On Stress vs. Happiness: Getting to a More Successful, Happier You!

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I frequently hear friends, colleagues, neighbors (you name it!) speak about how busy, stressed, or unhappy they are with their lives.  They are caught up in the wrong job, feel trapped where they are, or are working to accomplish x,y, and z before they can be truly happy.  This kind of thinking puts us in a negative cycle – one that often seems impossible to escape from.  Not to worry – there is hope!  Read on!

I came across this Ted Talk by Shawn Anchor a few years ago now, but it’s always a great reminder.  Take a listen (and bookmark it to watch it every few weeks.  It’s great, I promise!).

 

5 Practices to Help Bring you More LongTerm Happiness & Satisfaction

  1. Work to reset your formula for success vs. happiness:  We’ve grown up believing that we will become happy after we achieve success in x, y, and z.  But, what we’ve now found is that once you accomplish ‘z’, you will actually move the goal post for success.  That’s right – you will keep reaching!  This is great as you work to become more successful, but is not great news for your level of happiness.  We need to reverse our thinking to be happy in the present (that’s now!) which will allow us to ultimately be more successful.
  2. Train your brain to be more positive with a gratitude journal:  Keeping a daily gratitude journal is quick and simple.  Just write 3-5 things each and every day for a month (or longer, of course!) that you are grateful for.  This helps shift the lens through which you see the world to a more positive one, and will help you with number 1: resetting your formula for success vs. happiness.
  3. Take time for self-care:  I’m a huge believer in self-care.  Even taking 5 minutes a week is better than nothing.  Give yourself a foot rub (or get someone to give you one!), oil your body with fresh herbal infused oils, meditate, take a great bubble herb bath, etc. etc. etc.  There are so many options and they will all feel so good to your body and your mind.  Don’t be afraid to schedule this into your calendar.  If coffee with a friend is in your schedule, a date with yourself can be in there too!
  4. Get enough sleep:   This one probably seems obvious, but so many people are not getting the sleep they need.  Start by building a nighttime routine.  Leave your cell phone away from the bed.  Drink some chamomile or sleepy time tea.  Relax.  This is your time to rejuvenate for the day ahead!
  5. Work smarter:  You probably hear this all the time.  But it’s true – work smarter, not harder.  Focus on your happiness and you will have a profound impact on your output.  Create a system for breaks and prioritization in your day and you’ll be amazed how much you get done with a clear mind!

 

It’s actually quite magical that only 10% of what is happening to us externally impacts our longterm happiness.  The rest is up to us – up to our brains.  If we can impact and adjust the lens through which our brains view the world to reshape our realities, we can literally create magical lives for ourselves.  It’s a game-changer.  Let’s get to it!

 

How will you commit to adjusting your lens to the world?

 

xoxleah

 

a few things to remember as we head into the holiday season.

 

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These tips will keep your body more balanced and your digestion strong as we head into the carb and sugar-overload that is the holiday season!

  1. Grab some greens before you dive into your meal     ||    Make it a habit to grab a handful of greens before each meal.  Not only will you be getting more greens into your overall diet (more fiber, more enzymes, more nutrients!), you’ll also be filling up a bit before the meal so you’re likely to eat less overall.
  2. Eat some sauerkraut!    ||     Anything pickled will do.  If you’re not into that (it took me awhile to learn to like it!), try a probiotic pill instead.  The goal is to keep your gut and its flora healthy for better digestion.
  3. Drink water throughout the day    ||    They say you should drink half your body weight in ounces of water.  Make sure you’re doing this especially throughout the holiday season!  It will keep you hydrated, keep things moving, and will also make you feel a bit more full.
  4. Start off the morning with some lemon-ginger tonic    ||    Make a quick tea tonic each morning to kick-start your digestion.  Juice some lemon and grate some ginger.  Add some honey and some cayenne to taste.  This helps aid your digestion and keep your blood sugar levels under control.  (It’s also delicious!  Pro-tip:  if you drink this every day, make sure you drink with a straw to avoid the acid from the lemon eroding your teeth enamel).
  5. Opt for a breakfast smoothie   ||     Another great way to get more fruits and veggies into your daily routine.  Make sure you choose fruit lower in sugar (blueberries are a good choice!).  You can also add avocado for some healthy fats.  Add in some chia or flax seeds too!  This will keep you full for the morning until you’re ready to grab some lunch (greens first!).
  6. Chew your food   ||    We all know it’s easy to chow down on all of the delicious food at the dinner table.  Make sure to take a breath and chew completely between each bite.  This helps with digestion and your body will need to use less energy to digest.
  7. Take a walk   ||    Make sure you’re exercising during the holidays to top it all off!  Take a walk, do some yoga, or join your family in a fun game of catch.  Anything will do.  You just want to stay moving!

 

I hope this helps!  Do you have any routines you like to add into your day-to-day as the holidays approach?  I’d love to hear your advice!!

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let’s talk: seasonal herbal csa.

One of the things I most look forward to as the seasons change is my package of herbal goodies coming from Wild and Wise as part of their seasonal CSA.

What’s a CSA?

CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture.  Traditionally, farms accept sign-ups from members of the community and, in return, the community members receive a box of fruits and veggies at a certain interval.  You are essentially purchasing a ‘share’ in the farm to help assist production during that season.  It’s a great way to receive wonderful local, fresh produce in your area!

An Herbal CSA is the same deal, except rather than purchasing a share on a veggie farm, you’re purchasing a share of an herbal garden or farm to support the growth and production of herbal medicine.  I love that the CSA has spread beyond just fruits and veggies!

Choosing an Herbal CSA.

While I was on the hunt for an herbal CSA, I really wanted to find something local, something that offered a handful of products with each package, and something that was sent with the changing of seasons.  For herbs, especially, the shift of seasons calls for a different set of medicines to help keep your body and mind balanced and ready for the changes the earth brings.

You may have different wants and needs for your herbal CSA, and it’s really easy to do some research to find one that works for you.  I did some searches on Google as well as on Local Harvest before I came across Wild and Wise.

About Wild and Wise!

This CSA is based out of Humboldt County in California, so while it’s not immediately local to SF, I was comfortable with the herbs being grown and the medicine being made just a few hours north.  The huge selling point for me on this Herbal CSA in particular was the collection of items sent at the start of each season.  It’s perfect!

I also love that this is mostly a one-woman show headed by Nicole Gagliano, who puts her heart into everything she makes and really focuses on her goal of bringing community together around the common desire for local herbal medicines.  Perfect!  You can find more about her and Wild and Wise here, or check out info about becoming a shareholder here.


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And Now for the Most Exciting Part!  What Came in my Fall CSA Share.

This is the reason I really wanted to write about this wonderful CSA:  I am SO excited about the items I just received for the Fall share.

In this share, I received:

  • Tulsi Rose Sipping Vinegar (more to come on sipping vinegars because I’ve recently become quite smitten!)
  • Peaceful Slumber Tea
  • Motherwort Tincture (one of my favorite herbs!)
  • Triple Berry Syrup (delicious blend!)
  • Herbs de Provence
  • Inflammation Tamer
  • Newsletter and little sticker!

See?  What a lovely assortment of items.  In the newsletter, Nicole describes each of the medicines, what they are used for and their contraindications.  It’s one of my favorite parts of the season when I get to curl up on the couch and read through everything included.  It’s like a little treasure chest!

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So, that’s a bit about my CSA experience.  I’ve really, really enjoyed it.  Are you a part of any herbal or more traditional CSA?   I’d love to hear your experiences and any recommendations!

**Note:  these are my own thoughts and this post is in no way sponsored by Wild and Wise.  (I just love the medicines so darn much!)

new designs.

It’s been a great couple of weeks with friends, family, and celebrating the Jewish New Year.  It’s now Sukkot, one of my favorite holidays, as it marks the end of harvest time (and I love this time of year!).

We’ve got a lot of fun stuff cooking up for you too.  More on that soon!  In the meantime, take a look at some of the newest designs below:

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(Let us know what you think!  We’re really excited about some of the new directions we’re taking!)

I’m on a business trip up north in California for a few days this week and then head back up here again this weekend with my brother and dad (!!) for a bicycle race my brother is in.  It should be a fun time, and I’ll have more updates for you next week.

In summary:  things are hectic, but things are happy.  Lots of love ❤

autumn: season of keeping the colds away.

That’s right, summer is winding down and it’s time for the change of seasons!  You may already be feeling the change or, like me in San Francisco, it may still be pretty summery.  Either way, it’s a great time to think about preparing for the coming seasons!

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Today, we have a guest post from my wonderful herbal medicine teacher, Kami McBride.  She has been working with plants for over 25 years and  is the author of The Herbal Kitchen, which is all about using spices and herbs you probably already have in your kitchen to make healing and immune boosting remedies.

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there’s kami in the middle, back row during our last class of ‘cultivating the herbal medicine woman within’

 

She is also just getting ready to launch her first online course (registration starts on September 20!!) and I highly recommend checking it out!  Prior to launch, she is releasing 4 free videos that also hold really valuable knowledge.  She holds a wealth of information and is always willing to share and help others.

Read on for a few tips from Kami on Autumn and keeping colds away!

 

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With the change in seasons comes the beginning of cold and flu season!

Darn!  Preventing and limiting the duration of colds and flu is a household art that has broad social application especially when it comes to people taking antibiotics to get rid of a cold.  You don’t want to do that if you can avoid it!

Herbs offer us a solution. Let’s use herbs for colds and flu and save the antibiotics for the life-threatening infections. Herbs that have antibiotic activities only kill pathogenic bacteria and do not harm the beneficial bacteria in your gastrointestinal tract. Many herbs help with viral infections as well as with bacterial infections whereas pharmaceutical antibiotics will not help treat a viral infection that causes a cold or flu.

Hospitals are now issuing statements in their membership newsletters about how taking antibiotics can increase your chance of later being infected with resistant bacteria that antibiotics cannot kill. Pharmaceutical antibiotics go into the body and kill not only the pathogenic bacteria that may be making you sick but it also kills the hundreds of beneficial bacteria that help you do many things such as digest and assimilate your foods.

When you kill your beneficial bacteria with antibiotics you become more susceptible to future illness.

One of my favorite anti-biotic herbs is Garden Sage (Salvia officinalis).

It is an herb that most people have in their herb and spice rack and it is very easy to grow. There are many beautiful Salvias (sages) grown for their colorful flowers that attract butterflies and hummingbirds. These salvias are not your medicinal varieties of Salvia. When purchasing Salvia to be used for medicinal purposes make sure that it is Salvia officinalis; yes good old turkey stuffing, garden Sage.

Sage is especially good for upper respiratory and throat infections. You can drink three cups of strong tea a day for a week or do a steam inhalation.

Sage Tea Steam

You need:

  • four tablespoons dried Sage
  • one quart of water

Put herbs into pot of water and bring to a boil with a lid on the pot. Turn off the heat and let herbs steep for 15 minutes. Reheat the tea until it is hot.

Take off the lid and place a towel over your head and breathe in the steam from the tea. Make sure the steam is a temperature that is comfortable for your facial skin.

Do this for ten minutes and rest.

Another highly effective antibiotic herb that many of us take for granted is Garlic.

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Garlic has been used medicinally for thousands of years and clinical studies have shown garlic to be active against strains of bacteria that are now antibiotic resistant. Garlic is good for fighting off all kinds of infections and even kills fungus and parasites. Fresh Garlic works the best. Add some freshly crushed Garlic to any of your meals and mix it into soups.

Garlic Flu-away

  • 2 medium cloves of freshly crushed garlic
  • 1 cup of very warm water
  • 1 teaspoon of honey
  • 1 teaspoon of lemon juice

Add everything together in a tea cup. Mix well and sip.

Ok, so there are a couple great home remedies to help you stay well during the transition from summer to fall. Be well!

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Thanks for sharing your wonderful knowledge and recipes with us, Kami!  Don’t forget to visit Kami’s site here for more information. 

 

 

tsoana ceramics giveaway!

It’s been a really exciting time in these first few months getting the business officially up and running.  There are three things I know for certain:

  1. It is a lot of work to run a small business!  From the paperwork and record keeping to production and connecting with stores and potential customers, there is always something that needs to be done.
  2. It is insanely satisfying!  I feel like I’m finally doing what I’ve been wanting to do for so long, and it feels really, really good.
  3. Most importantly, I couldn’t do any of this without you, my beautiful tsoana friends, followers, and customers.  You all are amazing.

To truly thank you, I am hosting the first tsoana giveaway.  We are giving away one of our most popular designs:  a beautiful bee mug!

Due to the platform I’m using, you’ll need to visit this link to enter the giveaway.  Best of luck!

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(Note:  the giveaway mug is similar to this mug, but is not this exact one.  Due to the handmade nature of our items, there will be slight variations in shape and color.  This makes the end product unique and more beautiful.  Thanks!)

a little inspiration.

 This week I’ve been really needing an extra boost of inspiration.  Wanted to share:DSC_0014

‘OH, EARTH, YOU’RE TOO WONDERFUL FOR ANYBODY TO REALIZE YOU. DO ANY HUMAN BEINGS EVER REALIZE LIFE WHILE THEY LIVE IT — EVERY, EVERY MINUTE?’

~Thornton Wilder

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Let’s Talk: 7 ways to be more positive day-to-day.

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In this world where we have jam-packed days and our default mode is ‘busy,’ sometimes it’s easy to get swept up and forget to enjoy the day-to-day.

Here are a few quick tips that may help you stay positive and loving life every day:

        1. Express your gratitude.

          I know we’ve all heard this before, but it truly makes a difference.  Whether you keep a gratitude journal and simply record one thing a day that you are grateful for or you speak you gratitude out loud (to a friend, significant other, cat, or tree…you know, whatever works!) it is still a very helpful practice to put you in a mindset of seeing the world as a beautiful place that gives you so much.

        2. Surround Yourself with Positive People.  

          This makes a huge difference day-to-day.  You are a reflection of who you surround yourself, so make sure your circle is made up of people that will cheer to on and are genuine about living life to the fullest.  You are worth so much, and the people you spend your days with should remind you of that, not take that away from you.

        3. Take some time to breathe.

          Days fly by as we type away during our 9-5 or check or social media sites like the world would end if we didn’t.  Remember to always take a few moments each day to step back from it all and take a few deep breaths.  Center yourself and remember that you are alive!  You are capable of so much.

        4. Set an intention for your day.

          Sometimes, it’s hard to stay positive if 1) you’re taking on too much or 2) you feel like you’re working and working but not going anywhere.  Swimming upstream, if you will.  Setting a daily intention in the morning as you get ready for your day or at night before you sleep can help you focus and stay on track.  Make it simple and achievable, but still something to work towards during the upcoming day.

        5. Eat a healthy meal.

          Eating good foods will give you more energy and will make you feel sustained for much longer during the day.  Give your body the fuel that will make it work the best and you will notice a difference both mentally and physically.  Your body is precious and you should make sure to take care of it as best as you can (but that doesn’t mean there aren’t times to indulge!).

        6. Be kind.  

          I know, this one sounds easy, but it’s so often overlooked.  The more kind you are to others, the more likely you are to not only receive kindness, but to also see kindness reflected in your world.  This doesn’t mean you need to walk around with a smile on your face all of the time (please don’t, actually), but reaching out to someone that’s having a bad day or helping someone with their groceries is sure to brighten their day up as well as your own.

        7. Take a walk.  

          Last, but certainly not least (and my love will quite enjoy that this made the list!), take some time to go on a walk.  Take a friend or meander on your own.  Allow yourself to get lost in your thoughts.  Take a new route.  Look around you.  Find something you’ve never seen before.  This will not only inspire and energize you, but seeing and sharing the world in new ways is a perfect way to maintain your positivity.

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