The Power of Choice During Trying Times

The Power of Choice During Trying Times

With a national state of emergency in place, many people are feeling more anxious and unsettled.

As I sat and watched the news and scrolled through Facebook the last few days, I noticed quite a dichotomy. Some stories and posts were uplifting, while some were insensitive and downright mean, in my opinion.

I began thinking about human behavior and how ultimately our lives come down to the choices we make every day.

I was reminded that I want to do my best to make choices every day that will support the spiritual, physical, and emotional well-being of me and my family.

Will I always make the right choices? Of course not! I’m human. There are so many things that affect how we behave and what we choose to do or not to do. I believe most people do the best they can, so offering grace to ourselves and others can be quite inspiring and refreshing.

So how can you take care of yourself and your loved ones during this time of uncertainty?

Below are a few suggestions:

  • Begin by thanking God for His love, mercy, and goodness. Pray for our government leaders to make the right decisions to protect our nation. Then ask Him for protection from this virus and any other harmful situation. My go to Scripture is Psalm 91. Using your family members names as you recite it is so personal and powerful. Remember He is ultimately in control.
  • Practice Gratitude – Make a list of ALL of your blessings and meditate on how blessed you really are. I know everyone has their problems, but if you compare yourself to someone in an under developed country, I think your perspective may change. I dare you not to feel better after doing this exercise.
  • Practice kindness and forgiveness – Rather than arguing with or getting upset with someone who has a different viewpoint than you, offer grace and understanding. Holding grudges or getting into a verbal battle honestly doesn’t change or help the situation. Accept that we are all different and honor those differences rather than tear each other down because of them.
  • Breathe – Focus on the quality of your breath by sitting quietly and relaxing your body. Imagine your inhalation bringing life and health into your cells and your exhalation ridding your body of any foreign substances.
  • Get enough sleep – Quality sleep is underrated – it strengthens your immune system, curbs your cravings, and helps you to handle stress better. Indulge in a 15-20-minute nap when you feel tired. Check out my Supercharge Your Sleep guide for practical tips about how to get better sleep.
  • Eat whole, unprocessed food – I know it is so tempting to eat comfort food when you are nervous (I really do understand!) but pause and ask yourself if you are really hungry. If you are, choose healthy food that will strengthen your immune system and help your body deal with the added amount of stress. Nuts, seeds, legumes, fresh fruit and veggies are all great snack choices for the entire family.
  • Move your body and get some fresh air and sunshine – Spending time in nature has been linked to decreased stress so load up on natural vitamin D, which also helps strengthen your immune system. Go bird watching, look for and draw different spring flowers that are beginning to bloom, go for a hike or bike ride. Remember, you don’t need an expensive gym membership to exercise. Make a contest with your family about how many steps you can walk or how many flights of stairs you can climb in a day. One of my favorite pieces of exercise equipment is a rebounder (JumpSport In Home Cardio Fitness Rebounder) but if you don’t have one, try jumping rope. It just might make you feel like a kid again while doing something great for your lymphatic system.
  • Spend quality time with your family – play board games, cook a healthy meal together (great time to teach kids about the benefits of healthy eating), clean out your closets and make donation boxes, learn something new as a family, have a dance party, have your children write thank you notes to special people in their lives, play outside, spring clean the garage, plan a small garden: till the land and order your seeds online, the ideas are endless!
  • Laugh! Make a bowl of popcorn and put on your favorite comedy, play charades, or have a tickle fight.
  • Pick up the phone and actually call or Facetime a loved one or old friend – hearing the voices and seeing the faces of those we love can bring us much comfort during a time of uncertainty.
  • Do something kind for someone – offer to help an elderly neighbor with their shopping, offer to help friends with childcare or meals, or simply smile and be patient with others
  • Take a break from the news and social media sites that increase your anxiety or tension.

Obviously, this is not an exhaustive list, but hopefully it gives you some ideas of activities to engage in while you are spending more time at home, waiting expectantly for a resolution to this pandemic.

Remember, we all can choose how we handle this situation as well as any other trial that may come our way. As a Christian, I look to Jesus for my hope. Although he warned of trouble (“In this world you will have trouble”), He also gave us eternal hope (“But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33).

My hope and prayer are that God leads each of us to make the wisest choices not only during this time, but every day so that we can live abundant lives full of joy and peace.

May God bless each of you and your loved ones with continued good health!

My Tips and Tricks for Outrunning the Flu

My Tips and Tricks for Outrunning the Flu

Although it is already February and the last few days have felt like spring, cold and flu season is still in high gear. Every day I hear about another person coming down with the flu, a bad cold, or a sinus infection.

This season can prove to be challenging in many ways:

  • The lack of sunshine can lead to feeling down.
  • The cold temperatures and infections that are circulating may cause you to stay isolated from friends and fun activities, which can have a direct impact on your immune system.
  • The comfort foods we all enjoy and crave this time of year (although not a bad thing in moderation) can cause an imbalance in our digestive system where over 80% of our immune system lives.

For those of you who know me well, I believe strongly in prevention. Our family does not get the flu shot (I know that may cause some of you to shriek in horror – lol) but that doesn’t mean I don’t take a lot of precautions to prevent getting it. I thought I would share some of those things with you. Before I continue, I just want to be clear that this is NOT medical advice, and I highly encourage you to talk with your physician about what the right protocol is for you.

For starters, I take a product known as Influenzinum made by Boiron. It is a homeopathic product (little pellets) that dissolves under your tongue. I take it prophylactically starting in late October and again in February. Our naturopath advised a certain time and dose schedule that I follow.

I also take a daily probiotic that contains at least 25,000 CFU’s. This is important to keep your gut bacteria balanced and working hard for you.

The next product I take regularly is elderberry. This comes in many forms: liquid, gummies, lozenges. It tastes great, so it’s not hard to remember. 😉

As a child and young adult I was prone to upper respiratory infections. My doctor advised me to take NAC (which is the precursor to glutathione – the master anti-oxidant). I know for a fact that this has helped me tremendously.

Next on the list is vitamin D. I take 5,000 iu’s a day during cold and flu season, but often bump it up for a short period of time if I feel I am fighting something. It is a good idea to have your vitamin D levels checked regularly. You don’t want them too low or too high.

I also find zinc to be beneficial in boosting the immune system.

Another powerhouse in my arsenal is echinacea/goldenseal. This comes in liquid and capsule form. I recently added this into my immune defense repertoire and I have definitely noticed a difference.

One of the last, but certainly not least, products is Argentyn 23 colloidal silver. I used this when our son was undergoing chemotherapy treatments and he never developed a mouth sore, which was highly unusual AND I believe it helped him from developing neutropenic fevers. I use it today to give my immune system a boost. I follow a physician’s dosing protocol and it has worked very well.

Some of my favorite essential oils to use for cold and flu season include: lavender, oregano oil, peppermint, eucalyptus, RC, and Thieves.

Now, if I do get the flu (it happens, but thankfully not in many years!) I swear by the product called Oscillococcinum, also by Boiron. Try saying that 3 times fast! It helps tremendously with all flu-related symptoms, especially body aches.

The strength of our immune system is affected by so many other factors – our stress level, our diet, our mindset, our surroundings. So many things are out of our control but there are some things we can manage. Here’s a few more things to consider to help keep your immune system functioning well:

  • Get a minimum of 7-8 hours of sleep a night
  • Wash your hands frequently and for a long enough time
  • Leave your shoes outside in the garage
  • Eat nutritious whole food meals and limit alcohol and sugar (which directly lowers your immune system)
  • Move consistently throughout the day (get up from your desk every hour to stretch or walk)
  • Stay hydrated
  • Diffuse essential oils in your home (Thieves, frankincense, lemon)
  • Make time for fun and relaxation

I hope these tips are helpful. My desire is to support you on your health and wellness journey so you create a life you love.

Leave me a comment and let me know if you have any other immune-supporting tips that work well for you. I’d love to know!

It’s time to get up and move if you’ve been sitting reading this blog. ;

Let’s keep plugging through this season…spring is on it’s way with its promise of hope and new life (my first spring flower finally popped through the ground today)!

New Year Intentions for Living Your Best Life in 2020

New Year Intentions for Living Your Best Life in 2020

Can you believe we have not only closed the door on another year but an entire decade??!!

When you think about this, what thoughts rise to the surface?

How does this make you feel? Excited, nervous, cautiously optimistic?

Are you ready for a fresh start or are you comfortable where you currently find yourself?

I think it is perfectly normal to experience a mix of feelings. If you had more positive than negative experiences last year, then you might be feeling content with the status quo. However, if this past year was exceptionally difficult for whatever reason, you might be very enthusiastic about flipping that calendar over (in anticipation of a clean slate and a fresh new beginning)!

I will admit, upon taking inventory of the past year and decade various feelings arose. Overall, 2019 was a very good year for me and my family. I have such deep gratitude to God for all of the blessings He bestowed on us this past year. The greatest blessing by far was our son’s continued good health after battling cancer 4 times over a 5-year period. I believe God helped us find our footing again after such a tumultuous period in our lives.

This past decade, however, I endured some of the most challenging years of my life. Although I would never want to relive any of those painful moments, I realize that it is in the pain and suffering that we are stretched and encouraged to persevere and grow.

I will admit I experienced the most spiritual growth during the times when my faith was tested (sometimes beyond what I thought I could bare). I truly believe, however, if it weren’t for the darkness, we would never truly appreciate the light. It is in the seeking of the light that we become the people God created us to be.

Without a doubt, I believe health is our true wealth. That’s why I am so passionate about helping others on their wellness journey.

Like everything in life, wellness is multi-faceted and may look different to different people. Most people I know, start the New Year off with resolutions, intentions, or mantras. Do you have one or several?

Research shows that the majority of New Year’s Resolutions are focused on healthy eating and improved fitness levels. I believe focusing on improving these two areas will help you build a strong foundation that has the potential to transform other areas of your life as well.

For example, if you decide to limit your sugar intake, what is possible?

  • You could lose weight and feel confident in your body again, making you feel more attractive to your spouse.
  • You could feel less stress which may increase your patience and positively affect your relationships.
  • You could experience more energy which you could use for a new hobby or passion.
  • You could experience more focus which may improve your performance at work.

How does that sound? Personally, sign me up! I want to experience ALL of that!

Now, I am not suggesting that limiting or giving up sugar is the answer to all of your struggles, but I do believe that it can make a significant difference in the quality of  your life.

So, I encourage you to consider how your life will look in a year if you commit to prioritizing your health now?

  • Will your relationships improve?
  • Will your confidence soar?
  • Will you experience more joy and peace every day?
  • Will you step out of your comfort zone and risk failure to achieve one of your dreams?

I know that may seem overwhelming to think about, but humor me for a moment. Take a piece of paper and write down everything you hope to accomplish this year and more importantly why you want to accomplish it. Don’t hold back and don’t hesitate as you write. Let the ideas flow unrestricted.

Did you know that you are 42% more likely to achieve a goal if you simply write it down? In my opinion, that’s a great return on investment!

My intention with this exercise is to open you up to all of the possibilities waiting for you to discover.

So, what does your list look like? Do some of your items seem out of reach? Good! This is an opportunity to allow yourself to dream, expand, stretch, and grow.

Although I believe taking care of our physical bodies is a great starting place, I also   believe we need to care for our minds and spirits to live our best life. 

  • Do you want to experience more adventure this year? Consider planning, budgeting for, and booking a dream vacation (and no this doesn’t have to be an extravagant expense; get creative with how you can use your time, money, and energy resources to create memories of a lifetime with those you cherish).
  • Is there something that scares you and holds you back from living your best life? Commit to conquering that fear this year one small step at a time.
  • Do you long for a deeper connection to God? Schedule a non-negotiable meeting with Him first thing every morning and see how He shows up in powerful new ways that will refresh your spirit.
  • Do you want to try a new hobby? Go for it! Sign up for the art class, start taking photos, try your hand at gardening, start writing that book. Listen to what your heart is telling you and make time for your desires.

I hope this list will inspire you to think outside of the box and nurture every aspect of your mind, body, and spirit. My prayer is that you will invite 2020 in with open arms and joyful expectations for all that God wants to release into your life.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11

God bless you as you embark on your new adventure!

Leave me a comment and let me know what you are most excited about and looking forward to in 2020!

I can’t wait to hear from you!

P.S. If you would like personal support to overcome sugar cravings without deprivation, schedule a FREE Love Your Life Now Discovery Session. 

Looking for tips, encouragement, and inspiration to lead a life you love, join my private Facebook Group, Moms’ Self-Love Wellness Club! We’d love to have you! 

 

Love yourself…Change the world?

Love yourself…Change the world?

With children returning to school and more of a structured routine in place, this time of year can be a time of reflection for many moms. I know it is for me.

I’ve heard September being called the second “New Year” and personally, I’ve always thought of it as a fresh start.

As much as I love summer (and this past one was extra special for some reason), I welcome the cooler temperatures, vibrant fall foliage, glowing candles, fuzzy sweaters, and pumpkin everything!

Being someone who enjoys learning, I’ve always anticipated the fresh perspective September seems to offer. It is far enough along in the year to appreciate how far you’ve come yet there is still time to grow and transform if you are open to being stretched out of your comfort zone.

I believe many of you may agree with me because when I posted in my FB group what type of challenge the members were most interested in, the Self-Love Challenge won out. I was so excited because I believe learning to prioritize self-care is a building block for all areas of health and wellness.

So, I’m curious, how do you define self-love?

I define self-love as prioritizing my needs in a balanced way. This doesn’t mean that I put myself in front of everyone else in a selfish way. It means I realize without meeting my needs on a consistent basis, I will be giving everyone else in my life mere scraps rather than the best I have to offer from the overflow of self-love.

What self-love looks like is different for everyone but I believe the overall themes are very similar. Some of the common themes I’ve observed include:

  •  exceptional self-care
  •  self-acceptance
  •  self-confidence
  •  self-awareness
  •  self-acknowledgment.

For me, self-love looks like getting enough sleep every night, making time to exercise, having quality time to think and pray, reading a good book, getting my hair done, offering myself grace when I mess up, spending time with treasured family and friends, and eating healthy foods/taking supplements.

What does self-love look like for you?

  • Do you enjoy going for a massage or getting your nails done?
  • Do you enjoy going out on a date with your spouse or for dinner with a close friend?
  • Do you enjoy solitude with a riveting book, a paintbrush, or a power tool?
  • Do you enjoy shopping and finding the best deals on items you need/want?

Now there may be seasons in life where allocating a lot of extra time to your needs is more difficult. I completely understand these difficult seasons because I’ve lived them.

A few years ago, I was simultaneously caring for our 4-year old son who was battling cancer while taking care of my precious Dad who had Parkinson’s Disease. It was not an easy time. However, I would argue that it is during these trying periods that you need even more self-love to not only thrive but survive.

I’m sure I’m not the only one who notices the staggering negativity in our world. People are simply not happy. Let’s consider how society could benefit from our consistent self-love practices. If each of us took exquisite care of ourselves daily, what could possibly unfold around us?

Let’s use me as an example…

When I sleep well, I wake up refreshed, ready to take on the day. My mind is more focused on what I need to prioritize and accomplish. I have more patience for my family and those around me. I don’t overreact at the slightest annoyance or feel rejected by an imagined slight. I choose to give others the benefit of the doubt.

When I choose to eat whole foods, I strengthen my body by providing it with what it needs to function at its best. I also believe that eating high quality, nutrient-dense foods, rather than processed foods, helps strengthen my immune system and helps me maintain a healthy weight for my unique body.

I feel stronger, more confident, and comfortable in my own skin. I step out of my comfort zone and allow myself to be stretched more than I ever have. I inspire another person to do the same and we celebrate each other’s success.

When I spend quality time with God in prayer, my heart is awakened to His ways, His timing, His promptings. I realize the gift of all the blessings I have been granted which floods my heart with gratitude. I have more understanding and offer grace more quickly to others. I show mercy rather than judgment. I release envy and bitterness. I pray and lift up, rather than compare and despair.

These are just a few examples of what is possible when one person prioritizes nurturing, self-love.

Now, let me be clear, this is what I strive for on a daily basis. Do I always do everything perfectly on this list? Of course not, but at least I have a compass to guide me toward the life I want.  

What do you think is possible if each of us committed to living this way consistently?

I see a ripple effect of love circulating around the world. This type of love could have a positive impact not only in this moment in time, but could potentially change the course of history.

I recall reading a book many years ago that suggested that one person can have an immense impact on the world. I know you’ve probably heard this a million times, but have you ever really stopped to consider what your part may be?  

If you look back at history, you can find examples of individuals who either left a positive or negative impact on the world. For me, Jesus is at the top of the list of people who impacted the world in the best way possible.

He came to set the captives free and He did it with the most intense, self-less love humanity has ever witnessed. Interestingly, though, He practiced a form of self-love that is often overlooked. Although He gave so much of Himself to others, He also spent much needed time alone and ran to the Father to be refreshed.

Even the God of the Universe took time to care for His needs. Perhaps we can follow His example of how to spread love not only to ourselves, our family and friends, but also to an extremely thirsty world.

Leave a comment and let me know how you define self-love and how you plan to practice it today!

Blessings,

Linda

P.S. If you are interested in joining my 5-Day Mom’s Self-Love Challenge, register <HERE>. We would love to have you!