Cheap Therapy

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There’s something about having your own children that forces you to look at yourself on a much deeper level.  Historically speaking, I’ve brushed everything off, and just propelled myself from one day to the next.  It left the illusion in my twenties that I was incredibly laid back, easy going, spontaneous, wild, foot loose and fancy free.  I think I thought I was all those things too, until I had my children.  Man did stuff come up and change all that. All the sudden emotions were running high, and I had to make sense of all the stuff I had never cared to look at or think about again.  Stuff from way back when…It all started seeping out of the illusive basement that I mistakenly thought had endless storage.

 Problem was I could feel this stuff coming up, and I knew it needed dealing with. I was bound and determined to do things differently, not let history repeat itself etc, but I didn’t really understand that I was worthy of therapy yet. I mean it wasn’t in the budget (an excuse that reflected my deep feelings of unworthiness) and the kids needed their activities, clothes and developmentally appropriate hand crafted toys that seemed to endlessly break the bank because they outgrew them faster than we could put them together.

 If you are like I was, and grappling with your health and happiness on any level I have great news. This cheap therapy I’m about to mention can deliver. It’s time to stop with the excuses, whatever they are, and get started in unleashing the most radiant version of yourself that you’ve seen to date, and it doesn’t have to cost you a dime.

 Are your ready to know my dirty little secret on cheap therapy?

 It’s so simple.  Get an empty notebook, or heck just some paper, a pen and start writing your thoughts.

 Journaling is a proven powerful strategy for gaining awareness into our health and thus our happiness. Journaling can activate the subconscious mind, bringing light to things that we were not paying attention to but should be. Journaling can also be a “dumping grounds” for our thoughts, releasing toxic thoughts, emotions, or beliefs that are standing in our way.

 If you are struggling with your health and happiness I suggest getting started right away, but also in the long run you may want to consider what time of day works best for you.  Is it mornings or evenings? Do you want to listen to music while journaling? What kind? Sip tea? What room should you be in?  Do you need people nearby to process what comes up? Or would you rather be alone? Or perhaps you might like to diffucertain essential oils while writing (Clary Sage is the oil of clarity so is one of my favorites to use while journaling). Do you want to be inside or outside? Do you like it light and bright, or a little on the dim lighting? To get the most from this cheap therapy you want to commit to doing it often and considering these pieces helps us create a ritual we can look forward to doing it and stick with it.

 If you are new to journaling you may want to check out a self guided exploratory journal like “The Healing Journey: Your Journal of Self- Discovery” by Phil Rich. I have used this myself and offer a copy as a complimentary bonus tool to busy moms who enroll in my 12 week program for Radiant Health and Happiness.

 Morning Journaling

Reaping the benefits of morning journaling after enjoying breakfast and some exercise is one thing—but morning journaling before you even get out of bed is an even deeper experience. OK, it’s all right to get up and go to the bathroom if you have to, but then pick up your journal and pen, and snuggle back into bed.

 It’s very important to journal with a pen rather than at the keyboard. The pen is a more primal tool, connecting your hand to your mind. You should also stay in bed, physically closer to the world of dreams from which you just emerged.

Journaling very first thing in the morning reaches into the depths of your subconscious, which is closer to the surface of your conscious mind immediately following sleep. Your dreams are fresh in your mind, and your inner most experiences are easier to excavate and explore.

 First, write about any dreams you remember. It’s perfectly fine to go beyond mere recollection and write down any interpretations that may come to mind, whether the dreams symbolize something in your life, or whether they help you reminisce about a waking experience. Write down the dreams and any other connections they have for you. If no other connections are apparent, that’s perfectly fine, too. But do write down every tidbit of every dream you remember.

 Over time, writing down your dreams first thing in the morning will help you forge a deeper connection with your innermost self, a direct link with your subconscious. This is important not just for writers, but for everyone. This deep relationship informs your ongoing personal growth and infuses your life with meaning.

 Once you’re finished writing your dreams, write 10 things you are thankful for from the day before. It can be anything—give thanks for owning more than one pair of socks, for the miracle of your teenager giving you a hug out of the complete blue, for that tree falling 20 feet from your house instead of smack on top of your roof. And remember if you struggle with feeling worthy and beautiful each day may I suggest coming up with a few things on that list that celebrate you.

 Too often we waste precious time focusing on the negative, completely overlooking the most basic things in life that are indeed deep blessings. All the things that go right in your day usually far outnumber the things that go wrong: you have hot water for your morning shower, the car starts when you turn the key, you go about your travels unscathed. By giving thanks for even the smallest things every single day, our lives become infused with joy and gratitude—and that’s a delectable recipe for even more happiness coming your way in life.

 Last, write about anything and everything that’s swimming around in your brain. It might be your to-do list for today. It might be a few lines of a poem about the brilliant blue sky that just pops into your head. It doesn’t matter how petty, trivial, negative or silly it is—just keep that pen going.

 Emptying all the contents of your brain onto the paper gets all that muck out of your system so you can be your best self. It’s like reaching down into your stream of consciousness and filtering out all the garbage the world left there; think of it as plucking litter from a pristine stream. Over time, you may discover themes in your morning journaling. This can help you accomplish many things in life, from finally cleaning out the garage to becoming a more patient parent.

 Morning journaling is more than just a mindful way to begin the day—it can transform your entire life to be continually infused with joy and rich meaning, which you deserve.

 Evening Journaling

Ending the day with a reflection rather than falling asleep to the TV is a gift to yourself and reaps all the same benefits of morning mentioned above however you may find less of a focus on your dreams, although if you can remember them, go for it!  You will find that you can see the day in a different light than when you are in the moment. You may be grateful for particular events or wish that things would have turned out another way.

 Check out the End of Day Reflection from below, it is a really simple version of what we are talking about and helps you put it all in perspective so that you can start fresh the next day, one step closer to your goals. If you are struggling with weight or other health issues it will be particularly helpful to share what foods you are choosing to nourish your body.  Overtime patterns can become apparent.

 High quality nourishment

water:
_______________________________________________________
breakfast:
_______________________________________________________
lunch:
_______________________________________________________
dinner:
_______________________________________________________
snacks:
_______________________________________________________
supplements:
_______________________________________________________

My mood today was:
_______________________________________________________

I love myself for:
_______________________________________________________

Success of the day:
_______________________________________________________

One thing I will do better tomorrow:
_______________________________________________________

If you need more support on your journey to radiant health and happiness, please reach out. I’m currently offering free strategy sessions!

Need More Energy? Try Eating for Energy

 

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One of the most common reasons people struggle with moving in a more positive direction with their health, is lack of energy.  We don’t workout because we don’t have the energy, we eat poorly because we don’t have the energy to go to the store or cook that wholesome meal, we don’t meditate and pray because we don’t have the energy.  Think of all the things you would accomplish right now if you had more energy.  Is your list pretty lengthy?

Our culture is currently one that suffers from the dis-ease of busyness (see previous article here), and as a result we are a tired and worn out nation, who has little room to consider anything but our day to day responsibilities, and sadly our health and well-being is paying the price. Have you seen the stats? We are like a tube of toothpaste, gone empty.  We are squeezing every last drop of energy we can from anywhere we can get it, and often times it comes in the form of energy drinks, caffeine, and refined carbohydrates, that without a doubt give us the quick boost we are looking for. Once we hype ourselves up on these, we then have to settle ourselves down with alcohol or sleeping sedatives to close the day.   Sound familiar?

But what if instead of reaching for a quick fix for that energy low, we could create lasting change? Instead of riding the roller coaster with all the ups and downs, twisty turns, and bumps, we could put you in a luxurious convertible where you could smoothly cruise the highway and enjoy the ride and all its glorious scenery?

I’m hear to tell you we can! It’s not a quick fix, like a cheap band-aid that needs replacing every time you wash your hands, but its the kind of fix that can last a lifetime, and heck, it may be cheaper in the long run than that bill that comes with your deteriorating health.

Here’s the good news, while the fix may not be quick, it’s pretty simple. And it starts with a trip to the local grocery store, or farmer’s market. Here’s the deal, the more we can provide our bodies with nourishing wholesome foods, the more we give our bodies the macro and micro nutrients they need to function optimally.  Our cells become happy, can function as they are designed to, leaving our bodies in a more harmonious and thus peacefully energized state.

Give these 4 things a try right away to get moving in the right direction:

  • Drink more water: ditch the energy drinks, sports drinks, sodas, coffee, lattes, cappuccinos, and sugary juices as often as you can.  Your body is made of water, and when it diminishes and you get even a little dehydrated, your energy suffers.   Try drinking  one 16 oz glass of water to start your day and give you an extra boost.
  • Eat wholegrains whenever possible instead of processed refined grains.  When a grain is processed it is stripped of the nutrients that our bodies so desperately crave; the nutrients that give us energy.  Stay away from products made with enriched flours as well.  They just add a handful of the nutrients back in but it’s still not the same as getting them as the earth provides.  Give oatmeal or a creamy polenta a go for breakfast.  Homemade granola made with honey or maple syrup can be great too.  Be careful with store bought granola as the sugars can be very high!
  • Eat green veggies as often as possible.  Green veggies clean the body of toxins and impurities and give us more energy as a result.  They have so many of the vitamins and minerals our cells need to function optimally.  So love your cells and eat some greens for goodness sake.  And as often as possible!
  • Be intentional about relaxing your body and mind as often as you can.  We tend to spend much of our time with racing minds, full of worries, fears, or never ending to do list. This sends a stress response to the body, releasing chemicals that inhibit that harmonious flow and balance our bodies strive to maintain.  Start your day with a few minutes of me time to pray, meditate, and/or breathe fully.  Find a simple guided meditation on you tube and start with that if this is wholly new to you. Consider getting involved in yoga or some other form of exercise to release stress and create an abundance of energy through endorphin release.

In closing, eating for energy is about loving your body with nourishing foods so it can love you back. This doesn’t mean you have to stop treating yourself entirely, but you may find the more wholesome foods you intentionally add in, the less you crave the stuff that doesn’t serve you.

As a side note, if you are eating wholesome foods and still struggling with energy, it might be worth a trip to your doctor and/or getting started on some quality supplements. I say this because our soils are growing increasingly depleted of nutrients and our foods are being bread to be bigger and more beautiful leaving them less nutrient dense. These days getting everything we need with wholesome food alone can still be a challenge.  Taking quality whole food supplements to ensure we give our cells the micro and macro nutrients they need can be a great addition to eating more nutritiously and getting the energy naturally flowing from our bodies.

Like this article? For more tips and articles like this please follow Terra Tribe Essential Solutions on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter or visit my blog at terratribeessentialsolutions.wordpress.com.  You can also find me on LinkedIn as Aimee Schrank.

Interested in becoming a better healthier version of yourself and curious if the support of a holistic health coach could be the key to your success? Contact me, aimeeschrank@terratribe.net, for a complimentary,over the phone,discovery session today!

Kale & Carrot Soup

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Ingredients:

2 plus pounds of peeled carrots cut and quartered. I used about 30 or so medium sized organic carrots

2 onions diced

6 cloves of garlic minced (I love garlic, so use less if you don’t)

1 tablespoon coconut oil

1 tablespoon grass-fed butter

2-3 tsp of ground ginger, or 1 1/2 inches of fresh ginger minced

3-4 tsp of coriander

Salt and pepper to taste

Baby Kale (optional)

1-2 cans of coconut milk (optional)

3-4 quarts of veggie or chicken or bone broth

 

In a large pot melt coconut oil and butter over medium heat.  Add onions and garlic and carrots and cook until onions are translucent stirring frequently.  Stir in ginger and coriander and stir to coat. Add enough broth so that the carrots are completely covered, but not by much.  Simmer over medium low heat until carrots are tender.  Turn off the heat and puree using an immersion blender or a blender.  If using a regular blender, you will need to work in batches. I like to add coconut milk after pureeing and then return to heat until warm.  You can also add some baby kale for color and added nutrients or slice a few leaves thin and use it to garnish the dish.

We really enjoy serving with brown rice and a little Pecorino Romano, not to mention a little hot sauce from time to time.

As a side note, whenever I make something that is more for my palette as opposed to the children’s, I be sure to serve fresh rustic bread or something of the like.  They always try a small portion of the main course and then I let them fill up on the good quality bread I picked up at the market. This one they didn’t mind.  We had it twice in one week without complaints. Score!

Spicy Yellow Lentil Daal

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Ingredients:

1 1/2 tablespoon of avocado oil

1 large onions

6 garlic cloves (or less, I just really love garlic)

2 cups of yellow lentils (rinse them first)

Approximately 5.5 cups of boiling water

2.25 tsp of ground cumin

2 tsp of coriander

1 tsp of turmeric

1/4 to 1/2 tsp of cayenne pepper (depends on how spicy you like it)

1.5 tsp of salt

Directions:

Bring the water to a boil. While the water is heating  in good size medium pot, saute the onions and garlic in the avocado oil until onions run clear.  Add your spices and cook for another minute, stirring constantly.  Next add lentils and boiling water.  Cover and simmer for about 50 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Add more water as needed as the mixture thickens.

Serve over basmati rice or with naan. I like to throw in a little spinach or kale at the end and top with some sriracha sauce for added spice.

Combating the Dis-Ease of Busyness

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Busyness is a top contributor when it comes to the health issues that burden most Americans. With all the new technology and new ways of communicating with people and sharing information, it seems we should have more time to relax and care for ourselves, and yet as a culture people across the board are describing themselves as busier than ever.

When you take a step back and look at your life are you busier than you would like to be?   Do you find you have less time to eat right, exercise, curl up with a good book, make time for a relaxing massage, or drink an afternoon cup of tea? I can remember times where I felt too busy to get my kids to the pediatrician for their well check, much less schedule my annual exam, or that desperately needed haircut. Sound familiar?

It seems most of us are good at finding the time to schedule and do everything but take care of ourselves. I’m no stranger to the disease of busyness, but incorporating the following strategies into my life has been of incredible service to my psyche and will hopefully benefit yours too.

·     Schedule a few minutes of quiet time every day– This is probably the biggest saving grace I have for creating space between me and the busyness that is.  My mornings always begin with a steamy cup of green leaf tea and a daily devotional. I do not even attempt communication or tackling the monstrous to-do list that is required to get my family out the door and running, until I can see the bottom of my tea cup, and I’ve spent a few minutes in prayerful devotion. Sometimes that means setting the alarm a little earlier. I also pre-plan to soak in the hot tub a few nights a week. I’d probably take a hot Epsom salt bath with lavender oil if I had a good bath tub, but we don’t, so I soak. No complaints here though!

·     Schedule nonnegotiable time for exercise that you enjoy– I used to constantly find myself saying yes to clients, friends and family members, only to find myself at the end of the day and too depleted to exercise. Now it has become a nonnegotiable. If people ask for that time, the answer is no, and then I let them know when I am available.  When I make the time to exercise I generally have more energy throughout the day and a renewed laser focus which increases my productivity. The key here is finding exercise you enjoy and approaching it not as punishment but as a time to care for and invest in yourself

·     Take time on the weekend to meal plan-My husband and I have done this since the dawning of our time together. It takes the guessing game out of what’s for dinner, and eliminates the risk of contemplating fast food or other unhealthy choices, or an unexpected time consuming trip to the store. Plus, it saves money. You don’t end up having stuff that goes bad because you need and use all the ingredients you buy. Come Friday our fridge is EMPTY. I am also a self-proclaimed expert at cooking whole food meals that take 30 minutes or less from start to finish. I never meal plan complicated meals that use strange ingredients. Simple is key to sanity, buying you more time, and again saving some bucks. Don’t forget to prep your meals ahead of time too, especially lunches. My husband makes a few days’ worth of salads and some hard-boiled eggs on Sundays to bring to work. I also try to compensate buy planning for leftovers to send and have for lunches later in the week.

·     Take time to intentionally breathe deep: breathing is how we connect our mind to our body. When we are incredibly busy we become disconnected, stressed, and sometimes anxious or depressed. Taking a few seconds each day to intentionally breathe a little deeper can relax us almost instantly and keep us in tune with ourselves and our body. I like to incorporate a breathing ritual before eating or drinking. Before I eat I ensure I am sitting, not working, or otherwise stimulated by electronics and then I take 3 deep breaths to support this connection. It also helps with conscious eating, and supports better digestion, so you can’t go wrong. Interestingly enough, I’ve noticed when I am stressed I tend to unconsciously let out deep sighs, and I’m certain that this is my body’s way of trying to connect with my very busy and overwhelmed mind. I now follow a good sigh with a few intentional deep breaths to get back on track. Another thing I like to do is incorporate aromatic use of essential oils into my daily rituals. A good diffuser with some strategically picked oils can really accentuate the connection between mind and body.

·     Say no more often-don’t let other people’s schedules become yours. Create a list of the things that keep you busy and see if there are things that you could potentially omit to create more down time. And remember, it takes practice saying no.  Often, we feel guilt when saying no, or setting boundaries for ourselves that aren’t pleasing to others. We need to remember that when we take care of ourselves and honor our inner voice we increase our energy, our self-confidence, and create more balance in our lives. So, breathe away the guilt and embrace the assets that come with being true to your inner self.

In conclusion, the disease of busyness is, without a doubt, here to stay, so go take some deep breaths, sip on an afternoon cup of tea, and plan some meals and some “me” time! All without guilt, but instead with a confidence that you’ll be better at what you desire to do in the first place, and all the while knowing that your calming energy and presence will positively affect the people and the world around you as well.

Furthermore, I’d love to here what strategies you are incorporating to ease the dis-ease of busyness in your life. Leave a comment below and share with others the tools and strategies that serve you!

Like this article? For more tips and articles like this please follow Terra Tribe Essential Solutions on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter or visit my blog at terratribeessentialsolutions.wordpress.com.  You can also find me on LinkedIn as Aimee Schrank.

Interested in becoming a better healthier version of yourself and curious if the support of a holistic health coach could be the key to your success? Contact me, aimeeschrank@terratribe.net, for a complimentary over the phone discovery session today!

Top 7 Coping Skills for Depression

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After my latest blog entry on gratitude and its role in minimizing the grip depression tends to take on me, I thought it worthy to share some other coping skills I’ve found effective in keeping me in the lightness. I practice many of these on a daily basis, although some have been more of a process in which I’ve acquired an awareness after seeking guidance in various forms.

  • Gratitude-journaling not only what I have to be grateful for but also journaling about what within me I must be grateful for. See my previous article here.
  • Proper Nutrition- eating a diet that is proper for my unique body type and chemistry has been essential. What we eat can have a profound effect on how we feel, how we digest, and the chemical constituency of our bodies
  • Movement- engaging in regular movement not as punishment for eating, but as a way of nurturing and loving our unique body type
  • Spending time in Prayerful Meditation-Even just a few minutes each morning gives me a boost of strength.
  • Learning about your original wounding and moving through it- most of us have experienced at least one, if not one many events that have led to some thinking patterns that don’t serve and uplift us. Taking the time to work with a professional or finding a good journaling series to uncover this can be pivotal in shifting how you deal with depression, and whether you find yourself in the darkness that is to begin with.
  • Affirmations- acknowledging limiting beliefs for what they are and transposing them with new truths that support your uniqueness and your innate worthiness
  • Natural Solutions- Supporting yourself consistently with quality supplements, self-care rituals (like a daily cup of tea or a few minutes with a good book), and aromatherapy can be foundational in overcoming the blues as they creep or try to crash in.

Do you suffer from cyclical bouts of depression? What other coping skills have you found effective in moving through your depression? I’d love to hear other ideas, because we can all use more tools in the toolkit, if you know what I mean!

Like this article? For more tips and articles like this please follow Terra Tribe Essential Solutions on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Google Plus, or visit my blog at terratribeessentialsolutions.wordpress.com.  You can also find me on LinkedIn as Aimee Schrank.

Interested in becoming a better healthier version of yourself and think the support of a holistic health coach could be the key to your success?  I’m currently finalizing my holistic health coach certification and offering discounted rates. Contact me, aimeeschrank@terratribe.net, for a complimentary discovery session today!

 

Gratitude: A Coping Skill for the Ages

 

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Gratitude-the quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness.

Gratitude is a powerful transformational tool.  It can bring someone from a place of turmoil and hopelessness to a place of acceptance and peace, and it’s hard to believe that something so seemingly simple can be so incredibly life changing.  In fact, if it weren’t part of my story, I too would disregard the notion as nonsensical.

Since my early 20’s I have suffered with cyclical bouts of depression.  From time to time I find myself in a state where I am completely overwhelmed, and unable to cope with stress. Depression can overtake me like a tsunami overtakes the shoreline.  When it overtakes me I find myself without hope, without joy, and spiraling down a tunnel of negativity.  I uncontrollably cry buckets of tears, and can barely figure out how to make it from one day to another.  The feeling of barely hanging on, and having no direction can last for months at a time, although I’ve mastered the art of disguise quite well.

Fortunately for me, over the years I’ve learned to recognize it for what it is and seek help when appropriate.  Historically this help has been through medication.  Low doses of antidepressants.  Antidepressants work wonderfully to put distance between you and your problems.  You don’t dwell, you don’t feel the spiraling out of control, you don’t feel the hopelessness which is great.  Problem is for me, overtime, it also put an incredible amount of distance between me and my loved ones.  I’d go through the motions of the day without feeling anything except for annoyed.  Robotic almost. Fortunately, when you are married and raising a family, you can’t be robotic for long without people starting to notice, and new bigger problems arising on the horizon.

A while back, through some personal coaching of my own, I tried to force myself to assess my feelings. I knew I wasn’t happy. I knew I was stuck, unfulfilled and going through the motions. But I didn’t really know why.  On my own accord, I hypothesized that it was time to pull the plug on my antidepressants to see what my emotions were really like.  I was on the cusp of making some seriously life altering decisions, and I wanted to know how I truly felt, and honestly on the meds I just couldn’t tell.  So I very slowly phased them out.

I knew if I was going to go off the meds and figure out some answers, which I was so desperate for, I would need to come up with some coping skills for when the beast would rear its head again.  Coping skills weren’t something I was taught as a kid, so I knew I had to be very intentional with developing them if I was going to succeed at this (Do other people get taught coping skills? Still wondering that. You bet my kids will!)

At the suggestion of my coach, one of the first things I set out to put into practice was taking more time gratitude.  She saw a pattern not only in me, but in my kids as well.  We were all a little too hung up on what wasn’t going right. Can you say joy stealer?

Logistically I know I have so much to be grateful for, but when depression creeps in logic is often out.  I clearly saw her point and I knew to create lasting change I would have to create ritual so I could retrain my brain if possible.

I took a different approach to gratitude journaling than some would, knowing that writing everyday was not a reality for me, and created a reminder list of all the things I had to be grateful for in my phone. I started each day meditating over my list.  At first my list was about other things and people in my life, but ultimately, I’ve recognized that taking time to be grateful for who I am and how the Divine made me is the real work and retraining that needs to happen.

Now I no longer just start my days with gratitude, but I complete my days in prayer with a focus on gratitude. These rituals, coupled with some holistic remedies for depression have kept me happy, healthy, centered, and connected with my loved ones.  The connection isn’t always easy.  It’s not always pretty, but I’m present, and that feels so much better.

In short, spending time in gratitude, with or without medication, can transform a hardened or numbed heart, it can help you to live a little lighter and with a little more joy, and it has the power to transform an overwhelming situation into an opportunity for growth. It truly is trans-formative.

Take some time and reflect on the role gratitude plays in your everyday.  If you are struggling in one way or another, be intentional and see if creating a gratitude ritual here and there in your day gives you the shift you need to feel a little freer from your struggles.

If you already have a gratitude practice I’d love to hear what your ritual looks like, and how it has served you.  Please leave a comment in the section below and share your inspirational story or idea with us!

Like this article? For more tips and articles like this please follow Terra Tribe Essential Solutions on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Google Plus, or visit my blog at terratribeessentialsolutions.wordpress.com.  You can also find me on LinkedIn as Aimee Schrank.

Interested in becoming a better healthier version of yourself and think the support of a holistic health coach could be the key to your success?  I’m currently finalizing my holistic health coach certification and offering discounted rates. Contact me, aimeeschrank@terratribe.net, for a complimentary discovery session today!