Balance Your Life With Routines And Rituals…

With the obesity epidemic on the rise, many people are concerned about their health and are eager to eat right and exercise more. Unfortunately, for many of us this is easier said than done. People today lead busy lives. Many people are running from work to a child’s sporting event, or this meeting or that meeting and don’t feel they have time to breathe, let alone follow a normal routine or hit the gym. Yet, a routine can be just what you need. Many people break their regular routines when they are busy, thinking they will get more done and feel better about themselves. This thinking however, often backfires and may leave you feeling and out of sorts. In reality, you can feel more alive when you balance your life with routines and rituals.

exercise

Routines and rituals keep us grounded and help us perform better. Routines are habits that give structure to our daily lives—brushing your teeth, a morning cup of coffee, organizing your calendar, a daily walk, visiting the gym, or eating dinner at the same time. Routines help keep us organized and on track, although they do require discipline and will power. Rituals, on the other hand, are a little different. They are more celebratory in nature and include, going to church, praying, meditating, attending a wedding, or celebrating a birthday. “Rituals connects us to community and to society in general. Routine reinforces our sense of control over our every-day lives.”¹ The bottom line is we need them both to feel balanced. When one or another is missing, we can feel off and feel like something is wrong.

meditating

For years, I’ve had a morning routine that included a walk outside. Well for some reason the other winter, I became little lax with my walking. Walking is  part of who I am, so when I miss going a few days in a row, I really feel off. Walking is uplifting to me and gives me energy for the day. I find the sounds of nature soothing too, so it is no wonder I wasn’t like myself. Funny how simple routines can keep us in balance.

walking in nature

In my book, Wholey Cow A Simple Guide To Eating And Living, I talk a little about self-care and how important it is in our lives. Routines and rituals are a from of self-care, and are something we all need. They can help re-energize your body, provide activities for enjoyment and feed your spirit.

Hal Elrod, in his great book, The Miracle Morning, gives us a set of daily practices that he calls S.A.V.E.R.S. When done daily, he claims they will change your life. Give these routines and rituals a try to help balance your life and feel more alive.

Hal Elrod’s Miracle Morning Life S.A.V.E.R.S:

S= Silence: Take at least 10 minutes to be silent. You can just sit still, pray, or meditate. This time is important and gives you some time to just be.

A= Affirmations: Use positive phrases to affirm your goals and aspirations. (e.g. I am positive, I am a hard worker, I am a caring person, I am loving, etc.)

V= Visualization: See yourself as having already achieved a goal. Picture yourself already having accomplished a task. You can use a vision board with drawings, or pictures of certain items, or can just envision them in your mind.

E= Exercise: Set aside a minimum of 10 minutes each morning to do some sort of exercise, whether it is walking, yoga, biking, stretching, etc.

R= Reading: Set aside at least 10 minutes each morning to do some sort of reading, preferably read some thing that is inspirational. This helps set the tone for the day and establishes a positive mind-set.

S= Scribing: (Journaling) Set aside at least 10 minutes to record some positive thoughts that came to you from reading, meditating, praying, etc. This allows you to record your thoughts and generate ideas, etc.4

Thanks for reading!

Barb

Reference:

¹ https://www.huffingtonpost.com/rhoda-p-curtis/routine-and-ritual-two-pi_b_1113845.html

² Elrod, Hal. The Miracle Morning. ©Hal Elrod International.2014. pg. 53-81

5 Ways To Feed Your Spirit To Feel Balanced…

It is hard to believe that the Fourth of July has already come and gone. Hope you are enjoying your summer and finding ways to feed your spirit. Summer is a great time to get out and enjoy things you like to do, which help you feel balanced such as swimming, boating, biking, golfing, reading and spending time with friends and family.

Over the Fourth, I had plenty of time to experience some of these things, especially family time. We had a family gathering at our lake home that included 27 people total with 2 babies, 2 toddlers and 9 dogs! Crazy, huh? Thankfully some people came at different times, so it was more manageable. Everyone pitched in and helped out with food and clean up too. Thankfully, one of my daughters made a meal plan using a spreadsheet to help make things easier, so we could all enjoy ourselves more. I have to say, overall it was a good weekend and everyone had a great time! There were plenty of good conversations, and lots of great memories were made. Hope you created some good memories of your own with your family and loved ones.

Having healthy relationships is important and help us feel balanced in our lives. In my new book, Wholey Cow A Simple Guide To Eating And Living, I talk a little about primary foods and secondary foods. Primary foods include relationships, physical activity, career and spirituality. Secondary foods are the foods we eat.¹ While both are important, primary foods feed us at a different level. They feed our soul and help us to feel balanced, feel joy and help make us happy.

Following are 5 ways to help you feed your spirit and feel balanced:

  1. Have Healthy Relationships—
    Relationships play a big part in our day to day lives. Make sure you are including enough of them in your life. You can join a church group, bowling league, health club, tennis team, etc. If you have family near by, make an attempt to get together from time to time.

    relationships
    relationships
  2. Stay Active—
    Your body was meant to move. Make sure you find ways to stay active. Go on a walk, run, or a bike ride. If that doesn’t interest you, find some other activity that does. You can join a gym, lift weights, do yoga, kick boxing, etc. You can also look back at your childhood and find something you used to like to do such as play basketball, swing, jump rope, or hula hoop.

    running
    running
  3. Find Work Your Enjoy—
    We spend a big part of our day and our lives working. It is important to find something that you like to do, or a job that has a fair amount of duties you enjoy. If you don’t have enough tasks you enjoy, maybe you want to consider finding a different job. If that’s not an option, maybe you can find something outside of work that fulfills some of your needs, or find a hobby you enjoy.

    working
    working
  4. Spend Some Time Embracing Your Spirituality—
    Many people like going to church and enjoy the community and worship that it offers. Other people however, are more spiritual in nature and may prefer less structure. No matter which one fits your practice and beliefs, it is important to take some time to reflect and be alone. You can also practice meditating, spending some time out in nature, doing yoga, or taking a meditative walk.

    Spiritual
    Spiritual
  5. Take Time For Self Care—
    Many people are good at taking care of others, but when it comes to taking care of themselves, it might be another story. Make sure you take some time to practice a little self care. You can have a massage, go shopping, have a pedicure, go to a concert, go to the golf range, etc.

Thanks for reading!

Barb

Source:

¹”Primary Food.” Institute for Integrative Nutrition. N.p., n.d. Web. 06 July 2017.

 

Invest In Some Affordable Health Care…

Affordable health care is something we all want. While many people are counting on the government to help out, it’s not going to happen overnight. It takes time, money, research and a lot of planning to find something that really works and is affordable to many.

In the meantime, why not take matters in your own hands and invest in yourself? We all have choices, when it comes to health and well-being and eating more whole foods is one way to help you stay healthy.

Did you know that over 65% of Americans are over weight and almost half the population has a chronic disease?¹

That is alarming and something we should all be concerned about! People often look for a quick-fix to a growing waistline, or medical problem. The truth is there is no quick-fix. Most people don’t gain a bunch of weight over night, so why would you expect to lose it so dramatically? Weight gain is typically the result of over consumption and eating a poor diet, which often includes eating a lot of processed and fast foods over a period of time. Many processed foods contain added sugar, hydrogenated oils and other preservatives and chemicals that can pack on the pounds. If you continually feed your body these types of foods, health issues can also arise over time.

In my new book, Wholey Cow a Simple Guide To Eating And Living,” which is available on Amazon, I talk a little about this and how a life-style change incorporating better eating habits and staying active is a better solution to dieting. Why not be proactive and choose more foods that provide the nutrients that your body needs to stay healthy such as whole grains, fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and meat? While you don’t have to eliminate processed foods altogether, you can look for ones that are better for you and have fewer ingredients. You can also try and incorporate some sort of exercise into daily routine. You don’t need to necessarily visit the gym, but it is important to find some sort of activity you enjoy.

I am passionate about helping people take control of how they eat and what they eat. That is why I am happy to say that my book is now available on Kindle for only $2.99! I wanted to offer a promotion to make it affordable for many of you.

Wholey Cow!

I hope you invest in yourself. Here’s the link to Amazon if you want to check it out!

Thanks for reading!

Barb

Source:

¹“Overweight and Obesity Statistics.” National Institutes of Health. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, n.d. Web. 16 Jan. 2017.

New Year, New Beginnings!

Happy New Year!

Hope you enjoyed your holidays and had some quality time with family and friends. I sure did. It was nice to enjoy the down time and relax and think ahead. Although some people like to reflect and reminisce about the year gone by, others look forward to the new year and new beginnings. The start of a new year is a great time to commit to making changes in your life, whether it eating healthier, exercising more,  changing jobs, joining a church group, or getting involved in a new group to build some new relationships. You have plenty of choices and decisions to make. Why is it with all these good intentions,  so many people fall short, especially over time?

Unfortunately, our society often expects change to happen over night. This however, is not always possible or realistic. Change takes will power, commitment, and the formation of a new habit. In fact, according to the January/February 2016, Experience Life article, Build Better Habits, by Brian Johnson, “Good habits are the key to success, because when you have them in place, you don’t need to negotiate with yourself all day long about whether you’ll work out or eat right. The most successful among us have figured out how to use willpower to create habits that work so well that we practice them without ever having to exert our will.”¹

What new habits would you like to put in place for the new year? Now is the perfect time to commit to them. Make sure you write them down and the benefits you will receive. Keep your list in a place where you will see it often, such as your refrigerator, your desk, or night stand. That way it will remind you of the new habit you are working to establish.

Following are some Key Points to Establishing a New Habit from the article to help you out:

  • Unlock Your Keystone Habit—Identify one habit that will have the greatest impact in your life and master it whether it is exercise, eating more fruits and vegetables, organizing, etc.
  • Know Your Why—Make a list of benefits you will receive from installing your new habit (this is the WHY). If you remember the why, you should be able to endure how to get there.
  • Make a 100% Commitment—When you decide to do something, you need to really commit to it and make it non-negotiable. This way you will stay on track.
  • Practice Daily—You need to practice your new habit daily. Track your progress on a calendar and stick to it. Obviously there will be days when you have to miss. (i.e. If you are sick, or have some special event you have to go to, etc., but just start back in with it the next day to keep on track.)
  • Make it Easy—Start out small and build from there. (i.e. If your goal is to walk every day, start with 1 mile versus 5 miles.)
  • Embrace the Process—It takes 30 days to establish a new habit. At first it might be hard, but as you get further along, the task gets easier and easier. After awhile, you most likely will be looking forward to doing your new habit instead of regretting it.²

Thanks for reading!

Barb

Source:
¹ Johnson, Brian. “Build Better Habits.” January/February 2015 Experience Life magazine.
² Johnson, Brian. “Build Better Habits.” January/February 2015 Experience Life magazine.

Renew Your Mind , Body, And Spirit Wtih Daily Rituals…

Baby it’s cold outside!

I know it’s December and I live in Minnesota, but I always have a hard time adapting to below zero temperatures. Brr! It just doesn’t seem right to me. I am a summertime gal and love warm temperatures and sunshine, so it probably never will.

Thankfully–I have an upcoming trip to look forward to. Nothing sounds better to me than a warm breeze, sunshine and the calming ocean. I hope you have an opportunity to take a warm vacation get away this winter too.

Speaking of the ocean—I recently read something interesting about the Great Barrier Reef, which stretches some 1800 miles from New Guinea to Australia in the Pacific ocean in one of Brian Johnson’s Philosophers Notes on the book, The Art of Peace. “Earl Nightingale, on a visit there with his son, noticed how the coral polyps on the inside of the reef, where the sea was tranquil and quiet in the lagoon, appeared pale and lifeless, while the coral on the outside of the reef, that is subject to the surge of the tide and power of the waves, were bright and vibrant with splendid colors and flowing growth and asked why this was. ‘It’s very simple,’ came the reply, ‘the coral on the lagoon-side dies rapidly with no challenge for growth and survival…while the coral facing the surge and power of the open sea thrives and multiplies because it is challenged every day.’”¹ It is funny how that works, but is true for most organisms in the universe and humans, as well. While we all need challenges in our lives to grow, sometimes they can cause stress overload.

So how can we thrive, yet deal with the stresses of our lives? According to Dennis Waitley, in his book, The Psychology of Winning, “One of the best ways to develop adaptability to the stresses of life is to view them as normal.”² While some of us would rather avoid stress, it is a part of life and we need to learn to deal with it. We can also try and maintain balance in our lives by practicing daily rituals, such as exercising, that help renew your mind, body and spirit. Twyla Tharp, in her book, The Creative Habit, says “When you stimulate your body, your brain comes alive in ways you can’t simulate in a sedentary position. The brain is an organ, tied integrally to all the other systems in the body, and it’s affected by blood flow, neural transmission, etc.”³ By exercising and moving our bodies, we not only help de-stress our brains, but stimulate our creativity and promote well-being.

Some rituals can help prepare us for the day, while others can give you a break from work, or daily activities, and others may help you relax into the evening and prepare you for a good night’s sleep. Some examples of rituals include: meditation, walking, working out or exercising, reading, yoga, massage, going to the movies, prayer, date nights, and more.

Many of these can easily be incorporated into a daily routine, while others can be added weekly, or monthly. Matthew Kelly, best selling author and speaker, reminds us we must feed our physical, emotional, intellectual and spiritual self to become the best version of yourself. 4

How are you doing?

Thanks for reading!

Barb

Reference:

¹ Brian Johnson’s Philosophers Notes—The Art of Peace. http://www.entheos.com/philosophersnotes/notes/all/The Art of Peace, pg. 2

² Brian Johnson’s Philosophers Notes—The Art of Peace. http://www.entheos.com/philosophersnotes/notes/all/The Art of Peace, pg. 1

³ Brian Johnson’s Philosophers Notes—The Creative Habit. http://www.entheos.com/philosophersnotes/notes/all/The Art of Peace, pg. 4

4 Mathew Kelly: Becoming the Best Version of Yourself. Beacon Publishing, 1999. CD.

Sometimes You Have To Make Your Own Sunshine…

I don’t know about you, but I start to get a little down when I haven’t seen the sun in a few days. If you live in Minnesota, like I do and it is December, it is bound to happen. Our winter months can get a little long and drawn out. Unfortunately, there are plenty of dreary days this time of year, so sometimes you have to learn to make your own sunshine.

sunflower-sun-summer-yellow

The other day was a one of those days. I was feeling a little off with another cloudy day.  I went on my usual morning walk, thinking that would help, but the fresh air wasn’t enough to shake my mood. After sitting by my computer for a few hours, I still felt the dreariness outside and knew it was time to do something to change my mood.

I decided to put on some good music and grabbed my hula hoop. I don’t know why, but I just love my hula hoop and I knew a little movement and music would put a different spin on things. Sure enough, after hula hopping for 10 minutes or so, I felt a lot better. I decided a little more exercise would do me good, so I got on my elliptical machine. I could’t believe how much better I felt after 30 minutes. It is amazing how a little exercise can change your mood. Exercising releases endorphin’s in your brain, which make you feel good. In fact, “endorphin’s are chemicals that act a lot like their medically engineered counterpart, morphine. Runners have credited them for their feel-good effects for decades.”¹ Endorphins are released when you push your body to do more.

hula-hoop

Besides exercising, there are plenty of other ways ways you can make your own sunshine, when you are feeling out of sorts.

person-jusmping-at-sunset

Following are a few examples:

  • Go for a walk
  • Go to the gym
  • Crank up some good music
  • Drink a cup of tea
  • Jump rope
  • Go for a run
  • Make some cookies
  • Yoga
  • Hula hoop
  • Treat yourself to a coffee drink
  • Get a massage
  • Do some jumping jacks
  • Go bowling
  • Go to a movie
  • Jump on a trampoline
  • Snow Shoe
  • Cross Country Ski
  • Skating

The important thing is find something that you and enjoy and go do it.

music-and-exercise

If you are one of those people that suffers from seasonal effective disorder, you might want to get yourself a sun lamp. Sun lights simulate day light and provide a full spectrum of natural light, which can be very helpful for some people. I purchased a desk lamp from the Sun Box Company about a month ago and would recommend it.

Thanks for reading!

Barb

Source:

¹ @runnersworld. “How to Achieve a Runner’s High.” Runner’s World. N.p., 20 Apr. 2016. Web. 04 Dec. 2016.
http://www.runnersworld.com/running-tips/how-to-achieve-a-runners-high

Why Put Off Tomorrow What You Can Do Today?

We’ve all heard the saying, “Never put off until tomorrow what you can do today,” but how many of you really live by it? My guess is that while we all may have good intentions, we are all prone to procrastination at times— some more than others. Why, you may ask, is that? We are all complex human beings. Often times, our daily activities can seem overwhelming and get in the way of what we truly would like to accomplish. When this happens, our feelings often take over and can stop us from doing what we truly desire. So how can get around this? The answer is actually pretty simple…take one step at a time.

walking-with-one-foot-in-front-of-another

In fact, Brian Tracy, Professional Speaker, Best Selling Author, & Entrepreneur explains the concept with a metaphor. He asks, “‘How do you eat an elelphant?’ The answer is, ‘one bite at a time.’ This can be applied to any goal. You accomplish it one step, one task, one measure at a time. He also talks about eating your frog, which is about tackling your most important, daunting tasks, and getting them done. Brian’s main point is that you eat your most ugliest frog first, the next ugliest, and so on, until all your frogs are done. When you ‘eat your frog,’ you feel empowered, happier, energized and are more productive.”¹

frog

Robert Emmons, in his book, Thanks, tells us “to go through the motions and do it now, and the feeling will come.” ² Have you ever felt overwhelmed by doing a task, but went ahead with it anyway and then felt a sense of relief after, even if you didn’t complete it? Brian Tracy explains this as “‘Slice and Dice.’ You can cut a big task down to size with the ‘Salami slice’ method. Basically you lay out the task in detail and resolve to just one slice of the job for the time being.”³

slicing-pepper

What have you been putting off that you want to do?  Perhaps you want to clean up your garage, so you can park your car inside during the winter months? So take that first step. Fold up that ladder. Get some boxes to organize your garden tools or other stuff. Hang up your bike and keep going until your space is uncluttered.

If you want to start eating better, again take that first step. Go to the grocery store and try shopping the perimeter of the store only. There you will find most things that you need to incorporate a healthier diet including fresh produce, meat, and dairy products. Shopping this way will help you avoid processed foods, which are often loaded with artificial ingredients, additives and sugar. When you get home, go to your pantry and get rid of any processed foods that you know are unhealthy and want to avoid.

produce

If you want to add more exercise to  your day, vow to take a walk after work. Change into those sweats and tennis shows and get yourself out the door. If you like going to a gym, pack your gym bag ahead and take it with you to work. That way you will be prepared and less likely to make an excuse for not going.

healthy-light-woman-legs

So what are you waiting for? Make sure you take that first action step and keep going.

Thanks for reading!

Barb

Source:

¹Tracy, Brian. Eat That Frog. A book Summary. http://www.super-super.com/hpe152/page11/page16/page17/files/frog2P.pdf

Brian Johnson’s Philosophers Notes—Thanks. http://www.entheos.com/philosophersnotes/notes/all/Thanks, pg. 5

²Tracy, Brian. Slice and Dice The Task. http://www.briantracy.com/blog/leadership-success/slice-and-dice-the-task/

Jump For Joy!

When it comes to optimal health, most of us know that it is important to eat healthy foods, as they supply our bodies with plenty of nutrients. Exercise however, also plays an important role in the quest for good health, as our bodies were made to move and not be sedentary. Unfortunately, many people today, have a hard time making exercise a priority, as much of their day is spent working and for many people that includes sitting at a desk, which makes it even more important to get out and move about.

We can add exercise to our life by incorporating some sort of activity into our daily routines whether it is walking, biking, running, yoga, weight training, or something else. The point is that we need to be active. While I know that not everyone likes running, going to the gym, etc., there are are plenty of other options.  If you are one of those people that haven’t found an exercise you like to do regularly, you might want to think back to your childhood. What activities did you enjoy? Maybe it is swimming, karate, running around a play ground, or hula hooping.

While I personally love to exercise and have always incorporated a variety of activities into my day, like going to the gym, walking, biking and yoga, I also like to add in some non-traditional activities into my exercise regimen from time to time like… jumping on a trampoline. We never had one growing up, but I bought one when my kids were younger and always enjoyed jumping on it with them.

The other year, when our daughter was staying with us after college and looking for a job, she suggested I buy one again, so we could both get a little fun exercise in outside. I have to admit, it was one of my favorite purchases I’ve made.

I don’t know why it is, but it just makes me smile and laugh.

trampoline

Jumping up and down makes you feel so alive, and energized. I just love it!

trampolin2

Speaking of being energized, I recently watched Tony Robbins: I am Not Your Guru, a documentary about Tony Robbins “Date With Destiny Seminar,” and was happy to see that Tony is also a fan of the trampoline! He apparently gets up in the mornings and jumps on an mini-exercise trampoline to help get some good vibes going for the day. He also jumps on a mini-exercise trampoline behind the stage at his seminars before heading out on the stage to greet everyone. What an awesome way to get pumped up and get that positivity flowing!

I know not everyone has a full size trampoline, but the mini-exercise trampolines are affordable and work well too. In fact, my husband just bought us one for our exercise room. He beat me to it, as I planned to get one for the winter months, so I can jump even when the snow is flying.

mini-trampoline

If you are looking for an alternative form of exercise, you might want to give the trampoline a try. I guarantee it will not only give you a boost of energy, but also make you smile, so why not? Go ahead, get some joy on!

Thanks for reading and happy jumping!

Barb