Are you being kind to yourself?

Not with Rewards

Are you kind to yourself? Stop saying negative things to yourself and start affirming the positive. You ARE awesome. Start saying it!Oh sure, you reward yourself with a piece of cake or a new piece of jewelry once in a while. But those are rewards, and while it is nice and kind to do something “extra” for yourself, the real question is: are you kind to yourself every day?

Kind Self-Talk

“I’m so stupid.” Do you say that to yourself? Know this: it’s not true. Perhaps you poured OJ into your coffee instead of milk. That doesn’t make you stupid, it just means you weren’t paying attention at the moment. In most cases, when you tell yourself you’re stupid, you are reacting to a situation in which you’re not performing at your best. You may have done something stupid (and I’d prefer to say you did something not so smart), but that doesn’t make you stupid. So stop saying it. I hear people, particularly women, say this aloud about themselves all the time. Take notice if you’re doing it, and stop.

There are other phrases of unkind words we say to ourselves: I’m fat, I’m not good enough, I’m ugly, I’m a bad mother/wife/partner/sister/friend. Stop it. You have the power to change your reaction to whatever situation is causing you to say those things. And you can start making that change by changing how you talk to yourself.

Instead of saying “I’m fat” try:
– I am in control of my health.
– I am choosing to be healthy.
– I am awesome.

Instead of saying “I’m not good enough” try:
– I am a winner.
– I am successful.
– I love myself for who I am.

Instead of saying “I’m ugly” try:
– I am my own unique self.
– I am comfortable with who I am.
– I am special.
– I am beautiful.

Instead of “I’m a bad (insert relationship here)” try:
– I am patient and kind.
– I am a source of love and inspiration.
– I am loving and passionate.
– I am love, loved, and loving.

These alternatives are all positive affirmations, short positive statements that are true (or you want to be true). Repeating them aloud or writing them down every day instills the affirmation into your subconscious and it will change the way you think about yourself. For those who doubt this and think it’s some New Age hype, let me just remind you that all those negative things you’ve been saying have gotten you where? This is basic human psychology. So make a concentrated effort to write down three positive affirmations and say them aloud every morning for a week. See if you feel a difference. I know you will.

If you’d like more information on positive affirmations, including over 300 more affirmations covering everything from finance to creativity, then check out my book, Positive Affirmations.

6 Ways to Relieve Stress

Stressed to the Point of Implosion

Does hair-pulling, shoulder-tensing stress have you wadded into a ticking time bomb? Diffuse that stress with these 6 easy tactics to relieve stress.Does hair-pulling, shoulder-tensing stress have you wadded into a ticking time bomb? Diffuse that stress with these 6 easy tactics to relieve stress.

I’m sure I’m not alone when I say that money issues often stress me out. Two-thousand-fourteen had a whopper of those. I closed a retail business at the end of 2013 to start my coaching practice. I had enough in savings to get me through the year while the new business got started. Unfortunately two roofing issues and some major house construction (a result of the roofing issues), ate into that savings quite a bit. To further add to the mix, my husband’s job was no longer as secure as it was six months ago.

6 Techniques to Relieve Stress

Without the techniques that I’m going to share with you, I would be a nervous, tense, sleep-deprived wreck at this point. Such a state would certainly hinder any momentum to move forward, both personally and with the coaching practice. Thankfully I began implementing several of these techniques even before the stress factors kicked in full force.

  1. Breathe. Slow, deep breaths. If you are a regular reader, you know that I preach breathing. I am aware of when a situation is causing my blood pressure to rise or my muscles to tense, and before I react in any way, I breathe. Three slow, deep breaths. Try it right now. It’s very calming.
  2. Drink water. If you’re dehydrated your level of the stress hormone cortisol increases. Aim to keep your base stress level as low as possible, and water will aid you doing that.
  3. Meditate. If you don’t have a regular meditation practice, start out easy: five minutes of quiet deep breathing. Alternatively you can listen to soothing music, practice yoga, or participate in a relaxing aspect of a hobby or sport (gardening, knitting, singing, cooking, drawing, dancing, running, kayaking, swimming, etc.).
  4. Be aware of what you can control and what you can’t. Staying up all night worrying about things I can’t control isn’t going to solve any problems. Believing that I will find a solution to any problems that arise, and getting a good night’s sleep so that I can be clear-headed in the morning is much more beneficial. Not always easy, but certainly a  calm and rested mind can make better decisions than one that is fraught with worry.
  5. Say positive affirmations every day.  This has helped me so much that I wrote a book on the power of positive affirmations and how to use them. Here are a few to help you if you are feeling stressed:
      • I am responsible for the success I achieve.
      • I am confident, competent, and calm.
      • I am capable of any task given to me.
      • I deal with problems immediately.
      • I live in an abundant universe.
      • I invite and allow money in my life.
      • My days are rich with opportunities.
  6. Express gratitude. I wake up and think about three people for whom I am grateful. Before bed I think about three things for which I am grateful. The day before Thanksgiving 2013, I stood in my basement surrounded by 12 large plastic tubs that were gathering the gallons of water pouring in from our roof issue. I stood and cried, not because of the water coming into my house, but because I was still going to be able to spend Thanksgiving with my husband and children. A pastor’s family in our community was not. That same day a man set himself on fire and ran into a local church, setting the church offices on fire. The pastor didn’t make it out of the building in time. So be thankful for what you do have, and make a conscious effort to think about people you are grateful for every day. Go beyond just thinking about the people, actually express the gratitude: write a letter or a short note, give the person a call, or if they’re no longer living, write about them in your journal.

Practicing these techniques has given me a safe and calm anchor point. I can find that anchor at any given moment which helps me keep things in perspective. I’m less likely to overreact and more likely to make rational decisions based on fact and not emotion.

Try to implement one of these techniques today (I’d start with the breathing). Continue practicing that technique daily while adding in a new technique every couple of days. Do you have any techniques you already use to help you cope with stress? Please share in the comments or on our Facebook page.

Awareness of Food and Eating

Your relationship with food matters

You are what you eat – or so the saying goes. So how aware are you of what you are consuming on a daily basis? How aware are you of your relationship with food? That’s right, relationship. A lot of people do not have a good relationship with food, and I don’t mean that sometimes eating onions gives you indigestion. While being aware of what foods cause you gastronomic distress is a good thing, it is critical to your health and well-being to have a good relationship with food.

Think about how you feel in regards to the following statements:

  • Food’s purpose is a source of nutrients that fuel my body
  • I forget to eat if I’m busy doing something else
  • I find myself snacking all day, especially on things that are sweet or salty (or both!)
  • I’ve been known to polish off a bag of chips or pretzels while watching television
  • I can’t get my day started without coffee. Lots of coffee.
  • I love food, but food doesn’t love me
  • I listen to my body for clues as to what I should eat

Food as the necessary evil

This was my relationship with food for a long time. I had better things to do than spend an hour in the kitchen whipping together a meal that would take ten minutes to consume. That just didn’t seem like a good return on my time investment. As a result, I either skipped a meal, or chose something quick and usually processed to consume.

In the past year, I’ve begun to change my mindset about food. Instead of looking at food preparation as a chore, I’ve come to view it as an opportunity to take a break and meditate. I’ve chosen to make my health a priority, and in doing so I’m more concerned about what foods I’m putting into my body. This shift has allowed me to look at food in a different way: more as a life sustaining force and less as a means to stop my stomach from growling. Food preparation has become a sort of meditation practice: the chopping of the vegetables, stirring the soup or sauces, smelling the herbs and spices, spreading the nut butters on toast – whatever action of preparation I do, I do it fully aware of how it is transforming the food which will in turn nourish and transform me.

How you eat is as important as what you eat

I am also mindful as I eat. I chew each bite as much as a can, savoring the flavors and texture that bite of food has to offer. This also allows the enzymes in my mouth to begin breaking down the food, which means a bit less stress on my stomach enzymes and easier digestion. All that chewing takes time and slow eating makes you feel full with less food consumed.

Although I’ve been undergoing this mind shift about food for almost a year, it is still a process that I have to think about; it doesn’t come naturally to me to think of food as a friend. For a while that bothered me. Surely if I “practiced” my good eating habits I should start prepping and eating healthy meals without giving it much thought. But I realized it is the giving it thought that is the healthy part. The awareness of the preparation and eating is the very thing that is nourishing my soul while the food itself is nourishing my body.

Spend some time this week being aware of what you are eating and how you are eating. When you are aware, you are more likely to make healthier choices and to not overeat. Share your thoughts over on our Facebook page.

13 Quick Stress Relievers

Every day comes with at least some stress, but with the holidays approaching, even those who consider their lives low stress start feeling a bit more anxious. Those with high stress to start with often compound their stress just thinking about how much more stress there will be. Whew!

So here are 13 things you can do in less than five minutes (some in under a minute) that will help to take the edge off:

13 Quick Stress Relievers you can do in under 5 minutes

1. Breathe.

I sound like a broken record on this, but this one thing can make huge difference in your reaction to a situation. Take a moment and breathe deeply and slowly. Three times. Do it now. Then…

2. Smile.

If you have to fake it, that’s okay – just don’t turn it into a snarl. Repeat if necessary. Repeat even if not necessary. Smile at a stranger for an added boost of serotonin and endorphins (which make you feel good). When they smile back, you get a bonus boost!

3. Take a walk.

You’ll get more out of a 40-50 minute walk, but even five minutes, especially in fresh air, will do you and your body good.

4. Stretch.

Reach both arms above your head and stretch. Better if standing, but even just reaching above your head while sitting will have benefits. Pointing and flexing each foot (ideally with leg extended) can also be done while sitting.

5. Laugh out loud.

LOL for real. Think of time when you laughed really hard over something – you don’t even have to remember what you were laughing about, just remember the sensation and try to duplicate that. You may not get to that level of laughter, but you at the very least genuinely smile and probably even giggle a little.

6. Hum.

Hum a tune, say the word hum and hold the “mmm” sound, whatever.

7. Sing.

Sometimes this one is best done when you’re alone, and if you are then sing at the top of your lungs! Aim for an upbeat song.

8. Dance.

It’s okay if the music is only in your head. Just move, shake, and bop around for a few minutes. Take a bow.

9. Daydream.

Take one minute to imagine yourself doing your favorite activity, or relaxing, or winning the lottery. See it, hear it, smell it, taste it, feel it. (Set a timer if you’re afraid you’ll get sucked in too deep to your daydream to come back to reality).

10. Rub your hands together vigorously.

As if you are trying to warm your hands, rub your palms together for about 15 seconds. When you stop, feel not only the heat, but the energy force between your hands as you slowly separate them.

11. Doodle.

Scrap of paper and a pencil. Draw something: a line, circles, a picture, anything. There’s a lot to be said about the power of doodling.

12. Yawn.

Open your mouth really wide and it will come. It may even happen a few times, and that’s okay.

13. Make a paper airplane.

Flying it is optional. It’s the process of making that will help lower your stress level. I like to make tiny ones out of sticky notes.

Keep this list handy for anytime you need a quick dose of stress reduction. You can Pin the graphic from here, or visit our Pinterest site for this and more great stuff:

What do you do to relieve or reduce stress?

Why Self-Worth Leads to Success

Self-Worth and Self-Care

Yesterday I treated myself to a foot massage. It was fabulous! The room was low lit with soothing music playing softly. I climbed up on the table and was instantly enveloped in warmth from the heated blanket beneath me. A few deep breaths later and I was completely relaxed; Jamie hadn’t even touched my feet yet. And then the massage began. Ahhhh. I hadn’t realized I could become even more relaxed than I was. It was heaven; pure heaven.

This was the first time in 11 years that I’d had a professional massage. Why did it take me so long to do it again? The previous (hot stone!) massage had been a gift from my sister as part of a spa weekend. I loved it. Why not treat myself at least once a year or so?

As I gave that some thought, I thought there might be several factors that contributed:

  • cost
  • time
  • self-worth

While a weekly massage probably wasn’t in the budget (or was it?), I realized that I easily spend the cost of a massage each month on things far less satisfying or necessary. So while I tried to use cost as an excuse, it really wasn’t true.

Lack of time was probably only a little bit more true than the cost excuse. Certainly if getting a massage was a priority, then I could find an hour or so in my schedule once a month to fit it in.

And now we come to the self-worth issue. Here’s where the buck stopped. Apparently I thought I was only worth a massage once every decade; scheduling that kind of treat for myself was only for a super special occasion. And in my mind, when I really took the time to analyze my feelings about this, I saw a connection between very powerful and successful people and those who got frequent (say, every month or so) massages. Certainly they had money and time, but most importantly they were worth it. My conclusion was that when I saw myself as powerful and successful, THEN I too would be worth getting monthly massages.

Well, that notion seems a bit ridiculous. Furthermore, what if the “reward” for getting more frequent massages (or any other “treat” of that nature) was BECOMING powerful and successful? What if I had things in the wrong order the whole time?

This notion did not seem as ridiculous, although it may to you. I know from changing my morning routine these last few months into a very focused first hour early in the morning, I’m able to get a lot more done throughout my day. The first part of that routine is meditating – entering a very relaxed state. I felt even more relaxed at my foot massage. What if each month I had that additional deep relaxation through massage? Could my productivity increase even more? More productivity means more is accomplished which means I’m helping people change their lives to be happier and more successful which, in turn, makes me happier and feel more successful.

I’m scheduling a hot stone massage for mid-August!

7 Ways Clean Eating Changed Me

I’m wrapping up my 28 days of clean eating detox. I loved it, and am definitely adapting that way of eating into my life. Over the course of the last four weeks, I learned quite a bit:

  1. Cooking isn’t so hard. I didn’t really like to cook, which is what made processed food so appealing: open freezer, take out box, microwave it, eat it. Every time I stuck something in the microwave I chided myself for not serving myself and my family something healthier. In the last month, I only used the microwave to heat up homemade leftovers! My family ate about 80% of my clean meals; they occasionally ate processed food. I did try to provide as healthy as possible processed options.
  2. My only beverage was water. I’m not a coffee drinker, and if it had been winter I may have opted for herbal tea (no sugar or milk) on occasion.  I used to drink fruit juice and maybe some soda 2-3 times a week. Didn’t miss any of that at all. Drank bottled spring water at home and water with lemon when eating out.
  3. I missed pizza the most. The good kind of pizza, from the pizzeria, not frozen pizza. We’re lucky to have a great little pizza place in our tiny little town. I reintroduced gluten and dairy by having a couple of slices. I missed pizza more than sugar.
  4. I didn’t miss sugar. My meals were so satisfying and my body was getting the nutrients it needed. The only sugar I ate was a few grams (less than 5!) in the 2-3 pieces of Panda Soft Licorice I ate a few days a week. It’s all natural with only 4 ingredients (molasses [sugar], wheat flour [gluten], licorice extract, natural flavor [aniseed oil]). The other source of sugar was in the 70% dark chocolate bar a sometimes ate a segment of. Serving size is 1/2 a bar – which is 9 segments. A couple of times I had 2 segments, but otherwise 1 was enough to satisfy my sweet tooth. [Amazon sells them, but only in bulk – check your local grocery store in health food or gourmet food sections. This one is my favorite.]
  5. My family’s attitude towards eating changed as well. While there weren’t on board with ALL my meal choices, they starting eating more fruits and veggies, drinking more water, and trying new things.
  6. I feel amazing! I have a ton more energy. I lost about 2 pounds (weight loss was not a goal). My thighs are less jiggly and my stomach is (and feels) flatter. The clean eating got rid of (or at least reduced) the fat around my internal organs; my workouts built up some muscle!
  7. This way of eating – clean, healthy, and plant-based – has inspired be to get my health coach certification!
  8. I’m going to keep going! While I will be reintroducing some of the food types that were banned (like dairy, gluten, soy, and corn), I am staying away from processed food completely – or as much as I can.

Are you interested in eating more healthily? Not sure if you can make a 28-day commitment? I know where you’re coming from! Three months ago I would have scoffed at the notion of taking on this challenge, but my desire to feel better and be healthier trumped my laziness and reliance on processed foods.

It’s really not hard if you are committed and keep the reason you are doing this forefront in your mind. If you want to take the plunge, contact me, and we’ll talk about a plan for you. If you’d like to ease into it slowly, then I recommend switching your beverage to water – as much as you can. If you still need that morning cup of joe, fine; but start cutting back and then eliminating soda. That, in combination with movement, will make a world of difference. So drink water and take some long walks!

[Disclaimer: some of the links in this post are affiliate links. If you purchase a product through an affiliate link, your cost will be the same but I will automatically receive a small commission. Your support is greatly appreciated and helps me spread my message!]

5 Things I’ve Learned on My 30 Day Clean Eating Detox

glass-of-waterToday I am half way through my Clean Eating Detox, and it’s going well. I’ve surprised myself at being able to stick with it this long without any major cravings or cheats. And I’ve learned a few things:

1. Water is your friend

I was already a water drinker, but when I would dine out it was easy to choose something else – usually sweet tea or soda. I found that many places had terrible tasting water, so I would just opt for a tastier option. Lemon solved that. There’s bound to be a wedge of lemon somewhere in the restaurant. Squeezed into a tall glass of not so wonderful tap water, it made the water not only drinkable, but quite refreshing. I ask for lemon even when the water is delightful on its own.

2. Doing your best is better than doing nothing

So many times in the past I had good intentions but would get overwhelmed and confused. Was this food item considered healthy or not? It has 27 ingredients, and I can pronounce all but 2 of them. This one has 4 ingredients, but 3 of them are poly-syllabic words that require five minutes each to sound out. I used to give up. Now, armed with the week’s grocery list plus my master sheet of “EAT vs AVOID” I’m ready for battle. Still, there are some things that just couldn’t be found: “clean” mustard (no sugar and no vinegar). Ultimately, I used a bit of fancy mustard I had in the fridge. No sugar, but it did have vinegar in it. Is my cleanse a bust? No. Is the teeny, tiny amount of sugar in the all natural soft licorice I ate throwing me out of the game? No. Those 2 (or maybe 3) little pieces of licorice still have less sugar than the handful of M&M’s I was munching every evening, with an occasional handful after lunch, and sometimes the small handful that I grabbed walking out the door when running errands. I can confidently say that I’ve been eating more than 90% clean, and probably closer to 95%. Pretty proud of myself.

3. Preparation is key

I have a grocery list that corresponds to the week’s menus. For some of you that is a no brainer; for the rest of us – this is crucial. The list and menu with recipes comes from a Clean Eating group I belong to. I didn’t have to do the math to calculate how many tomatoes I needed. I bought what was on the list (with a few substitutions), and voila! I had groceries for the week that actually corresponded to what I was going to prepare for meals.

The only thing I didn’t count on was what to easily pack if I was traveling for the day. Since my options for eating out were minimized, I had to plan ahead (which was a challenge for me). After one sad dinner consisting of a protein bar, an apple, and some rice crackers, I spent some time devising better snack and light meal options that could survive the summer heat in my car.

4. Trying new things isn’t so scary

Swiss chard was on my first week’s grocery list. I looked at it. I was scared. I didn’t buy any. I did, however, try kale. It was also on my list. I liked it. I didn’t love it, but it was quite yummy mixed with baby spinach as the base of a salad. I’d definitely buy some again, or better yet (as I hardly made a dent in the huge bag I had purchased), I will continue to grow some in my garden – and not consider it a decoration! We’ll see if I get a bit braver with the Swiss chard.

5. Little changes can make a big difference

If you’re not ready to go full throttle on a challenge like this, consider cutting back on the avoids: sugar, dairy, soy, gluten, coffee, and alcohol. There are more, but those are major ones. Drink more water. Eat an apple each day (green apples are healthier for detoxing). Add in more leafy greens. Small steps to healthier eating along with a change in mindset will make a huge difference in how you feel.


If you want more information on clean eating, including recipes and tips, join my Facebook group “Healthy and Happy.” It’s a closed group, just ask to join. There are no fees, just information and sharing of clean eating experiences. I’m not an expert, but I’m with you on this journey!


Small Steps to Healthy Eating

Healthy Eating is a Journey, Not a Vacation

Stop treating dieting like a vacation - try & then return "home;" start treating healthy eating as a final destination; the place you are going - for good!This time you are going to do it. You are going to eat healthier and loose weight. We have started on this road to healthy eating more than once, and somewhere along the way we turn around and head back to our processed food safety zone. It’s time to stop treating dieting like a vacation – where you go for a while and then come back “home,” and start treating healthy eating as a final destination; the place you are moving to – for good!

While I’m not personally trying to loose weight, I am actively trying to maintain a healthy weight; a task that is growing more difficult as I age. I am trying to instill healthy eating habits in my children. I am trying to help my husband to loose a few pounds. We are all wanting to feel more energetic and fit. This journey is not one that can be accomplished in a day, or a week, or even a month. It may take a year, or two. The good news is that each day you can move closer to your final destination one step at a time.

Step One: Choose water.

Humans are 75% water and therefore when we don't drink water we dehydrate (picture a prune, shriveled and dry). However when we do drink water there are many, many health benefits! Knowing when to drink water increases those benefits.Choose water over soda. Choose water over any sweetened beverage. If you don’t like the taste of water add a slice of lemon or lime -a particularly helpful trick to mask the taste of some tap water. While I could write an entire post on the difference between waters (tap vs. distilled vs. filtered vs. spring water – whew!), suffice it for now to say that you should just choose water.

If you currently don’t drink much or any water, drink a glass with your lunch or dinner. After several days of doing this, drink a glass with lunch AND dinner. Then start drinking water between meals. Work up to half your body weight in ounces. If you weight 150 pounds, drink 75 ounces of water a day. Yes, you will pee a lot. And many, many toxins will leave your body. So just do it!

Step Two: Smaller Portions

This was one of my husband’s biggest complaints: the smaller portions were not as satisfying and didn’t fill him up. I sometimes felt the same. Thankfully, we hung in there and after a couple of weeks we were feeling more satisfied with our meals. This came from several factors:

  1. I dished the meal out onto smaller plates or bowl. Silly as that may sound, if the small plate was heaped with food our psyche’s tricked us into thinking we were getting a full meal. Same amount of food on a large plate looked like we were getting a skimpy serving.
  2. Waiting 15 minutes after finishing a serving to see if we were still hungry. Sometimes it really wasn’t enough food (more on that below), but usually it was and it just took a few minutes for our stomach to get the message to our brains. Instead of having seconds and then feeling stuffed, we stopped at one serving and felt fulfilled – it just took a few minutes to make that realization.
  3. Healthy snack instead of seconds. If we were still hungry after waiting 15 minutes, then instead of seconds we ate some raw veggies and hummus, or peanut (or almond) butter and an apple. Sometimes we had a small handful of almonds or walnuts. If part of the meal involved a salad, then we’d have seconds on the salad.
  4. We kept reminding ourselves what the goal was. In that moment when you’re still hungry it is easy to succumb to the desire to eat more. But we reminded ourselves (and each other) how great we were feeling – and in my husband’s case, how much weight he was loosing. The motivation to stay on track with our goals often kept us from having seconds.
  5. Indulged every once in a while. There were some meals though that were just so awesome that we couldn’t resist a second helping, but we kept it small (not a full second serving). Allowing ourselves a little more once in a while of a healthy meal felt like a reward that wouldn’t jeopardize our progress. We were careful to save indulgences like this for healthy meals – and not pizza night!

Step Three: Start Where You Are

We were starting from a 90% prepackaged or processed meal point. Breakfast was frozen waffles or sugary cereal. Lunch was a heat and serve package or maybe a sandwich (white bread!), and dinner was an entree from the freezer or maybe pizza or other carryout. I don’t like to cook, but I really wanted my family to eat better. So we started with breakfast.

No more frozen waffles. We started drinking protein shakes made from vegan chocolate protein powder, frozen strawberries, spinach or kale, a banana, and almond milk. Whirl all that in a blender (I use a VitaMix), and yummy! Six mornings a week we have that. I tried a few different recipes in the beginning, but the family consensus was they liked this recipe the best. Makes my morning super easy and my shopping list is consistent (at least that part of it) as well. From there we switched out white bread for whole wheat at lunch for sandwiches and added salads to the mix. Our goal was to have most of our lunches be healthier than they had been.

Lastly, we tackled dinner. At first I wanted to make all the meals healthy, but that was unrealistic coming from a once a month healthy dinner start point. So we aimed for once a week in the beginning. Once that was a system, I began adding another dinner each week. I’m still not up to seven awesome dinners a week, because I honestly find the whole meal planning and prepping and making thing exhausting. (Did I mention that I don’t like to cook?).

You Got This!

The point is not to go from zero to sixty in a week. Remember that in order to make healthy eating be a lifestyle, you have to make it a journey. Your tastes will change over time. Your skills will improve. Your willingness to try new things will also be tested.

Don’t get caught in the “it’s not enough” cycle. I started making healthier meals, then I’d get wrapped up in “should I buy organic?” or “fresh versus frozen” for veggies or some other argument (with myself) that sometimes stopped me from making anything and resorting to old processed meal habits. Broccoli (fresh, frozen, organic or not) and chicken (fresh, frozen, organic or not) is better than a processed chicken and broccoli meal from the freezer section of the grocery store. Steam the broccoli, saute the chicken, and call it a meal. You can always make improvements over time. Remind yourself that making it yourself is better than relying on processed, so you’re already heading in the right direction even if you’re not using all organic, non-GMO, whatever-the-current-hype-about-food-is ingredients. You got this!

[Some links are affiliate links. While you will pay no more for the product or service, I may receive a small commission if you choose to purchase which will go towards supporting my blog and business. Thank you!]

Learn the Power of Breathing

100% of the top 100 successful people do it. 100% of Olympic gold medalists do it. 100% of the top 100 happiest people in the world do it. They breathe. Long, slow, focused breaths. Try it (because you know you already did, but do it again). Breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth. You don’t have to hold the breath in. Closing your eyes helps too (after you’ve finished reading this). I visualize the breath coming into my toes and filling my legs, body, arms, and the I exhale. That air leaves as quickly as it came in, taking with it my stress and worries. Sometimes I can feel chunks of stress fall off my shoulders.

In May I was in Indianapolis on business with some friends of mine. I spent much of the weekend being referee to some verbal arguments as well as just witnessing some downright ugly behavior. I didn’t realize how much stress I’d accumulated (indirect stress, as I wasn’t directly involved in the arguments), until I sat grabbing a bite to eat with another friend at the airport. As I sat, for the first time in four days, in a peaceful setting and took a few deep breaths, I could feel big, dry, caked-together chunks of stress fall off. My friend looked at me from across the table and remarked she could see the stress “falling away” as I took each deep breath.

Many of us don’t breathe properly. Our breaths are shallow and only use a portion of lung space. Deep breaths come from the diaphragm, the muscle below your lungs, and your stomach area should move in and out as you breath as opposed to your upper chest moving. Different breathing patterns can help you to relax, fall asleep, or even become more energized. So I put together a few videos on some breathing techniques that will find useful:

So today I charge you with the task of taking the time to breathe. It’s one of the first things I do in the morning – at least three slow, deep breaths. I repeat as needed throughout the day to combat stress, anxiety, or the daily craziness that comes from being the mother of two tweens.


Taking Care of Myself Once in a While

SeaSource 5-in-1 Essential Massage Oil
Arbonne’s SeaSource 5-in-1 Essential Massage Oil

Suffering from cabin fever, I decided that now was as good a time as any to deep condition my hair. My stylist mentioned that a healthy scalp meant healthy hair – and my scalp was a little on the dry and itchy side. And my hair a little on the frizzy side.

I grabbed my bottle of Arbonne’s SeaSource 5-in-1 Essential Massage Oil. I massaged a small amount into my scalp and hair ends. I then took a towel I had heated up in the dryer for a few minutes and wrapped it around my hair. Five minutes later I jumped into the shower and shampooed as usual. Good bye frizzies! Good bye itchy scalp! Hello beautiful hair!

As the name suggests, there are multiple ways to enjoy the massage oil. Here are some of those ways:

  • Body Massage – Of course! Warm a small amount of oil in your hands and massage onto skin using broad circular strokes, moving toward the heart, until the oil is completely absorbed.
  • Facial Massage – Use on freshly cleansed, damp skin. Warm a small amount of oil in hands and massage onto face, neck, and neckline using light strokes; massaging in direction of the muscles toward the heart until the oil is completely absorbed.
  • Facial Steam – Add up to 4 pumps of oil into a large bowl of steaming water. Place face over bowl, cover your head with a towel and remain in stream vapor for 3-5 minutes to help open and detoxify pores. When complete, cleanse and moisturize your face.
  • Bath Soak – Add 4-8 pumps of oil to tub of warm water and soak for 10-15 minutes. Step out of the bath carefully as tub may become slippery.
  • Aromatherapy – A small amount of oil may be massaged onto temples or added to a diffuser to benefit the aromatic oils, which help promote a sense of well-being. Avoid your eye area.
  • Deep Hair Conditioning – A small amount of oil on fingertips may be massaged onto scalp and ends of hair. Place a towel in the dryer on high and heat it up; once the oil is on your hair wrap the towel around your hair for about 5 minutes. Then rinse and shampoo as usual.

Disclaimer: I am an Arbonne Independent Consultant and do make a commission off of any sales placed through me or through my Arbonne website. A part of my I’ll Take Success business is coaching and training individuals to be successful Arbonne Consultants. If you would like to know more about starting and succeeding in Arbonne, you can visit my Arbonne website or contact me. It’s a fabulous company with botanically based products!