My Never-ending Story

Here’s a fun fact: I love learning. I love learning about new ideas, stories, people, recipes, practices, routines, places, and¬†myself…. This life is full of wonder and I hope and pray that I will keep¬†my eyes¬†and my mind open to all that I have yet to learn.

I thoroughly enjoy being a student! I want to learn and to be challenged and to grow. I become angsty and frustrated when I perceive a short window of my time spent learning, trying, and having new experiences.

As educators, we strive to instill a passion of life-long learning in our students. Well, to my teachers, my parents, my coaches, my peers, THANK YOU. Throughout my life, you have ignited a fire within! A fire which becomes restless with the status quo; a woman that constantly wants to try and learn and fail or succeed, but TRY.

Recently, I have been incredibly active in trying new things: fitness classes, holistic healing practices, eating habits. That fire that yearns to learn more about my health: physically, emotionally, and socially.

I have been trying all of these new things out of fear that I will become jaded by the same routine. I am curious about the world around me with the seemingly never-ending sights, sounds, scents and ways that this life can shape the body.

All this said, my¬†next few posts are going to be reflections¬†on learning experiences. I encourage you to join me! Try¬†out fitness¬†class that you’ve been itching to take. Make an appointment for that massage. Or, even better, let’s visit¬†a boutique¬†studio and take a class together! New restaurant in town? Let’s go! Suggestions or recommendations? I’m game.

As the saying goes, “variety is the spice of life” and my goal is to write my narrative with messages of positivity, physical challenges, and a mentality to never stop trying, growing, and learning.

Who’s ready to expand upon¬†their never-ending story?

xo,

Ariana

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Ho hum.

The Doldrums.

In the dark, cold, post-holiday-bliss days of winter in not-so-sunny New Jersey, I sit and type and wonder WHY? Why do I feel so blah? So tired? Lethargic? Angsty? Irritable? And then (after warning¬†him of my mood) my husband reminds me, “Might be those Winter Blues.”

Oh, is he right! I am a self-proclaimed Beach Bum, who thrives on sunshine, warm weather, sun-kissed skin, salty hair, and would prefer to embarrassingly sweat through every article of clothing than to be cold. So, therefore, the long, dark days of winter really bum me out. Along with 5 percent of the US population, 4 out of 5 women, and that is onset during ones 20s to 30s .

Thankfully, there are studies and lists and medical help for those who suffer from Season Affective Disorder and for those of us who experience The Blues. This Time article (originally featured in Real Simple) highlights 8 scientifically-backed options to combat the winter doldrums:

  1. Exercise!
    • SWEAT A DAY: 30 minutes a day ladies and gents
    • Break it up into small chunks of time throughout your day
    • Make it something you do with friends, colleagues, and family. The¬†benefits of daily exercise DRASTICALLY outweigh the negatives.
  2. Eat healthily
    • Fruits, veggies and chocolate are¬†on the scientifically-backed¬†list = Winter WIN.
  3. Invest in a light box to brighten up your environment
  4. Invest in a dawn simulator for your AM wake-ups
    • I have a love/hate relationship with mine…something about alarm clocks in general…
  5. Play peppy music
  6. Plan a vacation
  7. Help others
    • Volunteer in your community
    • Schedule visits with family and loved ones
  8. Get outside
    • Even though it’s cold, that fresh air is sure to give you a boost of energy!
    • I still remember that blast of cold air on my lungs during winter track practices – there is no feeling quite like it, but man¬†does it hurt¬†so good!
    • Bundle up, warm-up, stretch, and stay safe

Finally, I hope it helps to know that you aren’t the only one experiencing these blues! Soon enough, the sun will¬†shine, the temperature will rise, our moods will improve, and our sun-kissed skin will return!

Until then, reach out to others and to me with:

  • your best jokes – the cornier, the better
  • comedic movies or shows
  • your favorite songs of the moment
  • make plans to eat, drink, and be merry
  • walk and¬†workout with a friend
  • enjoy the warmth of the fires
  • the scents in the air
  • cuddles under soft blankets
  • get comfortable with some hot cocoa and tea
  • hot¬†soups – share your recipes!
  • good books
  • learn something new – knitting, dance moves, a new language, how to solve that Rubix Cube!
  • embrace the delicate blanket of freshly fallen snow
  • share your smiles,¬†warm hearts, and beautiful souls

All my love and warmth to you, always!

xx,

Ariana

“Just Live”

I have a secret: I am truly living!

With a summer spent enjoying each moment of my days, rich with family, friends, and special memories, I was able to reconnect to my passions, rejuvenate myself, and reinvigorate my zest for the here and now.

My heart and mind have been grounded, mindful, thankful; I feel as though I am being true to myself and enjoying my time on this earth.

I read a lot this summer: happy stories, sad stories, true stories, helpful stories, mysterious stories, nostalgic stories….There is such power in storytelling! The connection that a reader, listener, viewer can make and experience is other-worldly. There were a few stories that were so important for me to experience at this point of my life; the stories¬†were timely and they were the teaching tools to this road of acceptance and living!

Tears. Cleansing tears during each of these stories showed me clarity and got me to this beautiful space in time. On my family vacation, I cried hysterical tears on the Wildwood Beach that had my family laughing at me for sobbing into the pages of JoJo Moyes’¬†Me Before You. In the Broadway theater, I ugly-cried with my sister and cousin, mother and aunt to the story of how J.M. Barrie created¬†Peter Pan in¬†Finding Neverland.¬†The following week, I watched the seamlessly, beautiful Radio City Rockette’s high-kicking in their Radio City Spectacular and teared up remembering my years performing as a dancer.¬†Then, most recently, I was listening to a book, Arianna Huffington’s¬†Thrive, in which the INTRODUCTION sent me to sobbing chokes about mindfulness, cultivating meaningful relationships, and experiencing the wonder in the world.

Each of these stories had a message, which struck the same chord in me. “Live, Ariana. Stop overthinking. Stop second-guessing. Stop. LIVE. Be here. Be now. Be kind. Be. LIVE. Give. Forgive. Try. Go. Do. ‘Just Live'”.

There is too much sadness, fear, and discord in our daily lives. We have the power to choose happiness, love, and peace.

Choose love.

Choose peace.

Choose to “Just live”.

legally-approved-live
Image from Pixabay.com

Accountability

Accountability (noun): the quality or state of being accountable; an obligation or willingness to accept responsibility or to account for one’s actions

Who holds you accountable? Who takes responsibility for your actions? Your choices? What I teach my students, is “YOU are in charge of you. No one is forcing you to do anything that you don’t want to. You have the power to study or read when you’re supposed to. You have the voice to suggest what foods to choose. You have the knowledge and tools to avoid drugs and peer pressure. You are in control of the choices that you make every single day, that effect your life, for better or for worse.”

This is all well and good and important to teach a young child. Hopefully, their lives  contain a type of structure, any semblance of structure. Structure is important in developing good habits. Strong practices. Positive coping and management skills. The habits that we develop in our childhood have the power to shape our futures.

But what often happens when we get older? More independent? More financially settled? We can fall out of our previously stable structure.

Falling out of our structure, our former norm, can cause topsy-turvy in our lives. We may feel chaos, anxiety, low motivation. We may feel freedom, comfort, heightened excitement. We may feel a mixture of these emotions at any moment of the day. Topsy-turvy indeed!

How can we create new habits? How can we build a new, yet sturdy and stable structure? How can we take responsibility for our actions and choices and hold ourselves accountable again?

It is important to remember that our choices are only as good as the TEAM surrounding us. As children, our parents/guardians, siblings, extended family, friends, teachers, coaches, and instructors made up our team. They were rooting for us to succeed. These wonderful people showed us the skills that we needed to build our structures and supported us in our quest to find our personal successes.

When our lives become topsy-turvy and we are open and ready and committed to regain balance, we need to call upon our team to guide us, show us, teach us, and hold us accountable for crafting our structure of The Now.

legally-approved-newsteam
Image by: Ronnie Gray

Putting together your team:

  1. Accept that you want to make a change (i.e. financial savings, increased fitness, dietary substitutions, spiritual realignments)
  2. Reach out to supportive friends or family members with SIMILAR interests or goals in mind
    • Your teammate/s will feel honored that you asked them for help on your journey in building your structure of The Now
    • They may ask you for help in keeping them accountable on their own, similar journey
    • You are the strongest learner when you can create and develop¬†from¬†what you know
  3. Set a SMART goal or goals and share that goal with your team
    • Remember, SMART goals are safe,¬†realistic, and timely
  4. Update your teammates with your successes, complications, set-backs
    • If chosen appropriately, your team is rooting for you no matter what
  5. Enlist professional assistance when needed
    • Seeking consultation from a financial planner may be the person you need to talk to if financial savings is what you strive for
    • Joining a gym may be the first step in reaching your fitness goals if working out at home is not the best practice for you
    • Hiring a personal trainer, nutritionist or registered dietitian, or health coach may be the professional teammate that you need to reach your health, nutrition and wellness goals
    • Have open an communication with your primary care physician before engaging in strenuous or increased physical activity and extreme diet plan if this is not already your norm

You have the power, the skills, the knowledge, the tools to make the best decisions for you and your life IN THIS MOMENT.

Lean on a friend. Recruit a spouse. Talk to a health coach.

Set goals. Work hard. Stay committed. Remain focused. Believe in your abilities. Trust in your team. Be kind to yourself.

 

Are you ready??

Yours in accountability,

Ariana xx

ENCOURAGEMENT!

Have you ever had one of those weekends (weeks? months?) when your healthy lifestyle has gone out the window?¬†You feel bloated. Your clothes don’t fit. Your energy is caput. And you are CRANKY.

How can you shake yourself out of the bad habits and back into healthy living?

Set those SMART Goals:

Weight goal – 5 pounds in 30 days? Doable.

Healthy eating goal – no cheese for 1 week? Doable.

Exercise days in a row goal – 30 minutes every other day? Doable. 30 minutes every day? Doable!

Reach your goal? Set new ones. Doable!

Grab a Partner in Health:

Having a friend or loved one working on their similar health goals as you will make it WAY EASIER to reach for the veggies, put on your sneakers, and join you at the gym. Hold each other accountable and reach those goals faster, stronger, and together.

Try something new:

Changing up your routine will make eating and exercising fun! Avoid exercise plateau by keeping your body guessing. *I highly recommend trying new exercises at studios or gyms where trained professionals can guide you safely.

Want to try being a pescatarian? Try it out! Want to see if those articles on dairy¬†intolerance¬†affect you? Try it out! Feeling sluggish and checking to see if gluten isn’t for you? Try it out!

Say Cheese:

Document your journey. In your favorite outfit, workout gear, bathing suit, take before pictures and weekly photos to SEE your commitment to yourself paying off. Now, I’m not saying you have to post your pictures for the social media world to see – if that’s your prerogative, go for it – but when you can literally see your transformation (brightening of your skin!) it can give¬†you the motivation you need¬†the¬†get that workout in, maintain¬†your healthy diet, and keep focused on your journey back to your optimal health.

BOOM.

Good luck getting back on track!

x, Ariana

 

Laughter is the Best Medicine

Welp, it’s the most wonderful¬†time of year again…the holiday bustle is in full swing, the stores are splitting at the seams with people, the travel plans are laid out, and the GERMS ARE FLYING!

As an elementary health and PE¬†teacher, I teach over 600 students a week. Each child cracks me up with their unique personalities: their sweetness, their sassiness, their silliness, and…their grossness. I adore my students. I do not adore the germs they spread through our school.

I try really hard to keep my immune system healthy!

  • Hot water with lemon and turmeric¬†each morning
  • 8 hours of sleep every night
  • Vitamins C and D3, probiotics
  • Regular exercise
  • Wash my hands ALL THE TIME
  • Healthy diet

No matter what preventative measures I take, I cannot seem to avoid getting a cold.¬†Sometimes my stress levels get too high, sometimes I stretch myself too thin for too long, sometimes I get lazy with my vitamin and herbal routine, and sometimes my body “just knows” that a holiday and break from routine¬†is coming up.

So what can you do about it when your nasal passages are so stuffed? When your head is pounding and your eyes are heavy? When your throat is scratchy and muscles are achy? Laugh.

Your body knows best. Your body is speaking to you. By getting sick, your immune system cannot keep up with the amount of pathogens in your body. Your body is screaming: Slow Down. Rest Up. RESET. 

Resetting gives you a chance to get back to basics in your health. Get back to basics in your life. Get back to basics with your family and friends. Resetting in turn helps you appreciate what you have.  Appreciate your body. Appreciate your family and friends. Appreciate your life.

So with a stuffy nose, heavy eyes, and a grateful heart, I wish you all a Happy and Healthy Thanksgiving!

Oh! And Magic Soup (make when you are feeling a cold coming on and the healing properties of the garlic and onion will lessen the symptoms of your viral infection)

  • 6 cups¬†broth: 4 cups low sodium chicken broth and 4 cups water
  • 2 cloves fresh garlic
  • 1 yellow onion
  • 1 stalk celery
  • 1 carrot
  • dash of cayenne or red pepper
    • chop the garlic, onion, celery, and carrot
    • add vegetables and cayenne to the broth
    • bring to a boil
    • GET BETTER

xoxo,

Ariana

“Waaaaaater’s GREAT! It’s really, really great!” -The Waterboy

There is not much better than a HUGE glass of water after an intense workout. Actually, I love water¬†anytime. I feel like I am in the minority of water-drinkers though! I want to help you change your mentality to an openness for loving water…

I have read many articles on the incredible health benefits of¬†drinking 1 gallon of water each day. Recently, I completed a monthlong “reset” cleanse and each day of the cleanse I had to consciously drink 1 gallon of water. Since my daily practices crept back to my normal, I see and FEEL different when I don’t drink¬†at least a gallon of water.

  • My skin: when I drink enough water throughout the day, my skin is tighter, those lovely dark circles under my eyes disappear, overall it’s less dry, I break out less!
  • Eating habits: when I consciously drink enough water, I don’t indulge¬†in mindless snacking! Our hypothalamus signals our body when¬†we are thirsty¬†and hungry. Oftentimes, we confuse the two signs, we eat or overeat, and could end up¬†dehydrating ourselves. This is a great article on identifying when to drink water:¬†Thirsty or Hungry?
  • Energy: when I have enough water, I have more energy! I admit I am a coffee, tea, and wine drinker, all of which dehydrate our bodies. I can reset and regain my natural energy when I have my beloved gallon of water throughout the day.

How can we make our water more enticing?¬†A lot of people I consult¬†about the importance of water say the same thing “I don’t like the taste!” Well, as the woman who basically has a salad in her water on a daily basis, here are my go-tos for fancy, colorful, delicious water. *Note: I infuse my water in BPA-free plastic bottles, glass bottles, and ceramic pitchers. Avoid stainless steel for infused water.

  • Lemon water: a classic combination that boosts the immune system, reduces inflammation by removing uric acid in the joints, aids digestion, and freshens breath!
  • Cucumber water: a refreshing combo with many health benefits! Cucumbers¬†are a hydrating food with antioxidant properties, adds natural vitamins and minerals to your diet, lowers blood pressure, and curbs your appetite.
  • Mint water: a fresh combination that has physical and mental calming properties.
  • Combination of the three aforementioned is my favorite!

You will gain all of the health benefits of infused water when you use whole, fresh, natural fruits and herbs. Find your favorite combination of infused water and you will easily reach your new goal of 1 gallon of water a day!

legally-approved-water
Image by GlassDharma

Challenge yourselves:

Keep a journal on your 1 gallon or water journey! Note how you look and feel before you begin your challenge. Take pictures to really SEE the difference.

Drink 1 gallon of water each day for at least 7 days and watch your face and body transform.

Wishing you well!

xo, Ariana