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Here's to living your Best Day Ever. Every day.

Choose Happy

Here's to living your Best Day Ever. Every day.

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Friday Vibes 12.01.2017

Friday Vibes takes a spin around the web and weaves together pieces for living your best life. Here are a few things I'm majorly crushing on this week. Motivate: I choose purpose over perfect. Make: The Soap Queen blog has the best DIY face mask to fit your skin type. Pamper yourself! Make: Get into the holiday spirit with this classic ornament wreath tutorial. So elegant.  Munch: There’s a new “wing” in town! Douse some crispy cauliflower florets in a spicey honey-lime sauce and you’ll be ready for a healthy game day.   

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Friday Vibes 12.01.2017

Friday Vibes takes a spin around the web and weaves together pieces for living your best life. He...

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Relaxation and Meditation

Relax. Close your eyes. Take a deep breath and inhale it down until you feel it in the very base of your lungs. Exhale slowly. Now do it again and bring your awareness down to your feet. Explore them with your mind. Feel any tension in your feet? Inhale deeply, then slowly exhale while you release that tension. Now bring your attention to your legs. Feel any tension or tiredness there? Inhale, then slowly release the tension in your legs as you exhale. Follow through on each section of your body, moving upward slowly, until you’ve exhaled all stress, all tension and all anxiety. Hmmm. Feel anything? Something that perhaps feels unusual yet strangely familiar? Could it be that you’re feeling relaxed for the first time in a long time? Just about everyone cops to feeling overly stressed due to work, family problems, financial issues, relationship challenges, and the list goes on and on. But ironically, far too many of us (Best Day Ever folks included) are so concerned about maintaining good health that we’ve actually developed anxiety and stress over the subject, unwittingly creating a whole new set of wellness issues. Talk about self-defeating! The ability to relax and control stress is as important as every other step towards optimal health and wellness. Stress throws off your body’s various fine-tuned processes, weakens the immune system and creates illness. It also worsens any condition (or pre-condition) you may already have. Conditions related to stress include (but are certainly not limited to): ulcers, heart disease, gastrointestinal ailments, asthma, diabetes, memory loss, depression, reduced learning capacity, etc. Combat stress, however, through the process of relaxation, and you decrease stress’s impact on your body and mind. The Mayo Clinic suggests that relaxation reduces the negative effects of stress by: Slowing heart and breathing rates Lowering blood pressure Increasing blood flow to major muscles Reducing chronic pain Improving concentration and confidence levels Reducing anger and frustration One of the kindest things you can do for yourself is to learn to recognize the first signs of stress. Discover what your own unique warning signals are. Maybe it’s irritability or sleeplessness. Maybe you start craving ice cream, pasta, or your mother’s old-fashioned pot roast. Once you recognize the signs of oncoming stress…do something about it! Here are some easy relaxation techniques: Drink some warm chamomile tea (the “sleepy time” tea), caffeine-free green tea (which contains theanine that promotes relaxation) or the old stand-by warm milk (which contains the relaxing amino acid tryptophan). Listen to your favorite music, especially slower music or nature sounds. Music therapy relaxes muscles, calms the mind, lowers blood pressure and slows breathing and heart-rates. It has also been known to lessen anxiety related to medical procedures. Take a long, warm bath. Add chamomile or lavender tea—or their essential oils—to the water, along with some bath salts, and you’ll be floating in relaxation heaven. Retreat to whatever space you’ve created in your home that serves as your “sanctuary.” Turn off the phone, shut down the computer and put a “do not disturb” sign on the door. Take a walk or do some moderate exercise (especially yoga or tai chi), both of which reduce stress while elevating happy-making endorphins. One of the oldest—ancient, in fact—forms of relaxation is meditation. While meditation has been linked to some pretty amazing self-healing effects, the effect most studied and documented is its stress-reducing ability. The Mayo Clinic suggests that your mind and body can experience positive benefits from as little as just 10 minutes of meditation. Although meditation takes different forms and may follow different philosophies, all definitions seem to include some basic elements, such as turning off the chatter in your mind, finding a still place deep within you, learning to direct your attention precisely where you want it, and discovering contentment in the silence and space of being “in the moment.” Jeffrey Gitterman, an award-winning financial advisor who knows a thing or two about stress, says that “with meditation, the more we practice, the more access we gain to the stillness and power that lies beyond our racing minds.”  It would be hard to find fault with a practice that enables the mind to take a break in order to rest and rejuvenate. Studies indicate that meditation helps with many of the same conditions that other stress-reduction techniques affect, including allergies, pain, fatigue, anxiety disorders, heart disease, insomnia and substance abuse. Meditation: Increases serotonin production that regulates mood, sleep and appetite. Enables “mind restructuring” that improves concentration, observation skills and emotional strength. Lowers blood pressure, heart and respiratory rates. Increases blood flow while lessening the “fight or flight” response. Creates a sense of calm, peace and balance. Meditation can take place anywhere you wish. You may prefer the stillness of your room, a nature walk, lying in the tub focusing on love and gratitude, kneeling in prayer, humming a song or hymn, enjoying a massage or even having a pedicure. It’s your inner world, visit it whenever and wherever you like! I’m pretty sure if my previous forays into meditation had included a pedicure that I would have done much better with it. To help put you in the mood for meditation, here’s a quote from meditation expert and author, Jon Kabat-Zinn, which beautifully captures the essence of meditation as well as an overall sense of health and well-being: “Meditation is an act of love, an inward gesture of benevolence and kindness toward ourselves and toward others…resting in awareness in any moment involves giving ourselves over to all our senses, in touch with inner and outer landscapes as one seamless whole, and thus in touch with all of life unfolding in its fullness in any moment and in every place we might possibly find ourselves, inwardly or outwardly.” Call to action: take some time for yourself! Pedicure. Hike. Time with friends. Add one thing to your month that you wouldn’t have done to relax and calm the mind. I’m adding in a pedicure with a friend. Join me in relaxing a bit more this month and take time to slow down. It’s good for you!

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Relaxation and Meditation

Relax. Close your eyes. Take a deep breath and inhale it down until you feel it in the very base ...

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Friday Vibes 11.24.2017

Friday Vibes takes a spin around the web and weaves together pieces for living your best life. Here are a few things I'm majorly crushing on this week. Motivate: Two great motivators - fear of failure or love of success. Make: It seems everyone is obsessed with LaCroix right now, and we’re no exception. Check out this bubbly beverage inspired soap tutorial.   Mood: Are you ready to get back on track after yesterday’s Thanksgiving meal? This article shares a few steps to easily get your groove back. Munch: Get cozy with Thai coconut curry butternut squash soup from Nerds with Knives.  

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Friday Vibes 11.24.2017

Friday Vibes takes a spin around the web and weaves together pieces for living your best life. He...

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Fresh Air and Sunshine

If the average person kept a diary of how much time they spent outside versus inside, time under an open sky would be surprisingly minuscule. Most of us have jobs that tie us to our desks, and our exposure to fresh air and sunshine is limited to a run to the corner espresso stand and periodically taking out the garbage. Unless you work and live in a new, environmentally progressive building or home replete with air filtering systems that continually replace the indoor air with fresh, purified air, then you’re probably inhaling all sorts of dusts, wastes, toxins and itsy bitsy critters that feed on it all. Here at Best Day Ever, we can usually tell when someone is shaking out the dust and heaven-knows-what-else from their computer keyboard because we’ll hear a rattle, rattle, rattle then a loud “Ewwww.” Truth is, most of us are breathing stale air with depleted oxygen that’s shared by any number of people who are exhaling into it all the toxic wastes thrown off by our cells during our body’s metabolic processes. The continual breathing of stale air—and a buildup of toxins it contains—can lead to fatigue, headaches, anxiety, respiratory illnesses, anxiety and other maladies. Red blood cells carry oxygen from your lungs to the cells throughout your body, which are dependent on it to correctly perform their zillions of functions. So give your body a break and your energy a boost by going outside in search of some fresh air. Fresh air with its high levels of oxygen: Is absolutely necessary for your body’s energy and metabolism. Strengthens the immune system. White cells need additional oxygen when they’re destroying viruses, bacteria, and other nasties, so keep them well supplied. Improves concentration (the brain needs at least 20% of the body’s oxygen to function properly). Boosts serotonin levels and improves mood. Improves the cleansing action of the lungs, forcing out toxins and waste, when deep breaths are taken. Helps improve heart rate and blood pressure. Helps reduce sore muscles by reducing lactic acid build-up during exercise. Contains negative ions, especially after a rain, on windy days, around vegetation and in abundant sunlight—that boost mental clarity, mood, and overall well-being. Sunshine offers some of the same benefits as fresh air plus a few unique ones all its own. How nice of Mother Nature to connect the two together for us, so that breathing fresh air is often accompanied by catching some rays! One of the primary reasons our bodies need regular doses of sunshine is due to the vitamin D created by our exposure to it. Vitamin D is produced when sunshine interacts with our skin. Researchers are discovering that this vitamin is far more necessary to our bodies than previously thought and that more than half the adults in the U.S. and Europe are deficient in it. I am; despite taking Vitamin D supplements, my latest blood work showed that my Vitamin D levels are on the scary side of “low.” So, I’m upping my Vitamin D supplements. Studies indicate that everything from headaches to weight gain, muscle cramps, and insomnia could be related to low levels of the “sunshine vitamin.” One of the primary functions of vitamin D is its role in the maintenance of bone health and protection against osteoporosis. Proper levels of vitamin D also therapeutically benefit diabetics and people with heart disease, and you’re more likely to survive a heart attack if your body enjoys adequate levels of the vitamin. Research also links vitamin D to prevention against depression, high blood pressure, autoimmune diseases, allergies in children and some cancers, such as breast, ovarian, prostate and colon. In fact, one rather alarming study reported in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition suggests that deficient exposure to direct sunlight could result in a70% increased chance of developing cancer. Exposure to sunshine triggers many other benefits, too. Natural sunlight: Is a natural antiseptic, and exposure to it can kill some molds, viruses, bacteria and even dust mites. (Look that last one up if you want to get grossed out!) Is a natural therapy for skin conditions like eczema, psoriasis, and acne. Helps with digestion and elimination. Raises mood levels by increasing serotonin levels and the production of endorphins. Increases red blood cell production, which carries oxygen throughout the body and to your brain. Increases white blood cell production necessary for your immune systems and the fighting of disease. Improves liver function so it can more efficiently eliminate toxins and wastes from the body. Speeds up metabolism which help prevent obesity, quite possibly lowers blood cholesterol levels, regulates sleep patterns for insomniacs, and may even slow down the aging process. So how much sunshine and vitamin D do we need? The best way to determine whether you’re getting enough vitamin D is to have your doctor run a blood test. You may be surprised to discover that you’re profoundly deficient, as some of us here in the Best Day Ever offices did to our horror. But if you can’t afford a blood test, then many health experts recommend that a good insurance against vitamin D deficiencies in adults is the taking of 800 IUs daily of the vitamin. If you live in an overcast climate (like the Pacific Northwest!) or get little sun exposure, you may want to increase that amount to 1500 to 2000 IUs. I’m taking 8,000 which seems super high so I’ll be doing another test in the next couple of months to make sure I don’t OD on Vitamin D. Here’s a good place to check out appropriate levels by age group: How Much Vitamin D Do You Need? Getting direct exposure to sun will take a little more effort. As a general rule, dark skin requires more sunlight, while light skin requires less. Even just 10 minutes per day of direct sunlight will stimulate vitamin D production. (Don’t forget that both light and dark skin still need a bit of sun-block to prevent wrinkles and the possibility of over-exposure.) And did you know that UV light doesn’t produce vitamin D through glass? Sitting by a window isn’t the same as sunshine falling directly on your skin. So, now that you know the facts…get up, go outside and get up close and personal with fresh air and sunshine! Call to Action: Let’s get our Vitamin D levels up TOGETHER! Go buy a bottle of D3 and take a minimum of 800 IUs per day. If you’re like me and have actual blood work to reference, take what your doctor recommends but if you’re just learning about Vitamin D, 800 is a great place to start.

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Fresh Air and Sunshine

If the average person kept a diary of how much time they spent outside versus inside, time under ...

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Friday Vibes 11.17.2017

Friday Vibes takes a spin around the web and weaves together pieces for living your best life. Here are a few things I'm majorly crushing on this week. Motivate: Today I will not stress over things I can’t control. Major: You’ve got to try this Dirty Pumpkin Chai Latte recipe made with mushroom coffee (yes...mushroom coffee). It will give you all the fall feels and major health benefits.  Mood: Leave it to BuzzFeed to share 33 recipes for a Paleo Thanksgiving. Here’s all the healthy inspiration.  Make: Take some stress out of the holidays and DIY some salted caramel bath truffles. Treat ‘yo self! 

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Friday Vibes 11.17.2017

Friday Vibes takes a spin around the web and weaves together pieces for living your best life. He...

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