Tips to a Restful Nights Sleep: Part 1 (What NOT to do)

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We all know that sleep is critical to function on a day to day basis, but an irregular sleep pattern can do more damage to the body than you may realize. A lack of sleep can affect your emotional wellness, hormone balance, physical appearance, and much more. A good nights sleep can make a world of difference, so to help you out here is a list of things you can bring into your life to help the journey to dreamland.  

Lets start with the things to avoid,  sometimes knowing what not to do is better than knowing what to do. Everyone is different in how they can get to sleep, but if you want to improve your sleeping habits here are some things you may want to start with:

  • Light and Electronics:

    Our bodies are naturally hardwired to function when the sun is up, and our internal clock cannot tell the difference between a lightbulb and the sun. As it gets closer to bed time, limit your exposure to artificial light that comes from your in-home light and electronics. Electronics not only stimulate our brains, but screens emit a special blue light that mimics the light we see from the sun, which tricks the body into staying awake. Try to use dim lighting in your home to allow your body to naturally bring itself to a state of rest.  If you have to use your devices before bed, use them on a lower brightness or install an app that can block blue light on your device. We recommend f.lux!

  • Alcohol and Drugs:

    Alcohol is known as a depressant due to its ability to slow our bodies functioning down, but alcohol itself is a toxin that the body has to process out. Which means drinking it before bed interrupts every normal internal function going on. This can cause indigestion, hormonal imbalances, instability in the muscles and brain, and of course you may even wake up with a hangover. Drugs and nicotine are typically stimulants, which means they release adrenaline and kick your body into high gear, the exact opposite of what you want when its time for bed. If you have to smoke or drink, do so 3-4 hours before bed. Better yet, if you can avoid these two things altogether before bed.

  • Irregular or Long Daytime Naps: 

Studies have shown that a single 20-30 minute nap in the middle of the day can improve functioning, but anything more than that can be detrimental to your overall sleep patterns and cause you to not be tired until you have to be at work.

  • Going to bed Stuffed or Starving:

Going to bed without any food in your system makes your body think its starving, and your stomach will keep you awake through hunger pangs to try and motivate you to eat. Alternatively, while people always feel sleepy after a big meal, you can easily put on more weight when you digest a giant meal asleep. You may not even digest it fully, which leads to intestinal bloating, gas, infrequent bathroom visits, and lethargy when you wake up. Try to eat a nutritious meal before 9:00 PM, make sure to take your time eating and chew slowly. This gives the body proper time to digest and know when it is full for the night.

Tips for Goal-Setting

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Tips for Goal-Setting

Get S.M.A.R.T.

As some people always say, ‘If you want to become successful, you must first set goals.’  I believe that this saying could not be more true. In a world where so much is constantly going on, it is important to center ourselves and make sure that our personal needs and desires for a fulfilling life are being put first. One way to create a fulfilling life is to create goals specifically for you. However, in order to accomplish the goals you wish to pursue, you must first understand how to set them. According to The Huffington Post’s author, Stacy Kim, there are seven rules that she wrote that I found useful for women to be able to set obtainable goals for themselves.

1. Pick one goal to focus on.

2. It’s best to start with a “want to” goal rather than a “have to” or a “should.”

3. Focus on yourself.

4. Recognize the difference between projects and tasks, and choose each wisely.

5. Set a check-in point.

6. Celebrate your successes.

7. Be flexible. Abandon goals that don’t serve you well.

 

I really liked Stacy Kim’s seven rules she stated for women to meet their goals. Being on the right track with setting realistic goals for yourself will allow you to be on your way to living a more confident and structured lifestyle. Goal-setting has allowed me to better my life by simply encouraging me to dream big and to set myself up to reach my upmost potential.

There is an acronym found that I found on www.mindtools.com in an article entitled “Golden Rules for Goal Setting: Five Rules to Set Yourself Up for Success” that I think is useful when setting goals. The acronym is S.M.A.R.T. which stands for goals being: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Timely

Specific goals help aid in the direction you want to go and end up in.

Measurable goals help to measure your success.

Attainable goals help to make sure that the goals you are setting hold the best possible outcome of actually being achieved.

Relevant goals should focus on where you see yourself a week from now, or even a few months from now from your current situation.

Lastly, Timely goals help set deadlines for when you want certain goals to be met and setting deadlines is a good practice to get into because once you meet a deadline, you can finally celebrate your successes when the time comes.

Personally, using the S.M.A.R.T. acronym has helped me tremendously. Every week I sit down with my planner and/or journal and come up with at least three goals that I wish to accomplish that week. Once I have written the three goals down, I analyze them with the acronym and that helps me internalize whether or not they are going to allow me to grow as a person. I hope that the S.M.A.R.T acronym and Stacy Kim’s seven rules will help you to reach your own personal goals! Remember: no goal is neither too big nor too small. Happy goal-setting!

Links:

https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/how-to-set-goals-7-unconventional-tips-for-smart-women_us_59bbe4c3e4b02c642e4a15c4

https://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/newHTE_90.htm

Written by: Katie McCrory

Postpartum Depression Recovery

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Pregnancy can be one of the happiest times in a woman’s life, but of course, has its challenges as well. It is shown that 1 in 8 women experience postpartum depression after giving birth. There are elements that can cause drastic changes in a woman’s life, especially in physical and emotional health. Some physical changes include fatigue and abdominal pain. Emotional changes can consist of mood swings and/or feeling withdrawn from family and friends. An important key factor is to know that postpartum depression can happen to anyone. Here are some steps that you can take to help in your recovery:

Nutrition

Having a well-balanced diet can help with controlling mood swings. Consuming non-nutritious foods can result in a lack of energy and lower self-esteem. Avoiding sugary foods such as sodas, ice cream, and highly processed boxed foods can be beneficial in lowering your blood sugar levels. A substitute for this can be complex carbohydrates like whole grain (oats, farro, barley, etc.) which provide a better foundation of energy.

Rest

Women who have postpartum depression often struggle with maintaining a balanced sleep pattern. A step that you can take to help control this is to rest when your baby sleeps. Even if you cannot fall asleep, laying down in a quiet place can do your body and mind wonders. You are not only helping yourself, but your baby as well by sustaining a relaxed state of mind.

Communication

Women who are always putting others first can struggle when it comes to asking for help about themselves. Allowing yourself to open up to family and friends can be a prominent source of emotional support. Even if they cannot help solve the problem right away, expressing your thoughts can ease any distress. You may even be shocked to find that they have gone through an experience close to yours.

Support Group

Support groups can be a wonderful experience for new mothers. When going through a change in life, it can be hard to put yourself out there and make new connections with people. By joining a support group it can provide a specific level of support that can be hard to find. Learning about other women and the experiences they have gone through can give you hope and reassurance that you’re not alone through this journey.

 

Mindful Eating Workshop: Path to Wholeness

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“Eating is not only nourishing for the body, but also for the mind.” – Thich Nhat Hanh

Through mindful eating, we learn how to use the senses, intuitively listen to our needs, and feed our body with the intent to thrive and find healthier versions of ourselves.  Mindfulness is a practice of living in the present moment, cultivating a connection of the body and mind. Explore meditation and mindfulness exercises which highlight using food choice as an opportunity to take care of yourself.  Join Joie De Vivre for a workshop to discuss the importance of a mindful relationship with food and the positive changes it can bring into life. 

Complimentary participation is on a first come, first serve basis. To sign-up please complete the form below with your name and email address.  Parking and driving directions will be emailed once attendance is confirmed.

When: Friday, August 24, 1-2:30 PM
Format: Small group (8-10) women
Where: One Atlantic Center, 1201 West Peachtree Street, NW, Suite 2300, Atlanta, GA 30309


"Mindful practices connecting food, awareness and kindness for our best nourished self." -Unknown
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Managing Self-Care and Reducing Stress

Self-care can be defined as an act done by oneself that amplifies health and happiness. It can be an essential part of maintaining healthy relationships and stress. Stress can play a large part in your physical or mental well-being. It can affect you psychically such as a decrease in energy or the inability to sleep. The amount of stress you have can affect your mental health as well such as anxiety or depression. Here are tips that can help in stress reduction:  

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Sleep Techniques
When attempting to sustain a busy schedule sleep can be put on the back burner. With having little to no sleep or interrupted sleep it can be challenging for many people. Luckily techniques have been developed to help end restless nights. A strategy that can help is learning the correct breathing techniques. By slowly inhaling and exhaling this lowers your blood pressure and heart rate. When taking a slow deep inhale, this raises your oxygen level enabling your body to not work as hard to run.

Guided imagery is a technique used to reduce stress and promote a good night’s sleep. This strategy helps relate your unconscious mind to your conscious mind. Spending time imagining yourself on the beach surrounded by palm trees can help distance you from the stress at work to the peaceful image in your mind.

Putting Yourself First
At times we feel that taking time for ourselves is seen as a selfish act. Without self-care, you can have outcomes that can add more stress to your life. This can include arguing with your spouse because your emotions are hard to control due to your lack of sleep. But to help others we need to make sure our needs are met first.

Women who are juggling a career and family can feel overwhelmed and selfish for taking time for themselves. The key is to stop believing your selfish for putting yourself before other’s needs. To make yourself a priority, schedule a time each day to focus on your health and well-being. This can be simple tasks such as going for a walk after work, reading a faviorite book, or taking a bath before you go to bed.

Written by Katelyn Carow

Saturday Mornings Green Smoothie

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Start your Saturday off the right way.  This green smoothie is a perfect blend of fruits and green vegetables and an ideal way to receive the perfect vitamin and antioxidant boost.

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup of fresh or frozen pineapple
  • 1/2 cup fresh baby spinach
  • 1/4 cup of apple juice
  • 1/2 cup of kale
  • 1/2 cup almond milk
  • 1 medium banana sliced
  • 1/2 cup honeydew melon
  • 1 cup of ice

Place all of the ingredients in a blender; process until smooth.  Serve immediately.

3 Ways to Help Kids Manage Sibling Conflicts

Having more than one kid in the household increases your chances of conflict. Sibling rivalry will become an inevitable aspect of the relationship with your kids. The conflict can leave parents at their wits end, exhausted, wanting to find a solution that can bring it to an end. Bickering, teasing, and even physical fights can be disruptive, create an unhappy home environment, and a sour relationship between siblings. Here are three ways that you can help your kids manage sibling conflicts.

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1. Parent as You Should
Ignoring the conflict between your children is reckless and neglectful. You have a responsibility to take action when sibling rivalry progresses to excessive physical or verbal incidents. Step in and address the situation by having a candid conversation with your kids about what’s going on. Listen to their concerns and provide suggestions on how they can handle disagreements in a positive manner, without teasing, being spiteful or physical fights.

2. Implement a Family Plan
Establish real consequences, both positive and negative, by creating a family plan that directly addresses the sibling rivalry. The consequences should be levied against all involved in the conflict. For example, everyone loses computer privileges if a shouting match erupts. On the other hand, should the kids go an afternoon without any fighting, they could enjoy family game night as a privilege.

3. Avoid Comparisons
It is normal for siblings to have different personalities and abilities, but comparisons should be avoided at all cost. You don’t want to give your kids the impression that you love one more than the other, or acknowledge the accomplishments of one and ignore the other. Acknowledge your kids worth on an equal level, highlighting and encouraging their talents on an individual basis. 

Sibling conflict should be avoided because it can be toxic. Parents have a responsibility to limit or eliminate sibling rivalry from their household. It is important to promote a warm and close-knit relationship between your kids because it is important to how your kids will transition into their adult relationships. While sibling rivalry is generally inevitable, it can be addressed in every home if parents play their part, establish ways to deal with the conflict and avoid pitting siblings against each other.

Berry Smoothie with Protein Benefits

Start your day with this flavorful fruit smoothie. It’s a delicious breakfast, but also serves as well as an afternoon snack or even a frosty deserve it. Top with fresh berries and chia seeds which are packed with protein and antioxidants! 

It’s best served icy cold or straight for the blender.

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Ingredients
1/2 cup of plain low-fat yogurt
1 1/2 cup of fresh strawberries
1 banana
1 tablespoon of agave
1 cup of crushed ice
1 tablespoon of blueberries
2 blackberries
1/4 teaspoon of chia seeds
1 flower top (optional)

Place the yogurt, strawberries, banana, and agave in the blender; process to combine. Add the ice; process until smooth. Add blueberries, blackberries, chia seeds, and flower to garnish. Serve immediately or chill.

5 Ways to Prepare Your Kids For Back to School

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When it comes to that time of year for back-to-school preparations, some children are excited and others are filled with nervousness and anxiety. Moms can also experience these emotions as their children transition into the next level of their schooling. Every family approaches the back-to-school preparations differently, but there are certain key activities that you can carry out to make the process one that is smooth and exciting. Here are five tips that can help you prepare your kids for heading back to school.

Re-establish a Routine.
The summer break was a time of relaxing and not having a care about the rigors of school life. As it gets closer to the school term, it is essential to get back into the school routine rhythm. Start with gradually reverting to school bedtime, and waking up and having breakfast at the same time daily, like your kids would when school is in session. Children of all ages are more likely to handle the new schedule if they know what to expect.

Shop For School Supplies Together.
Shopping together for school supplies is a great way to get your little ones excited about starting a new grade. Give them a little bit of freedom to choose certain items, like a backpack and lunchbox. Print a copy of your child’s school supply list and go shopping early so you can scour for the best deals that can save you money. Your kids can be your helpers, checking items off the supply list as they are found. This way shopping can be more efficient, interactive and fun overall.

Set-Up a New Homework Station.
Good study habits are easier to build when kids have a dedicated and attractive spot to hit the books. Older children and teens especially thrive when having a study space to call their own. Choose a place that is quiet enough for your child to concentrate and avoid distractions like the television or play areas. Get them involved in selecting trays, storage boxes, and more to organize school supplies. Create an area to showcase their art, homework assignments, and keepsakes, such as on a ladder, bookshelf, or large cork-board for a personal touch.

Keep Things Positive.
Not all children are excited about going back to school, and so, it is imperative that positivity is maintained throughout the process. A lack of excitement doesn’t mean that your kids hate everything about school. Focus on the things that they like, be it recess, meeting new students, music class, the opportunity to play sports or join a new club. Visit the school early to familiarize your child with the  spaces they will spend the majority of their time. If possible, find an opportunity to meet the teacher together and encourage your child to ask simple questions.

Prepare Emotions.
Let your kid know why learning is important and how it can be fun, and allow him or her to share feelings of anxiety, never forgetting to acknowledge feelings, and offer simple ways to ease the anxiety. Ultimately it’s a wonderful thing that your child will be developing and learning, but it’s definitely a whole new grade and a new world.

While school preparations can be stressful, as a mother you can make the process much easier for yourself and your children. Start with re-establishing a routine, shop for school supplies, set up a new  homework station with your kids, stay positive and honor their feelings.

How to Relieve Stress through Exercise

Life is a rollercoaster with its ups and downs, from finances to funerals, and as such, stress is an inevitable and unpleasant feature. Stress can affect you physically, mentally and even manifest as emotional strain or tension. It can disrupt your life, interfering with how you go about your daily routine. You cannot eliminate stress from your life completely, but you can use exercise to manage or relieve stress. 

Increase Endorphins
Endorphins are commonly called ‘feel good’ chemicals and are naturally produced by the body’s nervous system. These neurotransmitters act as a pain reliever and happiness booster, and have similar effects to opioids. When you exercise you increase the production of endorphins, while lowering ‘stress hormones' like cortisol and adrenaline, boosting your body's ‘feel-good’ chemicals. When this happens, your mood improves because you’ll experience a feeling of euphoria after vigorous physical activity, like running.

Promote Meditation
Exercise can get you into a meditative state, causing changes in the brain that affect emotional regulation. You become distracted from the things that are weighing you down as you immerse yourself in physical activity, focused on your breathing and muscle movement. You relieve yourself of tension and negative thoughts, allowing yourself to regain focus, a sense of calm, clarity and optimism.  

Exercises that are Excellent for Stress Relief

  1. Walking: Brisk walking is effective because it increases endorphins, which can reduce stress hormones, like cortisol.
  2. Yoga: With a focus on mind-body connection, yoga release tension and stress through a combination of stretches, controlled breathing, relaxation and meditation.
  3. Karate: This form of uplifting physical activity forces you slow your breathing and calm your mind, which aids in stress management.
  4. Swimming: Swimming offers a way to unwind and relax, helping to release stress and tension. 

Exercise is an effective way to manage the stress in your life. It will increase the “feel good” chemical in your body, relieve tension, and improves mood.