How to Bust the Screen-Stress Cycle

Screens. They’re everywhere. You’re looking at one right now.

Stress is everywhere too. Could there be a connection? You betcha. Does that mean you should ditch your devices for good? Not at all. You just have to be smart about how you use technology. Don’t be a slave to it. In fact, make technology your b*tch. (Did I just say that? Yes I did.)

Here are five easy things you can do to slash your stress levels while making technology work in your favor.

Get a notebook. You know, the kind that has real paper inside. Make your to-do lists there and update them often. Otherwise, every time you go to update an electronic to-do list, you’ll be tempted to check Facebook or email.

Walk away. Try to enjoy a walk outside for 20-30 minutes per day, and leave your phone at home if at all possible. You’ll be more likely to breathe deeply and notice your surroundings if your phone isn’t competing for your attention. Wondering how you’ll know when it’s time to head back home? See my next tip below.

Get a watch. Any kind that speaks to you (but I don’t mean that literally… no Apple watches please!) That way, when you need to check the time, you won’t be checking your phone and then reading your latest alerts as well.

Use an old-fashioned alarm clock. Nothing disrupts your sleep more than the light emitted from electronics – such as digital alarm clocks and phones. If you’ve been using your phone as an alarm clock, you’ve been sleeping with electro-magnetic waves right by your head. Power down every device possible while you sleep. In the morning you’ll be better rested and ready to face any stress that comes your way.

Schedule a screen-free day. Find a non-work day when you can forego checking email, Facebook or anything online. What will you do with that time? Breathe, walk, and connect with loved ones – this gives you a boost of the bonding hormone oxytocin which directly lowers stress levels. Worried other people will think you’ve fallen off the face of the earth? That’s what auto-responders are for. Let them know you’ll get back to them in 24 hours.

These simple changes hardly require any time at all and will help you get your sanity back!

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Is THIS why you feel so tired?

There’s one little word that keeps popping up everywhere – in conversations with clients, in the books I’m reading, in day-to-day life. That word is: Resistance.

Even if you don’t think “Resistance” has much relevance in your world, I’ll bet you a hefty sum that it’s costing you more than you think.

What Is Resistance?

Resistance shows up immediately with unwelcomed feelings – such as stress, anger, or loneliness. In order to resist feelingthose feelings, we numb out with cupcakes, wine or TV. But the feelings don’t go away. They just fester under the weight of Resistance, which grows even heavier when you add on the regret of the cupcakes, wine, and TV.

Resistance shows up when we procrastinate. Have you ever observed the crazy hoops you jump through to put off doing a project that feels overwhelming?  That’s Resistance at its finest! We allow Resistance to come in and create distraction and busy-ness so that we can avoid the fear and overwhelm that come with that big project.  Yet again, the fear and overwhelm only grow larger as Resistance drives a wedge between you and the project you need to finish.

When you think about the number of instances you might feel stress, anger, loneliness or fear, can you see how many opportunities Resistance has to rear its ugly head? Resistance is stealthy, like a sniper, but it’s everywhere, once you become aware of it.

What’s Resistance Costing You?

I already mentioned how Resistance actually compounds the stress, anger, loneliness and fear that we want to avoid, but you know what the biggest collateral damage can be? Your energy levels. 

Do you ever feel tired, just plain exhausted, and you don’t know why? You may be living the “perfect” healthy lifestyle and still feel wiped out. If so, it may be time to look at how Resistance is showing up in your life.

How to Beat Resistance At Its Own Game

Once you become aware of it, here’s how you can nip Resistance in the bud, so you can regain your vitality – immediately!

  • Allow yourself to feel your feelings. Sound too simple? Your feelings won’t kill you – Resistance will! When you allow yourself to feel your loneliness, disappointment, or anger, without numbing it, suppressing it, or distracting yourself from it, it’ll pass that much quicker!
  • Observe yourself as you feel your feelings. No judgement, no good or bad – just take on a curious observer point of view. This will help you identify less with the emotion, and will help the emotion pass through you more quickly.
  • Honor your desires. Resistance can often show up as you denying or own desires and dreams, which becomes a huge energy drain. Do what you can to make your desires and dreams a reality! And even when that’s not possible, simply recognizing what’s in your heart will help you shake that pesky Resistance!

Is “just plain tired the new normal for you? Take the Burnout Quiz to see how you rate, and what you can do about it!

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The #1 Secret to Getting the Change You Want

I often see people running up against an invisible wall when it comes to creating the change they want. They may want to break a bad habit, attract more money or love, or create more time for self-care, but it seems like something always comes up to prevent the change they so desperately want.

Some may say it’s self-sabotage getting in the way. That’s a familiar concept, right?

But the truth is, even when it appears to be self-sabotage, you’re actually getting exactly what your subconscious mind wants. You create your reality to match your subconscious beliefs, so that the world around you makes sense. You do that even when your conscious mind says “I don’t like this!”

So in order to be happy, you need to change your subconscious beliefs, right?! But it can seem difficult or damn-near impossible to change your beliefs when you’ve been you for your entire lifetime!

So do you want to know the #1 secret to getting the change you really want?

Here it is: tap into your heart, and listen to what it truly desires.

We all run around thinking we know what we want, declaring it to the world, and cursing when we don’t get it. Meanwhile, your real desires may be nestled deep in your heart, far from the light of day. When you finally know and express what you really desire, you’ll notice the absence of the words “should”, “but”, or “can’t” ​(until you let your mind do the talking again.)

You can then use that desire as a compass to guide you in your everyday decisions and actions.

And, most importantly, you can leverage the power of that true desire to override and reshape subconscious beliefs.

How do you do that? By feeling what you really desire, as if it were already true, in every cell of your body.

This will help you get exactly the change you want.

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The Truth About Life in Italy

Vacations languishing in the Tuscan countryside, summer evenings zipping around Rome on a scooter, morning jogs through regal parks and ancient monuments. That was my life for the four years I lived in Rome in my mid to late 20’s., which also meant I ate some of the best food of my life, day in and day out.

Cypress on the road in the middle of the Tuscan countryside on a summer day.

The Italian way of eating generally falls into what has been called the Mediterranean diet – and lifestyle – which is praised by health experts for its positive effects on health and wellbeing. And I agree – there’s so much we can learn from Italians in terms of food and lifestyle in general.

Yet, as Americans we tend to romanticize everything Italian. I don’t want to rain on the parade, but I do want to shed some light on some of the myths out there, while also pointing out the real truths we can learn from.

Myth #1: the Mediterranean diet basically just means vegetables, fish, legumes and olive oil.

Truth? Yes, the Mediterranean diet is generally defined as vegetables, fish, legumes and olive oil, but it selectively ignores the “paradox” of the other foods regularly consumed in the region, like butter and full-fat cheese (especially in Sardinia, home to one of the world’s highest concentrations of centenarians), cured meats (throughout the country), and even the ubiquitous pasta, which is far from being a “whole grain”.

What’s really going on? Many Italians thrive on a broader range of foods than what is commonly touted as “healthy”. Why? Partly because certain nutrients, like naturally occurring saturated fats, are actually far better for us than we’ve been told for decades, and partly because even their processed foods contain fewer preservatives and GMOs than American foods do. Also, here in the US our digestive systems have been damaged by factors such as the overuse of antibiotics in medicine and factory farming, so we’re less able to tolerate foods like dairy and gluten. In fact, I often help my clients get off dairy, gluten, and other foods so they can heal their digestion, and I do believe most people are better off without them, but here I’m simply pointing out the reality of what is thought of as “Mediterranean”.

Myth #2: Italians have less obesity because they lead a healthier lifestyle across the board.

Truth? Ok, it’s true that there’s less obesity in Italy, but that’s not because they’re healthier across the board, unless you think of a healthy “breakfast” as a cappuccino and three cigarettes at the corner café.

What’s really going on? Italians treat mealtimes more seriously than we do, and they don’t snack in between. We Americans tend to graze all day, touting the idea that it’s better to eat “five or six small meals per day” –  which basically turns into overeating and empty calories.

Myth #3: Italians eat way more than we do but they look fabulous because of some mysterious genetic advantage they have over us.

Truth? Italians may have more courses at each meal, but the portions are miniscule compared to our supersize-me, quantity-over-quality servings.

What’s really going on? Italians consume a wide variety of higher quality, real foods! Ditch the low-fat mozzarella cheese that tastes like paper, and opt for a wedge of full-fat pecorino and a small glass of red wine. Relish your aperitivo as you imagine yourself at a café in a hilltop town… and when your glass is empty, there are no refills!

Myth #4: Italians are just happier in general because life is easier there.

Truth? Life presents challenges wherever you go, whoever you are. Life isn’t easier in Italy, it’s just different. And truth be told, most Italians love to complain. (Yes, this is a huge generalization. I state it with great affection.) They love the drama, the importance, the urgency, of having a problem to complain about. But at the end of the day, they find comfort in routine (which includes complaining), family, and friends, and they wouldn’t trade any of it.

What’s really going on? Acceptance over resistance.  Life is a bumpy road. It’ll never be smooth sailing. Accept it, complain about it if you want to, but do so knowing that this journey is yours, bumps and all.

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How to beat the afternoon slump

There’s a reason why cultures around the world have the mid-day siesta: our circadian rhythms naturally include a slump at that time. When I lived in Rome, most shops routinely closed for two or three hours in the afternoon.

But most of us don’t have time in our fast-paced lives for that luxury!

unnamedHere are  some tips to help you sail through the afternoon without resorting to caffeine (which disturbs your sleep at night!)

Get some moderate exercise, just before you normally feel the slump coming on. All you need is 20-30 minutes of brisk walking, yoga (try the free 20 minute classes at yogadownload.com) or good ol’ jumping jacks and squats. The increased circulation brings oxygen to those sleepy cells of yours.

Try taking an adaptogenic herb. Adaptogens naturally help your body cope with stress and fatigue. Take them consistently in the morning and afternoon for best results. There are many options for adaptogens, and you will want to choose yours based on the additional benefits offered by different herbs. Here are some examples:

  • Ashwaganda is an adaptogen that helps you cope with stress and fatigue, and it also helps improve the quality of your sleep at night.
  • Licorice root is another adaptogen, and it provides the additional benefit of soothing your digestive tract.
  • One more example of an adaptogen is Maca root, and it is a powerful hormone balancer (it also boosts libido!)
  • Rhodiola rosea, shizandra, and holy basil are other examples.

The quality of the supplements you choose is critical! Reach out to me if you’d like guidance on selecting the right one for you.

Finally, a very simple but essential tip: drink plenty of fresh water, especially in the morning. Dehydration often shows up as fatigue rather than thirst!

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Finding solutions for your personal energy crisis

So many women today are experiencing their own personal “energy crisis”. I’ve been there myself. I’ve felt the ongoing aching fatigue in my bones. I’ve struggled past the daily afternoon slump. I’ve had to pick and choose my activities so I don’t run out of steam halfway.

The causes of fatigue can range from nutritional deficiencies to infections to emotional upheaval (testing and guidance will help you figure out what it is). But no matter what the cause, an imbalance lies at the root of it. Something is out of alignment, out of balance, and it’s begging for your attention. Pushing, resisting, and fighting won’t help. Going deep and creating balance will.

And today – Earth Day – it’s important to see that what ails our earth is also an imbalanceOur global energy crisis is a cry to return to balance and interconnectedness. My health depends on your health, and your health depends on the health of this one precious planet.

When we value our health, we grow food in a way that protects the planet. We invest in sustainable energy, and we protect sources of clean water. It all starts with valuing ourselves, each other, and the earth, in a state of balance. As it so happens, those initiatives are often led by women.

WEA bannerAnd that’s why I’m beyond excited to announce that I’ve partnered with the Women’s Earth Alliance (WEA). Starting this month, 10% of the net proceeds from my coaching programs will go directly to WEA.

Empowering women in grassroots initiatives to cultivate health for our civilization and our planet is exactly the mission I proudly want to support. Please read below to learn more about this inspiring, solutions-oriented organization.

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Women’s Earth Alliance works at the dynamic intersection of women’s empowerment and environmental sustainability by investing in grassroots women’s leadership. WEA links women who are established as community leaders with the training, funding and advocacy support they need to drive solutions to our most pressing ecological and climate concerns.  WEA works in underserved regions of North America, South Asia, Sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America. To get a feel for what this work is all about, see WEA’s 3 minute animation video!

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Here’s the perfect antidote to stress

I just returned from a trip to New Mexico to visit my family and two of my dearest friends. Even though it’s springtime – when most people are ramping up projects and plans – I’ve actually been slowing down, taking a step back, and it feels, well… fantastic.

And as I allow myself more time to simply be, it occurs to me that there’s one thing most of us are craving, without even realizing it…

Most of us are craving more tenderness.

How often do you hear the word “tenderness” in your day-to-day life, compared to how often you hear the words “tired”, “busy”, and “stressed”?

There simply isn’t a lot of room for tenderness in our lives. So we cram in more busy-ness, more doing-ness. And after a while, that just makes us tired, resentful, stressed, and angry.

When we’re tired, resentful, stressed, and angry, we grab another glass of wine, or we go for more chocolate or a latte, as a “reward”. What we get in the end is layers upon layers of over-working, exhaustion, resentment, and maybe even guilt…

That’s a long ways away from tenderness.

Tenderness – in whatever form – warms us, softens us, allows for simple being-ness, rather than doing-ness.  It’s the perfect antidote to stress.

Honestly, I don’t usually think of the need for tenderness in my own life. But it struck me like a ton of bricks – or feathers! – last week when I snapped this shot of my daughter Grace giving a bottle to her baby cousin Mica, with Mica’s big brother Gavin by their side.

Grace Mica Gavin

The sweet tenderness of those three little beings took my breath away. It shifted me from doing and thinking to being and feeling.

 Does more tenderness mean less productivity, less achievement? No.

More tenderness simply honors the part of ourselves that yearns for connection, relaxation, joy, and spaciousness.

Like the yin and yang, one balances the other. More tenderness in our lives actually helps create more focus and productivity by freeing up the energy that gets sucked away by overworking and resentment.

So how can you cultivate more tenderness in your life right now?

  • Take a walk around your neighborhood and look at it through a child’s eyes. See that flower? Gorgeous! Hear that bird? Amazing!
  • Give a hug to someone you love, just because. No one ever complains of too much love in their life!
  • The next time you’re reaching for another latte, or pouring another glass of wine, ask yourself what are you really craving? On the surface, you’re just craving the coffee or wine, for Pete’s sake! But what’s underneath that craving? Where in your body is the yearning coming from? Your heart, your belly, your tense shoulders? Trying breathing warmth and spaciousness into that part of your body, and see how you feel.
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5-Day Lunch Menu for Kids and Adults

Are your kids bored with taking the same old thing to school for lunch every day?

And what about yourself? Do you have every intention of packing lunch but end up eating out because you can’t figure out what to bring to work?

If so, you might like these kid-friendly ideas for packed lunches that can be made in about 10 minutes. Double the amounts so you can have the same thing for yourself by following the “adult” adaptation in brackets.

Note: having a nice set of glass containers with sealable lids is key!

Monday: Lentils that have been soaked & sprouted over the weekend, then sauteed for 5 minutes in grass fed butter (see recipe below) [Adults: add the lentils to a green salad with avocado, walnuts, olive oil and lemon juice]

Tuesday: Chicken soup that you made over the weekend (simply reheat and pack in a thermos) [Adults: exact same thing in your own thermos]

Wednesday: Brown rice pasta mixed with canned tuna fish [Adults: add chopped carrot, cilantro, sweet bell peppers, cherry tomatoes – anything that appeals to you, and mix with olive oil and sea salt]

Thursday: Skewers with cherry tomatoes, cubed cheddar cheese, and organic sliced turkey breast (I recommend Applegate brand because it doesn’t have any added sugar unlike most brands). Kids will love it if you let them “build” the skewers themselves. [Adults: throw it all into a container rather than dealing with the skewers]

Friday: organic corn tortillas topped with melted cheese (quesadilla) along with avocado slices and some chicken breast from a whole chicken you roasted for dinner the night before. [Adults: use romaine lettuce to roll it all up instead of tortillas, if desired]

Snacks to add on a rotating basis:

  • organic applesauce (with no added sugar)
  • plain whole yogurt with fresh berries and local honey
  • lightly roasted pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds or pine seeds (most schools don’t allow nuts but seeds are okay)
  • sliced jicama with salt and a squeeze of lemon or lime (if you don’t know what jicama is, look it up and befriend it! It’s a sweet, crunchy veggie that most kids will like)
  • apple slices
  • rice cakes
  • crispy dried snap peas (in the snack section of Trader Joe’s)
  • chia seed pudding (soak ¼ cup chia seeds in 1 cup coconut milk for 4 hours, then add berries and stevia)

Basic Lentil Recipe:

Soak 2 cups of lentils in warm water with a squeeze of lemon for 4-8 hours.

[Better yet, sprout the lentils by doing the following: soak the lentils in a glass jar with plenty of water at room temp for about 8 hours. Drain well, then continue to leave out at room temp for about 2 days, rinsing and draining twice per day, until little sprouts grow from the lentils, about ¼ of an inch long. Then proceed with recipe below.]

Add one tablespoon grass fed butter (I like Kerrygold brand) to a pan. Add about 1 cup sprouted lentils, or any amount you like. Add a couple tablespoons water to the pan, cover, and simmer over medium-low heat for about 7 minutes, until the lentils are tender.

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Sick again? How to build a strong immune system

Recently a client of mine said, “I keep getting sick every few weeks. What advice can you give me so that I stay on track with my fitness goals and don’t get derailed every time I catch a bug?”

“Wait a minute!” I said. “The question here isn’t how you can stay on track with your fitness goals, the question is why do you get sick so frequently?”

You see, staying on track with your fitness goals doesn’t matter one iota if you’re forcing yourself to do it, while your body is pleading for more rest and TLC.

My client has a young daughter, so it’s easy to shrug off the frequent sickness as a byproduct of living with a germ-ridden school-aged kid. But why wasn’t my client’s immune system able to stave off the virus du jour, despite taking copious amounts of vitamin C and Echinacea?

A likely reason is that her body is in stress overload, which taxes her adrenal glands and therefore weakens the immune system. Usually we think of a stressful job or tight finances as the main stressors in our lives. But in my client’s case I knew the biggest stressor on her system was the fact that she only slept 5 or 6 hours per night.

In fact, sleep deprivation is one of the quickest ways to tax your adrenal glands, weaken your immune system, and even raise your blood sugar without you eating a morsel of sweets.

Another possible reason for frequent sickness is food intolerances and/or an imbalance in gut flora. These two often go hand in hand and create a chronic state of low-grade inflammation, which again taxes the adrenal glands and lowers the immune response.

If you or someone you love gets sick frequently, there are five main steps to take:

1. Get 8 or even 9 hours of sleep every night. This is imperative (9 hours wouldn’t be forever, just long enough to let your body recover). No amount of supplements or healthy food will make up for getting less than 8 hours of sleep! Please re-read that last statement. It’s that important!

2. Conserve your energy: eliminate intense exercise, avoid draining relationships, stop over-committing yourself. Most likely you’re driven and dedicated, but how effective/helpful can you be if you’re catching every bug going around?

3. Cultivate as much laughter and joy as possible. Watch funny movies. Soak in the sunshine. Turn off the evening news. Spend time with people who make you feel good. Eat that chocolate if it brings you pleasure (not guilt!)

4. Identify any food intolerances, and consider whether your gut flora is compromised.

5. Yes, there are supplements you can take. But they won’t work if the above steps aren’t in place! The general immune-boosting supplements I’d recommend are:

  • Vitamin D (at least 1,000 IUs per day)
  • Probiotics (15-50 billion CFUs depending on your gut health)
  • Omega-3 fish oil (1-3,000 mg per day)
  • Vitamin C (1-3,000 mg per day)

Also consider taking an adaptogenic herb (adaptogens are herbs that help your body become more resilient to stress). Examples are Ashwaganda (which is also helpful if you have insomnia), Rhodiola Rosea, and Reishi (which also directly boosts your immune system).

Above all, listen to your body! Frequent sickness is trying to tell you something. Don’t ignore it! Don’t muscle through it!

What do you need to let go of? What are you shouldering that isn’t actually your responsibility? What would create an immense feeling of relief for you, if it were suddenly taken off your plate?

Also, observe your own thoughts, every minute of every day. What are you thinking right now? Are you in a state of joy and gratitude or in a state of worry and fear? Your immune system will be affected one way or another depending on your thoughts.

As you can see, frequent sickness usually has an energetic/emotional cause, as well as a concurrent physical cause (like infection or lack of sleep). Once you address the underlying causes, you’ll be well on your way to feeling vibrantly healthy again!

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Want to know how my services can help you boost your energy, immune system, and feelings of calm and clarity? Schedule a complimentary assessment now.

 

 

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How to Avoid a New Year’s Eve Hangover

New Year’s eve is coming up and that’s a fantastic time to pop open a bottle, and celebrate! But what about New Year’s Day? You wake up with a splitting headache, cotton mouth, and a vague recollection that it was “just that last glass I shouldn’t have had”. Right?! I’ve been there!

In fact that was me for most of the New Year’s that I can remember. But a few years ago I realized that the discomfort of drinking too much – whether it was on New Year’s eve or any other day for that matter – far outweighed the enjoyment I got out of that glass or two or three.

I’m not here to tell you NOT to drink.  But I DO want to give you four handy tips so you can avoid suffering through a hangover the next day. Watch this quick video or keep reading below.

Tip # 1: alternate every drink with a glass of water. Alcohol dehydrates you and that’s the main cause of a hangover. So drink lots of water between drinks.

Tip #2: Take activated charcoal at the end of the night. Activated charcoal absorbs toxins in the digestive tract and escorts them out, like a bouncer at a nightclub. The Bulletproof Executive makes an excellent activated charcoal that you may want to try. This will really help prevent a hangover the next day – but that doesn’t mean you should drink more because of it!

Tip #3: Schedule something you HAVE to feel good for, on New Year’s Day. Like going for a hike, or taking a yoga glass, or going skiing. If you commit to doing something like that with a friend, you’ll keep that in mind as the bubbly flows on New Year’s Eve.

Tip #4: Obviously the best approach of all is to drink less in the first place. If you’ll feel deprived doing this, try drinking some bubbly water in a champagne glass with some lemon or a raspberry. It feels festive and elegant.

So here’s wishing you a happy, healthy New Year! Cheers!

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