Morning Ritual – One Week Strong

Hi friends! For those of you following along, I’m exactly one week into having a morning ritual and I thought I’d share with you my takeaways thus far.

  • It’s such a relief to start the day on my own terms. When I wake up with the kids, i.e. to a crying baby or jabbering toddler, my heart rate immediately skyrockets and I start the day in a whirlwind. Now, with my 4:30am (yes, you read that right!) wake up, I get to start the day intentionally. And wow, does that put me in a good headspace and place emotionally to love my boys and myself well.
  • It gets easier. The first few days I needed my hubby (who thankfully already wakes up early) to rouse me from bed. Once he even used Mel Robbins’ 5 Second Rule to get me up, which I can’t ignore…but I may have had a few choice expletives for him while still in my groggy stupor. I standby my statement to him that I can’t be held responsible for anything I say before coffee – ha!
  • Now that I have a morning ritual, it’s also informed my nighttime habits. In order to wake up well in the AM, I need to go to bed early and start winding down soon after we get our boys to bed. I’ve been incorporating more evening showers, reading (I’m reading Joyful by Ingrid Fetell Lee and have already started incorporating some of her suggestions into our home – post to come soon!), and even getting laundry ready to go so that I can start the day off with some of our day-to-day chores started (I use the Delay Start function on our washer so that it starts a load at 3:30am, just in time to be moved to the dryer when I’m up!).
  • I’ve really enjoyed my Start Today Journal and stream-of-consciousness journaling time. There’s something empowering about writing down what you’re grateful for and your goals, and then it’s cleansing just journaling about your day or how you’re feeling. It’s as if you shed what’s weighing you down and start fresh. Here’s a journal similar to the one I’ve been using. Just the right size to jot down one page of thoughts a day!
  • And finally, I’ve been meditating for about 5 minutes either during my morning ritual or to wrap up my morning gym sessions. And those few minutes of stillness and purposeful breathing are everything to me.

I’m only a week in and I’m sure I’ll continue to fine-tune my morning ritual, but so far it’s been a resounding success!

A Morning Ritual

Do you have a morning routine?

I’m freshly home after an amazing experience at Rachel Hollis’ Rise Conference in Ft. Myers. Talk about an inspiring and empowering way to kick off not just the new year but an entirely new decade!

Baby Brother joined me at the conference, and the Hollis Co team was SO supportive!

I have lots of takeaways from the three days, but my biggest “aha” moment came when Rachel Hollis and Amy Porterfield sat down and had a conversation about health. One of the things Amy sites as helping her on her path to wellness was establishing a morning ritual.

Did you hear that? Not a routine but a ritual.

I love that distinction. A ritual is something sacred. A ritual is something you don’t compromise on. A ritual is done the same way time, and time, and time again.

And it finally clicked.

I’ve always wanted to be an early morning person and have a morning routine to start my day proactively instead of reactively, but I always fell short and lacked the motivation to get going again. But now, with a ritual, I can’t compromise. I have to show up. Again, and again, and again. Because consistency compounds.

If our boys sleep til when I expect each day, I should have about two hours to myself, which is game-changing. My hubby already wakes up at 4:30am to be at work by 7am, so I’m joining him at that time. So not only do I get quality time for myself but we’ll share time together as well!

And to keep myself accountable, and perhaps give you a few ideas for your own morning ritual, here’s my checklist:

  • 4:30am wake up!
  • Change into comfy workout clothes
  • Yoga with hubs + brief meditation
  • Breakfast and coffee together, prep boys’ breakfast and snacks / drinks for the gym for later in the AM
  • Start my essential oil diffuser
  • Gratitude practice and goal setting with my Start Today Journal
  • Stream of conscious journaling
  • Work on my biz!

And you know what’s just as important as a morning ritual? A schedule for the evening as well to set yourself up for success! But that’s another post for another time 😉

Tell me friends, do you have a morning ritual? If so, what’s your favorite thing you do that you’d recommend I incorporate as well? Frankly, I’m just excited to drink a cup of coffee while it’s still warm, ha!

Favorite Gifts for an Active Lifestyle

Happy Holidays, friends!

I can’t believe the holidays are already upon us. Our season kicks off a little early even, with my oldest having his birthday in mid-November! Now that we’re past birthday celebrations and Thanksgiving, I’m excited to turn my attention to gift-giving.

I don’t know about you, but giving gifts is one of my favorite things to do. I love giving little surprise treats to friends, like a Starbucks e-giftcard on a challenging or momentous day, throughout the year, but holiday shopping is an especially fun time of year.

So to celebrate, I thought I’d round up the favorites gifts I’ve received personally that all support an active lifestyle. These are things I’ve used and enjoyed for years, so they’re certainly tried and true (and often times toddler tested too, ha!).

For running, my Garmin Forerunner 235 is my go-to. In addition to tracking mileage and speed, it also tracks my heart rate which I find helpful when training for longer races. It can also be worn daily as a regular watch and to track your steps. There’s a bunch of different interfaces you can use to change up the look and feel of the watch face, which I find to be fun as well.

For day-to-day wear, I love my tiny FitBit Alta HR. Another option for tracking time, steps, and your heart rate! But what I appreciate most about it is its small footprint. I have thin wrists, so a small watch/tracker is just right. The only downside is it tracks your steps by your arm swings, not by GPS (like the above Garmin), so if you’re like me and run with your hand on a jogging stroller – full disclosure it might not pick up every step. Ultimately that’s not a deal-breaker for me personally (I just go into their app and add my run in manually), but thought you should know!

My husband and I both workout and run with these Bose Soundsport Bluetooth headphones and they’ve lasted years – winning! I even do Aaptiv bodyweight and weightlifting workouts in these and they stay put. So much better than slipping your phone in your pockets and using wired headphones. I recommend these to anyone and everyone!

My best suggestion for when you’re moving your body is to wear good sweat-wicking socks. It’s a little thing, but it goes a long way. I’ve been wearing Balega socks for years and years, and most of my original pairs I still have! I know that $13 feels like a lot to pay for one pair of socks, but just invest in a few pairs now and add one or two each year. Your feet will thank you for it. My mom’s been putting a pair of these in my Christmas stocking since I was 16 (so for half my lifetime!), and they’re one of my favorite gifts every year (thanks, Mom!).

Image result for aaptiv

And finally, the first time I heard of Aaptiv, a fitness workout app, I was highly skeptical. I felt like I “knew enough” about working out to create a good routine for myself. What I learned to love about the app though is the ability to select a workout, hit play, and just do the dang thing. No overthinking about what movement to do next, you just listen to what the trainer in your ear says – and then do it! I also enjoy the built-in music (SO good!) and the trainer’s motivation throughout. There’ve been a few times I’ve wanted to quit and the trainer said, “Once we start, we don’t stop” right when I needed to hear it most. It’s more than worth the annual investment!

Okay friends, it’s your turn! What are your favorite active gifts you’ve received or given?

Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate!

Do you know the one, FREE, thing you can do to make yourself feel better – starting today?

Drink more water!

It’s true. It’s such a simple thing but one that’s often overlooked. In fact, I’ve worked with coaching clients before who were taking in more diet soda a day than water. And do you know what they immediately noticed when they increased their water intake? Their soda intake decreased easily (gotta love the crowding out method!), their joints felt less stiff, and they fell asleep faster because of lowering their caffeine intake. Talk about making an impact on your health!

Why drink more water, you ask? There are loads of benefits such as:

  • maintaining your body temperature
  • lubricating your joints
  • protecting your spine
  • keeping you hydrated
  • reducing snacking – thirst is often confused as hunger
  • flushing your system

Want to know how much water you should be drinking? Check out these suggested guidelines. I’d encourage you to give them a try and find the amount that works the best for you! I personally like the method that Rachel Hollis suggests – drinking half of your body weight in ounces of water a day. Easy enough to remember!

There are a few things to consider when aiming for a hydration goal – such as your level of activity, if you’re pregnant or nursing, if you live in a warm environment…you get the idea. If you’re doing something that reasonably would require more hydration…then hydrate more! Personally, I go above and beyond and drink 100+ ounces of water a day because I’m fairly active and am currently nursing our youngest. With some time, you’ll find your hydration sweet spot too.

Here’s the most important thing to remember. You’re not going to drink more water unless you make it easy to do. How do you ask?

Use a larger water bottle. 

Let me say that again. Grab a bigger glass!

I’m so much more likely to drink four 24-ounce Tervis servings or three 32-ounce Nalgenes over a bajillion 8-ounce glasses of water each day. Who has time to constantly run to the fridge or tap for more water? Instead, I like to use a larger container – and another bonus is it’s easier to keep track of how much you’ve had to drink that day. Three Nalgene fill-ups is easy!

To make it even simpler, I always add something “fun” to my middle water serving (so my second/third Tervis or second Nalgene). Such as a Nuun tablet, lemon wedges, blueberries, you name it! I’ve rounded up a few of my favorites for you below.

So tell me, are you drinking enough water? If not, I challenge you to start today! Right now, in fact. Get up, grab a glass, fill it up, and throw it down the hatch. And if you are hydrating well already, I’d love to know your tips and tricks for making it happen in your own life.

So, friends, to you I say – cheers!

Resources: Mayo Clinic Article |CDC Article |Healthline Article

Decisions from Love, not Fear

Well we’re through week 5 of the #last90days challenge with @msrachelhollis and the @starttodaybrand team, and this was my best week yet! I’ve come close to hitting my Five to Thrive each day, but more importantly, this week’s theme really hit home for me.

Week 5 was all about fear – what we’re fearful of and how we’re going to overcome it. I’ve made a commitment in my life to only make decisions from a place of love and not from a place of fear, but this past week I realized I was actually choosing to not do something new because of fear.

What’s that thing you might ask? Well, it’s actually two things but they’re both tied to me making my physical and mental health a priority.

My first fear was our running stroller. I know, who’s afraid of a running stroller, you ask? This kid. More specifically, I was fearful that I’d get the kids packed up, drive to our favorite trail, get them out of the car, and only then realize that I couldn’t figure out how to get the wheel back on the stroller.

Sounds simple, I know, but baby jogging strollers are a labyrinth of hinges and pulls and the tire requires lots of spinning of do-dats and whatcha-ma-call-its in order to get the tire seated correctly. But friends, here’s the thing. Once I gave myself the gift of time to play around with the stroller at home, I got confident enough that I could do it all again at the park. And worst-case scenario? I’d find either a cyclist (the stroller’s wheels are very bicycle-esque) or a fellow mama runner, and everything would be okay. Or worst-worst-case scenario? We head back home, I watch some YouTube videos, and we try again the next day. I’m nothing if not persistent.

And how’d it go? It was great! I got the stroller back together (not without a little difficulty, but I got there in the end!) and loved getting into nature with our boys. Baby brother slept, big brother pointed out leaves for me to hand him, and together we covered 2 very fun miles. I’m so grateful to have had that experience with them and not to have robbed us of it because of fear.

Fear #1 – faced!

And my second fear? Well, that has to do with these two sweet babies that have completely stolen my heart. We’ve been lucky enough for 2 years to have family visit from out-of-town at least once a month, so hubs and I have gotten date nights in fairly regularly. But recently we decided to make date nights a more regular thing, so this past week we both interviewed a new sitter (and she rocks!) and I signed up for a membership at our local Gold’s Gym (who has childcare for both boys – winning!).

The fear I tackled there was trusting someone, other than family, to care for our boys. And here’s the thing, I show up as an even better mom for them when I have time to connect with their dad on date nights and when I take time to move my body each day. I love running with them, but it’s such a gift to get to work out, be around other adults, and not need to me on “mom mode” the entirety of the day. That little 45 minute me-time goes a long way in making me a patient mama.

After all, you can’t pour from an empty vessel. You have to take care of yourself first in order to pour into others.

So, fear #2 – bested!

Here we are, cruising into week 6 and I’m excited for all that’s to come in the last two months of the challenge. If you’re feeling like you want to give it a go, hop right in. After all, their whole motto is about starting today!