How to Beat the Winter Blues: Episode 1 of 3

Hiya friends!

November brings with it an anticipation of the upcoming holiday season, but it also brings colder days and a time change. While the extra hour of sleep (for one night) is great, it doesn't make up for the fact that the sun is gone by 5:00 p.m. and it feels like we live in constant darkness...especially if you leave for work before sunrise and get home after sunset. 

The temperature, light (or lack thereof), and bleakness of November can be a recipe for the winter blues. Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD, is characterized by depressive episodes that are related to seasonal changes -  most often winter. If this is something that you are affected by, do not fear!! You are NOT doomed to suffer all winter long. You can actually take some proactive measures to help you successfully navigate the darker months.

As some of you may know, depression is something that I've dealt with for quite a while. Winter time is often the hardest for me. My moods drop, I lack energy and feelings of hopelessness often set in. So I definitely know I have to take extra care when it feels like the environmental conditions are against me. Tune in below for my first, very simple tip to beating the winter blues.

Beating the winter blues isn't easy, but you CAN make a big difference by having a plan of action that includes taking proactive steps. 

One of the biggest game-changers for me was getting a support system in place to really encourage me when I need it and to apply a dose of tough-love when necessary. So, if you feel you could use some extra support and some structure to help you get through this season, get in touch with me here and we can make time to chat.

I'm cheering for you!

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The #1 Investment You Can Make

Hey friends!

So, I’m not a savvy financial advisor, investment banker or a millionaire. But I have a secret…I actually know the most valuable and ONLY guaranteed investment you can make. 

Are you ready?

It’s YOU. 

You read that right…you are absolutely the most worthwhile place to invest your time, money, energy and resources. 

I know, I can already hear you saying, “But that’s selfish, Joanna!”

I invite you to consider that investing in yourself is actually the least selfish thing you can do. It allows you to show up MORE (energetically and physically) for the most important people in your life. You are then able to give from a place of being fully sourced versus a place of depletion or resentment. 

This type of investment pays dividends. It is far from selfish. When you choose to say yes to you, the resulting contentment, joy, satisfaction and energy will radiate into the lives of those you love right away AND you set yourself up for great health and overall contentment down the road. 

Unlike many investments you may make, there are no risks to investing in yourself. It ALWAYS pays off in some form or another. 

So, I’m talking specifically about investing in your health. However, health to me is about far more than simply what you eat and whether or not you exercised this morning. Are you doing what you love? How are your relationships? How do you feel most of the time? Do you have a creative outlet? Are you being stretched intellectually? Do you feel good in your body? Do you feel appreciated? 

All of these things and MORE contribute to your overall health and wellbeing. 

With the holiday season approaching, this is often the time of year where people feel burnt out, stressed and over-extended. We often put our own health, happiness and well-being on the back-burner. 

I invite you to open up to the possibility that you can do things differently this year.

What if you could invest in yourself NOW instead of waiting for January 1st? What if you could go through the holiday season WITHOUT beating yourself up for over-indulging? What if you could start implementing strategies that allow you to take care of you AND those around you without the overwhelm and stress?

How would it feel to say “Yes!” to investing in yourself now and taking inspired action to demonstrate your commitment? Like, right now?

If this is resonating for you and you are absolutely ready to stop allowing things to get in your way, I want to give you an opportunity to show your commitment this instant! I challenge you not to wait.

I invite you to book a time right now for a complimentary Discovery Call with me. In this session we will get really clear on your goals/dreams for your health and life, what’s standing in your way and we will discover what your next best steps are. We will also get clarity about whether or not coaching is the right fit for you! 

Take action on your commitment and book your call here. It's time well invested! 

Will you commit to taking action in the next 24 hours? You can decide that this year will be different starting RIGHT NOW by choosing to invest in yourself. I’d be so excited to support you! 

To investing in you,

Joanna

P.S. Because you're totally worth it!

Are you missing out by NOT doing this one thing?

Last week I was a lot less visible in the social media world than I normally am. And there was a reason for that. Perhaps you can relate to how I was feeling...a little overwhelmed, maybe a bit frazzled? My mind needed a break. So I took a step back.

We are conditioned to think that being busy and constantly "doing" is honourable. We often feel that if every minute of our day is not filled with doing, we're being lazy, irresponsible or we're simply wasting time.

What if I told you that you are actually missing out by NOT doing nothing?

If you are hounded by guilt when you're not busy checking things off your list or accomplishing, then this video is for YOU!

Are you committed to creating time for nothing? What do you imagine creating time for nothingness might do for you?

Sometimes it's easier said than done. Often the simplest things are the hardest to implement, especially if you don't have the support and accountability. If this sounds like you, I'd love to chat!

So, in order to hold myself accountable, here is my commitment to you: I am scheduling "Nothing Time" in my calendar EVERY DAY so that I can nurture creativity in my life and my work.

So, what do you say to doing nothing? Are you in??

To your Health!

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Warm Lemon Water: Great for Clean Fingers AND for Your Health!

One of the things I love about the fall is cozying up with a hot drink in the morning. There's nothing like starting the day with a warm cup between my hands. But, I'm not talking about coffee!

One of my favourite drinks is warm lemon water. Growing up, I thought the only thing warm lemon water was good for was washing my fingers after chicken dinner at Swiss Chalet. But it's actually a great addition to your arsenal of healthy habits!

Perhaps warm lemon water isn't your cup of tea yet (pun intended). So, if you need a little convincing, check out the video below for 5 benefits of drinking warm lemon water. This could be a morning time game changer for you!

I can't wait to hear how it goes implementing this little ritual into your day. So give it a try, and let me know!

To your Health!

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Eat these 4 Foods to Combat Stress!

Hiya, Friends! 

I've been talking a lot about stress lately. It's for a good reason! As I mentioned in a video last week on my Facebook page (check out Simply Well Health Coaching if you haven't already!), stress-related issues are responsible (directly or indirectly) for between 75% and 90% of all doctors visits. That's a huge number!

Not only can low-level chronic stress contribute to physical ailments, it can also rob us of the enjoyment of our day-to-day lives and leave us "can't wait-ing" our lives away (you know what I'm talking about: "I can't wait for the weekend," or "I can't wait for my vacation...I just have to make it until then!").

One of the things I love about working with my clients, is helping them see the possibility of living a life they truly love every day by learning how to realistically manage and cope with stress  in a productive and effective way.

While managing our external circumstances and our mindset can go a long way to minimize and cope with stress, we often don't recognize that what we put into our bodies can either create more stress or help alleviate it. 

So, to get you started (or confirm that you're on the right track), here's four foods you'll want to include in your regular diet to help combat stress:

1. Avocado: This amazing fruit is packed with B-vitamins, among other nutrients, that are vital for healthy nerves and brain cells. In fact, it has been suggested that feelings of anxiety may be caused by B-vitamin deficiency. Avocados are also packed with healthy monounsaturated fats and potassium (even more than bananas!!), which help to lower blood pressure. Not a fan of avocado? You can always blend them in a smoothie or throw them in homemade banana ice-cream to get the stress-busting benefits without the taste or texture if you're not a fan.

2. Seeds (my faves?? Chia, Flax and Hemp): These little guys pack a serious nutrient punch. The reason they are so helpful in the fight against stress is they're full of Omega-3 Fatty Acids. These are essential fatty acids that our bodies can't produce on their own and are known to help reduce stress and anxiety, boost concentration and improve mood. They're also full of protein and fibre...what more could you ask for? Add these seeds to smoothies, salads, dressings or oatmeal for a nutrient boost and to help reduce stress.

3. Leafy Greens: Spinach isn't only good for building strong muscles a la Popeye! These greens and others (like swiss chard and kale) are full of magnesium which is known to help reduce stress and increase feelings of well-being. In addition to salads, you can add these greens to casseroles, and sautéed as a side-dish. And let's not forget the trendy green smoothie. While trendy, it's also an easy and quick way to get several servings of these nutrient dense veggies!

4. Blueberries: I'm sure it's no surprise to you that these delicious berries are packed with vitamin C and antioxidants. But why are these important for stress-reduction? Stress can cause cellular damage. Vitamin C and antioxidants are necessary for the repair and protection of our cells. A small handful of blueberries can go a long way to mitigating the effects of stress. Eat them with oatmeal, in a smoothie, or on their own, but be sure to buy organic if you can as berries are often pesticide-laden.

While this list is not by any means complete or exhaustive, it's just meant to be a friendly reminder that it doesn't need to be hard to make small, positive changes to help you proactively manage stress. Every little bit helps! Include these foods in your regular daily diet to set yourself up for success before the stress even hits! 

I'm cheering for you!

To your health,   

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What to do when you're STRESSED to the max...

Stress was one of the reasons I left my career as a police officer. I wanted to live a less-stressful life. My inability to manage stress was negatively impacting my physical and mental health and I KNEW something had to change.

But here's what I've come to realize...LIFE is stressful! It doesn't matter what your job is, where you live, or how many kids you have...stress will be there. We actually need stress (to some extent) to grow, evolve and adapt. HOWEVER, too much unmanaged stress is not a good thing. 

Even if you might be stressed to the max right now, there are small, practical steps you can take to cope with that stress and stay healthy. 

It's really important to acknowledge stress so you can reduce it or cope with it a little better.

Think of it like aiming for a 1% improvement....you may not be able to change the stressors in your life, but if you can manage the impact on your body 1% better, then you’ll stay healthier and more able to handle the stress.

I would say that's pretty worthwhile, wouldn't you?

What are some of the effects that stress can have on your body?

I’m the first person to pretend that stress is no big deal, so if you’re like me, then the two of us need to have some straight-talk and get real about how stress IS affecting our bodies....

  • Stress increases cortisol production associated with weight gain (especially in the belly), an inability to lose weight or gain muscle and premature aging

  • Stress decreases nutrient absorption due to decreased enzymatic production from the stomach, pancreas and liver and decreased bile flow from the gall bladder

  • Stress increases nutrient excretion such as urinary loss of calcium, magnesium, potassium, zinc, chromium, selenium and other micro-minerals

  • Stress decreases gut flora populations by destroying healthy intestinal bacteria and can lead to immune problems, skin disorders, nutrient deficiencies, and digestive distress

  • Stress increases salt retention which can lead to high blood pressure

  • Stress decreases the thyroid hormone which can negatively affect your metabolism

  • Stress decreases sex hormones which leads to loss of libido and low energy

Yikes!! But it's not all bad news, I promise. You’re here to find solutions! So read on...

How can I reduce or cope better with stress?

Remember, since we can’t always control the stress in our lives, the goal is to reduce our experience of stress by even 1%.

Here’s how you can do that, starting NOW:

  • Look at your calendar for the next 7 days. What’s one activity you’ve committed to that you're really not passionate about and can graciously cancel?

  • Look at your to-do list. What’s one item you can delegate to someone else in the next 24 hours?

  • Consider your schedule today. Where can you fit in 20 minutes for yourself —where you’re not taking care of anyone else or being “productive”—so you can just relax and play and do something mindless?

  • Look at your calendar for tomorrow. Where can you fit in a 10-minute walk or Frisbee toss in your backyard? The fresh air and movement will help you cope waaay better with stress.

  • Before your next meal, try what I call the “5-5-7” breath. Inhale for a count of 5, hold your breath for a count of 5, then exhale for a count of 7. Repeat at least 3 times. This gives your body a chance to relax before your meal, which will increase your digestive capacity and help your body pull more nutrients from the food you’re eating.

What do I do now?

If you feel too stressed to relax, and you KNOW it’s affecting your mental and physical health, your weight and your energy levels, then click here NOW to schedule a time to talk with me about how to reduce or cope better with the stress in your life.

I’ve helped so many of my clients solve this problem, and chances are very good that I can help you, too. So, let's chat!

To your Health!

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Nourishment...it's about more than JUST food!

Why am I even using the word “nourishment” if I’m not talking about food? That’s a great question!

We often find ourselves so over-focused on food that we forget about all the other simple and wonderful ways to nourish ourselves.

What does it mean to nourish myself without food?

We often forget that...

...taking a walk in a forest with our dog is calming and rejuvenating.

...lying on your bed listening to your favourite song is soothing and relaxing.

...feeling the grass tickle your feet as you watch the clouds drift by is as good as meditation.

...engaging in uplifting and positive conversation with a good friend is energizing and motivating.

We actually “eat” all day with our senses...we “consume” our environment through touch, taste, smell, sound and sight.

Here are 5 ways to nourish your senses, starting today...

●  Relationships: Seek out and nurture relationships with friends and family that make you feel good about yourself and say goodbye to the ones that drain your energy.

●  Environment: Remember that your environment affects your mood and energy. So if you are stuck in an office all day staring at a wall, it’s time to kick off your shoes and run wild through a park (or the closest you can get to a park and to running wild!) so you can feel sunshine on your back and breeze on your skin.

●  Connections: We spend so much of our time alone at our computers or behind high walls and yet it’s so important for our spirits to make connections with others. So join a club or an online Meetup and make new connections!

●  Sleep: There is no way around it—there is just nothing quite like sleep to rejuvenate your body and restore your entire system to optimal functioning. If you missed my mini-series on sleep, you can start here!

●  Movement: Movement sparks your endorphins, which make you feel energized and excited. It also keeps the oxygen circulating through your system, so you can feel refreshed and alive.

What do I do now?

In my health coaching practice, I help my clients realize that there is more to life than food! I call the most important parts of our lives “THE BIG 5” —  these need as much love and attention as eating!

So, if you are tired of feeling like your life is lacking excitement and meaning and you want to find a way to feel nourished in all areas of your life, then click here now to schedule a time to talk with me today so I can help you feel more energized and alive than ever before!

And be sure to check out the info below for upcoming opportunities to nourish your mind, body and spirit.

To your health!

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