Mindfulness: Make Today Count

In the event that you’re having a case of the Mondays, here is a reminder on how to reframe your thinking to ensure you maximize every single day.  Our bodies like to naturally find the easy route, and so do our minds. But to live each day passively is defeating the purpose. 

Getting into a rut is natural, but the challenge is getting yourself out of it – to mentally tap in: to be present in your work, to focus on your goals, to actually connect when in conversation, and to embrace each waking moment. It’s easy to get caught up, just as it’s easy to get stifled with boredom – make a choice to not do either, and instead to mentally tap in. You are your own best investment. Make today count.

Time is something that never stops and is constantly moving. We cannot create more hours in a day, minutes in an hour or seconds in a minute. What we can do is be more present in our minutes of the day and be more aware of each moment to make it feel like we have created more time. Or at the very least, take advantage of every minute of every day. 

To not just live but to live fully. Taking this mindset while we are working out can have a huge impact, much less in life in general. There is a significant difference in mindlessly going about your workout and just “getting it done” and actually being aware of each and every repetition your body moves through.  

Test it yourself. 

Go ahead and stand up…wherever you may be right now. Perform a squat, just a quick up and down, no thought behind it. Now perform a squat and pay attention to your legs bending as you lower your bottom to the ground, push your heels into the ground and straighten your legs back into starting position. Lastly, squeeze your bottom at the top of the squat, pressing your hips forward slightly.  

Take a moment to think over the differences between your first squat and your second squat. If that wasn’t enough to fully feel the huge difference in each squat, then I challenge you to perform 10 squats turning your mind off, take a few minutes rest and then 10 squats with your find fully aware. It is definitely then, if not before, that you will feel the effects the second set of squats-the mind turned on squats. 

It was fascinating to see the difference of the mind. I tried this little experiment while using Muse meditation headband. While you meditate, Muse measures whether your mind is calm or active, and translates that data into weather sounds. When you're calm, you'll hear peaceful weather sounds. This neat product is great if you are developing a meditation practice or want to dive deeper into it, but definitely not required for this mini exercise.

It is amazing to think about the difference of a simple 10 squats—but think about if applied this mindset to each movement during your entire workout routine – or more so, your entire day. 

How do you beat the Monday Blues? Share with me here!

Valerie Fidan

Valerie is a San Francisco native who gave up the comforts of home to travel the world continuously. Now based in Portland, OR, Valerie is a Social Media Marketing Consultant, helping solo entrepreneurs and small business owners DIY their social media by teaching them the in’s and out’s of SMM. She enjoys health hacking recipes, a good cocktail, yoga, hikes, live shows, puns & dad jokes.

Make Earth Day Everyday

The most important date in the calendar for environmentalists this year is April 22 and if you’re looking for ways to go green for not just Earth Day but throughout the year, look no further, because Earth Day should be celebrated and remembered everyday.

Following Rachel Carson’s 1962 book Silent Spring, which discussed the negative impact of pesticides on the environment, people began being much more concerned about the environment, the modern environmental movement began, and Earth Day was created. Senator Gaylord Nelson created Earth Day in 1970 as a way to promote awareness about the health of the environment. It was celebrated on April 22, and over 20 million Americans demonstrated across the nation. It became clear that the environment was a huge concern of many people, and in December of 1970 Congress established the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which was tasked with repairing damage to the environment. Environmental protection is still as important today as it was over 40 years ago, and there are many ways you can get involved in Earth Day, which is still celebrated on April 22.

This is one annual celebration where you aren’t expected to splash the cash, dress in your finery and make a big song and dance about the occasion. Earth Day is the one day of the year when absolutely everyone should be environmentally conscious and many of the ways to go green for Earth Day are easy and actually very frugal, so there’s no reason everyone cannot participate and do their bit.

Educate Yourself

When you are looking to get involved in an important cause like Earth Day, it is important to educate yourself. There are many different issues surrounding the health of the environment that you can learn about, including pollution, endangered species, climate change, water shortages, water pollution, and recycling. Learning about a few of these issues will help you be informed. It will also help you find something you are passionate about and would like to get involved in.

Recycle

Aside from educating yourself, a great way to get involved in Earth Day is to recycle. If you don’t already recycle Earth Day is the perfect day to start recycling. When you do start recycling, remember that you can recycle many more things than just cans. Paper products, glass containers, and some plastic items can even be recycled. Different recycling companies accept different products. So, call your local recycling company to find out what you can recycle. You may be surprised at how many different things you can recycle.

Compost

One of the best ways to contribute to Earth Day is to start your own compost heap at home – you can even put your egg shells, the cardboard from your egg boxes and the wood ash from your fire place in there too. And, if you can't compost... throwing food waste in the disposal is greener than throwing it out in the trash. They are not the greenest way to dispose of your uneaten food, but better than throwing it in the trash.

Based on a variety of research, the hierarchy of green ways to dispose of food goes like this, from least green to most:

  • Not-so-green: Throwing it in a trashcan headed for the landfill
  • Light green: Running it through the sink disposal, from which it then heads to the wastewater treatment plant
  • Green: Toss it in your compost bin for efficient composting
  • Greenest ever: Reduce the amount of food we waste in the first place! Globally we waste about a third of our food every year. Talk about an environmental footprint.

Switch To Earth-Friendly Products

Many of the cleaning products that are used in homes are actually quite bad for the environment. Aerosol cans emit greenhouse gases, and detergents often have ingredients that are toxic to aquatic life. The Environmental Working Group has put together an extensive list of cleaning products that are both good and bad for the environment and your health. Each product received a grade, and those with an A are considered the best. You can find this list at ewg.org. Using this list to guide your cleaning product purchases is a great way to make environmentally friendly choices. Of course, you can always just use baking soda and vinegar to clean. They work great and are very friendly to the environment and your health.

Decrease Your Carbon Footprint

Earth Day is a great day to decrease your carbon footprint. Your carbon footprint is the total amount of greenhouses gases that your daily activities emit. One of the best ways to decrease your carbon footprint is to go without your car.

On Earth Day, ride your bike or walk to wherever you need to go. Not only will this help the environment, but you will be getting exercise and fresh air! If a car is absolutely necessary, try carpooling. Carpooling is another wonderful way to reduce your carbon footprint. Perhaps you will even decide you want to go without a car or carpool long term, which would be really great for the environment!

Reconnect With Nature

It’s one thing to pronounce that you are environmentally friendly and care for the earth, but it’s another when you actually take the time to get out there and nourish your soul in natural greatness.

It is vitally important to take tours through nature as often as you can, especially if you are somebody who lives in a built-up urban area. Being in the great outdoors and hearing the natural sounds of animals is one of the most amazing free experiences that we are given on this earth, so make the effort to get out there.

Ditch Printing

We don’t all realize how much unnecessary paper we go through in one day with printing endless reams. Embrace a greener life on Earth Day and switch off the printer, and reuse paper instead of throwing it away. Take old paper home and let the kids use it for drawing pictures and projects instead of going out to buy them plain drawing paper. You will be surprised at how much less you use.

So many of us throw away our vegetable peelings, tea bags, newspaper and other biodegradable items, then get in our car and drive to the nursery and buy compost for our gardens. None of this makes any sense, especially when you put it like that.

If you’ve never considered embracing a greener life, you can see that these ways to go green on Earth Day are actually really easy, and there’s no reason why they can’t be the springboard into being more environmentally-friendly all round. Every little helps – will you be doing your bit for Earth Day 2018?

Valerie Fidan

Valerie is a San Francisco native who gave up the comforts of home to travel the world continuously. Now based in Portland, OR, Valerie is a Social Media Marketing Consultant, helping solo entrepreneurs and small business owners DIY their social media by teaching them the in’s and out’s of SMM. She enjoys health hacking recipes, a good cocktail, yoga, hikes, live shows, puns & dad jokes.

Jetting Off For A Vaycay? Here Are 10 Ways To #StayFit When You're #Traveling

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I’ve made exercise a consistent habit in my life. I’m one of those people that consistent has to be moving and doing something. When in San Francisco that meant feeding my SoulCycle addiction 3-4 times per week and keeping balanced with yoga 4-5 times a week, with the occasional throwing in a Bikram session or pilates reformer session. In Portland, boxing, sculpt yoga and megaformer classes have been my go-to. And, even while we traveled around as digital nomads, my husband Gregg and I managed to keep a routine beyond the ridiculous amount of walking we did on any given day. But, I get it…

Keeping fit while traveling can be difficult if not an impossible task to manage. Especially if you are traveling for work, the demands of a busy schedule, rushing around from place to place, can leave you with absolutely no time to keep up your regular exercise program. Staying in shape relies on one major factor-consistency. Consistency in what you eat and consistency in your fitness program will ensure that you keep fit and healthy all the time. But what happens when you are on the move all the time?

Traveling for pleasure is also a difficult time to keep up the fitness regime. A glass of wine and a nice juicy burger seems much more attractive than trying to find yourself a safe and appropriate place to exercise in a foreign city.

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1. HAVE THE RIGHT MINDSET

Working out while traveling can be easy, but only if you have the right mindset. Leaving with only vague ideas about exercise will give you every opportunity to make excuses when exhaustion, stress, and responsibilities start piling up. Instead, plan ahead. Pack workout clothes and shoes and research your destination to learn about your hotel’s gym access or other opportunities to exercise in the area. Exercising doesn’t need to be an elaborate, exhaustive process, especially when you’re on the road. Even doing something simple make a difference for your overall health.

2. SCOPE OUT THE FITNESS SCENE

In almost any location you visit, you’ll be bound to find a yoga studio, a gym or studio. With apps like ClassPass, it makes it easy to find studios near you!

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3. PACK THE RIGHT TOOLS

Obviously you can skip the dumbbells, but there’s plenty of light equipment you can bring with you. Your best bet is a jump rope. You burn the most calories per minute with jump rope than with any other cardio. Other feather-light options to toss in your suitcase are resistance bands, and in a pinch, water bottles make decent hand weights.

YOU ALSO MIGHT LIKE… BURN + FIRM WITH JUMPROPE
4. STAY ACTIVE

Whether it’s biking around town, walking over taking a cab or going for a hike, I like to stay active. Finding ways to stay active is important. Choosing to walk or bike over taking a cab or metro is great exercise and a great way to explore and see a city. From swimming at the beach or hotel pool to running – the list is endless.

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5. WORKOUT ANYWHERE

With online services like Barre3 or Physice57, they allow you to workout virtually anywhere and maintain a practice from where ever. And, of course, there is Instagram! There are so many fitness babes on there to get workouts from. My favorite is Tara Laferrara of @Lafitara!

6. EXERCISE FIRST THING IN THE MORNING

When we are on vacation or traveling it is even easier to let ourselves give excuses as to why we can’t exercise. This is especially true as we get later in the day; stuff happens, things come up and fun times appear spontaneously.Exercising in the morning will have you feeling unbelievably better about being done with your exercise and ready to move on with the days’ adventures, trust me.

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7. TONE IT UP WITH YOUTUBE

Tone It Up is the brainchild of best friends Katrina Scott and Karena Dawn — two adorable, super-fit trainers (whom I wish I was friends with), started out filming their workouts on the beaches of Southern California and posting them on YouTube. Today, Tone It Up is a multi-million dollar fitness empire that includes everything from a nutrition plan to workout DVDs, to protein powders, to a reality show on Bravo. Staying fit while traveling with Tone It Up is so simple. You can use the videos on YouTube or Subscribe to their newsletter that includes a monthly workout plan — all for free. The best part is that you can work out in the comfort of your hotel room and use furniture as props.

8. STAY MOTIVATED

I’m a big fan of informative and motivating email newsletters. With most of my reading falling under technology, travel, and culture; Mind Body Green is an encouraging resource for health, fitness, and lifestyle content that changes up my regular literary intake. The newsletters offer great advice on diet and nutrition; fitness routines; and lifestyle changes (habit techniques, meditation, and positive thinking). I particularly like this letter because it’s clean and nicely organized, and it’s right to the point which makes for a quick skim when you’ve got a big day of reading, sightseeing and exploring.

9. HOTEL GYM SCENE

When booking your business or holiday accommodation, find out if they have a gym on the premises. Many of the upmarket hotels have a spa and a fully kitted out gym as a standard addition, and you will not have to travel anywhere to fit your exercise regime into your day and keeping fit will be easier than ever, because apart from completely different scenery, you can still keep some of your daily routine intact.

10. STAY COMMITTED

If you are on an extended trip away from your home, stay focused and committed to staying in shape. Try and remember all the hard work that you have put in before you left home and even though you may not be able to continue the high pace of your workouts away from home, try and implement a steady maintenance work out for keeping fit. Take the stairs, avoid the lift, get your taxi to drop you off a few blocks from the office or your hotel and walk the rest of the way. If you are committed, you will find it easier to maintain your focus.

How do you keep fit while traveling?