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Wellness

Soulful Simplicity Challenge: Put Your Hands on Your Heart

Be More With Less - Wed, 02/21/2018 - 13:33

Spoiler alert: This simplicity journey you are on is not about your countertops. That’s spring cleaning. Certainly decluttering is part of it. When we hear about the benefits of simplicity, we immediately think of organized sock drawers and tidy bookshelves, but it’s much more than that if you want it to be.

The best part about simplifying my outside is that I’ve made space and time to listen to my inside.

There are four sections in my new book, Soulful Simplicity

  • making me
  • making space
  • making time
  • making love

In each section there is a chapter called “Put Your Hands on Your Heart.” I included it in each section to share a very simple heart practice and to help close the gap between inspiration and action. Let’s face it, we are over inspired with all of the information delivered in our inboxes, through our social feeds and in our day-to-day lives. Inspirational quotes, great articles, new ideas, transformative stories … they all inspire, but do they move us to take action? Or, are we too overwhelmed, even with the good stuff?

Sometimes it seems like there so many choices, so many things we want to do, but it’s too hard to know where to start, so we choose nothing.

Take a deep breath. This is where we start.

A little challenge to create space for your heart

I used to think there wasn’t a best place to start when it came to making changes in your life. I changed my mind. The best place to start is with you. That’s where everything starts.

If you are on auto-pilot constantly reacting to life’s demands and everything thrown your way, you may have forgotten that. I know I did. I forgot who I was, what I believed, and how to trust myself. I forgot what was best for me.

I forgot my heart. Maybe you forgot yours too.

This challenge is your way back.

Soulful Simplicity Challenge: Put Your Hands on Your Heart

Challenge Rules:

Why: After seeing minimalist fashion challenge Project 333 change closets and lives around the world, I know you love a good challenge. A challenge helps to close the gap between inspiration and action. It offers clear steps to move forward eliminating more decisions and procrastination when it comes to getting started.

When: Right now. 10 days in a row. I’ll add some dates to kick things off below but please start this challenge the moment you feel inspired to re-connect, to remember, to put your hands on your heart.

Where: Anywhere. In your bed, your closet, your bathroom, your car, an airplane seat, on the train … you get the picture. It’s better alone, but you really can do this practice anywhere.

How: Every good challenge needs a few rules, accountability, and a reward. Just like Project 333, you will give most of the rewards (the meaningful ones) to yourself, but I want to add an extra layer of reward too (more on that below).

Step one.
Create a little sanctuary where you can sit quietly for 5 minutes a day.

This may be as simple as taking a deep breath in through your nose and out through your mouth (like a really big sigh) to signify the start of your practice. Or, if you have a place in your home you could place a candle, journal, pen and blanket or other comfort items, do that.

Step two.
Put your hands on your heart.

Choose a time each day for next 10 days where you can sit quietly for 5 minutes. Put it on your calendar. Try the practice in silence, or with soothing music. After a few cleansing breaths in through the nose and out through the mouth (seriously let it all out), close your eyes or turn your gaze down and focus on your breath.

Next, place one hand on your heart, and cover your hand with the other. Feel your heart beating. Feel the warmth of your heart and your hands. Now, while continuing to breath in and out with some intention, simply listen to your heart. Just be there. Only practice for 5 minutes for the 10 day challenge. If you want to go deeper, wait. Just be there.

Step three.
Share your heart space or heart practice.

This is the accountability part, a chance to win something fun to support your heart practice and a chance to inspire more people to put their hands on their heart. It’s also totally optional.

How to Win a Hands on Heart Care Package

Enter to win once a day between now and March 7th by commenting on this post, “I did it” – you are welcome to add more, but only need to say, “I did it.”

Enter to win once a day between now and March 7th by posting a picture of your heart space, heart practice or something the practice inspired on Instagram and/or Twitter with hashtag #soulfulsimplicity (I’ll be sharing your stories!).

Enter to win once a day between now and March 7th by posting a picture of your heart space, heart practice or something the practice inspired by commenting on this Facebook post with hashtag #soulfulsimplicity.

Helpful tips:

1. If you are thinking this practice is weird or woo or worthless, ask these two questions …

  • Wouldn’t it be crazy if putting my hands on my heart helped me to know and trust myself?
  • What do I have to lose by being open and curious (if nothing else, it’s 50 minutes just for me)?

2. Keep it simple. The most important part of this is that you put your hands on your heart every day for 10 days. Don’t worry about making it pretty or perfect.

________________________

P.S. If you are interested, here are two ways to dive deeper into this heart practice and your own soulful simplicity.

  • Read Soulful Simplicity. The hardcover edition is currently only 21 cents more than the Kindle version on Amazon.
  • Join me for a Facebook Live call next week. Visit the Be More with Less Facebook Page Tuesday, February 27th at 6:00 pm EST (New York City time). I’ll be doing some extra giveaways during this call!

The post Soulful Simplicity Challenge: Put Your Hands on Your Heart appeared first on Be More with Less.

Categories: Wellness

Make the Choice to Show Up for Your Life

Be More With Less - Mon, 02/12/2018 - 02:05

This weekend, I did a talk called, How to Show up for Your Life at the Think Better, Live Better Conference hosted by my friends Marc & Angel Chernoff. I’m also on a book tour.

As I mentioned here, I’m having the time of my life. What I didn’t mention is that I’m falling behind on a few work things, like email and social media. And, I miss my loves.

Last night, as I did the final prep for my How to Show up for Your Life presentation, I thought about how I could get caught up on my work over the next few days while relaxing with my husband and daughter. They are meeting me this week while I’m traveling for a little getaway. It took me a moment to see the irony, to realize that by catching up on work while we are together, I wouldn’t be really there for them.

How could I do a presentation and recommend showing up for your life when I wasn’t willing to show all the way up for mine?

I had to make a choice.

a. Stay up late and try to schedule a bunch of social media and answer email before they arrive.

b. Save it for the week ahead and do little bits of work in between family time.

c. Let it go.

I chose c. Which means I choose love. I choose love for myself by getting a good night of sleep and I choose to show all the way up for my loves and for my life. For the next few days, the work can wait. I know we can’t always make a decision like this, and for some it may feel completely impossible to choose how we want to spend our time, but there is always a choice.

I’m not recommending you quit your job, or even call in sick but perhaps begin to notice how you are showing up. Are you present at home or is half of your brain still somewhere else? Did you bring your whole heart or are you trying to split your heart space in the name of getting it all done and being there for everyone? Can you be on your phone, tablet or computer and be fully engaged to what’s going on around you (asking for a friend)? Consider small ways you can change to make your efforts less diluted. What can you delegate, postpone or cut out all together?

And maybe it’s not work. Maybe it’s something else that is removing you from your life. Is it Facebook, other internet surfing, alcohol, shopping, perfectionism, comparison, anger, sadness? Identify it and work on it.

What will you choose to show up for today, this week, next month, and this year?

Will you choose to show up for your life and what are you willing to let go of so you can?

_______________________

P.S. The Soulful Simplicity Book Tour ends this week! Come hang out with me in Dallas or Austin. If you’d like to read a free chapter of the book, you can get it here.

The post Make the Choice to Show Up for Your Life appeared first on Be More with Less.

Categories: Wellness

A Gentle Warrior’s Guide to Healthy Travel

Be More With Less - Thu, 02/08/2018 - 13:05

I’ve been in eight airports, even more hotel rooms, on two trains, in countless Lyft vehicles and visited lots of places in between over the last 30 days. I’ve done several interviews, spent time with friends, hosted nine Soulful Simplicity Book Tour events and hugged and shaken the hands of close to 1000 people.

Also …

It’s flu season.

I’m an introvert.

I have Multiple Sclerosis.

And …

I feel great.

Healthy travel starts long before the traveling begins, and while we can’t always prevent getting run down or catching something along the way, a gentle warrior’s approach to healthy travel has served me well over the last few weeks.

Creating rules or guidelines for how I live and work encourages a healthy, happy lifestyle.

A Gentle Warrior’s Guide to Healthy Travel

The Gentle Warrior’s Guide to Healthy Travel is a list of my non-negotiables for feeling well in flight and on the road. I hope it encourages you to create your own list of healthy habits and other ways to feel great on the road and at home with the heart of a gentle warrior.

1. I will double-down on healthy habits.
Instead of abandoning the things I know are good for me in the name of traveling, I’ll double-down and dig in deeper. I’ll sleep 7-8 hours a night, practice my morning routine daily, and spend more time nourishing my body, heart and soul.

Be a gentle warrior.
Take your healthy habits with you when you travel. You may not have your regular daily routine, but you can bring pieces of it with you to maintain a connection to what fuels you.

2. I will move my body.
Spending more time in vehicles (cars, planes, trains, buses) requires more time spent moving my body; stretching, unwinding and decrunching. I borrow yoga mats from hotel gyms and have been practicing yoga daily with Adrienne Louise, dropping into yoga studios in new cities and walking every single day.

Be a gentle warrior.
Move your body several times a day in a way that feels good to you.

3. I will drink all the water.
My energy levels and moods are directly connected to how hydrated I am. Flying and other travel can be dehydrating so must bump up the water intake on the road.

Be a gentle warrior.
Drink water when you wake up and throughout the day.

4. I will do all the sleeping.
I sleep 7 – 8 hours a night at home so I sleep 7 – 8 hours when I travel too. If there is a late event, I sleep late the next day. If I wake up in the night due to weird hotel noises, I listen to a Headspace sleep meditation and fall asleep before it’s over.

Be a gentle warrior.
It’s tempting to stay out late, watch tv, or surf the internet while traveling but resist. Give your body some good healing team by sleeping well. If you don’t want to be rundown, don’t run your self down.

5. I will supplement consistently.
Even though I try to eat greens at every meal (yep, even breakfast) and steer clear of sugar, alcohol, dairy and grains, I don’t eat as well traveling as I eat at home, so I will add an extra layer of protection by taking the following supplements daily while traveling:

Be a gentle warrior.
Know what your body needs by working with a medical professional you trust and by checking in with yourself on a regular basis. Research and figure out what’s best for you.

6. I will quiet my mind.
It’s noisy out here in the world. To continue to engage and absorb, I have to start with a clean slate. I’m currently working through the Headspace Stress Pack in the mornings and just starting to dip into this beautiful practice.

Even though I don’t feel stressed, I know I’m experiencing more stress than usual just by being away from home. I don’t need to have a melt down before I start taking care of myself.

Be a gentle warrior.
Meditation or not, find a little time each day to sit quietly. Don’t wait for the melt down, or break down.

7. I will fill my heart.
I will call and text my loves every day while I’m on the road. If I’m in a friend’s city, we will spend time together, reconnect and tell each other “I love you” one hundred times. I will fill my heart with other things I love too like photography, writing and reading.

Be a gentle warrior.
Identify what fills your heart and have a plan to incorporate those people or activities on a daily basis during your trip.

8. I will leave lots of white space on my calendar.
I will reject the call to do more without guilt or regret. More in-person connection means less social media connection. I’ll choose mid morning flights over early morning flights. I pass on most early morning media requests, social meet-ups, networking opportunities, and trying to maintain a regular work schedule.

Healthy travel requires flexibility. Healthy travel means trading F.O.M.O. for J.O.M.O. By committing to do less, I am going to miss out on things, but instead of fear, I feel joy. Joy that I have a choice, joy that I am protecting what matters most, and joy because I feel well.

Be a gentle warrior.
Be more. Do less.

9. I will pack lightly.
I won’t check a bag when I fly or bring any “just-in-case” items.

Be a gentle warrior.
Use The Minimalist’s 20/20 rule.

10. I will be grateful.
Even when flights are running late, hotel food kinda sucks, I get lost, or miss home, I will be grateful. So grateful. I love what I do. I have an amazing team of supportive people. I feel well. I’m having the time of my life. How could I be anything but grateful.

Be a gentle warrior.
Start and end each day with gratitude for what you love, what makes you smile, and what makes your life better.

Become a gentle warrior and protect what matters most to you.

Make your own list of non-negotiables. Begin to protect your health, your love, your loves, and your life. Do this with the heart of a gentle warrior and your efforts won’t be selfish or isolating, but instead will allow you to be and give your best self.

I’ll be traveling for a few more days this month for work and play. There are still tickets available for the Soulful Simplicity Book Tour in Dallas and Austin. If you haven’t had a chance to read my new book, please learn more here.

See other Gentle Warrior Guides here.

The post A Gentle Warrior’s Guide to Healthy Travel appeared first on Be More with Less.

Categories: Wellness

[CDC Office of Women's Health, Health Matters for Women] Disparities in Preconception Health Indicators — Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, 2013–2015, and Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System, 2013–2014

CDC Women's Health - Mon, 02/05/2018 - 10:13
The National Preconception Health and Health Care Initiative’s Surveillance and Research work group suggests ten prioritized indicators that states can use to monitor programs or activities for improving the preconception health status of women of reproductive age. This report includes overall and stratified estimates for nine of these preconception health indicators.
Categories: CDC, Podcasts, Wellness

The Morning Routine Effect (what to expect and how to get started)

Be More With Less - Tue, 01/30/2018 - 10:09

In 2006, I started private yoga classes with this guy. At 5:00 a.m. Neither of us were excited about the start time, but it was the only time I could make it work with my crazy-busy schedule. My yoga practice started before I simplified my life.

I wasn’t taking private yoga classes to learn how to do advanced poses, handstands, or anything like that. I wanted to learn how to create my own practice and to understand why it mattered. Even though my practice developed over time, the morning routine effect was almost immediate.

Those 5:00 a.m. classes inspired a five minute practice at home which eventually (over many years) turned into a meaningful morning routine including not just yoga but meditation, walking, writing, and putting my hands on heart. Some days my practice is hours long, and other days only minutes. I know that consistency is more important than intensity and show up even when I only have a few minutes.

The Morning Routine Effect (what to expect)

When you become more intentional about how you start your day, things begin to shift on the inside and the outside. This is the morning routine effect.

I started private yoga classes in search of less stress and more health a few months after my MS diagnosis. I got that and so much more. Here’s what you can expect from a consistent morning routine. (Note: your morning routine doesn’t have to include yoga to be meaningful to you.)

Focus
You’ll feel less scattered and more focused all day long when you give yourself time first thing to settle into the day. While it all contributes, the meditation component of my morning routine helps me come back more quickly when I do get distracted.

Creativity
Not only will you be more creative throughout the day, when you are practicing your morning routine with an open heart and mind, creative ideas seem to drop out of the sky. So much of my book and blog writing starts on the yoga mat or while journaling or walking.

Patience
Learning to under-react is one of the best parts of the morning routine effect. You’ll learn to pause, to consider your words and to remember not to believe everything you think.

Priority
A morning routine will help you understand what matters and just as important, what doesn’t. You can apply what you are learning to your to-do list, your day and your life.

Fuel
A meaningful morning routine can fuel your heart, soul, body and brain depending on the activities you choose. You can fuel up with food too by including a healthy breakfast at the end of your morning routine.

Connection
Your morning routine will help you become more of the real you. The connection you are making with your own heart will encourage connections with the people you are meant to be with. The more you that you are, the more likely you are to attract the right people for you.

Light
Your morning routine will add a sense of lightness to how you feel and how you see the world. If you practice your morning routine early, you may experience more sunrises too. There is something magical about starting the day with the rising light of the sun.

Morning Routine (How to Get Started)

In my new book, Soulful Simplicity I share the exact steps and time-table I used to start my morning routine to help you implement your own. The steps below (originally shared here) will help you get started.

1. Stop saying you aren’t a morning person.
It’s a great excuse but it doesn’t matter. Start your morning routine whenever your morning starts, even if it’s in the afternoon.

2. Be grateful.
Wake up and write down three things you are grateful for. If you can’t think of anything, remember what made you smile yesterday, the first person you thought of when you woke up, or the last thing that made you laugh.

3. Stretch in bed.
Wiggle your toes. Roll your hips from side to side. Reach your fingers to the ceiling. Stretch your lungs too and take a few deep breaths.

4. Hide your phone.
Do whatever it takes to be digital free until you’ve enjoyed your morning routine. Eventually you may want to use a meditation app or other tool on your phone during your morning routine, but start without it so you aren’t tempted to check email, news, or other apps.

5. Make a list of morning routine activities.
Eliminate the painful process of making decisions when you first wake up. Instead, make a list of what you’d like to include in your morning routine and choose two or three to start with.

6. Create a morning not to-do list.
You may have more clarity on how you want to spend your morning minutes after clearly identifying what you don’t want to do. Make a list of the things that don’t add value to your mornings. Here are a few things you may want to include on your not to-do list.

7. Put pen and paper nearby.
Journaling is a great way to leave your worries on paper, work through an issue or release some of the excess thoughts clouding your mind.

8. Create accountability.
Challenge a friend to 10 days of practicing a morning routine. Agree to text each other a simple, “I did it” after your practice.

9. Turn on the music.
Quiet background music can help to keep you engaged and present in your morning routine. Create a 5 minute playlist and practice your morning routine for as long as the music lasts for the first week. Add a minute or two to your playlist and routine each week.

10. Show up.
Even if you don’t do anything during your morning routine, show up for it every morning for a week. Dedicate five minutes to getting on your yoga mat, sitting at your kitchen table, on the floor next to your bed, or wherever you’d like to be. Just show up.

__________________________

The Soulful Simplicity Book Tour begins again next week! Find tickets below. I look forward to spending time with you if you live near one of the following cities.

  • Seattle 2/5/2018 | TICKETS
  • Los Angeles 2/7/2018 | TICKETS
  • San Diego 2/12/2018 | (SOLD OUT)
  • Dallas 2/15/2018 | TICKETS
  • Austin 2/16/2018 | TICKETS

Registration for A Simple Year Closes January 31st. Learn more by visiting A Simple Year, or by checking out the program overview + Q & A (recorded webinar).You can watch the video replay by clicking here and if you prefer audio only, click here.

The post The Morning Routine Effect (what to expect and how to get started) appeared first on Be More with Less.

Categories: Wellness

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