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Change Your Story

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Change Your Story

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You know those times in life when it seems like so many people around you are really struggling with something or multiple life things, including yourself?  This seems to be the theme lately for me. It seems that every time I turn around, I'm hearing a new story about something tough that someone I care about is dealing with, and my life hasn't exactly felt like a piece of cake in many ways recently either. I thought it would be a good time to talk about changing our stories. I've been focusing a lot lately on 'changing my story' which can help any situation that may feel hard to deal with into one that can also feel like a blessing. It can alleviate a lot of the stress that comes with uncomfortable circumstances, and leave us feeling grateful for a situation that we previously felt cursed by.

What do I mean by this?

Let me give you an example....

You arrive at work on Friday, and are called into the office to find out that you are getting laid off. You are shocked. Your initial story may sound something like this:

"I can't believe they laid me off with no warning! I didn't see this coming. How am I supposed to support myself? I barely get by living paycheck to paycheck as it is! My rent is due, and I've been saving a little and was really hoping to finally be able to afford to go on a vacation in a couple of months. There is no way I'm going to make it financially. I haven't updated my resume in years, and have no idea where to begin looking for a job. This sucks! Why is this happening to me? What am I going to do? I feel helpless."

It's pretty normal to react to a situation such as this with alarm, fear, and a story that doesn't feel good. The fact that you are getting laid off is not something that you can change. So, in this situation, what DO you have the control of changing? You can change your story. And it could sound something like this:

"Wow, I can hardly believe that they laid me off! This feels shocking, but if I think about it, I guess I saw some signs that this may be coming. Even though this feels scary, I'm going to choose to look at this as a blessing in disguise. I really haven't been very happy in this job recently. It's caused me a lot of stress, and I've been working hard, and still living paycheck to paycheck which has felt uncomfortable, but I've been too fearful to quit. Perhaps they have done me a big favor by pushing me out to find something better. I have a good friend who I know will help me spruce up my resume, and a community of people that I can reach out to in search of a new job. Since I'm getting laid off, I can collect unemployment for the time being to pay my rent, and I had some money tucked away in preparation for a vacation soon. I guess I get some time off now! Maybe I can use some of that money to cover some expenses and choose to visit some friends and stay with them for a cheaper vacation instead. I'm glad I have that option. I've been considering going back to school, or switching professions to something that is more fulfilling for me and provides me with a better income anyway. I guess this is the push I needed! I may not have done it on my own! I'm so excited to figure out what is next for me!"

Isn't that a HUGE difference?

I could continue with example after example, but you all are smart cookies, and I know you get the picture. We can change the story no matter what the experience is.

What's going on for you right now? Is there a negative story you have been telling around something that feels challenging in your life?

How can you change it? If you can change your story, you can change how your whole experience feels and how the situation effects you.

My challenge to you this week is to change your story. Pick one thing that you know you have been telling a negative story about and change it. Write it out. Tell a loved one. When people ask about it, tell your new & improved positive story rather than the doom and gloom one, and see how it feels.

How do you change it? Simply tap into the positives of it. Every situation has things to be grateful for, sometimes we have to look harder, but they are always there. Talk it out. Write it out. Work on it until it's a story that feels better to tell. I know you've got it in you.

Wishing you wellness,

Shelly

 

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Improve the Relationships in Your Life

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Improve the Relationships in Your Life

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There are a lot of things in life that feed us other than what is on our plate. Healthy relationships is a big one. You can eat all the spinach and chia seeds in the world, but if you have relationships in your life that are unbalanced and create stress, or simply a lack of connecting in relationships, it can affect not only your daily life, but your health as well. There are studies that suggest a lot of health benefits to having fulfilling relationships in our life, and we all know how much they can enhance how great our lives feel. On the contrary, having relationships that are challenging and create stress can cause ill health effects in our bodies, and take away from a life that feels really good. The absence of relationships and deep connections with people can also be a downfall for our health, and our happiness.

It's important to remember that we are all wired for connection and have an essential need to give and receive love.

Relationships can be challenging. All kinds of relationships from romantic partners, to co-workers, family, & friends. They can also help us grow tremendously if we are open to the growth. I'm a firm believer that the challenges in relationships are one of our biggest teachers in life!

Part of having a life that is healthy & feels fulfilling is making sure that we are keeping balanced in all areas. It's a good thing to check in with ourselves here from time to time, even if there isn't something major drawing our attention to the topic.

Some questions to ask yourself:

How are you doing in the area of relationships?

Are you aware of what your needs and desires are in the area of relationships?

Is there a relationship that you could improve by doing some work? Some clear communicating?

Are you feeling fulfilled in the area of relationships? Where could you do some work?

What are you craving? Is something missing for you in this area?

I'm a firm believer in continual personal work. The school of life continues as long as we are in this body. If you are on a path of self growth, I invite you to focus this week on your relationships. Take some time with the above questions, and then ask yourself this:

What came up for you as you answered the above questions?

Where could you benefit from putting some focus?

What is a specific action step that you can take this week to work on improving in the area of relationships?

I use the words 'action step', because we really do need to take action to create the life we want. We can talk about things until we are blue in the face, and it's great exploratory work, but until we put things into action, we are left with little actual change in life.

Here's my challenge to you for the week: After exploring the questions above, think of at least one solid 'action step' that you can do in the next week that will help you in some way in the area of relationships. This will look different for everyone. Ask yourself what would make the biggest difference for you right now, and follow through with it! You deserve to live a full, healthy, balanced life and working on healthy relationships to support that is an important piece.

Having a hard time deciding what a great action step could be for you? I've created a list of ideas to inspire you below!

Wishing you all a beautiful week full of time with the people that fill you up!

Shelly

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Action Steps to Improve The Relationships in Your Life:

#1. View each relationship with gratitude. The relationships that feel challenging can often teach us the most about ourselves. If you are currently struggling with any relationship in your life, take a little time to write a list about what you are grateful for or appreciate in that person. Maybe it is someone that you would want to show that list to? Or perhaps that list is just for you, to shift how you feel about that person to a more loving & appreciative way.

#2. Take time to communicate in close relationships. Take a few moments to express to each other what you both appreciate about your relationship, and what you feel like is going well. Taking a little time to express this can greatly increase the closeness. Then take turns expressing one or two aspects of your relationship that you wish to improve. Practice communicating about and hearing these things without blame, and focus on solutions.

#3. Focus on sharing passions, and fun time. Whether this is your significant other, or a friend or family member that you would like to feel closer to, focusing on meaningful and fun time helps the relationships deepen, and creates more fun!

#4. Create space to spend quality time together. It's so common for us to get caught up in the whirlwind of life and feel like we don't have time to really connect. It really doesn't take much to create even a little bit of quality time with someone you love if it is intentional. A couple of hours at a coffee shop, or a walk in the evening at the end of your day in good conversation can be great quality time. Put your phone away and make it quality time.

#5. Focus on the present, and let go of past things you may be holding grudges about. We are all imperfect humans and we all mess up sometimes. When we love someone, there are times that we need to allow the space for them to be human, forgive them, let go of grudges, and move on. Holding onto grudges is damaging, not just for the relationship, but for your own health & wellbeing. Forgiving someone and letting go of it is not just an act of love towards that person & the relationship, but it's a huge act of self-love as it hurts us to carry around such things. 

#6. Don’t take relationships for granted. Openly appreciate them! Express gratitude. Tell someone how much you appreciate them and why in person, via a message, or send them a card! It feels really good for both of you!

#7. Intentionally get to know each other better. Ask new questions, explore new things. We are all such complex creatures with different life stories & different passions. It's easy to become complacent in relationships that we have had for a while, and halt the 'getting to know each other' part. There is always more to learn about someone in your life, and learning more brings you closer. This can also be applied to someone new in your life that you'd like to create a stronger friendship with. Be curious in your conversation, and they will respond. Most of us LOVE to talk about ourselves :)

#8. Offer help & support. Is someone you care about struggling with something right now? Or maybe they are moving or working on a big home project that you know has them stressed? Reach out and offer your help & support. I think we know who our friends are when people show up to help you move or offer you a ride to the airport. Offering of help & support is so important in relationships. We really do need each other sometimes, and it can end up being great quality time as well.

#9. Take responsibility. Maybe you've messed up, and haven't admitted it. Maybe there is something that you could have handled with much more grace than you did. Maybe whatever it is, is still bothering you. Reach out, take responsibility and make the apology. It's so good to 'clear the air' so to speak on these things.

#10. Reach out to someone far away that you haven't kept in good touch with. I think we all have people in our lives that live far away from us that we care about deeply. Although our intentions maybe good, we are not so good at keeping in touch. Reach out to that person that you think about often, and let them know that you think about them, miss them, and take a little time to check in and see how they are.

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Self Care For The Busy Summer Bee!

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Self Care For The Busy Summer Bee!

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Summer is busy! This seems to be a topic of conversation with whoever I talk to lately. With the beautiful weather and so much going on, we can try to pack more into the few months of summer than we do all year. Plans every weekend, trips, extra events to attend during the week, and the draw to be more active outside, on top of our regular schedules. Yes, many of the things that keep us busy in summer are fun, but still can have a tendency to lead to some feelings of burn out, drained, tiredness, and generally feeling like we are constantly buzzing around like a busy bee! Whether it's summer time, or anytime we feel caught up in the whirlwind of life, it's such a good thing to remember how important self care is. We all know the basics. Eating healthy and getting adequate sleep & exercise are important to feel good in order to keep up with life. Being a busy bee can be fun, and all the summer fun can nourish us in great ways, but are you doing things to relax? Rejuvenate? Treat yourself & your body? What things are you doing to 'fill your cup'? What kind of things are you doing that allow some down time to feed the energy you need to keep up with the busyness life?

I've been feeling a bit caught up in the whirlwind of life lately myself, and have been hearing from so many people about how they have been as well. With this in mind, I thought I'd share with you today a list of ways that you can step out of the busy whirlwind of summer, stop your buzzing around for periods of time,  and take some rejuvenating time for self care. Making the time for some of these self care practices can make a huge positive difference in how you feel. When you are doing things to keep your cup full, everything else seems much easier to manage, and your can find yourself enjoying the busy summer life more.

If you've been feeling the buzz, and know you could benefit from taking some time for self care, the 10 tips below are for you! Pick one that you feel drawn to and start there! Making a little time to take good care of yourself can help the busy buzzing around of summer feel so much more enjoyable, and less exhausting!

Wishing you wellness!

Shelly

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10 Self Care Tips For The Busy Summer Bee:

  1. Take some time to care for your body. Maybe it's a long bath or spa night at home. Maybe it's going to a spa for a treatment or relaxing afternoon. It could be a massage or acupuncture session. Choose what feels best for you. Whatever it is, create some quiet time to give your body some love, so it feels rejuvenated!
  2. Cloud watching or start gazing! Summer is a great time to throw  blanket on the ground or find a cozy hammock to nestle into and take some time to just stare at the sky. Taking a few minutes to just sit still and soak up some sun rays can be a wonderful break too.
  3. Work on being more present with your normal routines of the day like brushing your teeth, getting ready for your day, and eating your breakfast. Allowing yourself to be fully present with the normal mundane tasks of your day, rather than rushing through them while thinking about everything else you need to do with the rest of your day allows you to own that time as yours. Starting your day by doing the tasks of your morning routine being fully present helps it to feel more relaxing and could turn it into 'you time' rather than time where your brain is consumed with all the other on-goings of your day & your life.
  4. Take some time to meditate, even if only for a short while. Starting your day with even a short meditation can set the tone for your whole day mentally and emotionally. It can also start your day off with a feeling of having some of your own time before you head into a full & busy day. Taking a couple of minutes to meditate in the middle of your busy day can really help to reset you as well, and leave you feeling recharged. In the middle of your busy day, take a minute to just close your eyes, and check in with yourself on your thoughts & feelings on the day. Take a minute to check in with how your body is feeling and know if there is anything that it needs. Then just take a minute to breathe and focus on your breath. Taking these 3 minutes in the middle of the day can work wonders. Try it and see!
  5. Unplug from electronics and social media for periods of time. Depending on your usage and work, maybe this means checking out  from electronics for a certain time of the day, or creating a healthy morning routine that involves not checking in online for the first hour or two of your day. It could mean taking weekends off of social media, or an entire week off. Whatever you can make work for you. Most of us have a tendency to be too attached here, and giving yourself intentional breaks is wonderful and recharging! It's not until you give yourself a break, that you really realize how much of your time & energy these things can consume you.
  6. Take yourself on a date and do something that is very relaxing for you. Maybe it is going to a movie, sitting in the park with a good book and a great lunch, or antique store perusing....whatever you find most relaxing on your own. Make a little time to just relax and treat yourself in this way.
  7. Take some time to journal. Use this time however it will best serve you. Write out things that have been bothering you,  celebrate the things that are going great for you, journal about what you are grateful for, use it as a tool to make a decision you are having a hard time with, or simply just write about whatever comes up. Journaling can be beneficial in so many ways, and is great time to stop and be introspective.
  8. Take some time to just 'be'. Curl up on the couch with a good book. Sit on your porch and listen to the birds sing. Sit on a park bench and people watch. Bring a floating device to a lake and just float.  If you are someone who struggles with constantly moving and being busy, making just a little bit of time here can really help to recharge  and calm you. If you are a really busy bee, be patient with yourself here. It may take a little time to relax about taking time to relax!
  9. Say 'NO' more often. We don't have to say yes to everything. Recognize when you are feeling tired, busy, or overwhelmed, and have the ability to say no to things, events, favors, or whatever is being asked of you. Many of us have a hard time saying 'no'. It  can take practice to have this become an easier thing, so start practicing! Ease up on the pressure you put on yourself in this way, and know that when you say 'no' to things, you are saying 'yes' to yourself by protecting your time, your energy, and taking good care of yourself. We can't be everything for everyone, attend everything, or do everything that is presented to us, or we would end up being depleted. This is an important thing to learn, and a huge gift to yourself.
  10. Especially when you are really busy, make a point to do at least one thing a day just for you. Just one nice thing for yourself. Treat yourself to something nurturing or rejuvenating...Even if it is just a little break in the day. You may not feel like you have the time on busy days, but make the time. We make time for so many things that are important in life. We can make the time for ourselves. It's the most important thing.

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Does Indecisiveness Make You Crazy?

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Does Indecisiveness Make You Crazy?

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What is it? Something you can’t make a decision on? Can’t figure out what to do? Maybe you aren’t sure how to navigate a certain relationship? Or perhaps you are trying to make a decision on which job to go for? Where to take a vacation? How to hold your child accountable? Whatever it is... you are struggling with this thing, and you can’t figure out the best way to handle it....What to decide?

A lot of things cause stress. For some of us, decisions can one of those things. Indecisiveness can make me crazy sometimes, and I know I'm not alone here.

I’ve been there. A lot. I recently made a joke that indecisiveness maybe a genetic thing in my family, as we all seem to be plagued by it!

Life is full. It’s full of decisions. Full of complications. Full of details to consider before making complicated decisions. Especially in our often fast paced life it can feel challenging to get clear on things, as sometimes it feels like we don’t even have the time to stop and really figure out what’s going on.

When we find ourselves in a situation like this, it’s easy to overthink things. It’s easy to attach too much emotion to our decisions, and be unclear about what we are doing and why. Many of us have a tendency to base decisions in our life on how it will affect other people more than ourselves, or simply get jumbled in why we are doing what.

I have a trick I’d like to share with you that works wonders if you are feeling plagued by indecision. It’s like magic I tell you!

I call it the movie theatre trick.

All it requires is a little imagination.

You know how when you are watching a movie…..if it’s a good movie, you get really invested in the characters? You start to feel a part of their situation, and you find yourself trying to tell the character in the film what to do?

Give a horror film for example….you find yourself yelling at the screen….”No! No! Don’t go outside damn it! He’s out there! What are you thinking?!"

Or in a Romantic drama you may find yourself saying something to the character along the lines of….”don’t do it! Don’t go back to him! He doesn't love you!” or the opposite “What are you thinking? don’t walk away from love like that! Why would you walk away?"

It's easier from the outside of a situation to bark orders of what should be happening right? So, how about looking at your own situation where you are struggling with a decision, and try to view it from an outside perspective?

Here’s the trick:

Sit or lay down for a few minutes. Close your eyes, and imagine yourself in a movie theatre. Feel yourself in the seat. Smell the popcorn. Really use your imagination to put yourself there.

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Now, the big screen comes on, and it’s showing your life. Your situation that you are struggling with. To the best of your ability, in your mind's eye, view yourself as a character on the screen, looking in on this situation in your life.

Watch the storyline that lead up to this moment in time. See all the details, everything that has happened, everything that is relevant to what you are trying to figure out. Do your best to see all of this from an outsider's view. From a different perspective. Remember….you are watching a character on the screen!

Now, you’ve got the storyline down. You've seen it all. You know the character and the situation......and now the current scene is that situation that you’ve been struggling with knowing what to do. From this outsider point of view, tell your character what to do. What do you want to be shouting at the screen? Are you saying “No No! Don’t do it!” Or “Yes! Go for it”. What is the advice you are wanting to give that character? Talk to the character on the screen as if you would any other character.....tell her (or him) what you think she should do. Tell her why you think she should do that. Break it down.....dish out advice to your character.

I swear this visualization can be magical.

Why is this such a magical trick?

Because if you can successfully bring your mind out of the situation, and look in from the outside, you end up with a totally different perspective. Sometimes all we need to get clear on a situation is to take a step back. Step out of the story we've been telling ourselves about it, and look at it with new eyes, a new perspective.

I can’t tell you how many times in my life this has helped me out.

From big decisions to small. A little different perspective can go a long way!

So are you one of those people (like me) that struggles with indecision? Do you have a tendency to get wrapped up in the details of your own story and make decisions complicated? If so, I invite you to utilize my movie theatre trick. And let me know how it goes!

Wishing you Wellness!

Shelly

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Why I Cleanse

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Why I Cleanse

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Spring is a great time to do a dietary cleanse.
I’m on day 3 of a 10 day cleanse, and I’m feeling compelled to write about one of my favorite benefits of doing a cleanse that isn’t usually talked about as much as weight loss and detoxification.
There’s been a lot of buzz about fasting & cleansing over the last number of years, and It seems that it's becoming more popular. I've done various types of cleanses from juicing only, to raw foods, to the master cleanse where I'm only taking in the delicious drink of  lemon, maple syrup, & cayenne for 10 days. It can have amazing physical effects in detoxifying & cleansing your body. It can help to clean out your digestive system, and be a good physical reset. It can be a great jumpstart in losing weight and can have a lot of great health benefits. Although it's maybe not for everyone, I really love to do regular cleanses.
When you hear about cleanses what is most talked about is detoxification and weight loss. Yes, those two things generally happen and they are big reasons why many people choose to cleanse, including myself. However, there is another major reason why I cleanse that I want to focus on today, and that is this:
It resets my relationship with food.
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How? Let me tell you.
Here’s what I think is the biggest piece. It resets how I respond to my cravings. It gets me back in the habit of making me think about what I am eating, how much I am eating, and why I am eating it.
Doing a cleanse makes you hyper aware of what you are putting into your body and why. As healthy as I usually eat, I still struggle with mindless eating sometimes, emotional eating, or just wanting a distraction from what I’m doing. We can easily get into the habit of eating for a lot of other reasons than nourishment. It resets that for me. Doing a cleanse retrains my brain to question what I am putting in my body and why.
It retrains me to ask myself in the moment: Do I really want this? Do I need this? am I really hungry right now? Is this an appropriate portion size? How will I feel after I eat this?
After the cleanse I’m in the habit again of checking in with myself about my cravings and asking what my body really wants rather than just caving right away and putting food in my mouth.
Because I am kicking out all sugars during the cleanse, except some fruit sugars, it resets my relationship with sugar. I loose the sweet cravings. We know how addictive sugar can be. While my sugar consumption is fairly low compared to the average american, it is admittedly one of my biggest weaknesses. Sugar can be a slippery slope. The more we eat, the more we crave it. Kicking it out of my diet entirely for a period of time releases me from the cravings for it, and resets my relationship with sugar when I feel it becoming unbalanced.
Cleansing also resets what kind of foods I crave. If I am drinking a lot of green juice, my body tends to crave greens & fresh food more. I come out of my cleanse craving big salads over pizza. Just as you tend to crave more junk food the more you eat, you end up craving fresh healthy food the more you eat of that too.
I’ve done multiple different types of cleanses, and whether I am limiting my food intake, or doing juices and liquids only, it always provides me with this benefit of resetting my relationship with food, and it’s a really good thing for me. I do eat a very healthy diet, but I’m just as guilty as many in falling off the wagon with good habits every now & then, and cleansing for me is a great way to get back on track and continue to build a healthy relationship with food, among all of the other amazing cleansing benefits.
It's a great way to celebrate spring after a winter of eating heartier foods, and ease into the summer full of an abundance of fresh foods!
 Wishing You Wellness!
Shelly
PS- By the way, I am trying a new cleanse this time with some nutritional products that caught my eye because of their amazing ingredients.  If I end up loving them, I’ll be sure to let you know. So far, on day 3 I'm feeling really really good and I’m very impressed! 

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Relationship (with food) Status: It's Complicated

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Relationship (with food) Status: It's Complicated

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How would you describe your relationship with food? Complicated?
I don’t like to generalize, but I think most of us have an at least somewhat complicated relationship with food.
What do I mean by complicated? Let me explain.
Let’s start by asking what food is meant to be for us?
The answer is nourishment for our body. That is food’s role, to deliver the nutrition that our body needs for growth & health. I also believe that we should enjoy the food that is nourishing our body, but the bottom line is that is that nourishment is the key role for food. That part is simple right?
Here’s where the complicated part comes in. Many of us eat food for many other reasons, and to try to nourish many things other than our body. Think about it. The last time you had a rough day and ate a pint of ice cream, were you thinking about nourishing your body or where you trying to nourish your emotions?
Our relationship with food is multifaceted. I think most of us eat for reasons other than nourishing our bodies. Emotional eating, sugar addictions, and junk food addictions are all part of our complicated relationship with food, and a very big subject I could never cover in one blog post.
My intention in writing this today is to get you thinking about the subject, and to talk about one small facet of this complicated relationship. What I’d like to focus in on today is how habitual it is for most of us to ‘reward’ ourselves with food that’s not good for our body.
This is a backwards concept, and one that many of us learned as kids.
Do any of the following sound familiar?

"Finish your homework then you can have a cookie."

"Behave in the store, and you can get some candy."

"Be good in your appointment today, and we’ll go get fast food."

"If your team wins the tournament,  we’ll have a pizza party."

I could go on and on.
 How does this translate into adulthood?

"I worked an extra long day, so I’m going to treat myself to ordering pizza tonight, sitting on the couch and eating it all."

"I’ve had a rough, emotional day, and I totally deserve a brownie sunday."

"I’ve been so good with eating healthy this week,  so I’m going to go to the bakery for pastries after my morning walk."

"I’ve gotten so many errands done today and haven’t eaten yet, so I’m treating myself to fast food."

"Congrats, You’ve been with the company for a year. To celebrate, we brought donuts."

Maybe these examples don’t sound exactly like you, but you get the picture.
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Many of us have been trained to reward ourselves with food that isn’t good for us, and generally doesn't make us feel good. Really, When's the last time you rewarded yourself with broccoli?  Besides many growing up with this influence, think about the food marketing that you take in. How many commercials for junk food send a message that sounds similar to this….."go ahead! You are worth it! You deserve it! You can find decadence & happiness in food!"
Now don’t get me wrong, I am not a purist about this by any means. I’m fully guilty of indulging myself with wine & desserts, and I’m aware that for me,  totally denying myself of these things is usually not a good idea. I personally tend to do better with a little balance of ‘naughty’ in my diet every now & then. However, when I indulge, I try to just call it what it is: Indulging. I try not to consider these things rewards for good behavior on my part because it simply doesn't make sense to 'reward' my body with something not very good for it. My point in this writing is to bring awareness to this  complicated part of our relationship with food, so that we can work on it.
Do you ‘treat’ or ‘reward’ yourself with food that isn’t nourishing for your body?
When do you tend to do this? How often? How do you feel after?
Now that we’ve brought awareness to it, what can you do about it? How can you work towards a healthier relationship with food?
Here's what I would suggest:
First, pinpoint the times that you really tend to reward yourself with food. What comes up for you? Is it after you’ve been eating healthy, or after stressful days, or after workouts?
Now that you’ve got some of those times in mind, ask yourself what else you could reward yourself with that doesn't involve unhealthy food? Perhaps at the end of an extra long day you could treat yourself by stopping to get a massage on the way home, or taking the time for a walk around the lake. Perhaps after eating really healthy all week, you could treat yourself to a new summer dress, or stop by the bookstore and get yourself that new book you’ve been wanting. Maybe after sticking to your exercise routine all week you can treat yourself to a relaxing afternoon on the couch watching movies, a night out with your girlfriends, or a pedicure appointment. Sometimes a great reward is just allowing ourselves some quiet down time in our busy schedule doing something we love.
There are a lot of other things in life that we can ‘treat’ ourselves to or ‘reward’ ourselves with, it's just that we’ve been programmed through life experience and marketing that a good reward for ourselves is decadent food, that's not beneficial for our body. This is a really backwards way of thinking about rewards, isn't it?
The good news is, new habits around this are possible to form, and being aware of where to make changes is the first step.
If you are someone that rewards yourself with sweets or junk food,  how can you work to transform this habit? What are other things you can begin to reward yourself with?
I'm not suggesting that you never treat yourself to food that you love and feel indulgent. I'm suggesting that we start fixing our relationship with food by tackling this complicated facet of it. Let's start thinking of food as nourishment, rather than something we treat ourselves with for emotional reasons. And let's start rewarding ourselves with things that are actually a reward to our body, mind, or spirit.
Our relationship with food is very much complex, and for many it can be very much a struggle. Remember that sustainable change is created through baby steps. Trying to change everything overnight generally ends up in failure and disappointment. Focusing on making one small change at a time is how we create new habits that stick around and that serve our body & mind in a healthy way.
If you’d like to work on your relationship with food towards a less complicated, healthier status, I invite you to work with this one small change and see what a big difference it can make for you.
Wishing you wellness!
Shelly

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The Comparison Trap

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The Comparison Trap

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There’s this inner voice that likes to sneak into my consciousness sometimes that I’m not fond of. She'll come marching into the forefront of my thoughts like she owns the place, ranting about what I’m doing wrong, what I’m not doing good enough, points out all of the imperfections I have, and loves to compare me to others in a way that doesn’t feel good. I have a name for her.  She’s my inner bitch. I know I’m not alone here, call it what you want, but we’ve all got one.
I’ve worked really hard over the years to quiet my inner bitch, to correct her when I’m hearing the kind of inner talk that isn’t supportive of me, and I’ve come a long way. I’ve practiced being more conscious of my thoughts, correcting any negative self talk, and this has done wonders in building self love, and improving my ever-growing relationship with myself.  I almost forget the inner bitch is there sometimes because I don’t hear from her that often these days. However, there are still times that she sneaks in,  takes over, and I find myself in a place of comparing myself to others which inevitably leaves me not feeling as great about myself as I should.
I recently had to spend a little time correcting and putting my inner bitch back in her place, and while doing so, something occurred to me in a big way.  It occurred to me that our comparing ourselves to others has been hugely impacted by social media.
Let’s be real here. We are living in an age when a lot of what we know about other people’s lives is what we absorb from social media, rather than direct contact.
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The thing is, what most people post online is the bright, successful, fun side of their lives that they really want us to see. We all want to be seen as rocking the hell out of life, right?
Of course, there are some that use social media as a place to ‘air their dirty laundry’ or express their troubles and seek out the empathy & connection that we all crave as humans, via the internet. But think about it. For the most part, what people post online is what they WANT the world to see about them.
Now think about the position that puts us in if our inner bitch has a habit of comparing us to others. We are sitting in our real life which is has really good stuff going, but along with it are the shadows, the daily struggles, the screw ups, the times we lose our temper,  say things we wish we wouldn’t have, or whatever else comes up. From that place of realness in our own life, we view the outer, pretty layer of everyone’s lives that they want us to see. I think for many people this creates an environment for the inner bitch to speak up and  start to compare.
Everyone we are connected to on social media, whether they are celebrities & businesses you follow or whether it’s your family & friends, are putting out there mostly just what they are proud of in their life. They show us the fun they are having, the beautiful family & friends pictures, the vacations, the successes….The majority of people put out there what they WANT the world to see, and leave the rest in real life, not broadcasting it on the internet.
So when we take all of this in at the fast pace that many of us do, it’s easy to forget that beneath the shiny outer polish is real life for everyone.
Here’s where the problem comes in. We end up comparing the not so perfect inner workings of our lives with the outer, polished versions of everyone else’s. This is unrealistic, but we can fall for this, and the inner bitch can have a hay-day with it.
My intention in writing this is just to bring awareness. Ask yourself if this behavior of comparing is something that you find yourself participating in?
If so, bring awareness to it. If you are aware of it, that gives you the opportunity to correct it.
Know that beneath the outer polish of every online life you view is real life with real struggles.
Know that we are all on a journey of continual growth.
Know that you are entirely perfect, just where you are right now, imperfections & all.
When that inner bitch pipes up, tell her she’s no longer welcome, and call the inner cheerleader out for some talk about how awesome you are, because it’s true. You are awesome.
There are 7 billion people in the world, and no one is just like you. Embrace the beauty of your uniqueness, and practice speaking to yourself like you would anyone else in your life that you love.
Quiet that comparative inner bitch, and start feeding the inner cheerleader. If you find yourself comparing, know that when you see the polished lives of others broadcast online, that underneath the polish is a real life with imperfections and struggles just like everyone else.
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Give yourself the gift of love and loving self talk.
It takes practice, and It can change everything in your life.
Wishing you wellness,
Shelly

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Redefining Relaxation

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Redefining Relaxation

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Recently, I had a conversation with someone that sparked me to think about what we view as relaxation these days. I say these days because I think that culturally it has changed a lot. In our current fast paced world where we are running non stop and taking in information constantly, our view of relaxation is kind of skewed.
I was speaking to a woman that considers herself an introvert, so someone who naturally needs some quiet down time to themselves to recharge. When I asked her what she did for relaxation, what she named was working out, running, dance class, and even food shopping on her own, as she has 3 kiddos that are usually with her.
I found myself asking….are these things really relaxation? Are our lives just moving so fast these days, that exercise and grocery shopping is viewed as relaxation? What happened to the days of sitting on the porch swing watching the world go by? As a society has our definition of relaxation skewed? I personally think so.
Please don’t get me wrong….I don’t discredit exercise, dance, or any other activities that you enjoy one bit. They are amazing for your health, wellness, and happiness! They have great benefits that can be similar, like stress reduction, and mood boosting. You may feel really relaxed after you have exercised, and grocery shopping may feel relaxing compared to the rest of your busy day.  I’m just saying that exercise or grocery shopping is not actually relaxation in my opinion.
Why is relaxation important? Because it helps us recharge. It allows our bodies & brains that are so used to moving a million miles a minute in our fast paced culture to take a break. It benefits our immune system & reduces stress which affects all areas of our health, and our mood. For me, when I am truly relaxing, that is when I get to daydream about my life. I get to ponder the things that I don’t have time to ponder otherwise, and this is when inspiration flows in. It’s important time to me. It recharges me, and gives me time to connect with myself and play with those daydreams of mine. I believe that we are all creative creatures, and having that time to daydream and allow inspiration to flow at free will is so beneficial!
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What do I think real relaxation looks like? I know it can be different for everyone, but I’ll leave you with a few ideas that I like.
Maybe it means taking a slow stroll in the woods or through your neighborhood where you are taking in all the colors and textures around you and thinking about what you are grateful for in life, rather than running or hiking fast for exercise, or checking your email on your phone.  Maybe it's just sitting on the couch and cuddling your pet without taking in TV at the same time. It could be sitting on the beach and just staring at the water and daydreaming rather than running or reading a book while you are there. Just sit there and be. Maybe it looks like having a hammock in your backyard so you have a special place to go sometimes to just rest & listen to the birds. Maybe it’s laying on your bed listening to a favorite album. Maybe it is lighting a candle & taking a long bath. It could be sitting at a coffee shop, sipping on a latte or tea and just watching the world go by. I could go on for a long time with these I’m sure!
What is relaxation for you? Could you benefit by redefining what it means for you?
Whatever it is for you, it should be in an environment that you feel calm in, and free of distractions that could make you feel like you should be doing something else. I know….to some of you that may seem like a fairytale land, but we are creative people. When something is important in life, we make it work. We carve out a little time to make things happen that we view as priorities. Is getting a little bit of true relaxation in your life a priority? How much do you think it could benefit you?
So if you are willing,  I challenge you to take a little time for yourself to relax. Try it on. Make it a priority. You don’t need to carve out a huge chunk of time. Maybe it’s only 20 minutes, maybe it’s a couple of hours. If it’s hard for you, know that everything takes practice, even relaxing. Know that you deserve it, and that it’s good for you. Let your mind wander. Soak it up. Soak up the details around you and just breathe. Know that you don’t have to be filling every second of your day with busyness. With a little effort, before you know it, you could master the art of relaxation, and it could make a really positive effect on your stress levels, your health, and how you deal with everything in life. Giving yourself the gift of relaxation can help you feel more clear, and energized to deal with the rest of life. It also feels really good, and you deserve that kind of time.
Cheers to a little relaxation!
Shelly

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Mental Spring Cleaning

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Mental Spring Cleaning

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 Spring is here, and I’ve got lots of spring cleaning on my mind. Spring cleaning of my home & environment always feel good this time of year. It’s a great time to do some cleansing of the body through dietary cleanses & juicing as well, but how about some mental spring cleaning?
Mental spring cleaning? It could be lots of things, but here I want to talk with you about one idea I have around our resistance to change.
I think that we humans have a tendency to hold onto things a little too tightly sometimes, and I’m not just talking about physical things. We hold onto our ideas, our opinions, our identity around how we dress, ways we show up in the world, our attitude on certain subjects, extra weight, habits that don’t serve us.  We hold onto these things not always consciously, but sometimes just because it’s what we do, what we’ve always done.
 So what is my mental spring cleaning tip for you?

Sweep the idea out of your brain that you are stuck, and give yourself permission to change!

If it helps, write yourself a permission slip and hang it on your fridge, hang it on your mirror, tape it to the dash of your car! Whatever will help you.
You are allowed to change.
You can change your mind.
You can change your opinion.BC191THB8U
You can change who you spend time with.
You can change how you dress.
You can change what you eat.
You can change your attitude.
You can change how you show up in the world.
You can change how you feel.
You can change your energy level.
You can change habits.
You can change your hobbies.
You can change your health.
You can change anything that is changeable!
YR8EV7NYYVWho says that we need to stay where we are?
Keep the same opinions?
Keep the same career?
Hold onto the same relationships?
Continue to eat the same as we always have?
Continue the same hobbies?
You are allowed to start dressing differently if you feel compelled to. Throw away the clothing that you don’t feel great wearing. Wear what makes you feel good, even if it’s a wild outfit that leads your friends to say “wow! I’ve never seen you wear something like that!” Especially if they say that....and it’s something that you feel good in!

You are allowed to change your mind. We can and will change our minds all of the time. This is perfectly ok. Just because you subscribed to a certain belief, doesn’t mean that you can’t change your mind! We change as individuals throughout our life, so our opinions are allowed to change too. Don’t allow people in your life to hold you to something you once said or agreed to if you have changed your mind. It's ok. You have permission.

You are allowed to change your job or career to one that makes your heart sing. What’s that? You have college debt for your chosen career? You’ve got so much time invested into your career? Oh, you have great benefits? I get it, but that doesn’t mean that you need to stay in a career that makes getting out of bed in the morning a miserable ordeal. What are you good at that makes you happy doing? Find one of those things, and do it. There’s no reason that you can’t love, or at least enjoy what you do to make money.
You are allowed to let go of relationships that don’t serve you. That friend that you’ve had for 20 years, that you feel so obligated to, even though she never keeps the things you tell her in confidence, has criticisms for your life, loves to gossip, and generally has a negative attitude? Yeah, her….You can let her go. Its okay. You don’t need to tell her exactly why. Just send her love, let her go, wish her well, and put forth time & energy into budding new friendships that are positive and that you feel energized rather than drained by!
You are allowed to change how you eat! Your partner doesn’t like to eat healthy food? Maybe they can start to cook for themselves more often as you chef yourself up some new vegetable goodness! If you feel drawn to eating healthier, you are allowed to put the effort forth in that! Your friends and family can benefit from you exploring healthier options. If they rely on you for cooking, then they can choose to support you and explore healthier eating with you, or they can choose to start cooking for themselves!
You are allowed to explore new fun things in life! Get out there and try a new activity. Ask your friend that enjoys an activity that you are unfamiliar with to take you with them! Explore new things! Just because you’ve been on a bowling league for the last 7 years doesn’t mean that you can’t drop it to make time for the belly dancing class you’ve been eye balling! Explore new interests that excite you!
So, now I ask you.…as you read the above, what popped into you mind about your life? Where are you craving change? Where have you felt resistant to it? Where have you felt like you weren’t allowed to change? I challenge you to do some mental spring cleaning by letting go of the belief that you are stuck in these areas. Just take your imaginary broom and sweep that thought right out of your brain. Did you picture that? Good. Now that you've cleaned that limiting belief out, pick at least one thing that you want to change about you this spring. Just for you. You deserve it!
Wishing you blissful spring fever!
Shelly

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