We are in the holiday season and it is a busy time with lots to do between work, family and extra festivities. Sometimes I get sad at this time of the year because of the memories I have of Christmas Past and I think of my grown children and miss when they were small. I am blessed I get to see them and spend time with them but the magical part of Christmas is now different. I have relatives and friends I have lost and it is sometimes hard when you miss them and the traditions you had with those you loved. Our two dogs Madison (Portuguese Water Dog) and Amber (Shih Tzu) give us a different kind of Holiday Happiness and they help keep both of us in our routine because they depend on us for everything.
Our dogs bring a different kind of JOY to our lives. We love taking them for walks, running around the yard with them and just hanging out on a Sunday afternoon. They also make us get up and get out since they need daily exercise (and so do we!) Having a dog makes your life fuller, and healthier. If you have to walk your dog a couple of times each day, you are better in shape than someone that does no walking. Because a dog offers unconditional love, they can treat your depression naturally because a dog brings happiness and this happiness releases endorphins that are a natural anti-depressant. You feel better when you are with your dog and therefore your mood is lifted and brighter. Coming in from work (no matter how bad your day was) and seeing your dog wag it’s tail will totally put a smile on your face and melt that bad mood!
Your dog doesn’t care if you have your make up on or if you are hanging in your sweats at home! You can be who you are and they still love you unconditionally. There is nothing better than a four legged bundle of fur cuddled up on the couch or in bed while you are snug as a bug in rug reading or watching TV.
It is a known fact having a dog will help someone who is lonely. Live Science reported Pets are good sources of social and emotional support for everyone, not just people facing health challenges, new research suggests.
“We observed evidence that pet owners fared better, both in terms of well-being outcomes and individual differences, than non-owners on several dimensions,” study research Allen McConnell, of Miami University said in a statement. “Specifically, pet owners had greater self-esteem, were more physically fit, tended to be less lonely, were more conscientious, were more extroverted, tended to be less fearful and tended to be less preoccupied than non-owners.
So here’s to our two 4 legged bundles of JOY this Holiday Season!
May you have a happy, healthy Holiday Season with focus on what brings you JOY!
Last time I blogged I mentioned the fact I had a baseball cap on with my Tribe from the gym- Here is the reason ………
This is my most difficult blog to write since it is about hair loss and it is about my own hair loss struggles. I have always had fine hair but after getting thyroid cancer twice in my life and then living without a thyroid my hair loss continued to get worse. Add to this stress, menopause and aging and it became apparent I needed to do something. I tried one wig that I purchased locally but I was never comfortable wearing it. I felt self-conscious every time I went out. Then I had my most embarrassing moment. I went dancing with my better half and another couple and when someone banged into me on the dance floor my wig went airborne and landed like an animal hide onto the dance floor. I was mortified!!
After this event I started doing more research on wigs and I found Godiva’s Secret Wigs! I absolutely love them and can’t say enough positive about how they fit, the pricing and the variety. What is special about them? If you need a wig for career, travel, convenience, romance, self-esteem, or hair loss as a result of medical challenges you need to check out Godiva’s Secret Wigs.
They are amazingly light, realistic-looking wigs
Wash and Wear- no curling or blow drying
Expert Service – We teach the secrets no one else shares!
I have become a Godiva’s Secret Wigs Consultant – need to try one on in the privacy of your own home or my office – let me know. I offer 15% off your first purchase along with a free shampoo and conditioner! Check them out here and contact me to try on some samples and/or place your order. You need to order thru me to get the discount and free products. Stay tuned for a full page on my website of different Godiva’s Secret Wigs. Still not convinced they are for you- Here are my before and after photos:
It’s been a while since I have blogged and as I sit here planning for the Fall I thought it appropriate to share some of my own health challenges and wins. I have never been much of an athlete in my life. I always worked out and tried to eat right but was never involved in what I call group sports. Sure I did Planet Fitness and then a couple of other gyms but nothing compared to what I am part of now. In January of 2017 I joined a local women’s gym called Fit to the Core/Nutrition Works. I would drive by it on my way to work and think I need to check it out. Women would be walking out and would be smiling and looked happy. I wanted what they had! I joined for New Year, New You challenge and I haven’t looked back. The owner Camille Durante and her team of trainers are wonderful examples of how to live healthy lives. They walk the walk! I have met some wonderful women who have pushed themselves and each other onto better eating habits, cardio training, team training, TRX training and many different challenges to keep it fresh and fun!
One of the sign up activities was going as a group to Color Me Bold Boldrdash obstacle course which included running and climbing up walls, rope climbing, going under ropes, picking up rocks, tunnels etc. I was very nervous about going and keeping up with the group. It was so much fun and my trainer Dawn walked and ran with me the whole way while others from my gym spurred me to the finish! I never thought I could complete something like this and it was empowering! Here’s our tribe-I am the one in the baseball hat! Stay tuned for the next blog which will explain the hat!
So this is what group sports is all about! I am so happy I joined this Tribe of like-minded, loving women who laugh with you, cry with you and come pick you up when something in life may make you feel like you are alone! One of our Tribe Members couldn’t make Boldrdash so we made our day “Karen Strong” while she was recovering from surgery. I encourage you to find your Tribe – you won’t be sorry!
Many Americans don’t use all their vacation time for multiple reasons, but mostly because we have become workaholics and even when on vacation, many companies expect employees to stay plugged in via computer and/or phone. I just took a much needed vacation with my better half and realized the first few days how long it was taking me to unplug and unwind. I had a week off and I finally started feeling relaxed after day three. It was nice to get up with no schedule. I was able to read and relax over a cup of coffee, do yoga at different times of the day, meditate, take a walk and really take in the nature around me without thinking of what I had to do next. Checking out different beaches, playing golf late afternoon while laughing and joking (even though I am not very good) and watching the sun set knowing I could do this again the next day was so refreshing. While driving to Key West with the sun shining we felt for a short time like we didn’t have a care in the world!
On the last day as our flight was delayed, which meant we would not be home until after midnight and I had to return to work the next day. I started looking at my schedule for the following week and felt the stress come back quite quickly. I put on my headset and listened to a short 10-minute meditation to try and rewire my brain back to calm! It is so important to get away from phones, computers and the everyday routine and kick back and enjoy life as I tell others in my class. I need to practice what I know is true and what I try to teach others in their pursuit of life balance! On the flight I watched a downloaded movie so I would enjoy the last couple of hours without reviewing all I had planned for the work week.
Monday morning came quickly and I was back to work and feeling frustrated and overwhelmed. I realized I was the one who was going to have to make the changes needed to take mini-vacations or breaks during my work week and ultimately my life. This weekend was my first weekend home and I usually jam pack it with going to the gym, running errands, cleaning the house etc. I decided I would not do this. I had a friend over for lunch last minute and did a quick clean instead of what I normally do in the house. I asked my honey to go to Sunday brunch and we relaxed and talked over coffee. I joined him while we took the dogs for a walk (something he usually does without me while I am doing something else in the house) and we enjoyed the nice weather. I read the paper and took a nap. I have decided I need to try and unwind on the weekends. I need to make sure I take my lunch breaks even if my co-workers don’t since I need to take a break for my own well-being. If I don’t finish my “to do” list so be it – it will get done the next day or the day after that. I will take the time when I get home from work to do a 10-15 minute meditation without going right into starting dinner and going through mail and personal emails. I will try to make sure I put enough fun, rest and relax in my days since all work and no play makes for a dull day and in turn a dull life that is out of balance! Here are some photos from my vacation:
Being Irish (O’Keefe is my maiden name) St. Patrick’s Day is a fun holiday for our family. Lots of laughter as we usually get together for the traditional St. Patrick’s Day meal! As we all know the sun doesn’t shine all day long and things don’t all go right with nothing wrong!
The past couple of months have been a test of this for me and for my own life balance. A car accident, job stress, big changes in my adult children’s lives (good changes but stressful waiting for some things to get decided) the terminal illness hospice care and death of my better half’s best friend since childhood left much sadness in our hearts.
This was immediately followed by my getting hit with a week-long bout with the flu. Me – get the flu- I am eating right, working out but why? Sometimes our Life Balance is beyond our control. So as I am sitting home in pajamas catching up on work I know “Spring” is around the corner and I will be taking some time off from work to renew my own spirit and take care of my health.
Spring is a great time to create new habits and to get outside and smell the air, swing a golf club and take some lessons, dig in the dirt, walk with the dogs, find new places to hike with your honey, decide what flowers you want planted where and feel the sunshine on your face. It may not shine all day long but I need to make sure to take the time to feel it when it is shining!
Dance as if no one were watching ...
Sing as if no one was listening ...
And live every day as if it were your last!
Happy St. Patrick’s Day and Happy Spring!
With Valentine’s Day this weekend, thoughts of hearts and romantic love come to mind ... but do we ever take the time to evaluate the love of our self? In trying to find Life Balance, don’t you think it would be a good idea to put yourself somewhere on the list?
Make a cup of tea, coffee or cocoa and read the list below and give yourself a Valentine Present that will make yourself feel more present in your own life and the lives of others. You may pick out a few or you may want to try them all! Happy Valentine’s Day from Evolve Nutrition and Vitality!
Simple Self-Love: The Top 10 Ways to Be Kind to Yourself Starting Today
By Henrik Edberg
Being kind to yourself in everyday life is in in my experience one of the best things you can do for yourself.
Life will become lighter and your relationships will most likely improve. You will feel happier overall.
But it also one thing that is often neglected or something some may feel guilty about doing.
To make a positive change with that simply start a new habit today. One of kindness and love towards yourself. You can find 10 of my favorites among such habits in this article.
1. Invest in yourself.
Spend 15-30 minutes in the morning or evening with reading, listening to or watching material that uplifts you, that helps you to understand yourself and the world or that helps you to live a better life.
Then, if possible, take one small action on what you have learned.
2. Find the truth and exception when an inner critic or outer critic attacks.
Your own inner critic may not always say nice things about you. People around you may attack you or try to bring you down to serve one of their own needs.
If you or someone else does this, ask yourself this question: What is the exception to this though?
This is very effective to change your train of thoughts, to find the truth and to not get down on yourself.
For example, if you or someone says that you are not doing a good job in school then you can ask the question and find answers that tell you that isn’t really true. If you question the attack and look for the exception you may for instance see that you are actually doing a good job in most of your courses, but may be a bit unfocused and lazy in math and geography.
That is a more nuanced truth that helps you rather than just brings you down.
3. Unstress tonight.
Take a long bath and read something to escape. Or work out. Or talk to someone about something t hat is on your mind and let it all out.
Set aside 30 minutes or more and be kind to your body and mind by letting the tensions and stress out.
4. Take just 2 minutes in the morning or evening to appreciate yourself.
Create a kinder and more balanced self-image by making it a quick and daily habit to appreciate yourself. Here’s what you do:
Sit down with a journal on your smart phone, computer or in paper form. Ask yourself: What are 3 things I can appreciate about myself?
It could be that you are a good listener or are doing well with your hobby right now. Or that you have a love for animals, people or music.
It doesn’t have to be big things either. Maybe just that you flossed or brushed your teeth this morning. The important thing is to appreciate yourself both for the little things and the things you may take for granted and not just for reaching a big milestone once in while.
5. Mediocre day? Take one small step forward towards something positive.
If your day feels mediocre or just sort of depressing then take one small step towards something positive to breathe new hope and optimism into your day and week.
The way you think about and treat others is often the way you think about and treat yourself. So choose to be kinder towards others to, over time, become kinder and more understanding towards yourself too. For example:
7. If you stumble, be your own best friend.
Don’t beat yourself up, that will erode your self-esteem. Be a kind and supportive friend to yourself instead.
Ask yourself: How would my friend/parent support me and help me in this situation?
And then do things and talk to yourself like he or she would.
And remember to ask yourself what you can learn from your stumble and if there is an opportunity in this situation. Then take that new knowledge you gain and move forward once again.
8. Take a laugh-break.
Take 5-10 minutes in the middle of your day or if that is not possible then use your morning or evening. Use your smart phone, portable media player, computer or TV and watch a funny clip or a half an episode of a sitcom, read a funny book or comic or listen to a podcast you know makes you laugh.
I have been using this one for over a decade, even before I got seriously interested in personal development. I find it to be one of the most effective things I can do to recharge my energy and optimism and to release inner tensions.
9. Remember, the future is still in your hands. And it is never too late to change.
Don’t get stuck in thought loops that just go round and round about what you could have done or what went wrong.
Think about what you really want in the rest of your life instead.
10. Simply remind yourself of why is smart to be kind to yourself.
By knowing the reasons why it is smart to be kinder to yourself it, in my experience, becomes easier and easier to be kind to yourself and to take the time for it every day.
By reminding yourself of benefits such as better real life results, more perseverance, higher self-esteem, more inner happiness and stillness, more positive relationships with yourself and other people it becomes easier to stay kind to yourself through life’s natural ups and downs.
Did you know that by the mid to end of January, most people who have made a New Year’s Resolution have already broken it?
If this applies you ... know that you can pick right back up and start over again!
It is a tough time of year for many of us – cold weather, the post-holiday letdown, negative news coming through our phones, televisions and computers daily, trying to balance work/family schedules and then you have to think about eating right and working out, too?
What if there was a way to fit all of this in without even having to think about it? The answer is small changes that you can make to your daily life to give you more energy and vitality. Start with one small step at a time and build healthy habits that last. This is what really leads to success. The brain can only handle one habit at a time. Pick one or two things and get really good at that. Once you develop that new habit, you can go on to the next!
If you are looking for some guidance, I offer one-on-one and group classes to help infuse individuals, employees and clients to have improved performance and better health. Contact me for more information.
So what are you waiting for? It’s a new dawn. It’s a new day. It’s a new life – don’t YOU want to be feeling great, too?
If you're like me, you look forward to the holiday season ... but feel slightly relieved once it's actually over. The weeks of preparation (if not longer!), the desire to make everyone happy and to entertain within an already busy schedule -- no wonder "doing nothing" for a week or two post-season actually feels pretty good.
So go ahead and rest up, and then set your sights on what you wish for yourself in 2016.
And I can't think of a better place to start than to vow to feel your best every day. Life is faster than ever now, and it's up to us to slow the pace when needed, to fuel ourselves with good nutrition and to get our bodies moving in a fun and fit way.
That's why I hope you'll join me for my "The Power of Feeling Your Best" classes. Contact me for details.
Together, we can make this the happiest and healthiest year yet!
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.