Calm your mind from the holiday frenzy with a meditation practice!
The holiday season is a time for visiting loved ones, shopping for gifts, attending parties, and savoring the overall feeling of joy in the air. Although there is plenty to celebrate, the hustle and bustle of the holidays can also leave us feeling frazzled, stressed out, and ultimately depleted. There may be a lot of travel involved, family members don’t always get along well with one another, and the crowds at the stores aren’t always demonstrating goodwill toward fellow shoppers. It’s supposed to be the most wonderful time of the year, so how can we make it feel that way?
This is where meditation really comes in handy! You don’t have to be a yogi or retreat to a Buddhist temple to start a meditation practice. Anyone can do it and it can pretty much be done anywhere. Meditation can be as simple as focusing on your breath. One breathing meditation I really like is called the Four-fold Breath, which is a quick and simple way to find some calm amidst the craziness.
November is a great month to take inventory of all the things for which you are thankful.
Use the power of gratitude to change your life!
Many of us may remember back when we were in elementary school and Thanksgiving was coming up. We would inevitably be given the assignment to make a list of things we were thankful for, which would typically include the usual: family, friends, pets, and maybe even our toys. This is a nice introduction for kids to learn how to appreciate the people and things in their lives, but it’s only once a year. Now that we’re all grown up, why don’t we kick it up a notch and try practicing gratitude on a daily basis? Feeling grateful for even the tiniest little thing (hello, pumpkin latte!), when done on a regular basis, can truly change your life for the better. Some of the ways practicing gratitude can improve your life include:
Higher self-esteem- Feeling grateful for what you have can keep you out of the compare-and-despair mindset. Let go of trying to keep up with the Joneses!
Increased productivity- When you’re feeling thankful, you’re less likely to worry, which can consume your mind and prevent you from taking action. Freeing your mind of unnecessary concerns opens you up to focusing on what you CAN do and not on what you CAN’T.
Better relationships- Practicing gratitude can make you more friendly, lovable, and a pleasure to be around. Your positive outlook can have an impact on those around you!
More energy– There’s a strong correlation between gratitude and vitality, so when you’re feeling grateful, you’ll feel more energized which will also make you more likely to exercise!
Improved sleep- Keeping a gratitude journal in the evenings helps you to focus on the good, which will allow you to go to bed with a relaxed mind so you can sleep better.
Gratitude is free and doesn’t take a lot of time. On those difficult days when you’re struggling to find anything to be thankful for, it’s even more important to practice gratitude. Here’s how:
When everything seems to be going wrong, find one thing, no matter how small, that makes you feel content. It could be as simple as the sun shining on a beautiful day, the sound of your cat purring, or another car letting you merge ahead of them in traffic. Smile, say thank you (in your head or out loud) and savor the feeling of satisfaction.
Long before refrigeration and electricity, people were forced to eat seasonally. This means they simply ate what was growing in their area, so their diets would change depending on the time of year. There are some belief systems that promote eating with the seasons, one of those being Ayurveda which originates in India. The idea is that Mother Nature knows what your body needs each time of year in the area where you live. For example, in the northeastern United States where it gets cold in the winter, our bodies need more grounding foods like root vegetables. So you will see that carrots and sweet potatoes are more plentiful in the region, while lighter, cooling foods like cucumbers are not. Benefits of eating with the seasons include:
Better flavor– food doesn’t have to travel so far to make it to your home, so it can wait to be picked when it’s fully ripe and tastes better
Giving your body what it needs- nature knows what will support your wellbeing throughout the year
Lower cost– buying food in season tends to be less expensive due to supply and demand
Supporting local farmers– when you purchase food grown in your area, you are supporting your community. Like they say, vote with your dollar!
Eco friendly– foods grown locally have a lower carbon footprint, since they don’t need to be transported from far away. Less mileage=less pollution
Seasonal eating isn’t hard. It just requires finding out what’s growing in your area and checking out some recipes using those ingredients. Try it this Fall and see how it feels to eat in tune with nature!
Summer is a carefree time when we take advantage of the sunshine and warm weather by taking vacation time, hitting the beach or the pool, or having a barbecue. As Summer is essentially ending and school is back in session for some, we may have a tendency to lose that carefree feeling and yearn for those relaxed Summer evenings. But as the quote above mentions, we’ve got Summer’s best of weather in September! Combine the slightly lower temperature with the beginnings of that crisp Fall air and you’ve got a combination that can’t be beat! Exercising outdoors has loads of benefits including:
Improved mood– sun exposure enhances Vitamin D production
Lower stress levels– spending time in nature helps us feel more relaxed
Low or no cost– no need for a gym membership
Fresh air– the air outside tends to be cleaner than indoor air
Changing scenery– keeps you from getting bored
Variety of terrain– exercising on different surfaces challenges your body more
No experience necessary, so lace up those sneakers or hiking boots and GET OUT THERE!
Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton
I’ve been passionate about health and wellness for as long as I can remember and I want to direct that energy toward helping others lead healthier, happier lives. As of November 2018, I am officially an Integrative Nutrition Health Coach! I’d love to talk with you about how I can help you reach your health and wellness goals.
Let’s stay connected so I can share healthy lifestyle tips, recipes, and updates as well as receive your feedback!