FREE Spring into Action Move for Your Mind 30-Day Kickstart Class

Did you know that the way you think about the physical activity you do affects how your body responds to it?

Do you realize that our mental interpretation of the signals our bodies are sending during exercise can be more important to success than the actual signals?

Are you aware of the way that physical activity affects our ability to remember and think as we age?

How would you like to activate the production of “Miracle-Gro® for the brain”?

Do you know what cost-free, drug-free intervention has been shown to be at least as effective as pharmaceutical methods in combating depression in many people and also has benefits for supporting individuals experiencing Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder or recovering from addiction?

The synergistic relationship between body and mind can benefit all of us. It is a bi-directional relationship; the mind influences the body, and the body influences the mind.

Some forms of movement, like yoga, Pilates and SoulCycle, intentionally seek to emphasize the interaction between body and mind, and sport psychology has utilized the connection since the late 19th century.

We are just two weeks away from spring. This is a great time to start moving if you have spent too much time on your couch or been otherwise sedentary this winter or to step up your activity level if you are already someone who moves your body on a regular basis. All of us can benefit from setting appropriate physical goals and taking action to achieve them.

“If you want to be happy, set a goal that commands your thoughts, liberates your energy and inspires your hopes.”

–Andrew Carnegie

Setting a physical goal—and it doesn’t have to be anything dramatic like running a marathon or cycling across the country—and using techniques to actively engage our minds in the process of achieving it can be a tremendous boost for our mental and emotional well-being.

I am very aware of how much physical activity has done for me over the last few decades and how much it continues to do for me every day. I teach a Wichita State University online, self-paced, 0.5-credit-hour badge course called Mind & Movement. (You can still register for this semester! Click here to get started.)

Because I believe so strongly in the symbiotic relationship between mind and body, I am offering my totally free Spring into Action Move for Your Mind 30-Day Kickstart Class inside my JustWind Community Facebook group. I would love to have you join us.

Registration opens today and will run through the first day of class, March 20, 2021—which happens to be the first day of spring!

In this class you will:

  • Set a physical activity goal of your own choosing, incorporating both outcome and progress (strategy) targets
  • Learn how to set a goal that is both achievable and motivating
  • Understand more about how our body and mind interact to support each other, enhancing both mental and physical well-being
  • Be guided to progress safely toward your physical activity goal
  • Experience actionable techniques that enhance the interaction between body and mind
  • Utilize positive psychology to improve your quality of life and increase your chances for success
  • Receive practical tips for supportive nutrition and hydration—regardless of how gentle or intense your physical activity is
  • Become motivated to take your progress during the 30-day class into life beyond the class
  • Get inspired to use your improved mental, emotional and physical well-being to make the difference you want to make in the world
  • Have access to the free companion workbook I have designed for the class.

All of this will take place within the safe and supportive environment of my private JustWind Community Facebook group. (If you are already a member of the group, simply send me your email address in a private message to let me know you are interested and receive access to the companion workbook.)

Along with other content, during the 30-day class, there will be:

  • Weekly Facebook Live lessons
  • Weekly Q & A sessions where you can submit questions ahead of time or ask questions live during the broadcast
  • Replays available after live sessions
  • Guided visualizations
  • Journaling exercises

I would love to help you Spring into Action for yourself. Please click here to request to join the JustWind Community Facebook group. You will be prompted to enter your email address if you want the companion workbook.

You’ll have access to existing group content as soon as you join, and the class will begin on March 20, 2021, the spring equinox.

I’m setting my own goal and working through the process as I guide you through it. Let’s motivate each other!

While you are waiting for the class to start, click the button below to subscribe to my newsletter and receive a link to download my Blossom 2021 Self-Coaching Workbook to get you inspired. (This is a different workbook from the one you will receive in the course.)

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I want to reach as many people as possible with the inspiration and information in this class. Please share this post with your social media connections and/or invite individuals to join the course with this link.

Let’s Spring into Action together!


Gearing Up to Move Your Body—Cycling and More

Although I ride all year on weekends, weather permitting, daylight savings time marks the boundaries of my official cycling season. Since I don’t race, and most organized rides are canceled because of COVID-19, this year’s cycling season means that I will be able to ride a few evenings a week after work, and I will start to increase the distance of my weekend rides, improving my bike fitness as I train.

I get excited just thinking about warmer weather and longer rides to come!

Daylight savings time begins on March 14 for most of the United States in 2021. That means we are just two weeks away from cycling season!

Whether you are a cyclist, want to become a cyclist or would like to get started in some other form of physical activity or sport, the longer daylight hours ahead provide a terrific opportunity to launch an exercise program or to step up your training, perhaps with a goal in mind.

It is important to set yourself up for success and fun by taking steps to prepare.

Here are some tips to help you get moving or upgrade your movement:

  1. Start safely: If you are new to your chosen activity, have any underlying health condition or have been sedentary, make sure you are medically cleared to start exercising. There is something for almost everyone, but it is important to make sure that what you are planning to do is safe for your current level of health and fitness.
  2. Assess your gear and update/upgrade, as necessary. Do you have what you need to get started in your activity or to start a new season?  Consider:
    • Equipment—Some activities require specific equipment, but others may require almost nothing you don’t already you have. Depending on the activity, make you might need a bike and components or accessories, helmet (non-negotiable if you are riding a bike, skiing, climbing, skateboarding, etc.), sport-appropriate shoes, water bottles, a yoga mat, resistance bands or dumbbells. If you don’t know what you need, your best bet it to visit your local bike shop, running store or other outfitter and tap into their expertise. You don’t necessarily need the most expensive equipment, but it does pay to get high-quality gear. It will last longer and be more fun to use. Beyond just purchasing equipment, take a look at what you have and upgrade or replace, as necessary. This can apply to things like bicycle chains or tires, running shoes, water bottles and more. Get a tune-up (or do the work yourself) to make sure your bike or other equipment is season ready.
    • Clothing—Again, some activities won’t require any special clothing, but for certain forms of movement, like cycling, investing in some high-quality clothes will enable you to have more fun and be able to perform better. Your clothes don’t have to be fancy or expensive, but they should be functional, comfortable and something you enjoy wearing.
  3. Training plan—Think about what you know about your chosen activity. If you are not confident that you have the knowledge you need to start and progress safely and effectively, engage a coach, trainer, other professional or experienced friend to help you. There are some great books that can guide you, and, of course, there are countless online resources these days. Feel free to ask me questions or check out my coaching page for information on options if you would like a personalized training plan.
  4. Nutrition & Hydration—Fueling your body with high-quality nutrients is important all the time and will make your exercise more effective. You can’t go wrong with a whole-foods, plant-based diet consisting of loads of dark, leafy greens; fruits, including berries; a wide range of vegetables; legumes, including beans, peas, lentils, tofu and tempeh; whole grains; raw nuts and nut butters (the fewer ingredients, the better); seeds, including flax, hemp and chia; herbs and spices, including turmeric; and lots of water. A smoothie loaded with many of these great plant foods is a great way to start the day on a positive, nutrient-filled note. (I’ll cover smoothies in more detail in a future post.) If you are engaging in endurance activities, like cycling, running or hiking, you may need some portable nutrition and electrolytes to sustain your efforts, as well as pre- and post-workout food.

These are essentially the things you need to consider before starting a new exercise program, returning to an activity or increasing your training load. Depending on your activity, there may be more, fewer or different considerations, but this should help you start thinking about what you need. Below, I list some of my time-tested favorites in each of the above categories. Some are cycling specific, but others are relevant for any activity. This is not an exhaustive list—just those items where I have true favorites.

My Favorites

  • Bike saddle (women specific): Serfas Niva-I have ridden this saddle for years after suffering through thousands of miles of misery with saddles that were not right for me. A bike saddle is very personal and may take trial and error. When you find the right one, stick with it. (I hold my breath every time I need to replace mine, afraid that it will have been discontinued. So far, so good!)
  • Cycling shorts (women specific): Terry Breakaway-This is another very personal and very important piece of cycling gear. I am considering looking at some other options this year, but I keep returning to the Breakaway because it has served me well for several years and quite a few pairs.
  • Rechargeable bike computer and lights: There are probably plenty of good options, but freeing myself from items requiring little watch batteries several years ago has been a game changer. A quick search reveals that all of my favorite products seem to have been discontinued. My main suggestion here is to choose rechargeable front (white) and rear (red) lights that flash and get a bike computer that is easy to install and remove from your bike so it can be recharged with a USB cable.
  • Cycling shoes: It looks like my specific shoes may be discontinued, too, but I can recommend the Sidi brand. Granted, that is the only brand of cycling shoes I have ever ridden, but they last! Since 1999, riding at least 4,000 miles most years, I am only on my third pair of cycling shoes. One really didn’t wear out. Kenny just got them for me as a gift to replace my 13-year-old shoes (yes, really!), and they were a bit too small for riding in hot weather, when my feet swell. I still use them on the indoor trainer. Although I am a road cyclist, I ride mountain bike shoes with SPD cleats for ease in walking when I am off the bike.
  • Helmet: For years, I rode Giro helmets because Kenny swears by them. They hurt me. I had a dent in my upper forehead that never went away. Yet I kept replacing worn-out helmets with new Giros. Until one day it occurred to me that I could try something else! Why it took years, I have no idea, but I have ridden Kali Protectives Maraka Road Helmets ever since, and they work so much better for me. Giro is a good brand, but this is a lesson in paying attention to our own bodies and realizing that what works for one person doesn’t necessarily work for another. So, take my recommendations with a grain of salt! 😊
  • Nutrition: I eat ENERGYbits® spirulina before I get on the bike and RECOVERYbits® chlorella for recovery. These are not cycling specific; they are an easy way to add a terrific nutrition boost for anyone, whether used for physical activity or not. High-quality algae is one of the most nutrient-dense foods on the planet, and these bits make it easy to incorporate it into your diet. Use my partner code, JustWind, for a 20% discount.
  • Hydration: Plain water is perfect for most activities. For longer, harder and/or hotter efforts, I use a combination of electrolyte fizz like Nuun in water and Hammer Endurolytes ® capsules. No sugary, dye-filled sports drinks for me!

Feel free to reach out to me if you would like recommendations on other products or if I can help you brainstorm your fitness kickoff. And keep an eye out for next week’s blog post and probably a video announcement about an upcoming free opportunity to help you spring into action for both your body and your mind.

In the meantime, click the button below to subscribe to my newsletter and receive a link to download my Blossom 2021 Self-Coaching Workbook to get you inspired and in the right mindset for the opportunity I’ll present next week.

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Boost Your Brain Health with These 5 Foods

In freshman PE class at Mount Saint Mary High School in 1983, Sister Jean told us that drinking alcohol kills brain cells. That got my attention and stuck with me, undoubtedly influencing my future decisions. Even then, I considered my brain one of my most valuable assets and wanted no part of killing my brain cells! While the acute brain damage caused by consumption of alcohol is more a matter of disruption of communication between neurons, alcohol is a neurotoxin. Just as what we take into our bodies can harm our brains, there are foods we can consume to nurture brain health.

Ever since I was young, I have been interested in fueling my brain for short- and long-term health and optimal function. Between my recent reading of Jim Kwik’s book Limitless and thinking about the fuel our brains consume for the blog post I wrote last week, brain nourishment has been on my mind even more than usual.

I thought it might be beneficial to share some of my favorite foods for nourishing my brain. While not an exhaustive list, here are five great foods to eat for brain health:

  • Berries contain powerful antioxidants that protect the brain from damage and reduce inflammation, which can protect brain function as we age. This is important because of the amount of glucose that our brains use, which produces a lot of free radicals, creating the potential for damage to our cells, including neurons. Eat fresh or frozen blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, raspberries and cherries in smoothies, with oatmeal or another whole-grain cereal or even as a delicious frozen treat using a Yonanas machine.
  • Avocados, full of monounsaturated fats and lutein, are not only great brain food, but also promote eye health. (And who doesn’t love guacamole?!) In addition to turning them into guacamole, slice raw avocados and enjoy them in salad or on sandwiches or wraps. Mash them on whole-grain toast for avocado toast, plain or with raw veggies and/or fresh herbs.
  • Dark green, leafy vegetables, (kale, spinach, broccoli, chard, arugula, collard, etc.) also contain lutein and zeaxanthin, benefitting both brain and eyes and possibly delaying or warding off age-related cognitive decline. These can be eaten raw or cooked, in smoothies, as salad, toppings for wraps or sandwiches, as side dishes or in this terrific lasagna recipe. (It really is great—one of my go-to recipes for special occasions.)
  • Turmeric has potent anticancer benefits and can reduce inflammation. It has been shown to improve cognitive function in people living with Alzheimer’s. Put ¼ teaspoon in your smoothie or on your cereal every day. Include turmeric in pasta sauces, casseroles, soups and curries.
  • Walnuts are great sources of Omega-3 fatty acids, Vitamin E, magnesium and zinc, all valuable nutrients for brain health. Eat walnuts raw, by themselves or with fresh or dried fruit. Blend them into smoothies. Put them on cereal and in salads.

There are so many great ways to incorporate these foods into your daily diet. You could even make a smoothie containing all of them. (more on smoothies in an upcoming post)

Feed your brain and put it to good use creating the life you want to live and making the difference you want to make. Click the button below to subscribe to my newsletter and receive a link to download my Blossom 2021 Self-Coaching Workbook.

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What to Do When Willpower Exhaustion Threatens to Derail Your Good Intentions

Do you often start the day with plans to eat healthfully, exercise and avoid getting trapped in the mental vacuum of screens big or small, only to find all your good intentions have fallen to the wayside by late afternoon? Why is that?

Do you find it easier to stick with the habits and behaviors you want to keep on some days than on others? Why?

One reason may be willpower exhaustion, also called decision fatigue or ego depletion. No matter what we call it, most of us experience it from time to time.

Personally, I most often experience it in the mid-afternoon during a very full workday, where I have had to do a lot of thinking, on other people’s schedules, rather than one of my own choosing. I am especially prone to it when I am feeling overwhelmed by how much I have to do and how many hours I am likely to be doing it.

Our brains are fueled by glucose. When we are at rest physically, our brains are responsible for consuming 60 percent of the glucose used by our entire bodies.

So, thinking hard, without adequate opportunities for rest, burns through a lot of glucose, leaving us feeling physically and mentally worn out.

This makes it harder to make good decisions and harder to stick to our goals and intentions.

We can’t always avoid this situation completely, so how can we minimize its effect on us?

Here are some things that can help:

  1. Expect it. If you know you have a full calendar of intense mental activity for the upcoming day, be prepared. Have healthful, nourishing snacks readily available. This way, you are less likely to grab a candy bar or chips. Fruit with nut butter; hummus and veggies or homemade trail mix, made with mixed raw nuts and/or seeds, dried fruit and a sprinkling of vegan dark chocolate chips (like Enjoy Life brand) are just a few of the options. Make sure it is something you like and make it easy, but also make it nourishing. When willpower exhaustion hits me, I often feel “desperate” for food. Knowing in advance what I pan to eat and having it easily accessible makes it more likely that I fuel my body and brain in a productive way.
  2. Oxygenate your brain and body. Breathing exercises are beneficial for helping to calm our nervous system and fill our bloodstream with fresh, oxygenated blood. There are many good options that can be done quickly most anywhere. Simply take a moment—eyes open or closed—and try this: First, breathe out forcefully through your mouth. Next, inhale through your nose for a count of 4. Hold your breath for a count of 7. Exhale with a whoosh through your mouth for a count of 8. Complete this cycle four times. This helps you relax by stimulating your parasympathetic (rest-and-digest) nervous system, and it refreshes your brain with oxygen-rich blood.
  3. Get up and move for a few minutes. When we are in the midst of busyness and mentally-draining activities, it can be hard to allow ourselves to take a break. One helpful practice that I have used for a long time is a brief bathroom-break walk. When I get up for a bathroom break, I take a quick walk on a predetermined loop. Since I have been working from home, it is a loop around the interior perimeter of my home, both upstairs and downstairs. It takes less than two minutes, but it gives me a short mental and physical break. As I walk, I do a mental run-through of the 3 Good Things practice, identifying three things that have gone well so far in the day. Then I think of three things to which I am looking forward for the rest of the day.

These three strategies don’t eliminate willpower exhaustion—at least not for me—but they help. When I am buried in busyness, it can be hard to discipline myself to take the breaks to grab a healthful snack, breathe or walk, especially if other people are around, but it feels good to take care of myself with these simple practices. When I use them, I am more likely to keep eating in a way that honors and nourishes my body, and the physical effects of stress feel less intense.

Do you experience willpower exhaustion? What does it look like for you? What helps to alleviate its effects?

In addition to the techniques I mention above, being clear about what we want to achieve and why can also help us stay on track with our intentions, even when willpower exhaustion strikes. Click the button below to subscribe to my newsletter and receive a link to download my Blossom 2021 Self-Coaching Workbook, with powerful questions to help you live the way you want to live and make the difference you are meant to make. Working through the questions can help you identify what’s really important for you and steel your resolve against the insidious repercussions of willpower exhaustion.

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I share free daily content on my JustWind Coaching Facebook business page. Click here and “like” to be sure you see it.

If you found value in this post, please share the link with others you think would benefit from the content I produce. I am working hard to grow my platform to improve my chances at securing a traditional publishing deal for my in-progress book and would be grateful to you for helping me extend my reach.


Think Better to Live Better

“The highest drive we have is to act consistently with how we perceive ourselves—it is one of the most powerful forces in the universe.” –Jim Kwik

The way we think about ourselves in any situation matters because we tend to live up—or down—to that perception.

Neal Donald Walsch said, “Every act is an act of self-definition.” I agree, and I think it can be applied in two directions.

Our behaviors define us. They tell us and the world who we are.

But our self-perception—or self-definition—also determines the behaviors we choose.

Psychologists use the term “cognitive dissonance” to describe the inner conflict people experience when they act in a way that contradicts what they believe to be true about themselves.

As Jim Kwik mentioned, we are driven to act consistently with our self-perception. So, cognitive dissonance can occur when we either have a low perception of ourselves and strive to elevate our lives or when we have a high perception of ourselves and act in a way that doesn’t jibe with that perception.

This is why it is so important to upgrade our self-perception.

I have shared the story of the JustWind mindset which holds that we have the power and freedom to choose our perspectives and acknowledges that we can harness that power to live the life we want to live and make the difference we are meant to make.

Just like the mindset intervention that I experienced when my friend David answered my complaints about the wind with a shrug and the comment, “It’s just wind,” on 2002 Biking Across Kansas, sometimes we need a mindset intervention when it comes to our self-perception.

Here are 5 ways to create a mindset intervention and upgrade your self-perception.

  1. Act “as if.” Father of American psychology William James said, “Act as if what you do makes a difference. It does.” Sometimes we need to act in an elevated way in order to start perceiving a higher version of ourselves. Just as our self-perception determines the behaviors we choose, we can intentionally act in a way that is aspirational in order to allow ourselves to recognize that higher version as who we really are. Subconsciously, the actions follow the perception, but consciously—with intention—the perception can follow the actions.
  2. Visualize yourself acting as you want to act. Actions count most, but they may need a little boost. Visualizing yourself living the way you want to live can be very effective. Close your eyes and, either as part of your meditation practice, or as a practice all its own, do your best to really see and feel yourself acting at this higher level. What does it feel like? What does it look like? How do you feel about yourself? What does it create in your life? What doors will it open for you? Visualize it as vividly as possible.
  3. Write a letter to yourself. A great way to give yourself a mindset intervention to upgrade your self-perception is to write yourself a letter. Project yourself some distance into the future—maybe one year, five years, whatever feels right—but try to make it a time frame that is not so far off that you can’t fathom it. Write to yourself and congratulate yourself for all the work you have put in to accomplish your goals and elevate your quality of life. Make it as detailed as possible. Describe what you’ve done and how it has enhanced your life. Take your time writing it and reread it often.
  4. Teach someone else. As the saying goes, we often teach what we most need to learn. Help someone else level up their self-perception. Teach them these strategies. Tell them how you perceive them. As you teach and help someone else, watch your own self-perception increase.
  5. Surround yourself with people who lift you up. We can’t always control who is around us on a regular basis. This can be hard. We can definitely get dragged down be negative people who don’t bring out the best in us and aren’t trying to grow. Even if you can’t eliminate these negative people in your life, you can bring in some positive ones—in person and/or virtually. Social media has plenty of downsides, but it also can serve as a way to connect you with people who share your aspirations of living at a higher level. Join groups centered around the way you want to live and act. Listen to podcasts. Read books and blogs. Find ways to grow the positivity in your life and expose yourself to it often. Aspire to emulate these positive influences and see yourself in the same light.

None of these strategies will guarantee an upgraded self-perception, but all of them can help, especially when done on a regular basis.

This is important work because we become who we believe we are and who we believe we are capable of becoming.

Think better (about yourself) to live better.

“The greatest discovery of our generation is that human beings can alter their lives by altering their attitudes of mind. As you think, so shall you be.” –William James

I’d like to help you blossom into the highest perception of yourself. Click the button below to sign up for my email list and receive my Blossom 2021 Self-Coaching Workbook.

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I share free daily content on my JustWind Coaching Facebook business page. Click here and “like” to be sure you see it.

If you like this post, please share the link with others you think will enjoy the content I produce. I am working hard to grow my platform to improve my chances at securing a traditional publishing deal for my in-progress book. I would be grateful to you for helping me extend my reach.