Slow the F*ck Down!

This is not click bait. This is a plea from me to you to truly take some time to slow it down. Take the time to read this as though your life depends on it. Let's be clear about what I mean. What I write here might not change your life, but slowing down certainly will!

I want you to consider what it would be like if you slowed down your mind to be able to think clearly, process your thoughts and plans fully, and organize your emotions and energy so you can feel like a human again. It would be pretty lovely right? 

We are so fast moving, ridiculously consumed by going-going-going that we rarely catch a moment to breathe. We are often working insane hours only to have no social lives or time for ourselves. This pattern begs asking the question: what is the point?!

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Why I Always Recommend Movement

Whether you have been reading Mindful Living for a while or are a new comer, you have seen that I recommend moving, getting outside, and being active a lot. I am, after all, a movement-based therapist providing walking sessions. While I will not go so far as to coin movement a cure-all, I will say that it is incredibly powerful.

Research shows that inactivity is at the root of so many health issues: cardiovascular disease, obesity & weight gain, depression and anxiety. These are serious concerns that are easily remedied with one thing: movement! It could be walking, jogging, running, dancing, skating, swimming, hiking, biking, yoga...the list could quite literally go on and on. 

There has been a cultural shift away from being outside, playing as children, walking from place to place. These things have been replaced with more screen time, increased work hours, and a stress upon filling the hours of the day with more productivity while letting our health take a back seat. 

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Moving Into A Spring Mindset

We have sprung forward as of March 12th with the changing of the clocks and March 20th marks the first official day of the Spring season. Each year without fail I get ridiculously excited for these seasonal changes, Spring especially.

Spring comes with so many positive connotations: renewal, youth, new life, awakening, and transformation. We might not realize how deeply we are effected by these changes or metaphors, but if we look a little deeper we can see how in small ways the seasons affect us all.

The winter season creates shorter days. Less sunlight naturally affects our energy levels. Growing up in Florida I did not have to worry about cold weather. Winters in the Southeast actually had more of an energizing effect than anything else. Being up North now, my energy levels dramatically dip when the time "falls back" and the sun sets at 4:30pm. 

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When the Winter Blues Hit

February is the hardest month of winter for me. It is dreary, bleak, and dark--both literally and figuratively. It is like the Monday's of months. If you live in the North or somewhere with seasonal changes, chances are that you feel this way too. The winter blues do not have to hit so hard when you prepare yourself with mental fuel and perspective.

The changes that we feel in the winter are very real. For most, the days are shorter, the temperature is colder, and the motivation of the New Year has worn off. Without fail, each year I hit a point in February where I have the sudden compulsion to hop on a plane to a tropical island. This year, I am looking at it more clinically.

Whenever anything has a pattern it becomes easier for us to predict and, therefore, to fix. I often hear people tell me that this winter blues pattern occurs every year for them as well, and yet we do not do anything to fix it. It is as if we know we cannot control the weather, so we succumb to the feelings that go along with the season.

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The Art of Self-Compassion

Compassion is usually seen as how we utilize kindness and understanding with others. As with most acts of kindness, the capacity to be compassionate starts from within. When we lack self-compassion it is generally a lot harder to be kind to others. When we view this self-love as beginning internally, it can then radiate outwards and color our interactions with others in a beautiful way.

What is self-compassion?

The act of treating ourselves with compassion is not one that many people place importance on, yet we are expected to treat one another with kindness. We are taught from a young age to treat others the way we want to be treated. However, we generally engage in self-criticism and self-talk that is far more harmful and hurtful than anything we would tell someone else.

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Resolutions Check-In

As January wraps up and February begins, it is time to check in on those New Year's resolutions. It is reasonable to think that if we have not begun working towards the goals that we set by now it is likely there will not be any follow through the rest of the year. I am here to offer a different mindset and propose a perspective shift.

Think back to a few weeks ago when those goals were initially established. At this time your mind was full with thoughts of accomplishing something, feelings of possibility, hopes of change. What I have seen happen with my clients is that they may set their goals a little too aggressively in the beginning of the year. It is good to set aggressive goals, but it is important to think about what needs to happen before you can get off the ground. 

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Not Letting Fear Decide

A large part of what I believe to be my purpose in life is to live with authenticity. To be genuine and real, both for myself and for the people I work with. I find that too often we know our true desires and want to pursue them, but something gets in the way. Whether its fear of judgement, an inability to believe in ourselves, or a fear of change, this thing that holds us back from living our best possible life is real!

Following our incredible farm/European adventure, I am back in NYC and working on growing my practice and developing the life I desire. A large part of me has wanted to share more, put myself out there in ways that feel scary and vulnerable. I made a list of all the things that could happen in 2017 that would be both scary and amazing. I could have easily sat back and let the list become a list of dreams and hopes than an actual plan for my year.

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2016: Year In Review

I try not to write about myself too often. My goal is for the content on Mindful Living to be positive and encouraging while also informative to new ideas and ways of thinking. The intention is that the personal experiences that I do share provide these things.

This week I wanted to reflect upon my 2016 and encourage you to do the same. I ask myself: what did this year teach me? What were the high points and the low points? How did I grow? Where did I fall short? What do I want to see for the coming year? 

Sometimes the answers will differ based on various aspects of your life: personal, professional, interpersonal, etc. so be sure to address them as a whole. This is a fun exercise to get you in a mindset of reflection and gratitude while also giving you some guidance for moving forward. In an effort to keep this brief, I will be sharing my answers here.

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My Favorite Blogs of 2016

Whether you are new to Mindful Living or have been here since the beginning I am taking a trip down memory lane and want to share with you my favorite blog posts of 2016. 

Thus far I have written 45 posts in 2016. That is a full 40 more than I wrote in 2015. I see writing in Mindful Living as a personal journey that I get to share with the world, likeminded individuals, and potential clients. It brings me a lot of joy to get creative, share my voice, and challenge myself each week. We'll dive more into that next week when I post my year in review. 

It was difficult for me to narrow down my list to just five blogs. Every week that I share something, I find that it has some significance and tie to my life. Going back through the year is essentially a glimpse at what my year has consisted of. Growth, journeys, traveling, relationships, adjusting.

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Mindful Gifting

It is peak holiday season which means we are being inundated with advertisements and triggers to be constant consumers. We are used to the "more is more" mentality and can become addicted to the act of shopping. Often times gift giving can become more stressful than enjoyable which defeats the whole purpose!

There is a way to break from the cycle of stressful, mindless giving by taking a look at who you are gifting to and why. Attempting to be more guided in your gifting will help you feel more centered and aligned with the giving mentality.

I am a huge fan of experiential gifting or giving experiences instead of things. Think cooking a few meals for a family that just had a baby, babysitting so the parents can have a date night, a bike tour in someone's home town or booking a massage. This can also include getting someone a museum pass or tickets for something that they love. 

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