Friday, August 28, 2015

10 Ways to Offset the Negative Effects of Sitting All Day

Happy Friday, friends!

Are you all ready for the weekend? I am! I got a stand up paddle board for my birthday last month and am looking forward to practicing a little more with it.  This past week has been beautiful in Kentucky, almost fall-like, but the heat and humidity is supposed to come back for the next few weeks, so being in/near the water will be nice. Do you have any fun plans to enjoy the end of summer? Check out this post for some ideas if you're stumped.

Speaking of a stand up paddle board, what are some things that you do to get out of that chair you're in all day? In addition to Self Care being a buzz word/phrase in the wellness world, you've likely also heard the phrase "Sitting is the new smoking," right?  According to a recent Forbes article (source), "Sitting is the most underrated health-threat of modern time.  Researchers found that sitting more than six hours in a day will greatly increase your risk of an early death.”

Yikes!  Sitting more than six hours a day greatly increases your risk of an early death?  6 hours is nothing!  Most of us spend more time at our desks, working a computer for 8, 9, 10+ hours every day, then come home and get on a different computer or sit in front of the TV.  We're tired because we're less active and we're less active because we're tired.  It's a vicious cycle!

Another great article comes from Inc. earlier this year (Sitting is the New Smoking, by Bill Carmody).  This section really resonated with me:

"As you move around your office, you release endorphins (just like when you exercise) and your energy continues to go up. You feel more alive and you bring that increased feeling of power to everything you do. Your productivity improves as your energy soars.

Think about it. How different would your next meeting be if you were standing and moving versus sitting down? Would your room full of people "multi-task" or pay attention? Would you allow someone to drone on about something that doesn't matter or would you interrupt them to ask what they are really trying to say? Your whole attitude changes when you are full of energy and fully engaged. Sitting allows us to relax and disengage. Try it. Remove all the chairs from the conference room and notice the difference in the quality of the meeting."

Doesn't that totally make sense??  I've been in a few stand up meetings, and there really is a difference in the energy in the room!  A little weird at first, but who doesn't want to have a more productive meeting, and do good for your body at the same time?

But what if I exercise every day?

Unfortunately, even if you exercise every day, it's still not enough to offset all that sitting.  ".... a new study that's running in the Annals of Internal Medicine found that this kind of sedentary behavior increases our chances of getting a disease or a condition that will kill us prematurely, even if we exercise.  

Researchers from Toronto came to this conclusion after analyzing 47 studies of sedentary behavior. They adjusted their data to incorporate the amount someone exercises and found that the sitting we typically do in a day still outweighs the benefit we get from exercise. ...Physical inactivity has been identified as the fourth-leading risk factor for death for people all around the world, according to the World Health Organization.  Prolonged sitting, meaning sitting for eight to 12 hours or more a day, increased your risk of developing type 2 diabetes by 90%."  (source)

Yikes!!  If that's not motivation to get intentional about moving more throughout the day, what is?

What can you do to offset the negative effects of sitting?  

All hope is not lost!  Here are 10 ideas to get you moving more:
  • Set a timer to get up for 5 minutes every hour, if nothing else just walk the perimeter of your office space
  • Drink a lot of water or tea so you have to get up to use the restroom frequently (this really works!)
  • When you do go, pick the restroom that's not the closest to you, on a different floor if available
  • Every 30 minutes, stand up and stretch your arms over your head, taking a deep breath. Repeat 3 times
  • If you work from home, get up and do some housework for 5 minutes - dust a little here and there, take out the trash, start a load of laundry - you'll be surprised at how much you can get done if 5 minutes!

  • Get a standing desk or set up a way to stand and check emails on your computer 
  • Take phone calls standing up or walking around
  • Have walking meetings - bonus if you can walk outside and get some fresh air
  • If you have access to a treadmill desk - use it! (takes some coordination to get used to, but so great!)
  • Use a tracking device like a Fitbit, Jawbone, Garmin - most of them will show your activity throughout the day, and you can see the times when you have the most opportunity for improvement.  Then be more intentional about increasing your activity during those times.

Some of these things may work for a little while and then you get burnt out (this happened to me - I would find myself just snoozing my reminders!). When that happens, just change it up and pick another method. Every little bit helps and as you incorporate some of these things into your day more and more, it'll become a habit! 

What are you going to do today to make sure you sit less?  Do you have other ideas that might help someone else?  Please share with me in the comments!

Contact me for a FREE Coaching session, and we can work together on your Journey to a Fulfilling Life!

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Summer is fleeting, but it's not over yet!

Winter is coming...
(Any Game of Thrones fans out there? I haven’t seen the show, but am about ¾ through the books.)

How can it already be August 25th? No, this isn’t another post about how hot it is (although, if you’re interested in how to better deal with the heat check here). Oh, how time flies. Before you know it we’ll be in boots and sweaters and wishing for spring (have you seen the posts on Facebook that this winter we’re supposed to get a lot of snow per the farmers Almanac? NO, No, No! I’m not quite ready for that!!).

When I was driving around last week, I heard this song... Gold in the Summertime (by Matt Nathanson) ...and it made me think.  While we might be getting ready for fall weather and all that comes with it, this is really a good time to take a step back and think about all of the good things this time of year still has to offer. Did anyone do a Summer Bucket List?  If not, check it out - lots of ideas on Pinterest!  Even though school has started for most, and things are getting back into a normal routine, there’s still time to enjoy some of the fun of summer!

Some things that are still great to do to close out the summer:
  • Attend your State Fair - best people watching around!
  • Watch a drive-in movie
  • Take your family on a picnic in the park
  • Have a bonfire and roast marshmallows
  • Take a road trip to a nearby town

If you don’t have a few hours to spend, just take a few minutes to think about the season and really enjoy nature’s bounty:

  • Listen to cicadas or crickets “sing”
  • Feel the warm breeze on your skin
  • Sit in the sun for a few minutes (vitamin D is important, right?!)...
  • ...then run through the sprinkler to cool off!
  • Do some star gazing
  • Take some time to notice the birds chirping
We have a hummingbird feeder right outside our porch at the lake, and on Saturday morning there were at least 5 of them buzzing around, fighting each other for the opportunity to drink. At one point there were 3 drinking at once, which I’ve never seen before. Amazing! And they’re so territorial! I tried to capture the magic on video, not the best quality, but check it out (click here)!

So, while today it's early in the week and it’s easy to start dreaming of Friday, don’t wish your life away! Instead, let’s think about the beauty that is today - be intentional, be here now! Enjoy each moment.  

Emmy on the front of our boat - one of her favorite places to be (you can see her reflection - she's  smiling!)

If you're struggling with the changing seasons, school starting and beginning a new routine, or just need to take a little more time for you, see my last post on Self Care and Mindset.

What are some of the things you still plan on doing to keep summer alive for at least a few more days? Please share in the comments.

Contact me for a FREE consultation, and we can work together on your journey to a fulfilling life!

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Let's talk about Self Care

One of the recent buzz words in Wellness is Self Care. Self care includes any intentional actions you take to care for your physical, mental and emotional health.  Pretty straightforward, right?  If you haven't really heard much about it, no biggie, but the bottom line is that if we don't take care of ourselves, who will??  Not a new concept really - I'm sure you've heard of these:
  • If Momma ain't happy, ain't nobody happy! (pardon the grammar ;)) 
  • Or, the airline air safety message before every flight "Place the oxygen mask over your nose and mouth. If you are traveling with a small child or someone else that requires assistance, put your mask on first and then assist the other person."
  • Or, you have to take care of yourself first, or you won't be any good to anyone else.
There are SOOOO many things that fall under the realm of Self Care, and I think it's an important enough topic to break it down into several different posts. This time, we're going to focus on Mindset.

I realize that I'm almost annoyingly positive - just ask P (sorry babe!)!  Any time someone mentions they're struggling an issue or are worried about something, my first instinct is to throw out a positive solution or perspective.  My personal catch phrase "It's gonna be great!" (For those of you who have worked with me in the past, you know this is true, right?)  But I, too, have struggled with negativity, especially in my own head with negative thoughts about myself, so I really do realize that it's not as easy as just flipping a switch.

While having a positive mindset may not make you think "Self Care" right way, how many thoughts do you think we have in an average day?  In doing some research, consensus is that we have an estimated 50,000 to 70,000 thoughts in one day!  Holy cow that's a lot of thoughts.  If even a small portion of these are negative, they can really impact your day. 

How you think about things is really a choice.  When you wake up on the right side of the bed, it really does affect how you feel the rest of the day, right? Well, on the flip side, having negative thoughts can create a domino effect of really ruining your day.  

Let's say you wake up in the morning after a good night's sleep, the birds are chirping, it's sunny and beautiful outside.  You feel good right?  Then you step on the scale and it shows you a number higher than you expect.  OR you're on your way into work and you get stuck behind a driver with their left turn signal stuck on, driving REEEALLLLY slow.  OR that same driver slams on their brakes, so you do too, but in the process you spill coffee on your nice new white shirt - and you have a big meeting that day!!!   AHHHHH!!!!

So what do you do?  You can choose to let those things get to you, bring you down and ruin your day, or you can take a deep breath and roll with it!  It's not easy if you're out of the habit, but with a little focus, time and practice, your mind will be more naturally positive and in turn you'll find more peace throughout the day.

Some of the habits we get into aren't helping us. Here are some of those things that we can consciously make the effort to let go of:
  1. Negative self talk: We all do this, right? Next time you notice that you're telling yourself something negative, change it up!  What would you say in that situation if you were talking to your best friend? Tell yourself something positive - even if it's just a little something, be nice to you!   Takes practice, for sure, but each time you catch yourself, it gets easier and soon you'll be giving yourself pep talks instead of cutting yourself down
  2. Limiting beliefs:  These are those thoughts like, "If only X happens, I'll be happy" or "I can't do it (or do it right!) so why try" or even "I don't have enough time/money/etc to do that."  To quote Anthony Robbins "Beliefs have the power to create and the power to destroy."   Or Henry Ford "Whether you think you can or you can't, you're right."  When you have thoughts about yourself that aren't adding any value, stop!  Replace them with thoughts that are more productive and supportive.
  3. Comparing yourself to others: Oh, buddy, this is a tough one.  In our competitive society, comparing ourselves to each other is second nature. How about you just be YOU, and rock it out!  Nobody can be you like you can! :)
  4. Resisting Change: Ever read "Who moved my Cheese?" by Spencer Johnson, M.D.?  Great book, breaks down dealing with change to a simple message.  There's a section called the Handwriting on the Wall and my favorite line from that is "The quicker you let go of Old Cheese, the sooner you can enjoy New Cheese." Think about it.  Just because something is new and different, doesn't mean it's a bad thing. In the corporate world, we frequently joke that the only thing consistent is change.  Think about rolling with the punches and shake it off. 
  5. The need to being right:  Would you rather be right or be happy?  Does the need to be right rule your conversations and relationships?  The need to be right or take the credit is often coming from a place of insecurity and the need to stroke the ego.  Your ego isn't you!  See #3 - Be YOU, and be wrong sometimes - just see what happens!

So that's the mind-stuff we want to let go of.  What more can we add in help bring about that self care through positive mindset?

  1. Gratitude: This is one of those things that definitely multiplies when you focus on it. Gratitude begets gratitude. Focusing on being thankful, even for small things.  Start a gratitude journal, or make it a habit to think about 2 things you're grateful for when you wake up and before bed every day, maybe while you're brushing your teeth. Ok, I'll start! I'm thankful for you! :)
  2. Walking with energy and purpose: Fake it till you make it!  Act as if you feel good and you'll feel better!  Even start a practice of positive daily affirmations, like Stewart Smalley, "I'm good enough. I'm smart enough. And doggone it, people like me."  Silly, yes, but it really works!  Try it!!
  3. Surrounding yourself with like-minded, uplifting people:  It's okay to have friends that have negative tenancies like Eeyore, but if ALL the people you hang out with are like that, yikes! Think about the people in your life.  After spending time with them, how do you feel?  Make a concerted effort to be with those that make you feel good more, and hang with those that bring you down a little less.
  4. Reflection: I'm a big fan of meditation because it helps me stay grounded and focus on the moment. It's not for everybody though, so even just take a moment to check in, just 60 seconds can make a difference.  Breathe! Stop the madness just for a minute a few times a day, focus on your breathing, and see how it impacts your perspective.
  5. Doing good for others:  What you give, you get back. "The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.” Mahatma Gandhi.  Find a cause you're passionate about and volunteer.  Or just open a door for someone, or give a compliment - doesn't have to be rocket science to make a difference in someone else's life!

To wrap up (I know this is a long post, yikes!), Self Care starts with your Mindset. Positive thoughts boost your mood, spirit, and tend to generate even more positivity and happiness in your life!  If all of these ideas are overwhelming, just start with the one that seems the most achievable to you. Make a conscious choice to make today great and by choosing that path, I think you'll see a difference in how you much better you can deal with things and how you feel. It's gonna be great! :)

Do you have any tips or tricks to share on how to keep your mindset in check or other thoughts on the topic?  Please share in the comments.

Contact me for a FREE consultation, and we can work together on your journey to a fulfilling life!  

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Easy Basil Hummus

Hello Friends!

We had a nice break from the heat and humidity last week, but it's baaaccckk.   Ugh.  One of our weather guys always talks about the people who like steamy hot days and how they'll like days like this.  Uh, what?  Are there really those people out there??  I don't mind the heat, but humidity, that's another thing.  If you haven't seen it yet, check out my post on some tips to staying cool this summer.

Flowers from our morning walk (before it got too hot!)

Different topic.  I enjoy cooking and actually find it relaxing.  It's a creative outlet and if I have a plan ahead of time, it's usually not too time least the way I like to cook!   Where possible, I really try to make healthier, yet tasty versions of most dishes.  Healthy food really can taste good, and the more you experiment, the more you know what you and your family like, and hence, the better things will taste!  

Admittedly, P isn't super excited about things like Cauliflower Mashed Potatoes, or Chocolate Beet Cake, or the dishes where those healthier items are incognito (although for moms trying to get their kids some additional nutrients, I don't see anything wrong with it!).  Periodically I'll be posting some of the recipes of things I like to cook. 

This is a "recipe" that I made a few years ago, so now that it's summer and I have tons of basil, I thought I'd share.   I say "recipe" because it's one of those things where you throw it all together, and add things to your particular taste. So experiment with it!!

Hummus is such a great thing to have on hand. It's perfect for snacks, as a dip for veggies, add it to salads or sandwiches, or you can even put a dab on a cucumber slice topped with paprika for a fancy looking appetizer (actually had that at a work event a while back - pretty tasty!). There are a million different ways to make hummus and you can add whatever you like or have on hand in order to customize it to your tastes. Aside from being versatile and tasty, it's also really good for you. Lean protein from the beans, healthy fats from the olive oil and a bonus if you eat it with veggies!

So, as I mentioned, the basil is abound these days, and I love, love, love the fresh flavor it adds.  
Try it out, and get creative! Add flavors you like and let me know how it works out! 

Blend basil, garlic, olive oil, S&P really well in the food processor.
Add Beans, drained and rinsed
Ta Da!  Yum.
This is so easy and tasty!  

Side note: typical hummus recipes call for tahini, but I don't use it because I just have a hard time buying something that I’ll only use every once in a while.  If I’m in the mood for the hummus to be more savory, I’ll throw in a little peanut butter (read a recipe somewhere that used PB as a sub).  Sounds weird, but you just can’t go wrong with peanut butter, am I right?!

Basil Hummus
- 1 big handful fresh basil
- 1-2 cloves garlic
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- S&P
- 2 cans garbanzo or Great Northern beans (I like one of each - the GN beans help make it creamy)
- Add water 1T at a time until it's at the texture you like

Blend basil, garlic, olive oil, S&P really well in the food processor. Add beans (drained and rinsed), adding water to get it to the texture you like (~2T).  Enjoy!  I did another batch with basil, oregano and parsley because those were in the garden, too.

Do you have any favorite hummus recipes? What are your favorite ways to use fresh herbs?  Please share in the comments.

Contact me for a FREE consultation, and we can work together on your journey to a fulfilling life!  

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Starting A New Journey...And It's Scary!

Hello Friends!

Today I embark on my newest journey in my personal quest for a fulfilling life, and I’m so excited ...AND to be perfectly honest, a little scared!

Those of you who know me know that I've taken the plunge and quit my corporate job of over 17 years (yesterday!!) to follow my dreams and while I'm super excited, I'm also a little freaked out.  It's a huge change, definitely risky, and sometimes the unknown is just downright scary.  
But hey, isn’t that normal for someone totally changing careers after all these years of security? Yikes! (See more about my journey here.

ar is a curious thing.  Everyone has fears, right?  Whether it’s fear of failure, having enough, being enough, being alone or having others like them. Or things like fear of spiders, heights, public speaking (not my favorite either!), or fear of dying.  These are things that paralyze us, keep us from taking action towards our goals and dreams, and hold us back from being our true selves.  Do you ever wonder why do we give those fears so much power?


What is fear?  Google says fear is “an unpleasant emotion caused by the belief that someone or something is dangerous, likely to cause pain, or a threat.” Ok - well then what’s an emotion? Again, my friend Google says emotion is ”a natural instinctive state of mind deriving from one's circumstances, mood, or relationships with others.”

So, breaking it down, fear is an emotion... a natural state of mind. Sounds really basic, but think about it for a minute. You know what? This confirms that fear is NOT REAL! It’s in our heads! It’s make believe!

...Now sure, there are fears that are real like when you’re being chased through the woods by a bear or you're swimming with sharks and someone just threw a bundle of chum in the water, but I digress (and why would you be doing that anyway??)...

The majority of our fears are just mental. This is great news! How many of our fears really come true? As a state of mind, this is something we can move through with a little focus and determination 
(or a lot sometimes!). We can choose how we react and deal with our fears. Here are a few steps that you might find helpful.
  • Define your fear, even write it down.
    • By identifying exactly what you're afraid of, you at least know what you're up against. It's kind of like "Step 1 is realizing you have a problem."
  • Breathe into it ...
    • Uh, what the heck does that mean, Becky??  Acknowledge the fear and feel your feelings, be okay with it.  As I mentioned above, we all have fears.  It's normal.  Those feelings are important because they are telling you something.  Take a few deep breaths and let that sink in.  You're not bad, you're not defective, you just have these feelings.
  • ...and be okay with it!
    • To reiterate the above, it's normal to have fears, even if you realize they're irrational, it's okay! Take another deep breath.
  • So what if my fears come true?
    • Now that you're grounded in what you're afraid of, ask yourself, so what?  So what if that spider jumps on my arm?  So what if Mr. Popular doesn't like me?  So what if I say something stupid or get nervous while doing a presentation? So what if my new business fails?  (Well, in that case, I guess I'll just go beg for my old job back or find another one!)  You get what I'm saying, think through the worst case scenario.  Once you look those scenarios in the eye, sometimes they don't seem that bad; they're something you can deal with and you'll survive.   And sometimes you need to go through this step again and again.  It's okay!  You're normal!  And don't forget to breathe!  (are you sensing a theme?)
  • Now, what if my fears DON'T come true?
    • What are the possibilities if the thing you're most afraid of DOESN'T happen or come to fruition? Reframe the way you look at it, and instead of worrying about what MIGHT happen, think about what could happen if that fear doesn't come true.  This may take some practice, but it can be very freeing.   If you're afraid of not being "enough" (young enough, skinny enough, smart enough, etc), what if think about all those things that are awesome about you and that people love and kick those other stupid thoughts in the face?!?   So for me, what if I focus on my business being successful, and just keep plugging towards that end, instead of letting the fear hold me back?  Of course, don't forget to breathe. :) 
If that doesn't work for you, Gabrielle Bernstein has an awesome Vlog about how to release your fear (click here) - check it out, it's less than 5 minutes. And if you feel like you’re alone in your fears, be sure to read through some of the comments. There are a lot of great nuggets there, both suggestions for how to deal with fears and just people sharing what scares them - it’s nice to know that we’re not the only ones with these feelings!

So, while I’m nervous about my new adventure here, I’m feeling much more excited than fearful because I know it’s what I want to do.  I’m kicking those fears in their stupid face and living the life I want to live!  Hope you join me!

Share with me in the comments: What are you afraid of? How have you gotten past or defeated your fears to go on and do amazing things in your life?  
Contact me for a FREE consultation, and we can work together on your Journey to a Fulfilling Life!

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Staying Cool this Summer

It's HOT!

Yes, I realize it's August, and in the Midwest it's supposed to be hot and humid and miserable... but I don't have to like it!!

A few weeks ago we went on an awesome trip to Colorado.  Visited with family, did a bunch of hiking, ate good food, and just relaxed.   Oh - and Colorado has no humidity or bugs to speak of!  It was glorious.

Side note: P and I went to the Boulder Farmers market one morning (which was incredible, by the way) and while we were filling up our "all you can stuff in for $10" bag, we were talking to the woman there about the weather.  She mentioned how humid it was.  Uh, what?!?  I think it was 30% humidity, and apparently that was nearing unbearable for Colorado folk.  Crazy what you get used to, I guess.

Anyway, with the heat we're dealing with today, how do you cool down?
  • Sit in the pool or lake? 
  • Stay in the AC with your feet in a bucket of ice?
  • Eat ice cream? (well, yeah!)
All great solutions, of course, but if you're not in a place where you can do any of those things, you can practice "sheetali" or cooling yogic breathing.  It's easy and you can do it anywhere! 
  • Sit comfortably, take a few slow deep breaths through your nose to center yourself
  • Roll your tongue into a tube and begin breathing in through your mouth/tongue
    • Note: if you can't roll your tongue, just make your lips into a small "o" and breathe in
  • Exhale slowly through your nose
  • Repeat up to 10 times to feel the cooling effect   

So if that's too weird for you to do when you're in the middle of the office, or at a party, whatever, no big deal (but give it a try sometime - I promise it works and is kinda fun!).

Here's another idea to help you keep your cool.   While on our trip to Colorado, we visited a cousin and her family and had a wonderful time catching up! When we arrived, she offered us this refreshing, delicious beverage (thanks, Katie!).  Since then, I've recreated this several times and am really enjoying the change from just plain old water.  And it's easy peasy to make!  Bonus!

Cucumber, Ginger, Mint Water

With a pitcher of fresh water (~2 quarts), mix:

  • Cucumber, 10 thin slices
  • Mint, a handful, rinsed and remove stems
  • Ginger, thumb sized knob, peeled and sliced or grated, you choose!

Stir it all up and leave in the fridge for easy access.  The water tastes more flavorful if left overnight at least, but a few hours will do the trick in a pinch.  Feel free to vary the amounts to your taste.

I like to keep it in a pretty pitcher - makes it more fun and feels special.  Enjoy and stay cool!

How do you stay cool in the summer?  Let me know in the comments - I'd love to hear from you!
Please contact me for a FREE consultation, and we can work together on your Journey to a Fulfilling Life!