{Guest Post} It’s What’s On the Inside That Counts The Most

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I’m honored to feature a guest post by my lovely friend + yogi Cara Gilman on the blog today. (You may remember her from my “Healthy Chicks in the Community” post a while back.) Aside from being the most genuine, smiley gal I know, she also gives killer advice on mindfulness and looking within your soul to find the answers. I mean, she is a yogi after all!

Today she shares her thoughts on why it’s what is on the inside that matters most. I’ll let Cara take the floor from here.

Growing up we were constantly told to not judge a book by it’s cover. To let go of physical appearances and to look deep within ourselves and others to find love. Even in our yoga practice it can be challenging to not get caught up in the physical appearance of the practice. That’s why it’s essential to remind ourselves that our practice gives us so much more if we open ourselves up to it and let go of self doubt and negativity.

Growing up, I was not the nicest teenager to myself.  I felt so uncomfortable in my physical body that I did not allow myself to feel any true love. The only love I would feel would be from compliments or attention. No connection was made with myself. The only voice I heard was negativity. I was never good enough. Even when something good happened, I was too focused on the next thing or positive attention that I never took the time to be grateful. Interestingly enough, I was almost afraid to love myself in a way. If I let down my guard and let love in, how would I motivate myself to keep growing and to be better?

This all changed for me when I ran my first marathon. There was something about the training and doing something I never thought I could ever do that lit a flame within me. To even get to that starting line, I needed to believe in myself and the training process allowed that to finally happen. Crossing that finish line gave me a sense of confidence that I will never forget. Wow, I CAN DO ANYTHING I put my mind to. Love was finally there. A connection within myself was finally made.

To this day, what keeps this fire going is my yoga practice. It keeps me real. Sometimes it brings awareness of the ridiculousness of my thoughts when I’m not being very nice to myself. Sometimes it lets me know what exactly what my body needs that day (a longer childs pose instead of a sun salutation or early savasana) or sometimes it brings my mind back to focus by realizing what “stories” I’m wrapping myself up in. All these lessons reminds me that, Its really what’s on the inside that counts.

Let go of the perfection. Let go of what things look like and ask what does it feel like? The asana of our yoga practice is fun but don’t let it be the focus of your practice. Challenge yourself to make it more than just physical. Allow it to work inward and you’ll open yourself up to so much more. Give yourself some true love. Namaste!

What do you to keep your spirits high and to get in touch with yourself?

Cara Gilman is lover of movement. She is a yogini, a marathoner, a cyclist and a bootcamp enthusiast. This combination of strength, endurance, flexibility and mindfulness bring balance and grounding to her life and she incorporates these same elements into the yoga and cycle classes she teaches. You can visit her website at CaraGilman.com

                 

10 Little Ways to Amp Up Your Self Care

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Try as we might to keep it all “together” 24/7, sometimes life just gets a little nutty. Whether you’re busy working a full time job you love, chasing your dreams or putting in the hours at a 9-to-5 job you can’t really stand, every now and again we need a little mental breather.

Unfortunately when we lead action-packed work-hard, play-hard lifestyles, one of the first things that tends to go is our self care. You know, that precious time we have with ourselves to feel a little bit more sane, a little bit more you.

This past year, I’ve had nothing but love + luck come into my life including 2 big life events: an engagement, an offer at my “dream job.” While I’ve been full of passion, joy and everything in between, I can’t lie that my self care has been put on the back burner (well maybe not all the way on the back burner, but at least pretty close). When you love the life you are living, it’s easy to forget about the most important person out there, that is yourself.

Heck, I’ll be the first to admit that it can be exhausting trying to do IT ALL all. of. the. time.

And that’s where the good ol’ self care comes in. The good news is it’s never too late to start up again. Just like anything (eating well, developing a healthy exercise routine, treating your body with love), each and every day can & should be treated like a blank canvas.

Here are 10 little ways to incorporate self care into your life each week:

1. Journal first thing in the morning and/or again right before bed to release any negative thoughts or tension that may be fogging up your mind. This also helps with clarity and getting real about your emotions.

2. Take a cat Nap: There’s no shame in taking a nap. Sometimes on my busiest days, I come home for a 30-minute “power nap,” which gives me just the spark I need to make it through the rest of the day with energy + focus. On this note, make sure you are getting enough sleep each night. We all know we’re not the best versions of ourself when sleep-deprived living off coffee.

3. Play with essential oils: Take a trip to a local health store and purchase some essential oils aligned with your particular wellness needs. I am in love with blends with lavender for better sleep & to ease tension, or citrus fruits for energy. I also recommend “Rescue Remedy” Bach Flower Remedy to relieve tension on-the-spot.

4. Give yourself a makeover: It’s amazing what a nice blowout, freshly painted nails and a little makeup can do for your mood.  Take the time to make yourself feel pretty in the morning (whatever that means to you) for an instant confidence boost.

5. Move: Sure, maybe you’ve been slacking on the fitness front of late, but that doesn’t mean you’re a failure. Start small by aiming to move – in any capacity – every day. You’ll be surprised how quickly it raises your spirits, and your body will be thanking you for taking the time for yourself.

6. Gift yourself some quality “me time:” whether it’s curling up on the couch with a good book and a springy candle, journaling or having a yoga date with yourself, me time is an absolute must when it comes to self care.

7. Let go: Let go of any negative energy or mental blockages so you can think more clearly and be a better you! Some of my favorite ways to let loose is going for a long run, practicing deep breathing, writing or mediating. Speaking of meditation, it doesn’t need to be this big ordeal with pillows, blankets, music and an uncomfortable cross-legged position. To me, meditation is simply working to still your mind and be alone with your thoughts. The best part? It can be done anywhere and first and foremost should be about Y-O-U. No need to overthink it.

8. Be kind to your body: Often times when we neglect our self care, we’re not so nice to our bodies either. If you find you’re calling yourself fat or bashing your weight, it’s time to give your bod a little love. Honor your body. Tell yourself “I love you.” Dance. Walk around the house in undies and embrace it all.

9. Cook more meals at-home: One of the best ways to bring self care back into your life is through the kitchen. Cook yourself nourishing meals filled with foods that hum to you, and slowly ween away from those that suck from you or leave you feeling “blah.” Dedicate the time to cook for yourself with a little extra love. Your body will thank you later.

10. Craft your nourishment menu: Make a list of the things that nourish your mind, body and soul and actually make the time to do these things. Be honest with yourself on what truly lights you up and makes you feel your best.

Do you ever feel like self care gets pushed aside when life gets busy? Which of these tips will you implement this week? What are your favorite ways to take care of yourself?

                 

Cooking in the Bean: Just Add Cooking Review

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I have a confession: While I do love eating healthy meals + cooking, sometimes I just don’t feel like putting in the work. Ever since I started working a full-time job, I’ve found it a bit trickier to do as much home cooking as I used to do.

To be honest, sometimes when I come home from a long day, all I want to do is put up my feet, plop on the couch, grab a cup of tea (or a glass of vino) and order takeout sushi. I’m a real girl, after all.

That’s why when I heard about Boston start-up Just Add Cooking (JAC), which delivers pre-portioned meals to your door all ready to go, I was intruiged.

The Scoop

Just Add Cooking is exactly what it sounds like: a meal delivery service that takes the stress out of cooking. Instead of worrying about the stress of prepping and grocery shopping, you can really focus on the fun part, that is cooking.

You get to hand-pick which recipes you + your fam will love, and then the friendly folks from JAC deliver a box of fresh, locally-sourced ingredients directly to your door each week, chock-full of meals for the week. No meal-planning. No stress. No grocery shopping. No mess.

The Box

I was so excited when I received my first box, perfectly packaged and full of all the fresh produce, herbs, condiments and proteins needed for my 3 recipes. I absolutely loved their packaging, and the fact that each ingredient is pre-portioned for your recipe so you don’t need to worry about measuring or “messing up” the quantities.

Another great perk is that JAC includes just the right amounts of spices + herbs so that you don’t need to buy an expensive jar or spices or large bunch of fresh rosemary that’ll only go to waste.

The Details

Since I live with my man, we opted for the 2-person meal box which included the ingredients for 3 meals. As I mentioned above, you can choose your own favorite recipes to make, and each serves just the right amount for you + your roommate/boyfriend/best friend/husband/sister/fill in the blank.

There are a variety of options available each week to choose from, so that you won’t get bored eating the same meals every week.

As for the pricing, it depends on what type of service you opt for. Currently, you can choose between four-person or two-person boxes, with either 3, 4 or 5 meals worth per box. As I mentioned above, I received the 3 meal two-person box for my man and I, but it depends on your living situation. Hate cooking + prepping? Perhaps you want to go with the 5 meal selection? Love to cook but just a bit crunched on time? The 3-meal box is probably best for you.

Pricing is as follows:

4-Person Boxes
5 Meals: $139
4 Meals: $129
3 Meals: $109
2-Person Boxes
5 Meals: $99
4 Meals: $89
3 Meals: $79

The Meals

Speaking of the food, for our 3 meals we opted for the Mexican Cod, Couscous Marrakech and Pork Loin Africana for a nice variety. Each meal comes with its own recipe sheet complete with directions, ingredients and cooking order to simplify the whole process.

While all of the meals were good, I personally liked the Couscous Marrakech the best, which was the first meal we prepared together.

It consisted of:

  • chicken
  • couscous
  • yellow onion
  • garlic
  • olive oil
  • chorizo
  • tumeric
  • chili
  • green beens
  • fresh parsley
  • Greek yogurt
  • pickled jalapenos
  • lemon
  • salt

I absolutely loved the unique flavor, especially the bold chorizo and kick of lemon. It was super filling, and refreshing to cook something a bit outside the box.

In a Nut Shell + a Surprise for YOU

In a nut shell, I really love the concept of Just Add Cooking and think it’s a great option for busy, social city-goers like myself. I also love that they source ingredients locally or organic when they can, which is important to me as someone who really cares about where my food comes from. If you’re interested in giving JAC a try yourself, you’re in luck! New customers can use promo code SPRINGBLOG to receive $20 off their first order when placed by 5/31/14.

Note: I received a complimentary meal box for review, but as always all opinions are my own.

Do you enjoy cooking + grocery shopping or does meal planning completely stress you out? What kinds of things do you do to take the stress out of cooking?

                 

On Finding Your Drishti (In Yoga & In Life)

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Last week, I took my first yoga class at Om Warrior in Boston with the owner & highly talented yoga teacher Marc McDonald. Before I walked into class, I was feeling a bit off (my mind was swirling with thoughts, doubts & fears) and life just seemed…chaotic. I knew I could resort to my yoga mat to find some answers, some clarity.

During class, the instructor (Marc) was taking us through a tree pose series and encouraged us to find or drishti for balance. Suddenly, I looked up and saw a beautiful, odd little elephant figure by the window with the sun subtly shining in, and thought That’s it. From that point on, suddenly my worries and fears from the outside world didn’t seem to matter. I was here, I was present, I was living in the now to its truest form.

In yoga or meditation,” finding your drishti” is a technique involving focusing on one point or object for greater concentration or balance, in my case the elephant. But if you take it into everyday life, I like to think of it as simply living in the now, experiencing life to its finest.

It’s finding peace with the past and slowing your mind down when it starts spiraling into a bout of future-tripping.

You see, it’s easy to get caught up in the ups & downs and crazy obstacles the universe sometimes throws at us. But if you pause for a moment and simply focus on where you are right in this moment, things become a little brighter, a little more OK.

These next couple weeks, I’m attempting to focus on finding my drishti beyond yoga practice and meditation, and I’d love for you ladies to join me. It may be as simple as taking a deep breath on the verge of breakdown, finding the joy in watching your children play or observing the first flower bloom for spring. Or it may mean closing your eyes to find peace in the now, or journaling your feelings before bed.

How can you find your drishti in everyday life? In what ways do you practice focusing on the NOW?

XoXo,

Rachel

                 

ClassPass launches in boston: 4 reasons why you need to get on it (like, now)

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It’s no lie I have a love affair with fitness, particularly group fitness and boutique classes. Actually, I’m kind of a serial fitness fanatic, bouncing around from studio to studio. Hey, a girl has her needs.

So when I was informed that NYC-based fitness startup Class Pass was launching in Boston, I was immediately intrigued!

What is Class Pass, you ask? It’s exactly what is sounds like: a “pass” to various fitness classes near you. Essentially, they’re a gym membership but for boutique studios. With the membership fee, you have access to 10 classes a month, up to 3 classes at any given studio. Pretty cool, huh?

This week, I attended their Media Launch Party at Flywheel Sports in Boston, and completely fell in love with the brand (and the girls behind it). Such a fun-loving, cheerful bunch! Plus, who doesn’t love a good sweat session at Flywheel, I mean c’mon?

After class, we all enjoyed tasty goodies from sweetgreen and bolocco, and mingled with the group. Plus, we were given little goodie bags packed with a water bottle, natural energy drink, muscle rub sample from mio scincare, and an adorable tee that I may or may not have claimed as my go-to PJ top.

Bottom line? I’m sold. I love it. I’m all about it. Here’s why:

1. It’s flexible + convenient: With 25+ studios featured in Boston, ClassPass lets you pick ‘n’ choose those that are most convenient for you. Not a fan of a.m. workouts? No problem. You can actually search classes by time and date to find those that suit your exercise needs. Are you a spin and barre addict, but not really feeling the bootcamp-style? Great, you can also conveniently sort by studio to view upcoming classes in your area.

2. It can help your wallet: For $99 a month, you get access to 10 classes each month, up to 3 visits per studio. With drop-ins averaging around $25 or $30 these days, you can save some mad cash when you’re a serial boutique fitness addict like me. Cha-ching. Not to mention, ClassPass features some of my favorite Boston studios including Exhale, Flywheel and Recycle (plus many more I’m drying to try).

3. It’s fun (and you can cheat on other studios without feeling guilty about it): One of the reasons I love working out at different fitness studios is because I like to keep things fresh ‘n’ fun; I could never commit to just barre or just spin or just yoga; I’d quickly grow bored and miss my other classes. But a gym “membership” that lets you bounce from one studio to the other (without breaking the bank)? Now we’re talking. And ClassPass allows for just that. Plus, you don’t need to feel guilty about cheating on your go-to barre studio with a little afternoon yoga because, I mean, you have ClassPass. You can have it all.

4. It’s good for your bod: To go along with my above point, I’ve never been one to do ONLY yoga or ONLY running because I love variety, and so does my body! With ClassPass, you can break up the week with barre on Monday, bootcamp on Wednesday all wrapped up with a rejuvenating yoga sesh on Sunday afternoon. This way you can enjoy fun & challenging workouts in your city, while not over-exerting any one muscle group.

To learn more about ClassPass or get started on your monthly membership head on over to their website to request an invite. Note: I was recently given a complimentary one-month trial membership to ClassPass, but as always all opinions are my own.

                 

Happiness is all about you (and only you)

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One of my favorite quotes (& one that I go back to often) is:

“The reason we struggle with insecurity is because we compare our behind the scenes with everyone else’s highlight reel.”  - Steve Furtick

Think about that for a second, and I mean really truly deeply think about it.

To me, it’s pretty much saying we’d be a whole lot more happy (and confident) if we simply quit comparing so darn much. Take Facebook for example. You’re having a crap day so you decide to go peruse social media (worst decision ever). Within seconds of logging in, you find that Susie just got the job of her dreams, Mary’s about to start her own business (the same business you wished you started 2 years ago), and Lisa lost 15 pounds with that new diet she’s been trying. Oh, and Jane got engaged. Great, well isn’t that just dandy, you think as you pour yourself another glass of red, tears streaming down your face.

But then again what do you expect when you’re comparing your shittiest of shit days to everyone else’s spotlight moments? You’re setting yourself up for the worst.

You see, happiness comes from the inside, and to be happy (I mean truly, genuinely happy) you and only you will ever know how that feels. It’s a feeling. It’s your feeling.

And my happiness does not = your happiness. That’s why when we compare our downs to someone else’s ups, we’re left feeling like crap. Because we’re looking outside of us, rather than the beautiful things that are sitting right before our eyes.

We need to open up our eyes, and look inside.  Easier said than done, I know.

That’s why I’ve decided to sign up for 100 Happy Days, a challenge with yourself to post one thing a day that makes you happy. The best part? It’s a challenge for YOU, and no one else and it can be as private or as public as you want it. One of my favorite “rules” is this: “It’s not a happiness competition or showing off contest. If you try to please/make others jealous via your pictures – you lose without even starting.” BAM!

Bonus: if you make it through all 100 days, they send you a little book full of your happy moments. How cool?

So today, March 2, 2014, I choose to start my 100-day journey to happiness. I’ll be sharing my photos + happy moments on instagram, Facebook and twitter if anyone would like to follow along!

Who would like to join me? It’s happy time!

Xoxo,

Rachel

Do you ever catch yourself comparing you lows with other’s highs? How can you begin to look internally to find true happiness?

                 

Back Into Running: New Balance Fresh Foam 980 Review + Giveaway

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It’s no secret that it’s been a really rough winter for us New Englanders; I honestly don’t remember a time with this much snow in years! That being said, I still love to stay active & keep my body moving through yoga, spinning, zumba and various indoor group fitness classes.

Unfortunately because of the temps, I’ve let one of my all-time favorite workouts fall by the wayside: running. And try as I might to fall in love with the treadmill, it’s just not really my thing.

I need the outdoors. The fresh air. The people. The nature. The sunshine. And I know outdoor winter running is possible with proper gear and all, but I just wasn’t doing it.

So when the lovely folks at New Balance sent me a pair of their brand new Fresh Foam 980 running shoes, I took it as a sign to go back to my running roots & get back into it. (This was also around the same time as Chestnut Hill True Runner’s “Ladies’ Night Out,” where I bought a new running headband, socks and some other apparel.) Running Rachel was about to make a comeback!

I was super excited when the sneakers arrived at my door in the “Blue Aster with Hot Pink & White” color. How fun!  And the feel of them…so soft and foamy. But as you know, it’s not all about looks, especially when it comes to running shoes. So I immediately looked into what these bad boys were all about.

Key features include:

  • specialized foam midsole making for a plush, natural ride
  • 4 mm drop to encourage natural movement & continuous ground contact for a smoother run
  • reduced drop heal for soft, bouncy ride
  • spray-paint finish with eye-catching design!
  • lightweight with breathable mesh for added comfort + great fit

Not to mention they come in a variety of fun colors (for both men + women) including women’s “Dark Heather Grey with Green Gecko & Blue Bell” and “White and Purple Cactus Flower & Neon Yellow.”

I was sold. But what better way to really see how they move than to take them out for a test ride? On my first run, the first thing I noticed was their super lightweight feel; I absolutely hate when running shoes feel heavy and bulky like they’re weighing you down. Not the Fresh Foam! The run felt smooth and comfy (especially for someone who had been slacking big-time).

Also, given that I have flat feet and sometimes need to buy specialized running shoes, my feet actually felt surprisingly supported by the Fresh Foam 980. I also noticed this when wearing them for the day just walking around the city…pure blissful comfort. That being said, I still have yet to take them for a long run, but so far so good!

Oh, and I’ve absolutely been rocking them out for spin classes, Zumba and long walks to add a pop of color + comfort. I was super pumped to see the banner ad for them in Boston Marathon Sports when I stopped by one chilly afternoon…those are my shoes!

One of my favorite runs was on The Charles River one chilly winter morning. It felt great to break ‘em in at one of my favorite running spots of all time, while letting loose and clearing my mind. Running (closely followed by yoga) is by far my favorite exercise for stress relief and “zenning out.”

Not to mention I got to take a trip down memory lane, popping by my favorite willow tree where The Boy popped the question. Boy does it look different in the wintertime!

Naked willow tree!

After breaking in my new kicks, I realized winter running really isn’t that bad… when geared up properly that is. Nonetheless, I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t looking forward to spring running weather! I’ve already got my eye on on some upcoming 10Ks and possibly another half marathon. I’ll keep you posted!

OK, let’s get to the fun part now shall we? I’ve got some exciting news for you ladies: New Balance is going to be gifting one lucky Healthy Chicks reader a brand new pair of Fresh Foam 980s of their own!

TO ENTER THE GIVEAWAY

1.  Simply leave a comment on this post with why you heart running (or why you want to get into it)!

2. Post on social media (twitter or Facebook):

Twitter: “Check it out, @NewBalance + @Healthy_Chicks are giving away a free pair of #FreshFoam 980 running shoes! http://healthy-chicks.com/?p=5876″

Facebook: “Check it out, New Balance + Healthy Chicks are giving away a free pair of #FreshFoam 980 running shoes! http://healthy-chicks.com/?p=5876″ (Be sure to tag Healthy Chicks and New Balance)

Note: This review is open to US & Canada readers only. I will choose a random winner by 5 p.m. EST on Friday, 2/28.

Best of luck!

Happy running,

Rachel

Big thank you to New Balance for my new pair of sweet kicks! Note: I was given a pair of Fresh Foam 980 running shoes from New Balance for review, but was not compensated for this post. All opinions are my own, as always!

                 

A Pact to Myself: On Living More

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As you may have noticed, I’ve been a bit quiet on the blog lately. No, it’s not because I’ve forgotten about you all nor love you any less; rather it has to do with a little pact I made with myself a few weeks ago to LIVE more.

Don’t get me wrong – I adore blogging & most definitely feel ALIVE & vibrant when I am writing (more on that in a bit). But there’s a fine line between pleasure writing and the feeling of HAVING to write, and I’ve been working on defining that line and setting some boundaries.

I’ve been thinking a lot about this pact to live MORE, and I think it goes back to my initial 2014 intention of making an impact. In order to truly make my mark, I need to stop trying so hard and start living…more.

Living more means stepping back and allowing life to happen, without focusing so much on the how’s, the what’s and the to dos.

Living more means taking two weeks off from blogging in order to find some mental clarity.

Living more means breaking the rules, “messing up” & not having a plan for everything.

Living more means doing something – anything - every day to bring you closer to your dreams.

Living more means being OK with the fact that your room looks like a pigsty if it in turn means spending precious time with beautiful friends who make you laugh.

Living more means being there (and I mean truly there) for your significant other even if you’re stressed, had an off day or are on a tight deadline.

Living more means asking yourself what your deepest core desires are, and shifting things around to better align yourself with those desires.

Living more means saying no to the things that don’t serve you and yes to the things that challenge you & light you up with passion. (After all, as my boss always says, “What you say no to defines you.”)

Living more means tossing your to-do list, self help book & “rules” and going by what feels right in the moment.

Living more means taking a day for you to do what you want, or going away to Florida with your best friend for 5 days with nothing to do but lay in the sunshine.

Living more means putting on that cute apron and cooking a homemade meal from scratch with no distractions but a glass of Cab & some soft music playing in the background.

In order to live more, you need to stop worrying so much about the “shoulda coulda woulda’s” & the” have to’s” and just be.

In my recent effort to live more during my Florida vacation, I have crafted a new to do list that better suits the way I want to be living, with of course “live more” as #1.

Not your typical to do list, now is it? If you asked me a year ago at the top of my to do list would be to get a fulltime job, make more money, perhaps lose a few pounds, and finally write that book. Sounds pretty darn overwhelming, huh?

I don’t know about you but that kind of to-do list scares the crap out of me & comes with a great deal of pressure. Go after goal, don’t make goal, feel like a complete failure OR go after goal, make goal, feel sorta empty & unsatisfied wanting MORE. The thing is we always want MORE. It’s a lose lose situation.

And so there enters my redefined to-do list.

Writing daily seems much more gratifying (and doable) then “writing a book.” Taking time to unplug sounds more peaceful than getting a better job. Making time for play beats losing 5 pounds any day. And leaving some things up to the universe totally trumps making more money.

Living more is the answer. Stressing & fighting and forcing IT to happen (whatever it may be) is not.

I will continue to share with you little ways I choose to live more as I embark on my new journey, but to start I plan to take a heck of a lot more time for myself & spend a heck if a lot less time on the Internet.

I will still blog, I will still write, I will still coach. but not at the expense of me living my life anything less than the fullest. After all, to be there for others you need to be there for yourself first.

I’ll be perfectly honest with you: I am no expert at living more but I am willing to try, to start somewhere. We all need to start somewhere. That’s what it’s all about after all.

Xoxo,

Rachel

How can you live more? What does living more mean to you? What’s at the top of your re-defined to-do list?

                 

Do Good, Feel Good: A Lesson in Spreading The Love For a Better You

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Are you stuck in a rut?

Feeling a little “blah” from the frigid weather?

Feeling like straight up crap?

Heck, I totally was all of the above last week. I think I cried approximately 3 times, and I was completely “on edge” about everything.

I was under a lot of stress.

I was sad.

I was “busy.”

I ordered take-out food…like twice.

I avoided workouts like the plague.

I was kinda sorta putting myself last.

At first I tried to hold these feelings within & pretend everything was all hunky dory. You know, because I am “supposed” to be positive 24/7, and I inspire others to put themselves FIRST and to treat their bodies with love.

What kind of leader am I to “screw up?”

Then I remembered that I am a teacher, an inspirer and a motivator and that all great teachers are not perfect. I am not perfect, but I am ME and I am REAL and that’s what makes me a great teacher.

I can relate…to you. Oh, and just a quick FYI there is no such thing as screwing up or being “bad” anyway, and it is never too late to start over. We must treat every day as a clean plate, a blank canvas. And when we fall off the wagon, ask yourself what happened & then find the lesson you can learn from that.

Anyway, my story doesn’t end there. I wasn’t going to let myself feel like crap, accept it and throw myself a giant “poor me” pity party.

No, No. Instead I chose to look within & turn that internal mess upside down by SPREADING THE LOVE. Yes, maybe I wasn’t feeling my best self but I knew one of my greatest strengths (and feel-goods) is in doing good for others.

And so I did. Last week I started an Impact Journal to track the little things I do each day that create an impact on another which in turn create an impact on ME. During these “blah” days I remembered that this impact journal was my break-through tool, my way to shift the negativity into something beautiful.

Last Tuesday night, I went to bed rather angry and emotional. The next morning I woke up to a giant snow storm and was tempted to skip my morning group fitness class and stay in bed just a little longer. Instead, I put on my boots and trekked through the deep snow for class with my friend.

After class, I felt refreshed and strong in my body. I was slowly feeling a little bit more “me.” This feeling inspired me to pay a visit to an old friend who owns a juice shop down the street just to say “hello” and see how he was doing. It completely made his day, and he insisted on treating me to any juice of my liking.

Juiced up + feeling energized, I was starting to feel pretty darn amazing on this rather cold snow day. That’s when I got a tweet from a friend and fellow health coach:

It was just what I needed. I really am inspiring people.

On my way home, I passed a homeless man who caught my intention. “Your hat is amazing,” he shouted to me. “That is one great hat.” My frozen hands fumbled among my purse to grab some cash, when I realized I had nothing but a credit card. Then I remembered I did have something: my presence, my energy, my love. I turned back around, looked him in the eyes with a big smile and said “Thank you so much! I hope you have a wonderful day,” to which he said “Thanks, dear. I hope I do too!”

I left an impact just by being there, acknowledging him.

The lesson in all of this?  By simply shifting my perspective and spreading the love outward, I was able to change my entire mindset. I felt like a rockstar.

Do good to others, and you will feel good inside. NEVER underestimate the power of your presence, your words, your love. Positive energy is infectious, after all.

Next time you are feeling like crap, look within and acknowledge your feelings. Then do something that makes you feel fabulous. That given day, I needed a workout + fresh air + some random acts of kindness to shift my mood. Some days I need yoga, a cup of tea or a deep writing session. Other days I just need to sit in stillness with my thoughts & meditate. Or sometimes it’s just a good laugh with a best friend.

Do good (to your body/your friend/a stranger/yourself), and you’ll feel good. No question about it.

How do you get out of a funk? What can do you do daily/weekly/monthly to help you FEEL GOOD inside so you are a better person to yourself & others?

                 

impact

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I’ve seen people tackle goal-setting in many different ways. Some write down very clear, concise goals and others (like myself) enjoy setting intentions.

This year, I have been thinking long & hard about what I want 2014 to be for me, and what kind of legacy I’d like to leave behind. Who do I want to be this year? What kinds of things do I want to accomplish, and more importantly why?

It got me thinking all the goals I have set for myself over the years (both dreamy + extravagant and simple), and what those goals mean to me. Sure, goals are a great tool for getting sh*t done, but lately I’ve been wanting to go deeper.

I think it’s important to reflect upon WHY you set those goals for yourself in the first place, and what the meaning is behind those goals.

Then there are also those goals you’ve had forever…that you’ve failed to meet. WHY did you set this goal in the first place, and what is holding you back from achieving it? And just as importantly, is it even something that you really desire? These are the questions I’ve been asking myself…and am now asking you too.

After lots of thinking + tea-sipping + writing, I have decided my word, my legacy, for 2014 is IMPACT.

I want to help touch people, change someone’s perspective, inspire, grow…leave my mark.

2014 will be the year

I publish a book,

grow in my career with sweetgreen,

challenge myself in ways I never thought I could,

grow,

marry the love of my life,

and write (a lot).

Yesterday I decided to start an “impact journal,” similar to a gratitude journal although I will write down one thing I do each day that has positively impacted someone/something.

Because I’ve realized I find the greatest appreciation & gratitude for myself in the things I do to IMPACT others.

Stay tuned for lots more on this!
Lots of love,

Rachel

                 

 
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