Meghan

Smoothie Bowl Recipe, Purple Lips + How to Combat Stress

It's a packed post, y'all. 

Me on Monday Morning:

Wake up, happily at 7 am. Think to myself: “oh, great! I have so much time.”

Leisurely make breakfast and kids’ lunches while listening to “100 greatest Disney songs”

Sing along to The Little Mermaid.

Crap, it’s 8:00.

Need to make a smoothie bowl for the blog. Mom and sister say it’s the newest smoothie crave. Gotta get on it.

8:15 – Eating said smoothie bowl. Still in pajamas. Mouth turning purple. Think to myself: “Great, now everyone at my meeting will think I was binge drinking red wine all night.”

Run upstairs and scrub my mouth. For real.

8:25 – Still in pajamas. Kids too.

8:40- “GET IN THE CAR!” Kids still in pajamas. Think to myself, "how are we ever going to get on the bus at 7 next year?" Start worrying. 

8:45 – One kid in car. Go inside to make coffee. Horn blaring from garage. Husband bolts down the stairs – assuming that surely this is me signaling some emergency to him. Son locked himself in car. Smiling hugely and blaring the horn. He thinks this is hilarious.

Find spare key. Unlock car and strap son to car seat to prevent escape. Arm him with a snack. Buys me a couple of minutes.

Come inside and find daughter in a dress 3 times too big for her. Re-start the getting dressed game.

8:53: Leave for school, coffee in cup. Think to self, “I really should’ve put this in a coffee container.”  Silent prayer I’m not covered in coffee in three minutes.

Didn’t spill the coffee. Finally breathe during the car-ride. “I vow to be more organized on Mondays.” Ha.

A crazy Monday morning. I must say, I haven’t totally mastered the whole, ‘get two kids out of the door in time’ thing. It’s one of my grace points. I love leisurely mornings. Unfortunately, I can’t have leisurely until 10 am. Oh well.

Stress Rebound

The point of sharing my craziness is to discuss the subject of rebound. Stress rebound. The key to overcoming stress and working more towards balance is the art of coming out of stress quickly. The longer we sit in it, the more it compounds and creates a ripple effect. Have you ever had one of these crazy days, and weren’t able to get out of it? Maybe you stayed in the stress and found yourself in traffic. Getting more frustrated, you brought that to work. Then you got in a fight with your co-worker, struggled through the day only to come home to a messy house and hungry kids. I get it. I’ve been there.

Compounding Stress Effect

The secret to overcoming stress and moving toward balance is to notice the stress and to cut it with something to help you move out of it quickly. You can begin to notice stress in your body (heart racing, sweaty palms, tension headache, etc), in your mind (negative or racing thoughts) or spirit (turning stress inward). No matter how you identify it, notice it and then work to get out of it. Practice positive coping to move beyond the stress and stop the compounding stress effect.

Some of my favorite and most effective ways to cope:

Taking deep breaths

Repeating a positive mantra

Listening to my favorite music. Loudly

Calling a friend

Going for a walk.

Drinking or eating something very cold.

Next time you are faced with stress, or a crazy morning, take steps to notice it and prevent the compounding stress effect. Do your best to move away from it so it doesn’t take over your day, as it can commonly do.

How do you cope best and prevent the compounding stress effect?

Oh, and here’s the purple smoothie bowl recipe. Warning: May cause lips to turn purple. Don’t eat before a big meeting J

Xo, Meghan

Blueberry Banana Smoothie Bowl

Ingredients:

1 frozen banana

1 cup frozen blueberries

1 handful of leafy greens like spinach or a green blend

1 ¼ cup non-dairy milk (can add a bit more until desired consistency is achieved)

Toppings:

Flax meal

Walnuts

Directions:

In a high speed blender, add the frozen banana, frozen blueberries and greens and begin to blend very low. Add the non-dairy milk slowly, until the consistency is similar to icecream. It should be a bit thicker and icier than a typical smoothie. It will look much thicker. Pour in two bowls.


Add toppings. I added a tbsp. of flax seed and a tbsp. of walnuts. Other options may include fresh fruit, chia seeds, shredded coconut, or other nuts. Enjoy!



Meghan is a licensed psychotherapist and certified holistic health coach. Her mission is to empower and inspire others to create the life they desire integrating the science of psychology, total health and an awakened intuition. You can contact her via email at Meghan@Mergeintohealth.com or www.MeghanToups.com

Meghan

Be the Light on this Inauguration Day

Be the light. 

Outrage fatigue. It’s a thing. I have a feeling that many of you have experienced it during these trying political times. Whatever your political affiliation, there are issues that have outraged all of us. As a therapist, I have talked with countless people who are struggling with true anxiety, depression and stress related to our political (and social) realm. It’s real, true and important. We feel helpless and out of control. The perfect recipe for anxiety. Anxiety has a lot to do with feeling out of control.

In our political and social climate, it is incredibly easy to feel out of control and as if nothing we do makes a difference. But, there is a way to make a difference. By focusing on (personal) inner peace and joy. It seems like a small solution, but it’s a big one. And one that yields major results. When we are happier, more peaceful and more joyful, we create physiological changes to our body. When our body feels better, we can be more joyful. When we are more joyful, we allow our own light to shine which affects everyone. This is how change begins.

The greatest thing you can do, in wanting to contribute to a peaceful nation, is to be peaceful yourself. Be aware of your mood. Be very aware of your mood and care about it deeply. Avoid things that deplete your energy. Embrace people, places and things that bring joy.

Care about your mood.

Yes, there are some difficult and awful things going on in the world, showcased 24/7 in the news. Limit your time watching it and when you do watch anything upsetting, counter it with something positive. Watch an episode of Modern Family, or Super Soul Sunday, or go for a walk and listen to some inspirational music or talks. This helps create more balance.

Science has shown that our thoughts can create change in the body and in the world. Jung’s work in consciousness, specifically the collective unconscious, shows the importance and power of our societal thinking. What you think, do and how you act contributes to the world.

Research has shown that when we practice a loving kindness meditation, focusing on sending love and positive vibes to other people, our vagus nerve (our largest cranial nerve) is stimulated creating a positive, physiological change in our body. There is a true mind body connection that has been demonstrated with science. An exciting field that is now becoming more mainstream in the West.

When you feel out of control, anxious about the days ahead, stressed about the political or social realm, practice creating peace from within. If we all practiced this, every day, things would begin to change.

Teach your children about the importance of their thoughts and that their mood matters. Teach them ways to feel relaxed, peaceful and at ease. Talk to them about their strengths. Practice loving kindness meditation as a family.

Breathe into the only part of this culture that we can immediately control: ourselves.

As we move more toward peace and joy, we will be able to share that more deeply with the world, creating change. If we are strong from the inside, we can make more change.

A crushed flower, no matter how beautiful, cannot continue to bloom. Take care of yourself. And care about your mood and your own personal inner peace. Your inner peace will radiate and affect the world’s consciousness for the better.

Let’s create change one person at a time.


Here’s how to practice Loving Kindness Mediation:


Begin by taking three deep breaths. Breathe in and out focusing on the heart center, and begin by generating this kind feeling toward yourself. Notice any self-judgments that might come up and gently work to release them.

Continuing to breathe in and out, use either these traditional phrases or ones you choose yourself. Say or think them several times.

May I be free from inner and outer harm and danger. May I be safe and protected.

May I be free of mental suffering or distress.

May I be happy.

May I be free of physical pain and suffering.

May I be healthy and strong.

May I be able to live in this world happily, peacefully, joyfully, with ease.

Next, move to a person who most invites the feeling of pure unconditional loving kindness, the love that does not depend on getting anything back. This could be a child, your teacher, mentor, a parent or grandparent, or teacher. It should be someone that it takes no effort to feel respect and reverence, someone who immediately elicits the feeling of care. Repeat the phrases for this person: “May she be safe and protected….”

After feeling strong unconditional love for that person, move to a person you regard as a dear friend and repeat the phrases again, breathing in and out of your heart center.

Now move to a neutral person, someone for whom you feel neither strong like nor dislike. As you repeat the phrases, allow yourself to feel loving kindness for their well-being. 

Now move to someone you have difficulty with–you may have hostile feelings, resentments. Repeat the phrases for this person. 

Feel your mind, body and spirit connected-ness throughout this process. 

After the difficult person, radiate loving kindness out to all people and animals... all living beings. Stay in touch with the any feelings of warmth, love, energy or peace that stems from the center of your being, and begin to envision loving kindness for all people.


May all beings be safe, happy, healthy, live joyously…..

May all living beings be safe, happy, healthy, live joyously…..

May all breathing beings be safe, happy, healthy, live joyously…..

May all individuals be safe, happy, healthy, live joyously…..

May all beings in existence be safe, happy, healthy, live joyously….. 

Finish with three more cleansing breaths.


With love, Meghan 

Meghan is a licensed psychotherapist and certified holistic health coach. Her mission is to empower and inspire others to create the life they desire integrating the science of psychology, total health and an awakened intuition. You can contact her via email at Meghan@Mergeintohealth.com or www.MeghanToups.com 
 


Meghan

New Year's Resolutions Check-In

Many years ago, I made a list of resolutions. It was a long list. I was feeling rather adventurous and was determined to cross off my goals. I was going to learn a new language, work out every day and a few other lofty ideas. A few months later, they were abandoned, a lost cause, forgotten in the wind.

New Years Resolutions.

They are the catalysts that sends people to the gym for a few weeks, blending up smoothies til March and scrolling through online travel websites at 2 am in order to hopefully scratch off bucket list spots. Sadly they get a bad rap because they don’t last very long. And many of us avoid them altogether in order to avoid disappointment.  

I now know a missing piece to my lovely list of resolutions. I didn’t take a time to truly evaluate where I currently was and jumped too far ahead of the line. I neglected to list my progresses in the past, a sort of past year review, and now that I’ve made these changes, it makes all the difference.

Taking a moment within the year is a great way to evaluate your progress and where you want to be. Whether it’s January 1st, March 24th or your birthday, it doesn’t matter when it happens, just pick a date (or many) to take a look at the parts of your life that are serving you, and those that aren’t.  

Take a look at your life and the parts that you wish to improve and create goals from there. Review the last year and notice ways in which you grew, struggled and found joy. It’s far too easy to overlook our growth and automatically think that we haven’t changed and use that as an excuse to fall back into our poor self-care ways.

Think back on the year and note and progresses or challenges made in the following areas:

1)     Health

a.     I have grown in the following ways:

b.     These were my health struggles:

c.      This is how I want to approach the new year:

 

2)     Career and Finances

a.     I have grown in the following ways:

b.     These were my career and financial struggles:

c.      This is how I want to approach the new year:

 

3)     Relationships

a.     I have grown in the following ways:

b.     These were my relationship struggles:

c.      This is how I want to approach the new year:

 

4)    Self Care:

a.     I have grown in the following ways:

b.     These were my self-care struggles:

c.      This is how I want to approach the new year:

 

5)     Other

a.     I have grown in the following ways:

b.     These were my ______ struggles:

c.      This is how I want to approach the new year:

Whenever you are trying to make a change, it’s important to remember the positive steps you have actually made. This will help boost your morale, help keep you on track and give you a marker to review when you lose that January 1st post champagne toast gusto.

Happy new year, y’all!