5 Quick Ways to Find Your Zen on Busy Days

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Life is more hectic than ever. We are pulled in so many directions at once and we need to be able to find our zen and get re-centered quickly. It would be nice to be able to do a full meditation or yoga class whenever things get crazy stressful but that’s just not always practical. Here are 5 quick ways to find your zen on busy days.

Use Music

Put on a song that you love. This doesn’t have to be some zen instrumental or ocean sounds (unless that’s what you absolutely love.) Use whatever song you’re feeling at the moment and lose yourself in it for those few minutes. If I’m stressed out I will take a quick break, pop my earphones in, close my eyes and listen to Pac lose his mind on Hit Em Up before returning to care for the kids. When the song is over, try to stay in the mood it took you to, whether hyped up and ready for anything (as with the song mentioned above) or chilled out and peaceful.

Create a Focal Point

When things are crazy at work do you notice your eyes drifting to the picture of your family on your desk? This is one way to find your zen. It’s calming to have a focal point photo or image on your phone or computer, even a photo in your wallet to turn to when things get hectic. This helps you shift your mode from cray to zen. Another focal point to use is a mantra. This is just a brief word saying that you can repeat to yourself when you’re ready to go postal. A few mantras to consider are:

  • This too shall pass
  • I am strong and capable
  • Good things are coming my way
  • I am peace, I am love
  • Blessings are all around me
  • I can handle this

Deep Breathing Exercise

OK Stop. Relax your shoulders. Take a deep breath in for four counts. Hold it for four counts. Release it for four counts. How do you feel? Good, now do it 2 more times.

It takes under a minute, and it can relax you and get your head back in the game. You can easily find your zen once you’ve given your brain a minute to pause, enjoy the extra oxygen, and prepare to move forward.

This is just one of many breathing exercises that can help you get your mind right in the middle of a busy day. The benefit of this find-your-zen tactic is that nobody else has to know what you’re doing. You can do this practice while your boss (or your evil toddler) is screaming at you. They’ll be none the wiser and you’ll be better able to respond with love.

Moving Meditation

Don’t let the word meditation scare you. A moving meditation can be anything from a morning run or yoga session to washing the dishes or wiping a counter. I like doing a full body stretch when I need to get centered. I literally just stand and touch my toes, remembering to breathe, and turning my focus onto the good stretchy feelings in my back and legs. If you’re at your desk you can just reach both hands in the air and take a few breaths before releasing them.

If a quick stretch is not an option you can flex and release your muscles from your feet all the way up to your shoulders. The point is to take a second to move your body in the way that feels best for you at the moment to find your zen.

Close your eyes

I left the quickest get-zen-quick tip for last. So easy we even guide our toddlers to do it. Just close. your. eyes. (I mean…..unless you’re driving…then maybe do a different tip.) Take a minute and close your eyes. That’s it. You don’t have to do anything else, but you can couple this with a deep breathing technique or repeating a silent mantra….or both.

Closing your eyes physically shuts the stressor out of sight and subconsciously shuts them out of mind. With your eyes closed you can either just enjoy the “blank” space, or visualize your happy place. When super stressed I like to close my eyes and visualize my next step. Then I can just open my eyes and calmly get it done.

It’s your choice!

These are just a few of the many ways you can find your zen during busy days. It takes just a few second to get yourself back on track when things are hectic. Which tactic will you try first?

How do you find your zen?

Healthy Gifts for Dad + Full Fathers Day Gift Guide

It’s Dad season!

My dad is in town working on the house he bought nearby and I’m glad to be seeing him a bit more often. (Like Sunday nights for our Game of Thrones parties) I am no sure what I’m getting him for Father’s Day because he always says “don’t get me nothing. save your money.”

I am getting John something fitness/health related because he’s renewed his dedication to health and fitness. If you’re shopping for a health-conscious dad too here are some ideas from beachbody:

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22 Minute Card Corps

22 Minute Hardcore is the latest from Tony Horton. It’s quick, just 22 minutes a day! Based on straightforward military workouts that get results. It’s not “just for guys” but it’s a perfect quick workout for busy dads that want to get fit.

(I haven’t tried this one….yet. :))

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Body Beast

Body Beast is a killer workout program (I tried it back in 2014!) that gets results. The dad in your life that wants to build muscle and lose fat will love this. The trainer, Sagi Kalev is ‘tough guy’ motivational. It comes with a meal plan to help you get all the proper muscle building nutrition too.

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P90X3

I liked P90X3 a lot. It’s just 30 minutes a day but results are really noticeable quickly. If your shopping for a dad that likes variety in their workout this would be perfect. There’s strength, cardio, yoga/pilates, and lots of functional moves. It’s made to get you shredded if you follow the included meal plan.

If you’re interested in any of the programs mentioned above or any other beachbody program, feel free to ask me anything and I’ll gladly help you out. #shamelessplug

If you have hard-to-shop-for dads in your life, check out this gift guide from the bloggers of LINC:

(give it a second to load, and you can click right on the product image to learn more about it)

 What are you getting the fathers in your life for Fathers Day?

Busy Mom Meal Prep

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I am so not the pinteresty, instagrammy meal prepper. 1) My ish ain’t pretty. and 2) I actually didn’t consider what I do “meal prep” until someone told me it counts since I’m “prepping” stuff for the week ahead of time. So I still don’t call it that lol, but I do process foods for the week to make life easier.

A few things to note:

  • I follow a generally low carb, clean lifestyle
  • John eats low carb but not necessarily clean
  • Kids follow not exactly clean diet with healthy carbs (whole grains etc)
  • I’m home with the kids during the day and am a serious grazer
  • John works outside the home and takes lunch most days

So how I do things:

I call it “processing” food. Which…is probably the worst word to use when you’re a clean eater, but this is how I process stuff.

I grocery shop every 7-9 days. My hauls tend to look like:

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I buy eggs, fruits for smoothies and kid snacks, a variety of veggies but always zucchini for spaghetti, onions/green peppers / tomato, bagged greens for smoothies and sauteeing as a side dish, bagged salads to make lunch easy, a variety of meats going by what’s on sale but always ground turkey, ground beef, spicy Italian sausage, and chicken breasts (often pork loins and roasts as well but again that’s by sale price).

Then I also purchase the things I like to graze on during the day: almonds, peanut butter, kimchi, cheese, deli meat (not clean, but low carb)

Immediately after I get home I:

  • throw away whatever’s gross in the fridge.
  • divide the ground beef (i buy the 4.5 lb pack) into 3 even portions and pop in freezer
  • divide the big pack of chicken breasts, cut them in half lengthwise and bag them up for seasoning or freezing
  • peel, halve and bag up bananas and pop in freezer (I also bag up whatever fruit will be for my shakes)

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Each week I make a few staples:

  • a big batch of chili (John takes this to work for lunches)
  • a batch (or 2) of turkey muffins (I eat these during my random grazing thru the week)
  • bake all the chicken breasts (2-3 batches because I flavor the different bags differently)
  • (sometimes) a big batch of pasta sauce (for zucchini noodles)

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We eat a lot of the same foods each week, but I (try to) season them differently so it doesn’t get boring.

Our dinner is often just meat, salad and veggies in some random combination…

Sweets are zero carb frozen treats, and I make these sugar free “cheesecakes” fairly often.

I make a lot of “catch all” dishes, throwing every random veggie we have left over into either an egg bake, a “meatloaf” a soup or something…

*Note: I DO make separate food for the kids. We let them try what we’re eating…(knowing they’re gunna most likely throw a fit) and then I’ll give them a pasta dish of some sort, or when they ask for it, oatmeal or mac n cheese or whatever. They don’t get any “sugar free” anything…  (And I sneak veggies & protein into everything they get #trickymommy)

What I am trying to get better at: 

  • pre-planning the new meals and recipes that I experiment with
  • enforcing that the kids eat more of the “family” meal

I’m no good with rigid stuff, so my loosey goosey meal prep/planning works for our house.

Do you do any form of meal “prep”?

Healthy Relationship Habits To Start Today #naturemade #ic #ad

This post was sponsored by Nature Made® as a part of an Influencer Activation for Influence Central.

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Over Communicate

We’ve always heard that communication is crucial in relationships. It’s healthy to have open, honest communication. Taking the extra second to send a text to check in, or remind your spouse where you’ll be that night can make a major difference in both of your lives. Staying connected throughout your day increases your bond. If communication in your relationship is spotty, try a weekly meeting, or daily download chat sessions. You can also just try opening up a random conversation about something light to get both of your jaws flapping easily.

Play

I’ve shared how John and I are in competition. This is part of our play. Remembering to play is a way of keeping your relationship fun, upbeat and fresh. It’s hard to get bored or complacent if you’re always in a light-hearted challenge, or game. Play doesn’t have to be something official like doing a race or obstacle course together. You can randomly tickle your partner, or just make a silly face to keep the mood light. Not your style? Reminding your partner of something funny you two did or saw together is one way to get laughing and open the gates to play.

Get Healthy Together

Taking care of your health is a big part of keeping your relationship healthy. We want to feel great and also look great for our partner. Start eating healthier, drinking more water and taking daily vitamins. You can begin an easy exercise routine and ramp it up as you get stronger and fitter. Gyms often offer discounts for couples joining together.

Here are some healthy habits I’ve made in 2016 to get you started:

Nature Made (the best-selling vitamin brand) is giving away 20 $50 gift cards to Walmart! Enter to win below:

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I-C will randomly select 20 winners from all program entries and will handle fulfillment of the winning prizes.

Check out the Nature Made Daily Boost program when you have a moment and visit Walmart for lots of Nature Made products at a low price every day.

Remember the Kids!

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Parenting together makes for a healthy unit overall. It’s important to share the duties of parenting so that no feelings of resentment or overwhelm evolve. Including your kids in activities you would normally do solo or as a couple helps the family bond get stronger. Something as simple as going to Walmart as a family or taking a walk together after dinner has an impact, and (bonus) is a healthy habit you can all do together.

What healthy relationship habits do you have? 

 

5 Healthy Habits for Work At Home Moms

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Being a work at home mom is no joke. I won’t get into the debate of who works harder, moms working outside the home, or stay at home moms, or work at home moms…. If you’re a mother…you’re automatically a working mom. The end. Kids are a full time job, period. And they are the hardest work I’ve done. I enjoy being a work at home mom (WAHM) and wouldn’t trade it for the world. Being at home throughout the day with children is a privilege that offers many benefits to us as a family, but health-wise can have a lot of drawbacks.

When I was working a 9-5 job in NY during my lunch hour I would go right downstairs to the gym. Super convenient. My lunches were healthy because it was just as easy to grab a pre-made salad as it was a burger. At home, with children, and working on building my business, I have new challenges in my healthy lifestyle journey. As work at home moms we are constantly trying to balance (even though balance is a deceiving term) getting work done and growing our business, with keeping house, taking good care of the kids, giving spouse attention and oh yeah…maybe a little self care too. We’re running from store to event, to playground, we’re cooking meal after meal, balancing the budget, cleaning up, doing laundry, planning, fixing, tweaking… and maybe actually working to earn our income. Between all of these obligations, it’s easy to grab unhealthy snacks, munch on the kids’ stuff, skip workouts, procrastinate or get so bogged down that we don’t take the proper care of ourselves.




I have found a few tricks that help me keep my healthy habits a big part of my life without letting other areas suffer. Maybe they’ll work for you too:

Put Junk/Kids Foods Out of Sight

Out of sight out of mind. Right? Wrong. (you know exactly where you hid the damn cookies. stop it.) But out of sight, less likely to binge on! I recently did a dump of all the processed foods, white sugar, white flour leftover, etc. I took it out of the cabinets and gave some way, tossed some out. It just had to go. Now, we do have some “junk” food left, and those are on the top shelf and only come out randomly for the kids. (I literally have to get a chair to climb up and get down their mac n cheese boxes) The fridge only has healthy foods (except for my mom’s jams for the kids pb&j sandwiches) If you don’t toss your favorite junk foods, I suggest you have your spouse hide the items and make sure he or she is strong enough not to bend and give them to you when you’re feeling hangry.  (This tip works for moms that work outside the home too!)

Make Play and Exercise Synonymous  

Using playtime for exercise is the easiest way to sneak it in while working from home. Try to start thinking of them as the same thing instead of viewing exercise as drudgery you have to “make it through.”

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At the playground I get it in. When we’re out in the backyard I do walking lunges, and jump squats all around the yard. The kids and I play tag (better known as “i’m gunna getcha” in our house) and pretend we’re animals zooming through the forest. I make our daily walks more of a workout for me by adding in sprints. “Ok Ro, let’s hop like a bunny to that tree down there.” walk to recover “Now let’s go fast like a race car to that mailbox” etc. etc. (bonus: this wears their little butts out, and makes going down for naptime less of a hassle. #momwins)

Be Competitive

My 5k training would likely be more sporadic if John didn’t lose his mind and challenge me to a monthly mileage competition on the Nike+ Running app. This fool’s about to get smoked, but whatever… The point is that a little healthy competition is a great motivator for the work at home mom. Use Dietbet or other apps to compete with others digitally, or challenge your spouse or even your kids to little competitions around the house. (Planking contests, etc) You can get some friends together that have similar goals and encourage each other (while silently vowing to beat them at whatever it is.) Signing up for a 5k may be the motivation you need to start moving. Download a couch to 5k app on your phone and follow along with a friend or whoever you’re competing with.

Change your workout mindset

This is something I am still working on. I’m conditioned from organized sports in HS and college to go hard and long. Short bursts don’t feel like they’re “working” but I know intellectually that it all makes a difference. So I encourage you to work on your exercise mindset as well. What old mindset do you have to break?

Old: Workouts take long and are boring // New: Short workouts are effective and fun

Old: I hate cardio/running/treadmills etc. // New: Dancing is fun cardio that I can do at home

Old: I dont like/dont have weights/gym. // New: I can get a full workout using just my body weight at home

Old: I have no space at home to work out // New: I don’t need a lot of space to work out

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Schedule in Fit Breaks

Every work at home mama knows that sometimes you can get into the zone and just work work work without breaks.  You’re grinding away at the computer, all hunched over and tensed up and don’t even realize it until you’re so daggone tired and your eyes are killing you and you’ve got a crick in your neck. Please try not to make that a habit. (I’m talking to myself here too.) Every now and then stand up, stretch, walk around your house, or around the block, take deep breaths, drink some water, and then return to work. You can set your alarm for these.

On days that I don’t have both children, I’m able to get work done during the day. At the top of each hour I will get up, do some ab workouts or jog around the house and sip on water. I reward myself for this by making my “fit break time” also my “check facebook guiltlessly for a couple minutes time.”  Hey, whatever works for you!

The Takeaway:

We have 5011 things to take care of as WAHMs and our fitness and well being has to be a priority. If mommy’s not healthy, the household suffers. So, try these techniques above, or come up with your own healthy habits and share them below!

What are your healthy habits?