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How to Handle a Bully

It’d be nice to think that once you’re out of school, you’d be done with bullies for the rest of your life. Unfortunately, that can be far from the truth, as anyone who’s ever had a bullying boss, co-worker or friend can attest.

We all know what bullying looks like as a kid: name calling, pushing, meanness, just to name a few. But how do you know that someone is an adult bully?

Often, in the name of security and keeping the peace, we may let bullying just roll off our back. But if someone you know is a bully, they may take subtle actions such as:

  • Ignoring you – This is a form of disrespect, and aims to control you by keeping you guessing and never knowing. You make a request or ask a question, and don’t get a response.
  • Being late, or not showing up at all – Again, this is another form of disrespect, but it can sometimes have more serious consequences, such as missing an important appointment or being late for a meeting.
  • Starting rumors – The bully that starts untrue rumors is seeking to sabotage you and your reputation. Seeing you react (or overreact) to hearing lies told about yourself is what they thrive on.
  • Passive-aggressive behavior – Backwards compliments, deliberate procrastination, having to have the last word… these are all examples of passive-aggressive behavior that a bully might exhibit.

These are only a few examples of how a bully might act as an adult to control a situation. How you handle each situation is the key to taking away the bully’s power.

First and foremost, if you find yourself being bullied a lot as an adult, take a close look at whether you’re playing the victim. Due to your upbringing, you may not even realize that you’re doing it, but often, a bully will instinctively aim for the person who already has a victim mentality. If that’s you, you’ll need to learn to stand up for yourself and become more assertive in the face of the bully.

If all else fails, simply separate yourself from the bully. This may be more difficult to accomplish in a work situation, but be creative, and try to create space between you and the bully. The less you are around them, the less harm they can do.

Also, try to remember that most bullies end up that way because of low self-esteem and a fragile sense of self-worth. By asserting yourself, you take away the bullies power, and maybe… just maybe… you’ll show them that they don’t have to be that way. Don’t let bullies get in the way of your Best Lyfe!

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4 Strategies for Fostering Inner Peace Now

Inner peace is just one key element in your Best Lyfe Ever.

Inner peace goes beyond personal needs or goals for oneself – it’s a major contributing factor to cultivating peace in the world. How can we focus on peace for the world if we can’t find peace for ourselves? That starts with the individual, so when you make strides toward achieving inner peace, you’re really contributing on a much larger level. Feels like a big responsibility, right?

Let’s not look at it as a responsibility but as a privilege. It’s a wonderful thing to be able to contribute by working on yourself. What are you waiting for? Let’s get started on cultivating inner peace with these five strategies!

  • Learn how to be mindful

Mindfulness is all about paying attention on purpose. It allows us to focus fully on the one thing we truly have. This moment. Developing a mindfulness practice helps us to stop living on autopilot, staying stuck in the past, or worrying about the future. It sounds like a simple concept. And it is. But it’s not easy. The good news is though that in each moment, you have the chance to be mindful again. Taking up this one practice will literally change your life.

  • Don’t take things too personally

You’re focusing on yourself, but you shouldn’t be internalizing. There’s a huge difference there. If you find yourself insulted easily, try to remember that it’s not a reflection on you. The person who was grouchy at you may have just had a rough day or fought with their spouse this morning. The truth is, people rarely think about us as much as we believe they do.

  • Be still

It’s hard to be still and fully present. It’s do-able, though. And peace is found in the trying or practicing. Take time to sit on a beach or the grass outside, maybe at your local park. Instead of looking at all the people passing by and watching where they go, just sit still. Maybe you’ll want to close your eyes. Just let people pass by like clouds in the sky. You’re being present and refraining from overthinking. Enjoy the sensations of the wind blowing your hair and the sun on your face. Hear people talking without getting caught up in what they are saying. When your mind rushes ahead or wonders why a child is crying, just bring it back to your breath. You’ll find yourself smiling without even thinking about it. Now, that is inner peace.

  • Let your actions speak louder than words

This tip leads us back to where we started – cultivating peace in the world by finding it in ourselves. When you’ve found a sense of inner peace, you will naturally want to share it with others. You’ll want nothing more than to show others that peace isn’t as elusive as we believe in our fast-paced modern world. You spread peace by being kind, compassionate, and loving to others. Allow the peace you feel within fill the space and the people around you by the way you behave.

So sit back and listen to that inner peace and intuition. What is it telling you? Define your Best Lyfe starting today.

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Yoga for Insomnia

I don’t know what I did before yoga. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a hardcore yogi but I certainly have days when I need yoga in my life. It helps me relax, stretches muscles I haven’t used in a long time or clears my head.

Yoga is the perfect natural cure for insomnia. The more you do it, the better you become at it and the greater effect it has on your entire being. Yoga works wonders for the body, mind and spirit. Even if you’re never done yoga before, you can jump right in with a short series of poses that are meant to relax, de-stress and prepare the body for a good night’s sleep.

Next time you’re faced with a bout of insomnia, try this series of yoga poses to ensure a deeper and more restful sleep.

Begin with a sacral massage. Lie on your back on the floor with your arms and legs out straight. Press your hands into the floor firmly but gently and pull your pelvis inward so that you are pressing the small of your back into the floor. Take several deep, slow breaths. Slowly pull your legs toward you until you are hugging your knees into your chest. Take a deep breath in, then let it out gradually. Rock back and forth from side to side, breathing gently and deeply.

Next, go into a shoulder stand.

You are still on your back, with your knees pulled in. Now you will slowly lift your feet up into the air. Place your elbows against the floor and put your hands on each side of your waist. With one swift but gentle movement, lift your pelvis off the floor with legs still straight up. Pull your waist inward as you take deep, slow breaths and point your heels skyward.

Continue to strongly support your waist with your hands as you reach your feet overhead and focus on straightening your torso with waist sucked in gently. This pose can be challenging for beginners. If you can’t seem to steady your torso so that everything is in alignment from your shoulders all the way to your feet, that’s okay.

This pose feels wonderful even if yours needs a little practice. It allows the blood to flow to the liver and other organs, and works against gravity. There is a modified version of shoulder stand where the waist is slightly bent but the feet are still up in the air, with shoulders and elbows supporting. Feel free to try this less strenuous version. Shoulder stand, like all of the inverted yoga poses, is highly relaxing and restorative to the body.

Move into Plough pose.

Shoulder stand flows easily into plough pose, which is another somewhat challenging position that comes with great relaxation and restoration benefits. From shoulder stand where your legs are in the air, pull your legs in toward your body as you gently bring your waist back to the floor to a flat-back position. Breathe deeply. Tuck your arms underneath your back as you open the chest and shoulder area for a strong posture. Pull your legs over your head and then behind you. They are out straight. Your toes are reaching for a spot on the floor behind you. Your shoulders are engaged, head tucked into your chest, and your arms are behind your back. You’re making a tipped L shape with your body. You are breathing slowly and deeply, and your throat and thyroid are receiving a nice massage by being constricted in this fashion. Hold this pose for several breaths.

The next pose after Plough is bridge.

Slowly raise your legs and unfold your body until you have returned to a supine position (lying on your back with legs straight out. In the last pose, you had your arms at your side and then tucked them under to hold a strong shoulder posture. You’ll be doing this again for bridge pose, only this time you’re going to do a backbend. So, breathing slowly and deeply, place your arms at either side of your body and tuck them under you a bit. Bracing yourself by firmly planting fee on the floor, raise your pelvis off the floor, keeping arms engaged for support. Raise your backside into the air as high as it will go. Breathe deeply and try to relax into this challenging pose. Bridge is similar to Wheel pose or a backbend, except that instead of using your feet and hands to support you, you use your feet and arms.

Relax your spine after that series of stretches, with Inverted Child’s Pose. Once you’ve breathed through a good strong bridge pose, you’ll want to give your back and neck a few moments to relax and allow the blood and healing oxygen to flow through your body. So take your waist back down to the floor and slowly bring your feet in to hug them. Give yourself a good, firm squeeze while breathing deeply. You can also repeat the sacral massage, is this is a good way to realign after that challenging series.

Move into Lotus pose/neck stretches.

Photo by Elly Fairytale on Pexels.com

Slowly go from the inverted child’s pose and sacral massage to the lotus position. You’ll need to sit up for this. Do it with slow, deliberate but calm movements. Bring your feet in toward your pelvis to the “butterfly” position. You should be cupping your ankles with your hands as you sit up tall and strong. Legs are open and knees are bent. Firmly push your sit bones (pelvis) into the floor. This is very grounding, and allows the energy to flow to your reproductive organs. Still clasping your ankles with your hands, move your legs slowly up and down as though you’re a butterfly fluttering its wings. Continue to take deep breaths while maintaining a strong upright posture. When you’re ready, take your neck into some gentle stretches. Put your chin to your chest and squeeze your throat area. Tip your head all the way back to feel the stretch in the front of your neck. Move your head toward the right shoulder, slowly. Now the left. Next, make slow circles with your head, moving slowly, gentle and mindfully. Take plenty of deep breaths. When you constrict, you should be breathing in. When you stretch, you should be releasing air from the lungs.

While in lotus, do neck slow neck stretches: forward and back, side to side, around to the right and left, and then rotate your neck slowly in a circle to the left and right.

Locust pose.

Locust pose gives a massage to the pelvic region including the reproductive organs. Begin in the prone position, lying on your stomach on the floor with legs out straight behind you. Hands are planted firmly against the floor, pushing down, also at your sides. Begin by taking a deep breath in and pulling in your waist to elongate your spine. This is the opposite of arching your back.

Breathe again, and now shift at the waist so that you are arching, hands still firmly engaged into the floor at both sides. Move into an arched position, and work on pushing into your pelvic bones so that your legs, still straight out behind you, lift off the floor. Your arms can either be in a “superman” flying position facing forward, or you can put them straight out behind you alongside of your legs. The focus is to keep the legs and arms lifted while grounding the pelvis into the floor. Continue to breathe for several counts. This is one of the more challenging poses in this relaxing series.

Locust moves easily into cobra.

Here, you are allowing your legs to rest as they splay out behind you. Meanwhile, you are lifting the front of your body, rising from waist to shoulders, head poised in an “attacking cobra” position. Arms are at your sides with palms placed flat on the floor. You will push off from the palms of the hands and send your energy out through the ends of your feet and your mouth. Breathe from your pelvic region. This is a triumphant pose that brings blood flow to the reproductive organs.

Ease into cat and cow (go back and forth between these several times), then rest in child pose.

Once you finish Cobra, you can get on your hands and knees (as if you were scrubbing the floor) for some cat and cow stretches. These do wonders for the spine. This is basically slow, relaxed and controlled arching and rounding of your back. Involve your neck and shoulders as you alternate between cat and cow. Breathe in on cat and out on cow. Take your time. Breathe steadily. Be mindful of the stretch and how good it makes you feel. End by tucking your head and hugging your knees, essentially rolling yourself into a ball as in child’s pose. You can also do child’s pose where your knees are pulled in but you stretch out your arms

Down facing dog may be considered challenging initially.

However, the more you do it, the stronger your arms become and the easier and more effective this pose gets. To do it from child’s pose, you’ll want to remain in the prone position but then go into a “pushup” position with your hands on either side of your body and your midsection lifted. Then raise your backside into the air, keeping hands and feet engaged and strong, pressing into the floor. Dogs do this stretch naturally. For humans, the pose detoxifies the body. Stay fluid as you breathe through the stretch, allowing your body to arch and then come back to center. Hold this pose for a count of six breaths.

Down facing dog:

Photo by Polina Tankilevitch on Pexels.com

Take your down dog into plank position. This is where you go into a pushup position, but instead of pushing against the floor to raise and lower your body, you simply stay still and hold the pose. Arms are slightly bent at the elbow, hands and tips of toes engaged and pushing into the floor. Breathe, and focus on keeping abdominals taut. You can even imagine the energy flowing outward toward your toes, via straightened legs. Hold this pose for six breaths.

Plank pose:

Photo by Elly Fairytale on Pexels.com

Switch between downward facing dog and plank pose a few times – you’ll may notice your back cracking and it feels wonderful.

Now move from plank into forward fold. To do this, pull your backside up as you would in downward dog, but the idea is to walk your feet forward toward your hands, then rise your torso up until you are standing. You may have to shift yourself slightly or maybe even do a little hop to get there. That’s okay. Feet are hip-width apart. If you’re good at making the transition from downward dog to forward fold, you can swoop your arms out and upward (i.e. “spreading your wings”) so that you are standing upright as you reach for the sky as high as you can go. This provides a great spine alignment and stretch. Move slowly and steadily. Then, “swan dive” into forward fold by sweeping your arms out, bending your body in half at the waist and reaching for your toes.

Forward fold:

Photo by Elly Fairytale on Pexels.com

Finish in a seated position for one last lotus pose, or the butterfly wings motion. Posture is lifted. Waist pulled in. Pelvis grinding down into the floor as feet push together with legs open. Clasp your feet with your hands. Open and close your legs slowly. Breathe deeply.

Lotus pose again:

Finish with a corpse pose.

This where you swing your legs around and then go from sitting to laying on your back. Place arms at your sides. You may put a blanket over you if you tend to become chilled during this final relaxation. Close your eyes. Breathe slowly and evenly. Focus on keeping your body perfectly still, breathing through your diaphragm. If you fall asleep that’s okay.

Corpse pose:

Photo by Elly Fairytale on Pexels.com

Drink Water

When finished with your yoga sequence, drink a couple of big glasses of water or herbal tea. Say goodbye to tension and hello to rest, relaxation, balance and healing. Sleep well, friend. Enjoy your Best Lyfe.

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Digestive Balance and the Ability to Absorb the Vitamins in Your Food

Sometimes we take all the supplements or feel like we’re doing the right things but we’re still not getting all the benefits of certain vitamins and minerals. As you know though in our search for our Best Lyfe Ever, we never want to do things that are not all the way in.

Some people may be deficient in certain vitamins and minerals due to something called leaky gut syndrome. This is where food allergies have caused inflammation of the lining of the stomach and digestive tract. The tiny cracks that line the stomach which allow food to pass through and be absorbed by the small intestine become larger, resulting in food particles entering the bloodstream where the body then perceives these as attacking it and sends out white blood cells as a defense. This results in inflammation or swelling of the affected area, which impacts digestion and absorption of necessary vitamins in a negative way.

Other Factors That May Hinder the Body’s Ability to Absorb Nutrition from Food:

Lack of good bacteria in the digestive tract and lining of the stomach, as a result of excess sugar intake, too many rounds of antibiotics, alcohol use, and stress. The good news is that these beneficial bacteria can be replenished by way of probiotic foods such as bananas, yogurt, garlic and onions, raw cheeses, and fermented foods such as tofu, soy sauce, pickles and sauerkraut.

Eating too fast and not chewing food thoroughly. The longer food is in the mouth and being masticated to tiny bits, the more likely a person will be able to fully absorb its vitamin makeup and benefit from the nutritional value. Saliva contains enzymes that help break down the composition of your food so that you can digest it completely. Chewing further helps this process along.

Too many processed foods and not enough whole foods. Processed foods are exposed to extremely high heat to prolong their shelf life and make them more portable and easy to prepare. Anything that has had the liquid extracted from it (think powdered soups, gravies, even juices) is probably nutritionally inferior. Consider the destruction of delicate enzymes and amino acids that assist us in deriving the necessary nutrition from said food.

Eating the wrong food combinations. Foods that are strategically combined afford the best potential for obtaining the full nutritional benefit. For example, green vegetables are great but your body will be able to use them even better if you combine with a healthy oil such as olive, an acid such as vinegar or lemon, and an aromatic such as garlic.

Cooking (or not cooking). Lightly cooking some foods (such as cruciferous vegetables like broccoli) is said to help them be processed more easily by partially breaking them down. On the other hand, something like oranges and lemons pack the biggest nutritional punch if served fresh and uncooked.

In the end this is just one step in living your Best Lyfe Ever. Nothing replaces a healthy diet and lifestyle. I can never express this enough. Eat the right foods and move your body! But don’t forget to breathe also! Enjoy your Best Lyfe!

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7 Low-Carb Hacks to Help You Feel Full All Day

Trying to live your Best Lyfe Ever but also enjoy food? One of the biggest concerns that you may have about the low-carb diet is staying full. Without a large quantity of carbohydrates to fill your meals, you may wonder if you will feel hungry.

Try these tips to avoid that low-carb hunger:  

  1. Ground almond flour. Instead of using regular flour, switch to ground almond flour for your meals. I am not a total fan of almonds and in fact I despise Almond milk but I use almond flour all the time to make some of my favorite treats such as gluten free brownies (no one has any idea).
  • This low-carb hack is filled with protein, and you’ll feel full while using it.
  • You can make a variety of items with almond flour, such as pancakes, muffins, or bread. Almond flour is versatile and filling, so you won’t miss regular flour.
  1. Cauliflower rice. Did you know that you can use cauliflower as a substitute for mashed potatoes? Ok… Let’s keep it real though. It doesn’t taste anything close to regular rice but with the right spices and seasonings, it can be very good.
  • Cauliflower is a healthier choice than regular potatoes and is considered a lower carbohydrate vegetable. You can grind up and mash cauliflower to make mashed flakes.
  • You can also use ground up cauliflower as rice and create a pizza crust from it. Top the pizza with your favorites. I recommend buying it precut to save time. I tried grinding it once and it was not worth the time and aggravation it took if you ask me.
  1. Spiralized vegetables. A spiralizer is a simple kitchen tool that you can use to make vegetables into tiny strips that resemble noodles. If you don’t have one, then you can use a sharp knife to cut up the veggies into small strips or you can hack like me and buy them pre-cut. Many local grocery stores have them pre-cut now or you can find frozen varieties.
  • This low-carb hack lets you make your own healthy pasta and noodles.
  • Zucchini tends to be the most popular vegetable to spiralize in the kitchen. However, you can also experiment with eggplant, peppers, and other veggies. I love spiralized butternut squash! The key is to pick a firm one that can be cut into little pieces with ease.
  1. Lettuce wraps. One of the easiest low-carb hacks is to make wraps or tortillas with lettuce instead of flour items.
  • Wrap your favorites such as meat, vegetables, and salsa in a lettuce wrap to reduce the carbohydrates.
  • The wraps will still taste delicious, but they’ll have lower calories and more nutritional value. You don’t have to stick with iceberg lettuce and may want to try other varieties as you experiment in the kitchen. You can even use cabbage leaves to make the wraps.
  1. Vegetable chips. Regular potato chips won’t work on a low-carb diet, but vegetable chips you make yourself at home are fine.
  • Bake your chips in the oven and serve them with sea salt, olive oil, or spices.
  • You can make vegetable chips from zucchini, eggplant, squash, and other foods. Pick your favorites and cut them into bite-size pieces. Kale, spinach, and sweet potatoes all taste delicious as baked chips.
  1. Use citrus flavor. Lemons and limes make great low-carb substitutes for traditional salad dressings and sauces that may have too many calories. A squeeze of lemon or lime can add instant flavor to a salad, soup, casserole, or other dish. A simple olive oil and lemon dressing with a bit of salt and pepper is my favorite on a salad!
  • You don’t have to worry about carbs with this flavor option. Experiment with it in the kitchen and try adding it to different dishes.
  1. Be creative. The key to staying satisfied on a low-carb diet is to think of creative ways to use the healthy ingredients in your kitchen. A simple tomato and lettuce can turn into a fun meal with the right low-carb sauce. I personally love Primal Kitchen products! They have great unsweetened versions of basics like ketchup and salad dressings!
  • Don’t be afraid to try new vegetables, nuts, or seeds on a low-carb diet.

A low-carb diet doesn’t have to be boring or unsatisfying. Use these tips every day to feel full and happy while eating low-carb. A low carb diet could be just one hack to living your Best Lyfe Ever!

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10 Tips to Heal Your Gut

You can’t be much healthier than your gut is. It’s only been recently discovered just how important gut health is to overall health.

You have a lot of cells in your body – roughly 37.2 trillion! But you actually have far more bacteria: about 10 times as many. You have more bacteria in your body than you do human cells. These bacteria are predominately in your digestive tract.

The health and composition of these bacteria are pivotal to your overall health. These bacteria are necessary to digest and absorb nutrients. They also synthesize vitamins and provide some immunity from the flu virus and other unwanted invaders.

Over the last few years I have dealt with chronic urticaria. 6 doctors, no answers. It wasn’t until I started to focus on the gut did these go away. There are often many signs your body is giving you like hives to tell you there is something deep in your gut going on.

What you choose to eat and drink has the greatest impact on the flora, or gut bacteria, in your body.

 

These strategies will help you heal your gut and your body:

  1. Consider taking probiotics. Much of your digestive system consists of the flora, or bacteria, that live in your gut. There are foods that contain these healthy bacteria, but you can also consume them in pill form. Probiotics are a great way to improve your gut health.
  2. Chew your food thoroughly. The more you chew your food, the easier it is to digest. When you chew your food thoroughly, you increase the amount of surface area your digestive juices are able to attack. This creates far less stress for your digestive system to deal with.
  3. Eat a healthy diet. Eating unhealthy food is bad for every part of your body, including your gut. Maximize your health by eating the healthiest possible diet.
  4. Adjust your fiber intake. While most people need to eat more fiber to have a healthier gut, there are a few people that would do well to eat less. The recommendation from the medical community is 25-35 grams per day.
  5. Relax! Stress is hard on every part of your body, and that includes your gut. Minimizing the amount of stress in your life can do wonders for your overall health. Either remove the sources of your stress or learn how to relax in spite of the stress in your life.
  6. Sleep. Your overall health, including your gut health, improves when you get enough sleep. Most people in our society could stand to get another hour or two of sleep each night. If you’re not getting at least seven hours each night, you need more sleep.
  7. Reduce sugar intake. Sugar is considered by many scientists to be a toxin. It can be damaging to all the cells of your body. Artificial sweeteners aren’t a great substitute. Certain types of bad bacteria in your gut are able to consume various artificial sweeteners and become too prevalent in your body.
  8. Eat fermented foods. Fermented foods are essentially probiotics in food form. Yogurt and sauerkraut are two of the most common examples. Miso, kefir, tempeh, pickles, and kimchi are other options. Eat more fermented foods, and your gut will thank you.
  9. Try a plant-based diet. Many people struggle with meat and dairy products. You might find that your digestive system feels and behaves better when you focus on plant-based foods.
  10. Consume bone broth. Bone broth is made by boiling bones and connective tissues. You can purchase bone broth in the store, but the best broth is made at home. There are plenty of recipes available online. It’s very easy to make, but time consuming. I cheat by putting mine in the crockpot for 24 hours. It can be quite tasty if seasoned properly.

 

If you haven’t been paying attention to your gut health, you’re not as healthy as you could be. What you eat and drink has the greatest impact on your gut health. Not only does the food you eat impact the health of every cell in your body, but it also affects the bacteria in your digestive tract.

When your bacteria are healthy, you’ll be much healthier, too! This is just one step in the journey to your Best Lyfe!

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A 5-Minute Guide to Bedtime Meditation

Trying to live your Best Lyfe? Even if you’re careful about sticking to a regular bedtime, you may need to do more than that to get a restful night’s sleep. Otherwise, you could be lying still in your bed, but you’re still wide awake because your mind is racing.

Meditation could be the answer if concerns about your health, finances, or other issues are keeping you up.

Mindfulness practices can increase the quality and quantity of your sleep. Learn how to make bedtime meditation work for you.

Preparing for Bedtime Meditation

Create an environment and mindset conducive to contemplation. Preparing for bedtime meditation is similar to preparing for sleep in many ways.

Doing these activities will help you wind down:

  1. Slow down. If you’ve been rushing around much of the day, relax and quiet your mind. Put aside stressful subjects and tasks. Read a book or work on a soothing hobby.
  2. Turn off devices. Did you know how much blue light has an impact on your sleep? Bright screens and action movies stimulate your brain, making it harder to fall asleep. Power down your phone and computer. If you feel like you absolutely need try a pair of glasses like these cool blue light blocking glasses to filter out the blue light.
  3. Block out noise. What about noisy neighbors and car alarms? Turn on a fan or put in your ear plugs.
  4. Eat light. Heavy meals and spicy food can also make it difficult to drift off. If you need a snack, make it small and nutritious, like a handful of nuts or a glass of warm milk.
  5. Draw a bath. Soaking in a warm tub is a great way to relax. It will also raise your body temperature, which helps to prepare you for sleep. I love taking a bath with Epsom salts to help calm the body and slow down.
  6. Dress comfortably. Sleep and meditation call for similar wardrobe choices. Wear loose-fitting pajamas or other soft clothing made from natural fibers.

 

Methods and Subjects for Bedtime Meditation

You may be used to staying alert during daytime meditation. However, it’s okay to give yourself permission to fall asleep during your nighttime sessions.

Try these ideas for easing yourself into pleasant dreams:

  1. Scan your body. This is my favorite way to fall asleep especially if it’s a rough night falling asleep. Explore your body from head to toe. Check for any areas of tension that you can release by imagining that you are bathing them in warm and healing light.
  2. Listen to podcasts. Guided meditation can be especially useful for beginners. Browse online for resources like the Plum Village app or Headspace. My personal favorite is Balance.
  3. Follow your breath. Your meditation can be as simple as focusing on your breath. Inhale through your nose. Feel the air filling and lifting your stomach and chest. Relax and release the air gently through your mouth.
  4. Chant and sing. Find a mantra to repeat silently or out loud. Invent your own wording or read some inspirational literature for ideas.
  5. Learn yoga nidra. There’s a style of yoga just for sleep. Yoga nidra literally means yogic sleep, and it describes a state between wakefulness and sleep. Take classes at a local studio or online to master the techniques.
  6. Pick an object. Placement meditation can help you to calm your thoughts by holding your attention on an idea or mental image. If your mind wanders, gently bring it back. You’ll gradually build your concentration and feel more peaceful.
  7. Express gratitude. There are many beneficial objects you can choose from for placement meditation. Thankfulness is an excellent choice for bedtime. Review your day to remember the acts of kindness you received and generate warm and happy feelings.
  8. Practice your faith. Meditation is a tool that can be used to practice any kind of religious, spiritual, or personal beliefs. Adapt your bedtime rituals to serve your own purpose and needs.

 

Fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer with a bedtime meditation practice. Your nights will be more peaceful, and your days will be more restful when you use mindfulness to increase your mental and physical wellbeing. This is just one step in the creation of your Best Lyfe!

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Create your Best Lyfe Vision Board and Reach Your Goals

Ok so make fun of me as some people do. It’s all good. I know how much my vision board has helped me create my reality and my Best Lyfe Ever. A vision board can be a wonderful tool for reminding yourself about your goals each day. One of the most challenging parts of achieving goals is sticking with them. It’s easy to become distracted, lose hope, or even forget about them. A vision board is a solution for all of these challenges.

Regular use of a vision board keeps your goals fresh in your mind. Using a vision board also associates positive feelings with the achievement of your goals.

Nearly anything can serve as a vision board. Ideally, your vision board will be portable enough to carry with you. Then you can use it at any time. Poster board, cardboard, or even a spare wall can suffice. You might choose to use a notebook.

Create a vision board that works:

  1. Decide on your goals. This is often the most challenging part. For best effect, limit yourself to a few goals. Perhaps your goals are a fit body, a new car, and a vacation to Hawaii. It’s up to you. What excites you?

  2. Locate images that depict or symbolize the future you’d like to achieve. A picture is worth 1,000 words. There are plenty of sources for images: photographs, magazines, the internet, and more.
  • Find pictures that best represent the goals you wish to achieve. If you’re striving for a new car, find the exact model and color. When you look at the photo, you should get the same feeling you get when you think about the goal.

 

  1. Choose the best words to go on your vision board. A suitable word might be “Porsche” or “Honolulu.” Also consider how you’ll feel when the goal is achieved: “Excited,” “Grateful,” “Proud.” What qualities will you need to achieve these goals? “Committed,” “Powerful,” or maybe “Optimistic.”

 

  1. Mount the words and photos on your vision board. Get out your scissors, glue, or tape. Arrange everything in a way that pleases you.

 

The creation of a vision board is fun, simple, and easy. You might even enjoy the process.

Using your vision board is just as important as creating it:

  1. Keep your vision board where you’ll see it at least twice each day. On the nightstand is a great location. You’ll see it in the morning and at night. If you’re comfortable doing so, you could mount it on the bathroom mirror. I have mine on my wall in my sitting room. I can see it every morning and night when I meditate.
  2. Spend a few minutes each morning using your vision board. This can set the tone for the rest of your day. Reminding yourself of your goals each morning will point your brain in the right direction. You’ll see opportunities to help make your dreams come true. It’s then your job to seize those opportunities.
  • Look at each word and picture on the board. Take your time and visualize having those things in your life.
  1. Using your vision board before bed is just as important. Your brain is highly active while you sleep. You brain spends all night churning away, trying to find solutions to your requests. Give your brain the information it needs.Look at the items on your vision board and imagine possessing them. Experience how that feels.
  • Part of your brain will spend all night trying to make your vision board a reality.

 

Create a vision board and use it every day. I think this is one of the most important steps in creating your Best Lyfe. It’s not magic, though it sure seems that way. Keep your goals fresh in your mind by using your vision board twice each day.Give it a few months and see for yourself how well it works. Post some pictures or comments below about what is on your Vision Board.

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Overcome Burnout and Rejuvenate Your Mind, Body, and Spirit

Oh I’ve been there. How do you think Best Lyfe Ever got started? Things are tough at work, and they’re not going much better at home. You’re stressed, you can’t sleep, and your dog ran away from home. Sometimes, it just seems like there aren’t enough hours in the day.

It can be hard to stop the negative thought patterns that only serve to make you feel even worse.

Stress is a part of life, but there are times it can get completely out of hand. When life seems too hard to handle, it’s time to take back some control. Luckily, there are many ways to accomplish this.

Use these ideas to put mental and physical burnout behind you:

  1. Clean up your diet. I know it may not be easy but… When you’re feeling burned out, it can help to eat a healthier diet. Junk food creates more stress and load for your body to deal with. Cutting back on your calories and providing quality nutrition to your body can make a positive difference. Reaching for the junk food when it feels comforting is only hurting in the long run. 
  2. Get more sleep. Working harder or longer isn’t a solution for your burnout. Sometimes, the best option is to call it a night a couple of hours earlier than normal and get some extra rest. Allow yourself to sleep in on the weekends if you need to. Take naps. Rest helps. 
  3. Avoid caffeine. Caffeine is the last thing you need if you’re feeling frazzled. Caffeine stimulates your body and your mind. It can create more challenges than it solves. 
  4. Meditate. Meditation, listening to relaxing music, praying, or anything else that relaxes your mind can be beneficial. Avoid ruminating over the challenges in your life. Your brain doesn’t get a break unless you create one.
  5. Give yourself a change of scenery. It’s easy to get stuck in a rut when the scenery never changes. Being in the same couple of places day after day can limit your perspective and close your mind to the many possibilities that are open to you. Take a weekend and go camping.
  6. Spend time with people you genuinely like. This has been shown to be one of the best ways to recover from mental burnout. Spending time with someone that makes you smile and feel relaxed can be the best medicine.
  7. Evaluate your life. Consider how you came to be in this situation. Do you need to make some changes at work, a different job, or a more satisfying relationship? Could it help you to speak to a professional? What needs to happen to prevent the same situation from happening again? 
  8. Avoid starting anything new. You already have enough on your plate. Avoid adding even more! Get a handle on your current situation first. Taking on more responsibilities will be challenging during this time.
  9. Laugh. Laughing will always make you feel better. Who’s your funniest friend? What’s the funniest movie you’ve ever seen? How can you make yourself laugh? A night of laughter will give you a mental reset and put you in a better position to handle the challenges in your life.

Taken too far, burnout can become a serious issue. There are many mental and physical health issues that are caused, or made worse, by stress.

It will benefit you to make managing your physical and mental health a priority. When you’re feeling burned out, take it seriously. Do what you need to do to feel like yourself again. Address your mind, body, and spirit. Start to visualize your Best Lyfe Ever. That’s just the first step before putting it into action. Need help creating it, that’s what I’m here for…

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8 Tips to Boost Your Immune System

I feel in the time that we are in with Covid-19, it’s important to talk about a healthy immune system. You might be sabotaging your immune system without even know it. Many common lifestyle habits can have a negative effect on the health of your immune system. How can you live your Best Lyfe if you may not be in the best health?

A poor immune system can leave you more vulnerable to illnesses like the common cold and the flu, and even contribute to the development of cancer and other serious diseases.

Replacing bad habits with healthy habits can bolster the strength and effectiveness of your immune system.

Consider where you could implement healthier, immune-boosting habits:

  1. Moderate exercise of only 30 minutes a day increases several factors in the immune system. The most important of these is your leukocyte count. These are the cells that fight infection.
  • Sitting at a desk all day increases the odds of catching common ailments. Go to the gym or get out and take a brisk walk every day.
  1. Avoid being overweight. Excess bodyweight greatly increases the likelihood of developing diseases like cancer, heart disease, and diabetes. Studies have also shown that being overweight has a negative impact on the immune system.
  2. Watch your diet. Excess sugar consumption has a negative effect on immune system’s effectiveness when dealing with bacteria. This effect can be seen after the consumption of as little as 75 grams of sugar and continues for at least a few hours.
  • On the other hand, foods that are high in antioxidants and other nutrients boost the immune system. The best way to get all of these nutrients is by eating fruits and vegetables. Ideally, fill at least half your plate with vegetables.
  1. Reduce stress. We’re all faced with a certain amount of stress in our lives. A small amount of stress is actually good for our health. However, excessive, chronic stress has a very negative impact on immune system health.
  • Have you ever noticed you only get sick when you’re overstressed? When you’re stressed, you become much more likely to develop a variety of illnesses.

 

  1. Laughing is great for you. It decreases the level of stress hormones in your body. It also increases a specific type of white blood cell. Even the anticipation of experiencing something humorous has a very positive effect on the immune system.

  2. Avoid social isolation. A strong social network is a great boost to both your mental and physical health. Your immune system is especially affected. 
  • Those with strong social connections and many close friends have a higher level of immunity than those that feel socially isolated.
  • The feeling of loneliness can actually affect the way genes behave.
  • While this can be hard in the times of social distancing, there are things you can do.
    • Create a FaceTime or Zoom chat – have a girls night!
    • Stay connected with those you live with. Build stronger connections or simply go out for a walk with the family. Get fresh air!
    • Talk to your neighbors from across the fence or street
    • Help your community through shopping for people who are more vulnerable
  1. Get enough sleep. Most adults require 7 to 9 hours of sleep to maintain good health. A lack of sleep can increase the likelihood of getting sick.
  • Insomnia can increase inflammation in the body, which inhibits your immune system’s responsiveness.
  1. Practice relaxation techniques. Since chronic stress decreases immune system function, learning relaxation techniques will help return your immune system to healthy state.
  • Experiments have shown that regular meditation has a positive impact on your immune system.
  • Try Breathwork! It’s amazing how your breath can change your life. Simply breathing the proper way can change a persons demeanor.

Boosting your immune system is one of the most important things you can do for your health. It has a significant impact on longevity. Consider how many people die from the flu and other common ailments, especially as they age and their immune system function decreases.

You’ll also notice that these tips will enhance your overall well-being, as well as helping your immune system. Eating better, sleeping more, exercising, and relaxing will make you feel better every day. You’re going to like the way you feel! It’s just one step on your way to your Best Lyfe Ever!

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A Humorous Road to Personal Growth

Personal growth can be challenging, but it can also be a lot of fun. You may even reach your goals sooner if you learn to lighten up. How would it be to learn to live your Best Lyfe if you didn’t have a little fun along the way?

Numerous studies support the conclusion that laughter is powerful medicine. However, just like any drug, it’s important to follow the directions to avoid unwanted side effects. Find out how to use humor skillfully, so it will enrich your life.

Appreciating the Benefits of Humor:

  1. Live healthier. Research shows that laughter can lower your blood pressure and heart rate, strengthen your immune system, and burn calories. It also releases endorphins that may help you to fight depression.

  2. Boost your popularity. A quick look at dating profiles will prove that a sense of humor is a very attractive quality. A lighthearted approach may also be useful for resolving conflicts and delivering feedback. Some business schools even teach humor as part of developing leadership ability.

  3. Reduce stress. Have you ever experienced relief when your boss cracks a joke when tensions are rising due to heavy workloads? Humor often drives away anger and fear.

  4. Increase your resilience. The mental and physical health benefits of humor can help you through ordinary days and difficult times. Hardships are easier to bear when you can recognize the irony in the situation.

Cultivating Your Sense of Humor:

  1. Be kind. Tasteless jokes and ridiculing others are more likely to get you fired than promoted. You want to generate the kind of humor that creates social bonds and takes a playful view of life.

  2. Smile more. Start out by looking friendly and approachable. Smiling at others will give you more opportunities to have fun.

  3. Hang out. Surround yourself with family and friends who know how to enjoy themselves. Laughter is contagious. Sharing routine activities can be just as diverting as jokes and pranks.

  4. Act silly. You could be missing out on joyful experiences because you’re worried about looking foolish. In reality, you’ll probably earn more respect by letting go of your need for approval and behaving more authentically.

  5. Think creatively. What can you learn from a comedy writer’s brain? MRI scans show higher levels of activity in the temporal lobe where spontaneous associations are made. Try new things and trust your instincts.

  6. Take risks. Being funny may require sharing your thoughts and feelings. You can start small in situations where you feel safe, like with your family or chatting online.

  7. Fake it. What if you’re having trouble finding anything funny? Even simulated laughter can lift your spirits. Pretend to chuckle and feel it turn into the real thing.

  8. Play with kids. Children are an excellent source of inspiration. Listen to their stories and join their games. Your dog may be willing to share some pointers too.

  9. Watch videos. As long as you have an internet connection, you can access a wide variety of amusing content. Watch cats shredding toilet paper or senior citizens disco dancing.

  10. Use props. Laughter is more effective when you practice on a daily basis. Keep objects around that will remind you to take a break. Decorate your office desk with windup toys. Hang a set of oversized forks and spoons in your kitchen.

  11. Shift your perspective. Almost anything can be humorous if you change the way you look at yourself and your world. Look for the entertainment value in parent teacher conferences and garbage strikes. Emotional intelligence depends on striking a balance between humor and seriousness.

Enjoy the lyfe! This is the only one we will get. Laugh your way to greater happiness, health, and success. Using humor kindly and responsibly can help you to heal and fulfill your true potential. What is your true potential? Decide today what your Best Lyfe Ever looks like.

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Follow a Mediterranean Diet to Lose Weight and live your Best Lyfe

I love to keep everyone informed on what I’m doing to keep and live my BEST LYFE. Lately we have had a lot of talk around following a Mediterranean diet and lifestyle. We recently read the Blue Zones book and have been following Dan Buettner. What I love the most about the Mediterranean lifestyle is it’s about moderation. It doesn’t take out meat in its entirety but instead chooses to eat it on occasion. Moderation is key. Movement and relationships are important as well. 

Mediterranean diets claim that they’ll keep you fit and healthy, and they’ve got centuries of evidence backing them up. 

Whether you prefer Spanish or Greek cuisine, this is one approach to eating healthy for life. Read on to discover the major benefits of eating like a Mediterranean, ways to get started, and tips for incorporating more of their healthy lifestyle into your life.

Major Benefits of a Mediterranean Diet

  1. Lower your risk for heart disease and diabetes. Like any healthy living plan, a Mediterranean diet helps fights metabolic syndrome. You’ll lower your odds for developing diabetes, cardiovascular disease and other serious conditions.
  2. Improve your emotional well being. Civilizations around the Mediterranean basin have helped teach the world the importance of eating together to maintain social connections. They also demonstrate a constructive balance of physical activity and rest.
  3. Enjoy delicious foods. What’s better than a diet that lets you indulge in a wide variety of your favorite foods? Dine on grilled fish year round. Sip lentil soup on a winter afternoon and serve hummus for an easy summer lunch.

How to Eat Like a Mediterranean

  1. Eat more fruits and vegetablesGet most of your calories from fresh produce. Aim for at least five to six servings a day. You’ll get the vital nutrients you need and the fiber will help you feel full while eating less. Join your local CSA to get fresh, seasonal produce. 
  2. Choose healthy fats. Stock up on extra virgin olive oil and use it instead of butter or margarine. Monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats are better for your heart than saturated fats.
  3. Substitute fish for meat. Fish is a great source for lean protein and it really is brain food. The high levels of vitamin D in oily fish like salmon and tuna improve cognitive functions. Serve fish at least twice a week.
  4. Stick to low fat dairy products. Liven up your old breakfast cereal by mixing it into low fat Greek yogurt. Buy skim or low fat milk. Careful portion control lets you enjoy cheese responsibly.
  5. Snack on nuts. Ditch the processed cookies and crackers in favor of nuts and legumes. They’ll keep you satisfied and make it easier to resist donuts.

Other Lifestyle Practices

  1. Adjust your grocery budget. A Mediterranean diet can get a little pricey. Shop for seasonal produce bargains. Start your own vegetable garden. Master home recipes for hummus. Again your local CSA is much more affordable in the long run!
  2. Schedule family dinners. Eat together as a family as often as possible. You’ll model good eating habits for your kids and make it easier for them to talk with you. Studies show they’ll even bring home better grades. Hard time find time? Sunbasket helps me with this. They have quick or pre-prepped Mediterranean meals delivered to your door. Check it out now!
  3. Sit down to eat. Whenever possible, pull up a chair to eat. You’ll be more conscious of the calories you consume and you’ll digest your food better.
  4. Drink in moderation. It’s okay to be a teetotaler. On the other hand, small quantities of red wine taken with meals may be good for your heart. The general rule is no more than one glass a day for women and two for men.
  5. Exercise regularly. Pick activities you like and incorporate them into your daily routine. A 30 minute walk each day with a few weekly sessions of strength training and stretching may be all you need. Increase that to 60 minutes if you want to lose weight.
  6. Manage stress. Find relaxation techniques that are comfortable for you. Listen to instrumental music, talk to your dog, or meditate. Don’t skip this part! Often times we tell ourselves a story about being too busy to take time for ourselves but remember that is just our story. Skip the Netflix binge and take time to relax. 

A Mediterranean diet can help you lose weight and stay in top shape. In addition to all that nutritious and flavorful food, by adopting some traits of the Mediterranean lifestyle, you’ll enjoy the company of your loved ones and strike a healthy balance between work and leisure activities. This is just one step in living your Best Lyfe! What do you choose as your Best Lyfe? I’d love to hear below!

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15 Ways to Relax in 5 Minutes or Less

One of the biggest things we should learn in order to create our Best Lyfe Ever is to learn to relax. It’s easy to relax when you’re on vacation as you lie on the beach or stroll through museums. However, peace can be more elusive when your kids are home sick and your inbox is overflowing at work. 

Fortunately, there are ways to make relaxing anywhere simple and quick. Try these 15 foolproof methods for unwinding at home or at the office.

Relaxing at Home:

Many studies suggest that prolonged television watching tends to be a short-term pleasure that contributes to long-term discontent. Often times when we binge watch TV it is a distraction from something else we are putting off. Search for more effective methods for making yourself comfortable at home.

  1. Turn off your phone. Disconnect for a while each day. Make family meals and the final hours before bed a phone-free time. Turning the phone off for at least 1 hour before bed helps to improve sleep.
  2. Listen to music. Put on your local classical radio station or any music that you enjoy. Sit down and pay attention without trying to multitask.
  3. Meditate briefly. Even a few minutes of meditation can increase your mindfulness. Pull up a cushion and observe your thoughts. You could also do walking meditation around your living room or patio.
  4. Visualize peace. Guided imagery is another powerful technique. Picture a scene that makes you feel tranquil inside and out. Imagine yourself walking through a field of flowers or swimming in a cool lagoon.
  5. Massage your feet. Five minutes is barely time to draw a bath, but you can soak your feet. Fill a basin with warm water. Squeeze your heels and gently pull on each toe. Add some Epsom salts to the water for an extra detox and relaxation. 
  6. Drink warm tea. Any warm beverage without caffeine can be soothing. Sip one of the most common teas before bed, a cup of chamomile tea. There are many other varieties known to help with sleep also such as Valerian tea, Lavendar tea, or Lemon Balm Tea. 
  7. Breathe in lavender. Sample a variety of essential oils used for relaxation. You may discover a personal favorite, or you may want to rotate among lavender, valerian, and bergamot.

Relaxing at Work:

Are you afraid to take time out when you’re busy at work and your boss is watching? Remember that periodic breaks make you more productive. Here are a few more things you can do.

  1. Breathe deeply. When you feel tense, turn your attention to your breath. Inhale deeply from your abdomen and lengthen your exhalations. Breathing in through your nose and out through your mouth can give you a sense of quick relief.
  2. Adjust your posture. Scan your body to release any spots where you may be holding on to stress. Squeeze your shoulder blades together and press them down. Soften your forehead and blink your eyes.
  3. Take a walk. If possible, head outside to enjoy the sunshine and fresh air. If you need to stay indoors, climb a few flights of stairs or walk from one end of the office to the other.
  4. Stretch your muscles. Stand up and perform a few static stretches. Lower yourself into a forward bend. Clasp your elbows behind your back.
  5. Chew gum. Would you believe that chewing gum fights anxiety? Pop a stick into your mouth for a few minutes before performance appraisals or sales calls.
  6. Squeeze a ball. The next time you see a tradeshow booth giving away stress balls, grab one. Keep one on your desk to play with occasionally. It may help with arthritis pain too.
  7. Laugh about it. Look for the humor in challenging situations. Share a joke with a coworker or post funny quotes around your desk. Laughter loosens up your muscles and boosts your immune system.
  8. Smile more. Some scientists think that smiling reduces stress because it lowers your heart rate. Start the day by wishing your coworkers a cheerful good morning and remember to look happy when you’re on the phone.

Regular relaxation keeps your mind and body healthy and strong. Experiment to find the practices that relieve your stress and renew your energy. There are so many different exercises that help for different people. I would love to hear of some more of what works for you. Feel free to share below! Let us know how you are creating your Best Lyfe Ever!

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Why You Never Have Enough Time and What To Do About It

Are you always wishing you had more time available to you? Wishing there were more hours in the day? The truth is, you probably have plenty of time. You’re just not focused, and you’re not using your time wisely.

Everyone receives 24 hours each day. There’s a reason why some people are accomplishing much more than you are and are still able to be on time for all of their commitments. It may seem like rocket science to some but I promise you it isn’t.

These reasons could be why you never have enough time:

  1. Start with your why! Do you ever continue to procrastinate because you just didn’t feel like doing something? What was your true motivations for doing that something? Often times we do not define our future goals and then work towards them. When we find our “why” we tend to put more passion and motivation into it.
    1. If you are truly putting something off, ask yourself, what is keeping me from doing this?
    2. Is this something that truly works towards my bigger goals?
  2. You fail to prioritize. What’s the most important activity you must do in order for you to accomplish your objective? If you’re not asking yourself this question regularly, you’re not getting the most bang for your time and effort. It’s easy to stay very busy but fail to accomplish much.
    1. Ask yourself, “What is the most important thing I need to accomplish?”
    2. Then ask yourself, “What is the best way for me to accomplish that?”
  3. You waste time. This could be due to procrastination. It could be due to inefficient work habits.
    1. Make the choice to avoid wasting time, period.
    2. Binging on that new Netflix series? Stop!
  4. You’re disorganized. When you’re not organized, everything takes longer than it should. You spend time looking for a pair of clean socks, your car keys, searching for files on your computer, and trying to pull off things at the last minute.
    1. Disorganized people never seem to have enough time, and they’re frequently late with their work.
    2. Make an effort to organize your life and yourself. There are many resources dedicated to organization. Use them.
  5. You have too many distractions in your life. It could be low-quality social interactions, TV, needlepoint, your baseball card collection, noisy kids, clutter, or your prize-winning rose bushes. Having too many things in your life takes too much time.
    1. Remove the things from your life that are unnecessary. Minimize the distractions you can’t remove, like your noisy children!
  6. You don’t start your day early enough. This is one of my top! Most of us do little in the evening. That time is largely wasted just lying around the house or staring at your phone. Let’s keep it real. We’re tired after a long day of work. That’s why so many highly successful people skip the evening hours by going to bed and waking up extra early.
    1. Your brain tends to shut down by the late afternoon, whether you started your day at 9:00AM or 5:00AM. Give yourself a few extra productive hours by getting up early and going to bed early.
  7. You fail to track your time. Track how you spend your time each day. Switch tasks when appropriate so everything receives the time it requires.
    1. Keep a simple journal and make a record each hour of how you spent the last 60 minutes.
  8. You don’t have a plan for your day. Your day shouldn’t be random or determined on the fly. To get the most out of your time, it’s necessary to have a plan for the day.
    1. Make a detailed plan for your day before you go to bed. Spend your day executing that plan as well as you can.
    2. Utilize your calendar or day planner to stay on track.
  9. You’re not focused. You’ve been told to “focus” or “concentrate” since you started kindergarten. Too bad the education system never taught you how. If you sit down to work on something for an hour, how many minutes is your attention truly focused on that task?
    1. You probably have plenty of time to accomplish everything you need to do each day, but you just need to focus at a higher level. Practice meditation. Practice focusing on whatever it is you’re doing. Focus is built through practice.

Make the most of your time by prioritizing, removing distractions, and learning how to focus. You have all the time you need, if you’re willing to make the necessary adjustments to yourself and your life.

You have 24 hours, 1440 minutes, or 86400 seconds each day. What will you choose to do with that time? Ensure that you’re using all of it wisely!

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My experience with CrossFit… It’s not that scary…

Are you a female and curious if you could get fit by going to CrossFit? Afraid you won’t fit in? Worried you won’t be able to lift a thing? Or maybe you’re worried about getting too bulky as a female. That’s exactly how I felt. So I’m here to explain a few things about the box and share my experience so that you can feel more comfortable stepping in the first day and giving it a try.

When my husband tried to urge me to go to CrossFit with him I thought he was joking. He’s a funny man so you never know. He kept mentioning to give it a try for about 6 months before I got curious about it. My final straw when I knew I needed to do something was when we were in Croatia. We went river canyoning and for the next week I couldn’t walk because my legs hurt so bad!

People are not as in shape at the box as you would think

One of my biggest fears when going to the box was that everyone would be so in shape and would be able to lift so much more than me. But when I showed up I noticed that many people that were going to the box were not so in shape. Some were actually on the heavier side and didn’t look healthy at all. Of course naturally they could lift much more but my motive for going to the gym was to get into shape and healthy. The key here is that if you eat a terrible diet, you can lift all day long but you will not purely get in shape by working out.

Everything is scalable

Of course this was a huge worry for me! I’m tiny and don’t have big muscles. I saw the CrossFit games and how much those girls were lifting. I thought I had to immediately do that when I walked in the box but when I walked in, the trainer told me to get a 15 pound bar. I then thought I would die but I realized no one even noticed. I learned the basics and techniques before anything so that I would not get hurt. I slowly moved my way up. I then realized everything was scalable, pull ups, wall balls, running, box jumps etc. I always found a way to complete the moves to the best of my ability. Secret too… most other people were scaling also. Everyone has their move their not able to do.

Focus on getting stronger both mentally and physically

Don’t focus on the weight. The weight will come if you focus on getting mentally strong and ensure you are following the proper techniques. It’s very important that you do not get hurt. Focus on getting mentally stronger. It will go a long way. Remember when you’re ready to give up, you’re only about 40% away from physically being able to actually give up.

Everyone is supportive

No one is paying attention – everyone is focused on themselves and doing their best that they’re not paying attention to your PR (personal record). People at the box are extremely supportive. When you feel like you can’t do anymore someone is usually cheering you on, especially if they finished first. Everyone

Trainers are exceptional

The trainers were quite exceptional when it came to being motivating and helpful. They were there consistently to show you proper technique, encourage you when you wanted to give up or just to joke around. They made it easy to continue to want to come back.

You will not get huge muscles as a female if you don’t want to

It actually takes a lot of work, dedication and supplements for females to truly get big muscles like the girls you see in the CrossFit games. Females bodies aren’t actually built to have huge muscles. Will your muscles get bigger? Yes of course but it will be toned versus being gigantic.

Did you do your best and try your hardest? I remember when I didn’t sleep at all one night because I read the WOD for the next morning and my worst nightmare was there. A one mile run. If there was anything I hated at the gym it was a run of any distance. I literally had nightmares that night and tried to come up with every excuse in my head not to go. But I woke up in the morning and decided I was going to give my best and that’s all I could do. So I did. I ran it in 12:32 which most people know is not a very good time but I didn’t care because “I ran a mile!” and the best part was I wasn’t even last! I felt so accomplished that day nothing could bring me down. (I do run a better mile now. lol.)

In the end CrossFit truly is for anyone who’s willing to put a little hard work in. Most every box I know of offers at least one free visit to start. Mine offered 5 free classes which helped me to truly decide if it was for me or not. So if it’s free what do you have to lose? Go for it.

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Easy Keto Egg Roll in a Bowl

Lately I have had a lot of people asking me about what I eat and for some ideas on some recipes. I decided I would begin to post a few recipes each week that I enjoy. Some are staples in my house, others are kind of random when I need something quick like this egg roll in a bowl, and others are when I feel like experimenting. Soon I will post some of my favorite dessert recipes too!

Easy Keto Egg Roll in a Bowl

Enjoy egg roll in a bowl!
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time15 mins
Course: Main Course
Servings: 6 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 lb spicy bulk pork sausage
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 3 cup green cabbage shredded
  • 1 medium carrot shredded
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
  • 1/2 tablespoon fresh ginger finely minced
  • 2 tablespoons green onion chopped
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoon coconut aminos or tamari
  • sea salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  • Heat a large high-sided skillet over medium-high heat. Add sausage and cook, breaking the meat into small pieces as it cooks, for approximately 5-6 minutes. Once sausage is no longer pink, remove from heat and carefully drain excess grease from pan.

    Safety Tip: Wipe off any excess fat that drips down the side of the pan before returning to burner.
  • Return skillet to heat. Add water and scrape up brown bits from the bottom of the pan with a spatula. Reduce heat to medium and add shredded cabbage, carrots, garlic powder, sesame oil, ginger, and green onions. Season with salt and black pepper, to taste, and cook, stirring frequently, until the cabbage wilts and the carrot softens, approximately 4-5 minutes. 
  • Add rice vinegar and coconut aminos and stir to combine. Cook another 1-2 minutes or until heated through. Remove from heat and transfer to a serving platter or bowl. Sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds, if using, and serve immediately. Enjoy! 

Notes

Nutritional information provided for entertainment purposes only and is not to be construed as medical advice.

 

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8 Benefits of a Plant-Based Diet

I’m not going to try and convince you here that you should be a vegan. After all, I know my body does best on a Paleo type diet. That’s when I feel best, healthiest and do best maintaining my weight. However, I do try to consume a bit less meat in the past. Our family typically has 2 – 3 plant-based meals a week. This helps us get more veggies in our diet and adds nutrition. If anything, there’s no harm here. Afterall, we know the amazing benefits adding veggies into our diet has.

There’s disagreement about whether humans are designed to eat meat or not. After all, we lack the claws, teeth, speed, and physical prowess to catch any wild animals that most people would consider worth eating.

Regardless, there’s a lot of evidence to support that most of us would be healthier if we reduced, or even eliminated, meat from our diets.

Consider these benefits of limiting your meat consumption:

  1. Cost. Meat can be one of the most expensive foods. Reducing or eliminating your meat consumption can do wonders for your budget. Notice how much you spend on meat the next time you go shopping. Extrapolate that information and calculate how much you spend during a year.
  2. It’s better for the environment. Meat consumption is hard on the environment. 41% of the land in the United States is used for grazing livestock or growing crops for animal feed. Those fires in Brazil are to clear land for cattle. Raising animals for meat is a very inefficient way of producing food.
  3. A lower risk of cardiovascular disease. Those that eat a plant-based diet are less likely to suffer from heart attacks and strokes. You could potentially be healthier and live longer by eating more plant foods and less meat.
  4. Lower body weight. Meat is a calorie-dense food. Reducing the amount of meat in your diet can lower your body weight. This is great for your appearance and your health. Obesity is associated with numerous health issues.
  5. You’ll eat fewer hormones. Most of the meat available in the store contains hormones that were fed to the animal. These allow the animal to grow faster, which makes it cheaper to raise. Some of these hormones can be unhealthy. Your body would prefer to manage its own hormones without outside interference.
  6. You’ll be less likely to suffer from type II diabetes. Diabetes is incredibly hard on your organs and blood vessels. Eliminating high-calorie foods like meat can help to prevent developing this dangerous disease.
  7. You’re likely to lower your cholesterol and blood pressure. Meat and obesity can raise your cholesterol and blood pressure. Both are bad for your blood vessels and can lead to heart attack and stroke.
  8. The meat industry can be ugly. Animals crammed into cages. Animals treated poorly. In an effort to maximize profit, the meat industry doesn’t treat animals well in general. When you skip the meat in a meal, you’re not supporting an industry that is unkind to animals.

There’s one scientifically supported hypothesis that eating meat isn’t a bad choice, providing you don’t have any health risk factors. Some of these include smoking, diabetes, hypertension, existing heart disease, high cholesterol, and obesity.

I strongly recommend if you are going to eat meat, to purchase the highest quality, most organic, grass-fed or pasture raised meat you can. I have a monthly subscription for mine from ButcherBox.

The truth is that no one knows the best diet for certain.

However, most people would experience health benefits by reducing the amount of meat they consume.

Try an experiment. Cut your meat intake by half for the next two weeks and notice how you feel. Check your weight at the beginning and at the end. Decide for yourself if you want to go back to your normal portion of meat, or if you’d rather, cut back even further and run an additional experiment.

Keep in mind that avoiding meat doesn’t mean that chips, ice cream, and other processed carbohydrates are suddenly okay to eat. It doesn’t help if you drop one unhealthy option for another. You already know which foods are healthy and unhealthy.

Make healthy choices and cut back on your meat consumption. You’ll be helping yourself and the environment. In the end you will have nothing to regret. Just one step in creating your Best Lyfe Ever!

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Book your Dream vacation!

If you know me, you know I loooooove to travel! But what a lot of people don’t know is that I travel on a budget so that I can travel more often. So I figured why not share what I do with you. Therefore you can travel and experience the world also!

Does you love to visit new countries? Who likes to save money while doing that? Well you’re in luck. Today I decided to write about my experience of booking my trip to Thailand to help you with tips on how to book your dream vacation and save money in the process.

The first and most important piece of the trip is deciding where to go. Maybe you have that dream spot that you’ve always been dreaming of or maybe you’re on a budget. There are a few things to consider when determining where to go.

  1. Safety of the location
  2. Weather
  3. Culture

Once you decide where to go, you need a way to get there and a place to stay. Look for the following:

  1. Combo deals – Book flight and hotel together. As most people know, you can often find better deals by booking these two together. When you do find a good deal, ensure the security of the site. There are a lot of scams out there these days. The reputability of the company is also important. Do they make it easy to do business with?
  2. Fare watch – There are websites out there like SkyScanner that will look at different dates and watch flights. You can also set up alerts on many websites. Some sites I recommend are Kayak, justfly, orbitz, expedia, etc. With many of these sites you can fare watch to see when prices go up or down.
  3. Read reviews – You can also read reviews of the airline or hotels on the search sites or on the main site of the hotel. I like to look at recent reviews of hotels. This will give you ideas about location, quality, food, etc. Often times, people will talk about the food or how long it took them to get to major attractions. Take it all with a grain of salt though. Different people have different preferences.

Now you know when and where you are going! Fabulous! It’s time to create an itinerary.

What do you want to accomplish when you get there? Are you looking to eat a particular cuisine, see historic sites, go on a specific expedition? I love watching YouTube videos before I go to see what the area has to offer. It also gets me more excited for the trip and shows me what I might want to do or avoid when I get there. What activities is offered in that location. TripAdvisor gives some great advice and many top lists of things to do.

Next, book your excursions. If you’re not on a time constraint, then I recommend booking the excursions when you arrive. Often times, you can negotiate a deal when you’re there rather than paying the set price they have online. Most tourist areas will have excursions available to book right at the hotel.

So now that we reviewed how to decide where to go on your next vacation, how to book a flight and hotel and lastly create your itinerary, you are all equipped with the tools and resources to create your dream vacation. I chose to go to Thailand for my next trip. Where will you go?

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Top 10 Ways Gratitude Enhances Your Life

Sometimes in order to create your Best Lyfe Ever, you must start with where you are. Everyone, no matter the circumstances, is able to find something in their life they are grateful for. For instance, everyone can start with the fact that their heart is beating. Without your heart, you are not alive. It works day and night without thought. If nothing else, start here.

Abundance surrounds you in so many ways. Regardless of your station in life, there are many things that gratify you. What are you thankful for? Take a moment to ponder them.

Consider the ways that having gratitude makes your life better:

  1. You’ll be more enthusiastic. Research shows that when subjects recorded what they were thankful for in a journal on a regular basis, they reported having a larger sense of enthusiasm for their life than those who didn’t write about their gratitude. Acknowledge your gratitude. You’ll be glad you did!
  2. You’ll feel more determined to achieve your goals. When you take notice of the good things you have, you’re more likely to put your nose to the grindstone and keep working for whatever else you desire.
  3. Your level of optimism will soar. According to several studies, those who documented what they were thankful for were much more positive about how their life was going and how it would proceed. Being optimistic will fuel your passion to construct the life you deserve.
  4. Energy levels increase. If you have gratitude, you’ll have more energy to create the life you desire. Being aware of what you’re thankful for galvanizes your efforts to discover all that your life can be.
  5. You’ll pay more attention. Being thankful ensures you’ll be more alert and aware of how your life is going, what you’re doing, and how you can continue to build the life you seek.
  6. Levels of stress drop. As you live a life of gratitude, things that used to stress you out will lose their power. Instead, you’ll be entrenched in the wonderful world you’re living in.
  7. You’ll feel more content with life. Those who consciously have gratitude experience reduced levels of depression.
  8. You’ll exercise more. Those who show a sense of thankfulness had higher reports of exercising more than those who weren’t keeping a gratitude journal.
  9. Providing aid to others will come easier to you. When you notice all the positive things surrounding you, you’ll reach out to help others more often. When your soul is flooded with light and positivity, you’ll feel more like being there for others.
  10. You’ll discover the life you truly want. As unusual as it may sound, the research about gratitude indicates that those who have thankfulness in their hearts are more likely to achieve their goals. As your thankfulness grows, your dream life is built.

Open your eyes to the bounties that grace your world. When you do, you’ll live a more fulfilling life. Allow yourself to feel passion about the color of the fall leaves, the peacefulness of the snow falling, or the beauty of the blue sky. Notice the feel of a warm coat against your skin or the love in your child’s hug. Maybe you’re even grateful for that first cup of morning coffee.

Are you ready to start to create your Best Lyfe Ever? Get started today on your own gratitude journal. Write about everything that you’re grateful for. As you begin to give thanks, you’ll find your dreams coming true.

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Achieve Your Goals in 2020!

Here’s to a new year and a new decade! This year will be the BEST YEAR EVER! Thought about starting a New Year’s Resolution but also thought about ditching it because the plans in the past haven’t worked out? Have you thought about what your intentions for the new year might be? We certainly don’t want to ditch our plans going into 2020 all together but it is important to create smart actionable plans and keep it simple so we can actually accomplish our goals this year. Below are a few steps and suggestions to get you there.

Start small

It’s important not to overwhelm yourself. I bet if you wanted you could come up with a huge list of all the things you want to accomplish this year. But why make a list that is unachievable. Start small. Want to lose a few pounds? How about getting into better shape? Quit smoking? Learn a new hobby? Travel more? If you start off the year trying to accomplish all these things you’re not probably in for a successful year. It’s important to start smart. Accomplish one goal and then move on to another. This way you don’t feel overwhelmed and give up all together.

Write your goals down on paper

If you’re thinking of many goals. Write them all down and pick one that you can start with. Then take that one goal you chose and break it up into tangible activities. Pick 2 – 3 action steps you can start doing right now to get started. Want to get to the gym more? Start by signing up for a membership, decide your frequency, schedule it into your day (add to the calendar). Don’t try to do everything at once and don’t overcommit yourself. Stating you will go to the gym every day is not a reality. Be specific with your plan and remember if you don’t put it on your calendar it probably won’t happen.

Announce them to the world

Post it on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, whatever your mode is but let the world know what you are planning to do. If social media isn’t your cup of tea, that’s fine too. Let anyone who is willing to listen know what you plan to accomplish, a spouse, best friend, parent, child, anyone. It helps to let the world know. If you do this, you are more likely to hold yourself accountable to it. Plus people will ask you how you’re doing and you will have to answer to that. So why not be prepared by being able to say “I’m crushing my New Year’s resolution”.

Create visual reminders

Let me just start by saying “I love vision boards”. I love being able to put things up on the board and then removing it when I accomplish the goal. It is a fantastic feeling! Print out, cut out, clip art whatever you need to that reminds you of crushing your goal. There are so many resources out there to help you to do this. Place this somewhere where you will see it on a daily basis. Post it on a mirror if you have to but this helps make it real.

Have an accountability partner to hold you to your goals

It’s always helpful to have someone reminding you of your goals and holding you accountable. Remember all those people you already told you were going to commit to these goals? Who would be the most honest with you and hold you to achieving them? Who would be willing to have daily, weekly, or monthly check ins with you to make sure you’re following through on your commitments? Ask this person if they’d be willing to help with being your accountability partner. You never know, maybe they will need one too and you can help them out also.

Don’t beat yourself up

I had to learn over time and the hard way that “Perfection is impossible” Don’t beat yourself up over mistakes or set backs. I know this is easier said than done. But if you don’t eat properly one day or miss a day at the gym, or even a week for that matter – don’t throw in the towel. It’s important to get right back up and on track towards your goal. No one is perfect and no one expects you to be perfect but if you set the goal in the beginning of the year it was important enough to you to work towards it. So don’t give up on it. You got this!

Don’t wait for a new year to set new goals

So you’ve crushed your new goal! You’re now in great shape and feeling great about yourself. Wonderful! I’m so proud of you! Are you going to wait until the new year to start another goal? I say start now! You’re already crushing it, I know you can do more. Remember that list you started the year with. Pick the next realistic goal and build out your plan. 2 – 3 activities to start today and start crushing the next one off the list. You got this.

As Tony Robbins will say “if you’re not growing, you’re dying” so commit to yourself this year to continue to grow. Take it slow, create and crush one goal at a time. I’m confident in all my fellow goal crushers out there that you will accomplish great things.