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Stretching Goals this Week!

Stretching. I never do enough of it! My first goal this week, use a tennis ball (or I have a ball that is slightly smaller) and place one foot like you are standing on it. You may need a wall to hold onto and balance. Move your foot around on it and roll it out. Press down onto the ball as you move your foot around. It hurts but works! miraculously I can touch my toes so much easier! My brother taught me this trick.

Second goal I am trying to use the foam roller each day for 4-5 minutes each morning. If you don’t have a foam roller, highly advice buying one. You can check out all sorts of stretches online. I have a few go-to for my hips and back. But there are a ton of ways to use it and you can get lots of tips by just simply googling foam roller stretching.

Third goal, every hour not only am I going to try to do a lap around my office or the house, but also do 2-3 stretches.

Everything I read says lack of stretching and long periods of sitting are the two new silent killers. Not sure it is that dramatic, but I definitely think I need more stretching in my life!! It does do the body good.

Are you stretching enough? If not, want to take on my stretch goals this week too?!

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Gratitude

As we all finish up our Thanksgiving weekends and head into another week of work I think it is a great time to reflect. Reflect with gratitude on what we have. There is someone who is less fortune than you this evening. So regardless of what is going in your life tonight, be thankful for what you have. If the holidays are hard due to a loss or memory, be thankful it is a memory and you aren’t going through that intense pain this year. And be thankful for the positive memories you have had instead. Be thankful you are alive to make more of those positive memories and to heal. If this year is the hardest of your life, be thankful you are making it through and trust that this time too shall past. We have all been there and there are people that love you. Reach out to them.

Be thankful for a chance to live another day and keep making your life better. Be thankful for having the opportunity to make someone else’s life better too.

I hope going into this holiday season, we all just hug a little tighter, kiss a little longer, laugh a little harder, enjoy the food and wine a little bit more, and just enjoy the moments. And if it is hard for you, think of a better time and know similar times are possible again.  Breathe. Live in the moment. And soak up your families, friends, and loved ones during this time. And soak up the positive memories from the past and present.

Today, I am thankful for so much. For so many amazing people who I love that love me back, for health, hope, and peace in my life, and for the many possibilities to come. And also for the people I’ve been blessed to share a memory, meal, or a piece of my life with from my past. I am feeling so very lucky. And my heart is so filled with gratitude. I hope you feel the same way.

I hope you can write down what you feel gratitude for and take a minute to reflect and be thankful. To breathe and take in all those amazing things.

 

Holiday Season: Eating healthy during the week with very quick easy to make meals

As I go into the holidays this year, I am trying to do a better job of eating healthy during the week and when I can by planning out meals or making smart choices during the week. All so that I can still indulge (in moderation) at the holiday parties and meals on the weekends.

My first goal is to eat a hearty salad for lunch each day with lots of protein. And a few days a week, add avocado as my good fat. And I am packing a fruit and a kind bar for my snacks.

For dinner, I am using some easy go-to dinners for the week that are super quick to make. Here are a few I have planned. Any recipes you can share back? Message me and I will take any and all recommendations.

Easy Crockpot Chicken (from Southern Living Our Best Easy Weeknight Favorites)

I usually pair with roasted butternut squash and either roasted asparagus, cauliflower, or brussel sprouts.  For these two sides, you can prep and then put them into the oven at the same time. 400 degrees for 30-40 minutes. Flip shelves halfway through. For prep of brussel sprouts– I put sea salt, pepper, and balsamic vinegar (with a light drizzle of olive oil too). For prep of asparagus drizzle olive oil, garlic seasoning, sea salt and pepper.  And a similar prep for cauliflower.

Chicken: Take as much of the skin off the whole chicken and remove giblets. Clean with water and sprinkle open cavities areas with salt and pepper. Then mix the following in a bowl and rub the mixture all over the chicken (to keep mess to minimum do this with the chicken already placed into crockpot). The cook for 8hrs on low.

Mixture: 1 t lemon pepper seasoning, 1/2 t salt, 1/2 t dried thyme, 1/2 t paprika, 1 large garlic clove, and 2 tablespoons olive oil

Healthy Beef Stew in Crockpot (pulled this out of a magazine years ago)

Ingredients: 2 t olive oil, 1.5lbs beef chuck roast cubed (beef stew meat), 1t kosher salt, 1/2 t ground black pepper, 2 Tablespoons (or more if needed) flour

Heat oil in large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Sprinkle beef with salt and pepper. Dredge in flour. Add beef to pan. Saute 2 minutes, browning all sides. Place in slow cooker.

Ingredients: 2 medium onions- chopped in small wedges, 8 garlic cloves, 1/4 c red wine

Add onions and garlic to pan. Saute for 5 minutes. Add wine to pan. Scraping pan to loosen browned bits. Place onion mixture in slow cooker on top of meat.

Now add all other ingredients: 1 can diced tomatoes, 3 cups diced zucchini (dice into wedges– which is a great substitute for potatoes), 2 cups small baby carrots or diced carrots, 1 c low sodium beef broth, 2 tablespoons tomato paste, 3 bay leaves, 3 thyme sprigs

Cook on low for 8hrs. After cooked: Add salt and pepper for taste and remove sprigs and by leaves. Enjoy!

Sausage, Peppers, Onions and Tomatoes

Dice up peppers, onions and tomatoes, Season with some salt, pepper, and garlic. Cook sausage (I usually just do this on the skillet) and add veggies. Saute and serve. Super easy. We usually get chicken sausage so it is a little healthier.

Leftovers……Breakfast for dinner:

Take your leftover sausage and veggies, heat up and make scrambled eggs. And you have a good leftover meal!

Salmon and veggies are also a go to for us. We literally just buy some seasoned salmon at grocery store and saute some veggies or zucchini/squash noodles. Perfection and only takes 10 minutes with almost no prep.

I also have some great Sunday meals that you can do in the dutch oven but I’ll save that for another day! Hope you enjoy some of these. Nourish your body with healthy food, sleep, and drink lots of water and you will feel amazing even during the holiday and winter months!!

 

New workout routines

Our body generally adapts to a new exercise program within six to eight weeks, meaning even the most intense or dynamic workout won’t be as challenging, and can get boring.  Which means we are not getting as much out of it. So the challenge is not only finding time to work out but also changing it up.

Thankfully there are a literally hundreds of ways to change-up your workout.  You can follow different fitness instructors who can give you different workouts, you can attend different gym classes or studios, you can watch fitness channels on TV or YouTube,  can simply go out for a run and instead of focusing on distance focus on sprints, you can make up a new workout like I just did below, and/or you can switch yoga practice to slow down, speed up, or focus more or less on strength. Picking up a new sport or working in the yard can count too.  Or instead of going for a walk on flat land, walk hills.

As much as we are creatures of habit, we also crave novelty. It stimulates our body, mind, and spirit. Our bodies are made to move so the whole goal is to keep movement and exercise in your life. We are not made to sit and stay still for long periods of time. It just makes our muscles and joints stiffer and tighter.  Physical activity helps us to stay young and active.

I know we all know this, but yet, for most of us, finding time to work out and then sticking to it is so hard. As we all know, it takes one month to form a habit. And yet it is so easy to break it. Yet, it can be fun discipline by picking new things that will make you excited and wanting to come back.

This week to change it up, I am going to a hip hop class with a friend. I have gone before years ago to a different studio and had a blast. So we will see how this goes. If nothing else, it will be a fun way to laugh at myself.

What is a new workout you are going to try this week? How are you changing up your workout?

For those that want a good quick 30 minute workout, this week for my quick hitters here is a workout I just made up (Try making up your own workout. It is super easy to come up with and helps you play with your own creativity) .  This is also something you can do at home when you are under a time crunch.

  • 45 seconds  burpees
  • 60 seconds plank
  • 45 seconds jump lunges
  • 20 tricep dips (use a bench)
  • 60 seconds bench taps (flip over from bench and bring knees up so toes are tapping bench. Kind of like doing high knee toe taps)
  • 20 air squats
  • 10 full pushups
  • Rest 60 seconds
  • Repeat 3 times

Healthy Workout Tips for Home and Travel

My blog is about refueling your mind, soul, and body. And while I talk a lot about mind and soul….I neglect body sometimes. At least when I write. Yet taking care of my physical health is a huge piece of my life.

I travel for work and personal and keeping healthy is so important in those times as well as day to day. A few tips for those that are looking for some new ideas!

  • Check out Alexia Clarke on instagram. She shows all sorts of workouts you can do outside or at any gym (including most hotel gyms). I follow her and get new ideas for when I am traveling or even when I am home and just want to change it up.
  • Make some no bake energy bites (recipe below– Thanks Rob for the tip!!). Super easy to make, very healthy, and great for when you are on the go. I eat them when hiking or to get a little energy before a work out.
  • AM workouts. I admit that I am not a morning person and I am not always the best with this one. But the more AM workouts I get in, the better I feel. And my metabolism picks up too. So a few tricks– 1) Sign up for a class you have to pay for ahead of time. It will force you to get up if you care about the money. 2) Put your workout clothes next to your bed. 3) Pick cute workout clothes you are excited about putting on. 4) Treat yourself with a good smoothie or some sort of after workout treat to yourself.
  • Drink water, water, and more water.
  • Download a good podcast or movie to watch while you walk or work out. Something you have been excited about that will motivate you. And only allow yourself to indulge when working out. My newest podcast is Up and Vanished.
  • Buy groceries when on a full stomach and when the grocery store won’t be a choatic mess. You are more likely to be patient, pick food that is more planned out, and more healthy!
  • When traveling:
    • Pick hotels with good gyms or close to a nice park. And then take advantage of the alone travel to go to bed early and get up early to work out. Working out in the evening never works on work travel between work meals and extra time on email.
    • Pack kind bars or some sort of healthy snack.
    • Have a date night via phone with your significant other at the hotel bar. We always have a phone date while I am winding down with a glass of wine or a quick bite. Makes you feel connected while away. Not a healthy body tip but helps your mind and soul!
    • Find a good hotel with a big soaking tub. Take a bath. Let your muscles relax after a tense day.
    • Look up a local workout class you can utilize on class pass or some sort of one time drop in.
    • Download a good meditation app and take advantage of down time as you take off or land on planes by doing a 10 minute meditation.

Any other tips you have that you can share?!

no bake bites

Value of a Moment

Memory Dr Seuss quote

This quote is so true. We often don’t know how important a particular event is going to be, how much it will mean to us, and what kind of memory it will be until it is over. And are we staying in the moment? Are we present so we don’t lose that memory? Do you soak in the interaction, the laughs, the hugs, the kiss, the twinkle in someone’s eye? Or are you focused on your phone, your mood, what you need to do next, etc? Are you distracted or are you focused on the moment that will be engrained into your memory?

Some of my favorite memories are with someone I saw for the last time or that I don’t see very often anymore. And I didn’t know it at the time, but that moment with them is so important to my memories. It is a huge piece of my joy. Those moments we don’t get back and don’t fully appreciate. The quiet moments. The subtle moments.

What memories are you making this week?

Disguise

“We are so accustomed to disguising our true nature from others, that we end up disguising it from ourselves.”– La Rochefoucauld

I liked this quote when I read it. It made me think about our outside image to others. Whether that is on social media, with friends, or even at times to our family or partner.  We all do it. Hopefully that not often, but definitely on social media. We don’t share our moods with everyone on social media. We don’t share our hard times usually. If we do, it is often judged as being a bit too revealing, people eye roll, think you are crazy, or honestly just don’t want to hear it. Social media is our escape to look at the perfect pictures, fun times, and lives to be jealous of. They make us all depressed but addicted to also posting our best pictures to the best parts of our life.

And this new social media craze leaves us so disguised that do we even know ourselves? Are we so busy keeping up the facade or as my mom would say “keeping up with jones” we can loose ourselves?

We can also loose ourselves in being the perfect wife, perfect mom, perfect friend, perfect coworker or employee, etc…..that do we even know who we really are? What our passions are? What you need for yourself to keep happy? What makes you who you are? Do you know? Or are you so wrapped up in those around you and the external world that you aren’t sure?

This week’s challenge– Make sure you are connected to yourself. Take some time away from social media and the disguise. Take a date with yourself amongst the busy week. And just be real. Be yourself.

Give your self a moment to date yourself this week and get in tune with who you are.

Finding time for joy

In a time where around the world and in many parts of our own country there is so much violence and horrible acts of evil, it is important to remember there are so many wonderful people in the world. And so many wonderful things to celebrate so that evil doesn’t win. After a horrific situation in Vegas, I think it is important to remember those that are without a loved one and so many that lost their lives for a horrible nonsense reason. I also believe it is important to love a little deeper, laugh a little more, and find joy in the sadness.  After mourning, which for those affected will be a very long time, you have to figure out how to smile again so evil doesn’t win.

We all (including myself) need to make sure we find the joy still. So this weekend was about finding that joy after a sad week. I LOVE October. It is baseball postseason and my Tribe is killing it so far! So it was a fun weekend of baseball (including Nationals game against the Cubs). It was also a weekend of enjoying nature, making sure I connected with people I love,  and attending a beautiful wedding in the fall scenery of Shenandoah.  This weekend was about playing– having fun and enjoying October.

What will you do this week to make sure you find joy?

My goal for this coming week: Giving 5 random acts of kindness. To put more love and kindness into this world after last week. Who is up to match my challenge?

Pictures courtesy of my iphone… my hike

Your plan: Stop punishment for imperfections

As you end and start your next week, I wanted to remind us all that self doubt, anxiety, and fear (my theme for this week from my Monday post) can be replaced by focusing and channeling our energy on positive forward focused dreams and aspirations.

I have many wonderful people in my life that suffer from self doubt which paralyzes their ability to really go for what they want. They can speak of their future but always stop short of trying to achieve it . And so today, I hope this blog and the quotes above help give you a little nudge forward.

For me, it is about forgiving yourself, not focusing on what you can’t do but what you can. And just fake it until you make it. Keep your head in a positive place and surround yourself with people and things that also help you stay in that place. That can include friends, family members, healthy diet, and lots of natural light and nature.  If you don’t have that healthy positive environment, go find it and make sure that is a staple in your life.

Once your environment is in the right place, start to focus on letting go of judgment. When we let go of all the judgment in our life and even practice not judging others, then something shifts in our mindset. Often times we are so critical of everything: ourselves, others, and strangers. Instead, lift each other up and lift yourself up. You got this! We got this!

Look at how many people do tackle their dreams. And A LOT of the time, it is not about them being smarter or richer or better looking. It is about their attitude and energy.

You got this! We have this! Go tackle the week!

Doubt and Fear

How much of the dreams you have are not fulfilled due to doubt or fear in yourself? Do you hold back from your career ambitions? Or from making the next move in your life with a love interest, starting a family, trying a new hobby, etc?

The more and more I talk to people, doubt and fear play such a huge role in the choices people make. And it kills so many dreams. So many of the regrets people have are about what they didn’t do. And when you ask why they didn’t do it, it is usually based off a fear or doubt in themselves.

So I challenge us as we start our workweek, throw away your anxiety, doubt, and fears to live the life that you will not regret. Very rarely do the worst scenarios come true. And if they do, we survive them. And the alternative, true happiness and fulfilling dreams is SOOO worth the risk. Don’t left doubt and fear win. Let joy, dreams, and the next step be your destiny.

doubt kills more dreams