Winter Self-Care Series
Four Wellness Practices (and a Being Well Giveaway!)

Like many people, I started off the year committed to making my health a priority in 2015. With Spring fast approaching, I feel like it's the perfect time to assess where I'm at, how far I've come, and to renew my commitment to living a healthier, more joyful life.

To help guide me into Spring, I'm going to participate in a program led by my dear soul sister Jennifer Gabrish from Moonbird Wellness. She's offering a program starting next week called Being Well, a Winter-to-Spring Guide to Wellness. Perfect, right?

Whenever Jennifer works with a new client, she starts by evaluating where they are with four basic practices, all of which she'll cover in her upcoming Being Well program. I've decided to share with you my own assessment of where I am with these four practices here:

 Decaf coffee, my self-declared gateway drug

Decaf coffee, my self-declared gateway drug

Hydration: For years, I've been a caffeine addict. Coffee and black tea have been my drinks and drugs of choice. When these weren't available, a Diet Coke would do the trick. While the research seems a little fuzzy about whether or not caffeinated beverages are actually a diuretic or should be counted the same as water, it doesn't really matter. I know I wasn't hydrating properly, because I rarely drank water.

I told myself I didn't like the flavor. I only liked to drink it with crushed ice and a straw. Sometimes flavored water was okay, but it was usually the sugary stuff that's more like adult Kool-Aid than water.

In January, I gave up caffeine and it has been a game changer. Now I drink water almost exclusively (no crushed ice and straw necessary). I sometimes mix it with pure fruit juice (no sugar added), just for something different. I drink herbal teas almost daily and recently started drinking decaf coffee. I joked half-heartedly last week that decaf is my gateway drug. Seriously though, I'm determined to stay hydrated because I just feel so much better when I do!

Managment of blood sugar: I'm ashamed to admit, I don't know a great deal about this. My doctor, dietician, and therapist have all told me to eat more often throughout the day to keep my blood sugar steady.

See, I'm one of those people who used to skip breakfast and then forget to eat until 2pm when I was feeling truly famished. My morning cup of coffee would act as an appetite suppressant until late morning. I'd start to notice a sensation of hunger around 11am and totally ignore it. It wasn't lunchtime yet! Then I'd get busy and hyper focused on work and before I knew it, my stomach was growling and hunger pangs would set in. At that point, I'd either eat a microwavable meal I'd brought from home or raid the vending machine. Within a few hours, I was starving again, feeling tired from lack of nourishment and a stressful day at work. My defenses would be down and I'd usually stop by a fast-food drive thru on my way home.

 My new power breakfast...

My new power breakfast...

All of this to say, my blood sugar was totally out of whack... All. Day. Long.

Since the beginning of the year, I've made a conscious effort to eat breakfast and lunch every day. Eating properly during the day has made a vast improvement in the way I eat in the evening. Now it's usually brown rice, sautéed greens, and fish for dinner. Again, I'm not sure if this has anything to do with blood sugar, but I suspect it does!

Mindful nutrition and the role of intuition: Staying mindful around food is an ongoing struggle. Whether it's eating lunch at my desk while I'm working or watching the TV while I'm eating dinner or an evening snack, I seem to find it difficult to sit and eat quietly and mindfully. It feels so lonely somehow.

In terms of intuition, I think I've gotten better about this over time. Listening to my body and feeding it when it's hungry. Listening to my cravings and finding a way to satisfy them without overindulging. It's a practice. One I need to remind myself of from time to time.

Movement: Movement is the one area where I feel most at a loss. I'm very active on the weekends. When I'm spending time with my love, we're often outdoors walking, hiking, or milling around at the beach. During the week though, I lead a very sedentary lifestyle. I sit most of the day at work and spend the evenings doing mostly sedentary activities: writing, reading, art, or spending time online. The movement I get during the week is mostly from running errands, cooking, and cleaning.
 Hiking at Cavanaugh Pond Natural Area

Hiking at Cavanaugh Pond Natural Area

Lately though, I've had a lot more energy thanks to my new diet (pescetarian/gluten free). I've taken this as a sign that I need to move my body more. Still, it doesn't come naturally. For now, it involves turning on music and dancing around a bit, usually while I'm cleaning or cooking.

Where are you with these four practices? Are there any you'd like to learn more about or focus on this Spring? If you feel called to join in (and I hope you do), I'm giving away a spot in the program below!

Being Well Giveaway!

I'm pleased to be partnering with Jennifer to give away a spot in Being Well: A Winter-to-Spring Guide to Wellness. (You know how much I love giveaways!)

The program runs from February 23rd to March 19th.  For four weeks,  you'll receive an email on Monday and Thursday, as well as access to a private Facebook group for encouragement and group discussion.

About Jennifer:

Jennifer Gabrish is a Holistic Health Coach, offering individual coaching and group programs at Moonbird Wellness. I also happen to know she has excellent taste in books and writes a beautiful monthly e-newsletter, New Moon Notes. To learn more, you can visit her website or follow her on Facebook!

(Pssst...she's also giving away a spot on her website, so you really have two chances to win!)

The deadline to enter the drawing will be Friday, February 20th at 11:59 p.m. PST. A winner will be chosen and announced on Saturday, February 21st. Good luck!

Congratulations Kathryn, the winner this week on the blog! The next guest post and giveaway will be next Tuesday, 2/24. Hope to see you there!