Talyakosstrin

Cherish Your Shower Time!

During a recent meeting with one of my bridal clients, I noticed that she was clearly stressed.
When asked what was going on, she said that she was anxious about balancing wedding planning with other daily tasks. First, I told her to take a few moments to just breath. She inhaled slowly and exhaled deeply. Then, we acknowledged her feelings and brainstormed. As we were talking, she had an “aha” moment about overly long to-do lists and the perceived need to be constantly on-the-go. She needed to slow it down and reevaluate her plate.

 

Our conversation reminded me of a recent experience in the shower where my actions were so quick and robotic, I didn’t even remember if I shampooed. I stopped for a moment and asked myself, “Talya, why are you rushing in the shower?” The shower should be a time to relax. It should be a place of peace and solitude to soak in the hot water – even for just a few minutes. I had my own “aha” moment and realized that I was considering a shower as part of my to-do list rather than a treat.

 

So often in life we just go through the motions. We run from place to place, try to cram too many things on our to-do list, and even worse, we beat ourselves up when we don’t complete the lists. We absolutely deserve to take 5-10 minutes to enjoy a shower! I guess my clients sometimes help with my accountability…who says a coach doesn’t need a reminder every once in a while? :-)

 

My client and I came up with a few ways to reevaluate the level of importance of the individual items on her daily schedule. We also discussed the need to allow herself to slow down and get more enjoyment from a simple activity such as her shower. The “allowing” part is the key. Many of us tend to think that if we’re not constantly doing or going, we are not good enough. In actuality, in order for us to be our best, we need to give our body and mind a chance to rest.

 

Below are ideas to help you slow down this holiday season and gradually create new habits to be your best self in 2019!

 

  • Give Yourself More Time to Get Ready in the Morning – Set your alarm clock 15 minutes earlier. This extra time will provide a cushion so you can more calmly get ready for your day. I know it can be tempting to snooze and stay under the covers, but your future self will thank you.
  • Start the Day with Gratitude – Before you get out of bed write down what you are grateful for in a journal, count your blessings to yourself, or say them out loud to your significant other. It is such a peaceful, positive way to begin the day!
  • Make sure to carve out time for you – I know I sound like a broken record with this, but it is so important to schedule time for you. Make sure that you block out some time each day to do something you love!
  • Shorten Your To-do Lists – Reevaluate your daily tasks. What are the top 3-4 items that are most important to you? Are there items on your list that can be done the following day or assigned to someone else? Don’t worry, everything will eventually get done, so give yourself permission to spread the tasks out over time. 
  • Give Yourself More Time to Get to Your Destination– Allow just 10 more minutes! Who needs the added stress of cursing at traffic or red lights? Enjoy this time to listen to music or a good podcast. It’s an added bonus to arrive early and to calmly begin your next activity.
  • Take Breaks – Create reminders on your phone to take a few 10-minute breaks throughout the day. Use this time to breathe, stretch, meditate, walk around, listen to your favorite music, or do whatever relaxes you. The goal here is to get away from screen time; so rather than scroll through social media, enjoy these moments to rest your eyes and mind.
  • Incorporate Stretching and Low-Impact Exercises –Rather than solely focusing on high-intensity exercise, modify your workout routine to include low-impact movement such as Yoga, Pilates, or Tai-Chi These exercises incorporate mind-body connection, will ground you, and connect you to your breath to promote relaxation and reduce your stress.
  • Create a Work Cut-off Time – Work-life balance is key, especially with the constant accessibility via phone and email. Choose a time to turn off the laptop, finish your emails, and shut down until the next day.
  • Prepare the Evening Prior – Make lunches, lay out your clothes, and prepare your gym bag at night, so you have less to do and think about in the morning.
  • Go to Bed Earlier– Try going to bed 15 minutes earlier and gradually build from there. Try watching one episode rather than binge-watching your favorite TV show at night.
  • Unwind before bed – Dim the lights and create a positive setting for a peaceful night sleep. Turn off the electronics, take a bath, read a good book, and perhaps listen to a relaxing meditation.
  • Nap on the weekends – Naps are something I am gradually incorporating, but my husband is a pro in this area. :) Allow yourself to take a short nap on the weekend. Even if you just close your eyes on the couch for 10 minutes, give yourself permission to take some downtime.
     

Rather than criticize yourself for what you didn’t achieve, congratulate yourself for everything you complete each day! Listen to your body, slow down, and allow yourself to rest. The next time you take your shower, cherish the moment -- stand under the water and let it run!

 


Talyakosstrin

Aim For Progress, Not Perfection! Start Your Journey Today!

 

Does someone or something constantly seem to get in the way of your personal goals because you are waiting for the right time? How often have you said to yourself, “I don’t have time,” or “I will get to it when things calm down?” Do you push off personal to-do lists to the next day, which turns into the following week or month? You are not alone!

 

We have all been there. Many of us look for the “perfect” time to begin the work of achieving our goals, but I have news for you: there is no such thing! There will never be a “right” time because life happens. There will always be disruptions. For example, people will ask you to do something for them just when you planned to do your grocery shopping; you will receive phone calls when you intend to go for a bike ride; or you stay up too late to watch another episode of your favorite show, and then you can’t wake up early for your yoga session.

 

You will always be pulled in different directions, and there will always be others to blame. Since you can’t control the external factors, you have to take charge and decide to be the boss of your own life. You have to make yourself a priority—no matter what—and create the time for yourself.

 

I have been helping my Mom with her short-term goals: health, second career, and hobbies. It has taken her a while to understand that she was the only person getting in the way of achieving her goals. She continued to use “lack of time” as an excuse. My Mom was eager and had good intentions to gradually incorporate new habits into her daily routine.  But she continued to say, “Tal, there are just too many other things going on at this time, and I have to wait until life settles down.”

 

During a recent phone conversation she blamed lack of time again, and I said, “Mom, will there ever be a good time?” She paused and finally had her “aha” moment. My Mom realized she was the only person getting in her way. She now understands there will never be the “perfect” time and knows she doesn’t have to be “perfect” at achieving her goals.

 

The key for my Mom and for all of you who want to make a health and wellness transformation is a commitment to make small incremental changes. Be kind to yourself along the journey, and know that you aren’t going from 0-100 overnight. Yes, there will be days that may not go exactly as planned, but as long as you try, you are one step ahead!

 

Below are some tips to help avoid the excuses, release the perfectionist mindset, and finally take that first step towards achieving your goals!

 

Love yourself as you are – First and foremost, acknowledge all of your positive attributes. Be grateful for the beautiful person that you are and appreciate the wonderful things in your life. Then ask yourself, how do I want to nourish my life and my body even more? What are my goals that I’ve been holding back on because I was waiting for the “right” moment? Give yourself the gift of taking that first step towards creating a life that you love!  

 

Prioritize - Many of us have several areas of our lives we’d like to tackle to improve our emotional and physical health. This can be a daunting task. The key is to narrow the list and prioritize. Choose what you’d like to work on first. For example, maybe it is most important for you to eat healthier, or you may want to reduce your stress. List your priorities and talk to someone—perhaps a coach—who can help you to focus on what is most important for you. I’m always here to help you!

 

Set small, realistic goals - Once you narrow the list to the top 1-2 items you’d like to focus on first, you can create achievable goals aimed at improving those aspects of your life. When you set smaller, achievable goals, you will be more motivated to move forward. For example, if physical fitness is your priority, choose to exercise two days a week for 20 minutes per day rather than every day for an hour per day.

 

Analyze your schedule and be specific - Select a day that is best for you to begin working on your goals, and schedule a time that is most convenient for you. Use your calendar to decide on the day and time that you will complete your goal.

 

Create a plan of action - List the steps necessary to achieve this goal. For example, if you are prepping your lunch for the next day, make sure you have the proper ingredients and Tupperware. If you are going to the gym, pack your bag the night before. Set an alarm that reminds you “this is my time now.

 

Hold yourself accountable - Tell someone—such as a family member, a friend, or a coach—about the goal you’ve set. Create a support system to cheer you on along your journey.

 

Be okay with saying no - I know it is easier said than done, but when you say no to someone else, you are saying yes to you. When you take care of yourself first, you will be better equipped to help others.

 

Be positive - Start each morning with a positive mindset, and set an intention to do your own personal best.

 

Stop judging yourself - Be kind to yourself and release the inner critic. Your goal isn’t perfection. Focus on the small, positive changes you make each day.

 

Lastly, acknowledge all of your successes! No accomplishment is too small. The creation of new habits takes time, and the path isn’t linear. The goal is progress, not perfection!


Talyakosstrin

The Power of Creating Strong Family Connections and a Balanced Home-Life

“Relationships are more important than life, but it is important for those relationships to have life in them,"
-Swami Vivekananda

 

Positive relationships, especially with your family, play a large role in helping to lead a happy, healthy life. Family is precious, and time spent with them is valuable. Everyone knows this, but sometimes it’s easy to become absorbed by your job and daily activities; and those closest to you can fall by the wayside. It’s not that you don’t love them or care for them, but rather that your focus is elsewhere. Even though it is unintentional, you may not realize the impact this has on your home environment and family dynamics.

 

You may come home from work drained from the long, strenuous day and feel that you don’t have anything left to give to others. It can be tempting to just lie down on the couch rather than play with your children or talk to your spouse. While you absolutely deserve a nap and should take one, make sure it doesn’t interfere with your family time. It is a balancing act that involves allotting quality time to your family AND designating specific time to you each day.

 

Connect with your children on a daily basis: enjoy a meal together, participate in an interactive activity, or support them from the sidelines at their school game. Even spending 20 minutes together is better than no time at all. Devote time to your spouse each day: exercise together in the morning, go for a walk in the evening, play a game, or snuggle in front of the television when the kids are asleep. Yes, life gets busy and schedules are hectic.  But every bit of time you can spend with each other will help to fuel the relationship.

 

Once you have allotted designated time with your family members, it is important to actually be fully present with them. We have all been guilty of texting or emailing while our family members are trying to communicate with us. When this happens, we’re not fully listening to what they are saying. Look at your family members when they speak, listen to what they say, and minimize distractions. You will be amazed by the deeper connections you will build.

 

Scheduling time for you each day is just as important as allocating time to your family.  You need to make sure that you are nourished physically, emotionally, and spiritually in order to be your best for others. Think about what fulfills and rejuvenates you. Perhaps it is a visit to the gym, a run outside, or a yoga class before you head home. Maybe it is reading a good book, listening to music, playing an instrument, browsing your photograph collection, working on your latest art project, or just sitting peacefully with a cup of tea. Think about what you enjoy most, make a date with yourself, and take that time for you every single day.

 

Below are tips to improve your work-life balance and your family relationships with an aim towards creating a happier home environment.

 

Steps You Can Take as a Family

  • Set aside the time to connect every day – Designate family dinners, activities, and date nights with your spouse.
  • Do activities you all enjoy – Find commonalities, and do things together that you all love.
  • Put away the electronics – When you sit down to a meal, try to make it an electronic-free zone so that you and your family can connect. If you are on-call, keep your phone on ring, but leave it on the counter rather than next to you at the dinner table.
  • Communicate openly and share your feelings – Be open and honest with your spouse. You will reduce your stress and feel a sense of relief when the issue has been aired.
  • Forgive and move forward – Yes, tiffs are normal. Rather than hold a grudge, forgive each other. Try to find a happy medium instead of focusing on the need to be right.

 

Steps You Can Take to Improve Your Home-Life and Add More You-Time

  • Use your car ride as a time to relax and decompress for the day – Take advantage of the time you have in the car. Listen to your favorite music, book, or non-work related podcast. Take deep breaths and perhaps listen to a short meditation when you park in the driveway before you enter the house.
  • Separate work and home-life – When you come home, hang up your “work hat” and acknowledge that you are stepping into a new space with people who love you.
  • Eliminate all of the negative and focus on positive topics – Sometimes we get so wrapped up in work that we tend to focus on it too much at home. If you spend an entire evening at home complaining about events at work, it can be stressful to you and to your family. I recommend that you and your spouse dedicate 10 minutes to talk about the negative things that happened during the day and then move on to a positive topic.
  • Use Your Planner – Schedule your you-time in your planner. Write down what you will do, when you will do it, and how long the activity will last.  Plan time with yourself.
  • Be flexible – A busy day does not mean that you should neglect yourself. Carve out some time for yourself, even if it’s just 10 minutes. Any length of time is better than none at all.

 

As is true with the formation of any new habit, you should take it one step at a time. Start small. Try to gradually incorporate one or two of the suggested strategies. See what helps you and your family to create the life you desire.  As Michael J. Fox said, “Family is not an important thing, it’s EVERYTHING.” And when you take care of yourself, you will give your family your “best self” and work towards creating cherished moments spent together.


Talyakosstrin

Plan Today for a Successful Tomorrow!

March is here! How are you doing with your health and wellness goals? Have you been allocating time to reach these goals? Do you make commitments, but “more important” things pop up that get in the way? You may say, “I’m going to the gym this week” or “I will bring a healthy lunch to work every day,” but it’s already Thursday and you haven’t managed to complete either. It’s wonderful that you have the desire to lead a healthier lifestyle! Learn to plan ahead for a more successful tomorrow! Create concrete action steps and develop the necessary tools to help reach your goals.

 

Choose a day on the weekend to create 2-3 realistic short-term goals. Specify how and when you plan to accomplish them. With a set plan of action, you can track your progress and are more likely to stay on course. In addition, it is crucial that you are prepped with the necessary tools to reach your goals. For example, in order to pack a healthy lunch, first make sure your refrigerator and pantry are stocked properly. Once you set your weekly goals, it is very helpful to let your significant other, relative, close friend, or coach know your plan of action, so you have accountability.

 

Below is a list of action steps and associated tools to successfully plan ahead to achieve short-term goals towards a happier, healthier life!

  • Use your calendar –Make your calendar your best friend! Schedule appointments with yourself. Use the calendar for daily reminders and accountability. Include tasks such as: your weekly grocery store trip, cooking, daily workouts, meditation sessions or journaling, self-care practices, and that one thing you will do for fun and fulfillment each day! Schedule time for you!
  • Purchase storage containers – Stock up on a variety of large glass containers to store your weekly chopped produce, prepped meals, and leftovers.
  • Keep a well-stocked pantry of healthy cooking essentials – Make sure your pantry is always filled with key ingredients such as a variety of seasonings, nuts, seeds, legumes, whole grains, healthy oils, (olive, avocado, and coconut) vinegars, Bragg’s Liquid Aminos (soy sauce alternative), mustards, and tahini.
  • Create a Shopping list and plan weekly recipes– Choose a few recipes to make in the upcoming week and find recipes that contain overlapping ingredients. Always include extra greens, veggies, and fruits to add to any meal or snack.
  • Go grocery shopping on the weekend – Take your list of ingredients to the store (and don’t go when you are hungry J), so you know exactly what to buy and are less likely to spend money on impulse purchases and unhealthy temptations.
  • Pre-chop vegetables and prep the base of your meals – I don’t believe in making all of your meals for the week on Sunday because honestly who wants to spend an entire day in the kitchen??? Rather than cooking everything on Sunday, use this day to cook a couple of meals, prep grains and legumes, and chop vegetables to store for later in the week. You will be able to do other things on the weekend and will save time when cooking on a weeknight.
  • Cook in bulk –Cook in large quantities, so you can mix and match foods later in the week to add more variety and use leftovers. Also, you can freeze mostly anything to enjoy in the future.
  • Make lunch and prep snacks while cooking dinner – Your morning is precious and time management is key. Rather than throw something random in a lunch bag, or even worse not take anything at all, make lunch the night prior. Now I know what you’re thinking, “I have no desire to return to the kitchen after cooking a whole meal and washing dishes.” And I totally agree! A great solution is to prep your lunch WHILE you cook your dinner, so you reduce the clean-up and are out of the kitchen earlier.
  • Purchase proper exercise clothing and gear – Buy something new and fun! Make sure you have appropriate exercise clothing and gear such as: a quality pair of sneakers, gym bag, yoga mat (if doing Yoga, Pilates, or stretches), and a large water bottle.
  • Set a specific plan of action for your workouts - Rather than just say you will work out 3 days next week, write down the specific days and times you will exercise, where you will do the exercise, and what workouts you will complete. Choose which friend will join you!
  • Prep your gym clothes the night prior and pack a bag – If you plan to go to the gym in the morning, lay out your exercise clothes the night before so you don’t even have to think twice about what to wear. If you need to take it one step further and sleep in your gym clothes, then do it - whatever will work for you! Make sure your water bottle is filled and the gym bag is packed. If you plan to go to the gym towards the end of the day, keep the gym bag with your clothes in the car so you don’t have to go home first and be tempted to sit on your couch.
  • Set Alarms and Reminders – Use alarms for anything that will help you. Set reminders to drink water, take breaks to breathe, and get up to move throughout the day. It is very easy to lose track of time, so an alarm will help you stay focused on your intended action steps. Don’t think about hitting the snooze button!

Now that you have tools to create a plan of action for meeting your goals, it's also important to remember that things don't always go 100% according to plan. Be kind to yourself and leave room for some flexibility. If you initially intended to go to a 6pm yoga class and your best friend decided to plan a last minute birthday celebration, don't get discouraged and neglect exercise all together that day. Take a breath and think of a Plan B. Is there another class you can go to that will fit into your schedule? Can you do an alternative physical activity? Even if you can no longer do an hour workout, how about a 30-minute workout? Can you do a video at home? The important thing is that you are still doing something!

 

Take action! Plan today to excel tomorrow! Create a concrete list of small, realistic steps you will take each week to gradually work towards your health and wellness transformation.