I like to dabble in woo. Check out the latest of it while I tell you all about how I went from believing I had rheumatoid arthritis (wrong) to being too anemic to go get my blood drawn and confirm it (true) to finding out I had adrenal fatigue (also true)... and how all of that led me to hang up crystals in the corners of my house!!!!
Balancing being the primary caregiver and growing a business and writing books is, well... it's tough to say the least.
Identify Your Needs
I've realized lately that I NEED time to be focused and productive. It is the reason I started a business in the first place! But even though I knew that was behind starting a business, I see that the opportunity to do my work in a focused, UNinterrupted environment is really a core need I have... and one having young kids who are only in school part of the day really impedes upon!
I struggle with how best to use my childfree time... do I take care of myself? Do I run errands (that are way easier on my own of course)? Do I try to buckle down and get my work done?
And of course, when I'm talking about just a few hours per day, those hours go FAST!!! Just making sure I exercise take up a third of that time!!! And, exercise, I've come to realize, is also a non-negotiable!!!
Of course as someone who has a lot of ambition for both my family and my business..and my self! It is really hard to take care of all three to the level that I desire.
Oh, especially without cutting into my sleep!!!!!!
Yes, it's complicated.
Observe How Things Affect You
I definitely don't have all the answers. What I find is that I can only do some of those at once.
There are time I cut into my sleep, and then realize that makes me feel shitty.
There are times I quit exercising, and then realize that makes me feel shitty.
There are times I do not focus on work, and then realize that makes me feel shitty
There are time I don't do self care, and then realize that makes me feel shitty!
The best plan I have right now is to let go of the crap I really don't care about - no clean house, no fancy meals - just tried and true recipes, no big parties. (Don't get me wrong... I LOVE PARTIES!!! I just have to put hosting them on hold for a while... I do a pool party once a year in the summer, and that is easy since all everyone does is hang out by the pool, but otherwise, they have been temporarily arrested.)
And then, honestly, I cycle through my other priorities... so I don't ignore one area entirely, I just give it up a little until I need to bring it back.
I walk instead of doing classes (until I crave the strength and yoga).
I work less (until I want to work more).
I eat cheese and crackers and carrots and dip (until I need something more grown up).
I stay up a bit too late (until I get crabby and go to bed earlier).
Well, you get the idea!
And Reality Check...
I know this isn't necessarily the most inspiring approach, but it's the most realistic. Sometimes we just need a reality check. There is so much bullshit out there about how you can have it all...and I think you can. But you can't necessarily have it all at one time, and that's ok.
Enjoy the Ebb and Flow
It's actually one reason why writing my books has been so awesome for me right now! I love the cycle of book writing. I do the writing - that usually comes in bursts of inspiration and the journals are usually written in a week or two! (My longer books sometimes come in several periods of inspiration spread out over time.)
Then, there is a period of handing a lot of work over to others... that feels great! The content is written, and it starts to transform into an actual book with the help of others!
Then the tedious finalization... I look forward to someday outsourcing this, but for now I want to have the final say so I have to be part of the last steps :)
Then... the launch! This gets exciting again and so I'm re-energized!!!
Then... time to rest... before I take on another project :)
I wanted to share a few books that I have loved over the years! These are books that I have been going to for years, and keep enjoying them every time. They go right in line with my forthcoming book, The Kitchen Witch, and will inspire you in ritual and cooking alike!
This book gives many specific recipes and instructions on how to make a wide variety of teas, for health and pleasure. I mean who doesn't love tea? (Dude, if you are saying "me," then it might be hard to be friends!)
Healing With Whole Foods by Paul Pitchford
This encyclopedic book on healing is based on Traditional Chinese Medicine. Okay, it may not really have an "inspiring" feel - it's a bit of a tome, but it is SO full of useful information and is like an intro course to healing with whole foods based on the philosophies of health in Chinese Medicine.
The Language of Flowers
This is a very small book, but lists the traditional European meanings of various flowers and plants. It is so fun to read and get inspiration on what the flowers say when you pick them or give them!
The Herbal Healing Deck
I'm obsessed with this deck of oracle cards! I LOVE the artwork and the insights are always helpful. It's been a powerful way for me to connect with plant energy and think about plant spirits and just connect with plants! I'm not much of a green thumb, so I'd rather think of them in their wild habitat! Haha.
The Aromatherapy Handbook
This is the best resource I have found on uses for essential oils. The book details various ways to use essential oils for therapeutic aromatherapy, as well health, cleaning, and gift giving, among others. It is an awesome reference book and makes it so easy to make healthy oils and beauty products.
Alegra Loewenstein is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com. By generating these funds - at no cost to you - she can continue to offer free and fun content on her site!
After having kids my hormones have been super out of whack.
I slept poorly (even long after my kids were sleeping through the night), & I had painful periods.
(What a weird word, "period," but I have to admit even though every woman menstruates, I still find talking about it "publicly" is a bit awkward...and when I'm with friends I'm either crass or ridiculously casual!!! Kinda like when I go to my lady parts doc and I wanna say "My puss has been feelin' this." Or "My twat has been doing that." but DUDE, I can't say "PUSS" or "TWAT" to my DOCTOR!!!! SO then I feel obliged to say vagina, which I NEVER use in my regular life, and it's all just so awkward.)
Anyway... It got my thinking about hormones and the role they play in so many people's lives. I love to say that hormones make most of the decisions, and hormones always win.
This is true. Hormones are often why we can't resist sugar/fat/salt. Crazy but true. Stress and junk food both send our hormones on their own little rollercoaster and both end up with cravings that we literally can't resist. That's why willpower has nothing to do with weight loss. Which is why you should take my quiz and find out who is actual culprit!
I am SO grateful I got some amazing help from a naturopath and an herbal remedy that has basically resolved my hormone issues! Yes, sweet sweet sleep is my friend again (for the most part... I still get interrupted more than I like and have hard time going back to sleep after my child asks me to hold his tissue while he blows his nose at 2am... but at least I don't wane up randomly anymore).
But I know that for many women I meet and clients I work with, hormones play a role... and more often than not it is stress hormones. Which is why I'm super excited about my new quiz to help you figure out which of the most common culprits are causing all of YOUR problems! Find out who YOU get to blame!
And then, of course, let me know!!!!!
I'm talking about Chakras.
The body wisdom I'm talking about is super simple techniques to get in touch with your own body and its wisdom. It's not yoga, even though I went ahead and mentioned chakras finally. There is some overlap in that yoga is definitely based on body wisdom as well. But what I'm showing you here and in my other Body Wisdom videos is much simpler than that. It's just ways ways to feel better and know yourself better, which helps with SO MANY things in life.
I realize chakras have a lot to tell us, but that's not what this particular post is about ;) Chakras capture huge ideas and potential - about abundance, pleasure, and more. But at a minimum, they also just refer to a basic area of the body. So even if the idea of chakras weird you out, just go with it. I'm introducing a way to relax and improve the health of your entire lower abdomen / lower back area...summed up as the sacral chakra :)
Oh yeah, the all important self care. The thing we all sacrifice to take care of other people, to work a little harder on our job, to get ahead a bit faster, or sometimes just to get by. But it really is essential to take care of ourselves. That's what this body wisdom can teach us - simple ways to get in touch and give a bit of care.
Take Me To Bed
Okay, not really, but take this idea to bed. I literally had NO self care and had only excuses when my physical therapist would ask why I didn't do my neck exercises, or whey I stayed up too late working, or why I felt like shit all the time. And then I realized I could do all these amazing self care routines IN BED!!!!! It changed my life.
I stretch laying down; I meditate laying down; I journal laying down... I basically do all my self care laying down!! It's amazing.
And of course... let me know what YOU feel when you give this a try!!!!
Take me to bed with you... for real!!!
And do this simple secret before you go to sleep.
Just kidding. Actually, it's so simple you can watch it and then go to bed after, because the blue light from your screen is bad for your sleep (and likely adds anxiety).
We Are All Stressed
This simple secret is a fantastic antidote for 21st century stress - the stress you feel, your friends feel, your husband/wife/partner feels, your colleagues feel... and sadly almost all of us feel.
While it manifests in different ways - anxiety, depression, general stress, even anger - the chronic demands society puts on us, and our inability to create the community we need to counteract those demands, adds up!
Hold Your Heart
In this simple technique (technique is too complicated(, you literally hold your heart. We all need a bit more nurturing in our lives, and this is a way to give it to yourself.
Add a Twist
You can really amp up the relaxation by adding a simple twist. Turn your knees to the right and hold your heart; turn your knees to the left and hold your fake heart (right side).
Take Me to Bed
This is why I tell people to take these videos to bed!!! They are soooooo simple and relaxing and really help you detach from some of the day before you head off to sleep.
I totally sucked at self care until I started doing my self care in bed!!! All the things I love to do that make me feel great: journaling, reading, stretching, body wisdom, meditation (I do it laying down), self massage, and other things all happen in bed. And frankly, I really never could get them into my life until I figured this secret out!
So while you may not want to actually take your screen to bed (like I said, the light it emits is bad for your sleep), you should take these ideas to bed and give them a try!!!
And of course, let me know when you do!!!
Have a friend who feels anxiety? Be sure to share this video!!!
Ok, as you know, my guided journal launched over Thanksgiving and hit #1 in it's ebook category twice over the holiday weekend. I was obviously riding high!
So, it's been a month now and I'm not obsessively checking the page anymore :)
But, because of the past obsessive watching, I went to amazon just to buy something the other day, and it auto-populated the website address to my journal's direct page... and my heart did a jump.
Because I had a one star review :(
So, in all honesty, here is how things went down.
My first reaction: Ego/anger.
"Who wrote this? Do I KNOW this person??" I looked at her amazon page (only three reviews, two x one star, one x five star), no other information. I had no idea who she was.
My second reaction: Stuff down the emotions.
"Okay, Alegra, this is going to happen. You can't only have 5 star reviews. Get over it and just move on." This is tricky because it actually feels helpful. It's true that getting agro and wanting to figure out if I can identify who wrote this is not serving me... but moving on and forgetting about actually isn't serving me either.
My third reaction: Sit with it.
So, I had to sit with it. I had to take it to bed with me and let it percolate. I had to let my ego do its thing, so I could go deeper to the stuff behind the stuff. It didn't exactly keep me up, but it was definitely on my mind as I fell asleep and again when I woke up.
(Feels a little crazy to say that. Feels like I "should" be tougher than that. Feels like I "should not" be so affected. But yet... I am. This is me. I want everyone to think my journal is 5 stars and it upsets me that someone thinks it is 1 star.)
My fourth reaction: Inspired acceptance.
As I lay with these feelings... it did start to seem like less of a threat. I realized, as I wrote and re-wrote a million possible comments to her review on amazon (in my head, of course), that what she said was in some ways irrelevant and in some ways a helpful critique.
She actually didn't realize it was a journal. With blank pages. To be written upon. So she was surprised at the lack of "information." That's useful - I want other people to know what they are buying. And at the same time, she wasn't really reviewing the content; she hadn't done the journal.
So it is what it is.
I came up with a way to acknowledge the fact that I appreciated her pointing out that yes, it is a journal, and yes, it has blank space. And I also asked her to share her new perspective if she chose to answer the prompts.
How this applies to the rest of life...
And guess what... ALL of this process applies to emotional eating, too!
Initial reactions rarely serve. The stuffing it down is usually where we get stuck - literally stuffing the food down in order to stuff the feelings down. The sitting with it is SO SCARY!
And yet, only when we sit and actually feel it (whatever "it" is) can we get to inspired acceptance or action.
That is the EXACT reason why I created a JOURNAL and not a book of information. People have enough information. In fact, we have TOO MUCH information. What we don't have is the time and space to reflect on what the hell is happening in our lives that is making us eat the food we don't want to eat and/or obsess over the one star reviewers in our life.
But the truth is... there is always going to be someone who thinks I'm one star. And there is always going to be BS in our life that makes us want to eat that pint of Ben and Jerry's.
So what we all need is a plan and a path to process the feelings and reactions we have, in order to make sure we are taking inspired action.
You can start by blaming the 1-star factor in your life. Take my quiz to find out who or what it is!
You don’t have to berate yourself for eating whatever it is that you like to eat. You don't even have to berate yourself when you eat so much of it that you feel sick, or guilty, or sick and guilty.
I've done all of these things. I've eaten myself sick on candy, and I've eaten myself sick on "healthy" things like prunes and pineapple. And when you repeatedly feel like crap from overeating, it doesn't matter if it's junky or "healthy" - it's not healthy.
And even if you aren't binging or feeling like crap from overeating... if you are feeling bad about your self because...
You used to run, but you just can't seem to make the time anymore...
The candy bowl at work always seems like the perfect stress relief, even though you don't even like the candy that much...
You know you are not being healthy, but you just don't feel like there is anything you can do about it...
Well stop right there!
You’re a smart, ambitious, successful woman.
You know what it takes to get it done. You are in charge of so many things!!! You know so much!!
So you know the thing to do THIS time is to hire someone who...
(a) has been through the same thing and come out thriving
(b) has compressed the system for results and success
(c) is almost 6 feet tall and loves drinking tea
Yes, that's right! I'm talking about myself! Hire ME!
The best way to do that is to start with your clarity call.
The secret to simple healthy food is this: grains and veggies.
I explained a bit about grains one week ago. Today, let's chat vegetables.
If you really don't know how to make sure you make this happen, then grab yourself a coffee chat with me so we can chat and I can tell you about the ways I can help you commit to it. I have SEVERAL ways! I can teach you to go Beyond Meal Planning. I can schedule you a Pantry Makeover. I can help you go deep in Love Every Bite.
Let me share with you how I tout the advantages of vegetables in my forth coming book:
Adding a salad or steamed vegetables to a meal is quick and easy way to round the meal out. Cooking soup is an easy way to create a meal featuring the bounty of the farmer’s market. Vegetables should be plenty and abundant in your diet. They are filling and delicious; they are high in fiber and low in fat; most are low in sugar; they are full of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.
They really add so much to a diet and you can eat so much without ever worrying about whether or not they are healthy. Vegetables are the one part of any diet that you never have to measure, weigh, or be concerned about over eating.
And I didn't even go into the health benefits! Vegetables are the staple of most healthy "diets." Anytime or place in the history of the world, they ate vegetables. Except, of course, for modern day industrialized nations. Like ours. Where we suffer from a disastrous array of preventable health ailments... Ahem. Alright, so how can eat more of them??? Just like grains. We have to commit. We have to change our mindset from "it's too hard" to "hell yeah I wanna live forever!"
(You know, not really. But I do wanna feel great and look my best and be as healthy as I can as long as I can!!! And veggies help with all of that!!!)
Okay, Alegra. HOW????
Well, if you are familiar with "Beyond Meal Planning" - the first step is chop veggies. It's really three steps: Buy them and chop them and use them. Still. I know you can do that.
So go ahead and hop back on Pinterest and find one recipe with veggies. Easy! And then chop TWICE as many veggies as what it calls for, and use up the leftovers in an other meal the next day!! You've just doubled your veggies consumption.
What veggie will you pick???
Okay, I just had a chat with my mastermind sister (my friend who just gets me and reflects me and helps me be my best self and grow my business, too!) yesterday.
We talked about how we - us specifically, but humans in general - do the same thing over and over, even as we wish we would change it. We observe it, we notice it, we realize it's not benefitting us, and yet it's HARD to change things!! I suppose humans really are creatures of habit. She was talking about business. She has these amazing ideas (she's brilliant), and then she does NOT implement them. Then she has the brilliant idea AGAIN, and tells me about it, and I'm like "Yeah, you said to me before." Which surprises her. I guess she's so brilliant she can't even keep up with herself!
And I shared with her how often I write in my journal that the day would have been better if I had gone to bed earlier and gotten more sleep. I'm not talking hours, I'm talking half an hour, an hour. And yet, that little bit is so hard.
So she brainstormed an idea for her to get her ideas onto paper.
And I agreed I'd talk to my coach about my schedule and my desire for getting 10% more sleep.
And then after this conversation... I thought my my OLD journals. Over and over I write things like this:
Yesterday was horrible eating day. (And the day before). Stuffed myself on pizza. Felt sick.
All day bad bad eating. Feel sick.
Ate so much I feel I will bust my seams.
One day sugar free. Eating eating eating.
And I know that at the time I was not using my journals purposefully. I was not moving forward with them, I was really just recording. So as interesting as it is now, I wasn't really putting them to work back then. And that's the thing. We can KNOW what we need to do, and still now know HOW to do it?
So here are my questions to you,
Do you know what you need to do?
Do you have a plan on how you will do it?
Ask me if you have any questions. I'd love to give you some feedback if you are looking for it.
I help busy, ambitious women connect their food to their desires & overcome emotional eating in a non-judgmental, supportive environment.