Meal Prepping with Jacque Holland

I had the pleasure of meeting up with and interviewing my cousin, Jacque Holland, about health and specifically meal prepping. Jacque is currently a health and wellness advocate and has an A.S. in Nutrition and is working toward her DTR to become a dietitian. Someday Jacque hopes to own her own nutrition coaching business to help others with their health and wellness needs.

In this specific video we cover meal prepping for those just starting to incorporate meal prepping in their lives. We discuss the purpose in meal prepping as well as some of the specifics you should consider when planning your meals. Additionally, we discuss how often you should plan to meal prep and Jacque shares some tips and tricks that she has learned along the way!

Follow Jacque’s blog or connect with Jacque on Instagram for more great tips and knowledge!

Do you have any suggestions for meal prepping? Comment below!

Creating a Morning Routine

If you are anything like me, being a morning person does not come natural. I often oversleep and really drag my feet when I have to get up early. Usually once I am up and going, I enjoy my morning including the peacefulness and productiveness. I am beginning to learn just how beneficial utilizing time in the early morning can be and how a morning routine helps with that.

I recently read the book the Miracle Morning which has inspired me to create a morning specific routine. While my morning does not exactly replicate the Miracle Morning routine, I am really working to develop a routine that works for me. In this video blog, I explain what components I have used to create my morning routine.

What are things that you have incorporated into your morning routine? Comment below!

Positive Benefits Spending Time Outside

boat-1620452_1920If you are anything like me, between work and school you are tethered to a computer. This can often times make it difficult to get outside. If you aren’t getting outside you can really miss out on some of the benefits. Here are just a few reasons why you should ensure you spend some amount of time outside:

Benefits of sunlight:

  • Increases Vitamin D Levels
    Vitamin D is best known for increases in calcium flow. Calcium is vital to healthy bones.
  • Sets Circadian Rhythm
    Your circadian rhythm is best know for setting your bodies clock. This specifically relates to when you body associates waking up and going to sleep. Getting enough sun light can help you to fall asleep by creating a sensitivity to light.
  • Protects Against Cancer
    While some cancers are directly related to sunlight, some cancers are less likely to occur due to regular sun exposure and increases in vitamin D levels including: breast, colon, pancreatic, prostate as well as others.
  • Increase happiness and combats depression
    Increase vitamin D levels as well as happy hormones are released when exposed to sunlight effectively combatting depression.

While there are direct benefits of exposure to sunlight, there are additional benefits to being in nature. One of the common benefits associated with being outside includes levels of increase physical activity. While physical activity is a great benefit of being outside, there are additional mental benefits to consider.

Spending time outdoors can be strongly associated with decreased levels of depression and increased levels of concentration or focus. This can strongly be associated with renewal. Some of the intentional acts of spending time in nature are spending time alone, but not lonely. Spending time alone and in solitude can create time of individuals to reflect on themselves and concentrate on real issues that need attention. By creating your space in nature, you are creating a space away from the rest of the world that you do no have to share; you can create space between you and your reality.

The are so many benefits to spending time in nature. Make an intentional effort to get outside and find an activity you enjoy doing. While it can be uncomfortable at time to be alone, consider the mental health benefits of doing so. You do not have to be an experienced hiker or backpacker to get outside. Find simple activities such as walking or riding a bike. Other nonphysical activities that you may consider doing include having a picnic or finding a place that you like to go observe nature.

How do you get out and enjoy the outdoors? Comment below!

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Resources for Increased Productivity and Health

My blog focuses on personal growth with a focus specifically on productivity, health, happiness, renewal, and relationships. In this video blog, I share some of the tools and resources that I have found to increase both my productivity and health. Hopefully you can find use for these resources!

Productivity:

  • Noise Cancelling Headphones
  • Simple Habit – Meditation App
  • Sunrise Alarm Clock

Health:

  • Fitbit
  • Essential Oils Diffuser

These are specific products that I have had a great experience with. I hope that by sharing my experience with you, you can find value in them as well!

What resources have you found to increase your productivity and health? Comment below!

Overcoming Perfectionism

 

As a perfectionist, it can really affect your life when things don’t turn out as planned. In this video I discuss specific struggles that I have with my perfectionism and how it can negatively affect my life. In most cases, I become submerge into projects and have a difficult time knowing when to draw the line and accept imperfections. While my perfectionism has created great successes for me both academically and professionally, being able to control the obsession will allow me to enjoy life more.

Some strategies discussed include:

  • Maintaining perspective – keeping the big picture in mind
  • Celebrate the small victories
  • Focus on things that tend to get neglected due to perfectionism (for me this tends to be my personal life and self care)
  • Practice gratitude – recognize the opportunities you have been given and the people who support you
  • Don’t forget to live!

Find a way to control you perfectionism enough to allow yourself to accept imperfections and enjoy life.

How do you work to overcome perfectionism? Comment below!

Grow Through Service

volunteer-1888823_1280Have you ever felt as though you have lost your purpose? Or maybe you never found your purpose? Or maybe it doesn’t have anything to do with purpose. Maybe it is just burnout you are currently suffering from? It could even be that you are lost and need a new sense of perspective or feel as though you need to see life through a new lens? You may not be able to put a finger on it right now, but there is one thing that can help answer all of those questions – service.

When I say service, I don’t mean the kind where you expect something in return such as a service business. Instead, think of service as an act of kindness or volunteering. It is more than likely that you are capable of something that can benefit another. If you are able to lend a hand to another in need, why wouldn’t you? Not only does volunteering help others, but it can also help you. Remember those questions about purpose, burnout, or perspective? Volunteering can actually help you to find answers to all of those questions.

Purpose

Volunteering provides you with an opportunity to put your skills and strengths to use. Given that the opportunities to volunteer are literally limitless, you can choose an activity that directly correlates with your motivations and passion. By choosing the activity that best aligns with your interests, you will find greater benefit in the work you are doing. Through the enjoyment, passion and motivation, you may find a strong sense of meaning and purpose that you may have been lacking or lost somewhere along the way.

Burnout

Not only can you find your passions and purpose through volunteering, but you may also find that volunteering is good for your mind and body. Volunteering has been said to increase the levels of hormones in the body associated with happiness. Due to increased levels of happiness, volunteering has also been attributed to combating depression as well as stress, anger, and anxiety. Given the connections with others and the social aspect of volunteering, you create a support system as well as the feeling of being wanted or needed by others which can create increased levels of self-esteem and allow for a healthy outlet of other emotions. Volunteering can be a great sense of renewal to combat burnout.

Perspective

One of the greatest benefits of volunteering includes the perspective you gain. By providing your assistance and services to others, you will gain a new sense of gratitude. You will begin to see just how unfair and unjust the world can be and gain a new appreciation for what you have been blessed with. Sometimes you just need to see life through a new lens to really appreciate the opportunities you have been given and gain a different outlook on the world we live in and truly see the difference you can make.

While you may not have multiple days a week to dedicate to volunteering, you do have something to offer to somebody. It may be as small as proof reading an email or report for a friend, giving someone a ride, or buying a meal for someone in need. It can even be in the form of mentoring some one who often seeks out your help or listening to others when they need a friend. The bottom line is that there are a number of great volunteer programs wherever you live that would benefit from your time and energy, but you can also help others on an individual basis. If you have a gift or a talent or a skill, why wouldn’t you help others in need? Find a way to be of service to another in need.

Reno & Sparks Volunteer Opportunities:

How do you find ways to be of service and volunteer to help others? Comment below!

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Eat, Drink, & Be Social

Invite-them-to-a-social-gatheringGiven then I am a current MBA student at the University of Nevada, Reno and I work full time, I don’t have much of a social life and that might be affecting me negatively. I am more apt to skip out on social events lately and ultimately continue to feel burnt out and anti-social. While it can be hard to convince myself to go out and be social, I am never sad when I finally do. So why is it important to be social while actively making new friends and nurturing old friendships?

Physically

Some of the benefits of being social and having friendship have been strongly associated with improving your physical health. There have been a number of studies completed that link friendship to improved immune systems. It has also been said to improve the health of your brain leading to reduced risk of dementia among other illnesses. Friendship is also helps those who have suffered from an illness recover faster.

Mentally

Additionally, friendship can immensely benefit your mental health. Given the severity of mental health issues today, I think it is worthwhile to mention that friendship is linked to reduced feelings of loneliness and depression. It has also been linked to increased memory as well as increased levels of happiness. Who doesn’t want to be happier?

Personal Growth

Not only does does your physical and mental health benefit from friendship, but you can also grow as a person. Solely based on your interactions  and conversations with others will you gain different perspectives on life and become more well rounded as a person. Some of the most impactful experiences occur when you interact with others. Don’t limit your experiences by being anti-social.

Get Out & Do It

If you are anything like me, you tend to be a more introverted individual. As an introvert, making new friends and at times nurturing existing friendships can be difficult. The great thing about friendships is that you don’t have to do it alone!

  1. Create a routine with friends
    Maybe your routine is going to the gym together or having lunch once a week. You don’t have to think of something new to do together each time you  meet up. Keep it simple!
  2. Don’t do it alone
    If you are attending a very social event and don’t feel comfortable going alone, invite one of your very outgoing friends. This will ease some of the pressure off you from having to be social for extended amounts of time while you are already out of your comfort zone. This also gives you a chance to meet up with a friend and enjoy their company.
  3. Do something new
    Join a club, attend a class, or start a new hobby. This can be a good way to make friends in a more controlled environment. In this case, you will likely have someone moderating the event/class taking the pressure off to be social for extended periods of time.  
  4. Rekindle old friendships
    Reach out and rekindle an old friendship. Given the social media world we live in, use your access to reach out and meet up with an old friend. I am sure they would love to  hear from you and catch up. 

Don’t limit yourself or hinder your growth as a person because being social and maintaining friendships can take some work. All good things in life take time and effort. You won’t ever regret time will spent in good company and the benefits are endless.

What are things you do to maintain your social life? Comment below.

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Take Control of Your Day

desk-3139127_1920Do you ever feel as though your day is a whirlwind and completely our of your control? You know you have a long list that needs to be done, but you don’t seem to be making any progress. New things come up all the time that are urgent and need your attention immediately, so that long list never really gets any shorter. Don’t let life spiral out of control. Prepare yourself with the right tools and mindset to take charge.

Learn to Say No

One drawback of being an overachiever is that you take every possible task on with an optimistic outlook that you really can and will get it all done even when the odds are against you. In order to take control of your life and maximize productivity, you must learn to say no. Learning to say no is one of the first steps to taking charge of your life. For your own health and sanity, you must learn when to say when so you can have a small bit of control over the direction of your life.

Two Minute Rule

Learn to live by the two-minute rule. It can be quite distracting when simple, mundane tasks are continually interrupting your work flow. We know from research that no one person is really even good at multitasking and should avoid it when possible. Therefor the rule of thumb to live by is – if the task can be completed in two minutes or less, just do it now. This will reduce the number of small tasks on your list that can easily distract you from the larger and possibly more daunting tasks.

Turn Off Notifications

Given the high demand for technology in both our professional and personal lives, the constant ability to be notified can cause major distractions. When you need the space and time to focus, turn off all notifications your computer and your phone. Make sure to turn off both visible notifications as well as audio notification as both can be equally distracting. Schedule times to check your emails and social media so it does not consume unnecessary time throughout the day.

Utilize a Time Matrix

If you have worked to improve productivity, it is likely that you are familiar with Stephen Covey and the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. One of the most useful tools from the 7 Habits, is learning to use the time matrix. The time matrix allows you to plan and organize your priorities in order to maximize prodcutivity. By creating the time matrix and sorting through your tasks, you are able to create a visual as well as determine the importance and urgency of specific tasks. This allows you to take a direct role in taking control of your day.

Franklin Covey Time Matrix

Delegate

One of the most challenging things, in my experience, is learning to use judgement to delegate. Only with time and experience are we really able to become proficient in making these types of decisions. If it is something that can easily be delegated without losing the integrity of the task, delegate away. Take an active stance to delegate when you are able to free up your time for the more time consuming and focus requiring tasks.

Set a Schedule & Stick to It

We all benefit from a little structure in our lives. Create a schedule that is tailored to your peak productivity hours and stick to it. Utilize the time in your day when you are the most focused to work on your most challenging tasks. Save the time for the monotonous and less engaging tasks for whatever period throughout the day when you know you are not working at maximum productivity. Work to stick to your schedule and use the tools provided above to stay on task with limited distractions.

If you let it, your day will quickly spin out of control and you will have no power over the outcome. Prepare yourself ahead of time for those whirlwind days and create a routine that works for you!

How do you take control of your day? Comment below.

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Photo Credit: Time Matrix

Communicate with Intent

children-1822471_1920For many people, communication becomes one of the tasks that inevitably gets put on autopilot since we communicate daily. Many times, we do it without any intent. Do you find yourself often misunderstood or in conflict with those around you? Have you considered that it might be the way you are communicating?

As there can be so many variables to communication to consider, it may seem overwhelming when you stop to think about it. First, there is the most obvious – verbal communication which includes your pitch, tone, word choice, etc. Then there is nonverbal communication that can include gestures and body language. To compound it all, you also have to factor in personality differences and emotional intelligence. Given all these variables, things can get off track pretty quickly if you are not conscious in your decisions when communicating.

Use intent when communicating with people both verbally and non-verbally. What you have to say may have great significance and value so you must ensure your message is being communicated appropriately. Don’t let your words become a barrier. Didn’t your mom ever tell you, “if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all”? Well this life lesson has and always will hold true. Additionally, evaluate your tone when you are speaking. Another golden rule to live by when communicating is “it’s not what you say, it’s how you say it.” Don’t offend people by your tone when you have something valuable to say. Not only should you be concerned about what you say, but you should also be conscious of your body language when communicating with other. Don’t send a rude or inconsiderate message to people strictly based on your body language. Consider how your body language may be perceived.

Interpersonal skills are vital in every day encounters with those around. They are so important that even companies are investing time and money to improve people’s soft skills. Soft skills are known as the interpersonal skills that help people to communicate and work together. Soft skills can include communication, team building, listening, emotional intelligence, critical thinking, and collaboration. While the hard skills or technical skill remain important, employers are learning the significance of the soft skills and workplace success. Studies have shown that technical skill, beginning with intelligence and developed through education and experience, accounts for only 15% of success in the workplace. The other 85% of workplace success comes from people skills! These skills are developed through learning better ways to behave and interact.

Within soft skills, one of the most difficult things to work through when communicating with others are personality differences. With personality differences comes different views on work style, preferences, opinions, backgrounds, attitudes, and even levels of competitiveness and ideas about teamwork. Inevitably, conflict can follow closely behind. Don’t allow personality differences to escalate to the point of an unhealthy relationship. Some ideas on how to avoid conflict include:

  • Get to know the other person on a more personal level to gain insight on their background
  • Work to gain an understanding of the other person’s position
  • Accept that people have different perspectives
  • Work to use other people’s personalities to strengthen the team
  • Maintain a calm and professional attitude
  • Remember, there is always more to learn

If conflict still arises, work to deescalate the situation before it becomes a real issue and get to the source of the conflict.

Don’t let communication negatively affect your relationships. Make sure when you communicate, you do so with intent and authenticity. Turn off auto pilot when necessary and give your communication the focus it needs to send the best message possible.

Do you have tips for communicating with intent? Comment below.

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Don’t Let Anger Consume You

AngerWe all have those moments when you loose control and usually end up regretting it 30 seconds after it’s all said and done. You were so mad you could even see straight, and you likely did something or said something you already regret. You let your anger build with out doing something about it and you totally lost it. Don’t worry, we’ve all been there.

Anger is one of the emotions most people can relate to, yet it is the one most people dread. While anger is a normal emotion, it can have a negative impact on your life if you are not able to reasonably control it. It can negatively impact your personal relationships, your job, and even your health if you aren’t able to reign it in. So, how do you train yourself to control such a consuming emotion?

Manage your anger

  1. Recognize your anger is taking a hold of you

    Typical warning signs that anger is setting in include:
    Knots in your stomach
    Clenched hands or jaw
    Feeling clammy or flushed
    Breathing faster
    Headaches
    Pacing or needing to walk around
    “Seeing red”
    Difficulty concentrating
    Pounding heart
    Tensed shoulders

  2. Take steps to control your anger

    You must find a way to control your anger rather than it controlling you. Find healthy outlets to center yourself and gain control of your emotions. Some outlets include:
    Keep a journal
    Practice relaxation techniques
    Take walk
    Know your triggers
    Find a place you can be alone
    Know when to seek help

  3. Find a way to channel your anger to be constructive.

    Even when you recognize and take steps to control your anger, anger will not magically disappear. It is still an emotion you will face some what regularly. Find a way to funnel those emotions into something productive and use it as an energy.

If you don’t learn how to control your anger, this emotion will consume you. You will find a way to ruin the relationships you care about the most. You will end up holding grudges you will never be able to truly get over and live with built up resentment. You may even jeopardize your job, if not lose it, because you can’t even have civil relationships with those around you. You can become irrational and begin to lose perspective of life blaming all those around for your misfortunes. Anger cannot be a way of life.

Get to the root of the problem

Find a way to separate all the factors in your life until you are able to clearly see the issues and triggers causing you to flip your switch. Work to understand the cause in order to address the issues. If the problem is too much for you to handle, seek out help and find support. The process of managing your anger is not “one size fits all.” Find a way that works for you.

If you are a person (or know a person) whose anger issues have caused problems in life and relationships, take a moment and ask yourself these questions:

  1. What are the things that make me the angriest?
  2. Have I always struggled with this or did it start at a definable point?
  3. Is getting angry destroying things or relationships in my life?
  4. Am I okay with my behavior?

While the answers to these questions won’t fix things, they can place you on the right path toward changing things. Especially if the answer to #4 is “no”.

Have you found a way to deal with anger? Comment below.

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