Welcome to Self Soul Space! This blog is designed to bring you healthy lifestyle tips. A true healthy lifestyle, embodies a healthy mind, body, spirit, and environment. Thanks for stopping by to check out my way of living.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Leap Day

Today is February 29, Leap Day!  You get 1 additional day to do something productive, do something for your health, do something for your wellness, do something for your fitness, an extra day to treat yourself kindly... what will you do with it?  Be sure to do something special, since this extra day only comes every 4 years.
Here are some of my suggestions for dedicating this extra Leap Day to your Self Soul Space:

  • Do an extra 29 minutes of exercise
  • Eat 9 servings of fruits & vegetables; try juicing to get some in
  • Eat 2 meals without meat
  • Drink an extra 29oz of water today
  • Start your sleep routine 29 minutes earlier

  • Smile at least 29 times 
  • Take 29 minutes of quiet-quality time; try an at home spa treatment
  • Meditate for a total of 29 minutes
  • Say 29 positive things to those around you, including yourself
  • Dedicate 29 minutes to tackling a project or your to-do list

  • Shave 2-9 minutes off your shower; save water
  • Power off your computer for 29 minutes; reduce energy
  • Turn off the TV for 29 minutes (when you would normally watch); reduces energy & promotes quiet quality time
  • Use 2 reusable water bottles/tumblers for your beverages today; reduces waste in landfills
  • Eliminate 9 paper napkins/towels today, use cloth; reduces waste
I hope everyone enjoys their extra Leap Day, make it positive, make it healthy, make it count!

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Workout Buddies

I have to be honest with you all, when I am by myself on the road, sometimes I find it hard to motivate myself to workout.  When I am home, surrounded by my workout buddies; Michelle, Rebecca, Chrissy, Siouxzan, friends from the Bear-Glasgow YMCA, Facebook & Twitter, my husband, and kids; it is so much easier to workout, because my workout buddies encourage me and hold me accountable, especially my kids...
My Workout Buddies

  • Every morning my kids say, "Mommy, when are we going to the Y today?"  They even tell my husband, "Daddy you should go to the Y with Mommy, and workout."  They are our harshest but most honest motivators.  They are the biggest reason, I try to live a healthy lifestyle.  I want to be here for them when they are adults, and I want them to be healthy too! 
  • Now, Michelle, Rebecca, Chrissy, Siouxzan, are a different story.  These women share my same fitness and healthy living goals.  We meet together for classes, for some cardio, or for a walk around Glasgow Park.  We motivate and encourage each other.  We are all mothers with the same life-stuff, so it makes it very easy for us to just gel, and hangout while we workout.  Plus, I see these women every day, not at the gym but in the carpool line.  If I miss a workout with them, I better have a good excuse.  
  • I consider the staff and members of the Bear-Glasgow YMCA apart of my workout buddies team, because it's nice to see the same faces every time I visit the gym.  Our Y, has become a true community for us.  The Staff knows us (me & the kids) by name (before our cards are scanned), members and staff encourage each other to achieve their fitness and health goals.  They even have extra activities and lessons to encourage members of all ages to have fun and be healthy.  It's our Home Gym, we love it!  
  • Lastly, I can't forget about my social media friends; Twitter followers & Facebook friends.  When I see posts about working out, it motivates me, and I know my friends use my workouts for motivation too.

Why Should you have Workout Buddies?

  • In order to find a workout buddy, you must find someone with similar health & fitness goals as you.  Having some things in common helps too.  If you are more of a loaner, find someone who enjoys the same solitude, and just plan to meet each other and workout separately.  You are more likely not to back out on exercising, if you have someone waiting for you.  
  • Join a gym that meets your needs, and has members and staff working towards those same goals.  Get to know the staff at the gym, they will hold you accountable too, with sayings like "How have you been? Haven't seen you in a while."  
  • A trainer can be a fantastic workout buddy, they will motivate you, help you see results, and you're paying them so you wont back out.  
  • Lastly, start communicating with friends on social media about your fitness goals & workouts, you'll be surprised at how your friends & followers will motivate you, and your might motivate someone else.  

It's so easy to let life take over, and to make every excuse in the book as to why you can't exercise today... If this sounds familiar, then you need a workout buddy!  I am grateful for all of my workout buddies, thank you for keeping me on track!  With that, I have now motivated myself to go workout... Hotel gym, here I come!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Lent for Health

Ash Wednesday is the start of Lent.  Western Christianity observes this 40 day period, from Ash Wednesday to Easter Sunday, and devotes it to fasting, abstinence, and penitence.  According to the gospel, Jesus spent 40 days fasting in the desert before the beginning of his ministry, where he was faced with temptation, then he died for us.  During Lent, most commit to giving up "easier" temptations (soda, candy, wine, etc) to insure they can stick with the commitment, Jesus didn't have that luxury.  Instead of sacrificing something you know you will return to on Easter Sunday, why not take the next 40 days and dedicate it to your health.  Make these 40 days the start to your Healthiest Life Ever; Self, Soul, and Space!  Sacrifice your unhealthy eating habits, fast from stress and negativity, and abstain from polluting the environment.  Here are some ideas...

Add fruit or vegetables to every meal/snack
Drink more water (perfect if giving up soda, alcohol, or coffee)
Opt for a fruit instead of dessert (great if you planned on giving up sweets)
Add more fitness into your life (30 min a day/5 days)
Limit your salt and refined sugars intake
Stay away from fast or over processed foods

Sleep more
Meditate (helps to reduce stress)
Take quiet-quality time with yourself and with loved ones
Pray for others, known and unknown
Be thankful for all the many blessing in your life
Embrace positiveness, reject negativity

Recycle more
Carpool when possible
Walk or use public transportation
Drink filtered or safe tap water, eliminate plastic bottles in landfills
Turn off appliances, electronics, lights when not in use
Buy local food & products (help stimulate your local economy, reduce pollution for having items shipped in)

In addition to making this Lenten season our healthiest ever, my family and I will be sacrificing some of our favorites as well.  We will practice Meatless Mondays, and Fish-filled Fridays.  I will also be giving up sweets (candy, cakes, ice cream, etc) and alcohol (which if you know my co-workers, both can be very hard).  I hope you will dedicate this time to your health, and the health of our environment, much like Jesus dedicated and sacrificed himself for us.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

No Stress is Always Best!

Long days at work, tough school assignments, irritating co-workers, not enough time at home to get stuff done, planes-trains-automobiles, not enough money to make ends meet... Does this sound familiar? These are some things that can cause stress, they certainly do in my world! Reduce stress, less stress, no stress is always best. So, here's how I reduce stress in my daily life...

1. Smile, you'll be surprised how that will brighten your day!
2. Breathe & meditate, it helps to clear and relax your mind.
3. Schedule, I try to plan out my days and my money, so there are minimal surprises.
4. Exercise, this is a big stress reliever for me, yoga & cardio are my favs for stress.
5. Stay out of drama, enough said!
6. Don't sweat the small stuff, think positive.
7. Celebrate the joys, blessings, and accomplishments of life, even the small ones.
8. Talk it out, don't hold it in, vent to neutral party- Significnat other, friend, dog, etc.
9. Sleep, resting your body will help reduce stress, sleep deprivation can cause more stress.
10. Do what you enjoy; read a book, dance & sing, play the piano, hang with friends, play video games, scrapbooking, cooking, whatever floats your boat!

Stress can raise your blood pressure, lead to unhealthy eating habits, and can make you and those around you unhappy. Yes, Life will happen, but try my tips and it will make life a little easier. Limit stress, and your Self, Soul, and Space will be healthier!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

How big is your footprint?

You're probably thinking, 'what's my shoe size got to do with being healthy?'. Your carbon footprint, has everything to do with your environment being healthy. Carbon Footprint is a measure of the impact your activities have on the environment. It relates to the amount of greenhouse gases produced in our day-to-day lives through burning fossil fuels for electricity, heating, transportation, etc. How do we reduce the size of our carbon footprint to make our environment healthier?

Here are some simple tips...

-Turn off technology when not in use (computers, tv, DVD players, etc)
-Turn off lights when you leave a room
-Turn down your central heating system by 1-2 degrees (bonus: reducing temp by 1 degree will save about 8% on heating bill)
-Fill your dishwasher & washing machines with full loads, this will save water, electricity, and detergent
-Do your weekly shopping in one trip, to reduce gas usage
-Carpool to work or with school drop off/pick up
-Use public transportation when possible
-Walk or ride a bike for short distances
-Use energy saving light bulbs
-Don't buy bottled water if your tap water is safe to drink, or try a filter (Brita)
-Buy local, seasonal organic fruits & vegetables (buying out of season, fruits/veggies may have been flown in)
-Recycle as much as possible

If everyone takes the time to make small changes to reduce their carbon footprints, the environment will be a healthier place. We must take care of our Space as much as we take care of our Self and Soul. In this case, a smaller footprint is better! Happy living!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Good Night, Sleep Tight

Do you sleep well? Are you getting the recommended 8 hours of sleep? Do you have energy throughout the day? Do you sleep through the night? If you answered NO, to any of these questions, then you need Self Soul Space's sleep tips. A Good Night's Sleep, well what does that entail; at least 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep, that leaves you feeling refreshed & rejuvenated the next day. Here's how we accomplish that...

First thing, you need to evaluate your sleep patterns and schedule. Yes, schedule! What time do you need to wake up in the morning, what time do you usually go to bed. Sleep is imparitive to your health & well-being, it needs to be scheduled! So how many hours are you getting? 5, 6, 7 hours... Many wonder, how can I add more?

You can add more hours to your sleep schedule by creating a sleep routine. A way for your mind and body to unwind from the day; for example: a cup of tea, a nice book, and a little meditation. Sleep routine will help you and your body seperate the day from the night time. I personally start my sleep routine after my kids go to bed. I enjoy watching a little tv, then I shut it off by about 9pm (of course slightly later on Law & Order SVU nights). I might read a little, then it's time to meditate. I shut off the phone, my iPad, the lights, and my thoughts! I say my nightly prayers, and it's good night! Now, if you are a routine early bird, try starting your sleep routine earlier at night, as opposed to trying to add time in the morning. Many times, starting your sleep routine just 30 minutes earlier, can make a world of difference.

But how do we increase the quality of our sleep?

Self Soul Space Sleep Tips:
-Limit your caffine intake in the evening
-Turn off computers, phones, tv during sleep routine time
-Stay active, but plan your workout time farther away from your bedtime
-How late do you eat dinner, try to finish dinner at least 2-3 hours before bed, to help with digestion
-Maintain your sleep routine
-It's okay, to make your bed super comfortable... Buy the sheets, pillows, etc. that will help make your bed a sleep oasis
-Reduce the stress from the day, with a little quiet meditation
-Try to drown out distracting surrounding noise with earplugs or sleep/sound machine (or a fan); like snoring partner, environmental noises, etc.
-Make sure your sleeping temperature is optimal not too hot or too cold
-Clear your head before bed! Don't go to bed angry!

Don't forget that feeling and looking great starts with a Good Night's Sleep. Your body needs sleep to repair, restore, and replenish itself from all of the damage of the day. Now, of course life will happen and your schedule will get off, but adjust and maintain your sleep routine to help your body shut down. If you are still having trouble sleeping, talk to your health care provider for other medical options. Good Night, Sleep Tight!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Fruit Bread

Fruit bread is one of my favorite quick bread recipes, because it is easy to modify and get creative based on the season or your mood! It is a great way to clean out your fridge too, if you've got apples, carrots, and bananas past their prime, here's a way to get rid of them without the trash can. Fruit bread is a great snack, breakfast, or dessert, because it is packed with potassium, vitamins A-B-C, and iron. Kids love it, they think it's a treat, bonus!! I hope you enjoy this as much as my family & I do!

Fruit Bread
Serves 10

1/4 cup butter (margarine or vegetable oil)
1/2 cup honey (I have used blue agave in a pinch)
1 egg, beaten
3/4 cup carrots or any kind apples (I use both half & half), grated
2 small bananas, mashed
2/3 cup self-rising flour
1 tsp lemon zest, finely grated

Optional ingredients:
1/2 cup raisins, cranberries, blueberries, strawberries, dried cherries, walnuts, pecans, etc
1 tsp cinnamon, apple/pumpkin pie spice, etc

Preheat oven to 350.
Cream butter with honey in a mixing bowl. Gradually beat in egg. Mix in the carrots/apples, bananas, and flour; add optional ingredients and zest. Add a little extra flour, if necessary, until spoon stands upright in mixture.
Spread mixture into greased 9" loaf pan. Bake until golden brown, about 45-50 min. (toothpick test)
Cool completely, and serve. Top with spreads to jazz it up even more if you would like.

You can also bake it in square cake pan, round cake pan, or mini muffin pan. Store in an airtight container on counter for upto 4 days.

Nutritional info:
154 calories, fat 5.3g, choles 30.7mg, sodium 44.5mg, potassium 131.9mg, total carbs 26.6g, protein 1.8g.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Staying Healthy in Cold & Flu Season

Winter can bring the the beauty of snow, crisp clean air, wonderful holidays, and the nasty cold & flu viruses!  Cold weather tends to keep people in the cozy indoors, which is where these germs and viruses love to be!  How do you keep yourself and your Space healthy during this time of year?

Cold & Flu Prevention Tips:
  • Wash your hands & use antibacterial hand gel often, plus keep hands away from eyes & nose
  • Clean surfaces often, with disinfectant wipes & spray;  including desk, counters, steering wheels, door handles, remote controls, computers, etc
  • Stay hydrated, both body & space (water & humidifiers)
  • Keep fresh air circulating, as much as possible
  • Take vitamins, especially Vitamin C
  • Get sleep, rest & relaxation help to repair the body
  • Reduce stress, which can weaken the immune system
  • Eat a well balanced diet, to boost immune system
  • Wash pillows, blankets, and mattress cover often
  • Stay active, but be sure to clean your gym equipment before & after workouts
  • Reduce allergens; dust, vacuum, change air filters, don't give your body one more thing to fight
  • If traveling, Airborne or Emergen-C are your prevention friends
  • Bundle Up Outside, wear gloves, scarves, and hats... try to keep your body temp balanced
  • D'reardon's tip: "Don't claim it"... Fight the thoughts of getting sick, keep thoughts positive and well, don't give in!

With D'reardon, my husband working out in the community, both daughters in preschool, and my travel-filled job, we are exposed to all kinds of germs everywhere, and all year round.  We live and swear by these tips, especially during cold & flu season.  Keep in mind, we also get flu shots, in October.  Nothing is worse then a virus that travels through every member of your family, class, and/or staff.  If you start to feel that tickle in your throat, "don't claim it", once you think you're getting sick the body follows with those pitiful feelings, mind over matter!  Let's have a Healthy Self, Soul, and Space this cold & flu season!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

February & Hearts

When most people think for Februaury, they think of Black History Month, Groundhog Day, Mardi Gras, Ash Wednesday, President's day, and of course the Love & Hearts of Valentine's day... I think of hearts yes, Healthy Hearts. February is American Heart Month, and Go Red for Women Month. As a woman, a black woman, I was shocked to learn the leading cause of death in women, especially black women, is heart disease! So, I decided to share how healthy living within your Self, Soul, and Space will help fight heart disease.

Anyone, and everyone can be Heart Healthy... It's never too late, and you're never to young to start!

Heart Healthy Tips For Any Age

Be Active: 30 min of moderately intense cardio exercise everyday is ideal, or a total of 2.5 hrs a week.

Talk to Your Doctor: Have your Dr. check your blood pressure, cholesterol, blood sugar, weight, and heart rate on every visit. KNOW these NUMBERS, that way you'll know if something changes.

Watch Your Weight: Watch for weight gain triggers, such as stress or depression. Eat smaller portions, and tons of fruits & vegetables.

Eat Better: Don't think about diets, think about nutrition. Look to eat a variety of fruits and vegetables, fiber-filled grains, fat-free or low-fat dairy, lean meats & proteins, unsaturated oils, legumes, and nuts/seeds. Try to choose foods low in saturated fats, sodium, and added sugar.

Don't Smoke: Smoking is the most preventable cause of death in the US. It raises your risk of heart disease, stroke, cancer, and other major diseases. Quit, you'll also save the earth & those around your from second-hand smoke!

Know Your Family History: By knowing and learning your family's health history, helps you and your Dr. know if you are predisposed to any heart issues, and to prevent them accordingly.

A healthy heart means a healthy Self, Soul, and Space. So, eat right, reduce stress (Check out- Meditation: Health for the Soul)& eliminate depression, stay active, don't pollute the environment with second-hand smoke, and know your numbers and family history... Follow these tips, and you will help your heart be healthy at any age!

One more thing... Don't forget to be kind and loving to others, we don't need any broken hearts this month either!