SPRING IS IN THE AIR, MY DARLINGS!!! Spring is the perfect time for self-transformation since we can see it happening all around us in nature as the world goes from gray to green. And so do we!

We can come out of hibernation now and ease back into the outside world without fear of that painful chill in the air seizing onto our bones and brains, making us uncomfortable and unmotivated. So take off your coat and stretch and breathe and be inspired by the rebirth of spring – and your desire for ease, comfort, and relaxation!

Chronic stress is one of the most destructive things the human body can experience. We are simply living too fast, we are too busy, and we do not make enough time to recover from our hectic daily lives – i.e: relaxation, play and sleep. People are suffering from stress related health issues all around us, including us! We need to STOP and chill the F out! We have become a nation full of stressed out, freaked out and sick people! We need to turn things around before stress makes us go the way of the dinosaurs! We say things like we are too busy to cook or too busy to exercise – so basically we are telling ourselves that we are too busy to take care of ourselves! Whaaa??? S-T-O-P. Let’s get it together people! The next time you say to yourself – or anyone else – that you are too busy to do something good for you, take a selfie and post it on my Facebook page with a post that says: I SAID I WAS TOO BUSY TO ____________ and tell me what it is. The madness needs to stop! Ahhhhhhhh! I encourage you to be accountable for your time and try to make enough of it in your day or evening to RELAX.

This April, let us focus on reducing stress and enjoying quality sleep AND TAKE BACK OUR HEALTH AND SANITY! While the longer, warmer days ahead can inspire us to get outside more and exert more energy (which is great for getting more exercise!) we also need to allow the comfort of the warmer weather to hold a space for us to unwind, recover, relax, and prepare for a rewarding night’s sleep!

Here are 8 Tips to Reduce Stress, Recover from LIFE, and Get Quality Sleep:

1) Practice Meditation: Meditating is NOT some weird woo-woo practice – it is AWESOME to meditate! I thought it was strange too so I wasted MANY, MANY years not doing it. Thank goodness I stopped being ignorant! I encourage you to open your mind and try it. It’s not only relaxing and stress-busting, but it also makes you mentally stronger! I recommend you start by Doing Nothing for 2 Minutes if you’ve never tried meditating before – or if you only have 2 minutes to spare. Just do it. There are different types of meditations on Calm, as well as many apps for your phone – I use Stop, Breathe and Think. With mobile apps you can even take a break in your office to meditate or outside in a park, your car (parked of course!) or your backyard.

2) Try ROMWOD: As you know from our habit formation challenges the past 2 months, I started practicing ROMWOD (Range of Motion Workout of the Day) every morning and it has really transformed how I greet the day! You can filter the workouts by time, so if you only have 10 minutes, there are sessions that can accommodate you. There is a free 7-day trial period, so check it out. Nothing like stretching and deep breathing to make you just melt away the tension! If you don’t want to spring for the monthly fee on ROMWOD, there are free yoga sites you can use, like this one.

3) Reduce caffeine, and sugar, no matter how much you love them. Both can mess with sleep and stress levels. Here are 10 tips to getting a good night’s sleep.

4) Install f.lux on your desktop or laptop. It is software that adjusts the color of your computer display to grow warmer as the sun sets, reducing blue light as it gets darker out. This way you are not staring at a bright blue-lit screen at night, which can mess with your circadian rhythm and disrupt sleep. At last check, f.lux was not available for tablets and cell phones, but there are similar apps available for iOS and android that you can install on your phones and some tablets. Since TV also contains blaring blue light, try turning it off an hour before bed. Or get some blue blocker glasses if you absolutely must watch TV after dark (I understand – sometimes you need your TV! I love Better Call Saul & Broad City too!)

5) READ: Join my women’s only book club on Facebook– The Bedtime Betties! Start setting an alarm for yourself to go off 1 hour before your bedtime so you can turn off your electronic devices, get comfortable, and read. Preferably paper books, not ones on a tablet due to blue light exposure. Reading before bed will set the stage for a good night’s sleep. I created The Bedtime Betties Book Club for us women to read inspiring works by women (most of the time) so we can be motivated to get out of our comfort zones and make change in our lives & the world – one voice at a time. The world needs us!!! I also created the club so we could cultivate the new habit of reading before bed every night to get quality sleep – so we have the energy to conquer the world! Join today! Here is the link to the group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/thebedtimebettiesbookclub/

6) Practice Pleasure: Invite the art of seduction! Tap into your feminine side and seduce your partner – and yourself! Enjoy the art of slowing down to enjoy pleasure – sexual or otherwise. Having orgasms produces the ultimate in stress reduction, a potent trigger for sleep, and other health-boosting chemical reactions – and is a wonderful way to relax and experience intense pleasure. Haven’t felt super feminine or sexy in a while? Check out Kitty Cavalier’s Start the Season with Seduction series to get you back on track, kitty cat! It’s free – and you’ll be purring in no time!

7) Practice regular self-care: get monthly massages, take regular trips to the salon and spa, take long hot baths at night (if you are low in magnesium, take Epsom salt baths – magnesium is the ultimate relaxation chemical,) take naps, stretch, take scenic walks, sprawl out on the beach – mainly, do whatever makes you feel good that reduces stress and promotes self-care – OFTEN! Self-care should be your #1 priority. Take care of yourself!

8) Play & Socialize: Playing is not just for children! Playing is one of the best stress-busters for adults as well! Playing can be anything you do with energy and delight and involves lots of laughter! Something you do strictly for fun that tires you out when it’s over. Go dancing with your friends! Or dance in your house! (You are never too old for dancing!) Play with your kids or your partner or your pets – sports games or board games, tag, wrestling, karaoke – whatever gets you having fun and laughing! Play also strengthens the social and emotional bonds with those you are playing with. Since our “busy” lives often prevent us from seeing our peeps as much as we’d like, making time for socializing & play is a wonderful way to reduce stress, feel connected, and HAVE FUN!

Remember, practice helps you become better at something, so practice a ritual for relaxation as often as you can – ideally every day. Let’s make April about loving ourselves up!!!

Take exquisite care of yourself!

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EAT REAL FOOD. BE FREE. LIVE WILD!