Why I’m Not a Social Wellness Expert

social wellness

Hi everyone! Thanks for stopping by to read Part Five of my series, How to Create a Wellness Lifestyle. I could talk to you about how to form a thriving circle of friends and explain how to maintain these friendships throughout the years. I could even gush about what it’s like to be part of a tight-knit community who goes on retreats together and has monthly slumber parties with bottomless sangria fountains. I could, but I won’t- because I don’t want to be a lying hypocrite.

Honestly, building friendships is my weak spot and my open wound. It’s gone back and forth between being a dull pain and a sharp stab in my heart for many years. I’ve realized that I try to conceal my hurt by acting like I don’t need or want anyone in my life, because they’ll just prove to be another huge disappointment to me. But I actually crave deep, meaningful friendships- not just random acquaintances. I want a close group of girl friends who I can meet up with every week over drinks. I want to discuss our wildest dreams together and laugh about the ridiculous things happening in our lives. Okay, I think I’m describing the plot of Sex and the City, but you get my point! In all reality, I’m pretty jaded in the friendship department and don’t know how to get over years of that negativity.

I’m not going to go into major details about all of the friends in college who let me down or all the people who made me feel unloved and unworthy in my life, but let’s just say it’s enough to make me never want to be vulnerable in making a new friend ever again. So that you can get a quick picture, here are three more recent experiences off the top of my head:

  • I went to the University of Georgia where I didn’t know a single soul and was befriended by a group of three girls at the beginning of my first school year. We hung out all the time, ate every meal together, and had a complete blast. But when I didn’t get into the same sorority that they all got into, they dropped me completely. Not even another text message. When I passed them on the way to classes, they acted like they’d never met me. I felt so alone.
  • Almost all of my college “friends” stood me up (11 people!) for my 21st birthday dinner that I invited them to. They just never showed up and had no excusable reason even though I’d reserved an entire space in a restaurant for the celebration. The waitress kept coming over every few minutes to ask if more people would be joining me. It was hurtful and very humiliating.
  • I’ve lived in Miami for over a year now and the people I often hangout with through my boyfriend still don’t remember my name, They haven’t asked a single question to try and get to know me, and it makes me feel like I’m completely invisible.

I could literally come up with 5,000 other stories from my past similar to these, but you get the gist. I don’t even know if I just pick bad friends who hurt me or if I somehow deserve this treatment. In fact, now, I think I’ve turned into a bad friend myself because I push people away and stop contacting them. I don’t want to get close and be disappointed again. As you can see, it’s all a self-fulfilling prophecy- the social wellness part of my life is what I’d like to call a giant shit show.

Okay, I’m done with being emo! Sometimes we just gotta be vulnerable and get it all out there in the world so that healing can start to happen. So, what does one do when their social life is a crumbling mess? I have no freaking clue! I’m not the expert on this. Though I’m experienced and happy with the other areas of wellness in my life, having healthy friendships is not my forte. The only idea I have is to challenge myself to get out there and try to make a friend. It’s the only way to avoid permanent hermit-hood, right? If you’re feeling lonely or frustrated with your current friendships, give these things a try along with me. In the next month (by December 1st), I will:

1. Go to a Meetup. I think I could find some like-minded people in the following Miami groups: Borderlink (for travelers & curious, culture lovers), Pageturners (a book club), Girls in their 20’s, and the South Florida WordPress Group. I’ve always made friends through work or school though, so this will definitely be a nerve-wracking experience!

2. Ask the girl that I *click* with most at the Meetup to get coffee or brunch sometime soon. This is the hardest part for me. It feels like asking someone out on a date! What if I get rejected? GAH! Sorry for turning you down in the past, boys… I now know how it must feel!

3. Keep in weekly contact with my internet friends. Through blogging and using social media, I’ve started to build connections with some awesome ladies online. I just wish they all lived closer so that we could have beach days together! I’m pretty bad about staying in touch as much as I should to keep relationships alive, so this personality trait needs to change. Contacting each other on a regular basis is half the battle right there.

4. Hangout with an old friend. I desperately need new friends, but continuing to be there for old friends is just as important. Case in point, and my one bit of happy friendship news, is that I’m going to be the Maid of Honor at the wedding of my best friend since middle school! I’m so excited to experience these special life moments with her! Keep cultivating those old friendships- we all need wonderful witnesses to share in the memories of our lives. :)

5. Keep being open and vulnerable. Writing such a personal post and talking about my failings in friendship is hard for me. I would much rather keep going on with my life like everything is perfect and like I have a billion friends. But true friendships require each person to be vulnerable and invested. This will be the hardest, but most important, step that we all need to focus on in improving our relationships.

So are you feeling lonely in your social connections? Perhaps you have a lot of protective blockages, just like I do, that keep you from making new friends. If so, I’d love to hear from you. Share your thoughts, and let me know what you’re doing to cope. On the other hand, if you’re awesome at community building and consider yourself a friendship guru, then I’d LOVE to hear your strategies. In fact, it’d be great for you to guest post about it here! Email me at caypugh@gmail.com if you’re interested. :)

Have a wonderful rest of the week!

xo Caylee

10 Online Resources to Improve Intellectual Wellness

intellectual wellness

Hey everyone! This week, as Part Four of the How to Create a Wellness Lifestyle series, I’ll be talking about my favorite topic- intellectual wellness! I am a curious, researcher type by nature and just love to learn new skills, debate ideas, and take on big challenges. And that’s what intellectual wellness is all about! By being healthy in this area of life, you will expand your knowledge base and nourish your creativity. This makes all areas of life more deep and vibrant!

Lately, almost all of my time has been devoted to learning how to blog, growing in my yoga practice, and creating intuitive paintings. I guess I’m a bit lopsided by working on my intellectual wellness too much and should focus more on other areas- spiritual and social wellness. But what if you’re feeling the itch to add more mental stimulation to your life? Explore these free and amazing learning resources:

1. Learn to meditate. Curious about adding meditation to your life, but have no clue how to do it alone? Try out the Headspace app (on your phone or computer) and learn how to meditate. The app will guide you through ten different meditations, and you’ll find your mind much clearer by the end of the experience!

2. Learn time management. Try using the Pomodoro Technique in order to better your time management skills. Keeping track of “to-do” list items and being able to manage distractions are very important signs of intellectual wellness that Pomodoro can help you improve upon.

3. Learn about your inner artist. Check out this free, creative workshop video series called Total Alignment where you learn how to connect your mind-body-soul with your inner creativity through painting. What could sound any more amazing to me?! Even if you feel like you’re not artsy, or you’ve never painted before in your life, this is for you. It’s a series to explore your heart and have fun making things!

4. Learn about money. Learn something new about stocks and investing! Sounds boring, but stay with me… I found the MOST AWESOME way to teach you the basics- behold An Illustrated Guide to Investment Types based off of Arrested Development cartoons!!! Check out the rest of Listen Money Matters to learn more about personal finance in simple ways.

5. Learn a new language. Want to learn languages fo’ free in a super fun way? Duolingo is all that you need in this world. It offers 8 common languages right now and teaches you in a way that feels just like a game. I’ve started on the Spanish and German classes, and it’s truly addictive- I just want to earn more grammar trophies!!!

6. Learn tons of creative skills. CreativeLive is basically my favorite thing on the interwebz. They bring in top experts in all creative industries to present live video workshops to all of us (for free!) with multiple courses running 24-hours a day. Each workshop is usually a few days long, so I tune in whenever I eat lunch or have some free time. Then, CreativeLive continues running old workshops, so you can catch anything you’ve missed. Learning awesome skills all day, everyday? Just my type of website! Some topics I’ve watched recently are: “Build Your Influence, Build Your Business,” “The Right-Brain Business Plan,” and “Food Photography & Styling.”

7. Learn how to code. We’re in the 21st century, guys, and computers aren’t going away. Tech jobs are on fire right now, and you don’t even need a computer science degree to land a position- just awesome coding skills. So where can you start learning? Codecademy. It offers an interactive, easy-to-learn style with several coding language options. Even if you don’t want a job in the tech field, Codecademy is a great way to stretch your brain!

8. Learn about achieving your goals. Everyone needs some career advice and a motivational push every now and then. Marie Forleo was that person who inspired me to get into this line of work a few months ago on her popular, online show called MarieTV. Every week, she gives quirky but relatable life advice on topics such as: Thank You For Not Believing in Me and The Mental Exercise That Can Turn Wishes Into Reality. She also does awesome interviews with expert guests that you should check out if you’re needing some positivity in your day!

9. Learn yoga poses. If I haven’t jabbered about it enough for you to guess, yoga is one of my favorite activities to do on a regular basis. What many people who’ve never tried it don’t realize is that it’s a full mind-body-soul experience. I would definitely recommend trying Do You Yoga to learn how to do many different yoga poses and sequences at home. All you need is a yoga mat (or even a rug) and comfy clothes to do it anywhere and reap the amazing benefits!

10. Learn about academic topics. Coursera is a phenomenal learning resource that partners up with 114 different academic institutions, including Harvard, Duke, Berklee College of Music, and University of Virginia, to offer real, online classes for free. How cool is that?! There are over 800 different course options- Intro to Sustainable Development, Calculus 1, Introduction to Music Production, and much more. The world is at your fingertips on Coursera… learn it up!

BONUS Intellectual Wellness Tip: Keep reading my blog! ;)

So which of these resources do you think would be the most fun to get involved with? Which ones pique your curiosity and get your brain juices flowing?

I hope that you’ve found my post to be intellectually inspiring! If so, please “like” and share it with any of your friends who would love to read it too!

Have fun learning,

xo Caylee

What Spirituality Means to Me

spirituality

Hey there! Thanks for being here to check out part three of my series- How to Create a Wellness Lifestyle. This week’s topic is about spiritual wellness, but I’m not going to talk about what you should do to be healthy in this area of life. Spirituality is many things to many people, and I know that the journey to find its place in our lives is a personal one. After all, some get in touch with their spirituality with a more traditional, church-going experience. Others feel connected to a higher power while meditating, volunteering to help people in need, or even surfing!

What I do urge you to do is discover what spirituality means to you. You don’t have to believe in any particular god or in any god at all. Perhaps love is your deity, and you find your higher purpose being kind to others and lifting their spirits. The point is that spirituality, in any form, allows you to find deeper meaning in your existence. Having it in your life gives hope and support during hard times and confidence when you’re feeling fearful. Spirituality strengthens your personal value system. Plus, as I read in Blue Zones, people with spirituality in their lives tend to live longer! The purpose that it gives you, combined with providing a deeper sense of calm and greater community belonging, extends the lifespan greatly.

Since we all have our own take on spirituality, I challenge you to find where it can fit in your life. Check out some books- I loved Like the Flowing River by Paulo Coelho, The Book of Awakening by Mark Nepo, and The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle. Try out new religious services that have interested you, or just figure out what makes you feel connected to something bigger than yourself. This is an area of my wellness that I’m not as connected to, so I’ll need to explore deeper as well!

 


What I’ve found is that spirituality can be found just as easily in the magic of small moments as in the wonder of large moments. So it’s about to get personal- here are the activities and experiences I’ve found that get me in touch with my spiritual side:

To me, spirituality is… feeling beautiful moments of connection and transcendence during travel. I went to Paris when I was in high school and walked up the steep, cobblestone streets of Montmatre during the first night there. Once I got to the top, the highest point in the city, millions of buildings and the Eiffel Tower glittered down below. It was gorgeous. But towering right next to me was the stunning, white Basilica ‎Sacré-Cœur, and I was drawn in. The warm interior of the cathedral engulfed my emotions with the nuns singing softly by candlelight and the giant gold mural soaring overhead. I was immediately filled with a sense of bursting joy in my chest- all at once, I felt peacefully connected to everything and that life was so unimaginably amazing. It was a beautiful experience. Now, I’m actually not Catholic, but if that wasn’t the most spiritually moving moment in my life, then I don’t know what was!

To me, spirituality is… a magical “coincidence” that pops into my life just when I need it most. In my junior year of college, I’d been single for about a year and hadn’t met any guys who I really *clicked* with. I was feeling really down about not being able to find a good guy, so I wrote out a super elaborate list of every trait that I wished for in my ideal boyfriend. Sounds silly, but I put my heart into this list- a guy who makes me laugh, who has the same values as me, who is kind and helpful to everyone, and who surprises me with loving, thoughtful gestures. I went into WAY more detail, but I’m not going to embarrass myself here! Flash forward two weeks later where I’m at a Christmas party with some sorority sisters. Wine in hand, I say in frustration, “I’m over men… I refuse to date anyone for the whole next year!” Then in walks this cute guy who I met in passing at a bar with my girl friend the week before. Tonight though, his eyes land on mine, remembering me. We proceed to talk excitedly about all of our shared passions, and I just feel something special. I feel sure… like I know he’s going to become my boyfriend. By the end of the night, our first date is scheduled, and my sorority sisters make fun of my now defunct, anti-men declaration. Flash forward: He turns out to be the exact guy that I described in my list, and we end up dating for years. His appearance in my life was the biggest “coincidence” I’ve ever experienced- now I’m a true believer in the power of asking the universe for exactly what you want!

To me, spirituality is… my bond with nature. Whenever I’m alone and surrounded by the forest or in front of a gorgeous vista, I feel something sweep through me and fill me with energy. In those moments outdoors, I feel so alive and connected with all of the universe. Nature is just perfect- ecosystems that sustain themselves, the symmetry of flowers, the hydrologic cycle, butterfly metamorphosis, and all that’s in between. And have you ever read about Fibonacci numbers and the Golden Ratio? The same mathematical ratio appears in everything from eggs to sunflowers to hurricanes to seashells to galaxies to waves- it’s amazing. The perfection of nature is mindbogglingly beautiful, and I can’t help but feel an intense higher connection to it all.

To me, spirituality is… feeling centered and like my true self during yoga class. During yoga, I’m not worrying about any of my problems outside the class. My mind is focused on breath-work and moving into the various poses. I’m completely in my body- present in each moment. This rare moment of freedom away from my often anxious brain allows me to center myself. It’s then that I realize that life isn’t about all of the issues my mind worries about. In these moments of mental freedom, I can connect back with a higher purpose and let go of my malicious ego, being the realest version of myself.

To me, spirituality is… my inner voice guiding me out of my deepest depression when I was younger. Prepare yourself- this next story might make me sound like a woo woo hippy. So I was really depressed during middle school and parts of high school and felt desperate to try anything that might get me out of this pit of nothingness. At a book store, I found a workbook about discovering your inner goddess and knew I had to give it a try. I had my moment of awakening during a 20-minute meditation exercise that the book led me through. During the experience, I felt energy surge through my body and mind that I’d never felt before. A beautiful woman radiating with light proceeded to have a loving conversation with me, answering all of my fear-filled questions about life and the future. This goddess in my meditation believed in me, and showed me the kindness and support that I truly needed at that time in my life. Once I came out of my meditation, I no longer felt depressed- I felt light and hopeful about my life. Though minor depression has reoccurred in years since, I’ve never felt as deep in despair since the goddess in my mind spoke to me. Call it my inner voice, intuition, or a guardian angel- all I know is that it made me see the beauty in life again.

 


So now that you’ve learned all of the diverse ways that spirituality shows up in my life, what does spirituality mean to you? Have you had any big spiritual moments in your life that give you a deeper since of wellness? Please let me know in the comments below- I’d love to hear your story! :)

Have a wonderful day,

xo Caylee

The Basics of Emotional Wellness

emotionalwellness

Hi everyone! So happy that you’re here reading part two of my series, How to Create a Wellness Lifestyle. This week’s post will be an introduction to emotional well-being and the traits that we exude when we’re healthy in this realm of life. Out of the six dimensions of wellness that I outlined last week, I believe that emotional wellness is the most crucial area needed in order to lead a contended lifestyle. You might have all of the other aspects of life balanced, but without emotional stability, you’re probably finding that things are feeling a bit chaotic or under-the-weather.

The two most important characteristics of emotional wellness are the ability to acknowledge your emotions and to express them in appropriate ways. Most people that I’ve met seem to be very out of touch with how they’re feeling on a day-to-day basis. We often don’t take the time to listen to our subconscious, inner thoughts enough in order to read what we need more or less of in our lives.

But acknowledging and accepting your emotions, no matter how ashamed having them might make you feel, is such an important step for getting to know yourself better and understanding how to work with your emotions.

I’ve found that how we view others and treat them is usually a mirror to how we’re feeling deep inside. Challenge yourself to be hyper-aware of your negative thoughts for a week, and try to critique all of them to find out what they really mean. Don’t take your emotions at face value!

For example: My boyfriend has been feeling unlike himself in the past few days. He’s been stressed, and his normally joyful, funny personality just isn’t shining through as brightly. But before Stefan acknowledged his emotions and told me all about how he was feeling last night, I was starting to feel panicked. I put it all on myself and wondered if I’d done something wrong. But when I think about it- was he treating me any differently? Nope, still as loving as ever. Was he being mean to me? Definitely not! So I was projecting my insecure feelings onto him, like it was his fault they were bubbling up from my past, when really those emotions were just about my own baggage.

We project our emotions onto other people all the time, even when they have nothing to do with how we’re feeling. You know what I’m talking about… The mother who is scared about not being able to pay next month’s rent but takes that fear and lashes out at her kids. The colleague who always makes your dreams seem insignificant when really he’s upset because he hasn’t pursued any of his goals. If we try to see these emotional mirrors in ourselves and other people, we become so much better at expressing ourselves in a healthy way.

There are too many ways to express emotions for me to go through them all here, but to simplify things a bit, we can assume that any emotional reaction on an extreme side of the spectrum probably doesn’t count as “appropriate.” Here are a few examples:

  • Yelling or getting enraged about insignificant issues
  • Criticizing others when you’re feeling down about yourself
  • Bottling up all of your thoughts and feelings so that you won’t upset others

The above three examples are emotional extremes that will get you all wound up with poisonous, angry feelings without them actually helping your life one bit. They will only serve to push the people in your life away from you. I know from experience! When I was younger, I had tons of anger and bitterness trapped inside of me, and I had no clue how to properly express it. Instead, I got into verbal fights with anyone and everyone around me- especially authority figures! The funny thing is, I was so angry because I craved more love and quality time from those important to me, but my behavior only pushed people away more.

So what can you do to better acknowledge and express your true feelings? Here are some ideas:

Reflect

Like I said above, take a week to be extra aware of any time you feel a negative emotion- anger, sadness, jealousy, insecurity, judgment, etc. In the moments when you’re feeling that way, explore the “why” part of the problem. Why are you feeling this way? Deep down, is it really about the situation/ person at hand, or is it something in you? Perhaps it’s an issue from your past, or an insecurity that this person has absolutely nothing to do with. Dig around in those feelings to understand yourself more.

Move On

Once you’ve done that, don’t beat yourself up about it! If you’ve found that you’re directing your negative emotions at the wrong person/ issue, don’t make yourself feel guilty and sad. Just accept that it happened, apologize sincerely, and move on to change your emotional well-being for the better!

Be Positive

Learn from your mistakes in a positive way. Everyone makes mistakes sometimes, but the people with emotional wellness are the ones who act to change their behaviors. Acknowledging emotions is the first step, but then we have to work to use them in a healthy way. Take it day by day! Be nice to yourself.

Love

It might sound cheesy or hippy-ish, but just choose love. When you feel the urge to say something judgmental or to react angrily, think: Do they deserve this? Will this make their life or my life any better? The answer is probably “no.” So instead, choose to love. Be kind. Why are we so harsh with our words anyway? The more often you choose the loving reaction, the more it will become a behavioral habit. Before you know it, your life will feel so much more positive and emotionally stable. That’s what happened to me when I was younger and lashing out all the time. I decided that I was sick of feeling constantly angry and mean, and I allowed the softer, sweet side of my personality to shine though. Now, that nice person is who I view myself as completely (but with some sass left over for fun, of course!).

Make Happiness a Priority

Straighten out your priorities and align your emotions with them. Make your emotional wellness important to your life. Are there certain people or activities that are depleting you of happiness? If you aren’t being treated the way you deserve to be treated, with kindness and respect, then let them go. People and activities that selfishly bring you down don’t deserve your time. You have the right to be happy just as much as anyone else.

Meditate

Practice meditating to gain more clarity in your mind and calm in your life. If you have a hyperactive brain, try activities like yoga, dancing, surfing, or doodling. They’ll provide a similar effect by keeping your mind focused on one task instead of worrying about a million life issues.

Ask for Help

Don’t try to go about hard times alone. Find people that you can open up to so that you can keep emotions from building up inside. And if you’re having serious emotional problems that are dramatically altering your life, please visit a therapist or doctor!


I could literally create an entire blog about the importance of emotional wellness and tips for stabilizing this area of life, so I hope this post can work as a basic introduction to the overwhelming amount of information I could give! If you have any specific questions for me regarding this topic, please leave it in the comments below! The next post in the series will cover spiritual wellness- one of the areas that I’d like to improve more in myself.

So what do you need to improve upon emotionally? Do you need to be more communicative about how you’re feeling with your significant other? Or maybe you need to filter yourself better, because you say things that *sting* too much? Let me know below, and please share with your friends! :)

Have a wonderful weekend,

xo Caylee

How to Create a Wellness Lifestyle – Part One

create a wellness lifestyle

In fitness magazines sold all throughout the country, we continuously hear “health and wellness” lumped together as one thing. But if wellness isn’t the exact same thing as health, then what really is it?

Wellness is never just one part of a person- it is their whole life. It’s not how many vegetables you eat, or if you’re a non-smoker, or if you go out for a jog every morning. It’s all of those behavioral choices combined and then much more than that. Wellness can be explained as being the varied dimensions of life that holistically form a healthy, contented lifestyle.

This multifaceted approach to understanding health and happiness is what made me want to use the term “wellness” as part of my blog title. Arguably, there are six different areas of life that contribute to wellness (shown below), and I don’t believe that you can be 100% well if you’re only focused on a couple of them. You might be thriving in your career, but are you sacrificing your health by sleeping only four hours per night? Or you might love your social life, hanging out with your girlfriends all the time, but are you also taking the time to challenge yourself intellectually with new creative pursuits? Maybe you’re lucky enough to have found your sense of purpose in life, but do you notice yourself constantly holding in negative feelings until you have emotional outbursts? We all have moments of lack in the different areas of life, but what it all comes down to is balance.

Creating a balanced lifestyle is what I want to inspire though my blog- Being brave by pursuing your biggest creative goals, making delicious, nutritional recipes, finding one’s purpose, learning how to have healthy relationships, and so much more. Over the next six weeks, I’m going to be delving into each of the six dimensions of wellness and showing you how to get more out of life in each area. It’s a gutsy move to stand up and decide that you want to live the best, all-around version of life possible.

So are you with me?

If so, here’s an infographic that I created to describe the six different, but equally important, parts of wellness that we’ll be exploring in the upcoming weeks:

wellness infographic


So what areas of life do you feel yourself lacking in? Where would you like to improve? Let me know, and I’ll focus even more on those areas!

For me, I feel like the aspects I need to develop most are spiritual and social wellness. And just to clarify, I’ll be talking about spiritual wellness in a very open sense without any particular ideology or religion connected to it. So whether you’re Pagan, secular-humanist, Jewish, or anything in-between, this is for you!

Comment or “like” to show that you’ll be challenging yourself, alongside me, to grow into a deeper sense of well-being in order live the most joyful, healthy life possible. First up, next week, we’ll be tackling emotional wellness! You can find the rest of the post series listed below.

Have a beautiful week,

xo Caylee

Part Two PostThe Basics of Emotional Wellness

Part Three PostWhat Spirituality Means to Me

Part Four Post10 Online Resources to Improve Intellectual Wellness

– I was inspired & guided by this wellness model from the National Wellness Institute. –

Algae & Exercise – the Perfect Match?

energybits2

Just from one glance at the post title, I’m sure you’re all just dying to add some of that primordial, green slime to your workout routine, right? Oh, you’re not? Well, I was approached by a fitness fuel company called ENERGYbits last month, and they offered to let me try a free sample of their product that’s popular with Olympians and other top athletes who want to improve their performance. It’s organic Spirulina algae that comes in tab form! Luckily, the ENERGYbits are easy to take, just like a pill, and not slimy at all. ;)

Here’s why I couldn’t resist trying this interesting new product. Keep reading for a special discount!

First. Consuming strange, internationally popular foods is somewhat of a hobby for me. Cow tongue? Surprisingly delicious. Jellyfish salad? So refreshing. But algae tabs? They’re an easy sell in comparison to the other foods I’ve loved.

  • Japan already consumes billions of dollars worth of algae every year, and they’re known to have some of the longest lived people in the world.
  • Algae packs in the largest amount of edible protein of any food out there- 3x more than steak!
  • The algae in ENERGYbits is actually grown and harvested, not created in a lab! I wonder what an algae farm looks like…

Second. I haven’t had as many nutrients in my diet lately as I should. Since I’ve been on the road away from home for the past two months, I haven’t gotten to cook my own food at all. I’ve been trying to eat dinner out as healthily as possible, but sometimes it’s so difficult! I needed something easy to consume, like algae, to restart my health and get some more vitamins and minerals into my body- of which ENERGYbits have 40 different types! Say what!?

  • ENERGYbits have a crazy amount of antioxidants and B vitamins, such as Riboflavin and Thiamin. To get an equivalent amount of vitamins you’d have to eat 25 bananas and close to a pound of cheese. I’ll pass on that.
  • According to NASA, “1 gram of algae has the nutritional value of 1,000 grams of fruits an vegetables.” Huh? I’m sold. It’s much easier to pop some 100% natural algae tablets than to eat a wheelbarrow full of broccoli.
  • Luckily, I don’t have any big food restrictions, but these tabs are great for anyone who does! They’re vegan, raw, non-GMO, and kosher.

Third. Most importantly, I have major problems with fatigue. I’ve never been able to figure out if the cause is anemia, low-grade depression, eating the wrong foods for my body, or even poor blood circulation. I’ve been to the doctor to try and get it all sorted out, but no answers are ever found. On that note, I’ve fallen out of shape lately, because I wasn’t making fitness a top priority in my life. So I decided to set an ambitious fitness goal for myself. I wanted to be able to do all of the crazy yoga inversions that I always marveled at on Instagram- headstand, handstand, chin stand, side crow. The problem is that being able to get into these yoga poses (and stay in them!) takes some intense core muscles, in addition to arm strength. I ended up joining the Invert Your Life Challenge, which taught me how to do yoga inversions properly. I also started doing (almost) daily PiYO workouts at home, which was part cardio, part Pilates and yoga muscle toning/ stretching. The problem is, staying in shape requires that a lot of energy be expended that I just don’t feel like I can give due to my constant fatigue. ENERGYbits saves the day!

  • The fact that algae is a complete protein means that the body absorbs it easily, so you get the perfect flow of energy without the jitters of coffee or energy shots. I actually have a history of getting into emotional meltdowns from consuming energy drinks- like literal temper tantrums. The intense rush of caffeine and then the terrible crash does not do my body, or emotions, any good. I avoid any type of energy drink now, but I don’t have to avoid ENERGYbits! They provide a steady input of energy without any caffeine or other unnatural additives.
  • I took ENERGYbits before several of my PiYO workouts and, to my surprise, noticed that I wasn’t feeling completely exhausted after the intense cardio and muscle-toning sessions. I honestly felt great- like I could keep going with even more exercise! If you knew how I felt after most workouts in my life, you’d know that this energy within me was not a common feeling. Normally, I’d just want to lay down and die. Or perhaps eat a tub of ice cream and then die. My legs are usually shaking and spent, and I’m not in the mood to go out and do anything afterwards. But after taking the algae tabs, I felt amazing and like my day was just beginning.

inversion

So what do you think? Do you think ENERGYbits are something you would try in order to make your workouts easier, or even to add more nutrients into your diet?

If you’d like to try this awesome new product, I was lucky enough to be given a discount code for you all to use on the ENERGYbits website: Enter the word “BLOG” into the coupon box at checkout to receive a 10% discount.

I hope you all enjoyed my first product review! Just so that you know, I wasn’t paid to do this or obligated in anyway, but I just felt like it’s a great new “food” that you all would benefit from as much as I did! :D

Hope you have a wonderful week,

xo Caylee

What to Do When You’re Feeling Uninspired

world inspiration

For the past couple months since creating this blog, I’ve written all of my posts in a flurry of excitement and creative energy, unable to fall asleep until I finish typing the very last sentence at around 2:00 AM. But this is not one of those nights, and it frightens me. On this night, my mind is blank, and I feel completely blah. I’m sure I’ll still be up until the wee hours of the morning, but it will be for a very different reason. I’ll be trying to get my idea mojo back.

Feeling uninspired is incredibly common in creative communities, but that doesn’t make the experience any less panic-inducing. And even if you aren’t an artsy type or working in a creative industry, we all have those moments in life where everything fades to gray. We can’t help but think, “How long will I feel like this? What if I never think up a great idea again? I don’t want to be boring and unoriginal.” Trust me, I’m right there with ya! So what should you do when your creative juices stop flowing momentarily? Here are five of my favorite inspiration sources that I’ll be using to get out of this rut:

1. Listen to a few uplifting TED Talks.

I’m basically obsessed with TED [Technology, Entertainment, & Design]. Where else can you find hours upon hours of inspirational, mind-expanding speeches that simultaneously warm the heart and make you feel like an engaged, global citizen? Yes, you will need to dedicate about 20 minutes of your time per TED Talk, but you’ll usually gain so much in return. These filmed speeches have allowed me to discover some of my favorite authors, have given me amazing new insights into the human experience, and have pushed me to want to jump up and make changes in my life. I’d call that getting out of a rut! Though you should definitely check out your own topics of interest, here are a few Talks that have influenced me the most:

2. Create something using a different medium than you’re used to.

Step outside of your normal comfort zone to create something new and exciting. It probably won’t be a masterpiece, as it’s not in your area of expertise, so don’t concentrate on trying to create perfection. You just want it to be fresh and not the same old stuff. If you’re into writing, try making a short film on your point-and-shoot camera instead. Enjoy playing guitar? Try writing your own song lyrics about something you’re going through right now. Love coming up with vegan dinner recipes? Figure out how to make the most delicious breakfast smoothie your taste buds have ever experienced instead. Is your favorite hobby wakeboarding? Try kiteboarding for a different take on a similar sport. You get my point. After trying out a new medium, you’ll likely have refreshed excitement for your creative outlet of choice and plenty of new ideas to keep you going for a while.

3. Give your brain some time to relax.

Sometimes feeling uninspired is just your subconscious’s way of screaming, “I NEED A DAMN BREAK.” We live in such a fast-paced, information overloaded society that our minds eventually have a way of overheating and crashing. It shouldn’t be a shock that our brains need a breath of fresh air sometimes. If you feel like this is part of your problem, go on a mini digital detox. As soon as you get home from work, turn off the social media apps on your phone, and keep the TV off and the computer closed. I know this sounds incredibly difficult, because we’re all so connected to our various devices these days. But we all need a break. So what do you do once the house is still and silent except for those pesky cricket chirps? As they like to say in one of my favorite TV shows, (Yes, I’ll have to shut off Parks & Recreation too) – “Treat yo self!”

treat-yo-self

I’m not personally into retail therapy, but I do believe we all need to treat ourselves to a day of relaxation when we’re feeling burnt out. So do whatever that means for you! A long walk in a park? Treat yo self! Chat with your best friend over coffee? Treat yo self! A candlelit bubble bath? Treat yo self! Whatever it is, make it a time to enjoy life and to disconnect from the information overload that’s clouding your mind.

4. Free write or journal.

This one is simple- just write. Don’t try and make it sound pretty or have a cohesive story line. In fact, if it doesn’t read like the ramblings of a madman, then you’re doing it wrong! Grab a pencil and a pad of paper, and literally start writing about the very first thing that pops into your head. It could be about anything from the lunch you ate that day to the way your coworker pissed you off in a meeting last week. Just write anything about it! The instant that a new idea string materializes in your brain, feel free to go off writing on that tangent. Be as descriptive or non-descriptive as you’d like. The point is to write without barriers, and let your subconscious take over with what it wants to say. You might form with a new idea based off of your ramblings, or perhaps you’ll end up seeing a problem from a different perspective that your conscious mind wouldn’t allow you to see.

5. Begin a passion-filled quest with clear parameters.

If the above inspiration sources aren’t drastic enough for you, maybe it’s time for you to pull out the big guns and start on your own quest. This idea was a major inspiration for me after I watched this interview with two of my favorites, Chris Guillebeau and Marie Forleo. In the talk, Chris discusses topics from his new book, The Happiness of Pursuit, which goes into how quests can play an important role in creating happiness in our lives. You’ll get much more from watching the interview, but basically, I want to ask: What creative quest can you start yourself on today that will provide you with more meaning and purpose in your day-to-day life?

This quest needs a start and end date with clear goals and parameters. It also needs to be a challenge for you, so that you’ll be pushing yourself to grow. For instance, a quest shouldn’t be, “I want to visit a lot of countries.” Instead, it should be, “I want to visit 100 countries before my 40th birthday.” That’s a clear, measurable goal. But a quest doesn’t have to be as big or expensive as traveling all over the world! It could be, “I will learn 1,000 songs on my ukulele and post a recording of each one online before January 1st, 2020.” Whatever floats your boat! The point of this being a great source of inspiration is that if you dedicate yourself to a quest based on your passions, then you’ll be held accountable to keep creating even in your most blah moments. Sometimes, all we need is a little push and a goal to focus our efforts on.

I hope that you’ll find your creative juices replenished after trying some, or all, of these inspiration building activities! I know that I’m feeling super pumped up after writing this, so maybe that’s all I needed. And if that’s not enough, I get to meet Chris Guillebeau tonight while he’s in Atlanta! So excited to ask him a million questions about quests! Anyway, please let me know how you refresh your brain when dealing with a creative block. Can’t wait to hear your thoughts. :)

Have a wonderful day,

xo Caylee

It’s My Birthday! And Other Happy Life Updates

Costa Rica May 2014 430b

I’m officially 25 years old, you guys! The age when it finally sounds like I’m a real adult, although most people know that I never want to become a standard, boring, adult-y type person. Year 24 of my life was filled with a whiplash of changes and a bunch of exciting experiences that I never imagined I’d get to have just one year prior. This has been, simultaneously, one of the hardest years of my life, and the happiest year of my life. It has zoomed by in the blink of an eye in some moments and has seemed to fall into slow motion at other points. I’ve started to redevelop myself into the person I truly want to become, rather than faltering under the pressure of what other people want me to be. I’ve savored, I’ve laughed, I’ve cried, I’ve finally been proud of myself, and I am so excited to see what my 25th year has in store for me. But before we get to my hopes for the next 12 months, here are some defining moments of my past year.

Year Twenty-Four Recap:

1. I started a new chapter of my life by moving to Miami with Stefan last year, and I’ve explored so much of the town already! Art shows, concerts, parks, kayaking, beaches, salsa dancing, festivals, farmer’s markets, restaurants in every neighborhood- it’s been so much fun going on mini adventures with my boyfriend in our new city. Though Miami definitely isn’t the place I’d like to live in forever, it’s been such a great learning experience for me. Plus, being only an hour and a half away from my parents in Naples and getting to visit them every month has been a nice change of pace from my usual far-off locations.

2. I got the most interesting job experiences of my life so far through working in corporate events and travel planning. I never would’ve guessed that I’d get the chance to plan a conference in Costa Rica for Louis Vuitton, or that Audi would allow me to plan an entire travel itinerary for their executives in Manhattan, or that I’d get to be an event producer for an iHeartRadio concert on South Beach. I got to coordinate and attend stunning, dream events which I am so thankful for, but I also learned that it’s not the right career path for me. I had to do a lot of soul searching and had many rough days at work, but I’ve come out confident in where I want to go now. The experience of this year in events gave me so many new skills that I can’t wait to use throughout my future.

3. Some amazing vacations have been had! In May, Stefan and I traveled to Costa Rica for 10 days, which may have been the most perfect trip of my entire existence. Except for Stefan feeling like his organs were disintegrating during our last two days- but other than that, paradise! Not only was it gorgeous, but it allowed me to clear my mind and refocus on what I truly find important. This summer, I also went on a three road trip up the East Coast stopping to visit friends and family in Washington DC, New York City, Ithaca, Boston, Charlottesville, and Raleigh. Even as I write this, Stefan and I are still on the road. We’ve been living at a hotel in Atlanta for the past month while Stefan works on engineering the new Atlanta Falcons stadium. I can’t wait to be home in my own bed! So unsettled…but I guess that’s what Year 24 is all about, right?

4. It’s been a year of crazy important personal development. I was pretty depressed when I first moved to Miami, but I was able to turn the year around by focusing on trying to find my passions and experience new things. I learned how to play ukulele, got really great at cooking healthy meals, and dedicated much more time to practicing yoga. But what’s most exciting is that I found my dream job that I’m going to pursue, and I started this blog, which I love to write in! Gutsy Girl Wellness has given me an outlet to creatively express all of my thoughts about life, travel, and health, and I’ve never been happier. I adore writing- getting to speak to you all through my words has already been the most amazing experience. I’m only two months into blogging though, so I hope you stick around for a while!

What’s Planned for Year Twenty-Five:

1. I’m taking a major leap towards jump-starting my career in the wellness industry! I applied to a nine month coaching training program last month, and after plenty of essays and a phone interview, I was accepted! That means I’ll be flying out to California in January for our welcome retreat, and I am beyond excited and nervous about what’s to come. This is the dream job I’ve been speaking of. I’ve been thinking about a career path in coaching for years, but I’m finally going to do it now! In addition to this big step, I’ll also be working on writing my first book and altering my blog to make it even better. So exhilarating. So scary.

2. More travel, of course! For my coach training program, I’ll be going to the Napa Valley area of California for several days. Stefan is planning on meeting me there and then we’ll road trip down the coast. We’re going to explore San Francisco, Carmel and lots of other little towns going south, LA, and finally San Diego before flying home to Florida. I’ve actually never been to California, and I have a feeling I’m going to love it. Besides the trip out West, I hope to travel back to Germany for the first time since studying abroad there in high school. I want to bring my mom this time, and show her the town I lived in and get to see my host family again. It’s been far too long. I miss Germany!

3. By the end of this upcoming year, I hope that Stefan and I will have decided on a city/ town to make our home for a long while. Though traveling is clearly one of my favorite activities, I also crave finding my place where I can become a true part of the community and put down some roots. It’s been too many years of me hopping from place to place and never having the time to build a strong enough connections to people. This will be the deciding year, so who knows where we’ll move in Year 26!

4. This will be a year for even more personal development. I’ll be participating in a five-week intuitive painting workshop, called Bloom True, starting next month. I love to create art, but I’m always so scared that I’ll make a mistake that I rarely pick up a pencil or paintbrush. I’m hoping this course will push me beyond those boundaries so that I can create some beautiful pieces. I’ll also be continuing with Beachbody workouts! Right now, Stefan and I are starting our second week of Piyo (Pilates and yoga combination) and participating in a challenge that teaches you new yoga inversions everyday. Doing headstands and handstands was way past my comfort zone just a few weeks ago, but I’m loving learning how to do inversions! Maybe thoughts of doing a Yoga Teacher Training are in the works…

Looking back over this list, Year 24 seemed to be a time of planting seeds for my future. It was twelve months of planning and figuring out what I wanted. It was my prep year. So that means Year 25, to keep going with the gardening metaphor, will be my year of growing into my goals and expanding my skills. Year 26 will hopefully provide some financial harvest. ;)

So if I could pick one word to meditate on and focus myself towards for the whole rest of this next year, it would be “courageous.” I want to push myself to be brave enough to follow through fully in all of my coming challenges and to become the best version of myself possible. I feel in my heart and intuition that this is going to be a big year for me- I’m not sure how yet, but I’ll have to work hard to make it happen! Thank you so much for stopping by and checking out my yearly life update! :)

Have a beautiful September 12th,

xo Caylee