Wednesday, December 28, 2022

Intention Going Into The New Year

Now the game, to be played correctly, and for the Universe to fully understand what it is you want, what you want to create and how you want to show up in 2023 requires this one small thing …




So go get a pen and paper and begin:


2022 Completion Questions

  • What was the smartest decision you made in 2022?
  • What one word best sums up and describes your 2022 experience?
  • What was the greatest lesson you learned in 2022?
  • What was the most loving service that you performed in 2022?
  • What is the biggest risk you took in 2022?
  • What else do you need to do or say to be complete with 2022?

2023 Creation Questions

  • What would you like to be your biggest triumph in 2023?
  • What advice would you like to give yourself in 2023?
  • What brings you joy and how are you going to have more of that in 2023?
  • Who or what, other than yourself, are you most committed to loving and serving in 2023?
  • What one word would you like to have as your theme in 2023?
  • What about are you most committed to transforming and improving in 2023?


Hang on to these and read them come 2024 and see who and what you were able to create. Its extraordinary every time I do this, I am shocked as to how the intentions I set for the year to come has a way of unfolding perfecting into my life. 


Wishing everyone a fabulous 2023!


Tuesday, December 13, 2022

Take A Break During The Holidays

Take a “break” before your day gets underway. If you feel like your whole day is spent on work or chores, try getting up a little earlier to do something for yourself. Wake up an hour earlier to work out or take a walk, meditate, make a healthy breakfast, journal, or any other activity that you find restorative.

Exercise as a release. You’ve likely heard this many times before, but exercising and moving more can really help improve your mood, energy levels and sleep quality!

Need a quick pick-me-up?  Spend a few minutes focusing on your breathing. Close your eyes and focus your attention to each slow inhalation and exhalation. Let any anxious thoughts just drift like passing clouds.

Make sure to take your breaks and go on lunch. Step away to refresh yourself and prevent burnout. Avoid taking breaks and eating lunch at your desk or while you’re working.

Take real time off from work. Even a half day spent doing something restorative can help you reset.

Try something new. Winter is a great time to experiment with a new hobby or activity that can help you break out of a rut and feel like you’re doing something for yourself. Find a craft or art project, try cooking new-to-you cuisine, or listening to new music.

If your go-to break when you’ve finished a work or home task is to scroll through your phone or turn on the TV, trade it for stepping outside. Developing the “nature break habit” has many proven benefits for better health and well-being.

Do nothing! Sit on your couch and look out the window, spend a few minutes enjoying your outdoor space, or lie on your bed and practice deep breathing—there are countless options.  Try dedicating 10 minutes at the end of your day to taking a break to see if you notice a difference in your mood.

Take time to unplug. Spend time free from technology and screens by simply savoring a quiet moment with your eyes closed. Take it even further by creating tech-free zones in your house. Pick a drawer or other out-of-sight place to stash your devices, and enjoy the peace and quiet.

Cuddle with your spouse, kids or pet. Whether it’s people or pets, physical interactions with those you love can release oxytocin, a feel-good hormone!

Taking time each day to do simple activities that calm your body and mind is a powerful way to short-circuit stress, restore a sense of well-being and protect your health!


Monday, November 28, 2022

Financial Health During The Holidays

The gift-giving season can be stressful for you and your bank account, especially since the rest of your bills don’t take snow days. Financial wellbeing is important to your overall health, which is why this year we suggest you stress less about the price tag of the holidays and focus on a more strategic shopping regimen. We’ve put together the following tips to help keep you from over-shopping and overspending this holiday season.

Budgeting is best.

The best way to avoid overspending is to set a budget. Think of those you want to buy for and set a limit on the price of each gift. Decide how you want to shop and how deep into your wallet you’re willing to dig. Some people find success in one blanket gift for everyone on their list, like buying everyone the same fruitcake or hat and scarf. Others find joy in personalizing each gift, giving something that’s unique to each recipient. No matter how you shop, one thing’s for sure—you’ll fair better financially by making and adhering to a budget.


Make a list and check it twice.

Before you embark on your gift-shopping journey, have a clear objective of what exactly you’re shopping for, and for whom. Have you ever gone grocery shopping on an empty stomach? If you’re starving at the grocery store, odds are you’ll fill your cart with more food than you bargained for. It’s a common mistake, and you can struggle with the same over-shopping problem if you do your holiday shopping without a list, plan or agenda. Without a clear goal, you’re more likely to over-shop and overspend this holiday season. Be clear and concise with your gift giving this year, and stick to your list. Try a digital list or a gift-giving app to help you stay on track while on-the-go.

Do all of your shopping at once.

A little shopping here and there could result in a lot of money spent. That’s because every time you venture out to the store or begin tapping around online, you run the risk of finding another good deal or sale that you can’t refuse. If you finish your shopping in one swoop, you’ll hamper that temptation to just one outing or Internet browsing session—and help your financial state stay intact. Your financial wellbeing will flourish too, because you’re limiting all the stress and anxiety of crowded stores to one event. Take a page out of Santa’s playbook and spend just one night worrying about gifts, so you can enjoy yourself the rest of the holiday season.

Try something homespun.

Great gifts don’t have to be store bought. Try turning a hobby into a holiday favorite by using your skills to create a thoughtful present. If you knit or crochet, consider creating a warm blanket or socks for loved ones. Everyone in the mitten state could use their own pair of mittens. And who doesn’t love receiving something that’s been handcrafted just for them? If garments aren’t your thing, maybe you can paint or draw a portrait, build a birdhouse or create a culinary delight in the kitchen. Combine several treats into a basket or bin that could be repurposed for storage year-round. If you love essential oils, try creating a blend of homemade all-purpose cleaning spray with a mood-boosting scent that every living space could always use. From quilts to chocolate chip cookies, you can save some cash on gifts this year simply by being crafty.

While we all want to woo our friends and loved ones by showering them with gifts, it’s best to remember this: it’s still the thought that counts – not the price tag.  The holidays have their way of affecting our mental health and physical state through stress and anticipation, the last thing we need is to let this time of year strain our financial wellbeing any more than it has to.  So go shopping, but please keep your wellbeing, and in this case, your bank account, in mind. 

Saturday, November 19, 2022

The Daily Practice of Gratitude


Gratitude is about grounding yourself and focusing on the good. The good can really be anything that makes you happy: from the cup of coffee you had this morning to the people in your life. Practicing gratitude is not lecturing yourself and saying “you should be grateful, other people have it worse.” Instead, it’s about spending time to focus on the good, however large or small that may be. And by regularly taking some time to do that, you will develop habits (and even rewire your brain!) to think and live a little more positively, benefitting both your mental and physical health. 

Here are some benefits of gratitude: 

Better sleep!

The thing we all need: more sleep! People who practice gratitude before bed are proven to sleep better. It totally makes sense! We all know that spiral of negativity that keeps so many of us awake: Did I remember to send that email? I have to do laundry tomorrow. Why did I say that thing 10 years ago?  By regularly

practicing gratitude, you’re more likely to be able to focus on positive thoughts at bedtime and avoid that negative self-talk that keeps us awake.

Higher self-esteem

We live in a society of judgment, competition, and unreachable standards that tries to crush our self-esteem, resulting in negative and unhealthy relationships to our bodies and selves. Practicing gratitude is a great way to combat negative self-talk and feeling less than. Rather than compare ourselves to others (whether it be physically, emotionally, career, etc.) gratitude helps us to center ourselves and focus on the positives, improving our overall outlook on like and ourselves! 

Improved mental health

It sounds obvious, but it’s true. By routinely practicing gratitude, you rewire your brain to think more positively. Gratitude literally makes you produce “happy hormones” aka dopamine and serotonin. Just like with physical exercise, by regularly practicing gratitude, you can literally strengthen these neural pathways, resulting in better and long-lasting production of positive feelings. We’re not suggesting this is a cure for depression or anxiety, but it truly does make a difference on your mental health by regularly taking time to focus on positives. For a more in-depth look at how gratitude both directly and indirectly impacts depression and anxiety, check out this article from Psychology Today. 

It’s good for your physical health, too!

Or at the very least, grateful people are more likely to make healthier choices, like exercising regularly.  Studies suggest a wide range of improved health in people who practice gratitude including better sleep, lower inflammation and aches and pains. As we know, our mental and physical health are deeply connected. If you consider all the impact gratitude has on things like sleep and mental health, it makes sense that it would impact your physical health as well! Whether you feel better and are making healthier choices directly due to being grateful, or as an indirect result of things like sleeping better. 

Gratitude can even help us through trauma

As simple as it may sound, having the ability to reflect on what we’re grateful for can help us heal in the hardest of times. There have been numerous studies on the positive impact gratitude has on people who have experienced trauma. 

What it means to Practice Gratitude

There are a lot of ways to incorporate more gratitude in your life. It could be as small as thinking about one thing you’re grateful for that day. 

  • Make a list in your head. We suggest doing this either first thing in the morning or when going to sleep.
  • Say things you’re grateful for out-loud - try it while looking in the mirror. 
  • Tell people in your life you’re grateful for them and why. 
  • Meditate. Intention and gratitude go hand-in-hand. 
  • Write it down (our favorite). There are lots of ways to do it, the thing we like so much about this is having a record to refer to of things you’ve been grateful for. Some fun ideas include a gratitude jar or a gratitude journal. 

Since the idea is to make this a regular practice, try to figure out a method and time of day that works best for you, that way you’re more likely to stick with it.  When writing a list, try to aim for ten things no

matter how small. Even then, it can be hard to come up with all ten, and that’s okay. You’re not trying to put more pressure on yourself, but rather practically incorporate this positive (and free!) practice into your wellness routine. In a time where our culture has capitalized and corporatized “self-care” having these routines and practices that actually help us without charging us is that much more important! (And hey, that’s something you can add to your gratitude list). 

Remember, these changes won’t happen overnight. 

Just writing down a couple of things one morning will feel good at the moment, but won’t have a lasting impact. This is what we like so much about something like a gratitude journal or jar: it’s a tangible accumulation of what you’re grateful for - and the more you add, the larger that collection gets. So on those bad days, you have a physical reminder of all the good. 

Taking a few minutes a day to reflect on what you are grateful for can make a positive, long-lasting impact on your health and well-being. 

Regularly practicing gratitude is a special way improve both your mental and physical health. Whatever gratitude looks like for you, taking a little time to think about what you’re grateful for every day could make a big difference in your life. 

Saturday, November 12, 2022

Is Muscle Confusion A Legit Training Theory?

If you ever get confused by fitness fads and trends, don’t worry, you’re not alone. Apparently, your muscles get confused, too. Muscle confusion, thought of when changing things up often in your workout to avoid a plateau, isn’t a scientific term.

You won’t find it in exercise science research journals or textbooks. You’ll also be hard-pressed to find a certified trainer or fitness expert that believes wholeheartedly in it.

That’s because the theory of muscle confusion is really just a myth that’s found its way into the marketing for popular fitness programs such as P90X.

The theory behind muscle confusion

At first glance, the theory behind muscle confusion sounds convincing. In order to make progress toward your fitness goals, you need to keep your body guessing. Which means, changing up your workouts frequently so you don’t hit a plateau.

So, just how often is frequently? Well, some programs that rely on muscle confusion say to vary your exercises weekly or every other day, and others recommend you switch things up daily. By changing things, your body won’t be able to stay the same and will have to adapt to the changing workouts.

But here’s the thing, our bodies don’t change that quickly. Sure, changing up your workouts can be helpful, but only after some time.

That’s why workouts should remain mostly the same for at least four to six weeks.

So, is it real or hype?

Compared to other fitness theories that’re grounded in science, it’s pretty safe to say that muscle confusion is hype. What muscle confusion completely misses, is the fact that we’re exercising so our bodies adapt by getting stronger and leaner. So, we actually want to be consistent with what we do in workouts so that our bodies work hard to adapt.

What are some ways to break a fitness plateau?

If you find that your progress is lacking and your motivation has left the building, you might want to consider the fact that you’ve hit a plateau. The good news is there are several ways to break through a fitness plateau.

“To break through a plateau, we first need to identify whether it’s actually a plateau or not,” says Dutton. For example, if your weight hasn’t budged, or you haven’t gotten stronger for a few weeks, it’s time to change things up a bit.

Try progressive overload

One theory you can design your workout around is progressive overload.  

The idea behind progressive overload is that you challenge your muscles by changing the stress you put on them. This stress comes in the form of intensity, or the number of sets and repetitions you perform, and duration, or the amount of time you engage in the activity. Ways to use progressive overload to break a plateau include:

  • increasing the amount of weight you train with during your strength training days
  • increasing the duration of your cardiovascular workouts
  • changing your current exercises for new ones, such as taking an indoor cycling class instead of running on a treadmill
  • changing the number of sets you perform
  • changing the number of repetitions you do each set by adding resistance

By changing up the number of reps you perform and adjusting the resistance, you can elicit more significant increases in strength. For example, performing lower reps with heavier weight on one day and lighter weight with higher reps the next day.

A note about weight loss

If it’s a weight loss plateau you’re facing, a few days of tracking your food can give you insight into how much food you’re really eating and what you might be lacking. Most people need more protein in their diet.

When should you see a personal trainer?

Fitness newbie or not, anyone can benefit from a fresh set of ideas. There really is no wrong time to hire a personal trainer. Some people like to have a trainer to get them started, while others bring one on when they need some motivation and a fresh way of working out.

That said, hiring a personal trainer might be beneficial if:

  • you’re new to exercise and need help designing and implementing a program
  • you need help with proper form on strength training exercises
  • you need a boost of inspiration and motivation that a trainer can provide by taking you through a workout
  • you’re getting bored of doing the same workouts and need a trainer to design a series of new workouts based on your interests, goals, and current fitness level
  • you’re looking for a challenge
  • you have a specific injury or health condition that needs modifications in order to participate in an exercise program safely

At minimum, a qualified personal trainer will have a certification from a reputable organization such as ACSM, NSCA, NASM or ACE. Additionally, many personal trainers have degrees in areas such as exercise science, kinesiology, or pre-physical therapy.

The bottom line

The hype behind muscle confusion may continue to circulate in certain fitness circles, but one theory that will always stand the test of time is being consistent with how you train.

By following the principles of progressive overload — increasing the number of reps or sets you perform or adding time to your workouts — you will continue to see progress and reach your fitness goals.


Wednesday, November 2, 2022

It's Siesta Time!


What is the perfect time of day for a power nap?

There isn’t really a perfect time to take a power nap. The ideal time will depend more upon individual factors, such as a person’s individual schedule. For example, for people on a 9–5 work schedule, the best time to nap might be before or during the “post-lunch slump,” which is usually sometime between 12:30 p.m. and 2 p.m.  

For those working during the day, naps after 4 p.m. are not ideal. Taking a nap too late in the day can interfere with getting quality nighttime sleep and interrupt a person’s circadian rhythms.

However, for shift workers or those who work nights, the ideal time for a power nap may be earlier or later.


Can sleeping too long or too short be bad for you?

There is some discrepancy among experts over what length of nap is most effective and beneficial.

Dr. Sara Mednick, a psychologist at the University of California, Riverside, states that by taking a 90-minute nap, a person can get the same benefits they would from sleeping 8 hours. However, another study suggests the ideal nap length is 10 minutes.   

The science behind limiting the duration of a power nap boils down to something called sleep inertia. This term refers to the drowsiness a person may experience upon waking from a very long nap, which may significantly impair cognitive performance throughout the course of a day.


Health benefits of a power nap

There are many health benefits associated with taking regular power naps, among them long-term memory improvement, enhanced cognitive function, and increased creativity. Research also shows that naps might be beneficial for heart health. A recent case study followed Swiss adults who took 1–2 naps per week. it found that over a period of 8 years, these same individuals had a lower risk of heart disease and strokes than those who didn’t nap.

On the flip side, it’s worth noting that other research shows there may be negative long-term effects of regular napping. Research analyzed by the American Heart Association (AHA) shows that those who napped for an hour or more per day had 1.82 times the rate of cardiovascular disease than people who didn’t nap. However, this is probably due to correlation rather than direct causation, as that group may have had underlying health reasons that led to them taking frequent naps.


Ultimately, if a person is able to take short naps on any given day and feels more alert upon waking, they should feel free to do so. The benefits of napping seem to outweigh any potential drawbacks. However, researchers must continue to study the overall effects of napping on health.


Power naps vs. meditation

Though they’re quite different, napping and meditation seem to have several overlapping effects and benefits. While those who meditate are conscious and those who nap are unconscious, both groups enjoy an improved mental state afterward, accompanied by reductions in blood pressure, stress, and anxiety.  

While both can be healthy habits, those who meditate reap additional benefits that nappers may not receive. A few of these include needing less sleep, an overall boost in mood, and increased melatonin levels which can promote a more restful night’s sleep. Meditation also has the potential to reduce inflammation and provide pain relief.  


A person who incorporates both regular or semi-regular naps and meditation into their lifestyle can expect improvements in many physiological and psychological areas.


Importance of sleep

If a person consistently fails to get enough restful nighttime sleep and naps as a result, they’re in a better position than a person who doesn’t get enough sleep and doesn’t nap at all. This is because napping can help reduce a person’s “sleep debt,” or the amount of sleep they’d ideally get to make up for the amount of sleep lost each night.


The American Psychological Association states that more sleep would make most Americans happier and healthier. The average American gets well below the recommended amount of 8 hours of sleep each night. While everyone’s sleep needs are different, a good night’s sleep of at least 7 or more hours for adults aged 18-60 helps protect the immune system and the heart, and allows optimal brain function and mental clarity throughout the day.

People who are chronically sleep-deprived — those who fail to get enough sleep over a period of 2 weeks or longer — exhibit brain deficits similar to those who haven’t slept in 3 days. They are also more prone to high-blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, diabetes, obesity, and depression. 


Overall, power naps can be an effective way to enjoy boosted energy, heightened focus, increased attention, and mental clarity. The ideal length is around 10 minutes according to some research.

Naps should not be used as a substitute for getting the recommended amount of sleep each night, ideally 7-9 hours for adults aged 18 – 60.

When kept to about 10–20 minutes per day, power naps can make a great addition to a healthy lifestyle and promote a variety of benefits for those who take them


Wednesday, October 19, 2022

Improve Your Mental Focus


The ability to concentrate on something in your environment and direct mental effort toward it is critical for learning new things, achieving goals, and performing well across a wide variety of situations.

Whether you are trying to finish a report at work or competing in a marathon, your ability to focus can mean the difference between success and failure.

Improving your mental focus is achievable, but that doesn't mean that it's always quick and easy. If it was simple, then we would all have the razor-sharp concentration of an elite athlete.

It will take some real effort on your part and you may have to make some changes to some of your daily habits. Here are some tips and tricks from psychology that can help you develop laser-like mental focus and concentration.

1)  Assess Your Mental Focus

Before you start working toward improving your mental focus, you might want to begin by assessing just how strong your mental focus is at the present moment.

Your Focus Is Good If...

  • You find it easy to stay alert
  • You set goals and break tasks up into smaller parts
  • You take short breaks, then get back to work


Your Focus Needs Work If...

  • You daydream regularly
  • You can't tune out distractions
  • You lose track of your progress

If the first set of statements seems more your style, then you probably already have fairly good concentration skills, but you could be even stronger with a little practice.

If you identify more with the second set of statements, then you probably need to work on your mental focus quite a bit. It might take some time, but practicing some good habits and being mindful of your distractibility can help.

2)  Eliminate Distractions

While it may sound obvious, people often underestimate just how many distractions prevent them from concentrating on the task at hand. Such intrusions might come in the form of a radio blaring in the background or perhaps an obnoxious co-worker who constantly drops by your cubicle to chat.

Minimizing these sources of distraction isn't always as easy as it sounds. While it might be as simple as turning off the television or radio, you might find it much more challenging to deal with an interrupting co-worker, spouse, child, or roommate.

One way to deal with this is to set aside a specific time and place and request to be alone for that period of time. Another alternative is to seek out a calm location where you know you will be able to work undisturbed. The library, a private room in your house, or even a quiet coffee shop might all be good spots to try.

Not all distractions come from outside sources.  Exhaustion, worry, anxiety, poor motivation, and other internal disturbances can be particularly difficult to avoid.  

A few strategies you might want to try to minimize or eliminate such internal distractions are to make sure you are well-rested prior to the task and to use positive thoughts and imagery to fight off anxiety and worry. If you find your mind wandering toward distracting thoughts, consciously bring your focus back to the task at hand.

3)  Limit Your Focus

While multitasking may seem like a great way to get a lot done quickly, it turns out that people are actually rather bad at it. Juggling multiple tasks at once can dramatically cut down on productivity and makes it much harder to hone in on the details that are truly important.

Think of your attention as a spotlight. If you shine that spotlight on one particular area, you can see things very clearly. If you were to try to spread that same amount of light across a large dark room, you might instead only glimpse the shadowy outlines.

Part of improving your mental focus is all about making the most of the resources you have available. Stop multitasking and instead give your full attention to one thing at a time.

4)  Live in the Moment

It's tough to stay mentally focused when you are ruminating about the past, worrying about the future, or tuned out of the present moment for some other reason.

You have probably heard people talk about the importance of “being present,”  It's all about putting away distractions, whether they are physical (your mobile phone) or psychological (your anxieties) and being fully mentally engaged in the current moment.

This notion of being present is also essential for recapturing your mental focus. Staying engaged in the here and now keeps your attention sharp and your mental resources honed in on the details that really matter at a specific point in time.

It may take some time but work on learning to truly live in the moment. You cannot change the past and the future has not happened yet, but what you do today can help you avoid repeating past mistakes and pave a path for a more successful future.

5)  Practice Mindfulness

Mindfulness is a hot topic right now, and for good reason. Despite the fact that people have practiced forms of mindfulness meditation for thousands of years, its many health benefits are only recently starting to be understood.

In one study, researchers had human resources professionals engage in simulations of the sort of complex multitasking they engaged in each day at work.1

These tasks had to be completed in 20 minutes and included answering phones, scheduling meetings, and writing memos with sources of information pouring in from multiple sources including by phone calls, emails, and text messages.

Some of the participants received 8 weeks of training in the use of mindfulness meditation, and the results found that only those who had received this training showed improvement in concentration and focus.

Members of the meditation group were able to stay on task longer, switched between tasks less frequently, and performed the work more efficiently than the other groups of participants.

Practicing mindfulness can involve learning how to meditate, but it can also be as simple as trying a quick and easy deep breathing exercise. 

6)  Quick Tip to Regain Focus

Start by taking several deep breaths while really focusing on each and every breath.  When you feel your mind naturally begin to wander, gently and uncritically guide your focus back to your deep breathing. 

While this might seem like a deceptively simple task, you may find that it is actually much more difficult than it appears. Fortunately, this breathing activity is something you can do anywhere and anytime. Eventually, you will probably find that it becomes easier to disengage from intrusive thoughts and return your focus to where it belongs.

7)  Take a Short Break

Have you ever tried to focus on the same thing for a long period of time? After a while, your focus starts to break down and it becomes more and more difficult to devote your mental resources to the task. Not only that, but your performance ultimately suffers as a result.

Traditional explanations in psychology have suggested that this is due to attentional resources being depleted, but some researchers believe that it has more to do with the brain's tendency to ignore sources of constant stimulation.

So the next time you are working on a prolonged task, such as preparing your taxes or studying for an exam, be sure to give yourself an occasional mental break.

Shift your attention to something unrelated to the task at hand, even if it is only for a few moments. These short moments of respite might mean that you are able to keep your mental focus sharp and your performance high when you really need it.

8)  Keep Practicing

Building your mental focus is not something that will happen overnight. Even professional athletes require plenty of time and practice in order to strengthen their concentration skills.

One of the first steps is to recognize the impact that being distracted is having on your life. If you are struggling to accomplish your goals and find yourself getting sidetracked by unimportant details, it is time to start placing a higher value on your time. 

By building your mental focus, you will find that you are able to accomplish more and concentrate on the things in life that truly bring you success, joy, and satisfaction.