2-Minute Tip: Rise and shine with A.M. yoga

You’ll always wake up on the right side of the bed when you start your morning with a few minutes of yoga. Instead of immediately grabbing your phone or checking email when you wake up, reclaim the beginning of your day to check in with yourself.

Take a few deep breaths. Stretch. Maybe set an intention for your day or run down a quick gratitude list in your head. You could set a timer for 2-minutes and meditate. Figure out what works for you and set a morning routine. It doesn’t have to take long. Five to 10 minutes is great.

If you’re craving more movement you could try these yoga poses while you’re still in bed or take it to the floor or mat for these 5-poses to get you ready to face the day. A few rounds of Sun Salutations is always a solid option, too.

Turn mornings into your favorite part of the day by committing 10 minutes to yourself. You’ll feel calmer and more centered all day long.

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2-Minute Tip: Just say “No”

It’s easy to get so wrapped up in wanting to make other people happy or wanting them to like us that we do things we don’t really want to do. We do things that aren’t in our best interest because we don’t want to upset or disappoint someone.

I get it. I used to live for the approval of others. I also used to be really unhappy and stressed. I felt like I never had time for myself or to pursue the things I wanted to. I was too busy trying to be everything to everyone. It wasn’t until much later when I started to set and enforce boundaries in my relationships that I realized how much people had been taking advantage of me. All those “friends” seemed to disappear when I started to be more mindful of how I spent my time and energy.

At first I was pretty sad. But with time I began to replace those old relationships with new relationships that were mutually fulfilling. And not just dependent on me doing favors or giving of myself with no return. If you’re feeling drained by your relationships, remember:

  • Don’t do something that isn’t in your best interest to try to please someone else.
  • Set boundaries and don’t feel bad for sticking to them.
  • If you don’t consider your best interest, no one else will either.
  • You’re the only one who can determine what balance looks like in your life.

Good luck! You’re worth it.

2-Minute Tip: Release emotional tension from your physical body

This is a great tip I got from a yoga teacher friend of mine when I was having a tough time processing some strong emotions. I was hanging on to some bitterness and negativity that definitely wasn’t serving me. But I didn’t know how to let it go. It felt stuck somewhere deep in my physical body and I wasn’t sure how to deal with it. This was her suggestion.

Start in Mountain Pose with hands pressed together at heart center. Feel the length in your spine as the crown of your head moves up towards the ceiling. Roll the shoulder blades down your back and together. Press evenly into the balls and heels of both feet.

Take a few deep breaths in through your nose and out through your mouth. Use your exhale to carry any tension out of the body. Allow yourself to experience whatever feelings come up as your find the place in your physical body where you hold emotional distress. Maybe it manifests as a tightness in your back, chest or hips. Scan your awareness over your body.

Use your exhale to send that energy or tightness to the soles of your feet. Keep using the exhale and imagine you’re pushing the negative energy out through the bottoms of your feet all the way to the center of the Earth. Allow yourself to breathe deeper and feel lighter. Continue the exercise until you feel better.

Know that the energy can’t be destructive once it’s buried deep in the ground. Take a few more slow, deep breaths exhaling through the mouth and allow yourself to feel freed of whatever it was that was no longer serving you.

Mountain pose

2-Minute Tip: Meditating on a mantra

In my last couple Monday Mantra posts I’ve suggested mantras to use during seated meditation. What is a mantra? It’s a word or phrase you concentrate on to help focus your attention during meditation. This quick video shows you how to link the Sanskrit mantra So Hum with your breath, but you can replace it with any words you choose. Just pick something that resonates.

2 Minute Tip: Meditation tips for beginners

In the month of June we’re focusing on mindfulness. Look for weekly meditation goals, mindfulness exercises and meditation tips and techniques. This week’s 2-Minute Tip features some quick tips to help you get started practicing meditation. Our daily meditation goal this week is 5 minutes. Happy meditating!

2-Minute Tip: Anti-anxiety foods in a nutshell

In May we’ve been exploring natural remedies to reduce anxiety. During the 21 Days to Less Anxiety Challenge we’ve focused on mindfulness, movement and whole food to help introduce a little more Zen into our lives. As the challenge comes to an end I wanted to share a few tips for using food to help manage your mood.

Anti-anxiety foods

A few of my favorites from the list of anti-anxiety foods: quinoa, avocado, tomatoes, salmon, black beans, eggs, spinach, tomatoes, nuts, berries, Greek yogurt, chamomile tea.

1. Eat a high protein breakfast. Aim for at least 20 grams of protein to start your day. Think eggs, breakfast burritos, smoked salmon, cottage cheese, turkey, quinoa with honey and soy milk, Greek yogurt with berries, oatmeal with nuts. This list of 19 Vegetarian Ways To Eat More Protein For Breakfast is a great resource. Eating a high protein breakfast keeps you full longer and helps keep your blood sugar steady. You’ll feel more energized and hopefully less likely to experience mood swings related to hunger (hangriness).

Strawberries, homemade granola and Greek yogurt  make a delicious high protein breakfast using 3 foods from the list.

Strawberries, homemade granola and Greek yogurt make a delicious high protein breakfast using 3 foods from the list.

2. Swap out coffee for tea. Caffeine can be a major trigger for anxiety in some people, myself included. Think about trading your coffee for a cup of green tea (naturally caffeinated) or chamomile tea (naturally decaf). Both have been shown to produce a calming effect in the body. If you absolutely can’t live without a cup of coffee to start your day, think about reducing your intake and switching to tea after 12pm.

A chamomile/mint blend is one of my favorite teas.

A chamomile/mint blend is one of my favorite teas.

3. Reduce added sugar and preservatives. Of all the elimination diets I’ve tried – gluten free, meat free, dairy free, sugar free, juice fasting – I notice the single change that makes the biggest impact on my mood and energy is getting rid of preservatives. By default cutting out processed foods reduces your sugar intake, too. Preparing and eating meals made with whole foods doesn’t have to be complicated and time intensive. It just takes some additional planning. Be sure to stock your fridge and pantry with healthy foods and don’t bother keeping junk food at home. And remember fruit is a great way to satisfy a sweet tooth.

Smoothies can be a sweet treat packed with anti-anxiety foods. This one has frozen berries, a banana, soy milk, Greek yogurt, flaxseed and a little bit of honey.

Smoothies can be a sweet treat packed with anti-anxiety foods. This one has frozen berries, a banana, soy milk, Greek yogurt, flaxseed and a little bit of honey.

vegan banana peanut butter muffins

These vegan banana peanut butter muffins are easy to make, don’t have any added sugar and taste amazing. Plus it’s my own personal recipe!

Bonus Tip: These 3 supplements may help reduce anxiety naturally. I recently had the opportunity to spend a day with Michael Lara, MD and a group of health care professionals learning about medicinal properties of food. Based on that information my husband and I decided to start taking this combination of supplements to boost our mental health. It’s been about a month and we’re so happy with the results that we plan to continue the daily routine.

  • Vitamin B12 – Found naturally in meat, fish and dairy, B12 boosts mood, concentration and energy.
  • Probiotics – Found in yogurt and kefir, probiotics not only ease digestive issues, but recent studies have linked the levels of good bacteria in your gut to mental health. Look for a supplement with a diverse culture, not just 1 or 2 strains.
  • 5-HTP (5-Hydroxytryptophan) – This naturally occurring amino acid is a chemical precursor to the neurotransmitter serotonin and sleep hormone melatonin. It helps regulate sleep, mood and appetite.
These are the supplements we take at my house daily.

These are the supplements we take at my house daily.

***Please remember that I’m not a medical professional and this is only my opinion based on my personal experience. It’s alway best to consult your physician, a nutritionist or a holistic health care professional for advise about dietary changes and supplements.