Tejomaya Wellness

A Blog About Well-Being

Month: August 2015

A Letter from the Editor: August in Review

sun-bed-755943_1280     How has your August been, Darling Hearts? Remembering to wear your sunscreen, I hope! Our heat index is usually so high I have to restrict my outdoor activities to errands, and early morning and evening stuff only, but the past couple of weeks have started cooling off and we’re getting a taste of Autumn here. I’m loving it!  I’m a Kapha dosha, if ever there was one! Here are some things other I’ve been especially grateful for the month of August. Hope you enjoy reading up on what I’ve been up to!

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First of all, I’m FINALLY working on my aromatherapy certification! 17 years in the making and the curriculum was written by a personal hero of mine. Dreams are coming true daily over here! I can’t even think about it without tears of gratitude streaming down my face.  This is happening. It’s really happening.

I also took the leap and am about to begin doing some health and fitness coaching in the incredibly near future. I’m still learning the ropes and am working on my own weight loss journey, but I am looking so forward to hosting some accountabity groups soon and encouraging folks to take control of their health and their lives. I’m a remarkably different person than I was when I began just a few months ago. I have more confidence in myself, I’m happier,  I’m grounded, I eat and sleep better, not to mention the pounds I’ve dropped. I can’t wait to see where this road takes me. I’ll be sure to invite you all to my first challenge group when I get going!

watermelon coconut ice cream

But, a girl does have to treat herself sometime, am I right? I discovered this heavenly watermelon coconut ice cream recipe that has been my favorite indulgence to date. It’s vegan, too.  I’m always thankful for a good recipe, especially if it combines my favorite flavors into my favorite kind of treat. The beauty of this is that you don’t need a fancy machine to make it, either!

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I have been on a DIY kick lately, and have been making a lot of jewelry and home decor stuff when I have a spare moment, so when I found this tutorial for handmade earrings that look anything but, I thought I should share.  It seriously couldn’t be easier and there are three cute variations for you to try.

I hope the remaining days of August find you well, happy and healthy. Please feel free to comment with anything exciting that’s been going on in your lives, anything cool you discovered, or anything that you’re especially thankful for this month. I love hearing from you!

 

Wishing You Total Well-Being,

 

Jennifer

 

Writer’s Block? Pshhh! Don’t Let That Stop You!

once-upon-a-time-719174_1280     On my personal Facebook page, I’ve been detailing some of the milestones I’ve reached in writing and trying to get my first book published. Truth be told, I’m working on three books at the moment, all very different, so it’ll be interesting to see which one gets the distinction, but suffice it to say I’ve been journaling, or in my younger days “Dear Diary-ing” for most of my life. I’ve written poetry, fiction, science-fiction, romance, memoir-esque essays, cook books, persuasive essays, you name it. When my mom asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, I told her “an Arthur”.  No, I didn’t mean Dudley Moore, the animated aardvark, or even my beloved Bea. I wanted to write books. Libraries full of them. Books for days.

In the midst of the congrats and the surprise from some of my friends, one reached out to me via private message and mentioned they had always had a deep desire to write, but had no idea where to start or how to overcome the pain-in-the-ass that is writer’s block. Oh, how it taunts us with its blinking cursors and blank pages! I thought about it for several minutes and then gave the following advice:

“Just write. Every. Single. Day. Write no matter what tries to stop you. Be defiant in the face of writer’s block. Even if you start the top of your page with, “I have no effing idea what to write about…” and it’s all utter crap after that. Commit it all to paper. Write about what a bitch the creative process can be. Write about the last time you had to buy underwear. Write about the guy next to you on the train who smelled like tuna and cleared his throat for 20 minutes. Just empty your arsenal of whatever is in there so it can get filled back up with the stuff that matters, and then write about that.”

I stand by it. I’ve heard it called everything from journaling to brainstorming, brain dumping to stream of consciousness writing.  Call it whatever you want, but do it. Get it out on a page, then take a break. Have some tea, listen to the radio, walk the dog, get away from it for a minute. Then once you’ve gotten a little distance, go back and sift out the gold and let those ideas serve as jumping off points for your writing projects for the day, week, month, year or however long that single thought takes you to express.

My current book idea came from a half-mysterious Post-It I left in an old purse. If I hadn’t written it down and discovered it when the time was right, I totally would have missed it. As a bonus, you may also find yourself returning to ideas you’ve cast aside and realize there’s something there after all, and you’ve now lived enough life to tell the story. Accept that with humble gratitude and run with it. It happens a lot more often than you’d think, so no beating yourself up if something needs to be shelved and you’re only part way, or even one sentence deep with it.

Picasso said “I am always doing that which I cannot do, in order that I may learn how to do it.” If you want to write, just write. The brilliant ideas will flow out of you just like The Old Guitarist flowed out of his paintbrush onto a canvas. In order to get Guernica, he may have had to paint a few hundred bowls of fruit. Your masterpiece is in you. You may just need to jot down a few dirty limericks first. Write. Just write.

Wishing You Total Well-Being & More Ideas Than You Possibly Know What to Do With,

Jennifer

The Great Thank-You Challenge!

thank-you-515514_1280     It makes me a little sad that we seem to have retired the art of sending thank you cards when we are given a gift. From the time I was old enough to write until the day I moved out of my Mom’s house, I wrote and sent a thank you card within a week of receiving anything. That was the rule.

The basic structure was the same. I greeted them, expressed gratitude for the specific item, told them how it was to be used or what I liked best about it, then expressed love or appreciation for the gifter in some way. Then sign, seal, stamp, send. It might take me all afternoon to do it, when I’d rather be outside playing with my friends, but it simply had to be done because it was the polite thing to do. Then you got to go out and play.

As I experienced adulthood for the first time and email and social media became the norm as far as correspondence goes, I’ll admit, I dropped the ball on sending my thank you cards. As I’ve gotten older though, I’ve really begun seeing the mind-blowingly life-affirming value in expressing gratitude to its fullest and I’ve decided that it’s time to start writing thank you cards again. Below, I’ve listed the reasons why it’s time to bring it back!

1. It gives you a moment to sit and feel real gratitude for someone who cares enough about you to do something nice for you. Anyone who has given you an opportunity to feel gratitude has given you the most thoughtful gift you can ever receive. Gratitude is the seed from which joy springs. The happiest people on Earth know this truth and cultivate their joy daily by listing their blessings. I think that’s worth a few sentences on a piece of unicorn stationery, don’t you?!

2. It gives them a chance to feel gratitude, as well. You never, ever know how much your words could mean to somebody. Don’t hold them back for fear or looking weird, sappy or stupid. If you’re not crazy about the sweater Aunt Margaret knitted for you, tell her how much it meant that she hand-created it for you and that appreciate the time she spent thinking about you while she did so. Gratitude, Baby! Live it,then give it!

3. People hardly ever send each other letters, anymore. Mail is kind of a novelty these days, what with text messaging and chat and whatnot, so it’s totally day changing when you go to your mailbox and find a real letter addressed to you and not “resident” amidst the bills and ads. Wait! What? For me?! So simple, yet so happiness inducing!

Here’s the challenge. I want you to think of one person who has done something good for you and write them a thank you. This doesn’t have to be limited to just physical gift givers, but can be for people who’ve gifted your life with advice or support, offered up a kind gesture, given you a ride to work, anything that made you pause and feel thankful. You can limit it to the past week, or even write a letter to that teacher who shaped you into the fabulous you that you are today. Don’t just say thank you, but tell them why you’re thankful. You can be as succinct or as lengthy as you want, but mail, hand deliver or hit send by the end of the week. As I mentioned above, a physical letter is pretty special, but if it just isn’t your style or isn’t possible, don’t sweat it too much, just write. The idea is to take a feeling and hit pause on it with your words, so the recipient can relive the moment any time they wish.

Warming each other’s hearts is what this wacky life is all about. Don’t miss the chance to tell someone how much they matter while we’re all still here to enjoy it. Let me know how it goes in the comments below!

Wishing You Total Well-Being,

Jennifer

Don’t Have a Cheat, Have a Treat!

macaroons-690399_1280    I’m concerned about the use of the phrase “cheat meal”. I see it all over social media and fitness forums and something about it isn’t sitting right. I think it puts a negative spin on the entirely positive and awesome decision people make when they decide to eat healthfully.

One could argue that I’m just a Persnickety Polly and I’m being silly about semantics, but I think it’s about much more than word choice. I believe it’s about our mindset when it comes to food and that starting with our word choice, we form the thoughts that can make or break us. Hear me out while I get to the heart of the matter; YOUR HEART.

Taking good care of yourself should be a choice you make with a joyful heart each day, not a chore. Stuffing yourself with sad salad all week so you can go buck wild on a cheeseburger and milkshake on Saturday is a kinda crappy way to exist, don’t ya think? Restriction isn’t, or at least shouldn’t, be the name of the game. If your day to day is so joyless that you have to cheat on it once a week, maybe you should try shifting the way you think about it.

Eating well fuels your body. You give it the proper nutrients to keep it functioning optimally and in return it gives you sustained energy and wellness to do both the things you need and want to do. It’s a fair trade, especially when you weigh the way you feel when you drink a smoothie vs the way you feel when you eat from the drive-through. Sometimes, yes, just sometimes, you just WANT that bag of peanut butter M&M’s or to grab a sno-cone with your favorite friend or your kids, and by infusing that desire with guilt by suggesting that you’re somehow cheating by having it, strips you of the joy you experience when you receive something you really, totally and completely want. Please don’t do that to yourself, Darling Heart. Life is meant to be lived!

Do I want you to make good choices that help you live a long, healthy, happy life? You betcha! There’s room for both smart eating and lovely indulgences, though. Don’t cheat YOURSELF by feeling bad about wanting what you want and treating yourself to it now and again. In fact, call it a treat meal! Call it self-care! Call it “I needed some damn pizza and I don’t care what anyone else thinks about it!”. Call it whatever you need to call it to get the unnecessary negativity out of the middle of your joy! You may even find that the longer you purposefully practice this, the more you may find your heart hearts a weekly kombucha or daily green juice and all from just watching your words!

Wishing You Total Well-Being,

Jennifer

Stressed and Sleepy? Time to Support Your Adrenals

depression  Hey, there! Hope you’re having a lovely Sunday.  I’m posting another article I wrote for the June issue of Inner Child Magazine. It’s all about your adrenal glands and how to maintain their health when you’re super stressed or terribly tired. I had a lot of good luck with tuning up my own adrenals a few years back. I hope it helps!

 

Wishing You Total Well-Being, 

Jennifer

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It’s not something you hear about very much, but your adrenals are truly awesome. They sit at the top of your kidneys and though they weigh less than a fifth of an ounce, they’re more important than most people realize. Your adrenal glands are responsible for controlling the fight or flight response when you are under stress, help control your blood pressure and regulate the metabolism.

 

How do they do what they do? The adrenals secrete two hormones: adrenaline and cortisol. Adrenaline is released rapidly in response to situations which can be stressful or exciting. It appears quickly and disappears just as quickly, typically within a matter of seconds. Cortisol releases more slowly, however. There’s usually no discernible rush, like you get with adrenaline, and it’s levels can remain elevated for up to an hour or longer. When cortisol stays elevated for extended periods though, that’s when problems can appear.

 

When cortisol remains constant in the body it can really wreak havoc. Anxiety, depression, memory, concentration and sleep problems, as well as weight gain, heart disease and digestive issues are all common complications that can arise when stress levels never level out. So what steps can you take to support your adrenals and keep stress at bay? Diet, exercise and supplementation are your best bets for keeping your glands in great shape.

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We’re all tempted to reach for a soda or candy bar from time to time, but consuming less sugar is an important step toward keeping your adrenal glands in tip top shape, since excess sugar in the system is controlled by cortisol. Also keep in mind that the inevitable crash that comes from a sugar rush often triggers more cravings for sweets, so it’s best not to tax the adrenals unnecessarily and keep sugar consumption limited to low glycemic fruits that won’t cause trouble. Caffeine gives you an energy boost, but like sugar, it also stimulates the adrenals in a negative way. It’s best to avoid it if you can. A good source of protein will keep energy levels high without causing the blood sugar to spike. Eggs, lean meats, greek yogurt and protein powders are all great sources of protein. Healthy fats like nuts and seeds, cheese, butter and avocado are also great sources of energy. Make sure they come from a whole food and you’re doing your adrenals some good. Don’t underestimate the power of staying hydrated, either. Water keeps everything flowing properly, and the adrenals are no exception.

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Regular physical activity has a variety of benefits for us, but exercise followed by a good, long cool-down is one of the easiest and most efficient ways to return your stress levels to normal. You literally get to fight those stress hormone baddies for several minutes, then return your body and mind to a state of peace when you’re finished. Do whatever makes your heart happiest, as long as it also gets it pumping, and then make sure to taper down at the end, stretch and get your breathing back to normal. You’ll feel relaxed in no time.

 

If your diet and exercise habits are new or sometimes hard to maintain, you can find some relief from your local supplements section. If you know you have a stressful event coming up, like a wedding or family reunion, consider starting supplementation a month to a week before the big day so you’ll have time to feel the effects. Look for things like Ginseng for physical endurance, Ashwaganda for improved sleep and anxiety, Schizandra for better digestion and Rhodiola for stress. Just be careful not to take your Rhodiola too late in the day. It has been said to boost energy and improve mood, but it can keep you up past your bedtime. Consider taking one herb at a time to see how you react before adding anything else to the mix and always follow the directions. Don’t forget to talk to your doctor or pharmacist before starting supplementation to make sure there won’t be any interactions with anything you might already be taking and to make sure your dosages are correct.

 

Simple changes are all that’s necessary to keep your adrenal glands in good working order. They do so much to take care of us. It’s time we return the favor and start taking care of them.

 

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