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Calling a food “healthy” is loaded. Everyone has a different opinion about what is healthy. Low carb. Low fat. Vegetarian. Standard American. Mediterranean. But one thing is true, no matter the source: whole, real food.

An example is breakfast this morning.

1. Three farm fresh eggs from humanely raised chickens from my friend’s local farm. (The chickens live in what she calls “the chicken mansion” and they eat the best fruit!)

2. Cooked in extra virgin olive oil.

3. Sprinkled with turmeric, which is savory and reduces inflammation (which is the root cause of many diseases and problems).

4. Sungold tomatoes, organically grown in my back yard.

5. Plus 2 leaves of basil and some pinches of sorel, both grown on my deck in pots.

Delicious. Nutritious. Simple. Enjoy!

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A version of this post first appeared here at Attorney at Work.

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Sometimes your day is cruising happily along when a bump in the road — or a major pothole — comes along to derail you from the easy life. And then there are days when everything seems to go wrong all day long. Life isn’t always easy, but there are steps you can take to make your days better. Here are five.

1. Adopt an attitude of gratitude. Many thought leaders, from Brené Brown to the Dalai Lama, tout the benefits of living with an attitude of gratitude. I agree. This is different than positive thinking in the face of real adversity. Rather, it is seeing life for the reality that it is, and being grateful for what’s good about it even when some parts are not good. My friend Diane Costigan, who is Director of Coaching at Winston & Strawn LLP in New York City,  taught me this phrase when I was working with her as a coach: “What I like about it is …”  This is a great way to live with an attitude of gratitude. It can also make you laugh in the face of trouble. For example, I lost my cellphone (disaster!), but what I like about it is …  I can get an early upgrade to a better phone.

2. Accept reality. As one of my favorite authors, Byron Katie, would say, when you argue with reality you always lose. I love this thought. It makes life much simpler. Katie says to let go of the “shoulds” in your life. Yes, the grocery story clerk should be nicer. Yes, boss should listen to your ideas without interruption and with validation. Your unappreciative family should appreciate how hard you are working and still balancing all the other life stuff that benefits you all. But sometimes the reality is that those things don’t happen, even if they should. The best way to handle these difficulties is to accept that they exist and then work with them. You can either work to remedy them or change something in your life so that you don’t continue to find yourself in a reality that you don’t like.

3. Delegate. It is difficult to succeed without a team. If you don’t have teammates — colleagues, friends, assistants, family — take the time to create a team that can help you handle all your responsibilities. It can be hard to let go of the control to effectively delegate. Let’s be honest, though: If you micro-manage the person to whom you delegate, you aren’t saving yourself any time and you are frustrating them. So instead, take the time to find a competent and cooperative teammate, be very clear in your directions, and let him or her take the responsibility. There may be growing pains, both in your ability to give effective directions and your teammate’s ability to deliver as expected, but it will be worth it.

4. Organize. One of the best ways to keep all your various responsibilities in order and successfully handled is to be organized. Organize your office so that things don’t get lost in the shuffle. Organize your day so that you use your time as efficiently as possible. Organize your life so that you have resources readily available to you. When you are organized, you don’t waste time and energy trying to find whatever you need to be successful.

5. Meditate, then plan. When I am overwhelmed with work and life, I want to jump in as quickly as possible and tackle things. Who has time to plan? Resist that temptation. Take a breath, and take the time to meditate and then plan. Would you build a house without first drafting a plan? Of course not. Take the same approach to your day, your month, and your life. You actually save time when you make a good and thoughtful plan. When you take five minutes to meditate before you plan, your planning with go more smoothly and efficiently. Meditation will clear your mind of the noise and allow you to breathe, slow down and think.

Have a great day!

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I was sitting down to write and a friend’s Instragram post popped up. It read:

LOG OUT

SHUT DOWN

DO YOGA

So I am. Maybe you can do the same. And I’ll be back here soon with more to say.

Take care of yourself! Xo

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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

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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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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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pexels-photo-433495.jpegI wrote previously about my May goals: essentially Being Great, which to me means being healthy, being present, participating in my community, nurturing my relationships, and contributing to others. As I think about how to Be Great, I discussed five personality and life traits that enable us to Be Great: being Compassionate, Listening, being Assertive, being Creative, and Persevering.

These are BIG ideas and they bring to mind BIG changes and whole movements of groups of people. But don’t forget to think small too. We can make a BIG difference by doing small things consistently. 

Decide how you want to Be Great, what you want to do to Be Great, then do something small everyday. And you will make a BIG difference!

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