Bad Sleep or a Sleeping Disorder? How to Know and What to Do Next

When most people think of reducing inflammation in the body, diet usually comes up first. Aside from supplements and herbs, what you eat matters for inflammation. But what’s often overlooked is the connection between 3 other factors. These are sleep, stress management, and daily movement.

I call these the CORE 4 of wellness, and they’re the pillars that work together synergistically to reduce inflammation in the body.

bad sleep or a sleeping disorder

When clients ask where they should start, I tell them: If you have no clue, start with your food and your sleep. Cause you gotta eat and you gotta sleep to live.

And although it’s a daily required part of our lives, good sleep sometimes feels like this unattainable mythical creature (especially after having kids.) And when we put good sleep on the back burner, it usually ends up feeling like a huge feat to address it once we get to the point that it *has* to come front and center.

bad sleep or a sleeping disorder

Many questions I hear from clients relate to wondering if there are just some tweaks that can be done to fix bad sleep… or if they truly have a sleeping disorder. The bottom line being:

Most people don’t know what good sleep is.

So let’s do a little unpacking of what qualifies as good sleep, bad sleep, and when it’s time to see a sleep specialist.

What is good sleep quality?

What’s interesting about sleep is that we get used to a certain set of conditions based on what’s going on in our life, and sometimes can lose sight of what our baseline actually used to be. So when we think about whether or not our sleep is good or bad, many people have no clue.

woman hitting alarm after good night of sleep

They know how they feel when they wake up and throughout the day. But they’re not really aware of when and how that shift happened to create their current sleeping condition.

So to get some guidelines on what good sleep actually is, I asked colleague and sleep specialist, Sheryl Guloy, PhD. This is how Sheryl describes good sleep:

“Good, restorative sleep is one that cycles through sleep’s different stages over the course of a typical night of sleep, which we refer to as a sleep episode. However, timing does matter in that a good alignment between when you sleep and your actual body clock or circadian rhythm provides for a more restorative sleep than when these are misaligned with each other.

  • In terms of the average recommended hours of sleep for an adult, 7 to 9 hours of sleep is the recommended amount.
  • In terms of nighttime awakenings, it is actually normal to wake up over the course of the night, since your sleep cycles from awakening to light to deep to REM sleep, every 90 to 120 minutes.

These awakenings can be so short that people do not necessarily remember them. However, nighttime awakenings are problematic if they prevent you from experiencing full or enough sleep cycles over the course of the night.

For instance, those with untreated sleep apnea will tend to awaken numerous times during a sleep cycle as they struggle to breathe.

Other people, those with sleep maintenance insomnia, find that they cannot fall back asleep easily after waking up at night. They may find that it takes longer than thirty minutes to fall back asleep, and some may not even be able to go back to sleep at all.”

What’s the best way to track sleep?

In a world of growing technology, there are more and more devices claiming to be able to track sleep. However, many sleep specialists have warned to not take these readings as gospel as some of the trackers aren’t super accurate.

laptop, mug, diary on bed

According to Sheryl,

“When we begin coaching people on sleep, we recommend tracking sleep for two weeks using a paper-and-pencil or online diary. We’ve found, though, that the people we work with like using good, old-fashioned paper-and-pencil over online ones.

We use this data to help people understand their sleep patterns.

However, we are also aware that some people can become more anxious when tracking sleep. For this reason, we don’t recommend continuous tracking.

On the other hand, we do recognize that some people like to use wearables or mobile apps to track their sleep. If they find that doing so helps them to be more mindful or to learn more about their sleep patterns, without triggering anxiety-related or compulsive behaviours, then great.

It’s important to realize, however, that wearables and sleep apps are not necessarily more accurate than paper-and-pencil diaries and journals; they do have issues with accuracy as well.”

What are common symptoms of bad sleep?

Aside from seeing less than the minimum hours of sleep in a diary or on a device, it can be difficult to determine if you’re actually having bad sleep. Sheryl states that,

“Chronic daytime sleepiness, poor memory, poor reaction time, poor decision making, and issues with emotional regulation are some symptoms of sleep deprivation.

Sleep deprivation is also associated with cardiometabolic diseases, such as heart ailments and diabetes. Growing evidence supports a link between sleep deprivation and dementia.”

tired woman in bed with a book on her face because of bad sleep

All of these chronic conditions warrant the implementation of an anti-inflammatory diet, but especially anti-inflammatory lifestyle choices.

The four pillars: diet, sleep, stress management, and exercise all work synergistically to help the other 3 improve, and will inherently improve insulin sensitivity and inflammation in the body as well. Not only does this improve metabolic markers, but it also helps with weight loss.

When to see a sleep specialist

It can also be hard to determine what the line is between just bad sleep and a sleep disorder. So I asked Sheryl when it’s time to see a sleep specialist:

“It’s important to speak with a sleep specialist when you are experiencing chronic daytime sleepiness. However, the issue is that people can become so used to being sleep deprived that they no longer feel as though they are.

For instance, research has shown that when people first experience sleep deprivation, they can recognize that they are sleep deprived.

However, after two weeks or more, people may tend to report that they do not feel as though they are lacking sleep, even when they are.

It’s also important to think of sleep as being part of one’s lifestyle and not take it for granted. As such, we coach people on developing good sleep habits, especially those whose respective circadian rhythms are at odds with their work hours; those who travel often; or those who want to boost their performance.”

That being said, it can be easier to determine between the two by first cleaning up your sleep hygiene, and then reassessing.

Get started by grabbing our free Sleep Hygiene Assessment and Kit. 👇

bad sleep or a sleeping disorder
bad sleep or a sleeping disorder

Dr. Sheryl Guloy (Co-Founder of Somnolence +) is a learning scientist, researcher, educator, and consultant in improving learning and performance through innovative research, development, and technology. She works with other researchers, organizations, and networks on knowledge translation efforts. More simply put, she works to get the latest research into programs, services, and technology so that more people can get better sleep. Her interest in sleep began with her own sleep troubles and her realization that she is a true night owl. Through Somnolence+, she aims to make sure that more people know about their own sleep and have strategies and tools to help them sleep well. You can find her at the Sleep Well blog or on Instagram and Facebook @somnolenceplus

8 Proven Ways for Managing Inflammation and Stress During the Holidays

Aside from the start of the school year, I would argue that the holidays are the biggest time of year for stress and inflammation. It only makes sense, right? Budgeting, planning, finishing the year strong, school activities, shopping, setting goals for the new year, and then spending time with family that you may not get along with…. it’s a lot.

ways to manage inflammation and stress during the holidays

I used to think I loved the holidays. My husband would constantly talk about how much he loved the holidays. The kids talked about how amazing the holidays were. But each passing year I’d find I was not only more and more exhausted and irritated, but my health issues were mounting as well.

More blood sugar rollercoasters, more emotional ups and downs, worse allergy issues, worse skin issues, and severe exhaustion. All of this cycled back to being more irritable and depressed than ever.

I finally realized a lot of it was because I was the sole person doing literally all the work. I wanted my family to have an amazing holiday, but I never got to actually enjoy it.

The overwhelm of doing everything and worrying about everything and being so incessantly stressed would lead to stuffing myself with sugar and refined carbs (and lots of processed convenience foods) just to have the energy to keep going. This perfect storm was creating massive amounts of inflammation in my body.

a woman stressed and inflamed during the holidays

One year I finally snapped. It was too much. It was the year I was working on my master’s in nutrition, which also happened to be the same year my husband started a new job that had him gone 4-5 nights a week, every week, for months.

So after some long heart-to-heart discussions and laying down new expectations (also known as creating boundaries for myself which I’ve always sucked at), things are very different during the holidays in our home.

Not only did I commit to myself that fueling myself properly the whole year –especially during the holidays–would help with stress levels (among a thousand other things), I knew taking control in a different way would help tame the chaos as well.

The connection between stress and inflammation

Many people go into an anti-inflammatory diet and lifestyle not really understanding that even though nutrition and what you eat are extremely important in reducing inflammation in the body, but there are three other core pillars of health that also greatly affect inflammation.

One of those is stress. Stress kicks on our ‘cortisol switch’, which under normal circumstances would be an expected physiological reaction. But chronic stress levels create a situation in the body where there is reduced sensitivity to cortisol (similar to how insulin resistance begins). This creates a constant state of too much cortisol, and thereby, increased inflammation.

What’s crazy to think about is that the connection between excessive inflammation with chronic disease has been so well documented the last few decades that they’re sometimes referred to as ‘stress-related diseases: metabolic diseases, cardiovascular diseases, and even psychotic and neurodegenerative diseases.

When our bodies are this stressed, we don’t sleep well or make good dietary choices. When we don’t sleep well, our hunger hormone goes into overdrive, making it even more difficult to make smart food choices. Then our energy levels nosedive and we don’t feel like getting in any kind of movement. We’re exhausted. And still stressed out.

This loop is what I call the CORE 4. And they can work synergistically for you or against you.

the core 4 pillars of health that work together to reduce inflammation

Unfortunately, the holidays are prime time for them to work against you, creating a perfect storm of inflammation, if you don’t get a hold on managing your stress levels.

Here are the proven strategies I use now in managing inflammation and stress during the holidays that took it from feeling like an overwhelming nightmare to actually looking forward to and enjoying the end of the year (and the people I choose to spend it with.)

1. Use a planner and checklists for EVERYTHING

I’m a HUGE advocate for checklists. They seem simple and benign, but they have a lot of power in them. Especially during the holidays.

There’s so incredibly much going on at all times that there will always be 3 (or 15) things forgotten without listing them all down.

Not only do I make lists for my daily to-dos in my business, I make checklists for :

  • home stuff that needs to be done,
  • chore checklists for the kids,
  • a ‘honey-do’ list,
  • packing lists if we’re traveling,
  • gift budgeting lists,
  • lists for all activities and school functions to attend,
  • and lists for any kind of get-togethers we may be hosting or attending.

It sounds silly, but lists are a super simple way to feel a little more in control. You can see everything at a glance without having to try and keep up with it all in your head. (Oh yeah–and being able to see it this way also helps determine who you can delegate things to.) 😉

Checklists alone are the biggest thing that helps me keep my stress in check during the holidays.


2. Plan a cheat day and be ok with the consequences

Most especially if you’ve been on a strict dietary framework, this may be an ok time to take a break or plan a ‘cheat day’, as some like to call it, and let loose.

Now I’m not saying everyone can do this to the extreme. For example, if you’re diabetic, please for the love of God, do NOT binge on sugar or carbs. Similarly, if you’re allergic or sensitive to anything, also don’t eat it.

However, I do believe in lifting restrictions so that the time spent with family and friends during the holidays is spent focusing on catching up and enjoying the company instead of worrying about what you’re eating.

people enjoying a holiday dinner

I don’t have celiac but I’m sensitive to certain grains. They don’t send me into an allergic reaction, but I know if I eat it I’ll have an annoying ‘eczema-like’ reaction on my face.

Even though I know it’s gonna happen, I’ll occasionally plan cheat times when I’m with family and be ok with the consequences because I’ve weighed the importance of being able to spend my time focusing on catching up with my friends and family vs spending my brain power worrying about what’s available that I can eat.

When I make that conscious decision, I also don’t feel guilty for having those regular crackers with my dip. I make my decision, know the repercussions, and simply enjoy myself.

3. Schedule in downtime or me-time

Scheduling regular downtime should be a non-negotiable in your calendar. But ESPECIALLY during the holidays. This time of year tends to bring up all sorts of unresolved issues amongst family and friends without fail.

But it’s also super busy and can be exhausting, and can induce sleep issues from every angle. All of these add up to increased inflammation.

Block out time on your calendar to just go do things for yourself. Even if it’s an uninterrupted movie alone or simply bath time.

woman relaxing to reduce stress and inflammation during the holidays

I personally tend to get stressed with a lot of noise. So get-togethers can be overwhelming for me after a while. (Heck, even restaurants can when they’re really loud or if there are screaming kids.)

{But to be perfectly frank we have a nine-year-old that talks from the time she wakes until the time she goes to bed, so if she’s home I have non-stop noise all day.}

When this happens, I have extra time where I will do some things alone or even take what I call “brain breaks” during the day. This is where my kids and husband know to leave me alone, and I go in the quietest room we have, lie down, and listen to ASMR with sound-canceling headphones on.

I can meditate, take a nap, or just reflect and journal. This blocked-out ‘me-time’ has helped tremendously in reining in the overwhelm.

4. Have meal backups for the crazy weeks ahead

Backup plans for meals is so dang important, and I always say that meal planning is one of the most overlooked form of stress management there is. Aside from regular meal plans, though, I have a few other backups I recommend.

These include freezer meals that have been prepped and frozen previously, super easy crockpot meals, simple 3-5 ingredient meals, or even breakfast for dinner.

I create (yet another) list of freezer meal inventory, and also list these other options and post it on our ‘command central dry-erase board. That way I don’t have to think about what the options are. I just go look and pick one.

5. Get in daily movement

Daily movement (what we call ‘oscillation‘ around here) is critical during this time of year. People start moving less and less the colder it gets outside. But we also have shifted into a new era of so many shopping options being online that the old days of 30,000 steps in a single day of holiday shopping just doesn’t happen anymore.

Daily oscillation, whether that’s total steps, flights of stairs climbed, walking, or a structured workout is so important for managing stress. I’d even argue that we should add some extra time to our daily movement during the holidays.

woman exercising to reduce inflammation and stress during the holidays

Movement and workouts have been shown to help us sleep better and manage stress better.

If you don’t have a regular plan for daily movement, get started! If you do, step it up a bit during the holidays–your body and emotional status will thank you!


6. Have sugar-free options for treats

This one is crazy important because when you’re this busy and overwhelmed, it’s SO easy to just grab the first thing you can find if you’re hungry.

Prep anti-inflammatory snacks and breakfasts that are sugar-free ahead of time so you’ve got no-brainer options to choose from. Especially since we’re out and about so much more during the holidays.

Blood sugar spikes and crashes are prime culprits for stress and emotional rollercoasters. Don’t fall into that trap during the holidays.

healthy holiday swap out planner

7. Use the TRUEWELL trifecta formula for meals

Making sure you have your macros balanced at each meal will ensure you’re full longer, you don’t overeat, and your blood sugar stays balanced. This means less chance of emotional ups and downs from food.

This is especially true before holiday parties, dinners, and get-togethers as well. If you’re not planning a ‘cheat time’, it can be really easy to just say ‘screw it’ and eat inflammatory junk just because it’s there and you’re tired of wondering what you can eat.

The TRUEWELL Trifecta includes:

  1. QUALITY PROTEIN about the size of your palm,
  2. 1-2 x that in FIBER (ie, vegetables and healthy carbs),
  3. and then HEALTHY FATS about the size of your thumb.

8. Use the Freestyle Meal Prep method for weeks when you can’t even think straight

Even with my new rules and strategies in place, we still have weeks that are completely nuts. This is when I rely on freestyle meal prep.

All this means is that instead of having a formal meal plan in place, I grab seasonal produce from the store and prep it at the start of the week, and we use those prepped foods to throw together anti-inflammatory meals the nights we’re home and cooking.

See it in action and get a free printable guide by checking out the blog post (and watch the video while you’re there!): Anti-Inflammatory Freestyle Winter Meal Prep in About an Hour.

get a free winter meal prep guide

Wishing you the happiest, most stress-free, and anti-inflammatory holiday ever!

xo, Laura

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ways to manage inflammation and stress during the holidays

8 Ways Daylight Savings Time Affects Your Health and How to Handle It


Ask any parent about Daylight Savings Time and they’ll groan and roll their eyes. Especially when you have kids, these two times of the year are extremely challenging, to say the least. Sleep schedules are a big deal for parents to get established, so disruptions like these can cause larger stress loads than normal. But many are asking two other very important questions regarding daylight savings time: 1) How does daylight savings time affect your health? and 2) How does it affect your sleep?

To start off with, it can take a week or more for your body to adjust to daylight savings time. In this week, studies have shown 8 or more serious negative affects of daylight savings time:

  1. Sleep cycles being thrown off,
  2. which results in higher stress,
  3. Shifts in eating patterns from hormones being disrupted,
  4. Anxiety,
  5. Depression,
  6. Higher occurrence of heart attack,
  7. More traffic accidents,
  8. And more workplace injuries.

All these add up to some pretty significant shifts in our health that could be avoided. To get a better idea of what this all means and how we should approach it, I asked sleep coach and consultant Sheryl Guloy, PhD for her expert opinion:

Have you heard that there is a discussion on doing away with our annual springing forward to daylight savings time (DST) and falling back to standard time? About a month or so ago, all of this talk reached my neck of the woods, up North…way up to and past the Canadian border, with a beeline to Montreal. The idea of doing away with this time change goes far beyond my city and probably extends or will extend to yours.  In fact, this discussion is international in scope and proposals to end this practice is currently ongoing across North America and Europe. It is a hot topic in several states, such as Massachusetts, Washington, Tennessee, and Texas.

While it may seem normal for us to spring forward and to fall back every year, toggling our sleep between standard time and daylight savings time, research on the effects of springing forward reveals just how detrimental to health one hour of sleep loss can be. In Autumn, however, falling back to standard time has been found to result in more positive gains as people’s sleep becomes better (keep this tidbit of information in mind because there’ll be more on this later). Taken altogether, sleep experts, including myself, believe that keeping time consistent throughout the year is best for our health. 

Should Daylight Savings Time be Abolished?

The first reason for keeping our time consistent has to do with sleep loss, which we know negatively affects health, mental health, and performance. When springing forward in springtime, our body misses out on an hour of sleep. The second reason is that our bodies run on a biological clock, entrained to the 24-hour day. It’s from this relationship to the day’s cycle that the biological clock gets its formal name, circadian rhythm.  In particular, we have circa, meaning around or approximately, and dies, meaning day, in Latin. The biological clock influences when we become sleepy or become hungry. Specifically, it plays a role in metabolic function and homeostasis as well as in immune response, recovery from mental and physical fatigue, emotional regulation, learning and creativity, and memory consolidation. 

Keeping your circadian rhythm consistent is important for the regulation of all of these functions. Research on the effects of switching from standard to daylight savings time has revealed a spike in strokes, heart attacks, and car accidents soon after springing forward. Consequently, policymakers have begun holding discussions on whether the practice of switching between standard and daylight savings times should be abolished, with some places having already chosen to end the practice. 

Now, while doing away with the time change is something that is applauded by many researchers and sleep experts, the concern that has arisen in some areas where this policy change is being contemplated has to do with which time would become the default. In particular, the concern has to do with whether an area chooses to select daylight savings time as the “new” standard time. 

Why does it matter whether or not we choose daylight savings time?

Well, it matters because our circadian rhythm takes cues from our environment to keep it on track, such as sunlight; temperature change; and eating schedules; among other things. So, this means that our environment and lifestyle affect our biological clock and, consequently, sleep. What happens is that even though we may believe that we should eventually adjust to the time change, the negative effects of springing forward can last throughout the period of daylight savings time for some people.

How the body reacts to daylight savings time

Like I mentioned, not only do our bodies like consistency, but the circadian rhythm is tied to the day, which means that external cues such as daylight and temperature play a role in its regulation. Now, imagine what happens to night owls, for instance, who are already genetically predisposed to going to bed later and are already at greater risk of experiencing sleep deprivation. Imagine what happens to them in the summer when they are exposed to brighter light later in the evening. 

Essentially, sunnier evenings delay the circadian rhythm and, hence, the time that people actually fall asleep. Yet, most people still have to wake up at the same time for work throughout the DST period. It’s pretty easy to see how the risk of experiencing sleep loss increases. Right? Remember that night owls will not be the only ones affected. Everyone will be affected but to varying degrees. 

Okay, let’s make this even more concrete. What would you expect to happen if we kept standard time versus if we kept savings time? 

First, let’s assume a regular 9-to-5 work week, regardless of the time of the year (not factoring in any COVID-19 effects on your work schedule, like working from home). Also, let’s say that you get 7 hours of sleep every night, falling asleep at 11:00 pm and waking up at 6:00 am. 

If daylight savings time becomes the new “standard”, how would cities be affected?

To help you see what would happen in very real terms, I’ve created Table 1 to show the effect on sunrise and sunset times in cities across North America, with Houston, Texas, being at the most southerly location, and Edmonton, Alberta, up here in Canada, being at the most northerly location. 

Table 1. Standard Time Versus Daylight Savings Time (Sunset/ Sunrise)

In Table 1, I’ve included the actual recorded times for June 21, 2019 in daylight savings time. Notice how late the sun sets in the summertime. This translates into delayed bedtimes because a significant number of people will find it more challenging to fall asleep at earlier times. While the sun sets pretty late in Houston, at 8:25 pm, notice when the sun sets in Seattle and Edmonton. Imagine what it would be like if the sun were to set at around 9:10 pm or 10:07 pm where you live. Personally, I know exactly what it’s like because I used to spend quite some time in Alberta. It feels like it’s only around 5:30 pm or 6:00 pm when it is, in fact, already 9:00 pm at night. No wonder, then, that many do suffer from sleep loss throughout the DST period.

How about during wintertime? What would happen if daylight savings time were to become the “new” standard time? Well, first of all, notice how late the sun would rise in Houston. Basically, the sun’s rays would only begin to appear at around 8:12 am. Now, look at the other cities, where the sun will rise even later. Imagine what it would be like to be in Seattle, where the sun would only rise at 8:54 am. In Edmonton, it would only rise at 9:48 am; that’s only 12 minutes shy of 10:00 am…or mid-morning! Wow. The thing is that bright light in the morning plays a critical role in keeping the circadian rhythm from being delayed too much at night, which is especially important in helping night owls keep their sleep-wake times aligned with the regular 9-to-5 hours that they’ll still be expected to keep.

These examples bring to light some conditions that make daylight savings time problematic if it were to be selected as the default time. Policymakers are essentially proposing that DST be selected as the default when it has been shown to contribute to health, performance, and safety concerns. Unfortunately, daylight savings time is being proposed as the new standard in states like Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Nevada, Oregon, Tennessee, and Washington. Meanwhile, in Canada, cities like Toronto are also pushing for daylight savings time. In Texas, however, discussions seem to be veering toward keeping standard time as the default, which I believe would be the wiser and healthier choice. 

Sheryl Guloy, PhD, is sleep coach/ consultant, researcher, and educator. Her interest in sleep began with her own sleep troubles and her realization that she is a true night owl. She co-founded a sleep initiative, Somnolence+, through which she aims to make sure that more people know about their own sleep and have strategies and tools to help them sleep well. 

You can find her blog at:

Or on Facebook at:

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How Blue Light Affects Sleep and What You Should Be Doing About It Tonight

The many direct and indirect ways of how blue light affects sleep every night.

*This post may contain affiliate links, which gives me a portion of the proceeds if you purchase something at no additional cost to you. However, I only recommend things I trust, believe in, or actually use and love.

Oh, what heaven it is to finally, finally get all the kids down for bed, have the kitchen cleaned, me showered, and have some time to breathe in my super soft jammies and warm bed! I love being able to sink down and either watch a good show to wind down or catch up on what my friends and fam are up to on FB or Insta for a few minutes after my bedtime routine.

how blue light affects sleep

The problem I didn’t realize with the TV and phone scrolling is that once you start….it’s very hard to stop. I mean, obviously FB is very good in figuring out how to make it ‘addictive’, as is Pinterest or Insta! But that’s not the only problem. You don’t feel like you need to go sleep at that point because of this little pesky thing in your electronics called blue lights and how the blue lights affect sleep.

And make no mistake, blue light can affect not just your sleep, but also can indirectly start a whole cycle of other problems! Since sleep is so incredibly important for our body and brains to function, this is becoming a huge problem. Sleep can affect our hunger hormones, our energy levels, and even make us feel foggy and lethargic all day if we don’t get quality and enough sleep. My philosophy is to always merge healthy + efficient to make health magic happen ✨. And since bad sleep can be counterproductive to so many of our other health efforts, it’s one of the highest things on my list for clients to fix up front.

Where Blue Light Comes From

Blue light is emitted from pretty much all your electronics with a screen: TV, phone, tablets, game systems, computer monitors. But it also comes from our LED lighting. The thing is, blue light is in sunlight, which we need–but when it’s an isolated short-waved light like we’ve produced in our electronics and the LED lights we fill our homes with, it becomes a different issue. Especially when we’ve got it blaring in our faces all day and night.


Does Blue Light Actually Affect Sleep?

The answer is yes–blue light does actually affect sleep. The direct effects of blue light are eye strain and disruption in melatonin production. Melatonin is the hormone you produce to get to sleep. But the eye strain part is also important. Think about how many people have headaches through the day that are just attributed to ‘sitting at a desk’ or ‘tech neck’. A good portion of this can be traced back to the actual blue light they’re inundated with all day and into the night. Neck pain can cause poor sleep as well.

How Blue Light Affects Sleep Indirectly

How blue light affects sleep indirectly become more tricky. But based on the direct effects, they come in 2 parts: the hormone issue, and the eye strain issue.

1-Hormones— Melatonin is a hormone, and your body kicks the production of it up around 2pm at the same time cortisol should be gradually getting lower. This works in harmony so that by bedtime you’re sleepy with cortisol very low (it gives you energy when it’s high.) But when blue lights are kicking it down when the sun goes down outside, we have a problem. The blue light melatonin connection is why it’s so hard to go to sleep when you’re scrolling on your phone or just. can’t. stop. watching that fave show you’ve been binging.

When you disrupt that melatonin production, you’re disrupting other hormones, too. It’s pretty much jacking with your circadian rhythm, and keep this in mind: 2 OTHER hormones are at play while you sleep called ghrelin and leptin. These 2 hormones tell your body whether you have enough energy or not. If you’re not getting enough sleep, and the melatonin is out of whack, these 2 hormones will also be out of whack.

Why does this matter? Well, have you noticed if you’ve only had a couple of hours of sleep how hungry you are all day? Or that you crave carbs all the time? This is because those 2 hormones are telling your body you need more energy. And when you eat more, especially simple carbs (including sugar), what happens? Yep–you gain and store more fat. (Booo!!)

2–Eye strain— This can quickly develop into greater problems because those blue lights are shorter waves and actually penetrate your eye all the way to the light-sensitive cells in the retina. This can actually increase the risk of macular degeneration! I don’t know about you, but I already have eye issues. I was SEVERELY nearsighted until I had LASIK. And it was 25 years of misery with contacts. I have no intention of making things bad again!!

And also, that eye strain can–again–contribute to headaches. How much pain medicine are you downing and filtering through your kidneys and liver because of that headache every day/ few days?

How to Be Strategic with Blue Light

One of the best ways to get around this blue light conundrum in our age of digital and tech gadgets is to start setting a ‘curfew’ for the electronics. Our household has a rule of none from dinnertime on. And if the hubby and I want to watch TV after the kids are in bed, we have blue-light-blocking glasses that I snagged off Amazon. (Link below if you’re interested.)

There are also some apps you can use on your computer screen and android or iPhone that will reduce the blue light and put out a warmer tone.

Also, you can get blue-light-blocking screen protectors now for your iPhone or computer screen like these (genius) ones:

But my favorite (because they send you a little blue light and card to test it) are the glasses. They’re just like regular glasses–clear–but they block that light for you, which you can check out HERE.

Bottom line is that we really need to be more vigilant in keeping the blue lights out in the evenings.

How about your household? Do you have a ‘tech curfew’? Have you experienced the effects of blue lights with headaches or sleep disruptions? Let me know in the comments!

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how blue light affects sleep

10 Epic Reasons to do HIIT Workouts for Women

10 Reasons Why HIIT Workouts for Women are the Time Saving Answer for Busy Moms That Don’t Have Time to Work Out

HIIT workouts for women are one of those Godsends that happened when I thought getting fit with small kids totally impossible. As busy moms like us tend to have more and more responsibility loaded onto our shoulders, fitness tends to get moved to the back burner. I know it is for me. Even though I know I’ll feel awesome when I do strength training, walk a few miles, or do my secret weapon workouts: HIIT workouts.

hiit workouts for women

But honestly–the amount of time needed for a single hiit workout at home or at the gym inevitably will get clouded with questions about what else I could be spending that time doing. Is it that way for you, too?

I’ll preach this till the day I die to other moms, but in all heart-to-heart honesty💕: Your home and family cannot run well if YOU aren’t running well. Movement and fitness has GOT to be a mandatory part of your self care! It’s just as important as incorporating relaxation into your days, as well as being KEY to reducing stress and anxiety, not to mention a huge catalyst in getting better sleep.

Which is why I’m so incredibly thankful I discovered HIIT workouts. HIIT stands for High Intensity Interval Training. And if the term ‘high intensity’ scares you right off the bat–STOP! Please don’t let it! It’s actually a very effective (and super efficient) way to work out, and HIIT workouts for beginners are aplenty online (but really aren’t difficult to make on your own.)

My philosophy is to find the magic middle where we merge healthy + efficient to make healthy habits doable on the daily. And HIIT is a perfect example of that magic happening! ✨

The way that HIIT workouts work–simplified–is that you have a set number of exercises, and you go all out for about 20 seconds, then rest for 10 seconds, then move onto the next exercise all out for 20 seconds, and so on, until you finish all exercises. (BTW, a similar type of workout called Tabata is as effective since it uses the same high intensity interval method.) So basically you can work in cardio and strength at the same time.

When I have a serious lack of time I do the simplest exercise routine of HIIT exercises that I have. It’s printed out, and it’s 4 really simple exercises that get a workout in so that I can de-stress and rest easy.

The exercises consist of:

20 seconds-jumping jacks

10 seconds-REST

20 seconds-mountain climbers

10 seconds-REST

20 seconds-high knees

10 seconds-REST

20 seconds-burpees

Easy, right??!

So, I have asthma and long-winded cardio has never been a good option for me. Especially during my most allergenic periods, since my asthma is triggered by allergies.

Which is why I’m such a big supporter of easy HIIT workouts, and why HIIT for beginners can be so simple and hopefully prove the benefits in only that short amount of work. The shortest one can take ONLY 8 MINUTES!! (And if I’m sick or it’s that time of month, I may get away with only one cycle for only 4 minutes.) Honest to goodness, if you can’t fit an 8-minute workout it, we got problems. Cause the best HIIT workout is the one you actually do.

So here are the benefits of doing these quick HIIT workouts for women:

1-HIIT workouts are excellent for heart health

First of all, this includes lowering blood pressure. See, when you do things that make your heart rate elevated, the blood flow initiates the cells lining your blood vessels to release a compound that dilates the blood vessels. This is like your body’s own natural medicine working for it! Pretty cool, huh? When those blood vessels are more dilated, your blood pressure goes down. That’s why any good doc’s first recommendation for lowering blood pressure should be exercise! (IMO)

2-HIIT workouts allow you to choose your own workouts

Honestly, you can choose any exercise you want for each component. If you’re focusing on cardio, do something bouncy like burpees or jumping jacks. Want to focus on strength for legs and butt? Do walking lunges. Need more core work? Do planks. The possibilities are endless. Also, all you have to do to get ideas is go onto Pinterest and type in ‘HIIT workouts core’ or whatever you’re looking for specifically, even ‘HIIT for beginners’. A million people have already made this easy for you. 😉

3-HIIT workouts allow you to choose your own time allotment

Even the most Type-A’s of us sometimes let our fitness goals fall to the wayside when we’ve got super limited time. When that happens, do 3 rounds with 4 exercises. 8 minutes–bam! Got a bit more time? Add in another exercise, or opt for doing 4 rounds. The options for time restraints are limitless. Which–again–is why I absolutely love HIIT workouts for women.

4-HIIT workouts can be done with or without any kind of equipment, so essentially you can do your HIIT workout at home

Yep–isometrics are totally fine with every exercise you do in your HIIT workout. But if you wanna add in something like a kettlebell (which is what I do when I’m working on legs and butt), you can absolutely do that, too!

And–get this–there are HIIT treadmill workouts, too! So if you’d rather do this on a treadmill, tread-climber, whatever–it’s totally doable. And this is sometimes the ONLY option if you have a joint injury or condition where burpees and the like aren’t possible. (Or, ya know, just had a baby.)

5-HIIT workouts can be done literally anywhere!

Going on vacay? Or a work trip? HIIT workouts can be done right in your hotel room. And if you’re doing one of the treadmill workouts, nearly every hotel chain has a fitness room. Take advantage of it!

6-HIIT Workouts burn calories and fat in a short period of time (this one is my absolute fave!)

Studies have shown HIIT to burn the same amount of calories in just a 15-minute session than would happen in an hour session of jogging on the treadmill! That’s pretty incredible! And a giant bonus for us moms that have limited time!

7-HIIT Workouts boost your metabolism

HIIT keeps that metabolism going way after you’ve quit working out. Yeah, you heard that right! The research also says it can keep burning calories 1 1/2 hours up to 24 hours after your workout. As a result, that’s gonna help you burn calories, so if you’re trying to lose some fat, this is an excellent type of workout to consider.

8-HIIT Workouts help build endurance

What this means is that if you ever do any other types of exercises, even, say, riding a bike, that doing HIIT workouts will help you be able to ride for longer on that bike. As a result, the increase in endurance on your system will translate to other physical demands you have.

9-HIIT Workouts allow you to be creative and sort of ‘multi-task your fitness’.

Need to get in some play/exercise time with your dog? Go in the back yard with a dog toy and do sprints around while he chases you to get the toy. Rest for about 10 seconds, then do the same again. My lab particularly loves to chase her soccer ball, and WANTS me to kick it around and chase her when she has it.

Wanna spend more time with your kids while they get energy out? Chase them on their bikes for 20-second sprints. Kick a ball back and forth with them. Also, the younger they are, the worse their aim–you’ll have to chase it down every time! Jump on the trampoline with them. Play freeze-tag!

These examples, and any you come up with, should be based on spurts of all out work balanced with small periods of rest.

10-HIIT Workouts Reverse Signs of Aging

Whuuuuuuttt??!! YES!! HIIT workouts for women have been shown to reverse signs of aging better than any other type of workout! This is also especially important when you cross the age-40 threshold, and having that cellular performance already in place when you do turn 40 is even better. Seriously, busy Mama, that expensive wrinkle cream can only do so much. 😉

Grab the FREE Weekly Fitness Planner and quit stressing about your workouts!

Ready to try out a HIIT workout? Maybe you already do an awesome one? Let me know in the comments!

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hiit workouts for women

The Mental Load Women Take on That’s Creating Resentment with Husbands

Tips and checklist for how to talk to your husband (or wife) to ease the stress and replace resentment of the female mental load women inevitably take on in your household.

One of the most frustrating arguments I can have with my husband revolves around this topic. Not because I feel it’s taboo, or because I believe the whole ‘women’s chores’ BS (I grew up in the South where unbelievably demeaning attitudes involving gender inequality in household work, among other things, still exist heavily.) I think it’s because I could never quite put my finger on what “it” was for a long time.

One of our biggest blowups involved going to a kids birthday party one Saturday. I am always expected to be the one who knows the day and time, has bought the gift, gift bag, and card, and then prepped everyone for the party, in addition to picking outfits, making the kids get dressed, and then doing hair for 4 females in the house. That doesn’t count me getting myself ready either. And one day I’d had enough.

My husband, after lounging on the bed watching TV during the whole ordeal of us getting ready without his help, couldn’t understand why I was fuming when he didn’t remember to grab the darn gift on his way out the door. And I lost it. (Please know that I have a short fuse, and up to this point I had exercised extreme patience with this whole situation…or maybe not patience, but holding my sh!t together, minimum.)

What is *The* mental load for women

I had to explain that this wasn’t an isolated occurrence. This kind of thing happened on a daily basis with literally any family or household thing going on. I realize I’m a SAHM, but when he honestly doesn’t even put a single thought into anything regarding the kids or family, that’s where I’d drawn my line. And I just could not, for the life of me, put my finger on what the real issue was.

He’s repeatedly said to me, ‘Tell me what to do and I’ll do it!’ So from the outside, it should look like he’s totally innocent and I’m the nastiest Momzilla that ever lived. (Or maybe Wifezilla.) But what had been festering for years finally made perfect sense when another mom with the same issue gave it a name: The Female Mental Load women take on in nearly every household.

It was the mental load.

The overbearing, heavy, unmovable mental load of moms everywhere.

The mental load women take on of having to remember everything, coordinate everything, plan everything, buy everything, assemble everything, and do everything–which smothers me with the stress of it all. It was a lack of initiative from him in any one single part of all those things. He didn’t want to have to think about anything. So he left it all to me.

I already ran the household by myself, especially since he’s gone for work so much. That means I’m already a single parent the majority of the time. So I had that plus the mental load of all of it. All to myself.


Guilt steps in…as always

For a while I felt guilty; I mean, I am the one staying home instead of working outside the home. But one day I snapped. Ya know, the birthday party day. Yes I stay home with the kids, I’m not at a job outside the home. But I thought back to when we both worked full time. And it finally dawned on me… things were the same way back then.

And I don’t think it’s an on-purpose thing for him (or any male partner.) It’s just, for one–we think differently than men. But I think a little of it is that they don’t want to have to think about anything. (It is for my husband anyway.)

And this happens in soooo many households even though we’re supposed to have evolved from this whole ‘traditional’ attitude of the woman doing everything involved with the kids and household. That whole gender inequality in household work thing. Many friends have told me they feel it’s come from how their husbands were raised. Meaning: we have to be very direct and communicate the fact that they’re not guests in the household (nor are they king of the 7 realms that sits on the iron throne.) They’re our partners. Plain and simple. A partner contributes to running and maintaining the household and children you BOTH have.

So in all this hefty load-bearing, we’ve come to use these 4 ways to work through the communication of the whole issue, to help the load get split more evenly and, hopefully, relieve some of the resentment from the mental load I’d taken on by myself for far too long.

Open a conversation about it

One of the first things I always have to remember in this is to NOT start our conversation while in attack mode. Using ‘I feel’ statements to communicate the burden you have makes a huuuuge difference. Maybe even make a list to give examples. And reiterate that he is one of two parents here, and half of a couple.

Let him know how much you feel this is on you. Maybe even talk about how this kind of thing puts you in a bad mood, stresses you out, and makes sexy time feel so-NOT-sexy. (It does for me anyhow!) Open up about your feelings and let him know that you shouldn’t have this entire load to yourself.

Then make a list of all the things you handle and anything he handles, then split it up. Be very clear that you will each be responsible for those things without the other’s help unless necessary.

The whole point is for you to not have to remind + direct when it’s time to do each thing.

Be calm and listen to both sides regarding the mental load (BOTH of you)

Lord help me this one was hard. I felt like this was so one-sided forever that the years of resentment and trying to figure out how to talk to my husband about the mental load when I couldn’t even define it created this huge storm in me that was a Cat 3 hurricane bout to level our marriage.

But through the stack of books I’ve read and therapy (yes go do this even when you don’t ‘think’ you’re having problems!) I’ve been able to learn the skill of stepping back and putting myself in his shoes for the sake of seeing the other side to be able to put my own resentment to rest. It’s hard. It’s really freaking hard. But it falls in line with the whole ‘forgive someone else for YOU not them’ mentality. This is for your sake.

The other side of the coin is that he has to be able to also be calm and step back himself (or herself) and see your side as well. That’s the whole point of this, and if you don’t have a receptive partner, you’re wasting your breath. So I won’t lie and say this will be easy. It may take extra steps to get into the correct listening mode for both of you.

Tips for collaboration

Make sure you’re planning ahead, first and foremost. It’s super simple to either set a timer, or create a system for something. For example, if his new responsibility is to do one load of laundry a day, ask him to set a timer on his phone, or ask that he throws it in while dinner is going.

Reminders are always going to be your friend (well, actually his since you already remember this stuff.) But using things like lists, sticky notes, and reminders on phones are always really helpful.

Make sure you’re dividing things up by either skill level, or what one or the other likes to do. My husband actually really likes to cook. So when he’s home–I don’t have to cook! 🎉🙌 I don’t mind doing floors, so I sweep and vacuum. (Also, we delegate stuff to the kids as well, and they have chores. If your kids are older, make sure they’re doing their parts, too–sometimes we forget how capable our kids actually are!)

Reversing roles

Don’t feel like specific tasks need to go to one or the other based on gender. My husband likes mowing the yard, but I used to do it as a teen at my dad’s house, and actually loved the peace and quiet. And what mom couldn’t use that, right? 😂 So I’m absolutely not opposed to doing the yard in lieu of him taking something I do inside.

I also got a big wakeup call on this after my brother got married and had their first kid. His wife was in the Navy, and he was a ‘military mom’ for years because she was out of the country on tour. Since her being back for months at a time, he’s never handed over the roles he started out with. He still takes the kids to school and daycare, picks them up, and does all afterschool activities. They both work full-time. It’s actually been refreshing to see him in that role–especially since we both grew up in a traditional, patriarchal community. Honestly it makes my heart smile. 😍

Learn to let go

If you have a real problem with things getting done a certain way because you’ve always done it that way… you’re gonna have to just let some things go. Trusting that it’ll get done–even if it’s not exactly how you do it–is gonna be huge in letting some stress fall away from your shoulders.

If it’s a matter of it being done properly (either by your partner or your kid), that’s a different animal. Take some time to teach how it’s done correctly, whether it’s the hubby or a kid, then move on.

The biggest takeaway here is to understand that your house doesn’t have to look like a Pottery Barn catalog all the time. People actually live in it. So if the tasks that have been handed out don’t get done the minute you think they should, you’re gonna have just step back a little. Leave the load on the other person. That’s why you handed it over in the first place, right?

How’s your female mental load, women friends? Have you had this discussion in your household? How did you go about splitting it up? (Let me know in the comments!)

Need more relaxation and less stress in your life?

Check out the TRUEWell hub for stress management HERE.

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The Effects of Forest Bathing That Will Blow Your Mind as a Mom

How Moms Can Use Forest Bathing for Stress Management + Anxiety Relief

What is Forest Bathing?

Ok, I usually don’t subscribe to the latest ‘trend’ when it comes to health, UNLESS it’s super science-backed + super cool, so when I first heard the term ‘forest bathing’, I immediately thought you sought out a lake in a forest to actually bathe. (Ew.) This, however…THIS–is so much better than a weird bath in a questionable lake with God-knows-what nipping at your body.

Forest Bathing is actually a practice (sometimes referred to as shinrin-yoku) where you immerse yourself in a forest (specifically trees) and just….be. You basically empty your mind and use your senses to be very mindful of the things around you and what you’re experiencing right then. It’s sort of like meditation, but where your eyes are open and you’re focusing on the nature that surrounds you.

“Ok-so why the heck would I bother seeking out a forest to do this, then?”, you may be asking…. and since I advocate merging healthy + efficient for doable daily healthy practices, you may also be asking how in the world forest bathing would be efficient. The long and short of it is that taking purposeful breaks during your day boosts your patience, creativity, and productivity. So that, combined with all the health benefits, is where the magic ✨of forest bathing comes from.

how to do forest bathing and the benefits of forest bathing near me

What are the Benefits of Forest Bathing?

The things that Forest Bathing do to your body, mind, and soul are absolutely incredible. It invokes calm and peace, sure–but it actually does all these physiological things to your body that are crazy therapeutic! Like INCREASED: parasympathetic nervous activity, positive feelings and feelings of well being, and even a boost in the immune system from the essential oils in the trees and plants that are emitted to protect themselves from germs and bugs! And don’t forget the DECREASED stuff, like: lowered cortisol levels, lowered pulse, lessened feelings of depression and negative feelings,   and even stress and hostility!

Honestly, the benefits are overwhelming–and totally worth it. And–this is the best part–it’s not just for adults. Kids are totally benefited just as much–especially kids with ADHD! This study determined that as little as a 20-minute visit to a nature setting could increase attention performance in kids with attention deficits. In fact, they compared the results to being as effective as recent formulations of ADHD drugs that fall under the brand names Concerta, Daytrana, Methylin, Ritalin, and Aptensio. That’s pretty incredible!!


What is a Nature Bath?

This is just a matter of semantics, as a nature bath is relaxing in nature or a forest atmosphere, the same as a forest bath.

How do you Take a Forest Bath?

Here’s how to take a nature bath or forest bath (with or without kiddos).

Step 1: Forest Bathing Near Me

At the expense of being Captain Obvious, first thing is to actually find a forest. If you already know of one near you, great! You’re on to step 2A or 2B. If not, there are a few resources online to help you locate one. The first is Discover the Forest. This site will locate a forest within a given radius in miles, based on your zip code. It also has a few other pretty cool pages, like the Discover the Urban Forest button. It’ll take you to some cool activities you can do in the forest with kids….which we’ll get to in a minute.

The second resource is the National Forest Locator Map. This option lets you see which national forests are around you, and then has the link to visit each forest’s web page.

The third resource is to just Google: ‘National Forest Near Me’ or even try ‘forest bathing near me’. Just doing this alone pulled up 3 separate hiking trails near my home within 7 miles.

And the fourth option is to find the outdoorsiest person you know and ask them! Seriously–friends/family/coworkers that camp, hike, or trail ride will absolutely know the best and/or closest forests to you.

Step 2A: How to do Forest Bathing Alone

Just FYI, I’m not about to suggest leaving your phone at home for this one. Way too many people have gotten lost in the woods for me to think that’s a good idea. However, I am ordering you to turn the ringer off, and the vibration off. And any notifications, period. Also, I know you want to log these steps on your fitness tracker. But it’s best to actually leave that thing at home. Besides, most have apps that sync with your fitness tracker will track you via GPS anyhow. Just set that to start when you get to the forest and it should sync. Bottom line: NO ELECTRONICS.

What you SHOULD do, however, is get into a purposeful mindset about getting out into nature, in the quiet, away from everything. A cool practice I read about is finding a rock at the edge of the forest, telling it all your worries, then tossing it onto the ground. Your worries should stay with the rock. And when you come back out, pick the worries back up if you want. (Undoubtedly nobody does.)

Your only goal in the forest should be to take note of the things around you. Use your senses. What do you see? Hear? Smell? What do the leaves feel like? (Please look up what poison ivy looks like, like a responsible human being with common sense does, before you go. Coz looking it up on your phone is NOT allowed, Cheater!!)

Step 2B: How to do forest bathing WITH Kids

Obviously it’s going to be a completely different experience to forest bathe with your kids. First you should probably lay down some ground rules. Kids also need explanations for things–otherwise how do they learn?? Explain what this is for–getting in touch with nature, separating from electronics for a healthy mind break, a nice relaxation period to recharge.

Then tell them the rules: no electronics, no running, no screaming, no fighting, hands to yourself. Calm. You can touch things. But think about the things you’re seeing, the things you smell, the way those things feel in your hands. Take it all in and stop to breathe deeply with eyes closed every few minutes just to smell and hear.

Remember that there’s always the chance that the kiddos will go nuts about being in nature instead of cooped up inside in the first place. Some kids need to get all that giddiness out of their systems before they can really get into the mode of just being present.

If you feel your kiddos fall into that category, try the activity sheets from the Discover the Forest site. Print them out and let them do the activities the first few times you take them out into the forest. Then try actual forest bathing after that.

If you go out and they’re calm, but say they’re bored, even after trying a time or two, maybe let them take a book out and read, or even journal or draw. Just being in nature will give many of the benefits of forest bathing while keeping their mind going without the stimulation of electronics. Here are some journals available for books he or she has read, as well as several journals for adventures, bucket lists, and even bird watching!

And let me know how your experience was in the comments below!

Know someone who could use the health benefits of forest bathing? SHARE this post!

the benefits and how to do forest bathing

Fall Inspired Homemade Spa Recipes to Transition Your Skin + Hair into Autumn With a Glow

Fall-inspired homemade spa recipes are by FAR one of the best ways for us to transition from summer into fall with one of my most fave smells of all time: pumpkin! If it smells like fall, Mama’s happy!

So what’s the big transition? Transforming that dried-out summer skin from the sun, sand, and chlorine to smooth, supple, and glowy skin!

What a better way to practice some stress management and self care when you’re strapped for cash, don’t have a babysitter, or ya know… quarantined. Here’s how to transform your skin, but also your hair and face, with these 3 fall inspired homemade diy spa recipes!

at home homemade spa recipes for fall pumpkin

Pumpkin Spice Latte Body Scrub Spa Recipe

1/2 cup pumpkin puree

1/2 cup coconut sugar (or brown sugar)

1 TBSP coconut oil (or olive oil)

1/4 tsp cinnamon

2 TBSP cinnamon


1.Mix the pumpkin puree with the oil until all combined

2. In a separate small bowl combine cinnamon, sugar, and coffee. Stir until completely mixed.

3. Pour the dry ingredients into the pumpkin and oil and whisk until completely combined.

4. Apply to body in bath tub or shower and scrub to exfoliate.

5. Rinse!

*Tip: the longer this recipe sits, the more the sugar dissolves. Since it works in addition to the coffee for exfoliation, try to use it asap. Also, maybe don’t use this one before bed if you’re sensitive to caffeine.

*Of all the fall-inspired diy homemade spa recipes, this is my favorite! Maybe because I’ve just last year jumped on the pumpkin spice flavor wagon, but this pumpkin scrub recipe is seriously sublime!

fall inspired homemade spa recipes body scrub leg


Apple Cider Vinegar + Yogurt Conditioning Hair Mask Spa Recipe

1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar (I use Bragg’s brand–it’s organic and has ‘the mother’)

2 TBSP yogurt (plain, full fat, organic)

2 TBSP honey (raw, unheated)


Mix all ingredients together really well. Apply to barely dampened hair and massage into the scalp and ends of hair. Wrap hair into a bun. Cover with plastic if you wish. Leave for 20-30 minutes, then rinse with lukewarm water. (Great for weekly conditioning mask!)

Glowing Pumpkin Face Mask Spa Recipe

1/4 cup pumpkin puree (canned or fresh, but try to use organic)

1 egg (raw, organic)

1 tsp honey (raw, unheated)

1/2 TBSP apple cider vinegar (organic, I use Bragg’s brand with ‘the mother’)


1. Whisk egg, then add pumpkin puree and honey. Mix till combined.

2. Stir in apple cider vinegar till completely mixed.

3. *This is messy, so wear something you don’t mind getting drips on! Apply to freshly washed face over the sink, tub, or shower in case of drips.

4. Leave for 15-20 minutes, then rinse, and follow with moisturizer.

fall inspired homemade spa recipes face scrub jar

Hopefully you can ‘transition’ into fall with me with these yummy fall-inspired 🎃 diy homemade spa recipes as well! (Just try not to eat it first! 😉)

diy spa recipes at home pumpkin fall  food

Know someone that could use some self care me time via fall-inspired spa recipes? Please SHARE this post!

How Lifting Weights for Women Improves Every Health Issue You Care About

Lifting Weights for Women: the 7 MEGA Benefits You Didn’t Know

Somewhere along the line, Mamas have gotten so completely exhausted that we sometimes don’t believe we can even take the time to stay fit, or even get fit. Walking, home workout videos, and aerobic classes seem to take too much time. And forget about strength training! Nobody has time to do circuits in the gym while there are a million and one things to get done at home, and all those munchkins to haul around all afternoon, right?

But the thing is, lifting weights for women, or strength training, has some really huge benefits! And while you may think strength training should be at the bottom of your priorities when it comes to fitness–or even stress relief–I totally disagree.

Grab the FREE Weekly Fitness Planner and quit stressing about your workouts!

My whole philosophy is to find the magic middle ✨ between healthy and efficient to make sure healthy habits are doable on the daily. And working in strength training, whether via lifting weights for women, or isometrics in a HIIT workout can be that happy median.

It’s super easy to fit in a HIIT routine, and-although it’s a little more difficult to track with a fitness tracker like a Fitbit, there are a ton of apps you can log for HIIT routines. MyFitnessPal can also log your strength training.

lifting weights for women

But aside from that, here are the super compelling arguments for lifting weights for women:

1. Lifting Weights for Women and Anti-Aging

Did that get your attention?? Yep, strength training has been shown to slow the aging process! (HIIT technically performed better in the study, it showed a larger increase at the cellular level.) Read here about a 97-year old man that weight trains. Unbelievable and SO motivational!

2. Strength Training and Better Sleep

As soon as you give birth to your first born, you know the need for sleep like no other human on the planet. And unfortunately it doesn’t get a whole lot easier for a while. Especially when more babies are added, in addition to the normal stresses of modern life. I know SO many women that have so much on their plate that they literally can’t turn their brains off at night to sleep.

3. Strength Training and More Energy

I know this sounds sort of counter intuitive, but it’s real. Somehow, when we’re feeling fatigued, our cells are sort of in a drowsy state. But when you start to move, everything wakes up and things start percolating. And that doesn’t end when you quit working out. It helps you have more energy all day. Not to mention that you’re getting better sleep from strength training already, so it’s sort of a double whammy of awesomeness for your health.

4. Strength Training Burn More Calories

Even though per minute, cardio burns more calories–and it’s only like 2 calories–strength training still trumps it for kcal burn. The reason is that strength training induces calorie burn way after your workout as well. Plus, if you’re actually putting the correct amount of effort into it, you’re still getting some cardio while you strength train.

5. Strength Training and Stress Reduction

Stress reduction is such a HUGE part of self-care for busy Mamas. We have so much responsibility piled onto us all the time that we really have to stop and pay attention to reducing the anxieties and stress that are nearly unavoidable. Strength training also helps reduce anxiety and stress as well. Part of this also may have to do with the sleep connection, but regardless–it’s another major benefit!

6. Strength Training for Increasing Bone Muscle Density

Unless you live under a rock, you’ve read about the reduction of bone muscle density in women–especially past menopause. (Settle down–I’m not saying you’re in or even close to menopause, I’m just saying this is important in the same way your retirement account is important!) Strength training actually increases bone density because of the resistance against your muscles and bones. This is a really big deal as hormones (many of which directly affect bone density) start going haywire. Mine started in my early 30’s, I just didn’t know that’s what the problem was until later.

7. Strength Training Boosts Confidence

I don’t know about you, but I have lots of times when I feel less than…anything really. Why I love strength training is that it makes me feel strong, and the changes in my body make me more confident. Seriously. I feel better, I think I look better, and those combined make me more confident. Also I can wrestle with my husband and I’m convinced I almost win sometimes. 😉

Grab the FREE Weekly Fitness Planner and quit stressing about your workouts!


How about you? Do you already strength train? Thinking of starting?

Let me know in the comments below!

Know someone that’s thinking of starting strength training? Please SHARE this post!

lifting weights for women