05 | Use your intuition.

habits, health & wellness, lifestyle, routine

Did your intuition tell you this challenge wasn’t over? Because if so, you were right! It’s not!

Just to recap…

I (attempted) to do a 5 Day Mindful Eating challenge last week! I only say attempted, not because the challenge was difficult or impossible, but because I realized just how different my current eating habits were compared to the challenge goals! For example, it was hard to leave my phone in another room, or eat without distractions like a TV show. So overall, the experience was truly eye-opening and even though some days I didn’t really follow the prompts, I could tell how they would help you truly think about those principles (i.e., why you eat, what emotions trigger your appetite and habits that stimulate hunger/fullness).

For today’s post, I’d like to discuss intuitive eating!

In summary, Intuitive Eating, similar to Mindful eating, is about following “internal body cues over external diet rules”. Hey, I can get behind this! As someone who is a true foodie and a hedonist with her taste buds, I cannot stick to a diet – and trust me, I’ve tried several. I don’t like to feel restricted when I eat and I eat based on how I feel (which is what intrigued me about mindful eating originally!) This approach allows you to become more in touch with the food that you eat! It also helps you learn what motivates you to eat, what foods you truly crave and why; while also understanding your body’s natural hunger/fullness cycles. I now get how intuitive and mindful eating can be considered (very) similar!

The challenge with intuitive eating? Well, unlike the last post where I followed a curated 5 Day Mindful Eating Challenge (see Samantha’s blog for more information on that challenge), this approach will be about using the principles of intuitive eating (see the infographic below) for a week and reporting back the overall experience at the end.


Next week’s blog post will not only be about my experience with each approach, but also about comparing the two styles of eating, and answering questions such as…

What works and what doesn’t work in both approaches?

What approach(s) can I use and stick with?

or, Are they not really suited for my lifestyle?

I’d also like to talk about my feelings towards both approaches, like how did both of them make me feel overall? What approach was the most positive for me? Did I notice a change in my overall mood or appetite with either approach?

And also, there’s just the general takeaways from both approaches, like what were some of the major findings and/or takeaways with both of the eating routines, if any! And how do they compare and contrast with each other?

So tune into next week’s blog post for the big BIG reveal (yeah, I’m hyping it up as I love doing research!)


As for the principles of intuitive eating, they are as follows…

There are a lot of similar principles to mindful eating, which I am on-board with, and a few new approaches that involve exercising and self-love/self-worth (which I am a really big fan of!)

So, the goal for this upcoming week is to plan exciting and enticing meals for myself, incorporate some daily exercise in the mix (like yoga or walking), take time to love myself and my body for how it is in the present moment and be mindful overall about my internal body cues telling me when I am hungry and when I am full!

Challenge. Accepted.


If you’re active on social media, you can follow along on my Instagram account (@luminousredhead) or my Facebook page (Redhead) to see the meals, exercise and self-care activities I’ll be doing throughout the week, for a little inspiration! And also, feel free to join the challenge too! I’d love to hear about your meal ideas, exercise routines, and favorite self-care activities that help you be more mindful with your foods and your body!

If you took the time to read this blog post, my heart is full. I hope this post inspired you to consider taking on a challenge you’ve been interested in doing! What’s one challenge you’re interested in taking on? Why that particular challenge, and how do you typically approach challenges in general? (Asking for a friend).
Let’s continue the discussion (perhaps with a nice cup of coffee, heh.)

And reader, I want to thank you for reading up to this point in the post. Writing is an outlet I am passionate about, but hardly allow myself to do. I hope you enjoyed reading this post, and look forward to reading future blog posts on this site. I will be posting content every Saturday — so mark it on your calendar or even better, subscribe to my blog below so you get alerted when the next post goes live. Also, look out for future blog/vlog videos, exclusive content and just more positive energy to float your way.

Chat again next Saturday!

04 | An attempt.

habits, health & wellness, lifestyle, routine

So here we go. Let’s give this a try…
It’s about time I challenged myself to something (other than the challenges 2020 has already provided).

I want to start mindfully eating.

Sure, it sounds a little silly but it helps you appreciate what you eat and how you are eating. My usual go-to eating environment is in front of my tv (I’m a little ashamed to admit), which is typically me focused on a YouTube video or Netflix episode over my actual meal, while also scrolling Instagram on my phone with the hand I’m not using to eat…

I want to try something new.

This form of eating, similar to intuitive eating, interests me as it’s not a particular eating pattern or diet to follow, but rather an approach that allows us to look at other factors that could impact our eating behaviors (e.g., emotional reactions, environment, availability, etc.). I appreciate this approach over typical diet plans because it gives you room for creative freedom with meal and food choices, and helps you view eating in a whole new healthy (and mindful) way.

Mindful eating is almost an awakening experience! You get to appreciate your meals, the food on your plate and the location of your meals. And also, you get to learn how your body responds to the food you eat, and how you ultimately feel before, after and during a meal. Did it upset your stomach? Are you feeling comfortably full? Did you enjoy the flavors of the dish? You also get to learn your body’s response to hunger and fullness, which is a good thing to know for anyone interested in how this way of eating could help with weight loss.

But, as we all know, habits take time to form and require both patience and practice. That’s why I want to challenge myself to this 5 Day Mindful Eating Challenge, and document the journey. I’ll be taking notes the entire week in a notebook on my daily challenges, what I eat, my meal ideas and how I felt about the day overall.

But before I sign off with this week’s post, I just want to do a quick introduction to the 5 day mindful eating challenge.

5 Day Mindful Eating Challenge


Day no. 1: Eliminate distractions

Eat without screens. Full stop.

This is something I grew up with. We always had a tv on in the background of our meals. And while it’s nice to have sound in the background, it can distract you from your plate.

Eat somewhere where you are comfortable and where you can focus entirely on the meal itself. Leave your phone in another room. If you feel into it, turn on some easy listening background music. Relax and enjoy every bite. Focus on the food!


Day no. 2: Really feel it

This is about checking in with yourself and asking, “How am I feeling, and is this feeling the reason that I am eating?” Maybe because you’re stressed, upset, tired or bored and that is why you are choosing to eat.

The goal is to check-in without judgement, and to gain a better understanding of the emotions or situations that draw us to certain foods. It also helps you get a sense of how you feel AFTER you eat. Did your feelings change? Improve? Worsen? Think about how each ingredient or meal impacted your body and mind overall, and if it’s really helping or hindering you.


Day no. 3: Slow down

Savor every single bite. Appreciate the flavors, the textures, the combinations of colors and smells. This gets you to really zone in on your meal (and learn to notice the signs that your body is full on food, before you overeat).

A few challenges for this day to pick from: Take one minute breaks every five minutes of eating, or chew each bite five times. So, you have some options.


Day no. 4: Meditate

This could be in the morning, before your meal, after your meal, or before bed. Meditate and reflect on everything you appreciate. Give gratitude to what you are putting in your body, and connect your stomach to your mind.


Day no. 5: Get to know your stomach

Put on your data collection scientific hat because we are going to do some rating scales. For this day, you must rate your hunger and fullness per meal (on a scale of 1-10 with 1=starving, 5=satisfied [nor hungry or full] and 10=full to the point of feeling sick.)

It will help you better understand your body’s natural rhythm and appetite/fullness peaks, so you’re able to know for the future if you are eating for the sake of being hungry or for other reasons.

This week’s post is a little shorter, but a follow up post about this challenge is coming! Also, if you’d like to learn more about mindful eating, or this 5 day mindful eating challenge, check out Samantha Shuflin’s blog post.


If you took the time to read this blog post, my heart is full. I hope this post inspired you to consider taking on a challenge you’ve been interested in doing! What’s one challenge you’re interested in taking on? Why that particular challenge, and how do you typically approach challenges in general? (Asking for a friend).
Let’s continue the discussion (perhaps with a nice cup of coffee, heh.)

And reader, I want to thank you for reading up to this point in the post. Writing is an outlet I am passionate about, but hardly allow myself to do. I hope you enjoyed reading this post, and look forward to reading future blog posts on this site. I will be posting content every Saturday — so mark it on your calendar or even better, subscribe to my blog below so you get alerted when the next post goes live. Also, look out for future blog/vlog videos, exclusive content and just more positive energy to float your way.

Chat again next Saturday!

03 | Go with the flow.

health & wellness, lifestyle, self care, yoga

I think we’ve all been here. We’ve had setbacks in our lives that have knocked us off our game (see previous blog post for example). We are at a loss for what to do next and where to go, especially if circumstances happened unexpectedly.

Trust me, I’ve been there (or am there, or will be there in the near future. Life happens.)

For the purposes of this blog, I want to write with genuine feeling and from a place of compassion and empathy. I’ve had moments in my life that have left me completely speechless. I’ve been through traumatic events, have gone through terrible breakups, and have lost extremely important people in my life. And believe me when I say that when one bad thing happens, everything else around you seems to possess that negative energy.

I’m here to tell you that you can isolate that negative energy, and cast it out! It’s not a permanent feeling (unless you make it).

I’m not an expert here, but I’m just a girl who, like you, has suffered and sometimes still struggles with establishing a routine when you just do NOT feel motivated to do a single thing.

With compassionate advice and encouragement from close friends and family, the most important thing to do is…

Take one single step & start somewhere.


Sharing from personal experience: I am madly, head over heels, in love with yoga and meditation. But of course, when I am knocked off my game, the LAST THING I want to do is place myself on my mat. It doesn’t mean I no longer love practicing, or have given up, but I’m just lacking the motivation inside to bring my mind and body to my practice. During a huge set-back in my life, I almost went an ENTIRE YEAR without practicing.

What did I notice? I felt AWFUL!

I was irritable, miserable, anxious, stressed and of course, depressed and lethargic. All things that could be reduced (or eliminated) had I actually convinced myself to hop onto my mat and even do a sun salutation or two (or just lay in savasana for a while). But when you’re in a “negativity cloud”, you don’t see those things. You just see “nah, I’m not in the mood to do that” and you neglect it.

Once I had convinced myself to do a yoga practice…

I felt a sense of accomplishment. I was able to motivate myself to do a single task I had been neglecting and by completing it, I felt so much love for myself and for my practice. It encouraged me to try another task (making a delicious breakfast with coffee) and listen to a positive, uplifting podcast.

Self-love is not selfish.


The one thing we can be blind to when we have had a recent setback is how important self-care/self-love is.

For me, practicing yoga (daily, if possible) is a form of self-care. I am able to spend quality time with myself in that moment to channel my negative thoughts out, and breathe in compassionate thoughts and positive vibes.

When we put too much pressure on ourselves to do a million things, we get overwhelmed, especially if we are struggling to get motivated to do a SINGLE task.

So like I mentioned before, and what has been told to me by multiple (incredibly compassionate and understanding) people in my life, is start small but start somewhere.

When we choose to begin, we are creating a flow of energy in a positive direction. If we sit and fester in our current ways, we are bathing in our own negativity, which like I mentioned, makes every single aspect of our lives feel THAT negative.

By focusing on one activity to bring back into our lives, from there we can establish a reasonable and positive routine to help us become more motivated again.


Like I said, one single action can create a flow of motivating energy in a positive direction. So whatever activity you’ve been neglecting, whatever single task you’ve been dreading of doing, channel that negative energy you have associated with it – isolate it and push it aside – (just) DO THE TASK – and embrace the positive energy you’ll receive by doing it.

Then CAST OUT THE NEGATIVITY!

Appreciate and nourish the new flow of energy you’ve created by completing the task and then you can begin to establish a routine that works for you, and helps motivate you to do another task, followed by another!


If you took the time to read this blog post, my heart is full. I hope this post could help if you’re feeling down and out, and reaching for some encouragement. We’ve all been there, time and time again, but sometimes just hearing some positive words and personal experiences can help motivate in itself. What one task you’ve been putting off that could get your momentum going again? Let’s continue the discussion (perhaps with a nice cup of coffee, heh.)

And reader, I want to thank you for reading up to this point in the post. Writing is an outlet I am passionate about, but hardly allow myself to do. I hope you enjoyed reading this post, and look forward to reading future blog posts on this site. I will be posting content every Saturday — so mark it on your calendar or even better, subscribe to my blog below so you get alerted when the next post goes live. Also, look out for future blog/vlog videos, exclusive content and just more positive energy to float your way.

Chat again next Saturday!

02 | Pressing pause.

lifestyle, self care

You’re getting ready for your evening. You have a game plan. You are going to prep your supper, hop in the shower, freshen up and put something nice on to go out and enjoy your evening. And then suddenly…

You’re at the hospital. With a cooking injury. On a Saturday night. During Covid-19.

And you’re thinking, “Okay. It’s one night. I’ll be back to my usual self tomorrow and will resume my normal routine and activities…”

Nope.

You realize too quickly that you need to reevaluate your day-to-day to make room for this brand new obstacle. You need to change your entire game plan to include extra time to do just about, anything. You cannot do certain activities that would agitate the injury (like yoga or journal writing). You start to coach yourself on your ability to use your non-dominant hand and with a number of food droppages and spills, you kinda get the hang of it.

But you’re sour. You’re agitated. You’re irritable. You’re looking for a reason to get angry. To lash out. To distract yourself from your pain and stupidity, and to just give yourself a true reason to be fully mad at what you’ve done. You’re a freight train coming at full force and there’s no slowing down….

Until you realize that this behavior isn’t good for you or anyone around you, and it’s only going to make everything worse. How about you sit back and just… breathe?

Press Pause!


This wasn’t the original topic of this week’s blog but it sort of made itself the headline. Not having full use of your dominant hand comes with its own fun obstacles, but it teaches you the importance of self care. It makes you realize you truly need to prioritize your health and your overall well-being before anything. (And then you start to realize how many daily tasks are affected by one single thumb injury.)

You can’t (truly) practice yoga… maybe hands-free postures, but certainly not your usual routines.
You struggle to use a knife, or scissors, or any utensil that you’d need to grip.
Showering and your typical self-care routines take extra long and require a degree from left-handed university.
And I’m not even going to mention going to the bathroom… (wait, I just did.)

So the past week has been an interesting one, and for this week’s blog I’d love to talk about pressing pause on your behaviors, typical routines, actions and reactions and what I’ve truly learned from this experience, in relation to proper self-care and personal well-being.


First…

I’ve learned that pain brings out the worst in you. And you can simply go too far with your emotional reactions when you’re in pain and irritable. You look for a distraction, but not in a healthy way. I quickly learned I needed to pause my emotional responses to people and disengage in conversations where I knew I wouldn’t say anything nice to anyone.

Emotional self care is extremely important with an injury healing process. Allowing yourself to get overwhelmed with all those negative emotions can certainly set you back. Focus on conjuring up those positive vibes and make sure you’re checking your emotions before you express them outwardly.
Make sure you aren’t projecting or deferring anything onto others (or do what I did… realize afterwards you were being a b*tch and grovel for forgiveness to those you took your pain out on… and again, I’m truly sorry to those who had to deal with me the day after my injury.)

Second…

I learned patience. And no, not in one week because I’m still hella stubborn. But, I learned the VALUE of it and how you need to be patient with yourself during a time like this. Yes, you dropped your bagel while holding it in your non-dominant hand… twice. Yes, taking a shower is twice as long and ten times more frustrating than you’d like it to be. Sure, you aren’t practicing yoga or journaling as much.
But so what! This isn’t forever. This is just right now.

So be patient with the healing process and look for other physical activities that you can do (e.g., walking, meditating, seeing friends, etc.) or take up some other, more static activities you’ve been wanting to do for a while (for me, that would be reading). Take care of yourself to the best of your ability!

And finally…

You are simply pausing your normal routine and making accommodations. You have not failed. Yes, it’s a setback, but a minor one. This doesn’t reflect on you as a person just because you can’t keep your home looking totally “Pinterest”-worthy or go the extra mile on a task you usually could. You’re a human being. And humans get into accidents. We get thrown so many obstacles during the run of a day, an accident is bound to happen. But it’s about how you handle it and grow from it. It’s how you care for yourself during it and nurture yourself through the healing process.

Give yourself an extra bit of self care. Don’t be so hard on yourself. Know that this is a moment in time, and it too shall pass. We can be our own worst critics and if we keep beating ourselves up over things we cannot control, we will learn to be helpless. And we aren’t. So just focus on the now, for your own well-being!

Speaking as a recovering perfectionist, and aspiring good enough-ist; the hardest thing to do was to let go of my own expectations and be okay with what I could do vs. what I wanted to do. I strive for perfection almost every day of my life, but I had to be okay with what I was physically able to do – even if it wasn’t perfect.

Life gives you lessons to learn so that you can grow from them and overcome them! And I think that remembering to use a guard when operating sharp equipment in the kitchen is a life lesson that will stick with me for some time.


If you took the time to read this blog post, my heart is full. Have you experienced a setback that caused you to adjust your daily routine? If so, how did you deal with it and overcome in? Would “pressing pause” lessen your anxiety and guilt, and improve your health and well-being? Let’s continue the discussion (perhaps with a nice cup of coffee, heh.)

And reader, I want to thank you for reading up to this point in the post. Writing is an outlet I am passionate about, but hardly allow myself to do. I hope you enjoyed reading this post, and look forward to reading future blog posts on this site. I will be posting content every Saturday — so mark it on your calendar or even better, subscribe to my blog below so you get alerted when the next post goes live. Also, look out for future blog/vlog videos, exclusive content and just more positive energy to float your way.

Chat again next Saturday!

01 | A ritual.

lifestyle, self care

I’d like to begin by saying that I am aware that this word has many meanings in various spiritual cultures, religions and traditions. Also, I’m aware of its many connotations in witchcraft and spirituality and how rituals can be performed to banish negative energies from an object(s) or a place(s), or to cleanse an area(s) or belonging(s) of any unwanted or absorbed energies.

There is nothing wrong or incorrect with those versions or actions of rituals, fact. However, for the purposes of this post, I wish to embody and represent a ritual as a ceremonial act or action (as defined by the Merriam-Webster dictionary). Something that takes conscious effort and present awareness, and brings joy to your day. I also want to look closely at rituals in the context of witchcraft and personal self-care.


So, let’s think about it for a moment…

Do you have a ritual?

Think: that one thing that you do that grounds you. That one thing you know you can count on solidifying your day. That one thing you know is consistently there and is something to look forward to as you begin your day.

What is that one thing for you?

My daily ritual is my morning cup of coffee. It’s completely magical.

During the weekdays, it’s one of the first things I do when I wake up. I head downstairs, grind fresh coffee beans and begin perking my enchanted beverage. It’s my morning cozy warmth from a cup (or during the summer months, it’s a fresh breath of chilled air when enjoyed over ice. )

Upon waking, it’s what I look forward to and one of the very first things I do (with the exception of brushing my teeth.) Even before actually sipping on my coffee, I (sorta) wake up! I smell the fresh air. I stretch my arms over my head and peer out the window. I smile.

And that’s what a ritual should evoke in you — happiness and positive energy.

Rituals are a way to celebrate life and infuse our day with meaning. They channel you into that present moment, where you can appreciate and notice everything about that activity. The smell of coffee brewing, the perking sounds of the coffee machine and the joy of picking which mug to pour it into that day (e.g., is it a Monday mug vibe or a weekend treat?!)


RITUALS AND SELF CARE


Even having just one daily ritual that grounds you, calms you and allows you to prepare yourself for the day is truly a beneficial thing to have for your own self care. Over time, that ceremonious act becomes a meaningful daily habit (and in my case, one of the very first things that I do when I wake up). It becomes something that helps turn our attention towards ourselves, our needs and our overall well-being. We are able to practice mindfulness and be completely present. A ritual can be and should be something that clears our mind and focuses our intentions to prepare us for the day.

Rituals, in the context of witchcraft, actually are a means of conscious spiritual work, that are done/performed with mindfulness. An intentional action(s) to center your mind, allow you to be within the present moment and remove all unwanted thoughts of the past or the future. Granted, in witchcraft, you would perform rituals with various other elements such as candles (fire), sand/salt or burning herbs (earth), (moon infused) water and incense (air). You do not have to do that for all (or any) of your rituals, but there is something magical about using the four elements in any spell work/ritual (but don’t take my word, do some research into witchcraft and rituals if you’re interested, as I’m only a noob with it myself and still learning!)

The main goal of a ritual is to capture and channel, within that moment in time, true compassionate and peace within yourself. To truly spend time and connect to ourselves — to appreciate the feelings in that moment. And to develop a meaningful habit that we look forward to doing every single day. I couldn’t imagine any of my days without my morning cup of coffee, and if I happened to skip it (which hasn’t happened in a long time, mind you), my day would be completely off. I would be so unbalanced and out of my element. Making my morning coffee is one of the one task I could almost do autonomically (which is to say, basically without conscious effort) but it’s also the one thing I choose to be present for and to be conscious of — because the entire process, from the beginning of making my coffee to the last sip from my cup (slurp, slurp), brings me incredible joy and calmness. And in today’s busy world, sometimes we just need to stop for a moment and enjoy everything within it.

You can have more than one ritual. Some people have specific rituals for mornings, afternoons and evenings, while others have seasonal rituals or even annual rituals! Some have rituals they wish to (try) and complete daily, whereas some can be every second/third day, etc.

For example, a few of my rituals are to:

Make my morning coffee
Practice yoga/meditate (depending on work-out focus or restorative)
Prepare a meal (with leftovers)
Read a book (preferably in bed at the end of a night, with tea)

But, if you’re like me and you get busy — pick one ritual to be your absolute go-to! That way, if you don’t get to do them all, with the exception of your one main ritual, you will still feel a sense of accomplishment for the day! And you can plan to add or incorporate the others into your daily routine when the time and energy allows. Sometimes we can get very ambitious (I am terrible for this) and suffer from being overwhelmed by the amount of tasks we promise ourselves to do during the run of a day. I’ll talk more about that in a later post about creating routines/knowing yourself and prioritizing your own needs.

However, if you’re interested…

TRY THIS:

Start small and find your ONE ritual. Do some soul-searching and look for that one thing that brings you so much joy that you see yourself doing every single day. It can be as small as ‘wake up, stretch & breathe’, so long as it’s something that you look forward to doing and it allows you to be mindful, in the present moment, and stirs positive energy into your day.

I once tried to drink a glass of water every morning when I woke up as my morning ritual, but later just discovered that I enjoy a hot beverage (personally) as my first of the day. And honestly, coffee on ice can be a very rare drink for me to have (unless the morning is a scorcher). But it was through self-discovery of what I enjoy and what brings me joy that I developed my morning ritual. And if you so desire, you can find yours too!

Tips:
Start small, think ‘what do I look forward to doing every day?’ and ‘does this activity infuse my day with peace, compassion and positivity?’ and then build upon that.
You can even begin building a morning routine around that morning ritual (e.g., I now, on the weekends, added making a full breakfast while listening to nostalgic feel-good music to my morning coffee ritual) – but as mentioned, more about that in a later post!


If you took the time to read this blog post, my heart is full. Let me know in the comments below if you have any rituals you’d like to share or any tips on discovering your daily rituals. Let’s continue the discussion (perhaps with a nice cup of coffee, heh.)

And reader, I want to thank you for reading up to this point in the post. Writing is an outlet I am passionate about, but hardly allow myself to do. I hope you enjoyed reading this post, and look forward to reading future blog posts on this site. I will be posting content every Saturday — so mark it on your calendar or even better, subscribe to my blog below so you get alerted when the next post goes live. Also, look out for future blog/vlog videos, exclusive content and just more positive energy to float your way.

Chat again next Saturday!