Are you feeling your best? Now that the first month of 2014 is over, (the month of the never-ending resolutions and how could we forget the polar vortex) I wanted to review my un-resolutions. My Feel Best List! This is my list of items that make me feel my best and I am committed to doing more of them in 2014! So, how am I doing with this list of the things that make me feel awesome? Am I letting myself feel great everyday? Or am I still stuck in the monotony of just OK? Stephanie of Lattes and Laughs joined in on the "Feel Best" List and we decided to review our lists together and keep the motivation going to make 2014 great.
What items of your Feel Best List did you really stick with this month?
Megan: Limit Dairy. I totally cut out diary from cows. I allow myself a little bit of goat milk yogurt or goat milk cheese on occasion. I found that dairy is really a trigger food for me and I get hives all over my back now if I have it. My complexion also improved which I attribute to ditching the diary. I used to have red irritation around my mouth which has disappeared. The no cheating on my grains and other foods I also stuck with pretty tightly. I am generally good about that because it keeps me feeling really healthy. I have to say another key was sleep(Sleep 7+ hours). Getting regular sleep and setting the alarm for seven hours from the time I turn in has been really helpful. At the end of the year my sleep cycle was really off so sticking to a schedule has really helped me. I know some days I want to stay in bed but end up feeling WAY better if I get up and start my day with a workout.
Having a Clean Space was also HUGE this month. Over a few snow days this month we did a total home overhaul and NO item went unquestioned in its' usability. I also did a major closet purge and realized I did not need SO MANY of the things I was holding on to, so I donated a lot and put some in storage. Having a clean space is so energizing and liberating. I highly recommend it.
Stephanie: I've been all about the beverages this month - the water, green smoothies, and herbal teas. Focusing on hydration has been life changing. I used to go days (yes, days) without water but lots and lots of triple shot soy lattes. Now I consistently start every morning with 24 ounces of water and a green smoothie and drink more water and herbal teas throughout the day. It's especially important to increase your fluids when you're spending most of your time inside with the dry heat. I also find that herbal teas can help me with sugar cravings. My favorite is to throw a handful of fresh mint into boiling water to warm me up, aid in digestion, and curb the cravings.
I practiced radical self-forgiveness after a week of eating dairy and gluten filled meals. Typically the perfectionist in me would have beaten myself up about my choices to the point of being paralyzed. And then I would have given up and continued feeling sick and mad at myself. Instead I took time to reflect on why I made the decision to eat my "trigger" foods, forgive myself, and move on. It happened, I lived to tell, I learned some important lessons, and I released it.
Which item did you find most challenging?
Stephanie: I need more sleep. I have grand plans of going to bed early most nights but then find myself getting in bed after 10pm or going to bed early but still being awake at midnight. And with a 4am wake-up call, that is not doing me any favors. Lack of sleep impacts the rest of my list because when I'm overtired I don't workout, am more likely to make poor food choices, and reach for caffeinated tea instead of water. I'm open to any and all suggestions about how I can get more sleep during the week. For whatever reason, I also found taking my supplements challenging. I'm working to be more organized with my daily routine and supplements are included. I've set alarms for the morning and evening to remember to take my probiotics, aloe vera, and Natural Calm. I also made apple cider vinegar gummies to get my ACV and gelatin in each day without having to think about it. I'll be honest. I didn't even try to stop grains last month. And I'm okay with it. I eat so little grain and for now that seems to be working for me. I try to stick to no more than half a cup 2-3 times per week. My go-to grains are quinoa, brown rice, and gluten-free oatmeal.
Megan: Oh boy, I had a hard time relaxing without a device in my hand (Spend more time without a device). I embarrassingly caught myself watching TV and flipping between the iPad and my cellphone. More than once. I know I need to do a digital detox..but I'm not there yet. Maybe next month. I also did not conquer "Tea Over Coffee". So I just decided to do tea AND coffee! I have been making it a point to drink more tea because I love it and it has great health benefits. I am loving Dandelion Tea by Traditional Medicinals. But I still have my morning cup of coffee. I love this MindBodyGreen article on how your cup of coffee can be a healthy part of your morning routine. Since coffee is one of the most heavily sprayed crops, I am sure to stick with organic. Marley Coffee is my favorite, hands down.
Which part of the list do you think of daily?
Megan: I think to Meditate Daily, every single day. It just doesn't always happen in the form of sitting in my quite space in my office with music on. When I work a few long shifts in a row, it is all I can do to wake up, get my act together, pack my meals and get out the door on time. By reminding myself daily to meditate, I am sure I don't just scrap it because I am busy. I find a way. Sometimes it is twenty seconds and a few deep breaths, but it makes a WORLD of difference. My new favorite mantra to work with is "all is well". Try it this week! Close your eyes and take 10 slow deep breaths telling yourself "All is well" on each inhale. I also think about working out every day. I was pretty good with getting to yoga three times per week but I did not have 100% success with working out every day this month. A few days it just didn't happen. The day after a night shift. The day we uprooted our entire bathroom in a DIY home improvement project. You know, life happened! I am so excited about the commitment I made to thirty days of fitness with Jenny Sansouci's 30 Days of Movement Challenge. Be sure to check Healthy Crush, Jenny's awesome blog, as well as Twitter and Instagram to follow along with #30daysofmovement.
Stephanie: Like, Meg, I think about meditating daily. Meditation and water are non-negotiable. It doesn't matter where I am, where I'm going, or how I'm feeling...I will drink my water and I will meditate. I'm also in the habit of meditating on the fly. I have my favorite guided meditations and music loaded on my phone so I can Stop, Drop, and Meditate as needed. I frequently sit in my car in the parking garage and meditate for 5 minutes before going to the office, close my office door at lunch time and breathe, or silently recite "Peace Begins With Me" while practicing the mudra (hand positions) under the table during a meeting. Meditation is my ultimate survival tool. Also, I think about working out daily. But that's where it ended for me in January. I was pretty sedentary last month. But that is changing in February. I've committed (along with Meg) to Jenny's 30 Days of Movement challenge.
The Feel Best list is all about progress, not perfection. So it's not too late to get in on the fun! All you have to do is sit down, take a few breaths and jot down the top TEN things that make you feel awesome. Then post the list somewhere that you can see and try to do those things more often. Simple, huh?! If you already did the list, check-in below and let me know how its going!