health and wellness Feed

Back in the Swing of Things....

First week - 1 (1)Well, we survived the first week of school!

We hit the ground running with a 9th grader, 6th grader, 4th grader and 2nd grader.   This mama started her 19th year of teaching.    

It is always a big transition, for me especially, as my responsibilities and care of children increases exponentially with the onset of the school year, but we are all getting back into the swing of things.

This year I am continuing to work on self-care and stress management strategies and I also have a goal of "working smarter, not harder."

Here are three things I am focusing on to start the school year:

Drinking More Water.    On our summer vacation to the Pacific Northwest I got a new Hydroflask Water Bottle as a souvenir.  I am trying to drink two full 32 ounce bottles during the day.   I have been adding Nuun Immunity Tablets to give me a little boost as well.

Yoga.  I am continuing to incorporate yoga into my life.   I am aiming for one session a day.  My go-to home practice is a video from Yoga with Adrienne.  This week I have done her Sunrise Yoga, Stress Melt, and Yoga for Neck, Shoulders and Upper Back.   These free, quick videos have really helped me feel better.

Getting Help with Meal Planning.    Meal planning is a huge chore in my life.  Last school year I had a whole series of meal planning posts. where I created a collection of posts with weekly family meal plans.   This school year I am trying out a recipe meal planning service called emeals.   I subscribed to the "Kid Friendly" plan and every Wednesday I get an email with dinner recipe ideas and grocery lists for a whole week of meals.  I have been trying this out for a couple of weeks and I like it so far.  It is making this big responsibility in my life a little bit easier.  

There are several different meal planning menu theme options (ex. Quick and Healthy, Vegetarian, Budget Friendly and Clean Eating to name a few).   If you are interested in trying checking it out, try it free for two weeks using my referral link:   http://emeals.com/invite/megan-devine.    

-----

I hope your school year/September is off to a good start.   If you have some strategies that you are using that are working for you to get back into the swing of things I'd love to hear about them!  

 


saunanjälkeinen

Sauna 1
Sauna 1
Sauna 1

Our big excitement on the homestead this week is that:

We have a sauna!

My husband has been putting in a lot of time and energy and has created this beautiful and functional space for rest, relaxation, and rejuvenation.

The invitation to this space and this experience could not have come at a better time, as the last few weeks have been particularly challenging for me in terms of keeping balanced and managing stress.

-------- 

As a mother of four children who’s also a kindergarten teacher, I feel like I’ve jumped into the deep end of the pool — in terms of my commitments and responsibility.

Most of the time, this deep end is a wonderful place to be, as I have so many blessings in my life.

But there are waves. Waves, that we, as parents, all experience — not-so-pleasant moments involving our children, our careers, our family and home lives — can be overwhelmingly stressful.  

-------

About five months ago, my husband and I decided to sell our camper and invest that money in this more permanent space that encourages rest, relaxation and rejuvenation.

Now we have our sauna - our family resilience builder.

I am beyond grateful that we now have our sauna! The routine of taking a sauna is grounded in simplicity, mindfulness and connection  This avenue for relaxation and and outlet to experience, what the Finns term saunanjälkeinen, the state of rejuvenation that cleanses the mind, body and soul.

 

 


Around Here


Garden - 1 (1)

 

School Days - 4
Garden - 1 (2)

School Days - 5

School Days - 2
School Days - 3
Around here....

::Garden produce has been keeping me busy.  We are doing a lot of eating and I am canning and preserving extras tomatoes and cucumbers in the form of salsa, pickles and relish.

::We passed on our layers and invited about 50 new baby chicks to our homestead.  25 are laying hens (It will be about 5 months or so until we get our first egg.) The other 25 are meat birds, which we will "turn to meat" late October.

::This mama and her four kids have started school.  It has been a great first week - we are getting in the groove!

::We are enjoying the last days of the summer season.   It has been a beautiful weekend.  I started my day with a quiet hike.  Right now James is out fishing.  Both, wonderful ways to recharge for the week ahead.

 

 

 


Northwoods Mama Getaway

DuNord

Sauna

Girls Weekend

A week ago today I traveled just a little farther up the road, joining three of my great friends at a Northwoods women's retreat at Camp DuNord.  Over the weekend we spent a lot of time outdoors, we were fed great food, we jumped in the frozen lake after a sauna, we were pampered at a local spa had time to reconnect.

Oh what a wonderful experience it was!

 


::oh December...

IMG_8450

Holiday

Oh December........a month of anticipation and activity!

This weekend, working together to continue traditions and make new memories.

..................

Reminding myself to take it day by day - even moment by moment,

in my efforts to stay focused, present and grounded in the fullness of the days ahead.

 Wishing you a peaceful start to this holiday season, may it be one full of comfort and joy!


The Simple Step to Live & Parent With Greater Ease :: Guest Post by Hunter Clarke-Fields (and Giveaway!)

Today I am so happy to share with you a guest post by Hunter Clarke-Fields!   Hunter has inspired me personally to focus on self-care on mindful living.  Today she is contributing in this space and offering a generous giveaway! 

guestblog_simplestep.png

This morning my 4-year old balked, fussed, and cried at brushing her teeth for the 100,000th time. Okay, maybe it wasn’t refusal number 100,000, but it felt like that. It’s so frustrating. I know that this kind of situation can trigger my temper.

My mindfulness practice helps me in moments like these.

I know from my stillness practice each day that the way out of these difficult feelings - frustration, anger, anxiety - is not to stuff them down or avoid them, but to go through them.

So this morning, when I started to feel that frustration instead of stuffing it down, I felt it.

I put my awareness into my body and felt the surge of energy that means my fight-or-flight response has been triggered. My mind was going. So I greet it: “Hello frustration.”

I didn’t try to pretend that everything was calm and peaceful, hoping it would be that way.

I told my daughter, “I feel really frustrated when you refuse to brush your teeth in the morning!” I felt the feelings, and I breathed into it.

The cool thing was that it didn’t escalate. I went through the feelings with awareness, and then was able to let them go. Escalation often happens when we try to deny or suppress our feelings. They come back to bite us until we are forced to feel them.

Notice I didn’t mention my daughter too much here?

That’s because mindfulness helps us realize that we can only control ourselves. If I work on taking care of my own feelings, my daughter see that.

In fact, children naturally just feel what they are feeling (sometimes really intensely!), and then move on. She doesn’t linger. Tantrum and tears in the bathroom to smiles on the mini-trampoline. She instinctively knows how to let her sad out.

The work of mindful parenting is work on ourselves.

We are the ones who were taught by our parents and culture to suppress our feelings (“Don’t cry. It’s not that bad. Buck up.”), not to pay attention to our bodies (“You have to eat everything on your plate.”), and not to trust ourselves (“Parents and teachers are always right.”).

These voices of our parents and culture still ring in our heads: “She shouldn’t disrespect me like that.” “You deserve this for what you did.” “Just do what you are told.”

Of course they do. That’s how most of us were raised. It’s natural that we should default to that place - we were trained in it.

That’s not to say it’s how we want to live and parent. We shouldn’t be so hard on ourselves when we have those thoughts. When our parents words sometimes come out of our mouths.  Compassion begins with ourselves.

And this is where mindfulness practice really helps.

Mindfulness is the basic human ability to be fully present. To be aware of where we are and what we’re doing. Not overly reactive or overwhelmed by what’s going on around us

Mindfulness practice gives us the space to objectively look at our thoughts. Then we can choose what we want to believe. It gives us the grounding to be able to feel our feelings. We don’t get pushed and pulled by the emotional winds as much.

That’s why my coaching clients report more patience, more self-awareness and generally greater ease when they start their mindfulness practices. It’s not that the frustrations of the world have gone away. They can handle them with greater equanimity.

You can try it right now.

HUNTERYOGA2014_BYALESSANDRANICOLE-11_widemeditate1000px.jpg

Sit up tall wherever you are. Close your eyes and take a minute to feel your breath coming in and out. Let your belly be soft. Focus on your breathing.

When thoughts come, notice them. Then come back to your breath. When you are ready, continue reading.

This is very simple, right? Hard to stay focused on your breath, right? Our thoughts drag us away from present at a dizzying speed.

This is how we practice separating ourselves from our thoughts. And the benefits it can bring are many - from physical to mental health and more.

Support for you.

I want you to have the support you need to develop a mindfulness practice. I know that as each of us creates more peace in ourselves, it makes for more peaceful families and ripples out into the world.

That’s why I’m hosting a Free 14-day Virtual Mindfulness Retreat starting this November 10th. Please go check it out and join us in creating more peace.

10593010_373549616141946_3739310153683172000_n

Mindful self-care incorporates all of you - body-mind and spirit. That’s why I’m offering two of my Yoga Mama Home Practice video packages as a giveaway too!

Boxes_400x250

Now it’s your turn.

Do you incorporate mindfulness practices at home? Would you like to? Please share in the comments below!

Thank you so much for reading! It’s really a treat to meet some new folks, so please come over and say hello on my Facebook page. I always respond and love hearing your stories.

With warmth & lovingkindness,

signature.jpg10710767_10152737553654350_7415973879415876714_nHunter Clarke-Fields, MSAE, RYT, helps mamas let go of stress and overwhelm and bring more peace and joy to life using the traditions of yoga & mindfulness. Hunter has over 18 years of experience in yoga & mindfulness practices. She has the dharma name, "Calm breath of the heart." Find out more about Hunter at Hunteryoga.com as well as free resources and how you can work with her here.

 

-----
Thank you Hunter Clarke-Fields!
 
Enter below for your chance to win Hunter's Yoga Mama Home Practice. (a $49 value!)   
I recently purchased the package and it has been just what I needed.  The Yoga Mama Home Practice offers a variety of streamable and downloadable yoga videos that range from 5 minutes to 75 minutes long, with most in the middle at about 15-25 minutes.  I highly recommend this practice and am grateful to Hunter for offering two readers a chance to win!
 
Enter below!

---- a Rafflecopter giveaway


::autumn

Autumn

Instructions for living a life.

Pay attention.

Be astonished.

Tell about it.

mary oliver

It is easy to get overcome autumn's grey.  But, when I look closely enough and pay attention, a colorful pallete of color can unfold before my eyes.

When I look at the world aware and mindful, ordinary moments in my daily experiences become full and rich,

abundant with joy.

Approching each day with attention and wonder is the way I want to live my life.

 

 

 


Mama Megan's Green Smoothie

GreensmoothieSchool has now been in session for over three weeks.  Needless to say, as a kindergarten teacher and mother of four I am exposed to a LOT of germs. 

A couple of months ago I started drinking green smoothies in the morning. This has been one small effort to be proactive with immune defense that has become a habit.

I am always working to find balance with my responsibilities, care for others, and care for myself.

Lately, I have been tapping into the power of kale.

Want to give it a try?  Here's my recipe:

Mama Megan's Green Smoothie

  • 1 cup orange juice
  • 1 banana
  • 1 loosely packed cup of kale greens
  • 5 baby carrots
  • 1 heaping tablespoon of vanilla greek yogurt    
  • (optional) 1/4 cup frozen berries

Blend together to your desired consistency.  This recipe makes approx. 16 ounces.  (I usually share with my kids pouring their serving into 3 oz. paper cups.)

We are now over three weeks into the school year and I have been feeling really healthy.  Starting the day with this green smoothie can't hurt!

----

Do you have a great smoothie recipe to share?  If so, please share it in the comment section below.