Getting Your Greens

Getting your Greens by Erin Highland

Raw is only one way to get the vitamins and minerals that our body needs from dark leafy greens. Sneaking them into or adding them on top of a dish is an easy way to get introduced to these nutrient-dense wonders. What are dark, leafy greens you ask? Some common ones are: Spinach, Kale, Watercress, Swiss Chard and lettuces including Arugula and Romaine.

Here are five easy ways to make friends with leafy greens:
Fruit in smoothies easily mask the taste so this is a great place to start if you’re new to greens, but want to up the nutrient value of your morning or post-workout smoothie
Take a dish that’s traditionally not so healthy and add fiber, folate and antioxidants by mixing in one to two cups of Spinach or Kale into lasagna, pot pie or other baked dishes
Throw a piece of romaine or kale on top of your burger or sandwich for a bit of crunch, texture and even a peppery taste
Throw them on top of your eggs and steam for the last minute of cooking for an easy sautéed green
Freeze 'Em
Have an abundance of greens from your garden, CSA, or farmer’s market run? No problem! Save those precious greens for a winter soup, smoothie, or autumn casserole.  Never waste those valuable nutrients again.

De-stressing at Work

De-stressing at Work

Stress is that illusive distraction that can hinder your ability to really focus your attention.  With so many potential sources of tension or demands for your attention, the most effective strategies for getting productive have everything to do with first getting grounded.  

start where you are.  Make it a goal to arrive ten minutes early to work every day.  Spend 3-5 minutes just getting adjusted to your environment by getting comfortable, taking a few slow deep belly breaths, and letting go of outside distractions.  Breathe in relaxation and breathe out tension.  

organize. So much of the day can be wasted on poor organization.  Review your schedule, get your work space cleaned up, and prepare for the day.  Taking those few extra minutes at the beginning of each day will save a lot of time in the long run.  

acknowledge the positives.  It is easy to get hung up on short-comings and ways that you can do better- but it is just as easy to give yourself credit for the positives.  Let yourself take moments every day to be optimistic, proud, and aware of the good things.  Look for the positives and take mental notes of them.  

random acts of kindness.  This is possibly the easiest and most rewarding daily task!  Find opportunities to compliment someone, help them out, or make a moment of their life better in any way.  Do this without expectation and for the pure joy of making someone else feel good.

tech-free time.  This may be the most challenging of all five! Take a few breaks during the day and leave all of the screens behind.  Check messages or make personal calls before or after eating lunch.  Try not to distract yourself while you eat.  Zoning out on Twitter, Facebook, NPR, etc... is only adding more stress to your day- even if you believe you are getting some down time.  

Practice Gratitude Every Day

Every year we dedicate one day to giving thanks.  Why stop there?!  We can enhance our well-being every single day by cultivating and nurturing an attitude of gratitude.

1. Write it down. When we start acknowledging positive aspects of our daily lives, we tend to move away from the easy habit of dwelling on the negatives.  To start, try writing down 5 things that you feel grateful for every single day.  Not only will you build an abundance of positive memories but you will see over time how your attitude changes! Science has found that gratitude can significantly increase happiness and protect us from stress, negativity, anxiety, and depression. 

2. Smile. Showing compassion is possible in a lot of ways, but a smile is the best place to start.  Simply smiling can disarm negative emotions we feel within or dissolve the negative energy projected by others.  Giving your time to someone else can boost your own sense of well-being and a smile is the first step to connecting with others.  Research shows that even a fake smile makes us feel better, reduces stress, and uplifts others.  

3. Play more!  Daily routines can drain the fun and spontaneity out of our lives.  When life feels like a daily grind, we lose sight of the little things that matter and need to make time for play. Idle play and games can boost creativity, help us think outside the box, improve our health, and bring us back to the present moment.  Play with your kids or play games with friends. Try to have a good laugh and find the joy that is present in every day.

4. Stop chasing happiness. The more value we place on happiness the more likely we are to fixate and ruminate when things do not go as planned.  Research has revealed that happiness is driven by the frequency of positive emotions, not the intensity of how happy we feel.  Aiming for positive emotions can lead to disappointment, while aiming for contentment allows us to accept our emotions as we experience them.  Sometimes it is important to sit with negative feelings so we can practice being gentle with ourselves.  Let our feelings flow naturally, and we may find gratitude in the full spectrum of emotions we experience.

5. Body Scan. Meditation is an important component to happiness, and finding awareness in our body can help us feel grateful.  It is so easy to walk around in life just reacting to everything, getting stuck in patterns and repeating dramas.  Cultivating awareness and spaciousness in our minds promotes a calmer sense of self.  Spending just a few minutes every day to notice our own physicality brings us closer to our own center.  This is a time to thoughtlessly feel tension, breathing patterns, heart beat, and digestion.  Sitting up straight or lying down we simply close our eyes and focus our attention on every region of our bodies until we have experienced the whole.  We can find gratitude in the healing we have achieved in certain areas or the steady breath that gives us life. 


October 15: Clarity Workshop at St. Francis Library

Health Coaching

Clarity Workshop: Learn to Let Go

  • Thursday, October 15, 2015
  • 6:30pm  7:30pm
  • St. Francis Library 

We all want—and often need—to clear and refresh ourselves of the clutter around us and within us. The connection with our health, the connection with our body, and the things we have in our homes has an impact on our overall well-being.  Come and learn how clutter on many levels can affect your performance at work, with your family and overall living.  Our Integrative Health Coach,  Kerri Weishoff, will be presenting at St. Francis Library at this NO COST event.

Emotional Awareness Practice

Emotional Awareness Practice

The essence of this emotional awareness practice is to become intimately connected and honest with how your pain feels in your body.  Connecting the mind to the sensations in the body created by emotional turbulence is a grounding practice that relieves imbalances between the mind and body while also addressing symptoms.  Bring your attention to where the feeling is pronounced, as in a knotted belly, shortness of breath, a flushed face, or tension in the neck.  Acknowledge these feelings and sensations by breathing your awareness into that space. For example, "I am feeling anxious about work tomorrow because there is so much to do. I feel tension and tightness in my chest. Taking a slow deep breath, I will focus on the tension and relax my chest while exhaling." 

Here are questions to ask yourself as a guide to this practice. To begin, focus on a conflict, difficulty, or affliction in your life. As you sense this affliction how does it feel and how does it affect your body? Carefully hold on to this change in sensation and ask yourself:
1. How am I responding emotionally?
2. How have I suffered from my reaction?
3. What does this reaction ask me to let go of?
4. Am I having difficulty becoming deeply aware of my emotional response?
5. Breathe your awareness into your feelings.

Start simple.  Find a difficulty that is bothersome but not too serious, like the stress an untidy partner or an irritation with the cold weather outside.  Practice some smaller discomforts before moving into more serious pain and suffering.  If this exploration begins to work well for small matters and you would like guidance moving ahead with a deeper emotional awareness practice, contact us for help.