Posts tagged ‘relax’

February 28, 2014

I’ve Got to Get Away!

this way out

Hi, Friends! It’s Brooke here. Is busyness overtaking your life? Are you constantly weary and running on empty? We all have so much to juggle that we barely have time to breathe. If you can get away on a vacation, sweet! But what if your schedule or your wallet is a bit pinched? You don’t need a whole week away at a 5-star resort to get some peace in your life, though it would be a great start! Here’s my personal plan for getting away, if only for a little while.

1. Nature

Happy, hot, and muggy in Mexico!

Happy, hot, and muggy in Mexico!

Go where the wild things are. Go where you can take a deep breath and actually smell the air. Find the wind, search the wide open sky, find some water, or surround yourself with your favorite kind of plant therapy. To a nature-starved soul trapped in the city, even the greenhouse at Home Depot is warm, loamy, and vibrant. I could never articulate why my soul resonated so deeply with watching a fire burning in my fireplace or standing on the deck of a cruise ship, gazing at the horizon as the wind whipped my hair and the waves  broke below me. Then I found Martha Beck’s description of the soothing power of nature in The Joy Diet: “If your body is tired, seek out some fluidly moving part of nature: a fireplace, a river, a field of wind-blown wheat, a thundering surf. Watching and listening to the patterned disorder of the universe is one of the deep soul’s favorite pastimes.” Lovely . . .

2. Loved Ones

My sister, Paige, and I--love her so!!

My sister, Paige, and I–love her so!!

Find the person or people you love the most and just marinate in the happiness they bring you. You don’t have to do anything or go anywhere, unless doing so will bring you joy. My heart bubbles over in the presence of loved ones—it is therapy like none other for the craziness in my life. When I’m with people I treasure, I love to linger and no amount of time is ever enough. You know the quote, “Parting is such sweet sorrow . . .”? Absolutely true!

3. Animals

animal collage

Seek out some animal friends ASAP! If you love creatures like I do, there’s nothing that makes me more deliriously happy than petting an animal. Some people go crazy for (human) babies—for me, it’s animals. If I can’t touch a creature, I’m begrudgingly content just to watch them. My favorite hotel in Miami, The Biltmore, is famous for its two beautiful, old-fashioned finch aviaries. These cages are in the lobby, are home to at least 20 finches, and are the first things you see when you step into this glorious hotel. If you’ve not heard the sounds finches make, the tiny chirps are soft, constant, and sweet. I could watch and listen to those winged charmers for hours—so very soothing.

4. Free Time

If you are a spontaneous sort like me, having time unplanned is a precious thing. Having an end point at the end of a stretch of time (even for something fun) makes me feel boxed in and anxious. So, on a recent trip to see my sister and her family, we found ourselves momentarily without plans and it was heavenly. When you keep time unmarked by expectation, 1) you can relax and simply be and 2) you leave room for unexpected joys. We enjoyed our free time by visiting, chilling out, reading, and then lucky for me—a puppy play date happened! See, you never know what will happen when you relax your grip on life! 🙂

5. Joy Reading

A few of my favorite things . . .

A few of my favorite things . . .

This seems to be an obvious choice, but for hyper-achieving, busy people, setting down whatever instructional, educational thing you doing can be the first step to getting away for a bit. I’m always studying or preparing for something, and of course there’s never enough time in the day to do everything. So, when I need to escape, I pick up my favorite books that make me laugh and am transported.

This list is my go-to plan for escaping for a little while and regaining some sanity and joy. What do you do to find some peace in your life? I’d love to know! Find me at Brooke@healthyhousewives.com.

May your weekend be blessed and filled with joy,

Brooke

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August 14, 2013

Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes… Knees and Toes…

I’ll pause while everyone’s inner-80s child sings a few lines of this favored jingle. Back then; my goal was to sing the chorus as fast as possible while managing the coordinating hand movements. The first signs of my competitive spirit came out around that time too… I got good at performing this song and movement combo, and will challenge anyone who wants to try it out again.

This song came to mind, as I completed my studying and testing for my Holistic Coach Certification. Chapter after chapter, lecture and study after lecture and study, it finally clicked that wellness has so much more to do with how you feel/perform outside of the gym or what you prepare in the kitchen (or choose from the food stand at meal time.) Furthermore, it has a lot to do with energy and emotion levels and one of my favorite words: perspective.

Part of being well, is having your “head, shoulders, knees, and toes…” in alignment with what your physique and nutritional goals are. Studying about Chakras (nerve every body has them) was intriguing from the start, but I accepted it only as another perspective from holistic health professionals—nothing more. I didn’t realize how nurturing my energetic makeup would manifest into less anxiety, less fatigue, less pain, more energy, more strength, and a more joyful perspective.

chakras

You have seven Chakras within you. They are the energy centers in our body that manage our overall energy flow. Blocked energy in one or all of our seven Chakras can often lead to illness, or pain, so I thought I’d discuss these briefly to build awareness and understanding.

1. Root Chakra – Represents our foundation and feeling of being grounded.

  • Location: Base of spine in tailbone area.
  • Emotional issues managed: Survival issues such as financial independence, money, and food.

2. Sacral Chakra – Our connection and ability to accept others and new experiences.

  • Location: Lower abdomen, about 2 inches below the navel and 2 inches in.
  • Emotional issues managed: Sense of abundance, well-being, pleasure, sexuality.

3. Solar Plexus Chakra – Our ability to be confident and in-control of our lives.

  • Location: Upper abdomen in the stomach area.
  • Emotional issues managed: Self-worth, self-confidence, self-esteem.

4. Heart Chakra – Our ability to love.

  • Location: Center of chest just above heart.
  • Emotional issues managed: Love, joy, inner peace.

5. Throat Chakra – Our ability to communicate.

  • Location: Throat (duh…)
  • Emotional issues managed: Communication, self-expression of feelings, the truth.

6. Third Eye Chakra – Our ability to focus on and see the big picture.

  • Location: Forehead between the eyes. (Also called the Brow Chakra)
  • Emotional issues managed: Intuition, imagination, wisdom, ability to think and make decisions.

7. Crown Chakra – The highest Chakra represents our ability to be fully connected spiritually.

  • Location: The very top of the head.
  • Emotional issues managed: Inner and outer beauty, our connection to spirituality, pure bliss.

Now that you know what and where your Chakras are, what will you do next? You don’t have to do anything, as they’ll exist without your involvement at all; however, checking in with your energetic system from time to time can assist with your next health and wellness goal. You can nurture your body’s energetic sources with several wellness treatments: massage, ionic foot or hand soaks, chiropractic adjustments, acupuncture, low-level laser therapy, Reiki work, and meditation are some of my favorites. Do you pray or wish for less pain, less fatigue, less sickness or more energy, more excitement, more endurance? Consider asking your doctor, holistic healthcare professional, or trainer about potential blocked energy in your body and ideal remedies for your situation and needs.

Feel free to reach out to me as well for referrals based on your specific goals or with questions. Until then, I’ll going to brush up on verse three of the song. I know there’s something after “eyes, and ears, and mouth, and nose,” but it’s been a while…

Have an energetic week, friends!   –Lacey

Oh, and just for fun… and because it’s pretty hot out there… check out these “cool” uses for peppermint oil. Treat yourself to a refreshing drop or two.

Peppermint-Summer-Tip-590x3001

 

May 22, 2013

Coffee Chats and Simple Facts

Morning-Routine

Stretching is best when muscles are warm, so consider jogging or jumping in place to wake up and get blood flowing to muscles.

morning-routine1 MorningRoutineCards1You know the drill… alarm goes off, you hit the snooze. Alarm goes off again, and you realize you’re ten minutes late and start brainstorming up-dos to compliment the “casual, professional outfit” you’re now putting together in your head. You run upstairs and start doing jumping jacks before you’re even completely awake. It doesn’t matter though–jumping actually masks the pounding in your head. After a set of fifty, you stop, grab a drink of water–rather chug as much as you can, not realizing the depth of your thirst. Okay, you’re awake. After you select your “upbeat” playlist, you hit the weights for today’s workout. An hour later, you’re in the shower, trying to not get your hair any wetter than it is. You justify not shaving because you’re wearing leggings today (part of the casual professional look you’ve designed in your head.) You complete a few deep breaths and realize today’s a pretty busy day. All good–you got your workout in, you feel stronger, and you can do everything! I love that feeling post-workout shower.

After packaging yourself into a sassy, just put together, yet stylish attire and putting the last hair pin into your up-do (just as the YouTube tutorial instructs,) you check your iPhone calendar to see what’s on tap for the day. A few meetings, a few errands, and a few reports needed by dinner time, which will be spent entertaining clients, so you better eat a snack before hand, so you don’t overindulged. This is truly the snapshot of the type of morning which usually fills my work-week. I’ve heard folklore about women waking up to quiet time, a reading nook of their home, and to a ceramic coffee mug full of a fine Cinnamon roast. Who are these women? I’d love to meet one some day. Meanwhile, a congested trail of thought continues to run through my mind as my Doberman jumps onto my lap to plant a wet one on my face. I can’t be mad. Besides my step-children, my fur-babies ( a word I swore I’d never use which taught me I should never again swear) are my only children. Unconditional love runs rampant among my Doberman, Maximus, and my Dachshund, Samson.
I immediately begin talking to my pups as I rub out the paw marks on my leggings and reapply my powder, and gloss. We have several songs we sing in the morning, but I’ll spare you for now, as I have another point to make with this blog. As I serve breakfast to the pups and to myself, I jot down notes for my day and sing one of our jingles. After we complete our morning routine, it’s time for me to trade my “pup-mom” hat in for my “business-woman” driving glasses. And I’m off to my first meeting of the day. Fast-forward five hours later, I’m “meeting fatigued” and returning to my home office for some reporting, blogging, and editing before sprucing up for the evening’s dinner. Alas, I am greeted by the most-grateful and loving pups that ever lived. I’m “guilted” into playing with them outside for a bit, ignoring my phone, emails, and followup items. Once we give adequate attention to each other, I hit the keyboard to close out my day and become entertaining again. The evening goes on without a hitch. Excellent conversation, new connections, amusing stories and ideas. Driving home, I start to replay the day, what I accomplished, and what will need to be tackled tomorrow.
As my head hits the pillow, I review my agenda book and see a note that is repeated several times throughout my agenda book. “Call Grandma Lucy.” I look over at the clock and it is 10:08 p.m. Grandma Lucy is a morning person, and probably half way into her second dream by now. Darn it. Another day lost, another conversation missed. I go to sleep, disappointed because I know I missed out. Grandma has the best stories. Her perspective is a refreshing change from the world my generation created, knows, and lives. She’s pretty funny too. She thinks everyone is too busy. “Too busy to talk on the phone,” she says. “I don’t like texting and emails. Oh but I do like that Facebook thing for the photos.”
On Tuesday morning, I woke up with a “thought hangover” about Grandma Lucy and my missed call. I decided to forgo my usual routine, grab a cup of coffee (in a ceramic mug) and dial Grandma’s number. She’s a morning person, and is probably up having her second cup of coffee at this point.
I drink my morning coffee out of a real, ceramic mug. It makes all the difference.

I drink my morning coffee out of a real, ceramic mug. It makes all the difference.

But what about my morning workout? My morning appointments? My obligations? They all got done… just a little later than usual. I brushed aside thoughts of being behind and late all day long, because I know I made Grandma Lucy’s day. I learned how attached to my routine I was, and it worried me a bit. It made me think about other missed opportunities I’ve had  because I was running through my day; hurried through my routine. My challenge for this summer is to implement: Summer of Daily Simplicity. A simple phone call. A simple cup of coffee. A simple hair-do. A simple kiss for my husband. A simple (and nourishing) breakfast. A simple prayer. The concept is that we overdo ourselves with schedule, routine, obligations, and eventual stress and health risks. With creativity and flexibility, I’ll get up earlier and slow down my morning routine . “But I have obligations, Lacey!” Indeed, and you can’t ignore obligations. But you can be creative, rearrange, and be kind to yourself when you don’t get it all done one day. If you just don’t see how, let’s chat. I have some suggestions. Be kind to yourself–you’re the only YOU we have. Grandma Lucy reminded me of that!
Consider what success looks like to you. Keep it simple and make it substantial.

Consider what success looks like to you. Keep it simple and make it substantial.

February 12, 2013

Love on the Run

hearts

Hi, there! It’s Brooke here. Valentine’s Day is growing closer—will you be ready? By that I mean have you been treating yourself with loving kindness? Or have you been running yourself ragged moving at Mach 10, desperately hoping you don’t fall apart before you finish all the things that MUST BE DONE? I have absolutely no idea what that feels like—ha! With this craziness in mind, I’d like to share several of my favorite tricks on how to relax when your time is tight. As with any healthy relationship, not every caring gesture has to be grand. Little things can be profoundly powerful, as you will see.

breathe rock

Deep Breathing: You’d think we’d know how to breathe correctly, seeing as how we’ve been doing it all our lives. But we would be wrong. Most of us breathe shallowly from our chest, our shoulders naturally rising on every intake of breath. Yes, this gets the job done, but at a cost. We form the habit of shallow breathing and the muscles we use to do this (chest, shoulders, neck, and back) compensate by becoming stiff and tight. When we are stressed or worried, especially over a period of time, our body’s stress response causes us to take short, small breaths, which then causes our shoulders to creep upward toward our ears, when then causes those shoulder, upper back, and neck muscles to tighten up. Before we know it, we feel breathless and trapped, with burning, aching muscles and a raging tension headache. No, no. This won’t do!

Try It!

Start by putting your left hand on your chest and your right hand on your belly. Now, breathe in like you normally do (using your mouth or your nose), with your chest rising below your left hand. That should feel natural to you. Now, breathe in through your nose while expanding your belly below your right hand. Do you feel the difference? Try it again, noticing the way your breath slows down as you inhale through your nose and the larger capacity your “belly,” or diaphragm, has for expanding. This is called deep breathing, or belly breathing. This action floods your cells with oxygen, clearing up your muddled mind, and slows your heartbeat, lowering your blood pressure. Take another deep, slow breath in through your nose, expanding your belly, and then breathe out from your mouth. Do this 3-5 times.

love hand

Healing Touch: It’s nice to have a great massage therapist on your speed dial, but escaping to her quiet studio for an hour is not always possible. Luckily, you can enjoy the healing power of touch given by your own two hands.

Try It!

First, find a calm place. Then as you look at your hands, set your intention to spread healing through your touch. This doesn’t have to be weird or woo-woo. Just notice the warmth and strength of your hands as you work. Starting at your left hand, use your right hand to firmly squeeze the muscles of your left palm and fingers. Then let go and move up your wrist an inch, then squeeze again. Let go and inch your way up your arm the same way, firmly squeezing then moving up, all the way to where your shoulder meets your neck. Then switch hands, and work your way from your right wrist up to the top of your right shoulder. Gently place the palms of both hands on either side of your neck, resting your fingers around the back of your neck (but don’t squeeze!). Just rest your hands gently around your neck for 10 seconds.

occipital massage

If you have a tension headache, this is your go-to move: Take your palms and place them gently over your ears, then spread your fingers out. Your thumbs should be almost touching along the bony ridge on the back of your head. Now take your thumbs and move them outward along that ridge to the bony edge half an inch behind your ears. If you feel softness and not bone, keep moving away from your ear until you feel the bony ridge of the base of your skull. Hook your thumbs underneath that bony ridge and press upward firmly (according to your comfort level) and hold for 10-15 seconds. Then move each thumb half an inch toward the middle of the back of your head and press upward again and hold. Do this until your thumbs meet in the middle.

Now, press the heels of your hands into your scalp, moving around your head after each squeeze. Take your fingertips, and carefully press your temples (or rub in circles). You may want to wash your hands for this next part if your skin is prone to breakouts. Your face is delicate, so you will use just your fingertips now. Start at the middle of your chin and gently squeeze your skin along your jawbone between your thumb and first two fingers, working out toward your ears. Then, come back to the center and while keeping your mouth relaxed, squeeze your lips between your fingertips—it’s probably best that you do this move looking away from other people (or toward a mirror if you need a laugh!). Now, starting at the crease where your cheeks meet your nose, gently press two or three fingertips in place along your cheekbone, working in little increments toward your ear. Then come back to the center, and with one or two fingertips, do the same gentle press along the lower orbital bone (below your eye), working outward and around the entire bone (above your eyes). For an instant stress reliever: Starting at the inner edge of each eyebrow, squeeze and hold the eyebrow between your thumb and forefinger for 8-10 seconds. Then work your way outward, squeezing the eyebrow as you go.

lavendar bushes

Soothing Scents: Depending on your mood, you may lean toward calming scents or revitalizing ones. There are so many lovely possibilities when aromatherapy is involved, but we’ll explore just a few. If you are in need of peace and relaxation, try lavender or eucalyptus essential oils. These scents are classic choices for all manner of calming rest. If you need a little boost, peppermint, spearmint, or wintergreen are excellent choices. Another category of invigorating scents are the evergreens—cedar, spruce, and pine. You can find these essential oils in grocery stores, online, or my favorite massage supply store—Body Logic (www.ebodylogic.com) for $4-$15. These oils are very powerful, so if you want to use them on your skin, be sure to dilute them by adding them to a safe carrier oil or unscented lotion. You can also use these oils by making “smelling salts”—put ½ teaspoon of kosher salt into a little glass vial and then add 5 drops of your favorite scent and cover tightly. Anytime you need a whiff, just open the vial for a portable pick-me-up. You can also add a few drops of oil to a tissue or paper towel tucked nearby and enjoy. And if you don’t have oil, a nice fragrant (unused) tea bag unwrapped on your desk can transport you in no time flat (my favorite for tea-bag aromatherapy is Tazo tea in Earl Grey).

For Valentine’s Day and every day, may you find a few stolen moments to treat yourself to some TLC. Goodness knows we all need it!

XO, Brooke