Wellness Wednesday: Developing a Mindfulness Practice in Anxious Times

img_1305When I first heard about mindfulness a few years ago, I understood it to be a practice meant to help people relax when they felt stressed or anxious. And while that’s not entirely untrue, years of schooling, working as a child and adolescent therapist, and developing my own mindfulness practice have broadened my understanding. Sure, relaxation can be a result of practicing mindfulness, but it’s not the purpose. The purpose of mindfulness is to intentionally and consciously be aware of the present moment which allows us to fully acknowledge where we are, what’s going on, what we’re doing, and those thoughts, feelings, and physiological sensations that show up. Why is this important? When we acknowledge what’s going on externally and internally in the present moment, we won’t be overwhelmed by or overly reactionary to what’s going on around us. It doesn’t change the situation (though it’d be nice if it did, right?), but it just helps us ease into the chaos and feel more in control, especially when life around us feels out of control. Given these current turbulent and uncertain times, I think developing a mindfulness practice would be helpful for you, too! Continue reading “Wellness Wednesday: Developing a Mindfulness Practice in Anxious Times”

Wellness Wednesday: Chickpea Salad

IMG_1390Happy Wednesday, friends! We’ve made it to the halfway point of the week, and I think that calls for a quick celebration, don’t you? But a closer end to the week does mean a closer start to the school year, which is totally fine–remember, we’ve got this! I want you to realize, though, that this also means we can’t stay up as late as we want, wake up when we feel like it, or take our sweet time making and eating whatever we want whenever we want it. Time won’t always be on our side when the school year resumes, so we’ll need to maximize and prioritize as much of it as possible. With so much on our plates (pun intended), putting food on it shouldn’t be a stressful and time-consuming ordeal. So keep reading for a quick, simple, and protein-packed dish that will fill you up and cancel out all that ice cream and pizza you’ve been munching on all summer long. You can make a big batch of it and spread it out over the course of the week. At least that’s one less thing you have to worry about, right?

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Wellness Wednesday: 3-Ingredient Cookie

cookieHappy Wednesday, friends! We have reached the halfway point of the work week and I hope yours is going as well as mine. I’ve been crushing my fitness and healthy eating goals, meditating daily, and really focusing on myself. In my previous commitment to living a healthier lifestyle, I put a lot of pressure on myself and wasn’t able to find the balance between moderation and total indulgence–it was all or nothing. Healthy living meant food was boring and plain, and you could forget about dessert. The truth is, however, that making healthy decisions means being aware of what you put into your body, and when you put good things into it, you get good things out of it. Thankfully I’ve expanded my understanding of health and wellness, and want to share a treat that is sure to satisfy your sweet tooth! This recipe has just three whole ingredients. No fillers, no artificial sweeteners, just whole, natural goodness. Enjoy!  Continue reading “Wellness Wednesday: 3-Ingredient Cookie”

Wellness Wednesday: Getting Headspace

img_1317Happy Wellness Wednesday, friends! Yesterday marked ten straight days of guided meditation with the mindfulness app, Headspace. Unfortunately, ten days of Headspace also means my free trial is up. Great! Now how am I supposed to find clarity and focus and also reduce my stress and anxiety (sarcasm)? While I think of new, free ways to deepen my meditation and mindfulness practice, here is my review for Headspace.

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Friday Findings

cup1Happy Friday, friends! How is it possible that time can feel like it’s both dragging along and flying by? I’ve been working at my old school in Massachusettes since late June, and here we are with just one week left before I head back home to Chicago. I honestly never thought I’d see the finish line. I love it up here and it’s been so incredible reconnecting with old friends and making new ones, but there’s nothing like being in your own bed and in your own space, right? We also have Saturday classes, so it’ll be really nice to have a real weekend and just enjoy my summer before starting a new graduate program this fall. It’s hard to believe this may very well be the last time I teach English, so I’m definitely savoring every moment. How are you spending your summer break? Comment below, and without further adieu, here are two of my favorite finds of the week. Have a great weekend!

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Thoughtful Thursday: Being Present is a Present, a Reflection and Life Update

IMG_6064Happy Thursday, friends! Apologies for the late post, but I didn’t know how to say what I wanted to say without being long-winded. That was a mountain I didn’t quite conquer, so bear with me. I don’t know much, but what I do know now is that for the first time in my entire adult life, I can honestly say that I feel happy, calm, and centered. I’ve always been the type of person who looks ahead in life and believes that if I have the next best thing or what my heart desires, then I can be happy and live the perfect life. The problem with this thinking, however, is that it means my happiness is solely dependent on the unforeseeable future and on what was not and could not be guaranteed. If I couldn’t guarantee achieving the next best thing, then I couldn’t be happy. Living in the future felt like a constant wheel I just couldn’t get off of–a state of mind I couldn’t escape. It was also an unproductive and unhealthy place to be. I can only imagine what I’ve missed out on because I was too afraid to be still and live in the moment. If only I knew early on how easy it could be to start over. I know it’s not this easy for others, but all it took for me was a conversation with a new friend, a new moon, setting new intentions, and intentionally practicing daily meditation to completely change my mindset for the better and recognize that being present is the best present of all. I hope this is a start for you.

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Wellness Wednesday: Build Your Tribe

friends
Just a few of my favorite people. This is an accurate depiction of our friendship captured in one hilariously embarrassing pre-college graduation photo (2010).

On a recently unusually cold morning in Massachusettes, I started the day like I typically do, listening to Pandora Radio. Scrolling through my 99 stations (of which I honestly only listen to like, 10), I stumbled upon and selected 90s R&B. After suffering through a series of commercials, I heard a familiar beat with synthesizers, baseline, and a kick drum that made way for melodious vocals. I recognized it from the very beginning: TLC’s “What About Your Friends” (1992). Now, I was only four-years-old when this song first hit the airwaves, but having older sisters pretty much meant that this song was on constant rotation at the time. 25 years later, and I’m still dancing around the room every time it comes on. The only difference is, I’m now more aware of and see the value in the lyrics because having incredible friends who stand by you at your lowest low and highest high is one of the most significant and necessary elements for one’s overall well-being.

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