Join Style Beyond Age this December 21 for our DIY Winter Solstice Cleansing Ritual. For a long time, I didn’t think much about 21 December. It was a cold, dark day in the run up to Christmas, but I now realize this dark cold day is the perfect opportunity for growth and cleansing.
Winter Solstice Traditions
The 21 December marks the Winter Solstice, an event that is celebrated by many different cultures in a variety of ways. From welcoming in the sunrise on a mountain top, to dancing, gift-giving and celebrating the triumph of light over dark.
When you break it down, everyone is essentially seeking to center themselves, rid themselves of old energy and make room for the good fortune that is said to arrive with the rising sun.
The DIY Cleanse
This year I´m going to be ushering in the Winter Solstice by partaking in a simple, yet effective DIY Solstice Cleansing Ritual. It´s something we can all do at home, so I´m inviting you to join me. Follow these six simple steps to get ready to welcome the good vibes that 2020 will bring.
Step 1: Light a Candle
Settle yourself in a dim room, turn off all electrical equipment to avoid distractions and light a candle. This symbolic act of bringing light to the darkness will help to focus your mind and illuminate your space.
Step 2: Breathe
Controlled, intentional breathing helps to alleviate stress and relax your body. Spending just five minutes on this simple exercise can release toxins, expel bad energy and invigorate your whole nervous system. I also like to gather a few of my favorite crystals and meditate on what I want to invite into my world.
Step 3: Cleanse your Space
Now you´re relaxed and ready to receive, we can begin cleansing our space. I do this by smudging; the act of burning sage or palo santo to clear and cultivate the energy of your home.
A bundle of sage is said to boost your inner clarity and wisdom, whilst banishing negative energy. A stick of palo santo is said to encourage grounding, cleansing and good fortune for the New Year. Whichever you choose, it´s all about welcoming in good energy and dispelling negative ones.
Step 4: Exfoliate
Now that your room is cleared and cleansed, it´s time to clean and cleanse ourselves. I start by dry brushing my whole body. This removes any dry, dead skin and encourages new cell growth, leaving you feel invigorated and energized.
Step 5: Wash Away
After exfoliating, take a warm shower to remove any remaining dead cells and symbolically wash away all that doesn’t serve you.
Step 6: Moisturize
To finish off the cleansing process, treat your body to some sustenance and moisturize yourself all over. I also like to add a drop of essential oils and massage them into the bottom of my feet, so the benefits are felt as its absorbed into the bloodstream.
We´re finished. These six simple steps are the perfect way to relax, cleanse and welcome the rising sun with all the positive energy that it brings.
I hope you enjoy this DIY Winter Solstice Cleansing Ritual. From me to you, I wish you the best possible for the New Year.
Can you believe the average life expectancy in the United States is 78 years old? Yet there are people all around the world who have the privilege to surpass 100 years of age. What are we doing differently than anyone else? I found this great article on Well and Good about this 9 habits of the Blue Zone, which are regions of the world where people live much longer than average.
Where is the Blue Zone?
Barbagia region of Sardinia – Mountainous highlands of inner Sardinia with the world’s highest concentration of male centenarians.
Ikaria, Greece – Aegean Island with one of the world’s lowest rates of middle-age mortality and the lowest rates of dementia.
Nicoya Peninsula, Costa Rica – The World’s lowest rates of middle-age mortality, second-highest concentration of male centenarians.
Seventh-Day Adventists – Highest concentration is around Loma Linda, California. They live 10 years longer than their North American counterparts.
Okinawa, Japan – Females over 70 are the longest-lived population in the world.
Culturally, these regions are VERY different from this American Life. Luckily, a team of medical researchers, anthropologists, demographers, and epidemiologists researched these cultures and created the Power 9, or 9 principals that you can start incorporating into your daily routine today.
Reverse Engineering Longevity
1. Move Naturally
The world’s longest-lived people don’t pump iron, run marathons or join gyms. Instead, they live in environments that constantly nudge them into moving without thinking about it. They grow gardens and don’t have mechanical conveniences for house and yard work.
The Okinawans call it “Ikigai” and the Nicoyans call it “plan de vida;” for both it translates to “why I wake up in the morning.” Knowing your sense of purpose is worth up to seven years of extra life expectancy.
3. Down Shift
Even people in the Blue Zones experience stress. Stress leads to chronic inflammation, associated with every major age-related disease. What the world’s longest-lived people have that we don’t are routines to shed that stress. Okinawans take a few moments each day to remember their ancestors, Adventists pray, Ikarians take a nap and Sardinians do happy hour.
4. 80% Rule
“Hara hachi bu” – the Okinawan, 2500-year old Confucian mantra said before meals reminds them to stop eating when their stomachs are 80 percent full. The 20% gap between not being hungry and feeling full could be the difference between losing weight or gaining it. People in the blue zones eat their smallest meal in the late afternoon or early evening and then they don’t eat any more the rest of the day.
5. Plant Slant
Beans, including fava, black, soy and lentils, are the cornerstone of most centenarian diets. Meat—mostly pork—is eaten on average only five times per month. Serving sizes are 3-4 oz., about the size of a deck of cards.
6. Wine @ 5
People in all blue zones (except Adventists) drink alcohol moderately and regularly. Moderate drinkers outlive non-drinkers. The trick is to drink 1-2 glasses per day (preferably Sardinian Cannonau wine), with friends and/or with food. And no, you can’t save up all week and have 14 drinks on Saturday.
All but five of the 263 centenarians we interviewed belonged to some faith-based community. Denomination doesn’t seem to matter. Research shows that attending faith-based services four times per month will add 4-14 years of life expectancy.
8. Loved Ones First
Successful centenarians in the blue zones put their families first. This means keeping aging parents and grandparents nearby or in the home (It lowers disease and mortality rates of children in the home too.). They commit to a life partner (which can add up to 3 years of life expectancy) and invest in their children with time and love (They’ll be more likely to care for you when the time comes).
9. Right Tribe
The world’s longest lived people chose–or were born into–social circles that supported healthy behaviors, Okinawans created” moais”–groups of five friends that committed to each other for life. Research from the Framingham Studies shows that smoking, obesity, happiness, and even loneliness are contagious. So the social networks of long-lived people have favorably shaped their health behaviors.
Recently I had the opportunity to meet and support friends at a competitive sport new to me: Ballroom dancing. I never realized how rewarding and physical it could be. Not only do you have to remember all the steps, learn to coordinate, and have excellent lung capacity, you have to do it all at once!
When Net-A-Porter AND The Fine Magazine both have articles on dancing, you know you’re on the right track.
In the Net-A-Porter article “The Happiness Swerve,” there is a section titled “Learn to Dance”. It talks about a Harvard medical study that shows learning a new skill fundamentally improves your brain health. According to the study, any form of dancing that requires coordination can improve mental sharpness and (even more fascinating) can help protect the brain against the early onset of dementia. What more motivation would we need to get out there and shake our tail feathers!
I met people in their 80’s and beyond enjoying the camaraderie that comes from music and dancing. Here are just a few of my stars in action.
Approximately two years ago, Victoria started competitive ballroom dancing. Here she is performing her winning Paso Doble.
Virginia is 91 and still going strong! I mean, look at the size of that trophy!
Anita is a 99-year-old winner of the dance competition.
Murrey is in his 80’s and as happy as can be.
My Dear Friend Victoria! The Paso Doble and All Round Winner! Victoria took up dancing to relieve stress. Not only is she an incredibly successful businesswoman, she knows that relieving stress is one of the most important things you can do for long and healthy life. She gives her stress reduction 100%, just like everything she does. It shows in her work, her hobbies and her friends. She is an excellent example for all of us.
Well, a flirt at any age is a joy!
To sum up my trip, I met lovely people of all ages with a joie de vivre, which is sadly lacking at times. When we get stuck in our ways and reclusive, it could be hard to get out of that rut. The first step is not allowing ourselves to get there, but if you are, let a friend take you out and experience a new adventure. Say yes to life, and that could be at your closest dance studio. Just remember everyone has a left foot. 🤪
Don’t wait until Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October to prioritize your breast health. Preventative screening is our best tool in the fight against breast cancer, a disease that affects one in eight women. I was thrilled to know that modern day breast screening technology like the Hologic Genius™ 3D Mammography™ exam can deliver a much more comprehensive breast image allowing the doctor to achieve more accurate breast cancer detection, compared to traditional 2D mammography. [i]
Now with the Hologic SmartCurve™ breast stabilization system which utilizes a curved compression surface, the comfort level has increased tremendously.[ii] I tried it last week and was amazed at how much more pleasant the experience was for me.
North Valley Hospital, Whitefish, MT
I scheduled my annual mammogram right away by using the zip code locator and was thrilled that there was a hospital providing this technology directly in my back yard; the North Valley Hospital in Whitefish, MT was listed as a provider of the Genius exam and the SmartCurve system, and my procrastination was finally over!
I tested it for all of us and can tell you without a doubt that the comfort level was incredible. I did a little video while I was there so you can see it firsthand. Honestly, I am glad I took the time to put my health first and get my Genius exam, and I encourage You to stop putting it off too! Pass the locator link, www.Genius3DNearMe.com, and info to all the ladies you know. They will thank you for it!
The Genius™ 3D Mammography™ exam (also known as the Genius™ exam) is only available on a Hologic® 3D Mammography™ system. It consists of a 2D and 3D™ image set, where the 2D image can be either an acquired 2D image or a 2D image generated from the 3D™ image set. There are more than 6,000 Hologic 3D Mammography™ systems in use in the U.S. alone, so women have convenient access to the Genius exam. To learn more about the Genius exam, visit http://www.Genius3DNearMe.com.
There are so many causes of hair loss. Between genetic conditions, diet & lifestyle, skin conditions, or a hormone imbalance like I personally overcame last year. Figuring out what is causing your hair loss can be frustrating and may take some trial and error working it out with your doctor.
Last August, I wrote an article about my concern for my rapid hair loss and how a few hormonal changes and supplements made a huge difference. I think that it is important to revisit these major issues every now and again, so I wanted to refer you back to my original article by following this link.
I am happy to report that my hair stopped falling out almost immediately after I changed my hormone balance. That, coupled with my daily regimen of supplements, water, and meditation have helped keep all of the hairs on my head. Here are my four tips for my hair maintenance.
Take a Deep Breath
We all deal with stress from time to time, but it is not sustainable for us on a long term basis. After all, stress can be a major cause of hair loss. I encourage you to learn how to combat stress levels through breathing exercises.
I like the quite, so I find a comfortable seated position, close my eyes and inhale for a count of five, hold the breath for another count of five, and then exhale for yet another count of five. This breathing exercise is effective and straightforward for you to combat stress wherever you are.
Drink Your Water
Water is very beneficial to the hair and body. Did you know that the hair is made up of one quarter water? That fact alone should have you reaching for your water bottle right now. When you suffer from dehydration, your body must ration the precious water for the big players like your brain and heart, leaving very little of your water supply to reach your hair leading to excessive shedding because your hair is literally dying from thirst.
Take Your Vitamins
Our diets don’t typically give us all we need in regards to vitamins and minerals. In fact, poor nutrition, including vitamin deficiencies, is a major factor of hair loss as well. Choose a balanced vitamin supplement and consider augmenting with a specific formula for hair.Right now, I am giving HairLaVie a trial. They send a 90 day supply so I won’t run out.
Don’t fear your thinning hair. Instead, take steps to remedy the issue. Ask yourself. Is my Body in Balance? Talk to your doctor about testing your hormones, estrogen, and thyroid and cortisol levels to determine if you have a genetic or hormonal imbalance that could be at play with your hair loss. I am grateful that I talked to my homeopath last year and got to the bottom of my hair pulling, hair loss! To read more on my experience first hand read my blog post My Experience with Hair Loss After 50.
I hope my experience and subsequent revisiting of this issue is of help to you. Please stay in touch with the tips and tricks that you may use to take better care of your beautiful mane.
I first met Dr. Alina Sholar while I was in Austin this winter. It was time for a little touch up (if you know what I mean) and she was recommended to me by a beautiful Instagram friend who lives in the area. Dr. Alina is a plastic surgeon with an artistic bent and a keen eye. I was excited to hear what she had to say about the composition of my face. Everybody has a slightly different way of looking at things, and I am always awed by the artistic skill of the great aestheticians and when you get a chance to have a plastic surgeon look at your face all the better. I also spent some time on her blog and ran across an article on coconut oils as moisturizers. I have never been a fan for two reasons. One, I don’t like smelling like a fruit salad and two, it was too messy for me to use. It turns out my instincts were correct. Here is the science on the subject graciously allowed as a repost by Dr. Alina Sholar. Visit her if you are in Austin. You will love her. I did!
For Goodness Sakes! No More Coconut Oil!
The use of coconut oil as “skincare” is an all-out raging trend. An internet search for ‘coconut oil for skin care’ returns thousands of results that declare coconut oil a miracle for cleansing, moisturizing and healing the skin.
🚫🚫🚫 This couldn’t be further from the scientific truth. 🚫🚫🚫
Skincare science says:
* Coconut oil disrupts the skin’s natural barrier function and can promote aging.
* Coconut oil does not provide hydration. Because oil and water do not mix- in fact, they repel one another – coconut oil cannot deliver water (hydration) to the skin whatsoever.
* Coconut oil is rated 4-5 out of 5 on the comedogenic scale, meaning it is a high offender of the cause occlusion, clogged pores, pimples, blackheads, milia or whiteheads.
*Coconuts are considered a tree nut so if you are already sensitive to any type of nut or have an allergy, coconut oil could cause an allergic or inflammatory reaction.
*Coconut oil used on the face has been linked to an increase in contact dermatitis.
*Coconut oil has no natural vitamin or mineral content that serves the skin. It’s fats flying solo.
👉🏼 The bottom line is this: don’t simply let current trends influence your skincare. Go with the science instead. . .
TGI2019! I am happy to say that I ended the year strong with all cylinders burning, but the stress of the holidays, general over-indulgences and winter-chill has me feeling (a little) drained. I’m sure I’m not alone in feeling that maybe need a full life DETOX!
My friend Chandler gave himself a New Years Resolution in November: “Bring no noise from 2018 into 2019”. What an excellent way to start the new year; with a clean slate! Don’t stress if you’re late to the party (like me); there are plenty of ways we can clear up the clutter and detox our lives to set us up for a killer 2019.
I found a fantastic resource at the Power of Positivity’ s website that had some tips that I will start implementing today to help clear the clutter, detox myself and the world around me so that I can have my best year yet! I hope you’ll join me! For the full article go here.
CLEAR THE CLUTTER We all have it: “stuff”…meaningless, excessive, pointless “stuff” that seems to pile up on us. Where is your “stuff” currently? Whether it’s on your desk, in your closet, in the living room, on a table, or in your car, get rid of it. Usually, clutter results from having an excessive amount of anything – books, papers, toys, shoes, clothes, food, antiques – that occupies space for no particular reason. But it fills more than just space in your home; it takes up space in your brain.
“I dream of Simple” gives us an easy to follow checklist on how to declutter your home in 8 simple steps.
EAT CRUCIFEROUS VEGETABLES Eating your greens is a great way to remove cancer-causing toxic agents from your body. Cruciferous veggies like Broccoli, cabbage, and Brussel sprouts are rich in indole-3-carbinol (I3C), which help your body clear out excess estrogens. Excess chemicals that act like estrogen in the body come from our beauty products, BPA plastics, hormones given to animals that we eat and even some pesticides. These estrogen-like chemicals are called xenestrogens, and they can lead to early hormonal changes in developing teenage girls and boys and can also contribute to the development of breast and other cancers.
What the heck is a cruciferous veggie you might be asking?? The ultimate guide to these healthy greens is at Real Food RN along with a comprehensive recipe list for all vegetables in question. My personal favorite right now is Bok Choy sauteed with wild mushrooms, ginger, and garlic. YUM!
PAY ATTENTION TO YOUR SPIRITUAL NEEDS Religious or spiritual needs are something that ought not to be neglected. Whether you meditate, read scripture, pray, attend church, enjoy the beauty of nature, or something else, doing the things that uplift your spirit is essential to your balance and wellbeing. Try to take at least 20-30 minutes a day tending to these needs. If this is not possible for whatever reason, spend 10-15 minutes to meditate, read scripture, or enjoy some solitude before hitting the pillow.
DISCONNECT AND RECONNECT We believe that overuse and overdependence on technology are toxic. If you don’t believe us, think: How many people have you seen driving while on a cell phone? Have your kids pulled out a tablet or cell phone at the dinner table? Has a co-worker ignored you or someone else while replying to their 100th text message? Technology certainly has its role. Advances in technology have resulted in medical advances, educational improvements, scientific discoveries and more. But it’s had a negative impact on our actual connection with each other. Families drift apart; parents bring their work home, kids tap away on Facebook instead of opening their textbook. There’s no real presence of mind with excessive technology use. Be mindful with how and when you use technology.
Screen Time App
This app has been a fantastic feature! Knowing how much time I am on my phone curbed my dependence on it. Now it’s a game for me to make sure that every week I can continue to go down on my usage.
Turn off Netflix Auto-Play
I didn’t even know this was a thing! How many hours (DAYS) have you lost to NetFlix and their culture of bing watching! Join me in reclaiming your TV!
Charge in the Kitchen
I started charging my phone outside of my bedroom a few years ago, and I have experienced a more restful nights sleep without the unexpected distractions from the blue light and sudden noise making. Make your bedroom a technology-free zone—keep your electronics outside the room (that includes a TV!).
EXERCISE Movement helps to stimulate your circulatory system, and blood flowing helps the other organs to process toxins. Toxins are stored in fat cells, so losing fat will release toxins. Be sure to stay hydrated by drinking some clean, filtered water whenever you are exercising, using a sauna or taking an Epsom salt bath since these can be dehydrating.
Speaking of water, make sure that you’re getting enough quality purified H2O. I got a Zero Water filter, and it has honestly changed my life. I even got the men in my life to up their water game! The Zero water filter takes out all of the hard metals that are in our drinking water. It is the cleanest purest tasting water that I have ever had.
EPSOM SALT SOAK Soak in a natural mineral hot spring if you can or seek out a flotation therapy tank. If you can’t find these natural cleansing baths near you, then the next best thing is a bathtub with piping hot water and some Epsom salts. Make your bath salt blend with Epsom salts, natural mineral salts, baking soda, a moisturizing oil (I like Coconut Oil) and essential oils for their aromatherapy benefits.
SWEAT One of the easiest ways to detox is by sweating. Any exercise that gets you sweating will help naturally detox your body through the skin. Sweating with sauna therapy is another way to increase circulation, sweat out toxins and improve lymphatic flow for cleaning. After a good sweat, make sure to clean your skin with a shower so that the toxins that you sweat out of your system are washed away.
I have got to be honest with you. I’m a bit of an introvert. I like small intimate settings with close friends, conversation and a nice meal. It’s not very often that you’ll find me hamming it up on the dancefloor or introducing myself to ladies that I don’t know. But you know what? You can teach an old dog new tricks!
Last month Serena and I had the privilege of meeting some of the amazing women of Catherine Grace O’Connell’s “Forever Fierce” movement at FierceCon in Redondo Beach, California. The panel of speakers was top notch; to hear other women share their stories of reinvention and creative inspiration was truly inspiring. Not only did I get out of my comfort zone but I connected with fellow entrepreneurs and made new friends!
Serena and I with Tamara Batsell of TB Style Works from Dallas, Texas
We forget how important the simple act of connection is.
Serena and I maximized our time together and had a jam-packed schedule after the conference. We had meeting after meeting after photoshoot. Every day there was a new face and new experience. You may think that by the end of my week-long trip I was ready for a vacation, but honestly, I came home renewed. Having all of these new experiences and meeting so many new friends made me wonder: What are the other health benefits of talking to strangers?
We forget that new friends come in all ages and ethnicities.
We forget that common language is always art and beauty.
Luckily for me, my friends at Kuel Life Magazine wondered the same thing. Here are 4 health benefits that might convince you to step out of your comfort zone and maybe say hello to someone you don’t know!
This post is in collaboration with Kuel Life Magazine. Check out Kuel Life and their inspiring magazine here.
When you interact with people you don’t know who aren’t like you, you get the chance to break out of your comfort zone and change your view of reality altogether. This can spark creative ideas, give you new ideas to think about, and plenty more.” We don’t know what we don’t know; interacting with individuals who don’t share years of common experiences or maybe our can be eye-opening, educational, and expansive.
Comfort can decrease your productivity – without a little bit of unease and unpredictability we can get lazy, turn our minds to autopilot, and ‘phone it in.’ Spending time with individuals that you don’t know very well keeps your mind alert and active.
Being nice to others is good for you. You can’t be cranky with people you don’t know very well so of course, you’re going to put your best self forward in a social setting. Studies in The Journal of Social Psychology and the Journal of Happiness Studies suggest that giving to others makes us happy, even happier than spending on ourselves. What’s more, our kindness might create a virtuous cycle that promotes lasting happiness and altruism.
“You can meet fascinating, cool people that quickly turn into ‘non-strangers.’ For me, this one hits particularly close to home. I have a long line of lifetime friends that started as, not only strangers but people I didn’t like too well or didn’t like me. I know this about myself; one of the many benefits of aging is deciding to do things differently.”
The one minute plank will make you stronger in every part of your body.
Don’t worry too much about how you start it or how long you can keep it. Just do it!
If you can’t do a full plank start on your forearms and knees, hold it as long as you can and try to add a bit at a time.
You will be shocked how soon you start getting stronger.
We’ve teamed up with the Cool Editors of the online magazine Kuel Life to give us the 411 on this fitness phenome.
Why You Should Plank, Every Day
We keep hearing about the importance of weight bearing exercises, in particular, as we age. The popularity of bodyweight exercises is rapidly gaining. Why, you might wonder? There is practicality and ease in using what you already own and carry around with you, YOU!
Maintaining a strong and healthy core is essential. These series of muscles are located in your midsection, and are used almost every time you MOVE. Core muscles aid the transfer of force from one limb to another. They provide assistance to the muscles in your legs and arms. In effect, having a solid strong core yields big improvements in your ability to move and keep moving.
Not to take a backseat in importance, your abdominal muscles (part of your core) support your back and spinal column. Taking time to strengthen this set of muscles advances overall back health. I don’t know about all of you Kuel Women out there, but I personally know several people of a ‘certain age’ that struggle with chronic back pain.
Enter Planks! Planks are one of the most effective exercises out there. First, they don’t take much time. Ever try to plank for ten or twenty minutes? Second, they don’t take much room. All you need is a bit of floor space.
Even if you start at 15 seconds a pop, who cares? If you manage three times over the course of the day; you’ve planked for 45 seconds. Every few days you can add five or ten seconds; ideally getting to a minute. Let me re-iterate…WHO CAREShow long this may take. What’s critical here is that you are doing SOMETHINGto improve the stability of your body and your overall health.
What should you expect if you start planking everyday.
Improve core definition and performance.
Planks engage all major core muscle groups including the transverse abdominus, the rectus abdominus, the external oblique muscle, and the glutes. If you strengthen these muscle groups you will notice:
increased ability to lift heavier weights – this may mean less straining in carrying heavy grocery bags or picking up your grandchild
improved capacity for stable side-bending and waist-twisting
a supported back and a strong, shapely butt.
Reduce back pain.
When done properly, planking requires minimal movement and contracts all the layers of the abdominal fascia – thereby strengthening your core. A stronger core yields a healthier, pain-free back.
Improve your posture.
Good posture allows muscles to work more efficiently. You can prevent muscle fatigue and strain when your back and spine are in alignment. Issues related to overuse or back pain can be reduced. And, let’s face it you look BETTER and more confident when you stand up straight.
Increase your balance.
Strong abdominal muscles are needed to gracefully stand on one leg for an extended period of time. While it may seem silly; why do you need to stand on one leg? Don’t most of us have two? It’s not the actual act of standing on one leg that is important; that’s just the test of our balance. Balance is important for walking and going up and down the stairs. Activities we ‘take for granted’. Maintaining good balance as we age helps keep us vertical. Falling is a bad idea.
Increase your flexibility.
Flexibility is required to easily perform everyday activities. Activities such as; getting out of bed, lifting grocery bags, and reaching down to pick something up off the floor all require a degree of flexibility. Sadly, most of us lose flexibility as we age. I know personally the days of splits are behind me. Planking expands and stretches your shoulders, shoulder blades, hamstrings, toes and arches of your feet, helping maintain added flexibility.
Sold on PLANKING EVERYDAY?
How do you do it?
Get into pushup position on the floor.
Bend your elbows 90 degrees and rest your weight on your forearms.
Keep your body straight and rigid. Don’t stick your butt in the air or drop it down toward the floor.
Your head is relaxed and you should be looking at the floor.
Hold the position for as long as you can.
Are you planking yet? We would love to how your progress is going!
I am a glass-half-full kind of gal, I joke and say “If I need my glass to be fuller, I’ll pour it in a smaller cup!” All that, tongue-in-cheek of course. I never understood depression. I thought you could “snap out of it.”
It was not until my mothers’ death that I felt the sting of it. After the month or so of packing and inventorying and selling mothers home, I came to the house in Montana and locked myself up in my bedroom. I turned down all the shades and stayed in there for three days.
It is only when you have experienced even a touch of it, that you begin to understand that depression is not so simple…
The importance of this topic lies in our ability to give suicide and depression life instead of death. Talking to your friends and family, asking for help and knowing that you are not alone is the first, and hardest, step in becoming mentally stronger during these bouts.
Sufia joined us during our multigenerational photo shoot. As a high school counselor, she is passionate about opening up the conversation to her kids, as well as, her community about the importance of suicide awareness and prevention.
“I’ve witnessed the devastation caused by suicide. The feelings of pain, guilt, confusion, and anger can be overwhelming for the family and friends of the victims of suicide.” -Sufia
Suicide is a difficult topic to talk about, but just one look at the statistics and you can see why it’s important to address this issue. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) WISQARS Leading Causes of Death Reports, in 2016:
Suicide was the tenth leading cause of death overall in the United States, claiming the lives of nearly 45,000 people.
Suicide was the second leading cause of death among individuals between the ages of 10 and 34, and the fourth leading cause of death among individuals between the ages of 35 and 54.
There were more than twice as many suicides (44,965) in the United States as there were homicides (19,362).
It can be scary to think that someone we know could be thinking about taking their own life, but there are steps you can take to help. I encourage you to learn more about suicide prevention.
I saw an interview with a young author, Johann Hari who wrote “Lost Connections: Uncovering The Real Causes of Depression and the Unexpected Solution.” Perhaps we don’t always have to mask and medicate our way through depression. In this book, he speaks to scientists and experts about the neuroscience behind depression and non-medical related treatments for getting through it all. I encourage you to check out this best-selling book.
If you don’t think you’re affected by this subject, I encourage you to take a closer look at your loved ones. Be kind to those you encounter. Share a smile with a stranger and a kind word to those who you may feel opposition from. Remember that depression can affect anyone at any given time. Don’t be shy, if you need anyone to listen; our door is always open.
Earlier this month, I was a little down on energy, very unusual for me, so I stopped into the nearest wellness clinic for a quick B12 shot. This is an old trick for an energy boost handed down from my mother (yours too probably). Honestly, I don’t think that they ever help but “what the heck” I thought, it can’t hurt either! I usually have high energy, I sleep well, work out regularly and have a great attitude, so getting a little boost here and there won’t hurt. Right?
While at the clinic I was asked if I had ever done a simple urine test to see how I metabolize my food. I had been eating two eggs for breakfast pretty regularly for years (I thought perhaps I was becoming allergic). I am careful to eat organically, and I stick to a clean diet of fish & veggies for the most part. (I’ve been off meat for over 15 years now). Internally, I was feeling a little off, so I was curious what this test might say.
A month later I went in for my test results on my usual cloud 9 and was pushed off my pedestal immediately. A fungus had colonized my gut taking over my digestive track causing me to feel exhausted, unfocused, bloated and anxious. Candida. I had no idea.
“What’s candida” you might be wondering. Candida is a fungus, in the form of yeast, and trace amounts live in our mouths and intestines. Candida is a good fungus that lives within all of us to help with digestion and nutrient absorption. However, when overproduced it can be incredibly toxic, breaking down the walls of the intestine, penetrating the bloodstream causing health issues from digestive issues to depression.
What is the number one cause for this overgrowth? SUGAR of course! Sugar in your body feeds all sorts of culprits. It promotes fungus in your gut, destroys collagen in your skin, brings cellulite to the surface, and messes with your insulin levels. Sugar is truly addictive. Have you ever noticed that once you eat it, you NEED it? Sugar cravings are no joke. Contrary to popular belief, sugar is not the sustainable source of energy that some people rely on.
I think all of us could use a little sugar detox.
Here are a few tips if you are trying to avoid sugar:
Know your go-to beverage
Mine is a homemade lemonade with freshly squeezed organic lemons and a dash of Truvia. I also start and end my day with a glass of water with two tablespoons of Apple Cider Vinegar this helps balance the system. I never ever ever drink soda.
Image Curtesy of My Family Kitchen
Image Curtesy of Refinery29
Cut down on your alcohol consumption
There’s no arguing with the facts on this one. Cocktails mixed with juice or soda are not only high in calories but sugar too. Aside from drinking too much, the sugar content in drinks is often what accounts for bad hangovers.
Eat protein when you crave sugar
Sugar cravings are usually a sign that you need protein. If I’m on the road, I will reach for Epic’s salmon bars for an emergency protein injection. Otherwise, I’ll quickly scramble an egg cook up some chicken tenders in olive oil.
You can find Epic Bars on Amazon
Image Curtesy of Julie Blanner
Make your salad dressing
This is huge! Eating healthily can be so confusing sometimes am I right! You order a salad filled with tons of healthy and filling veggies, but then you top it off with a dressing that is secret sugar bomb! Homemade salad dressing is the only road to go. Our house specialty is olive oil and freshly squeezed lemon juice. When blended in your nutrabullet the oil and citrus emulsify creating a bright creamy dressing! Add in whatever herbs and spices you have hanging around, and you’ll thank me later!
And when all else fails, and you need to have that bite of chocolate try Lilly’s chocolates. I found this at my health food store, sweetened with Truvia. It is the perfect treat when you have that chocolate!
You can buy Lily’s on Amazon
More tips and tricks
I never go anywhere without some food. Usually organic almonds in a recycled glass jar.
I eat when I’m hungry I don’t wait for a set time. Just a little all day long.
When I’m out to dinner, I keep what I shouldn’t be eating off the table. (that’s you bread basket)
I keep my house devoid of what isn’t good for me. By the time you go out to get what you think you are craving you usually don’t want it anymore.
Eating well is a lifestyle, not a diet. When you get used to making good choices, your pallet changes and what we think was great (greasy, salty, sugary) no longer tastes great!
Good Healthy Food is Integral to your Well-being, and you are worth it.
You wouldn’t put diesel in your Maserati, would you?!
Inspiring self-worth in our children is a mothers manifest destiny. The road of life is filled with unexpected twists and turns. This trip doesn’t come with a road map, it’s all word of mouth! It is our duty to share with our children these fundamental truths that can empower them to find their own true path. Please share your thoughts with your loved ones and we would love to hear from you too.
Inspired by a Facebook post, author unknown.
“Travel light, live light, spread the light, be the light.”
• It’s okay to cry when you’re hurt. It’s also okay to smash (some) things; but, wash your face, clean your mess, and get up off the floor when you’re done. You don’t belong down there.
Happiness is not a permanent state. Wholeness is. Don’t confuse these.
Be less sugar, more spice, and only as nice as you’re able to without compromising yourself.
Can’t isn’t a word.
If you’re going to curse, be clever. If you’re going to curse in public, know your audience.
Seek out the
people and places
that resonate with your
5-second rule. It’s just dirt.
There are worse things in a fast food cheeseburger.
Just because you can,
doesn’t mean you should.
Hold your heroes to a high standard.
If you can’t smile with your eyes, don’t smile. Insincerity is nothing to aspire to.
Wish on stars and dandelions, then get to work to make them happen.
If you have an opinion, you better know why.
Ask for what you want. The worst thing they can say is no.
Fall in love often. Particularly with ideas, art, music, literature, food and far-off places.
Say Please, Thank You, and Pardon Me, whenever the situation warrants it.
Reserve “I’m sorry” for when you truly are.
Say what you mean and mean what you say.
Question everything, except your own intuition.
You have enough. You are enough.
You are amazing! Don’t let anyone ever make you feel you are not. If someone does….walk away. You deserve better.
No matter where you are, you can always come home.
Be happy and remember your roots, family is EVERYTHING.
No one will ever love
you more than I do.
Remember to follow your own advice and give yourself the hardest rule: Learn to let go and forgive. -Sat Nam