5 Steps to Relieving Stress

5 Steps to Relieving Stress

Stress is the body’s way of reacting to and managing threats or strenuous demands on the body.  The more demands or threats we face from day to day the higher our stress levels.  These levels can get so high that it can affect our health–in a very bad way.

Headaches, fatigue, sleep disturbances, and changes in appetite are common side effects of stress.  Continued stress along with these common side effects can cause us to make poor decisions, have or cause accidents and generally spiral out of control until some develop anxiety problems, depressions and other illnesses that cannot be clearly diagnosed.

We must find ways to reduce and learn to cope with the stresses of everyday life.  This may look different to different people because we all handle stress differently.  Here are some sure fire ways to reduce stress in your life that have worked for me.

  1. Let Go.  Let go of toxic people in your life and toxic situations.  You know where you go and who you are around that make you feel stressed.  Limiting or eliminating these people, places or situations will help keep your stress level down.  You don’t have to feel guilty about it (adding more stress), just decide to wish them well and let it go.
  2. Understand that Everything Changes.  Nothing stays the same forever–we know this in our heads and in our hearts. The seasons change, the economy changes and we change as the life around us changes.  To help relieve some of the stress you are feeling just remember that “this too shall pass.”
  3. You Are In Control.  This is your life and you control it. If something is stressing you out on an ongoing basis–you can change it.  No one can dictate how you live your life. If the stress is coming from a financial situation or your work environment you can make the decision and take the steps to make the changes that work for you.
  4. Focus.  Understand and accept the things that are important to you and focus on those things.  Let the noise of all the other stuff going on in the world pass you by. When you keep your focus on the things that really matter–to you–everything else just extra. Keep your focus.
  5. Gratitude. When you have had a particularly stressful day, take a deep breath and think about all the things you are grateful for.  I bet, as you do this exercise, you will find that the things that were stressing you out are not on that list–so refer back to # 1 and #4.

It is so easy to get caught up in the negative energy of others–and that causes a great deal of unnecessary stress, but worse we continue to do the same things with the same people that are causing the major stressors in our lives and expect a different outcome. By using these 5 steps it has helped me cope with stress and learn to change the stressful circumstances.

I hope they work for you too!  Life is too beautiful to be stressed out about stuff that really doesn’t matter!  Happy Friday!

Hamburger Hangover

Hamburger Hangover

My husband and I have been eating healthier and exercising for over a year now and we have been very pleased with the results.

We are healthier, sleep better, have energy and are fit.

We are not slaves to having to eat anything specific and we are not anti-gmo or only eat organic. But we do watch our portions and try to choose the best foods we can.

We hadn’t eaten in a fast food restaurant in a very long time.

So when we found ourselves at a function where only fast food was available we didn’t think twice about giving ourselves a treat!

I cannot describe how delicious my hamburger with cheese, all the way, with french fries was!

It smelled wonderfully and it tasted absolutely delicious.

We were hungry and we enjoyed it.

The next morning we both woke up rather sluggish.

I was very thirsty and nauseous and I had quite a headache.

My husband felt the same.

We had a hamburger hangover! It took all day, some aspirin and a great deal of water to get past it.

We were surprised and pleased. Our better living has really paid off and we are so healthy now that our indulgence reminded us of the reason why we don’t indulge.

Embrace the healthier lifestyle friends, it really is worth it!

Calories In and Calories Out

Calories In and Calories Out

The hardest part in trying to create a nutritional plan that works is keeping the proper count of calories. Why is this important?  Well because just like you cannot run a car without gasoline a body cannot run without calories. And running the body is what we are all about.

Although some diets and nutritional gurus may say that counting calories does not matter when trying to lose and maintain a healthy weight–they are relying on other processes of the body–like manipulating the way a person’s metabolism works to reach their weight losing goals.

The biggest problem is that these diets do work–at least for a while.  They work as long as you keep to the parameters of the diet strictly. The minute you change anything in these diets the weight comes back–with often a few extra pounds–that the body will save for the next time the body experiences these manipulations.

We forget that we are not meant to be on a the roller coaster of diets–we were made to follow a nutritional plan that provides the needed calories for the energy of living.

So scientifically, if you want to lose weight or maintain a healthy weight–you need to know what is going in and what is going out. And more complicated yet…you need to understand what calories you should be eating for optimum nutrition.

The way I see it there are two major challenges:  accurately counting the calories we are taking in and accurately counting the calories we are burning.  When we eat, we usually think we are eating less calories than we are actually eating–and we are usually not burning as many calories as we think we are burning.

Regardless of the challenges–it is important to note that becoming a healthier you is so important that the counting frustration should not stop us.  This is a learning process.

The best way to measure the amount of food in your servings is to use measuring cups and a food weight scale.  Most solid foods should be weighed while more liquid foods can be measured. Being consistent in weighing  and measuring your foods will help you in keeping an accurate count of the calories.

Once we get “used” to the meals that work best for us nutritionally we tend to stop measuring and weighing.  A chicken breast is a chicken breast right?  No. They come in all sizes and when we stop measuring–the calories creep in.

As with everything that is important in your life–I’m afraid to say–you are going to have to write it down. Keeping a food diary is the best way to know what calories are going into your body. (If you are not a fan of writing things down, I’m sure there is an app for that.)

On the counting calories out side–the same applies.  Every activity burns calories–but each person burns calories differently based on their weight.  The more you weigh the more calories you will burn during any given activity.

There are online calculators that will help you track the number of calories you are burning in any given activity or work out.  Keep in mind that to get an accurate count you have to be diligent about entering the accurate time an activity took place and also the level of intensity that you completed the activity.

Walking a mile slowly does not burn as many calories as walking a mile quickly while swinging your arms. And you can’t count walking for 60 minutes if you stopped and spoke to a neighbor for 10 minutes–you can only count 50 minutes.

Ultimately, though, the only way to maintain a healthy lifestyle is to know what comes in and what comes out. There is no scientific way around it. Creating this type of lifestyle when it comes to nourishing your body and keeping fit is much more sustainable.

Count your calories and your blessings! We live in the greatest time of nutritional knowledge–embrace it!

Have a great day today!  Leave me a comment or send me an email at emptynestsavvy@gmail.com…I’d love to hear from you!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pity Party

Pity Party

So many people lately have invited me into their misery.  Not only have I been invited but then asked why I am so happy all the time?  I am chastised for being the “lucky one” by having to listen to their “horrible situation”.

They are all in a midsts of their own Pity Party.

I do not mean, that when bad, sad or truly unfair things happen to us we shouldn’t feel bad. We should. We should mourn the losses, we should cry at sad circumstances, we should  get angry and we should get all the help needed to get through it.

And then, no matter how difficult the situation may seem we need to pull ourselves up from our bootstraps and move on.

Most people do–from truly horrible events–death of a loved one, disease, or the destruction of their home by a hurricane.

Those are not the pity parties I have been invited to.

The pity parties I’ve attended recently–not by choice, mind you, are miseries that are getting us nowhere.  I listen–because that is what I do–and it gives people attention.

Attention, apparently, that they really need because no matter how well a person listens to their woes and encourage them that all will be well, they continue to pity themselves and to share their sorrows  and indignations until everyone around them (who have been invited to the party) disappear!

No one wants to attend their pity party!  Especially when they are so upset because…

…their children are young and they are so tired because it is so much work,

…their children are big now and making choices of their own,

…they hate their job, their boss is unreasonable, and can you believe they got in trouble for being late…ONE time?

…they have a lot of debt and are broke,

…they are single and cannot find the love of their lives,

…they are married and the love of their lives is getting on their last nerve,

…they are young and no one understands their “struggle”,

…they are getting older and are feeling “unneeded”,

…they are going through “the menopause”

…they are indignant that their politician did not win.

And on and on and on. What is happening to us?  As a society, a community, we are falling apart!  We are creating all kinds of suffering that is not really real just so that someone else will pay attention to us…

So here is what I have to say–to those throwing these parties and those of us who ended up on the invitation list.

If you are throwing the pity party–STOP!

I mean really stop, and think for one moment how lucky we are to be living in this moment in time–with the kids, with a job, with politicians we can debate about and yes, even with “the menopause”!

Stop feeling sorry for yourself over situations that you got yourself into, have the power to get yourself out of and are truly “just life”–nothing bad has really happened to you!

Be thankful everyday for your wonderful miserable life. So many people in the country and the world–have it so much worse!

If you are the lucky devil getting invited to these pity parties–STOP attending!

Walk away, make a polite excuse and get out of that party as soon as you can.  It is best that you don’t attend at all–don’t get sucked into bringing the wine!

We are not helping the miserable soul get on with it by attending–pity doesn’t help anyone–the pity-er or the pity-ee.

So please, save your invitation–I’ll be uh…busy training my elephant that day…You have one life people, enjoy it!

Drop me a comment below–or feel free to email me at emptynestsavvy@gmail.com!

A Good Night’s Sleep

A Good Night’s Sleep

Never underestimate the power of a good night’s sleep.

As I’ve gotten older getting good rest has become harder, I’m not sure exactly why.

But getting a good night’s rest has many benefits.

The most obvious one, of course, is that you feel less tired the next day. Sleeping well helps you have the energy to tackle all the tasks you have for the next day.

Your mind is sharper. When I get good rest I can think more clearly and I don’t have such a hard time remembering small details or facts that I need to recall.

I eat less when I have a good night’s sleep also. This is probably due to the fact that when you are not sleep deprived your body’s calorie burning and calorie measuring machine is working at optimum levels.

Problems and decisions that seemed so large the evening before usually become much more manageable after a good night’s sleep. This is probably why people say to take some time and “sleep on it.”

So how you get a good night’s rest?

I first thought about when it was in my life I had the best sleep and I realized it was when I was a kid.

I started constructing the steps to getting a good night’s sleep like I did back then and it really helped me. Here is what I do:

1. I go to sleep at the same time every night. I know it may sound boring and unimaginative but the body does get used to being on a routine. It is the signal that tells the brain that the day has ended and that now it must rest.

2. I wash my face and brush my teeth. Creating a little cleansing ritual–whatever that may be–begins the process of self care that tells your body to begin relaxing.

3. I kiss someone goodnight.  I know it sounds silly to make this a step–but for me it really works! As a kid I always kissed my parents before I went to bed. Now as an adult I always kiss my husband goodnight.

If you don’t have a husband or wife–kiss the dog goodnight or get a pet rock, whatever works for you. But it is important to know that there is love in the world and in your life and that tomorrow is filled with promise. This will help you sleep.

4. Say your prayers.  Before I nod off I always thank God for the day that just passed, for the health of my family, our safety and any other things that happened that day.  I also ask for continued blessings, help, patience, ideas, strength, understanding, compassion etc. that I may need or want for the next day. Amen.

At this point, I have set myself up for a good night’s rest and most of the time it works wonders to help me relax and let go of the stresses and pressures of living and it helps remind me not to take things–and myself–so seriously.

However, if I do wake up–or still have trouble going to sleep–after these steps, I just start to count.  I used to count sheep–literally, I would imagine sheep jumping over a small fence and I would count them–but now I just count until I fall asleep. I have never gotten past 200.

Setting yourself up to have a good night’s rest will give you far better chances that you will have a good night’s sleep and you will be ready to tackle another day!

What keeps you up at night? Does having a good night’s sleep help you have a good day? Share your thoughts in the comments below! And have a good day!

To GMO or Not To GMO

To GMO or Not To GMO

These days with all the misinformation and biased information we hear, I have been very skeptical of all that I previously thought I knew to be true.  So in true fashion I have been doing a great deal of reading and questioning and deciding what is true for me.

In my quest to eat healthier I have been reading, watching documentaries and following the news about Genetically Modified  Organisms.  And I am still not sure which side is the right side…

But I do know this–all of the negative reputation that has been brought upon GMO companies, GMO farming practices and GMO foods seems to be a  little over the top.

I remember the saying that if something seems to be too good to be true then it probably is.  And the negative stories of GMOs seem too perfect an argument to boycott the use of them.

After all, if you think about it, foods, specifically the seeds of the foods we grow, have been genetically modified for hundreds–probably thousands of years.

Granted, a thousand years ago, when farmers were choosing the seeds of the strongest plants or cross pollinating plants they were doing so slowly.  Not by choice but because they lacked the knowledge and technology to do it any faster.

The science, over time, has improved the way we grow food, given us the ability  to grow more food using less resources and that has given countries the ability to feed their people and for our country the ability to feed people all around the world.

I ask myself why this is a bad thing?

On the other side of this are the “realities” that question and have concerns about the safety of our food.  That GMO foods are affecting our bodies negatively producing obesity, gastrointestinal problems, heart disease, and cancer to name a few.

So I have read a great deal and watch documentaries and informative videos (and will continue to read and watch) until I am satisfied with the information I am gathering.

I have yet to come across any scientific study that proves anything definitively about the GMOs.

Do I believe that people are now suffering from more lifestyle diseases like diabetes II, gluten sensitivities, heart attacks, and strokes?  Yes.  Do I believe that chickens and cows and other farm animals are grown under harsh and sometimes unsanitary conditions? Sure. Do I understand that the same pesticides that help our food grow strong and yield high amounts may cause us humans damage? Absolutely.

But what I don’t believe is that this whole industry is in existence to control the world’s food supply and ultimately cause the destruction of the world like it is depicted.

I am not a crusader–but I do question other crusaders: what are their motives?  Who are these people that ask, protest and try to convince the American people to boycott Monsanto and all the brands it owns plus the financial companies like Vanguard that have their financial holdings?

Are they really concerned with the well being of others or of advancing their own careers through the articles, books and movies they create?

Now–I am not saying that everyone should just eat whatever they think tastes good without checking labels, ingredients, and recommended serving sizes or that all GMOs are good and we should leave ourselves in the hands of these companies.

But what I am saying is that we are intelligent people and we should be careful what we believe.  We should look for the motives behind the movements that are currently raging in our society.

Could these people that are so vehemently against GMOs really be people that have been worked up by others that really want to destroy successful companies in an effort to disrupt the financial structures in our country?

Everything is interconnected.  There are bad people in the world–but I believe and have always believed that there are more good people than bad people in the world and that ultimately we are all striving for a better life. I do not believe that all the scientists trying to make better crops for our food supply are bad people.

So eat as healthy as you can eat.  Enjoy your life. And be careful about the information that is being fed to you!

Leave a comment, tell me what you think!  I appreciate everyone’s opinions!  If you like you can also email me at emptynestsaavy@gmail.com!  Have a great day!

Healing What Ails You

Healing What Ails You

Admit it…all of us have something wrong with us that we are trying to change.  And this may not be a sickness–but it is something that bothers us and we think about it all the time.

For some of us we may think we are: too tall, too short, too thin, too hippy, no hips, big chest, little chest, thinning hair, hair in places you should not have hair…

But for others of us we have pain in our backs, our joints, our neck. We are tired all the time and irritable. We get headaches, our allergies flare up–and not in a pretty way. We feel like the flu is coming on or maybe a cold. We are just not sure but we know something is wrong–so we go to the doctor.

And the doctors run tests, they check us over and they give us the diagnosis:  there is nothing wrong with us. Perhaps we are just over tired, stressed out. Get some exercise they say and try to eat better and they send us on our way.

Sometimes we believe them and go home–relieved–that we don’t have anything–even though we feel like we have something.

Sometimes we don’t believe them because we feel so lousy. So we go for a second opinion, or we seek out a nutritionist, a health coach, a trainer to whip us up into shape again.

There is a whole industry around fixing what is making us feel sick–but we overlook the most basic healer of all–ourselves!

We are the ones that made ourselves–and sometimes our families–feel sick. And luckily, according to the doctor, we are not sick–with a real diagnosable illness yet.

But if we keep doing what we are doing we are certainly headed for the lifestyle diseases:  diabetes, heart conditions, allergies, obesity, IBS, etc.

Some of us have these things but not to a level that shows up on the tests yet–just to a level in which makes us feel miserable because we know exactly what we are doing to our bodies.

Why did we do this to ourselves?  Well because it is easy and because it becomes an addiction.

Look in your pantry–if it looked anything like mine a few years ago–it is probably filled with boxes and bags, cans, jars and bottles. An abundance of food for our in a hurry, have to run out the door, lives.

If we start reading the labels on this abundance we will begin to realize why we feel so bad. And when I say we are addicted, I am really not kidding.  

We are addicted to sugar, to caffeine, to salt and a host of other things–including an addiction to getting our meals on the table quickly so we don’t have to waste time.

And these addictions are bad, because not only are they hard to break, but day after day, they contribute to even higher and more instense desire for the stuff that makes us feel sick.

This is what I did to get on the road to recovery in 2 steps, this was not easy and I struggle still but I am really starting to see the benefits.

1) I cleaned out my pantry and my refrigerator.

This happened in waves.  First and easiest–I took out everything that was expired or had been opened and abandoned and had gone bad.

Second, and to my shame, I ate the foods that were still good until we were out of them. I just could not throw things out.

Third, I stopped buying the stuff that is not good for us.  I started with chips and cereals, cookies, processed, boxed and canned goods etc. You get the picture.  

This process took me about 18 months. Mostly because there would be days when the sugary, processed, crunchy, salty fake buttery goodness stuff would find its way back into my home.

2) I started buying and making good foods.

The hardest part and my continued struggle today is finding good ideas for good meals that are interesting and tasty and easy to make.  For example, eggs are good for us and I love eggs but I cannot have eggs in every meal.

Plus I still like easy, fast meals to prepare and eat on the go!

I am continuously learning about nutrition to incorporate the best balance for me and my family.  

I have discovered protein drinks and shakes (and after trying everything on the market I could find–found a brand that works well for me!)

Now I am reworking all my recipes, and watching my portion size.  I’m still in Step 2.

But already I feel (and see) the benefits of these changes. I feel better, I have lost weight, I have more energy–many of my aches and pains have gone away.

And I did this myself!  I am healing myself by learning and changing for the better.  It did not happen overnight, but it did happen–I did it and so can you!

What challenges do you have in making the dietary changes you need to change the symptoms that ail you?  Drop me a comment or send me an email at emptynestsavvy@gmail.com.

We only have one life–Have fun!