45-Minute Yoga Playlist for Eclectic Tastes

yogaplaylist

Why, hello there! I created this mini post so that you all might start the week off more beautifully. Yes, Mondays can suck, but I promise they’ll be much better if you get in the right mindset. So how can you do that? One sentence- practice yoga to this playlist. It’s about 45 minutes of bliss from the indie and classic rock genres.

I crafted this musical list so that it’ll start out calmly to match your soothing warm-up stretches. As your body is building in heat from more challenging asanas, the playlist will also build in tempo and emotion. Finally, you can relax into a few peaceful songs just in time for a meditative Savasana (Corpse Pose) and the ending of your yoga practice.

I hope you find my musical choices to be emotive and inspiring during your home yoga session. I know that when I listened to them I felt like my heart was about to burst out of my chest. But even if you don’t do yoga, it’s a wonderful playlist to help recharge your soul. Enjoy!

TIP: You can, of course, listen to the songs though this YouTube playlist that I created, but I would recommend that you separately download the ones you emotionally connect with. There’s nothing worse than getting disrupted by an annoying YouTube advertisement during yoga or meditation!

 

Do you have any song recommendations for future yoga playlists? I would love to hear more about your preferences during yoga and mediation, so please comment below. Also, look out for a special, soul-focused post dropping this Thursday! 🙂

Have a wonderful day,

xo Caylee

 

Easy Lifestyle Changes to Achieve Physical Wellness

physical wellness

Hey guys! Thanks for checking out my sixth post in the How to Create a Wellness Lifestyle series. For the first time in years, I feel strong. My body doesn’t feel brittle or achy or finicky like it has in the time since graduating from college. I can lift heavy things with ease, and I don’t get out of breath easily. Since noticing the gradual physical changes in myself, I’ve been in complete wonder about how amazing the human body can be. It has so much more power and ability than I ever imagined. And that brings me to my point- too many of us have gotten used to feeling sluggish and weak as the new normal.

It’s so easy to feel that way. It’s more simple to just relax on the couch after work or eat a huge helping of that delicious, cheesy lasagna. I know. Like I said, even I felt physically “blah” until fairly recently when I started changing up my habits. Improving upon habits is really what it’s all about. It won’t matter much to your physical well-being if you convince yourself, only once, to exercise in the morning. Same with eating healthily- sandwiching two healthy dinners between fifty unhealthy ones won’t really make a difference. And no gimmicky fad diets! It’s about changing your long-term, day-to-day habits.

 

From my experience, here are some easy tips and recommendations to achieve physical wellness through healthier eating and fitness:

  • Eat until you feel comfortable, not until you’re full. It takes the brain about 20 minutes from when you begin eating to register that there’s food in the stomach, so you’ll keep thinking you’re starving when really the brain just hasn’t had time to process the meal yet. So don’t shovel your food down! You’ll be incredibly stuffed and have an unnecessary amount of calories in your body. Just take your time, and slowly enjoy the taste of your meal.
  • Frozen grapes are an awesome alternative to normal dessert. Trust me, I’m quite the fan of cupcakes and donuts, but having one of those everyday just won’t work for the average person wanting to stay in shape. I don’t believe we should ignore our sweet tooth though- that’s just setting ourselves up for failure. Instead, for those of you wanting to watch your diet, try freezing seedless grapes! There’s nothing added to them, but the grapes taste like a fun, bite-sized sorbet.
  • Drink lots of water and then drink even more. It’s estimated that up to 75% of Americans are chronically dehydrated. Humans need a lot of water to keep their body functioning properly, and most people only drink a couple of cups per day. We need at least eight! When you have a headache or feel drained, it’s most commonly due to dehydration. So what do you do if you’re not a fan of the taste of water? Try flavoring it with things like lemon, mint, or cucumbers!
  • Try almond milk instead of regular milk. If you’re not sensitive to dairy (aka lactose intolerant), congratulations! You’re basically the only person in the entire world who isn’t. Sorry to put this out there, but if your stomach hurts or you have to go to the bathroom quickly after meals, you’ve got a problem. Notice if there’s dairy in what you’re eating/ drinking. More likely than not, you’ve been consuming milk all throughout your life and never considered that it could be the thing causing you discomfort. Try almond milk instead- Almond Breeze (original; unsweetened) is my recommendation. I use it in all recipes instead of regular milk, and it tastes delicious!
  • Go to yoga. My boyfriend and I have been going to yoga two to three times per week, and that’s been my main source of exercise lately. I know a lot of people who do yoga as cross-training when they’re not jogging or biking though. Some of Stefan’s guy friends have been making fun of him for going to yoga classes and make it seem like some effortless activity for weaklings. All I have to say is- go to Power Yoga, Vinyasa, or an Astanga class, and then come back to tell me you didn’t sweat and your muscles didn’t burn. Didn’t think so! My body has felt more strong and powerful than ever because of yoga. I can do crazy stretches, headstands, and handstands that require core and arm strength that I never knew I could have. But the best part is the mental and physical rejuvenation you gain after going to class. My body feels free and bendy, and my mind got time to focus on nothing but the depth of my breath and the sensations of my body. Ommm.
  • Eat out at restaurants less. This one makes me sad, but it’s true. Restaurants pack our food with so much butter and salt that it’s insane. Food tastes more delicious that way! But if you’d like to live healthier, cooking your own nutritious meals at home is the best option. This way, you can control what ingredients go into your dishes.
  • Go for smaller portions. I know all of these tips sound so common sense, but you don’t know how many people I hear complaining about their weight and then heap a gigantic dinner portion onto their plate. It really is simple. We have to be aware of what’s going into our bodies. When I go out to dinner, for example, I know from the get go that I’m only going to eat half of what’s on the plate. I’ll literally half it, and enjoy that portion of the meal. The other half won’t even be considered- it will go home with me as my lunch for the next day. Simple as that, and the same goes for when you cook at home. So if the “eat until you’re comfortable” method is too relaxed for you, go for this half and half method!
  • Find a physical activity that you love. Explore different fitness classes and try out a variety of workout methods to discover what works best for you. Decide if you like working out alone, in small groups, or with a large class. Do you prefer hardcore, bootcamp style workouts or sassy dance classes with Latin music? Would you rather sweat with cardio or build up muscle? Have fun exploring your options, and decide to make fitness a social event that will keep you wanting to go exercise!

 

When it comes to physical wellness, I’ve found that you just need to listen to what your body wants and needs. It is naturally intuitive and will tell you exactly what’s best for it if you really listen deep down. Don’t be afraid to challenge yourself. You can handle so much more than you give yourself credit for. You can learn to do handstands or splits or compete in triathlons or run a marathon. All that’s necessary is putting in the day-to-day work by improving health habits and gradually getting better until you reach your physical wellness goal.

rum

 

On that note, here’s my physical wellness goal: I would like to run my first 5k before March 1st… and I’ll work up from there. Now this may seem like a simple goal to all of you cardio fiends and marathon runners out there- but for me, it’s big. I don’t run, like ever. I’ve tried to jog a few times, and I think it’s the worst thing on earth. BUT I just read an article about how people who run half marathons and full marathons make more money in business, because you build the similar skills needed for endurance running as you do in entrepreneurship. So I’m going to see if I have what it takes to become a runner- a huge personal challenge if I say so myself! 🙂

What habits do you need to change in order to improve your physical wellness? Do you have any other tips for us? Please share in the comments below!

Have a great rest of the week,

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! 😀

Hope you have a wonderful week,

xo Caylee

Simple Ways You May Be Sabotaging Your Health Routine

serenbe vegetables
Establishing a consistent health routine that you enjoy can be a major challenge. There are so many temptations in life that make choosing to exercise or cook a nutritional meal seem like the least desirable options. (I’m looking at you bacon and macaroons.) So to give yourself the best chance for success, make sure you aren’t sabotaging your health through these behaviors:

 

You view making healthy dinners at home as a terrible chore.
One of the best ways to transform your health for the better is to start cooking your own meals. I see so much resistance to this in the United States where most of us choose to either go out to eat at restaurants or just heat up a processed, frozen meal at home. I get it- I love going out to eat! After a long day, the thought of working in the kitchen once you get home is a nightmare. But cooking really is key to knowing what’s in your food and having the power over your own health. Compared to restaurant food and frozen dinners, your own healthy meals will have far less sodium and fat, and far more nutrients. So decide to flip cooking on its head! Turn on some Cuban salsa music in the kitchen or have a conversation with your love as you cut vegetables. Take pride in learning how to satisfy both your hunger and nutritional needs with your own two hands. View cooking as an exciting, new challenge- your health will thank you.

 

You choose ways of exercising that are far away from your home or generally just a lot of effort to participate in.
Here’s an example. I see a fun opportunity to go kayaking every Wednesday with a South Florida fitness group but notice that I’d always have to drive an hour north of my house to meet them where they all live. Not to mention that I’d, of course, then have to rent the kayak and carry it over to the water (and back again later). I just stop things right there. It’s too much time and effort, and I know myself. Sure, if it was a one time kayaking trip I could convince myself to do it as a great, new experience. But to commit to participating in an activity that’s far away on a weekly, or multi-weekly, basis is just setting myself up for failure. For most of us, it goes like this: some days we’ll feel tired and not be in the mood to drive a long distance, then we’ll feel guilty and disappointed in missing the session, and then we’ll eventually stop going. Save yourself from that experience by choosing workout activities that are within a comfortable distance zone for you and that don’t take a ton of extra effort for you to participate in. Remember- you want to feel compelled to exercise on a regular basis, so make the whole process as easy as possible on yourself!

 

You don’t plan out your meals by the week.
Before I started on my summer travels, I was creating weekly meal plans for my boyfriend and I that detailed what we’d need everyday for breakfast, lunch, snacks, drinks, and dinner. I scheduled in two possibilities for meals out, preferably a nice dinner and a weekend brunch. Everything for my weekly shopping list was planned down to the ingredient. Eating in this way definitely goes against my personality type- I enjoy going out to dinner on a whim and picking the restaurant based on my current mood. But the truth is, if you want to eat healthily, you have to plan it out ruthlessly. If not, you’ll buy a whole bunch of random, expensive food from the store and not know what kind of dishes to make with all of it. A disgusting amount of food will likely end up unused and thrown away, and you’ll spiral into a pit of self-loathing every time you spot a grocery store. It’s happened to me a million times before, and the only thing that’s helped is planning meals, dish-by-dish, for the whole week. Boring, but true!

 

You sit down to unwind – watching TV, surfing the internet, looking at Facebook on your phone – right after coming home from work.
I know that all you probably want to do when you get home from work is sit down on the couch and relax for a bit. I understand. But that doesn’t mean it’s a good idea! To keep your momentum going, walk right through your front door and into your closet to put on your workout clothes and your sneakers. It will be a million times harder to get up in order to workout or cook a healthy dinner if you’ve already gotten more tired and comfortable in front of the TV. If you only remember three words I say, just remember: Don’t sit down!

 

You don’t make social time happen with exercise time.
We only have so many hours in a day, and the best way to maximize your time when it comes to exercise is to simultaneously make it friend time. Not only will you be bonding positively by getting in shape together, but you’ll also be making workouts fun and exciting by having a friend there. What could be better? By doing this, a positive correlation between exercise and happiness will be created, and you’ll also be building your sense of community. When I was living back in my hometown of Naples for 5 months last year, I joined an amazing, all ladies workout group called Blaze Fitness Fusion with a friend of mine. The workouts were always challenging, but what made me fall in love and keep coming back multiple times per week were all of the great women I was getting to know at the same time. So do yourself a favor- make a health commitment with a friend to keep exercising together and challenging each other.

 

You always talk the talk but never walk the walk.
A study discussed in Newsweek found that simply talking about a goal that we’d like to achieve gives us the same mental satisfaction as actually completing the goal. Keep that in mind as you scroll through pictures of yoga poses and healthy dishes on Instagram. Do you see all of these inspirational images and vow to your friends, “From now on, I’m going to juice every morning and practice yoga for 30 minutes before work”? For most of us, we get pumped and make big promises to the special people in our lives, saying that we’re going to work towards a new health goal. Honestly though, how many times does the goal achieving process stop there? We talk about the goal for a bit, feel happy, and then forget about it. Let’s catch ourselves and make sure that that we don’t get too satisfied with only talking about goal achievement- actually working towards our goals is what we should really be proud of!

 

So are you guilty of any of these forms of self-sabotage? I know I’ve certainly struggled with some of these issues, both in the past and present. The key is to remember that nobody can ever be perfect, so forgive yourself for past sabotage and decide that today is a fresh new day to begin again. Please share your thoughts in the comments below, and let us know if you have any extra tips for avoiding these behaviors. 🙂

Hope you’re having a wonderful week,

xo Caylee

 

The Gutsy Girl’s Summer Bucket List

Grab a pencil and paper, guys. It’s not too late to start making an awesome summer bucket list.

In my eyes, all fleeting things in existence deserve a bucket list to be made for them. They seem to create a sense of urgency in the way that we only have a set amount of time to finish something meaningful to us. A bucket list allows us to remember our goals more easily and gives a sense of achievement when we can mark our pen through each item.

There has been a bucket list for all occasions – One for all of the new things I wanted to try before college graduation a few years ago, one for what I hope to accomplish before I turn 30 years-old, one for all of the big ticket experiences I want to have before I die… And one for awesome activities to do this summer.

Since summer is already half-way over, I’m gonna have to move quickly to cross everything off of my list! For the record, I’ve never once completed all of the items on any of my dozens of bucket lists, but I have a special feeling about this summer. It’s going to be a crossing-off-my-bucket-list-bonanza! Want to join me? Here we goooooo!

 

  • Go to a local farmer’s market & learn some of the vendors’ stories. Getting to know where your food comes from can be such an interesting experience, and the farmers are often very passionate about what they do.
  • Learn something new & document your progress publicly. I would like to learn a new song, by heart, on my ukulele and then upload it onto the blog.
  • Plan a picnic at the park with someone meaningful in your life. Bring a supply of food you know they will love, and enjoy a few hours lounging outside together.
  • Try out a new type of yoga or fitness class that is outside of your comfort zone. Krav Maga? Kundalini yoga? A Bollywood dance fitness workout? Do it!
  • Make a new friend in your industry. Try to partner up on a small project, do a guest blog post swap, or interview each other for new business insights.
  • Finish 3 great books & write reviews to share with others who you think could benefit from reading them too.
  • Do something absolutely crazy – live with passion and purpose. Fall in love. Try an improv class. Start the amazing thing you’ve been too afraid to fail at. Be vulnerable and let your genuine, imperfect self be seen. Go whitewater rafting. Take a road trip. Just do something brave. Yes, please.
  • See a play or live show that is outside of what you’d normally enjoy. You might just discover something new to love!
  • Go on a nature hike & and make a mandala with all of the outdoor goodies you find along the way (twigs, flowers, rocks, leaves, etc).
  • Paint a canvas using just your intuition. Don’t plan it out and draw a picture with pencil beforehand – just create, wildly in the moment.

The Challenge:

So if you’re with me in trying to cross off this summer bucket list, let’s make a whole social media event out of it! Your challenge, if you choose to accept it, is to cross off as many of these list items as you can before September 1st. Use this blog as a jumping off point for inspiration! Write posts about your experience completing the bucket list challenges, and link back to this blog and let me know you’re participating. At the beginning of September, I’ll do a blog roll featuring your links and the awesome bucket list items you’ve achieved this summer. Also, if you’re a Twitter or Instagram fan, take this step below to feature our Gutsy Girl themed pictures together:

Think about it… We have a limited number of beautiful, bursting-with-life summers to enjoy in our time here on Earth. Be gutsy, and make this summer a passionate one. 🙂

Have a wonderful weekend,

xo Caylee