2015 New Year’s Resolutions

Be consistent. I got this from Gabrielle Bernstein’s video. I had an “aha!” moment when I watched that video: You can make great change just as long as you’re consistent. Being consistent makes it hard to give up the moment you “fail.” Being consistent makes it easy to make change because you are understanding that you’re human. It’s a way to acknowledge that you are ready for change. Change takes commitment.

Love yourself and others. Jesus said to love others as yourself. Work on loving yourself and spreading that love to others. This could be a simple as not participating in body-shaming of yourself or something else (yes, celebrities count too!). Be love to yourself and others by making a healthy meal and inviting loved ones to partake. Be love to yourself and others by making a commitment to focus on posting positive things on social media, such as an encouraging quote, story, or song.

Those are mine.

What are yours?

More general goals for me? I’d like to read more. I’d like to write more consistently on my blog, practice yoga and meditation daily, and continue journaling and writing poetry.

Happy New Year! May you be blessed.

Beautiful You: Ways to Ease Anxiety and Help Sleeplessness

Happy Thursday everyone! As promised, I want to share a few tips and tricks that I’ve played around with and that work for me to help ease anxiety and help sleeplessness. (Though I am sorry this wasn’t up on Monday.)

First, a disclaimer: I’m not a doctor. These are non-medical opinions and tips that have worked for me to ease my anxiety, panic attacks, and sleeplessness.

1. Supplements. Every day I try to take passionflower (calms the nervous system), and Vitamin B Complex (balances moods, gives you energy, etc.).

2. Prayer, devotional, and journaling. This works for all hours of the day, but I like to do it morning and night. Take a moment, it doesn’t have to be long, to write down the things that are making you anxious or unable to sleep, or just say them out loud. And I mean everything. Even the things you may consider silly, not really a problem, etc. If you keep those thoughts in your head, they will continue to only grow bigger and more scary, causing more anxiety. Release them through prayer and meditation or through writing. Be as specific as you can. God will hear you.
Read some of your favorite quotes, passage from a book, Scripture, etc. Read something that connects you to God. Read something that just makes your relax.

3. Move. I practice yoga for calming my mind, and I recently bought a mini trampoline to help get some cardio in throughout my day. Jumping on the trampoline also helps clear my mind, get my heart pumping, and energy levels up. Do something that can get you to clear your mind and tire your body out. I like to choose a time when my anxiousness sometimes feels the highest (usually around that 3 p.m. slump)

4. Avoid Caffeine. I hated to admit this to myself, but caffeine really increases my anxiety, especially in the morning. It’s not that I’ve had to say goodbye to my cup of Joe, oh no. It means that I’ve become mindful of the days when I need to avoid it. When I wake up calm and relaxed, I may enjoy a cup. But not everyday. Try to avoid things with caffeine, because it will increase your anxiety and it can create sleeplessness.

5. Shower or take a bath. This is relatively new to me, but it’s a great way to calm the mind and ease the body into a restful night’s sleep. I’ve been taking a quick shower at night. It helps clear my mind and by rinsing off I feel I’m washing off the day I’ve had and clearing my mind for a good night’s rest.

. Drink Tea. Though this can be done throughout the day, drinking chamomille, lavender, or peppermint tea has greatly helped with me getting a good night’s rest. I like to drink these calming teas whenever I feel sleepless or anxious. DO you ever feel nauseous because of anxiety or lack of sleep? Ginger is a miracle worker.
In fact, I’d go so far as to say that drinking any decaffeinated tea that you really, really love will help ease anxiety. I’ve noticed this myself. My favorite teas include:

Yogi Lavender and Honey
Twinings Peppermint
Twinings Chamomille
Good Earth Sweet and Spicy
Stash Ginger and Lemon

6. Lights out. Quit using a computer or other screen within an hour or so of bedtime. For me, this works because my body seems to know that when I put the computer away or turn the television off, it’s time to get ready for bed. I also use a fan (if you don’t like a fan and don’t want to buy a sound machine, I’d consider using a sleep app. The background noise you can focus on and it will help you fall asleep.)

7. Deep breaths. Practicing yoga has helped me learn when I’m breathing too shallow, which can stir up anxious feelings. When you learn about deep breathing, and how we do too little of it, you’ll realize just what you’ve been missing. I’ve used this technique from Gabrielle Bernstein many times when feeling anxiety creep it, and it re-centers me and helps me get back on my way.

8. Drink water or eat. It may seem sily, but avoiding a snack or a meal could be causing your anxiety or keeping you from sleeping well (going to bed with a growling stomach is not fun). I’ve heard eating a banana about a half hour before bedtime helps, because of it’s melatonin content. (Melatonin is the chemical our body releases to help us relax and sleep.) In general, if you are starving by the time you get to a meal, you’ll probably notice your anxiety will be up. Try to avoid this by choosing good-for-you snacks, like an apple and a piece of cheddar cheese, and avoid sugary stuff. Sugar is not good for anxiety. And before diving into a snack or meal, try seeing if a glass of water will fill you up. (Sometimes my anxiety will creep in simply because I’m thirsty!)

And that’s it for now. I hope these tips will help you in some way. Remember, everyone will have different tips and tricks that help them in some way. These, in no particular order, are mine.

Peaceful minds and sleep-filled nights to you! (I love how Kris Carr signs off on her newsletters this way.)

Ashley

Happy New Year!

Hi, everyone! Can you believe it’s 2014? It felt like 2013 went by so fast. And what a fantastic year it was! 2013 was a very transformational year for me. I was able to move forward doing work that I love, I learned how to knit, I fell in love with yoga, and even tried a meditation or two.

I haven’t made any specific resolutions this year, except to continue doing what I’m already walking on the path of: a healthier, happier life filled with love, laughter, and ease.

What are your 2014 resolutions? Did you make any this year?

Wishing everyone a blessed, blissful, and beautiful new year,

Ashley

Gratitude is the Attitude

It’s November, and I’ve been noticing on my social media feeds a rise in posts about what people are thankful for. I love the idea of sharing something everyday that we’re thankful for, no matter how big or how small.

Gabrielle Bernstein has a great quote about gratitude in her book, “May Cause Miracles”: “Gratitude creates a domino effect of love.”

I know that when I’m feeling down, stressed, panicked, rushed, irritated, or just not feeling “OK,” I’ve been forcing myself to remember gratitude. To be thankful for the small things. I’m thankful for my beautiful apartment, my loved ones, but I’m also incredibly thankful to the pen that doesn’t run out on me, or being able to have the time in the morning to write this post. When you set your mind to being thankful all the time, it’ll leave you feeling less panicked, stressed, or irritated, even if only for a minute or so.

Today, I’m sharing my gratitude for yoga and my breath. I’ve been trying to sit in stillness each morning to center myself before heading into my work day, and I’ve noticed that with yoga and focusing on my breathing, I feel stronger and more confident.

I’m also thankful for chai lattes, which basically captures the entirety of the holidays and places it in a single cup of steamy tea with cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger. Mmm.

I found this coconut chai latte last night from Oh She Glows and it’s my inspiration for this morning’s chai latte. And sometimes, I like to make my chai lattes more chilly (yes, even in winter) and I make this chocolate chai banana smoothie.