May 19, 2016
Over the last week, I’ve watched what I could of the Invictus Games through Facebook posts. I am really, really upset that all that was offered on ESPN was a recap of the games and some coverage of the Opening and Closing ceremonies. It’s gotten me thinking about an organization that my husband is a part of, 22 Until None. Their goal is to end the rampant suicide epidemic that plagues veterans, a fact that was driven so close to home for us last summer when one of my husband’s men committed suicide in the parking garage of the barracks. It shook everyone in the command up. Many, including my husband, went to speak with counselors about it–he was like one of our kids.
The whole goal of the Invictus Games is to spread awareness of the struggles, the triumphs, and the sacrifices that military men and women from around the world have endured, and how they have overcome them. It is not about survival, for veterans don’t want to be looked at as mere survivors. What they have done deserves more than this casual take. They have done so much more, and have conquered. They are unconquerable. They are unconquered. Invictus.
Yoga and Pilates are two passions that I’ve taught for a long, long time, and it’s made me very determined to help those who struggle not only with physical needs but also metal needs. One of the things I love most about the Invictus Games, 22 Until None, Help for Heroes, etc., is the fact that they are reaching out to veterans who may not have any noticeable scars but carry with them the invisible ones caused by the stress and trauma of warfare. It is my intention to reach out to this community and help them through physical fitness and therapy. More and more studies are showing that practices like yoga help ease both physical suffering and mental anguish associated with PTSD.
I want to take a moment and just say this to anyone suffering from anxiety, depression, PTSD, or other mental states caused by trauma, whether or not you’re a veteran: you aren’t alone. There are people ready to help you. All you need to do is ask; no one will judge you.
Don’t let the pain win.
You also can be Invictus.
March 18, 2016
I’ve been down and out for the count this week due to the stomach flu. It might have been food poisoning but it seemed to last longer than that so I’m counting it as the flu. It seems to be the thing that’s going around right now, so here’s one of my tips to help calm your stomach: peppermint tea.
Mint has long been known as a remedy against nausea and peppermint has been a lifesaver for me this week. It helped me go from being a non-functioning parent on Tuesday morning to someone who could at least tolerate her young children crawling across her that evening.
I always recommend buying loose-leaf teas whenever possible, as those found in ready-to-brew bags in the stores generally are the lowest, cheapest grade available on the market. I’ve been a long-time fan of Teavana, but in recent years have also found Steeped Tea and Yesterday’s Tea Cafe & Matcha Bar. (I’ve linked the Steeped Tea website to my personal consultant; she’s great and will help you with anything you need! Please let her know Leah referred you!) The last is run by one of the few tea masters in the United States, who really knows her stuff and who is a lovely person. If you love all the kinds of tea, make sure you also check out the tea bags and mesh infusers to find the perfect fit for you!
Here’s one last fabulous tip on how to reuse your tea bags, whether pre-made or prepped in your own kitchen: Unique Ways to Reuse An Old Tea Bag. I knew some of these but I found others really remarkable!
January 6, 2016
First off, Happy New Year! I hope that you find much joy in it. When things get hard, think about how far you’ve come instead of focusing on where things went wrong!
Second, I know I promised a third part to my major articles and links series in December, but life ate me. Seriously. It ate me. It swooped in like a huge pterodactyl and swallowed me whole. So that third post didn’t get done. Instead, I’m going to spice things up again and change up my posting this year, focusing on shorter but info-packed posts in order to accommodate my busy schedule.
Last, I’d love to hear from you! Tell me what you’d like to see from me this year. It can be anything from diet to exercise to mindfulness moments. I’m all ears!
October 16, 2015
It’s that time again. It’s the time when life carries you away with business. The holidays are upon us, and while that means good food and great times, it can also mean unnecessary stress and anxiety from to-do lists that are too long. And that means longer nights and shorter tempers, which is no fun during the holidays.
My biggest tip to get through the holidays in a more patient, relaxed manner is to say no. I find this incredibly difficult. I want to do everything, to help everyone, and so forth…but I simply can’t. There aren’t enough Me’s in this world. There is only one, and while I’d like a few extra arms and bodies now and again, I can only do so much. Since becoming a mom, I’ve learned the value of saying no to other commitments. The secret is to know what is more important to you and sticking to your priorities.
And if you have to say yes but find yourself overwhelmed, don’t be afraid to ask for help! You don’t have to do everything! Give some of the responsibility to others and–this is the hard part–don’t interfere with how they go about discharging it. Their way may be better, and it gives you that much needed break and reduces your stress load.
Which means that you might also need to simplify your plans. There’s nothing wrong with doing so. Try not to go to so many places for Christmas. Make a simpler menu for Thanksgiving dinner. Invite fewer people. Attend only one holiday party. Leave some space in your calendar to simply have an off day every week where you don’t have to do anything but recharge and rest and even read that book you’ve been meaning to read/finish!
My last suggestion is to simply take a few minutes for yourself every day. I think mornings are best, but some people aren’t morning people. Do it at the time you know will work best with your schedule…but DO IT. Go to the gym, do a workout at home, breathe deeply for five minutes, write down your thoughts from the day in a diary, turn off all electronics and go for a walk with your dog, watch the sun rise/set–do whatever makes you happiest and gives you that “me time.” You, and those you love, will thank you for it.
In the end, recognizing your limitations is healthy. It brings you closer to understanding yourself, and enables you to build relationships with others in a trusting and wholesome way. It keeps you from stretching yourself too thin. It makes the holidays pleasanter because you can focus on what really matters in this life. And life is too short for regrets that could have been simply avoided by saying no.
October 1, 2015
I owe you the articles and recipes I’ve collected this past month, but we’ve had some unexpected events happen in our lives that have made things a bit chaotic around this place. For one, we learned that my husband won’t be promoted and so we’re having to follow some other plans that we’ve had in place in case of this happening. And things are really falling into place for us! It’s exciting but at the same time nerve-wracking. The military has been our life for 11 years (13 for my husband) and now it’s all changing. There are so many things to be grateful for, to be sure, but I’d like to share that with you in more detail and tonight I don’t have the time. We leave for our whirlwind trip in 12 hours!
Wishing you all the best until I get back in 10 days’ time!
September 17, 2015
I cannot take credit for this idea. I heard about it when I attended Mommy Con last fall, but I think it’s a terrific idea. If you are looking to reduce the amount of sweets your children are eating during Halloween–which begins the holiday sweets-eating frenzy that happens from October through the new year–then try the Switch Witch.
Here’s how this idea works:
- Go Trick or Treating!
- Somehow pry the candy out of your children’s little hands.
- Tell them about how the Switch Witch will be bringing them an extra special Halloween treat that they will receive the next morning.
- Give them this gift wrapped up all pretty!
- Take the hidden candy and donate it…but make sure it goes out of your house.
Some people might think that taking a child’s candy away is a bit extreme, but let’s be realistic. Our kids come into contact with far too much sugar on any given day. They don’t need the sugary drug that is handed out to them on Halloween any more than we do. Sugar is well-known for altering brain chemicals. It is more addicting than heroin. Therefore, why not start a healthier tradition that not only removes most or all of the over-abundance of candy from the premises, but also encourages your children to learn or read or do something amazing (whatever that gift you give might be)?
Do you have a favorite alternative to Halloween candy? I’d love to hear about it!
September 10, 2015
Yoga pants have recently come under fire, even so far as there being proposed laws against them, and not without reason. Sometimes, these pants aren’t flattering. And I don’t mean to your body shape. As a mind-body fitness instructor, one of the things we’re supposed to do is monitor clothing so that it doesn’t distract others from their workouts.
Don’t get me wrong. We’re not apparel policemen. However, if we see that a certain item might not be comfortable or be too revealing, it’s up to us to say something. And that makes for very awkward conversations. People are already self-conscious enough these days. I hate to be the one to have to say, “Hey, hun, you need to wear different bottoms next time.”
Let me stop and say right now that I love yoga pants. I find them very comfortable. They’ve kept me clothed through two pregnancies. They are a staple of my fitness wardrobe.
So why do I bring it up? Because I don’t want to have to have this conversation EVER. I’ve been fortunate in my teaching career to only have run across one or two students who have pants that are see-through. One was fairly recently, and I didn’t get a chance to let her know about them either.
But what really prompted this post was a recent conversation with another student who went yoga pants shopping. She said that she couldn’t find anything because every time she pressed on the fabric with her hand, she could see it. It was frustrating. She was asking me for brand recommendations.
I recommended trying them on.
Let’s face it. Like anything else, there’s an industry that surrounds yoga and Pilates clothing. That means money. You don’t have to spend it though. The general recommendation is that you are comfortable and that your clothes be a little loose to provide room for movement but not too loose to get in the way. A lot of serious yoga practitioners wear tank tops and shorts rather than pants because skin tracts better on skin than on cloth, enabling you to more easily hold poses. A lot of serious Pilates practitioners do likewise because there’s less fabric to get in the way of the continuous fluid movements and therefore fewer distractions from your exercises.
I say wear what is most comfortable for you. Wear layers to class. You never know when you’ll get chilled, particularly as you wind down at the end of class. Go up a size in yoga pants if you aren’t sure the size you try on meets your criteria for a good fit. Try a different brand even. Go long or go short. There’s no one rule except, perhaps, this: next time you try on pants at a store, bend over in front of the mirror. See what the fabric does on your body. Go from there.
That way there are no more awkward conversations about your clothing.
September 3, 2015
I hate saying No. I’m an overachiever. I want to do everything. But sometimes you’ve got to step back from an overly-packed schedule and tell someone you’re sorry but you can’t do it.
I mean, I say NO to my toddler all the time! HAHA! Why shouldn’t I say it to someone else?
Let’s face it, Our time is precious…and sometimes we need it for ourselves. To take a few minutes of peace and quiet. To indulge in our writing. To cook, clean, or do mundane tasks. To read. To do whatever it is on our lists.
I had to say no to something I really enjoy doing. I had to take a step back, reevaluate my priorities, find out where I could fit in more Me Time. I don’t like saying no. I like to keep to commitments when I make them. But this one wasn’t all-binding. I could change my mind at any given time, and since I’ve been slightly crazy with my schedule in August, I wanted to reduce my workload on one day a week. That, for me, is Fridays! I’ve got little to give by Friday. So that commitment had to go.
And I’m glad it’s gone.
In addition, saying no means you’ve stood up for yourself. You’ve taken note of your needs, you’ve been assertive, and that is healthy! Knowing where your boundaries lie is important to reducing anxiety, fatigue, sleeplessness, eating disorders and overweight and obesity, and a whole slew of other diseases and illnesses! When you learn to say no, you’re taking care of you!
Don’t be afraid to say no! Do it whenever you need to, and don’t let anyone else make you feel back for doing so! If they try, they really don’t value you, or your time, and that really is a no-no!