Summer! A time to enjoy the season, relax, and catch up on reading. I have fond memories of going to the library in the summertime – checking out stacks of books and devouring them on hot summer afternoons. Need some book recommendations? Here are 10 ideas for your summer reading list. Continue reading 10 books for your summer reading list→
It’s a rainy day (welcome to spring), and you aren’t quite sure what to do with yourself or (if you have them) with your kids. Here are 15 ideas for a rainy day.
Ideas for a rainy day: Get creative
Turn off the TV. Some folks turn to the TV when they are faced with a “stay inside” kind of day. My advice? Give up the TV – even if it’s just for that afternoon.
Learn a new song. If you play an instrument, take the time to perfect a song. If you don’t play, learn the lyrics of a new song or even try a new dance. If anything, turn on Pandora in the background – music can bring more joy to the most mundane activity.
Try a new craft. That can be something as simple as coloring (for adults and kids), or as complex as a new sewing project. A quick trip to the craft store presents endless possibilities.
Forage for usable trash. Not interested in leaving the house? Never fear! Forage through your house for usable trash. Kids love this activity. You will be amazed at the games that come from a few toilet paper rolls, a box, some string, an egg carton, and a pile dried elbow macaroni. As an adult, try covering an old shoe box with fabric or leather to create an expensive-looking container. Or, create a mosaic from broken dishes, shells, or tile.
Ideas for a rainy day: Be productive
Eat that frog. In my post to help you stop procrastinating, I talk about “eating the frog.” What does that mean? Tackle your “frogs,” those ugly items that haunt your to-do list, first thing. 1 How can you tell a task is a frog? Maybe the task that has been sitting in your queue for over a week, or you have danced around this task by completing related tasks.
Grocery shop on the budget. Take the afternoon to buy affordable groceries. And, if you follow my tips, you’ll also be buying healthful food. It might not be the most glamorous activity, but it will set you up for success throughout the week.
Do some spring cleaning. This might be the perfect time to clear out and clean up that fridge, the pantry, or the closet. Just a reminder to use green household cleaners for your health and your wallet!
Focus on Joy. Lift your spirits by practicing gratitude, brightening your thoughts, and observing the world around you. Check out my post on how to bring more joy to your day.
Ideas for a rainy day: Enjoy relaxation
Journal. Taking the time to jot down your thoughts in a journal can be (in my experience) the key to creative productivity. For me, the act of taking a pencil to a blank page opens up endless possibilities in my mind. Sometimes when I journal, I write about my day. Sometimes, I compose my to-do list. Sometimes, I sketch a drawing. A journal is a judgement-free zone.
Practice Yoga. A rainy day doesn’t mean you can’t be active! Yoga can be a relaxing exercise that not only helps you physically, but also can give you emotional space. Here’s what happened to be when I practiced yoga every day for two weeks . And, yes, you can do this with kids – try the kid’s yoga deck to start.
Read. What a luxury it can be to pick up a book and read quietly. If you have kids, this is a great time to choose a classic story and act out the voices the characters as you read. If you are by yourself, this might be a good opportunity to develop your knowledge of holistic health and wellness. Snuggle up in your favorite chair with a cup of tea and enjoy!
Ideas for a rainy day: Focus on health and wellness
Cook a bunch of healthy food. I tend to make meals “in bulk” once every 6-8 weeks. These meals sit in serving-size portions in my freezer, ready to be warmed up for a quick lunch at work or a simple dinner at home. Here’s how to get started cooking in bulk.
Enjoy spring veggies. What an amazing time to enjoy butter lettuce, tender asparagus, spicy radishes, and sweet young carrots. Here are some ways to prepare spring veggies.
Practice Gratitude. It’s amazing how good you can feel if you let yourself look out the window, daydream a little, and feel thankful for your life. Take a minute to observe those little things. Then, write a thank you note to someone in your life for whom you feel thankful. You can get the kids involved here too!
This week I finished a 14-day yoga challenge. That’s right. I practiced yoga every day for two weeks. When I began the challenge, I wasn’t sure if I could really find the time to practice every day. I thought: well, I already wake up early for many of my workouts, and my evening routine is pretty full – how will I find the time?
My friend Michelle is a wellness coach, and reached out to me with this challenge. She assured me that there would be a group of people taking on the challenge, so I wouldn’t be alone. And, I didn’t need much … just a yoga mat, a beach towel (for some sessions) and some space on the living room floor. So, I thought – why not give this a try?
Challenges with groups work well for me because I am an obliger. This means that when I respond to expectations, I often meet outer expectations, but have a harder time meetings expectations I place on myself. So, finding a partner or group to keep me accountable is a good thing. (ps – want to know your tendency? Take a quiz that Gretchen Rubin (author of The Happiness Project) wrote to help you find out!)
So, when I practiced yoga every day for two weeks, here are the 7 changes I felt:
1. I felt more productive. Because I had to plan each day around my yoga practice, the time I spent cleaning, cooking, and doing other evening activities became more efficient so that I could squeeze in the 30 minutes (or so) of yoga.
2. I remembered to breathe through tough moments. Yoga is all about focussing on the breath. Because I practicing this regularly, I paid attention to my breath even during the times I wasn’t practicing yoga.
3. I felt more effective during my regular workouts. Because I was taking the time to stretch every day, my strength and cardio workouts (yes, I also kept exercising during this time) were much more pleasant and I had greater range of motion during those workouts.
4. I was more mindful. Taking time each day to “be in the moment” helped me remember to practice mindfulness throughout the day.
5. I had more energy. I know that sounds a little funny, but working out and devoting a little extra energy for my body made me more energetic throughout the day. I found myself staying more attentive at work and being more present at home.
6. I felt stronger. Doing vinyasa flow is no joke- it involves some powerful pushups! And, doing that every day did make me feel stronger. Also, I felt stronger emotionally – more resilient and peaceful.
7. I became more flexible. I am including my “before” and “after” pictures to demonstrate. In these photos, you can see how much more flexible I became just after two weeks.
Now that I have practiced yoga every day for two weeks, I have proven that I can practice it at least once per week from now on. The benefits are amazing!
If you are interested in joining a yoga (or any workout) challenge, feel free to reach out to a wellness coach like my friend Michelle. Or, you can sign up for her monthly newsletter to get tips, recipes, and motivation!
Have you challenged yourself to practice yoga before? How did you feel?
In celebration of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, here are ten quotes to inspire you. I hope these excerpts are a good reminder that living with purpose, compassion, and service can bring communities justice, peace, and equity.
A few weeks ago, my spouse and I decided to give up the TV with a 100% TV-free weekend. No shows to watch during Friday dinner, no late night Netflix on the IPad, and no TV breaks on the couch with a snack. And, it was harder than you might think! We didn’t realize how much time we spent being zombies in front of the TV. According to the American Time Use Survey, the average American spends 2.78 hours in front of the TV each day – that’s almost 6 hours in just one weekend!
13 things to do when you are bored and are traveling to your next summer destination
Wondering what to do when you stuck in the car, on a train, on an airplane, in a car, or anywhere you are made to sit and wait? Then this post is for you. If you are doing any travel this summer, see these 13 things to do while you sit and wait to get to your next destination.
Every once in a while, we need just a little pick-me-up. Here are three easy ways to bring more joy to your day. All three can be done without much effort, and completed quickly. And, when these strategies are practiced in the long-term, they can reap huge benefits.
Everyone wants a good morning – one that is productive, purposeful, and healthy. Why? Because it sets you up for a successful day. A day where you can be your best self. Most important to a good morning, in addition to a solid compass routine, is a tried-and-true evening routine. Here are five steps to get you on the right track:
Evening Routine, Step 1: Set a bedtime.
Mornings are best when you feel rested. Arianna Huffinton tells us in her book Thrive that sleep boosts “our creativity, ingenuity, confidence, leadership, and decision making.” This means we must get good sleep before a good morning. First, set a bedtime that allows you to get at least 7-8 hours of sleep.
Evening Routine, Step 2: Reflect on the day
Reflection can be a great way to close the book on your day, so that you can begin a successful night. One way to do it? Practice gratitude. One way to start is with a gratitude jar. You can set out colorful markers, a stack of small papers, and an empty jar on a shelf. Each night, spend 5 minutes writing down three things for which you are grateful. Thinking of happy memories from the day can help you go to bed more relaxed and in a good mood.
Evening Routine, Step 3: Turn Down the Lights
I know this seems simple, but turning down the lights tells your body to start getting ready for sleep. This also means turning off screens. A blog from Harvard Health Letter says that the blue light from various screens can mess with our sleep cycle. Instead of ending the day in front of a screen, turn down the lights, and try writing in a journal or reading a book.
Evening Routine, Step 4: Find a ritual that is relaxing
Winding down from a busy day can be tough. So, find a ritual that puts you in a relaxed mood, ready to sleep. Enjoy something as simple as bedtime tea before bed for relaxation and gentle hydration. It smells great, and includes herbs that might help you fall asleep. Or, you can practice yoga. My favorite option is downloading Episode 76 from the 20 Minute Yoga Sessions Podcast: Yoga for a Good Night’s Sleep. If these don’t appeal to you, draw a warm bath and take 10-15 minutes to relax in it. You can add essential oils like lavender or muscle-soothing epsom salts for even greater relaxation.
Evening Routine, Step 5: Get some much needed rest