From elementary school to grad school, test anxiety can be paralyzing.
Check out these simple tips to help bring it under control:
Mindfulness and mediation are hugely popular right now. There are apps and classes, even a whole studio in New York City, for encouraging quiet reflection. Great. One more thing on the to-do list that we can all totally and utterly fail to do. One more thing to feel guilty about.
I, for one, have grown tired of feeling guilty. I try to eat well. Sometimes I don’t. I try to exercise consistently. Sometimes I don’t. I try to practice mindfulness regularly. I stink at it. Some days (like during the holiday season), I have too many cookies or one glass of wine more than my body tells me I should. And this is at least the second time my husband and I have tried to have “Dry January.” We stink at that too. But, instead of getting whacked out of shape about these things, I have started to take small steps that contribute to my mental and physical health in surprisingly large ways.
Now that the holidays are over, I am back to eating more salads and drinking less wine. I'm not perfect but "perfection" is not really what I'm after these days; healthy and comfortable are more where it's at for me.
As for mindfulness, which is probably the thing I feel most challenged by and guilty over, I have started capturing dozens of tiny mindful moments during the day. I don’t usually have a formal sit, or only manage to sit quietly for a few minutes, but I recently noticed how rich the world around me is with beauty and joy.
Walking the dog, doing the dishes, helping the kids get ready for school, these mundane activities that make up the bulk of our lives, are actually full of incredible details:
I have walked the dog around the block 500 times but I only just lately noticed the way the sun rises above the trees in the morning and creates a rainbow in the dew on the grass.
I have washed the dishes countless times but how often have I even noticed that the warmth from the water takes the chill off a cold winter day and the lavender scented suds from the soap are actually soothing. Not once until a few days ago.
Helping the kids get ready for school can be fraught with peril and has ended many, many times in raised voices (even tears!) but if I slow down and take the time to engage in what’s right in front of me, I realize that there are quite a few ways to make the situation better, not worse. I have started to understand that my reaction to the morning chaos is sometimes like gasoline on a fire, rather that aloe on a burn.
So, we have choices about how we interpret and react to the world around us. Are you the gasoline or the aloe? Is it just another walk around the block with the dog or is it a chance to find rainbows?
Don’t get me wrong, life isn’t all rainbows and warm suds but if we slow down just a little and pay attention to what is in front of us, we might at least have a chance to notice those rainbows.
Have you ever struggled to lose weight when you feel like you’re doing everything right, but the scale is not budging? I have been right where you are and felt this same frustration. Sometimes we can seemingly do all of the things we think we should be doing to reach our health goals, but our metabolism is working against us. Having a healthy, functioning metabolism to regulate our bodies is a crucial piece of the puzzle.
There are things that can cause a sluggish metabolism and a slew of things we can do to rev it up, as well. I’m sure you’re familiar with some of those tried-and-true ways to kick your metabolism into gear, which do in fact work very well. Some of these popular tricks include…
Getting enough sleep. Sleep is when our bodies rejuvenate and replenish, so getting healthy amounts of sleep on a regular basis will help to keep a healthy metabolism.
Staying hydrated. Drinking enough water affects your metabolism, so drink up! Drink approximately half of your body weight in ounces throughout the day. Proper hydration lends far more benefits to your health than a healthy metabolism, so this one is very important.
Don’t skip breakfast. A large percentage of the population skips breakfast. Mornings can be rushed and busy, but starting your day with a healthy protein packed breakfast is very helpful for cultivating a healthy metabolism.
And of course, exercise! Specifically, High Intensity Interval Trainings (HIIT) are excellent for hitting the metabolism reset button.
Here are 2 more ways to jumpstart your metabolism that you may not have heard of before…
Eating enough. There’s a common misconception that eating less helps you lose weight, which is not entirely accurate. Eating enough calories spread throughout your day will keep your metabolism constant. Overeating is never a good idea, but don’t be afraid to eat healthy, whole foods!
Get spicy. Adding some hot peppers into your meals may give a pop to your metabolism, so if you enjoy a little spice in your meals, remember this trick.
Pick out a tip or two to start implementing this week if you’ve been frustrated with your goals to lose weight taking longer than you’d hoped. Email me at Jennifer.firstname.lastname@example.org to let me know what you plan on trying, I’d love to cheer you on!
The holidays are over, and we’re entering the New Year with fresh goals, the intent to reach them, and excitement for what’s possible in the coming months. Every year, the #1 most popular New Years Resolution is to lose weight. To be honest, I've made that resolution countless times myself, and I'm sure that you have as well. What is the first thing you think of when you hear "lose weight"?? That D word that instantly causes anxiety.
I want to encourage you to ditch the diet mentality this year. They're almost always unsustainable, leave you feeling deprived and counting the days until the plan is over. Who can live happily like that long-term? Hardly anyone, which is precisely why these resolutions are short-lived and we resolve to try again next year. I have good news -- it doesn't have to be this way.
This year, resolve to find your perfect balance. Try a few of my favorite tips…
Balanced decisions. Resolve to make healthier decisions that make you feel great, not ones that make you miserable. It’s much more simple than following a strict plan and will leave you loving your new lifestyle. Following strict plans can leave you feeling deprived, which can lead to rebellion and that's absolutely not what we want! Balanced decisions are far more beneficial and enjoyable long-term.
Simple changes over time. Instead of trying to do a complete overhaul of your life, start by making these smart, balanced decisions over time. Changing your habits and doing it slowly leads to creating healthier habits that last without overwhelm and confusion.
Step by Step. Start with one new healthy habit a week. With this method, you’re focusing on one thing that improves your health at a time as it becomes a part of your routine. For example, for your first week, focus on drinking enough water. Most people do not, and this is always a fabulous place to start. You’ll see and feel changes quickly, and you can move onto your second week with another small health goal to implement.
What are some of the most important aspects of your health you'd like to change? Brainstorm some manageable steps to reach these goals and get to work! I’d love to chat with you about your health goals and how I may be of help to you reaching them. Accountability is a tremendous factor in achieving your goals, and I would be delighted to be by your side as you journey through this!