Happy Glow Yoga Flow & Cinnamon Apple Scent for Holiday Calm #GladeHolidayJoy

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #GladeHolidayJoy #CollectiveBias 

Happy Glow Yoga Flow to help lessen stress and promote calm this holiday season.On the morning after Halloween, my neighbor started putting out her winter holiday decorations. Later that afternoon, I noticed my grocery and big box store were doing the same. I also bumped into a friend who was already getting a head start on Black Friday shopping. Being a little competitive in nature, these harbingers of the holiday season triggered a wave of stress that I knew a brisk jog around the block couldn’t completely cure.

With so many other life obligations piled high on my plate right now, I knew I wasn’t ready to deck the halls, fatten the goose, and jump on the sleigh to start celebrating just yet. In fact, because of this chaos in my life, I needed to find a new routine to slow down and relieve stress before all the winter festivities start ramping up.

Yoga has always made me feel calmer during times of heavy turmoil or just minor everyday stress. That’s because yoga forces me to connect my body and mind in a way that I never do normally day-to-day, hour-to-hour, minute-to-minute (that is, unless I’m yoga-ing)! I also notice how certain scents can trigger an emotional and, often, physical response in me. For example, the smell of lemon makes me feel really alert and focused while lavender can put me to sleep.

I recently found out that cinnamon, a scent I already love, has a prolific list of perks. According to the Illustrated Encyclopedia of Essential Oils (1995) the scent of cinnamon has numerous benefits including the ability to ease depression and stress . .. and relieve constipation and indigestion (come on, you know this can be a problem when stressed out)! Plus, I personally have so many wonderful childhood memories centered on cinnamon – like those hard candies my dad used to sneak to me in church and cinnamon apple pie, my all-time favorite dessert. There is no way to NOT be comforted in a hug of cinnamon.Glade Happy Glow - candle and plug in

glad-in-heb-jenThat’s why I was so excited to see the Glade® Limited Edition Holiday Scents  on my last visit to HEB, my local market. There are a lot of different home fragrance options from Glade®, but I picked up the Glade® PlugIns® Scented Oil Warmer and Glade® 3.4 oz. Small Jar Candle in the Happy Glow Apple Cinnamon Scent. The Glade® Limited Edition Holiday Scents aren’t found on the regular home fragrances aisle, instead they will be on end caps (like at my HEB store) or in special wood rack displays.

The candle is absolutely fantastic! Not only has the apple cinnamon scent been calming me down, it’s lasted a long time and blends beautifully into my home décor thanks to the stylish glass container. However, I NEVER keep candles burning when I leave the house or go to sleep. The Glade® PlugIns®  Scented Oil Warmer allows me to enjoy my home fragrances 24/7 safely with no open flame, the dispenser just plugs into the wall outlet to warm the oil.

glade-plug-in

Putting Glade® PlugIns®  Scented Oil Warmer in my Yoga Space to enjoy the Happy Glow™ scent without worry.

So, in addition to smelling the Happy Glow™ scent to feel more joy and less “oh boy” this holiday season, I also have been doing a 10 minute yoga flow with poses that are calming. You need to try these easy yoga poses, surely you have 10 minutes for a surprising burst of joy!

Happy Glow Yoga Flow to lessen stress and promote calm this holiday season!

Here is my Happy Glow Yoga Flow breakdown (practice each pose for about 2 minutes):

Lotus (or just criss-cross legs): Relax in this seated position while you settle your busy mind and let negative thoughts start to melt away.

Puppy Pose: Relieve back tension that is associated with stress and cast away worries that are weighing you down with this playful, stretching position.

Bridge: Elevate hips and engage glutes as you breath slowly in this pose that opens the chest and heart and promotes circulation.

Forward Fold: Relax and bend forward at the hips, reaching down downward the ground as far as possible while moving nose into knees. Slowly rise, rolling up the back, and repeat several times.

Crow or Corpse: Practice crow pose or variations for a couple minutes unless you find it too hard or stressful. I like a challenge at the end of of my yoga sessions, even if I am trying to relax. But, if still stressed, lay on back looking upward with arms and legs slightly splayed in corpse pose – try not to fall asleep!

Are you ready to Feel Joy, Feel Glade™? Work my YOGA FLOW into your day and check out Glade®  and how their Limited Edition Holiday Scents can help you take control of the mental and physical chaos during this stressful time of year! For more information and more surprising burst of joy, connect with Glade® on Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram.

What is your favorite holiday scent? What is your favorite yoga pose? Please share in the comments below – XOXO, Jennifer

Getting Sick AFTER Stress & How to Lessen “Let Down Effect”

Thank you Florastor® Daily Probiotics for sponsoring this post. Visit your local retailer to pick up your bottle of Florastor®Daily Probiotics to complement your active lifestyle

!Have you ever become all-out sick, or at a minimum felt like crap on a crumby cracker, a few days after finishing a physically or mentally intense event like a marathon or Ironman, huge work deadline or even hosting a mother-in-law (not mine, of course)?  Falling under the weather after the black cloud of stress has lifted isn’t a coincidence; it’s an all-to-real occurrence that is referred to as the “Let Down Effect.” Physically and mentally stressful events may lessen immunity AFTER they happen.

Various studies have correlated the dissipation or “let down” of real or perceived stress with an increase in common colds, illnesses, flare-ups of chronic conditions like asthma, migraines, tummy trouble and other medical ailments.  By now, you’ve heard that chronic stress can make you sick and eventually even kill you, but many are surprised to learn that getting sick after a high-stress event (and while perhaps feeling quite relaxed about life) is all too common. This “Let Down Effect’ happens, in simple terms, due to the weakened state our bodies are left in left in after “things get better” – we use a lot of energy and resources to function in high alert mode without a break

When stressed, physically or mentally, increased levels of cortisol, adrenaline and other hormones put your body in fight-or-flight mode and mask the perception of pain. We are cleverly designed like this to safely and quickly extract ourselves during the threat of danger, so it’s not necessarily a bad thing. However, the immune system can be compromised, especially after prolonged periods of stress, and latent or chronic conditions can flare up.

In addition to these tolls of physical stress, the let down from emotional stress can cause many of the same problems. For example, dopamine (the pleasure and reward hormone) levels can drop, initiating possibly addictive behaviors like over eating, drinking and substance abuse as a person tries to subconsciously find relief.  

So, how do you prevent or at least lessen your chances of falling victim to the “Let Down Effect”?

Sleep Well:  Sleep deprivation compromises the immune system, so don’t pull all-nighters thinking you’ll come out ahead. Instead, do the best you can to get 7 to 8 hours a night by staying away from large late evening meals (including alcohol and caffeine), avoiding the blue light emitted from screens several hours before bed, taking a warm bath and using a diffuser to mist essential oils like lavender and chamomile.

Exercise Regularly: Moderate-intensity exercise done on a regular basis can keep your body from downshifting too quickly after a high stress event. If you don’t have time for an official jog or workout, try to include at least some extra walking or other movements in your day.

Decompress Frequently: If life is throwing too much your way, schedule non-negotiable “breaks” to relax whether it’s a 10 minute morning meditation, an entire hour devoted to yoga or even just 1 of minute of positive visualization every couple hours.

Nourish Your Immune System: Try vitamin C rich foods like oranges and grapefruit, vitamin E rich foods like sunflower seeds or spinach, zinc rich foods like beef and egg yolks. Probiotics can also help strengthen your digestive balance and support a healthy immune system. Floristor is a probiotic supplement that helps support a balanced, healthy lifestyle.

So, speaking of nourishing the body to help allay stress and prevent illness, I’m sharing a couple things I’ve been doing lately to stay as well as I can. You may have read my post last month about a Sleep and Stress test I took recently – it revealed that my cortisol and cortisone levels are highly elevated throughout the entire day without ever falling to normal as they should. This is likely a result of everyday work/family stress magnified by my running and obstacle course training, and chronic lack of sleep — I’m working hard to resolve it.

Floristor Probiotic SupplementSo, one of the things I started doing was taking Florastor® Daily Probiotics in the morning and evening with my meals – it’s the best-selling probiotic worldwide and backed by 60 years of use and research.  So far, I’ve been really happy with how this easy-to-take capsule is bringing my digestion into balance and helping me better maintain my immune function.  Florastor® is the only probiotic brand with Saccharomyces boulardii lyo CNCM I-745 which helps restore your natural flora. Florastor® helps my body break down carbs and fiber and naturally absorb water and nutrients from the foods I eat, these are good things for me as I fluctuate from being bloated to dehydrate when under stress. I also appreciate that this product is vegetarian, gluten-free, contains non-GMO ingredients and can be stored at room temperature. While, thankfully, I rarely have taken antibiotics, Florastor® Daily Probiotics can help those that need to be on this medication maintain a healthy flora balance.

60 Second Beef & Veggie Mug Omlete makes getting a healthy breakfast one less thing to worry about!

I also wanted to share this quick and easy breakfast recipe that is high in zinc – 60 Second 2-Egg & Beef Omelet. Yay, beef and whole eggs are both great sources of zinc, an essential mineral that keeps the immune system strong, helps heal wounds, and supports normal growth. My recipe is also high in protein, and you know I’m a stickler for getting approximately 25g of protein at breakfast – the eggs and beef are very satisfying for only 220 calories and keep me from tanking mid-morning. Plus, this microwave mug recipe takes less than 1 minute to prepare and around 60 seconds to cook, so there’s absolutely no stress in making breakfast on even the most frantic mornings!

 

Have you ever become sick after a period of physical or emotional stress? What do you do to boost your immunity or bounce back from a “tough time” healthy? Please share your comments and tips below – XOXO, Jennifer

 I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

60-Second 2-Egg & Beef Mug Omelet
Print Recipe
Got a minute? Then you've got a healthy, balanced breakfast packed with protein thanks to this super speedy egg recipe that cooks up in 60 seconds.
Servings Prep Time
1 serving 60 seconds
Cook Time
60 seconds
Servings Prep Time
1 serving 60 seconds
Cook Time
60 seconds
60-Second 2-Egg & Beef Mug Omelet
Print Recipe
Got a minute? Then you've got a healthy, balanced breakfast packed with protein thanks to this super speedy egg recipe that cooks up in 60 seconds.
Servings Prep Time
1 serving 60 seconds
Cook Time
60 seconds
Servings Prep Time
1 serving 60 seconds
Cook Time
60 seconds
Instructions
  1. Generously spray large coffee mug with cooking spray.
  2. Add eggs, water and salt/pepper and whisk together with fork. Stir in beef and vegetables.
  3. Microwave on high for 30 seconds, remove and stir to “scramble”
  4. Return to microwave and cook for an additional 30 seconds, or until cooked through.
  5. Top with green onions and grated cheese, if desired.
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Less Stress, More Sleep! 25 Cortisol-Busting Foods + In-Home Test

This post is sponsored by EverlyWell.com, however all opinions, experiences and enthusiasm are my own.

Turn on the television or flip through a magazine and you’ll be bombarded with the news that stress and lack of sleep causes health problems. Honestly, these reports stress me out! With three kids, a full-time job (I’m self-employed and typically work from home . . . flexible but often frantic) and a never-ending email inbox, I sometimes feel like my head is going to explode. Add to that a heavy training schedule to stay competitive in the sports I have a passion for, and I am often worn down at the end of the day. And the more tired I get, the less I sleep – it’s a cruel joke that being a middle-aged woman compounds even further.

jen and lucy grassLearning to treat stress more like my dog — if you can’t eat it, play with it, pee on it . . .then turn around and walk away!

I’ve been fighting with this sleep and stress problem for several years now, it’s a constant issue.  Often, I wonder just how bad off I’d be if I didn’t already eat well and exercise. I recently look a Sleep & Stress Test from EverlyWell.com a convenient medical testing company where you perform the tests on yourself in the privacy of your own home and then mail off the data (which things such as urine samples, finger-prick blood draws, vital signs, etc.) to a lab – the results are then delivered in about a week.

sleep funny

I recently received my results via email. It wasn’t surprised to learn that my sleep and stress hormones were elevated, I just had no idea that they would come back “sooooo” off the charts. Yeah, I’m an overachiever – haha!  So the EverlyWell Sleep & Stress Test examined four hormones and how they relate to each other (cortisol, cortisone, melatonin, and creatine) throughout the course of a 24-hour period.

everlywell results collage

So, this is a screen grabs of one of my test results, mainly I am sharing so you can see how the results are super-simple to interpret – an easy “visual” chart approach rather boring, confusing columns of black and white numbers.  So, as you can see, I’ve gotta problem – out of 4 tests with 4 measurements each (for a total of 16 data points), I’ve got 14 data points in the “high-risk category”  (most at the top of it) and 2 data points at the ceiling of the “elevated risk” category.

So, what does this mean and what does Everlywell.com say I should do to bring these numbers down? So, first off, let me just focus on the Cortisol today, it may be the most important. While cortisol levels do fluctuate throughout the day (and can be affected by exercise), they should come back down to a normal level by the next testing period. Sustained elevated cortisol levels have been shown to impair cognitive performance, dampen thyroid function, cause sugar imbalances, decrease bone density, disrupt sleep, decrease muscle mass, elevate blood pressure, lower immune function, slow healing and pack on fat around the abdomen. Oh, yippee – said no one ever!everly woman computerWhile EveryWell.com doesn’t make diagnoses (just the lab facts, ma’am), all test results are reviewed by a board-certified medical doctor and they do advise that I consult with my own personal physician. While I wait for an appointment, I can peruse medical articles that they’ve provided for me that address whatever my pressing issue might be – in this case, Cortisol & Adrenal Function and Cortisol: It’s Role In Stress. I also have the opportunity to ask their Chief Medical Officer a question by filling out a web-based form.

I’m also dialing in my already pretty healthy diet to focus on cortisol-reducing foods, pretty much anything considered “anti-inflammatory,” or high in zinc, folate, Omega3s, vitamin C, theanine, lyphenols, flavonols and all sorts of other soothing and stress-busting nutrients.  Here is a list of 25  Stress-Busting “Comfort” Foods if you want to get some of these on your shopping list – but, hey, don’t stress out about it!

25 Stress Busting Comfort Foods - a healthy shopping list to help reduce inflammation, cortisol levels  and issues with sleep.

Thanks to EverlyWell, it was simple and convenient to get the info I need to put together a plan to get the sleep and stress relief I need. They have all sorts of other regulatory-compliant home tests including Food Sensitivities, Cholesterol & Lipids, Heavy Metals, and more. I’ll be posting a full review and the findings from my Sleep & Stress Test in a week or two – but, in the meantime, if you want to save 10% use the code EVERLY10 at checkout. #KnowYourNumbers #EverlyWell

Another thing I just did to help improve my sleep – ordering these Anti Blue Ray Reading Glasses that obliterate the blue rays emitted by electronic devices (like computers, phone screens, television) that experts say can disrupt your ability to sleep. So far, I love them and I think they are helping! Available in a huge array of magnifications (I take a 2.0x) and frame colors.

***EverlyWell offers lab testing for wellness monitoring, not to diagnose or treat disease, or replace a physician’s consultation. Testing not available in NY, MD, RI, or NJ due to regulatory restrictions. EverlyWell does not provide medical advice and suggests sharing results with primary care physician. 

Do you have trouble managing your stress or sleeping enough? How do you get relief?  What is your favorite food from my Cortisol “Comfort” Food List? Please share in the comments – XOXO, Jennifer

3 Companies Keeping Me Happy, Healthy and Running!

1) MilestonePod Running Wearable

Milestone Pod wearable gadget for runners

I’m fairly low tech when it comes to running, oh how I do love a good pair of shoes and cute outfit, but sometimes all that data at my fingertips pushes me over the edge. In the past, I was a die-hard stat tracker, but today (although I do check in with my running benchmarks now and then), I don’t always record every lap, loop and interval of every run (but when I do, a good GPS watch can’t be beat). Recently, MilestonePod sent me their brand new wearable that provides easy access to “just enough for me” activity data to keep me in touch with my general performance (like overall distance, pace and calories burned that I can check at the end of my run but not every insufferable second), along with insights on my personal running style and how to improve it.  What I REALLY love is how MilestonePod also tracks an assortment of additional metrics such cadence, foot strike and stride length. For example, I’m always trying to keep my cadence between 180 and 200 and this easy to wear gadget keeps the count for me – it also breaks out the percentage of time I strike with heel, forefoot or toes – it makes your shoes smart! Very interesting and useful feedback!  Very reasonably priced (under $30) with a free user app that is downloaded for both Android and iPhone, there is no reason for a runner to give  MilestonePod a go! #GoBeyondPace

2) POPSUGAR Must Have Box

I love LOVE getting these POPSUGAR Must Have boxes in the mail every month – it’s like having twelve birthdays a year!  There are usually around six to eight “gifts” that sum up the season perfectly
(sometimes more)– the July subscription box included sunscreen for your hair, darling emoji fabric cocktail napkins, a lightweight scarf, a cute pineapple pin, an inflatable drink holder that looks like a swan (how cute is this for the pool?), yummy old-school style potato chips, brow highlighter (ooh, middle-aged me needs the lift) and a gift card for $20 towards customizable jewelry from an online boutique!

You need to try out a subscription to POPSUGAR Must Have Box yourself, I’ve never been disappointed!  Get $5 off your first #MustHaveBox box (no expiration date) with code SHOP5 at http://bit.lt/2ao52ns 

3) EverlyWell

everlywell logo

I also just mailed in my Sleep Balance Profile and Home Collection Kit from EverlyWell to identify hormone-related sleep imbalances. Yeah, I am not a champion sleeper and am at my breaking point. I need to know what is going on with my body and EverlyWell makes it simple and convenient to #KnowYourNumbers and I hope the results well help me work with my pharmacist and/or doctor to find the right seep relief I need. They have all sorts of home tests including Food Sensitivities, Cholesterol & Lipids, Heavy Metals, and more. I’ll be posting a full review and the findings from my Sleep & Stress Test in a week or two – but, in the meantime, if you want to save 10% use the code EVERLY10 at checkout.

Please note: EverlyWell offers laboratory testing for wellness monitoring, the tests are not meant to diagnose or treat disease, or to take the place of a physician’s consultation. Testing is not available in NY, MD, RI, or NJ due to regulatory restrictions. EverlyWell does not provide medical advice and always suggests sharing your results with your primary care physician. 

Disclaimer: I was provided products and/or compensation to review these products and give my honest feedback – all comments, feedback and enthusiasm are my own!

How Stress Affects Running and Workouts plus Mood-Boosting WOD

Stress Relief and Exercise - TheFitFork.com

Regardless of your life stage or what precautions you take, stress can pile up with an assortment of family, work, school, health and money issues.  That’s just life. Over the years, I’ve managed my stress through running, working out and, more recently, yoga. Exercise helps me take my mind off problems (most of which are out of my control anyway) and focus on living in the moment. Plus, the physical aspect of exercise creates endorphins and other happy hormones that help the brain and body cope better with stress. Research has shown that physically active people have lowered levels stress, anxiety and depression –even just a brisk 10 minute walk can alter your attitude.

Bloody Knees - TheFitFork.com

Bloody knees after box jumping while grumpy and distracted.

So, while it is a GOOD THING to exercise in the name of stress management, there are certain things to look for and precautions to take to ensure that you remain safe and injury free.  The British Journal of Sports Medicine reported that elite athletes were more likely to get hurt if they competed while angry, confused, fatigued, tense, or depressed.  This translates to use everyday athletes as well – goodness knows I’ve been tired, used bad form, tripped and fallen resulting in tweaked muscles, bloody body parts, several bad cases of road burn, contusions,a concussion, gashes requiring stitches and just plain turning up sick a few days later.

Are you wondering why? Well, when cortisol levels are elevated for too long, putting you in a state of chronic stress, your muscles and immune system won’t function at their best. You also won’t sleep well, creating day-in and day-out fatigue that can negatively impact exercise and performance.  So, before I hit the trail or the gym, I like to get myself into a ready-to-workout mode with a bit of calming yoga, taking deep breaths, and engaging in a little positive visualization of how great my workout out or run will be.  I also make sure I’m eating well and getting as much quality sleep as I can – people who know me well are probably tsk-tsking right now, because sleeping is one of my biggest challenges

Stress Less to Be My Best - RESCUE

RESCUE Pastilles are another little trick I have in my tool kit for stress relief.  Completely natural and homeopathic, RESCUE Pastilles help me to stress less, stay calm and, ultimately, sleep better. I don’t take them before a workout, but rather during the late afternoon or early evening when all my little life stressors are peaking – the pastilles combined with the five minute time-out I take to suck on them helps me get back into that happy place I need to be. There’s nothing habit-forming or concerning about these doctor-developed candies that have been around for nearly a century – they are alcohol-free, sugar-free and the ingredients are a gentle and safe blend of flower and plant remedies.

rescue tinI also love the apothecary-like tin of the RESCUE Pastilles– it has vintage charm and is convenient to stick in my purse or gym bag. You can find these at Walgreens, CVS, Sprouts, Whole Foods and other find retailers – along with other forms of the product like RESCUE Sleep Liquid Melts and RESCUE Pearls.  You really need to try RESCUE out, here’s a coupon to get you started.

 

I’ve also put together a stress relieving workout that will help you keep everything that life throws your way in happy balance.  Enjoy!

Stress Relief Workout - TheFitFork.com

 

What do YOU do to manage your stress? Please share in the comments.

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.