January Blues

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New Year Rush: 

I'm usually an incredibly upbeat person, that's why I'm "The Cheery Chef." However, for some reason the month of January has been historically a bit of an emotional roller coaster for me. The first week of the year, even though the holidays are over are a flurry of activity for me. I love to: make my new vision board, set my 3 big goals for the year, clean and de-clutter my house, put away the decorations, sweep out the old and in with the new. It all feels so great! I also joined a great gym near me, started working out and eating 3 veggies a day and drinking lots of water. I am still keeping up with the gym workouts, veggies and water. 

Down in a Dip: 

This January, after this action-packed week or so I managed to come down with a terrible flu, and really couldn't do anything except drink tea and watch "The Crown." I was THAT low on energy! Right before that I was feeling kind of low and not that energized.  It has taken me a while to get back on track after that whole week of low energy, low appetite and just not feeling myself. I did really learn a super, super valuable lesson that week. It was: Put rest in your schedule. If you are a hyper-activated person like me, it is imperative to get your rest at the end of the day. I actually write down "rest" now on my daily schedule and now stop working on anything except creative/fun activities after 7pm each day. 

Upward We Go: 

The week after that I was getting back on track, it seemed like my business picked up speed quite a bit and things were heading in the right direction. I was back on track, working on goals and quite busy. I used my extra time to start working on my coloring, painting and collage work. It was wonderful to see lots of my clients again and I got to work on lots of projects moving forward. I feel like during this week I took a massive amount of action to move forward. 

Back Down Again: Determined to Climb Back Up: 

I have to be honest with you- weirdly, Mondays are usually one of my favorite days; a chance to start again and get going on lots of things. However, things have slowed down a lot this week. It has left me feeling a bit low today. I want to always be very real on this blog about things because I believe that sharing our experiences and discovering what works and doesn't work for us is so important. I want to be able to help all of you by sharing what is going on with me. 

Today, although I started off on a low note, just feeling a bit down, I am more than determined to feel upbeat and on top of the world. Sometimes even if we don't feel like it, it is important to "do it anyway." That is why: except for the week that I have been sick I have made it to my gym classes or worked out 5 days a week, I have eaten my veggies, I have had my 8 glasses of water a day. I refuse to give up! Today I felt like I am building the part of the iceberg that is below the ocean and that very soon I will see the beautiful parts of the ice crystals on the surface and it will grow and grow. 

Today and every day this week I am going to be kind to myself. I am going to get my rest in. I am going to do my creative work. I am going to try to make some sculptures again. I am going to make a pedicure appointment. I am going to think of a small reward for myself this week and every week I make it through and "do it anyway." I know that I will be on top of the hill again soon, the sun will come out again and this marathon of a beautiful life will keep on going. 

What are you doing this week to be kind to yourself? How can you reward yourself? How are you dealing with the January blues? 

Thank you all for being with me,

With lots of care,

Trista

Setting Intentions Daily

Setting Intentions Daily

I believe that every day we are growing and changing in different ways. When we are children we grow taller and learn new things in school and in life every day. However, when we grow up and become adults that growth in learning and in spirit doesn't stop. It is important however to create the road map for your growth in a positive direction. 

Every day I learn a few new things from a book or from podcasts. I know that if I put these things into action into my life there will be benefits. I want to share just a very small habit that I started a few days ago that will illuminate your path and the choices you make each day. It doesn't mean there won't be difficult or challenging days ahead, but when you start out with this technique it will make you stop and change course to make things a bit better. 

The other day I was listening to The Confidence Academy Podcast:  http://tcapodcast.libsyn.com/ and the host Lili was talking about one of the habits that really transformed her year in 2017. She said that each day in her journal she sets the intention for her day. She writes down the type of day that she wants to have and how she wants to feel. This sets the tone for her day. She said that if she ran into some challenges in the day she would stop and remember what she wrote as her intention for the day and that really helped her get back on track and be in a more positive place in her day. 

I have started to keep a small intentions journal of my own as a result of hearing how this worked for her and I have to say it's a great start to my day. Luckily, I received a beautiful small journal for a Christmas gift and so I decided this would be my intentions journal.  Whenever I run into problems or challenges I think of what I've written down and work hard to stay positive and on track. 

I encourage you to start this very small habit. It really only takes 1-2 minutes a day at most and it makes more of a difference than you would think. Also, I know that writing things down brings them more to the top of your mind than just simply keeping them in your head. 

Another thing I have started writing down daily and saying to myself daily is: 

"Today I am being given exactly what I need." 

I truly believe that the universe does give me what I need on a daily basis. Some days I may be frustrated that business isn't going the way I'd planned, but then when I have the extra time I feel blessed by what I was given for the day because it was exactly what I could handle and I found time to do some important tasks in the extra time I had. When we change the way we look at things we can see that we all have exactly what we need. It may not look like it or feel like it at the time, but if we look back, we can see it's the path we really needed. 

What daily habits are you trying in 2018? I'd love to hear from you! 

With lots of care & great positive intentions,

Trista

The Joyfully Balanced Diet

The Joyfully Balanced Diet

Last week I was terribly sick. This is a very rare occurrence for me, as I work so hard to stay very healthy. At the same time I realize that this illness in a way was a blessing. I had worked so hard before the holidays and the week before preparing for a new year for my business and I have noticed that I often have a hard time deciding when to stop working. I just love to get things done and achieve goals! However, there is a time where my body says: "This is enough, I'm slowing you down with this illness so that you can get the rest that you need." Ok, it really doesn't say that out loud, but it did tell me with aches and extreme fatigue.

For quite a few days I stayed in bed and drank water and herbal tea. I also didn't have much of an appetite. However, I paid attention to signs of hunger and what my body was craving. Strangely, I found myself wanting dried apricots, corn chips and applesauce (sometimes with a little bit of homemade granola on top.) Towards the end I did want some soup, chili and some other things, but I was down to the basics at the beginning. I later found out that dried apricots have a lot of iron in them. I found that I was feeling much better with eating things with more iron in them and that is what my body was searching for. 

This experience taught me a lot about the complexities of eating, nutrition and listening to how we and our bodies feel with different foods. I think everyone reacts to foods in different ways. I know that I react well to a high protein, high vegetable diet. However, I do feel the need for some grains in the form of brown rice and oats sprinkled in. These help round out my diet as do thing such as Greek yogurt and a splash of milk in my coffee. 

When I was sick there was a bright joy to those orange apricots. A joy that carried me through the day and let me know that I was going to get better and that I would have my energy back soon. At the beginning of January I experimented with a few days of a more Keto-centered approach to eating and really cut back on carbs and fruit especially. I found that I was still hungry often and that a lot of the joy of food was taken away from me. That is when I decided that I would take some things that I liked about that diet and add back in some more fruits and some grains. This has left me with a joyful balance. I will continue to experiment with my daily food choices and see what feels best to me. Food is a very joyful thing to me, but I believe it is highly personal too, and one approach doesn't work for every single person the same way. The fundamentals for me going forward are: 

3 vegetable servings a day

8 glasses of water a day

A joyful balance of high protein, brown rice, oats, lots of vegetables and fruits that I love

This feels right to me as I felt myself at the beginning of the month bewildered about what to eat (to be honest) and hungrier way more often than on my "listening/joyful" approach. I felt myself looking up different kinds of snacks instead of choosing from some great things I already had on hand. I was second-guessing myself way too often. I find that we all have lots of wisdom already in our bodies and that it is important to tap into it. That being said, studying nutrition and getting help from nutritionists has great merit as well as they can often tailor your choices especially for you. 

My final thought is that we should all experiment more and find out what foods bring our bodies the most joy in the form of health. Here's to balance and a great 2018! 

With lots of care,

Trista 

Dealing with Distractions

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We all know how distracting life can be these days. There is email: multiple emails & accounts to keep track of, notifications on our phones, twitter, Facebook, You Tube, Instagram & more! There are so many things that can take our precious time away from us, it slips through our hands like sand. Many times it is not even a question of spending hours on these things at a time; but a few minutes here and a few minutes there really add up. This is a bad habit I am working hard to break in 2018 and because it is such a problem I want to share with you what issues I have and how I am working on this so that I can be more present, relax and do creative things in the afternoons. 

I am a very goal oriented person and love to have to-do lists, intentions and more each day. However, I can be as easily derailed from these tasks and also from just being present in the world and enjoying some true, distraction-free downtime by spending too much time on my phone and on the computer doing things other than writing blog posts or creating menus for my meal service business. It can be so easy to be distracted many, many times a day. 

Full Disclosure- I am so, so guilty of being distracted! I know my danger time to be distracted is in the afternoons. I have usually used up my very best 4-5 morning hours when I work best and I feel a bit depleted. So, it is easy to say "oh, I'll just look quickly at my messages, emails, etc." But, that turns into many minutes. I'll then try to start in on another task and be distracted again. Sometimes it will be a "loop" of checking email, then checking social media, then checking messages and then over again. 

Yesterday, I had gone through this "loop" in the afternoon. However, something changed in me when I head my friend Harriet Morris's podcast The Eating Coach on the Pauly Principle. She explains it very well in her resource section: http://www.theshiftinside.com/pauly/

The basic principle as she explains it is: 

"If you repeat an action often enough it will become automatic and therefore effortless."

That means, if we replace the action of checking our phones with some other activity and do it often enough, then it will become automatic. Later on Harriet gives ideas about rewarding yourself (in this case in dealing with eating sugar or junk food) for stepping away from the craving for 5 minutes. She suggested writing these reward ideas in your journal. So, that triggered me to try it. The craving really did pass in 5 minutes when I engaged in a different activity. 

My list of replacement behaviors are: 

1. Drink tea or water.

2. Color in a coloring page.

3. Put on some hand lotion that I love the smell of.

4. Take a photo with my new camera, test it out. 

+ other short, creative or healthy/fun ideas. 

I began to try this yesterday afternoon and it really worked! I again worked on it this morning and was able to walk away from my phone after turning off a podcast without going into my endless "loop" of checking things. I did a coloring page and also have put on the hand lotion. It smells so good! What great rewards that bring happiness! I also made time to have "art time" with my son. I painted and colored my dot-to-dot picture while he drew a comic with his new graphic pens he got for Christmas. So much fun! We both loved that time together. 

I encourage you to try this for any "impulse" or "craving" you may have to be distracted. 

I will be reporting on my progress with this as well. 

Update with progress: January 12, 2018: 

For most of this week I have been sick with the flu. ( I wrote the body of this blog post around 1 week ago) This illness left me so, so tired! I was not able to do much for many days. As a result, I tended to check email and my phone too much. However, as I am beginning to be on the mend today I am going to stick with not checking social media until lunchtime. I will stick to my time limit and work on using my replacement behaviors. I am aware that it can be lonely working at home by myself and this is why often I check things too often, but I do really, really want to develop better habits so I am going to be working on this much more today. :) 

With lots of care,

Trista