Monthly Archives: March 2020

Staying Positive In Tough Times


Most of us can agree positive thinking is important. It tends to make us feel better, be more productive and reduces stress. The problem is, our lives aren’t always rosy. Crises happen – be it on a personal level or something more widespread. That reality is a part of everyone’s life, and it makes keeping your spirits up tough.
If you are struggling to stay positive and hopeful when going through these or any other tough times, try these tips:

Don’t Put Your Head in the Sand
No matter what you are dealing with, ignoring it is rarely the answer. While ignoring problems might feel good in the short-term, it will sap your long-term positivity. Plus, many of the other tips listed here require you to acknowledge your circumstances first.
This Too Shall Pass
When you are in the midst of a crisis, it is nearly impossible to keep things in perspective. That said, you need to recognize your circumstances are temporary. Things might seem dire at the moment, but try your best to remember that “this too shall pass.”
Make a Plan
One of the single best things you can do to maintain positivity during tough times is to make a plan on how to deal with it. When you focus on the solution rather than the problem, you will naturally feel more positive. You will feel like you are rising to the challenge.
What are You Grateful For?
Even during great personal turmoil, there is always something to be grateful for. When things get tough, it is vital to remember there is good in the world, and more importantly, in your life. When you are struggling, take some time to list the things you have going for you!
Reach Out for Support
Support in and support out! Reach out to loved ones and offer your support. Reach out if you need assistance too. When things are dire, it is always reaffirming when people pull together and help each other.
Take a Break
Sometimes our circumstances are so dire that we are forced to think about our problems constantly. It is OK to take a break. You can take a break from the news, social media, or other people. It might not be easy but taking a break from external stimuli can help keep you positive.
Journal Your Feelings
Journaling is a powerful tool in so many ways. By simply giving you a place to express your fears and concerns, a journal helps you maintain positivity outside of its pages. Do you know how good it feels to vent to a friend? Well, consider your journal as your best friend.
Focus on Things You Can Control
When your world seems like it is spinning out of control, you may feel helpless. One way to address this and stay more positive is to focus on the things you can control. Do what you can with what you have.
Embrace Distractions
Distractions are usually the worst. We are often trying to learn how to avoid or deal with them. They aren’t that bad when you are struggling to stay positive in tough times, though. No matter how silly they seem, you should embrace distractions that bring you joy in tumultuous times.

ACTIONABLE STEPS

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Write down your feelings. Think about everything you are dealing with and how it’s affecting you and write that down. Don’t worry about grammar or spelling; just focus on getting your feelings out of your head and onto paper.

Reach out. Whether you are reaching out to offer support or request it, reaching out will help you feel like part of a community. When we all work together, we can overcome anything.

Make a plan. Think about what your biggest struggle is right now and devise a plan to tackle it. Set some goals and deadlines. You will feel more positive by just having the plan, and even more positive if you act on it.

Until the next post,
Best,
Juan

Calm & Centered


Dear Followers,
Thank you for being here. The world as we know it has changed, forcing us to adjust to a new normal. For the next several months, it is my hope the pieces I post here, will help get you through the unprecedented times ahead. Once the worse is over, I can refocus on my original plans for the blog. I have a responsibility to help through this medium. We are always better together!

As COVID-19 slowly makes its way into major cities and small suburbs across the nation, it’s becoming increasingly more difficult to remain calm and not panic. We have been told by authorities to stay in our homes in order to prevent spread, but that does not mean that we should go crazy inside and solely focus our attention on what is happening with the world outside. Try to limit how much news you watch, especially some of the overhyped reporting that only propagates fear and anxiety. First and foremost, get updates and facts from reliable sources, and then focus your attention elsewhere.

You can avoid contact with other people and wash your hands more carefully, but your ability to remain calm comes from within. That means you’ll have to take the necessary steps in reducing your stress,  anxiety and promoting calmness while the virus runs its course.

Meditation & Mindfulness
So, you’re anxious and stressed as a result of the rapid spread of Coronavirus. If you’ve never attempted meditation or any mindfulness techniques in the past, this is a perfect time. According to the Mayo Clinic, meditation can play a huge role in helping you to maintain your mental and emotional health, even benefiting aspects of your physical health.
Meditation can help you have a greater outlook on life (positivity, increased feelings of calmness, greater self-awareness, reduced levels of anxiety and stress, and improved focus. The best part is, there are many different types of meditation. If you’re able to focus for long periods of time, guided meditations or visualization techniques are the ways to go. When you’re looking to stay more active while quarantined,  yoga or Pilates are great options!

Finding a Creative Outlet
You might be stuck in the house for the next few weeks, but it doesn’t mean you have to resort to going stir crazy. In fact, this might only increase your feelings of panic! This is a great time to try out some new (or old) creative hobbies. When you’re focused on building or creating something new, you’re reducing the amount of focus on the negativity surrounding you. Creativity is a solid way of helping you to relax. There are a few things you might want to try out (if you have supplies at home); painting, coloring, or drawing, singing or playing musical instruments taking photos or videos of things you enjoy, building something with things lying around the house, writing, puzzles, learning a new language.
Reading something and then writing an essay about it (yes, remember English 101 class?). This is a great way to take your mind off the world’s troubles. Basically, the goal here is to find an activity or task, that requires an intense amount of focus and makes you happy. You won’t even notice that you spent the last hour drawing your favorite cartoon character.

Giving Back & Helping Others
It’s completely natural to be fearful of the unknown but giving back to others can help you to tackle fear. When you’re giving back to the community or helping those in need, you’ll be working to spread compassion and happiness rather than fear and anxiety. With so many people sick or self-quarantined, most people aren’t permitted to leave the home. However, these individuals do still have needs that they now can’t meet on their own. As long as you’re keeping your distance, you can deliver food and groceries, or do things like their yard work. It’ll make you feel good about yourself while also helping those who need it! So, call your neighbors, post something on your Social Media, to let those in need know you are available and how to get in contact.

Final Thoughts
You might not be able to cure COVID-19, but there are things you can do to reduce panic and invoke an overwhelming sense of calmness. By taking advantage of mindfulness, looking for a creative outlet, and even giving back to those who need it, you’ll be able to stay calm and centered, even now!

Until the next post,
Best,
Juan

Happy IWD


Happy International Women’s Day! My lightbulb moment came the year I turned 40. Several friends share the same belief. It’s an awakening. A sense of liberation that seems to immediately take over your existence. If you’re over forty, you know what I mean! 
International Women’s Day is officially celebrated tomorrow. When I lived in the UK, I wrote a poem that was proudly displayed on the UK based IWD site womenforwomen.org. I marched alongside thousands of other women, proudly holding the banner. The year after I moved back to America, I also marched. In honor of this beautifully transformative stage of our lives, and in line with health and wellness theme, I wanted to share tips for healthy living.
Our wisdom and compassion often increase as we grow older, but so do our health challenges. More than 90% of older adults have at least one chronic condition, and more than 75% have more than one. Plus, these figures are even higher for women than for men. Natural changes like menopause and your family medical history, play a part. A healthy lifestyle can help you stay as strong and independent as possible in the years ahead. Take a look at these tips to help you maintain your health as you age.

Dealing with Menopause

Stay cool. Hot flashes can make you uncomfortable and disrupt your sleep. Reduce them by limiting triggers like alcohol and caffeine. Dress in layers and keep a fan next to your bed.
Manage stress. Stress can aggravate hot flashes and other symptoms of menopause. Meditate daily and think positive.
Lose weight. Your muscles shrink and your metabolism slows down as you age. The distribution of your body fat changes too, so more of those pounds wind up around your waist, increasing your risk for heart conditions and diabetes. Fight back by eating less and exercising more.
Eat soy. Many women find relief from menopause symptoms with soy and supplements, even though studies give conflicting results. See if tofu and soymilk work for you.
Talk with your doctor. Your doctor can tell you whether you’re a good candidate for hormone replacement therapy or other treatments. Share your concerns and questions.

Staying Physically Fit

Condition your heart. You’re about 5 times more likely to have heart disease after you turn 40. Aerobic exercise, along with a diet high in fiber and low in unhealthy fats, can help your heart start stay strong
.Build your muscles. Slow down muscle loss, and thicken your bones with strength training. Lift weights or try movements that use your own bodyweight for resistance, like planks and pushups.
Increase your balance. Avoid falls by becoming steadier on your feet. Practice yoga, pilates or just stand on one foot while you’re talking on the phone.
Ask a trainer. Do you already have stiff hips or a sore back? Some professional trainers specialize in corrective fitness that will target the areas you need to limber up.

Other Health Tips for Women Over 40

Sleep well. You may find it harder to fall asleep and stay asleep these days. Stick to a consistent schedule and block out nighttime noises.
Watch your blood pressure. Your blood pressure and heart rate rise, as plaque deposits stiffen your arteries over the years. Losing weight, exercising, and limiting salt may help you to avoid needing medication.
Screen for cancer. Age increases your risk for many forms of cancer. Talk with your doctor about screening tests that spot cancers early, when they’re easier to treat and cure.
Check your hearing. You may already be noticing signs of age-related hearing loss. Shield your ears from loud and persistent noises by lowering the volume on media devices, and wearing earplugs when necessary.
Protect your vision. Ensure your eyeglass and contact lens prescriptions are up to date, especially if you’re having trouble reading the fine print. While no studies have shown a way to prevent cataracts, regular eye exams and managing conditions like diabetes can help.
Remain engaged. Staying connected is essential for vibrant aging. Cultivate close relationships and learn something new each day.

Staying informed and making healthy lifestyle choices can help you prevent and manage many of the conditions that come with aging. If you’re a woman over 40, start now to maximize your chances of staying mentally sharp and physically fit in your golden years. While this post is geared to women of a certain age, I recognize age-related issues will not apply to you. If you know someone who can benefit, share the love and pass this message along.

Until the next post
Best,
Juan

 

#travelingonadiet


 

 

 

Between hotel rooms, fast food stops, and unfamiliar restaurants, how do you eat healthy while you’re on a road trip or abroad? It’s not always easy, but sticking to a healthy diet is very possible. I travel at least twice per year, to multiple countries during the same trip. The temptation to every devour local dish in each country is overpowering. Often, I returned home at least ten pounds heavier, that is, until I became more disciplined. Discover how you can maintain your diet and your travel plans at the same time, with the following healthy eating tips.

A Traveler’s Guide to Healthy Eating While on the Road

1. Plan ahead. The sooner you start planning, the easier it will be to stay on your diet. Where are you going? How will you get there? What will your schedule be like? Once you’ve narrowed down the schedule for your trip, you can begin to plan for healthy food options. Do some online research for the locale you’ll be visiting. Where are the nearest grocery stores? Do you see healthy cafes or restaurants? What about nearby farmer’s markets? Find safe and healthy locations that offer food choices to fit your lifestyle, goes a long way in maintaining your diet.
2. Select grocery stores over fast-food chains. Instead of stopping at a fast-food chain and trying to decide how many calories are in the fries or burgers, try a grocery store instead. Grocery stores are more likely to have delis that offer healthier options, such as packaged salads, bags of nuts, trail mix, healthy dips, and other choices. You can usually find cut up fruit and vegetables in plastic containers for sale. You may also want to reach for the yogurts, cheese, and smaller containers of milk. Dairy has protein in it, so you’ll feel fuller for a longer period of time. You can find a variety of dairy products in small or travel sizes. 
3. Bring your own snacks. If you’re going on a road trip, you can pack a cooler with ice and bring healthy meats, vegetables, fruits, bread, and other snacks. If a cooler is not an option, then consider shelf-stable foods that can fit in a bag or purse. Can you find healthy nuts, crackers, or trail mix to fit your diet? What about dried fruits and vegetables? Having your own snacks on a transatlantic flight always saves the day!
4. Stay hydrated.  Especially when you travel. Dehydration can sometimes lead to overeating because your body becomes confused. Bring at least one water bottle with you, or purchase them along the way. Water helps avoid dehydration and cravings for other foods.
5. Avoid simple carbohydrates. You may crave comfort food as you travel, but it’s not always a healthy option. Simple carbohydrates can raise blood sugar and cause it to later crash dramatically. This can leave you irritated and tired. Instead of simple carbohydrates, reach for multi-grain, complex carbohydrates. Add protein such as peanut butter and nuts. You can purchase travel-size containers of peanut butter. Also, eating smaller meals more frequently throughout the day helps avoid cravings. Try to schedule your stops and get food at the same time. 

Being on the road doesn’t mean you have to give up eating healthy. You can still maintain your healthy diet by planning ahead and following these guidelines. 

Until the next post,
Best,
Juan