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Mindset is the genesis for everything! As you may already know, it often determines our outcomes. Creating a healthy mindset can be a challenge, especially now, but there is hope! Here are three steps to build the right frame of mind to help get you through these difficult times.

1. CREATE THE HEADSPACE

Much like making nutritional goals for yourself, your environment plays a big part with your mindset as well. As some of you may have experienced, having your favorite cookies, pies and other unhealthy foods in your pantry makes eating well a much bigger challenge.

For your mindset, it's not all that different. You might be wondering: How can I possibly keep from sinking into a negative mood when all I hear about on the news is scary and sad?

While you can’t throw away the news like you can unhealthy foods from the pantry, you can certainly limit your intake. Experts recommend limiting news intake to one hour per day. Yes, it’s important to be informed, but a high dosage of focusing on things outside of your control isn’t great for your wellbeing. Thankfully, limitation isn’t the only strategy you have for keeping a healthy mindset.

Next, let's start looking at some of the silver linings that are coming out of the situation. Focus on the people who have been healed, the new innovations that are being created to serve others, and the greater sense of compassion that’s developing in the world as we work together to get through this crisis.

Take comfort in knowing that there’s more you can do to build a healthy mindset. What other positive influences can you bring into your mental space today? Let’s take a look at some options.

2. TAKE MINDFUL ACTION

I’ve heard of many great ways that people are keeping themselves healthy these days. Having an exercise routine, even while at home, is a great way to stay both physically healthy and relieve stress & anxiety. Others are completing household projects that give them a sense of accomplishment as well as a chance to relax and enjoy a more organized home.

Mindful action doesn’t have to be a physical activity. You can also keep your mind sharp with puzzles, matching games, and other brainteasers another a great way to give your mind a rest from negative thoughts.

Most of all, remember your passions in life. What makes you feel alive? For some, it’s reading inspiring books, practicing hobbies, and spending time with friends. Many of these things are still possible but may have to be done in creative ways either solo or together online. What would you like to do?

3. ALLOW BALANCE

During this time remind yourself that it’s ok to be sad and anxious about the future. There is nothing wrong with having worries, but having that worry rule your life is harmful to you, both mentally and physically. You may have heard the quote “get busy living or get busy dying” from the film Shawshank Redemption or as a variation of a famous Bob Dylan quote.

While you might be feeling trapped in your own home, understand that by taking proper precautions you are staying safe as well as helping to de-escalate the crisis. Know that, in this time, you still have opportunities to better yourself and help comfort others. Remind yourself of the good news that is out there and remember your passions in life. This is a time that can remind us just how precious life is, so let’s use our blessings wisely.

If you found this article helpful, please share with a friend or on your favorite social media.

Mark Connor

Certified Health & Wellness Coach

#mindfulness #antianxiety #personalcontemplation


Clock with Sign that says "SO WHAT IF"

As you know, the world has changed a lot over the past few weeks. A global health crisis, economic turmoil, travel restrictions and social distancing are all things that we hear about in the news everyday. While all these changes are cause for worry, there is one good thing that many of us may have gained: TIME.

Time is the greatest asset of all. Something you can spend only once and can’t earn back. Before all of this craziness, most of my coaching clients have said that they never have enough time to get things done: too much work, too many activities to shuttle the kids to, too many at-home projects that need to be handled. Most of them generally state "lack of time" as being the number one reason why they can’t keep active, don’t have time to plan and prepare healthy meals, or address their own self-care needs...

Here's the chance! Now that you have time, what could you do to improve your health and wellness? You have plenty of options.

Let's look at 3 important steps in creating a healthier you!

1. Get Started: Investigate your options

First, it's great to start with doing some research! Start by thinking about what you would like to accomplish for your personal wellness needs and find out what options you would like to investigate.

While your local gym may be closed, there are tons on online resources and videos that can teach you how to stay active (even if you don’t have any fitness equipment at home). Before being active, make sure any exercise routine is safe for you (and not cause or aggravate any existing health condition that you may have). Also look at the level of intensity as well and make sure that it matches with your level of fitness.

If you're feeling a little anxious these days. Maybe you may find some online meditation programs helpful to manage your stress. Puzzles and games (like sudoku) are also great to keep your mind active and may help prevent thinking about what you see on the news for a while.

As for nutrition, look up healthy recipes that you find appealing and that you may want experiment preparing. Perhaps there is something that you have always wanted to try. Now is the time to give it a go!

Once when you have a few ideas, experiment!

2. Experiment: Find out what works for you

Try out some things you researched. Take note of what you're enjoying, and what's bringing you into better health. Note that the experimentation process shouldn't be looked at as a success or a failure. It's better to look at it as a learning process. What you're doing is finding ways to see what options best fit your lifestyle (you won't know until you try).

While being active, be aware of what your body is feeling. Take your workouts slow and steady and progress gradually. From there, make a mental note of how you are feeling. Is the activity too easy or too hard? Did anything cause you joint pain or other problems? At the end of the workout, how did you feel?

As for stress relief, what strategies or practices worked best for you? For example, was that breathing practice more relaxing than that 30-minute comedy show? Or, was it the other way around? Make a record of the things you try and see if you can spot a trend.

If you are experimenting with preparing healthy meals, makes notes of: how long that meal took you to prepare, the ease or difficulty of making it, the cost of the ingredients, and how much you enjoyed the food when you were done. There are lots of fast, inexpensive, and tasty meal options out there. You'll just need to find out the ones that fit your lifestyle, tastes and budget. What will you try?

3. Establish: Turning experimentation into practice

Ask yourself, of the new habits that you're trying, what can you carry forward when life gets busy again? Start repeating all of your successful experiences, and work on making them become a regular part of your life.

When this crisis finally winds down, where would you like to be? Would you rather lay low, ride out the crisis, and hopefully be in the same place that you were before... Or, would you like to be in a better place when things finally settle down? Would you like to be more energized, stronger, nourished, active, and less stressed? This is a great opportunity to create a wellness practice that can last a lifetime! Setting up healthy habits now can go far in making a healthier long-term future!

Mark Connor | Certified Health & Wellness Coach, Personal Trainer, Behavioral Change Specialist.

Mark is particularly well-known for guiding clients through stress management and creating healthy, enjoyable lifestyles.

#antianxiety #overcomingobstacles #PositivePsychology #practices


This Angel Foods Snackery recipe was designed intentionally with immune system support, anti-anxiety, and of course, deliciousness in mind.

With all of the unprecedented changes to daily life going on world-wide and the constant media coverage, I realized that stress and anxiety were starting to crank up the tension in and around me!

Thankfully, I was able to get grounded, breathe and remember that in addition to embracing faith more fully, that there are also some ways that I can influence and maintain my wellbeing...

Having the awareness that managing stress is a HUGE factor in maintaining physical health, I took to the sanctuary of my kitchen.

I dug through my spice cabinet to cross reference what I had in my arsenal with the intentions that prompted my urge to make something I had never tried before.

Why this combo

If you're interested in why I chose this combination, here's the gist of what I found throughout multiple articles throughout medical news and health journals online:

  • Many of the spices have been found to be rich in antioxidants and have anti-inflammatory properties.

  • Turmeric has been found to have multiple medicinal properties. Black pepper enhances the bioavailability of the turmeric's support.

  • Ginger has been known to help kill cold viruses, chills and fever. Additionally, studies show that it contains magnesium and zinc, which may contribute to its influence over serotonin levels and decreased anxiety.

  • Cinnamon (Ceylon cinnamon preferred) can help the body fight off infections and lower blood sugar.

  • Local raw honey is a natural antiseptic, has antibacterial properties, and is said to have the abilities to reduce the duration of colds, tame seasonal allergies and the stomach flu.

With all of the articles and common threads I found, I was encouraged; so I recipe-tested and tested... and eventually came up with these ratios and ingredients for health, taste and convenience! (I actually ran out of almond milk and decided to try almond butter and water together... and voila!)

As it turns out, there's a long-standing Ayurvedic tradition of combining many of these similar ingredients together called Golden Milk. I had never had it before I made up my own.

My Recipe-testing Results

Here's my 5-minute, "11-ingredient" recipe for Golden Milk:

WET INGREDIENTS:

1 1/2 cup Water

2 Tbsp Almond butter

2 tsp Honey, local & raw preferred*

1 tsp Almond extract

1 tsp Vanilla extract

DRY INGREDIENTS:

1 tsp Turmeric

1 tsp Ground Ginger

2 tsp Ground Cinnamon

1/4 tsp Ground Black Pepper

ENERGETIC INGREDIENTS:

2 armfuls of Love

2 heartfuls of Courage

Prep Time: 5 minutes. Serves 2.

PREPARATION:

We recommend the use of a blender or blender ball shaker to make this delicious batch of peace of mind.

1. Add all the ingredients into a blender or blender-ball/protein shake shaker.

2. Blend, or shake, for 30 seconds or until well combined.

3. Optional: Heat on stovetop or microwave to desired temperature.

Enjoy!

*NOTE: you can swap honey for agave or monk fruit sweetener for a low-sugar vegan option.

When I drank it, I noticed that it felt similar to drinking a warm cup of cocoa... Like it was a hug from the inside, providing me comfort. The anxiety from all the news coverage was finally starting to melt, and I was reminded that I had every reason to be grateful in this moment!

I'm healthy. I have a roof over my head. I have heat, gas, electricity & internet access. But most of all, I have faith, and people that I care about, like you, that I can share this recipe with.

The rediscovery of how functional nutrition and other natural solutions can (and have!) impacted my overall health and wellbeing continues to be an even bigger boon than I could have ever imagined! I'm so excited that my understanding just deepens even more as I meet more and more amazing specialists in the field.