Three Tips for Finding Time For Self Care When You're Way Too Busy

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Sometimes it can seem like you’re always running behind - like there’s never enough time in the day. You know you need to take care of yourself and find ways to relax and stay sane, but between all the other things on your to-do list, there’s never time. We may even look enviously at others thinking, “they have it so much easier than I do. Look at how much time they have to spare in the day!”

The reality is that we all have the same 24 hours in a day. It’s up to us how we spend that time, for the most part. Lack of time is one of the biggest challenges clients have when it comes to considering making a change toward a healthier lifestyle or finding better balance. There’s no time to cook a meal, work out, read that book, get sleep, etc. Even the busiest of person has time in their day that can be better managed. Below are some tips for finding more time in your day so you can find a healthier balance and less stress!

  1. Find and acknowledge your time black holes! For 5-7 days, preferably during a timeframe that also includes at least one weekend day, write down how you’re spending your time. Break it down into hourly chunks if you can. Do you best to just write it down each thing without judgement. Maybe that 4 hours of Netflix was really helpful to your stress relief. Now is not the time to judge. But, it can be really enlightening to see exactly how your time is spent.

  2. Add some screen time restrictions to your devices. Do you REALLY need to be on Facebook, Instagram or Snapchat for hours a day? Must you scroll through the news or stock app 3-4 times per day? It can be really helpful to set time limits for yourself with certain categories that suck away precious time. You can find apps that will help you track this, and can alert you to when you’ve hit your limit for the day. If your “time suck” activities you discovered in tip #1 aren’t related to your phone or computer, well done! You can apply this tip to cutting back on the time you’re spending on other things, like binging episodes on Netflix. 

  3. Schedule in relaxing breaks and “fun” time. Your fun may be different than mine. My idea of a relaxing break may sound boring to you. But the bottom line is, if you’re not making time for whatever works for you - it’s not going to happen! Say you love painting and find it fun and relaxing. Set time up on your calendar to paint! You’ll have the best success if the fun/relaxing activity is waiting for you - ie: the paints are already set up in an area ideal for painting. Or, your gym clothes are set out and ready to go. Or your bath salts are set out on the bathroom counter. That way when it’s time, there aren’t many excuses standing in the way of you and that activity. Even if you just schedule 15 minutes for an activity, it’s a start! Often times 15 minutes turns into a longer time because we find that we’re enjoying ourselves, but if we don’t give ourselves the luxury of doing those activities that we enjoy, they often can slip by the wayside.

Once you’re managing your time better, you can start making time for things that matter more to you AND reduce your stress level. My new e-course, 21 Days to Less Stress, can help you learn to identify your biggest stressors, discover how to turn the volume down on stress through self care and reframing, and become more resilient against future stress. Learn more and enroll at gosimplewellness.com/stress

Four Things To Do When Winter Has Got You Down

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This winter has been rough. Just about everyone I talk to has something to say about it. The bitter cold, the rain and ice, the heavy and persistent snow. The weather has moved from being a backdrop to our day-to-day to a daily annoyance. Even my dog has pretty much refused to go outside any more! I have always struggled with winter. I find that I thrive more in warmer times of the year, and I don’t really like snow. However, I live in a climate where cold and snow is a regular experience from November through April, so I’ve had to come up with a few things to perk me up when the winter blues set in. And no, I’m not talking about a lavish vacation to a warm destination - although that’s great if you can swing it!

Don’t Skip Exercise

I have found in the past that the exercise routine is the first thing to go when it comes to winter. I love getting outside for exercise, and snow and ice sports are just not for me - at least not regularly. That’s why I do my best to keep the gym workouts going all winter long. Even when the weather is bad, I try my best to go. There’s something about that feeling when you finish a workout and you feel warm and limber that makes driving home in the snow not so bad. Keeping up with a regular workout routine is a great way to boost your spirits, and it also gets you feeling more body-confident as you move into the warmer months!

Stay Social

A few of my friends joke that we prefer to hibernate in the winter. It’s definitely harder to get out the door when it’s always dark outside and it’s cold and snowy too. There’s generally less going on in the community, so you may be at a loss for what to do that’s better than sitting on the couch under a blanket. However, it's important to keep your social connections alive in the winter. Regular social engagements on the calendar give you something to look forward to, and can stave off loneliness and boredom that sometimes comes with the season.

Get Your Rest

Know that winter is a time of rest for everything else in nature, and it’s also an excellent time for us to do the same. Prioritize rest, incorporate new and indulgent forms of self care, visit a sauna or steam room, get a massage, or spend extra time reading a book with a cup of warm tea in your hand. It’s all about balance, but if you’re feeling tired or strung out, give into doing something a bit more restful.

Acknowledge That It’s Temporary

Winter doesn’t last forever, and spring will be here before we know it. If we stay in the moment and consider that although the winter has dragged us down, it is only temporary, we can cope more easily. Make time to notice how it’s staying lighter a little bit later each day. Think about fun things you might want to try this summer and start planning them now. The beauty of our seasonal climate is that we get to experience the full cycle of nature. Before we know it, we will be onto the next season of life. 


Need to better manage stress? In my brand new program - 21 Days to Less Stress, you'll receive a daily lesson from me via email for 21 days. It's a great way to start the year off strong and learn the tools you need to have more resilience against stress all year long. Learn more: https://www.gosimplewellness.com/stress-less-program

Have Fun EVERY Day to Lower Stress

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Having fun is the best stress reliever. Having a good time can help lower your blood pressure, and can help you find perspective on a problem you’re facing. But, I hear a lot of people tell me they don’t have time for fun. Ugh, honestly that’s when you need to have fun the most! 

I suggest that people make time for at least 30 minutes of fun per day. Literally, put it on your calendar and treat it with the same importance as a doctor’s appointment. These 30 minutes shouldn’t include any expectations. The only thing it needs to “do” is be fun to you. It doesn’t have to seem fun to anyone else or be Instagram-worthy. You don’t need to accomplish anything -  this is just for your enjoyment only.

Where some people get stuck is deciding what to do for fun! It can be way harder than you think. We are so wrapped up in our day-to-day activities, that separating what we enjoy vs. what we know has to get done can be challenging. If you’re struggling with what to do to fill your 30 minute fun time block, or just want some more ideas, maybe it’s time to take a walk down memory lane! 

Think about it - what did you do for fun at age 9? 

Were you way into riding your bike around town? Did you love sitting out on a bench reading Babysitter’s Club books? Were you playing in the pool? Did you lose time drawing or coloring? Were you always out playing games with your friends? Use these clues from younger you to find out what might be fun. You don’t need to pop wheelies on your bike in your neighborhood, but maybe you could take your bike over to a trail and just ride for fun - not for speed or with a particular destination in mind. If you loved reading, pick up a new fiction book. Non-fiction books tend to be a secret way of “working on ourselves,” which is great - but not for pure enjoyment. Remember, we have no goals with this “fun time.” 

I challenge you to make a list of everything you remember doing for fun as a kid. Then, make another column and list how you could incorporate each of those activities in your life now. Maybe you’ll try coloring and be super bored, and that’s okay. We evolve as we get older, and maybe that’s just not the activity for you any more. Or maybe it needs to be adapted to be more interesting to you these days. Remember, we’re trying to have FUN here - so if something is not as great as you remember, move onto another thing on the list. 

A word of note. Our days have a finite number of hours in them, and there are a lot of things that you need to make time for, including at least 30 minutes of exercise. So, if something you loved doing as a kid qualifies for exercise now - you can feel free to combine those 30 minute time blocks into one! If you can find an activity you really love AND it gets you moving, I’m obviously on board! 

If stress is dragging you down, or you have some eating habits that could use work, why not join my 60 Day Jumpstart Program? It's packed with the accountability, inspiration, and expert advice you need to get back to feeling more like yourself!

How to hack your metabolism so you lose more weight

This word “metabolism” is thrown around a lot these days.

You know that if yours is too slow you might gain weight. But what exactly does this all mean?

Well technically “metabolism” is the word to describe all of the biochemical reactions in your body. It's how you take in nutrients and oxygen and use them to fuel everything you do.

Metabolism includes how the cells in your body:

  • Allow activities you can control (e.g. physical activity etc.).
  • Allow activities you can't control (e.g. heart beat, wound healing, processing of nutrients & toxins, etc.).
  • Allow storage of excess energy for later.

So when you put all of these processes together into your metabolism you can imagine that these processes can work too quickly, too slowly, or just right.

Which brings us to the “metabolic rate." This is how fast your metabolism works and is measured in calories (yup, those calories!)

The calories you eat can go to one of three places:

  • Work (i.e. exercise and other activity).
  • Heat (i.e. from all those biochemical reactions).
  • Storage (i.e. extra leftover “unburned” calories stored as fat).

As you can imagine the more calories you burn as work or creating heat the easier it is to lose weight and keep it off because there will be fewer “leftover” calories to store for later.

There are a couple of different ways to measure metabolic rate.  One is the “resting metabolic rate” (RMR) which is how much energy your body uses when you're not being physically active.

The other is the “total daily energy expenditure” (TDEE) which measures both the resting metabolic rate as well as the energy used for “work” (e.g. exercise) throughout a 24-hour period.

What affects your metabolic rate? In a nutshell: a lot!

Thyroid Function

The first thing you may think of is your thyroid.  This gland at the front of your throat releases hormones to tell your body to “speed up” your metabolism.  Of course, the more thyroid hormone there is the faster things will work and the more calories you'll burn.

Body Composition

But that's not the only thing that affects your metabolic rate. How big you are counts too! Larger people have higher metabolic rates; but your body composition is crucial!  As you can imagine, muscles that actively move and do work need more energy than fat does.  So the more lean muscle mass you have the more energy your body will burn and the higher your metabolic rate will be. Even when you're not working out. This is exactly why weight training is often recommended as a part of a weight loss program. Because you want muscles to be burning those calories for you.  

The thing is, when people lose weight their metabolic rate often slows down which you don't want to happen.  So you definitely want to offset that with more muscle mass.

Exercise

Aerobic exercise also temporarily increases your metabolic rate. Your muscles are burning fuel to move so they're doing “work”.

What you Eat

The type of food you eat also affects your metabolic rate. Your body actually burns calories to absorb, digest, and metabolize your food. This is called the “thermic effect of food” (TEF). You can use it to your advantage when you understand how your body metabolizes foods differently.  

Fats, for example, increase your TEF by 0-3%; carbs increase it by 5-10%, and protein increases it by 15-30%.  By trading some of your fat or carbs for lean protein you can slightly increase your metabolic rate. Another bonus of protein is that your muscles need it to grow. By working them out and feeding them what they need they will help you to lose weight and keep it off.

Stress!

And don't forget the mind-body connection.  There is plenty of research that shows the influence that things like stress and sleep have on the metabolic rate.

This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to metabolism and how so many different things can work to increase (or decrease) your metabolic rate.

Can your eating habits, stress levels, or exercise routine be improved for better metabolism? Why not set up a free Beat Stress Strategy Session with me? I have openings in the next 2 weeks and I'd love to work with you to give you strategies so you are maximizing your life! 30 minutes well spent!

Ready? Snag a spot on my schedule right here: https://my.timetrade.com/book/K5QSS

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http://www.precisionnutrition.com/all-about-energy-balance

 

https://authoritynutrition.com/10-ways-to-boost-metabolism/

The Key to Finding Balance in Your Busy Life

“Work-life balance was a mistake from the start. Because we don't really want balance. We want satisfaction.”— Matthew Kelly, author

Balance is a sticky subject among many people. We have careers, partners, children, family commitments, charity work, classes, hobbies, worship time—plus, big desires to improve our health. How can one possibly balance so many things?

I’m going to let you in on a little secret here: You can’t.

Balance. Is It A Myth?

“Harmony” is an easier goal than balance.

Harmony means everything is co-existing in a spirit of cooperation. But whatever you want to call it —harmony, balance, or “fitting it all in”— there is a secret to doing more of what you want and less of what you don’t want.

Want to hear it?

I just need to warn you that although the equation sounds simple, it actually takes massive willpower to execute. It also requires that you get absolutely clear on what you want your life to look like, and what you do not want in your life.

Ready? Okay, here’s the secret:

  • First ask yourself what isn’t serving you. What doesn’t need to be in your life? What is dragging you down? Keeping you awake at night?

  • Have you identified a few things? Now get rid of them. (Or fix them. Now.)

  • Next, ask yourself what you want in your life—or in this week or day? What do you want to accomplish?

    What do you want to do? Who do you want to be with? Focus your energy on these things. Anything that doesn’t fit into this larger scheme... let it go (or learn how to say “no”).

    Ready to dive in and make a few changes? Give these tips a try and see how much more harmonious your life can be. No balance required.

If stress is dragging you down, or you have some eating habits that could use work, why not set up a free Beat Stress Strategy Session with me? I have openings in the next 2 weeks and I'd love to work with you to give you strategies so you are maximizing your life! 30 minutes well spent!

Ready? Snag a spot on my schedule right here: https://my.timetrade.com/book/K5QSS

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When You've Tried Everything Else

If you’re like many of the women I work with who are struggling with high stress, low energy, and big cravings, you’ve probably already tried a few things... "relaxing" and watching Netflix, relying on coffee in the morning, or cutting foods out.

Each time you try something new you get excited and think “this is it... this time it’s going to work!”

But then when each new approach didn’t work, you’d beat yourself up and end up feeling like there was something “wrong” with you.

It is not your fault! The simple truth is that by nature, quick fixes don’t work. Deprivation doesn’t work. 

In your heart of hearts, I’m guessing you know this already.

Here’s what I want you to know. You can conquer cravings, have more energy, and manage your stress. 

This is what I teach my amazing clients...I show them how simple and EASY it is to feel more like yourself - energetic, present, and light. 

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And this is exactly what I’d love to show you.

That’s why I’d like to offer you a FREE Beat Stress Strategy Session. I’ve opened up 5 slots on my calendar for over the next 2 weeks, and I’d love to speak with you during one of them.

Click here to book your free session>>

During this call, I’ll help you determine how best to achieve the results you want, WITHOUT feeling like you’re sabotaging yourself anymore. You’ll get an action plan to help you reach your unique goals.

If you’re tired of feeling like you’ve tried everything and you’re ready for a different (and more effective) approach — then I know I can help and I look forward to connecting with you.

Warmly,

Sara

P.S. Spots for these FREE calls will fill up fast, so if you know you want help with your stress, cravings and energy, I encourage you to grab one of these spots! Click here to schedule now.

Four Signs You May Need a Health Coach

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How do you know if now is the right time to hire a health coach? The main thing is that you have to be at a point in your life where you want to make a change, and are willing to work at it. But other than that, there are four common themes that bring people to a health coach. 

1) You just got diagnosed with something. For example, if you have been diagnosed with an auto-immune disease, you would greatly benefit from reducing inflammation in your body. There are a lot of ways to do that, and a health coach is trained in working with clients on this topic. If you have been told you need to lose weight, may need blood pressure medicine, or are pre-diabetic, this is a great time to consider recruiting the support of a health coach. One note: Health coaches do not replace doctors. But, we can support you as you work through the treatment plan your medical team has outlined for you. Depending on what you’ve been diagnosed with, it may be best to get a handle on things with your medical team first. Then, reach out to a health coach for support with any recommended diet or lifestyle changes you may need to implement. Health coaches don’t diagnose or prescribe, but can certainly support you through many health conditions.

2) You know something needs to change. Things like stress, sleep issues, overeating, coffee or sugar addition, and serious cravings all fit in this category. You may have an “aha” moment when you finish off that potato chip bag (or package of Oreos), or when you can’t zip your pants any more. You realize you cannot keep treating your body this way and stay healthy. These are all things that you may benefit from additional support. You have tried to curb your habits, but nothing has stuck. Or you don’t know where to start. A health coach can provide the accountability and tools needed to break through your habits, while helping you create new and healthy habits.

 

A chronic health issue could also be a motivator. Perhaps you’ve been dealing with the same health problems forever, and you feel motivated to try something different so you can get your life back. It could be a thyroid problem, or hormone imbalances (hello monster cramps each month!) Health coaches are also great at supporting you and helping you conquer certain symptoms you thought you’d always have to live with.

3) You keep losing the same 5 pounds. Putting it on is easy, and sometimes taking it off isn’t too hard. But repeated cycles of weight gain and loss are tough on your body. Chances are you are cycling through healthy habits and then falling back into less than healthy choices. Working with a health coach, you can lose that 5 pounds, and then keep them off (and lose more if you need to).

4) You have no energy. Our bodies have a funny way of saying when enough is enough. Sleep becomes the one and only priority, brain fog prevents us from being effective in our work or relationships, and it can be hard to turn the tide back in the other direction. A health coach can support you with both diet and lifestyle shifts to boost your energy and get you on the right track.

If you have one or more of these “reasons,” it may be worth checking into health coaching. I offer an absolutely FREE sample session to anyone who is interested in exploring health coaching. Reach out to me to schedule a session today!

Brain Fog and Exhaustion, What's Going On?

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A common complaint I hear as a Health Coach is lack of energy. The source of this problem can be complex. It could be purely physical, you could be sick or sleeping poorly. But a lot of times, people are burning the candle from both ends, and expecting top performance at all times. And then it happens - our bodies let us down. 

I used to struggle to stay awake past 8:30pm. It drove me crazy! I would bust my butt all day at work, come home and cook dinner, and then be too tired to do anything else. By the time the weekend rolled around, I would still be catching up on rest. I’d be too exhausted to go out and have fun. 

I was frustrated. After all, I was young and seemingly healthy. So why did I have so much brain fog and exhaustion all of the time? I brought it up to my doctor at my annual check-up. She said, “well you are probably just doing too much. I’m always amazed at how much women expect of themselves.” It struck a chord for me. Maybe I was expecting too much? But it still seemed like something else was going on.

Nowadays, I don’t really struggle with having enough energy, provided that I am getting a good night’s sleep. But former me would be relieved to know that there probably WAS something else going on. Chronic high levels of stress is not something our bodies are meant to deal with. After periods of long-term stress, the brain becomes hyper-reactive and is always ready for danger. As a result, higher brain functions like the ability to concentrate or focus begin to suffer. Brain fog, memory loss, anxiety, depression, and severe fatigue are all symptoms of ongoing chronic stress. When you’re in this mode, your energy level tends to be way down.

I understand how hard it can be, so I’ve created a FREE video training called 5 days to More Energy. Sign up and I'll send you videos straight to your inbox for the next 5 days with things you can do right away to improve your energy. These were the very things I did to build my energy back up, and I am sharing the strategies with you for free!

Are you looking for more? I work with clients to help them improve their adrenal health through nutrition and lifestyle changes. These are incremental changes that, when put into action, can have you feeling more like yourself in no time. Join me for a free 1:1 session.

The Trick to Staying Sane When You Can't Predict The Future

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Wouldn’t it be great if you had a crystal ball? You would know the pros and cons of every decision before you had to make it, and could have more certainty in that decision. You wouldn’t worry about wasting your time, making the wrong decision, or hurting someone you care about. Why? Because you would be able to see your way around any and all pitfalls and avoid them completely. Right? 

So here’s the deal with change and uncertainty. You just have to embrace it. 

I get excited about trying new things and being spontaneous. But admittedly, there are other uncertainties that I find harder to deal with. The big stuff, like whether to take a new job or where to move tend to make my mind twist and turn every possibility forward and backward again. I have spent endless hours over the years making pros and cons lists, talking about my options with anyone who would listen, and even spending time in my dreams working out the options in my head. You could call it analysis paralysis - the inability to move forward because you’re too busy analyzing every potential outcome! 

Truthfully, the lines on that pros and cons list don’t always capture the full picture. Even if it seems clear on paper which way you should go, something could still be holding you back from making the decision. 

What I began to notice in these moments, was that I didn’t need all the answers. I just needed to know everything was going to be okay. 

That’s not to say talking it out with friends or writing lists isn’t helpful. I think it is definitely part of the process. Sometimes during that analysis you’ll get a different perspective. But eventually, you have to get out of your head and trust your gut. Trust that you will be okay however it turns out, and make the decision with confidence. Sometimes really getting to the heart of the reason why you are feeling wishy washy can quiet your mind and help you find that trust. For me, that clarity happens when I’m taking a dog for a walk. Or driving across town. Or taking a long shower.

Take a breath, and ask yourself why you can’t decide. Then listen to your body. What emotions wash over you in those moments? How do you physically feel? What do you keep coming back to?

We live in a very analytical world and sometimes we forget that our own intuition, or gut feelings, can be a great indication of how to move forward. 

How often do you find yourself trusting your intuition? Is this something you struggle with? I can help you tune into your gut when it comes to tough decisions with a few simple tools. Send me a note and we can talk through it!

How to Have More Time in a "Busy" Obsessed World

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In the last couple of weeks, have you wondered where the time went? Have you felt frustrated with the lack of time to get things done? Have you had to put things off that you really wanted to do? Did you dwell on the lack of time available to you in a day? Do you respond to everything with "I'm too busy!" You may have a love/hate relationship with time! 

Years ago when I was working a high pressure job, I often felt stretched for time. Some days it seemed like I was on a super frustrating roller coaster ride. I would get up and go to work, be busy all day at the office, come home, eat dinner, and then crash on the couch before going to bed. While at the office, I had so much on my plate I often felt like I was in an actual race. I was nearly out of breath from all of the proverbial balls I was trying to keep juggling in the air. This roller coaster ride was on repeat, and I felt so frustrated about never having time for things I wanted to do. Whether it be painting, spending time with my friends, working out, or even cooking a healthy meal. I could actually feel a weight on my shoulders that represented my total lack of time.

So what was the trick to getting off of that roller coaster ride? 

Someone once told me that we all have the same 24 hours in every day. I hated that statement, because suddenly it meant that my lack of time to do anything was actually a situation I had created for myself. I began to realize that my constant feelings about my lack of time weren’t doing me any favors. I wondered if changed my mindset, whether that would translate to feelings of more control over my time. After all, thinking about anything from a glass half empty mindset tends to put you on the defensive. I began to consider the word abundance. If I felt like I had all the time in the world, maybe I actually would find more time! 

So, when I would catch myself thinking negatively about time, I would tell myself, “you have all the time you need right now.” At first, I could feel my body almost revolt against that statement, but after awhile it became an almost calming response. Thinking from a place of abundance became sort of a lifeboat for me. Suddenly I was reframing all of my feelings of scarcity into feelings of abundance. I even bought a necklace with the word “abundance” engraved on it. I wore that necklace for years to serve as a daily reminder that I had everything I needed to be happy and satisfied in the present moment.

Once you have a different relationship with time, you may realize that you want to make some changes. That definitely happened for me. I started to make small changes by prioritizing different things. For example, I stopped caring what others thought if my lawn got a little too long. At one point I even hired someone to take care of the yard work for me, because I realized that hours spent fussing over cutting the grass was not at all a priority for me, and was taking time away from other things that would bring me more joy. Also, I began to notice that the 20 minutes it took for me to wait for my take-out order was all the time I needed to make a healthy dinner at home. It could be done with no extra time investment after all.

My relationship with time did not change overnight. It took a long time, with plenty of slip-ups along the way. But, it is possible to feel better about time. And it could be a key way to get time back on your side so you can do the things that bring you most joy in the world. 

What is your relationship with time? Could you use some help in this area? I can guide you through a step-by-step process to help you experience a similar shift. Set up a free 1:1 sample session to see what coaching can do for you!

Life Hack: Experience More Joy Each Day

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What do you enjoy doing? What makes you smile or laugh? Are those things on your to-do list today? A lot of times the daily grind can edge out the things that bring us joy. There are lots of things to do, the day doesn’t seem long enough, etc. But keep in mind, happiness lowers stress levels, increases your immune system’s function, and lowers your risk of disease. It also makes life more enjoyable than if you’re just slogging along.

Even doing just one thing that brings you joy each day, and taking a moment to notice it, is a powerful antidote to even the most frustrating of days. Try this:

  • Make a Joy List. This is a list of all the things you enjoy. Nothing is too small. Perhaps you love biting into an apple, smelling a flower, or getting into a bed with freshly clean sheets. If it gives you that feeling of joy, add it to your list. Stuck? Consider your senses. What smells, tastes, or textures make you feel especially good? Or, think back to things you enjoyed as a kid. There are often some good clues there!
  • Take a look at how you spend your day. Where could you fit in a little pleasure? Fitting in a break where you can do one of your Joy List items can give you the boost you need on any particular day.
  • Repeat daily. Train yourself to treat yourself to the things you enjoy often.

 

 

6 Ways to Reduce Stress Today

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I have been told A LOT of times earlier in life to reduce my stress level. Family, friends, doctors, teachers, and coworkers have all made the comment in passing. Oddly enough, being told to “just relax” didn’t do the trick. In fact, sometimes it would be more stressful trying to find ways to be less stressed! Can you relate? I’ve compiled my favorite things you can try immediately to lower your stress:

1) Take a huge breath. Belly breathing is one of the best things you can do for your stress level in the moment. It has an immediate effect on your stress levels because you are oxygenating your blood, which causes your brain to release endorphins. For the greatest feel-good effect, fill your lungs all the way up with air over 5-10 counts. Hold it in for a moment, and then slowly release the breath over 5-10 counts. If you do this four or five times in a row, you will likely be able to feel the difference!

2) Take a silly break. What gets you laughing? Hearing your loved one attempt (and fail) at speaking with an accent? Watching a comedy show on Netflix? Playing racquetball with friends? Playing a game with your kids? Immediately add that activity to your calendar. 

3) Take a nap. Sleep works wonders. I went through a particularly stressful time a few years back where I felt as though I could have slept for days. I gave in, and allowed myself to rest. After that, I was able to move forward with a clearer head. While you may not have the luxury of a few days of total R&R, you can likely squeeze in a 20 minute nap!

4) Go outside. The weather may or may not be cooperative, but that doesn’t matter. Get outside for as long as you can manage, and soak up some vitamin D and fresh air. Take a walk, go skating, or even just sit on a park bench in a beautiful setting. 

5) Call up a long lost friend or family member. Is there someone you find yourself missing a lot these days? Give them a call, and keep it light. Now is not the time to share your woes. Instead, focus on reminiscing about fun times. Reconnecting with old friends can be a good way to gain some perspective. 

6) Take a positivity challenge. For 1 hour, don't complain about anything. If you find yourself thinking negatively or complaining outwardly, start the timer over. It can be tough, but forcing your brain to shut out negativity and focus on positivity can sharply change your outlook and lower your stress.

Huge caveat, while these things may make you feel better in the short term they are often not enough for the long haul. There are often bigger shifts needed to address chronic stress in a sustainable way. If you’re ready to make some changes when it comes to stress in your life, reach out. I coach clients 1:1 on this process so that they are better able to manage their stress. The first session is FREE and I have openings starting next week!

-Sara


Do you need 1:1 support around food or stress? Set up a free one-on-one phone session with me and let’s talk about it! 

Take the Self Care Holiday Challenge

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The holidays are in full swing! You might be traveling, going to more social events, and faced with many chances for overindulgence. All of these interruptions can make it easy to lose sight of your goals. Personally, I’m going to be doing a little challenge over the next two weeks to help stay on track, and I hope you’ll join me!

The Self Care Holiday Challenge: Take at least an hour, a few days per week for the rest of the year, to do some act of self care. 

Sounds easy enough, right? Taking a few moments for yourself out of the next couple of weeks can help you stay on track, reduce stress, and set you up for a healthy start to 2018. Some things to consider for those “self care” hours include getting a massage, taking a walk with your favorite people, meditating, reading a book, taking a tea break with family, or getting some sleep. 

I plan to try a few of those self care options, but the one I’m most looking forward to is sleep! I have a hard time sleeping too late into the morning, so my goal will be to start my bedtime ritual earlier in the evening a few days over the next couple of weeks so that I can get a bit more sleep. High quality sleep (7-8 hours for most adults), can make all the difference in your mood, your ability to solve problems, and your ability to make healthy eating choices. 

In my opinion, you never need an excuse to take time for yourself. But, if you need some encouragement, I’m here! What self care activities will you add in over the next two weeks? Send me an email at sara@gosimplewellness.com.

 

 

How to Manage Holiday Stress with Gratitude

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Last week we celebrated Thanksgiving, and a lot of times we are reminded to use that day to think about what we’re thankful for. But then, Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, Cyber Monday, and the general kick-off of the peak retail season all swoop in. We go from giving thanks to rushing off to prepare for the next holiday in a matter of hours! And here comes the typical stressors we have every year - did we buy our partner the right gift? Will the toy we ordered for our niece arrive in time? Will our kids behave at our family get-together? Did we miss the window for securing a reasonable plane ticket? And so on…

As a coach that specializes in health and wellness - especially stress management, I know all about the way stress affects our health. You might think that it's no big deal to have holiday stress. It only happens once per year, and then in January things can get back to normal. But say you have holiday stress every year for the month of December from age 20-70. That adds up to a total of 50 months of being stressed out, or over 4 years of your life spent worrying about the holidays! Yikes!

One great way of managing stress, especially this time of year, is to focus on the good things in your life. Gratitude is not just for Thanksgiving! This month, I challenge you to consider adding a daily gratitude practice into your routine all the way until January 1st. It doesn’t have to be complicated. You could write down one or two things on a post-it note each day that you’re thankful for. Or you could challenge yourself to go complaint-free for an hour each day, longer if you can (harder than it sounds!) You could take a moment on your daily commute to notice what is beautiful around you. The main point is to focus on the the things you want MORE of instead of focusing on the things that are bringing you worry or taking you down a notch.

Maintaining a positive outlook and staying focused on what makes you happy goes a long way to a happier and healthier life. Is this an area you could use some support with? Schedule a free session with me and let's talk about how my coaching methods could help you.

Have a Mindful Thanksgiving

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Thanksgiving is here already! As a health coach, I get the question a lot on how to not go completely off the rails in terms of health over the holidays. Weight gain, stressful situations, and overindulgence can put a damper on the fun the holidays can bring. My main take-away tip is to not deprive yourself, but also be mindful.

If you L-O-V-E pumpkin pie, have one slice. Don't stress about the calories or potential weight gain. Enjoy that slice of pie and savor every bite. Feel the texture as you chew. Consider the taste as it hits different areas of your tongue. Think about why you like pumpkin pie (or whatever your favorite is). Does it remind you of old family gatherings? Did you used to bake it with a favorite relative? Is it the way the food feels in your mouth? Is it the taste?

Then, skip the second slice and instead take a moment to appreciate how it was to really experience your favorite food. A lot of times, you'll find that your feelings toward a food have little to do with the food itself. Eating can be an emotional experience as much as a nourishing one.

So this Thanksgiving, watch your portions and stay present. And aside from the food, be sure to take a moment to show gratitude for yourself, your health, and your loved ones. Write down three things you are especially grateful for before or after your holiday gathering and put it somewhere you can reflect on it later. Gratitude is a beautiful practice that helps us stay present. It also helps reduce stress. Start tomorrow (or today) and keep that gratitude going all holiday season long.


Recently I was asked to provide some tips to the readers of the Mad City Dream Homes Blog on how to stay healthy over the holiday season. I loved putting this post together! Read my guest post for the top 4 tips for staying healthy over the holidays, and let me know what you think!

Craving Something? Make This Swap

When you are craving a specific type of food, did you know it could be your body's way of telling you that it needs something? Check out the below chart to see if there is a food swap you can make to address your cravings.

After you've made a swap, consider how you feel. Are you still craving the original food? If so, your craving may be related to something completely unrelated to nutrition. Stress, lack of sleep, dehydration, and habit are very common culprits! 

Need help managing your cravings? Let's do a 1:1 free consultation next week to talk it over! Sign up here.

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Using Morning Rituals to Better Harness Your Energy

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I wouldn’t call myself a morning person or a night owl. However, I feel that my best creative and mental work happens in the morning. Long ago, I wanted to find a way to better harness this energy, and developed a morning ritual that would get me from bed to productivity as quickly as possible. Caveat alert! Everyone is different, but I figured I would share what my current morning ritual looks like, and maybe you’ll find something that you can apply to your own morning. 

1) A quick walk. My dog needs one, and it is a good way to get the body moving and get some fresh air first thing in the morning. I often don’t feel quite ready for a more intense workout in the morning, so a walk is perfect. I used to try to do my workouts early in the morning, but it would drain me. Lately, my regular workout happens around lunch time. I have found that exercising at that time of day also helps me stave off the afternoon slump! But everyone’s different!

2) Breakfast. I know some people are not very hungry in the morning, but that is not me! I wake up ready to eat, and if I wait too long to eat my energy drains pretty quickly. My usual breakfast these days is some steel cut oats dressed up with frozen organic blueberries, shaved coconut, pecans, flax and chia seeds, and a heavy dose of cinnamon. I have been lowering my added sugars in the morning for months, and the blueberries give a nice sweetness that isn’t overpowering. And I try to pack in a lot of antioxidants and nutrition in this first meal of the day.

While my oatmeal is cooking, I steep some organic green tea. My favorite brand is Numi Organic Gunpowder Green Tea. I also have a small glass of almond milk, because I am usually feeling a little thirsty when I first wake up. Between the two beverages, I’m feeling well hydrated!

3) Brain Games. While I’m drinking my tea, I devote 10-15 minutes each morning to some sort of brain activity. Lately, I am using Duolingo to brush up on my Spanish skills. Otherwise, I try to do a quick meditation.

4) Game plan. I list the “must do” activities for the day. These are things that absolutely cannot be put off another day, or tasks that need to be worked on to keep a project’s momentum. This list also includes appointments or places I need to go. I try not to put a lot of things on the day’s to-do list. I have another list of weekly tasks that I can pull from if I have time for more projects, and I also pull from this list when creating my daily list so that everything gets done over the course of the week. Of course things come up, so limiting the “must do” list leaves the door open for those last minute activities.

Then, it’s time to get started! Start to finish, this morning routine is usually about 30-45 minutes. It may seem like a lot, but just taking that time to set up my morning makes a huge difference in my day.

What is your morning ritual? Is there something you want to tweak or add in your own routine?