Hey, hey! How was your first week of 2017? I hope it was wonderful and amazing and everything you wished it to be! 🙂
It’s Friday, which means it’s time for our weekly (iced) coffee date. I have quite the mix of stuff to tell you about this week, everything from what I’m loving lately to some (blah) anxiety stuff that I’m experiencing and, of course, plenty of randomness thrown in because, hey, that’s how I roll. Ok, guys, here we go!
What I’m loving lately: Our recent trip to the Boston Children’s Museum! I can’t believe we never visited before. What an AWESOME place. Seriously, I want to take Qman there all the time now. He absolutely loved it, especially the construction room on the third floor. The only drawback about our visit: parking. Holy cow, it was expensive. Any tips for affordably parking around there?
Another family favorite right now: Dance parties before bed. We turn off the light in Quinn’s bedroom, break out his constellation nightlight, Mal plays music on his phone, and we all dance (and run) around the room. Some of us even take off our shirts! It’s ridiculous, and I love every minute of it. You’d think a dance party would be the worst way to get a toddler to wind down at night, but I think Qman likes running/dancing out the last of his energy for the day because he always goes right to sleep.
Speaking of winding down at night… I recently went through a stretch of semi-sleepless nights. I’ve had so much on my mind lately with regard to work, it’s hard for me to shut off my brain come bedtime. Ugh, it’s a constant struggle. I actually slept pretty well a few nights this week, so I’m hoping things are turning around.
I actually receive questions from readers quite a lot about sleep/anxiety issues, so I wanted to share some of my tried-and-true strategies and a couple of the new things that I’m trying to manage my stress levels and help me sleep better at night. If you’re new to CNC, here are a few posts I’ve written on the topic:
- The Book That Changed My Life (And Helped Me Friggin’ Relax)
- 5 Tips To Stop Your Mind From Making Mental To Do Lists All Night Long
- Sleep Tips for New Moms
Ok, so my no-fail tricks that help me sleep better:
- The “waterfall metaphor” from 10% Happier (aka “the book that changed my life”) is definitely my go-to and almost always works for me. I basically force myself to shut off my brain. I picture myself behind a waterfall and ONLY focus on the water rushing down in front of me. My mind will occasionally wander off, but I always bring it back to that rushing waterfall. Related: Mal and I have started listening to “Thundering Rainstorm by Joe Baker” (typing that actually made me smile because I ask Alexa to play it every night), which also helps me focus on the waterfall.
- I wear earplugs at night. I started using them when Mal had a cold and was snoring up a storm, but now I use them every night. It’s almost like they’re a signal to my brain that it’s time to sleep. Wearing them also reminds me of being under water and that quiet calm is so peaceful.
Here are a couple of new things that I’m trying, both of which are related to magnesium deficiency. Anxiety and sleepless nights can often be related to a lack of magnesium, especially if you’re a coffee drinker and exercise, like I do.
- I use this body lotion just about everyday. You apply it just like regular lotion, and it smells like coconut! 🙂
- I also started using Natural Calm (after my new massage therapist recommended it). I bought the raspberry-lemon flavor and use it in my water as a way to get some extra magnesium in my diet.
I’ve only used these supplements for a couple of months now and, truthfully, I probably need to be a bit more consistent with them, but I have definitely noticed a difference with my overall anxiety levels. It’s not a huge difference, but I feel more even–keeled during the day, especially when stressful situations pop up. It just seems like I can handle them better lately. Also related: I absolutely believe that hormones affect my anxiety/stress levels, so I’m trying to figure that out, too. Right now, I’m just paying special attention to how I feel at certain times of the month and trying to make some connections.
Also related: I recently listened to a really interesting episode of Balanced Bites. Liz interviewed Mickey Trescott and Angie Alt about their new book, The Autoimmune Wellness Handbook: A DIY Guide to Living Well with Chronic Illness, and, at one point during their conversation, Mickey talked about the connection between nature and the immune system. She actually found a study that showed being in nature, even if you go for a weekend camping trip, your immune system is modulated for the full month after you come back into real life. A full month! After I heard that, I vowed to take Murphy on an epic walk (like we used to do!) at least once a week. We both need it.
Ok, let’s switch directions. That was a lot of serious stuff…
I’m also loving Westworld on HBO. It’s a TV series about a futuristic Western-themed park, which is run by lifelike robots that allows guests to live out their fantasies. Truthfully, when Mal first suggested it to me, I kind of rolled my eyes at him. Robots? Uh, they’re not usually my cup of tea. He actually had already watched the first episode and really thought I would like it, so I gave it a fair chance. Well, I was immediately sucked in, and now I want to watch it all the time. If you’re looking for a new TV series, definitely check out Westworld!
Remember my Oatmeal Minus the Oats recipe? An oldie, but goodie for sure! Well, I finally came up with an awesome microwave version, which simplifies both the prep and clean up. Cleaning the pot was such a PIA! New and improved recipe below!
- 1 medium banana, mashed inside peel
- 1/4 cup liquid egg whites
- 1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk
- 1/2 scoop (~15g or 1/8 cup) protein powder (I used SFH)
- 1 tbsp ground flax (I used a flax hemp blend)
- optional: chopped walnuts, dried cranberries, nut butter, etc.
DIRECTIONS: Combine ingredients in microwave-safe bowl (take banana out of peel) and then nuke for 90 seconds. Remove from microwave, stir, and eat!
Makes 1 serving
Mal has a Houzz obsession and sent me this link the other day: Your Clutter-Clearing Plan for the New Year. I love that it gives you a month-by-month plan. We’re definitely going to do it this year to get ourselves organized. Just wanted to pass it along in case you wanted to do the same!
Guys, I’m obsessed with these Lemon Hemp Chocolate Clusters. The nice people from Theo Chocolate sent them to me to try and, wow, they are delicious. And, bonus, they’re good for you! They’re made from crispy quinoa, toasted coconut, cocoa flavanols, hemp seeds, lemon essential oil, and 60% dark chocolate. How’s that for an all-star cast?! You definitely want these babies in your life!
And, finally, just wanted to give a shout-out to my friend Gina’s Post Baby Bod Fitness Plan! I know she’s put a ton of hard work into it, and I am so excited that it’s finally here! There’s even an advanced version! If you’re an expecting mama, or if you just had a baby, be sure to check it out!!
Questions of the Day
How’s life? What’s new?
How do you deal with stress/anxiety?
What are you loving lately?