Happy Monday ladies! It was beautiful here over the weekend so I enjoyed the beach and pool and got some reading done. I’m currently reading The Last Mrs. Parish by Liv Constantine and really enjoying it. It’s defiantly a page-turner.
I realized that my last makeup tutorial was filmed nearly 6 months ago, so I decided it was time to update it in case you missed it, I shared a full tutorial today on Instagram stores (and it will be saved to my highlights too!). I decided to also add a blog post here on my site, in case anyone preferred to read more about products and why I love them!
I wanted to also create a post here with a list full of the products I use in order that I use them:
Below, I have included all of my holy grail makeup products. I have been using 85% of these products for nearly 2 years, so I definitely can vouch for every product – they are all amazing! I also included all of the makeup brushes I use – each brush is from Sigma and I have been using these brushes for years.
So you want to get healthier. Great! But where to start? Should you do a cleanse? Go Paleo or vegan? Try CrossFit or join a yoga studio? Or should hire a trainer or nutritionist? The options seem endless and overwhelming. When you’re not sure what direction to go, start small. You don’t have to revamp your whole life all at once. You can embark upon the journey toward a healthier lifestyle simply by incorporating any of these 10 healthy habits into your life today. They don’t take a ton of time, but they have tremendous health returns!
1. Practice conscious breathing.
When you feel anxious, you disrupt the ease and flow of your breath. You might not even notice these slight disruptions in your breathing pattern and how they affect you. But reestablishing normal breathing restores your energy and focus.
To do this, breathe in through the nose for a count of five. Feel as though there’s a balloon that is filling your entire pelvis and causing it to stretch out in all directions. Hold that inhale for a moment, and when you exhale, contract all the muscles in and up the spine as you exhale for a count of five. Hold the exhale for a moment and repeat 10 times.
2. Chew more slowly.
It’s not just what you eat that matters, it’s also how you eat it. You can eat all the healthy food you want, but if you don’t chew your food well, it can lead to indigestion, bloating and lack of nutrient absorption. The more you chew, the more saliva you produce. Saliva coats the particles of food with enzymes that break it down for better nutrient absorption.
Chewing 25 times per bite helps cultivate more mindful eating. You eat in a more relaxed state of mind, which aids digestion. Plus, the more slowly you eat, the less you’re likely to consume because you’re giving your body time to let you know you’re full.
3. Sip warm lemon water.
Your body needs to be rehydrated first thing in the morning. But swap out the ice water and add warm lemon water to your daily routine instead. Warm lemon water quenches thirst, preps and primes your digestive system, aids in detoxification and supplies a free-radical-crushing dose of vitamin C.
Lemons may taste acidic, but they are actually alkaline forming, helping the body maintain an ideal pH balance and neutralizing free radicals to keep you feeling vivacious and looking vibrant. “Lemon water benefits the enzyme functions in your body, stimulating the liver and flushing out toxins,” says Josh Axe, DNM.
4. Take movement breaks.
When it comes to improving your movement, it’s not just about doing your workout for an hour in the morning and checking it off the list. Your body thrives on movement. More movement all throughout the day is highly beneficial for your body and brain.
Mobility exercises help lubricate the joints to ward off stiffness, aid in circulation and help boost energy levels and increase focus and productivity. For every hour of sitting, aim for at least a few minutes of mobility drills, such as alternating between arm backstrokes and pelvic circles.
5. Fix your posture.
Proper posture — with the spine aligned and the joints stacked — puts your body at ease, reduces tension and strain and ensures that muscles and tissues are well oxygenated and receive nutrients for proper function.
Katy Bowman, biomechanist and natural-movement expert, recommends first aligning the outside edges of your feet with a straightedge. Then make sure your feet are hip-distance apart. Press all four corners of your feet into the ground. Make sure your pelvis is over your heels. Engage your thighs to lift your kneecaps, squeeze your glutes, keep you chest lifted with the bottom ribs tucked in, and keep your head in a neutral position with chin slightly tucked.
6. Take Off Your Shoes
One of the greatest health tools is right under your feet — literally. Earthing, or walking or standing barefoot on the ground, sounds simple enough, but how often are you actually barefoot outside? It may sound a bit hippie, but a 2012 review published in the Journal of Environmental Public Health found that research supports the touted benefits of going barefoot, which include improved mood and sleep and reduced inflammation and chronic pain. Just don’t step on any rusty nails!
7. Dry brush your skin.
Take care of your body’s largest organ — your skin. Dry brushing is a natural technique that can reveal the beauty of your skin by sloughing off dead skin cells as it stimulates the lymphatic system. Dry brushing has also been credited with giving the skin a natural, luminous glow.
To do this, purchase a dry brush with natural bristles. Start at your feet and brush in long, sweeping motions toward your heart (avoiding the face) without applying too much pressure. Don’t dry brush for too long or too often. Try just a few minutes once a week.
8. Set an intention.
When you want to break out of your comfort zone or start a new healthy habit, you must first have a strong intention to do so. As Wayne Dyer, author of “The Power of Intention,” says, “The power of intention is the power to manifest, to create, to live a life of unlimited abundance, and to attract into your life the right people at the right moments.” You can set an intention for every action in your life. Before eating, set an intention to eat mindfully. Before working out, connect to your intention. Ask yourself, “What are you aiming to achieve?”
9. Apply sunscreen.
Sunscreen isn’t just for summertime. Dermatologists recommend wearing sunscreen daily because, according to the Skin Cancer Foundation, one in five Americans will develop skin cancer in the course of a lifetime. Yikes! Even if you’re not hanging outdoors for a long period of time, UVA rays that cause wrinkles and premature aging can pass through window glass. Check the ingredients on your sunscreen and look for one with the mineral zinc oxide for UVA protection. If you’re going to be outside for an extended length of time (at least two hours) look for a broad-spectrum sunscreen with SPF 30 that’s sweat and water resistant.
10. Express gratitude.
Western society is constantly telling us we need to be more, do more, have more and achieve more. It can be depleting and depressing. Keep your vibe high and light by filtering out the noise and filling yourself up with gratitude throughout each day. There have been numerous studies regarding the positive effects a daily gratitude practice has on the mind, body and spirit.
Keep a journal in which you jot down what you’re grateful for each evening before bed or when you wake up in the morning. Try writing affirmations — positive things about yourself and your life. Or write a thank-you note to someone to say how grateful you are to have him or her in your life.
What Do YOU Think?
Which of these healthy habits are you ready to start today? What are some simple habits you incorporate into your daily regimen to be your healthiest self? We would love to hear your ideas and know what you think! Leave your comments below to join the conversation.
I’ve felt like I’ve lost my creativity over the last month or so.
Im referring to the passion I once felt around my blog and the way I express myself.
I am talking about creativity in the form of writing, photography and ideas.
I lost a sense of inspiration and curiosity around my world which might be sparked or expressed by wearing interesting pieces of clothing or jewellery, exploring local markets or galleries, noticing beautiful moments or being creative about daily routines and being open to possibilities and opportunities.
Overall I just haven’t felt like me on a creative sense and I knew I needed to change that. I haven’t had the urge to write or read in weeks and this makes me want to cringe because I use to find so much joy in these everyday rituals.
Last Sunday I decided enough was enough and I would use the next seven days to figure out 1. Why? 2. How to fix it. 3. Fix it!
Here’s what I asked myself:
Why do we lose our creativity?
Of course there are many reasons. I think part of why my creativity has been lost because there is no space for it. Other things have been prioritised or workload doesn’t seem to allow it. However creativity can add a sense of richness that can make life feel far more fulfilling.
If you want to stay connected to your creativity, you need to see the value it brings to your life, prioritise it and give it some time and energy.
Five ways to get your creativity back
1. Move your body
You might feel that you’re being more productive sitting and working. However if you find you’re getting stuck, research conducted by Stamford suggests that walking stimulates creativity both during the activity and for a short time afterwards:
“A person walking indoors – on a treadmill in a room facing a blank wall – or walking outdoors in the fresh air produced twice as many creative responses compared to a person sitting down, one of the experiments found.”
So don’t feel guilty about stepping away from your desk and taking time for a walk while you think about your projects – it’s a proven way to boost your creativity.
2. Get off social media
It can be a fine line. Social media can be a source of creativity, with Instagram a current fave for many. I love it too!
However we all know how easily social media can go beyond inspiration and become a source of procrastination, comparisonitis, distraction, frustration or envy. And the fun and creativity of sharing photos, or anything else online, can also cross into pressure, or occasionally, into a carefully curated online image which conflicts with reality.
Social media can be a slippery slope and I’m sure many of us can relate to Sian Richardson’s words in her article, How to Stop the Death Spiral of Consumption:
“You check Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter the second you wake up. You launch into you emails before you’re even out of bed.
And before you know it… You’re all up amongst the death spiral that is mindless consumption and information overload. You don’t even realize you’re doing it until at least a week or two into it, when you find yourself constantly mind-f-d and really un-productive.”
Be honest with yourself: if you check your social media accounts or share photos and feel creative and inspired – great!
If you know you’re spending a lot of time on social media, and feeling creatively blocked yourself, or other unhelpful feelings and thoughts are being triggered, maybe it’s time to take a break. You might remove a few of your favourite social media apps from your phone for a while, or create some guidelines for yourself about how you want to engage.
It’s hard to feel creative if you’re filling every moment of downtime with images and stories from other people’s lives.
3. Plan or write on paper
If you usually work and create at a computer, it can be easy to sit with numerous tabs open in your browser (guilty!) and flick between different sites while you’re also creating or working. Needless to say, it can be distracting to create in such an environment.
Quite aside from the ability to be distracted, there are actually clear benefits to getting offline and handwriting some of the time.
Writing or taking notes by hand is so simple, but this Wall Street Journal article suggests that “writing by hand engages the brain in learning… (and) research highlights the hand’s unique relationship with the brain when it comes to composing thoughts and ideas.”
4. Take breaks
Sometimes people struggle to stay productive and focused as they work – and then they admit they don’t take breaks and expect to sit at their desks and stay productive indefinitely.
If you have developed bad habits around this, you might find it useful to develop a list of short, life-enhancing activities that you could incorporate into breaks during your day to boost your wellbeing, focus and overall happiness.
It can be a mental shift to realise that taking these breaks can make you far MORE effective and productive.
Examples of short breaks:
• Do a short guided meditation – try one of Sara Brooke’s
• Turn up some of your favourite upbeat music and dance for 5 or 10 minutes
• Do a ten minute workout – you can find plenty on YouTube, like this 10 min arm workout from Tracy Anderson
• Make a green smoothie
• Take a walk around the block
• Do fifty squats, or push ups, or burpees (50 is a lot of burpees. Maybe 20!)
• Stretch, or do some restorative yoga
It’s pretty easy to see how incorporating any or all of these “breaks” into your workday is going to have positive flow on effects. Start your own list!
Get conscious about how you’re fuelling yourself, in all ways:
• What kind of nutrition are you feeding yourself?
• What are you reading in terms of books or magazines?
• Have you been to any concerts, live music, art shows, Festivals or great movies lately?
• Could you spend some more time in nature or at the beach?
• Are you spending enough quality time with those you love?
• Is it time to initiate some new relationships?
• Might you explore a new hobby or short course, or devote some time to an interest that brings you joy?
• Might altering your work environment help?
• Explore different cafes to write or work out of.
For the last seven days I worked on all 5 of these tips and guess what? I got my juju back. I have 45 different blog topics to write about over the next few months. I have ideas on how to grow Megan Motivates and meet new people. I have pages and pages of things that are new and exciting.
Stay tuned… good things are coming.
One year ago today I broke my hip after not being able to walk for the previous two months.I traveled to Disney.
and Myrtle Beach many times.
I faced many challenges everyday over the last year like tieing and buckling my shoes, putting my left leg in pants, getting up off the couch and getting out of bed.
I’ve learned so much over the last year and accomplished things I never thought I would do like skiing twice,
running again, lifting weights,
and walking miles and miles. And although these things are all physical they all require so much mental strength to push through the pain and weakness. So never let your weakness stop you from achieving your greatness.
When you take the time to exercise and treat your body right…this activity truly does wonders for both your mind and your body! Taking the time to workout will not only make you feel less stressed and happier, but that in turn makes you a better daughter, girlfriend, co-worker etc bc you are taking care of yourself! We all know that exercise has amazing physical benefits for your body…weight management, muscle tone, healthier heart, longer life span, etc. But when you’re finding your ‘why’, and trying to keep yourself motivated to stay active…think of the benefits that are greater than that. Taking 45 minutes to get your heart rate up, take a break from work or from kids, will inspire you, empower you, and ease your stress load EVERY time. THAT is why, I make exercise such a priority in my day to day life!
Working out is one of my favorite ways to relieve stress and regain energy and perspective. It helps me clear my head, relives my anxiety and overall just makes me feel better.
If you’ve felt unmotivated lately or like you’ve fallen off the wagon with working out…let today be your day 1. Remind yourself that you are worth taking care of – mentally, emotionally, and physically. And working out, getting outdoors, being active, is one of the best ways you can take care of yourself! Thanks for reading!
Hi Girls! Last week the Tone It Up Summer Series ended. During the previous six weeks I stuck the nutrition plan and did the studio Tone It Up workouts. Here’s a review of the series and my before and after.
Losing weight starts in the kitchen. Seriously. It’s all what you eat. I know that it sucks to hear that, because I love food, but I can honestly say that I lost over 15 pounds by just eating healthier. (I wasn’t great about following the workouts, but more on that later.) When you sign up for the summer series, you get an email with a few healthy recipes, but I found most of my recipes in the Tone It Up nutrition plan.
Foods that you should expect to eat during the Summer Series are all supposed to be lean, clean and green. No additives, no junk food and very little fat. Some of my favorite recipes are:
COCONUT KALE BEAUTY SMOOTHIE for a quick and easy breakfast!
My favorite snacks are hard boiled eggs, protein bars, almonds with Craisins and even apples with natural peanut butter.
Tone It Up has a nutrition plan you can buy. The plan is filled with nutrition tips and healthy recipes. I followed the plan about 80% of the time.
The workouts were AMAZING. Everyday there is a 20 to 30 minute workout to do. It’s quick and targeted so that each day you workout one muscle group. I looked forward to the daily workouts and enjoyed several of them. Unfortunately, you need to purchase the Studio Tone It Up app in over to get the workouts. It’s like the Netflix of workouts, hundreds of workouts available at any time. The cost is $12.99 per month or you can save a little money and pay for the entire year upfront.
Overall, I enjoyed the Summeri Series. I love the online community on Instagram and felt both encouraged and inspired by the entire Tone It Up team. Checking in on Instagram helped hold me accountable, my Instagram username is Megan Motivates.
The food I ate was mostly part of the “Tone It Up Nutrition Plan,” and followed the same guidelines as the plan (lean, clean, green) and I never felt hungry or deprived. I drank alcohol, ate chocolate and pizza, and even had a piece of birthday cake. After eating clean for so long, I didn’t crave those bad foods and actually felt a little sick when I did indulge. I will definitely continue to eat this way, although I will probably start to eat larger portions when I reach my goal weight. (Still have 10 more pounds to go!)
I have been doing the the workouts daily and also have been doing Lauren Gleasberg’s 3.0 home workout plan 5 x per week.. I learned that I REALLY enjoy weight lifting and so I plan to continue weight liftings while working in some chosen Tone It Up daily.
BEFORE and AFTER
Overall I lost 6 pounds during the Summer Series. I notice it most in my stomach. Here are my before and after picture.
Another week, another wellness wednesday post for ya! I don’t know about you but breakfast is my absolute favorite meal of the day. I could honestly eat it 3 meals out of the day haha I never get tired of it! Today I want to share my top 5 easy and healthy breakfast ideas with y’all! I probably have at least 10 favorite breakfasts I rotate between…but today I’ll keep the list to 5, and maybe do a part two down the road! These are all healthy breakfast ideas you can make SUPER fast, and will keep you feeling fueled and filled up for the day!
I love to boil a whole dozen eggs at the beginning of the week, to either use at breakfast or for a snack! I love this breakfast because it doesn’t require any pots or pans and tastes so good. I just get a piece of bread (I love Dave’s Killer bread!), toast it…mash up an avocado [I usually use half of an avocado], add salt and pepper, and then add the hard boiled egg! Sometimes I’ll do two eggs on the toast, and I always have this with fruit!
I love making this green smoothie for breakfast because it’s easy, it fills me up, and allows me to get in some greens first thing in the morning! Here is my go-to green smoothie recipe:
If you can’t tell, I’m obsessed with eggs haha. This is another breakfast idea that will help you get your veggies in early in the day! I love to saute spinach and bell pepper and sometimes onion depending on my level of laziness that morning lol…and then scramble two eggs and add it to the pan. Top this scramble off with avocado and add a side of fruit and you’ve got a colorful and healthy breakfast! If we happen to have bacon, I’ll have a side of bacon with this as well. Gimme all the protein!
I LOVE oatmeal y’all! Especially on a cold morning, but year round I think it’s such a comfort food. Not to mention SO good for you and really filling! Purely Elizabeth is my favorite brand of oats – I love the apple cinnamon flavor! I love Purely Elizabeth oatmeal because it has organic quinoa, amaranth and flax…so this superfood blend packs 8g of protein and 6g of fiber! I usually just make this with water, and add some RX bar nut butter for a healthy fat!
I love greek yogurt because it is PACKED with protein, so it keeps me feeling really full! One of my favorite healthy breakfast ideas is half a cup of plain (full fat!) greek yogurt, add in lots of fruit – raspberries and blueberries are my fave with this, and then I add in some Purely Elizabeth granola! I love this breakfast because it’s one you can throw together in 60 seconds, and not have to use any pans…so easy clean up! This is also an idea you could make ahead of time and bring to work with you!
If you try any of these healthy breakfast ideas, make sure to tag me on your instagram stories so I can share with others! If you have any easy healthy breakfast ideas, we would love to hear them in the comments below! Thanks for reading!
Unfortunately, I don’t have a treadmill so I can’t do the running part of this workout but when I did I would do this workout all the time. It’s a simple yet super effective HIIT workouts. If you try it, make sure you tag me on instagram or in your stories and let me know what you thought! Thanks for reading!