Dreaming About Getting Better Sleep?

You’re not alone! But fear not.

I’m so excited to announce the return of my Sleep Well Yoga classes!!!

Classes will be online making it easy for you to join from the comfort of your home

We begin this series on November 1, 2022.

I’ll be doing pre-recorded sessions for November due to my daytime work schedule, but I will release a new class beginning November 1st every week for 4 weeks.

This way you can do the class at your leisure depending on what your bedtime is and what your energy levels are.

There will be four classes for this series and the cost will be $45. I will post the classes in a private Facebook group so that you have ongoing access to them throughout the series and that way you can do them every night if you like!

The classes are geared towards setting you up for a great night’s sleep and will be a blend of slow-flow yoga, restorative-based yoga, and yin yoga.  Ideally, you’ll do the classes at a time that has you wrapping things up about 2 hours before bedtime.

Just email me to get all the registration details. info@breezewellnessbc.com

I’m so excited to share this with you!


Always from the heart,
Jennifer

Chaotic or Calm? What’s the vibe as September rolls in?

How is it September already???

I absolutely love the summertime – it feels free and more fun and spontaneous!  Where I live, the days are LONG so it feels like there are actually more hours in a day, but I have a strong appreciation for September and getting back to my tried & true routine. A fresh start if you will.

The energy in September feels like a Second New Year to me!

When everyone in my house is back to the daily and weekly schedules they need to adhere to, whether it is work or school, my time management and budgeting tools get put into use full force.

In the past, when I tried to just wing it when dealing with everything my family had to do… well, let’s just say things didn’t go well!

As far as my TIME MANAGEMENT goes, my planner is how I keep things together for sure. I’ve tried many and have found one that works best for me (and it is creative and inspirational too).  For me, its a physical planner that I write in but you need to Be True to YOU and if a digital planner is a better fit for you then go for it!  But it really REALLY helps to have everything in one place for easy reference when life gets super busy.

I also use my calendar and reminders function in my phone to help with it all.

And this year, more than ever before, BUDGETING is happening big time to help me make the most of my family finances since things have gotten more expensive across the board this year.

What does this look like?

I know how much I bring in as far as income sources, it doesn’t change too much so I have that in mind then I deduct my monthly expenses (like water, hydro, gas, car) so I have a pretty clear idea what I’m working with for everything else.

Groceries have been the most challenging the past few months but I’ve been working on trying new recipes, and I definitely shop the sales!  This week my grocery store is having a case lot sale so I was able to stock up on some of my staples for a much better price and because it is a bulk-buy I won’t have to buy those things as often as I usually do freeing up a bit more money in the next couple of months.

I know a lot of people aren’t fans of planning ahead. Heck, I used to be one of them!  But I’ve found that doing so actually reduces my stress because I’m not feeling like I’m spinning out of control trying to deal with the next crisis.  I found FREEDOM in having a solid routine to set the foundation of my days.

That said, flexibility matters too… more on that in an upcoming blog post.

I recently asked the women in my online community a question: On a scale of 1-10, how much does time management and budgeting impact your quality of life?

Do you feel like you’ve got a good handle on it? Or are you caught up in the chaos?

Here’s some tips to help make it a little easier on yourself:

  • Have a consolidated space where all your and your family’s activities, etc. can be viewed (planner, digital app, wall calendar… whatever works best in YOUR world.
  • Make use of the calendar app and set reminders on your phone.
  • Clean out and assess your pantry, fridge, and freezer. Make a “cheat sheet” of the items you use and need to buy regularly and get into the habit of checking your stash before ordering or going to get groceries.
  • Try meal planning. It can seem overwhelming when you want to get started, but once you have a firm grasp of what you’ll be making for dinner in the coming week you’ll know what you need, how long it will take to prepare it, and if there’ll likely be leftovers to make use at another mealtime.
  • Take a good look at your finances. (I know, this can be tough sometimes.) Do your best to determine your usual monthly income, what your set monthly expenses are, and how much you have to cover all the rest after that. It might be a real wake up call for some, but it will help you plan ahead. If money is tight, be firm about what you can let go of either temporarily or permanently. (I paused our Netflix and Audible subscriptions to help make ends meet during a recently financial set back… little things add up!)

As a Solo-Mom and as a Life Coach, finding solid useable practices to help lessen stress levels is super important to me. The tools shared here are all things I personally make use of and can say they’ve helped improve the quality of my mom-life immensely!

Always from the heart,

Jennifer

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

Just Tell Me What to Do!

Yeah, I knew…

  • I knew that I was supposed to eat well. 
  • I knew that I was supposed to drink enough water. 
  • I knew that I was supposed to rest.  
  • I knew that I was supposed to make time for play & self care. 

But even though I knew all of these things it was like being caught in a whirlwind of “supposed to’s.” I had all the information but what I really needed was for somebody to just tell me what to do! 

I was so caught up in the chaos of all of the “shoulds,” that I couldn’t do any of them at all. And I paid for it. In every area of my life…

What changed for me? I reached out for help

This wasn’t easy for me, I’ve always been very very independent. I’m still very very independent. But I got to a point where I simply couldn’t keep spinning my wheels any longer. I was feeling like I was totally missing out not only on my life with my kids, but my life in general.

What did I do? 

Continue reading “Just Tell Me What to Do!”

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

Mindfulness and Meditation…Do They Really Work?

Well…yes, they do really work. The fact is, science shows definite health benefits for people who use mindfulness and meditation.

Before we dive in, let’s just make sure we’re on the same page when we say “mindfulness” and “meditation.”

“Meditation” is the ancient practice of connecting the body and mind to become more self-aware and present. It’s often used to calm the mind, ease stress, and relax the body.  I like to set aside a few moments at the end of each day for quiet meditation in addition to my end-of-yoga-practice meditation time in the morning as often as possible.

Practicing “mindfulness” is one of the most popular ways to meditate. It’s defined as “paying attention in a particular way, on purpose, in the present moment, non-judgmentally.” Continue reading “Mindfulness and Meditation…Do They Really Work?”

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!”

Burnt-Out-Mom Syndrome and Adrenal Fatigue

Let’s face it, life can get super busy more often than not.  We’ve got a lot on our plates most of the time and can end up feeling like we are barely able to balance it all.  Fatigue, cravings, inability to sleep, and mood swings are REAL!

And common.

 

Adrenal fatigue is thought to be one of the (many) health issues that can be attributed to our high-stress lifestyles.

 

However, because there is no widely accepted definitive test for adrenal fatigue, it’s still quite controversial.

 

Let’s dive into what we know about adrenal fatigue, and learn some ways to deal with it, including a non-food recipe (at the bottom). Continue reading “Burnt-Out-Mom Syndrome and Adrenal Fatigue”

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