I’m a self-help book junkie. If you were to scan my book shelf, you'd find everything from books on health, business, success, and faith. I’ve never been one to open a book that took me to a world of fantasy and fairytales. Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with enjoying those stories, but I find my attention turning to books that leave me convicted, seeking truth about myself, and looking for ways to better my life. I guess my thought is, there’s always room for improvement, so why settle? Sitting down with a tea, and opening up a hard copy of one of these books makes me feel so accomplished. While there are many books that top the charts, there is one that'll forever stick out to me, as it helped change my perspective on life. The book is “One Thousand Gifts” written by author Ann Voskamp. Voskamp, a Christian woman and mother, teaches the reader how to find light and gratitude in even the most difficult circumstances in life. At first, I thought, no problem I’m grateful. However, I soon realized it was in the act of learning to give thanks, and practicing gratitude in the difficult moments, that things began to change.
For the entire month of November that year, I wrote each thing I was grateful for. It wasn’t always something crazy and moving. In fact, as I look back in that journal, I gave thanks for slow mornings, homemade lattes, paleo pancakes, and the hardships God was pulling me through. As time passed, I began to find gratitude in even the smallest of things, my world became a bit brighter, and things that didn’t seem so glorious became brighter with each day. This idea really got me to thinking. If we all gave thanks, and found joy in the “little” things, would we be living a better life? A life that would be healthier just from having a grateful heart and positive outlook?
Gratitude is defined as the quality of being grateful or thankful. An article written on WedMD says, “Throughout history, philosophers and religious leaders have extolled gratitude as a virtue integral to health and well-being. Now, through a recent movement called positive psychology, mental health professionals are taking a close look at how virtues such as gratitude can benefit our health. And they're reaping some promising results.” The article also talks about how gratitude can help with stress and even boost the immune system. Other studies show gratitude helps with sleep and even exercise. While I can’t say there are any studies that link gratitude to curing disease, some studies argue it can help keep your body and mind in a better state of health. As a health coach, I completely agree. I find those who sit with a positive mindset can take their healthy journey to a completely different level. In fact, this is often where the changes take place. Clients begin to see they are beautiful where they are in this moment, instead of feeling sorry for themselves, and doing nothing about the things that they are unhappy with. It’s the joy, happiness, and gratitude that can make this journey enjoyable and positive.
I want to share a few things that I do to stay thankful, even in moments of life where I’m not sure where I’m headed. The truth is, we ALL have something to be grateful for. You may be reading this thinking, she has no idea how hard my life has been, or how can she understand the struggles that I am going through. You’re right, we all have different hardships that can make life “tough,” but if you can find gratitude in the breath you just took, the eyes you have been given to read this, and the freedom to live your life as you please, then you DO have something to be thankful for. It’s a choice that can change your life for the better. To not only offer yourself happiness, but possibly better health, within your mind and body. Here are a few of my favorite ways to stay GRATEFUL.
Grab a spare journal and log little moments of gratitude and joy that you experience throughout the day. These “nuggets of joy” do not have to be monumental or extreme. These bits of joy can simply be like the things I mentioned above. Maybe it’s a sunrise, a freshly fallen snow, a cup of hot coco, or even a smile from a stranger. These are the gifts, that when we feel like there is nothing left, remind us of all the little and big things that we can be grateful for.
My husband and I have decided to keep a gratitude jar in 2016. We will write out little moments that brought us joy that we are thankful for. On New Year’s Eve, we will sit down and open up the moments of gratitude. It’s these little moments that we tend to lose sight of, and forget that we were ever blessed with. What a gift to open this up at the end of 2016 and reflect on the amazing things that took place, beyond a pay raise!
By now, you all now I love me some Jesus! I’m not quiet about it, and yet I’m not pushy with it either (at least I hope not). I’m open about my faith with clients, friends, and you because it is one of the most important aspects of my life. It has made every bit of a difference in moments where I have felt lost, unspoken for, and even unsure of my purpose. Through prayer, questions are answered, and God brings everything full circle. It isn’t always the answer I want, but it eventually leads me exactly where I want to be. Offering thanks to God is one of the most beautiful feelings you can bring to yourself. It’s recognizing that it’s because of HIM that you have been blessed with everything around you.
Looking someone in the eye and telling them how grateful you are is powerful. Whether it be for a gift, kind gesture, or simply for their support. It can mean the world to someone, who may feel like all that they do goes unnoticed. A smile, a moment to tell a stranger thank you for holding the door, or telling your spouse that you're grateful for all that they do. Showing gratitude and offering thanks can make someone feel loved and valued. Try it!
So, can these habits of giving thanks and being grateful make you healthier? I think so! I believe a positive mind, leads to a positive body, which leads to a healthier lifestyle and outlook. Take note of this area of your life, ask yourself if you are grateful or filled with complaints. Either way, adding this to your plate is nothing but beneficial. Take it from me, gratitude can often be what’s missing from the positive life that's right in front of you!
The wedding bells are softly quieting and a new season of life begins to make its way. It’s funny how conversations go from discussing photographers, honeymoons, and careers, to discussing plans of having children. It’s scary and fun all at the same time. Am I really at that age in life where we are planning for children and a home? Which brings me to the word, planning. Any new or seasoned mother is laughing right now as I use this word. After all, my friends who are moms will always say, you can never plan enough or be prepared enough. Right, now I’m even more nervous. If you know me, you know that I live by my planner. I plan the year ahead, the week ahead, and break down my entire day in my gold and white planner. I have one electronic version and often an extra calendar hanging near or around my office. Not planning what I want to plan, is going to be rather challenging. However, the one thing I can micromanage is the way I prepare my mind and body to be at its best before we officially let go and let God. I will say, this is hard for me. As I reflected back on last year’s post, I really don’t open up, or share my personal life with you guys. Yes, a little here and there, but nothing really deep. It’s a moment of vulnerability, but I feel called to share this in hopes of encouraging any other hopeful mamas to be. After all, the way we treat out bodies before, during and after pregnancy, is crucial. Before I begin please know that I’m well aware that you can be the “healthiest” person on the face of planet Earth, and still face complications getting pregnant, during pregnancy and even the delivery. There is never a guarantee that this will be the hope for a perfect pregnancy. In fact, I don’t look at it that way at all. I look at it as the chance to do everything I can to be at my best, for any blessings that may come our way. At the very least, even if nothing happens, it’s a reminder that we should always be working our hardest to bring health and balance to our temples. Before I begin to share what I’m doing to prepare my body before baby, please keep in mind this is my own opinion and views. I’ve discussed my own personal goals with my doctor and suggest you do the same before making any changes.
You knew I would start with food. We all know that this is one of the largest contributors to leading a healthy lifestyle. A whole foods approach, packed with nutrition, and everything you need to thrive. It’s not only what I’m eating but the chemicals that can come with our food choices as well. I’m paying close to the Dirty Dozen Clean 15 list when not choosing all organic. You can find the current list at http://www.ewg.org/foodnews/. What we put into our bodies becomes our body. In other words, our food becomes our cells, skin, and makes up what we are. While I’m still allowing myself treats on occasion (so I you see me out I’ll most likely be enjoying my “cheat meal” with pizza and wine), I’m really taking this time to focus on how the food is contributing to my health, and hopeful pregnancy. In addition to my food choices, I’m also taking vitamins to balance my health and nutritional needs during pregnancy. With my doctor’s guidance, I’ve been taking a prenatal for quite some time, along with other supplements to boost my health. Again, talk to your doctor before making any changes.
We don’t exactly know how toxins from food, the environment and products in our home can directly affect our growing babies. However, there is not enough evidence out there to suggest these factors can contribute to complications for your child. While there is no guarantee, keeping a healthy home, and using toxic free products may help. Consider switching to green or natural products for cleaning, cooking, and body. Also, be mindful of the plastic that you're using and stick to BPA free choices.
Yes, exercise is super important for women before, during, and after pregnancy. Studies show exercising while pregnant can help with maintaining a healthy weight, and potentially offer a smoother delivery. So, what are you waiting for? Whether or not you're thinking about getting pregnant, you can reap the benefits now. If you’re thinking about starting a family, give your body the time to get in its best shape to bounce back post pregnancy. Not only that, but it will also give your body the time to adjust to physical activity. Many doctors encourage expecting moms to stay away from physical activity that their bodies aren’t used to. In other words, don't wait to get pregnant to get active!
Living a stressful life is something we all are challenged with. It’s hard to walk outside of your home or drive in your car without dealing with a little stress. For me, this is one area that I’m really trying to focus on. I don’t want a stressful environment at all, especially when trying to have children, or when we bring our bundles of joy into this world. I’m working on destressing by focusing on deep breathing, essential oils, fresh air, time away from electronics, and joy in my life.
My husband just said to me, only put out into the world what you want to get back. In other words, your mind is extremely powerful. Our thoughts and mindset can totally affect our outlook on life, and how we feel about people too. This is seriously a struggle for me. The idea of not being great at something or perfect, really can make me feel like I’m flat out terrible. Those negative vibes can then carry into our work, home, and even relationships. I’m encouraging you to be mindful of it and nip it in the bud! I’m also reminding myself that being perfect isn’t practical, and accepting the fact that no one is perfect. Let go of what you can’t control and put forward positive vibes. Oh yeah, when we officially hit the “trying” period on the calendar, you better believe I’m going to have fun, and not stress or worry about if something is actually happening.
These are just a few things that I’m doing to get ready for this next chapter of our lives. For those of you who may be wondering, you won’t be hearing any baby announcements real soon. So, no need to ask after I post this! ;) I simply want to give my body what it needs to be at its best, and whatever God chooses to do from there, is completely up to him. Even if you aren’t planning for a family, or have already had your babies, these are still great habits to bring into your life. I mean regardless of where you’re at in life, it’s never too late to get healthy!
Let's take a moment to reflect on the last twelve months. For some of us, there were moments of progress and restored health. For others, it was month after month of losing track of yours goals, and maybe even falling off track altogether. In the beginning of the year, when we set new resolutions or goals, we tend to be a bit more encouraged and even successful. However, time races on, and the excitement and drive begins to fall short. This happens for many shortly after we ring in the new year. So, how can we kick off 2016 with practical health and wellness goals that we can stick to? Here are three ways to get started!
1. Write out each goal you'd like to accomplish for the upcoming year. Under each goal, be specific with what you want, and add the necessary action steps needed to achieve these goals. Place the final copy of your goals in a place where you can see them daily. We like to place our goals on our refrigerator or bathroom mirror! This is also a great place to add encouraging quotes or motivational words.
2. Set practical goals and start small. EVERYONE aims to lose a large amount of weight and never touch chocolate for the following 365 days. Let's be honest, it sounds good, but often becomes overwhelming or unattainable when we can't seem to figure out where to begin. Make small goals to start, check in with yourself and your progress every couple of months. Feel free to add new goals as the year progresses. Remember, small changes in the beginning, lead to big results in the end!
3. Love yourself and body enough to give it what it needs. We want to encourage you to stop putting your health last in the new year ahead. It should be at the top of your priority list. You have one temple to live in for the rest of your life, treat it kindly and it will love you back!
Here at our healthy home, our goal is to offer you a place to learn and grow. When you stop by www.JennaLento.com we hope to encourage you and motivate you to live a healthy lifestyle. We do this through our free recipes, workout ideas, health coaching videos and regular blog posts. Our healthy team is here for you every step of the way! Thank you for being a part of our healthy home in 2015. We appreciate all of your support and look forward to helping you reach your goals in 2016! Happy New Year to you and yours!