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Emotional Health

Cancer Journey/ Emotional Health/ HEALTH

14 Tips for a Better Night’s Sleep Especially for Cancer Survivors

bed with rumpled sheets and 14 tips for a better night's sleep

This post was sponsored by a mattress company. All words are mine.

As a breast cancer survivor, I strive to live well in all ways. One of the most important ways to make this happen is to make sure I have a good night’s sleep.

If I don’t get good sleep, I not only feel unproductive, unfocused and grumpy, but my sweet family gets to bear the brunt of a Mom who is not herself and needs more sleep! This is not ok with me!

Not only is sleep so important for everyday life, but as a cancer survivor, sleep is so important for continuing to do what it takes to pursue my best health.

I so desire to take care of this amazingly resilient body that I have been gifted with, so being purposeful with getting enough sleep is a priority to me.

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Emotional Health/ FAMILY/ HEALTH

The Key To Waking Up Early In The Morning and Establishing a Morning Routine

 

I am now a morning person, but I have not always been. The key to waking up early in the morning for me has been simply this:

 

HAVE A REASON TO GET UP THAT IS MORE APPEALING THAN STAYING IN A WARM COZY BED

 

Yep. That is it. Sure there are tips and tricks that can help the process…but really it comes down to what you personally desire and what is most appealing to you at that moment when the alarm goes off.

On days that I repeatedly hit the snooze button (which is pretty rare), it is a sign that all is not right in my world and I need to look deeper and reevaluate. It is a personal heads up for me.

So what is more appealing to me than staying in a warm cozy bed?

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ANTI-PROCRASTINATION/ Counting Gifts/ Emotional Health

5 Things To Do To Thrive #Last90Days

stack of rocks for yoga

Rachel Hollis and her #Last90Days 5 Things To Do To Thrive challenge started today and Instagram was lit with people using the hashtag.

It was inspiring to follow along and see so many people wanting to live their lives in a purposeful way.

5 Things To Do To Thrive #last90days is a challenge that is meant to motivate and keep you accountable for finishing the last 90 days of the year strong.

Why wait for the new year to start? I love the do-it-now approach of this challenge.

 

5 to thrive image

{Image via Moms & Beyond}

HERE ARE THE 5 TO THRIVE

  1. Get up an hour earlier than you normally do and use the time for yourself.
  2. Workout at least 30 minutes a day.
  3. Drink half your body weight in ounces of water each day.
  4. Give up one food category you know you shouldn’t be eating.
  5. Write down 10 things that you are grateful for each day.

When my sister shared the challenge with me, I told her I was pretty much already doing those 5 things. I didn’t mean to be arrogant or boastful, but last June I started getting up 1 hour early.

Honestly the other 5 things just kinda fell into place, just by being purposeful with getting my bum out of bed! A snowball-type effect.

It is fun to have a challenge that will help solidify and zero in on these simple, already life-changing things that help me in my pursuit to live new, live well and live with purpose!

Want to do it too?

 

MY THOUGHTS ON 5 THINGS TO DO TO THRIVE

 

1. Wake Up An Hour Early

Rachel Hollis is quick to add that this does NOT apply to new Mama’s, or those in seasons of life where extra sleep IS caring for yourself.

BUT… if you find yourself saying, “I don’t have time to read” or “I can’t find time to work out” or if you know that things like prayer, journaling or meditation would benefit you more than sleep right now…then get on up!

I started doing this thanks to advice from The Miracle Morning, and after hearing it over and over from people like Brendon Burchard, Lewis Howe and Tony Robbins, it has been a goal on my mind that I wanted to pursue.

I have been doing it regularly since early June and it has been life-changing.

I’VE BEEN WAKING UP EARLY IN ORDER TO LIVE SLOW. A PURPOSEFUL SLOW.

I spend the early morning time doing things I already was doing on a regular basis, but now I am not rushed and have a head start…it has become my favorite time of day!

I get coffee, light a candle, journal, pray, use my Bible app and meditate. By doing these habits an hour early, the rest of my day is so much more calm, focused and productive.

I am getting up regularly at 6, and there was even one week in August that I got up at 5:30 to do some extra writing for a project, and goodness was THAT ever a productive experience!

I had no idea my brain could be so clear and focused that early in the morning, but it was and is. I will write more about this discovery in another post.

Not a morning person? My advice is to try it anyway…you may be surprised and find out (like I did) that maybe you are a morning person after all. It takes time to create a habit, 20 days they say…so try it.

Wake up to do something that you REALLY, really look forward to! This is key for me.

 

2. Workout At Least 30 Minutes a Day

By getting up an hour early, I found myself being able to fit workouts in and quite motivated to do so. The challenge to myself was to simply move my body every day.

I took a break from some cancer medication that I have been on, and my joints felt so much better, so I was extra motivated and thankful to be able to move!

I walk daily for at least 30 minutes, with a goal of seeing my Fitbit reach 10,000 steps by the end of the day. These walks are so enjoyable thanks to nature and podcasts and my favorite Voxer app.

I decided not to put pressure on myself to jog or run, simply because I don’t enjoy it. Because of this I actually looked forward to my daily walk and it became a habit.

I also have added yoga to my ‘move everyday goal’ as it is so good for my joints and learning how to breathe is so good for anxiety. This simple 10 Minute Morning Routine is a fav, and I am on day 6 of this 30 Day Yoga Revolution series on Youtube.

I am going to use the 5 to Thrive Challenge to go from 5 days a week to 7 days a week. Eek! Good thing I really love walking and yoga. Wish me luck!

 

3. Drink Half Your Body Weight in Ounces of Water Each Day.

This is easy for me. Whoo-hoo! So nice to have something in the challenge that does not feel like a challenge. I drink black coffee, matcha or herbal tea, and then it is water the rest of the day.

The key for me has been my inexpensive Bubba waterbottle because it keeps my ice from melting and has a huge straw which makes getting water in a breeze.  Easy to gulp gulp gulp!

It is 24 ounces, so if I refill it 4 times a day I’m pretty much there…especially if I count my herbal tea for hydration.

 

4. Give Up One Food Catagory You Know You Shouldn’t Be Eating

The food category I have been working on is all the white things. White sugar, white carbs –white pasta, white flour, white bread etc. I am great with this until the weekend.

I’ve made exceptions for pizza on Friday family nights (although we have been trying out cauliflower crust pizza the last few weeks) and date nights or social outings.

I’m trying to decide if I am going to give this up completely. I think if I commit to this, I will fail…just being real and honest.

I am good with committing to 90% giving this up, but leaving space and grace on certain family nights and social outings or date nights.

Those really only come on Friday and Saturday evenings, and an occasional extended family get together on Sundays (once a month), so 90% it is!

This is doable and already something I have been putting into place, although saying no to a fun Pumpkin Spice Latte during the week will take some discipline for sure!

 

5. Write Down 10 Things That You’re Grateful For Each Day

I started writing what I call lists of ‘gifts’ in 2010 when I was diagnosed with cancer. It changed me and made the fight bearable. I listed them in an ongoing fashion on this blog and surpassed 1,000!

I have been listing 3/day on a daily docket I use each day and gather them at the end of the week into my journal and reflect on all the amazing things I have to be thankful for.

I can up my game on this…but it bugs me that I only left 3 lines on the daily docket I made…now I wish there were 10! Guess I will need to re-design it.

By the way, I will be sharing this docket with you in the coming weeks. It is another simple tool that creates habits that bring about purpose.

 

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So there it is. My thoughts on the 5 to Thrive Challenge. I’m 90% in for 90Days. 🙂

How about you?

Let me know if you are participating.

I will share my progress with you and give glimpses of what I do on my Instagram stories. Find me @Amy_NewNostalgia

 

Emotional Health/ Simplifying/ Spiritual

A Glimpse of My Morning Routine and How I Lack Nothing

Oh, how I have come to love the early morning and the sights, sounds and routine it brings. Sideways sun shining through trees creating haze.

I marvel at sunrays filtered through limbs extending faded light lines all the way to the ground.

It stops me mid-jog. It is amazing to see something that is usually invisible and only felt, not seen. I take a few pictures, trying to capture the fleeting visible…I zero in.

I am more in tune in the morning, at least once I am verticle for a few.

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Counting Gifts/ Emotional Health

The Most Simple Way To Boost Your Mood

distressed, moody wall

A Simple Way To Boost Mood

A pen, paper and a resoluteness to find my thankful. This is the most simple way I have found to boost my mood.

I know, I know. You have heard it before, it is nothing new — make a list of things you are thankful for and it could change you. It has even been studied. It may seem simple. but sometimes the most simple solution can be the most profound.

Even in my hardest days of cancer and chemo, even in my darkest days of anxiety, choosing to find something to be thankful for and deliberately writing my finds in list form changed me and helped get me through.

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Emotional Health/ HEALTH/ Nutrition

How Technology is Helping Me Reach My Wellness Goals in 2018

Thank you Nokia for sponsoring this post. Visit the Nokia Body+ site for more info and start the new year off right!

I am constantly looking for ways to integrate health and technology into my daily rhythms.  I want the pursuit of health and wellness to become second nature to me. I’ve found that using technology is a great way to create healthy habits that stick!

I am a 2-time cancer survivor, and I have shared several ways I pursue continued health, but I have not told you how simple technology makes it possible for me to move forward toward my health goals.

One of my goals is to create seamless daily systems that are as natural to me as brushing my teeth. Things I do without much thought; decisions so second nature that I make them automatically.

It might sound too good to be true, but this is where technology comes in. Technology keeps it simple, makes it possible and keeps it fun.

Using Technology To Reach Wellness Goals

Energy to pursue wellness goals is often dependent on a good night sleep. Good sleep is important for good health!

I read right before bed. Reading every day is good for the mind and soul!  I’m amazed that thanks to technology, I can have my whole library at my fingertips on my Kindle Fire tablet.  I make sure it is set on Blue Shade, as this blocks blue light which makes it easier to fall asleep after nighttime screen reading.

I also use my Kindle Fire to set my alarm to wake up in the morning. I love this alarm because when I set it, it tells me (in hours and minutes) exactly how many hours and minutes I have before the alarm will go off. I like the automatic awareness of how many hours of sleep I’m getting each night. I aim for 7 hours of sleep and most nights reach that goal.

When I wake up I do a quick morning yoga flow to get my joints working and blood flowing. I use the Yoga Studio App on my iPhone, or sometimes I grab my laptop and find great ‘good morning’ asanas on YouTube.

I then fill my water bottle with crushed ice with the press of a button–the technology of our refrigerator has been key to get me to drink my water each day. I am a crushed ice lover! My goal is to fill my 24 oz water bottle at least twice a day.

I then quickly set my Instant Pot up, and with another few pushes of buttons, make One-Minute Quinoa. This has been my go-to favorite breakfast for a while now, as it is so satisfying and full of great plant protein. Read about 3 of my favorite ways to eat quinoa for breakfast here.

I grab my cup of coffee that has been brewed automatically for me. I have learned to drink it black in the morning which steers me clear of starting the day out with sugar-laden creamers. Speaking of coffee, have you seen the new intelligent coffee mugs at Starbucks? They use technology to keep your coffee at the perfect temperature. I drool…and digress.

I then take my coffee up to my favorite nesting chair in my bedroom, and this is where technology really comes into play for me.

Using Technology for Emotional Health

I’m going to be dramatic here and say I do not know where my emotional health would be without technology. There are so many apps on my phone that are part of my daily routine that keeps my heart, mind, and soul healthy.

After I make my coffee I sit, sip and open up a Prayer App where I can keep track of my own requests (and those of my loved ones) every morning. I also use an app called Calm to meditate for about 10 minutes and then open up the Bible App — which has been life transforming.  I use Notes on my iPhone to keep track of all my daily affirmations and favorite Scriptures, and sometimes use them as prompts to journal my 3 pages a day.

These routines are a part of my everyday morning routine, and I feel “off” all day if I don’t wake up early enough to do them! They are all ways I reach my emotional health goals.

Using Technology for Physical Health

I continue to use technology as I get ready for my day. I step on my Nokia Body+ smart scale and take note of all the information it gives me in just those few seconds of standing on it. It gives the most accurate body composition readings, measuring weight trends, BMI, fat mass, muscle mass, water and bone mass–it even lets me know the weather! I love this thing.

 

 

The Nokia Body+ is amazing and beautiful–it comes in white or black and has a sleek, simple, timeless design. This is one scale I do not mind leaving out for all to see.

I use the Health Mate App that sinks automatically with Body+ and provides encouragement and tips on how to best achieve goals. It is so handy and convenient. Automatic syncing is my new crush and any smart item I buy that does this for me is always a fav.

The Health Mate App has the ability to sync with other apps (like one of my favorites that my doctor recommended–the My Fitness Pal App) and lets you view a complete history of your health data, including sleep, activity, weight and more. You can track progress and see your improvement over time. I love being able to check out my health stats at any time using my phone. Usually, for me, it is when I’m lying in bed at the end of the day.

Keeping track of my weight and health stats is super important as a cancer survivor. It is also important (as one that takes 2 medications: one to keep cancer away and one for generalized anxiety) that I keep an eye on my weight. Both medications can cause weight gain, which is not fun, but I feel that both have saved my life in their unique way, so I am very thankful for them.

Keeping an eye on my weight is something my Oncologist tells me to do regularly and she wants me to report any sudden weight changes. It can be a sign that something is off. The stage of cancer I had gives me a high chance of recurrence, so we keep a close eye on these things! I love having a scale that is easy to use daily, has such high accuracy, is so detailed and reliable. It can also track up to 8 users which makes it very family friendly.

Technology For a Healthy Flow to My Day

After stepping off my Nokia Body+ scale (weighing at the same time daily is recommended) I then get ready for my day. Technology helps me here, too. I use wireless headphones that connect by Bluetooth to my phone and allow me to listen to podcasts while I put on my makeup and do my hair.

I used to dread this part of my day, but now I look forward to it because I feel productive while I am getting ready. If I’m not listening to a podcast or music, I will hit record on my Voxer App and talk to my dearest friends, walkie-talkie style, leaving my heart and soul recorded right there on the app for them to listen to whenever they have time. Connection with loved ones, especially when they are across the miles, is so good for my health!

By this time my morning routine is almost over, and I glance at my 30/30 App to see the morning routine I set up for myself there. I look through the things I have already accomplished and glance at what else needs to be done.

The app has shown me how technology really is helping me reach my daily wellness goals in an almost automatic way. Most of the morning routines that I’ve listed in the app, I now do without even needing to look at the app. They are all habits that bring a healthy flow to my day and help me reach my goals.

Wellness is holistic, and an organized flow to the day with systems and routines put into place make me feel productive but peaceful at the same time. Integrating technology has been a key player when it comes pursuing my health goals, and I hope I gave you some good ideas and inspiration for using technology to reach your goals, too!

Get 10% off at the Nokia Health store through December 1, 2018 here with this code: NEWYOU-T0T-R02


How do you use technology to reach your health goals?

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of CLEVER and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

 

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