A New Way to a Familiar Destination

I was planning on writing a blogpost about boundaries this week; their importance, why we struggle with setting appropriate boundaries, tips on how to get going… but this morning I realized that one was going to have to wait.

Instead, I feel the need to write about the “baby-steps” I’m taking to rebuild my strength after a crappy experience of being very ill this past winter.

So BABY STEPS it is!

Those who follow me on social media or who receive my newsletters might remember that I came down with shingles after injuring a nerve on the top of my head last November. (If you’ve ever had the chickenpox, you have the virus that can cause shingles sleeping in your nervous system. With all my heart, I truly hope it never “wakes up” so you don’t have to experience shingles.) Anyway, I was surprised as the only people I’d known of who had shingles were all women in their 70s – I’M NOT THERE YET – and I didn’t realize a nerve injury could trigger it, although in hindsight it makes perfect sense.

So, I had shingles on my scalp, my face and in my right eye. I have never been so ill in my life. I literally laid on the couch for almost 2 full weeks. I didn’t even sleep in my own bed because I wasn’t really sleeping. The pain was incessant and unpredictable. I’m not one for taking medications if I can help it, but let me tell you I was keeping track of every painkiller I took so I knew when I could take my next dose and even then they just dulled the pain they didn’t eliminate it.

My rash didn’t clear up until 5-6 weeks later and my eye is almost completely healed. There is a small patch in my vision where it feels like I’m looking through a smudge on my glasses but it is very tiny and I can live with it!

I barely ate. I barely slept. The pain was unimaginable. I’m so fortunate to have loved ones nearby who could help me out with groceries and getting to appointments as I wasn’t able to drive for weeks.

Recovery was slow. Especially given that it had gotten into my eye. So I tried to go slow as I eased back into my “regular” life.

It took so much longer than I expected!

I should also mention that while not single, I am a Solo Mom and the past few years – even before the pandemic – had been very challenging. I went into this illness already maxed out as far as stress-levels were concerned.

The first time I really realized how hard everything had been on my body was when I went snowshoeing in early January (almost 2 months after getting ill). I have been very active during the winter for 10 years now so going snowshoeing wasn’t anything new to me. We weren’t doing anything difficult, just a nice little loop that would take us less than an hour. Well, my body did NOT enjoy that and I ended up getting extremely ill afterwards which set me back a little bit as far as getting back into the swing of things to say the least.

My nutrition was up to snuff (I have the BEST supplements and shakes which truly got me through the worst of my sick days because I honestly could barely eat anything but my body desperately needed the nutrients to fight the virus and heal), so no worries there. However, my physical stamina was nowhere to be found.

How could this be? I didn’t understand fully because I’ve never been that ill before, so I started asking questions and looking into options to help me heal to a point where I feel stronger and more capable than I had been for a few months.

WHEN WE FIND OURSELVES IN NEW SITUATIONS WE NEEDTO BE OPEN TO FINDING NEW WAYS OF APPROACHING THINGS.

I found I could not do a full yoga practice as I am used to doing. After about 25 minutes I would feel drained (and while I am a yoga teacher and have been for many years, I typically practice a slow-flow sequence so it wasn’t like I was Power-Yoga-ing and then feeling pooped, lol!) So I created mini practices for myself #babysteps. Depending on how my energy levels were, they are between 10-20 minutes which I am just now able to combine to enjoy a half hour practice. Yay!

I discovered that my cardio strength had really diminished and it was keeping me from hiking all the gorgeous trails near where I live. But the weather, my family responsibilities, work schedules, etc made it challenging as to when I could actually get outside while it was daylight. I’m the kind of person who likes to have a regular routine as it makes things so much easier to stick to!

What new way could I build my cardio and stamina from home? One that DIDN’T cost a fortune or take up a lot of room as my home is tiny… I found an old-school stationary bike! And I love it! It is compact, easy to use, and didn’t cost me a fortune. To be honest, I found it for $50 on Marketplace. Yay!

I started slow, because I had experienced what happened when I tried to push myself too far too fast. Ten minutes in the morning and 10 minutes after work. Just enough to get my heart rate up a little! The next week I did 15 minutes twice a day. Now I’m up to 20 minutes before and 20 minutes after work and I’ve been able to increase the tension for a better workout! Again, #babysteps to the rescue!!!

Do I feel bad about myself because of how I’ve had to scale back what activities I do or how long I do them? NOPE. I feel proud of myself that despite coming up against new challenges and obstacles, I’ve been able to find ways of healing and improving my health that work with how things are NOW.

Things change. We need to be able to change too.

Different isn’t bad, its just different. And sometimes as we shift into something new and different, we need to do so gently and let ourselves take Baby Steps.

Always from the heart,

Jennifer

PS – if you’re looking for some help figuring out your own best next-steps to make positive changes in your life, I’m here! I’m certified in wellness, life, and sleep science coaching and I’ve been teaching yoga for almost a decade. Give me a shout at info@breezewellnessbc.com

It’s Time to Get Moving!

It seems like it wouldn’t make sense, right? I mean, you’re wiped-out tired, barely enough energy to get through the day and someone is telling you that you should exercise ?!?

I get it, I’ve totally been there and honestly there are still days that hit like that in my life. But what I’ve learned over the years is that when I’m feeling exhausted, getting myself moving is usually EXACTLY what I need to do!

Why?  Really… why???

Well, exercising not only improves your energy levels YES YOU READ THAT RIGHT, but it also helps improve your overall health and sense of wellbeing… including your mood!  I know I always feel better emotionally after I’ve gotten myself moving.

Continue reading “It’s Time to Get Moving!”

Turning It All Around

Seeing me today, you’d be forgiven for not having a clue that I spent my first decade as a mom barely getting out of the house, let alone doing anything active or outdoorsy.

But let me tell you, the exhaustion that arrived with the birth of my first child hit HARD and kept growing with every passing day.

Sleep issues, erratic eating habits, and growing disorganization at home wore me down to a shadow of my former self. In fact, it got to the point where I wondered if I was going to end up completely missing out on the best parts of momhood because I was always feeling totally wiped out.

Sometimes it takes a real “wake-up, shake-up call” to make us aware of the fact that we have been pulled miles away from the life we dreamed of… and that’s exactly what happened to me. And I’m so grateful for it because it forced me to make the changes that led me to finally ditch that daily exhaustion, level up my energy once and for all, and finally take control of my mom-life.

It was over a decade of “lost time,” for me, but I am MORE than making up for it now!

Quality time with my kids – ✅
Getting outdoors and making the most of all 4 seasons where I live – ✅
Having the energy to do all that I HAVE to do AND what I WANT to do – ✅

It took time, education, and a lot of trial and error, but I figured it out… and I put it all together to share with other moms so they don’t have to go through the frustration and “lost years” that I went through. I’ve been there. I totally underst

If you’d like to find out more on how you can get additional support in levelling up your energy, making the most of your Mom Life, and getting the rest you need to function at your best, just send me an email with the Subject: I’m Ready To Hear More, Jen by clicking HERE.

Goat Yoga at the Ranch!

Time for some Summer Fun!

It’s that time of year again!  I’m thrilled to once more be part of this fun outdoor yoga series out at Historic O’Keefe Ranch.

 

Upcoming sessions are:  July 11th, 15th, & 25th, and August 8th, 12th, & 29th.  Samantha will be doing the Wednesday classes and I’ll be leading the Saturday classes.  Class size is limited to allow for proper social distancing, so please make sure you contact the ranch (250-542-7868) as soon as possible to save your spot ASAP as the classes fill up quickly.

 

It’s the most fun you’ll have in a yoga class… no kidding!

~ Jennifer Greenwood

RYT200 Yoga Teacher

Level Up – the Real Benefits of Exercise

 

“Move more” has been a common mantra for health for decades. But, what does that even mean? What kind of exercise counts? How much do I need?

 

Maybe the biggest question here is: “What are the true health benefits, anyway?”

 

I want to share with you the real, proven health benefits of exercise. Because there are some; there actually are lots!

 

Plus, if you do heavy workouts and need a replenishing drink, I’ve included a delicious recipe for you too.

 

The True Health Benefits of Exercise

 

Exercise. It can improve your health on all levels. We’re not just talking about being fitter and stronger. We’re talking about overall health and longevity.

 

Regular exercise improves your heart health, brain health, muscle and bone health, diabetes, and arthritis. Beyond those, it also reduces stress, boosts moods, increases your energy, and can improve your sleep. And exercise prevents death from any cause (“all cause mortality”).

 

Convinced yet?

 

The benefits of exercise come from improving blood flow, and reducing inflammation and blood sugar levels. They come from moving your muscles (including your heart muscle) and pulling on your bones.

 

You don’t need to go overboard on exercise to get these amazing health results. As little as 30 minutes of moderate activity 5 days/week is enough.

 

And you don’t have to do a particular kind of exercise. All four types of exercise have health benefits. They are:

  • Endurance (brisk walking, jogging, yard work, dancing, aerobics, cycling, swimming, skiing, hiking)
  • Strength (climbing stairs, carrying groceries, lifting weights, using a resistance band or your body weight, Pilates)
  • Balance (standing on one foot, Tai Chi)
  • Flexibility (stretching, yoga)

 

Don’t forget, all exercise counts, even if it’s not doing a sport or in a gym. Weekend hikes, walking to the store and doing household chores also count towards your weekly exercise goal.

 

Let me take a minute to prove to you how healthy exercise really is. Here are a few key points.

 

Exercise for heart health

 

Exercise reduced cardiac mortality by 31% in middle aged men who previously had a heart attack.

 

Regular exercise reduces blood pressure in people with hypertension (high blood pressure).

 

Exercise for brain health

 

Exercise can improve physical function and quality of life in people with Parkinson’s disease. It also reduces changes in the brain associated with Alzheimer’s disease.

 

Exercise improved mental functions by increasing brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF). BDNF is involved in learning and memory. It also increases the size of the part of the brain for memory and learning (the “hippocampus”); this was shown mostly with aerobic exercise.

 

Exercise for muscle and bone health

Regular physical activity can help maintain strong muscles and bones; this is particularly true for strength exercises. As we age, we naturally start to lose muscle mass and bone density. So, to prevent osteoporosis, exercise regularly.

 

PRO TIP: And don’t forget that balance exercises and Tai Chi can help prevent falls.

 

Exercise for diabetes

 

People with diabetes who exercise have better insulin sensitivity and HbA1C values (the marker of glycemic control).

 

Exercise does this because by contracting your muscles, you’re fueling them with sugar in your blood. This helps to manage blood sugar levels better than without exercise.

 

Conclusion

 

These are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the health benefits of exercise.  By doing just 30 minutes 5 days/week, you can vastly improve your health. Since there are different benefits for different types, try mixing up what you do throughout the week. You don’t even need an “official” workout. Walking to the grocery store or doing household chores can count too.

 

“Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.”  That’s my motto!

 

If you’re just starting, then pick something you enjoy, get some accountability (exercise tracker or a buddy), and start.

 

What’s your favorite exercise and how often do you do it?

 

Recipe (exercise recovery): Coconut Water Refresher

Serves 2

 

1 cup coconut water

2 cups watermelon

½ tsp lime juice

1 dash salt

1 cup ice

2 tbsp chia seeds (optional)

 

Instructions

Blend the first four ingredients until well mixed. Add ice and pulse until ice is crushed.

 

Pour into glasses or water bottle and add chia seeds. Shake/stir before drinking.

 

Serve & enjoy!

 

Tip: The chia seeds add extra fiber, protein, and omega-3s.

 

 

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References:

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SFBBjynBpSw&t=3s

 

http://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/regular-exercise-changes-brain-improve-memory-thinking-skills-201404097110

 

https://authoritynutrition.com/10-benefits-of-exercise/

 

https://www.niams.nih.gov/Health_Info/Bone/Osteoporosis/Fracture/prevent_falls_ff.asp

 

http://www.health.harvard.edu/healthbeat/exercise-is-good-for-diabetes

 

https://authoritynutrition.com/15-ways-to-lower-blood-sugar/

 

http://www.precisionnutrition.com/healthy-movement

 

https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/exercise-physical-activity

Making the Most of the Micro-Moments When You’re Busy

Happy #WellnessWednesday!
 
Do you sometimes feel like you just don’t have the energy or time to support your health & wellbeing? Yup, it’s a busy life!
 
But did you know, that just a few minutes a day doing something that improves your heath & happiness (yes, happiness is a BIG part of our overall wellness!) can make a profound difference? It’s TRUE!
 
I’ll give you my own real-life example:
Right now, I’m working a lot. Around 50+ hours a week, with most of those hours at a computer. Not what I’m used to! The first couple weeks were rough – my body hurt, my brain felt super taxed and my eyes were just done by dinnertime. I was feeling quite frustrated until I realized that I needed to approach my situation as if I was my own client! What would I do to assist someone who’d come to me as a wellness coach/yoga teacher? Well, I’d help them find what would work in their life as it was in that moment! So the next day, I began a much shorter than I’m used to yoga practice… seriously, 10-15 minutes of sun salutations. It’s all I could fit in, but I tell you, by the 2nd day my body, my mind, and my mood were all improving by leaps and bounds!
 
So please don’t give up on doing something to improve your quality of life because you can’t leave the house for a series of classes, or go for a run or to the gym for an hour each day.  Small actions can have a big impact – like the ripple effect of a tiny stone creating bigger and bigger waves as they move away from the center of impact in the water.
Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.
 
I’m here to help you find your way…

Feeling the Burn… Eating, Activity, & Heartburn

Heartburn – Can I Help it with Foods and Lifestyle?

 

The odds are that you or someone you know experiences heartburn. Around half of North American adults experience it at least once per month. Somewhere between 10-20% have it at least once per week!Heartburn, also known as reflux, occurs when the strong acid in your stomach creeps up into your esophagus.

 

It can feel like a burning sensation; hence the name “heartburn.” Other common symptoms include bloating, burping, difficulty swallowing, or a sore throat. Often there is a bitter or sour taste as well.Don’t get me wrong, stomach acid is good! Stomach acid is essential for good health and optimal digestion.

 

We need the acid in our stomach to protect us against harmful microbes (i.e. bacteria) that lurk in our food and drinks. Stomach acid also helps us break down our food, and digest nutrients. But we need that acid to stay in the stomach, and not get up to our esophagus!

 

Stomach acid doesn’t usually burn the stomach itself; this is because the stomach is protected by a layer of mucus.

 

But your esophagus doesn’t have that same protection. It has a valve that is supposed to prevent things from going the wrong way (i.e. keep food, drink, and acid down; not allow it back up). And when your esophagus is exposed to stomach acid too often, it can cause the infamous burning, inflammation, and other potential issues.

 

I’m going to share a bunch of tips that may help you overcome your heartburn symptoms naturally.Of course, if symptoms last for a long time, or get worse, it’s probably a good idea to see your doctor.

 

Tip #1 – Foods to eat (and avoid)


You may notice that when you eat or drink certain things, you get heartburn soon afterward. These triggers may be different for everyone; but often include onions, garlic, chocolate, citrus, tomato, mint, spicy foods, greasy foods, coffee, carbonated drinks, or alcohol. If any of these affect you, reduce them or even try cutting them out to see if it makes a difference.

 

Heartburn might also result from a sneaky food intolerance. Try eliminating grains, dairy, and processed foods for a few weeks and see if that helps.

Now, you may be wondering: “If I eliminate these foods/drinks, then what can I put in their place?”

 

Try increasing fiber intake. Yes, this means more whole, unprocessed foods, especially veggies! In fact, potatoes may be a great addition to meals if you suffer from heartburn. Try getting at least five servings of veggies every day.

 

Tip #2 – How and when to eat

Eat slowly. Use meal times to release stress. Chew your food very well. Don’t eat meals that are too big.

And don’t eat too close to bedtime. You want to avoid lying down with a full stomach. We’re talking finishing eating 2-3 hours before lying down, so schedule your dinner or snack with this in mind.

Tip #3 – Lifestyle techniques

 

Sometimes strenuous exercise can make heartburn symptoms worse. If this happens to you, then focus on low-intensity exercises like walking and cycling.

 

If symptoms come on as you’re lying down to sleep, try adding a pillow or two so your head is a bit higher than your stomach.

 

Another interesting tip is to try sleeping on your left side. Lying on your left side works because the valve that prevents the acid from “leaking” into your esophagus is located on the right side of the stomach. So, when you’re lying on your left, the acid is away from that valve.

 

Conclusion

 

Heartburn is a very common condition where stomach acid creeps up into the esophagus (where it’s not supposed to be).

 

If you suffer from symptoms of heartburn, there are many things you can do. There are foods and drinks to avoid and veggies to increase. You can eat slower, chew more thoroughly, and don’t lie down within 2-3 hours of eating. Also, try low-intensity exercise and sleeping on your left side.

 

Try these simple, natural strategies. They can help prevent or relieve heartburn symptoms for you.

 

Recipe (Not Too Greasy or Spicy): Baked Potatoes

Serves 4

1 small bag of mini potatoes

4 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper

Instructions

 

Scrub potatoes and boil them until they’re soft. How long will depend on their size, so check them by feeling how easily they’re penetrated with a fork or knife.

 

Drain the water and toss the potatoes with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt & pepper.

Place in a roasting dish at 425F for about 15 minutes.

 

Serve & enjoy!

 

Tip: Don’t have mini potatoes? Use large potatoes or sweet potatoes and chop them to the size of mini potatoes.

 

 

 

References:

 

https://www.dietvsdisease.org/get-rid-acid-reflux/

 

http://www.precisionnutrition.com/heartburn-reflux-gerd

 

https://authoritynutrition.com/heartburn-acid-reflux-remedies/

Finding Stability… with my blood sugar!

How Do I Keep My Blood Sugar Stable?

 

Oh, the words “blood sugar.”

 

Does it conjure up visions of restrictive eating, diabetes medications, or insulin injections?

 

Blood sugar is the measure of the amount of sugar in your blood. You need the right balance of sugar in your blood to fuel your brain and muscles.

 

The thing is, it can fluctuate. A lot.

 

This fluctuation is the natural balance between things that increase it; and things that decrease it. When you eat food with sugars or starches (“carbs”), then your digestive system absorbs sugar into your blood. When carbs are ingested and broken down into simple sugars, your body keeps blood sugar levels stable by secreting insulin. Insulin allows excess sugar to get it out of your bloodstream and into your muscle cells and other tissues for energy Continue reading “Finding Stability… with my blood sugar!”

WHY Am I Getting Bigger???

Haven’t Changed Anything in Your Diet But Getting Fatter?

You are positive that you’re not eating more food or “junkier” food but you’re still gaining weight.

 

Is this possible?

 

Yes!  You are NOT crazy!

 

And here’s why.

 

We both know that the whole “calories in, calories out” argument is an overly simplistic view of weight.

 

There’s definitely more to the story than just what you’re eating, right? Continue reading “WHY Am I Getting Bigger???”

Hard-wired for Health

Why am I so WIRED today?  Well, it wasn’t from too much coffee. It definitely wasn’t from energy drinks (NEVER!!!!). It wasn’t even from a rush of adrenaline…  It was in fact, literally being wired-up to check my heart health!

This wasn’t the topic I was going to write about this week, but after I left my doctor’s office today I was thinking about how often I’ve seen posts & articles about how women often miss the signs of serious health issues.  I’m not gonna lie… I’ve pulled the old “oh, I’m sure it’s nothing,” or “it will pass,” routine more than once in my lifetime. Continue reading “Hard-wired for Health”

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