Be Kind

Be kind to yourself.

Take out a piece of paper and jot down what being kind to yourself means to you.  Write actual examples of how you can practice kindness, be as specific as possible.

Practicing kindness creates healthy habits.  If you regularly practice being kind to yourself, you’ll naturally look at being kind to others through the same lens.  Keep in mind that kindness isn’t critical, judgmental or negative — therefore, these are all habits that need breaking.

I know this is hard, but you absolutely deserve to be kind to yourself over critical.

Simple Strategies not to Overdo it on the Summer Drinks

There’s no shame in enjoying a fresh cocktail on the patio as you savor the perfect summer night, but sometimes it may be just a little too tempting to have more than one.

This can be especially true during this season, when everyone is gathering outside for social events, birthday parties, pool parties, family reunions, summer vacations — summer is a busy season filled with gatherings. So how can you enjoy the fresh taste of summer drinks, but not load up on the empty calories?

1. Avoid alcohol altogether
If you know that it is going to be hard for you not to overindulge, it might be best not to drink entirely. Avoiding that first glass will make avoiding the second one so much easier. This is important to consider because socialization can quickly create a pressure to drink, which makes it easier to give in. Another thing that you could do would be to create a mocktail or a cocktail that has very little alcohol in it. That way you can enjoy the taste and the socialization without the risk involved.

2. Choose mixed drinks with few calories
If calories are your concern, creating drinks with low-calorie mixers like seltzer can do you a load of good. La Croix is an excellent option for mixed drinks without loads of calories or sugar. A simple cocktail can have 100 calories or more, and beers and ciders can have way more. So being mindful of what mixers you choose saves a load of calories.

3. Practice moderation
Having a drink or two is not going to put you over the edge, but drinking a lot, or drinking often, is a different story. When you are with family members or friends, try to stick to 1 or 2 drinks, and then for the rest of the night drink non-alcoholic beverages. It’s also good practice to alternate your beverages with a glass of water. So, before you drink, enjoy a tall glass of water. After your glass of wine, have another tall glass of water.

However, do note that if drinking can potentially cause you to lose control, it is best to avoid alcohol altogether. If you can stick to one or two drinks, using these simple tips will help keep you from racking up the calories in those summer beverages all summer long.

 Which of these do you need to do first — drink more water or eat more vegetables?

Chances are, there’s work to do in one or both of these categories.  These two simple steps can drastically change your health for the better, so let’s start with one today.

How can you drink more water?  Grab yourself a reusable water bottle and go nowhere without it.  Figure out how many bottles you need to drink daily to be drinking half of your body weight in ounces.  For example, if you weigh 180 pounds, drink 90 ounces.

Where can you sneak in more vegetables?  In every meal, actually.  Toss some veggies in your omelet, in the morning, have a salad for lunch, and roast your favorite vegetable(s) for dinner to enjoy with your main dish.

Which of these is most hard for you?

The warm weather is here to stay, and it’s the perfect time to plant some summer veggies in your garden.  Some of the best and easiest vegetables to grow in the heat include tomatoes, sweet potato, hot peppers, okra, and green beans.  There are numerous options to choose from, but these are a great place to start.

So hop on Pinterest and read up on a DIY back-yard garden, raised garden, or merely potted plants that can grow on your stoop.  There’s nothing better than harvesting your food you grew yourself, and talk about saving money over time!

What gets you out of your head?

I don’t think there’s a person on the planet that doesn’t struggle with some form of overthinking & not slowing down mentally.  Whether it be the culture we live in, the demands of everyday life, or the constant state of “on” that we have learned to accept as normal… it feels incredibly uncomfortable and almost impossible to slow down mentally and relax.

Meditation feels like the tallest mountain, because slowing down your mind, even for a few minutes, feels like an impossibility.

What helps get you out of your head?

Is there something you’ve learned to do to snap out of the mind cycle and relax for a bit?

Starting here is the first step in learning how to move toward meditation.

You don’t have to jump in head first to mastering meditation, so ditch those overwhelmed feelings and let’s learn how to gain more control over where our mind goes first.

The Effects of Undereating

When you think of losing weight, likely the first thing that comes to mind is cutting calories. We’ve been taught that if we eat fewer calories, we’ll lose weight. Especially if we burn more calories than we are ingesting, right?

Eating healthier and exercising are absolutely ways to lose weight and get to a healthier place, but many people take this to an extreme and don’t eat nearly enough food to sustain themselves. Doing so can cause many ill effects, and can even cause you to GAIN weight. It’s critical to eat the right amount of food that your body needs — under-eating is a real concern, and here are some symptoms you may experience with under-eating.

1. Mood Changes
Hunger and hormones affect mood. This is why many people who do not eat enough food often find themselves irritable. Know that it is possible to eat a right amount of calories, while still being able to lose weight effectively. Food and mood go hand-in-hand.

2. Impaired Concentration
Since you are no longer eating enough calories, it can cause you to feel lightheaded and fatigued. This can prevent you from being able to concentrate, and as a result, damage your productivity. Lack of productivity and concentration can cause frustrating consequences in your work, school and home life, so we certainly want to avoid this at all costs.

3. Skin and Hair Issues
With a lack of fats and protein in the system, nails can become brittle, hair can start to fall out, and skin can begin to grow littered with rashes. These are more than cosmetic issues, and can even influence you for years to come.

4. Vitamin Deficiency
Not eating enough vitamins and minerals can be quite detrimental to your body in the long run. For instance, Vitamin B-12 deficiency can lead to permanent nerve damage, and Vitamin D deficiency can lead to brittle bones.

It is possible to lose or maintain weight by eating a healthy, plant-filled diet, and exercising moderately. There is no reason why anyone should have to suffer side effects just because they feel as if it’s the only way to reach their weight-loss goals.

Who doesn’t love having a home that smells delightful?  It’s even enjoyable to change the scents throughout the year — fragrant flower scents during the spring and summer, with spicy cinnamon or cloves during the fall and winter months.

Room scents filled with chemicals can wreak havoc on your sinuses if you struggle with allergies, it can disrupt your hormone production, and can give you a headache.  Those scented plug-ins, candles, and room sprays that you’re likely so used to using all have healthier alternatives.

Some healthy alternatives include homemade potpourri, using a slow-cooker to simmer water with flowers, citrus rind, cinnamon sticks, or whatever you desire, and using pure essential oils to scent your home.

I guarantee these healthier options will smell much better to you also, as you won’t be breathing the chemical aspects of the store-bought candles and scents.

There’s not enough time to cook healthy food.  I don’t have time to exercise.  How many times have you thought or said these things?

It can undoubtedly FEEL that way, but it is usually a priority factor over a time factor.  Keep a journal of where your time is spent to see where any time-sucks may be hiding in plain sight.

Chances are, you spend quite a bit of time browsing on your phone or watching television daily.  Instead of giving up your TV time (I get it, downtime is necessary!)  try chopping veggies while you watch your favorite show, or using your television time to do a workout in your living room.

There are tons of small time hacks like this you can implement to reach your goals while not changing your current schedule too drastically.

This easy tweak will help your mood.

Do you take a probiotic?  Understandably so, taking care of the bacteria in your gut has been a hot topic in recent years.  Gut health is connected to so many things we deal with on a daily basis — our overall health, digestion, and even our mood.

Did you know the majority of the serotonin your body produces is produced in your gut?  Wow, amazing.  This fact is why taking a probiotic is essential to your overall health.  Taking a probiotic can help reduce inflammation, improve digestion, boost your mood, and overall make you feel better.

So take a stroll down the probiotic aisle next time you’re at the grocery store and get in the swing of a daily probiotic regime.

Natural Ways to Repel Bugs This Summer

The warm summer air brings images of many great activities, things like swimming, picnics, and outdoor barbecues. However, it may conjure up images of another thing too: bugs. While summer is a memorable season, the bug invasion will be upon us, and if you’re anything like me, you’re covered in bug bites by the end of the day. So what are some natural ways of repelling them, so we don’t have to deal with all those nasty chemical sprays?

1. Citronella
It is not a surprise to many to hear that bugs tend to hate the smell of citrus. Citronella is a lemony-grass plant that bugs absolutely hate to be around. Having a couple of these outside your house, or just lighting some citronella candles every so often, should keep the bugs at bay. Similar to this, bugs also hate citrus rinds. So before you toss that orange rind, rub them all over places where you will typically find bugs to keep them out.

2. Vanilla Extract
Not just good for baking, but also good for keeping the critters away. Just mix it with some water, and spray it in areas where bugs frequent. Not only is this good at keeping the bugs away, but you can do it without causing your house to smell like garlic, onions, or vinegar — which are also all great for keeping bugs away.

3. Peppermint
No need to spray chemicals on your body, take some peppermint leaves, crush them, and rub them on your skin. You will smell fresh, and the biting insects will leave you alone. Peppermint essential oils also work well for this. (Don’t use peppermint essential oil if you are breastfeeding, as it can reduce your milk supply)

4. Use Vinegar and Dish Soap
This is a very popular trick that many people do to keep fruit flies and mosquito at bay both inside and outside your home. What you do is take a soda bottle, cut the top off and invert it. Then you pour in some vinegar and a drop of dish soap. Fruit flies will be attracted to it but will get trapped and drown.

Summer bugs can make the season seem more like a drag than the fun times that it is meant to be. However, you don’t have to choose between itchy bug bites or spraying some unknown chemicals on your skin. Follow these tips, and you will be able to go outside or keep the bugs from going in with some natural, and pleasant smelling scents.