Weekly Meal Prep- What’s In My Fridge This Week?

I loooooooooooooove me some meal prep. Just as I see working out as an amazing outlet for anxiety (not a cure but it sure f***ing helps), meal prep works wonders for your mind as well.

Have you ever stood in front of your fridge knowing you are hungry AF, but you’re so overwhelmed that you can’t decide on anything to eat so you just don’t eat? Yeah, I always thought I was the only one… Turns out I’m not!

In those moments I can’t think clearly enough and not being able to decide makes my anxiety worse. Cool.

Enter meal prepping. It’s not just for meat heads looking to score some sweet gains at the gym (although I am one of those people as well). It’s also a way to make sure you feed your body with healthy meals AND make it so you only really cook once during the whole week. I’ve been posting my meal preps on Insta but I haven’t really posted any recipes in a while. So here is what is in my fridge this week:

Meal 1 (my pre-workout/breakfast): Nutritional shake

Blend and store in the fridge until the morning! I make 2-3 of these ahead of time.

Macros: 364 calories. 34g carbs, 12g fat, 35g protein.

Meal 2 (my post workout/2nd breakfast): Eggs + Rice

  • 3/4 cup cooked rice
  • 2 large eggs + 1/2 cup egg whites scrambled
  • hot sauce to taste

Mix everything together and store in a container. I’m adding a Green’s powder from Trader Joe’s in with this meal.

 

Macros: 430 calories. 53g carbs, 12g fat, 31g protein.

Meal 3 (late lunch): Chicken + Sweet Potatoes + Cheese

  • 3oz grilled chicken
  • 5oz cooked sweet potatoes
  • 1/2 cup (you read that right, I love cheese) shredded cheddar

Mix everything together and store in a container.

Macros: 383 calories. 32g carbs, 14g fat, 35g protein.

 

I like to leave dinner open to accommodate any cravings I may have and to let my man friend cook for me sometimes. But having most of my meals planned out takes away a shit ton of the overwhelm AND I’m making sure to get some good nutrition into my body (happy brain food!). Tell me in the comments, what are you cooking for yourself this week?

*Just a note on these recipes: I am on a bulking diet (aka I’m trying to add on weight in order to gain more muscle) and these recipes fit within my meal plan that was made for my goals. But these recipes are delicious and I recommend you try them. I freaking love carbs.

FREE Gym & Home Monthly Workouts!

Focusing on my body/fitness/nutrition has made the biggest impact on my mental health and it really is a goal of mine to help others feel better about themselves both physically and mentally.

SOOO, in exchange for giving me your email I'll give you for FREE every month:

-An at the gym workout routine

-An at home workout routine

-A yoga sequence

+ other fun freebies as I see fit to help you feel comfortable both physically and mentally.

Sounds like a fair trade to me 🙂

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5 Reasons to Add Working Out to Your Mental Heath Routine

The physical benefits of exercise have been widely reported. Exercise can help us maintain a healthy weight and decrease our chances of having certain illnesses. But it’s also vital in helping keep our minds healthy.

I know this one first hand. Weight lifting and yoga, for very different reasons, have been instrumental in helping me manage my bipolar. Focusing on my physical health gives me something to focus on that I can control. Yoga helps me quiet my mind, while weight lifting helps me get out aggression in a healthy way.

You can scroll through my Insta to see me talk about how fitness has helped me, but here are 5 ways working out your body works out your mind:

Exercise increases endorphins. To quote Legally Blonde, “Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy! Happy people just don’t shoot their husbands!” Comedy aside endorphins really do bring your mood up (it’s known as the “feel good” neurotransmitter for a reason!).

It’s a form of meditation. The point of meditation is not to just sit in silence and not have thoughts. Meditation is the practice of staying in the moment by not chasing our thoughts. Exercise gives us the chance to focus only at the task at hand, making it damn near impossible for our mind to wander off into all the things that are stressing you out.

Improves self-esteem. Talking from personal experience I feel like such a bad ass when I’m lifting weights. The reason why is two-fold for me. 1- I feel like amazing when I’m one of the only women in the weight room (BUT I also get really excited when there is another woman there with me!!!). I feel powerful and like I’m doing something I’m I shouldn’t be able to do. 2- When I feel physically strong I feel like I’m pushing myself through things that are hard to do. Lifting heavy weights is physically hard, and it’s also mental. When I push myself to do something physically hard I feel mentally proud of myself.

The other, more obvious way, that exercise improves self-esteem is the concept that we like the way we appear in the mirror the more we take care of our physical self. Weight lifting helps me on changing my physical appearance while yoga helps me like myself internally.

Improves sleep. Exercise strengthens circadian rhythms (your body’s internal clock), promoting daytime alertness and helping bring on sleepiness at night. Sticking to a regular routine (exercise and sleep wise) also greatly improves the quality of your sleep. For more tips to help you sleep better, click here to read about my sleep habit detox!

Relieves anxiety. More research needs to be done to explain exactly how exercise and anxiety impact each other, but all of the reasons about definitely do affect your stress and anxiety levels (even if we don’t know all the chemicals in the brain that are involved here). SO we do know there is a connection between increased physical activity leading to decreased levels of stress and anxiety and we know that all of the above bullet points are also related to lower anxiety levels. More exercise –> less anxiety/stress = strong correlation (in more scientific terms)!

Tell me in the comments how exercise has helped you mentally!

INTRODUCING…….

FREE Gym & Home Monthly Workouts!

Focusing on my body/fitness/nutrition has made the biggest impact on my mental health and it really is a goal of mine to help others feel better about themselves both physically and mentally.

SOOO, in exchange for giving me your email I'll give you for FREE every month:

-An at the gym workout routine

-An at home workout routine

-A yoga sequence

+ other fun freebies as I see fit to help you feel comfortable both physically and mentally.

Sounds like a fair trade to me 🙂

Working up a sweat for you...

Thank you! Go check your email and super confirm you want me in your inbox 🙂

Yoga Poses To Help Do The Splits!

I teach over 20 private yoga classes a week right now. All to TEENAGERS. It’s been an interesting transition from teaching group classes to adults to teaching in a one on one atmosphere to little people who think No Doubt is “old school” music…

But yoga helps serves EVERYONE as an amazing stress reducer and something to direct your mind to in order to give yourself even a small break from the chaos in your life. One of the things I’ve really enjoyed doing with my teens is setting a pose goal so there can be visible progress as time passes. And every time they get closer to perfecting their pose goal they are so excited! It’s quite the self-esteem booster to watch your body do something you thought it could not.
The most requested pose goal I get right now is working on doing the front splits. This week I will be writing on the board 5 poses that we will hold for several minutes in order to work on the splits. Here are the poses so that you can work towards this pose too 🙂
-Standing forward bend (3 min.)
-Pyramid pose (3 min. each side)
-Lizard pose (3 min. each side)
-Pigeon pose (5 min. each side)
-Seated straddle pose (5 min.)

4 Tips To Improve Your Self-Care Game

Self-care…. What even is that? Most people have the image of taking hours to pamper yourself at a spa. Or waking up extra early to journal, take a yoga class, meditate, and prepare an amazingly beautiful and nutritious breakfast.
I can hear you now: F*** that. Ain’t nobody got time for that!
Let’s be honest, most people only have time to grab a coffee on their way out the door and MAYBE they’ll eat a bagel (if anything at all) for breakfast. The idea of taking hours for “yourself” is never going to happen- you’ll be lucky if you even leave the office at a reasonable time.
Or maybe it’s your family consuming all of your time- they need you to do everything or else nothing is going to get done. You are lucky if you can even make time for a shower.
I hear you. I get you. I was you (the overly stressed part, not the mom portion…). Your responsibilities (work, family, relationships, whatever yours may be) are consuming your to-do list and there’s little time left for you to even sleep at night.
But here is a truth bomb: how present are you really for your responsibilities right now?
Are you finding yourself losing your shit on a regular basis? Are other areas of your life suffering due to your time-consuming/stress filled responsibility? Are you getting sick more often than you think is normal?
If you answered yes to any of the above then you may be physically present, but you’re not really performing at your best. Your all-consuming responsibility is only getting half (at best) of you. Like you may have heard before: if you keep refilling everyone else’s cup but never go back to refill your own, then eventually you’ll stop being able to even fill other people’s cups (or something like that).
“I hear you, but how the hell do I make time for this self-care crap if there is no time to spare?”
If you’re new to the self-care game, or have neglected yourself for a while, taking even a little time for yourself can seem overwhelming. I’m someone who quit a well-paying corporate job in order to incorporate more self-care into my every day routine. I am an extreme self-care aficionado, but self-care can be quite simple. Any task that you would do to take care of someone else, but you do for yourself is a self-care activity.
Here are 4 tips to improve your current self-care routine:
  1. Establish a why. For me, my mental health is my why. This is an internal reason to take care of myself. Sometimes it’s also helpful to create an external reason as well (remember the cup filling thing) like a person, passion project, or job that you want to be able to be more present or more effective with.
  2. Make time for yourself. Like I said earlier a lot of people have this idea that self-care takes A Lot of time. This is just untrue. Preparing meals in advance so you can eat well even when you are super busy is self-care. Taking a 5-minute mental break from work, or people, is self-care. Even watching tv to give yourself something to focus on without using much mental capacity is self-care. My biggest advice for making time is change your mindset that self-care needs to take a crap ton of time and plan ahead for situations you know will be more stressful.
  3. Keep a log of ALL of the self-care activities you complete. Make a mark on your calendar, create a list, or if your kind of type-A create a spreadsheet. The more you can visibly see that you are taking even small amounts of time for yourself the prouder you will be for doing so.
  4. Reward yourself for effort not success. Life is not perfect and stress is impossible to completely eliminate. You can make a goal to do x amount of self-care activities but something may happen to prevent you from doing so. That’s okay! I even consider being willing to change plans around your circumstances as a self-care activity! Celebrate you and your willingness to take care of yourself more.

Affordable Resources I Use in Therapy

Mental health care is freaking expensive. I spend $130/session to see my psychiatrist and $15/month on prescriptions. It took me months of searching to find therapy I could afford.

So many in person therapists in my area do not accept insurance and cost $150-200/session. Nope. Not possible.

So I’ve tested out a couple of online therapy programs (similar to my email life coaching service in how it’s run). I used TalkSpace for a bit but I found my therapist more focused on talking through things than helping me come up with exercises to work through things. I wanted more behavioral therapy over talk. It sometimes happens that you need to go through multiple therapists to find one that works for you- it sucks that it takes so much effort but that’s common.

I currently use BetterHelp and I like it wayyyyy more. Mostly for the fact that I can chat with my therapist throughout the week and I can schedule live chat, phone, or video sessions every week. TalkSpace wanted a lot more money for using multiple platforms. I currently pay $35/week for BetterHelp, but that goes down to $25/week after the first 3 months. I have a therapist I really like on this platform so this is a very worth-while expense for me.

BUT if money is a factor for you and online therapy is currently out of the budget too, here are some books that I use with my therapist that can be SUPER DUPER helpful to you as well:

The Dialectical Behavior Therapy Skills Workbook

My psychiatrist really wanted me to be in a DBT intensive therapy program. That generally involves one group session a week and one 1-on-1 session a week. Costing around $100/session = nope, not possible. DBT (Dialectical Behavior Therapy) is very similar to CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy) in that it focuses on behaviors and changing thought patterns, but DBT is mindfulness based. It’s used to treat mood disorders (hence why it was recommended for my bipolar), along with helping people who struggle with self-harm, substance abuse, and suicidal ideation. This workbook teaches you a lot of those skills to do on your own like self-soothing and distraction from triggers and stressors, mindfulness, emotion regulation, and interpersonal skills. Some of these skills can be a bit tricky which is where having someone work through it with you, like my online therapist, can be very beneficial.

dbt bookClick here to buy from Amazon.

Self-Esteem: A Proven Program of Cognitive Techniques for Assessing, Improving, and Maintaining Your Self-Esteem

Negative self-talk and thought loops are what trigger a lot of low moods and control a lot of our actions. This book tackles how to rewire some of those thoughts and make us choose to do things based on wanting to take care of yourself instead of doing something because you’re beating yourself up. I have personally recommended this book to clients.

selfesteem book

Click here to buy from Amazon.

The Bipolar II Disorder Workbook: Managing Recurring Depression, Hypomania, and Anxiety

This book is actually one of the first I bought when I realized therapy was too expensive for me and before I found my online therapist. Obviously this resource is better suited for someone who is also Bipolar 2, but the skills in this book are skills I use with my coaching clients no matter the reason they come to me. Learning mood patterns and triggers is beneficial to anyone.

These books and online therapy have been my affordable solution to treating my illness beyond taking medication. They have helped me learn to rely on self-care and physical activity as my main mood stabilizers.

bipolar workbook

Click here to buy from Amazon.

Tell me in the comments other resources you use/love to help you with your mind!

*This post contains affiliate links that if you choose to purchase I make some money from. I only recommend products that I believe in and all of the thoughts are my own.*

 

How Yoga Saved My Life

This article originally appeared on Zen Again

Yoga has been claimed to have many benefits to the physical body, but the benefits to the mind are what hooked me on this practice. I have been battling anxiety since I was a small child and was more recently diagnosed as Bipolar. My mental health is fairly well managed today, but it wasn’t always this way.

I’ve been practicing yoga for almost 10 years now and without yoga I don’t believe I’d be alive today. Before my Bipolar diagnoses I had no idea what was going on in my mind and had little control of my moods. I would spend sometimes months in a deep depression. 90% of suicides are committed by people suffering from mental illness*, and I was almost part of this statistic.

But yoga became my calm within the storm. Yoga kept me going and has been key to my recovery. Today I am now a life coach and yoga teacher and feel more at peace than ever. I recommend yoga to anyone dealing with chronic stress or anyone wanting to improve their mental health.

Here are 4 ways yoga has helped me on my mental health journey:

Yoga Taught Me How to Breathe

Anyone dealing with anxiety, panic, or even a high stress situation has been given the advice to just “breathe”. This can sound overly simple and to someone in the midst of a deep freak out this wisdom can be brushed off and rejected. How can something so simple be in any way effective at helping someone to calm down?

I used to believe that my panic was larger than a breath could fix until yoga taught me how to breathe. Yoga brought more awareness to my breath and I learned that in a panic my breath will be shorter and shallower. By making an exhale longer than an inhale you can stimulate the body’s parasympathetic nervous system bringing calm to your whole self. I also learned that a technique called square breathing can help pull me out of a panic attack. I needed to learn how to breathe in order for breath to bring me calmness.

Yoga Helps Me Feel My Emotions Through Movement

When I move, I feel. This has become my mantra since yoga entered my life. I have a hard time expressing what is going on inside my mind and if I let it stay inside for too long I’ll blow up. But on the mat I can use movement to express my feelings and can utilize different styles of yoga to match my mood. If I’m angry then Vinyasa is my go-to since it’s a more vigorous pace. If I’m sad or anxious then Yin is my practice of choice. If I’m having trouble verbalizing what is in my mind then a Yoga Nidra session is what I need.

Yoga also connects the movement to the breath so I am able to refocus my attention and bring my mind to the present. Too often people are worrying and stressing over the past and the future. Focusing on the present allows us to be more mindful. Mindfulness allows me to use logic to fight anxious thoughts because I know what is going on in this moment, instead of allowing my mind to wander to all the “what-if’s” floating around.

Yoga Gave Me a Safe Space

Environment is so important in mood management. If you are surrounded by chaos, your mind tends to be in a chaotic state. My yoga mat is my place of calm and my escape from worry. My mind now associates my mat with a healing, loving practice and I feel the effects almost instantly after stepping on to it now.

Practicing in a studio brings an elevated sense of calm into the equation. The studio is created to feel serene and is more removed from any stimulus that may be creating stress for you.

Yoga Made Me Commit to Something & Force Me Out of My Shell

Last year I decided I wanted to elevate my yoga practice and teach this healing modality to other people, so I signed up for a 200-hour yoga teacher training. Shortly after I began my training was when I was diagnosed as Bipolar. I was experiencing another low mood swing and struggled to get out of bed some days. But I had my training sessions and classes that I had to attend. Despite how low my mood would swing I had made a commitment (financially and to myself) that motivated me to leave my apartment and interact with people.

This training surrounded me with people who cared about what was going on in my mind and gave me a support system when I needed it most. I also learned more about meditation during this training. The commitment I made forced me to function, the support system gave me permission to feel, and the meditation allowed me to accept my diagnosis.

Yoga taught me to breathe, allows me to feel my feelings and feel safe doing so, and forces me to function when I’m having down days. These are only the mental benefits I have experienced. I highly encourage anyone seeking calm, in or out of your mind, to give a regular yoga practice a shot.

 

3-Day Smoothie Detox (one that won’t leave you starving!)

If you’ve followed me for any amount of time you’ve seen how much of my life revolves around wellness. It has been so instrumental in helping become the person I am today, so much so that I’ve now built a career around it. I teach about 20 yoga/meditation classes a week to an amazing group of teenagers, I lift weights and take gym classes several times a week, and I have become quit the veggie addict.
I didn’t always used to be this way. But, for me, it all started with a smoothie. A simple smoothie catapulted me into the self-care and wellness aficionado that I am today. A smoothie changed my life.
I’m dead serious: smoothies got me into eating healthier, actually liking physical activity/going to the gym, and got me to take my mental health seriously. How? Because adopting one habit, like one green smoothie a day, made it easier for me to change other aspects of my life. One small change snowballed into a lifestyle for me.
SOOOOO, as an ode to my love for smoothies I have created a magical 3-Day Smoothie Detox. I think a small detox is a great way to reset your thought processes and jump start your body into a healthier state. I researched the crap out of detoxes that I could recommend to people but they all involved eating basically nothing. NOPE!
This is how my smoothie detox was born. I wanted to create something that gives a huge punch of nutrition, is basically free of common inflamatories, but also had a decent number of calories every day. You may be asking yourself, “But Kristen, you talk so much about mental health and self-care, how is a body detox relevant???” Great question! My philosophy has and always will be that what is good for the body is good for the mind. I take good care of my body because I know it will help me manage my mind. And I think focusing on something physical is an easier starting point for most people.

Okay, now on to the details. This 3-Day Smoothie Detox includes: a meal plan, recipes, grocery list, calorie/macronutrient guide, and a detox guideline. Click here to download your copy (no email opt in!!!).

Sounds great but you may be thinking, “does it actually work?” I’m glad you asked! I tested it on myself and a few other people. Here are our results:

Me:
SLXLM
 End recap: Down 4 pounds and 2 inches overall.
 pooped more. Some zits went away. My body relearned what hunger really is (instead of boredom hunger). And most of all it was a test of my own willpower and my desire to take care of myself.
Jackie:
SLXLM
End recap: Down 6 pounds and 4 inches overall.
“This was a fulfilling detox plan, despite being a “detox.” I’ve always wanted to do one but was so overwhelmed with different information and figuring out what I could and couldn’t, or should and shouldn’t, eat. This plan allows for a satisfying amount of calories, even coming from someone who was eating like crap and more than I should before beginning the detox. I feel I should have cut down a day or two before starting to ease into it better, but after the first day, my body mostly began to adjust to the amount I was consuming. I think this is a great plan and one that can be easily customized to fit individual nutritional needs. In the few days since ending the detox, I’ve noticed changes in my appetite in that I am not feeling as hungry as often and not eating as much during meals. I used to crave unhealthy food and sweets when I let myself get too hungry but I’ve also noticed I’m also not craving these types of food as much as I did before. I would definitely recommend this plan for anyone looking for a dietary ‘reset.’”
Liza:
SLXLM
End recap: Down 2.3 pounds and 1.5 inches overall.
“It’s now been 4 days since I completed the 3 Day Smoothie Detox. It was exciting to lose a few pounds, but what really stood out to me the most was a change in my body and mind, and a clear awareness of some food sensitivities. During the detox I cut out caffeine, which ended up being much more difficult than I expected. For the first time in my life I had awful withdrawal headaches and fatigue, all due to my body’s lack of caffeine. I’ve been so reliant on caffeine the past few months (maybe years) to deal with fatigue after bad night’s of sleep. I’m a pretty restless sleeper to begin with, and my daily dose of caffeine covered up my need for more sleep, and made it harder to get to sleep and turn off my brain each night. The day after the detox I went a little wild, and had a cup of coffee in the morning and another one in the early afternoon on my lunch break. I was wide awake for several hours past when I should have been asleep that night. I’m not quite ready to cut caffeine out of my life, as it’s been super helpful during the school year. However, I am going to make a conscious effort to reduce my caffeine intake, and track my consumption to see how it interacts with my sleep habits.
Another food sensitivity that I was aware of, but didn’t fully understand until after this detox, is a sensitivity to dairy/lactose. Lactose intolerance/sensitivity is something that my grandmother dealt with in the later years of her life. I think my dad has problems with it too. I knew that my body reacted somewhat unfavorably after a meal with lots of cheese, or a bunch of ice cream, but it never was enough of an annoyance for me to cut dairy products completely out of my life. My husband and I have had almond milk in the house (instead of cow’s milk) for about a year, so I know I’ve been reducing my daily dairy intake by a bit. By doing the vegan smoothie detox, I think I reset my body to a state where my sensitivity would be much more noticeable. I went out to dinner 3 days after the detox, and had a frozen matcha latte with whipped cream and a tomato mozzarella crepe. Everything was delicious, and I’ve had similar meals at this place before. The latte came out first, and I ate the whipped cream off the top, not thinking about anything more than that it was a hot day and I wanted something sweet before the savory crepe. About half way into the meal, I got a sharp pain in my stomach, almost like cramps, and I didn’t feel like eating anything else. What I quickly realized was that everything I had ordered had some form of dairy in it, and I had eaten the whipped cream before anything else, and on a mostly empty stomach. I will not gross you out with details, but it was not a fun rest of the evening. That was the first time I’ve had such a strong reaction to dairy. All my life up to this point I’ve eaten a diet with some dairy everyday. I still love cheese, and the thought of not being able to eat it makes me sad, but I know I need to reduce my dairy intake to have a happier belly and body. I’m seriously considering cutting dairy out of my diet entirely, and may try to find some yummy vegan recipes to add to my repertoire.”
Katie:
SLXLM
End recap: Down 10.75 inches overall.
“Day 1: Overall on day 1 went well, I followed the meal plan but I felt hungry all day and I felt tired. I didn’t workout today but I am curious to see how I feel at the gym with only having the smoothies as meals. We will find out tomorrow. Also, I didn’t miss real food as much as I thought I would but I think it’s because this is new and Day 1 I am always on track and don’t really want to mess anything up. But I did miss my eggs for breakfast.  I did nap for about an hour because I was tired and was running around all day.
Day 2: Today I felt less hungry throughout the day, woke up later so I started my meals later. Went to the gym and had energy but about 30 minutes in I felt like I was losing steam. However, the workout was a killer so that didn’t help. But overall it was a god day and I enjoyed the smoothies.
Day 3: This day was not completed with the 4 smoothie meals. We were taking family photos and I got ENGAGED!!! So therefore I was celebrating with my family & did not do the 4th smoothie. However, I felt great all day.
Overall I felt less hungry as the days went on and I enjoyed the smoothies. I would definitely do this detox again. I didn’t really have any changes in my bathroom routine which surprised me because of the prunes!”
Caralyn:
SLXLM
End recap: Down 1.5 pounds and 2.5 inches overall.
“Definitely liked and definitely would recommend. My biggest complaint would be the lack of chewable options / savory flavors. But by nature I just like the salty crunchy foods so that’s probably a me thing. I’m seriously impressed by the results though, especially because it’s not like I was starting with a lot of extra pounds or inches.”
Kathleen:
SLXLM
End recap: Down 2.2 pounds

7 Day Sleep Habit Detox

If you’re sleepy all the time, this is for you.
If you can’t fall or stay asleep, this is for you.
Basically if you want to sleep better this detox is for you.
Sleep is SO important to your mental health. I know… I got a 30 minute lecture from my psychiatrist about how getting proper sleep will help me avoid another mood swing. Cool, but I have trouble falling asleep most nights and I wake up a million times to pee. So he gave me some “as needed” sleeping pills.
I’m on enough medicine. I didn’t really want to rely on another. SO I researched the shit out of sleep habits and realized that, as healthy as I am in so many other areas of my life, my sleep habits kind of sucked. I compiled a bunch of sleep related tasks into one 7-day sleep habit overhaul plan. I tried it. I had some friends try it. And now it’s time to put it out to the internet world so others can try it too. If you want to take this sleep habit detox enter your email here so you can see the daily tasks and keep track of how you are doing!
Here are my key takeaways:
-Sticking to your bed time and wake up time are super important! I set my bed time at 11pm and wake up time as 8am. You can change these times in the worksheet to reflect whatever works for you and your schedule best.
-The first couple of days sucked for me BUT it takes time to change a habit so keep at it! My body did figure out when it was supposed to sleep and I finally felt rested after a sleep sesh.
-Do your best at the tasks, but perfection is not important. Life gets in the way sometimes even when you plan to do something it doesn’t work out that way. Do the best you can and keep moving forward with the habit detox.
-I’m continuing to do these new habits to the best of my ability EVERY NIGHT now. This may have been a detox from bad sleep habits, but these new habits have earned their keep.
Here is what other testers of the detox had to say about their experience:
“The reason I wanted to do this sleep detox was because I have been having a HELL of a time waking up in the morning and my sleep schedule is more of a mess than a schedule at all, and me being super type A, I want to regulate it. The detox was a very effective way to check my habits and to see how they affected my sleep and how I felt the next day. The sleep detox also made me aware of habits I have that I did not realize could affect sleep. The other thing I think is affecting my sleep is my workout routine, so I am going to try to do everything else consistently to see how that affects me. I am definitely going to continue monitoring this and the original habits in order to create a sleeping routine that works for me.” -Madison
“It was a little tough at first to really set a routine and stick with it, but it’s really helping! I’m sleeping more soundly and waking up a lot more rested!” -Lisa
“For the steps that I was able to follow, I “reset” my sleep habits to lead to a more restful night and level-headed morning. These subtle changes have greatly impacted my days!” -Katie
“The hardest part was breaking old habits with feeling the desire to ‘feel’ connected to the outside world via social media/internet/news/etc. That habit had a direct correlation with the quality of sleep I got. Once I limited visual stimulation before bed, I found my sleep more restful, sound, and stressless.” -Dasha

5 Morning Hacks for a Better Mood All Day

How you start your day is going to impact how you feel for the rest of the day. A study done by Nancy Rothbard from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania and Steffanie Wilk from the Fisher College of Business at Ohio State University found that those who started their morning in a positive mood generally stayed that way throughout the day, and that people who started their day in a terrible mood generally stayed that way as well and may even feel worse by the end of the day.
I learned the importance of how I start my day after I was diagnosed as Bipolar. My treatment plan includes a high need for self-care and stress management. And it’s easy for me (as it is for many) to fall into being upset or angry about situations life has handed me or getting wrapped up in how stressed out/anxious I may be feeling. I have learned that I need to take very deliberate actions in order to manage my moods and I need to start as soon as I wake up.
So these tips are for you if you have a tendency to wake up on the wrong side of the bed, spend your morning running around at a stressed-out warp speed to get to work on time, or just have generally higher levels of anxiety. Making some small changes to your morning routine can help you manage your mood for the rest of the day- I can attest to this.
Here are 5 things to do differently so that you’ll be happier all day long:
The night before: plan out your meals to take to work, your outfit, and anything else you may need. Your parents may have had you do this when you were in grade school, and for good reason! If everything is planned out and put together the night before there is less for you to think about (and stresses about!) in the morning.
DO NOT CHECK YOUR PHONE! And for that matter, don’t check the news either. Don’t let the first thing you look at in the morning be all of your responsibilities for the day ahead. In addition to that a study found that participants who watched the negatively weighted content showed increases in both anxiousness and sad mood. Take control of your mood by controlling what content you digest first thing in the morning. The emails and news will be there waiting for you when you choose to look at them.
Drink a big glass of water, then have a healthy breakfast. When you wake up you are dehydrated and have an empty stomach (due to not eating or drinking for several hours, duh). Let the first thing you put into your body be nourishing. The better you take care of your body, the more your mood and mind is easier to control.
Take 5-10 minutes for self-care: meditate, journal, gentle stretching, or even dance around your home. I get more push back on this recommendation with my clients than any other one because, “I ain’t got time for that!” If you don’t have time for multiple self-care activities start with just 5 minutes of one activity. You are more likely to continue to practice self-care if you can do even one thing for yourself in the morning. And besides, since you planned out your needs the night before you now have at least 5 minutes more to spare.
Map out your top priorities for the day, and begin tomorrow’s to-do list. Before you get going on being a productive member of society for the day, make a list of the day’s top priorities. As new items pop up throughout the day add them to tomorrow’s to-do list (unless it’s extremely urgent then of course you should do that task today). Focus only on what needs your attention today and let tomorrow’s items be done tomorrow. By writing these to-do’s down you no longer have tasks floating around in your head stressing you out all day long.

7-Day Mental Detox

If you google mental cleanse you will get multiple results. But as I’m reading through them all I can think is “easier said than done!” These lists are filled with ideas like “don’t dwell on negative thoughts” or “change your perspective”. These are great tidbits of advice but HOW do you exactly do that???
The HOW is exactly why I came up with my own 7 Day Mental Detox with actionable tasks that are easy to understand so you can actually do them. They are a foundation that will set you up to not dwell on negative thoughts and change your perspective to a happier one for YOU. This detox is for you if you’re constantly stressed out, you know you need to give your mind a break, want some more peace and calm in your life, and/or you read this title and thought “yessssssssssssss”.
Here is what I want you to do for the next 7 days:
Turn off the tv and stop mindlessly scrolling through social media. What we see and read can unknowingly trigger a stress response and I’ve heard from almost all my coaching clients how social media can be such a time suck for them.
The HOW:
TV- for the next week opt to listen to music, read a book, or talk to a friend or loved one instead of watching the tv. Put the remote away in an out of site spot so it makes you think before turning the tube on.
Social media- delete the apps from your phone. This will make it harder for you to just scroll through to pass the time. You can always download the apps back to your phone after the detox week is over. It’s okay to use social media, but I want you to CHOOSE to do it.
BONUS detox to-do: no phones or tv in the bedroom.
Get more zzz’s. I know it. You are definitely not getting enough sleep. I think you know you need more sleep so I won’t nag too much about the benefits of sleeping more.
The HOW:
Go to bed earlier. In fact, for the next week set a bedtime of 10pm. This is only for one week, you can do it!
Meditate daily. The people I work with tend to tell me they want to meditate because they heard how much it can help their stress or anxiety, but they get so frustrated because they can’t seem to quiet their mind. It is very true that meditation is good for the mind, in fact regular meditation can CHANGE THE COMPOSITION OF YOUR BRAIN for the better. But meditation doesn’t need to be difficult and there are many ways to meditate.
The HOW:
Listen to a guided meditation (5 minutes is sufficient) every day. You can google some free ones, I love Gabby Bernstein’s May Cause Miracles meditation album, or use a meditation app of your choice.
Be more grateful. Okay, this one sounds like the to-do’s in the mental cleanses that I was just criticizing, but stay with me (remember, I explain how to do these things). Gratitude is scientifically linked to psychological health by reducing negative emotions and thoughts.
The HOW:
At the end of every day write down 5 things you are grateful for about the day. It can be as simple as “I got out of bed this morning” (boring self-care should be celebrated more!), or “I accomplished xyz at work”, or “I went to the gym”. Anything that happened during your day that you want to celebrate or acknowledge as positive counts here.
Spend some time with yourself. I’ve talked to so many people that struggle with being alone with their thoughts. Whether it’s spending time at home alone or (gasp!) taking yourself out to eat solo, being alone can make some people’s skin crawl. Being social is great but being reliant on others for your happiness guarantees that you will have some pretty low moments coming your way (you will have to be alone sometimes, so let’s figure out how to make it more enjoyable, okay?). This action item can be uncomfortable at first but once you have some fun on your own you’ll get used to it/realize you actually like you.
The HOW:
Take yourself on a date. Go to the movies, get a mani/pedi, go to dinner. The activities are limitless. Think of something you like to do with other people and treat yourself to doing it with yourself. Journal about it when you get home (your thoughts, what you liked, what was uncomfortable, how you can keep doing this and make it easier). Take yourself on one date this week.