My Top 5 Healthy Habits To A Vibrant Life

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How would you feel to wake up in the morning with energy and feeling vibrant all day? Health is not a destination, it's about all the possibilities you create when you are full of health. More energy creates ripple effect on your mood, the food choice you make, the exercise habits you have, the dreams you want to chase and the life you live. If you don't have energy, you won't have the motivation to change your lifestyle.

If you don't know where to start and feel overwhelmed, here's a list of my 5 essential habits to incorporate in your daily life for a more vibrant and healthier you. I like to keep things simple. Change your mindset. If you make changes from a loving place instead of a hating one, you will find it easier to keep up with your new habits as it will bring you joy to love and care for your body and mind. It's about making sustainable changes. It's the small habits we do daily that changes our life in the long run.

Here's my top 5 healthy habits to feel more vibrant:

1. Drink more water.

Everyone knows this but we actually often forget to do it. Aim for 2-3 liters of water a day. The first thing you should do when you wake up is drink one or two big glasses of water. Our bodies are made of more than 70% of water, our brain is even more, so to keep energized and our organs and cells hydrated, drink up! It will improve your digestion, energy, concentration, your skin will get clearer. You can add lemons, oranges or cucumbers slices to jazz it up. Drinking more water throughout the day will also help to crowd out cravings or snacking.

 

2. Move

Move your body every day, whenever you can. We spend so much time sitting, which strongly impact our health. It doesn't have to be 1 hour on the treadmill, start taking the stairs instead of the elevator, avoid sitting when you can, stand up when you're on the phone or in the bus, do a 10 minute workout, walk home from work, dance in your kitchen, do squats before you hop in the shower. We often get overwhelmed or find excuses not to move because we don't have enough time to dedicate to exercising but if you start with 10 minutes on your mat in the morning and evening, with some walking in between, it's already a good start. We're made to move and use our body. Moving creates endorphins, which is the "feel good" hormones. The more you move, the more you'll crave movement.

 

3. Avoid processed food

Limit anything that comes in a package, bag or can. Processed food contain high quantity of sugar, fats, preservatives and no amount of nutritious properties. If it's too overwhelming, start by reading the labels and avoid anything with more than 5 ingredients or anything with ingredients you can't pronounce, that should keep you away from nutrient-deficient foods. Think about the food you eat and its energy. Food that's been highly processed and is often not even real food, how well can it nourish you? A good way to limit processed food is to add whole foods like fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts and seeds. The more your plate is full of fresh goodness, the less room you have for the less healthy ones.

 

4. Eat more veggies

There's a lot of different diets and trends these days so it can be confusing to know exactly what to eat. But one thing everyone agrees on is vegetables. Eat a rainbow of veggies, go to the farmer's market to know what's in season, experiment and try ones you're not so familiar with. Leafy greens are the kings, they're packed with antioxidants goodness, purify the blood, improve circulation, strengthen your immune system, and clear congestion. By adding food high in vitamins and minerals, your body will start to crave more of it.

 

5. Slow down, sleep & meditate

Sleep is essential for your body to restore and replenish. When you don't sleep enough, you crave sugar, are more irritated and stressed. The hours of 10pm to midnight are the most restorative ones and count double. Slow down. When is the last time you took 5 minutes for yourself, to do absolutely nothing? Meditation has many health benefits, it improves concentration, memory, sleep, immune system, lowers blood pressure and cortisol levels. Meditate for a few minutes daily when you wake up or go to bed and focus on your breath.

Aim for balance, not perfection. Be curious and experiment. Connect with your body. And most important, make sure whatever you do nourishes you.

5 Ways To Add Some Bliss To Your Day!

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Do you have the sunday evening syndrome? Not feeling very excited to leave the weekend behind and say hi to monday? If there is no doubt that a weekend filled with fun activities brings more joy than a day spent inside an office, sometimes life happens and we have to take jobs we're not so passionate about while working on achieving our dreams. That's kind of where I am at the moment. My days are not my ideal days yet but I am working on it and I believe that I will be enjoying my own schedule and freedom soon. In the meantime, I have a job that helps me get there. I really believe in making the most of each day and try to add some happy vibes along the way.

Here are 5 ways to add some Bliss into your day:

 

  • Take time for yourself

Find a moment each day for yourself and do something that makes you happy. Even if it's only 5 minutes. You could wake up 30 minutes earlier to meditate, enjoy your breakfast, go for a run, do some sun salutations or just simply take time to get ready for your day instead of rushing out the door with a cup of coffee in your hand and being stressed out because you are late again. My wellness morning routine is an essential part of my day as I need that time for myself before a day spent sitting at a desk. It definitely brings some good vibes to have some "me" time.

  • Act like you are on vacation. 

Yes. You read right. It's all about finding some fun during the day and if you have to wait for your 2-3 weeks a year to unwind and enjoy yourself, than it would be pretty depressing. At least for me. So what I came up with, or I should say my mom, as she joked one day after a work day, "oh so you're on holiday now" and I said while laughing, yes until tomorrow morning, how great is that! ;) Since then we often keep joking about the vacation thing on week nights or weekends.  But I realized that it actually gives you another perspective of your day. The attitude changes and just thinking for a second that this time off after your office hours could be spent as a vacation time makes it more fun! It's all about changing your mindset.

  • Get moving, get some air

Go out on your lunch break, breathe some fresh air, meet some friends, go for a walk/run. It will disconnect you from your office and will give you more energy for the afternoon or after a busy day. Doing a sport you love will release endorphins- the feel good hormone, which will boost your mood and energy!

  • Have some fun & laugh!

Charlie Chaplin said "A day without laughter is a day wasted". Yep, couldn't agree more! Don't take yourself so seriously. Laugh at awkward situations, sing while listening to your favorite music on your way to work, enjoy the pouring rain, be a kid, connect with friends, talk to strangers, do something new, be creative.

  • Be grateful

Being grateful brings happiness. Studies have shown that being grateful and showing love  increases your level of happiness. List 5 things before going to bed that you are grateful for each day. You will start to pay more attention to the little things that put a smile on your face and think about what will be on your daily grateful list.

What brings happy vibes to your day?

Happy fun day!

xx

A sunday kind of Green Smoothie...

IMG_0712 It's a sunday kind of smoothie...it's actually been a week of daily green smoothies. I am back to my daily green drink and feel great! With the holidays and end of year craziness I let my green smoothie routine a bit on the side and could feel I needed my daily dose of vitamins back. I usually have it for breakfast. It's quick & easy to make and it's packed with fibers and nutrients to make you feel full longer. I noticed I have less sugar cravings. And I just love the feeling of eating food that is healthy and gives you plenty of energy to start your morning and in the same time boost your immune system, which is pretty essential in snowy winter! ;) All you need:

  • 1 Banana (high in potassium, vitamin B & C)
  • A handful of spinach (Vitamin K & C, folic acid, lutein, iron, calcium)
  • 1 Orange (Vitamin C to boost your immune system, fibers, Vitamin A & B1)
  • A teaspoon of Açai powder- of course if you have access to the real berry, then it's better. (B Vitamins, minerals, fibers, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antiviral, antimicrobial properties)
  • A cup of water

Put all the ingredients in a blender and mix it!

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Happy Green Day!

Sources:

http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=37

http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/acai/an01836

"The New Whole Foods Encyclopedia", Rebecca Wood, 2010

How meditation can improve your day!

When was the last time you sit still and just concentrated on your breathing?

I was introduced to meditation through my yoga classes. We often end the class with a 10 minute meditation, which I enjoy a lot. I wanted to add some kind of spiritual practice into my daily routine but wasn't sure how to do it. That's when the 21 day challenge from Deepak Chopra happened to start and I just jumped right in. I did the meditation every day for 21 days. It was a guided meditation of 15 minutes. And I have to say, it's been a beautiful practice that I have continued to do as I saw the improvement in the quality of my sleep and my general wellbeing. I  love meditating just before bed as it's a nice way to end the day and get ready for bed. I light some candles and make it all cozy...just because I like it!:) but you can practice meditation anywhere! A walk in nature is also a good way to bring awareness and tranquility to your mind. Meditating around the same time every day helps to create an habit. It is a learning experience as it can take time until we can let our mind wander and let go of our thoughts as well as learning to sit still in silence.

Some friends started the 21 day challenge with me and were very happy to discover all the benefits. One of them used the daily meditation practice to help her quit smoking! She replaced the "after work cigarette" ritual with a 15 minute meditation and it really helped her in getting her mind off the cigarette. The feeling of calmness and deep relaxation are such rare moments in our busy lives. We stopped taking time for ourselves, we're always surrounded by noise with the TV or music on, we just forgot how to connect with our body and mind, to let go of the day and all the negative energy accumulated. Stress has so many bad effects on our health that finding a quiet moment to let your brain rest is incredibly powerful.

Meditation has wonderful health benefits. Here's a few ones. Have a look!

  • It boosts your immune system.
  • It is an anti-inflammatory- as the stress brings inflammation, the relax mind can help prevent it.
  • It lowers blood pressure.
  • It increases fertility- you're more likely to make babies when you're in a relaxed environment than a stressful one.
  • It relieves Irritable Bowel Syndrome symptoms like bloating, diarrhea and constipation.
  • It can help with insomnia, depression, anxiety, chronic pain, migraines.
  • It improves your memory and keeps you focused and clear.
  • It slows down the aging process.

Happy Meditation!

 

Sources:

http://foodmatters.tv/articles-1/7-health-benefits-of-meditation

http://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/bhcv2/bhcarticles.nsf/pages/Meditation

Sleeping rituals for a better sleep

Having trouble falling asleep? or waking up in the middle of the night? Insomnia? Not surprising as lack of sleep is a big issue and many people suffers from sleep deprivation. We live in a society where there is a non stop flow of information, the news, hectic work hours, busy schedules. We run all day long between our multiple chores and we can't separate from our phones and laptops. This constant "noise" isn't helping to find rest at night. We forgot about how to find rest and calmness after a long day. We always feel the need to do something and if we don't, we feel like we're losing time.

Sleep is essential. We need between 7-8 hours of sleep. Noticed how when you sleep less, you are moody, craving sweets, more hungry, brain fog, tired, no motivation and exhausted after a work day? Sleepiness is also one of the main reason for car accidents. Lack of sleep do really have an impact on the quality of your life. That's because our body rejuvenate from our busy lives during night time.

Sleep is definitely a health component and the number one medicine for beauty! It is good for your skin, it improves your memory, your creativity, your performance. It lowers your stress levels and helps control cholesterol level. Studies showed that longer sleep increases your lifespan. It affects your anxiety and depression. And catching up on your sleep on the weekend due to a busy week schedule isn't always helping as your body needs a routine. Having a balanced healthy week should be the goal in the long run.

Here's some tips to find sleep:

 

  • Sleep routine

Our bodies need a rhythm, so why not start a sleeping ritual before going to bed. Stop working (if you are a workaholic!), turn off your laptops and phones an hour before going to bed and enjoy this 1 hour to relax, and have a moment for yourself. Take a relaxing bath, shower, body lotion time, do some meditation, read a good inspiring book, light some candles and listen to some relaxing music. It's a good opportunity to write in your gratitude journal.

 

  • Sleeping environment

Your bedroom should be a warm and cozy place. You spend so many hours of your day in your bed that you should feel good and comfortable. Make your bed in the morning, organize and make space for a quiet, peaceful haven of yours. Your room needs to be dark at night. If you can't close your shutter or there is too much light, wear an eye mask. Open your windows - keeping your room cool and fresh is also part of a good night sleep. You know it already, but no TV, no computer, no phone an hour before bed. The light and electronic energy isn't good for your body, so try to hide those little annoying lights from alarm clock or other devices. Lavender or tea tree oil are known to improve sleep. Put a few drops of these scents on your pillow.

 

  •  Exercise

A 30 minute physical activity during the day is important not only for your health but also for a good night sleep. Walking home after work is a good transition between your day and evening. Avoid late workouts as they can give you more energy and stop you from falling asleep.

 

  •  Restorative Yoga / Relaxation / Meditation

A 10 minute meditation where you just sit still and do nothing helps to find peace and stop thinking about your to do list for tomorrow. Yoga is a wonderful tool for so many aspects of life and it is also for the sleep too! Relaxation, breathing exercise or yoga are good ways to relax and let go of your day. Here's some pre bedtime yoga poses! Studies have shown that yoga improves the time and quality of sleep for people with chronic insomnia. Preparing your body for a good night sleep is also key to falling asleep faster. If you slow down an hour before, your body will recognize that it's time for bed.

 

  • Sleep Cycles

We have sleep cycles during the night and you don't want to miss your wave! When you feel tired don't wait too long before finding your bed as you may miss your cycle. Cycles last from 90 minutes to 2 hours. And the more restorative sleep is often said to be the sleep before midnight.

 

  • Food

There are some foods that will make you find dream land easier like bananas (magnesium and melatonin), potatoes (tryptophan), oatmeal (melatonin), almonds (tryptophan and magnesium), flaxseeds (omega 3 fatty acids that helps to sleep), herbal teas like chamomile (it relaxes and calmed the mind), mint or valerian and honey (orexin that helps to calm). You shouldn't eat at least 2-3 hours before bed so your body has time to digest and avoid coffee, alcohol or sugar in the evenings and even better if you can stop your coffee breaks around 4pm.

Good night!

 

Sources:

http://www.naturalhealthmag.com/health/15-sneaky-sleep-stealers

ttp://www.drfranklipman.com/sleep-tips-top-10-sleep-mistakes-and-their-solutions/

http://www.foodmatters.tv/articles-1/stressed-out-having-trouble-sleeping

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/02/02/sleep-health-benefits-_n_817803.html#s234464&title=Improve_Memory

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dr-michael-j-breus/yoga-insomnia_b_1939696.html?utm_hp_ref=healthy-living&ncid=edlinkusaolp00000009