Last week, I got hit with some sort of virus. A cold-y, flu-y thing. It was one of those sicknesses that wasn't so bad that I couldn't function, so I thought I would do some "busy resting". You might be familiar with the idea of what I call "busy resting". It's when you get run down and you feel bad but not bad enough to be bedridden, so you compromise by spending one morning on the couch working, answering emails, and checking your social media feeds. Busy resting= refusing to give yourselves permission to rest for fear of getting behind on tasks, commitments, and, well, a fear of resting itself.
I was guilty of this last week. I spent a morning in bed to "rest" while I wrote a blog post, checked emails, did some research, and did some internet shopping. Somewhere in the midst of my "functional resting", I realized that I just needed to completely stop and just lie there, breathe, relax, and BE. Give myself the space to heal. So I put away my laptop and notebook. I lay there quietly and did nothing. I noticed that it was uncomfortable at first, and my mind was still clinging to all the stuff I "should" be doing. It didn't want to let it all go, even for a little while. I took a few deep breaths and allowed all the "shoulds" to rest aside for now. It could wait. It would all be done. At that moment, my health and well being were the priority. And so, for the next few days, I drank hot teas, took hot baths, and minimized my media time. I slowed down. I stretched. I lay down and rested. And fully restored.
We find it so hard to take time to completely unplug and just rest. There are too many things that need our attention. Too many distractions. Instead, we try to "push through", and then we wonder why it takes us 3 weeks until we feel well again. Next time you get run down or start to feel some sickness threatening, take that rest day. I mean COMPLETE REST. Unplug from media, cease connecting with the outside world, and tend to yourself with a carer's heart. Take the time to check in and let your body tell you what it needs. It knows. Trust and heed the innate wisdom of your body. Especially when you're starting to feel run down or unwell. Listen in and stay true to that innate wisdom. When you do, you'll find that you will bounce back quicker and stronger.
And while we're talking about sickness (bleh), I wanted to share with you one of my tricks to fending it off during the cold seasons. It is an essential oil blend called OnGuard by Doterra. If you have read my posts before, you know that I am a fan of using top quality essential oils as part of my wellness routine. I should qualify here that I do not run a Doterra business, so I am not wearing my "salesman" hat as I write this.
OnGuard is something that I find really helps me and my family. It is a potent blend that is anti-viral, anti-bacterial, and designed to boost the immune system. We use it throughout the colder months to prevent colds and viruses. If one of us does happen to get sick, taking OnGuard helps to reduce the severity of it and shortens the time span of whatever sickness we have. It really works.
There are a few ways to use it. Firstly, you can stir 1-2 drops into a glass of water and drink (this is how we use it). You can also add 10 drops of it to an aromatherapy diffuser to inhale it through the day. Or make a natural disenfectant by placing a few drops of OnGuard in a spray bottle filled with water. Spray on kitchen counters and other surfaces to keep clean and germ-free.
You can get Doterra oils on Amazon or on the Doterra website. If you use essential oils regularly, it might be worthwhile signing up to be a Doterra Wellness Advocate. There is a nominal yearly fee and it gets you wholesale pricing. This is what I do and I find it's worth it.
And lastly, as we head into the holiday season, remember to take the time to rest and just be. Even 5 minutes of down time can be a welcome respite from your daily activities. How can you fit a bit of rest into your day?
Be Well! :-)
Part of my Create Calm Life Model is the regular practice of a morning ritual. If you don't already have a morning ritual, I highly recommend you create your own.
The real importance of the morning ritual is that it sets the tone and energy for your day. It gives you the space to pause, set intentions, and move forward into your day with clarity and grace. It grounds you into the heart of your own center- your own energy field- so that you can be awake, aware, and effective in all of your activities for that day.
Now, before you dismiss this with, "I don't have time for this", let me show you how you can create your own morning ritual with as little as 5 minutes. This morning ritual can be adjusted to fit the amount of time you have on any given day.
5 Steps To Creating a Morning Ritual
1. Be Physical- if time allows, do some physical activity. This helps to wake you up and ground you into the present moment. I often do my exercise later in the day, so I will usually just do 10 squats or a couple of stretches. But if you normally workout in the morning, go ahead and do that first.
2. Release the Dream Space- As you awaken and ready yourself to begin a new day, it is important to release the energy from your dream space. STANDING FACING EAST, take 5 deep breaths as you affirm, "I now release any energy from my dream space as I welcome this new day."
3. Sacred Space- It is important to set your sacred space for each day to align you with your earth and spiritual connections. It further helps you to access your own inner wisdom and guidance as it unfolds in each moment of your day. To learn a simple process for setting your sacred space, click here. While my audio file can be used as a guide, work toward learning the process so you can do it yourself.
4. Meditation/Prayer- After setting your sacred space, take a few moments of silence and breathing. You may like to use a drop of pure essential oil on your palms and breathe that in several times (I use frankincense or a "morning" blend that wakes me up). This is the time when I pray for any particular events coming up for that day and hold light for any situations where I need extra support and guidance. This is also the time for your writing, if you use a journal.
5. Affirm & Begin- Lastly, repeat any affirmation(s) you are currently working with. It might be a Bible verse or a word or phrase that is relevant and supportive for you. In my practices, there are a series of 10 spiritual laws that I work with. I am only working with one of these at a time, whichever one I need. So, for example, I would affirm the one I am working with, "The Steps Must Be Guided From Within", quietly to myself. Now I am ready to begin my day!
On busy days, my morning ritual takes between 5-10 minutes. Sometimes I will only spend a couple of minutes in meditation, other times (say, on weekends or days I am not teaching early) I will spend more time in meditation. Sometimes I do 30 minutes of exercise as a first step, other days I only do 1 minute. So you can adjust the steps as it feels right for you.
It's that simple! The morning ritual is an important way to help us be more mindful, calm, effective, and successful in our days. You can use these 5 easy steps to create your very own morning ritual that works with your life and schedule. Do you have a morning ritual of your own? I'd love to hear any practices you have that you find beneficial!
Want to learn more about how to create a calmer more balanced life? Sign up for one of my "How To Calm An Anxious Mind" events. To learn more, click here.
Hey there! Last week in my list of "Healthy Tweaks", I mentioned making your own muesli bars or energy balls instead of buying them.
They are super easy to make, and this allows you to control the quality of ingredients and the amount of sugar that goes into them.
I have 3 recipes to share with you today. These 3 are ones I have made several times and they always turn out well! And my daughter and her friends love them. I hope you do too!
They all take no more than 30 minutes to make. Enjoy!
1. Easy Granola Bars By Brown Thumb Mama
4 1/2 cups rolled oats
1 cup flour
1 cup butter, softened
1 tsp vanilla
3/4 cup honey
1 tsp baking soda
1-2 cups add-ins ( mini choc chips, nuts & seeds, coconut flakes, dried fruit)
Lightly butter a 9x13 pan. Preheat oven to 325F.
Combine butter and honey in a large bowl and mix well. Add all other ingredients except add-ins and mix well. Stir add-ins in by hand.
Press the mixture into the pan. The mixture will be sticky, so it can help to dampen your hands a little. Take the time to press firmly and evenly. Bake them for 15-20 mins. Allow to cool for 10 mins. They will cook and set a bit more as they cool.
Cut into bars and store either at room temp (they keep for about a week) or freeze.
2. Almond Oatmeal Protein Bars (GF) By Jenny Sugar
1 cup almond butter
3 oz vegan or whey protein powder
1/2 cup maple syrup
2 cups gluten free oats
1/2 cup unsweetened coconut
1 tsp baking soda
Lightly grease a 9x11 baking pan. Preheat oven to 350F.
In a small bowl, use an electric mixer to beat first 3 ingredients together. Then beat in eggs. Stir in oats, coconut, and baking soda by hand to mix well.
Take the time to firmly and evenly press dough into the pan. Dough will be stiff, so you can use the back of a spoon or dampen your hands.
Bake for 12-15 minutes. Cool COMPLETELY and cut into bars. Store at room temp (they keep for about a week) or freeze.
3. Yummy Chocolate Balls by Adrian Nowland
6-7 large Medjool dates
1 cup walnuts
3 Tbsp cocoa powder
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/8 tsp sea salt
Place all ingredients in a food processor and pulse on high until smooth. It will be like a thick paste, you don't want any chunks in it. Sometimes I find I have to add 1-2 Tbsp water if it's too thick and won't process well enough. Roll into balls. Makes 15-20.
There you go, 3 recipes of delicousness. Hope you enjoy.
Next week I'm going to talk about Morning Rituals. Specifically, why they are important and how to create your own with as little as 5 minutes to spare. I will share the 5 steps to ensure you start your day feeling centered, calm, and clear.
Stay tuned and until then... be well!
Hey there! I don't know about you, but the start of the school year brings both a welcome shift back to a routine AND a bit of melancholy as summer comes to a close. Here in Seattle, we already feel autumn is in the air, with cold mornings and shorter days.
One of the things I DON'T look forward to is having to make my kid's lunch every day. My daughter's school doesn't have a cafeteria, it's more like a "Quick Mart", a small counter window complete with unhealthy food options. So packing a lunch is essential. Getting my child to eat healthfully is a continual challenge, one I'm sure many others can relate to! I have a few tricks up my sleeve for preparing healthier snacks that I thought you might enjoy. Here goes...
8 Healthy Tweaks to Kids' Snacks
1. Use plain Greek yogurt and add a teaspoon of their favorite jam. You'll cut their sugar intake by 75% and they won't know the difference!
2. Make your own nut butter or cheese-filled cracker sandwiches. No yucky additives and less packaging- better for them and for the planet!
3. If buying chips, choose the plain varieties over flavored. I'm not saying chips are healthy, but the flavored ones have added colors and flavor enhancers, so it's choosing the lesser of two evils.
4. To encourage kids to eat their raw veggies, give them a dip they like in their lunchbox. Hummus, ranch, salsa, cheese spread, tofu spread, nut butter, etc... they're bound to like one!
5. Make your own muesli bars or energy balls. There are a ton of easy recipes (check Pinterest) that take less than 30 minutes. If you do this over the weekend, freeze them and you'll have them on hand for the week ahead.
6. If you are buying packaged muesli bars, choose one that has less than 6g of sugar per bar, and a short ingredient list.
7. Use their favorite deli meat and roll up with cheese or dip. A great high protein/low sugar snack!
8. Make your own trail mix. Let your kids choose their own ingredients and make a batch in a jar. Grab a couple of handfuls to put in their lunchbox.
By making these tweaks, you are helping your child eat healthier every day. When making changes to your kids' diets, it's best to do so in gradual steps so they go largely unnoticed! When the body receives healthy food, it starts to crave healthy food. This will help to "program" your child's cells and encourage them to make healthy food choices throughout their life.
These snack tweaks also help the environment by reducing packaging and waste. I feel this is important, because this is the Earth our children will grow up in and live in, so we owe it to them to do our part in being stewards for the planet. I hope you see it that way too!
Stay tuned as I will share a few of my favorite homemade muesli bar and energy ball recipes soon!
I recently finished this book called The Power of Pause, by Terry Hershey. I picked it up at the library one day when I took my daughter in to get some books for summer reading. I wasn't looking for anything myself, as I seem to have a continual pile of unfinished reading material at my bedside. Nonetheless, while I was browsing, this book title caught my eye. In seeing it, I was immediately reminded of a particular teaching one of my teachers/mentors had shared with me: "The Power of the Pause".
The "Pause" she refers to relates to allowing space and time before taking any action- whether it be a response to a request, a decision to be made, or steps taken toward a desired outcome. In taking "pause", we give space and time for consultation of our own intuition and higher wisdom. This helps us to take "right action" on a more regular basis. "Right action" is action that is supportive of our Highest Good. This helps us to stay in alignment with our higher purpose in life. But I digress...
In Terry's book, the "pause" he refers to relates more to slowing down the pace of our lives and creating space for "being" instead of "doing". The "pause" is an invitation to rest, renew, refill. One of the chapters was about the Shadow. The "Shadow" is simply the part(s) of ourselves that we tend to hide or turn away from. We do this because thinking about it or facing it makes us feel uncomfortable, ashamed, embarrassed, fearful, or angry. We judge our Shadow and we'd rather it just went away so we could forget about it and pretend it didn't exist. The "Shadow" part(s) could be a particular behavior or habit, an event or experience, or thoughts and feelings.
At the end of this chapter, Terry suggests taking some time to sit under the shade of a tree to consider our Shadow(s). To spend time with it. And then ask yourself, "What has my Shadow given me? What blessings? What desired outcomes? What has this part of my Shadow taught me in life?"
When I PAUSED to consider my own Shadow, my struggle with anxiety was the first thing that came to my mind. It is the side of myself that I have allowed very few people to see. It is messy, dark, and difficult. It is the part of me that has been the most difficult to accept. To accept that I have a problem that often feels too big for me, a problem with my mental health, a problem that no one can physically see so others may question its significance or even its validity. My struggle with anxiety has created alienation and isolation from others. I compared myself. I battled with it incessantly, determined to win the war. I wracked my already-stressed-out brain for answers in a state where answers are nowhere to be found.
All of this is what made me so very unaccepting of my anxiety. I despised it. It gave me nothing but pain and I wanted to be rid of it. Little did I know that in denying this "Shadow" side of me, I was feeding it. I was giving strength and power to that which imprisoned me.
And so, as I paused to consider the anxiety in the shadows, it suddenly dawned on me that my anxiety problem was in fact one of the greatest gifts of my life. In that moment, under the shade of the tree, I saw the blessing that it had become. But how can this be?
Because my struggle with anxiety sent me on a long quest in the search for solutions to my problem. It prompted me to work with therapists and counsellors, where I learned so much about myself. I visited healers and delved deeper into learning about the energy body and vibrational healing. I worked with naturopaths, biochemists, and Ayurvedic practitioners to adjust my diet and lifestyle practices. My spiritual life opened and deepened as I learned to trust in the Divine. Every time I was anxious (which was A LOT) I had an opportunity to try new health, wellness, and lifestyle habits to see what helped me. And what made me feel the same or worse. The wisdom and insight I have gained has been exponentially greater due to having an anxiety disorder. I became my own detective, my own advocate, my own friend and coach.
To be sure, I have had a lot of help along the road to healing. But ultimately, the habits, practices, and changes- the WORK- all of this was up to me if I was to heal. And heal I did.
I am still learning. And that's ok with me. Because now I see the true gift of anxiety. I see all that it has taught me and given to me. And so when anxiety comes, I now accept and embrace it. "Hey there, old friend," I say, "what are you here to teach me right now?". Anxiety has become an awareness tool that I can use to tell me where there is imbalance in my life and what I need at any given time. This is freeing me from what for so long felt like a prison.
So thanks Terry, for writing a little gem of a book.
And I am reminded of something my first spiritual teacher once said:
"Your greatest suffering can be your greatest teacher".
And so it is.
I am a wellness educator and trainer who is passionate about helping others to look, feel, and be their best in body, mind, and heart. Thanks for visiting my blog!