Initial Fundraiser

This first campaign will help get BaredFeet, Co. on its feet.  With a goal of $3000, these funds will go toward new yoga mats for our youth yoga programs, program development for autism programs and Highly Sensitive Persons, program development with area organizations like the Boys and Girls Club, a revamped logo, a PO Box, and 501c3 filing.

Please donate and share – help me do the work that I feel in my bones is needed.  The programs at BaredFeet, Co. are primarily FREE.  See BaredFeet.wordpress.com to see more information and to see what is available this summer (free: kid yoga, adult pre-yoga and body/mind/spirit).

Help my raise $3000 by December 31, 2017!

If you have ever appreciated or participated in my work over the last decade THIS is how you can show me gratitude!

https://www.youcaring.com/baredfeetco-826682

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Summer Kids Yoga at Carson Park

16178427_1338985466124271_2218248005828192029_oFree Kids Yoga at Carson park this summer again!
Tuesdays at 10am (near the playground) starting June 27th through August 29th. Ages 0-16 (under 4 parent must attend). Bring your mat or use one of mine

Here is the extensive list, in random order, of what your kids will accomplish (the more they attend the better but come when you can!):

– embodiment: feels good to be in my body
– breathe through difficulties
– breath education
– tools to care for their full selves
– strengthen muscles typically weak in kids
– how good it feels to slow down
– ease over frustration
– imagination activation! (stories and pretend)
– mental focus
– posture and self-awareness
– develop intuition
– learn yoga vocabulary
– nature connection, grounding to the earth (we are outside!!)
– spiritual awareness (the world is bigger than me)
– find your calm activities and the benefits of doing them

Yeah, all that 😉

Can’t wait to see you all! Bring a friend!

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BaredFeet Changing to Non-Profit Status

Happy New Year!  I like new years, they burgeon in change and growth and positive attitudes.  I am working on the final preparations to file BaredFeet as a non-profit, so I can bring beginning body/mind/spirit education, dance and yoga classes, wellness articles, support for Highly Sensitive Persons, arts as wellness, and dance as a communicative performance to Eau Claire and the surrounding areas.  FREE, yes free!

I believe that managing our own health is the first step toward world peace, and should be free so we can all achieve it.  I believe that the body, mind and spirit are deeply intertwined and health is only achieved by working in each area with compassion.  I believe in showing individuals how amazing they are and to empower them to take control of their health as no one else can.  I believe in the joy and potency of the arts.

First steps will be to establish board and operational functioning – I have built a team of local experts in body care, mental health, and spiritual wellness – and website overhaul.  Second steps will be teaming up with local organizations to bring programming, then fund-raising, and lots of writing.  Third step will be establishing a studio and performance space (by Spring 2018 – fingers crossed).

Follow BaredFeet on Facebook, bookmark this website, or join our email list (simply contact me) to keep up to date on this awesome adventure!

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Why Should I Bother to Be Healthy?

“Even if I can battle the never-ending swarm of health information and actually understand what it is I’m really supposed to do to be truly healthy, and then let’
s pretend I can accomplish doing those things in my busy life and keep doing them… why?  Won’t I die eventually anyway?  Isn’t life painful anyway?  Isn’t all that effort taking me away from things I could be doing to just enjoy my life?  What does being unhealthy mean anyway – I feel fine, right? Why should I bother to be healthy?”

I started imagining my rehealth.jpgaders asking these questions each time I posted an article with wellness tips.   I could also hear them in the minds of so many people I encountered.  And I realized that YES, this is the starting place.

Our moms first, then our doctors, the media, and now everyone it seems, is asking us to be healthy.  It seems like so much work, doesn’t it?  What the heck for? We all seem fine enough and does it really make a difference?

The problem is we live in a world now used to the dramatically quick, obvious and tangible, and not in the world of the potently subtle.  What?  Another words, we tend to act from a place of, “if I don’t die a painful death immediately from doing something then it’s probably alright for me to do.”

But the reality is that health is long-term and subtle.  Things from our childhood can creep up on us at any time. Stress builds like underground lava and only our digestion and nerves can show signs of being off… until much later when systems shut down.

And now you’re saying, “Ok, ok, so this is even more reason for me not to care, right?  Trouble is far down the road and hard to see?”

But we do have an impact on our health with our choices.

BUT while we are told by our health care professionals that working to be healthy now – eating right, exercising, and managing our stress – will prevent disease later, and this is true, it is certainly not a motivator.

I’m here to tell you something so much simpler and better to motivate you to be healthy.  And when you hear it you will better understand what being healthy is.  And the immediacy of the rewards sustains that motivation.

Here it is, the reason to make efforts to be as healthy as you can:

 

It literally makes each day easier to get through. 

 

While trying to take care of our health impacts our long term wellness, it most certainly and noticeably impacts our daily wellness.  Working on your wellness actually makes you have happiness each day -even in light of things that typically piss you off.  And the kicker?  It doesn’t take as much effort, pain, and time as you think.  Health is simple.  (You needn’t have a nutrition degree and spend hours reading up on the newest exercise trends and toxins to avoid.)  And the benefit after that?  It enables you to be the best and brightest YOU which inspires people to do the same.  You are free to pass on your joy and radiant health like a contagious smile.

Don’t understand?  Don’t believe me?  “I can’t believe I just spent my time reading this much of the article for that empty crap?”

Stay with me.

Example: My kids drive me nuts.  When my kids drive me nuts then my husband is suddenly much less cute and humorous.  The dirt in my house becomes my enemy.  I am crabby.  My back hurts.  My shoulders are tense.  I have a headache.  I haven’t pooped yet today.  I’m gassy.  I crave sugar. I can’t remember laughing.  I tried going for a run the other day but it was just depressing and my legs are like jelly today.  I nodded off at work and couldn’t get my brain to focus.

Healthy version?  I found myself with more patience for my kids and I enjoyed their spirits, shenanigans and all.  My hubby made me laugh when I broke a glass on the floor that we really didn’t need.  My body feels looser and taller, and flowing free.  I am checking out a new yoga class just because it sounded fun.  I don’t need any prescriptions of any kind.  I am focused and have energy, and feel ALIVE.  And you know what?  I have the patience to be kind.

So how does that work?

The basics? (with suggested minimum time spent)  Note that these cover ALL areas of your health – body, mind and spirit – because BaredFeet deeply believes they are intertwined and you will get no where if you only work on one area.

  • Breathe consciously once a day (2 min)
  • Connect with your body once a day (I have feet!) (2 min)
  • Move (flow) your body once a day in ways YOU ENJOY (10-15 min, even 2 min intervals)
  • Use (strengthen) your body once a day (10-15 min, even 2 min intervals)
  • Feed yourself, simply, purely, when you are hungry (this is not hard – PROMISE)
  • LOVE something (feel it for 20 sec a day)
  • LOVE someone (feel it for 20 sec a day)
  • HUG someone (look for 5 hugs)
  • Listen to yourself (before you go to bed, how was your day? ANGER, HURT, SAD, JOY) (2 min)
  • Listen to someone else (forget about yourself and find out how someone else’s day was, no judgement or advice) (2 min)
  • PRAY – can you see a bigger picture? (2 min)
  • Let it go and see what happens (in the heat of the moment)

Total time daily (not including eating): 41 minutes

Start with one or two.  Look for the immediate tangible BENEFITS, no matter how small, and see what happens over a week or two – see what changes build.  See what starts to domino positively.  Two weeks until something is a habit.  A habit means our brains and bodies crave it, making it easier to keep up with.  One new habit can create more.

We don’t have to be perfectly fit to be healthy (“fit” is not necessarily healthy).  We have minds and spirits that overpower that – HOW DO YOU FEEL (sense and emotion)?  That is the key.  Grow health from the inside out and it becomes HAPPINESS.  We all deserve that!  And it can be EASY!  Then we choose health because it feels awesome instead of like a chore.

And, most importantly, working on your health can help you FEEL AWESOME every day.  Plus all that long-term benefit stuff we talked about before!  Yes you will die of something eventually.  But you won’t have to care about that.  You have easy good days and are too busy enjoying life.

Don’t believe me?  TRY IT.

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Why I Don’t Do the Things I Know Are Better for Me

pout.jpgSome days I just want to complain or feel grumpy and unmotivated.  It can feel nice to complain that my back hurts, I have a headache, my kids make me cranky, my house/job/spouse create stress, my digestion is off, I’m not sleeping – and settle into that feeling of “Poor me”.  But when those days come more often than they should I realize that is an alarm that I need to take action.

I know in my heart it is a one hundred times better feeling choice and will solve my problems to: eat nutritiously… exercise regularly… meditate daily… floss… drink more water… not eat before bed… scream into a pillow instead of at my children… come to the yoga mat often… do things just for myself that I love… practice awareness to manage my emotions… and to cleanse and strengthen my energy system since I am a highly sensitive person.

Blaming others, or things, for my problems doesn’t do a dang thing.  I’m not even sure why we do it – are we looking for those things to fix how we feel?  Life takes us off balance and we have this amazing ability to bring it back to balance and create our own health and joy.

Do we?  YES.

While I have to admit I do pretty darn okay most of the time (thank you sensitivities for giving me awareness and thank-you life experience for teaching me enough self-love to do what I do), but, particularly as temporary stressful circumstances come around or bad habits sneak back in, I choose to wallow, eat more sugar, stay up late, talk snarky, widdle through Facebook posts instead of flossing, watch TV instead of my thoughts… and I have wondered to long, “Why do I choose to keep the icky feelings instead?”

I’ve been asking myself this for the past year in particular.  I have a 2 year old son whom I care for full-time and still nurse.  He has had pretty severe separation anxiety and so I have not had much time away from him since his birth.  I am pretty tired.  As much as I know I need replenishment, stress reduction, time for myself, rest, healthy eating to keep up vitamins for both of us, it is hard.  “I don’t have time.”  “I don’t have energy.”  I tell myself.  But I know full well (from have the articles I’ve written on quick stress reducers) that it doesn’t take much time to care for myself, just intention, that I can just roll out two yoga mats instead of one so my son and I can get our yoga on together, that I can turn my music on in the car instead of the stuck-in-my-head-forever-toddler-tunes, that I can be thankful when I notice I’m cranky, and journal when I crawl into bed, and that ALL of those things MAKE ME FEEL SO AWESOME.  So I have been asking – WHY do I want to keep these icky habits?  Why aren’t I making any effort?

One can’t move forward when there are roadblocks.  So we have to start by looking at what is blocking ourselves.  Our fears tell us this is the hard part, but none of it is really hard if we go one step at a time. 

So I’ve been trying to pay attention to my responses, my thoughts about things that stress me, and asking what the things I’m complaining about are giving me that is so valuable (our ego only lets us keep things that we find value in).

What have I found blocks me? What benefits does doing nothing give me?  (And what do I remember is the actual truth in each one)

  1. Poor me – the victim. Think about how strong that feeling is for you the next time you feel crappy. For someone else to say “aww, I’m so sorry.  That sucks for you.” Is VERY POWERFUL (and human).  But in reality it isn’t very helpful to us.  What that is actually doing for you is HAVING SOMEONE ELSE VALIDATE YOUR FEELINGS.  And gives you attention.  But is that really what you want attention for is the icky things?  A reputation of so many icky things?  And VALIDATING YOUR OWN FEELINGS is more powerful than I know how to describe – the effects are longer and vaster (e.g. helps build compassion for others and self-confidence).
  2. It is safer. Not taking care of my self seems less risky. There is no fear of failure.  Or fear of not being able to handle or keep up with the success I create.  Comfort in routine is potent also, and another form of fear.  BUT fear is actually liberating – if you take it up on its challenge.  The world is huge and you will never know about something if you don’t try… or at least look into it… OPEN UP and take a chance on facing a little bit of fear here and there.  You might find it motivates you to do even more!  Remember that fear feels bigger than it actually is.  It’s just a feeling – when you notice it, FEEL it (think of it as smelling something stinky) and you’ll be surprised how little it turns out to be.
  3. Owning it. By not doing something about my stress, problems, health, it can still be someone else’s fault and not mine.  Admitting that I am responsible for what happens to me and am in control of my life feels really huge and awful, because I focus on the fact that “It’s my fault.”  “I’m a horrible person for making a mistake.” I know this feeling well.  But I have learned that being responsible for myself doesn’t mean blaming and criticizing until I feel so crappy I won’t do that bad thing again.  Focusing on “fault” isn’t the point at all.  I do the best I can in each given moment.  I am human.  Saying instead “I CAN be the one who makes things better for myself” should be EMPOWERING!  Seeing what I’ve learned along the way only makes me wiser.  Acknowledging that REAL LIFE TAKES TIME – it is a long journey.
  4. Immediate Gratification (ahem lazy). Our society of immediate self-gratification has caused it to be hard for us to be patient.  We can’t go faster than our soul, our energy, life, can move.  But our sense of what is immediately self-gratifying is askew too.  For instance, before bed my husband and I turn on the TV and watch shows we enjoy.  This is relaxing, right?  We do this because it is immediately satisfying – worries are gone and we laugh and cry out of the pleasure of the imaginary.  Close, but no cigar.  What it does is shove my stress/emotions aside, stuffs them down (not gone or validated or handled), and takes me out of the present out of my body into an imaginary land.    Feels good.  Right away.  But is fake and short-term.  As soon as I turn off the TV or wake in the morning it all is back.  What if instead, for five minutes after I turn off the TV I sit in the feeling of being relaxed, present in its luxury?  This is meditation. It is presence – so healthy for me – and trains my nervous system with a bit of intention to create more of this feeling.  Now, what if for five minutes before I turn the TV on I sit and journal (or type if I must) about some of the crap I’m stressed about?  What makes me angry / sad / hurt / happy.  Five minutes of two activities and I have taken care of my mental health in potent ways.  INTENTION and PRESENCE.

So, some suggestions for you, in summary.  I hope these insights motivate you to turn inward and perhaps help you clear some roadblocks that might be preventing you from making good choices.

  1. VALIDATE YOURSELF.   For sure.  So powerful.  Admit this – that it isn’t anyone else’s job.  How much can and should we expect from others in our lives and what is healthy to ask?  Obviously there are many times where we can’t do things ourselves.  Friends and family should support each other (and support each other in not wallowing in self-pity).  BUT IF YOU AREN’T VALIDATING YOUR SELF YOU WILL NEVER MOVE FORWARD.
  2. It’s ok to feel afraid. Feelings can’t hurt you.  Look at what is really true – in the big picture, too.  Mistakes are ok as long as you try again.  Need more push? Tell yourself positive things:  “I am brave”.  Life is ALWAYS about learning and growing – branching out is a GOOD thing.  Usually you find something even better than what you have been doing.

Additionally, as I always want to know how I can teach my kids valuable things, tell your kids these things, EVERYDAY maybe:

  1. “Poor me” is not love. Feel “sorry” for yourself and then look for your joy to return!  Share feelings and receive support from others, but remember to listen to your own heart too.
  2. Fear is liberating, the world is huge. Feel your fear, open yourself up, and try!
  3. Saying “It’s their fault” doesn’t make a problem go away.   Having a problem doesn’t mean you are awful.  You are human.  Try to fix it and amazing things happen.
  4. PRAY about EVERYTHING. And then wait to see what you are given.  Let go of it having to go the way you imagine – we simply don’t know as much as God.  God has a bigger better plan.
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Sugar 101

We all know we are supposed to eat less sugar, but HOW can we when it tastes so good and is seemingly everywhere?  What exactly is the problem with sugar anyway?  Can we truly have it just as the reward it is designed for – without the guilt, fat or indigestion?

Welcome to Sugar 101.  The below information should help you have a healthy relationship WITH sugar, yes WITH.

sugarNatural vs Added

The first thing to know is that there is a difference between natural and added sugar.

  • Natural sugars are those that are found occurring within a food (fruit and milk sugars are examples). When eaten in their natural form, they release sugar slowly and in much less quantities than added sweeteners.  They have vitamins, minerals and antioxidants present in them.
  • Added sugars are those that are simply added into a food that isn’t naturally sweet to make it taste sweeter. These are processed or extracted foods to obtain maximum sweetness.  There are now over 60 different types of added sugars.  Added sugars are assimilated much quicker.  Some contain vitamins and minerals and some do not.

What is Sugar and How Does it Work in Our Body?

There are three types of sugar: fructose, glucose and sucrose.

  • Fructose occurs naturally in fruit and is in most processed sugars. Fructose is processed by the body straight to fat (skipping the gastrointestinal tract and going right to our liver).  It doesn’t as greatly effect blood sugar as glucose, then, but you don’t get that “full” feeling and you continue to feel hungry so eat more.  Whole fruits have less sugar content and fewer calories than processed sugars, contains water and vitamins, the fiber present prevents it from affecting your blood sugar, and the antioxidants keep it from becoming fat.
  • Glucose, also known as dextrose, is basic blood sugar. It is the most common carbohydrate (starches, wheat and vegetables).  It is converted through the intestinal tract by the body to blood sugar (which causes insulin to be produced) and excess is stored in the liver.  Glucose is necessary for energy and can be properly utilized in regular amounts (natural versions).  High levels of glucose (processed foods and added sugars) have negative impacts on digestion and blood sugar.
  • Sucrose, found in table sugar and sugar beets for example, is a combination of both fructose and glucose and the body breaks it into individual molecules of each. Both are assimilated at once, so the fructose becomes fat and the glucose is used as energy.

Why is sugar bad for us anyway?

The general health concern over sugar, due to its conversion to fat and the toll on insulin, is its link to cardiovascular disease and diabetes.  There is also concern for liver health, as the liver cannot process vast amounts of sugar (particularly as it is dealing with all the other regular toxins in our daily lives).  See the below boxes for other documented ways sugar impacts our well-being.

7sugarfacts

But I think it goes beyond these concerns.  While long-term wellness and avoidance of disease are the touted reasons to eat healthily, I say live for today – a BETTER today, by noticing how eating healthier makes you feel better on a day-to-day basis!

I notice subtle different reactions to different kinds of sugar (and amounts) – particularly if I am over-stressed already.  For example, table sugar and alcohol make me feel almost anxious and sick to my stomach, high-fructose corn syrup makes me emotional and gives me a headache, while honey (which has the same glucose-fructose ratio as table sugar) doesn’t give me any noticeable reactions other than craving more of it.  Because of lower/higher processing, sources, and vitamin/mineral content your body most likely has different reactions to different sugars.  I can definitely see these kind of varied reactions in my children!

The most powerful fact about sugar is its addictive nature. When sugar hits our system, it boosts serotonin (happy) levels in the brain, our brains are designed to look for glucose for survival, but the crash from the high levels of fructose generate a craving for even more.  Particularly we are sensitive to this cycle when we are stressed – both physiologically and emotionally (needing the quick pick-me-up).  The cravings of addiction prevent us from our ability to see how it negatively impacts us and our intuitive urges to stop consuming it.  Breaking this addiction cycle is key to reclaiming your health.

Where is it?

Before we start consuming or eliminating sugar, we need to look at how much is in our diet and where the sugar is.

The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends no more than 9 teaspoons (38 grams) of added sugar per day for men, and 6 teaspoons (25 grams) per day for women. The AHA limits for children vary depending on their age and caloric needs, but range between 3-6 teaspoons (12 – 25 grams) per day.  Take a look at your pantry… (go ahead) Honey Nut Cheerios has around 9g per serving, one Kashi granola bar has 5g (your kids have now had their fill), Wish Bone Thousand Island dressing has 4g, Nature’s Own Whole Wheat has 1g per slice, 4g of sugar are in that tiny teaspoon of sugar you added to your black coffee.  That leaves 1g of sugar left without dinner or dessert.  That Snickers Bar you ate at snack time? = 20g.  Exceeding this recommended dose can be detrimental for our liver.  Be careful reading grams of sugar in something, though, because it can be misleading.  Nutritional content labels include ALL kinds of sugar – natural and added.  AND reading numbers on nutritional content labels can make us obsessive compulsive.

What IS my point with the above gram countingSUGAR IS IN EVERYTHING.  Forget counting grams and calories, not only is that too much work, it is beyond thatWhen everything tastes sweet we are training our brains to a certain level of sweetness and we get addicted.  Then the amount will just add up and up.  Also, when sugar is in everything, every item we eat is interfering with our calcium/magnesium absorption, our digestion and our liver/kidney functions.  We need to first rid ourselves of the addiction = enter the cleanse.

 

SUGAR CLEANSING STEP BY STEP

STEP 1: Find and Replace

Look for no-sugar-added versions of all the processed foods in your house.  Food companies know how addictive sugar is – that is why they put it in your food.  Does canned soup really need sugar, for example?  The key to beginning a healthy relationship with sugar is: GET ADDED SUGAR OUT FROM WHERE IT DOES NOT BELONG.

The best case I can give = YOGURT.  Yogurt has a surprising amount of added sugar, to get people to eat it, but it interferes with the calcium we are eating it for!  Eat only plain yogurt from whole or 2% milk.  (That type of fat in that quantity is good for you by the way).  Plain yogurt is the only yogurt without sugar.  Add your own fruit.  I have gotten many a kid accustomed to plain yogurt – it just takes time to get used to the change.

This rearranging of your daily diet, simply replacing foods you don’t need added sugar in with foods that don’t have added sugar, will change your life.  And you haven’t even tackled removing treats, yet!

Now, after that?

STEP 2: Guiltless Rewards

Save sweets for reward time, as they were intended.  If the only added sugar you are consuming is in baked goods (you can find bread and cereal without sugar) you can bet that it is probably okay to have one a day without any guilt whatsoever. (16g in a Betty Crocker brownie)  Enjoy every morsel.    Here are some no-sugar added snack ideas: https://baredfeet.wordpress.com/2015/11/21/top-no-sugar-added-quick-snacks/

But remember I said it goes beyond just how much sugar but what kind – because of how it makes you feel.   So notice how those sweets make you feel – 15 minutes later, an hour later, the next day.  Decide if it really is worth it.

Better yet, find other ways to reward yourself and cope with stress than reaching for food.  Here is some help with this very important step: https://baredfeet.wordpress.com/2015/12/11/rewarding-yourself-well/

STEP 3: Cleanse

Once you’ve done the above two steps, try taking two weeks where you don’t eat any added sugar at all.  Tell others when you are going to do this to gain support.  You don’t ever want to go cold turkey, or your system will have withdrawl symptoms (and you’d be better off with the sugar!)  Instead:

  • Mentally think, positively, about removing sugar for a couple of days, think out the steps and do any planning you need. Affirm that you are doing this for self-care not self-loathing.
  • Cut out the processed foods that contain sugar for a few of days first (where it isn’t necessary),
  • Then cut out soda and sugary drinks for a few days,
  • Finally cut out all forms of added sugar for two weeks!

Two weeks is key for resetting your brain’s relationship to sugar.

When you have withdrawl symptoms or cravings – drink water and exercise.  This will flush out any toxins that have built up – your body will know it is cleansing when you stop putting sugar in it.  Water also curbs your appetite.  Otherwise if you are actually hungry, find a substitute snack or take a nap.  It takes some staying power, but after those two weeks you will be amazed how you feel – sleeping better, mood better, thinking clearer, digestion and energy improved.  And when you start returning to sugar, hopefully better educated, you will notice that your cravings are gone and probably will notice things tasting sweeter than you remember.

Going Further

  • To go even further, start baking yourself. Choose a healthier sweetener or experiment with using fruit as a sweetener!  Pulverizing some dates in a food processor is satisfying J, and don’t forget that bananas are a great sweetener and work well in baked goods.  Added sweeteners other than table sugar and corn syrup may be easier on your blood sugar or digestion, and have more naturally occurring nutrients.  According to Deepak Chopra’s research, the healthiest sugar to consume is Date Sugar or Palm Sugar.  It is derived from dates, so is more natural, it has vitamins and minerals, and is low on the glycemic index as well as low in fructose (which clogs the liver and makes us fat).  So look for added sugars that have less fructose and vitamins/minerals.  (http://www.chopra.com/articles/the-lowdown-on-sweeteners-12-types-of-sweet-explained )
  • Set the example for your kids – monitor how much sugar they are getting and watch their reactions to it. Make sure they see you making efforts to eat less sugar.  They will adapt to your baking – my kid doesn’t know the difference between my carob-honey brownies that she can eat more of and Betty Crocker’s fudge brownies, or between LaCroix sparkling water and Root Beer soda (which she spits out – too sweet).  Other families we encounter are also building awareness from the example we set.
  • Try eliminating breads and pasta for 2 weeks also. I don’t feel anything in our diets needs to ever be permanently avoided (I’ve done that repeatedly only to find nutritional and emotional detriment), but cutting them from time to time can re-boost our system and inform us of how certain foods make us feel.

I hope this has been educational, and that you try these things!  I love my sweet treats, and feel I can safely indulge now.  At BaredFeet I try to offer a group sugar cleanse three times a year – right before times of stress or after periods of eating unhealthily are ideal.  Share with me your struggles and successes please!  Let me know any questions you have also.  We will continue to learn together.

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Yoga for Emotions

Use this handy sheet in emotional moments.  I designed this for kids’ use but adults will appreciate the simplicity.  Show your kids these tools so they will know how to reach for them on their own 🙂

yoga4emotions

 

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Loving Yourself Workshop

i-love-you-textSaturday  Feb 20, 2016
1-3pm
Evolution Studio 3521 London Rd, Ste B (below Active Health  Chiropractic)
$20 before Feb 1, $25 after

I believe that amazing things happen when we start from LOVE – being gentle and accepting creates lasting change!  We all need this!  Unacceptance is more prevalent than we realize – a poison in our culture that is at the forefront of so many mental, physical and spiritual health issues.

This will be a safe, introductory session.  No need to worry about getting too personal or deep among strangers!

Come work on this through: fun activities to generate perspective, tools that can impact negative thinking and connect to faith, exercises to love and heal your body.

Questions?  Reserve your spot: baredfeet@gmail.com. Or join via the Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/1771492783071697/

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Ten 30 Second Stress Reversers

breatheHow do you know you have stress?  Other than the fact that you are human, you can tell you have stress to release when you have these types of symptoms: breathing is shallow and quick, body is tense, headaches, quick to feel overwhelmed, digestion is off, the cranky monster visits more often, and you just generally just can’t feel settled – relaxation seems a stranger.

Just 30 seconds of effort can reverse this?   YES.  Every little bit helps – trains your system bit by bit.  Every action we do tells our nervous system how we want it to run, particularly intentional actions.  When we aren’t paying attention to what we are training our system, life’s go-go-go trains it for us  – but not where we want it for optimal wellness.  30 seconds of intentional effort in a healthier direction is not only better than nothing but much better than the rarer longer efforts (one hour yoga class twice a month).  While not as effective as my list of 12 Quick, Easy and Potent Stress Busters, because each one of those intentionally involves the body, mind and spirit, these below tools are good in the midst of holiday hustle and bustle.  Don’t believe they are potent enough to help you?  TRY ME!

  1. Water: Drink a full glass of water. Slowly, breathe, focus.
  2. Move: Stand up and activate your good energies by stretching tall, then walk briskly anywhere. OR Dance: For 30 seconds to whatever motivates you (Christmas tunes on radio? Or put on some Beastie Boys like we do at my house). Rock-out in full enjoyment like no one is watching.  This is seriously impactful!
  3. Nap: While I lived in Taiwan it was standard practice, when tired or stressed, to rest your head on your arms (while seated) and close your eyes for a quick “power” nap. This position also sends blood to your forebrain for some additional help.
  4. Connect: Close your eyes and imagine light coming in to each body part as you focus your breath there – head to foot.
  5. More breathing: Take 3 deep cleansing slow breaths – slow and quiet in through the nose and out your mouth when it wants to. Then let the next one come in slowly when it wants to, and repeat.
  6. Massage: Whether just getting you connected to your body or saving you from stress headaches, self-massage is awesome. In 30 seconds you can rub tender areas with thumb or heel of palm following the length of the muscle, roll on a tennis ball (so. good.), or hold a really tight and sore spot (trigger point) for 30 seconds – you’ll notice a release.
  7. Sound: Sound, and the lack of sound, can have mega effects on our state of mind. Sometimes quiet is too much of an uncomfortable stretch or we need some assistance in getting toward relaxation. Listen to some of a recording of CHIME music, with eyes closed (de-stimulating, do you see a theme?).  Here’s one: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6FCZ8azY_wU
  8. Smell something soothing: The olfactory sense is connected directly to our limbic system, the oldest part of our brain, and the part which responds to stress. Working directly with it, telling it, “Every little thing is gonna be alright” is the fastest key to reversing stress symptoms. I suggest keeping a bottle of essential oils handy (purse, pocket, car), preferably rose oil, frankincense or lavender. Sometimes artificial smells can give us a headache, but if you have Scentsy candles that have a soothing smell go ahead and light one.  Take a few quiet, deep sniffs (yes, that is breathing, again… anyone see a theme here?) until you feel a shift.
  9. Pray. REALLY. It’s more powerful in immediately shifting your attitude than you might care to admit or remember.  I, too, often forget to go right here.  Don’t worry about knowing WHO you are talking to or HOW to do it, just do it.
  10. Gratitude: Perhaps you’re sick of hearing about this, as everyone talks about it when the holidays approach. The last thing I feel like doing when I am cranky is stopping to be thankful, BUT it is AMAZING!  My kids love it too, sometimes even mid-tantrum – reminds them what they love.  So when you notice you are far from thankful, take 30 seconds to think of every little/big thing you are thankful for, here are some from our house to get you thinking:

* All the do-gooding that is done this time of year

* Being able to afford to give presents of any kind

* JESUS!

* All the Christmas lights in our neighborhood

* Making it through that light while it was still green

* Singing

* Warm showers

* Frozen blueberries

See!  You are feeling better already!  Write them down – they will help you continue to feel generous and forgiving (the holidays makes us all temporarily insane).  If you can’t get past what you are frustrated about, then write it out first.

AVOID

Just as potent as what you do is what you DON’T do.  Avoid these simple items to prevent excess stress this holiday season!  Even for 30 seconds less than you usually do….?

* Screen time:  Instead of jumping on Facebook, turning on the news or watching your favorite show before bed (which is not as relaxing or de-stressing as it may feel), do some yoga, read a book, or do some good breathing (yup, again).

* Sugar snacks and alcohol: Save it for all the holiday parties, on a daily basis find other ways to reward yourself, like a bath with lavender scented bath salts or other ideas seen here.

* Over-booking yourself: Obligation, over-generosity, wishful thinking, and so many fun things to do are a few reasons we over-extend ourselves this year.  But it isn’t necessary, no one is counting, and disappointment (amongst all the other glee) is good for you especially when it is for the goodness of your health.  Temporary or not, the holidays are not worth over-taxing your system and ability to enjoy yourself.

* Over-spend:  Even though that tax return is right around the corner, regular financial stress is bad enough and holiday spending is even more stress, but excess holiday spending to create the “perfect” holiday leaves you stressed long after the season as well.  I promise no one is else counting the dollars you spend, but you probably should!

* Ignoring your feelings: “It will all go away after the season is over,” can do more damage than good and is an awful way to spend your season of joy.  Talk little things over with your loved ones, journal the harder junk no one else needs to hear (but LET IT OUT please!), and contact your pastor or a counselor for the overwhelming issues.  Acknowledging these validates your SELF, releasing these allows you to tap into JOY.  It’s like a cup of hot cocoa, you can’t fill it up with more cocoa if the mug is already full of cold cocoa.

* Judging:  Love each other for who you are – family, friends, and that stranger who just bought that last sweater you really wanted.

Reading this took more than 30 seconds, but I hope you feel inspired.  Happy Healthy Holidays to you and yours from BaredFeet!

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Rewarding Yourself Well

We all deserve rewards (heck, most of us deserve A-wards).  It is in every creature’s nature to respond to the reward system because they help in survival, growth, joy and achievement.  But not all rewards are created equal.  Think about what you typically do to reward a hard-day’s work.  I’m guessing it is either with computer/TV or sugar/alcohol.  Are the effects of these rewards all positive and long term?  I’ll answer for you, they are not.  They are quick rewards with a little bit of naughty which adds to the satisfaction factor, but they are harmful to your brain, body, emotions (train to repress and regress), and sleep.

WIN_20151211_144759 (2)Instead?  Love yourself enough to start generating a list of go-to rewards to mix in your normal routine and keep it healthier, for when stress hits, or for giving yourself special rewards for special occasions.  You can find things that give you the same feeling of reward but last longer and are not damaging.

The most important part of the reward system, however, is your VALIDATION of it.  So no matter what ends up on your reward list whenever you implement one luxuriate in it – give yourself a pat on the back at the same time.

I challenged myself for the photo with this post to give myself a visible double thumbs up (full smile).  Wow, it’s hard but powerfully satisfying.  In addition to coming up with your reward list I challenge you to look in the mirror and give yourself a smiling double-thumbs up.  Send me pics – I’d LOVE it!

Here are some ideas to get you started on your list!

  1. Save – Delayed gratification is an important skill to develop. Save some money for something special for yourself!  Of course retail therapy is fun, but when shopping reaches that point it is not beneficial for your health or your pocketbook (or probably your marriage…).  This is a much healthier way to satisfy that innate need to “have”.
  2. Bath – Grab your favorite bath salts!
  3. Spa day – Pedicure, haircut, massage, you decide!
  4. Play time – Even if you don’t feel like this you will ALWAYS be glad you made yourself get some play time – this time without the kids (typically I advise to play with them). Find YOUR way to play (no screen): coloring books (they make great grown up versions now), sports, go to the park, visit a youthful touristy place (carousel!), or have good sex with your spouse. Exercise is amazing reward when you approach it as such.
  5. New skill – Take a class on something you’ve wanted to learn, or read a book or YouTube course.
  6. Water! – Get sparkling bottled water that is all yours, to make this essential item, which we all need more of, a reward.  I like to do this and write “Mom” on it.
  7. READ – Find a book. Once you are into it you’ll binge read instead of binge Netflix-ing.  Choose something inappropriate for kids (murder mysteries, etc) to up the satisfaction factor.
  8. Take in the arts! – Go to the museum, check out the newest art exhibit, see a theatre show, or go see some music.
  9. Redecorate – YOUR space.
  10. Healthy snacks – Look, eating as a reward SHOULD be done. All eating is a reward or we would not eat.  But just as reward eating doesn’t have to mean tons of sugar, eating healthy doesn’t have to mean yuck-o.  Choosing something nostalgic (Popcorn is huge in our house), or purchasing something that is “Mine” (jalapeno flavored GMO-free corn chips or cinnamon applesauce).  You know what you shouldn’t eat, but here’s a reminder: avoid sugar, heavily processed foods, and transfats.  Do eat fruits, veggies, and good proteins = real food!

 

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