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To my fearless fitness family,

I apologize for my absence, I have been busy flying to a new location! I am proud to announce that my new website: http://www.carolinejordanfitness.com/ has successfully been launched. I now feel that my online brand accurately reflects the work I do and the path I plan to pursue. After many years blogging from this “Fearless Fitness” space, I am beyond excited to share this update with you.  You’ll now find all my YouTube videos, blog posts, and updates all in ONE place.  Visit the site and check it out, I cant wait to hear what you think of it! If you wish to stay in touch and get weekly positive emails in YOUR inbox, update your blog subscription by entering your email in the “subscribe box” : http://www.carolinejordanfitness.com/blog/. I can’t wait to share more informative, inspirational, and positive posts with YOU in the future!

Thank you for being a part of my loving community of support. Together we can fly free and lead happy, healthy lives. Looking forward to sharing a bright future with you. Onward and Upward!

With love and gratitude,

Caroline

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“Remember then:there is only one time that is important – NOW! It is the most important time because it is the only time when we have any power.” – Leo Tolstoy

There are two ways to live life: consciously or unconsciously. Conscious living, or “mindfulness” means being an active participant in your life, choosing the experiences you get involved with, and taking responsibility for the decisions you make. The opposite, living unconsciously, means allowing circumstances to dictate your life, remaining passive, and taking little to no ownership over what life brings. When it comes to living consciously or unconsciously, which one sounds more appealing to you in this one and only life? I thought so 😉

When you live consciously, you become intentional in the things you do. You put yourself in the drivers seat, and instead of waiting for things to happen, you MAKE things happen. You get more done, are more mindful of what you do, and are more focused. All of this gives you the ability to accomplish the things you set our to do and to be more successful in life. The best part is that holding yourself accountable for the life you have has a direct and positive impact on self-esteem, attitude, and belief in yourself.

Studies have shown that conscious living also provides numerous health benefits. It helps reduce and manage stress, chronic pain and blood pressure, and increases immune function and ability to cope with disease. Individuals who live consciously tend to be happier and have a more positive outlook than those who don’t. They tend to take themselves less seriously, are less impulsive or reactive, and accept their own weaknesses without self-judgement. Further, they’re able to take criticism more easily, and suffer less from depression and other emotional and behavioral issues.

Living consciously also means focusing on the present and not dwelling on the past or obsessing about the future. In other words, you live life in the moment. This translates to experiencing more positive thoughts and feelings as most of our anxiety and fears are rooted in past disappointments or regrets and the worry we feel about the future.

Finally living a conscious life helps you develop closer relationships. You’re more in tune with your emotions, thoughts, and reactions which helps you to be more sympathetic and understanding toward others. And you can more easily understand the impact of your choice on you life as well as those around you.

Ready to be an active participant in your life and live in the moment every day? Conscious living encompasses all aspects of life. Everything from what you choose to eat at dinner to the way you treat people can involve intentional thought and action. Living consciously can occur at any moment, on any day, just by actively being present during your experiences and being aware of your feelings and emotions. All it takes to get started is a commitment to be present in your life. Here are my guidelines for living in the moment (and actually enjoying it!)

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Caroline’s Live In the Moment (and ENJOY it!) Suggestions For Success

  • Stop and Smell the roses. Throughout the day, take time to pay attention to what is happening around you. Become mindful of your environment and how you personally fit into it. Observe colors, sounds, light, smells, and textures. Savor moments by allowing all of your senses to fully experience them. Make a habit of noticing new things in every situation, even for those repetitive actions like walking to work and making breakfast.
  • Experiment: Every day find something new to try. Take a class. Attend a seminar. Read a new book. Play a new game. When opportunities present themselves, embrace them openly and look for the potential that they may bring. Say YES instead of no and do one thing a day that scares you. Trying new things keeps you engaged, youthful, and living to the fullest.
  • Stop Thinking: Jon Kabat-Zinn, founder and former executive director of the Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Health Care, and Society at the University of Massachusetts Medical School tells us, “Ordinary thoughts course through our mind like a deafening waterfall.” Part of our inability to live consciously is that we let our thoughts overtake our minds, precluding us from living in the moment and experiencing life. Instead, allow yourself to “just be”. Focus less on your thoughts and more on whats going on around you at the moment. Actively take part in the present while shutting out negativity of the past or future.
  • Breathe: When you feel the urge to be impulsive of have a knee-jerk reaction to something, stop and take a few deep, cleansing breaths.  When it comes to building a conscious life, deep breathing helps you hit the “restart” button. Instead of reacting hastily or irrationally, you’re able to gain self-control and have more rational and appropriate responses to situations and circumstances. Best part is deep breathing is free, easy, and can be done ANYWHERE! Inhale, Exhale, REPEAT!
  • Accept Challenges, Pain, Worry: When something is uncomfortable, we often feel compelled to avoid it. Instead of pushing these feelings away, simply allow yourself to feel them and accept them for what they are. When we don’t acknowledge negative feelings, our minds deal with them in indirect ways. This can manifest in unhealthy behaviors, or worse cause us to do things we may regret. Accepting negative feelings, however, helps us understand our stressors, anxieties, and reactions, giving us the power to move forward and create new feelings and reactions so we can move past negativity instead of dwelling on it. I always say you have to FEEL in order to heal!
  • Switch from Autopilot to Manual: You know your inner autopilot is at work when you feel like time has passed you by, yet you have no idea what you did or what happened during that time. You are going through the motions instead of actively engaging in your life. Maybe autopilot kicks in during a commute or while running errands. Or maybe its at work for longer periods of time. To get the most out of life, its important to be an active participant. Shut off autopilot by increasing your awareness of your thoughts, actions, decisions, and experiences. Don’t defer to others to make decisions for you or allow circumstances to dictate your life. Doing so will only lead to disappointment and frustration. As pilot of your life, you have ultimate control of where you go and the direction you head. Constantly look for ways to engage in what life has to offer…. you never know what may come your way.

Studies have shown that when individuals take the time to enjoy the moments of their lives, they experience more joy, happiness, and positive emotions, and fewer of those that are negative or depressive. But you don’t need research to tell you that conscious living is worthwhile, being an active participant in your life just FEELS better!

How do you practice mindfulness and “live in the moment” on a daily basis? Heres to living and loving every second 🙂

Caroline

Information for this post provided by 52 Small Changes: One Year to A Happier, Healthier, You by Brett Blumenthal. Great read, check it out!

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In a world of triple-stacked hamburgers, double-stuffed cookies, and super-sized cups of soda, many of us tend to overestimate appropriate portion sizes while underestimating the amount of food we eat. It’s no surprise: over the last twenty years, we’ve seen continued growth in portion sizes to a point where we’ve entered an era of “portion distortion”. At restaurants and fast- food establishments, super-sized portions are served in order to provide “super” value to the customer. At the grocery store, companies have super-sized packaging of their products, and even at home, we’ve managed to steadily increase the size of our dinnerware. Unfortunately, all this growth has had an impact on our waistlines: we think big, we eat big, and it shows.

At the start of a New Year and the common resolution to eat healthier, I thought it a good time to address portion control. Here are my portion control guidelines to help you practice portion control and reach all of your wellness goals.

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Caroline’s Smart Size Portion Guide.

The simple skill of knowing how much to eat is an important key to weight loss and weight maintenance. Eating appropriate portions enables us to eat to a point where we are comfortably full, yet not so stuffed that we regret it later.

Research has shown Americans often underestimate how many calories they are consuming each day by as much as 25 percent. The hard truth is: you can’t escape a bad diet. The effects of poor nutrition and over generous portions will catch up with you at some point!

In order to understand appropriate portion sizes of foods, there are three things you’ll need to learn: 1) You’ll need to understand how much of a typical food constitutes a portion size, 2) you’ll need to know what that portion size looks like visually, and 3) you’ll need to learn how to apply this knowledge in your life.

The following lists include a select number of various types of food, their typical portion sizes, and everyday objects that equate to portion size. Although there are a few exceptions, most of the foods listed are whole, as there are an infinite number of processed or packaged foods. Further, since eating whole foods is always recommended over processed foods, it seems more appropriate to focus on them.

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Portion Size Guide Of Whole Foods

Fresh Fruit* = 1 cup = woman’s fist

    • apple
    • apricots
    • blackberries
    • blueberries
    • kiwi (2 pieces)
    • orange
    • pear
    • plums (2 pieces)
    • raspberries
    • strawberries
    • tangerines (2 pieces)

*exceptions: banana, grapefruit, portion size = 1/2 fruit

Leafy Vegetables = 1 cup = Baseball

    • arugula
    • baby romaine
    • boston lettuce
    • mixed greens
    • red lettuce
    • romaine
    • spinach

Fibrous Vegetables = 1/2 cup = 1/2 Baseball

    • artichoke hearts
    • asparagus
    • broccoli
    • carrots
    • cauliflower
    • celery
    • cucumber
    • eggplant
    • green beans
    • onions
    • red cabbage
    • red peppers
    • snap peas
    • squash
    • zucchini

Breads = CD case

    • Bagel (1/4)
    • English Muffin (1/2)
    • Whole-grain bread (1 slice)

Meat = 3 ounces = deck of cards

    • beef
    • chicken breast
    • pork tenderloin
    • tofu
    • turkey breast

Fish = 3 ounces = computer mouse

    • cod
    • halibut
    • mahimahi
    • red snapper
    • salmon
    • swordfish
    • tuna

Grains, Legumes, and Starches = 1/2 cup = 1/2 baseball

    • barley (cooked)
    • beans
    • brown rice (cooked)
    • cereal
    • corn (cooked)
    • edamame
    • oats (cooked)
    • potatoes (all varieties)
    • quinoa (cooked)
    • whole grain pasta (cooked)

Dairy

    • Hard Cheese = 1.5 ounces = 4 dice or lipstick case
    • yogurt = 1/2 cup = 1/2 baseball

Fats

    • Avocado = 1/2 medium = deck of cards
    • oils = 1 teaspoon = 1 die
    • nuts – 1/4 a cup = golf ball

If you don’t already have measuring cups or spoons, it might be helpful to purchase them. You may even want to consider investing in a nutrition scale, which will allow you to weigh various foods. Spend a week measuring what you eat and comparing it to the visual cues so you can accurately understand typical portion sizes and what they look like. Display some of the everyday items in your kitchen so they are conveniently located. You may even want to take a couple of them with you when you go out to eat. Eventually, you’ll be comfortable assessing portion sizes without measuring cups, spoons, or props and will be able to do so no matter where you are.

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Knowing proper portion sizes is only half the battle in learning the art of eating the right amount. It’s what you DO with that knowledge that really counts. Eating out and busy schedules can make portion control more challenging. Here are my suggestions on how to use your portion control smarts in the moment:

 Caroline’s Portion Control In ACTION guidelines:

  • Before Eating, Divide The Plate. Here’s a simple rule to portion a plate properly: Divide it in half. Automatically fill one side with fruits or vegetables, leaving the rest for equal parts protein and starch. This way, you begin to see what a properly balanced meal looks like. Spaghetti and meatballs? Steak and potatoes? They’re only half a meal, incomplete without fruits and vegetables.
  • Pre-Portion Tempting Treats. People tend to consume more when they have easy access to food and the bigger the package, the more food you’ll pour out of it. Measure out your food choices into a ziplock bag, bowl, or plate before you eat. Put the package or dish away and then sit down to enjoy your pre-portioned snack or meal.
  • Avoid Mindless Munching. It’s all to easy to keep eating food when it’s readily available. I call it the “see food diet”. If you can’t resist food when it’s around you, have it put away or leave the room. Turn off the television, computer, or any other distractions so that you can pay attention to what you are eating. When you are dining out, ask the server to have the bread removed from the table. In the office steer clear of your co-workers candy jar or the community food table. When you are mindful while eating its easy to avoid damaging your nutrition goals with munching.
  • Downsize The Dishes. If you’re part of the “clean plate club” and one of the 54 percent of Americans who eat until their plates polished, you’ll want to make sure your dishware is modestly sized. On a standard 8- to 10-inch dinner plate, a portion of spaghetti looks like a meal. On a 12- to 14-inch dinner plate, it looks meager, so you’re likely to dish out a bigger portion to fill the plate. Look for dishware that helps you in sticking with your healthy portion control goal. That way even if you eat until your plate is clean it wont do too much damage!
  • Limit Your Choices. The more options you have, the more options you’ll want to eat.  Look to limit your food choices to avoid the temptation to sample everything in sight.  When at a buffet or party with a large assortment of food, view all the dining options first and then fill your plate with portions of the foods that you want most. Avoid the temptation to go back for seconds once you are comfortably full.
  • If you have good food in your fridge, you’ll eat good food. You control 100 % of the food that is brought into your home. Use this power to your advantage. Stock up on foods that nourish you and if you know you can’t stop at just one potato chip, then don’t buy them at ALL.
  • Enjoy Dining Out with moderation and mindfulness. Eating appropriate portion sizes when dining out is especially challenging. Restaurant servings sizes are often enough for 4 people! To keep portions in perspective, consider ordering two appetizers instead of an entrée. If you are dining with others, you may want to split an appetizer and entrée with another person. If you order an entrée for yourself, evaluate how much of the food on the plate equates to a portion size and ask for the rest to be set aside. You can ask for a doggie bag or save the portion for another meal during the week. And always share dessert!

What is one way you practice portion control when dining out or cooking at home? It’s important to be mindful of the quantity of food you’re eating and hopefully the guidelines above will help you enjoy eating healthy, balanced portions. Eat slowly, savor your food, and enjoy your company. Heres to a year of eating well, feeling well, and being unstoppable!

Yours in Health,

Caroline

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“Getting older is the best thing that ever happened to me. I wake up every morning rejoicing that I’m still here with the opportunity to begin again and be better.” –  Oprah.

On December 27, 2012 I joined together with 13 cousins and 6 aunts and uncles to celebrate the life of one woman: My Grandmother. Grandma stands as an inspiration to us all, the walking proof of a life well lived. She is  glowing, full of health and vitality. Celebrating 90 years of life with my family was a memorable, meaningful night for me. I set a new personal goal: to live to 90 (and THEN some) just like my Grandma Joan.

What can you do to age gracefully and increase your longevity? Luck and genetics are a piece of the puzzle, but you can’t control that. To increase your odds of reaching 90 and beyond, it’s about focusing on what you can do. Loading up on fruits and veggies, working out five days a week, and cutting down on stress are just a few habits to help you age well. Here are a few other suggestions from one woman who knows, my Grandmother!

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Lessons on living till 90 (and THEN some!) from Grandma Joan

Move Your Body. Regular exercise is one of the strongest predictors of a long life. Thats because being active is like turning up a car engine. It keeps systems running better so even if there’s a decline with age its less severe. Unfortunately, many of us are stuck behind a desk most days with a sedentary job, which can negatively affect longevity. To add years to your life, make exercise part of your daily routine. Even a little bit goes a long way: try walking 30 minutes a day and a few times a week add on something else like a dance class or lifting weights. Research shows that people who perform even the most basic movements (walking just 3 to 5 days a week) live longer than those who don’t.  Especially the older you get—stop moving, stop living.

Have Meaningful Relationships. Having meaningful relationships is critical to your health. Partly because the reverse – being isolated – can lead to depression and even dampen the immune system. My Grandma knows this all too well, she had SIX kids after all! Her one tip of advice? Just make sure to surround yourself only with people who can lift you higher. You want to be around those that positively influence your life and encourage you to reach your goals. Establish regular dates to be social with your those you love. Go to happy hour, visit a museum, savor a meal, enjoy life together!

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Set the Table and Share Home-cooked Meals. Making it a priority to share meals with those you love not only helps build meaningful relationships (see above) it improves your nutrition. Cooking your own food means having control over the ingredients, so you can make sure there are no chemicals or preservatives and no extra amounts of sugar or salt. Plus, using fresh vegetables and fruits from your own garden is a huge bonus. The more recently the produce was picked, the more nutrients it has, which means more antioxidants and vitamins to keep your body and brain young. My Grandma makes dining an event: the table is set and  we sit down (distraction free!) to enjoy a mindful, nutritious meal together.

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Have a Hobby. Having a pastime reduces stress and provides a sense of accomplishment. Its even more beneficial to have a hobby that allows you to be creative. Creative hobbies take you out of your daily patterns and ignite your inner spirit. Make a vision board, take a cooking class, and engage in a creative projects as often as possible. You’ll find that time spent in creativity heightens your happiness and gives you more energy for the other areas of your life.

Always dress as if you are meeting the Queen. My grandmother would never let me leave the house without brushing my hair at least 100 times.  Good thing too because research actually confirms that a little vanity is good for you. In a Harvard study, people who thought they looked better had an actual drop in blood pressure. And as much as I LOVE spending all day in stretchy pants, there is something to be said for getting yourself together. Feeling confident about how you present yourself will increase how you feel now AND later!

Maintain a Healthy weight. If you keep your weight in a healthy range for your gender, age, and height, it keeps your organs healthy, there’s less need for medication, and it enables you to maintain a healthy lifestyle longterm. Most health problems in America can be correlated to lifestyle and bad habits. Eating right along with exercising and not smoking are the key habits that slash your disease risk by 80 %. Choose good for you foods and aim to keep your weight in a healthy range (click here for a healthy weight assessment).  The healthier you are, the better you feel. The better you feel, the longer you live.

DRINK water, don’t smoke, and moderate your alcohol intake. Well you knew that one already!

Be in good spirits. I truly believe in the power of positive thoughts to heal, energize, and help us enjoy life. What we tell ourselves and the messages we take in from others affect our ability to live long, happy lives. They help the health of our mind, body, and soul. Recognize that you create your perceptions from the inside out. A person’s mood in the moment creates his or her experience; a person’s experience does not create his or her mood. Those who understand this live a smooth and stress-free life and do not play victim to external circumstances. Moral of the story: the quality of your thoughts creates the quality and longevity of your life! 

Make Downtime a Priority.  Skimping on leisure time can raise your risk of heart disease eightfold. Not to mention the very REAL negative health effects of stress and working too much. The simple solution? Schedule regular downtime.  I like to practice what I call Personal Protected Days (PPD). PPD’s are all about learning to take time for yourself and incorporate balance into life. When you don’t get enough downtime, then you can’t appreciate or enjoy the time you have with others.  Book leisure time into your schedule and don’t let anything else get in the way once it’s on the calendar. We all need different amounts of alone time based on personalities, schedules and family commitments. Even if you live with a friend, a spouse, a partner or kids its important to find some space for yourself. Do whatever it takes to find this space and protect it. Learn that taking  time for yourself is NOT selfish, but an essential part of living a long life!

Experience the World. Being engaged in the world gives life meaning. That is a good thing for your mental health and seems to lower your overall risk of dying. It’s better to look back on life and say, “I can’t believe I did that,” than to look back and say, “I wish I did that.”  So take the trip, learn a new language, try something new and enjoy all that life has to offer. Even if you live till 100 life is STILL too short. Go for what you want and don’t wait to experience life!

Have an attitude of gratitude. Practicing gratitude can center you, help you live in the moment, enhance your relationships, help you overcome hurdles, improve your health, and motivate you to reach your goals.  Feeling grateful for what you have can produce the good feelings that keep you moving towards the happy life you want. Look around and count your blessings. Clear your head of all the little things that won’t matter down the line, when you’re looking back at all the times you cherished the most in life, and find a reason to make every moment one of them.

Thanks for teaching me how to live well just by being YOU Grandma. Looking forward to enjoying year 90 (and THEN some) with you!

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Is longevity one of your goals? How do you work towards living a life that is long and FULL? Leave a comment below with one habit you have that increases the amount of years in your life. Heres to enjoying a healthy, happy life and increasing our longevity simply by doing it.

Caroline

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“It’s not the amount of years in Your Life….but the amount Of LIFE in your years!”

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It can be hard to make time for exercise and healthy eating during the holidays, but taking care of yourself makes spending time with your loved ones much more fulfilling. After all, when it comes to enjoying the most out of the season, what could be more imporatnt than your health? You want to THRIVE this season not just survive; and that simply all comes back to what you eat, what you drink, and what you think.

Start where you are. Do what you can. Focus on progress not perfection.

As a holiday gift to you, I thought I’d gift you a quick, effective workout you can do over the winter break while you are enjoying vacation time. Perfect for when you are traveling or working out from grandma’s home, this fitness routine doesn’t require any equipment and can be catered to all ability levels. It’s all tied up with a pretty playlist to keep your workout motivation fired up in the winter cold. Leave me a comment below if you enjoy the workout, playlist, or both!

Caroline Jordan Fitness Free Circuit Training Video. 10 Minute Total Body Routine

Caroline Jordan Fitness Winter Break Workout Playlist:

Wishing you a happy holiday filled with health! Looking forward to sharing another great year with you 🙂

With Gratitude,

Caroline

 

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Wellbeing is not about having buff biceps. Its about mental health, life satisfaction, and energy levels. It’s about learning to take excellent care of yourself – mind, body, and spirit.  It’s about self-respect, self-love, and putting yourself first so that you can live your purpose and give to others.  When you love yourself first everything in your life works. It seems simple but this concept is hard to master (Im working on it daily and getting better, but trust me I need a constant reminder!). One thing I know for sure is that if you learn how to love yourself, you will have the  keys to success.

Self-love comes in many different ways and means something different to everybody.  Here is a list of 100 ways to nourish your mind, body, and spirit.  This is not a checklist – only a list of suggestions. Feel free to take the ones that speak to you and ignore the rest. Start treating yourself like you would treat a small child, with the gentle kind of care that you deserve. Changing the way you treat yourself takes time and practice. Start here. Start now. Don’t waste another second.

100 Ways To Love Yourself

  1. Put a post-it on your mirror that says, “You look beautiful!” – and then accept the compliment every time you look at yourself.
  2. Buy fresh flowers every now and then. – Brighten up the place.
  3. Used colored pens for no particular reason. – Blue and black are fine, but how about orange?
  4. Take a walk without a destination. – It’s a great way to get some exercise and clear your mind.  Be mindful of what you see, hear and feel.
  5. Take a hot bath. – With bubbles.
  6. Write in a journal. – Write anything that calls you.  Ideas, experiences, dreams, frustrations – get them out of your head and down on paper.
  7. List the things that you’re grateful for. – You can’t help but feel better when you literally count your blessings.
  8. List the things that you like about yourself. – We can all list the things that we don’t like about ourselves.  Turn that around and think about your many positive qualities.
  9. Create something. – Many of us have gotten away from actually making things.  Create some artwork.  Write something.  Build something.  Make something that didn’t exist before.  It can be functional or frivolous – as long as you enjoy the process.
  10. Treat yourself. – We struggle to be disciplined, especially with money and food.  You deserve a reward, right?
  11. Smile. – It’s very difficult to feel bad when your face is happy.
  12. Squash negative thoughts. – Listen to what’s going on in your head and actively quiet the voices of pessimists and critics.  Assume the best, not the worst.
  13. Try something new. – Go out on a limb.  Learn something new.  Do that thing you’ve always wanted to try.  The more experiences you have, the richer your life will be.
  14. Get enough sleep. – Everything is hard when you’re tired.
  15. Meditate. – It takes a little practice at first, but if you find a meditation that works for you, you will be calmer and more peaceful.
  16. Drink plenty of water. – It’s basic, but it’s so good for you.
  17. Stretch. – Before you start your day, take a few minutes for a good muscle stretch.  It just plain feels good.  And, it’s fast, easy and free.
  18. Put some “me time” on your calendar. – When life gets busy, doing things for yourself is the first thing to be sacrificed.  So, actually block out time on your calendar.  Call it a ‘staff meeting’ or something so that no one intrudes on your time.
  19. Call a friend. – Think of someone who you enjoy and ring them up!
  20. Ask for help. – This can be hard.  But it’s so important to recognize when you need a sounding board, or some advice, or an extra pair of hands.
  21. Say no. – Your time is valuable.  Set boundaries to avoid becoming overwhelmed.
  22. Ask for a hug. – We all need one.  So just go get one.  The person you ask probably needs one too.
  23. Delegate. – Hire someone to mow the lawn or scrub the floors.  Teach the kids to do laundry.  Give that project to a co-worker.  You do not have to do it all.
  24. Take a deep breath. – And another.  Now another.  It’s like a mini-break to reset yourself during the day.
  25. Light a candle or use a reed diffuser. – Your sense of smell creates the strongest memories.  Find scents you love and enjoy them.
  26. Claim some space for yourself. – A place where you can go to have a quiet moment to read a book, or meditate, or cry – somewhere that you can get some peace and privacy.
  27. Get out into nature. – Reconnecting with the earth is just good for your soul. Feel the breeze.  Breathe the fresh air.  So good!
  28. Buy the good ice cream. – Even on the tightest of budgets, this is important.
  29. Use lotions & soaps with scents that you love. – It’s a nice way to pamper yourself, plus you’ll smell good all day.
  30. Give a compliment. – Telling someone that they had a fantastic idea or that they look beautiful in that color creates a pleasant environment and makes two people feel good for the price of one.
  31. Listen to music. – Listen to whatever makes you happy.  Can you be grumpy while listening to Gloria Gaynor?  I think not.
  32. Play. – Something we forget as adults.  A board game, a sport, finger painting – find something frivolous and have fun!
  33. Eat foods that you love. – Low fat, low calorie, low carb – blah, blah, blah.  Food is to be enjoyed!  Put food into your body that nourishes you in every way.
  34. Be silly every now and again. – We take ourselves entirely too seriously.  Let go.  Be spontaneous and outrageous!
  35. Laugh. – Sometimes you just need a good laugh to lift your spirits.
  36. Limit screen time. – Too much time in front of computers, TV’s, video games, and blackberries (or all of the above) disconnects you from the world immediately around you and makes your brain mushy.  Make sure that you’re getting plenty of input from the non-virtual world.
  37. Be present. – Be deliberate about experiencing what’s happening right now.  It’s all about the journey – don’t miss yours!
  38. Stop worrying. – It’s going to be fine.  Because it is.
  39. Trust yourself. – You are smart, capable and talented.  Your choices are just as valid as anyone else’s.  Don’t second guess yourself.
  40. Do something that’s only for you. – Remember that hobby that you used to have time for?  Or that food that no one else in your house likes?  Reclaim it.
  41. Make sure your health is in order. – What’s more important than your health?  See your doctor regularly.  Make sure you are getting the vitamins or supplements that you need.  Advocate for yourself as you would for your child.
  42. Give to someone in need. – Donating your time or your stuff or your money to someone less fortunate makes you feel good and puts your problems into perspective.
  43. Sparkle! – Feeling schlumpy?  Get all dolled up. Wear something schmancy.  It’s a good way to find your strut.
  44. Dance. – It’s inherently joyful.  You can’t be sad if you’re dancing!
  45. Write your own rock star introduction. – Image you’re on tour with thousands of screaming fans.  How will you be introduced?  “Please welcome the brilliant, the amazing, the gorgeous….you!”
  46. Stand up for yourself. – Your needs are important.  Don’t let anyone disregard them.  Pushing back can be scary but it’s empowering too!
  47. Celebrate! (for any reason at all) – Your kid learned to tie his shoes!  Your taxes are done and filed!  The week is more than half over!  Let’s party!
  48. Find a mantra or an affirmation that lifts your spirits. – “Today is a new day.” “I know that life always supports me.” “I get everything that I want.”  Find one that works for you.
  49. Stand tall. – Your spirit can’t soar when you slouch.  You feel much more powerful when you stand up straight and look the world in the eye.
  50. Have sex. – What can I say?  It feels good.
  51. Get a massage. – Again what can I say?  It feels good.
  52. Choose optimism. – Thinking positive thoughts has a tangible impact on your day and on your life.
  53. Dream big. – You can do anything you set your mind to!
  54. Tune out the naysayers. – People criticize for many reasons, most of which have nothing to do with you.  Follow your heart – not everyone has to get it.
  55. Add color to your surroundings. – Beiges and taupes are pervasive these days.  Depressing.  Make sure that you introduce energetic colors where you work and where you live.
  56. Surround yourself with the things you love. – Photos of loved ones or mementos that bring happy memories.  You should have the stuff that you love all around you.
  57. Declutter. – You should have ONLY the stuff that you love.  Purge everything in your life, both physical and emotional that you don’t honestly need, use or love.  Everything else distracts you from your true intentions and bogs you down.
  58. Stop procrastinating. – Procrastination is a form of perfectionism.  Accept that it’s not going to be perfect and just get it over with.  Image how great it will feel to not have it hanging over your head any more!
  59. Listen to your inner voice. – Your instincts are good.  It’s important to listen to your own head and heart.
  60. Cut yourself some slack. – Arguably the most important tip on this list.  We hold ourselves to impossible standards and then beat ourselves up when we don’t meet them.  Would you be this hard on anyone else?
  61. Slow down. – When you’re living your life at top speed, you’re missing most of it.  Stop and take a breath.  Look for ways to adopt a more humane pace.
  62. Identify your passion. – What do you love?  Do you have a non-profit organization that you feel passionate about?  Are you passionate about water polo?  How about 14th century Portuguese literature?  Find something in your life that really floats your boat.
  63. Toot your own horn. – You’re awesome.  Please make sure that everyone knows it.
  64. Move your body. – Run and jump and climb a tree.  Take a tap dancing class.  Power walk.  Anything that feels good that gets your blood moving.  The only limitation:  it has to be fun.  Don’t get on a treadmill if you hate the treadmill.
  65. Invest in really good bras. – This one is gender-specific, obviously.  You feel much better about yourself when you’re hoisted up properly.  So stand tall and salute the sun ladies!
  66. Purge things that aren’t good for you. – Unhealthy foods, cigarettes, a miserable work environment, toxic people – do what you have to do to set boundaries and demand the highest quality of life.  You deserve it.  Things that don’t nourish and support you – think about how you might be rid of them.
  67. Limit your news consumption. – It’s important to be well-informed, but the non-stop feed of earthquakes and plane crashes and economic crisis and war is not good for us.  Be deliberate in finding a balance that’s best for you.  Once you’ve seen today’s news cycle, turn it off.
  68. Say yes to life. – Opportunities are everywhere.  Take a class, join a team, go bungee jumping.  When new things present themselves to you – jump at the chance.
  69. Stop hating your body. – If the women of the world took all of the time, energy and money that we spend on hating our bodies and turned it towards something productive, there would be no war, poverty or disease left on the planet.  Your body is your body.  Nobody’s looking at your physical flaws because they’re all too busy trying to hide their own.  Let’s give ourselves a break and let it go.
  70. Sing loudly. – In the shower and the car and anywhere else you like.  With reckless abandon.
  71. Be kind. – Be nice to someone else.  You will have made the world a better place.  What feels better than that?
  72. Tell someone you love them. – We often forget to say it out loud.  It matters.
  73. Take all of your vacation days. – You earned them.  Don’t give them back to your company for nothing.
  74. Play hooky. – Call in sick once in awhile when you’re not sick.  Use the day to pamper yourself (not to catch up on errands or housework).
  75. Take pride in the hard times that you have overcome. – What didn’t kill you made you stronger.  It wasn’t easy, but you did it!
  76. Let someone else be in charge for a while. – Other people can be responsible while you do something for yourself.
  77. Don’t answer the phone unless it’s someone you want to talk to right now. – Some people find it difficult not to answer a ringing phone, but it’s liberating once you learn to ignore it or even better, just turn it off.
  78. Have faith. – It’s going to work out.  The future is bright!
  79. Take a personal inventory. – Does your behavior match your true intentions?  If there’s a disconnect, you’re carrying a heavy weight.
  80. Go on a retreat. – For a couple of minutes or a couple of days, get away for a bit to re-energize.
  81. Put your finances in order. – Money problems are enormously stressful.  Paying off debt where possible, putting bills on automatic payment, and working with a financial planner if necessary can all help to ease the strain.
  82. Eliminate all expectations of perfection. – In fact, eliminate the word ‘perfect’ from your vocabulary.  If you expect yourself to be perfect, you will never stop beating yourself up.
  83. Find a good way to blow off steam. – Bottling it up indefinitely will probably end badly.
  84. Be who you are. – your authentic, true self.
  85. Spend some time alone for quiet reflection. – We spend all of our time go, go, going.  Try stopping to think about your life, your goals, and your dreams.
  86. Keep your words positive. – Happiness and complaints cannot coexist.
  87. Let light and fresh air into your house. – Sunlight is a must.  Open up those windows!
  88. Turn off your e-mail, cell phone, blackberry, fax, etc. for a while. – It’s not healthy to be accessible 24/7.
  89. Pare down your to-do list. – Feeling overwhelmed?  What’s on your list that can be delegated, avoided, or jettisoned?
  90. Avoid boredom. – Keep your brain active to keep the blues at bay.
  91. Make your home a haven. – Your home should be a place where you can take a breath and really relax.  If it isn’t, you may have some work to do.
  92. Be stingy with your time and energy. – Both are precious and should be spent on things that really matter to you.
  93. Let go. – 80% of everything is irrelevant.  Focus on the other 20.
  94. Minimize multi-tasking. – Yeah, women are supposed to be good at it, but that doesn’t make it good for us.
  95. Break your routine once in awhile. – Get out of a rut and into a groove.
  96. Take action! – If something isn’t right in your life, fix it!
  97. Plan ahead. – With a few minutes of organizing your time and to-do’s, you will be better prepared to take on the day.
  98. Pay attention to your energy. – Are you most productive first thing in the morning?  Are you sluggish after lunch?  Honor your natural cycles and plan accordingly.
  99. Spend time with people who make you happy. – Who nourishes and supports you?  Surround yourself with those people.
  100. Enjoy your kids. – It’s easy to rush through the day without really connecting with them.  Make a conscious effort to talk with them about their day.
  101. Avoid self-deprivation. – When it comes to food, it’s OK to cut back on things that aren’t good for you (sweet, sweet carbohydrates), but if you feel deprived, it’s probably not maintainable, creating a vicious circle of cheating and guilt.
  102. Forget the word “should”. – Instead of doing what you think you’re supposed to, follow your own path.
  103. Intentionally enjoy your journey. – As you go through your days, look around.  Be present with what you see, hear and feel.  You might be amazed at what you’ve been missing.

Ok so I got carried away and there you have it, 103 ways to show yourself LOVE. Changing the way you treat yourself takes time and practice, but with an earnest effort self-love can be the foundation of living a happy, healthy life. This may sound simplistic, but it is also true.  As we learn to love ourselves, as our thinking changes, as we develop self-worh and self-esteem, then we begin to allow life to bring to us all the good it has in store. May you find find ways to honor yourself today and everyday. Here’s to living and loving every moment in this beautiful life!

With Gratitude,

Caroline

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Shin splints are one of the most annoying running and sports injuries that can interfere with your exercise routine. This condition is incredibly common and many tend to consider them an inevitable consequence of an active lifestyle. In reality shin splints really are curable. A few simple steps can treat and prevent shin splints from throwing you off your regular workout regimen.

Shin splints are an inflammatory condition of the shins, on the front of the lower leg called the tibia. The pain is brought on by hard surfaces, poor footwear, too little stretching, or jumping back into strenuous activity after a long break. It’s a common problem in running and stop-start sports like squash, tennis and basketball. Typical shin splints cause pain on either side of the shinbone, or in the muscle itself, and if untreated can become gradually worse until activity is too much to bear. Signs and symptoms related to shin splints may include:

  • Pain along the inner part of the lower leg
  • Tenderness or soreness along the inner part of the lower leg
  • Moderate swelling in the lower leg
  • Feet may feel numb and weak, because swollen muscles irritate the nerves

The main cause of shin splints is too much force on the shin bone and connective tissues that attach the bone to surrounding muscle. The excessive force is usually caused by:

    • Running downhill
    • Running on a slanted surfaces or uneven terrain
    • Exercising in inappropriate shoes, including good shoes than have worn out overtime.
    • Taking part in sports that include bursts of speed and sudden stops
    • An increase in activity, intensity or exertion, especially if the muscles and tendons struggle to absorb the impact of the shock force when they are tired.
    • Exercising too hard too fast too soon after a long period of inactivity. Gradual return to exercise is the KEY!

Females and people with flat feet or rigid arches often have a higher risk of developing shin splints. It’s always best to check with your doctor or podiatrist for your personal specific foot care needs (especially if you are prone to shin splints, Plantar fasciitis, ankle problems, or any other related issues). They will be able to best advise you in a foot care program that is catered to you.

Here are my top tips on how to treat and/or prevent shin splints to care for your legs:

    • Wear proper fitting shoes. Choose a shoe that is suited for your foot based on gait, cushion, arch support, fit ,and sport. This will help decrease the risk of shin splints or other injuries.  Also, be sure to change your shoes every 3-6 months or every 500 miles. I recommend going to a running specific shoe store, like Fleet Feet, to get your custom fit.
    • Run on soft surfaces. Try to find softer surfaces to run on such as a grassy park or a dirt trail. Running on pavement creates extra stress on your legs. Don’t switch back and forth from hard to soft during the same run.
    • Increase Intensity GRADUALLY. Follow an exercise program that is catered to you and involves cross training, strength training, and a gradual increase in intensity.
    • Ice the affected area:  If you have shin splints, apply ice 4-6 times a day for approximately 15 minutes to decrease inflammation of the shins.  Be sure to protect the skin by placing a cloth or wrap between the skin and ice.
    • Rest. If your shin splints have gotten to a point where they hurt even when you’re not training, then you need to take at least a couple days off, maybe a week or two. Talk to your doctor or podiatrist if the condition continues.
    • If it hurts STOP. Don’t exercise longer than your shins can take. Be mindful to how you feel and when you sense pain stop and cool down. Some days this may happen earlier in the workout; other days you’ll last much longer. Eventually your shins will get stronger and you’ll be able to exercise as long as you’d like.
    • Warm Up Before Working Out. Lengthen the time of your warm up to make sure your body is ready to go. 5-8 minutes should be enough if you use your time right with quality exercises and good form.
    • Cross-train. Avoid high-impact sports and try other activities that don’t irritate your shin splints. I am a huge fan of low-impact workouts like swimming, cycling, and walking. With cross-training, you can maintain your fitness while healing your shin splints.
    • Maintain a healthy body weight. Many people gain weight and don’t realize that this is why their shins and knees can’t take as much pounding as they used to. Extra body weight creates more impact on the joints. By maintaining a healthy body weight, you’ll have less pressure on your body in your daily life and in activity.
    • Physical Therapy Exercise for Your Legs. Perform physical therapy exercises to strengthen your shins, ankles, calves, and feet. Making foot and ankle specific stretching and strengthening a regular part of your weekly regimen will help you treat and prevent shin pain.Here is my shin splint prevention video and foot exercise video to help you care for your legs. Follow these exercises 2-3 times a week to work towards healthy, injury free legs and feet.

And the footwork video:

Follow these guidelines to keep your body healthy, strong, and free from shin pain. Have you ever suffered from shin splints? What is your top tip for taking care of your shins and staying active longterm?

Knowledge is power. Heres to healthy, strong, and active bodies forever!

Have a great week and till next time… keep smiling 🙂

Caroline

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