Get Inspired, Get Happy

Spring is my favorite season despite its unpredictability. Fresh air, new life, new goals, bright sun, clean food- it all makes me eager to wake up in the morning and take in what the new day has prepared for me. It can however, be up and down; the excitement of waking up to sun one day then the numbness of waking up to a cloud filled sky the next can be draining for my seasonal depression. This can make my energy quite somber: if I let it.

I recently had one of those gloomy days, staying in bed all day snuggled in my blanket cocoon. The next day I decided that I didn’t want to feel down anymore so I made myself get up, get energized, get productive and most importantly, get happy- and it worked! I wanted to share with you, what I did to get more enthusiastic about life just in case some of you have the same seasonal disorder as me, or even just if you are in a little rut and need  some positive energy.

  • Get up: even if you have absolutely no motivation and no will. Just do it. Your day starts now.
  • Screenshot_2016-04-21-18-50-06.pngWrite a “To Do” List of what you want to accomplish today: Not errands per se, but things as “simple” as smiling or getting outside for a bit of fresh air. Not only is the reward of crossing things off my list satisfying but it also adds more purpose to my day when I think there is none.
  • Surround yourself with inspiration:  Get on Pinterest, find like people on Youtube, look at old journals or photos, get some encouraging apps on your phone, hang up posters, notice how happy your dog is over seemingly nothing, write down quotes and affirmations, doodle, redecorate, find inspiration through nature. This is so important for me. If I don’t see positive encouragement, sometimes it is hard for me to cultivate on my own.
  • Get outside: It doesn’t even have to be for a walk. Eat on your patio, look at flowers in your garden, listen to the birds chirp; when I do this it puts into perspective that there is a world outside my current apathy.  Birds are teaching their chicks how to fly, flowers are reaching to get a kiss from the sun, foxes are teaching their young how to survive. Life is beautiful even if I don’t see beauty in my own at this moment. Let nature be your mentor.

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  • Get some exercise: You will probably procrastinate at first (I sure did), but I promise you that the gratification will feel better than painless muscles. Happy body = happy mind. There are lots of fun youtube workout and yoga routine videos out there. It can be fun (no, I’m not lying). Find a video with an instructor who motivates you and get moving.
  • Eat clean food: By “clean” I mean trying to avoid things you couldn’t simply find outside/ make with limited resources. Stick to food that your body considers natural; less preservatives, refined sugars, etc.  Your body digests these foods differently and, of course, this can affect your mood. I’m certainly not trying to dictate anyone’s diet, but like I said: happy body = happy mind. Get inspired by the food our Earth provides for us.

“Each morning you are born again.” Don’t let yesterday stop you from being inspired by today. You woke up today. Not everybody did, but you- passionate, creative, wonderful, kind you- did. That is the miraculous truth. Yesterday and tomorrow are just a hallucination of the mind; today is all you will ever have. How do you want to spend it?

Good energy to you always, friends! Sidney

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“Yoga is just not for me.” Tips For A Happier Mind, Body And Spirit

Lately I’ve been creeping out of my seasonal depression and getting back into the things I love doing. For a few days now, (it’s been beautifully sunny outside), I’ve been taking my yoga mat onto the deck and practicing in the warm sun, inhaling fresh air while birds are chirping and wind is gently blowing in the trees. It’s given me back the feeling of pure happiness; enthusiasm for life that I tend to miss out on in the winter.

I hear a lot of reasons why people think they don’t like yoga- “Yoga is just a fad.” “I don’t have the body to practice yoga.” “I’m not flexible enough.” “I am just not a yoga person.” While I completely get that sometimes you and an activity may simply not jive, I do believe in trying completely before giving up at something. Also, if I can in any way be a part of your attaining some level of fulfillment or joy from practicing, that would make me pretty happy.  I truly would hate for anybody to think that they couldn’t practice yoga for whatever reason. So, here are some tips and suggestions that may help if you think you are just not a “yoga person”!kj.jpg

  1.     Practice and patience! Nobody will feel natural right away in lizard pose. Contrary cardio and strength which only need to be practiced a few times a week, flexibility is something that should be practiced every day for at least 10-15 minutes to see results. If you only practice once a week for example, your body has had time to go back to that stiff state between practices. The more frequent you practice, the more open your joints stay. Make time maybe before you shower; find some way to incorporate a few minutes of yoga into your morning or night routine! Consistency= flexibility.

 

  1.     Wrong breathing is a possible reason you may feel uncomfortable in any given position. Take some time before you practice to work on your breathing. If you need a guide, look up a quick tutorial video! Generally, if my goal is to do for a deep stretch, I breathe in right before going into a position, and breath out to deepen my stretch into that pose. (Breathe with your throat for increased control and mindfulness of your body. Think of the ocean wave sound.)

 

  1.     For beginning yogis, sometimes it’s just a matter of not knowing where to start. Sometimes, watching videos as home isn’t enough instruction. That was me for a long time. I didn’t have the money for a big multi-hundred dollar membership but I also wasn’t learning enough on my own. So I purchased a temporary 30 day membership (hint: a lot of places have 30 day deals if you are new to that studio) and committed to going 1-2 times every day for that month. I learned so much from a new environment, different styles, different instructors and perspectives; I wouldn’t feel comfortable practicing on my own without that decision to invest in a temporary membership.,n,n

 

  1.     You may be practicing the wrong style for you! When I first started practicing yoga, I thought it was just a one-style-workout. Little did I know that there is yoga for beginners (Hatha), people who like to get their sweat on/ who want to be more flexible (Bikram [hot]), people who can’t sit still (Vinyasa [flow]), yoga for meditators / people who simply enjoy the feeling of stretching and open joints (Yin- my favorite) and much more. Another benefit of getting a temporary membership is that you can explore all of these different types of yoga and find which one suits you and your body.Screenshot_2016-04-18-12-29-59~2.jpg

 

  1.     It seems that a lot of people want to be good at yoga right away so they push themselves too far then (of course) they say “that did NOT feel good!” When you are first starting, try the beginner positions. Don’t push your body more than it is comfortable going. For example, doing hero pose as a beginner, just stay in the sitting position with your legs bent, don’t lay all the way down- that will be so strenuous for your untrained body! Remember, patience. When your body has been warmed up enough by practicing often, you will naturally feel ready and able to move into deeper stretches.

 

  1.     It is ok if it is simply not your day for a certain pose or even the practice itself. Try doing an alternate position such as child’s pose to reconnect your body to your mind. Accept that your body can only do so much given what is going on mentally in your life at any given time. Give it a break, let it breathe and relax. Try again later or tomorrow.

I hope that this post either helps you in some way with your practice or allows you to think of yoga in a bit of a better light.

Happy practicing! Sidney

Today I am feeling grateful

Today it was especially sunny and calm outside so I took my pup for a nice long walk. I got his leash, a poop bag, an apple to eat and off we went. We went a new-to-us way that goes beside a big pond that always has dozens of geese and ducks swimming in it and hanging by the cattails. I started eating while listening to all of the geese honk. My apple tasted so juicy and vibrant because I was simply eating. The geese and ducks sounded like music because I was simply taking the time to appreciate their calls. The sun warmly kissed my skin because I wasn’t begging for it to tan me. I was happy, my boy was happy and we both came home smiling.20160402_171906

This experience made me feel purely content, which got me thinking about my newly existent gratitude journal; or kind of a positivity journal. Basically, I write in it when I am feeling happy and positive so I can look at it when I am feeling not so happy and positive. I’ve been tampering with it for a little while now, but cultivating that genuine happiness that I felt today is what I think this positivity journal should be about. So, I just wanted to share one of my entries. If I notice I actually do end up using this journal a lot, which I have been lately, I’ll share with you a “how to” in a later blog post.

What are you grateful for?

 

  • I am grateful for nature- the sun, the stars, the trees, the water, the birds, the dirt- because it allows me to be my true and complete, curious and appreciative self in all of its purity.
  • I am grateful for yoga because it allows me to grow, accept, love, conquer and most importantly to just be within a non judgemental energy surrounding my body, mind and spirit.
  • I am grateful for different cultures than my own because to me they are eclectic, eccentric, diverse and will never fail to offer me a new and different perspective.

What are you grateful for? Stay positive! Sidney

10 Reasons Why You Should Break Your Sense Of Security ASAP

Do you live in a cozy apartment that you love? Do you have a routine that you’re comfortable with; waking up, making your favorite tea and browsing the news or DIY’s on your laptop, sheltered by your favorite fluffy blanket every morning? Can you imagine saying goodbye to your comfortable, predictable life in the next month to live the life of adventurous uncertainty? No? Perhaps that is exactly why you should.

        A few months ago that cozy apartment life was mine. I had an enjoyable, uncomplicated routine of waking up, watching Netflix, going to work, coming home, going to sleep, repeat. I am extremely introverted, so that habitual security made me happy; but I knew I wasn’t taking advantage of the life that will, at some point, inevitably end. I talked with my boyfriend, he agreed, and we made a plan to pack up, quit our jobs, try something new: move 4,800 km across the country.

Now, I can absolutely not say that it has been a smooth ride. We lost some money from the move, had a horrid roommate, both got laid off from our new jobs within the same week over Christmas, our car could die any day, it’s been hard to have the motivation to go out and meet people through the cold winter– but we also saw mountains and climbed them, were mesmerized by the northern lights, witnessed a herd of elk right in the front yard at dawn, became a part of nature, realized what it takes to be happy at the core… most importantly, we’ve grown. nl2

Here’s why I encourage others to do something similar- leave the comfortable, embrace the unknown, quit your job, plan a trip, see new things, get energetic, water your desire for a full life… take it into your own hands to live:

  1. Satisfaction: Being brave enough to try new things yields an intense self- satisfaction. You realize that you can step outside your comfort zone and not implode into a violent death. You tried something new and are o.k.
  2. Different perspective: When you are stuck in your routine, your perspective stays the same. When you move, go for a nature hike or bungee jump, you are introduced to new emotions and concepts that you never would have experienced in your living room.DSCN4330
  3. Confidence: When you live in your comfort zone, you are hardly ever introduced to unheard of problems. When your car breaks down on your cross-country move and there is no one to help you but yourself, you will figure it out. And you will feel amazingly confident afterwards.
  4. Self-understanding: Breaking your sense of security leads to thorough self-understanding. You now question everything: why did I want to move, why did this experience make me feel a certain way, why am I happy/unhappy today? You will be more mindful about the choices you make and the emotions that follow; and in this world, it really helps to understand yourself.
  5. Well roundedness: Perhaps right now there is a certain niche you feel confident at: writing, playing an instrument, or practicing a sport. When you choose step outside your life of routine, it’s almost like you’re thrown to the unfamiliar (or the wolves). But they only look like wolves from inside your comfort zone. Outside your comfort zone, they are actually puppies. And you can handle them. How would you have known, if you had stayed inside your comfort zone?
  6. New experiences = new energy: Participating in new experiences will allow you to feel more alive. You will gain all of this new, revitalized energy. This feeling will leave you hungry for more change and more motivated to achieve it.DSCN4678
  7. Even your mixed emotions will make you feel alive: Do you remember when you were a kid and you were confident that today was the day you could jump off the big diving board at the local pool? You got half way up the ladder and probably would have turned around if it weren’t for the daunting looks from the long line of the big kids at the bottom. So you convinced yourself to get to the top and when you were at the edge, you knew that you had definitely made a mistake. You were hesitant, but walked a few more small steps and felt an invisible force push you off the diving board. As you free-fell to the water, your stomach was light and your heart giddy. You let out a shriek and an uncontrollable giggle, and then you hit the water, reinvigorated with the desire to do it again. That to me, is the best feeling in this life.
  8. You will learn that the society is designed to make you feel defeated; and will feel incredible when you show it that you are, in fact, not defeated. You are winning at life, trying new things, witnessing new adventures and participating in new experiences. Sometimes it feels like the world wants you to live that routine, safe life; and it feels so good to break free and show it up.
  9. Inspiration: By showing your friends, family or followers on Facebook that if you (ordinary, comfortable you) can make changes in your life, anyone can. Your friends may look at you as a source of inspiration and say, “I wish I could do that,” and you will be able to assure them first-hand, “You can!”
  10. You will not relive the same year 75 times: this may be my greatest fear. After all, life is for living, right?aaaaa.jpgLet me know if you’ve tried anything new or “crazy” lately! Happy adventures! Sidney