Tag Archives: mental health

September in Pictures

What a wonderful month September was. The most highlightable experience from the month was my yoga retreat. It was a transformational experience; a time I will always look back on fondly.

Here’s some pictures that sum up my month of September as a whole:

New plants! Aren’t they adorable?

I bought a new car! I’m seriously in love with it.

My best friend showed up with my favorite beer from my favorite brewery.

Last weekend on the lake for the season.

Grilling for my friends!

My plants make me so happy.

Watching some football with some friends.

Montana was a dream.

One of the most beautiful places I’ve ever visited.

This cat was so stinking sweet.

Onward.

This life sure is a good one.

Montana reminded me the importance of self – love

This past week I went on a yoga retreat in Montana, right outside Glacier National Park. I’m not really certain what my expectations were going into the trip, but now that the experience has came and passed, I’m sure it exceeded any possible expectations. 

Montana is quite possibly one of the most tranquil, gorgeous states I’ve ever visited. The mountains roll for miles and the color schemes surpass every possible palate imaginable.

I didn’t know anyone else going on this trip when I signed up. I was slightly nervous about that, but I make friends easily – connecting with people is something that comes very naturally to me. The people – it turned out – were all so incredible. We bonded through laughter, sweat, tears, chill bumps, and our love of yoga. 

On the trip, we packed a lot into a quick week. We biked, hiked, cold plunged, enjoyed a homemade sauna, ate delicious, nutritious food, while soaking up the refreshing Montana air. The whole experience truly feels like a fairy tale dream. 

I got to really unplug, soak up nature, and get into my body and outta my head – which is a reality I consistently strive for. Certain experiences have the power to ground me in ways I didn’t realize I needed. 

I journaled a lot – I bought a new journal on the first day of my trip and almost filled it completely up. Journaling is a meditative and grounding experience that I keep coming back to. Filling page after page with my thoughts and ideas has always soothed me. 

Some of my main take aways from my trip are:

The world is abundant. Life is about meeting new faces and seeing new places. I want to always step out of my comfort zone to experience new things. I am never, ever stuck. No matter if it feels like that some days. I have the power to explore and roam and soak up the beauty this earth has to offer. 

Self love is the most precious gift I have to offer. It allows my light to shine bright and positively impact those around me. Even when I don’t like everything about myself and my thoughts veer towards deprecating, I have the desire to fully and unconditionally love and accept myself exactly how I am. That thought process – I believe – is rare and something I hope to always come back to. 

I don’t have to always “go with the flow”. I am the author of my story; I am the creator of my reality. At any given moment, I have the power to pivot and start a new chapter. At any given moment, I have the power to shift the direction of my life.

Being outside is vital for my health. I need space, air, and room to explore and grow. Since living in a metropolitan city, this has taken a backseat. I’ve always known it was necessary for me to be outdoors, but this week really confirmed just how important it is to soak up fresh air and be submerged in nature. 

I feel very appreciative of all the growth I’ve endured in the past year since moving alone during a pandemic. It’s been a bumpy road, but I’m content with this path I’m on. I truly love who I am becoming and I know that each chapter is important and worthy of being present for. 

Manifestations are real! Manifesting is the first step to achieving my goals and accomplishing my dreams. I will, I can, I am. Journaling my manifestations are going to become part of my weekly routine and I’m so excited to see how things shift in my life. 

I am strong. I am capable. I am determined.

Having role models is important. The owner of the retreat I went to easily and quickly became one of my role models. She bought this big, beautiful home in Montana and turned it into a yoga studio. She spends a couple months of the year out there and opens it up for others to come and enjoy and practice yoga at. Can you say GOALS? 

This life goes by extremely fast. It’s too damn short to not enjoy it. Too short to not seek out the things that excite me and bring me joy. This could all be ripped away in an instant. Don’t take anything fore- granted.  

Onward, friend, always onward. 

A Scale Doesn’t Measure Your Health

Three ways to track body composition progress without ever weighing yourself

As a society, we’re obsessed with knowing what we weigh, but really what does that number even mean?

Usually, the only time I step on a scale is when I’m at the doctor’s office. I begrudgingly hop on, usually holding my phone, wallet, keys, and sometimes all three as the number pops up on the screen and the nurse jots it down.

Sure, it’s “necessary” for them to keep a chart of my BMI, but I do not believe the number on that scale adds or subtracts any value to how healthy I am as a person.

Our weight fluctuates so much depending on when/how much we have eaten, when we last defecated, and how hydrated we are. The only time our weight is truly “accurate” is when we first wake up in the morning, before we eat or drink anything or even use the bathroom. And still those numbers don’t define our health. The real question we should be asking is how do we feel?

Better ways, I’ve personally found, when tracking progress is to take mirror pictures of your body. Hit all the angles – front, back, sides – just snap a few pictures and then don’t look at them for a designated amount of time. And when that time frame is up, take new pictures of the exact same angles and place the pictures side by side. What looks different? What changes do you notice? How do you feel?

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Another good way to assess progress is by noticing how your clothes fit. Maybe they used to be skin tight in certain areas, but now you’re noticing you have room to breathe in them. Or maybe they used to be a perfect fit and now you’re noticing some baggy areas. I’ve found this is a true and accurate way to measure progress. Plus, it gives you an excuse to get new clothing that fits your body as it transforms.

Photo by Ksenia Chernaya on Pexels.com

Another more dedicated way to measure progress is by keeping a journal. This can be as detailed as you’d like. Some good things to track in your journal daily are: what you ate / how much you ate, how much water you’ve consumed, what vitamins or supplements you’ve consumed, the quality and quantity of your sleep, what you did for exercise, and most importantly – how you’re feeling.

Be completely honest with yourself, this is your journey and your experiences.

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These are accurate, non judgmental ways to assess your progress that don’t involve the anxiety of jumping on a scale and seeing a number.

Ten Laws of Primal Living

I recently started a course to get my health coaching certification. I’ve always been very passionate about my own health and wellness and achieving my highest potential, so I thought this would a really great opportunity for me to gain skills to help others reach their most authentic selves as well.

I’m four weeks in and I’m learning so much about how the body functions and operates, what it needs, and how we can adequately give that to it.

I did some research on different health coaching platforms when I stumbled upon Primal Health Coach Institute . I really liked this approach because it gets us back to the basics of living in tune with the earth and with the natural instincts of our genes.

In the first section of the course, I learned what primal living actually is. It’s so simple, yet so easily forgotten, but here are the ten laws of primal living according to the program:

Eat plants and animals

While living primally, plants and animals should make up the majority of your diet. The good thing about this is that there are so many meal combinations. You don’t have to continuously eat the same chicken and sweet potatoes combination for the rest of your life. You can get creative in the kitchen and rotate different foods you enjoy.

A good rule of thumb is that if it grows from the earth (and hasn’t been proven to be harmful) it’s probably beneficial to include it in your diet.

Photo by Nerfee Mirandilla on Pexels.com

Avoid poisonous things

This is pretty broad, but really it’s referring to foods that are super processed, loaded with added sugar and starches, and not natural. This could also include alcohol and tobacco products, because technically those are poisonous to our bodies, but we have to set realistic and attainable goals for ourselves and reach for the low hanging fruits. A glass or two of wine is not necessarily bad. In fact, there are benefits to red wine, but it’s important to not consistently over indulge.

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Move frequently

Of course our bodies want movement. I’m a firm believer that movement is medicine and moving our physical bodies is very beneficial to our mental health. Our ancestors were constantly moving, especially before communities formed civilizations. They were always relocating and chasing dinner, so genetically our bodies don’t want to be stagnant for long periods of time.

Sometimes movement can be a walk around your neighborhood or maybe it’s turning on your favorite album and dancing to the entire thing or maybe it’s practicing yoga. Listen to your body and give it what it needs.

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Lift heavy things

Weight training is extremely beneficial for our muscles and our bodies. Although not everyone enjoys lifting weights, we all experience the process of lifting heavy things from time to time whether it’s laundry baskets, children, or random objects, lifting heavy is beneficial to keep our muscles strong.

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Sprint once in a while

Our ancestors did a lot of sprinting – when they were catching dinner or when they were avoiding being a predator’s dinner, periodically sprinting is a part of living primally.

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Get plenty of sleep

Prioritizing a consistent sleep schedule is so important, yet so often easy to neglect. So many of us run on too little of sleep and this makes it easy to overeat, under exercise, and feel crummy in general. Getting plenty of sleep cannot be overstressed because when we sleep our bodies repair and our brains rewire.

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Play

This is also an important aspect of primal living that is often overlooked. When was the last time you did something just for the fun of doing it? Our society pushes productivity and many of us often feel guilty when we aren’t accomplishing a task or working on a plan, but we’re not genetically wired for this. We’re wired to enjoy ourselves and to not be under a constant amount of stress.

One of my favorite podcasts did an episode about the importance of play on our mental health and it was a great listen.

Photo by Krivec Ales on Pexels.com

Get plenty of sunlight

Getting plenty of sunlight is very important because vitamin D is so essential for bone health and immunity. Although, when we are soaking up the sun it’s sometimes necessary to cover up sensitive areas like the face, neck, and chest, but areas like the legs, arms, and torsos do well in absorbing sunlight.

Photo by Jill Wellington on Pexels.com

Avoid stupid mistakes

This may seem obvious, but it’s important to be reminded of every now and then. A century ago, if one of our ancestors made a stupid mistake, it could have resulted in death – like being eaten by a predator or falling off a ledge, but today many of us make stupid mistakes every day that don’t result in anything. The example provided in my course was texting and driving. This is a stupid mistake that has actually killed many people, but how many times do we find ourselves checking our phones while operating a vehicle? Living primally includes attempting to avoid situations that could become fatal.

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Use your brain

This is another one you think might be obvious, but so often we get into these mundane, monotonous cycles where we aren’t forced to change our thinking patterns. The brain is a muscle and we have to continuously use our muscles to keep them strong. Using your brain can include a lot of things like reading a book, doing a puzzle or strategic game, trying a new activity that doesn’t come naturally at first, and so much more.

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Although it won’t be possible to immediately start living by all ten of these primal laws, we can at least start somewhere and slowly try to incorporate these into our lives. My goal as a future health coach is to help individuals make lifestyle changes so they can be the best, most authentic versions themselves.

Five reasons you should meal prep

When I was in college, a friend introduced me to a local meal prepping company. You could order breakfast, snacks, lunch, and even juices from them. You could either pick up your food from one of the gyms they worked with or they would deliver your goodies straight to your house. I thought this was the coolest concept in the world, so I ordered some stuff from them. It was surprisingly really tasty, healthy, and convenient.

I was browsing the company’s website one night, trying to figure out what I wanted to order for the next week when I saw that they were hiring. I was in college and was currently working at my campus’s rec center, but summer was just around the corner and I figured a little extra income couldn’t hurt. So I reached out to the meal prepping company and asked what the qualifications were.

Within minutes someone responded and asked me to come in to meet them.

Two days later, I stood in the downtown kitchen they were renting. I was prepared for an interview, to tell my strengths and weaknesses and why I felt like I would be a good fit for the team.

“Can you jump in and help portion out these meatballs?” one of the owners asked after our initial introduction.

“Of course.” I gloved up, grabbed a couple meatballs and began portioning them in the three dozen containers that lined the table.

That was my first shift at Vibrant Meals.

I stayed with the company for nearly two years, until I graduated college, and moved two hours away. It was the perfect college job and I learned so much about nutrition, portion sizes, and my overall health journey.

I loved interacting with our customers, finding out their individual goals and needs and recommending the different portion sizes and protein options we offered. Meal prepping, I quickly learned, was essential for eating healthy in this busy, hectic life.

You should meal prep because…

Meal prepping makes your life more convenient.

I personally like to meal prep all my lunches for Monday – Friday. The middle of my workday is hectic and I’m usually eating on the go. Having my food already prepared and with me saves me the hassle of figuring out what I want to eat and when I’m going to have the time to get it.

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Meal prepping saves you money.

It’s no secret that eating out adds up very quickly. $12 is pretty typical for a lunch meal and if you do this every day that’s $60 a week, which then turns into roughly $240 a month. That’s a lot for just your lunches. When you meal prep, you buy your food in bulk at the grocery store and that’s always more cost efficient.

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Meal prepping allows you to know exactly what you’re putting into your body

Whether you count macros or calories or don’t, it’s still important to be conscious of what you’re putting into your body. When you eat out, it’s often nearly impossible to get an accurate description of what is actually in your meal. Usually it’s heavy on sodium, carbs, and saturated fats – all things you should be having in moderation. But when you meal prep, you can read all the nutrition facts in the grocery store before you even purchase the food. Even if you don’t want to track everything that’s in your food you should still be mindful and give your body as much nutrient-dense food as you can.

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Meal prepping allows you not to eat a salad everyday.

Don’t get me wrong, I love a good salad as much as I love a warm brownie, but people often have this misconception that in order to “eat healthy” they have to eat a salad every day, and I don’t necessarily believe that. Yes, salads are great, they contain the veggies and fruits and nuts that you should absolutely be eating. But what about that dressing you’re pouring all over your salad? My bet is that it’s loaded with sodium and high in saturated fat – which you should try to avoid.

When you meal prep, you get a balanced amount of protein, veggies, and carbs and you stay away from those dressings. Not to mention, salads can get boring really quickly and make you dread meal time. Our food should be our fuel and we should always be eager to fuel our bodies.

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Meal prepping is an act of self care.

Life is busy and hectic, but ultimately we have time for what we make time for. If we want to be our most authentic, vibrant selves then we have to be intentional about carving out the time to take care of our bodies. When you make the time to prep your meals, you’re actively performing self care and looking out for your future self.

Meal prepping can be fun if you let it be. Grocery shop and prepare your food with a friend, roommate, partner, sibling, or parent. Turn on some music and assign tasks to each individual helping out. If you’re meal prepping alone, then plan out an idea of how you’re going to time everything so it gets done roughly at the same time.

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Stay tuned for some of my go-to meal prepping ideas that are cheap, quick, and easy.

August in Pictures

And just like that another month has come and gone. Time continuously creeps by, with no warning and no sound. I can’t believe the summer months are wrapping up and fall is just around the corner. It’s weird not to have school to attend in the fall anymore. Semesters were always a good marker of time, but without them the year just stretches on endless.

Life has been a roller coaster, but I’m continuously reminding myself to be gentle and that nothing is permanent. Bad days only last 24 hours and good days only last 24 hours.

August was a good month, I’ve been working on getting into good routines like meal prepping on Sunday’s for my lunches and practicing yoga daily. I’ve even enrolled in a course to get a certification to become a health coach. I feel passionate about living an authentic life where I am my best self and I would eventually like to assist others to step into their own power of being fully themselves and feeling their best. The course is just as in-depth and lengthy as I thought it would be, but it’s nice to be working towards a goal again.

Anyways, here’s my August in pictures:

My friend cooked lobster rolls and they were absolutely delicious.

A rainbow after a big shower.

Randomly got to see my best friend the other day and it was wonderful.

I got elected as recruitment chair on my rugby team’s board! My responsibility is to spread the word of rugby to people in the community and try to get people to come practice with us and see if they want to join our team. It’s pretty cool to be on the board and it gives me an excuse to talk to random people about rugby!

My cat brought me a bunny…. It was still alive, so I picked my cat up and brought her inside and the bunny hopped away… I hope it lived.

The latest novel I’ve been reading, it’s very intriguing and I’m hooked on it.

My rugby team at our beer bust fundraiser!

One of my previous roommates gave me this plant before we parted ways and moved out. It’s a passion flower and it’s my favorite plant. I somehow kept it alive through last winter. I’m interested to see how it does this winter..

And just like that, September is upon us.

Invest in Yourself

It’s so easy to get caught up in daily and weekly routines. We build hectic, jammed-packed lives and then have the audacity to wonder why we’re so burnout, fatigued, and desperate for some downtime.

I recently started meeting with my life coach again because I was feeling stagnant, stuck, and unmotivated.

“I want purpose!” I practically yelled during our session via zoom.

So she did what she does best and started asking thought-provoking questions like what do I enjoy? What am I good at? What can I get into a flow doing? What does my ideal day look like? Where do I see myself in five years? What do I need to do to become that person I envision myself as?

Not only did her nudges push me towards revisiting and resetting goals, but she also pushed me to dive deep into myself. How do I want to spend my one precious and beautiful life? What kind of impact do I want to make? How can I be my most authentic self?

One phrase keeps circulating in my busy, stimulated mind: invest in yourself.

I have the resources to pursue my dreams and my goals. I need to simply get out of my own way and let myself dream big and work hard.

the human experience

I’ve always heard cardinals signal someone that has passed is present or attempting to make contact.

And as I watch a vibrant cardinal feed her baby right from her own mouth, I can’t help but think about Jake, my best friend’s little brother. His death was devastating, heartbreaking, and tragic. I think about him often, when certain songs come on or light hits a leaf and there’s a certain shade of green.

The baby bird in my yard doesn’t really look like a cardinal yet. It’s features have barely developed and they certainly aren’t red.

But yet it has this instinct that one day it will develop to look like its mother, streaking with dazzling, bright feathers.

The baby simply relaxes on my backyard furniture, not a care in the world, sure of itself and its future.

I wonder whats next for the little creature, when it will be on its own soaring across the sky, getting chased by my cat, and finding its own meals.

Its instincts will undoubtedly take over when the timing is right and it will fit in with all the other birds, chirping, dancing, and soaring.

Animals have that instinct to survive. We have it too, although it’s certainly stronger for some people than it is for others, but deep down we all that fight to survive as we try to find our place in this chaotic world.

The baby digests its meal and remains on the chair across from me, taking in all of its surroundings. I wonder if it will ever experience anxiety or heartbreak or even joy or if it simply only experiences primal intuition.

I suppose that ability to feel emotions is what separates a bird’s experience from a human’s experience. Sometimes it’s more appealing not to feel negative emotions, but really you can’t have the good ones without the bad ones, and aren’t those good things what make this entire human experience worthwhile?

Opryland

Opryland Hotel is not your ordinary hotel. There are over 600 plants there, ranging between 200 species. The place itself is a sort of greenhouse. In Opryland, you will find waterfalls, a river, gazebos, peaceful settings, and plenty of entertainment throughout the hotel.

My mom had a conference at Opryland last week. Her job paid for her room in one of the coolest hotels I’ve ever seen. I went to Opryland just about every night while her conference was going on. There was a mall right up the road, so we got to shop some too.

I think the rest of the family was jealous we were on a sort of mini vacay, so one night my brother and his girlfriend came up and we went to Paula Deen restaurant and gorged on fried chicken and dumplins. Then we walked around the hotel, taking pictures and soaking up the views and quality time.

Then another night my grandparents and my dad came up. We went to Old Hickory, a delicious steakhouse in the hotel. It was a fine dining experience, with lobster, steak, wine and as much mac n cheese as we could possibly consume. We all agreed it was probably one of the best meals we have ever had. Plus the service was immaculate, our server was cracking jokes with us the whole time and if you know my family, you know that we’re a bunch full of jokers.

It was really nice to be surrounded by family all week. We laughed a lot, ate a lot, and just enjoyed each other’s company in a magical surreal environment.

One night my mom and I decided to get dinner in the hotel. When we finally decided on a place, we realized there was live music going on.

Charlie Argo with his mop of curly hair and captivating voice, stole the crowd’s heart. I don’t even really like country music, but his voice was incredible and he played a lot of well-known songs. It was some of the best live entertainment I’ve seen in a long time.

My mom and I took at our time at our prime front row seats, ordering appetizers, food, and plenty to sip on. While we both thought the night was perfect, we agreed the company was the best part.

The Gold

You are here to make,

to create.

You are here to connect,

not to perfect.

You do not have to do it all

sometimes you will fall,

but do not be consumed with worry,

or allow yourself to get in a hurry.

Simply let yourself unfold,

and one day you will find the gold.