How I Found My Happy in 21 Days

image

So the title may be a little misleading… I didn’t all of a sudden become blissfully happy in 21 days. But over the past few weeks, I did learn to be more appreciative and thankful of coworkers, my friends and family, and probably most importantly myself.

I say ‘most importantly myself’ because this is a tough one for a lot of people. Self-love is hard and takes practice, and with the Happy in 21 challenge, I practiced it every day for three weeks. The challenge involves writing three positive attributes about yourself, and thanking one person every day in writing. Some days I struggled to find three positive things about myself and other days I had ideas to jot down for the next day. I found that I always had more than enough people to thank each day, which is a truly amazing feeling to know that I am surrounded by such supportive and loving people.

Like I always say, I am striving for happiness and health in everyday life. I didn’t say I found it, but I am always working towards it. This challenge helped me to appreciate what is already ‘there’ and to appreciate the ride along the way. Do I want to be a better runner? Do I want to have a great job in the city someday with my own place? YES! But this doesn’t mean that because I haven’t achieved these goals that I can’t enjoy the path I am on right now.

I don’t have my dream job yet, but I do work with a lot of amazing people who are so kind to me and whom I am so grateful for. Yes, I want my own place in a busy city some day, but right now I live with my parents in our old country house and I need to appreciate that while I have it. I am living rent-free with two people I happen to like a lot, and who feed me pretty darn well… and I am very lucky that they have welcomed me home and been so supportive of where I am in my life right now.

This challenge helped me to put things into perspective. I truly believe that. I am a far more confident person than I was even a year ago and Happy in 21 helped to show me how far I have come. I encourage you to try it because I think you would be surprised at how easy it becomes and how great it makes you feel. Good luck and enjoy the ride!

Posted in #Happyin21, Appreciation, Balance, Fresh Start, Future, Goal Setting, Goals, Happiness, Happy in 21, Health, Health & Wellness, Love Yourself, Moderation, Motivation, Organization, relaxation, Self Love, social media, Stress Management | Leave a comment

What’s Worse: Complete Solitude or Technology Overload?

For one of Really Leila’s social media class assignments, we had to compare a movie about complete isolation to one about technology overload. I enjoyed this assignment for many reasons; probably mostly because it required me watching movies for homework. But, it was also very interesting to see the similarities between the two very different situations.

The Social Network was a movie about how Facebook began and all of the trials and tribulations the creators went through. This movie also touched on how Facebook evolved from its original purpose, and how it altered the way our world communicates. Cast Away is about a man who is stranded alone on an island for years, and the loneliness he feels in this seclusion.

Two very different themes; with some similar concepts. While The Social Network was about connecting with a virtual community; it also showed undertones of the loneliness the creator felt losing his friends, even after he had created this virtual community full of ways to connect with the world. This type of loneliness, although different than the kind experienced by Tom Hanks in Cast Away, is still significant… and at times it was hard for me to decide which was worse.

Both films were captivating and moving in their own way and definitely got me thinking about the world of technology we live in. While I think there are definitely some negatives to our technology-crazed society; I still love the idea of evolving technology and social networks. I find it fascinating how people find jobs, make friends, and find their future husband/wife via the Internet. Social Media has helped me keep in touch with friends, it has connected me to new communities and it is a way for me to express myself. I encourage you to do your homework about the power of technology before you develop an opinion about it; and for once, this homework is actually fun!

Posted in Facebook, Future, Future of Social Media, social media, Technology Overload | Leave a comment

Why you shouldn’t just “DREAM BIG”

When thinking about goal setting, the phrase “dream big” comes to mind. Having big aspirations, and things you want to achieve in your life is healthy and is what keeps you moving forward. If you believe something is ‘impossible’ it becomes just that, because if you don’t try, you will never know what could have been. To be successful and achieve your goals you must create a realistic PLAN, and lay out the steps for you to achieve that plan.

When you have big dreams you must create ‘checkpoints’ for yourself that align with your goals. For example if you want to take a trip to see a friend, and you always talk about getting together but you never seem to follow through with the plans because of time off from work and expenses, sit down and start creating your plan to making the trip happen.

Dream Big can also be a dangerous idea because it encourages extravagant goals, which means you might be neglecting the smaller, more attainable ideas. Developing plans that vary in difficulty and the time it will take you to achieve them is the key to success. This way, you don’t put all your eggs in one basket by having one dream that might not come true, but you can still enjoy many other achievements. No matter how small, any goal reached, is an accomplishment.

Creating smaller goals is great practice for your larger life plans and a big confidence booster as well. If your goal is to run a 10k and you create goals along the way like “run 3 days this week” or “run 30 minutes without stopping” and you take the steps (pun intended) to achieve these smaller goals you are well on your way to achieving your overarching goal and you have shown yourself in small ways that you CAN do it.

Posted in #Happyin21, Balance, Dream Big, Dream Small, Fresh Start, Future, Goal Setting, Goals, Happiness, Health, Motivation, Organization, Self Love, Success, Time Management | Leave a comment

Some of My Favorite Tips and Advice for a Healthy Life

I have found myself in a rut recently and I think it is going to take a complete overhaul of reorganizing my room, my life, and my brain, in order to start with a fresh and clean perspective. Sometimes I get run down and I can’t quite pinpoint why. When this happens for more than a few days, and I find myself not wanting to move my body and make healthier choices, I know I need to take a moment to refocus and find out what my next steps will be. Below are some of my favorite tips for getting back on the path to leading a healthier and sustainable lifestyle.

  1. Stop worrying about what everyone else is doing. Maybe you took the day off from the gym, maybe you had fries at lunch, and maybe a girl on Instagram ‘crushed legs’ and had a protein shake today… Don’t. Even. Think. About. It. Her success has nothing to do with yours. The sooner you realize that and accept it, the happier you will be.
  2. Don’t let peer pressure affect your decisions. For example, my family loves meat, while I would prefer to have a big salad with a little meat on the side. They jokingly tease me for my ‘rabbit food’ choices, but I don’t let their opinions affect my feelings or decisions. I do what’s best for me and they understand that.
  3. Refresh your routine. Get new workout music, try new exercise gear. Sometimes this tip bothers me because not everyone has the money to buy new clothing every time they feel the urge but it could be something small and it will still be a treat. I just bought myself 4 pairs of running socks that I had a gift card for, and they were on sale. It was an inexpensive way to do something exciting for myself that got me more motivated to use them.
  4. Pamper yourself for a successful week. This also doesn’t have to be expensive. I don’t often have the money for a spa day, so I do my own and I paint my nails, give myself a face mask, use an exfoliating scrub on my skin, soak my feet, etc.
  5. Try to do something active every day. Desk jobs can be extremely taxing on the mind, and after not moving your body for long periods of time, it is easy to get used to that. DON’T. You don’t need to map out hours for exercising each day. Parking farther away, walking to lunch, using your coffee break for a short walk instead, will not only get you moving, it will give you more energy. Just keep your body moving whenever and wherever you can, it will add up.
  6. Try new things. Are you plateauing and getting bored of doing the same gym routine? It’s time to mix it up. Find a workout buddy, try bike riding, try a workout class, do a yoga/pilates DVD in your living room, etc. Think of new things that might spark your athletic interests and try it.
  7. Pinterest. Need new recipes and new workout ideas? Look no further.
  8. Clean your bedroom and organize your personal space. I can’t stress this enough. I am a new woman when I have cleaned my room and gotten rid of clothing, paperwork and miscellaneous things I no longer need. Your room should be your sanctuary and when you treat it that way you will find that you are motivated to be more organized in not just your room but other aspects of your life as well.

Try out some of my favorite tips and share your success stories with me!

Posted in Balance, Exercise, Fresh Start, Future, Health & Wellness, Health Industry, Healthy Rewards, Moderation, Motivation, Nutrition & Fitness, Organization, relaxation, Self Love, Stress Management, Time Management | Leave a comment

Time to get back on track

The last few weeks have been crazy, and I haven’t always practiced what I preach about staying active when you get run down, even though that’s when you need it most. I have been a little harsh on myself about taking the easy way out on a few days when I should have pushed myself out the door and gotten my feet moving, or chosen healthier meals. But last week was last week, and this is a new week with new challenges, new goals, and the same vision. I am striving for balance, moderation, self-acceptance and consistency every day.

There were a few days where I planned to exercise but I got caught up with schoolwork or a good book and I just couldn’t pull myself away. I’ve found that the faster I can put on workout clothing and get my feet out the door earlier in the day, the more likely I am to succeed. The longer I put off exercising, the easier it is to talk my way out of a workout for one reason or another.

So this week is all about accepting last week’s challenges and disappointments and moving forward. It is time to refocus and find my inner drive again. Self-motivation is hard but if you don’t push yourself and believe in your own success you won’t get very far in anything. Time to practice a little (or maybe a lot) of self love and press on. Today is a new day, and there is no time like the present for a fresh start!

Posted in Balance, Exercise, Fresh Start, Health & Wellness, Health Industry, Moderation, Motivation, Nutrition & Fitness, relaxation, Self Love, Time Management | Leave a comment

Learning to balance health and fitness & why that’s so important

“Moderation is key” is the response I give constantly when people ask for nutritional advice. When I tell people I was a Nutrition major in college I think everyone is just waiting for me to share with them the magical secret to weight loss and a healthy lifestyle. Usually my answer to their inquiry is underwhelming, but it’s true. When you learn to balance your lifestyle in a healthy way, you give yourself a much better chance to achieving sustainable success.

Some people don’t exercise at all, and don’t monitor their diets, while others restrict foods and spend countless hours at the gym each week. Both sides of the spectrum are versions of obsessive behavior and both are dangerous lifestyles that can result in serious health concerns. Choosing to balance your eating and fitness habits is a life choice and one that takes practice and manipulation in order to make it work for YOU. Below are a few tips I like to keep in mind regarding healthy balance and moderation:

  • Decide what your health goals are. Do you want to run a 5K, make your own dinner 5 nights a week, lose 15 pounds, etc.? Choose your health goals, and then you can begin to develop a ‘plan’.
  • Take the time to create a plan for yourself with your health goals in mind. Whether that means designing an exercise schedule, starting daily meditation/yoga, making doctors appointments for health concerns, or writing a meal menu each week, try a few things and see what works.
  • If you love something; don’t let it go. For example, I love peanut M&M’s, so instead of looking at the calories and thinking that they don’t fit with my lifestyle, I allow myself a bag of (kingsize!) M&M’s 1-2 times per month. It is a treat I thoroughly look forward to, and I don’t deprive myself of something I love; I have just moderated my love for M&M’s to better fit my lifestyle. Whatever your guilty pleasure is; chicken wings, poptarts, beer, etc., don’t cut it out from your diet completely, it will only make your health plan feel like a burden. Moderate those foods and habits that aren’t considered to be especially healthy, and make them fit into your lifestyle.
  • Try an app like MyFitnessPal that tracks your fitness and meals to give you a better idea of your food intake and exercise output. This is a great tool to learn how to moderate and balance your diet and exercise in order to reach your health-related goals.
  • Reward yourself for progress. Maybe you can now run a mile without stopping, maybe you no longer get winded walking up three flights of stairs, or maybe you have successfully cooked healthy dinners for yourself the past week. Whatever it is, appreciate your achievements along the path to success.
  • Learn how to reward yourself in healthy ways. Enjoy a nice cup of tea while watching a movie, give yourself a facial & paint your nails, spend time with a friend; do something that will make you feel good and doesn’t detract from the hard work you are doing.

Making the choice to start leading a balanced lifestyle and taking the steps that will get you there, takes perseverance and diligence, but will help you achieve a happier and more fulfilled life. Remember, moderation is key!

Posted in Balance, Exercise, Future, Health & Wellness, Health Industry, Healthy Rewards, Moderation, Nutrition & Fitness, relaxation, Stress Management, Time Management | Leave a comment

Finding Inspiration to Exercise and Eat Healthy When You’re Busy

We’ve all heard and used this excuse countless times “I would love to exercise, I just don’t have the time”! Everyone has jam-packed schedules, with days/weeks where we feel like there is no end in sight for all the happenings in our fast-paced lives, but there is always a light at the end of the tunnel. If you fall into the ‘too busy to make it work’ category, a little motivation and encouragement is just the thing you need to get you refocused and back on track to leading a healthy lifestyle.

The most important thing to remember; is that when you don’t think you have the time, that is when you need to make the time. Eating nutrient dense foods, exercising and getting good quality sleep are essential to health maintenance. Yet these are the things our minds tend to neglect during times of stress. I know when I am stressed out I lose sleep, crave sweet and salty foods and lack the energy to exercise or just don’t make the time for it. This is a vicious cycle because while my mind is being lazy, my body NEEDS these healthful outlets to reenergize and refocus. Below are a few tips for digging deep to find that self-motivation:

  • Make a to-do list each day; one for personal use and one for work tasks. Every time something pops into your head and you experience a few seconds of panic, write it down immediately so you don’t forget. Checking things off your list each day gives a great feeling of satisfaction and accomplishment and keeps you on track.
  • Make one grocery shopping trip per week/every two weeks. This is financially smart, and encourages you to buy only what you need, and less of the “middle aisle” items that are not as nutrient dense.
  • Plan your workout schedule ahead of time. Work around the days you know are going to be the most hectic in order to find the days that you can take even a small break to get a good sweat in.
  • Remember that at the end of the day small bouts of exercise add up; it is always worth it to take the stairs, park farther away, walk somewhere instead of driving, etc. Try wearing a pedometer/Fitbit to track your steps for a little motivation/encouragement when you can’t make it to the gym.
  • Pack your lunch instead of buying something at work, when you have time to plan ahead you are much more likely to choose healthier meal options.
  • Sleep is your friend. Find a nightly routine that is calming, silence your phone, meditate, count sheep, do whatever works to catch more Z’s!
  • Do what works for YOU. The only way you will make healthy living a priority is if you tailor your routine to fit your goals and lifestyle.
  • Remember that if you have a bad week or plans change; it is going to be okay. Don’t stress yourself out over what you can’t change, just refocus afterwards, keep your goals in mind and move forward.

It is all about preparation, finding what works and sticking to a schedule. It takes 21 days to start a habit, so start today.

Posted in Exercise, Health & Wellness, Health Industry, Nutrition & Fitness, relaxation, Stress Management, Time Management | Leave a comment