Lifestyle Solutions for a Happy Healthy You!

Posts tagged ‘New Year’

The Case for Slowing Down in 2015

The Case for Slowing Down in 2015

Research has shown that it takes 25 minutes for the average person to mentally recover from a single phone call or other such interruption during work. The problem is, research has also shown that these sorts of interruptions occur in our daily lives every 11 or so minutes. So when you’re halfway de-stressed from one interruption, another one comes blundering along into your life. It’s like consistently getting 4 hours of sleep when your body craves 8; it’s going to catch up with you — and it’s not going to be pretty.

Chronic, unrelenting stress is dangerous to our health, happiness, and longevity, being at the root of myriad chronic diseases and imbalances. But the benefits of reducing stress and slowing down in life are universal:

-increased happiness and enjoyment of life

-better, deeper focus

-less tension and and stress-induced musculoskeletal imbalances    

Small life changes, like reducing an addiction to technology, can help you experience less stress in your daily life, and deal with stressors more healthily when they do come thundering along.

164395566

Take a card from the techies at Google: take a technology sabbath. Shut your electronics off for one day or an entire weekend. Read books, play games with your family, go outdoors, experience creativity-inducing boredom.  

Even if you don’t have the luxury to take a technology sabbath, you can still slow down your daily routine. Make yourself a hearty homemade breakfast instead of rushed buttered toast, and give yourself the time to mindfully enjoy it. Eat dinner with your family without checking your phone midway. Listen to the sounds of birds instead of blasting music on your walk to the local cafe. Every little bit helps. Here are 4 additional ways to slow your life down:  

1. Do a few important things instead of many trivial things

2. Leave early for events so you don’t have to rush.

3. Practice basic meditation for 5-25 minutes a day. Become comfortable with ‘doing nothing’. It has been scientifically proven to reduce stress.

4. Spend as much time as you can in nature, undistracted; even if all you can spare is just one day a month. It revitalizes you.

5. Eliminate what is unnecessary in your life — people, technology, fragile furnishings, et cetera; anything that requires trivial efforts, causes stress, or serves no function.  “Our life is frittered away by detail… simplify, simplify.” Thoreau  

We are bombarded by facts and information in our everyday lives — so much so that it is impossible to absorb more than a fraction of it. Slow down and let yourself learn, hear, and see new things. Stop opening your browser window; slow down and open yourself up to the world.    

By Jordyn Cormier

Jordyn is a choreographer, freelance writer, and an avid outdoors woman. Having received her B.F.A. in Contemporary Dance from the Boston Conservatory, she is passionate about maintaining a healthy body, mind, and soul through food and fitness. A lover of adventure, Jordyn can often be found hiking, canoeing, mountain biking, and making herself at home in the backcountry! 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Would feeling fantastic every day make a difference in your life?  

Healthy Highway is a Healthy Lifestyle Company offering Lifestyle Solutions for a Happy Healthy You!   We help people who are…

  • Wanting Work Life Balance.
  • Needing Stress Relief.
  • Concerned about their health and the environment.
  • Frustrated battling allergies to gluten, foods, dust, chemicals, pollen.
  • Overwhelmed with choosing the best products for their body, home, and office.
  • Unsatisfied with their relationships with the men and women in their life and are ready to transform them into satisfying, happy partnerships.
  • Standing at a Career Crossroad.
  • Preparing to start a family and want a healthy baby.
  • Seeking solutions for aging, more energy, and a good night’s sleep!

Are any of these an issue or problem for you?  Would it make sense for us to spend several minutes together to discuss your needs and how HealthyHighway can meet them? As a Healthy Lifestyle Coach with an emphasis on allergies and wellness, Leesa teaches her clients to make informed choices and enables them to make needed changes for a Happy Healthy Lifestyle. What you eat, what products you use ~ on your body and in your home and office, how you talk to yourself ~ it all matters!

Contact me today and Start today to live a healthier, happier life!  Don’t live in Atlanta?  Not a problem.  We do virtual coaching worldwide!

I look forward to helping YOU Live a Happy Healthy Life!  Remember, Excellent Health is found along your way, not just at your destination.

Live Well!

Leesa A. Wheeler

Leesa A. Wheeler

Healthy Lifestyle Coach, Artisan, Author of two books…
     Melodies from Within ~ Available Now! 
    Available on Amazon, Barnes&Noble, GooglePlay, iTunes! 

Member International Association for Health Coaches 

ring ~ 770-393-1284

write ~ info@healthyhighway.org

visit ~ www.healthyighway.org

coach, consult, contact ~ www.healthyhighway.org/contact.html

(Don’t live in Atlanta?  Not a problem!  We do virtual coaching worldwide!)

join our mailing list ~ www.healthyhighway.org

chcws ~ www.chews4health.com/Leesa

enjoy ~ www.chewcolat.com

follow ~ www.twitter.com/HealthyHighway

learn   www.healthyhighway.wordpress.com

like ~ www.tinyurl.com/Facebook-HealthyHighway

join ~ www.google.com/+HealthyhighwayOrg

join ~ www.google.com/+LeesaWheeler

link ~ www.linkedin.com/in/leesawheeler

skpe ~ healthyhighway

Advertisements

8 Habits to Ditch & Embrace in 2015

8 Habits to Ditch & Embrace in 2015

Stop feeling guilty. We spend a considerable amount of thought-energy on guilt — and where does it get us? It doesn’t solve problems; it ironically worsens them by building up stress which takes an incredible toll on your body and mind. Instead, take a proactive approach to life and improve the situation. Don’t just sit around feeling sorry for yourself. No matter how bad you feel today, tomorrow is always a new day, and a new chance to live better.     

Accept yourself as you are. You are imperfect. Deal with it. Everyone is flawed in myriad ways. Thinking that you’re somehow any worse than anyone else is incorrect. Everyone makes mistakes. But, by practicing confidence and self-acceptance, you will exude the illusion of ‘togetherness’ that everyone is striving to achieve. Heck, you may even start to fool yourself!      

Exercise, meditate, and eat natural foods. No one’s telling your to try and win the next Ironman competition, but these 3 pillars are pivotal to a healthy, happy lifestyle. Think about it as a trifecta: Some gentle, fun exercise every day keeps you young; 5 or 10 minutes of meditation will nix your chronic stress; wholesome, natural foods will help your body function the way it was meant to. Start incorporating these into your life, bit by bit, week by week, and notice how much better you feel. Your body will love you for it.    

Embrace your dreams. Everyone has dreams. But, for most, that’s where they stay. Make your dreams reality this year; they’re not impossible. Make a realistic, step-by-step timetable to help you achieve your wildest, most desired dreams. It may take an entire year — it may take 10 — but you’ll be pursuing your dreams and enjoying the experience instead of just letting them flit about and wither within your mind.   

Stop fearing the unknown. Take chances this year. Fear of the unknown is what squashes most dreams. Comfort is overrated; try something you’ve never done before. Get out there. You may just discover a whole new dimension to yourself! What’s the worst that can happen? 

Stop stressing about money. Again, stressing only worsens the situation. Instead, do something about it. Be proactive. Financial stress can make you miserable. Figure out a way to deal with it and trust that, with effort, it will all work out in the end. You’ll feel the load on your shoulders lighten considerably. 

Do things that make you feel strong and independent. This is especially true if you are in a long-term relationship with loved ones and friends. We can get so comfortable and dependent on our partners and comrades that we lose a bit of ourselves — that beautiful, spunky spark. This year, take chances and rediscover yourself out on your own. Take a solo trip, delve into a new class by yourself, talk to interesting new people. It will bring further dimension and excitement into your life — and your relationships.       

Let go of negativity. The counterclockwise whirlpool of your mind can suck even your most intrinsic happiness and positivity out of you if you allow it. The beautiful thing is: you’re in control. You can cut the branches of negative thought off at the source. Most of what we experience in life is heavily influenced by the mind, meaning you have the power to alter and improve your experiences through positive thinking. Kick out negativity and negative words like ‘can’t’, ‘no’, ‘won’t’, ‘too hard’, and all the rest. Negativity is simply a waste of precious, beautiful time. 

2015 is the year to make yourself into what you want to be. Carve your own path and thrive in the positivity and confidence these habits will offer your life. So, go ahead and do it — there’s no better time. It’s all within you.

By Jordyn Cormier

Jordyn is a choreographer, freelance writer, and an avid outdoors woman. Having received her B.F.A. in Contemporary Dance from the Boston Conservatory, she is passionate about maintaining a healthy body, mind, and soul through food and fitness. A lover of adventure, Jordyn can often be found hiking, canoeing, mountain biking, and making herself at home in the back country! 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Would feeling fantastic every day make a difference in your life?  

Healthy Highway is a Healthy Lifestyle Company offering Lifestyle Solutions for a Happy Healthy You!   We help people who are…

  • Wanting Work Life Balance.
  • Needing Stress Relief.
  • Concerned about their health and the environment.
  • Frustrated battling allergies to gluten, foods, dust, chemicals, pollen.
  • Overwhelmed with choosing the best products for their body, home, and office.
  • Unsatisfied with their relationships with the men and women in their life and are ready to transform them into satisfying, happy partnerships.
  • Standing at a Career Crossroad.
  • Preparing to start a family and want a healthy baby.
  • Seeking solutions for aging, more energy, and a good night’s sleep!

Are any of these an issue or problem for you?  Would it make sense for us to spend several minutes together to discuss your needs and how HealthyHighway can meet them? As a Healthy Lifestyle Coach with an emphasis on allergies and wellness, Leesa teaches her clients to make informed choices and enables them to make needed changes for a Happy Healthy Lifestyle. What you eat, what products you use ~ on your body and in your home and office, how you talk to yourself ~ it all matters!

Contact me today and Start today to live a healthier, happier life!  Don’t live in Atlanta?  Not a problem.  We do virtual coaching worldwide!

I look forward to helping YOU Live a Happy Healthy Life!  Remember, Excellent Health is found along your way, not just at your destination.

Live Well!

Leesa A. Wheeler

Leesa A. Wheeler

Healthy Lifestyle Coach, Artisan, Author of two books…
     Melodies from Within ~ Available Now! 
    Available on Amazon, Barnes&Noble, GooglePlay, iTunes! 

Member International Association for Health Coaches 

ring ~ 770-393-1284

write ~ info@healthyhighway.org

visit ~ www.healthyighway.org

coach, consult, contact ~ www.healthyhighway.org/contact.html

(Don’t live in Atlanta?  Not a problem!  We do virtual coaching worldwide!)

join our mailing list ~ www.healthyhighway.org

chcws ~ www.chews4health.com/Leesa

enjoy ~ www.chewcolat.com

follow ~ www.twitter.com/HealthyHighway

learn   www.healthyhighway.wordpress.com

like ~ www.tinyurl.com/Facebook-HealthyHighway

join ~ www.google.com/+HealthyhighwayOrg

join ~ www.google.com/+LeesaWheeler

link ~ www.linkedin.com/in/leesawheeler

skpe ~ healthyhighway

21 Healthy Habits for 2014

21 Healthy Habits for 2014

 

What if we commit to starting healthy habits in 2014? Here are a few ideas to get you going!

I think the reason that so many of our New Year’s resolutions fizzle is that they’re just too vague, and that makes it hard to actually put them into action.  A resolution is really just a goal, though, right? What if this year you had a structured goal to help you incorporate healthy habits into your life?

A resolutions like “eat healthy food,” for example, is kind of tricky, isn’t it? What do we mean when we say “healthy food?” Did we fail if we break down and devour a box of cookies? Are we planning to ditch those cookies from day one? An open-ended goal like this can be overwhelming, but healthy habits are made to stick.

What are Healthy Habits?

Healthy habits can refer to physical or emotional health. A healthy habit is one that makes you feel good and feel good about yourself. It’s a big umbrella, and I think that it encompasses a lot of what we are going for when we declare those fleeting New Year’s resolutions.

Breaking unhealthy habits can also be part of starting healthy ones. Cutting back on sugar or soda are good examples of healthy habits that are really more about giving something up that’s harming your health.

Unlike a resolution a habit is something that you do (or don’t do) regularly. It’s part of your routine. Brushing your teeth is a habit and so is your morning cup of coffee, and neither of those feel like chores because they’re just part of your day. The trick to making healthy habits stick is repetition, and having a plan is key.

Healthy Habits: Green Smoothies

A daily green smoothie is an attainable healthy habit!

How to Start Healthy Habits

Starting healthy habits isn’t easy, and I think there are some keys to effectively starting one:

  • The goal you’re setting should be flexible. Don’t beat yourself up for setbacks. Instead, let yourself screw up sometimes and commit to getting it right the next time.
  • Choose something specific and attainable, and have a structure in place. Don’t just say “exercise more.” Tell yourself what you’re going to do and how often, like “walking for 45 minutes on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday mornings before work.”
  • Set short-term time limits. Monthly, weekly, and even quarterly check-ins can keep you on track. See where your healthy habits are strong and where you need to work a little harder. Maybe you’ve been great at eating more greens, but you’ve been eating a lot more cookies than is reasonable lately.
  • You need to commit to practicing your goal on a regular basis. We form healthy habits by repeating them over and over until they’re part of our day-to-day routine.

Healthy Habits for 2014

Instead of the typical New Year’s resolution, try starting one of these habits for physical or emotional health in 2014!

1. Happy Thoughts Jar – This might sound cheesy, but it’s actually really gratifying. Grab yourself a large jar, and every day write down something that makes you happy. Stick that scrap of paper in the jar, and when you’re feeling blue, you can sift through all of your happy thoughts from the year.

2. Green Smoothies – Instead of “eat healthier,” get specific and start your day off with a healthy green smoothie! My 40 Days of Green Smoothies book can help you get started, or you can find your own green smoothie recipes online.

3. Start a Daily Yoga Routine – Or commit to doing yoga on certain days of the week, if that seems more attainable to you. Check out these yoga poses for beginners to get you started.

4. Reduce Your Impact – “Go green” is a tough resolution to keep, but what if you resolved to start a few of these simple habits instead?

5. Switch to a Natural Deodorant – Don’t resolve to “get healthy.” Gets specific instead and ditch the toxic chemicals in your deodorant. Making the switch can be a little bit tricky, so check out these tips on how to make the switch a little less, well, stinky.

6. Ditch the Sodapop – Quitting your soda habit can go a long way towards getting healthier, and these tips can help you quit an unhealthy soda habit.

7. 13 Steps to a Better You – My friend Lisa at Lazy Budget Chef outlines her specific action plans for starting 13 healthy habits. You could follow one of these or pick a few for your New Year’s resolutions.

8. Ditch Plastic Food Storage – Talk about an unhealthy habit! Check out some tips on how to start using healthier glass to store your food.

9. Try Macrobiotic Eating – Healthy eating can seem elusive, but with some practice it’s totally doable. Jenny Bradford is starting a 30 day plan for macrobiotic eating, for example. Thirty days is a doable length of time, and at the end she’ll have developed some healthy habits without overwhelming herself.

10. Meatless Monday – Does going vegan or vegetarian seem elusive, but you’d like to try to eat less meat? Commit to going meatless for just one day a week! Your heart and many, many farm animals will thank you.

Healthy Habits: Cooking at Home

Cooking at home can save money, reduce waste, and help you eat healthier for the new year.

11. Cook at Home – Do you eat take out or delivery food for much of the week? Try starting a weekend cooking ritual to stock your fridge and freezer with home-cooked meals that you can eat all week long. If you’re overwhelmed by the whole idea of cooking, just get in there and get started! The more you cook, the easier it is to make your food at home.

12. Switch to a Standing Desk – Do you sit at a desk for 40 hours a week? It turns out that sitting is terrible for your health! Choosing a standing desk can help reverse the negative health effects of sitting all day, every day at the office. If standing all day seems like a lot, they also make convertible desks, so you can alternate. A friend of mine just switched to one of these, and she loves it!

13. Swap Your Desk Chair for a Yoga Ball – Does a standing or convertible desk seem like too much? Try using a yoga ball instead of a desk chair to improve posture and concentration while you work. Leesa recommends a stand up desk!

14. Ditch Sugar – This might seem a little bit daunting, but with a plan it’s attainable! The book The Sugar Detox looks like a good place to start with this healthy habit!

15. Go Vegan -Are you ready to take the plant-strong leap? Check out this complete guide to vegan cooking for beginners!

16. Meditate – Have you been wanting to try meditationThere’s an app for that, and it’s awesome. Leesa recommends Dahn Yoga!

17. Ride Your Bike to Work – You don’t have to ride your bike every day to be a bike commuter! Start with one day a week and go from there. Here are some bike commuting tips to get you started.

18. Ditch Bottled Water – It’s so convenient to grab a plastic bottle of water when you’re out and about. Start keeping a reusable bottle in your purse, car, and bike pannier so you don’t have to buy bottled water to stay hydrated.

19. Practice Gratitude – File this under “slowing down.” This healthy habit is all about taking a moment out of your day to appreciate even the mundane things in your life.

20. Learn Something New – Don’t just say that you’re going to learn something! Choose what you want to learn, and enroll in a class, so that you’re committed. Your local community college might be a good place for budget-friendly classes, or you can look for online classes if you need something that fits into your busy schedule.

21. Bust that Clutter – Just “get organized” can be a hard resolution to keep, but what if you break your unhealthy habit of storing clutter? Here are some clutter-busting tips to get you started.

Do you have any healthy habits that you’re trying to start in the new year? I’d love to hear about your New Year’s resolutions in the comments!

Becky Striepe

Becky Striepe is a freelance writer and vegan crafter living in Atlanta, Georgia. Her life’s mission is to make green crafting and vegan food accessible to everyone! Like this article? You can follow Becky on Twitter or find her on Facebook!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Excellent Health is found along your journey and not just at your destination. Would it make sense for us to spend several minutes together to discuss your Health Issues or Problems and how HealthyHighway can help YOU Live YOUR Optimum Life? Please complete the information on our Contact Us page to schedule your consultation today! I look forward to helping YOU Live YOUR Optimum Life!

Live Well!

Leesa Wheeler

Leesa A. Wheeler

Healthy Lifestyle Coach, Artisan, Author

ring ~ 770-393-1284

write ~ info@healthyhighway.org

visit ~ www.HealthyHighway.org

consult ~ www.healthyhighway.org/contact.html

chews ~ www.Chews4Health.com/Leesa

enjoy ~ www.Chewcolat.com

follow ~ www.twitter.com/HealthyHighway

learn ~ www.healthyhighway.wordpress.com

like ~ www.tinyurl.com/Facebook-HealthyHighway

join ~ www.tinyurl.com/googleplusHealthyHighway

link ~ www.linkedin.com/in/leesawheeler

Top 12 Detox Superfoods

Top 12 Detox Superfoods

 

Even if you don’t plan on doing a detox program, your health will benefit from adding more  detox superfoods to your daily diet. There are many great superfoods with  detoxifying properties, but here are my top 12 picks.  And, they’re  delicious too.

Almonds—are high in fiber, calcium, magnesium, and useable protein that helps stabilize blood sugar and remove  impurities from the bowels.

Avocados—lower cholesterol and dilate blood vessels while  blocking artery-destroying toxicity. Avocados contain a nutrient called  glutathione, which blocks at least 30 different carcinogens while helping the  liver detoxify synthetic chemicals. Researchers at the University of Michigan  found that elderly people who had high levels of glutathione were healthier and  less likely to suffer from arthritis.

Beets—contain a unique mixture of natural plant chemicals  (phytochemicals) and minerals that make them superb fighters of infection, blood  purifiers, and liver cleansers. They also help boost the body’s cellular intake  of oxygen, making beets excellent overall body cleansers. Aphrodite, according  to legend, ate beets to retain her beauty. She was definitely on to a good thing  since beets, in addition to all the benefits listed above, also help stabilize  the blood’s acid-alkaline balance (pH), which in turn supports healthy  detoxification.

Blueberries—contain natural aspirin that helps lessen the  tissue-damaging effects of chronic inflammation, while lessening pain. Blueberries also act as antibiotics by blocking bacteria in  the urinary tract, thereby helping to prevent infections. They have antiviral  properties and are loaded with super-detoxifying phytonutrients called  proanthocyanidins.

Cabbage—contains numerous anti-cancer and antioxidant  compounds and helps the liver break down excess hormones. Cabbage also cleanses  the digestive tract and soothes the stomach, which could in part be due to its  antibacterial and antiviral properties. Cruciferous vegetables like cabbage  (kale is another excellent choice—see below) demonstrate powerful detoxification  activity, including neutralizing some of the damaging compounds found in  cigarette smoke (and second-hand smoke). They also contain a compound that helps  the liver produce adequate amounts of enzymes for detoxification.

Cranberries—have powerful antibiotic and antiviral  substances to help the body cleanse harmful bacteria and viruses from the  urinary tract.

Flaxseeds and Flaxseed Oil— are loaded with essential fatty  acids, particularly the omega-3s. They are essential for many cleansing functions  and maintaining a healthy immune system. They are also critical to maintaining a  healthy brain. The health of every cell in your body is dependent on getting  adequate amounts of essential fatty acids.

Garlic—helps cleanse harmful bacteria, intestinal parasites,  and viruses from the body, especially from the blood and intestines. It also  helps cleanse buildup from the arteries and lowers blood pressure. Garlic has  anti-cancer and antioxidant properties that help detoxify the body of harmful  substances. It also helps cleanse the respiratory tract by expelling mucous  buildup in the lungs and sinuses. I am referring to fresh garlic, not garlic  powder, which has virtually none of the above properties.

Kale—contains  powerful anti-cancer and antioxidant compounds that help cleanse the body of  harmful substances. It is also high in fiber, which helps cleanse the intestinal  tract. Like cabbage, kale helps neutralize compounds found in cigarette smoke  and contains a substance that jump-starts the liver’s production of cleansing  enzymes.

Legumes—are loaded with fiber that helps lower cholesterol,  cleanse the intestines, and regulate blood sugar levels. Legumes also help  protect the body against cancer.

Lemons— are superb liver detoxifiers. In addition, they contain high amounts of  vitamin C, a vitamin needed by the body to make a substance called glutathione.  Glutathione helps ensure that phase 2 liver detoxification keeps pace with phase  1, thereby reducing the likelihood of negative effects from environmental  chemicals. Vitamin C and other antioxidants found in lemons are integral to ward  off cancer, fight the effects of pollution and cell damage. Fresh lemon juice  contains more than 20 anti-cancer compounds and helps balance the body’s pH  levels.

Seaweed—could be the most underrated vegetable in the  Western world. Studies at McGill University in Montreal showed that seaweeds  bind to radioactive waste in the body so it can be removed. Radioactive waste  can find its way into the body through some medical tests or through food that  has been grown where water or soil is contaminated. Seaweed also binds to heavy metals to help eliminate them  from the body. In addition, it is a powerhouse of minerals and trace  minerals.

Adapted with permission from The 4-Week Ultimate Body  Detox Plan by Michelle Schoffro Cook, PhD

Michelle Schoffro Cook

Michelle Schoffro Cook, MSc, RNCP, ROHP, DNM, PhD is an international  best-selling and 12-time book author and doctor of traditional natural medicine,  whose works include: Healing  Recipes, The Vitality Diet, Allergy-Proof, Arthritis-Proof, Total Body  Detox, The Life Force Diet, The  Ultimate pH Solution, The 4-Week Ultimate Body Detox Plan, and The Phytozyme  Cure.  Check out her natural health resources and subscribe to her free  e-newsletter World’s Healthiest News at WorldsHealthiestDiet.com  to receive monthly health news, tips, recipes and more. Follow her on Twitter @mschoffrocook  and Facebook.

 

8 Healthy Habits for the New Year

8 Healthy Habits for the New Year

 

Happy almost new year! It’s that time when a lot of us are looking ahead and  thinking of what resolutions we’re going to make for the coming year. Instead of  vague or short-term goals this year, why not resolve to start a healthy habit  that you really want to stick with?

Have you ever noticed how the gym is extra crowded that first week in  January? By mid-January the wait time for that elliptical trainer is a little  bit more reasonable, and by the end of February things have pretty much settled  back to normal. That surge in gym-going is a great example of how new year’s  resolutions often work: we set out with the best of intentions, but our  resolutions are too big or too vague to really follow through with them all year  long.

Starting a healthy habit takes time. I’ve read a lot about starting habits,  and depending on what source you’re looking at, it can take anywhere from 21 to  66 days. That means that you need to practice something regularly for anywhere  from a few weeks over two months to really make it part of your routine. And  that’s if you’re practicing every day.

If your healthy habit is doing something once a week or less, it’s going to  take longer. Going into this with reasonable expectations is key to building  healthy habits that stick!

What’s great about starting a habit is that once you establish it as part of  your routine, it stops being a chore and starts being part of your routine.  Brushing your teeth in the morning is a great example of a habit. We wake up  bleary-eyed, and for many of us the first thing we do is stumble into the  bathroom and grab that toothbrush. It’s almost a reflex, right?

New years resolutions so often are something vague – like “get in  shape,” but vagaries are hard to stick to. Check out these ideas for healthy  habits that you can form in 2013, and remember: practice makes  perfect!

  • 2 of 4

gratitude: you're great!

1)    Start a  Gratitude Jar

Practicing gratitude is such a great habit to get into, and turning that  practice into something physical can help you remember to be grateful for what  you have every day. Get yourself a mason jar or a small vase, and every day,  write down something that you’re grateful for and stick the paper in the  jar.

Your moment of gratitude can be as simple as something like, “Made an amazing  pot of coffee this morning!” to bigger things like, “Got a promotion at work  today!” Remember to date your moments of gratitude, so you can jog your memory  about them later on.

At the end of the year (or when times are feeling a little rough), you get to  sort through the jar and enjoy all of the little blessings from the past year.  It’s so easy to take those small things for granted, and having them all in one  place helps remind us of how lucky we are. (Leesa recommends a gratitude journal to write down at least 5 things you are thankful for each day! When you focus on all that is good in your life, you change and your life will change!)  

 

learn a skill: making sushi

2)    Learn a New  Skill

Have you always wanted to learn how to make pottery or cook Indian food?  Instead of just resolving to do those things, sign up for a class!

I know, pottery and cooking classes can be expensive. If you don’t have the  money in your budget for a class, spend some time googling and see what  resources you can find online. Then, create yourself a structured schedule and  block out time each week to practice whatever it is you’re trying to learn. For  the Indian food example, maybe you can bookmark a dozen recipes, and try making  one or two a week, starting with the ones that seem simplest.

You can also invest in a book, which can be very helpful. Sometimes having a  tangible item can help keep you motivated.

get regular exercise

3)    Getting Regular  Exercise

As cliche as it sounds, a lot of us do want to lose some weight in the new  year, and that’s OK! Focusing on weight loss tends to be ineffective, though.  Instead, try focusing on getting regular exercise.

One of the best ways I’ve found to incorporate exercise into my schedule has  been…incorporating it into my schedule! Literally. Whether you use a day planner  or a digital calendar to keep up with appointments, schedule those workout just  like you’d schedule a work meeting or a lunch date.

You can join a gym, but you can also just buy a pair of tennis shoes and head  outdoors for your workouts. Walking and jogging outside are totally free  activities that almost anyone can do. It can also help to pick up a program,  like Couch to 5K, or sign up for an event like a race. Training towards  something specific is very motivating!

cooking at home

4)    Cooking at  Home

“Eat healthier” is another common resolution that’s hard to keep. Instead of  just resolving to improve your diet, try focusing on something more concrete.  When we cook at home, we tend to eat healthier food than when we go out or order  takeout.

That doesn’t mean you have to toss your favorite Chinese delivery menu in the  recycle bin! If you eat most of your meals from restaurants now, try cooking at  home once or twice a week to start, and add in more meals as you get more  comfortable in the kitchen.

Related Reading: 5  Essential Vegan and Vegetarian Cookbooks

When you choose your recipes for home-cooking, look for ones that have  healthy doses of fresh fruits, veggies, whole grains, and lean protein. You can  grab a couple of healthy cookbooks to get you motivated or search online for  recipes. Cooking  Light and Epicurious  both have searchable recipe databases, and you can even look for specific  ingredients, if there’s something in the fridge that you need to cook before it  goes bad!

quit smoking

5)    Replace a Bad  Habit with a Good One

Are you a smoker? Is sugar your weakness? Do you love diet soda? We all have  vices, and cutting back or cutting out one of yours can mean a healthier,  happier 2013.

The trouble with a resolution like “quit smoking” is that on its own, it’s a  pretty daunting task. Instead of just resolving to give up a bad, try replacing  it with a good one. Quitting smoking is hard, but what if you’re trying to start  a running regimen at the same time? Suddenly, your smoking is holding you back  from another goal, which makes it a little easier to say no to the bad  habit.

For something like diet soda or sugar, replace those unhealthy treats with  healthy ones. Next time you want to reach for a diet coke, grab a fizzy water  and sass it up with a squeeze of lemon or a shot of juice. Put down that cookie  and grab a tangerine instead.

The other key to ditching bad habits is not beating yourself up if you slip.  So, you had a few drinks at the bar and smoked a cigarette last night. You can’t  change that. Just don’t smoke today! Or tomorrow. Go easy on yourself, and  remember that your goal is a long term one.

yoga

6)    Practice  Mindfulness

It’s easy to make snap decisions – sometimes ones we regret – in stressful  situations. When that happens, we just end up even more stressed out! This year,  resolve to try being more mindful in tough situations. Try to remember to take a  step back and look at the big picture. Whether you’re faced with a time crunch  at work or a family emergency, I bet you’ll find yourself making better choices  and stressing less.

The key is finding better, concrete ways to deal with your  stress right there in the moment. Try taking a deep breath and slowly counting  to five when you feel things getting out of control. Or even learn when it’s  time to remove yourself from a situation to give yourself a little  perspective.

Mindfulness can also be about celebrating what’s good in our lives. Pairing  up this resolution with another one, like the  gratitude jar, can help you remember what’s important in life when times get  a little stressful.

self care: take a tea or coffee break

7)    Practice Self  Care

Self care is all about taking the time to care for your own emotional needs.  We can get so caught up in the day-to-day that we neglect our own mental health.  When you practice self care, you not only improve your own happiness, but you  set yourself up to approach the rest of your day with a more positive attitude  and more energy.

Practice a little self care every day, and when you make this resolution decide what that means to you. It doesn’t have to take a lot of time.  It could be as simple as taking the dog for a walk while you listen to your  favorite podcast or spending 20 minutes one evening painting your nails. Just do  one small thing for yourself.

Whenever I talk about self care, I like to share this video from Twin Peaks.  It’s a little bit cheesy, but I think the point he makes is spot on. Treat  yourself every day, and you’ll be happier and healthier.

volunteering at a soup kitchen

8)    Volunteer Your  Time

One of the best ways that we can improve ourselves is by giving back to  others. Try signing up to walk dogs at the local shelter or help out once a week  at the local food bank. Giving back improves your community, and you get to go  home feeling warm and fuzzy. Everybody wins!

We are all blessed with so much, and taking time each week or even a couple  of times a month to give back can help remind us of how lucky we are.

Do you have a healthy habit planned for 2013? I’d love to hear your  healthy new year’s resolutions in the comments!

Becky Striepe

Becky Striepe is a freelance writer and vegan crafter living in Atlanta,  Georgia. Her life’s mission is to make green crafting and vegan food accessible  to everyone! Like this article? You can follow  Becky on Twitter or find her on  Facebook!

How To Live Like You’re On Vacation – Everyday

How To Live Like You’re On Vacation – Everyday

How To Live Like You’re On Vacation – Everyday

Ah, this month is a doozy isn’t it? Don’t get me wrong – I love my job, but there’s something about these first weeks in January that kills. It’s like yesterday was all a-flutter with holiday lights and celebratory cheer and today is just… well shit, we’re just smack dab in the heart of winter. Getting “back to the grind” post holi-daze can feel particularly daunting when you’ve had some time away – which, I am grateful to say, I did. On an island. In Belize. Yep, I’m That Girl. The one who returns to the office in January abnormally (annoyingly) tan and chipper? Hi there. I think there’s still sand in my shoes.

But I’ve come to realize – as my boyfriend “helpfully” takes down the Christmas tree and I weep into my latté – that we don’t have to relinquish those delicious feelings of vacation just yet. In fact (drumroll), I’m quite dedicated to the idea of manifesting the get-away vibes as a integral part of my daily lifestyle (cymbal crash! Ooh! Aah!)! Not convinced? Read on.

Island Livin’

I spent a delicious week in December on a tiny island off of Belize City. My cousin was there studying abroad, my uncle had some frequent flier miles, and the gods were smiling upon me: presto change-o, Lauren’s on a tropical island for seven days. (Deep, deep bows of gratitude.) Each morning we woke up and slapped on bathing suits and SPF before breakfast. Each afternoon we played dominoes at the bar or caught naps in the hammock. Each evening we ate fresh sea fare and coconut rice by the light of the moon. Heaaaaaaven. The week was magical and relaxing in ways I hadn’t anticipated, but perhaps most surprising about the experience was the distinct voice shouting loud in my soul upon leaving: MUST. LIVE. HERE.

Ok, nothing special, right? Who doesn’t leave an island vacation tempted to skip that return flight and start a tugboat fishing business? But this voice was louder than any I’d heard in a long time, and it wasn’t telling me to move to Belize. (Ok, maybe a little.) It was saying – deep, resonant: Must live here, in this space – breathing more, doing less.

See, I believe that an integral part of being all me all the time is recognizing both what brings me joy and what brings out the joy in me. I like vacation, but I also like myself on vacation. I’m friendlier, I’m more peaceful, I’m more present. I dig the small stuff. I laugh louder and longer. I pay more attention to what I eat and whom I’m with and how I feel. And while sitting ocean-side with an umbrella in my ahem, juice, may make these feelings seem more accessible, they are absolutely possible to manifest at home as well. And frankly – “possible”? Necessary.

So, in the spirit of the New Year (and in clinging desperately to my quickly-fading tan), let’s get our get-away on.

9 Tips On how To Live Like You’re On An Everyday Vacation

  1. Unplug. I know, I know, you’ve heard this one before. But DO IT. I didn’t wear a watch for seven straight days and it was heavenly. I know that we have kids to pick up from school and meetings to make, but take at least one afternoon a week to throw your cell in a drawer and close that computer. Tell your spouse or a friend to wrangle you at a certain time, if you must – but really, lose track of time. (It’s kind of overrated anyway.)
  2. Rock that Stop-Doing list. Lissa Rankin recently wrote a great post about changing your to-do lists into not-do lists – as in, what would you like to free yourself from this week/month/year? Those choices were made for me on the island – what with limited Wi-Fi and housekeeping service – but there was something to be said about having very little I felt that I “needed” to accomplish each day. So, do some recon into your daily to-dos and see what you can delegate, diminish, or drop altogether. Create space.
  3. Reduce the stuff. You know one reason why hotels can feel so heavenly? Clutter-free, babes. This is another one you’ve heard before, but going to sleep with the laundry, laptop, and paper piles creeping over your nightstand makes for restless slumber. At the very least, give your boudoir the hotel once-over and ditch everything that doesn’t say relaxation. Moreover, think about all the stuff you use and “need” in a week’s time – if it wouldn’t make your suitcase, get rid of it. Pack (live) light.
  4. Talk to strangers. Whether it was asking for dining recommendations, a cheerful where-are-you-from over breakfast, or bonding with fellow snorkelers in our deathtrap tugboat, I met the loveliest of people by striking up dialogues with complete strangers. I know we’re all on-the-go in our daily lives and tend to walk the streets like we’re on missions from god (though yes, obtaining take-out Chinese can often feel like a divine calling), but try talking to someone new every day. You don’t have to be ocean-side to say hello there and ask for a good lunch spot.
  5. Eat locally. So maybe you won’t get to watch a sun-kissed fellow called Captain Jerry Jerome catch your dinner and throw it on the grill (true story), but chances are there are some regional delicacies in your ‘hood that you have not yet tried. Hit up your local farmer’s market, restaurant, and street fair to embrace the natural food of your area. Allow the idea of being present to carry into your recipes, cooking seasonally and trying new things. Be a locavore.
  6. Eat longer-ly. At home, I eat dinner in 15 minutes while also checking email, catching a sitcom, or going through my to-do list. On vacation, my favorite “restaurant” was a shack on the beach called Fran’s Fast Food – my quickest meal there took 2.5 hours. This is all to say, SLOW DOWN. Savoring each bite keeps you conscious of what (and how much) you’re eating and provides powerful opportunities for connecting with friends and family. Even if you’re dining solo, select one meal a week and take your sweet time with it. (Last night, a tofu stir-fry and I spent 60 sweet minutes together. Worth it.)
  7. Celebrate the small stuff. Toast to an easy commute, a beautiful sunset, waking up on time, and not getting a parking ticket. Celebrate a great hair day, an inspiring conversation with a friend, finishing a book (or a chapter, or a page!), and a surviving houseplant. Every moment of vacation seems to yell, Yes! Hello! Congratulations! – now it’s time to take a bit of that celebratory spirit into the “real world.”
  8. Connect with nature. Not all vacations will take us to remote locales – one of my favorite vacation spots, after all, is New York Cit-ay – but I will say that my most relaxing get-aways have been deeply connected to nature. Do what you can to bring a lil’ of nature’s positive perspective into your world – as my mom used to say about Hawaii, it’s hard to sweat the small stuff when you’re sitting between a volcano and the ocean. Even in winter, make time for the great outdoors.
  9. Take the scenic route. It’s easy to get stuck in ruts of taking the same streets home and the same shortcuts to the grocery store. In our efforts to streamline our tasks, we often forget how fun it is to get lost. (See Jennifer Shelton’s great post on getting lost here!) Vacation isn’t always about the destination – it’s about jumbled water taxi directions, wrong trains, and accidental hikes. Treat your city as if you’re seeing it for the first time and you know, take a left instead of a right. Explore.

Access the joy within

There are all sorts of other ways to bring the vacation-spirit into your daily living – listening to a white-noise machine with ocean sounds, putting a picture of your dream destination next to your computer, treating yourself like a tourist at home with a “staycation” – but none of those practices feel sustainable to me. I’m not trying to trick myself into an everyday vacation – I’m trying to live there, authentically. Breathe more, do less. Access the joy within to be my most celebrated, relaxed, curious self – with or without a tan.

By Lauren Nagel

Lauren Nagel is the editor in chief of OwningPink.com and a contributing writer for San Francisco music magazine The Owl Mag. Email her at lauren@owningpink.com

New Year’s Resolutions Your Dog Wishes You’d Make

New Year’s Resolutions Your Dog Wishes You’d Make


In 2005, Veterinary Economics reported that 40 percent of U.S. dogs are overweight. And according to a report from the National Academies’ National Research Council, 25 percent of pets in Western societies are obese. Our advice? Keep your dog moving.

Forget going to the gym or learning Italian. 2009 is the year to let your dog make your resolutions for you. After all, your pup’s life-long endeavor is to be your loving pet and loyal companion—the least you can do this year is bring an extra wag or two to his world. Besides, his resolutions will have you both feeling great, and the best part is, none involve spandex, spinning classes, or low-fat butter.

I resolve to take quality walks.
Chances are, your pup never says no to a walk, even if it’s the same old stroll up the block and back. But know that your dog craves new scents and sounds as much as you enjoy new scenery. So mix up your weekday walks with new routes, unfamiliar trails, and uncharted side streets and explore new neighborhoods and parks on the weekends. Better yet, research dog-friendly hiking spots in your area and venture somewhere new once a month.

I resolve to give fewer hugs, play more.
Maybe you’ve noticed that squirmy, help-let-me-out wriggle your dog does during what you consider to be a loving embrace. Unlike us primates, dogs don’t feel all reassured and gooey inside after a nice long hug. In fact, most likely they feel trapped—it’s just a canine thing. A hearty round of tug however, played appropriately, can be a huge stress reliever and a nice bit of exercise as well. Note: If you intend to make tug a permanent activity in your repertoire, “drop it” is an important command to know.

I resolve to regularly introduce “new” toys into the mix.
Remember, they don’t have to be store-bought new, just new to your pup—that is, something he hasn’t seen before (or at least in a very long time). So swap toys with your dog-owning friends and neighbors so that every few weeks there’s something new for Fido to chase, charge, or chew on.

I resolve to throw a party.
We’re not (necessarily) talking about a fancy birthday fete or a bark mitzvah—though those are fun, too. A rendezvous with a couple of his favorite people—or at least people who adore him—will do. Play a few of his preferred games or simply ask invitees to practice a couple basic commands with him. It’s a chance for your dog to get praised, treated, and rewarded by someone else—great for socialization and a real boon to his confidence.
I resolve to bond outside the home.
Agility classes may just be the perfect combination of mental stimulation, physical activity, and most important, team building between you and your best friend. Dogs and humans both have a ball. But if weave poles and tire hoops seem too daunting, consider a Canine Good Citizen class, a program designed by the AKC (and offered in cities across the country) to promote responsible ownership and well-mannered dogs. You’ll brush up on your training techniques and your dog gets a refresher course in good behavior.

I resolve to keep my dog physically fit.
And truly, this is the only one that requires any willpower—we know that pleading puppy eyes are harder to resist than any French pastry or sloppy cheeseburger, especially when there’s a stash of treats at hand. But even though it seems like your dog is harnessing the world’s entire supply of Cute Power to get you to surrender that big hunk of cheese, know that he really means this: Please do everything you can to ensure that I’m healthy, mobile, and comfortable for a long, long time.

Grated carrots and a game of fetch, here we come.

By DogTime, DivineCaroline

At DivineCaroline.com, women come together to learn from experts in the fields, of health, sustainability, and culture; to reflect on shared experiences; and to express themselves by writing and publishing stories about anything that matters to them. Here, real women publish like real pros. Together, with our staff writers, they’re discussing all facets of women’s lives from relationships and careers, to travel and healthy living. So come discover, read, learn, laugh and connect at DivineCaroline.com.

Tag Cloud

%d bloggers like this: