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I received my bracelet in return for one pound of plastic removed from the ocean. And it’s pretty too. Learn more about the movement, the bracelet, and how you can help at http://www.4ocean.com. They sent me a thank you note, but I say THANK YOU to 4ocean. #4ocean

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Happy Dad Day!

To all the great dads out there, Happy Father’s Day. As a grown up daughter who is now appreciative even though I wasn’t so as a teenager, you are loved, important, and appreciated! Go Dads!

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silver and black camera silver and black laptop blue ceramic mug

Photo by Alexander Mils on Pexels.com

Ugh. It’s been two weeks since I posted anything. I try to post at least once a week, though ideally two or three times. But life is sooooo busy right now that I’m finding it hard to fit everything in. You can probably relate. Work is crazy busy right now (I’m a lawyer and deals are closing and litigation is picking up). It’s the end of the school year for my 7 year old first grader, so there’s a recital or show or event every other day it seems. And I’m training for running and playing in a tennis league. It’s CRAZY!

Which reminds me that I need to take time to breathe and to focus. On the days that I feel like I just cannot take the time to plan my day, or relax my mind, I know those are the days that I need it most. Would you build a house without first drawing up a plan? No. Would you start cooking without first making sure you have all the ingredients? No. The same is true with our days.

There is one thing that you can do each day that will greatly improve your life, health, and relationships. You can do it anywhere. It doesn’t cost anything. It doesn’t require any special tools or skills. And it only takes a minimum of 5 minutes each day. It is mindfulness.

What is mindfulness?

Ask any expert and you’ll find that one of the foundations of wellness is mindfulness. What is it? Mindfulness means being present in the moment and focusing on what is happening right now. The opposite would be distractedness; e.g. while at work, focusing on all the things that need to be done at home, or vice versa. Meditation is the tool that can be used to develop and practice mindfulness.

What are the benefits of mindfulness through meditation?

Mindfulness and meditation create calm and focus the mind, cultivating greater attention and focus so as to avoid being sucked into the multi-task trap. Mindfulness is scientifically validated to help people deal with the challenges and stressors of life. By working on focus and attention, you can manage your emotions better, connect with others more successfully, and become happier and more effective in your work and life. It can change the way we deal with ourselves, our stressors, other people, and life. Essentially, it allows you to remain calm in the midst of the storm, without letting the anxiety overwhelm you and cause burnout and exhaustion.

To sum it all up, mindfulness is a little vacation for your mind that allows it to relax and rejuvenate. The key benefit is the ability to choose what you think about so that your mind doesn’t take you off on a trip on which you do not want to go.

A daily meditation practice, even as little as five minutes, can have great benefits. Give it a try, or get back to your practice if you’ve been away from it for a while.

And ride the wave of the end of the school year right into summer with ease and grace!

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A longer version of this post (with 5 ways to relax) first appeared here at Attorney@Work.

relaxation sitting reflection statue

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“Relax: re·lax (rəˈlaks/) v. make or become less tense or anxious.”Being tense and anxious can make you worried, uneasy, irritable, exhausted and even susceptible to illness, including diabetes, heart disease, obesity, gastrointestinal ailments and depression. And, as we all know, life is stressful and can make you unhappy.

So, We Must Learn to Relax

Clearly, relaxation is good for you. The benefits of lessening tension and anxiety are enormous. It makes you think more clearly, work more efficiently, handle stress better, and live as a nicer, happier and healthier person. Of course, a two-week vacation with no responsibilities and no calls from the office or home would be great. But be serious, that in itself would be stressful. What would be happening back at home and the office?!? A better idea is finding ways to relax, to rejuvenate both mind and body, with small amounts of time.

Meditation and yoga are two ways to take a “mini-vacation” with minimal time. Meditation and yoga allow you to control your mind and your thoughts, especially when you can’t control the other things happening in life. It helps relax your mind and body by focusing your thoughts on your breath during the practice and lowering the levels of the stress hormone Cortisol.

Ideally, you’d practice meditation and yoga every morning. Meditation can be easy to incorporate into your daily routine if you begin with breathing meditations, where you sit quietly and focus on your breath. Start with as little as two or three minutes a day. Or, if your mind tends to wander, try guided meditations where you are “talked” through the meditation so you can focus only on what the speaker is saying. Daily yoga may be more difficult to incorporate, so make it a weekly goal. If you can’t make it to a class, use an app such as Pocket Yoga. And if you only have five or 10 minutes, do a short series of sun salutations with focused breathing. You can search YouTube to learn sun salutations.

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*Portions of this post first appeared here at Attorney@Work.

bed bedroom blanket blur

Photo by Burst on Pexels.com

I’ve said it before, sleep is the foundation of health. According to Russell Foster, a circadian neuroscientist at Oxford University, the quantity of your time asleep affects the quality of your time awake. Over a third of our life should be spent sleeping. This can feel like a waste of time, but it’s not! Sleep-deprived people cannot function at their highest ability. Sleep deprivation decreases your ability to remember and process information. A good night’s sleep can give us up to a three-fold advantage in complex problem-solving. Also, cutting sleep short by even an hour or two reduces the effectiveness of your immune system by about 25 percent, leading to more illness and disease. And did you know that lack of sleep increases the release of a hunger hormone that causes cravings for carbohydrates and sugars, making it much more difficult to maintain a healthy weight? Don’t neglect this vital part of your fitness.

For the longest time, I thought something was wrong with me because I always felt so tired during the day. Then I started using my Fitbit to track my sleep. I realized that even when I was in bed for eight hours, I wasn’t getting a full eight hours of sleep. When I first started tracking my sleep, I was getting about six hours each night, on average. Now that I’m tracking it regularly, I make a conscious effort to avoid shortchanging myself on sleep too many nights in a row. I don’t always achieve my eight-hour goal, but when I feel exhausted at the end of the week, I can see how much sleep I didn’t get. And I can try to do better the following week.

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Be Great by giving to others. After I started by Be Healthy running group, I needed a new pair of running shoes. As I sat looking at my old running shoes, I thought that surely someone could use them. They didn’t have quite the support I needed anymore, but the shoes are still in pretty good shape. And someone can use them: someone at Soles4Soles.

According to their website, “Soles4Souls creates sustainable jobs and provides relief pexels-photo-609771.jpegthrough the distribution of shoes and clothing around the world.” One way they do this is by collecting donated used shoes that are in good condition and providing them to people in poverty around the world. Those people are trained on how to start and run their own small businesses selling the shoes at a very affordable price to people who need them. These small business owners make enough money to provide food, shelter, and education for their children. There are donation centers around the United States, or you can purchase a shipping label to send in your shoes.

Yet another small act that makes a BIG difference.

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One way to Be Great is to Be Healthy. Many of the issues that affect our health are actually a result of chronic inflammation. One tasty way to reduce inflammation is with green tea. Now that is it spring, I made Green Sun Tea on my deck. I added turmeric, which is an Asian spice in the ginger family with a great bright yellow color. Turmeric contains curcumin, which reduces the production of a protein that makes your immune system work overtime, thus causing inflammation. I also added ginger because I love ginger. It’s also good for your digestive system, so why not!

2018-05-03 15.06.36Take 3 cups water, 4 green tea bags, one turmeric/ginger herbal tea blend bag, and a few pieces candied ginger. Put all in a  large mason jar (or a washed glass peanut butter jar, which is what I used). Put out in the sun for several hours. Remove the ginger. Pour all into a pitcher, add 3 cups cold water, and chill. Delish!

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