3 simple ways to stop holiday anxiety in its tracks
well, guys, we’ve officially made it to the end of November. crazy, right? i can’t believe that Thanksgiving is in 2 days… which means that Christmas is just around corner… & then before you know it, it’s going to be 2018. twenty. eighteen. just let that sink in for a minute.
a lot people experience anxiety around this time of year, & who can really blame them? there are so many parties to attend, many of us are traveling to be with our families or are hosting our families ourselves… & we all know what family time can do to us, amiright? there’s also the whole food aspect that comes into play… being around that much food can be difficult if you have issues with food & body image… it’s all kinda scary stuff, right?
if you experience anxiety around the holidays… regardless of what triggers it… & would maybe like to change that this year, here are 3 ways you can stop holiday anxiety in its tracks, & actually enjoy the season just a little bit more this year.
1. slow down. food anxiety tends to show up a lot during the holidays. to say that the latter part of the year is all about indulgence is an understatement. i mean think about it… Thanksgiving is a holiday that revolves around eating. and 9 times out of 10 the food being served at Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner is not good for you. but, i’m a big believer in balance, & allowing yourself to indulge here & there without feeling guilty… as long as you’re mindful about it.
and the easiest way to do that is to slow. the f*ck. down. take small bites. actually chew your food. put down your fork when you’re talking in between bites. breathe. there is absolutely no need to rush. oh, & just stop when you’re full. you shouldn’t eat until you feel sick… ever. you don’t need to leave the dinner table hating yourself for what you just ate. listen to your body in the moment… you’ll thank yourself later, i promise.
2. take a lap. one of my favorite ways to chill the f*ck out when i’m feeling a little antsy is to step outside & go for a walk. i pop my headphones in, put on some tunes, & just start walking. sometimes i walk to nowhere. sometimes i wander for 15 minutes… other times i wander for an hour. sometimes i’ll grab a coffee or a smoothie along the way. there’s just something about being outside, looking up at the sky, & feeling the fresh air on your face that has serious healing powers, regardless of where you are.
3. practice gratitude. it’s easy to forget that the reason these holidays exist in the first place is to celebrate life. to celebrate everything we have. to celebrate love. we can all get caught up in the details, which can send us into a downward spiral of panic, but when we find ourselves having one of these moments… whether it happens while you’re trying to shop in the middle of a very crowded store, or while you’re having a conversation with your grandma about why you still don’t have a boyfriend, or when you find yourself stranded at the airport after 14 hours of flight delays, the best thing you can do to pull yourself together immediately is recognize that your anxiety is taking over, take a deep breath, & find something to be grateful for… even if it’s something simple. when we take the time to express gratitude, it helps to put whatever is making us anxious into perspective & ground us just a little more in the moment.
BONUS TIP: avoid political conversations by setting the precedent that you’re not going to talk about politics with your family… before you arrive at Thanksgiving dinner. listen, & take it from me… i know from experience that it is just not worth it to get into political debates with your family. you think they’re wrong, they think you’re wrong, you’re not going to change your mind, & they’re not going to change theirs. those are the facts. is it upsetting? yes. is it worth getting into an argument about over Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner? absolutely not. but, even if we try our hardest to avoid the conversation, there is often still that onnneeee aunt/uncle/brother/sister/parent that just looovvvvveeesssssss to stir the pot. so, this year, ask your family [over the phone or text, anything works here] to please leave their opinions at the door. tell them that you want to spend the holidays enjoying each other’s company rather than wanting to punch each other in the face. leave the politics for the “professionals”.
do you have any go-to strategies for dealing with holiday-induced anxiety & making it into the new year with your sanity? leave them in the comments below!
and don’t forget: i’m now working one-on-one with clients to help them overcome their anxiety & pursue a life of balance in the same ways that i have. if you experience anxiety… or if anything in this post spoke to you on any level… sign up for my newsletter for more details to come… & to make sure you never miss a post!
happy Thanksgiving, everyone!
3 tips for a zen vacation
so… i’m leaving for Cuba tomorrow… CUBA. i literally never dreamed this day would come… that i, as an American citizen, would EVER be able to visit Cuba… so i’m pretty damn excited to say the least! i’m desperately in need of a vacation, so in keeping with the theme of the moment, i thought a travel-related post was necessary. let’s get right to it.
the term “vacation” has lost a lot of its meaning in 2017 america. i’m always reading about how many people don’t use their vacation days, how few vacation days many employers even offer in the first place, & how even when we do take vacation, we have a hard time actually vacationing…
you know… we check our email, we take work calls, we text with our bosses… some people will actually sit in their hotel room & work remotely because they feel so strongly that they can’t get away or everything will fall apart.
thankfully, i’ve never been one of these people. i love travelling, understand the importance of taking a break from things to reset and recharge, & just generally love being able to live life for a week or so a few times a year as if i have no real responsibilities.
so, if you’ve ever found yourself doing any of the above… or even if you’ve actually taken your vacation days, decided to check out, & had crippling anxiety over not knowing what was going on back home to the point that you couldn’t even enjoy your vacation… you’ve come to the right place.
here are my 3 tips for a zen vacation:
1. pack a journal. journaling can be really therapeutic. putting pen to paper & just writing, not even about anything in particular, can do wonders for a racing, anxiety-ridden mind. i always pack a journal when i go on vacation, & it serves a few purposes. first, i love being able to write down all of the amazing experiences i’m having, so that i can look back on everything in detail years later. sure, pictures will help keep the memories alive, but those little details can easily be forgotten. second, it’s a great way to pause, take a step back, & really start to process and get clear on things that might be going on in your life… ya know like your feelings, emotions, where you want to go with your life, if you should or shouldn’t break up with your boyfriend/girlfriend, if you should make a big, risky career move… whatever. i also love the practice of using a gratitude journal to put things into perspective & remind myself how great my life is, even when things aren’t going my way.
2. swap out your daily coffee for tea. as a society, we seriously rely on coffee to get us through the day. when you’re on vacation, you should be relaxing. sleeping in and going with the flow. sure, you might have tours or dinner reservations at specific times, but other than that, vacation is about taking it easy. instead of running to the closest Starbucks to get your daily fix, pack some herbal teas instead**… especially those of the calming variety [think chamomile, lavender, ashwaganda]. it’ll help to ease the mind & reduce all of the stress you have about not being at work… which will help you be more present in the end.
[**of course, if you’re going someplace like Columbia, Italy or Bali, where coffee is a huge part of the culture/cuisine… DRINK ALL THE COFFEE YOU WANT.]
3. get off your effing phone. i get it. we all want to be connected to our friends & family. we want to share all of the cool pictures we’re taking at all of the amazing places we’re visiting. [#doitforthegram] but, if you truly want to enjoy your vacation, if you really want to experience the culture of this new, exciting place you’re visiting… get off your effing phone. you don’t even have to go totally off the grid… [i know, scary thought, right?] even just limiting yourself to only checking social media in the evening when you’re back at your hotel can make all the difference… i mean… do you really wanna find yourself standing in front of the Taj Mahal or at the top of the Eiffel Tower scrolling through effing Facebook or answering a work email? i don’t think so.
i’m planning on going 100% dark in Cuba… my phone is going into airplane mode from the moment i step on the flight to Havana, & staying that way until i land in LA next week. i’m really craving a little disconnection, and since wifi is hard to come by in Cuba, this is the perfect opportunity to just go for it.
what are your favorite ways to check out & really keep it zen when you’re on vacation? do you have any Cuba recommendations?! leave them in the comments below… & i’ll see you on the otherside… adios!
3 things you can do to improve your health that don’t involve diet + exercise
this time of the year is all about “resolutions” … many of which include diet and exercise. i’m sick of resolutions and sick of talking about “eat this, not that” and “5 moves to a flatter stomach”. let’s mix it up and talk about 3 things you can do every day to improve your health that don’t involve diet and exercise.
1. meditate. you’ve probably heard a lot about meditation… especially in the last year or so. it’s one of those things that’s becoming less weird as more and more people, from every walk of life, incorporate it into their routine.
it’s no longer just something that yogis or crunchy hippies do. that’s because it’s effing good for you. it’s known to reduce stress, help manage anxiety, slow aging, improve sleep, increase happiness, and strengthen the cardiovascular and immune systems. pretty crazy, right?
if you’re new to meditation, i recommend starting out with just 5 minutes per day, and using a guided meditation [you can find a lot of options on youtube… i really like this one]. once you’re comfortable with 5 minutes, up it to 10… then 15… then 20… and so on. i like to meditate first thing in the morning for about 20 minutes… it really helps to wake me up and start my day on the right foot!
2. spend time outside. let’s get real for a sec. most of us spend the majority of our time inside. at work, at home, commuting, at restaurants, the gym… i could go on forever, but i think you get the idea. all of these places are manufactured… they aren’t natural. ever think that actually spending time in nature could be… what we’re meant to do?
spending time in nature can boost serotonin levels, which helps stabilize your mood and regulates a number of bodily functions, including digestion and sleep. being outside also exposes you to the sun a.k.a. the best source of vitamin d there is.
take a 15 minute walk on your lunch break [yes, even if you live/work in a city], sit in the park and read a book, or find a restaurant with outdoor seating for your next boozy brunch. a little bit of time outside goes a long way!
3. drink water. okay, okay, maybe this technically has something to do with your “diet”… but not really. so i’m going for it. how many times in your life have you been told you need to drink more water? how many times have you told yourself that you need to be drinking more water? probably a lot. so, why don’t you just effing do it?
not to beat a dead horse, but water is like… SO good for you. water IS life. your body needs to be fully hydrated to operate properly. seriously, pretty much none of your systems can work the way they are supposed to without it. it aids digestion and kidney function, flushes out toxins, keeps your skin glowing, energizes the muscles, and can help manage hunger, which ultimately aids in weight loss.
and luckily, drinking water is really easy. we just have to make sure we’re actually doing it. i recommend buying a nice reusable water bottle [m obsessing over these swell x gray malin bottles] and taking it with you literally everywhere. having a nice water bottle actually makes me want to drink more water. kinda how buying new workout clothes motivates me to start working out more. also, keep a glass of water by your bed, and drink it first thing in the morning. you need to get re-hydrated after a long night of rest!
implement these 3 things in your daily routine [or even just one of them at a time] and you’ll notice a difference in how you feel… physically and mentally. you will improve your health… and your body will be so happy with you!
gratitude journals + what i’m thankful for
i know it’s not thanksgiving anymore, but that doesn’t mean that that being thankful and acknowledging our blessings should stop. to be completely honest, taking time each day to note what we’re thankful for can help put our entire lives into perspective [which, let’s be honest, we need sometimes].
gratitude journals have become quite popular. it’s been proven that keeping a gratitude journal can help lower stress levels, improve sleeping patterns, boost self-esteem and increase happiness, just to name a few. seriously, they’re even written about it in forbes.
and it’s a pretty simple thing to do. the steps are:
- buy a journal.
- keep it by your bed.
- every night before you go to sleep write down three things you’re grateful for and why.
- start reaping the benefits!
so today, the day after the day of giving thanks, i wanted to take a minute to note 27 things i’m grateful for [one for each year of my life]. here we go [in no particular order]:
- my amazing, loving, supportive, weird, crazy family. every last one of them.
- my friends [who are basically my family, too].
- my health [both physical + mental].
- a job that i love so much it stresses me out more than anything else does.
- yoga + how it’s changed my life.
- travel + adventure.
- this blog, my creative outlet.
- the beach.
- leonardo dicaprio.
- my [currently] minimally furnished apartment.
- having a car again + living in a city where driving is a requirement [seriously, eff the nyc mta].
- every single person that’s ever treated me poorly … you showed me exactly how not to act and who not to associate myself with.
- living in l.a.
- the idea that my biggest problems can typically be solved with retail therapy.
- long weekends.
- people who keep it real.
- music festivals.
- the 5 years i spent living in new york city, which will always hold the #1 spot in my heart [but seriously, eff the cold/snow].
- the good that comes out of terrible situations.
- healthy, hippie sh*t.
- like-minded, creative, passionate people.
that’s just a starting point, as i really have so much to be grateful for, but i’ll save all of that for another post.
do you keep a gratitude journal? how has it changed your life? share in the comments below!
3 tips for staying balanced this thanksgiving
thanksgiving is one of those holidays that most of us have a love/hate relationship with. on one hand, it’s amazing because it brings family and friends together over a big, home cooked meal where old traditions are carried out and new memories are made. on the other hand, family drama can come up, your entire life can be picked apart by judgmental aunts and uncles, and the big dinner can be the kickoff to the holiday weight gain we all dread so much.
anyone feelin’ me here?
while no one should be feeling like they need to take such drastic measures as drugging their family to survive thanksgiving, i think it’s so funny in the first place because it really is so relatable … amiright??
here are my 3 tips for staying balanced this thanksgiving, both mentally and physically, so you wake up monday morning after this long weekend not only feeling like yourself, but feeling better than you did today!
1. set aside some time for yourself. i’m not going home for thanksgiving this year because l.a. and my hometown are just too far apart and flights are too expensive, but somehow i still managed to fill up every single day of this long weekend with some kind of activity or adventure [not that that’s a bad thing]. however, i know the importance of taking some time for myself to chill the eff out, so tonight, when i leave the office, i’m heading to a yoga class to start my weekend off on the right foot. it’s very easy to get wrapped up in the go-go-go of a holiday weekend when you’re hopping from party to party, traveling or prepping for the big day, but it’s so essential to set aside some time for you! sleep in tomorrow, take a relaxing bath tonight or head out to your favorite workout class friday morning. whatever it is that helps you unwind and makes you feel good, make time for it!
2. eat mindfully. i obviously talk about this a lot [this is a health and wellness blog, after all] but this is even more important on thanksgiving, the holiday centered around eating. before you dive into your thanksgiving dinner, scope out all of the options and see what you’re workin’ with. fill your plate up with mostly veggies, and then add potatoes, turkey [if that’s your thing] and whatever else might be calling your name [obviously leaving some room for dessert, too!]. and when you do dive in: slow. the eff. down. take small bites. chew your food. breathe. it’s not a race. enjoy your food. by the time you’ve finished, you’ll feel full and satisfied, not like you need another huge plate to get the job done.
3. take 5 minutes to acknowledge what you are thankful for. this should be the obvious tip, as this is thanksgiving, but i think that the majority of us have lost sight of the holiday’s true meaning. thanksgiving isn’t about eating a turkey, it isn’t about leaving your family gathering early to head to the mall to trample other people in the name of “getting the best deals” … it’s about being thankful and appreciating everything you have. there are so many people in the world who would kill for your sh*tty studio apartment that you pay way too much money for … they would love to have a family as annoying and crazy as yours … and yes, they would probably do anything to have the job you complain about day in and day out. if you’re reading this from a computer or a smart phone, i guarantee you are luckier and more fortunate than most of the world’s population. take 5 minutes tomorrow to write down … yes! write down! what you’re thankful for and why. keep those things in mind when things aren’t going your way this weekend. an action this small can take you leaps and bounds … you’d be surprised!
happy thanksgiving, everyone! i hope you have an amazing day celebrating with your family and friends, and take some time to unwind the rest of the weekend … you deserve it!
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