We all grew up with our parents, grandparents and teachers preaching the “be nice to others” card -no hitting, give back, share, say please and thank you -but who taught us how to be nice to our bodies? Did our elders intentionally neglect to teach us the importance of health and wellness? Likely no, they were never taught themselves because they lived in a generation where food was natural and remedies were made at home – not by a manufacturer adding a bunch of chemicals into products.
So yes, we need to start being kind to our bodies. Longevity starts with a healthy body and a healthy mind.
Detoxify Your Brain
Let’s take it from the top. Be kind to your brain. Try not to let the small things overwhelm you so easily and try not to let stress become chronic. Remove toxic people and relationships in your life and focus on self-care and controlling your stressors.
Did you know that chronic stress increases the amount of cortisol in our adrenal glands, which can lead to hormonal imbalances; low energy and thyroids; decreased immunity; increased blood pressure, inflammation and depression; and weight gain? Terrifying right?
Chris Johnson, author of On Target Living, wrote: “All too often people lose their health to make money, and then lose their money to try and get back their health.” What a sobering reality.
Self-care is the most powerful tool you can use towards taking care of your mind and decreasing your stress. Ask yourself these questions: Do I take time for myself on a regular basis? What do I enjoy doing? What did I used to enjoy that I am not doing currently? Why did I stop doing that? What can I do to make time for myself?
Jump start your own self-care with these ideas.
Write in a journal -write your disappointments and frustrations and, more importantly, your goals towards becoming a happier and healthier person, mentally and/or physically.
Organize your days (planners/agendas are fun) to make time for you and your goals. Organization makes me excited for the day…I feel useful and accomplished. If you ever feel you look at your to-do list and have too much to do, become overwhelmed and frustrated, make sure to delegate and/or scale back. Don’t be afraid to say no…you can’t do it all!
Relaxation: yoga and stretching; music; warm baths; reading with a cup of tea; spa (facial, massage, manicure/pedicure).
Re-live your old hobbies (crafting, painting, scrapbooking, sewing, running).
Plan: meal plan; meal prep
Exercise and listen to music (while walking/exercising).
And don’t exercise! Take a day off and let your body rest and restore itself.
Detoxify Your Body
Remove as many toxins going into and onto your body as quickly as possible
Did you know plastic can cause direct toxicity? Let’s begin with removing the plastic in your life not only for you but for the environment: plastic zip locks, bags, water bottles, wrap, straws, Tupperware, wrappers/store bought food items, baby toys. Instead, purchase stainless steel straws, silicone zip lock baggies, beeswax wrap, a re-usable water bottle, bring your own cloth bags to the grocery store, wood/silicone toys, glass/silicone Tupperware containers as well as purchasing food in glass or metal jars.
Next, let’s look at what you’re eating. Remove products with ingredients on the label you can’t pronounce. Food labels should have short ingredient lists and be full of real, whole food items. Make it easier on yourself by enjoying more home cooked meals and eating more foods in your diet without food labels (produce/whole foods).
Just like food, make sure you are buying skin care products with the least amount of ingredients that include the most natural products. Have you ever looked at the ingredients of dry shampoo or face wash? Heavy metals (mercury, lead, arsenic, cardimum) can make their way into cosmetics through clays, minerals and colorants; be careful as these are toxins that can increase risk of cancer and/or organ damage.
Now, don’t forget to sleep! Sleep enhances your performance mentally and physically; rejuvenates and restores our cells, muscles and hormones; increases your energy; and encourages weight stabilization/loss. Did you know melatonin is inhibited when we are in the sun or in front of a blue screen and it tricks our brain into thinking it’s still day time? Time to drop that phone before bed especially if you are having trouble falling asleep at night. If you feel you experience plenty of screen time each day (job, TV, social media), I would highly recommend purchasing blue light blue screen glasses. I use Pixel glasses.
Finally, your legs, butt and feet…”get up off of that thang and let me see you move it”. The importance of exercise cannot be overstated. Our bodies were not made to live a sedentary lifestyle; however, most of us do. Don’t be afraid to ask your employer for a standing desk (if possible) or bring in a large medicine ball to sit on at work instead of a chair.
Detoxify Your Home
Remove the in-house toxins (candles, plug ins, air fresheners, etc.). These smell good items are filled with artificial fragrances that release volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and can not only ruin our air quality, but can damage our organs by entering through our cardiovascular (heart) system, endocrine (hormone) system and respiratory (lung) system. The chemicals from our cozy scents are overwhelming the air in our homes, which then interact with ozone compounds and make secondary pollutants. Essentially you are destroying not only your health but your children’s, animal’s, spouse’s, and friend’s and family’s health as well.
I truly believe this is the start of a new era of wellness and we should all be instilling this concept in our brains. This is a big, healthy step away from the conventional mode of health: fix me (typically with pharmaceuticals). If any of you are in need of a chiropractor, acupuncturist, nutritionist or massage therapist please, don’t hesitate to reach out to me as I will be able to help you start/follow through with your functional medicine journey!
Registered Dietitian and Licensed Dietitian Nutritionist who owns a blog where she encourages others to live their happiest and healthiest life through nutrition tips, recipes, and education.
I recently purchased a coffee table from Charlotte-based artisan Janine Bithell of Rosewood Co and two original paintings by Leslie Poteet Busker, a Charlotte-based artist.
I initiated both of these transactions on Instagram separately, but I wound up picking up the two purchases on the same rainy Thursday morning.
There was something so refreshing about seeing these ladies in their workspaces. Leslie’s studio is a room in her home with beautiful light. When I arrived, I was greeted by Leslie in her signature poppy-colored lipstick. She had a fire lit and offered me coffee. While I wasn’t able to sit and visit (and boy did I want to), the experience warmed my heart.
To purchase artwork for my interior design projects, I’m usually running in and out of stores and boutiques in a way that is so much less personable. This ability to interact with the artist directly and support someone in my community, felt just like that – a warm cup of coffee on a cold rainy day.
Meeting Janine was equally as sweet. She told me her studio was her parents’ garage and welcomed me with a sincere smile and a warm hug. We chatted for a moment and she helped me load my beautiful new herringbone table into the back of my LandRover. Our interaction was brief, but I love the story that now goes along with my table. Meeting the woman behind the beautiful Instagram photos was an unexpected gift. Also, I learned, with every purchase made, the first 11 percent goes straight to a local charity to help those in need – another unexpected gift.
Meeting both of these sweet ladies affirmed my commitment to supporting local small business whenever I can. And so I encourage you to consider: “Who are the local artisans in my neighborhood?” Perhaps a warm cup of coffee and an unexpected gift lie in wait just around the corner.
Deena Knight is an Interior Designer based in Charlotte, NC who loves sharing design, style, and life on her Instagram. To view her portfolio, you can visit her website here.
How we handle stress is often a reflection of our character. Stress is toxic for our mind, our life balance and our health. There is no doubt that there are stress factors every day and every space of our life: work, relationships, health, training … the list goes on and on.
When you really sit back and think about it, there aren’t many things in life that we have full control over. However, there is one thing we can control that influences all of our actions – our thoughts.
Our brain processes about 50,000 thoughts per day, 40,000 of them are negative thoughts. Many of us have been taught “the power of positive thinking.” My wife and I both grew up in households where our parents preached positivity. So great. But not always the most realistic.
The Danger of Positive Thinking
What happens when we focus only on positivity? If you’re living in a giant bubble and never have to make contact with other humans, this is a perfectly viable strategy. However, when you have to make connections with the world, even if you strive to see the best in others, this isn’t going to allow you much flexibility.
The Danger of Negative Thinking
It has been said that once we voice a negative comment, it is now seven times more powerful. Have you ever said something like this to yourself? “So-and-so makes me so angry” or “I’m so tired, I have no idea how I’ll get through the day.” Wow! We are prisoners to our own thoughts. Our thoughts control our words and our actions, and we are the only ones who can take full accountability for ourselves.
The Power of Neutral Thinking
When we take a displeasing situation and are forced to insert positive thinking, or even worse, verbalize positive comments, this may seem forced or fake. What we are suggesting is that you take the same situation and look at it as cause and effect. Absolutely acknowledge what has happened, and then through neutral thinking, move past it.
Remember the quote: “For every action, there’s an equal and opposite reaction?” This is what we are talking about. Life is built of “actions” and “reactions,” and we are encouraging you consider the reaction. Instead of injecting purely positive or negative responses as reactions to events, try to find the variation in every situation.
Let’s take one of our earlier examples, “I’m so tired, I have no idea how I’ll get through the day.” Just to be clear, this is a negative statement. Now, how could we make this a neutral statement? First, think about cause and effect. You’re tired, no denying it, but how will you acknowledge it and then, step two – move past it. Maybe something along the lines of “I didn’t get enough sleep last night, therefore I am tired. Tonight, I will go to bed earlier so that I feel more rested tomorrow.” See there, that wasn’t so hard. This process of neutral thinking allows us to have conflict resolution in our own minds, and helps us move past situations without focusing on the negative.
This way of thinking creates an opportunity to filter your thoughts and consider the cause a bit more directly. Over time, you may find yourself less exhausted by the rollercoaster ride of positive and negative responses most of our days include.
Control What You Can Control
If you’ve ever heard the quote “control what you can control,” here is the ultimate opportunity. You can’t control how others react to you, how the traffic is flowing, what the weather is like, how the stock market closes… but you can control your thoughts about any and everything that comes your way. You’re in charge of how you think, and what you verbalize. Small steps create big changes over time. Start now and stay alert of how you’re thinking.
Most of us derive our identities from what we “do” or what we have accomplished. I am not going to lie to any of you as I am a guy who has been working in corporate America for the past 16 years – and to be completely transparent – I really enjoyed it. I recently made the decision to leave the comfort of a great position with the “Fortune #1″ company in order to pursue things that truly excite me, one of which is helping to focus more of my time and abilities on the growth of Humankind water.
I am not new to HKW, as I have been passionate about this ministry and calling from basically day 1. What I do think I have to offer now is a deeper knowledge and understanding of how to help build a brand and grow sales of this “product” that I’m so passionate about.
In the business world we throw around plenty of terms that the average adult doesn’t commonly come across such as: margin, acv, market share, trade spend, promotional funds, slotting fees, fsi’s, pos, pdq’s, etc etc.
There are two terms that I have become familiar with, but are taking on a new significance in my current state of life: Residual and ROI (Return On Investment).
A few definitions of residual are: “things that remain or that are left over after the main part of something is gone” or “something left behind”.
ROI can mean: “the most common profitability ratio” or ” the concept of an investment of some resource yielding a benefit to the investor”.
What has me constantly in a state of introspection are the questions:
What in my life currently will create “residual ROI”?
What can I focus my time, talents, and earthly treasures on, that will produce for me a return (profit) that will far outlast my life here on this earth?
I can’t get away from these thoughts/questions as I am realizing the brevity and the “finiteness” of the time promised me here on earth. I don’t know how many years I will be fortunate enough to live before I close my eyes for the last time, but I do know that I have already lived 39 years and by worldly standards – have done pretty well. But what am I leaving behind that will last beyond my life even to eternity? That is what is “plaguing”me in a very positive yet troubling way.
Some of the earthly things that many of us strive for are: cars, houses, investment properties, annuities, stocks and bonds, 401k’s, 529 accounts, royalties, buildings and scholarships in our name, etc. These are all great things and none of them are wrong if maintained in the right balance, but are they what our minds should be focused on for the future? An accumulation of stuff and personal accolades? Those things are exactly what society tells me to target, and in reality are where my mind and heart are commonly stuck.
Thus far, I have been privileged to play a small part in touching over 500,000 people with at least 1 year of clean drinking water. Watching a group of pastors and youth workers accomplish so much, with so little in regards to traditional business acumen, has been so inspiring to me. What if all the accomplishments of my past were all orchestrated purposefully so that I could spend the rest of my life skillfully attacking the greatest preventable physical problem our generation faces? What if with the remainder of my life I focus my attention on the quality of life we can provide for each of those precious people that we are able to facilitate sustainable clean water for? What if one of those lives that gets touched with clean water is a child who can make it to adulthood, and is the one who will find the cure for cancer and/or HIV? What if one of those lives that gets touched ends up reaching nation after unreached nation and proclaims the gospel to the places that I am too afraid to go?
Is it worth it for me to give up more of myself – in pursuit of ending a problem that our world has basically chalked up to being “impossible to solve”?
Is it worth it for you to believe that your support of Humankind water may be accomplishing a greater good than you could ever imagine?
Bill Gates, who is regarded as one of the richest men this planet has ever known, seems to have caught wind of what it means to focus his energy on accomplishing things for the world that will far outlive he or his family. Other billionaires are following suit and pledging to take their remaining years and focusing on eradicating some of the greatest issues our generation deals with globally. None of you who are reading this blog are billionaires, but the challenge is to be faithful with the “little” we have in the same proportion that a billionaire should.
There was a man who once said something impactful about having faith the size of a mustard seed. Was that statement meant to challenge us to step out of our comfort zones and cause us to go after the “seemingly impossible”? I firmly believe it was. Who wants to join with us and pledge to make such a dent in the clean water crisis? A dent so impactful that it could not be properly conveyed on your tombstone one day. That, to me, is a personal accolade worth wholehearted pursuit of, and one I feel called to for the remainder of my life.
We are assembling quite a team; and the miracles are getting bigger and better (some we can’t even share as of yet). All that is missing is what YOU can bring to the Humankind table…
Ben is the COO (Chief Optimism Officer) of Humankind water and is a licensed pharmacist and serial entrepreneur.
His life was significantly affected by going on a mission trip to Zambia in 2007. It was there in Africa that he experienced first hand how life altering access to clean water can be.
Ben spent the first 17 years of his career working in various levels of management for Walmart Stores Inc, and recently “retired” as the Vice President for Health and Wellness at Sam’s Club.
Ben spends his free time cheering for the Philadelphia Iggles & Miami Hurricanes, and forcing his 2 beautiful children, Liliana and Beniah, to cheer for those same two perennial champions. He is married to the gorgeous love of his life, Liz, who has been blessed with an abundance of the many qualities he sorely lacks.
Ben, Liz, Lily and Niah live in a suburb of Charlotte, NC and are privileged to be able to partner with various ministries and organizations that help to empower the underservedacross the world.
i am the guy who is not like the others. i don’t have a fancy business title or job description. i must prove myself everyday by making something and hopefully creating an obsession you’re compelled to exchange money for. sometimes i feel like i can’t afford my own work. or that what i do or who i am does not matter. i feel like a 70’s shrinky dink experiment, wrapped up and packaged for show and a bit of entertainment, only to melt down when the temperature rises and the oven light goes on.
small talk is a big task. people persons are bacteria in my world. i am not one, and i tend to avoid them like the bird flu. i suppose we all have the same amount of words to use in a day – but i would gladly give you some of mine to use if you like.
i am awkward. but i have come to realize we all are in some way. that awkwardness has set me up for success to impact others in my own unique way. as i think upward while others may think down or go left when some go right i often create surprise and intrigue. my strong opinions have lead to precise and unusual ways of making something different than the next person. being the odd one out in a world of khaki’s and blue oxfords gives me enough attention to showcase my trade.
awkwardness in one season has set me up for success in another.
i am real. this is the most difficult thing for me to say. it’s difficult to type. it’s harder to say out loud. i want to say more and wow you with vernacular but i am at a loss.
but i am real, i can prove it.
i affect the mood of those who see my compositions of color every day. i know it because they tell me. i inspire. because is see others succeed after sending me a note of thanks.
i sweat. i bleed. my hands tear. my muscles ache. my heart beats and my breath is short. all things that tell me. . .
i am alive.
i am real. i am awkward.
i am real awkward.
be awkward with me.
i’m kent + i’m an artist, but not the tortured kind.
i live by one simple rule. every day.
GET OFF THE COUCH.
SHOW UP ON TIME.
WORK YOUR BACKSIDE OFF.
AND SURPRISE SOMEBODY.
EVEN IF IT’S YOURSELF.
i’m kenT and i’m an artist and, but not the tortured kind.
i make one of a kind paintings, no two are exactly the same. some are large, some are small. some have words, some have none.
i am on a mission to make the walls of your home, office or secret lair as colorfully composed as you are.
I used to LOVE burning candles. Fireside S’more? Yep! BeachSide Vacation? Had it! Warm Christmas Cookie? I’ll take 5! I was always hitting up store after store and picking up candles constantly, can you say candle hoarder? I was obsessed you guys! If you came in my house, chances are there was a candle burning, plug-ins located in every room, and I probably just spritzed some artificial fragrance filled room spray in the air. I was all about everything smelling good, my laundry, my home, I even doused myself in some high dollar fragrance filled perfume before going anywhere. I was a little out of control with my candle addiction and the need for everything to have a certain “smell.”
Fast forward to February 2014, when we found out we were expecting our first bundle of joy. We were so excited, this was such a precious and joyful time and we couldn’t wait for him to get here. But, that’s when we really started to open our eyes to what we were putting in and on our bodies, and allowing inside the walls of our home. Babies change everything, right? We began researching these daily “necessities” and found article after article, study after study, testimony after testimony about artificial fragrances causing so many health issues and even the startling fact that burning a candle (other than soy or beeswax) in your home for one hour is equivalent to smoking a cigarette. That little word…“fragrance,” is allowed to be slapped on basically every label and is a blanket term for nearly 300+ chemicals. Chemicals that are illegal and banned in other countries, but yet here they are in our candles, shampoo, lotion, and yes even baby wash. We are all just trying to live our best life every single day not even realizing that we are poisoning ourselves and our families. These toxin filled products are absorbed into our bodies and bloodstreams, and may come out in the form of a headache, fatigue, sleep issues, inability to focus and more. We finally stood our ground and said, “NO MORE!” We became so much more aware of what we allowed into our home and into this new, precious little life. We decided to change our lives for a more clean environment with the use of essential oils and haven’t looked back since. It was by far one of the best decisions we could have ever made.
Essential oils are made from pure plants. They are basically the immune system of the plant and act the same way in our bodies. When you diffuse pure, therapeutic grade essential oils, you aren’t filling the air in your home with artificial fragrance, you are filling it with 100% pure plant matter. But, let’s get one thing straight, not all oils are created equal. I chose Young Living essential oils for several different reasons. One of which is that they own their own farms all over the world. They have a very open door policy in the sense that they let you actually go and visit at anytime to see the whole process. I’ve actually been to the Lavender farm in Mona, Utah and got to see everything first hand, it was an incredible experience. They also have a very rigorous testing process and the only company to have the “Seed to Seal” standard, which is so important. Not only does Young Living have the best essential oils on the planet, they also have oil infused products like make up, baby wipes, laundry detergent, personal care products, supplements and so much more. Having all these plant based and natural products in one place makes my shopping experience so much more easy and convenient, which for all my other mama bears out there, convenience is key!
WE USE OUR OILS FOR SO MANY THINGS, BUT I WANTED TO GIVE YOU MY TOP 10 WAYS I USE ESSENTIAL OILS:
1. SCENTING OUR HOME. I love that I can diffuse Stress Away, and it instantly takes me to the beach! With hints of lime and vanilla, it helps everyone calm down.
2. CHEST RUB. I love using RC (respirtory comfort) as an all natural chest rub. I simply take a tablespoon of coconut oil with a couple drops of this oil and we are all breathing easy!
3. WATER ENHANCER. Young Living is the only company that has a whole line of essential oils specifically labeled for dietary usage. I love adding a drop of Lemon Vitality to my water or wellness tea. It gives it such a fresh taste and hello detox.
4. MUSCLE RUB. PanAway has hints of Wintergreen and Peppermint which makes it tingly and cooling at the same time. This is my go to for after work outs, carrying my toddler around all day, or if we’ve been out gardening. I love mixing it with coconut oil to make the best muscle rub ever.
5. SLEEP SUPPORT. Sometimes I find it a little hard to wind down in the evenings, but with Lavender by my side, all is right in the world. My room smells like a spa and I am sent off to “lavender land.”
6. TUMMY SUPPORT. You guys don’t get me wrong, I love a good Taco Tuesday, but queso, you do me wrong sometimes. Insert DiGize. This gem helps with all of the stomach things…I’ll just leave it at that.
7. IMMUNE BOOSTING. So thankful that I cleaned out my medicine cabinet and have a whole squad of wellness enhancers. From colloidal silver, to elderberry, to my Thieves essential oil, we are over here staying above the wellness line and staying healthy.
8. BREATH SPRAY. I use to be a major gum chewer until I discovered how to make my very own breath spray with oils. I use 8 drops of Peppermint Vitality mixed with some of the Thieves mouthwash in a spritz bottle and there you have it, no more coffee breath!
9. ODOR ELIMINATOR. One of the main reasons I had so many scented candles and plug-ins was to keep odors at bay. Certain foods we cooked seemed to linger, dirty diapers, stinky trash, no thanks! Enter Purification essential oil also known as odor be gone. A couple drops of this guy on cotton balls around the house and your home will be smelling so fresh and so clean.
10. PERFUME. I missed so badly not being able to smell like my favorite (at the time) fragrance. Now, I simply customize scents to create my very own scent. I love the earthy, grounding smell of Frankincense mixed with the fresh, floral scent of Lavender, add a splash of pure vanilla extract and mix with witch hazel, and there you have it, your very own safe, delicious smelling perfume.
Making the switch to essential oils and ditching toxin laden, hormone disrupting, chemicals doesn’t have to be complicated or confusing. You don’t have to start out with a huge collection and feel like you need to be a brilliant aromatherapist. Just get a couple of the “basic” oils, a diffuser, and you’re set. I am also here to help you along the way, teach you, share with you, and encourage you. If you’re ready to take the leap, just follow these steps:
If you are curious to learn more I am constantly educating others via live Facebook events or in person coffee meet ups. Shoot me a DM on my wellness IG account (@rosegoldwellness) or and we can connect! Cheers to learning + living better!
Brittany Graham is a registered nurse turned stay at home mama and professional toddler wrangler. She loves health, wellness, and essential oils. Together she and her husband are building their oil empire — Rose Gold Wellness.
Valentine’s Day is right around the corner! Guys can be the hardest people EVER to shop for, so we decided to ask a few of our favorite men to point us in the right direction. Check out their suggestions and count on a happy guy come the 14th!
FOR THE ALL AMERICAN:
LANDON ECKLES, CEO & FOUNDER, CLEAN JUICE
If I got a pair of Taft boots for every holiday & birthday, I would be a happy guy! These boots are worth the extra cost, as they are made very well and have a unique, but subtle look that really make them stand out. The Saint Boot in Honey are my favorite with spring coming up, but you really can’t go wrong with any from them!
You can never have too many sunglasses (especially for someone like me who loses more than they would like to admit…). This pair by Electric is my go-to right now! I also just got a pair of ski goggles by them that are my all time favorite!
FOR THE NEW DAD:
MIKE METCALF, GANASSI RACING & DEKA LEADERSHIP
My little guy is going on 6 months and I’m really connecting with him. I can see it with his eyes and his smile, but he can’t speak yet.
A few months ago, I thought, “wouldn’t it be cool for him to one day see what I’m thinking right now?” I now have a nice leather bound journal for him. I write notes regularly, and often end up in tears. I think a nice leather journal for your precious little one is a gift that will be immeasurably worthwhile.
Lastly, my wife got me a really nice watch that I want to wear all the time. As a new dad, I feel like I often underestimate how much time it will take to do something for the little guy. Or, a blowout happens and puts me behind. The list goes on, and a watch is helpful for all of those precious life events.
You may be up to your neck in nighttime feedings and diaper changes, but this wood watch will make you feel like you still got it:
As a newlywed, my wife got me very rare Swiss timeless watch – Audemars Piguet- it’s something I wear every day. I’m a watch guy and you can never have too many watches.. Starting with at least one for sport/fitness, one for dress, and one for casual is a great place to start!
I love this brand, MVMT. They are good looking and very affordable. Find it here!
Bourbon & whiskey club. There is nothing cooler than getting something in the mail every month. And try a bunch of different bourbons and learn more about every region.
FOR THE GUY WHO DOESN’T KNOW WHAT HE WANTS
In college, I loved J.Crew, and as a young professional, I was happy to find this brand, Taylor Stitch. They have awesome clothes that have a slim fit and professional look, still while having a unique flair to them.
Tom Ford definitely has the best colognes around, but they have a million options, and some much more expensive than others. This one, Noir Extreme, smells great and is on the less pricey side of what he offers:
This wallet is awesome because I only have to keep track of one thing, not both my wallet and phone.
2018 is here and we are hoping that January has found you healthy and inspired! We love the New Year – it is filled with such promise and is such an awesome time to set the tone for what you want to get and give from the coming months.
In the spirit of living your best life, we put together 18 ways (2018..get it?) that you can help show kindness this year.
1. Write (as in hand write) notes to your immediate family telling them what you love about them. We too often neglect those closest to us & everyone needs to hear those affirming words from the people that know them best.
2. Make dinner for a neighbor. (Bonus points: if they have kids, offer to have their children at your house so they can enjoy a nice dinner in together!)
3. Write a letter of thanks to a soldier overseas. Bonus points: Get your friends, coworkers, or small groups to join in too!
4. Bake some cookies and give them to a few hard working people that serve you in some recurring capacity – teachers, UPS delivery guy or gal (all you Amazon Prime-ers.. I’m looking at you), pastors, etc.
5. Use that social media stalking for good! Instead of just scrolling when you are laying in bed at night, take a second to comment some nice things on every (ok, ok…most) pictures that pop up.
6. Send a text to the first 5 people you think of after reading this.Something as easy as, “Just thinking of you!” has the power to change someone’s day.
7. Oldie but a goodie: pay for the person behind you in line.
8. Hop on to Go Fund Me and browse all the campaigns. Choose 1 (or a few) that really speak to you and donate what you can.
9. Let ‘your person’ (spouse, roommates, children) know that you love them. Cut out 10 (or more) hearts on construction paper, write things you love about them on them, and hang them up in the bathroom while they are sleeping. What a great way to start their morning!
10. Train your brain against hate. You know that one person that just gets to you? The one who makes you feel like this…
… Every time that you start to think about their brutal tendencies, stop and tell yourself something nice about them. It might be hard at first, but you can start with tiny things, literally like “One day they wore black jeans and I like black jeans.” Training yourself to let go of that negative energy will only help you in the long run!
11. Pack some Blessing Bags to keep in your car to hand out to homeless people you come across.
12. Call your parents! (Or Grandparents, or Aunt…)
13. Throw a post-it pad in your bag on the way to your next doctor’s appointment. Write quick encouraging notes while you are waiting and stick them in the magazines in the waiting room.
14. Donate blood at a blood drive.
15. Running ahead of time one morning? Pick up a special treat – donuts, coffee, bagels etc. for your class or office. Everyone loves a surprise treat! (Our favorite is Clean Juice’s wellness shots!)
16. Double (or triple or quadruple) whatever tip you usually leave your waiter. Write a sweet note on the receipt to go with it, maybe mentioning something personal or a way they impressed you. Everyone loves to hear positive details about themselves!
17. Hold a door for someone every time you can in a day & compliment them on first thing that comes to mind
18. Make a list of the top 10 things you love about yourself. Because you need to be kind to yourself first!!
What are some of the ways you like to spread kindness? Leave yours in the comments below!!
This natural SPF 20 sunscreen is lightly tinted so there’s none of the white chalky weirdness that you get with other mineral-based products. It’s lightweight, water resistant, and serves as the prefect moisturizing base for full make-up or a naked face day.
This is a one-time investment that will improve your mornings for the rest of your life. The Moccamaster is handmade in the Netherlands and makes the highest quality drip coffee on the planet. Imagine! A whole pot of pour over quality coffee brewed with the convenience and ease of a drip coffee maker! I love coffee at a freakish level and I work form home, so being able to quickly grab a good mug is everything to my day.
BACON PRO TIP: Did you know that you have permission to fill up one of those cardboard buckets at the hot bar with only bacon?! It’s true! If there’s enough available at the magic moment (before 11am) that you happen to be there, you can take ALL OF IT. And you get more bacon for your buck when you buy it with all the fat already rendered off of it! AND it’s delicious. And clean. And do you really need another reason to get in your car right now and drive to Whole Foods for a bucket of hot bar bacon?
I never thought it would work, but going analog with my calendar has changed my life. I’m very visual, so seeing everything laid out on both the monthly spreads and daily pages helps keep me organized and where I’m supposed to be. I love that there’s space to keep up with my own appointments, as well as everything my two tween/teen daughters are into. It’s functional, sturdy, and beautiful!
The matte black triangular version of the old standard #2 pencil from Ticonderoga has stolen my heart over all other writing implements. I love their style and the way they feel in my hand. I have rheumatoid arthritis and at times my hands have a hard time holding on to a round pen or pencil. The triangle shape helps me keep my grip even on my worst day.
This Bible is unlike anything you’ve ever seen. The book itself is a work of art and contains stunning typography, charts, and maps. It’s the newly released Christian Standard Bible (CSB) translation, which is highly rated for both readability and accuracy. It comes in a variety of colors and materials to suit any budget, and every one is really well constructed. If you need some fresh inspiration to get your nose in the Word, this beauty will do the trick!
About twice a year, I take long trips to the bush of rural Kenya. The area where I work is so remote that you can’t run out and pick up whatever you forget, you just have to do without. Sometimes in the weeks leading up to travel I dream that something goes wrong and it’s usually that I forgot my travel pillow, which I affectionately refer to as my boyfriend. We love to cuddle and we’re always together on road trips, flights, and overnights. I love that the chunks of memory foam compress when folded and get nice and fluffy when unrolled. The best part is you can run it through the washer and dryer every time you get home and it stays looking like new.
Long flights, crowded coffee shops, and sometimes even my home office create a need to silence the noise. As a writer, it’s not always possible to be alone in a quiet place when inspiration strikes. It’s important for me to be able to tune out the distractions around me and these puppies do just the trick. Not only is the noise canceling function top-notch, the sound quality is as expected from Bose— simply impeccable!
I’ve killed many a suitcase dragging my crap across the globe, but even the most violent airport staff can’t seem to injure my trusty Timbuk2 luggage! Made in San Francisco, these intensely practical clamshell suitcases glide on skateboard wheels and are pulled by a durable bike-inspired grip. I have both the carry on and extra large sizes and it’s the only luggage I need.
I carry mine everywhere. Even when I’m toting a larger bag, in she goes with all my essentials! My favorite part about this timeless piece that only gets better with age is that it’s handmade by artisans in Ethiopia and sold to support Young Life Africa. Job creation, teens meeting Jesus, and a trusty accessory— that’s a whole lotta good in one little product!
No, it is not the most fashionable or desired accessory, but anxiety has been a part of my “design” since childhood. I have always kept it hidden behind my metaphorical curtains, tucked away under smiles and positive outlooks. While it is something I have learned to accept and function with mostly privately, I have recently been going through an emotional transition where I have felt drawn to express some of my challenges publicly. Partly because I want to be a voice for those like me to know they are not alone, but also because it helps me to have an outlet. The older I get, the stronger it seems to get. I am beginning to think if hiding it has not worked, maybe exposing it can. I could write a memoir on how it has ruled my life behind the scenes, but “Why would anyone want to read it?” it asks me. I will just save that for another time.
I first want to say that this is no way a replacement for professional help, and as always if you have any concerns definitely talk to a professional. As part of my journey to being more open about my lifelong battle, I just wanted to share a few things I have been doing currently to help try to manage my stress levels and prevent anxiety and panic attacks. These things are by no means new-found or extreme measures, but very simple ones that I have been trying to make a priority in my own daily life.
HOT TEA > COFFEE
I have always loved coffee, probably too much. Most days a year for me have started with a large travel mug of the stuff, including a copious amount of creamer mixed in. Of course caffeine can have positive effects for certain reasons, but for someone who deals with excessive stress, it is probably not the best idea to have a daily stimulant intake, especially first thing in the morning. With that being said, I have been working on replacing most morning mugs with hot tea instead, and also having a cup in the afternoon and at night. I have been trying different caffeine-free herbal varieties and so far I am really enjoying the tastes and noticing practically immediate calming effects. Aside from that, I love how many other health benefits there are from drinking it. For example, my blood pressure teeters at a fairly high level for my age and I noticed after a few weeks of drinking tea, at my latest doctor’s appointment it was significantly lower than normal. I was shocked, especially because it is usually higher at the doctor due to nerves. At the very least, it is helping to keep me more hydrated.
Normally, I would have made a mental health Pinterest board private for fear of what someone would think of me. This time I am ignoring that mentality and made mine public to share with others who might need to find them on their feeds like I did. There are so many resources out there, and I love how Pinterest keeps it all tidy and easy to find what you are looking for in a hurry. Reading quotes that put your feelings into words and learning breathing exercises and grounding techniques can be what feels like an actual life saver when the moment strikes.
Not just to those online, but to my family and close friends, to my coworkers, to my acquaintances. People I care about. People that (despite what my anxiety may tell me at times) care about me, too. Instead of hiding it from them, maybe telling them about it will make it easier to get through an attack if one happens while they are around. What I have been finding with this exercise, is that each person I have had a conversation with has given me a new perspective for me to see it from, great tips for getting through an attack that their therapist recommended, and had complete compassion for me, even if they could not fully understand what I am going through.
These are just 3 easy things I have been trying to do on a consistent basis to change my habits and the way I have been doing things for so long. While I am seeing some improvement already, I know there is a long road ahead of me and I may never reach the destination. I have to be okay with that.
Do you live with anxiety, panic disorder, or any other mental illnesses? If you are open to it, I would love for you to share what helps you in the comments. Maybe it can help one of us, too!
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