Monthly Archives: November 2012

Motivational Monday: Are You a Realist?

Realist, cynic, sensible, unindealistic…are you one of those people who considers yourself rational and grounded? I’m flippin’ tired of people trying to make these qualities sound good! Of course, there are times when rationality can solve problems and levelheaded people are great in crisis situations. I pride myself in my ability to show these qualities when necessary. HOWEVER, too often people use those terms as a cover up for their pessimism.

Anger and pessimism are something that I have been trying to cut out of my life for some time now. I decided, around the time I graduated college, unchecked anger would fester inside of me; not only ruining my day but affecting my relationships with loved ones.

Getting the anger out was surprisingly easy. I am very self-aware and it was just a process of recognizing when anger was brewing and quickly repeating to myself, “it’s not worth the energy, it’s not worth the energy…” and taking deep breaths. It works! Anger is no longer a factor in my life and it’s wonderfully freeing. Of course I still get the random bought of uncontrollable fury but at that point I remove myself from the situation until I’ve calmed down.

The part I’ve really be struggling with is learning how to STOP COMPLAINING. Did you ever have a person in your life that complains, a lot. Not that they know it or would even be able to change it but boy is it a downer. I’ve had lots of people like that in my life and can’t help recognizing that I was one too. Yep. Me, a complainer. So this is my next step in personal growth. Learning how to cut out the “realism” and pessimism and just learn how to appreciate anything and everything.

My current personal growth activity: say or think a bad thing – say out loud 3-5 great things about the same subject.

example: Man this rainy weather sucks…but…it means I get to snuggle down with a cup of tea without remorse, and that my car is getting a rinse, and that the horrible drought this summer is finally ending!

See, it’s not so hard and it’s starting to make a world of difference. So try it, I dare you. It’s a real way to flip your brain to the happy side.

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Basic Friday: Where’s your spine?

What do you know about your spine? I follow a crap-ton (that’s the official measurement) of healthy blogs and so few of them talk about the importance of your nervous system to the functioning of your body. Why is that? I think people are either uninformed or scared to admit that you spine does it all and chances are, yours is misaligned.

Full disclosure: I work for a health center/chiropractor. First, we take care of our patients’ nervous systems, then we help them with nutrition, exercise, and mental health. But FIRST WE TAKE CARE OF THEIR NERVOUS SYSTEMS.

When I was growing up, my parents went to the chiropractor regularly and brought us in for adjustments whenever we were feeling out of whack. I loved getting adjusted. Walking out of a visit with a good (not all are good) chiropractor made me feel like I was stronger and functioning the way I was supposed to. Like my head was on straight or something. And while I have been struggling with loving my current company (see this post), there is not one moment that I have doubted the power of a healthy spine.

Did you know that EVERY NERVE in your body leads through your spine? Imagine what happens if there is a misalignment in your vertebra. Can’t imagine? Well it pinches all the nerves in that area and sends out garbled messages to those organs. The organs affected by your spine include but are not limited to: brain (yep it’s true), thyroid, heart, lungs, digestive tract, stomach…I could go on and on. But those seem like some pretty important organs right? RIGHT.

In the three months that I’ve been working at our clinic I have seen people come off their depression medication, ADHD medication, and start digesting again after being backed up for way too long. I’ve seen people start sleeping through the night, get rid of their restless leg syndrome, and throw away their asthma inhaler (they don’t need it anymore!). Of course they end their miserable back pain but they also come off their sleep apnea machines, drop tens of pounds of fat, and regain the function of numb limbs. This is a pretty cool one: we have a toddler with severe downs syndrome. When she came into our office, she didn’t have muscle function in her legs and couldn’t move her left arm. 30 minutes after her first adjustment, her mom took a photo of her holding her arms (yep both of them) out for a hug. Now, three months later, she’s very close to walking on her own.

^ This is our victory trash can: all medications that our patients don’t need anymore.

I don’t make this stuff up. I’m not trying to stand on my soap box and look down on all you sadly uninformed. I’m just really excited about it! There are absolutely things that chiropractic can’t help, but people don’t realize all that it really can do.

Now there are A LOT of chiropractors around. It’s difficult to figure out who to trust. Just like normal doctors, some chiropractors really shouldn’t be practicing. However! For every bad doctor there is a great one that can help the bejeesus out of you. Here’s how to tell the difference. Fixing and maintaining your spine should never be a “oh hey, let’s pop your back now and then you come back every time you’re in pain!” That is called pain management and it ensures that you are always on the brink of fall back out of alignment. You want to look for what is called STRUCTURAL CORRECTION. Structural correction combines periodic Xrays with adjustments and exercises to take care of your spine FOR LIFE. No more pain, no more symptoms. And yes, I did say FOR LIFE. After this job, I will be seeing a chiropractor for the rest of my life. But it will not be because I’m in pain, it will be my own personal health insurance. Preventative care, if you may.

I am not the only person shouting this message and this will not be the only time I talk about chiropractic. But I figured an introduction was necessary. I’m not going to dance around this subject anymore because I’m starting to realize that everyone needs to open their eyes to this stuff. It’s pretty freaking awesome.

If you’re interested in more information, I stumbled across this fantastic article:

http://www.joanngentle.com/different-types-of-chiropractic-care-and-treatment-techniques.html

Also, if you’ve already decided you want to get checked out, google “Structural Correction in [your town]” Make sure you check out the doctor’s credentials and talk to current patients about their results. Also try to search online for any reviews of the clinic or specific doctor.

If you’re having trouble finding a doctor, comment this page and I’ll direct you to one of ours. My company has 400 doctors all over the US and Canada.

Like I said, chiropractic can’t fix everything, but it can sure give you a head start on any of the issues you’re tackling. On that note, smile and be happy to be alive 🙂

 

Thirsty Thursday: Drink More Water.

You don’t drink enough water. Yes, I am accusing you. But have you ever questioned yourself? Most people aim for the 8 x 8 ounces glasses of water a day. THAT IS NOT ENOUGH. It’s enough to stave off dehydration and keep your body functioning but water can do so much more!

– Drinking water flushes your body of excess toxins, encourages digestion, and keeps you awake and energized.

– Sometimes people think they’re hungry when they’re actually just thirsty; so before you reach for the cookies, drink a tall glass of water.

– When you’re sick, water helps your system flush the bacteria and viruses from your body.

– If you’re trying to lose weight, water will help rinse out your digestive tract and other overloaded organs.

– You can drink it with tea, with mint leaves, with lemon or even cucumber!

– Carry a reusable bottle (BPA free) everywhere with you so that it becomes habit to drink whenever you have a free 30 seconds.

If you’re still questioning whether you drink enough, check out this awesome calculator I found:

http://nutrition.about.com/library/blwatercalculator.htm *

*At the very end the site mentions that soft drinks are a source of water. They are, but the amount of bad stuff they put in your body overrides the amount of good.

Disclaimer: The situation is different for infants and people with kidney or adrenal problems. If you are one of those people, please consult your doctor before taking my advice. Also, you CAN drink too much water. It’s very tough but doable so please don’t do it. Also, DO NOT drink your entire daily water intake at one time.

Wednesday Workouts: What Does Your Week Look Like?

How much do you work out? I was prepping for the fitness class I teach on Tuesday nights and I realized that, for some of my “students”, it may be the only time they workout that week. While I applaud their effort to make it a weekly habit, that amount of exercise really WON’T DO ANYTHING. So seriously, how much do you workout?

I was raised by a mom that had intense dedication to her mental and physical health. She manages to make time to workout for an hour 6 days a week. What?! That’s a lot of working out. When I lived at home, I used to get super stressed about making enough time for that. Since I’ve moved away, I’ve discovered my own rhythm and it’s working awesomely.

Some basic rules for getting results and staying healthy:

1. SET UP A ROUTINE – determine what is manageable for your schedule and energy levels and slowly work that into your daily life. I know a lot of people who write down their weekly or monthly routine, put it on the fridge so everyone can see, and then cross off the days. Then everyone knows when you’re not sticking to it.

2. INCLUDE VARIATION – I know people who can do the same workout everyday but most people need some variation. So pick a few activities like walking/running, riding your bike, swimming, weight training, etc, and give yourself options for which workout you will do.

3. HOLD YOURSELF ACCOUNTABLE – find a way to punish yourself if you don’t stick to you routine. My punishment is no dessert the night that I fail to stick to my guns. Works for me and my sweet tooth!

4. MAKE IT MANAGEABLE – don’t push your limits so hard that you burn out, make sure your routine is relatively easy to stick to and that you don’t feel like you’re spending your whole life working out.

5. did I say MAKE IT MANAGEABLE? – working out hard and often is really difficult. Ease your way into it and make sure you can sustain it.

For the past 3 months my workouts have looked like this:

3x a week – 12 to 20 minutes of the bodyweight/circuit workouts that I post here

2x a week – 20 to 40 minutes strength yoga to calm my mind, strengthen my muscles, and detox my organs.

I was resting after bike season. Now the pre-season winter training begins and I will be trading 1 yoga and 1 strength training for an hour of intervals on my bike trainer. Combine this with a healthy diet and I’m in the best shape of my life.

The Wednesday Workout for this week:

– 20 seconds on/20 seconds rest

– each exercise 3 times

– total of 12 minutes

– this workout requires you to push yourself. hard.

1. ^ butt kicks (standing in place or running)

2. ^ hip raise (if you can, lift one leg up to the sky or put your legs straight out on a fitness ball)

3. ^ pike pushup (if you can, do it with your legs elevated on a step or fitness ball)

4. ^ 45° Lunge – one direction then the other (just adding some variation to tone those small twitch muscles)

5. ^ plank (if you can, do it on hands and/or with little kicks)

SQUAT AND HOLD YOUR HAND OUT IN FRONT. quads parallel to the ground.

6. ^ sit & pray

Back to the subject: How much do you workout?

 

 

Turbulent Tuesday: Cooking for Mental Health

Yesterday was a rough day for me. I am trying SO hard not to complain and to look at everything in a positive way but jeez louise it’s getting difficult. I am very healthy, have a wonderful boyfriend, and loving family and friends all over the world. I write this awesome blog with awesome readers like you and I get to help people become happier and healthier all day. But something’s missing.

Maybe this is the problem with a lot of post-grads but I just expected my life to be slightly easier after I went through 6 years of 80 hour weeks in college. My social life was pretty great but I had no time to enjoy my friends. Now I’m finally making money (not much but it’s something) and am only working 50 hour weeks. But I don’t have any friends! Poor Mike bears the brunt of my breakdowns but they’re coming more and more often lately and it’s getting harder to turn my mood around. I would never trade my time with him for anything but WOMEN NEED WOMEN. And every attempt I’ve made to make plans with the ladies here has resulted in a great party/dinner/event but then never a word from them afterwords. Pretty discouraging and I’m just not sure what else to try.

Yesterday was rough. I had evening work to do but I said F that shiz and I cooked instead! I turned on my “singing” playlist and drowned myself in the music and the methodical process of cooking a meal. Ratatouille was the dish, taken from this awesome blogger. I never even knew what Ratatouille was so it wasn’t the best meal I’ve ever made but I’ll try it again and it will be even better.

The point is that I am finally starting to learn what calms me and brings me into the present. Having anxiety (check out this post) is a constant struggle against your own thoughts. It’s not an easy battle to win, but I’m trying. I fail a lot but I also succeed sometimes. My hope is that the successes will soon outweigh the failures and I can live my life in a more balanced way.

 

 

^ When I figure out how to make this better I will post my recipe.

So this morning I woke up and determined that it would be a better day. I’m starting off by writing to you (another one of my calmers) and now I’m about to work out and eat a nice, slow breakfast.

I hope you’re all having wonderful days. And if you’re not, figure out how to recenter yourself.

 

Motivational Monday: The Power of a Smile

Any of my regular readers know that I follow almost every post with a smile. I’d like to explain myself. I spent the weekend in Orlando, FL with a lot of very healthy, very motivated, very image conscious people. Basically, they were all gorgeous. Now I have no issue with confidence. I have it, a lot of it. But it took me a long time to get this way, and every once in a while, my resolve and internal buoy just plain fails.

Saying I felt like an outsider this weekend would be an understatement. It was my first work conference and I was completely overwhelmed by the amount of information and the level of dedication that the rest of the attendees had. Also, I have a different belief system than the company as a whole and it made things very uncomfortable at times.

With that as my base, I decided that I would use the three days to learn as much as possible to apply to my own life but also to connect with as many people as I could in a genuine way.

So I just started smiling and talking. I walked up to strangers, many of them and told them things that I truly believed. I smiled at one girl and told her that I absolutely loved everything she was wearing, because I did! I would have stolen the clothes right off her back if I could. I talked to the IT guy because he looked so fricken bored up there moving the spotlight. I asked him what he really thought of the conference: he had learned a lot but also thought some of it was crazy (it was) and it was SO nice to connect with the outside world for a just a few minutes.

Leaving Orlando, I realized that I had learned more than just the value of chiropractic and great nutrition, I learned what it takes to brighten people’s day even in an uncomfortable situation. You just have to smile! Not only does it make their day happier, but it starves those negative thoughts that might otherwise fester in your own brain.

So just smile! It works I swear 🙂

Friday Fun Times: Ice Skating!

Our lives were becoming stale. Wake up groggy and still tired, go to work, come home and eat dinner, watch tv, go to bed, repeat. It’s even boring writing it! So Mike and I decided to institute date night. For those of you that know us, you know that we didn’t go on our first date until we were 4 months into our relationship and living together. The whole graduation/moving to Illinois thing meant that we did things kind of backwards. SO, we have no idea how to date each other!

Of course, we are very short on money, so we have been exploring Peoria in a frugal way. Last Friday we went out to dinner (ordered only appetizers because they’re cheaper) then went ice skating! I told Mike that he had to arrange this one and, considering that he’s the romantically challenged of the two of us, he did a fantastic job.

There’s a rink right around the corner from us and it cost $6 each for ice time AND rentals. WOOHOO!

 

^ As far as I’m concerned, humans were not meant to have blades on their feet so I stumbled across the ice like a dancing baboon. Mike, however, is one of those people who is good at everything and he jumped on the ice and started skating backwards and doing turns and hockey stops and blah blah blah. I was slightly envious but also very proud of my man 🙂

‘Twas a great way to spend a Friday night. Cheap, cheerful, and sweat-inducing.

What do you do for a cheap date night?