It’s a stressful time for a lot of people — teachers/school employees, parents and kids, especially. Some people call May “MayCember” because it’s the time of year when there are a million extra activities on top of all the other normal everyday stuff you have to get done. It’s a lot.
So, today, I’m just leaving this beautiful image right here for you to gaze at for five seconds while drinking your morning coffee and contemplating the never ending to-do list. I hope you have some time this weekend to just relax and be still. It might seem frivolous to do nothing. Trust me, it’s essential from time to time. Did you know five seconds of being mindful of your breathing and nothing else counts as meditation?
For the last couple of years, I have shared my intentions and goals for the summer. You can find them here and here. I’m fortunate to have a job I can do at home, on my own schedule (hello, entrepreneurship!). This means that I have a lot of unstructured time during the summer, in between driving my teen to tennis and golf and time with her friends at the pool and babysitting jobs and all the other things teens need. I like to use this time and the warmer weather to pursue some things I have neglected.
With the school year winding down and summer break at the doorstep, I’ve been thinking a lot about what I want to accomplish this summer and what my priorities are. I always use the change of seasons to reboot my priorities and rethink how I do things, rather than just thinking about it once a year in January.
Here are the goals I have for this summer:
Exercise early in the morning, when the kid is still asleep. I’m lucky enough to have a husband that brings me coffee in bed before he leaves for work around 6:30 every morning. When it’s cold and dark out, I cozy up under the covers and read the news. Now that it’s light and warm, I plan to get my exercise done early while my daughter is still asleep so the rest of the day can be spent doing other things.
Be more intentional about my snacks. I golf a lot, and I usually need a snack during my round because I walk and carry my bag, which uses a lot of calories. Did you know the average person burns about 700-1,400 calories golfing and carrying, depending on if they play 9 or 18 holes? Good nutrition on the golf course is important. But finding easy and nutritious snacks I can cram in my golf bag isn’t that simple. I’ve been compiling a list of ideas and will be posting them shortly!
Continue strength training. When I wrote my summer intentions post last year, I shared that I hate strength training, and that I couldn’t make myself do it no matter how hard I tried. Well, last fall I finally bit the bullet and hired a trainer. It’s only 30 minutes once a week, but I’m stronger and fitter thanks to her. And I actually enjoy my sessions. Unfortunately, we put our gym membership on hold for the summer, so I’m going to have to find a solution for June, July and August. I’m committed, though. Look for an update on how I’ve solved this.
Be a little selfish. After a long winter an entire lifetime of going out of my way to please people and make sure their needs and wants are met, many times at the detriment to what *I* need and want, I’ve realized some things. Of particular interest to me is that our bodies come equipped with internal homing devices that give us guidance. Some of us stop being attuned to these devices because we are so used to putting other people ahead of ourselves that we go on autopilot. But if we practice taking a beat and being quiet with ourselves when posed with a request, that little voice will guide us. I’ve heard people say “If it’s not a hell yes it’s a hell no” and while I love the beautiful simplicity of that, it really can’t be that simple. Sometimes we do have to do things we don’t want (I’m looking at you mammogram). But we also need to realize that for every “yes” we give someone, we are saying “no” to something else. So, balance is really my goal this summer and beyond.
Stop multitasking. It doesn’t work. Studies show we actually get *less* done when we multitask. It also tends to contribute to stress and anxiety, as well as the feeling that you aren’t fully present in your life. I’m a serial multitasker. I’m going to work on that this summer. I think a lot about something my friend Tera said recently, which is “slow down to speed up”. When we slow down and become intentional with our actions, our words, and our deeds, we actually save time vs. making mistakes and having to fix them. Like when I recently tried to carry every single thing from the car into the house while holding my cup of coffee and I spilled it all over the shoes in the mudroom and had to spend a lot of time cleaning up the mess. We could all reduce the messes, both proverbial and literal, if we just slow down a little.
So that’s it! Keep a look out for an update on these goals at the end of June or early July. I’ll give you an honest assessment of how successful I’ve been at sticking with my intentions. And I’d love to hear from you — what are your intentions and goals for the next few months? Please comment!
Disclaimer: I am technically a holistic nutritionist. Here in the state of Minnesota we have laws against using the term “nutritionist” without having an RD, so I practice as a Wellness Educator. I am passionate about using food and other modalities such as meditation, movement, supplements and other complimentary methods to achieve wellness. However, my beliefs and recommendations are also firmly rooted in science. I believe in having research and proof to back up my methods. It’s important for people to be able to really trust me.
So, yesterday on my alumni Facebook page, a fellow alum asked for recommendations to prevent traveler’s diarrhea while on vacation in Costa Rica. I have studied this topic extensively for my own personal use, as we travel to Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, and Mexico frequently. So, I suggested Florastor (which is a probiotic specifically studied and proven effective for preventing Traveler’s Diarrhea) and Pepto Bismol taken 3x daily (which is also studied for this purpose). I also said that if she wasn’t crazy about taking Pepto, I thought DGL would probably do the same thing. DGL is an all natural demulcent made from licorice which coats the lining of the GI tract. The reason why Pepto is recommended is because it also coats the lining, ostensibly preventing nasty bugs, bacteria and parasites from doing damage. Logically, both Pepto and DGL would likely achieve the same effect.
This is where things got interesting. Someone else from my alumni cohort chimed in saying that Pepto Bismol is a “super toxic soup” and because she didn’t like the ingredients they couldn’t possibly be effective. I pointed out that just because she didn’t like the ingredients didn’t mean they weren’t effective. Science doesn’t work that way.
Listen, you can absolutely hate the artificial colors and other weird binding agents these medications use. You can decide not to use them because of this personal belief. However, when giving advice to a client, I advise against using terminology like “super toxic soup” because 1) It isn’t scientifically accurate and 2) It makes you sound ill informed.
We went back and forth a little bit, but rather than provide scientific information as backup for her claims, she dug her heels in even more. Just because we graduated with the same certification from the same program doesn’t mean we have the same approach to providing care. My approach is firmly rooted in science and is compassionate, non-judgmental and kind. I refuse to be a fear monger. That kind of approach, in my opinion, is what gives the rest of us holistic nutritionist a very bad reputation. I’m doing my part, little by little, to change that perception!
It’s activity season in Minnesota, and it’s probably the same where you live. If you have a school aged child, chances are you are spending a good amount of time shuttling them from one activity to another. My teenage daughter is in drama club, rugby, and she takes tennis lessons. The maneuvering required to keep one kid’s schedule straight is a feat in and of itself. I don’t know how people with multiple kids even do it!
Because my daughter goes to school 25 minutes away, it doesn’t make sense to come home and then go back to school for rugby practice at 6 p.m. So, she either goes to drama club or stays and does homework, and I bring her dinner for her break before practice. I’m not the best at coming up with travel friendly healthy dinners, so I am going to start compiling a list. If I get enough suggestions, I will share the file!
Even the healthiest people get sick. I fell ill with the flu 10 days ago and am just now getting out of bed and starting to feel better. My doctors tell me if I hadn’t received the flu shot, I would very likely be hospitalized with complications.
I do “everything right”. I get a lot of exercise, I take my supplements, I eat very healthy, I get 8-9 hours of sleep a night, I meditate, I enjoy lots of nourishing relationships. Sometimes, even with all of that, you just get sick. I’m telling you this because a lot of holistic nutritionists and wellness practitioners sell people on this notion that if you just do all the “right things”, you will be invincible. That if you just cut out all sugar, or go gluten free, or go vegan, or go paleo, or any number of other things, you won’t ever get sick. That is nonsense. We are human and human bodies sometimes break down, get sick, or get injured.
Someone from my cohort yesterday told me not to eat any fruit whatsoever and stop all my supplements because they “feed the pathogen”. This is such utter nonsense. When I asked for studies to back up her claims she went radio silent. It makes me angry that someone out there is peddling this psuedo-science.
Bottom line: be careful when seeking wellness information and guidance. Look for real, honest-to-goodness scientific studies and papers to back up any claims. If something doesn’t sound right, follow that instinct. And if you ever have any questions, reach out to me. I like nothing better than to provide science based wellness advice.
In the meantime, I’m following doctor’s orders to rest. I’m going to eat lots of fruits and vegetables (they are full of vitamins and minerals, fiber, vitamin c, and other anti-inflammatory compounds). I’m going to get acupuncture today, and I’m staying hydrated. Sometimes, time is the best medicine.
It’s been a minute since I featured a cocktail recipe. I’m still trying new ones, though, so here today is one that I had recently I thought you all should know about.
But back up a second. You’ve heard me talk about our Crappy Dinner Parties, right? This past Sunday, one of our gang suggested having waffles. How fun is that?! So we divvied up the responsibilities while still trying to keep it crappy-adjacent. We had two waffle irons going, and on the side we had homemade whipped cream, berries, bacon, sausage and fruit salad. Nothing fancy (but as a side note: it was the most excited I’ve seen all of our kids get about CDP)
What *was* a little fancy was the cocktail the hosts Catherine and Mark made. I think we should be allowed to have a not-so-crappy Crappy Dinner once or twice a year, don’t you? Mark and Catherine thought it would be fun to have a brunch cocktail to accompany our brunch for dinner and it was delicious! And to think of it, Mark kept it crappy by spilling a bunch on the floor.
Featuring fresh grapefruit and lemon juices, it was the perfect cocktail to accompany our Crappy Brunch Party. Here it is!
1 ounce gin (preferably dry)
1/2 ounce St-Germain elderflower liqueur
1 ounce fresh grapefruit juice
1/2 ounce fresh lemon juice (I sometimes buy it pre-squeezed in bottles at Whole Foods)
1 large basil leaf or a sprig of thyme, for garnish
Fill a cocktail shaker with ice. Add all of the ingredients except the garnish and shake well. Pour through a fine strainer over an ice sphere or straight up and garnish with the basil leaf or thyme sprig.
In my opinion, and a lot of experts agree, a cluttered house leads to a cluttered mind. Higher rates of anxiety and depression can be seen in people who live in extremely cluttered environments. And when your mind is cluttered, your creativity and productivity are inhibited. As one of the foremost experts in happiness, author Gretchen Rubin has studied this extensively. She likes to say:
“Outer order contributes to inner calm.”
I’ve spent the last week decluttering my house. All the drawers, cabinets, storage spaces, and nooks are being methodically purged and organized one by one. I’m not finished yet, but I hope to be by the end of this week. We don’t have a lot of surface clutter, but look inside drawers and it’s a different story. This leads to me to feel like I don’t have control over my surroundings. And when I try to find something and I have to wrestle with a bunch of odds and ends in a drawer to find it, I get frustrated.
In the middle of my project, a friend told me that Marie Kondo, author of the book The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up, had a new Netflix series called Tidying Up with Marie Kondo. I have read that book and used it to purge my clothes closet a few years ago. I watched the eight episodes of the series over the course of the last four days and got a lot of great tips from it. She’s calm and kind and I loved watching her process.
So, is organizing your space on your list of New Year’s Resolutions? Leave a comment below and tell me. I am amazed at how energized I feel since I’ve started decluttering. Today I’m tackling the kitchen utensils, which will make cooking even more enjoyable.