Favorite Activity

What’s your favorite thing to do outside in the Fall?

Campfires, hiking, leaf peeping, visiting a pumpkin patch, fall festivals… there are so many wonderful things going on in the autumn outdoors.

What do you and your family do outdoors in the fall?

Now’s a perfect time to check out the events calendar where you live -macaronikid.com is excellent if you have children- and check out what’s going on for the next few months, so you don’t miss anything fun.

Do You Feel Connected?

A connection is something we need as humans.  We have the deeply rooted desire to feel connected to others, connected to ourselves, connected to our surroundings, connected to nature… there’s a deep, deep need to be and feel connected.

Feeling disconnected can impact our mental, physical, and emotional health in drastic ways.  It’s something worth being mindful of and working on getting more connected in different areas of our lives.

How are you doing with this?  Are you feeling connected?

What area do you need to improve feeling connected on most?

 

Tips and Tricks for Packing a Healthy Picnic

With summer in full swing and the colder months are right around the corner, the weather is perfect for spending as much time outside as possible. A favorite weekend activity is packing up a picnic and finding somewhere beautiful to unpack and enjoy with my family/friends/loved ones (whichever you prefer) — however, typical picnic foods can be quite unhealthy.

That’s exactly why I wanted to share with you some of my favorite tips and tricks for making a healthy picnic so you can enjoy a few more before the cooler weather rolls in!

1. Skip the Chips
Potato chips might sound great for picnic food, but they can pack on the calories very quickly. On top of that, they’re nearly completely devoid of nutrients, so you can eat a whole bag and still be hungry. Instead, pack some produce such as celery, carrots, or apple slices, and have a side of hummus or peanut butter for delicious, nutritious dipping.

2. Ditch the Bun
A very popular picnic food is sandwiches. They are tasty, versatile, and you do not need a plate to eat it. However, bread can be highly processed and unhealthy. Wrap up your sandwich contents in a lettuce wrap instead for a healthy alternative.

3. Skip the Mayo
Mayo is common to see in picnics. It can be found in tuna salad, slathered on bread, or put in potato or egg salad. Mayo has hundreds of calories in just a few tablespoons and provides almost no nutrition. So instead, consider other healthier options, like salsa, mustard, or even guacamole. You could even trade out mayonnaise for high-quality Greek yogurt and hardly notice a difference.

4. Drink it Up
How can you have a summer picnic without the refreshing cold drinks? Yet, many drinks are loaded with sugar and have tons of empty calories. Great alternatives would be to bring along tea, water, lemonade, or seltzer, and focus on hydrating with water instead. That way you can have nice refreshments without feeling as if you are splurging too much.

Picnics are fun, and the summer makes us all want to go outside. It can be hard to make sure that we do not over-consume unhealthy junk foods when we are out there. Yet, with a couple of tips and tricks, it can be easy to make your picnic healthy and enjoyable so you can continue to enjoy your healthy summer.

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.

Have you ever thought of using your lunch break as your sacred time?  I’m confident you’re longing for it by the time your lunch break arrives, so use that hour out of your day as a source of rejuvenation.

Pack yourself a healthy lunch, listen to an uplifting audiobook or podcast, journal, take a walk around your office building, or call a loved one.  Use that hour a day to recharge and come back to work fresh and filled.

What do you currently do on your lunch break?

How do you feel once it’s over and you return back to work?

In our culture, we do most of our connecting via the internet.  Our phones are in our hands more often than not, and it’s become quite a habit that’s hard to break free from.  That doesn’t mean it’s impossible, though — and all it takes is a bit of mindfulness to re-learn in-person connection.

Start by leaving your phone in another room during meal times this week — even if you are eating alone.  See what comes up when you’re left alone with your thoughts, and better yet, feel how great it feels to truly connect with the person sitting in front of you, distraction-free.  Are you up for the challenge?

 

Have you ever thought of your health as a bank account?

This thought process brought so much insight to me, so I wanted to share it with you.  Think of each decision you make either being a deposit or a withdrawal from your “health bank account.”

Powerful, right?  Of course, don’t obsess over this, but try to incorporate this method of thinking into your life as much as possible.  Our small daily decisions are what adds up to our overall health, so it makes perfect sense to look at each of these decisions we make with a positive or negative effect.

Do you make more deposits or withdrawals?

Have you stopped to reflect on an experience that caused you frustration or pain lately, addressing these feelings with compassion?

This isn’t always our first instinct, for sure.

Go ahead and give it a try.

Think about the most recent time someone hurt you.  Dig a little deeper into your thoughts and see where you can address this pain with compassion.  Can you see where they were coming from, as they were acting in pain and lashing out?  Can you understand how this transpired?  Take this opportunity to free yourself from this hurt by understanding through compassion, and forgiving fully.

How to Avoid a Smartphone Addiction

Admittedly, smartphones make life a lot easier when it comes to finding new places or looking up information right at our fingertips. We can respond to work emails while on the go and truly multi-task like never before. However, most of us need a little help with putting down the smartphone and actually engaging in the real world more often. Wouldn’t you agree?

Teach yourself the art of timeouts. While there will be times when you need your phone, you’ll want to train yourself to limit the time spent mindlessly scrolling through Facebook, Instagram, or whatever else you’ve got on there. Choose a time of day that works for you and make it a phone-free zone. Use this time instead to engage with the kids, your spouse, or yourself without using your phone. It will help you feel more connected to what matters, and help let go of the habit of using the phone to fill any free time you have.

Bid adieu to unnecessary apps. How many apps are on your phone? Now, how many of them do you NEED? Interesting, isn’t it? You don’t have to stay away forever, but rather, limit accessing them to the time you’re on your computer. If you really MUST keep certain apps on your phone, disable the push notifications so you’ll stop picking up your phone every time you get a notification. The freedom you’ll feel just from having a clutter-free phone is amazing, believe me!

But install one more app that will help. So, while unnecessary apps need to go, you should replace them with one app that tracks your screen time. Apps like Moment and BreakFree are just a couple of the more known ones. You can even coordinate them with your whole family so dinner time can truly be spent interacting with each other again, just like the good old days!

Make mindful activities more prevalent on a daily basis. Being addicted to your smartphone is the same as any addiction. Replacing it with a healthier alternative takes some getting used to, but after a while, it just feels right without it. Instead of mindlessly
scrolling along when you feel bored, try some exercise, read a book, or do something else that nourishes your soul or brings you closer to the people in your life.

Smartphones are definitely here to stay, but learning how to detach yourself from them long enough to live in reality is important for a more fulfilling life. Try it and see how much you’ve been missing out on while you’ve been staring at your screen.

I think we can all agree that the world needs more kindness in it, and that’s a daily practice we must keep in the forefront of our minds.  Such simple acts of kindness can create such a ripple effect of influence, it’s astonishing.  How we choose to approach each instance, each person, each moment of our day matters.

So, how can you add more joy to your day, and to others?

Here are a few fun, joyful acts you can choose to commit today…

– Write someone you appreciate a card telling them why you appreciate them

– Find a charity you admire and choose a way to help them within the next week, whether it be with your time or monetarily.

– Watch, listen to or read something that inspires you.

– Put your phone away for at least one hour, being entirely present with yourself or those around you.

Which of the simple things in life make you happy?