Your Health in Action: 5 Podcasts to Make Your Life Happier and Healthier

Over the past few months, I’ve developed a brand new addiction to podcasts. As someone whose job requires her to spend a lot of time on the road, I hate thinking about how little I can accomplish while driving. (The most useful gift anyone could ever give me would be a personal driver!) As I’ve begun tuning in to health and wellness podcasts, my drive time has become more enjoyable, and ultimately, much more productive. These podcasts have also been great to listen to while getting ready in the morning before work, even if they do cut in to my reality TV catch-up time! 🙂

By listening to these podcasts, I’ve been introduced to a lot of new books, bloggers, and wellness practices. It’s so easy to subscribe through the Podcast app on your iPhone or through iTunes.  I’m so excited to share a few of my favorite shows with you!

5 Podcasts That Will Make Your Life Happier & Healthier

1. Almost 30
Hosted by Krista Williams and Lindsey Simcik, Almost 30 focuses on a variety of topics, from forgiving our 20s selves to taking care of our skin and practicing holistic nutrition. The hosts are funny, but their tips are practical, and I absolutely love the rapport they have with their guests and with each other.

A few favorite episodes: How Every Woman Can Rock Her Career and Be Fearless As She Evolves with Career Contessa; Feng Shui-ng Your Life for Good Vibes With Dana Claudat; and Curve Model + CEO of Model Meals Danika Brysha on Her Battle With Food, and How It Transformed Her Life

5 Podcasts That Will Make You Happier and Healthier

2. Feel Good Effect
This podcast, hosted by Robyn Conley Downs, is a relatively newer show based in Portland. Robyn makes health and wellness accessible for listeners through solo podcasts and interviews with various bloggers.

A few favorite episodes: How To Naturally Balance Your Hunger Hormones with Kelly LeVeque; How to Get Unstuck and Simplify with Ashley Gartland; and How to Create a Wellness Routine You Can Actually Stick To

5 Podcasts That Will Make You Happier and Healthier

3. The Balanced Blonde Podcast // Soul on Fire
I first heard Jordan Younger, the show’s host, on another podcast (listed later in this post!), and found her advice to be relatable and easy to follow. Jordan, a former vegan, has shifted her focus to a more balanced life in the wellness community. Her episodes integrate wellness hacks with spirituality, and I have truly enjoyed learning from the different guests who appear on the show.

A few favorite episodes: Jeanette Ogden – Real Talk with Wellness Goddess and Instagram Sensation @ShutTheKaleUp; Gabby Bernstein – Becoming a Spirit Junkie, Trusting in the Universe, and Awakening Your Spirit; and Marissa Lace – Crystal Healing, Creating Your Own Life, and Loving Yourself First

5 Podcasts That Will Make Your Life Happier and Healthier

4. Happier with Gretchen Rubin
I read Gretchen’s book, The Happiness Project, earlier this year — and have been recommending it to everyone I know! Her advice on finding happiness is down-to-earth and easy to implement in our daily lives, so when I heard about her podcast, I knew I had to give it a listen. She hosts the show with her sister, Elizabeth Craft, and I absolutely love the organized format and listener feedback. She also records weekly one-minute “little” episodes, which are fun to listen to for an instant boost of happiness.

A few favorite episodes: Do You Struggle With Perfectionism?; Shield Yourself from Worry; and Tackle a Power Day

5 Podcasts to Make Your Life Happier & Healthier

5. Stronger
This podcast is hosted by Livestrong and is the very first podcast I ever listened to. Although there aren’t a ton of episodes out yet, the content has been eye-opening and incredibly practical.

A few favorite episodes: 4 Foods You Think are Healthy That May Not Be; 15 Ways to Never Deprive Yourself AND Eat Healthy; and The Best and Worst Things to Say to Someone Who’s Grieving

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Do you listen to any of these? Share your favorite wellness podcasts in the comments section below!

Reigniting The Spark: How To Get Your Health Goals Back On Track

Reigniting The Spark: How To Get Your Health Goals Back on TrackFor many of us, the beginning of a diet program can often feel like the beginning of a relationship. We’re excited to embark on something new, enthusiastic about the changes in our lives, and looking forward to the possibilities ahead. Of course, after that honeymoon period runs its course, sometimes it can be difficult to maintain that same level of enthusiasm toward the program, as we become complacent or begin to recognize the uncomfortable moments more often than we used to.

I began experimenting with a paleo lifestyle back in 2014 by completing my first Whole30, and since then, the program has played a significant role in my health and wellness. However, I sometimes struggle with motivation and consistency, and find my health journey to be a work in progress. The more that I talk to others in the Whole30 community, the more that I learn that a second, third, or fourth Whole30 can often be much harder than the first, because many of us do have difficulty staying on track even after we’ve experienced positive results.

Sounds a little counter-intuitive, right? Luckily, I’ve dedicated the better part of 2016 thus far to really focusing on ways to re-motivate ourselves once the magic wears off. Read below for my tips on keeping up with your program and remaining empowered even after the honeymoon period is over! 🙂

Reigniting The Spark: How To Get Your Health Goals On Track

How To Get Your Health Goals Back On Track1. Dedicate time for meal prep.
Let’s face it — eating healthy can be time-consuming! You’re preparing most of your own meals from scratch, avoiding a lot of the quick but nutrient-deficient shortcuts a lot of us fall victim to. Because of this, it can be so easy to give up after a long day of work and other responsibilities, and order takeout instead. An easy way to save time and take out a lot of the guesswork is to create a meal plan ahead of time and do a lot of the prep work early. For me, Sundays are the perfect day to decide what I’m going to eat each day (and yes, I do incorporate my social outings into that plan), buy the appropriate foods at the grocery store, and begin prepping those foods.

So what does “meal prep” mean to me? Typically, I’ll put on some vintage Keeping Up With The Kardashians (or another show that entertains me but doesn’t require too much concentration), and set aside an hour or two to chop up veggies for dishes I’ll eat throughout the week, wash fruit for easy grab-and-go access, and hard-boil some eggs to have a convenient protein source available at any time. Your meal prep can be as elaborate as you choose — some like to prepare all of their meals to reheat, and that works too! For me, having my veggies pre-washed and pre-chopped makes it easy to just throw them on the stove or in the oven later in the week, and saves me a ton of time!

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2. Make things exciting in the kitchen.
Browse Pinterest for cool recipes you can try (check mine out here for inspiration!), or invest in a new kitchen gadget you look forward to using. Find ways to spice things up in the kitchen — literally! When I started to grow sick of scrambled eggs, I started adding cumin and turmeric for a bold new flavor profile. When I’ve enjoyed a new ethnic dish and wanted to make a healthier version of it at home, I’ve often searched “lightened up __” or “paleo ___” to expand my culinary horizons. Figure out those routine favorites that you can make quickly and regularly, but continue to branch out so that things don’t become too stale. Why not aim to try one new recipe each week?

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How To Get Your Health Goals Back On Track3. Incorporate positive mantras into your program.
I’ve struggled with body image issues for as long as I can remember.  Since I was in middle school, I always associated health and weight loss goals as something negative, something to be ashamed of, instead of as a way to improve your overall well-being. A few months ago, I decided to flip the switch on that mindset by giving myself motivational notes to wake up to each morning. These quotes and messages give me a positive affirmation to focus on throughout the day, and remind me of how far I’ve come. The notes were so successful for me that they even went viral on the Whole30 Instagram page! 🙂 I try to create new words of encouragement for myself each and every month.

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4. Hide the scale.
If you’re anything like me, then you’ve let that little number either make or break your whole day. One of the rules of the Whole30 program is to not weigh yourself for the entire 30 days, but over the years, this was the rule I always broke. I found that if I wasn’t losing weight fast enough, then even if I felt other positive changes from my diet (better skin, more energy, etc.), I often gave up halfway through the month. This January, I finally stowed the scale away in my guest room (out of sight, out of mind) and fully avoided it for the entire month. Taking a break from weighing myself multiple times per day was extremely helpful for me and showed me just how unhealthy my relationship with the scale truly was. If you consider yourself overly dependent on the scale, I challenge you to hide it for a month!

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5. Find accountability partners.
Use social media or find people in your real life with whom you can be accountable! I belong to a few private groups on Facebook, some dedicated to Whole30 and some more focused on clean eating as it differs by individual, and having a strong support system makes it that much easier to stay on track. Whether you join one of those private groups or simply find a gym buddy to keep you on your toes, find others who are just as health-focused and turn to each other!

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What are your tips for staying motivated? Share yours in the comments section below!

Link Love Wednesday: Christmas Dinner at Hogwarts

85fcbf058d017908542b481c196b3daf32c7d45244d2a52e65a5c29acabf7ffb_1Happy Wednesday, readers! It’s almost October and you may have noticed that my posts dropped off quite a bit for the month of September. In that time, I launched my very own fantasy football league, turned 25, taught Junior Achievement classes at a local high school, started a new fitness program, spoke on a business career panel at a local community college, spent lots of time with friends and family, and hung around the mall much more than I’d care to admit. September was a busy month! 🙂

October isn’t slowing down, but I hope to have more posts for you as we make our way into fall. In the meantime, take a look at this week’s Link Love, and feel free to add your own favorites in the comments section below!

Things I’m Loving Lately

  • Getting my morning news updates from The Skimm each day.
  • Why Not Me?the latest book release from Mindy Kaling. Fantastic read!
  • Fantasy football — in particular, the impossibly handsome Julian Edelman.
  • The Mathematics of Love, by Hannah Fry, which relates mathematical theories to dating and relationships. It’s a fascinating read and I’m tearing through it!
  • Kate Spade online flash sales.
  • Community. Why didn’t anyone tell me over the past six years how great it was?

What are your favorite links and articles from the week? Sound off in the comments below!

Link Love Wednesday: Love at First Tweet

feel-listen-forever-140characterorless-valentines-day-ecard-someecardsWhew – this month is flying by! I can’t believe that the first quarter of the year is almost up. At my job, this means that event season is about to pick up, and with that comes all of the craziness involved with packing, planning, commuting and a dash of public speaking. Of course, that means that now is as good a time as any to take a deep breath, log onto my RSS reader and enjoy some good old fashioned link love. I’ve got some great articles for you this week!

What are some of the great links you’ve come across lately?

The Weekend Five: Quotes To Inspire a Wonderful New Year

new-beginnings2“And now we welcome the new year, full of things that have never been.” – Ranier Maria Rilke

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I hope everyone had a fabulous time ringing in 2014 last week! With the New Year officially here, it is time to work toward our resolutions and begin planning our next adventures. I love to celebrate with some inspirational quotes now and again (as seen here, here, here and here), so why should the topic of new beginnings be any different? 🙂

This week, please enjoy some of my favorite quotes as you begin the year anew. Feel free to include your favorites in the comments section below!

The Weekend Five: Quotes to Inspire a Wonderful New Year

1. “The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.” – Eleanor Roosevelt

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seedling2. “A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step.” – Lao Tzu

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3. “Isn’t it nice to think that tomorrow is a new day with no mistakes in it yet?” – L.M. Montgomery

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4. “The secret to a rich life is to have more beginnings than endings.” – David Weinbaum

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5. “So much to do, so little done, such things to be.” – Alfred Lord Tennyson

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A very happy new year, readers!

Why Writers Are My New Rock Stars

Last week, I had the honor of meeting Judith Ortiz Cofer, whose work I have been reading in my Women in Literature class. (Some of you may recall my recent post about her poem To A Daughter I Cannot Console.) I swear, it felt like I was meeting a celebrity. Never before have I gotten to listen to an author whose work I’ve read and then meet him or her in person, so the whole experience was really exciting for the girl who has been striving to be a writer since she was born.

That reading took place on Thursday, April 14 and was one of the coolest things I’d done all week (which is saying something, since I also went to Typhoon Lagoon and Disney’s in-house ad agency). Both Judith and my professor, Cecilia Rodriguez Milanes, performed their work. I had never attended a reading before, but I know I will be doing that in the future… it was, for lack of a better word, awesome.

But the adventure wasn’t over. That following Saturday, my school held its annual book festival, pulling in authors from all over the country to talk to us about the themes of their work. Half of the panels I attended featured authors I’d never even heard of before, but it was an amazing experience and I learned a lot about the publishing world and writing in general from the talks they gave. Judith was there once again (I lent her my copy of her book during the panel! eeeee) and so was Vicki Forman, the author of This Lovely Life, which we also read in class recently. Having my books signed and getting to speak one-on-one with the writers was exciting, and it shed some light on the topics they write about as well as the processes they went through. My class also video-chatted with Vicki yesterday, which gave us the chance to ask her some of the tough questions.

To me, writers are like rock stars. I have been reading, more or less, since I was three or four years old, and so books have been more prevalent in my life than almost anything else. I love what I’m studying in school, but ultimately I want to just write books full time. Therefore, attending readings and author panels has been one of the most interesting things I have ever gotten the chance to do. In the past, authors were seen much more as celebrities — Arthur Miller was well-known for his marriage to Marilyn, for example, and Truman Capote traveled within Hollywood’s social circles — whereas now, the only writers we ever really hear about are J.K. Rowling, James Patterson and the not-so-beloved Stephanie Meyer.

Still, I am proud to have met some truly inspirational writers in the last week! One parting piece of advice to readers: college presents some wonderful opportunities, so take advantage of the ones that sound remotely interesting to you. I promise you will learn something from them!

The Friday Five: Tips For Spring Cleaning

With the weather now warm and the flowers in bloom (along with every allergen imaginable!), we can officially say this: spring is here. And the spring brings its own set of opportunities along with it: the opportunity to uphold our New Year’s Resolutions, the opportunity to plan for the summer, the opportunity to begin anew. Of course, one thing that spring always gives us the chance to do is to de-clutter our lives. In other words, it is time to participate in some hardcore spring cleaning!

A lot of people shudder at the thought of unearthing piles of forgotten belongings and having to sift through everything at once. In fact, I am currently dreading packing up for the move from my on-campus apartment (where I’ve built my home since August 2009) to my new Bachelor pad in four months, mostly because of the hassle of storing and then moving so many items I haven’t even looked at since freshman year. Anyone in my family who is reading this is probably even laughing right now, knowing how much I hated cleaning before I started college. However, a part of me looks forward to the detox that this year’s spring cleaning will bring. In honor of change, here are five tips for organizing your things more effectively.Tweet this!

The Friday Five: Tips For Spring Cleaning

1. Turn on some music.
A great way to stay energized throughout the process as a whole is to satisfy your sense of sound with some upbeat music. Unlike television, it won’t give you the excuse to look up from what you’re doing and become distracted, but it will make things infinitely less boring. All you have to do is resist the urge to dance. Make a playlist following some of these rules before you start, and choose music that won’t make you fall asleep (for me, anything by Nirvana or Coldplay). Some songs I’ve been enjoying lately that might help you get started: here, here and here.

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2. Break things up.
Trying to tackle everything at once will only leave you frustrated. You’ll grow weary very quickly, because there won’t seem to be an end in sight, and you’ll give up prematurely. To escape this fate, before you begin your spring cleaning, make a list of everything you need to sort through. Then, when you decide to start cleaning, focus on only one or two of those things at a time. For example, in my room, I need to reorganize my desk, dresser, bookshelf and closet, so I will focus my attention solely on one of those sections in a day so that I don’t get completely burned out. If cleaning is really not your thing and you have some time to spare, then consider breaking things up even further and focusing on one drawer or shelf a day.

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3. Don’t be afraid to throw things away.
Nostalgia alone shouldn’t dictate what stays and what goes. If you find something that you haven’t looked at in more than a year, chances are you don’t need it now. You will always be able to justify keeping it with some “memory” you have, but you will have to prioritize if you are going to get anywhere. If I haven’t used it, looked at it or thought about it in months, I usually toss it in a black garbage bag, and after my pilgrimage to the dumpster, a part of me often feels liberated. Clearing yourself of the junk that has been piling up all year will take a huge burden off of you.

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4. Find a method to your madness.
Before you start putting back the things you decide to keep, figure out how you are going to organize them this time around. Is there a more efficient way to store your belongings? Evaluate. For example, I like to keep my books in alphabetical order by author, and the clothes in my closet are coordinated by color. You may want to store certain belongings in labeled boxes in order to find things easier. However you choose to do it, make sure you figure something out so that you will have a more clearly defined place to put new things as you purchase them.

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5. Embrace the challenge.
You aren’t just clearing out a space in your room or your house — you’re making room for change. Let this exercise inspire you not only in all things material, but in all areas of your life. Figure out where you need to rethink things and what you can do differently to keep life fresh and pursue new experiences. 🙂

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What are some of your tips for spring cleaning?

The Friday Five: Creativity Quotes

With the beginning of every semester comes a new change for positive change. It’s something I talk about often, but it doesn’t become any less important or true. One of my goals for the semester is to exercise my creativity in the best ways possible. Because I am a quotes person, as I’m sure you know by now (just look at half of my entries and one of my previous Friday Fives!), I would like to express this through some inspirational quotations from others who have succeeded. They aren’t all completely about creativity, but about how to live your life to the fullest. Without further adieu, here are the week’s quotes on creativity!

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The Friday Five: Creativity Quotes

1. “See what no one else sees. See what everyone chooses not to see… out of fear, conformity, or laziness. See the whole world anew each day.” – Patch Adams (film)

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2. “Above all, watch with glittering eyes the whole world around you, because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places. Those who don’t believe in magic will never find it.” – Roald Dahl

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3. “Develop an interest in life as you see it; in people, things, literature, music. The world is so rich, simply throbbing with rich treasures, beautiful souls & interesting people. Forget yourself.” – Henry Miller

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4. “Nothing happens unless first a dream.” – Carl Sandburg

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5. “May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, and leading to the most amazing view.” – Edward Abbey

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Hope this helped the creative juices start flowing 🙂 What quotes inspire you?

Inspiration in the New Year

“May your coming year be filled with magic and dreams and good madness. I hope you read some fine books and kiss someone who thinks you’re wonderful, and don’t forget to make some art – write or draw or build or sing or live as only you can. And I hope, somewhere in the next year, you surprise yourself.” – Neil Gaiman

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Let’s face it: it’s easy to get caught up in the monotony of our every-day lives. When we aren’t on holiday, we tend to go through the same daily routines without really stopping to take a breath and soak in the beauty of the world around us. We forget about the things we love because we’re too busy “getting through” the things we’re supposed to do — assignments, work, chores, etc. Soon enough, we lose touch with the things we’re most passionate about, and begin to regard them as distant memories.

For me, reading and writing are the two great loves of my life, and as an overbooked college sophomore perfectionist extraordinaire, I often feel like I’ve lost the former of those. While I make writing a priority through my blog and other personal projects, I hardly get the chance to pick up a book these days, and I miss the feeling of becoming immersed in a world that is not my own.

In fact, books have often served as my inspiration. I’ve always been amazed by the idea that a story written centuries ago can still be experienced in a different context in today’s world — the idea that humans, while constantly pursuing new goals, never really do change. Regardless of the advances in technology over the years, we are still susceptible to the same things: love, envy, greed, competition, pride and the search for something better. It’s the very reason why I can read Breakfast at Tiffany’s, which was published in the 1950s, and be reminded of my own college dilemma. Reading, especially when it comes to some of the older works, allows me to make connections I might not otherwise make, and I hope that my own writings will one day have that same effect on someone else.

Anyway, in order to reignite this passion and not get completely sucked into the daily monotony, I decided to follow my friend Melissa’s lead and attempt to read 50 books in the new year. Even if I don’t accomplish this goal, at least I will have made reading a priority, and will gain plenty of knowledge and insight from the books I pick up!

I will keep track of these books on the “Book Challenge 2011” tab above throughout the next year (feel free to check it out from time to time!) and can’t wait to see what’s in store for me. I encourage you guys to try this out too — and if you aren’t a reader, make another goal that has to do with something you love to do (make time for music, art, sports, or anything else you enjoy). Take a few minutes each day to chase your dreams — you never know where 2011 will lead you!