Humans are born with a strong love of sweet tastes. This is one of the reasons so many processed foods from chips to salad dressings, bread and pizza have sugar added to them. It reinforces our cravings, making us want even more! Sugar is highly addictive, activating our brain pathways similar to other addictive substances like drugs and many of us don’t realize how much we’re eating. We crave more and more because sugar triggers the reward system in our brain. Refined sugar is even more highly addictive and causes many health issues and weight gain.
In my Healthy Eating workshops I share 5 healthy alternatives to table sugar and corn syrup you can use to satisfy your sweet tooth. Use these all-natural sugars in moderation and you will reap the health benefits.
1. Raw Honey.
Raw honey has a flavor that satisfies your craving for sweets. Honey is made when bees chew on nectar and break it down into simple sugars. They deposit it into honeycombs and water evaporates out of it. It's loaded with natural enzymes, antioxidants, minerals and vitamins. Honey is also a natural antiseptic and can be applied to cuts and scrapes. It’s important to note that not all honey is equal and you should avoid labeling tricks. Most honey being sold in the market today is overly processed, heated and filtered, taking all the best health benefits away. Processed honey is clear while raw honey is thicker, often cloudy and has a honey comb or crust on top. Avoid cheap honey especially the ones that come in the little plastic bear jars. Make sure the label says raw honey. A little more expensive, but well worth the cost.
2. 100% real Maple Syrup.
Maple syrup is a healthy, natural product that comes straight from trees. It's made from the boiled sap of maple trees and has lots of healthy nutrients such as calcium, zinc, magnesium and potassium. Maple syrup has a lower glycemic index (this tells your body how fast or slow to raise your blood sugar after eating it) than sugar. It also contains up to 54 different antioxidants.
3. Dates. Some people enjoy using date sugar, which is made from powdered dried/dehydrated dates. Date sugar has all of the dates’ nutritional value, including fiber, calcium, magnesium and potassium. It’s not always easy to find date sugar so to make it even easier, just add chopped or mashed Medjool dates to any food you want to sweeten.
4. Coconut Sugar.
Coconut sugar is made by boiling and dehydrating sap from a coconut palm tree. It tastes a lot like brown sugar, but it has fiber, iron, zinc and antioxidants.
Stevia is a zero-calorie sweetener that is made from a South American plant. It is much sweeter than regular sugar so you need to use it sparingly. The best type is Green Leaf Stevia because it is hardly processed and very pure with no added chemicals. It’s important to mention that Stevia is not metabolized by the body like sugar and has no impact on blood sugar. For this reason, it is a great alternative for diabetics.
So now you know what alternatives there are to satisfy your sweet tooth and won’t derail your health or your weight loss efforts! Please help me spread the word about healthy sweeteners by sharing this article with your family, friends and coworkers. Want to learn more about healthy eating or my stress reduction and mindfulness programs to help you and your family create a healthier, less stressed-out life in 2020, visit PeaceandPear.com
Educate and Motivate.
Given the wealth of information available online now, employees often find themselves confused on what is really the right approach to their health. One size does not fit all and educating your team members to make better decisions, explore healthy options and listen to their bodies is key. That’s why education is at the root of any successful program. I’ve found a variety of different ways to educate that are effective, from lunch and learns to webinars to my unique Coach-on-Call program and wellness challenges; all providing small tidbits of daily education. The key with these programs is that the presenter is a lively, motivating speaker so attendees feel inspired to take action.
Enable and Empower Everyone.
Wellness doesn’t have to be complicated and I will ensure a seamless approach to your company’s wellness goals. Once we’ve begun to educate your teams on the mind/body connection, it’s important to make it easy for them to follow through on what they learned. For example, I’ve worked closely with cafeteria managers and HR staff to create a ‘Peace and Pear approved’ Green Bowl Program. Employees know that whatever meal was in the Green Bowl that day was a healthy and delicious lunch option. Even if your office doesn’t have a full cafeteria, we can incorporate healthy snack options in the vending machines. Something as simple as giving employees large water bottles and provide filtered water and lemons in the office to make morning lemon water, which energizes, detoxes and hydrates employees is a great start. This simple act alone can help employees stay hydrated, avoid the sugary waters and sodas in the vending machines and improve energy levels by up to 50 percent. Another option is to offer fruit for morning and afternoon snacks. Apples, pears and berries are low-glycemic and packed with antioxidants and fiber to fill everyone up.
Incentivize Your Team.
A little friendly competition goes a long way. Team-based wellness challenges with prizes help employees take what they’ve learned and motivate them to create healthy habits. Online wellness challenges can include multiple office locations or departments and build camaraderie company wide. Giving mindful prizes for participation is also effective to increase participation, especially for those individuals who are hesitant to participate.
Be Consistent in all Phases.
Finally, simply doing a one-off wellness event to check the boxes isn’t enough. Just like any new habit or change to routine, consistency is key. Planning out a full year of wellness in advance of the year keeps the program top of mind in the office. It also allows you the opportunity to provide different offerings, as not everything will appeal to everyone. Examples include offering a combination of lunch and learns, monthly newsletters, fitness classes, wellness challenges and even superfood smoothie and juicing classes. Running a good wellness program, with high engagement and sustained results can quickly become a full-time job. Outsourcing to a wellness focused company will not only save you time but also dollars.
To learn more about Christine's work and Peace and Pear’s corporate wellness programs, check out https://www.peaceandpear.com/corporate-coaching.html
1. Use existing staff to create and run a wellness program.
Asking a current employee who already has a full-time job to take on the extra burden and challenge of running an effective wellness program is a recipe for disaster. It may start off well, but eventually the lack of time and expertise to manage and administer a comprehensive wellness program becomes apparent. Onsite staff are expected to be behavior change experts and this only comes from real coach training and certifications. Wellness programs run by internal company staff typically have low participation rates and struggle to keep the program going long-term. Consider hiring a wellness professional who has the tools, resources, knowledge and experience to help your company create a comprehensive, well-planned, engaging program your employees will love participating in and watch your health care costs decrease significantly.
2. Expecting a static wellness portal to be a wellness program.
You can’t replace human interaction with a dashboard app and expect consistent, sustainable results. There’s no replacing a “live” class with demonstrations, instruction, engagement and accountability with an onsite wellness coach. A wellness coach is a professional accountability partner who mentors, educates, engages and helps to find healthy living solutions based on each employee’s needs.
3. Overly Complicated Programming. Simpler is Always Better.
To avoid failure, your wellness program should be easy to understand and follow. You need to remove all of the barriers to participation. The easier it is for your employees to engage, the more likely they will be to produce positive outcomes. Most of your employees probably spend more than 10 hours per day staring at a blue screen or their mobile devices. This leads to fatigue, stress and anxiety, lack of mobility and human interaction. Participating in activities that take them out of their normal routine creates a feeling of well-being and an opportunity to take a break and focus on feel-good healthy living techniques.
4. Failure to create a health promoting culture and environment with engagement and support of leadership team.
Many worksites initiate a corporate health and wellness program with limited leadership support. This is not necessarily a bad thing, but it is a limitation on the effectiveness that the program will have. Companies with strong leadership support of the wellness program have leaders who participate in the program in very visible ways. They participate in campaigns, they participate in team challenges, they talk about the wellness program, they are involved in the evaluation and reports of the program and they personally believe in the benefits of having a healthy lifestyle. This can make all the difference in how an employee perceives the program and is encouraged to attend workshops, classes and challenges. Adopting healthy behaviors is actually fairly easy. The challenge is to maintain these healthy behaviors for the rest of your life. Worksites that can create health-promoting environments and a culture that supports healthy living will experience a variety of positive wellness outcomes including an increase in productivity and creativity and a decrease in sick days and employee burnout. The most effective programs use multiple streams of communication from the leadership team in the form of email, newsletters, website portal, tabletop tents, meeting announcements, staff meetings, text messaging, Facebook, new employee orientation and calendars. The more you talk about your wellness program, the more you change your culture and the outcomes for success!
5. Incentivizing the wrong things.
Gift cards, raffles, an extra vacation day or lunch on the company are incentives that employees love and are often motivated by. However, it’s important to offer these at appropriate times and not just for filling out surveys, logging on to a website to read a healthy living article or showing up for a biometric screening. These incentives offer real change when given after a behavioral or health challenge or series of workshops have been completed. It’s important to reward the consistent effort towards making real life, healthy changes. Consider also including the employees spouse or significant other in participating in the programs. Studies show participation increases as do the success rates of new healthy living techniques when the employee has support at home.
For more on Christine’s work, visit www.PeaceandPear.com
Here are the facts that many companies and executive teams choose to ignore or don’t fully understand about the current state of business:
A Gallup study performed in June of 2018 found 23 percent of the employees sampled felt burned out at work very often or always, while an additional 44 percent reported feeling burned out sometimes.
What’s the cost?
Job burnout accounts for an estimated $125 billion to $190 billion in health-care spending each year and has contributed to the development of type 2 diabetes, coronary heart disease, gastrointestinal issues, high cholesterol and even death for those under the
age of 45.
Companies are facing an employee burnout crisis and there is a high cost to pay in absenteeism and turnover. Some of the causes that are impacting about two-thirds of the workforce include; feelings of unfair treatment at work, unreasonable deadlines, unmanageable workload, lack of support from managers (who are also suffering burnout) and the added stress from having to be accessible almost 24/7 with expectations to respond to emails and texts during off hours.
What steps can we take to fix this crisis?
When it comes to building a climate of well-being, employers need to look beyond just physical health to help employees feel recognized, valued and involved and create opportunities for growth and development, according to David W. Ballard, PsyD, MBA, director of APA’s Center for Organizational Excellence.
Despite the rise in corporate wellness programs, many employers are falling short in their efforts. Often times these wellness initiatives are an “add-on” to someone’s already overburdened work duties and not being executed consistently with solid workplace wellness programs.
The best strategies for sustainable, long-term benefits to combat high stress and burnout are holistic approaches developed and executed by a wellness professional. I’m not talking about another employee wellness program with blood pressure screenings, BMI testing and tracking, flu clinics, diet challenges and adding a new fitness class to the lineup that will be under-utilized by most employees. While those can serve a purpose as part of the equation, there is a bigger piece missing from many corporate wellness programs. Taking a more holistic approach that bridges the gap between mind and body allows employees and executives to find the connection between true wellness and engagement. Workshops on meditation, mindfulness, self-care and stress management will teach resilience, patience and emotional regulation, concentration, empathy, better communication and team-building skills, and the willingness and creativity to be a thought leader sharing new ideas and solutions. This all leads to a workforce that is healthier, less overwhelmed, more engaged, innovative and productive.
It’s imperative that the top leadership supports a culture of wellness in the workplace in order for change to occur. Nearly three-fourths (73 percent) of employees with senior managers who show support through involvement and commitment to well-being initiatives, said their organization helps employees develop a healthy lifestyle, compared with just 11 percent who work in an organization without that leadership support, according to APA's 2016 Work and Well-Being Survey.
Where to begin?
The embrace of an employee wellness program addressing the whole person, mind and body, is a significant paradigm shift in the business world, one that is growing stronger with more evolved leaders and companies bringing a spirit of innovation to their workforce. Giving the same energy and care to employees as they do to their core products and services will lead to a flourishing and thriving company that is profitable and able to keep and recruit top talent. Hiring a professional wellness and transformational coach to build a solid program of workshops and classes centered around the mind and the body will support and empower the leaders and employees to fulfill their highest business, personal and social potential through mindset and behavior change as part of the company’s culture and growth.
The bottom line:
Burnout interferes with everyone’s ability to perform well; it increases rigid thinking, and decreases the ability to think accurately, flexibly, with innovation and creatively. Is it time you took a look at your company’s culture and rethink your corporate wellness goals?
Read more at www.PeaceandPear.com. Follow Peace and Pear on Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram and YouTube.
Contact me to learn more about my custom programs, classes and workshops.
1. Set your intentions for the day with affirmations. Before getting out of bed, take a couple minutes and verbalize out loud or to yourself how you want this day to go. I like to say it out loud. I think it has more impact when you hear your own voice setting your intentions (your family or your dog may find some inspiration as well!). Set your intention for how the work day will go, how your latest report or speech will be received, even how well your kids will behave at the dinner table that evening. Keep it positive. Your intention is for only good to come from this day.
2. Visualization. Taking a few minutes each morning to visualize how you want your life to flow, will make it more likely to become a reality. You’ve probably heard the phrase: you can’t get what you want, until you know what you want. This is why visualization is so important. Think of how your dream life would feel, the people who would be a part of it, the surroundings, the work and your daily routine. Set this in your memory and take a few minutes to focus on this every morning. Worst case scenario? It puts a smile on your face and elevates your mood. Want to make this exercise even more powerful? Write it down!
3. Walk in Nature. Want to kick start your metabolism? A brisk walk in the morning before work will kick start your metabolism but it also gets those happy endorphins going. There is something very soothing and grounding when getting back to nature. We spend most of our hours indoors, so take a few minutes first thing in the morning and walk the neighborhood. Your health will thank you!
4. Meditation. I’ve found that I can usually carve out a few minutes in the early morning for meditation rather than waiting until the end of the day when there seem to be too many tasks to accomplish before bed. Meditation often frightens people or they think it’s too hard to do. In reality, just sitting for 5-10 minutes and focusing on your breath will quiet the mind and help you reap the rewards of meditation. When you find thoughts and problems entering your mind while sitting quietly, observe them and then let them go. Refocus on your breath again until your mind quiets down. I teach people in my workshops that there isn’t one right way to do it. The purpose of meditation is to give your mind a break and to relax and focus inward. Just sitting quietly for a few minutes provides enough benefit. *Need a little divine guidance? I help people one-on-one learn different meditation styles. I would be honored to help you. Click here to set up a complimentary 30 minute call to discuss how I can help you learn how to ease anxiety, stress and cultivate more joy in your life with a regular meditation practice.
5. Offer Gratitude. It’s hard to be angry, upset, depressed or out of sorts when you start thinking of all the good things that are happening in your life. We all have at least one or two things to be grateful for, so try focusing on these gifts rather than what you are lacking. It can be as simple as being thankful for your comfortable bed and a good night sleep, your family or pets you share your life with, the sunshine, the fun little outfit you picked out to wear today or maybe something we take for granted here in America as having the ability to wake up to a hot shower with running water. Whatever it is, and however bad you may be feeling about life that moment, try to find the gratitude in one little thing and say a big thank you.
6. Read or listen to inspirational quotes or book. Find your inspirational authors and listen to them regularly for motivation while in the shower, making breakfast or driving to work. Need some suggestions? Check some of these great people whose works can be found on youtube for free: Tony Robbins, Wayne Dyer, Louise Hay, Deepak Chopra, Eckhart Tolle
and Cheryl Richardson. You can also check out my book, The Wisdom of You, A Transformational Journey to Creating an Extraordinary Life. In my new book I share my own personal struggles and the tools and techniques I used to face life’s challenges and rise strong. These powerful tools will help you reconnect with your greatest self and find your power, passion and purpose, improve your relationships and ultimately take control of your life. You can download a free chapter and learn more on my website at www.PeaceandPear.com
7. Eat a good breakfast. It really is the most important meal and sets the tone for the day. Take the extra few minutes and make a healthy smoothie or egg scramble to get your day started right. So many of us are in the habit of grabbing a quick bagel, muffin or highly processed, sugar-laden protein bars and these foods are hijacking your day. Foods loaded with sugar, simple carbohydrates and artificial ingredients will leave you feeling tired and hungry in a very short time. This leads to brain fogginess, moodiness, weight gain and fatigue. See below for a healthy breakfast recipe to kick-start your day.
Try and make as many of these actions, if not all a part of your morning ritual and you will begin to see results within one short week. If you continue beyond that first week, they will become habits, helping you create a happier, healthier, more balanced life. I’ve seen amazing results from practicing these simple strategies, how about you? I would love to hear about your daily rituals and if this article has helped you.
P.S... The new Self-Care Gift Box is now available and we've included free shipping for a limited time! This unique gift box is curated especially for you or to give as a gift for someone you care about. It is filled with beautiful self-care products that will feed your soul. Developed and written by transformational coach, Christine Porter, each product is designed to take you on a journey of self-discovery with help and guidance in creating your best life. Makes a thoughtful, heart-felt gift. Give as a holiday, birthday or mother's day gift or for someone who needs a gentle reminder to slow down and practice more
self-care. Check it out here.
P.S.S... need a little extra inspiration? Check out my Peace and Pear Facebook page on Tuesday nights at 7pm (EDT) where I host live workshops and mini retreats to feed your soul. You can watch past episodes also on Peace and Pear's YouTube channel.
Peace, love and pear!
Christine Porter, CHHP, AADP
Board-Certified Wellness and Transformational Coach
Founder of Peace and Pear: A Mindfulness Company Creating Products and Programs to Feed Your Soul
Ever have one of those really long weeks that seems like it may never end? I’ve had this feeling for the past week now. It seems like no matter what I do, I can’t get ahead of the workload, find time for myself or make all those healthy meals I was planning to make.
I haven’t totally fallen overboard. I’m not eating at fast food restaurants, making mashed potatoes out of box (oh there were years where this was my “go to” side dish) or binging on donuts, bagels and candy bars. But I haven’t been juicing as much or eating many veggies and I’ve started snacking on chips and salsa and sugary granola bars. Canned tuna has crept in as a main dinner staple. I’m frequenting the sushi bar and gluten free pizza has been on my plate more than I’d like as I struggle to get a quick lunch.
I’m starting to feel the fatigue and my sugar and gluten cravings are starting to kick in. Where’s the veggies? Where’s the clean eating I’ve been following for years? I’ve allowed a crazy work schedule to take over my life.
The less attention I pay to nutrition and the more I don’t cook at home and start buying even the so called “healthy foods” at the store, the IFLC syndrome kicks in (also known as: I Feel Like Crap). The more I eat like this, the more I begin to crave the sugary, high-carb foods that packed the pounds on years ago. As a wellness coach, I know this. So what gives?
Life has become a little off balance, much like the days when I worked in the high pressure, fast paced advertising industry. I remember I kept a steady diet of coffee, sugar, packaged foods, sandwiches and donuts, leftover from the early morning office meeting, to get me through. Oh and lots of wine and cheese happy hours with colleagues as we decompressed from our long, pressure-cooker days.
Those were really long days. There was a lot of stress. There was great anxiety over aggressive deadlines and a general feeling of dread that hovered over my days as I sometimes struggled to keep up and be creative. Ever felt like that? It’s uncomfortable and if you live with that feeling long enough, you begin to pick up bad habits like I did and start emotional eating to help ease the stress and frustration. And we all know that doesn’t work.
I’ve left much of that behind but we all have great intentions and we all have lives that sometimes get in the way of what we think we should do and what we can do.
There is always that delicate balance. And while we can’t always control the “little things” that hijack our days, we can pay attention to these events and try for “better” the next day.
Remember, your most precious asset is you. Take good care of it.
Meditation and Mindfulness have become regular practices that have helped me get my life more in balance, reduce my anxiety and build more resiliency. I also strive to sleep 8 hours a night and am very mindful of my emotions and triggers that can set me off in a downward spiral. I’m also aware that what I put in my mouth to eat is important. My eating habits are a part of what affects my mood, my anxiety levels and the amount of resiliency I have in any given moment.
When I find myself searching for a quick meal at the store, I ask myself; how will this make me feel? If it doesn’t fuel me, it most likely will deplete me. This is the fine art of making the food/mood connection.
I don’t beat myself up anymore when I have a bad day of eating or even if it lasts a couple of days. But I try to be more conscious of this and make adjustments to my schedule and put myself first again. This isn’t being selfish, it’s a form of self-care. This is taking care of yourself so you can be of service to those you love and care about. If you are depleted, there isn’t much left to give anyone, let alone yourself. That’s when things start to fall apart and we spiral into self-destructive thoughts and habits.
So what are some simple steps we all can do to make better food choices when in a pinch? Making larger batches of food and having left over’s for the week is a life saver. I love the concept of cooking once and eating twice. Or more! My grandmother was an expert at this. She always had leftovers and most of the time could make another 2 or 3 quick meals out of last night’s dinner.
Now when I grill dinner for family and friends, I try to add additional protein and veggies to the recipe so I have leftovers to add to my salads for the week. This helps me eliminate frequent trips to the store to get “less than healthy” packaged salads with sugary, carb loaded salad dressings. Making smoothies ahead of time and storing in mason jars and freezing helps on those frantic mornings when you need a quick grab-and-go breakfast. Or having hard-boiled eggs on hand. What about a delicious twist on an old classic, oatmeal. Now I'm talking about real oatmeal you have to cook in a pot, not the little packets you add water to or microwave. Those instant oatmeal packets are full of quick oats with little fiber and a whole lot of sugar added. Real steel cut oatmeal is a great breakfast option you can make the night before in large batches and enjoy all week. Add chia seeds, nuts and berries to add extra nutrition and fiber. When we don’t have convenient foods on-hand on busy mornings, we usually make bad choices and end up grabbing a bagel or going through a drive thru window. We also tend to overeat throughout the day when we skip breakfast.
Bottom line, I wasn’t prepared as much as I normally would be this past couple of weeks due to travel and a busy work schedule. But I’m not going to beat myself up. I’m going to do better starting today and go shopping so I can prepare for the upcoming week! It takes a little bit of planning but in the long run I feel and look better. That’s my goal for today. How about you? What little changes can you make to keep on a healthy eating path?
P.S. Need some extra inspiration in the "taking care of myself" department? The new Self-Care Gift Box is available now! This unique self-care gift box is curated especially for you. It is filled with beautiful self-care products that will feed your soul. Developed and written by
transformational coach, Christine Porter, each product is designed to take you on a journey of self-discovery with help and guidance in creating your best life. It also makes a thoughtful, heart-felt gift this upcoming holiday season. Oh, did I mention I’m offering free shipping for a limited time? Take a peek inside here.
Peace, love and pear!
Recently, I ran a workshop with a group of amazing people. Everyone was so engaged, inspired, supportive and eager to improve their health, eating habits and mindset as well as to learn ways to create lasting changes in their lives so they could go from surviving to thriving.
I always get inspired and “fueled up” when I get a chance to conduct these workshops and coaching classes. I feel energized and really fulfilled knowing I am sharing knowledge that can be life changing.
What fuels us is the substance of true living. It’s our positive thoughts, the healthy foods we eat, our feelings of being needed and supported, having a deep sense of purpose and passion that should be our fuel of choice. Yet many of us struggle to find this fuel and can end up running out of gas feeling depleted and sick or worse just numb and tired.
Just as it’s important to eat real, whole foods and avoid sugar and chemicals, it’s also important to nurture your emotional side. Very early on in my wellness coaching career, I discovered the relevance of the concept of primary and secondary foods. It’s pretty simple concept but a very powerful one that I do most of my teaching around.
All the things that we eat and put on our bodies (and that’s a biggie because our skin is our largest organ), is considered, surprisingly, secondary foods. Just as important, if not more in my opinion are our primary foods.
Primary foods are all the things that fuel us emotionally and spiritually. Think about your career or your job. Do you enjoy it? Is it fulfilling? Do you look forward to your days? Or do you dread getting out of bed in the morning? What about your relationships with family and friends? Are you feeling supported or depleted? Are you in a chronic state of giving? Are the kids taking all your time and there’s nothing left for you? Do you have a spiritual practice of quiet meditation, sitting calmly perhaps or just carving a little downtime for yourself? Are you comfortable with your finances or are you in a perpetual state of needing to make more money? Have you taken a little time and created a budget that can help you achieve your goals and alleviate the unnecessary spending?
More importantly, are you living in a state of chronic stress and fear that’s keeping you uptight, sleepless and overeating to relieve anxiety?
All of us have experienced times in our lives that feel out of balance. It’s important to remember we are all a constant work in progress. But the primary foods of life; our relationships, finances, spirituality, career and hobbies are some of the most important things in our life that either keep us healthy, motivated and feeling fulfilled, or they make us miserable, unhealthy and stuck in bad habits and negative thought-patterns.
Stress and depression are a huge detriment to our health and are becoming an epidemic in our society. Not to mention it’s a crappy way to live on a regular basis.
There was a time in my life where I experienced all of these symptoms. I was working all the time trying to make more money because it never seemed enough. I became a workaholic and found most of my enjoyment in running myself into the ground. I treated my body like a machine and I was lonely, tired, stressed, unhappy, overweight and fatigued. My family was feeling the same as they began mimicking my behaviors. Can you relate to this? I hope not, but if you do, you are joining the ranks of millions of Americans caught up in the race of life. But I remember the day when I started thinking, is this all there is? What if I did a little work on myself and tried to change my mindset? What if there is something to the mind/body connection and trying to live a more inspired life. If I really changed my eating patterns, would my moods improve? Could I go from surviving to thriving? Maybe it was time to try something different. Maybe it was time to think differently so I could expect a different outcome.
One of the first things I did was take an inventory of my life. I really looked at what was not serving me well in my life. I began looking at what I wanted and how I could feel more fulfilled. And not just with more “things to buy,” or finding happiness in the bottom of a Ben and Jerry’s ice cream pint! Yes, there is a brief moment of bliss from that, but then, I must confess I am a recovering sugar addict. But the sugar rush is so fleeting and left me with this guilt feeling and really tight jeans!
Years ago, I went on a little 4-day retreat that was life changing. I spent some time quietly journaling, hiking, learning how to meditate and be more mindful. I practiced gentle yoga daily and learned how to eat a healthier diet of lean proteins and veggies. I also cut out processed foods and limited my sugar. What happened next was amazing! I had more energy. My mindset shifted and I started thinking of ways to take this new-found self-care program home with me and incorporate it into my daily life. Even for just a few minutes each day, I began practicing meditation and mindfulness and I began paying attention to my thoughts, feelings and actions. Even around dinner time; I limited my take-out food choices and began cooking some simple and healthy meals. I also realized it was time to go back to school and follow my passion to become a wellness and transformational coach. That led to a new career in which I began writing books. In my new book, The Wisdom of You; A Transformational Journey to Creating an Extraordinary Life, I share my own personal journey and the tools and techniques I learned so that you too can begin your journey to feeling, thinking and looking your best.
It’s a horrible to feel physically or emotionally stuck and I know how this can impact the quality of your daily life. Sluggish, foggy, grumpy and tired are what come to mind when I think about how I was feeling. Many of my clients feel this way also. But constantly waiting for the "right time" to change keeps us stuck. Sometimes you have to take that leap of faith and just go for it!
No more waiting, join me today! Each Tuesday night, at 7pm (EDT), I host a Facebook Live program at Facebook.com/PeaceandPear. I cover a variety of topics from healthy living, self-care, meditation and mindfulness tools and techniques, to self-empowerment and more! It’s fun, it’s educational, it’s thought-provoking and it can be life changing. These episodes are free so stop by and check it out. It’s free transformational coaching that promises to be one of the best hours you will spend on yourself. It’s like a mini retreat for the Soul. You can also watch past episodes at Peace and Pear's YouTube channel.
I’m also giving away more free stuff to jump start your transformation in creating your best life. Log on to my website and sign up to download a free chapter of my new book, The Wisdom of You; A Transformational Journey to Creating an Extraordinary Life. You will automatically receive my free newsletter with tips and recipes, inspirational quotes and self-care reminders. It will also give you information on the upcoming Facebook live episodes so you can mark your calendar and join me live.
While I gave up some things along the way and have had some struggles on my journey, I kept at it. I tried not to berate or judge myself and gave myself permission to just be human and to recognize I am trying my best. Years of living with some bad habits, overworking, feeling rushed and stressed became a normal way to live. It is only natural to realize, it will take some time to make major life shifts and reduce these bad habits.
No more punishing our selves, trust in the process and put one foot in front of the other right now.
Peace, love and pear!
What’s the 6,000-pound elephant in the room that you’re refusing to see? For me, it was my fears. Fear of making a bad decision when I knew I needed to make a life change. I struggled with fear around my finances as I explored the idea of leaving my job and my husband. I was feeling isolated in my own pain. As I began to look at my reality honestly, I realized that I was in a toxic marriage that was ruining my emotional and physical health and a job that was so stressful, I was having a hard time sleeping and eating. I began feeling desperate, scared and alone with some big life decisions.
When we give away our power and let fear take control, a part of us slowly dies. Even when we make a commitment to ourselves to find the silver lining, to try and make the best of a bad situation, we are creating resistance to the truth. Resistance is the reason we stay stuck in patterns that keep us from thriving.
We tell ourselves all kinds of stories to try and make our less-than- desirable situation feel okay. Maybe we are feeling lazy and the strategy of ignoring what is painful or boring works for a while. You may say things like, “That’s just the way I am,” or, “I have plenty of reasons to be angry,” and “This is just the way it is.” You may be haunted by self-doubt and feelings of inadequacy so you condone your behavior and continue on. Or you feel helpless and stay in a relationship longer than you should. You worry about finances and struggle through your work day believing there is no other option. These are just a few of the ways we stay “stuck” and give our power away. Burnout, sadness, pain and despair can set in and we begin to numb ourselves so we don’t have to feel those strong feelings.
We tend to carry an unconscious belief that in order to stay alive, we must hold on to our protection mechanism. We give our pain purpose and believe that the struggle is real. We begin to believe we must master life in order to feel safe and acquire success.
I decided it was time for me to take a long, hard look at my life, what I had created, the stories I was telling myself and decide if I wanted to continue on this path. Was I happy with the walls I had built for my illusion of safety and happiness? Was it time to shift directions and create a new freedom that would require me to let go of my fears and resistance to life? What was my big dream for my life? If I knew I only had a few months to live, would I have regrets for not following my heart? I was feeling so scattered, keeping myself stuck in the daily grind, that I didn’t have the answers to any of these questions. I was so busy living in survival mode that one day turned into the next.
The number one rule I began to understand and the most important tool I share in my new book, The Wisdom of You; A Transformational Journey to Creating an Extraordinary Life, is to stop looking outside of yourself for the answers. Your power lies in going within and connecting with yourself on a deeper level than maybe you ever have. I believe everything you need to know is deep inside of you if you just learn how to tap into this inner guidance or call it your intuition. It is your internal GPS system and we all have one.
“Everything you need to know is inside of you. Every question, every answer, and every right move. It’s an inside job.” – Christine Porter
If you’re feeling stuck, maybe feeling like you’ve lost a piece of yourself and looking for ways to empower yourself, here’s some key thoughts to explore on your journey:
You don’t have to take life as it comes. This is your one and only life and you don’t want to be sitting on the sidelines letting everything happen to you. So, what is it going to be? You get to decide, every day. Starting today, you can make the next chapter of your life exciting, rewarding, fulfilling, productive and amazing. Sit quietly, feel the energy in your thoughts and aspirations and let the momentum move you.
Ask yourself; What will my life look like five or ten years from now? What do I really want to do? Where do I really want to go? The goal is not to create a list of “shoulds” but to stir up some exciting possibilities of what “could” be done in your one and only beautiful life. You get to decide, right here, right now.
I wrote my new book to inspire you and get you to slow down, go within, find your balance and let your imagination flow. This is where your power resides.
Feeling inspired? Ready to make a change? Share this article with your tribe and help lift others up. Click the link The Book to learn more. Or visit Amazon to take a peek inside. Please leave a review because, well people love to check out reviews and helps with the buying decision.
Peace, love and pear!
Sitting quietly has never been easy for me. As a type A personality type who is always on the move and hyper focused on getting everything done immediately, the thought of sitting quietly on a cushion in the lotus position, trying to erase thoughts from my mind for an hour or more sounded painfully excruciating. This was not something I wanted to entertain for myself. I knew meditation would be good for me. I had read plenty of scientific, medical and spiritual articles on the emotional and physical health benefits of meditation. The research was intriguing. The studies outlined the changes I could expect; lower blood pressure, stress reduction, improving cognitive thinking, more focus, better sleep patterns, weight loss and a more positive outlook on life. I even listened to podcasts on how to meditate while driving to work hoping I could reap some benefits just from listening. Tomorrow was always the promise I’d make to myself to begin a practice. Tomorrow would come and go but it never seemed like the right time. I made a lot of excuses that were reasonable; I’m busy, I’m too stressed, I need to plan my morning meetings, I’m trying to get a little more sleep, too many family responsibilities, and on and on. Why was I so stuck? Why couldn’t I just try? There was no major cost in participating and it seemed everyone who did have a meditation practice seemed more calm, relaxed and happy.
Meditation seemed so elusive and mysterious to me but at its core, it really is about getting in touch with a deeper part of ourselves. There is a small inner voice inside all of us that knows exactly what we need and when we need it. Some call it intuition, our “source” or God working through us. Whatever we call it, it truly is the original GPS we can trust to guide us in the right direction. If we allow it space to be heard in our busy lives. Getting to this core at first might seem challenging but with a little commitment and the desire, anyone can do it.
So where do we begin?
There is no right or wrong way to meditate. The most important thing to do is get still. That’s it. Simply get still. Finding the way to quieting your mind comes with time. The notion of erasing all thoughts and clearing your mind is not really achievable for many of us – unless of course you are a Tibetan monk living in a monastery. As thoughts enter your mind while meditating, you will begin to see what is pressing on your mind and what might need attention in your life. Even the most painful ones hold so much important information for us. It helps to acknowledge, reflect and recognize the feelings and thoughts so we can make better, more informed decisions on what is best for ourselves. They are the road maps for our lives. Ignoring or denying them usually leads to suffering in the long term.
There are so many expectations for us first-time meditators and it rarely goes the way we had planned or hoped for. Try not to be discouraged or frustrated but find the beauty and excitement in the thoughts, feelings, memories and fantasy’s that are jumping around your mind, wanting attention. All are a part of who you are and they hold great importance, no judgement here. Do you know what motivates you now? What you crave and need to feel more settled in life? What makes you smile and feel like your creating something special for yourself and others? What’s your purpose? Where do you want to be a year from now or even five years from now? What’s the next step? Do you know? That’s what meditation offers; insight into your soul, your life, your purpose, your hopes and dreams.
What if you just sat in a quiet space for a few minutes and began to take notice of your thoughts as they enter your mind? What if you became the silent observer and notice what arises with each deep breath you inhale? Acknowledge, review, accept and bless it has been my motto. No judging. Release the urge to be the perfect meditator, to do it right. Calming the “monkey mind,” that incessant chatter we all hear and starting to focus on the breath and asking life’s big questions. Who am I? Why am I here? What is it I’m being called to do with my life? Asking these questions of myself helped me get a clearer picture of my life and how I viewed the world. It doesn’t always happen overnight and it can feel really uncomfortable to be alone with ourselves. Turn off your computer and smart phone. Just sit quietly. Don’t worry about the outcome or trying to do it perfectly. Let go of the attachment of how it will get done, just set your intention to try. And try again.
One morning I woke up and decided to give myself a 30-day meditation challenge. I wasn’t exactly sure how I would begin my meditation practice or how I would sit still for even five minutes every day but I was very determined to try. Every day I woke up a little earlier than usual and went and sat in my cozy chair and closed my eyes. I tried silent, deep breathing meditation on day. Another day I tried a guided meditation I found on YouTube.
Once I faced my fear, sat quietly on a regular basis and began listening to my intuition, that little voice inside me that was begging to be heard, I found the right path I needed to follow at this point in my life. It helped me discover my dream and I launched Soulful Connections as part of my business.
We all deserve to be heard and seen. It only can happen when we are ready to show up for our lives. How to do this? Stop and sit in the stillness. Ask the big questions. Listen for the answers and don’t judge them just be witness to what comes up. The Wisdom of You is begging to be heard. Go and follow those big dreams that lie inside of you. I will be by your side cheering you on!
My 30-Day Awareness Meditation Challenge:
One of the most gentle and approachable forms for a beginner is mindfulness meditation. The object is to observe the wandering thoughts as they drift through your mind. The intention is not to get too involved with the thoughts or judge them but simply be aware of them, let them pass and return to your breath. You can also practice a mantra you say each time your thoughts come up in an effort to refocus your mind. A mantra may be as simple as repeating; all is well or so it is.
Set a timer for 5 minutes.
1. Sit comfortably in a chair, on the floor or a cushion. Try not to lay down, chances are you will fall asleep.
2. Close your eyes gently. Soften your mouth and make sure not to clench your teeth.
3. Make no effort to control your breath, just breathe naturally and fully, expanding your stomach with each inhale. Exhale fully through your nose.
4. Focus your attention on your breath, observe how your body feels. Breath into the tight areas and sink deeper into letting go of any areas that feel restricted.
5. If your mind wanders, observe your thoughts and release them by returning your focus back on your breath.
Repeat this meditation each morning before you start your day or in the evening before bed for a full 15 minutes. Increase your meditation time as you become more comfortable with your practice.
Peace, love and pear!
Published on Thrive Global on March 11, 2019
Reprint from my published article featured on Thrive Global
When we live our lives on auto pilot, we get lost in the shuffle and life can seem more of a struggle and we tend to feel out of control. Highly successful people are focused and goal oriented. They know it’s important to practice self-care and they make time for themselves every day. The benefits are clearer thoughts, more energy and the ability to juggle multiple projects without feeling totally depleted. So what are some of the top things you can do to help you become more successful and as a result, happier and healthier? I’ve outlined seven very manageable steps you can start today!
1. Set your intentions. Upon waking in the morning, spend a few minutes setting your intentions for the day. This can be as simple as saying a little thank you or practicing gratitude for the things you have in your life. You can also practice positive self-affirming talk as if you have already achieved your goals. We all have obstacles and challenges but take a look at what you do have and acknowledge it with a positive thumbs up! This sets the stage for positive thinking all day.
2. Drink a glass of warm water with lemon. Water hydrates the body, revs up your digestive system and gets things moving. Plus, it fills you up so you don’t overeat at breakfast.
3. Eat a healthy breakfast. Rather than reaching for a box of cereal, a bagel or a fast food meal, make a quick egg scramble with eggs and some spinach, mushrooms or your favorite veggies. Try a chia seed pudding or an energy smoothie. Go easy on the sugar and the carbs in the morning and throughout the day. They will give you immediate energy but soon you will crash and have brain fog.
4. Do not check your phone or email for at least an hour upon waking. Most of us do some of our best thinking, writing and strategizing in the early morning hours. Take advantage of this time and you will be your most productive. Don’t let other’s deadlines, emergencies or to do lists hijack your morning. If you do this, you’ll find that your mind is clearer and focused and you will be happier throughout the day. A bad morning under pressure can ruin a perfectly good day!
5. Take a brisk walk outside for 20 minutes and take deep breaths all through your walk. Fill your lungs with air and take in a little nature. It will remind you that you are alive, heighten your senses and help to ground you for the day.
6. Get your body moving. Our bodies are meant to move and we are spending too much time sitting and staring at electronic screens. We sit all day at our desks at work, we sit in the car for our daily commutes and then come home and do more sitting while watching TV. The more you move your body, the better you will feel. You don’t have to do an intense workout before breakfast, but a long walk with your partner, the dog or even just yourself, will get the blood flowing and shake the body into wake-up mode. Or maybe crank your favorite song and dance in your living room like no one is watching!
7. Make a list the night before of things you want to accomplish the next day or that week. Prioritize and write them all down so you don’t have them swirling in your head all night. Staying focused and organized will motivate you to actually achieve these goals.
Focus on today and make it healthy one. Keep moving, keep growing and keep positive. Your body and mind will love you for it. Enjoy the day!
Peace, love and pear!