Tag Archives: healthy living

Nurse Boss-a blog series for nurses

Welcome to the 7th installment of Nurse Boss. A blog series dedicated to nurses.

I was guided to create this series after a spark of creativity within my soul felt that it would help thousands of nurses.

My hope is that these interviews will ignite a spark in you or stir your inner landscape in a way that propels you to dream big and go after what it is that you desire in life and career.

A Nurse Boss is a nurse who has created a lifestyle that aligns their passion with their natural gifts and energy style in a way that helps others while also honoring their own body, mind, and soul. A nurse boss walks their talk and they are open to receive the abundance that is theirs.  

I would like to introduce Lorisa Leigh. Our paths crossed on social media and I absolutely love her story and what she has been able to overcome. Let the inspiration begin……….

Nurse-Boss-Lorisa-Leigh

1.What are you doing now?

I’m a Nutrition & Lifestyle Coach who helps busy entrepreneurial and professional women lose weight for good, amp up energy, and build a healthy life style so they can excel in life and business.

I also still work as a registered nurse in a high traffic ICU.

      2. Did you always have the desire to do what you are doing now or did someone or something create a spark in you that made you realize this was your calling?

No, I didn’t. There wasn’t just one incident that created this new business move for me. It has been a combination of things. For one, when I met my now husband he was vegan and really pushed me to start doing some research on our typical American diet so I read a few books which really got me thinking. Also, working in the ICU, seeing a lot of tragic events happen everyday, opened my eyes to the fact that a lot of these diseases could be prevented through different life style modifications along with diet. There is a missing link in our healthcare system, and we are not doing enough to prevent or totally eliminate the progression of disease. Third, at the age of 27 I was diagnosed with cancer (that I no longer have) which made living my healthiest life possible a life or death situation for me. Because of this diagnosis I’ve learned so much and have changed my life and diet to the point that I feel the best I have ever felt heading into my 30th year that I want every one to feel just as great.

     3. Why is nursing a great launchpad for nurses who want to create their own lifestyle doing what they love?

Nursing is one profession that has a combination of professions in one, which in turn gives us a lot of skills.  I mean really, just think about all the stuff we do and have to deal with on any given day. We constantly work under pressure, save lives, and multitask like crazy. And then have to go home and deal with our own lives. Perfect recipe for entrepreneurship… If you can be a nurse you can be anything.

     4. What is the ultimate characteristic of a nurse boss?

I’d say persistence. That’s for any boss really. The person who continues to try despite failures and let downs always wins in the end. And to be a boss you have to be persistent, because there will be a lot of falls.

     5. What was the biggest obstacle you’ve faced to get to where you are now? How were you able to overcome it.

 

My biggest obstacle was actually believing that I could do it. I mean you have hopes and dreams. But to truly believe that what you want in life is yours without a shadow of a doubt can get hard. So working on my mindset and staying motivated by reading and listen to people like Joel Olsteen, Eric Thomas, and Napoleon Hill has really helped me along the way. Also surrounding myself with positive people who are also striving to do bigger things in their life is a must.

     6. What does your current  job allow you to do that traditional nursing did not?

My current business allows me to work with wonderful women who are ready to take their health into there own hands and live life to the full. I love that the people I work with actually want to be there, doing the work because they know it will benefit them in the long run. I get to celebrate the wins with them, which brings me a lot of joy. I also love the fact that I do not have to work holidays, or night shift. And it also gives me a space to be creative and decide how I want my business to run.

     7. For nurses who feel stuck in their careers what words of wisdom do you have to help inspire them to break out of their status quo.

If you feel stuck and want much more out of life then please listen to your intuition. If you are feeling this way, then this feeling was given to you for a reason. Do something with it and turn that into your reality. I know you may have no clue how to even get started, but you don’t need to know all that right now. All you need to know is where do you see yourself in the future. For example, I knew that I wanted to open up a private practice as an NP that helped people get off their medications, as opposed to prescribing more (if appropriate). I had no idea how I was going to make this happen, but it’s happening now. The right people and information will be supplied to you if you push yourself toward your goal. I’m not an NP, and I don’t help people get off their medications per say, but I do have my own health coaching practice that is helping women live a healthier life style that they love. Again all you need to do is have the thought. Concentrate on that thought each day and take baby steps toward it each day. Baby steps lead to huge changes.

     8. What resources can you share nurses wanting to explore creating their own gig that actually pays them?

Honestly, search within yourself. What are some of the things you love to do the most? When you get this find a way that you can combine that with the skills you already have from your nursing career. If it’s something you truly love, and are persistent at you will make money from it.

Now for fun:

     9. What book or publication is currently on your nightstand?

I’m listening to most of my books these days and right now it’s Think and Grow Rich for Women by Sharon Lechter.

     10. If you could only eat one food for the rest of your life what would it be?

Sweet potatoes for sure…. I once ate so many sweet potatoes and carrots one summer my palms turned orange. Crazy I know.

     11. How can we get in touch with you?

My website is Live FREE and I also have a YouTube channel Lorisa Leigh

Email: [email protected] , come and say hello to me. I love to chat.

 

Nurse Boss-a blog series for nurses

Welcome to the 6th installment of Nurse Boss. A blog series dedicated to nurses.

I was guided to create this series after a spark of creativity within my soul felt that it would help thousands of nurses.

My hope is that these interviews will ignite a spark in you or stir your inner landscape in a way that propels you to dream big and go after what it is that you desire in life and career.

A Nurse Boss is a nurse who has created a lifestyle that aligns their passion with their natural gifts and energy style in a way that helps others while also honoring their own body, mind, and soul. A nurse boss walks their talk and they are open to receive the abundance that is theirs.  

I would like to introduce my sixth Nurse Boss, Donni Alvarenga. She is a nurse and certified health coach. You’ll never guess that we met on LinkedIN!! I love her story because it resonates with so many seeking a better way to live. She desired a change in herself, so she made it happen. Now, she is helping others do the same.

donni-before-after-Lu

  1. What are you doing now?

I now help people do what they never imagined possible, whether that means coming off of Diabetes medications, fitting into a wedding band that has not fit for 10 years, being able to make a living working from home, or generating enough income to quit a job one hates.  I run my own Wellness and Business Coaching practice.

  1. Did you always have the desire to do what you are doing now or did someone or something create a spark in you that made you realize this was your calling?

My experience as an oncology nurse helped me realize that helping people was not enough for me.  I did not want to help people simply survive.  I wanted to help people thrive.  It took me 13 years of nursing to finally figure out how to make a living while living out my calling.

  1. Why is nursing a great launchpad for nurses who want to create their own lifestyle doing what they love?

Nurses have so much value to offer the world!  Between their expertise in healthcare and their resourcefulness, nurses can build upon their skills to do anything they put their mind to.

  1. What is the ultimate characteristic of a nurse boss?

A nurse boss lives life around what matters most to them.  They first know what is most important, and they know how to finance their life in a way where their schedule is dictated by what is most important to them, and not by a paycheck or other boss.

  1. What was the biggest obstacle you’ve faced to get to where you are now? How were you able to overcome it?

The biggest obstacle was my own mind.  My thoughts kept getting in the way.  I always thought I never wanted to run my own business because I wanted job security and benefits.  How did I overcome my own thoughts? By reading books and connecting with people that have what I want, I was able to change the way I thought.  My perspective shifted.  After my husband has been laid off twice, I learned there is no job security in trusting my career to someone else.  I find more security in my ability to do whatever it takes to provide for my family than I do in trusting someone else to do whatever it takes to protect my position and ability to provide for my family.  I also realized that the benefits of owning my own time far outweigh any benefits an employer could offer me.    

  1. What does your current  job allow you to do that traditional nursing did not?

Help people get healthy.  As an oncology nurse at the bedside, I was expected to help people get healthy ENOUGH to get them out of the hospital.  As an outpatient oncology nurse, I was expected to keep patients healthy ENOUGH so they would not be admitted to the hospital.  Healthy “enough” was never healthy enough for me.  I had heard and read that was possible for chronic diseases to be reversed through lifestyle, however in 13 years of nursing experience, I had never seen it in real life.   Within 2 weeks as a health coach, I had my first client have her Diabetes medications reduced.  In addition to seeing people come off of blood pressure, diabetes, and cholesterol medications every month now, I also get to hear stories of how people are thriving now.  I have one client that lost 165 lb and was able to go caving in Iceland.  She said that she would never have fit in the caves had she not lost the weight.  Stories like that validate my passion for helping people thrive, not just survive.    

  1. For nurses who feel stuck in their careers what words of wisdom do you have to help inspire them to break out of their status quo.

There IS a reality that is different from the one you see.  You might feel stuck because you don’t see any alternatives.  That’s because you are inside a box and you can’t see beyond the ledge.  Find people that are living outside the box, people that are living the life you want and ask them if they see a different perspective.  If you can’t meet those people, read their books.  Become intentional about surrounding yourself with people and thoughts that see possibilities and not obstacles.  Feed your mind with what you want and avoid those that belittle what you want.

  1. What resources can you share nurses wanting to explore creating their own gig that actually pays them?

Me.  I am passionate about empowering nurses to find more flexibility, purpose, and balance in what they do for a living.  I am not interested in “inspiring.”  I am passionate about EMPOWERING nurses with the tools they need to make it happen.  All of those qualities (flexibility, purpose, and balance) are fueled by the ability to finance their life.  Money, and income, is a basic necessity.  Without that, most people do not find flexibility, purpose, and balance.  I offer free business coaching services to those that use the tools I recommend.  The audience I can help include:  nurses that are interested in utilizing their nursing skills working from home, that have a passion for wellness, or that have an entrepreneurial mind but not sure how to build a business that can generate the kind of income to meet all their needs.

Now for fun:

  1. What book or publication is currently on your nightstand?

Strategic Acceleration by Tony Jeary

  1. If you could only eat one food for the rest of your life what would it be?

If I could eat one food and never worry about the health or weight consequences, it would be Mango Key Lime pie.

  1. How can we get in touch with you?

LinkedIn: Donni Alvarenga

Twitter

Donni’s Blog

FaceBook

Email: [email protected]

Phone: 321-285-6643

 

 

 

 

Nurse Boss-a blog series for nurses

Welcome to the 2nd installment of Nurse Boss. A blog series dedicated to nurses.

I was guided to create this series after a spark of creativity within my soul felt that it would help thousands of nurses.

My hope is that these interviews will ignite a spark in you or stir your inner landscape in a way that propels you to dream big and go after what it is that you desire in life and career.

A Nurse Boss is a nurse who has created a lifestyle that aligns their passion with their natural gifts and energy style in a way that helps others while also honoring their own body, mind, and soul. A Nurse Boss walks their talk and they are open to receive the abundance that is theirs.

Allow me to introduce Lydia Romero-Johnson. Lydia is an amazing woman, whom I befriended in business school, aka “B school.” B school is Marie Forleo’s online school for entrepreneurs who want to learn how to take their businesses online. Check Marie out here:  Marie Lydia is a nurse and has an entrepreneurial spirit. Our connection was sealed with that and we became fast friends. I am delighted to share her real life experience, vulnerability and awesome with you.

image1

  1. What are you doing now?

I am working as an RN in an outpatient psychiatric day hospital. It’s called a PHP, partial hospitalization program. I support patients with various psychiatric diagnoses. I educate them about their diagnosis and teach them positive and healthy ways of coping with it by implementing everyday stress management techniques.

I have started my own health coaching business, Lydia Romero Johnson, LLC. I provide support and coaching for women struggling with chronic health issues. Through our work together, women remember that it is okay to thrive, not just survive or get by in life.

  1. Did you always have the desire to do what you are doing now or did someone or something create a spark in you that made you realize this was your calling?

I knew I always wanted to help people, but I didn’t know in what way. I had a lot of family members, including myself, with health issues, which eventually drew me into nursing. I did have a lot of doubt about this decision. I didn’t think I could pull it off, as I knew it would be a huge responsibility. It took me a long time to really commit to this career decision, but once I did, I loved it. It felt natural to me!

I didn’t know what specialty I wanted to go into, but I knew I wanted to do something that would allow me to connect to the whole well-being of the person. I started working in the local health department, and found that wasn’t the right fit. I tried being a neonatal intensive care nurse, but that wasn’t a good fit either. The nights and rotations were not conducive to my desire for a balanced work and family life. I saw a position at an out-patient psychiatric hospital and remembered how much I enjoyed my psych rotation in nursing school.

I always felt that it was important for people to talk about their thoughts, feelings, and emotional state. I noticed a lot of people tend to avoid these topics! Anyway, as soon as I started working there, I felt like it was the right environment. I have been there for five and a half years. It’s great to see the progress of the patients who come in feeling hopeless and depressed and then leave with hope and the skills needed to cope with their symptoms and function in their daily lives. It feels great to make such a huge impact on these patients and I work with a great team.

In regards to my health coaching business, I knew that I needed to share what I’ve learned on my journey to health. I greatly improved my health and that motivated me to learn more. The spark was lit!!  I wanted to be able teach others how they can help themselves heal. That’s why I started my education at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition to become a certified health coach. Promoting a holistic approach to health and life is important to me.

        3.Why is nursing a great launchpad for nurses who want to create their own        lifestyle doing what they love?

Nursing has so many specialties, which gives you many options. If you want to work with patients in mental health, run groups, and give support and teach coping skills, you can do that. If you want to work in a hospital and assist in surgery, you can do that. If you want to do outreach in the community, reduce risk for infection, teach, or promote health in schools, you can do that too. There are so many options and a wide range of shifts that you can find the right fit for your lifestyle. You can also start your own business!! That’s some cool stuff. I didn’t always think it was possible, but now I know that it is.

  1. What is the ultimate characteristic of a nurse boss?

A nurse boss has to have confidence, because if you don’t have confidence you’ll be spending every day with a lot of doubt, which can hinder your career and also impact those around you. Confidence is a tool that allows you to move forward, to see your potential and the potential of those around you.

  1. What was the biggest obstacle you’ve faced to get to where you are now? How were you able to overcome it.

I have struggled with confidence. It is a huge responsibility to care for people, and I had a lot of doubt that I could do that, and I didn’t know how I could become a nurse. My dad had a 9th grade education and my mom graduated high school, and being a nurse meant going to college. That scared me. I remember thinking, “really, can I do that?” I had this asking permission stage where I kept questioning my ability. At the time I was working in retail and I was at a point where I had nothing to gain in the job and there was nothing left to give, and something kept speaking to me, telling me I had to try nursing. I had to tell myself it was going to be scary, but in order to grow and to get to the next level of where I wanted to be in life I knew I had to try it. So, I used that desire to push past my discomfort and in the process I gained confidence.  Again, with nursing, there are so many options, and with these options I embraced the holistic lifestyle that enabled me to be more confident.

  1. What does your current job allow you to do that traditional nursing did not?

For me, traditional nursing which involved twelve hour shifts was near impossible. Doing a twelve hour shift and getting off work just as my kids were heading to school or rushing from work so I wouldn’t miss my kid’s birthday party didn’t fit with my lifestyle. I also had to be mindful of my health struggles, and my current job allows me a better work-home life balance. I always felt I had a high emotional intelligence and that I was very empathic. My current job allows me to use those skills to help my patients. I am able to connect with the patients and support them in what is a vulnerable, scary, dark time in their lives. The average stay for a patient is about two weeks, which allows me to see their improvement. I love that! Between doing that and working on my business, it allows me to support the whole person: mind and body and spirit.

  1. For nurses who feel stuck in their careers what words of wisdom do you have to help inspire them to break out of their status quo?

My words of wisdom are that you always have options. It may not always feel like it, but you do. Sometimes it takes going completely outside of your comfort zone to live your dreams, but you are worth it!

  1. What resources can you share to nurses wanting to explore creating their own gig that actually pays them?

B-School created by Marie Forleo was a great resource for me. It is a community of mostly women, with a few men who are looking to make their own way.  Whether you are an artist, writer, massage therapist, or a nurse, B-School helps those who are trying to use those knowledge based skills. They support you and help guide you through how you can package your assets and share it with the world. If offers lots of support, guidance, and heart-centered networking. B-School is where you learn to create a business and life that you love.

My other recommendation is the Institute for Integrative Nutrition (IIN). Their training provides a holistic approach for health and wellness. Primary Food is a big part of their teachings. The Primary Food concept is not just about the food you eat, but your relationships, career, spirituality, and work-life balance. They do a great job of educating how to teach clients that aspect, which you don’t necessarily get in nursing. Many doctors and nurses have attended IIN to help expand their knowledge of preventative care through using a holistic approach.

Now for fun!

  1. What book or publication is currently on your nightstand?

I have been using Audible lately. It makes it easier for me to read while I’m getting my business up and running. I’m currently listening to The Fire Starter Sessions by Danielle LaPorte, Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert and Leveraging the Universe and Engaging the Magic by Mike Dooley. I recommend them all!

    10. If you could only eat one food for the rest of your life what would it be? It would have to be oatmeal. I know some people say, oatmeal?, but yes oatmeal, with walnuts and raisins, a dash of cinnamon, and a splash of almond milk. Yum!

   11. How can we get in touch with you? I would love for you to connect with me! Please visit www.lydiaromerojohnson.com

[email protected]

Facebook

Twitter                 

Instagram             

Pinterest            

Laughter and Yoga

Laughter is the best medicine. It reduces stress, transports you to the present moment, and helps strengthen your abs. Laughter is inherent in the daily experience of children and seems to lessen with age and responsibility.

This is a picture of me as a young girl laughing away as I often did when being entertained by others.

I love the benefits that I receive when I enjoy a good belly laugh and I love the way I feel mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually during and after I practice yoga.

When you combine the two, what happens is nothing short of majestic.  Laughter + Yoga= BIG F-U-N.

Here are my favorite reasons to practice laughter yoga and yoga:

  • it boosts your “feel good” endorphins
  • it’s free
  • it feels good
  • it increases your vibration, which equates to better health
  • it relieves stress, tension, anxiety, and reduces blood pressure

I want to invite you into my Nurse Healing Lounge for a hilarious dose of laughter yoga. It will only take about twelve minutes and the payoff is huge, if you participate.

Go ahead, go all in, what have you got to lose?

In this episode, Giggle with us here Sarah Routman, of Serious Giggles guides us through some simple, yet profound laughter yoga exercises to help my friend Liz and me get our giggle on.

Please enjoy, share, and repeat.

Please share your favorite part about this exercise. I personally love the smile “push ups”!

What can you do  now to start laughing more often?

For more laughter yoga, check out Sarah’s amazing work at:   Sarah’s website

In laughter and gratitude,

Lisbeth

 

Power Fuel for Nurses

Power Fuel for Nurses

Nurses need nutrition that is quick, affordable, portable, and delicious. One item that fits the bill every time is a green smoothie.

Here are my tips on crafting the healthiest smoothies with two of my favorite recipes.

Tips on building your perfect green smoothie

Let’s start with the good news, there is no wrong way to build a perfect green smoothie! The point of creating green smoothies is two-fold: to have a great time experimenting with food and to feed your body with amazing, healing foods.

If you consume a green smoothie for breakfast even several days a week, you will crave less sweets during the day, you will start to receive the healing benefits by the alkalinizing effects of the greens in your body and blood, & your taste buds will begin to change. In other words, you will naturally crowd out the unhealthy foods over time and start to prefer healthier varieties. 

The Standard American Diet full of fat, salt, and sugar is very acidic and promotes disease.  A diet full of greens on the other hand, is more alkaline, which helps reduce inflammation and is very healing.

Prep: You always want to buy fresh and organic foods for your smoothies if you can. Check out www.EWG.org (Environmental Working Group). If you have not heard of this group, they are a watchdog for consumers. They cover everything from beauty and skin products to food. Here you will find the “dirty dozen” and “fresh fifteen”. These are the top twelve and fifteen foods that you should always buy organic to avoid ingesting pesticides and chemicals that are unsafe. I always recommend buying your food locally, when possible.

A lot of stores sell organic fruit in bulk in the freezer section of the store. When ingesting green smoothies, it is best to rotate your greens. For example, have spinach for a week and then switch it up the following week with something different, like kale. I buy my greens in bulk and divide them up into gallon size ziplock bags and store in the freezer. If you want to save even more time, plan a few days worth of smoothies and place all of the ingredients in a ziplock and store it in the freezer until you are ready to make it. Toss it in the blender and voila you are done.

Another tip, I never throw brown bananas away. I stick them in the freezer and pop them in the microwave for 45 seconds to get them soft enough to cut the peel and pop them in the smoothie. Supposedly, brown spots on a banana represent, tumor necrosis factor (TNF) which is supposed to be a great cancer fighting ingredient!! I like my smoothies to be cold.

I use ice and/or use all fruit that is frozen to make it colder. To make smoothies creamy, use Almond Milk instead of water and include bananas and nuts or peanut butter. Smoothies are meant to be consumed when fresh, but may be stored for several hours in the fridge if necessary.

For some reason, I prefer to drink smoothies with a straw. I think it’s just more fun!

Setting up for success: Start out in the beginning with mild greens, such as spinach until you get used to the flavor and texture. Kale has more of a bitter taste and can take warming up to. Use fruit to sweeten your smoothie. As you get used to the flavor start adding more greens and less fruit! 

Equipment: Any blender will do. The Magic Bullet is a great device that you can get for $100 at Target that is quick and easy for traveling and storing smoothies. I started with a Kitchen Aid blender, then moved on to the Magic Bullet, and now I have a Vitamix. The Vitamix is pretty expensive, but quite powerful and quick for building smoothies.

Juice vs. Smoothies: What’s the difference between juicing and green smoothies? Juicing is done with a juicer machine that removes the pulp (fiber) from the fruits and vegetables leaving you with only juice. Smoothies contain both the fiber and juice so there is no waste and you get the benefit of both juice and fiber. Juicing is commonly used for detoxing. Always check with your health care provider before trying a detox. I do like juice once in a while, but I don’t like throwing away food, so if I am going to juice, I try and save the pulp for adding to soups.

Washing your ingredients: Take a large bowl of cold water and let your ingredients soak for a few minutes to remove the residue and dirt.

Things to consider when building your smoothie. Choose any one item from each category below and simply let your creativity guide you. Over time, you will discover what combinations you love. The sky is the limit here to what you can create. Get your kids involved. They love to create in the kitchen. 

Always start with a liquid base and build up from there.

Base Water, Almond Milk, Rice Milk, Coconut Milk, Coconut Water

Greens Spinach, Romaine, Red Chard, Rainbow Chard, Watercress, Kale, Red Kale, Dino Kale, Baby Kale, Dandelion Greens, Greens from Beets, Cilantro, Parsley

Fruit Peeled apples (green have the lowest sugar content), Bananas, Berries (straw/blue/black/raspberries), Pineapple, Watermelon, Cherries, Grapes, Fig

Veggies Beets, Carrots, Broccoli, Cucumbers, Celery

Protein/Fat Nuts (Walnuts, Almonds, Cashews) always use raw nuts and soak them for at least 4 hours prior to putting them in your blender. This helps your body absorb more of the nutrients, but not mandatory if you don’t have time.  Peanut Butter (natural variety with less processed ingredients and lower sugar content). Almond Butter, Coconut Oil (organic), Avocado, Dairy options: (Yogurt, Cottage Cheese, Kefir), Protein powder is ok, but fresh whole food is better if you have it!


Power options Chia Seeds, Flax Seeds, Maca Powder, Goji Berries, Organic Vanilla Extract, Coconut Flakes, Fresh Ginger Root, Organic Cacao (code for chocolate), Cinnamon, Tahini, Lemon, Lime

To get started, try my two favorite recipes here. Fill the blender with the following ingredients and mix away. Add ice for a cold smoothie.

Pineapple Delight:
1 cup Water
1 Tablespoon Chia Seeds
1 Tablespoon Maca Powder
1/2 cup Frozen Pineapple
1 cup Spinach or Baby Kale
1/2 Peeled Apple
1 Tablespoon Coconut Oil
1 Tablespoon Coconut Flakes
Protein Power:
1 cup Almond Milk
1 frozen Banana
1 Tablespoon Peanut Butter
1 Cup Baby Kale
1/2 Cup Frozen Strawberries
1 Tablespoon Chia Seeds
1 Tablespoon Maca Powder

All rights reserved. Property of Whole Life Health LLC

I hope this has inspired you to whip out the old blender and have some FUN.

Please share your experience with green smoothies. Love them? Hate them? What are your favorite “go to” smoothies?

Peace,

Lisbeth

Are you missing these two key ingredients to reduce stress and solve problems?

Are you missing these two key ingredients to reduce stress and solve problems?

Have you ever tried to make a quick decision when you were stressed out or craft a creative solution to a problem under a tight deadline? It’s not that easy is it? That is because all sense of reason goes out the window when we are in stress mode. Stress can also sabotage our creativity when we are rushed or trying to force a solution in a short amount of time.

Here’s the great news. These key ingredients don’t really take a lot of effort and are actually FUN!

Are your ready for the key ingredients that help reduce stress and solve problems?

The ingredients are play and creativity. Yes, you read that correctly, I said play!

When I refer to play, I am referring to any activity that you love that brings you immense joy and creates the sensation as if time is standing still, and your thoughts are centered around nothing, but the moment you’re in, total bliss.

I was reminded of the power of play in reducing stress and boosting creativity at a conference that I attended in May.  It was my first American Holistic Nurses Association conference and the activities that I engaged in totally brought out my inner child. I laughed more in those four days than I have laughed in a really long time. It gave me immense stress relief and a fresh perspective on life. I had the sensation that I was at camp with my best friends. I honestly did not want the time to come to an end. Instead of dreading the departure, I felt great knowing that I would carry the sweet new tools that I had discovered along with the beautiful memories that I could use and reflect upon in times of stress in the future.

Play, especially for adults can help bring out your inner child, allowing you a fresh perspective. Children are great at showing us the world through this lens. Chances are, when you play, you are more likely to laugh. This is a win-win in my book. Here’s why, laughing is actually good for you.

Laughter decreases stress hormones and increases immune cells and infection-fighting antibodies which help boost your immune system. Laughter triggers the release of endorphins, the body’s natural feel-good chemicals. Endorphins promote an overall sense of well-being and can even temporarily relieve pain.

http://www.helpguide.org/articles/emotional-health/laughter-is-the-best-medicine.htm

In addition to play, the other ingredient that helps solve problems and reduce stress is creativity.

I have experienced the power of creativity often and I am just amazed at the science behind how and why I have these “aha” moments at what feel like the oddest times. The science behind creative problem solving involves things like negative ions and using both hemispheres of the brain.

Have you ever wracked your brain all day to come up with a solution and as soon as you do something routine, like take a bath or a shower, the solution comes to you? This happens to me often.

Meet your best creative wing mates, the negative ions.

Negative ions are electrons that can’t be smelled, tasted, or seen and are created in nature when they gain or lose an electrical charge when they break apart due to sunlight, radiation, and moving air and water.  Think mountains, waterfalls, and beaches. They are inhaled and once they make it to our bloodstream, they are believed to produce biochemical reactions that increase levels of the mood chemical serotonin, helping to alleviate depression, relieve stress, and boost our daytime energy.

The larger the body of water, the higher the concentration of negative ions. Maybe that’s why we feel so great at the beach. However, do not fret if you are not close to the beach, your own shower or bath will do, they are the perfect negative ionizers!

http://www.webmd.com/balance/features/negative-ions-create-positive-vibes

The other type of electrons floating around in our environment are positive ions and are emitted from electronic equipment, such as: computers, televisions, appliances, and air conditioning. No wonder it feels so good to get out in the fresh air and around water after spending all day on the computer and telephone!

Wait, there’s more science to this creativity thing…..Dopamine is a neurotransmitter in the brain that lends itself to a proliferation of solution-type ideas. Activities that increase this are the ones that help you relax, like a nice warm bath or shower.

The other piece of the puzzle in creating solutions is the art of distraction. When we are doing something routine, such as taking a shower, our brains can relax a bit and our focus becomes more distracted and the subconscious mind is able to solve or offer up solutions that can come into our consciousness that resolve our problems.

So, now that you have some insight into the benefits of play and upping your negative ions to boost your creativity, when are you going to schedule in some time to play?  

Play is inherent in the schedule of infants and toddlers. This is how they make sense of the world.  Kids play in nature, they play sports and musical instruments, and they laugh a lot. In contrast, adults, may perform in a play, or play an instrument in a band, or play sports for fun, but past that, most adults do not make play a priority. Why is this?

I believe societal norms and expectations are partly to blame. People may judge us if we are “playing” and expect that playing is reserved only for the “young people”.  You see, as children we are just doing our thing and have no reason to question or judge how we explore and play. Then, adults start sabotaging our play time and making comments that start to infringe on that play time or creative flow, such as, “you need to color more in the lines” or “you need to do a better job of cutting on the lines with those scissors”, or maybe “why are you always dressing up in those funny outfits all the time”?

After years of being told that we’re doing it wrong, we stop playing and it stifles our creativity. I believe we are each creative, but somewhere along the way, we forget that and then we stop allowing ourselves the opportunity for play, which takes a major toll on our overall creativity. This leaves us with fewer options for helping us reduce stress in a natural way or an outlet to come up with creative solutions to what troubles us.

Over time, we lose sight of the things that bring us joy and we stop flexing that play muscle. As a result, our ability to solve problems creatively suffers and we start to believe that maybe we just aren’t that creative anyway.

If you feel unmotivated, stuck in a rut, or like you can never come up with solutions to what plagues you, perhaps all you need is a little more play or unstructured time to be free throughout your day.

Why else might you want to include more play into your life. Oh, I know, it’s FUN and your kids will totally enjoy seeing you happy and having fun and it’s just plain good for your health. It’s free. There is no limit to what you can do. It’s contagious. The more you practice playing, the more you will want to play. The more you play, the less overwhelmed and stuck you will feel and the creative solutions will start flowing in like there’s no tomorrow.

For me, this is dancing. I know that it is nearly impossible to be crabby and dance simultaneously. I dare you to try it! What is that one thing that brings you total immersion of joy and bliss?

Play gives our brains and bodies the space to let go, move and feel freely without limits. There is no attachment to outcomes of any kind. Just pure and simple enjoyment.

So, I hope this has inspired you immensely to be more playful.

If you liked this article, please share three things that you will apply from this in your life and why.

Writing this inspired me so much, that I am off to run at my favorite lake!!

Until next time………….play away,

Lisbeth