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

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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

 

Living Costa Rica’s “Pura Vida” Lifestyle


If you’ve ever traveled to Costa Rica before, I’m willing to bet that someone said the phrase “Pura Vida” to you at least five times daily. These words were coined during the 1950’s through a movie but weren’t common in the country until the 1970’s. Now, it’s a way of life for Ticos and surfers alike, and the quickest way to describe their amazing lifestyle in the tropics. Translation into English literally means “pure life” – it’s an expression that I’ve had the urge to live by ever since I visited the little gem of a country.

To many foreigners, “Pura Vida” is symbolic of a leisurely lifestyle full of friendliness and a disregard for time. For Costa Ricans, the phrase can mean a whole lot more – or a whole lot less. Some rattle it off as a casual greeting like how we might say, “Have a good day” or “Goodbye” in the United States. When “Pura Vida” is used to its depth of meaning, Costa Ricas have described it to me as:

 

Appreciating what you have. Enjoying life slowly. Building a strong sense of community. Being good spirited.

 

I believe to my core that all of those things are important for embodying my idea of the good life. For me, it is all about quality over quantity. I want deeper friendships rather than more friendships and greater spiritual wealth versus material wealth. I crave meaningful experiences that enliven my heart – maybe that’s why I like to travel so much. Just loving the simple moments in life is what I want to focus on.

 

Both times that I’ve been to Costa Rica, I found it very easy to live in the present and enjoy every little thing that came my way – or at least feel it to its depth of emotion. When my boyfriend, Stefan, and I arrived at our first stop on the trip, I pulled open the doors to our cabina and sitting majestically, right in front of us, was Arenal Volcano. Tropical birds were chirping all around in the lush, green trees, and the setting sun was hitting Arenal dramatically. Everything was so fresh and quiet and beautiful. I cried. I’m not a crier, guys – this place just buries itself into my core, every time.

 

Since we can’t all go and live in Costa Rica right now (a shame, I know), figuring out how to live the “Pura Vida” lifestyle back home is key. So have you ever been to Costa Rica? What are your thoughts on the “Pura Vida” lifestyle? What does a “good life” consist of for you? Please share, and let me know your experiences in the comments below! This is a topic I love, so I’m sure we’ll talk more about it soon. 🙂

 

Have a beautiful day,

 

xo Caylee

 

The Importance of Following Your Intuition

Most people I’ve ever met seem to struggle with indecision while making major life choices. This is common in the human experience – we all feel scared that we’ll make the wrong decision and be led down a path that we never intended to go in life. We then resort to making a pros and cons list or talking endlessly with our best friends and parents to try and debate the correct answer to our problems right out of each other. But how many times have you settled on a life decision and then changed your mind again less than a day later, because you somehow talked yourself out of it?

The truth is – nobody in the entire world knows the correct answer to your dilemmas and life choices better than you. The problem is that you need to follow your inner intuition first.

I’ve had a great deal of experience in this method of inner decision-making. Usually, I’m really good at following my intuition, and I’ve found it has never steered me wrong. But there’s been a couple of big instances, in recent rears, where I desperately didn’t want to hear what my intuition was screaming to me.

The most major time was in relation to an ex-boyfriend who I’d hoped more than anything was “the one.” He had everything going for him and was such a fun, thoughtful guy, but when he invited me to permanently move up to the Northeast with him to start his shiny new career, my insides froze. Not just froze, but shut down. Every time he would mention our future plans together up North, I would get sick to my stomach and feel trapped in despair. He was being just as sweet as ever, but I became depressed and developed major anxiety issues. Now, if I’d just listed to my intuition that was yelling to be heard, I would have ended it then and saved us both a lot of drawn out hurt. Instead, because I didn’t want to believe my intuition to be my truth, I ignored it and played our emotions back and forth for many months. “I want to be with you” changed to “I can’t be with you” in a matter of days – it was emotionally exhausting and devastating for both of us. In the end, we obviously broke up for good, but it left us with more emotional baggage and dark memories of each other than if I hadn’t avoided my blaring intuition about the situation.

So how do we become better at listening to our intuition? Since everybody has varying physical and emotional reactions when intuition is trying to steer you, I believe the most important thing you can do is to be in-tuned with your body – listen to it. Recognize how it feels when everything is normal and then the difference in feeling when something is wrong. Here is an example:

A completely non-threatening looking guy comes and sits down next to you at a bar. You know from your experience of listening to your body that usually when a nice-looking man approaches, you might feel a little shy and have a slightly higher heart-rate due to that. But as this man starts talking, your chest clenches up tightly, your hands feel disconnected to your body, and you feel an unexplainable sense of fear in the pit of your stomach.

PLEASE LISTEN TO YOUR BODY. You don’t want to find out why your body was having a terrified reaction to that man. It is so important to hear what your body is telling you in any situation or decision. Intuition is your deep, subconscious way of telling the social version of yourself exactly what you want. The subconscious will usually win in the long wrong, because it’s trying to lead you towards happiness. You might as well listen to it in the first place!

Next time you’re needing to make a big decision, go over all the choices in your head using vibrant imagery like it’s actually happening. Imagine what the outcome of the various choices would be, and listen to how your body feels with each one. Does one make your stomach clench? Do you suddenly feel a tinge of sadness? How about a feeling of joy or relief? Don’t ignore these emotions – I guarantee that if you follow this intuition regularly, you will always make the best decision. Just like I should have made the hard decision with my ex-boyfriend and broken up with him sooner – sometimes, the hard answer is still the right answer.

Don’t let your future be dictated by a pro and con list or what your loved ones think is best for you – only you can feel the right choices for your life. So what are your experiences with listening to your intuition? Have you ever had an experience like me and ignored your intuition? Please share your stories in the comments below! 🙂

Wishing you a happy Monday,

xo Caylee

 

Take an Afternoon Meditation Break – Right Now!

One of the best things you can do for your well-being is to use between 5-10 minutes daily to relax your mind and meditate. Just taking this simple step lowers anxiety, decreases muscle tension, and increases concentration abilities, among many other benefits. I know it’s hard remembering to dedicate time to meditate on the regular – even I forget to stop everything I’m doing and breathe sometimes. But trust me – it will help all of us, mentally and physically, in the long run. Here are some basic steps to get an easy meditation practice going in your life:

 

One. Find the most quiet place you can in your home or office. You want the least amount of noise possible so that your thoughts won’t always get taken away from meditation.

Two. You can sit in a chair or directly on the ground, or lie down someplace. It doesn’t really matter how you position yourself as long as you are comfy enough to not get distracted by aches, but not so comfy that you’ll immediately fall asleep!

Three. Set your timer. A person not experienced with meditation would probably want to start at 5 minutes, and you can work your way up from there with time.

Four. To get started, I like to focus on my breath for a bit to clear my mind. I put my hands gently on my stomach and slowly breathe in through my nose for 5 counts – hold it in for 5 counts – and then release with controlled breath for 5 counts. Do this small breathing exercise until you feel more relaxed.

Five. Once the mind feels relatively clear, I start breathing normally again, and just let it all go. You don’t have to focus on any imagery in your mind or concentrate on your breaths. Just be. Just breathe. It’s okay if your mind wanders – this is a normal part of the practice. Acknowledge your thought with kindness but then try to clear your mind again.

TIP: When your mind gets distracted, use the breathing exercise from Step #4 to relax again, or repeat any type of positive mantra to yourself. Examples that I use include – “I am enough,” “Life is so beautiful,” and the classic “Om.”

Six. Keep breathing and letting go of your stress until the timer goes off. Remember: it’s okay if your brain gets distracted. Just hear the thought, and try to let it go. Finish off the end of your meditation with a thought of gratitude for something or someone special in your life. Then it’s time to go back to the real world until your afternoon meditation time tomorrow!

TIP: I like to use an app on my phone called Dharma Meditation Trainer to help me remember to sit down and focus on my breathing. A daily meditation reminder will pop-up, and the app provides you with a timer which increases your meditation length with usage.

 

Meditation is just that simple! The hard part is getting yourself to do it on a regular basis, but don’t beat yourself up about it if you miss a day. Just get back to it the next day – it’s a small action that majorly contributes to total well-being.

So do you have a regular meditation practice? If so, what is your preferred method? Everyone has their own way that works best for them. If you don’t have a regular practice, what is keeping you from taking up meditation? Please share, and let us know in the comments below! 🙂

Have a beautiful day,

xo Caylee

 

Energize Your Day in Four Simple Steps

For the past few years of my life, everyday when 3:00 PM rolled around I would get a massive headache. It didn’t matter if I was in a college class, chatting with a friend, or working at the office – if it was midafternoon, you could find me catatonic with my head pounding and desperately needing an energy boost. Work always came to an unproductive standstill, and I was so exhausted that I basically slept with my eyes open. My brain screamed, “COFFEE! COFFEE! I. NEED. COFFEE.”  You guys, that is what an addict sounds like.

 

To be honest, my previous habits made me feel like total crap everyday, but I couldn’t seem to shake them. I put off altering my negative lifestyle for almost a year, because my boyfriend and I loved going out to eat in Miami at delicious restaurants (with even more delicious cocktails) almost every night. It’s really hard to change when you’re having so much fun doing the things that make you unhealthy. Trust me, I understand your pain! But as I saw my energy levels plummet even more, along with my mood dipping to a depressed low point, I knew I finally had to get down to business in making myself feel good again. Along with my boyfriend also having health issues from all of our unhealthy habits, it became clear to me that our lifestyle needed to change immediately.

 

Where I used to eat a bunch of salty, frozen processed foods or fat-laden meats at restaurants, now I like to make homemade meals with fresh produce. On a normal day, I will try to eat at least two types of fruit and four types of vegetables. Except as a treat here and there, I’ve stopped drinking coffee… Shocking, right?! This is not because I have anything against coffee now – it’s just that with my lifestyle change I don’t need caffeine in order to stay awake anymore. It’s a miracle! I also avoid added sweeteners, heavy meats like beef and pork, and white bread. I’m not strict with my meal plan, or withholding in any way, but I’ve found that I truly want to keep eating like this because it makes me feel so much more energized and happy. For a person like me who always felt sluggish, to feel healthy and vibrant is an amazing thing.

 

If you find yourself feeling sluggish during the work day and need a healthy pick-me-up, here are some easy lifestyle changes you can incorporate into your routine for a coffeeless energy boost:

 

 

Do you have any other energy boosting tips? Let us know in the comments below, and please feel free to share this post with your friends!

 

Hope you have a vibrant day,
xo Caylee