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Sharing ways to keep you feeling awesome physically and mentally, so you can be good to those around you. Share the love. Be a happy healthy human.

Holiday News

holiday wellness coaching photo

Scene from my latest health and wellness office hours visit at HQ Raleigh

Hello Friends!

 

Thanks for keeping up with happenings here on the blog. It’s been a blast talking and writing with you all. Please keep your questions and comments coming – it only serves to make the blog and business better!

 

Wanted to let you know about a few cool things going on in recent months:

-The folks at Somewhere did a feature article about my work and business. They are an awesome crew.

-I offer health and wellness office hours for the smart & motivated entrepreneurs at HQ Raleigh. It has been an amazing group of people to get to know, and we’ve addressed many diverse issues to bring better health to members.

-I am available for speaking engagements about goal-setting, healthy habits, and staying healthy at home and at work. I love the power of speaking with groups about these issues, and it is so much fun!

-I’ve been teaching vinyasa yoga for private and corporate clients around the Triangle area. It’s been such a gift to watch the students grow together and to stretch in ways they never thought possible.

Lastly…I’m excited to announce:

I’m offering a Wintertime wellness coaching special. The Resolution Keeper is a series of 3 sessions, where we will:

  • pin down a New Year’s Resolution
  • develop an implementation plan
  • keep you accountable to your goals

The perfect gift for yourself and those you love.

Direct your thoughts and actions towards positive health change this winter!

$129

One more note of thanks and appreciation for all of your support. Please let me know if you have questions/comments/concerns. I love to hear from you!

Beat the winter blues

 

healthy during winter photo

Winter Sunrise photo by Ryan McGuire courtesy of imcreater.com

Hellllooooo Winter.

I spent all of last weekend huddled inside my house because of the freezing temps and some work deadlines. While I enjoyed and needed this break, after 2 days, I was ready to re-enter the world again. The only problem? Even though my brain was ready to get moving, my body was NOT having it. I felt tired and lazy in a way I haven’t felt in a long time…well actually…in a way I hadn’t felt since last winter! We all know it’s true….

It’s hard to be active and exercise during the winter.

No one wants to be out in the cold.  I learned the hard way this week that the winter wind is that much worse when you’re going 10 mph on the bike, and even more importantly, it can be downright dangerous to run or bike in icy conditions. Then there’s that whole daylight savings thing…it’s dark when many of us leave work, which puts a damper on post-work outdoor time.

But it’s not just the weather that’s holding us back. Our body’s seasonal clock and attitudes can dampen our motivation, too.

It’s easy to blame it all on the weather, but truth be told, this time of year, I also don’t really feel like getting up and moving around. Getting myself to change out of my pajamas is hard enough, let alone waking up early or making it onto my yoga mat. From what I’m reading…I’m not the only one.

 

The good news?

It’s possible to stick to your health routines and feel good, even though the only thing you want to do is lie in bed.

Here are some great tips to get you feeling like your usual self and working with your body’s needs (and the constraints of the weather), so you can have a happy and healthy winter season.

1. Just get moving

Sounds obvious, right? But as we all know, it’s harder than it looks. When I am feeling super lethargic and resistant to exercise, even though I know it will make me feel so much better, I use this tip to find the smallest actionable step I can take to get me exercising. Maybe I just lace up my sneakers, drop to the ground and do a set of pushups, or simply tell a friend I am going to an exercise class. Once you do that first step, you generate momentum to get you moving even more, and it becomes easier and easier to keep going. Your running routine get disturbed by the weather? Get creative! Go mall-walking or hit up an exercise class. The important thing is that you get yourself out of your rut and get active again.

2. Satisfy your cravings

Nooooo not for more chocolate. I’m talking about your cravings for warm, nourishing, filling foods. Your body is cold! Of course it’s not satisfied with raw fruits and vegetables. Now is the time to make yourself hearty vegetable soups, warm porridges for breakfast, and toasted sandwiches. Don’t forget to add some spice to keep the heat going. Nourish your body with these good, warm foods, so that you won’t turn to more desserts, sweets, or other unhealthier items that have a warm and filling quality, but aren’t so good for you.

3. Keep hydrated

I probably mention this tip in every post because it’s just simply so important. When you get cold, we forget to drink water, so be mindful and make sure you’re staying hydrated. This time of year, our skin and bodies dry out, so it’s that much more important to make sure you’re getting enough fluids. This is a great time to break out peppermint or lemon tea to supply warmth and vibrance on a cold winter day.

Bonus: being hydrated also helps you keep your energy up, so you feel less lethargic.

4. Find the sun

Ahh that darling sun. There’s precious few hours of sunlight during these winter months, which means it’s that much more important that you get your fix when possible. Not only does sun equal warmth, it also provides you with much needed Vitamin D, which helps protect you against seasonal colds and flu! Seeing true sunlight also helps keep your melatonin levels on track, which means a better night’s sleep when it is the proper time.

Some easy ways to get you in the sun:

  • Take a noontime walk
  • Sit in a sunny window
  • Participate in outdoor sports!

Speaking of outdoor sports…

5. Enjoy the season

Having a hard time getting outdoors? Plan an outdoor adventure with ice skating, sledding, or hiking. Despite the cold, it’s a beautiful time of year. Use these seasonal activities as an excuse to get moving, even if you can’t bring yourself to stick to your regularly scheduled exercise routine. And don’t forget hot chocolate afterwards : )

6. Get Social

It’s the holiday season! We all need our rest time between holiday parties and events, but make a point of having some quiet celebrations with close friends and family too. It can help get you out of your pajamas, without the pressure of a loud or boisterous event. Spread some thanks to those you love. It’ll make you feel good.

7. But be okay with the seasonal variation

So we started this post talking about how to beat the seasonal blues, but the truth is, there is a reason why there is a collective sigh and movement towards hibernation this time of year. According to Ayurveda, we are still in Vata season as we enter the December Holidays, so take this time as an opportunity to build grounding practices into your day, to relax, and to take it easy. The Spring will come again, and you will find your energy again as well, so enjoy this season!

 

What do you do to beat the winter blues when the cold weather hits? Share in the comments below!

 

Turn Distress into Eustress

 

Yes, yes, yes, stress is important, nay, necessary for survival. Despite being a biological system critical for our health and wellbeing, however, the human stress response is a rather blunt instrument. We have the same surge of adrenaline, cortisol, and norepinephrine each time we encounter a stresser, whether it be an injury, a verbal attack, exercise, or anxiety about a future event. Even though these very different situations require different responses, our body’s chemistry treats them essentially equally.

Stay motivated after the honeymoon phase: keeping with your healthy habits

bike health goals

Me and my new Torch bike helmet on a beautiful fall day

Day 1. Riding my bike to work this morning was a dream. Cool breeze, the rush of speeding down hills, and I made it to work in half the time of my usual commute. This just might be the new favorite part of my day. I found myself telling anyone who would listen – “This is the best thing ever…Couldn’t imagine my life without it.”

Day 60. Okay. A little less fun now. I’m sleepy, I’m wearing gloves, and I am now bargaining with myself: do I work harder so I go faster, or do I slow down so there is less wind resistance? I still love riding my bike to work, but it’s definitely lost that luster and shiny new feeling that caused a surge of adrenaline every time I rode.

Day 1 was totally the honeymoon phase. The new joy of riding sustained me through sore legs, sweltering afternoons, and car-dodging that is a part of any active commute. By Day 60, me and my bike have a comfortable routine. He’s good to me, and I to him. I still fill up my tires with care, give him an appreciative pat when we arrive at our destination safely, but I’m not energized and excited to get on the bike every morning.

This transition from the honeymoon phase of excitement to the normal day-to-day is the case with most things in life because our brains are wired to like new. New things are more stimulating for our brains and produce a bigger response – for good or bad. Over time, our body becomes used to what we are doing, and we lose some of that excitement and motivation to keep on going.

It’s so important to stick with health habits and routines through this lull in the relationship though, because after the lull comes the true signs of a sustainable and lasting relationship. After the lull, these habits become so ingrained that they become our default, and thus, take a lot less energy and motivation to actually do day after day, week after week. So how do you stay motivated to stick with your health routines and habits as you leave the honeymoon phase?

Carrot Quinoa Muffin Recipe

carrot quinoa muffin recipe

Is it a good or a bad sign that these carrot quinoa muffins were the highlight of our weekend trip to New York City? I’m going to say a very good sign. We had an amazing weekend visiting friends, attending an awesome, dance-filled wedding, walking all over lower Manhattan, eating great food, and drinking delicious coffee. Quite a lot to fit in to 72 hours. Luckily, on our first morning in town, we were able to take a relaxing morning with my friend Jess to make breakfast together.

How to Enjoy Cooking

enjoy cooking at home photo

I mentioned in last week’s newsletter that I had an interesting conversation with friends where we realized that half of us really enjoy cooking – we find it to be a meditative, relaxing process – while the other half feel that cooking is tiring, difficult, and simply not worth the time. What I realized after that conversation, though, was that I haven’t always loved cooking like I do now.  Long ago, I was a slow, inefficient cook that was cooking out of need, rather than pleasure.

 

But as with any new skill, learning to enjoy cooking takes time. It takes a little more brain space until your muscle memory can kick in and you can relax into a flow as a you cook. Similar again to any other skill you’re learning, the important thing is to not give up before you reach the other side. Because once you do, cooking can be a refuge and a way to relax. In my opinion, cooking (and enjoying cooking) is one of the best skills to have because Americans who cook spend almost 60 minutes per day preparing food! Imagine how great it would be if you LOVED those 60 minutes instead of dreading them – it would be an extra hour of your day that is full of happiness, an extra 7 hours per week, and 364 hours per year.  In a day and age where every second counts….that’s a lot of time spent doing something you enjoy. 

Quick ways to choose a healthier snack

choose a healthier snack photo

Snack choices at a restaurant I visited in Bogota, Colombia last summer

 

Do you often find yourself staring at a product display, trying to find the healthy choice among 10 or 20 foods that seem exactly the same? It can be tough to figure out which product best aligns with your needs and health routine, especially since every product proudly displays why they are the best choice.

When you find yourself faced with too many product choices, but no leads on which one best aligns with your healthy habits and goals, here are some quick and easy ways to choose a healthier snack.