Tag Archives: life

31 Days to Better Sleep: Week Three

31-Day Sleep Challenge

Week Three: Movement and Suspension Week3 SC

1.  Move your Body:

This week we will incorporate movement into our daily routine. The goal is to get 20 minutes of exercise and increase that to 30 minutes a day. If you feel ready or are currently do 30 minutes or more, by all means go for it! But for those that haven’t been working out regularly or have a hard time to find a 20 block of time, here is what I want you to do; two 10-minute sessions. Can’t find 10 minutes? Then do four 5-minute sessions. I won’t let you excuse your way out of this!!!

Some of the amazing benefits of exercise are that it helps to control weight, improves mood and brain function, reduces stress, PROMOTE SLEEP, prevents health conditions and diseases, taps into your creativity, and so much more!!!

Some quick workouts you can do and you don’t even need to go to the gym!!

  • Brisk walks outside
  • Running up and down the stairs for 5-10 minutes
  • Squats, jumping jack, push-up sit-up, or whatever combo of exercises you like (or tolerate), and do as many reps as you can in 5-10 workout sessions
  • Rebounding on a trampoline
  • Dancing!! This one is my favorite and makes me feel so good. There is nothing like shaking it to “Pour Some Sugar on Me” to put me in a good mood! Create a play list and dance yourself into happiness!

Here are some links to other workout ideas:

http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-20201/a-10-minute-workout-you-can-do-every-day-no-equipment-necessary.html

http://www.shape.com/fitness/workouts/fast-paced-five-move-total-body-workout

http://dailyburn.com/life/fitness/10-minute-bodyweight-workouts-burn-fat/

2.  Suspend your Mind:

For your mind we are going to do the opposite of movement. We are going to slow it down and give it a chance to rest. We will incorporate a mediation practice. Now when most people think of mediation, they think of sitting cross-legged, on a big pillow, with candles and incense burning, chanting some strange language. This is not at all what I mean, but if that works for you, chant away my friend!! That is one of my favorite ways to meditate!!!

Some of the benefit of meditation are reduces stress, IMPORVES SLEEP, brain function, immunity, concentration, increase attention span, helps you feel more connected, increases self-awareness and happiness, slows aging, and so much more.

There are many ways to meditate. One of the easiest ways to start is to practice a breathing exercise. Start by closing your eyes and taking a deep breath in for the count of 5, filling your belly. Hold the breath for a count of 5, and then let it all out for a count of 5. Do this for a round of 5 breaths and practice this couple of times a day. Especially upon waking and just before going to bed.

Another way to begin to mediate is using a guided mediation. This was the key for me to establish my meditation practice. It gave me a way to keep my mind focused. Now I don’t need it, but I still love doing guided meditations. I have attached some links to some of my favorite Youtube channels that offer guided meditation. Take a moment to go through the videos and find what resonates with you. Then plug in your headphones, find a quiet comfortable spot, close your eyes and relax!

https://www.youtube.com/user/MichaelSealey

https://www.youtube.com/user/TheHonestGuys

https://www.youtube.com/user/EdensCloset

Meditation can be as simple or as elaborate as you want to make it. There are many different ways and types of meditation. I suggest by starting with these simple steps and practicing them daily. Once you get some momentum in your practice, then explore other mediation methods and techniques.

jen med.

 

Advertisements

31 Days to Better Sleep: Week Two

31-Day Sleep Challenge

 Week Two: Self-Careweek 2 sleep challenge

1.     Create a self-care ritual: This week we will add self-care to our daily routine.  Continue your morning and bedtime routine, and turning off the electronics and television 1-2 hours before bed.  Now we are going to create a self-care ritual. This can be any time during the day, but the idea is to do something that makes you feel good. Self-care are intentional actions taken to meet our physical, emotional and spiritual needs.  There are so many benefits of practicing self-care, such as reducing stress, supports a healthy immune system, reducing anxiety and depression, builds our confidence, makes us better caregivers and so much more. 

      Each day decide on one or more actions that you will take to practice self-care.  One thing I would like to point out is to do something that is completely different from what you do for work.  Or if you’re a stay at home mom, this doesn’t mean taking your kids to the movies.  That IS fun and I love doing that, but this is a chunk of time is devoted just to you.  Another example of this, I use to work in the animal welfare field and EVERYTHING I did in my life revolved around animals.  When I wasn’t rescuing them, I was walking my dog, going to an agility class, cleaning my pig’s pen, playing with my cats.  Everything involved an animal on some level.  I loved doing all that, but had I taken better care of myself during that time and given myself a break from animals, I would have been a much healthier, happier person.  And I would not have suffered as horribly as I did. 

      I have a nightly self-care ritual that I’ve done for the past 3 years.  I take a shower before bed, usually with the lights off and burn a candle, while in the shower I meditate for 5-10 minutes.  During my meditation, I think of all the wonderful things that I am grateful for and just breathe deeply (meditation can be that easy).  After showering, I apply essential oils (usually Vetiver) with massage oil and give myself a massage and think of all the things good things I did that day for myself and others and how that made me feel.  Since this challenge began, I have been turning on my Himalayan sea salt lamp and reading a book.  I’ve noticed in just a week, my sleep is better and I wake up well rested. 

Some self-care ideas:

·       Getting a massage or facial

·       Yoga

·       Mediation

·       Soak you feet in warm water and massage with essential oils

·       Paint, draw, craft, playing an instrument, etc.

·       Read a book

·       Buy yourself a healthy delicious lunch, or make yourself one.  Fill your thoughts with love and kindness as you create your meal.  Then enjoy each bite slowly.

·       Journaling

·       Go for a walk or hike

·       Dance or listen to your favorite music.  Especially something from you junior or high school days

·       Go horse back riding

·       Saying “no” to something you don’t want to do, and DON’T feel guilty.

·       Take a nap

·       Learn something new

·       Go to your favorite place and have a picnic or just sit quietly

·       Have a dinner date with your best friend

·       Turn of your phone and computer for the whole day

 

The list is endless.  Just do something that feels good to you and nourishes your soul.  Taking care of yourself first, allows you to continue to care for those that rely on you to care for them.  So give your soul a big hug and start practice daily self-care. 

To join the 31 Days to Better Sleep Challenge, join us on Facebook and see 31 Days to Better Sleep: Week One

IMG_0721

Out of this World Orange-Pineapple Juice

orange, pinapple and blueberry

Out of this World Orange-Pineapple Blueberry Juice

This morning I got up and made breakfast as I do every Sunday morning.  After Jason finished eating, he said that he wished we had orange juice.  And me, being the granter of wishes and magic, obliged.  I had 5 oranges that needed to be used up, and a pineapple that had finally ripened.

juicing w elliot

“I juice oranges Mama”

With Elliot’s help, we juiced the pineapple and oranges in our juicer.  During the juicing process, I had a wild idea to take our orange juice to a whole new level!!!! Let’s add some frozen BLUEBERRIES!!!! I transferred the orange-pineapple juice into the Vitamix and threw in about a couple of frozen blueberries.  OMG!!!! It was so good!!! Another step toward our zero waste movement!!!

taste test

Taste Test… “Mmmmm, it’s good Mama!”

Recipe:

  • 5-6 Oranges
  • 1 Pineapple
  • 1 Cup of frozen blueberries

Instructions:

Peel and cut up the oranges and pineapple and juice them in your favorite juicer.  I love my ACME Surpreme Juicerator (which was also thrifted, or I should say, rescued) 🙂 Then place the juice in the blender and add frozen blueberries. Blend until smooth and enjoy!!!!

 

family juice

Say “Juice!” A family that juice together, stays together.

A Reminder of how far I Have Come

It might not make sense that this blog is posted on a holistic living site, but it explains part of my journey to wellness and self love.

The other day I was at my favorite children’s consignment shop looking for potty training supplies. In the midst of strollers, clothes and toys, there was a woman I recognized  browsing the aisles. I was instantly taken back almost 4 years ago. It was everything in me not to run up and wrap my arms around her, but she may not have remembered me, or she may not have the same feelings I have about our past encounter.

imageYou see, in my past life I spent 15 years working in animal welfare and I met this women at the tail end of that career.   Throughout those 15 years I practiced no self-care or self-love.  I worked with every last ounce of strength, compassion and conviction I had in me advocating for animals.

After spending several years as an animal cruelty investigator, I thought the opportunity as a kennel manager at the local humane society would offer some relief and sanity in my life, but I was so wrong.

This woman at the consignment shop was one of those angels in human form, that would occasionally walk through the shelter doors to remind you that there were still good people in the world. One summer day she came to my shelter and adopted a dog that was challenging to place. The dog was a middle aged hound, with a high pray drive, very little focus or interest in people, and a loud bark.

This woman and her family took a chance on this dog.  They spoiled and lavished him with love, attention, toys, and long walks. They included him in all their family activities. After a few weeks, he became very reactive and possessive of his things and a bite occurred.  Even with training, all the love they had, and all the forgiveness in their hearts, they could not risk the safety of their children. They sadly brought him back to the shelter. My team and I conducted extensive temperament testing, and had a behavioralist work with him. Due to the severity of the situation and his history, we found it best to make the hard decision to euthanize him. We included the family in the decision, which was hard for them, my team and me.  Honestly, it would have been easier not to tell them anything. But it was the right thing to do, to give them the opportunity to grieve and have closure. This family had such grace, compassion, and forgiveness, not just for the situation but for my team and me.

During my time at the shelter I struggled with guilt and feelings of failure everyday.  Was I making the right decisions?  Was I being an effective leader for my team? Was I doing enough?  I sometimes felt I had a very different view of rescue after spending so much time as an animal control officer and cruelty investigator.  I spent many hours in the hospital photographing and taking statements from adults and children that had been severely bitten.  My job at the shelter was not only to advocate for the animals but to protect the community as well. Needless to say I was always second guessing myself, full of guilt and doubt, and could not look at myself in the mirror.  Playing God, just wasn’t what I wanted to do.

image

I left the animal welfare field a little over 3 years ago. After a lot of self care, soul searching, and healing, I am at a place that I love myself again.  I am proud of the time I spent advocating and caring for animals. Did I made mistakes? Of course!  I did the best I could do in the situation and with the resources I had.

So maybe seeing this women really wasn’t meant for me to have a face-to-face encounter, but a gentle reminder to honor my years advocating for those without voices and to continue to advocate for myself.  She was a reminder to continue to be compassionate and gentle to myself.

It doesn’t matter what career you’re in, the challenges of every day life can make you feel like your barely keeping your head above water. We all need to cut ourselves some slack and give ourselves forgiveness. We would do that for a friend, why do we find it so hard to do it for ourself?  Let go of the guilt of not being able to do it all and practice self-care on a regular basis. Self care is not something you do only on the weekends, it’s something you need to do every day in little increments. Find the things that make your soul giggle with joy and do them often. Get creative, play, dance or just take a moment of silence to honor your humanity.

Thank you to that human angel that came into my life not once, but twice. Thank you for not only taking a chance on an old shelter dog and giving him the best days of his life, but for the reminder of how far I’ve come.  I paid for my potty training supplies and walked out of the store with a bag full of elastic waisted pant and undies, a heart full of joy and a smile on my face.

image

My Biggest Boy Turns 19 Today!!!!

IMG_9808

HAPPY 19th BIRTHDAY EVAN!!!!

Nineteen years ago, I gave birth to one of the most amazing human beings on the planet.  I have had the pleasure of watching this young man grow into a smart, compassionate, kind soul. I adore the person he has become. He changed my life, has made me a better person and has filled my world with so much joy.  I couldn’t be more proud to be his mother. It’s been 19 beautiful years and I can’t wait to see where his journey takes him. I love you to the so much in the whole world Evan 😉

I wrote this poem several years ago and always post it on Evan’s birthday.  This is how I will forever see my young man.

PUDDLE JUMPING

IMG_9806

Rubber boots
Cover chubby knees
Freckles dance
On apple cheeks
Wagon full of rock and mud
Trudging through the driveway flood
Giggles explode at worms in hand
I laugh at you as on the porch I stand
Wagon pulled with dirty hands
Scooping mud into coffee cans
One last time
In the puddle you leap
Knowing mama will save you
If it’s too deep
Brown eyes twinkle
With a devilish stares
Puddle jumping in your underwear

IMG_9807

me and evan

evan and daisy