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super bowl 2013 rotator

This year I am SUPER excited for the Superbowl, my home team, the San Francisco 49ers, are playing (and going to WIN!). Not only that, but I love a good football party. Sharing time with people you enjoy, delicious food, and unforgettable commercials – its always a good time.

Unfortunately, along with the fun of the party comes lots of calories and sitting (not really a winning combination).  According to an article in the USA Today, Super Bowl parties are second to Thanksgiving when it comes to the number of calories consumed.  If we are not careful, we could eat our daily intake of calories, doubled, during one super bowl game.

DO NOT FEAR!!!!

I have created a healthy, happy superbowl guide to help you. Below are my choice football party recipes and a workout to get you game day ready. You might be surprised how delicious choosing a healthier celebration feels and you’ll feel so good you’ll have ample energy for the after parties.  These resources you can prepare a game day plan that wins all around. Have fun, be safe, and GO NINERS!

Caroline’s Healthy, Happy Superbowl Guide.

SuperBowl Recipes. Plan ahead and cook up a few nutritious recipes so that you have something healthy to serve at your party. Here are a few of my favorites:

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Caroline’s Crispy Kale Chips

Ditch the Doritos and put out a bowl of these (healthy) bad boys instead. To make them, simply wash kale, dress with olive oil and a bit of sea salt, and roast in the oven until crunchy and crispy.

Prep time:  10 mins

Cook time:  20 mins

Total time:  30 mins

Ingredients

1 large bunch of kale (I used the curly kind)

1 tablespoon olive oil

sea salt

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.
  • Wash kale, remove the inner rib or stem, and tear into chip-size pieces. Make the pieces a little larger than you want the chips because they will shrink.
  • The kale must be thoroughly dried. I ran it through a salad spinner, laid it out on paper towels for 5 minutes, and then ran it through the spinner once more.
  • Put the kale pieces in a gallon plastic baggie and add the olive oil. “Massage” the kale to ensure that each piece has a coating of oil.
  • Arrange the kale in a single layer on a large baking sheet lined with parchment paper (or you can place them right on the sheet). You may need a to use more than one sheet or bake in batches.
  • Sprinkle with sea salt. Use a bit less than you think you need because the kale shrinks and the salt intensifies.
  • Bake for about 20 minutes, until the kale is crisp and slightly browned.
  • Enjoy!

Notes

If the chips last more than 5 minutes (mine never do) you can store them for 2 days in an airtight container or bag. Make sure they are cooled thoroughly before storing.

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Baked Sweet Potato Fries with Rosemary  ( adapted from FeedMePhoebe)
Makes 2-4 servings

Ingredients
1 large sweet potato (about 1 pound)
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons loosely packed fresh rosemary leaves
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon paprika

1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

2. Toss the sweet potatoes in a large mixing bowl with the olive oil, rosemary, salt, and paprika until well incorporated.

3. Arrange the sweet potatoes on the baking sheet in an even layer. Bake in the middle of the oven for 20 to 30 minutes, redistributing once during the cooking process, until browned and crispy. Allow to cool slightly – they will get even crisper and firmer as they come to room temperature.

Serve the fries alongside ketchup, lemon aioli, and perhaps a turkey burger, if you’re feeling frisky.

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Root Vegetable and Black Bean Chili (Gluten/Dairy Free from FeedMePhoebe)
Makes 10 servings

This chili is the perfect earthy blend of sweet and spicy. If you want to get even more rich flavor out of the vegetables, roast them until they are nice and caramelized and then add them to the stew. You’ll cut down on your stove-top cook time, and the extra step is worth it. If you can’t find chile negro any mild dried chili will work here.

Ingredients
2 ounces dried chile negro
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 bunch cilantro
Olive oil
2 large onions, diced
4 large carrots, peeled and diced
Sea salt
2 tablespoons ancho chili powder
2 tablespoons cumin
1 tablespoon oregano
3 28-ounce cans fire roasted tomatoes
1 sweet potato, peeled and diced
4 small parsnips, peeled and diced
4 cans black beans, rinsed and drained

1. Place the chiles in a bowl and submerge in boiling hot water. Soak for at least 20 minutes, up to an hour. Remove the chiles from the water, reserving the liquids. Rinse off the seeds and skin and discard along with the stems. Place the cleaned chiles in a small food processor along with 1/2 cup of roughly chopped cilantro stems, the garlic, and 1/2 cup of soaking liquids. Puree until you get a fine paste, adding more liquid as necessary.

2. Meanwhile, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large lidded Dutch oven over a medium-high flame. Saute the onion and carrots until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the chili powder, cumin, oregano, and 1 teaspoon of salt. Cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes. You want the spices to get nice and toasted. Carefully pour in the tomatoes and bring to a simmer.

3. Add the sweet potatoes, parsnips, black beans, black chile paste, and remaining soaking liquid. Stir to combine and bring to a simmer, adding one or two cups of water if necessary. You want a soupy consistency, as the chili will thicken as it simmers.

Simmer, partly covered for 20 minutes, until the potatoes and parsnips are tender. Season with salt and cayenne pepper to taste. Simmer 5 minutes more. Ladel the chili in bowls and serve!

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Winning Brownies (Click HERE to get the recipe from the Gracious Pantry. )

What-Rules-Football

Superbowl Fitness: Caroline’s “Get in the Game WORKOUT CHALLENGE” 

Fuel your SuperBowl Sunday with POWER by getting your workout in before the first commercial. The below drills are designed to work on your strength, speed, stamina, and agility while burning calories and boosting energy. It’s a challenging series – as always, please check with a doctor before beginning any new exercise routine. And note: *You DO NOT need a football or access to a football field for these workouts. Just a positive attitude, a bottle of water, and some space! ; )

Running/Jogging Warm Up Drills. 10 minutes.

  • Easy jog 5 minutes
  • Walking Lunge. 20-30.
  • Butt kicks (kick your heel towards your butt)
  • Squat with side shuffle 1 minute
  • High Knees 1 minute
  • Plank with mountain climber knees 1 minute

“Make a Tight End”

Do 20-30 reps of each move. Work on keeping good form and strengthening your legs, core, and balance.

  • Basic Hip bridge. Laying on back bridge hips up into the air.
  • Squat with straight arms out in front of you. Focus on keeping shoulders down and core engaged.
  • Forward single leg lunge with knee raise (add hop if feeling feisty!). Do reps on one leg and switch.
  • Single leg side lateral lunge. Lunging one leg to the side keeping the other straight. Option to add a knee raise towards chest.
  • Plie squat with inner thigh slide. Squat with legs wide and toes pointed outward, bring heels together when you stand and separate legs wide to squat again.

Penalty ABS.

Perform each move for 1 minute with 15 seconds rest in-between.

  • V Ups.
  • Bicycle Crunch
  • Plank
  • Superman
  • Pushup

Cardio BURST: TOUCHDOWN 

Do each move for 1 minute with 30 seconds rest in-between.

  • Burpees. Feel free to add a pushup or squat jump!
  • “Football” run. Also known as “fast feet” : shake your booty and move feet out and in.
  • Squat hops with “touch down” arms. Squat and jump off ground reaching your arms up in the air in a “touchdown” signal.
  • Suicides. Sprint out 10-20 yards, squat and touch ground, sprint back ( you can also use distance measure like light poles, street meters)

Once through the circuit is GREAT – you can also repeat the above 2-3 times and go home with a longer workout.

This challenging all-levels circuit works the entire body, doesn’t require any equipment, and includes the perfect mix of strength and cardio exercises. It’s a winning combination – you’ll feel like such a rockstar when you’re done you might need your OWN halftime show. Leave a comment below if you  complete the above challenge and let me know how it went. Cant wait to congratulate you on your efforts!

Wishing you a safe and fun SuperBowl celebration. Now get focused, put on your game face, and get ready to “BRING IT”. Im positive you’ll have a healthy, happy Superbowl. TOUCHDOWN!

GO 49ers!

Caroline

P.S. There is still time to DONATE to CYCLE for Survival fundraiser and the Memorial Sloan Kettering Center. This is my third year riding in Cycle for Survival and I truly feel the event has a tangible, powerful impact on those who are affected by rare cancers. My goal is to get as many people as possible to donate $2 dollars to 1.) Raise awareness of the cause and 2.) Raise money for rare cancer! If you would be open to lending your support, you can donate to my ride HERE. Thank you for all of your help in doing good things in the world!  

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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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“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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As we approach the new year, there is one thing on everybody’s mind: GOALS. One thing I find extremely effective in setting goals that have lasting power is creating a vision board.  A vision board is a visual representation or collage of the things that you want to have, be, or do in your life. It works to activate the law of attraction which is the idea that your mode of thinking, be it positive or negative, directly affects what the universe puts out there for you. In other words, if you think negatively, your life will only result in negativity. But if you put positive mental energy into the universe, positive outcomes—getting that promotion you wanted or getting out of debt—will happen. It’s kind of like the little engine that could, “I think I can I think I can”.

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Creating vision boards is considered by many to be a vital step on the road to success. Since positive, focused thinking is the key to achieving goals, pinpointing what those goals are and having something tangible to symbolize them is an essential part of the process. Vision boards remind us what we should and should not be doing in order to achieve our goals. The images and phrases that make the board should represent the highest priorities in your life. It reinforces what you truly want in your life and helps keep you on track in living it.
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A vision board usually consists of a poster or foam board with cut-out pictures, drawings and/or writing on it of the things that you want to manifest in your life. It’s simple.

By selecting pictures and writing that charges your emotions with feelings of passion, you will begin to take action towards making those things happen.  Your personal vision board is only limited by the extent of your own creativity. Vision boards are whatever you create them to be – I’ve seen everything from simple to those that could probably sell in an art gallery. Having artistic ability is not a prerequisite for creating a functional vision board and the procedures I’ve outlined below can be used by anyone.

The general elements that a well-designed vision board should include are:

  • Visual. Your subconscious mind works in pictures and images, so make your vision board as visual as possible with as many pictures as you can. You can supplement your pictures with words and phrases to increase the emotional response you get from it.
  • Emotional. Each picture on your vision board should evoke a positive emotional response from you. The mere sight of your vision board should make you happy and fuel your passion to achieve it every time you look at it.
  • Strategically-placed. Your vision board should be strategically placed in a location that gives you exposure to it. It’s helpful to look at it often and give your mind a reminder of your desires.
  • Personal. Negative feelings, self-doubt, and criticism can damage the delicate energy that your vision board emits. If you fear criticism or justification of your vision board from others, then place it in a private location so it can only be seen by yourself.

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Supplies Needed

    • Big piece of cardboard or poster board
    • Large selection of magazines (preferably in color)
    • scissors
    • Tape/ glue (i prefer double sided tape)
    • Printer (for images off the internet you want to include)
    • Ribbon

Ready to get crafty? Here are my Steps To Create Your Vision Board:

    1. Decide the main theme of your board. It may be based on something specific you wish to accomplish or obtain, or it may be a general idea of everything that makes you happy. (and yes you can make a vision board just specifically of the man/woman of your dreams 😉 )
    2. Find pictures that correspond with your theme, either from old magazines, photographs, or from the Internet.
    3. Print (if necessary) and cut out your pictures.
    4. Type or write some affirmations or empowering words that correspond with your theme.
    5. Glue your pictures and affirmations to your poster board and pin them to your cork board.
    6. Hang your vision board somewhere you will see it often.

Now I know what you are thinking… how can a board full of magazine cut outs REALLY get you what you want out of life?! I understand many skeptics may never get crafty with their goals and cardboard. But there’s no harm in creating something tangible to inspire you. If it does help you get that much closer to your goals, more power to you.  Just don’t forget the essential secret to success is to put forth the effort and take action to make what you want out of life happen. A compelling vision combined with focused action is the key to a positive outcome.  

What is your vision for 2013? 

Leave a comment below if you chose to create a vision board this year. Better yet, send me a photo of your vision board at carolinejordanfitness@gmail.com . Looking forward to sharing a bright and beautiful New Year with you. Put what you want OUT THERE. I believe this will be our best year yet! A Compelling Vision + Focused Action = Positive Outcomes and I am POSITIVE about that one 🙂

Happy New Year to you ALL!

Caroline

Looking for more ways to make your goals a reality in 2013? Check out these posts:

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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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The National Institute of Health estimates that during the 6 weeks of Thanksgiving and New Years Day, Americans gain an average of 0.8 – 1.4 pounds. With the lingering effects of Halloween candy factored in, that range could easily be higher. According to the NIH, this eating free for all over 40 or more days accounts for the 51% of the typical American’s yearly weight gain.

 

One and a half pounds doesn’t seem a significant amount of weight to shed post holidays, but realistically the extra baggage doesn’t come off that easily. In fact, over a decade or two, at that rate of gain, an insidious 15-30 extra pounds could creep onto a person’s unsuspecting frame. Most are aware of the health challenges the holidays present, but what many people don’t know is how EASY it is to prevent weight gain with a few realistic and mindful strategies in place. With a few simple healthy alterations you can stop the holiday food hangover BEFORE damage is done.

 

Below are some of my favorite articles and resources to help you put these strategies to work and feel your best on January 1st. That way come the New Year, instead of focusing on damage control, you’ll be in a place to set new, exciting wellness goals.  I challenge you to practice prevention and mindfulness while you enjoy the season and find balance. These practical articles aim to inspire you to put a “holiday pre-hab” program in place for yourself. With topics ranging from “Seasonal Stress Reduction” to “9 Healthy Holiday Eating Strategies”, I hope you will find something useful below. If you draw just one good idea or find a healthy recipe to share, I’ll have met my objective. Please let me know if you find this post helpful or if you have any healthy holiday resources you’d like to add to the list by leaving a comment below this post.  In the meantime, if you haven’t subscribed to my YouTube Fitness channel, please do so at: http://www.youtube.com/user/TheCarolineinthecity?feature=mhee   . It’s the perfect solution to traveling or seasonal workouts when you are short on time. And now without further to do, here are my favorite seasonal health resources:

 

Caroline’s Healthy Holiday Handbook 2012

 Seasonal Stress Reduction:

Cooking Light and Eating Right:

Feel Good Fitness:

Inspiration/Motivation

From my little studio in San Francisco to your home, I wish you a very warm and festive holiday season (sans the extra pounds!) Looking forward to sharing this most wonderful time of year with you. Heres to a healthy, happy holiday that feels good from the inside out.

With Gratitude,

Caroline

 

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