#mindsetmonday It’s Monday – Again!

And so, Monday, we meet again. I know, the right thing to say is something like “Ok, so Monday’s are only icky if I choose for that to be”. And even though, I know logically for that to be true. Most of the time, normal everyday humans are like – FXXX that hippy, drippy, mind crap – Monday’s are hard and Monday’s suck and shove it you happy M-F’r.

So, let’s get real. Yes, Monday’s are hard – especially after a beautiful, relaxing, sunny and warm weekend. Yes, getting the kids to wake up and go through their school assignments and providing direction kind of blows. Getting yourself ready and together and firing up that laptop to start the work-week can be a total bummer. But, you what? Suck it up, get your grown-up on and conquer the day.

Let your negativity out, let Monday suck for a bit. And then, get to work. Decide to crush the day. Be thankful you have that job. Be grateful you have a safe home and awesome kids and loved ones and friends. Focus yourself and your mind and get yourself into that positive mindset, that flow you need to harness in order to live another day, to be a productive human and ultimately, to enjoy your life. Let the negative go and settle in for another crazy week.

Enjoy!

#mindsetmonday Shine On

It’s a beautiful sunny day today in Cleveland Ohio. The kids are online doing their lessons and I’m blessed to be able to be working while we are all at home.

The day, the week and this month will bring challenges – big and small. But together, as a family and as a larger community we will face them.

So today I choose to shine on. What will you choose today? Look outside, connect to something bigger than yourself and choose to shine your light.

Breath of fresh air – staying sane amidst social distancing

The first 3 weeks of “isolation” and social distancing weren’t too bad for me. I kept my family’s daily structure in tact, enjoyed sleeping in and not having to “get ready” and drive to work. I cooked more and didn’t really mind not leaving my house. This is very odd for me. Normally, I loathe cooking and I get ansty and am always looking for something to do to get out of the house on the weekends. I surprised myself. “Am I turning into a hermit” I thought.

And then, the official news – at least 4 additional weeks at home. I realized how much I was missing my parents and I just wanted to hug my mom. I missed seeing my co-workers and friends face to face (not through a computer) and the thought of 4 long weeks at home suddenly terrified me. I felt trapped and alone – and I have 4 other people living in my house. (Side-note – to those of you who live alone and are by yourselves in your homes – God bless you – you are a stronger person than I). I had an anxiety attack at the thought of being trapped and my mind went wild.

Now, keep in mind that everday I work hard at staying calm and being at peace with the situation. I meditate, do EFT and listen to uplifing books or podcasts. My main goal each day is to stay positive, not panic and role-model good behavior for my kids so they don’t freak out. However, this threw me for a loop. After 3 days of being unsettled and scared – the weather here in Cleveland became amazingly beautiful. The sun has actually been shining and today..well today was an amazing day. Today I went out in the morning to my front garden beds, which were overgrown when we bought the house in October, and I had a mission. I spent 4 glorious hours outside weeding to my hearts content.

The sounds of the birds chirping, the wind blowing gently, my kids playing in the yard. All of a sudden I realized – I FELT NORMAL!! Corona-what? I felt normal. And it hit me – I realized that this too will pass and the lessons learned will be carried forward. We will be able to hug each other and have gatherings again. The kids will be able to see their friends and life will carry on. I felt at peace and I looked up at the great big beautiful blue sky, felt the sunshine on my face and said – thank you. Thank you for this amazing life. At that moment I felt truly blessed.

My anxiety and fear have abated and I am once again hopeful and at peace. I urge all of you who are struggling to look out. Look beyond our immediate circumstances and see the bigger picture and know that all will be well. ALL WILL BE WELL. Beleive it. Feel it in your bones. Know it in your soul.

Stay safe. Stay healthy. And remember to always be who YOU are – because you are amazing.

Take this time at home; Make the space and look for the positive

Hello all. And so, here we are – an unknown and scary time for so many. As my parents remember bomb shelter drills and such as part of their childhood, so my children will likely remember self-isolation and remote learning periods. Hopefully lessons will be learned and this won’t be an annual thing…

I know that all the unknowns bring fear, anxiety and worry. And, while I agree there are many things for us as responsible grown-ups to be legit worried about, we CAN NOT let the fear, anxiety and worry overtake us. Now, more than ever, we need to employ our self-care practices to stay healthy, hone our meditation practices, excercise, pray etc. Whatever it takes to stay sane and keep our stress levels down. It’s the constant stress, the constant stream of uninterrupted cortisol that will lower our immunity and crack our sanity. Self-care at this time is not only important for our own peace of mind and stress levels but we must role-model positive behaviors, reactions and responses to our children, families, loved ones, co-workers and those we come across.

So, to this I say – while managing the negative, start focusing on the positives that this experience, this time could bring us.

What positives you ask? Well, they will be different for each of us. But, here are a few I’ve started to keep in mind on my list. Please feel free to add your own in the comments to this post!

Being at home so much offers me the space and time to take stock of my life. I have the time to ensure I am aligned with who I want to be and the values I uphold. I have the time to identify areas that I’d like to work on and improve.

I get to sleep in an extra hour!!!! The time I spent putting makeup on, making sure the kids were ready for school, prepping for dinner and in the car driving is now extra sleep for me – YES!!!

Being at home gives me time for catching up on my reading. My husband teases me as I have a new book coming from Amazon every other week, most of which I have only had the time to skim or research information from. I can now actually dedicate real time to reading! Woo hoo!!

I am able to spend more time with my kids outside of the hours I am working in the office or when they are working on school assignments. I don’t feel so rushed and find I am really enjoying the chatter, the laughter, the stories. Instead of being rushed to get to the “next thing” and rushing them through or only paying 1/2 attention – I am more present with them. While we always had “family-time” in the evenings, we are now doing other things interspersed throughout the day – baking, puzzles, games, walks.

I appreciate all the little things I have taken for granted. Like, greeting folks with hugs, eating out, going to the mall or a movie. Just being able to be free and be out and about.

My house is actually CLEAN – OMG – It Makes Me SOOO HAPPY!!!!!

And though these types of situations can bring out the worst in humanity, it also brings out the best. I choose everyday to focus on the “best’s” that are happening all around the world. The support, the selfless giving, the love – amazing stories of the goodness of people abound. It inspires me, gives me hope and makes my soul happy.

So, while we are all managing our fears and worries – focusing on the positives helps us get through. It gives us comfort. It reduces our stress. It brings us together and reminds us that we are not alone.

What will make your soul happy? Where will you find the positives in the Corona environment in which we are living? Please share – and – take care of yourself!

Get Over Your Mom Guilt – lives depend on it

Guilt – more specifically, the dreaded Mom Guilt.  It’s like that annoying cellulite that exists, we know it’s there, we see it, we feel it, we cover it up, we even joke about it. But it haunts us.

Ok, so that was a bit dramatic – but seriously – mom guilt sucks. In so many ways. For now, however, I want to specifically address how mom guilt is contributing to an unhealthy future for ourselves and our families.

Mom guilt causes us to put our children, our spouse or significant other, our families and even our friends over our own selves on the priority list.  In fact, often, we don’t even make it onto the priority list at all. (Wait a minute, you’re thinking – WE are SUPPOSED to be on the priority list???).

YES – we should be on the priority list, but instead, we mom’s trudge ahead each day, each week ensuring that our kids have fulfilling lives with what we deem to be appropriate activities, carting them around to their friends’ & their events. We make sure our families eat during the week, that their clothes are clean, that everyone wakes up and makes it to their respective locations timely. We ensure the house isn’t a garbage dump, we help with school projects, we make Target runs at 8pm for items needed the next day at school – essentially, we ensure everyone else’s lives are taken care of and functioning appropriately. Oh yeah, and don’t forget if you’re a working mom there’s that whole other job/career thing (no time to go into that right now ….).

Some of us even wear the guilt as a badge of honor (I am guilty of this by the way) – “Ohh, look at me and all the work I put in, all the things I do for you – never mind me, I’m fine – my life is fulfilling and I live to serve….” Hello martyr anyone? What is the cost of our martyrdom? What is the cost to our selves and our families down the road?

Well, if we don’t stop and jump off the guilt train, unfortunately the future is pretty bleak. Consistently putting others needs, others wants, and others priorities ahead of your own because you feel like you should, will only lead to overwhelm, anxiety, chronic stress, anger, frustration, feeling unappreciated, fatigued, uninterested in family time, lower libido, low self-esteem – I could keep going but I think you get the gist.

Let’s face it – being a mom is a lot of responsibility and a lot of work. And yes, it requires certain sacrifices to ensure that your children are happy and healthy and turn out to be (we hope) somewhat normal humans who contribute to this world and find their own dreams and live their own happiness. But recall – we mom’s also have our own dreams, our own lives, our own health and happiness to consider.  If we are burnt out shells of ourselves who constantly are running ourselves ragged and ignore the toll on our bodies and minds – we will not have done our jobs as mothers. We would have modeled extremely poor behaviors for our families. We would be too tired, too fat and too diseased as we grow older to enjoy our children and someday maybe our grandchildren. We would have lost our spark for living. How, I ask you, is that being a good mom?

I believe that part of being a good mom is showing your children the importance of taking care of yourself – body, mind and spirit. Modeling behaviors that you want to instill in your children is the best way to teach them. Taking time for your self-care, putting thought and practice into what goes into your body, making time for exercise and fun – all of these habits will:

  • Keep you calm so that you don’t morph into the crazy, at your wits-end mom who freaks out on her kids (don’t pretend you don’t know what I’m talking about)
  • Help you stay physically fit to keep up with your children and participate in activities with them over the years
  • Help you feel better about yourself, happy, fulfilled and alive
  • Help you look younger and grow old gracefully (by showing wrinkles and fat who’s boss)
  • Help you want to stay connected and close to your partner and have a fulfilling sex life (this also helps you not become the crazy, rampaging mom I spoke about above)
  • Help you live a long, healthy life and decrease or eliminate the chances that your children will have the burden of caring for you in their adult years
  • Show your children that mom is important too and she is an actual person outside of the dirty laundry and messes she cleans up
  • Provide for a positive family experience full of love and laughter

So – it’s time to give up the excuses, put the guilt behind you and start saying yes to YOU. Mom guilt is destructive and counter-productive to what we really want for our families. No more “because I should” or “because I have to” or “I’ll take care of me when I have time”. There is no one more important than you in your family – if you aren’t around to ground and center your family what would happen? I know I don’t want to know. I am now dedicated to catching myself falling into the guilt trap, stopping and redirecting myself. I am working hard at this because I want my girls to see positive examples of how they should take care of themselves and their families when they are older.

It’s a constant and conscious effort on my part – one that I have already felt the positive affects of.  Just ask my husband (who is not the subject of my crazy, tired, angry and irrational tirades any longer)!

Winter blah’s?

Hey all, so I realized yesterday as I was leaving the gym that I have heard a common theme from just about everyone I’ve talked with in the last few weeks – Does this sound familiar –

“I have been so tired lately”; “I’m so unmotivated”; “I want to do nothing”; “I have been eating like crap and can’t seem to stop”; “What’s going on with me?”; “This is not like me to be so lazy”; “I feel depressed & icky” etc.

Here in Cleveland, Ohio we all know what this is – the dreaded winter blah’s. The sun never shines, it’s always dull, grey and overcast – or worse a whiteout of snow. It’s cold. The snowbirds have all taken flight (my parents included) and it’s just…UGH. I fall victim to this every year. This year I knew it would come and I tried to prepare myself mentally. I made a list of all the good things winter brings. I came up with some ideas for keeping a positive attitude during this time. I had a plan. But before I knew it, I found myself not wanting to leave the house. I wanted to sit in my comfy clothes & eat – pretty much everything I don’t normally eat the rest of the year – IN LARGE QUANTITIES. I found myself going to the vending machine at work and eating peanut M&Ms, I ate a Klondike bar the other night – I haven’t eaten one of those in probably 15 years! This, after a trip to Insomnia cookies with the family and consistently not eating healthy meals. And I wondered – what the hell is wrong with me??? My kids have been puzzled – “Who are you mom”??

Then it hit me – OMG – despite my meager efforts the winter blah’s have descended. They just crept right in under my vigilant watch. Those FXXXERS! Well, it took me a minute, but once I identified what literally EVERYONE I’ve been around has been talking about, I’m now back in full combat mode. I WILL NOT GET SUCKED INTO THE VOID of Winter depression. It’s hard to dig out of. Especially when real depression and anxiety has followed you you’re entire life. But, I’m equipped with what I need and I have a good support network. Every day now I wake up, look in the mirror and order myself to stop the “blah”, I find something (anything) positive to hold onto and I make the choice to role-model the positive for my kids (even if I’m not feeling it). Slowly but surely I’m starting to feel like me again and take back control. I’m not perfect and I have my moments – but I remember it’s a journey and it’s a part of life. This challenge that has been given to me is for a reason and I know I will be ok. The sun always shines again.

So – how do you handle the winter blues? PLEASE SHARE – I need all the help I can get and I have a sneaking suspicion many others do as well. And remember – you choose everyday how you will look at life. Start making the choice that fills your soul with happiness and keep choosing – EVERY DAMN DAY.

#mindsetmonday – the truth

#mindsetmonday

One of my favorite quotes – and I’m not sure who said it initially – goes:

“The Truth is that you are whole, perfect, capable and deserving. The Truth is that you are meant for greatness. The Truth is that you are capable of doing whatever it is you want to do on your own terms.”

As human beings we are only bound by the limits we place upon ourselves. It’s the thoughts, conditioning and mindset we operate in that limits us. However, the truth is that each one of us was put on this earth for a purpose; To discover our innate talents and abilities and share them with the world. We only have one life in our physical bodies – why do we waste it in fear and limitation?

How will you be brave? What are you limiting yourself to? Life truly is what we make of it.

Allergies, Sensitivities & Intolerances – Oh My!

#quicktipwednesday

There is a difference between food allergies, sensitivities & intolerances. An intolerance is NOT an immune reaction. Sensitivities & to a greater extent, allergies, are immune system reactions caused by slower acting antibodies. Allergies are full on autoimmune reactions with much more extreme consequences. Intolerances can’t be tested for and are quite common (gluten, lactose etc.). The best way to identify intolerances is to test yourself! Eliminate/reintroduce foods over time to see how those foods make you feel.

#mindset

Who are you. YOU – your truest self. What do you believe? What do you stand for? How do you see the world? What are you goals, your dreams? What values do you hold?

How do you exhibit those everyday? How do you show up in the world and does it align with who you are? Do you allow others to experience who you are?

If you haven’t thought about these questions in a while – it’s time to revisit them. The answers to them are foundational to your happiness in everyday life.

Remember always – be who YOU are!

#mindsetmonday – You are not alone

I know that many of us feel alone right now. Whether you are physically alone or are feeling alone even though you are living with others, we feel alone. No bones about it – it sucks. Plain and simple.

But, it won’t be forever. Hugs will come again. Sitting together laughing, reminiscing, commiserating, celebrating – it will happen again. Until then, remember you are not alone. I’ll give you an example. I took a walk around my neighborhood yesterday and saw a ginormous “Happy 18th Bday” sign in front of the house 2 doors down. Later that day, as I sat outside with my girls, a huge line of cars passed by – all of them carrying signs and beeping and cheering. All to wish this young lady a happy birthday. I saw older people (likely family/friends) as well as her peers and friends. The sight of these people coming together despite the situation to celebrate brought tears to my eyes. The kids all sat hanging out their sunroofs talking and laughing. It was such a show of support and love. And I was reminded that we are not alone. That people will always find a way.

Take heart when you’re sad and lonely. Work through the pain and know you will come out on the other side. Love to everyone!

Why is your liver important for hormone health?

I’ve been taking a course as well as reading a few books to learn more about hormone health and I figured I’d share some of the information I’ve learned. It’s fascinating stuff (at least I think so) and it is so critical to our overall health as women – yet many of us are unaware of the facts or how our bodies actually work. Sad but true. Today’s macroview highlight is on our livers – what function do they play in hormone health and how we can support what it does.

You may ask – Shannon, what the hey does my liver have to do with my hormones? I suffer from severe PMS/irregular periods/acne/cramps/irritibility – insert your symptoms here. Suprisingly, our liver function, gut function, adrenals, insulin function and thyroid function are the foundations and keys to balancing our hormones and managing or eliminating these symptoms altogether. But, what does our liver have to do with this?

Well, our liver is one of THE major organs involved in our bodies detoxification processes. It is responsible for processing our excess hormones and packaging them up for elimination from the body. If we have excess hormones hanging around that shouldn’t – it really messes with our systems and our hormones will be imbalanced and running wild. Additionally, the liver plays key roles in metabolic function, blood sugar regulation and nutrient absorption – all of which impact the production and health of our hormones.

If we are talking specifically about estrogen (one of our sex hormones that plays a monster role around mood & your periods, and plays important roles in women’s bone, brain and heart health), the liver is responsible for handling any excess estrogen we may have. This is critical as these days we not only have the pill (which pumps loads of synthetic hormones into our bodies that the liver has to deal with), but we have thousands of chemicals we encounter everyday that cause excess estrogen to build up and wreak havoc on us (this is a whole other topic :)). The liver is responsible for handling all the excess estrogen.

The liver breaks down the estrogen and then uses a process called hydroxylation to safely remove it. This occurs in 2 phases, and if left stagnant at the end of Phase 1 (because the body didn’t have the proper nutrients to continue), all that estrogen gets pushed back out into the body and the problem grows. I won’t go into all the science in this article as to how this all works. Just know that there are nutrients and foods that we can and should eat that support the liver in its work.

How to support you liver

Food first:

You’ll want adequate fiber (minimum of 25g/day) and enough water to promote elimination every single day. This is how the excess estrogen that the liver processes is eliminated.

Cruciferous vegetables (like broccoli, kale, cauliflower & brussels sprouts)- nutrients within aid in the conversion of estrogen in the liver to proper metabolites that the body can then expel.

Beets, carrots, leafy greens, garlic, onions, grapefruit, dandelion root tea, green tea and turmeric all love your liver as well.

High-quality protein to help the liver in its detoxification process.

Hormone healthy fats – Omega 3s, avocados, cold-pressed olive oil, coconut oil.

You’ll want to stay away from foods that burden your liver. These include such things as sugar, alcohol, inflammatory fats and other hormone-disrupting foods (dairy, gluten, soy).

Supplements:

Glutathione – a powerful anti-oxidant that protects your cells and delivers nutrients effectively.

N-acetylcysteine (NAC) – precursor to glutathione. It improves mood, fertility and gut function.

Calcium-D-glucarate – aids in liver detoxification and the elimination of excess estrogen.

Milk thistle – supports the healthy regeneration of damaged liver cells.

DIM (diindolymethane) – helps your liver process the excess estrogen

Quercetin – anti-oxidant & anti-inflammatory (found in red oinions, blueberries, chili peppers)

Resveratrol – anit-oxidant aiding in liver detoxification. Note – red wine not the best source if we’re talking liver health here.

Other ways to support your liver:

Reduce your toxic burden from beauty, household and cleaning products. The less you liver has to process the better.

Move your body! Sweat helps move toxins out and gets your lymph moving.

In summary – Our liver is an amazing organ and, if we want to balance our hormones (which play key roles in our female health, our weight as well as our brain, bone and heart health), then we need to take care of it. It’s so important (especially if you are on the pill which depletes all the nutrients our liver needs and pumps in oodles of hormones that the liver has to deal with) to support our liver as a foundational step in our hormone health. Our livers are definately unsung heroes.