Tips For Great Sleep

Sleep can be elusive for some. At various seasons of life sleep may be more difficult to come by, and for some of us (myself included), difficulty falling and staying asleep can become a chronic issue. With the holiday season in full swing, staying healthy is of utmost importance.  The seasonal ickiness has officially descended, and when you combine that with all of our holiday celebrations and obligations, it’s all the more important to focus on rest.

Sleep is imperative to functioning to the best of our abilities during the day. Beyond affecting our daily grinds, lack of sleep can also have detrimental affects on our health. Chronic sleep deprivation increases the prevalence of heart disease, hypertension, type 2 diabetes, obesity, and depression. Here are a few ways in which we can increase the quality and quantity of sleep.

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Photo by Benjaminrobyn Jespersen on Unsplash

1. Shut down, literally.

Turning off or setting aside the electronics at least two hours before bedtime will impact your ability to fall asleep as well as the quality of your sleep. Blue wavelengths benefit us greatly during the day by increasing our attention, reaction times, and brightening our mood. However, these are not qualities we want when we’re trying to settle in for a great night’s sleep. Try slowly shutting down earlier and earlier in the evening and observe how your sleep is impacted.

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Photo by Joanna Kosinska on Unsplash

2. Establish a routine.

Establishing a nighttime routine will signal to your mind and body that it’s time to wind down. This could include a routine as simple as reading a few pages in a book or perhaps enjoying a warm beverage like a decaffeinated tea or my favorite Cinnamon Pumpkin Warm Milk.

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Photo by Heather Schwartz on Unsplash

3. Utilize Natural Resources.

If you’re having difficulty getting to sleep and staying asleep, there are a few all natural resources to utilize. Some of these include CBD oil (my favorite can be found here), Melatonin, Lavender essential oil (can find this here), and listening to recorded meditations.

I use CBD oil almost every night to keep my anxiety from creeping up and keeping me alert when I want to rest. Ensure you do your homework and find a high quality CBD oil to take advantage of it’s many benefits.  I also love to rub some lavender essential oil on my pillow or temples, and you could also diffuse it, put some drops of it in a bath, or create a bedtime room spray.  Taking some deep breaths of this soothing scent tells my nervous system it’s time for bed.

I pull out the Melatonin when I just can’t sleep and nothing else has worked. There are different dosages of Melatonin so keep that in mind when selecting this supplement. I recommend starting at a low dose, or even taking half a pill and then working up from there as needed.

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Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

4. Move your body.

Moving your body regularly, whether it’s vigorous exercise or a walk in nature will help utilize energy during the day so your body can completely let go when it’s time to hit the hay.

I find when my body has been stagnant during the day it’s more difficult for my body to relax, as it has energy to burn. The key is to listen to your body and honor what it is telling you. Also keep in mind that body movement does not mean working up a sweat. Many times an extended stretching session on my living room floor is enough to give my body what it needs for the day.

 

Finding what works can be a fun experiment, and will also change depending upon life events, time of year, and more. By ensuring we are getting enough sleep, we are taking a major step in improving our overall health. Sweet dreams!

 

The light in me honors the light in you. 

An Apple A Day

My favorite time of year is upon us! I am beyond ready for sweaters, pumpkins, cool weather, and new fall recipes.

This fall is also special for me because I will be beginning my Psychology of Eating program in October. I can’t help but feel like it’s back to school season. This program, in combination with me recently being diagnosed with Dyshidrotic Eczema, has started to challenge my beliefs about food. I feel I’m starting to utilize food in a new way – in a healing and medicinal way.

As a result of this recent revelation about my body’s need to heal, I have tried to implement a very basic and simplistic way to eating. It is up to each of us to tap into our own body’s wisdom throughout the (sometimes literal) seasons of life. And I feel my body asking for simplicity and grounding. I am honoring my body’s request by providing my body with simple foods that also re-connect me with the source of life – the Earth.

I recently purchased a juicer and have been having a blast playing around with some fun juice recipes – I can’t wait to share them with you soon!

One of the main components of my juices lately have been apples. Apples are in season at the moment, and my body has been craving them. They’re perfect for juicing because they balance out other veggies, such as celery, with some great sweetness. Since I’m currently loving apples, I want to share the numerous health benefits of these beauties. I think I’ll probably create a new series about the benefits of some of my go-to fruits and veggies.

So without further ado, here are some of the fabulous benefits of APPLES! Apples contain malic and tartaric acids, and these contribute to keep your body’s digestive system running at an optimum level. These acids keep food from fermenting in the stomach, allowing for better digestion. And the acids help the apple itself digest, but also aids in digesting other foods as well.

Speaking of digestive benefits – did you know that one apple has over 4 grams of fiber?! One great benefit of fiber, besides preventing colon cancer, is that it makes us feel fuller longer because it expands in the intestines and takes up volume.

Apples are also high in flavonoids, compounds that are thought to reduce the risk of cancer and heart disease. Most flavonoids are found in the skin of the apple, so to get the most benefit be sure to keep the skin on when consuming them. These flavonoids also act as antioxidants by destroying free radicals that are destructive to genes, as well as reducing inflammation throughout the body.

Overall, apples have numerous health benefits so eat up!

What are your favorite fruits and veggies?!

The light in me honors the light in you. 

 

 

 

 

 

A New Adventure!

I’m so excited to announce that I’ve been accepted to the Institute for the Psychology of Eating’s Psychology of Eating Coaching Program! I will begin this new adventure in October and I’m counting the days!

I knew that an empowering coaching program was in my future, but finding a program that was the right fit for me was not an easy process. I spent hours upon hours researching coaching programs. I knew I couldn’t enroll in a program that trained me to provide meal plans to clients, as that strategy doesn’t align with my values and mission to empower individuals to get in touch with their intuition and learn the origin of their cravings.

Providing someone with a meal plan does not empower them- it simply tells them exactly what to feed themselves. My goal is to find the root of an individual’s cravings- to help people trust their body again, honor the body’s cravings, and learn to eat when hungry and stop when satisfied. Unfortunately, programs that empower individuals in this way are few and far between.

Once I discovered the Psychology of Eating coaching program at the Institute for the Psychology of Eating, I knew I had found a program that aligned with my philosophy of empowerment.

In less than a year I will be a certified Mind, Body, Eating Coach and I couldn’t be more excited. The last couple of years have been guiding me to this program and have solidified my life’s purpose to empower individuals to heal their relationship with food and with their bodies. I will be utilizing yoga, meditation, Vedic Yoga Thai Bodywork, essential oils, and eating psychology to tap into the incredibly powerful intuition we all have within us.

I can’t wait to continue to update you with my progress, and to announce when I will begin to accept clients!

The light in me honors the light in you.

doTERRA

Throughout my healing journey, I’ve experienced the firsthand benefits of yoga, meditation, Reiki, Vedic Yoga Thai Bodywork, and more. However essential oils weren’t included in that path until recently.

One of my mentors utilizes doTERRA essential oils within AromaTouch therapy. She also incorporates it into her Reiki practice, and has been working her healing techniques on me. As with most new experiences, I was skeptical at first, thinking there would be a placebo effect at play during these sessions.

After going over my initial symptoms, including digestive issues and general anxiety, she performed her healing modalities and then sent me home with samples of essential oils, with instructions of how to utilize them until our next appointment. I started by implementing Frankincense and then incorporated Cedarwood as well. Within days I noticed improvements of my digestive issues, and then started to notice how these essential oils have uplifted my mood and general anxiety. I knew I wanted to dive into this healing modality more deeply.

Since I have personally experienced the benefits of these essential oils I have been pouring over literature about the science of essential oils, the various essential oil companies, origins of essential oils, the list goes on and on. I contacted my mentor to purchase the large sizes of oils and we also discussed me joining her doTERRA team. I wasn’t sure I was ready to take that leap yet (as a Taurus, I have to examine all perspectives and angles before making a final decision!). However after meditating on this further, I knew this was a company and a healing modality that I need to be a part of so we went for it!

My first order came today, in which I received my first essential oil diffuser, among other fun items. I cannot say enough amazing things about the peaceful sound, the soothing aroma of the oil I selected to diffuse, and the soft lighting that the diffuser offers. I feel strongly that essential oils have not been a part of my healing journey until now because I wasn’t ready to commit to the extensive learning involved in this endeavor, but now I am diving in completely.

I can’t wait to share more of this journey with all of you. Right now I am using this new role as a way to increase my education and will then begin to spread that knowledge with others, to empower them in their own healing journeys! If you have any questions, tips or more, please reach out!

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The light in me honors the light in you.

Love Letter To My Body

Now that we’re deep into the months of summer, I’ve been reflecting on my relationship with my body over my lifetime, particularly in relation to the seasons. The summer season was traditionally a season of manic ups and downs, depending upon the reflection I saw in the mirror, the number on the scale, or the food I had consumed. The past few summers, however, have been seasons that I simply allow to come and go. I honor my body as it is in that season of my life and continue to treat it with love.

I suppose as I develop to nurture my relationship with food and my body, this is a natural result, and can also be easily overlooked. I am taking a moment to pause and celebrate how far I have come because there were times when I truly never thought I could have the relationship I have with my body. For that I am eternally thankful and grateful!
In honor of these reflections, I have written a love letter to my body.

 

To My Uniquely Perfect Body,

Wow, what a journey it’s been so far!

First, I come to you to humbly ask for your forgiveness. Although I don’t have clear memories of loving and appreciating you prior to when I started hating you and then harming you, I do remember days of childhood where I felt completely comfortable within you. Memories of wearing colorful swimsuits as an 8 year-old without feeling the need to cover up; of coordinating daily outfits that included shorts and tank tops throughout the summer without picking apart each piece of flesh that was exposed.

Remember when I sunburned you so badly at cheer camp in eighth grade…? Me too. Sorry about that. I was only trying to toast you slightly. Unfortunately for you, it would take me years to realize we are both much happier sitting under the umbrella, with a big floppy hat and sunglasses.

Throughout the years we’ve definitely been through our ups and downs. There are too many years when I told you how disgusting you are, while abusing you day in and day out. But all the while, you were there. You’ve always been there for me, talking to me, supporting me, healing yourself to show me how strong and amazing you truly are. I only needed to listen.

Years went by and then slowly, very slowly, I started to see you differently. I began to eat  foods based upon what you needed. I started to drink more water and less alcohol. And I felt you responding to me with love and comfort, which only made me want to continue to provide you with more abundant goodness.

When we finished our first 10k… how amazing was that?! I could feel my heart pumping with enthusiastic euphoria- asking when we could do that again! And in the dim lights of a yoga studio, when I started to feel you again. When tears of gratitude, shame, and support overflowed down my face. And I could hear you whisper to me “Stay here with me, and we can find each other again. I want our healthy relationship back. I’m here.”

I can’t wait to continue to discover more of you, and all of the amazing things that we can do together.  May I continue to come as I am to my mat, and to live each day to fully embrace this body I’ve been blessed to inhabit.

With gratitude,
Jessica

 

The light in me honors to the light in you. 

Another Published Article!

Another article of mine has been published- this time by the amazing Harness Magazine! This is my second article to be published by this magazine and I continue to choose to send them my pieces because of their mission of equipping women to share, empathize, and uplift one another.

Check out my latest article here, and check out Harness Magazine here!

 

The light in me honors the light in you

Earning Food: Mindful/Intuitive Eating

How often do we feel guilt even before we’ve started to eat certain foods? For some of us these foods are carbs, or chocolate, ice cream, even fruit- the list is never ending.

I am reflecting on the concept of “earned food” as I savor a piece of dark chocolate with blueberries. Years ago, before I learned mindful eating/intuitive eating practices, I would have devoured this chocolate, perhaps reached for more without pause, and then berated myself mere moments later- demeaning myself for my lack of willpower and loss of control.

This is what we’re taught to believe: that eating “forbidden” foods is a sign of weakness. The diet and fitness industry has made millions of dollars on the concept of good carbs and bad carbs, good starch and bad starch, good fruit and bad fruit. I call bullshit.

When we are out of tune with out body, we are reactive in nature. Have an uncomfortable feeling? Reach for the brownies. Got rejected? Unload a bag of potato chips. It doesn’t have to be this way. By introducing practices such as meditation into our lives, we begin to gain the ability to become an observer of our thoughts, feelings, and emotions, as opposed to being a slave to them. When we gain the ability to view our thoughts as simply additional information, we can then view them in a more holistic way. Sometimes they may still mean you reach for the brownie, and that’s great! The difference is this time you’re fully aware of why you’re craving that particular food, and you can eat it more mindfully, with gratitude for what it’s providing to your body in that moment. Then when you are satiated, you can be done eating and move on. It truly can be that simple.

Food is not something to be earned, it is an energy source to be consumed and utilized to allow us to live our lives to our fullest potential. How incredible is that?! The next time you have an overwhelming craving, perhaps take a moment to breathe into it. Ask yourself where the craving is originating and if that’s truly what you need. Perhaps you need a nap, a bath, or a hug instead. Listen. And then proceed as your body is directing. Continue to practice this as you can and see how your relationship with your mind, body, and food evolves.

 

I would love to hear your experiences with mindful/intuitive eating!

Confused Girl

“You are imperfect & inventively flawed. And you are beautiful.” -Giovanna Silvestre

 

On any given day you can find me with at least one crystal on me, whether it’s tucked in my bra, on a ring or necklace, or in my pocket. So I was excited to also have the leggings I wear also be representative of the crystal properties I want to incorporate into each day!

My first Confused Girl leggings purchase was the Mystery Leggings, which represent the stone marble. First, I love that they’re black, white, and grey because they go with everything.

The marble stone has numerous properties. In general, it represents nurturing and protection. It can also be very grounding, which is certainly a property I always need more of in my life! I like to wear these leggings when I’m going to engage in longer meditations than normal, as marble also aids in clarify and focus, so it can assist in deeper meditative states.

The motto of Confused Girl is “Find Your True Nature”. I find my true nature by tapping into my intuition through meditation, yoga, and spending time in nature. When I have all of those integrated in my life, I am in tune with my truth.

Everywhere we turn there are brands that focus on Photoshop and perfectly sculpted bodies in order to sell their products. Please join me in supporting this brand that supports us where we are- because this is where our power lies. This brand aligns with my mission of learning to accept ourselves as we are in this moment.

To purchase your own pair of Confused Girl leggings, use this link  and use the code ‘jessaleighsmith’ to get 15% your order!

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The light in me honors the light in you

Fear of Success

Lately I’ve felt stuck. Stuck to the point where I’ve felt paralyzed. My reaction to this emotion has been typical for me: to withdrawal, to hibernate, to not reach out to my support network, to binge Netflix, to escape.

As with most negative emotions, I acknowledge the root of this feeling is fear. And what I’ve started to uncover that this fear is an authentic fear of success; a fear of what could happen if I put everything into this dream.  I know in my gut that my potential is limitless, as is yours. But the fear of the result of that potential is holding me back… how wild is that to think about?!

So often I get stuck in patterns of dreaming, of comparing, of wanting- all without acting. Friends, we have one month left in 2017. What do we have to lose?? It’s time to tell that fear to take a hike and before our minds can talk us out of it- ACT. Just send the email, make the phone call, write the blog post, ask the question.

Yes, I’m writing this for me as much as for anyone else reading this. I need these words just as much as you do right now. I’m right here with you. I’m dedicating the rest of the year to taking action, and I have faith that the Universe will respond to this risk with nothing but joy, love, and support.

It’s time to stop being afraid of my potential and start living up to it.  Who’s with me?!

 

The light in me honors the light in you.