Oftentimes, stress is more about mindset than situation. Two different people in the same situation might have completely different reactions - one might become crippled by stress, and the other might thrive. The difference is in their reaction to the situation, not in the situation itself. In life, we have very little control over what happens to us. The difference between those who thrive and those who fall victim to overwhelming stress is mindset - stress is mental. It is not a monster, it is just your thoughts - and constantly stressing over a situation which one has no control of in the moment does nothing to change the situation, but only to decrease your own happiness and wellbeing.
In our current society, negativity and complaining are so normalized, most people do not realize that your thoughts ARE your reality. The negative spiral encourages the growth of stress.
Try adding these 6 steps to minimize STRESS to your daily routine:
Put your problems into perspective.
Are the issues you are dealing with really going to matter in 5 years? Maybe yes, maybe no. Often, the issues we stress over are small in the long run. When you look back, how insignificant will they seem? Remind yourself of this.
Spend time, at LEAST 15 minutes a day, losing yourself in an activity you love (reading, painting, music, running, baking, etc.). You know those times in life when you are so concentrated on something that time seems to stop, and not even a tornado could break your concentration? When you are so intuitively involved in what you are doing, that the rest of your life is just a blur in the back of your mind. For me it is cooking with my music pumping in the background. For others it might be painting, or reading, or playing a musical instrument. This mental stimulation is so important for personal contentment and well being. Start building it into your daily routine, and watch your life transform as you start to finally spend time on yourself.
It is hard to be negative when you are expressing gratitude for what IS going well in your life. Start to focus on recognizing your negative thought patterns. When you can consciously recognize your negative thoughts, acknowledge them and remind yourself of 10 things you are GRATEFUL for, you have enough time to FEEL the gratitude. Most of us are not used to looking for the good in life, because it is so easy to focus on what is wrong or what is difficult. Try writing down 10 things you are grateful for in the notes of your phone or a notebook daily. Gratitude is such an easy, underutilized tool to battle stress and create a balanced, blissful life and mental mindset.
This is self explanatory. Everyone knows that 7-9 hours are necessary for overall health. Make it happen. A tired, overworked mind is a perfect environment for the cultivation of anxious and negative thoughts.
Indulge in a much deserved break.
It is important to reset every once and awhile, and remind yourself of who you are. Sometimes stress centers around a separation between our values and goals, and the way we are actually living our lives. Break away from your everyday routine. Get out of your bubble, leave your comfort zone, do something that means something to you. Do not be afraid to spend a few hours, or even a few days, by yourself. Remind yourself of who you are and what is most important to you, and spend time focusing on how you can live a life that aligns with your values. It is not selfish, in fact it’s the opposite. You cannot be a good mother, friend, daughter, employee or wife if you don't spend time focusing on being at peace with yourself.
And I mean real laughter, the uncontrollable kind. Nothing battles stress like a good bout of belly laughs. It is nearly impossible to be stressed, or to even think of anything related to your anxieties, when you are caught up in side-pinching, overwhelmingly joyous laughter. Everyone has those friends or family members who bring out the belly laughs. Give them a phone call. Spend 20 minutes watching your favorite comedian. Laugh.
If you can consciously prioritize your mental well being and make time to release the stress in your life - you will be surprised how easily you can control it :)
Some of you might wince a little when you hear the term "self-love". Well... we STILL want to talk about it because we know that without self-love, it is practically impossible to ENJOY LIFE FULLY (if you haven't already heard, our mission here at KULAvie is to help women learn how to enjoy life fully : ).
Have you ever found yourself lamenting your own body?
“Do I look fat in these jeans???”
“I need to get rid of these thighs!”
“I wish I had flat abs like hers... I hate this flabby belly!”
This kind of negative self talk is everywhere. So much so, that it is totally normal to hear us complain to each other about how awful we look. And it’s hurting us!
In our current society, it is difficult NOT to have insecurities. Perfection is everywhere - and it is unattainable.
Language is extraordinarily powerful. And it is not just the words we speak out loud. We have up to 70,000 thoughts a day, and the majority of these are negative.
What most of us don’t realize is that this negative talk leads to further insecurities, along with lowered self-esteem and confidence. What’s worse, it drains our spirit! What you think and say, you begin to believe--it becomes your reality. So why is it so difficult to change our thoughts and words?
These days, we get so caught up with perfecting how we look, and place SO much value on extrinsic factors. Challenge yourself to start putting that energy into improving the intrinsic factors that make the biggest impact on your life and the lives of those around you - because no one is going to remember your new hair, makeup, or outfit in twenty years, but they will remember the kindness and love you showed them. And this starts with loving yourself first.
4 Steps to Help You Deepen Self-love
1. UNPLUG - Say No to Perfectionism:
Start with spending 30 minutes a day completely unplugged from technology. Social media sucks us in. It tells us lies about where we should be in life, what we should be doing, and what we should look like. Take that extra half hour to watch the sunrise, rather than scrolling aimlessly through Instagram or Facebook. Don’t let society dictate your life…and the first step toward this goal is creating space to unplug.
2. Stop Picking Your Body Apart:
Learn to appreciate and love your body for what it does for you, not for what it looks like. Your body is an incredibly amazing apparatus. Take a moment each day to appreciate your strong legs for allowing you to walk and run, your nimble hands for allowing you to write, and your able eyes for allowing you to see the beauty all around you. When you begin to truly appreciate the incredible things your body does for you, it becomes impossible to hate it.
3. Write Down Twenty-five things You Appreciate About Yourself:
Yes, twenty-five! It is easy for our friends and family to see all of the wonderful qualities in us, yet it is so difficult for us to see these qualities in ourselves. Write a note listing all of the things you love about yourself. Is it your awesome sense of humor? Or the way you exude empathy? Try adding one thing to this list everyday. It is absolutely essential to understand and appreciate your value on your journey to enjoying life fully. And loving yourself starts with liking yourself and all of your unique qualities.
4. Listen to Your Inner Critic, and Then Say Goodbye:
You cannot change your life if you do not change the way you think first. The first step is to hear and acknowledge your own negative thoughts. Spend time alone simply being present and mindful. If you don’t spend time recognizing your thought patterns, it will be impossible to change them.
Practice mindfulness. It’s not as scary or difficult as it sounds. No, you don’t need to meditate for hours! Paying direct attention to the present moment, and your own thoughts and feelings, increases mental well-being and contentment. Becoming more present can help you to understand and become one with yourself. Notice the way you talk to yourself. No one is, or ever would dare to be, as cruel to us as ourselves. Speak to yourself kindly and gently. Take a few minutes a day when you wake up and before you go to bed, to sit in silence and be mindful.
These 4 steps can not only increase your self love, but also your overall satisfaction and happiness with life. And isn't that what we all yearn for?
Enjoy life fully!
Kami & Kira
PS. We'll be announcing another Fall Getaway next week - WHOO HOO!!! And we've been spending a bit more time on Pinterest these days. Don't forget to follow us (after your UNPLUG time).
Is Getting into Your Spring Wardrobe Making Your CRINGE?
It’s Kami here from KULAvie. Kira, our wonderful yoga instructor, kayak guide and writer extraordinaire, is out on the river ENJOYING LIFE FULLY.
It’s SPRING! It’s time to take off those winter layers, get out the shorts and put on your sandals – I am already wearing my flip flops :). Even though we are all grateful for spring’s longer days, beautiful flowers and warm weather, many of us are cringing at the thought of showing a little more skin and are tempted to jump onto one of the many infamous fad diets in hopes of losing the winter weight and feeling more comfortable in our own skin.
So much of my time as an Integrative Nutrition Coach is spent reversing the damage that diets do to the women who work with me. With the looming temptation to start a Keto Diet, a Raw Food Diet, the HCG Diet or Fasting… each promising to be THE SOLUTION – your shortcut to a thinner, healthier you, I’d like to ask you to take a deep BREATH and slow down for a moment before stepping back onto the dieting roller coaster.
BALANCE is something that we all strive for.
We lose it when we’re working too much and “don’t have time for” our families, our friends, our passions, and ourselves. We lose it when we have too much time on our hands and get lost in the thoughts created in our head. We lose it when we get fixated on developing one part of who we are, instead of honoring the wholeness within us.
The truth is, if all of us took one moment to step back and look at the bigger picture, there is always time to incorporate key aspects of balance into our lives. The little things go a long way.
Here are 5 things you can do RIGHT NOW to create a more balanced life:
1. Meditate for 3 minutes.
Quieting the mind is becoming more and more difficult in today’s society in which we fall into being “plugged in” electronically all the time. Unplug every morning for at least 3 minutes. Sit and breathe. Focus on your breath and expanding it to its fullest potential. That’s all! This practice clears the mind of clutter, trains focus, and will make your whole day more efficient, enjoyable and BALANCED.
2. Eat or drink your greens.
When you choose to nourish yourself with greens you may naturally crowd out foods with little or no nutritional value. Greens are high in many essential vitamins and minerals that contribute to healthy intestinal flora, a strengthened immune system, improved circulation, liver, gallbladder and kidney function. Strive to have some form of greens with every meal (mix into a smoothie or serve raw, saute, grill, bake or blanch).
3. Swap judgments for observations.
This will make your life much easier, and open up time and energy that would have been allocated to the stress judgments cause. Practice observing yourself and others without judgement. The truth is, we have no idea what is going on with other people, and what their experience is, or has been. If we operate assuming that everyone (including you) is doing the best they can with right where they are and what they have been given, everything is more joyful. While judgement creates an atmosphere of discomfort and setback, observation creates an opportunity to learn and grow.
4. Check off one small, specific goal every day in an area that is important to you,but usually gets pushed aside.
Be mindful of your body, mind, and soul every day. There is a rewarding feeling of accomplishment in checking off a goal, and the only way things get done is to do them. This could be in the realms of email mom, bring in banana bread to Monday meeting for co-workers, go to yoga class, set up wine date with girls, or write that job application!
5. Say “Good morning,” “Good night,” and “I love you” every day.
To clarify, this is literally taking a breath and saying these things to your day. If you have a family, housemates or a significant other, definitely include them- these little things do wonders for relationships. The most important aspect is taking one moment to pause, check in and fully enjoy the meaning of these words.
Appreciate the process, Enjoy Balance, and Happy Spring!
Kira & Kami
How do we deal with political depression? With emotions of Fear? Anxiety? Anger?
First of all, when confronted with any challenge or sensation of discomfort no matter what it is, our most valuable tool is to return to our breath. BREATHE. Deepening the breath helps clear the mind, shed stress, find peace in where we are, and feel where to take our next step. Visualizing something calm and tranquil, such as a rippling mountain creek, can be a positive tool to politically detox your mind.
Note, this doesn't mean: check out and only meditate your way through difficult times. Breathing and positive visualization are rather tools to ground yourself in a foundation for substantial ACTION instead of emotional reaction.
Be MINDFUL of your values and why you are flooded with emotions. Return to the roots of those values, as well as love, equality, and the interconnectedness of all humans and nature. This will motivate you to make your voice heard and ACT for these fundamentals. There is strength in community, unity, engagement and persistence.
LISTEN and LEARN about alternative viewpoints and where they stem from. We are all human and have different experiences that shape our worldview. Try to imagine the positive intention behind the alternative perspective. We must seek to understand before we seek to be understood. ‘Go high,’ even when it's straight up hard to not retaliate down low.
EDUCATE YOURSELF about movements and leaders you admire… Gandhi, Martin Luther King … Recognize qualities of persistence, resilience, and patience.
REACH OUT in community. Misinformation and fear appear to be huge sources of confusion in today’s America, so get out there and engage and educate in YOUR LOCAL COMMUNITY. Join a Big Brother Big Sister mentorship program, make a new friend, STEP OUTSIDE OF COMFORTABLE and simply grow and glow into a brighter light that others respect and look up to- it's simple: BE YOU in an extended community.
DON’T BE CONSUMED. Take a break from it all every day. If you let it consume the entirety of your conversations and time with family, friends, and colleagues, you will lose a crucial sense of joy in your life and yourself. Don't do that.
LISTEN TO MICHAEL. ‘I'm looking at the (wo)man in the mirror.’ As your mama told you ‘Life isn't fair.’ This is not going to be easy, but consider every day an opportunity to connect with a PURPOSE greater than yourself and act for that purpose.
BREATHE. AGAIN. By breathing, we are able to reconnect with that which is important. What's important is worth fighting for, over and over again. You are STRONG and you are growing stronger EVERY DAY. We’re with you!
Kira & Kami
January Enjoy Life Newsletter
Such a simple word and simple concept.
It is often said that “The greatest gift you can give yourself is to give to others.”
To harness our talents, passions, and strengths to contribute to the well-being of others with no expectation of receiving anything in return, is sincerely a feeling unmatched by any others: it’s called happiness.
Educating ourselves about, being involved with, and giving to organizations that make the world a better place is most certainly goal-worthy. But, beyond this big-picture community giving, notice that oftentimes (especially after the holidays), we forget to give to those closest to us.
It is so easy to take the good right in front of us for granted. Saying, “Good morning,” “I love you,” and “Cheers” with complete presence to those that we are lucky enough to have in our daily lives often gets overlooked. The holidays are typically a time to remember and re-vamp this presence, and the new year a time to commit to making this presence, appreciation, and giving to our loved ones an honored daily practice.
At KULAvie, we make an effort to give without expectation in our day to day lives and beyond. Every KULAvie experience includes a donation to a partner nonprofit whose work we celebrate, appreciate and want to support. See our list of partner nonprofits here.
We are not perfect givers, or lovers, or mothers, or daughters, or workers, or friends. Rather we are perfectly imperfect, beautifully human. With this gorgeous mess, we recognize that where any one of us places our intention grows accordingly. So, we’re placing our intention for 2017 on one word: Give.
Thank You all so much for your generosity in giving us laughs, adventures, and namastes. We look forward to many more to come!
Happy New Year!
Kira & Kami
Some of us feel an excited, warm glow as soon as we see the first tree lights go up on Main Street, and some of us take a deep breath and say to ourselves “You'll make it through this.”
The holidays are bright, beautiful and bizarre. They hold an amazing opportunity to gather family and friends to rejoice and celebrate the abundance in our lives. They can also be a time when we feel overwhelming pressure, expectation, and even loss.
If this holiday season highlights joy for you: Spread it. Live it. Love it. Be infectious. Be patient. Be grateful. Feel every bit of it, and notice the sensation so that you can carry it with you in the times that do not sparkle as much.
However, if during this holiday season you look around and are chin deep in a muck of stress, disappointment and worries that you're disappointing others:
Know you're not alone.
Know that you are loved.
Know that you are enough.
Know that you are worthy.
Take a moment to reflect on 5 positives in your life.
If you find yourself taking a comparative inventory resulting in a long list of what you do not have in your life over the holidays:
Take a break.
Seek a little silence.
Explore the opportunity to practice focusing, noticing, and appreciating everything good IN you.
Maitri is the Buddhist practice of developing loving-kindness for oneself. Google it. Essentially, we are all human, and with this comes all parts of being human, the light and the dark. If we can learn to non-judgmentally and compassionately look at and love every part of ourselves, then loving others non-judgmentally and compassionately is easier.
So, focus on being compassionate, loving and grateful for YOURSELF this Holiday season. That compassion, love and gratitude will shine out to all!
Happy Holidays from Kami & Kira at KULAvie!
Congratulations: YOU MADE IT TO OCTOBER!
While it may seem odd to take a moment to reflect back on September, sometimes learning about external circumstances on life comes after the fact. We do not know how all the stars align in the dark night sky until we take a step back and see constellations. The light and the dark glow to make the most beautiful, indescribable magic together as a whole.
So, let’s talk stars… Astrology is defined as “the study of the movements and relative positions of celestial bodies interpreted as having an influence on human affairs and the natural world.” Whether or not you are a believer, non-believer, or somewhere in between, it is fun to simply learn about this noticing and interpretation of that which we have no control over, that which is out there and that which beautifully surrounds us whether or not we can see it.
Mercury was in retrograde from August 30th- September 22nd. You may be thinking “What the fudge does that mean flower child?” or you may be thinking, “Oh Golly! That’s why everything in my life seemed to be hitting the why is nothing going right and this sucks and I’m confused button” over and over again (yes, you may not have said “fudge” in the moment- we didn’t either). Mercury retrograde alludes to the fact that the relative speeds of different planets’ orbits are different, and so 3-4 times a year, it appears that the planet mercury is slowing down or even going backwards simply because other planets are “catching up with it.”
In astrology, mercury is the planet that “rules communication, clear thinking, truth and travel” and so, according to New York Times featured astrologist Gala Darling, “when the planet goes retrograde — which means that it looks like it's going backwards in the sky — all those things go backwards. They start to get ugly and tangle up.”
Mercury retrograde obviously shouldn’t be used as a scapegoat or as a dreaded expectation of what’s to come, but, if it resonates with you even a little bit, it is said that one should avoid making big decisions and starting new projects. It is recommended to reconnect with old friends, finish up loose ends of things we have started, and double check travel plans.
While mercury retrograde can be daunting, Gala points out, “It is providing us with a chance to re-examine various areas of our life that may need a little more work, so that we can move forward to a bright new dawn.”
So, welcome to the dawn!!! Sunrises are sensational, and so are the bright and dark parts of the sky. Happy October from KULAvie and never stop following the stars.
“Survival Tips” for Mercury Retrograde from Gala Darling and Refinery 29
Note: Mercury retrograde is said to most affect Geminis and Virgos
And… the next mercury retrograde starts December 19th. You got it! In being aware and having tools, we can become and maintain our best even when “the stars and planets are not in favor”.
Kira & Kami
September is a time of transition. In moments at the end of August in Idaho, you can feel change as the hillsides turn brown and the rivers drop to a trickle. There’s a noticeable sense that time has passed… the brilliant wild flowers, the hot days on mountain lakes, the cool cocktails under warm night skies are gone for the year- it can be… strange or even a bit unsettling.
Then, September graciously and goldenly arrives. Suddenly, nostalgia for summer disappears into an excitement and welcoming of cooler days, wearing long pants and warm scarves, drinking pumpkin spice anythings, and cuddling up with a good book and a cup of hot tea.
As we all transition into the golden glow of September, it’s helpful to have simple and sweet tools to ease and make the best of whatever this transition means to you. Aromatherapy is a great tool to have in your toolbox.
Here are some of our favorites to slide into your bath, add to a spray bottle of water and use as an air freshener, or dab onto your beautiful skin*:
Lavender: Relieves tension, stress, insomnia and anxiety as well as helps balance emotions and moods. It is also associated with improving memory.Yes please to all of that.
Added benefit: Additionally, lavender is an antiseptic and antibacterial and can be used on stings and burns to cool pain and bring blood flow to the affected areas to aid in healing- so it’s good to have around!
Peppermint: Increases alertness and concentration. In this time of change, peppermint can help us to focus while setting and achieving goals. Remember to keep the enjoyment of the journey in mind when choosing goals. Focus and work on something meaningful to us is part of a healthy and fulfilling life balance.
Added benefit: Peppermint is also associated with aiding digestion and coughs, and can be used as an insect repellent- something to keep in mind for next summer…
Ylang-Ylang: Sedates the nervous system, while simultaneously stimulating the circulatory system. Ylang-Ylang is helpful in relieving anxiety and tearfulness, and is especially useful in times of irritation and anger. We all cry, and that’s ok! If you’re feeling tearful, let it out, inhale some Ylang-Ylang and laugh… we are lucky, life is beautiful in the strangest ways.
Added benefit: Ylang-Ylang is an aphrodisiac and increases the production of endorphins (it is often used with women in labor… I guess one thing can lead to another with the Ylang-Ylang… cuidado :)!!)
*Please note that some individuals are allergic to certain essential oils, aromas and plant extracts, so be sure to know yourself and act safely and accordingly.
Kira & Kami
All material and information presented by KULAvie is intended to be used for educational purposes only. The statements made about essential oils have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The information in this newsletter is not intended to treat, cure, or prevent any condition or disease. Please consult with your physician or healthcare practitioner before making changes to your diet, exercise routine, or lifestyle
Let’s be real: it’s a bittersweet reality. The good, the bad, the discomfort, the euphoria... they are all scenery that we are immersed in while passing through on our journey downstream.
Every moment, we have a choice to be immersed and engaged with what is right in front of us. In noticing impermanence, a sense of gratitude emerges. A child is never going to be the same age again, a loved one could be gone tomorrow. When we wake up each morning, it is our choice to recognize that we are never going to have the chance to live this day again, so no matter how seemingly routine or new any given day is, it is up to us to revel in it.
Living life as though it is constant instead of finite takes away its greatest joys.
There can be a sense of sadness that those moments of magic are exactly that: magic and momentary, and there is a sense of relief that those moments of discomfort are exactly that: uncomfortable and momentary. But, there is a reality of peace and beauty in the big picture of it all, the zooming out, the groundedness of past, present and future being fluid and bursting with gifts.
All that is now, will not last forever. So, smile, cry, laugh, and ultimately, be grateful.
Setting simple morning intentions helps you prioritize what is most important in your life and find gratitude each and every day.
Click here to download your KULAvie Morning Intentions Page.
Kira & Kami