chaos among us, we all know it can get even crazier but don’t set yourself out to have a burnt out January. Put together routines and set boundaries to protect yourself. Pace yourself to the finish line.

“Life is not a race, it is a marathon.”