2020 is difficult. People have suffered unfathomable things. Most have had to refocus, re-budget, retool and remind ourselves that the pandemic isn’t permanent just to stay positive. Although this ‘new normal’ is yet to be defined, we will prevail.
This season many won’t have the opportunity to gather with loved ones or share in traditions past. People suffer from the loss of family, friends, uncertainty or their livelihood.
Many are redefining holiday rituals out of respect to attack the virus. During unprecedented times, it is critical to be vigilant of one another. Reach out more frequently. Schedule recurrent phone calls, Facetime, check-ins on friends and family. I like many have experienced the emotions of spending holidays alone and while unbearable, we don’t reach out.
COVID-19 may be attacking our world, yet we can’t let it succeed.
Though traditions may be atypical this year, we can find ways to stay positive and find hope. Change your pace, nurture mind and body and go within. Give yourself the gift of quiet renewal and self-reflection. Perhaps you could dive into a long-awaited project or read that great book. Attempt your culinary skills and feed your soul with comforting foods. Pamper your body through home facials and spa remedies. Start a meditation practice or connect with lost loved ones. Spend more time with immediate family, plan game nights or begin that 500-piece puzzle.
Start a daily gratitude journal. Begin small by giving thanks for your warm bed, your health, hot chocolate or cider, holiday baking, timeless holiday movies, the magic of holiday lights. Give thanks for the love of family and friends. For all the heroes who put their life on the line each day to save others. The ideas are endless.
2020 is like no other, yet we as collective are strong, resilient and will forge through. Be present, be aware of the small blessings, love yourself and hold your loved ones just a little bit tighter.
May you have a very Merry Christmas and a blessed New Year!
On the fourth Thursday of November, Americans of all religious faiths, personal beliefs and purpose, pause to give thanks. Other countries also celebrate Thanksgiving with different dates and customs. Beliefs and traditions about how the holiday are celebrated may differ, yet the ultimate meaning centers around the same principle:
Thanksgiving looks very different this year. Whether celebrating in person or virtually, people may find it difficult to feel grateful with all they have endured. We face monumental challenges with the pandemic, political, social and financial strife. No doubt we are experiencing unprecedented times.
January - the time of year where many commit to resolutions for big changes in the new year.
Unfortunately, individuals who succeed at resolutions are far and few between. Studies show that people fail the common resolutions of losing weight, quitting smoking, getting out of debt, drinking less, etc., within the first two weeks.
“May your coming year be filled with magic and dreams and good madness."
"I hope you read some fine books and kiss someone who thinks you're wonderful, and don't forget to make some art -- write or draw or build or sing or live as only you can. And I hope, somewhere in the next year, you surprise yourself.
"I hope you will have a wonderful year, that you'll dream dangerously and outrageously, that you'll make something that didn't exist before you made it, that you will be loved and that you will be liked, and that you will have people to love and to like in return. And, most importantly (because I think there should be more kindness and more wisdom in the world right now), that you will, when you need to be, be wise, and that you will always be kind.” - Neil Gaiman
What are your new year intentions?
‘Tis the season for bright lights, holiday cards, parties, excessive shopping and overindulgence. Delightful Christmas specials flood the networks while traditional Hallmark Christmas movies paint the picture of the perfect family.
As the holiday’s approach, many are eager to gather with family and friends to share in the seasonal giving, eat all the yummy holiday treats, and drink holiday cheer. While this may be an enjoyable experience for many, for others this can be challenging. Many family members naturally grow apart and have little in common. Some have family conflict that goes back years and can be easily triggered. It is not uncommon to face conflict when we get together with families.
Holiday's may represent an entirely different set of emotions with the pain and agony from the loss of a loved one, separation or divorce. For others, the season brings up intense feelings of sadness, loneliness, pain, depression, stress or anxiety for various reasons. The difficulty of helping someone suffering with chronic illness, substance abuse, aging parents, problematic family members may change the pulse of the holiday causing the magic of the season to fade.
The Winter Solstice marks the shortest day of the year for those of us in the Northern Hemisphere. Accordingly, many will see less sunlight today than any day of the year.
The lack of light and freezing cold denote long dreary months of winter ahead for many.
Yet the winter solstice signifies a time for quiet renewal and self-reflection. Similar to animals that hibernate, if we align and make peace with the season, slow our pace, and retreat within perhaps it can allow us much needed rest and rejuvenation.
Thanksgiving - a day to reflect and share with family and friends the blessings that saturate our lives.
While beliefs and traditions about how the holiday is celebrated may differ, one Thanksgiving truth that has held true over centuries is gratitude. On the fourth Thursday of November, Americans of all religious faiths, personal beliefs and purpose, pause to give thanks.
Yet what if every day we begin with a mindset of gratitude? Just think what a positive effect this might have on our relationships and our world.
Your day is formed by how you spend your first hour. Incorporate some or all of the five morning mindfulness ideas so that you can consciously begin your day with activities that create more focus, energy and serenity.
Mindfulness is being in the present moment. Whenever we bring awareness to what we are directly experiencing through our thoughts and emotions, we are being mindful. Mindfulness is the ability to be aware of what we are doing and not overly reactive or overwhelmed by what’s going on around us. We all have the natural quality of mindfulness, but it is more readily available if we practice it on a regular basis.
Mindfulness enters our everyday conversations in a powerful way. But what does mindfulness really mean?
Mindfulness is self-awareness. It’s noticing and paying attention to thoughts, feelings, behavior, and everything else.
Jon Kabbat-Zinn, PhD has studied mindfulness more than 35 years and is the creator of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR). Dr. Kabbat-Zinn says practicing mindfulness is actually a form of meditation, yet you don't have to practice for 20 minutes at a time.
You can be mindful anywhere, anytime, with anyone. Mindfulness and meditation are mirror-like reflections of each other: mindfulness supports and enriches meditation, while meditation nurtures and expands mindfulness. Where mindfulness can be applied to any situation throughout the day, meditation is usually practiced for a specific amount of time.
Mindfulness is simply awareness. It has been defined as a state of moment-to-moment awareness of one's experience without judgment. This requires being aware of and attentive to what’s going on inside and outside of your body. This requires being in the present, not being on “autopilot,” or going through the motions of life without a clear connection to what you’re feeling or doing.
“Each relationship has at its heart, a holy purpose.”
- Doreen Virtue
The relationship with your husband or wife, significant other, mother or father, between children, siblings or other family members is for a holy purpose. Relationships that you form with friends, people you work or socialize with, gather for meditation or spiritual gatherings, yoga, gym or outdoor/sporting events are in your life for a reason.
Some people come and go; some may be around for a lifetime. Some relationships are deeper than others.
Some people bring us true joy, love and companionship and helps us to strengthen our sense of who we are. Others may provoke extreme pain and suffering and contribute to a feeling of a weaker self. They tend to shatter the self-image making us doubt our ability to make healthy decisions and come to good judgement.
Yet all relationships ultimately serve to discover our soul’s purpose.
Do you sometimes wander the supermarket aisles wondering what's healthy and what's not?
It seems every day there is some new product claiming to be the latest health product or superfood.
One thing that continues to be on shopper's minds are the issues with pesticides in fruits and vegetables.
In a 2015 Consumer Reports survey of 1,050 people found that pesticides are a concern for 85 percent of Americans.
Many experts and consumers believe that organic is always the best choice for your health, the environment, and the farmer's who grow our food and who are exposed to the toxic pesticides. There are definite risks depending on the type of produce and where it is grown.
If you are a highly sensitive person, chances you are in or have been in a relationship with a narcissist.
Narcissists are master manipulators and liars with a need for admiration. They have a sense of entitlement, persuasive pattern of grandiosity, sense of self-importance and a true lack of empathy and humility.
Highly sensitive people or empaths are often a narcissist’s target because they are deeply caring, empathetic people whose purpose in life is to support the healing in others. Yet due to their intense sensitivity, empaths often struggle to create healthy boundaries for themselves, giving in to co-dependency and habitual self-sacrifice.
Yes, we're talking testosterone. That muscle-building hormone.
But I'm not going to recommend that you take any anabolic steroid hormones or anything like that.
I am going to give you some solid tips on how you can boost your testosterone levels naturally.
What is Testosterone?
The principle male hormone in men is testosterone. The hormone is typically found in the testicles of males, yet women also have a small amount of testosterone in their ovaries.
Testosterone signifies many physical aspects of masculinity and helps to maintain sex drive, muscle strength and bone density, reproductive ability, facial and body hair.
Yet some of the primary health importance of higher levels of testosterone are closely associated with lower risks of heart disease, blood pressure, diabetes and obesity.
The protein powder aisle – whether in-store or the virtual ‘aisle’ online – can be overwhelming. With the incredible deluge of options available, it’s easy to get confused and frustrated. Every brand promises different things, and it can be hard to separate fact from fiction.
What is the right protein powder for me? This is a question I am asked a lot, especially this time of year as people focus on their wellness efforts. Protein is an essential need to assist in the growth and repair of our muscles. People who are limiting their amount of animal protein either for health concerns, digestive issues or personal choice may have trouble achieving their recommended amounts. Adding protein to a meal in proper proportions can increase the sense of being satisfied after a meal and may also lead to weight loss.
With a little pre-planning and research (below), you can have healthy, tasty meal and snack options without all of the junk that is contained in processed, packaged foods. These are foods that your body can’t and doesn’t know how to digest causing a metabolic nightmare.
But how do you choose the best protein powder when there are so many options out there?
Self-talk... stop for a moment and listen to yours for a brief period of time. Is your inner dialogue filled with negativity and expecting positive outcomes?
We all have those days when we are stressed, running late, spill coffee on our crisp, white shirt prior to making that important presentation. The inner critic immediately blurts, “Seriously! I can’t believe you’re such a blundering idiot!!
Humans are hardwired by nature towards negative thinking. It dates back to our ancestors safeguarding our survival so that we recognize and avoid survival. Many of us also grew up with the belief that having a negative attitude towards life and self was normal in order to protect us.
Listen to your self-talk for a day. How do you talk to yourself? To others? Do you have your brief blundering moments, or is it an incessant negative dialogue?
If another person spoke to someone you loved the way you dialogue with yourself, you would likely get a bit angry or defensive. Yet with internal negative self-talk, our self-defense mechanism is non-existent.
Some of us need to reprogram and re-train our brain so that positivity becomes our new automatic response. Positive affirmations and self-talk do work but it takes persistence and taking notice of the conversation that exists in the subconscious and conscious mind.
Following are five fundamental tips to help you eliminate negative self-talk and begin changing your inner dialogue...