7 Instant Mood Boosters

mala-beads-yoga-tiny-devotions-photographer-photographer-richelle-hunter-photography-summer-of-soul-338Sometimes the stress of everyday life can leave you feeling overwhelmed. With the days getting shorter and weather a little cooler, it can be easy to start to feel a little down with the changing of the seasons. The next time you need a little pick-me-up, try these simple tricks for an instant mood boost.

1. Get moving. Whether you feel up for a beach run, sweaty yoga session or just a light stretch, any type of exercise can lift your mood by boosting circulation and delivering oxygen-rich blood to your cells. Listen to how your body is feeling and just move.

2. Jam out. A favorite song can turn your mood around in a matter of seconds, so bust out that favorite playlist. Singing and dancing optional, though highly recommended.

3. Brew a warm drink. Enjoy a hot cup of tea or a soothing warm drink. Increasing your body temperature has a comforting effect that helps de-stress and put you at ease.

4. Inhale a calming scent. Light up a delicious scented candle or try some aromatherapy. Essential oils like lavender and orange can reduce feelings of anxiety and uplift your spirit.

5. Munch on mood-boosting foods. For a quick snack try munching on nuts which are high in omega-3 fatty acids, or a bit of dark chocolate which improves levels of serotonin and blood flow to the brain. If you have the time, chopping veggies and cooking up a nourishing meal for yourself or loved ones can be a great way to unwind. Fresh, whole foods will leave you feeling radiant. Eggs are great- loaded with omega-3s, zinc, and B vitamins- and swiss chard is packed with magnesium which relaxes the nervous system and elevates mood.

6. Do a good deed. Studies show that bringing happiness to others increases your own happiness. Get out and share some positive vibes with a random act of kindness! There are so many easy ways you can bring a smile to others. If you don’t feel like leaving the house, check out the More Love Letters movement and write a letter to a stranger who needs a little extra love and support in their life.

 7. Wear something that makes you feel beautiful. Put on the outfit that makes you feel amazing or take out your special, meaningful jewelry. Better yet, slip on your favorite mala and repeat a loving mantra to yourself.

London Glendenning is a San Diego, CA based blogger, creative type, and sunshine enthusiast who loves bringing inspiration and happiness to others. Her healthy lifestyle blog London, Like the City celebrates everything from food and fitness to stylized living and holistic health. Join her on the journey to finding balance and purpose as a 20-something!

Website: www.londonlikethecity.comLondonGlendenning

Instagram: @london_44

Twitter: @LondonLLTC 

5 Ways to Cultivate a New Habit

10665478_505966316206485_1633729244_nYou’ve decided it’s time to break that old habit and cultivate a new one. The idea of a better version of yourself has you inspired to act, and ready to do it now! What do you no longer accept of yourself? What do you demand of yourself to be better? Whether it’s going to bed earlier, meditating, getting a sweat on every day, or giving your diet an overhaul, these 5 tricks will have you chasing down your goals and living the life you’ve imagined.

 1. Start Small. Take a close look at what it is you want to achieve and all the potential steps to get there. What is the first and simplest of those steps? Now that is where you will start! So if your goal is to go for a run every day. The simplest step will be to put on your running shoes and head out that door. And once your shoes are on and you’re outside, well you might as well run! Break you habit into the simplest version of itself and start there.

2. Plan Ahead. Examine your schedule and make time for you. Sure, once your shoes are on, going for the run becomes a straightforward task, but have you carved out the time for this to happen? Examine your day with a fine toothed comb, and just like you wouldn’t cancel on that meeting with your boss, or brunch with the girls, time to form your habit must be non negotiable too!

3. Set a Reminder. This behaviour is new, which means it might not always be on the top of your mind. So consider leaving yourself some loving and gentle reminders throughout the day to help you make the right decisions. If your goal is to drink more water, then have a reusable water bottle ready to be filled at your desk. Want to sit less at work? Try setting a phone alarm to remind you to get up and move. What to think happier thoughts? Why not change you phone background to someone you love, family or friend, whoever brings a smile to your face and heart. Setting up a visual reminder takes the thinking out of your goal making it much easier to remember.

4. Be Accountable. Let everyone you know aware about this awesome new habit you are forming. You’ll be working hard to make these changes; the moral support will help you to keep at it and push through. Share your habit on social media, give daily updates which people will expect, and let everyone know that you’ve got this!

5. Reward Yourself! It’s important to celebrate your successes no matter the size.  Every time you remember your habit consider a little verbal “way to go!” After one week of success, how about an extra long bubble bath. One month, maybe a picnic in the park. Rewards don’t need to cost money, but they do need to make you feel good. Give yourself some praise and enjoy every success.

Talk to us about your habits. . .

What good habits have you developed recently? What helped you form them? What motivated you throughout the process? Are there any habits you would still like to develop?

Share your thoughts in the comment board!

HGardner2An athlete most of her life, Heather is passionate for expressive and enjoyable movement to promote healthy, active living and building community. As a yoga instructor, marathon runner, and indoor cycling coach, Heather has nearly two decades of experience in group and personal fitness. Heather can be seen as the resident fitness expert on CHCH Morning Live, in coaching videos with Canadian Running Magazine, and in the pages of Best Health Magazine as Canada’s top fitness blogger. As the creator of Tribe Fitness, Heather is dedicated to the development of community and connectedness through informed and fun fitness experiences.

Website: www.runsoulcycle.com

Twitter: @RunSoulCycle

Five Easy Ways to Detox for Fall

ajgovonidetoxSo maybe you threw back a few ((several)) cocktails, over-indulged on burgers and chips, cut back on workouts and hopefully enjoyed time with friends and family to celebrate a final weekend of summer…GOOD. You should have! If you really want to see some gains not only fitness, but in your overall heath and outlook, then enjoying these simple pleasures of life are essential and vital to creating a happier, healthier you.

After a holiday ((or summer)) splurge comes the desire to get back on track, start over, really commit to a new plan,  to bounce back, as it were. Rather than viewing that mini vacation from your routine as a set-back from which you need to recover, view it instead as part of the process to progress – don’t necessarily bounce back, bounce forward. Be better than before. Your body and your mind appreciate the break, but make it one step back and 2 steps forward.

A common misconception is to go overboard on juicing, fasting, refusing food or returning pretty hard into your workouts. Not necessary. Instead, make a few little changes to set yourself back on a path of success.

Here are 5 easy ways to Detox the weekend ((and summer)) and begin to freshen up for Fall….no extreme dieting, juicing, or killing yourself in the gym required.

1. WATER. Drink hot water with lemon upon rising, lemon helps cleanse and detoxify the body, and hot water helps to get things moving. Drink a lot of good quality H20 throughout the day (aiming for 2-3 liters or roughly half your body weight in ounces). It’s best to drink water before and between meals, avoid drinking it with and shortly after meals since this can cause a slow down of digestion, creating a back-up. And spice it up! Adding ginger and cayenne pepper to hot water helps detoxify and eliminate any bloat you may be experiencing after a weekend binge.

2. MOVE.  Sweating is the best way to release toxins in the body. You don’t need to spend hours on the workouts though, just get moving, now. Aim for 30-45 minutes of intense work four to five days a week, and utilize major and multiple muscle groups in your workouts, along with HIIT (high intensity interval training) to efficiently burn more fat. Check here for a total body workout to do! However, it’s important to move through out the day in addition to your workout. An hour workout is great, but if you sit for the majority of the day, you’re not only doing your health harm. but that chair/car/couch could be the reason you’re not losing stubborn weight. Do YOGA- for a number of different reasons- specific asanas aid in detoxification, pranayama techniques help purify the body, and yoga, overall, can ‘de-clutter’ your mind. Move when you wake up and before you hit the hay. Start your day with a 20 minute jog or brisk walk before breakfast, or some sun salutations. This can help burn extra fat. End your day with a 20 minute post dinner walk, and stretch before bed.

3. REDUCE. There’s no need for starvation dieting, fasting or juicing, but reducing your intake of certain foods is important. Avoid foods that cause inflammation, increase cravings, and those that your body stores as fat. Examples of these are:caffeine (which raises cortisol, the stress hormone, in the body, stubborn weight maintainer), alcohol (your body has to metabolize this first, meaning everything else consumed is stored as fat), dairy (can cause inflammation and mucous in the body), SUGAR (sugar is a nasty little drug that does quite a bit of harm on the body. Even reduce your fruit intake to 1-2 pieces, and keep it to the lower GI fruits during this time), gluten and grains, processed meats and packaged foods. No you don’t always have to get rid of these things, yet if you want to see changes and reap the health benefits of a detoxification, then as much as possible, these foods need to be reduced or eliminated from your diet while you freshen up.

4. EAT. The worst thing you can do is to go into starvation mode after a weekend holiday binge. All this will do is wreak havoc on your metabolism, and cause for a grumpy, more hungover-feeling. If you’re going to fast, do it between dinner and breakfast. Aim for a full 12 hours without eating between these meals. Your body needs this time for maintainence. Don’t eat within 3 hours of going to bed. Feed your body, and fuel it up with the good stuff it needs to thrive throughout the day. This means increasing your veggie and fiber intake, incorporating lean, high quality proteins with each meal, and include cucumbers and leafy greens – they will help balance pH levels (which can be really acidic after a weekend of booze, meat and chips).

5. REST & RELAXATION. It’s September, and other than January, it tends to be the month where everyone is ready to  get back on track. Take a little bit of time writing down your goals and setting yourself up with a rhythm that you’re looking forward to starting, and one that’s attainable and maintainable. Set small goals for yourself, check in on them frequently to measure your progress. In a month where school and work come back in full swing,  managing stress levels is crucial to help your body recover and ‘detoxify.’ When cortisol levels are high, your body has a natural tendency to hold onto fat, particularly around your midsection (a self-preservation technique that dates back to your ancestors). Incorporate yoga or moving meditation into your day, practice breathing techniques and get out in nature…everyday. And most importantly, sleep. Sleep is the time your body repairs and rebuilds. Get your 8 hours of sleep and be a happy camper.

ajgovoniAJ Govoni is an accomplished fitness professional, yoga teacher, and beach-bum traveler, with a love for using nature as her gym. She leads outdoor fitness programs and specializes in training and yoga for athletes and women. Through rockin’ playlists, happy vibes and sweaty flows, AJ’s classes will leave both your body and mind feeling good. Her sense of adventure has brought her backpacking to different regions of the world where she became fascinated by the activities, healing techniques, diets and lifestyles of other cultures. She fuses these discoveries into her work to bring a fresh perspective on active living, health and happiness. Follow AJ’s journey on Facebook , Instagram and her workouts and writings on her blog. Catch the ride with her! www.ajgovoni.com

Crisis? 10 Mantras for Getting Unstuck

5CVvUHlWHh7mfxS4HGU5n_reDb1Drob3B2Apfs0bUWUWe all experience the feeling of being stuck in our lives – in our job, relationship, living situation, growth, and it is up to you to shift your perspective in order to move past the boundary you’ve created for yourself and have a breakthrough!

Choose 1 of the following mantras that speaks to you, and begin to meditate on this single thought. When you feel yourself come into a space of frustration, anger, resentment in the current situation – take a breath, repeat your mantra, and let go.

 I realize my true potential and take action to accomplish my dreams.

I choose to live beyond my perceived boundaries.

I accept my fears, yet do not allow them to define me.

I lift myself from the heaviness I feel.

I live in abundance, I have all that I need to move forward.

I embrace change.

I am excited to see what life has to offer on the other side.

I am open to receive.

I deserve happiness. I choose happiness.

I trust my path.

 The first step in getting “unstuck” in your life is recognizing that you’re stuck in the first place. Once you create awareness around this fact, you can begin to transform your thoughts and therefor open yourself up to possibility and a new way of life!

 

MarissaRoseYoga8Marissa is a Yoga Instructor inspiring others to live a fulfilling and healthy life.  She has completed two 200hour Yoga Alliance certifications in Hatha and Power Vinyasa yoga. Marissa is also Reiki certified, Yoga Sculpt certified, and a SUP Yoga instructor. She was brought out to California via social media and has made beautiful Southern California her home ever since. Marissa believes in manifesting and setting goals in order to reach your most desirable dreams in life. She teaches and leads trainings for CorePower Yoga as well as offers private yoga, SUP yoga, and reiki healing sessions for those who are ready to dive deeper into themselves and discover their true life purpose.  Photo by: Brian Crawford Photography. 

Website: www.marissaroseyoga.com

Instagram: @marissaroseinspired

 

Twitter: @marissaroseyoga 

Facebook: Marissa Rose Inspired 

10 Ways to Get-Over a Break-Up

If this article caught your attention, chances are you’re part of the heartbreak club (HC for short). Congratulations! We’ve all got tattoos and secret handshakes.

sad-hippie-breeze But in all seriousness, being part of the club really sucks–at first. I feel sick thinking back to that period of my life where I vacillated between feeling numb, vacant–like a shell of a human being, and feeling shattered, wounded, disbelieving that I might ever heal my physically excruciating heart. And don’t even get me started on the anxiety, anger, or suicidal thoughts (yes, that’s normal). Or the insomnia. Or the inability to do anything. Anyhow, I could go on, but given that you probably know what it’s like, here are some tips for getting over it the yogi fashionista way.

1) Find a balance between grieving and distracting 
When we experience heartbreak, we’re going through grief, and grief mimics depression. It’s natural to lose concentration and motivation, experience disruptions in sleep and appetite, and feel like you’re functioning at 20%. The only way out of grief is through, but you can’t do that 24/7. As a result, it’s important to find a balance between distracting yourself from the pain, and going through the pain.

If you distract yourself from the grief 24/7, you won’t adjust to what’s actually going on. Grieving happens naturally, so you don’t necessarily have to structure. However, sometimes having some structure can help temper the process. Here are some ideas for “actively” grieving:

  • Throw on some Adele, Whitney, or Leona and dance (or lie on the floor and cry—both work!)
  • Get a big poster board and some paint, and throw down your emotions in whatever form they take (do it for the process, not the product)
  • Write how you’re feeling: write poetry, write your story (again, process, not product)
  • Talk to a therapist, a friend, a parent
  • Pay attention to your dreams. We generally grieve through them..
  • Do yoga and breathe through the sticky spots, pain, and blockages, physically and emotionally

2) Change up your environment and make new memories
I remember a freshly heartbroken friend telling me she’d taken part in a biathalon the previous weekend. Surprised, given biathalons aren’t exactly common weekend activities, even in Canada, she said “It’s now one memory that doesn’t involve Aaron.” Transitioning out of a relationship is very challenging when every memory you have–every part of your identity–is tied to your former. If you can afford it, travel. Join a team. Take up a new hobby. Start volunteering somewhere. Start making memories that aren’t tied to them. Similarly, change up your environment if you can. If moving is totally unrealistic, change your bedroom around. Throw away reminders. If you aren’t ready to throw them away, put the pics and jewellery and whatever else into a box and ask a friend if you can store it at their place. Or store it in your closet and tape it up. That way, you can choose to look through it if you’re feeling particularly ready to take that step in the grieving process. Either way, being surrounded by reminders is not helpful for the process.

3) Find validation for your story
In the midst of my pain of the breakup of ’11, I asked everyone I met if they’d been heartbroken before. If their answer was yes, I asked them to tell me the story. I asked my friends and family members the gory details of their stories (there’s always a worse one out there…), but I didn’t stop there. Cashier at Whole Foods? Sure. Bartender? Why not? And what did I learn? Our club is pretty inclusive. Billions of people out there have been through it, survived it, and will often tell you it’s the best thing that ever happened to them. So ask people to tell you their stories and tell them yours (although maybe be more selective than me when deciding who to tell…or at least skip the Whole Foods cashier unless there’s no line).

Other ways to find validation for your story? Speak to a therapist. Listen to songs about heartbreak. Empathize with your own feelings.

4) Make friends with your emotions
I distinctly remember the morning I decided to stop telling sadness to “Eff off.” I’d just woken up, from yet another dream that I was back together with said heartbreaker, and I’d experienced that familiar sinking, sickening feeling that accompanied my sobering reality. I felt so weak. So tired of fighting my painful feelings. I sighed and actually said out loud, “Hello, Sadness.” There’s a poem called “The Guesthouse” that I often think of when I’m feeling difficult emotions. Couched in Buddhist philosophy, it suggests that we invite all our emotions in–the good, the neutral, and the bad. We don’t judge them. We serve them all tea. We let them stick around and do their thing because, realistically, telling them to leave doesn’t work anyway. Now, you might not get to a point where you actually befriend sadness, or anger, or regret, or whatever it is that you’re feeling, but do try to make space for it. Acknowledge it. Sit with it. Breathe into it. Practise self-compassion while you explore it. It will come and it will go.

5) Connect with others
When we experience the ultimate rejection that is heartbreak, our self-esteem takes a major hit. I remember one of the first things I did was make a consultation for breast implants and a nose job. Because…that was why he left me, right? It’s natural to feel underconfident, insecure, and undesirable following the big break. Even though you might not exactly feel spritely, try to go against your instinct to isolate, and surround yourself with others. It’s important for you to be reminded just how awesome, worthy, and loveable you are. Each hangout doesn’t have to be a therapy session. Just be in the company of others.

 6) Find Meaning
This is a really tough one to enact right away. You won’t be able to find meaning in your suffering until you begin to experience happiness and positivity again. Until you begin to say things like, “if Voldemort hadn’t broken up with me, this (positive thing) wouldn’t have happened/I wouldn’t have learned (enlightening knowledge). If your heartbreak is fresh, just trust that down the road, you WILL be able to find meaning. Heartbreak is one of the great (almost) universal experiences, and it’s in this suffering that we learn, grow, develop, and become more whole human beings. HC 4 lyyyfe!

7) Keep in mind nonlinear process of healing; Remember you are not your thoughts or feelings; Remember impermanence. 
This isn’t so much one tip, as a few reminders: Remind yourself that healing and grieving are nonlinear processes. It’s 2 steps forward and 1 back, or sometimes 3 back. So don’t beat yourself up if you feel like you’ve taken a “slide.” Remind yourself that you are not your thoughts, and you’re not your feelings. If you feel unloved, it doesn’t mean you are unloveable. If you feel like your life is over, it’ doesn’t mean it is. Remind yourself that emotions are impermanent and transient; they will come and go, and come and go again. Breathe through the discomfort. Give yourself permission to feel it.

 8) Keep up with basic needs/take care of yourself
It’s pretty common to forget about minor details of your life such as eating and sleeping. You might find you’re overeating or undereating, oversleeping or undersleeping, drinking too much and skipping the gym. In the moment, it might feel like those things will make you feel better, but they generally make things worse. Try to keep to a routine (write it down, put a , as grief might suppress your appetite in the moment and cause you to binge later, stay up all night and feel like a crazy person during the day, and give up on the gym because you don’t have the energy, when you could really use the endorphins right now!

9) Delete them from Social Media; delete their closest friends (at least temporarily); Delete their number out of the phone.
You might think “But when s/he sees me after I’ve lost weight/gotten my new haircut/travelled the world” s/he’s going to regret it!” Maybe. But is that possibility worth the TORTURE of seeing them with another partner, having fun, moving on? Being reminded of him every time you go on Fbook or Instagram? No way jose. Do the delete. You can always add him later if things turn around. As for their close friends who will be posting photos of them, send the friend a message and let them know why you’re unfriending. Even if they’re not part of the club, they’ll probably understand. And, as for their phone number, prevent potential drunk texting disasters by giving a friend your ex’s number for safe-keeping, and delete for now.

10) Be your biggest support
 I think this is the most important point of all. When you’re already in so much pain, the last thing you need is judgment from yourself. Practise self-compassion, try not to judge yourself (this includes judging yourself for thinking or feeling, or judging yourself for “not coping properly”). Soothe yourself. Lower your expectations for performance. Ask for help. Be patient with yourself.

Additionally, let yourself feel hope until hope is no longer serving you. Hope is necessary for some time. Some people might say it’s denial, and sure, maybe it is, but it serves a purpose. You just can’t comprehend what things would be like if this truly were over. So hope for them to come back. Hope for things to work out. It’s OK to do that… to a certain point. When you’re ready to move towards acceptance, you will. And you can go back and forth between acceptance and hope. Sometimes dozens of times a day. Be kind to yourself as you go through this process. Don’t’ beat yourself up for having the thoughts or feelings that you’re having. Say to yourself what you would say to a friend going through a similar situation.

You can’t generally speed up the process of healing heartbreak. You can slow it down by distracting yourself from the grief 24/7 and keeping your ex around (creeping them on Facebook counts), but the only way out is through. The good thing, though, is that it really does (generally) get better with time, and all you have to do is survive. So hit a Vinyasa class, surround yourself by people who make you feel loved, and take this as an opportunity to make your best relationship the one with yourself. Namaste from a fellow HC Yogi!

meganMegan Bruneau is a Registered Clinical Counsellor at a post-secondary institution in Vancouver, Canada. She holds a Master of Arts degree in Counselling Psychology, and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology and Family Studies. Previously involved in personal training and yoga industries, Megan practices psychotherapy using cognitive-behavioral therapy grounded in Buddhist philosophy. 

Web: www.oneshrinksperspective.com

Twitter: @MeganBruneau