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Inspiring Women to be Self-Love in Action


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8 Go-To Podcasts for Stress Relief, Inspiration and Wellness

 

Whether you’re seeking a fun pick-me-up to past the time or wanting a deeper dive into your personal and professional development, there’s definitely a podcast to provide that fix. The challenge? The medium has grown so much it can be overwhelming to filter and find what works best for you. To take some of the pressure off, and to also help you start your own unique playlist, I’ve listed eight pods I recommend (and a couple of bonuses, too) across the health/wellness, education and business categories. I’m sure they’ll quickly become go-to’s in consistent rotation for stress relief, self-care and inspiration.

The Art of Money – Financial Therapist, Bari Tessler’s book The Art of Money was chosen as a Phoenix Book Pick last year, and the podcast was mentioned because it doesn’t disappoint either. It’s an engaging and thought-provoking extension of the book (which is not required reading in order to understand the podcast). The Art of Money’s holistic approaches and practices for building and sustaining financial wellness and happiness provide a very refreshing take on helping you connect the dots with how you think about money. There’s no shaming or judging about money matters but a commitment to “ushering in a new wave of compassion, gentleness, and unshaming” to gain deeper understanding about your relationship to money (past and present). Some episodes feature special guests in financial therapy, management and planning.

Episode Suggestion: Money pioneer Saundra Davis opens up about race, the wealth gap, and what real change takes

Food Heaven – These powerhouse women in wellness, Wendy and Jess; both registered dietitian nutritionists and best friends, have been sharing healthy living tips, nutrition facts and recipes for a long time, so it was a given that as their platform grew it would eventually include a phenomenal podcast, one that’s compassionate and inclusive on so many levels. It’s health food education and wellness discussed in an encouraging and loving way. You’ll be able to relate no matter where you are on your journey. There’s no talk about restrictive diets and fast food fixes; Food Heaven’s topics include health at every size, food and culture, food justice, body acceptance, balanced eating on a budget, and intuitive eating.

Episode Suggestion: Our Tips for Navigating Stress Eating

Get Loved Up – When you’re in the mood to listen to something with a focus on mental, physical and spiritual health make Get Loved Up with Koya Webb a go-to. What makes this wellness-related podcast different from some others (in a good way) is it doesn’t jump on the what’s-trendy-in-the-field bandwagon to keep your attention; the content is authentic and original. The wide range of guests add to its authenticity. Koya’s positive energy puts her guests at ease so they are more open to sharing personal stories along with useful tips on subjects like overcoming fear, healing trauma, spiritual awareness, reproductive health and meditation.

Episode Suggestion: Pull Yourself Out of Your Pain and Be In Your Own Game with Tina Lifford

Good Ancestor – There are so many great things to say about this podcast. It’s a thought-provoking, intentional, and empowering breath of fresh air. Curated by Layla Saad, author, speaker and podcast host, Good Ancestor is all about heartfelt conversations with women changemakers and culture-shapers who are authors, coaches, healers, educators, midwives, therapists, etc. Conversation topics are diverse, and spiritually and socially conscious. The deep dialogue on everything from motherhood to race/culture to self-care is much needed for personal growth, healing and transformation. Layla begins each episode by asking her guests, “Who are some of the ancestors living or transitioned, familial or societal, who have influenced you on your journey?” She ends the episode by asking, “What does it mean to you to be a good ancestor?” These questions uncover how her guests will use their talents and purpose to, as Layla puts it, “create a legacy of healing and liberation for those who are here in this lifetime and for those who will come after I’m gone.”

Episode Suggestion: Good Ancestor Jennifer Arnise on Healing the Black Mother Wound

Meditation Minis – In a nutshell, this podcast takes the pressure off when it comes to meditation, especially if you’re a beginner and want more guidance. The mini meditations are guided by Chel Hamilton and are perfect for either jump starting your day or preparing to relax at night. Put it this way, if you’ve had a very long day at work and need to decompress, listen to a mini episode like Cozy Relaxing Sleep to put your mind at ease. Each meditation starts with focused and doable prompts that help you push through the what-if-I’m-not-doing-it-right feelings and support you in building confidence, relieving anxiety and stress, and also having a restful sleep. This is one the kids can enjoy, too. (FYI: Her voice is very soothing! Get ready to be very relaxed.)

Episode Suggestion: Calm + Be + Ease (No matter how anxious it all seems)

On Purpose with Jay Shetty – This is one that will consistently keep you interested and inspired; you’ll look forward to the episodes, especially the 30-45 minute tips and how-to’s. On Purpose is all about empowering personal growth and transformation so you can mindfully live in your unique purpose; and, if you haven’t quite figured out your purpose or it’s changing for whatever reason, Jay Shetty, provides on-point support and to-the-point advice and wisdom you didn’t even know you needed. It’s one ah-ha moment after another on relationships, motivation, self-care, etc. You’ll definitely walk away with newfound revelations and be invigorated to apply new tools to persevere.

Episode Suggestion: The Shocking Ways We Spend Our Time and 8 Ways to Invest It Better

Therapy for Black Girls – A Phoenix favorite for sure! Therapy for Black Girls is a weekly conversation with Dr. Joy Harden Bradford on mental health and personal development. It can be an extremely daunting task to find a therapist, and even more challenging when you want her to be a woman of color. Joy has made it easier by creating a platform that centers the voices and expertise of WOC in the field and ensures the community of listeners is affirmed, supported and heard when it comes to mental health issues and concerns. The podcast doesn’t replace therapy, of course, but it’s a helpful and accessible resource; plus, it inspires those who’ve never had professional help to take the leap. There’s even a therapist directory to help you find licensed mental health professionals in your neck of the woods!

Episode Suggestion: Shedding Your Superwoman Status

Unlocking Us – Three words: Dr. Brenѐ Brown. She’s giving it to you straight, no chaser as usual about what it means to be vulnerable. Right out the gate with the first episode she talks about the discomfort of trying new things (like her podcast) and how it’s important to embrace discomfort in order to grow. Brenѐ shares an unforgettable acronym, FFT, to break down why most people are afraid to try something new. (No spoiler on the acronym! Go listen.) The beauty of Unlocking Us is the presence of vulnerability while in heartfelt conversation with guests about various aspects of vulnerability, e.g. grief and finding meaning, permission to feel, loneliness and connection, and anxiety and over/under-functioning to name a few. Get your journal ready, because each episode is full of lessons you’ll be able to apply to your daily life.

Episode Suggestion: Alicia Keys and Brenѐ Brown on “More Myself”

Bonuses:

Support is Sexy with Elayne Fluker – Professional women from around the world share the ups and downs of their entrepreneurial journeys. Episode Suggestion: Tiffany Dufu on Dropping the Ball and Dumping Your Good Girl Burden

 

Snap Judgment – Phenomenal real-life stories from everyday people; storytelling that makes you want to know more. Episode Suggestion: How Estee Got Her Zumba Back

 

 

Happy listening.

(Are you already an avid podcast listener? If so, what are a few of your favorite? Share with us in the comments.)


Ayanna Jordan is founder of The Phoenix Rising Collective. She is a personal development coach creating and facilitating dynamic women-centered, self-care workshops with a focus on how putting self-love into action can transform your life. She also creates training programs and group coaching that empowers women’s professional growth in authentic leadership, entrepreneurship, and passion-filled work. Her interactive, holistic approach inspires action and creates a non-judgmental, safe and supportive space for women to truly explore and affirm who they are, what they want and how they want to do it.


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15 Affirmations to Inspire the Daily Practice of Self-Love

I originally posted 15 Affirmations to Inspire the Daily Practice of Self-Love in 2014, and I decided, “Hey, why not do a refresh?” You got it. Yes, I’m trying to get as many people on the affirmation bandwagon as I can because they work. The perspective we take on our experiences can either create a dark downward spiral or catapult us to significant transformational change. Put another way by Margaret Moore, founder of Wellcoaches, “It makes it harder, not easier to change when the focus is on what’s wrong and what’s not working. Not enough positive energy and emotion are harvested to fuel the pursuit of change.”

Exactly what are affirmations, and why are they important? To put it simply, they are positive words of empowerment that when consistently spoken, shift your perspective, lift your spirit, and change your mind. Affirmations help you focus on what you want for your life rather than what you don’t want. And as the Coaching Psychology Manual shares, they are “best written in the present tense, as if they are already happening and in your voice.”

We have a tendency to concentrate on the worst case scenario. In fact, how many times have you used or heard someone else use the phrase, “OK, here’s the worst case scenario,” to prepare for what might go wrong. Why fabricate, ponder and conjure the worst results possible when the universe is really conspiring for your greatest good? To think about the worst that can happen while secretly hoping for something more loving, kind, peaceful and compassionate to occur isn’t healthy nor does it manifest the experiences you truly deserve.

Caroline Shola Arewa, Wellness Coach and Author, provides a inspiring explanation from her book, Opening to Spirit:

Thoughts have a very powerful impact on our energy. ‘Energy follows thought’ is one of the basic laws of nature. Through our thoughts we are capable of changing our lives. Therefore, we must be vigilant and think with awareness. A negative belief can manifest just as easily as an affirmative thought. The universe supports ‘My life will never change,’ just as easily as ‘Things are going to improve for me.’ The choice is yours. You are gifted with a high level of consciousness, so you can make choices. When you truly Open to Spirit, help is available to you. As director of your life story, you have the ability to rewrite the script and make changes; this is your ‘respons-ability’.

If love, kindness, peace and compassion are what you desire, then why not make them your primary concentration from the start? So, here’s the commitment: No more I-don’t-want mantras. You’ve already established yourself in that area, right? Moving forward, affirm your life through positive, conscious thoughts and words that support your intentions and direct the energy where you REALLY want it to flow.

Begin writing your own affirmations to learn the difference between a negative statement versus an affirmative one. For example, instead of “I don’t want to be alone,” try “I am open to new experiences and attract positive people into my life.” Rather than declaring, “I am broke,” try “My financial needs are always met, and I am provided for.” Right now I’m really working on time management: using my time wisely, making room for things that are important to me and being mindful throughout the day. To create a meaningful, motivating affirmation I visualized how doing these things will make me feel and started brainstorming the actions and thoughts that will generate the outcome I want. The affirmation is below:

I honor my time through daily acts of preparation and mindfulness like weekly meal prep, taking deep breaths to center myself for the present moment, taking it one step at a time, committing to a consistent sleep schedule, and saying yes to what really bring me happiness. These daily acts create more peaceful, intentional experiences that support, affirm and empower my well being.

Lastly, jot down affirmations you hear or read from others. Post them in different areas of your home so that your awareness strengthens and reciting them becomes a daily practice. As a jump start, I’ve compiled some that I’ve shared with you in the past, as well as some from authors I’m inspired by:

  1. Relaxation: I take time to slow down and enjoy my life.
  2. Physical Health: I love my body, and my body loves me.
  3. New Opportunities: I say yes to new things and follow my intuition. When my spirit tells me to move, I’m going!
  4. Reverence: I love MY life. Things are getting better for me everyday, and I am grateful.
  5. Friendship: My friends are a reflection of me; therefore, I choose them wisely.
  6. Gratitude: I recognize the opportunities that have been given to me and voice my gratitude. I am thankful for each blessing and keep an open mind and heart to the ways in which they come.
  7. Forgiveness: I forgive my past and embrace the lessons I have learned from it. I fully accept and love who I am in this present moment.
  8. Rejuvenation: I give myself permission to rest and restore.
  9. Financial Abundance: A consistent and steady stream of income flows to me in expected and unexpected ways, and satisfies my needs and wants. I am open to and grateful for financial prosperity.
  10. Patience: I am grateful even in the midst of my challenges because I know my challenges are building spiritual muscle. I am resilient.
  11. Surrender: I let go and the universe lovingly takes care of me.
  12. BONUSMindfulness: Today is my day. It is a gift, and I am grateful for and mindful of each moment. I center myself, breathing in the new energy and embracing the new lessons that come my way. Today is my day.

Affirmations from Inspirational Authors I Love:

  1. Acceptance and Change:  “In the infinity of life where I am, all is perfect, whole, and complete. I now choose calmly and objectively to see my old patterns, and I am willing to make changes. I am teachable. I can learn. I am willing to change. I choose to have fun doing this. I choose to react as though I have found a treasure when I discover something else to release. I see and feel myself changing moment by moment. Thoughts no longer have any power over me. I am the power in the world. I choose to be free.” -Louise L. Hay, You Can Heal Your Life
  2. Love: “I love myself; therefore, I work at a job I truly enjoy doing, one that uses my creative talents and abilities, working with and for people I love and who love me, and earning a good income… I behave and think in a loving way to all people for I know that which I give out returns to me multiplied. I only attract loving people in my world, for they are a mirror of what I am.” -Louise L. Hay, You Can Heal Your Life
  3. Self-Worth: No matter what gets done and how much is left undone, I am enough. It’s going to bed at night thinking, Yes, I am imperfect and vulnerable and sometimes afraid, but that doesn’t change the truth that I am also brave and worthy of love and belonging.”  –Brene Brown, Daring Greatly
  4. Creativity: “I will love my creative impulses all the days of my life. I will give expression daily to the words, shapes, images, and movements that emerge from within me. I will celebrate my unique vision and experience, refusing to color inside someone else’s lines.”  Patricia Lynn Reilly, I Promise Myself

The beauty is that most, if not all, of these affirmations will apply to your life at some point or another. They will, along with others that speak to your heart, keep your thoughts and words in alignment to manifest results that support self-love. Daily practice is your commitment to believing in what you want, and then asking yourself, first and foremost, “What’s the best that can happen?”

Book Suggestions on the Topic:

 


Ayanna Jordan is founder of The Phoenix Rising Collective. She is a personal development coach creating and facilitating dynamic women-centered, self-care workshops with a focus on how putting self-love into action can transform your life. She also creates training programs and group coaching that empowers women’s professional growth in authentic leadership, entrepreneurship, and passion-filled work. Her interactive, holistic approach inspires action and creates a non-judgmental, safe and supportive space for women to truly explore and affirm who they are, what they want and how they want to do it.


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5 Must-Do’s to Start a Healthier Morning Routine

Getty Images | JGI/Jamie Grill

Do you have a consistent morning routine? It’s important to have one because (wow!) it definitely sets the tone for your day. You’ll be less rushed, more centered, and ready to face the world outside. You may not be able to completely chuck the to-do list, but establishing a healthier “rise and shine” routine will give you the energy (physically and mentally) to handle it with more focus, balance and determination.

So, here are my top 5 favorite ways to jump-start the morning:

1. Take a deep breath.

Acknowledge that it’s a new day! Give thanks. As soon as I wake, I say, “Hello, God. It’s me, Ayanna! Thank you.” Side note: Yes, I adapted that line from the AYA ol’ school book Are You There, God? It’s Me, Margaret.

2. Give yourself time.

I know if I don’t carve out time for a consistent routine I feel off kilter; and inevitably, I start zipping through the house and usually forget something on my way out the door. So, set the pace to create balance and a calm exit.

3. Eat something good for you.

Your body needs energy and love. Have some fruit, a green smoothie, avocado toast or healthy cereal. Drink lemon water. Make it a treat, something you look forward to. It’s simple but effective. Prep the night before to save time.

4. Keep noise to a minimum.

Try not to take in any negative information. (Yes, like the news. You can get to that later.) Keep your thoughts positive. Engage in what will affirm the day. Listen to or read something uplifting and inspirational. I usually start with one of my favorite daily readers: The Book of Awakening by Mark Nepo or I listen, while in the car, to a podcast I love: On Being with Krista Tippet.

5. Stretch/Exercise & Shower Meditation.

Move your body. Dance while getting dressed if you have to, but get the blood flowing.

Shower meditation is simply letting yesterday wash away. It’s gone, so while in the shower set new intentions for the day and recite affirmations. The water is revitalizing and provides a great sense of peace.

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Select healthy, rejuvenating activities that will work best for you in the morning and stick with them until they become habit. Your mind and body will thank you. The routine you establish will assist in creating a more successful, well-balanced day and healthier well being. It’s a powerful and practical form of self-care you’ll look forward to.

Challenge: Pick at least one of the top 5 must-do’s and begin incorporating it into your “rise and shine” plan. Journal about how the switch in routine makes you feel. Take note of how differently you move throughout the day.

 


Ayanna Jordan is founder and leadership trainer and coach for The Phoenix Rising Collective. She develops and facilitates women-centered, self-care workshops on how putting self-love into action can transform your life. Ayanna also creates coaching and training programs that support women’s professional growth in leadership, entrepreneurship, and passion-filled work. As editor-in-chief of Phoenix Shine, she is happy to be providing resources and awareness on topics that cultivate self-love and acceptance. Right now, she is most inspired by the LYFF series and She Makes It Beautiful. You can learn more about Ayanna HERE.

Join the Collective on Facebook and Instagram.


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It’s Love Yourself First! Friday: This Phoenix is Cholia

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Love Yourself First! Friday (LYFF) is part of The PRC’s Shed Light series collection. We invite women to tell their LYFF stories to inspire and empower others to also fiercely demonstrate self-love in action.  The questions are meant to  “shed light” on various ways our featured Phoenixes are making self-care and intentional living a priority.

This week’s Phoenix is Cholia:

How do you love yourself first? What does that mean to you?

“Love yourself first” means choosing and loving myself first in the areas that matter most. That goes for areas of my life financially, and also time/energy, love, and commitments. For example, I used to be the woman that would spend her last dollar on a friend or significant other, but then that would mean I wouldn’t be able to eat well that week because I gave away the disposable money I did have. That’s not self-love or loving myself first in the areas that matter most.

You can’t just give, give, give and think that the universe is going to take care of you because of your benevolence. That’s not law of attraction and it’s certainly not healthy for your well-being.

You’re no good to anyone if you don’t make loving who you are your highest priority. It’s when you do, that the world starts taking you more seriously.

It respects you. You start getting back what you’re giving. I think that’s amazing self-love and care.

Sadly, too many women, especially women of color subject themselves to martyrdom and abandon loving themselves first. As a result, I think its really killing us softly. We end up carrying around emotional wounds because we feel unloved, unappreciated, and overlooked in spite of all the giving to others.

I know that as a health coach I really work to bring home how important it is to love yourself first when I work with women. You can’t begin to live your best life if you are abandoning yourself and not making self-love your primary concern. Self-love is self-preservation.

"I’ve been a long-distance runner for 23 years now and it is absolutely my meditation."

“I’ve been a long-distance runner for 23 years now and it is absolutely my meditation.” -Cholia, LYFF Feature

What actions demonstrate the self-care you provide to your mind, body, and soul?

Without a doubt my number one self-care practice is cooking and eating healthy soul food. The actual act of cooking awakens my creativity, and having daily balanced nutrition of course leads to a healthier me on all levels.

Right behind cooking and eating healthy is running. I’ve been a long-distance runner for 23 years now and it is absolutely my meditation. I solve all of my toughest challenges and problems while I am running.

I also journal like crazy. Writing is another form of meditation for me. I was a freelance writer for a long time and it’s something that I truly love to do (accept the sitting down for long periods of time, because I LOVE being on my feet).

And last but not least, I do practice yoga. I love Bikram hot yoga, mainly because it helps me with mindfulness and increases my mental strength.

For me, they all lead to having a better understanding of and foundation for self-love and self-care.

Is there an obstacle or challenge that you’ve overcome that led to a deeper love for who you are?

There are actually two obstacles that I’ve overcome that have helped me have a deeper love for who I am.

First, I endured two unhealthy relationships that ended in betrayal which I believed were going to lead to “happily ever after” at the time, over the past two years.

Second, I lost my Mom a few years ago to a rare disease. She never really took the time to put herself first. She was a martyr and as much as that’s often deemed heroic, that can’t be all that you are when it comes to navigating through life.

Those two incidents the past three years have culminated in realizing that you have to always be yourself. In the moments when you’re not, and you don’t show up, so to speak, are the times when people enter your life that are not going to respect and love you. Being yourself, versus the version of who you think they will fall in love with, is the most selfless thing you can do.

When you deny yourself slow-down moments, alone-time days, solo vacations, and also neglect exploring your passions, all because you think you have to take care of everyone else, you will truly consume your spirit adversely.

That’s a toxic way to live. I am a firm believer that our emotions are also tied to our physical health.

By trying to live holistically, knowing that body, mind, and spirit are one, I am finally swimming in an ocean of self-love.

What have you learned from self-love?

I have learned that self-love also consists of self-forgiveness, self-respect, and self-compassion. They all work in concert with the other.

For a long time, I thought I was practicing self-love, but I was neglecting the respect, compassion, and forgiveness. You have to achieve a balance of them all to really receive the fruits from the labor of self-love.

The best thing I did, last year after encountering heartache too many times, feeling stuck, and sabotaging my dreams, was get a life coach. Well, we actually traded services, I am getting her healthier as a health coach, and she’s getting me stronger spiritually and mentally.

I think taking steps like that are also acts of self-love “in action” and totally worth the investment of your time, money, and energy.

 

Cholia is the creator of Kick Start Your Health Today and also the health + wellness contributor for The Phoenix Rising Collective.


Share your self-love story! Send an email HERE. Put “My LYFF Story” in the subject line, and you’ll be contacted by the Phoenix Team with details on how to participate.

Love Yourself First! Friday is a self-love series created by The Phoenix Rising Collective. Phenomenal women who fiercely demonstrate self-love in action in order to build and sustain healthy, positive self esteem share their stories‬.  Be sure to read some of our other inspiring stories.

Join the Collective on Facebook and Instagram.


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It’s Love Yourself First! Friday – This Phoenix is Stephanie

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Love Yourself First! Friday (LYFF) is part of The PRC’s Shed Light series collection. We invite women to tell their LYFF stories to inspire and empower others to also fiercely demonstrate self-love in action.  The questions are meant to  “shed light” on various ways our featured Phoenixes are making self-care and intentional living a priority.

This week’s Phoenix is Stephanie:

How do you love yourself first? What does that mean to you?

I love myself first in a number of ways, some more tangible than others. The most important thing I can do that demonstrates self-love is to do simply that: love myself. I do not accept negativity from others about me or my body, and as such I will not accept that from me. It is easy to pick apart all the parts of me that may not fit into a perfectly compartmentalized ideal, but I choose to instead love me in the most basic way.

Loving myself does not mean that I must act selfishly or put my wants above the needs of everyone else. Instead, I prefer to think of it as fulfilling my most basic needs in order to be the best possible version of me so that I may help others.

What actions demonstrate the self-care you provide to your mind, body, and soul? (Exercise, healthy eating, spiritual practice, etc)

In addition to the care I take with myself mentally, I demonstrate self-care through running and eating a diet high in protein and healthy fats. I also cut out soda, preferring to have it as a treat. When I run, I am able to push my body to do something I never thought it could and that makes me proud. Running, however, has become more than just miles to me. When I am out on a run I can clear my mind of all the rubbish that can build up – the day-to-day stress of life. It is easy to think during the hour or so I am running that I could instead be spending that time doing work or playing with my children. I find that it is important to think of running as an insurance policy that I will be able to experience a full life with my children in the future. It insures that I have an outlet for me personally, and thus I am better able to handle what is thrown at me. Most importantly, perhaps, is that when I take time to show my children that I am a person and am allowed to take care of me, too, I am providing them with a model that they should also treat their own minds and bodies with respect.

FB_IMG_1452719523843Is there an obstacle or challenge you’ve overcome that led to a deeper love for who you are?

I live in a culture that frequently equates self-worth to a number on a scale, and I was not immune. I grew up very much obsessed with those numbers. I was always different than the other girls, taller or more developed at a younger age so it was very hard for me. As I grew, the same insecurities I had grew with me and compounded. However, when I found out I would be a mother that really changed. I learned to love my body and realized what it could do. After my first son was born, and I struggled at first to breastfeed him, I never once doubted my body’s ability to do what I knew it could. The thought occurred to me that I should feel like that about all aspects of my body. I figured that if I had brought a nearly ten-pound person into this world and fed him from my body, I was a rock star.

When the time came for the birth of my second son, I knew what I was capable of and chose to have him naturally. With his birth I was hit with even more love for my family, but also for me. I knew then that I was capable of so much more. After his birth, I promised myself I would not speak negatively of myself. I didn’t want my children to grow up thinking it was normal to belittle oneself, and from there the rest fell in place. I learned that self-love starts from within. Once I started to love me, really and truly, I wanted to show my body the love it deserved. I started running, which led to want to fuel myself properly. The numbers on the scale occasionally change, but I am not defined by them, and for that I am grateful.

What have you learned from self-love?

I have learned through the ongoing process of self-love that my personal self-worth is not contingent upon the thoughts or opinions of anyone else. What matters is that when I look in the mirror I am happy with what I see. I have learned that what I say has value, and I am learning to speak up more often because I am a strong, loving, educated woman. Finally, I have learned that growth is an ongoing process. I am growing every day. I learn every day.

 


Share your self-love story! Send an email HERE. Put “My LYFF Story” in the subject line, and you’ll be contacted by the Phoenix Team with details on how to participate.

Love Yourself First! Friday is a self-love series created by The Phoenix Rising Collective. Phenomenal women who fiercely demonstrate self-love in action in order to build and sustain healthy, positive self esteem share their stories‬.  Be sure to read some of our other inspiring stories.

Join the Collective on Facebook and Instagram.


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Worst Love Yourself First! Friday Ever – A Reflection

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Love Yourself First! Friday (LYFF) is part of The PRC’s  Shed Light series collection. We invite women to tell their LYFF stories to inspire and empower others to also fiercely demonstrate self-love in action.  The questions are meant to  “shed light” on various ways our featured Phoenixes are making self-care and intentional living a priority.

This week’s Phoenix is Tracey:

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Tracey, LYFF Feature

As I pondered my self-love routine, so I could write something enlightening about my journey of self-discovery and how it’s manifested in productive, healthy routines that nurture me, I had a disturbing revelation: I have nothing to contribute here. I don’t do self-love. I don’t meditate. My prayer life is spotty. I eat crap. I don’t write regularly. I don’t get lost in books. I rarely exercise. I don’t get my hair and nails done. I’ve had like three massages in my life, and I judge myself harshly.

I racked my brain; I really did.  As I read others’ entries about difficult but beautiful journeys to self-love, I thought, I know…I’ll spin it. I will take some moment of joy in my life and spin it into my self-love story. I can do that. I’ll sit down and ala “And to Think that I Saw It on Mulberry Street” I’ll exaggerate a story so fantastic that I will seem like the most self-aware, evolved, self-loving human on earth. I will spin a tale of complete, balanced self-love, and if I was really careful, I might even believe my tale enough not to feel so harried and distracted and self-negligent.

And then, I realized, that if I say, there are things that I need to do in the name of self-love, but I don’t do them in the name of “getting things done” that I may turn a corner. If I stop pretending to be content and start seeking peace, and if I decide that today, not tomorrow, I will ignore the messy bathroom and write down what I need to do to nurture myself, I may just get there.

This is my hurdle. I don’t do self-love. I do self-judgment.  I haven’t come to grips with the fact that what I “should” do and what I need to do and what I want to do are, on occasion, the same thing. That to sit with a cup of tea for 30 minutes everyday and read something that I enjoy, not because it’s about parenting or losing weight or some non-profit, but because I love to read and reading feeds my soul is something I should and need and want to do. That to quietly meditate for 10 minutes everyday just to be quiet and listen to God, is revolutionary in my life.

After all this consideration, I discovered something important. If I spent time loving myself dearly, I would not be able to judge myself harshly. So, I will love myself dearly, fully, happily. And one year from now, I will revisit my self-love journey and I’ll actually have something to contribute.

 

Thank you, Tracey, for your honesty; it is most definitely a powerful contribution. We look forward to one year from now. You are a brave Phoenix rising.

How  many of you can relate to Tracey’s story? What commitment will you make (even a small act) to be self-love in action? Share in the comments.


Want to share your self-love story! Send an email HERE. Put “My LYFF Story” in the subject line, and you’ll be contacted by the Phoenix Team with details on how to participate.

Love Yourself First! Friday is a series created by The Phoenix Rising Collective. Phenomenal women who fiercely demonstrate self-love in action in order to build and sustain healthy, positive self esteem share their stories‬.  Be sure to read some of our other inspiring features.

Join the Collective on Facebook and Instagram.

 


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It’s Love Yourself First! Friday: This Phoenix is Adrienne

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Love Yourself First! Friday (LYFF) is part of The PRC’s  Shed Light series collection. We invite women to tell their LYFF stories to inspire and empower others to also fiercely demonstrate self-love in action.  The questions are meant to  “shed light” on various ways our featured Phoenixes are making self-care and intentional living a priority.

This week’s Phoenix is Adrienne:

emptycupHow do you love yourself first? What does that mean to you?

“You can’t pour from an empty cup.”  Recently, I was scrolling through Pinterest and I ran across a photograph of a white ceramic coffee cup.  The inside of the cup was empty with the slightest coffee stain lining the bottom of the tiny cup.  In a very simple font the words “You can’t pour from an empty cup. Take care of yourself first” were emblazoned across the picture.

As I was reading those words I realized that I had, somehow, become that coffee cup — a solid, sturdy vessel, but sadly, temporarily empty.  I was sitting at my desk in my tiny, cramped office space feeling completely drained.  Since then, I have been thinking about and steadily working towards how I can go about refilling my cup.

I’ve come to recognize that to love myself first means recognizing that it is not selfish to take time out of my day to care for my needs.  Allowing myself to get to the point where I begin to feel empty or drained not only hurts me, it hurts those whom I work with, and love.  Before I can support others, I have to first make sure that my cup is full.

What actions demonstrate the self-care you provide to your mind, body, and soul? (Exercise, healthy eating, spiritual practice, etc)

I think refilling my cup starts with the little things I do throughout my day that bring me happiness.  I have started making time to wake up an hour earlier than absolutely necessary so that I have the time to enjoy a cup of coffee and watch Live! with Kelly and Michael before going into work.  I come home from work in the middle of the day to cuddle with my adorable dog, Corn Dog.  I eat dinner with my partner and we talk about our day.  And every evening, I look out across the flat Minnesota land and I can see a wind turbine that is located about a mile away from my residence.  I think about how the turbine converts energy from the wind into electrical power.  Isn’t that remarkable?  At the end of each day I hope that I, like the turbine and a full cup, have converted my energy into powering myself so that I may share with others.

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“I hope that I, like the turbine and a full cup, have converted my energy into powering myself so that I may share with others.”

Is there an obstacle or challenge that you’ve overcome that led you to a deeper love for who you are?

The biggest obstacle and challenge is myself and my tendencies.  I am inclined to believe that it is selfish to think of my needs before those of others.  I tend to overextend and tax myself to be the best at my work. I am the one that, if unchecked, will empty my cup.

To overcome this challenge, I started making lists.  I had a list of all of the things I had to get done at work in order to feel okay about myself.  I had a second list of tasks that I used to mark down responsibilities that were not as urgent or pressing.  Another list was of all the things I had accomplished.  This was my “smile list” because reading what I had accomplished always made me smile.  Examples included marrying my soulmate, getting accepted into a doctoral program, and having a stellar chocolate chip cookie recipe.  My final list was my “hope list”.  It included all the things I hope for in life not related whatsoever to my career.  This list includes having children, going on a cruise, and designing a new tattoo.  These lists made me feel like I had some control and balance in my life.  They let me see what I’d done, what I needed to do, and where I wanted to go.  I still use a variation of these lists, but I have been utilizing my Passion Planner, which is an agenda that has a built in goal-setting and to-do area in it.

Another key step that I have taken is to be more responsible about seeking the help of health professionals. One could practice all of the self-care and self-love in the world but if one is not physically or emotionally healthy, such practice would be all for naught. I have found that taking steps to seek care and support has been invaluable for allowing me to better help and serve others. As a professional tasked with supporting others, it is easy to forget that we are human and sometimes need support ourselves. I think recognizing that sometimes the greatest self-love is knowing when you need to reach out and ask others for help.  Self-love does not mean you have to do it all by yourself.  Sometimes self-love will include reaching out to friends and family, and sometimes it may mean reaching out to a pastor, a counselor, or a doctor.

What have you learned from self-love?

For some, I think self-love might be easy.  For myself, I know that this journey to accepting all of me has not been easy.  It has been hard work.  But I have come to realize that the journey, the fight, of self-acceptance and loving myself has been worth it because I am worth it.

Don Miguel Ruiz said, “You cannot share what you do not have. If you do not love yourself, you cannot love anyone else either.” I go back to the same cup I started with.  Let’s replace the concept of self-care with self-love in this analogy:  “You can’t pour from an empty cup.  Love yourself first.”

 

Thank you, Adrienne, for sharing your LYFF story. You are definitely a Phoenix rising!

 


Share your self-love story! Send an email HERE. Put “My LYFF Story” in the subject line, and you’ll be contacted by the Phoenix Team with details on how to participate.

Love Yourself First! Friday is a self-love series created by The Phoenix Rising Collective. Phenomenal women who fiercely demonstrate self-love in action in order to build and sustain healthy, positive self esteem share their stories‬.  Be sure to read some of our other inspiring stories.


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It’s OK to Take Time for You: Your Well-Being Matters

HealthyWellBeing[The Phoenix Rising Collective]

Wow! Can you believe summer is over? I simply cannot believe how fast it has gone by and that I’m nine months into contributing to The Phoenix Rising Collective. The PRC is inspiring, empowering, and calming, so I hope that my articles have inspired you to incorporate health and wellness into your life resulting in a calm and healthy mind, body and soul.

A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to present at The PRC’s The Fullness of Me workshop. I enjoyed meeting and getting everyone up and MOVING! We had a blast, and I mentioned to the group that physical well-being is directly related to our mental well-being. My goal is to empower all of the workshop attendees and our readers to incorporate movement into their lives. I love it; I really truly do.

I shared two things with the group: 1) I grew up around fitness. I tagged along was dragged along to aerobics classes, gyms and seminars as a kid. As a very young child, my cousin and I would help her mom (my super fitness aunt) lead her classes. And 2) I am a busy working mom of three young children (10, 8, and 5) with an equally demanding husband, and I’m working on a master’s degree. My objective in sharing these “Megan Facts” is to motivate you to move to show your children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, students, etc. how important it is to be healthy and how to be physically and mentally fit.

Yes, this means leaving the kiddos for an hour in the evening, making the husband or significant other fend for themselves, leaving work on time, or letting the laundry and dusting pile up, but it is well worth the hour of freedom. You will come back refreshed, and you’ll have taught the little ones and others you love in your life that your physical well-being matters.

The reason for telling you about my children, husband and job is that I AM BUSY – so busy, crazy busy, I-want-to-scream-and-run-and-hide busy. I have three children in three different sports plus my girls are in dance classes. My husband works evenings and I manage a global program during the day, BUT I make time for myself and my body. It is my time and I don’t feel guilty about it. We’re all busy in some way, but please make time for your health now; otherwise, you will spend the latter part of your life being busy with doctor’s appointments.

How to Make Time

Remember every movement counts. You don’t have to spend hundreds of dollars per month on a gym membership or equipment. Our body weight is a wonderful tool and will strengthen you and give you the resistance you need.

You can incorporate just 10 minutes a day of anaerobic exercise into your life a few times a week or a 30 to 45-minute workout two days a week and achieve wonderful results and increased energy.

Walk up and down the steps in your house. Grab a chair and sit down and then stand up, repeat. While you’re in the kitchen waiting for the microwave, place your hands on the counter and do push-ups; jog in place while your kids are asking their millions of questions. Break out into Zumba when your favorite song comes on Pandora. While you’re reading, work on stretching. During commercial breaks, do jumping jacks, jump squats, squat walks, bear crawls, lunges, high knees, fast feet. Do something to get the blood flowing.

 

I hope I have encouraged you to incorporate movement into your life; I hope I have empowered you to know that YOU CAN DO THIS with whatever time or money you have. It will bring peace and calm to your mind, body and spirit.

In health and happiness,

Megan


 

About the Contributing Writer:

Megan_Weidner[PRC Health Contributor]Megan Weidner is a fitness coach and environmentalist in the Akron/Canton, Ohio area. She manages a global sustainability and corporate responsibility program for a large multinational company; her areas include environmental compliance, social equity, community engagement and health and wellness. Megan is also devoted to Rock. It. Fitness., her fitness and natural skincare business. She is committed to making the world a better, more environmentally friendly and healthier place through motivation and education. She is certified through AFAA and Tabata Bootcamp.  She has a B.S. in Soil, Environmental, and Atmospheric Science (University of Missouri), a Graduate Certificate in Environmental Management and Policy (University of Denver) and an M.P.A (University of Missouri).  She lives in Green, Ohio with her husband and three kids. Read her latest posts.

 


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Yoga for Beginners: 4 Tips You’ll Want to Know (Plus, a Bonus Morning Routine)

YogaforBeginners[PhoenixRisingCollective]

I hope you are having a relaxing, fun, and fit summer! Last month, I talked about finding something that you love. How is that going? I’d love to hear your success stories, so leave your comments below on how you are moving and grooving, staying in shape and loving it.

I found something new that I love. Yoga. Seriously, how have I been a fitness junkie my whole life but never tried yoga?

Like so many other exercises, yoga is perfect for all fitness levels. The great thing about it is that it is a mental workout as well. Your mat is your zone, a time to unwind and release stress, toxins, and any invading thoughts. In the process you gain mobility, flexibility, strength, balance, and energy. I’m telling y’all, it’s good. It can be difficult, but in yoga you are challenging yourself when you are ready. The instructor will lead you with his/her calm voice to a place where you think everything is possible. This sounds too good to be true; I know! But in all seriousness and honesty, yoga is amazing for your body. Practicing can lower blood pressure and anxiety levels and help with sleeping. There are even yoga poses that are said to help with fertility. It is also low impact, and there are kids’ classes (all three of my kids LOVE it, including my ten year old son). I’ve seen chair yoga classes for yogis that find getting to the floor challenging.

I’m still learning about the names of poses, but here is what I’ve learned:

  1. Go to a yoga studio. This is a must to get the full experience. It’s a little more expensive, but you are paying for the relaxing atmosphere which is an essential part of yoga. Nothing against the “Y” or the corner gym, but a studio is best. There’s a lot of deep breathing, so you probably want to inhale relaxing oils and incense, not bleach and sweat.
  2. Give yourself time. There are some serious yogis out there. They have the upper body strength of an Olympic gymnast and are able to balance their whole body on their little finger. Don’t pay any attention to the people around you. It’s your mat, your time, your practice. You’ll get more flexible and stronger the more you practice.
  3. If practicing hot yoga you will sweat – a lot (see Bikram Yoga and Bikram Choudhury). I personally love it because I feel like I’m releasing toxins from my body.
  4. I mean really, truly, let yourself go. This is your time to free your mind of all your worries, anxieties, and stresses. Do not allow work, house, school, or life problems to join you on your mat. When I finish an hour class, I want to give the world a hug. The relaxation is probably the best thing about yoga. You are giving yourself a very physical workout while completely relaxing your mind.

Try this Morning Routine:

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L to R: Child’s Pose, Plank, Chaturanga (photos 3 and 4), Upward Facing Dog, Downward Facing Dog, Warrior One, Warrior Two, Reverse Warrior

The video below also shows the sequence of poses you can do in the morning that will get you started.

When you have gone through each pose a few times end by lying on the floor on your back, arms out to the side, legs open and straight. Take deep controlled breaths and let your mind go. Stay in this meditative state for a few minutes and then get up and conquer the world.

 

In love, fitness, and health.

Megan


About the Contributing Writer:

Megan_Weidner[PRC Health Contributor]Megan Weidner is a fitness coach and environmentalist in the Akron/Canton, Ohio area. She manages a global sustainability and corporate responsibility program for a large multinational company; her areas include environmental compliance, social equity, community engagement and health and wellness. Megan is also devoted to Rock. It. Fitness., her fitness and natural skincare business. She is committed to making the world a better, more environmentally friendly and healthier place through motivation and education. She is certified through AFAA and Tabata Bootcamp.  She has a B.S. in Soil, Environmental, and Atmospheric Science (University of Missouri), a Graduate Certificate in Environmental Management and Policy (University of Denver) and an M.P.A (University of Missouri).  She lives in Green, Ohio with her husband and three kids.

 

 


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6 Tips to Motivate You to Move and Live a Healthier Lifestyle

HealthandFitnessTips[thephoenixrisingcollective]

On May 17, 2015, I had the opportunity to do an AWESOME workout session with a well-known trainer, Mindy Mylrea. Mindy is the creator and founder of Tabata Bootcamp. She’s full of energy and excitement and gets her clients motivated to move and live healthier lifestyles. I trained with Mindy two years ago and became certified in Tabata Bootcamp and I use the “camp” with my clients. Tabata Bootcamp is different than any other exercise program I have ever taught or participated in; it is a total body, total mind, and total lifestyle change. The Tabata Bootcamp is different because it can be completed in your home or with a small group of like-minded “campers.” The camp stresses healthy eating, accountability, and simple movements.

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L to R – Megan, Mindy Mylrea, creator and founder of Tabata Bootcamp, and Megan’s aunt (also a Tabata Bootcamp instructor and 56 years old, by the way!).

If you don’t love fitness, exercise, or to run, walk, or bike then it is time to find something you like love! Exercise does not have to be boring or mundane or mentally painful! I know lots of people who LOVE and I mean LOVE Zumba because they are exercising and burning calories while gettin’ down, twerkin’ it, and shaking their booty with a group of like-minded, fun people.

If I told you that you could lose ten pounds a month doing one 30-minute workout and five 6-minute workouts a week, you would think, “No way!” We have all been mentally trained to think that running 45 minutes or spending two hours in the gym is the way to looking like J-Lo. We’re all busy: we may have kids; we may have a spouse; we may have a house; we may have a full-time job; and some of us have “e” –  all of the above and don’t have time to run forty-five minutes, five days a week.

This is why Tabata Bootcamp is so useful and beneficial: Stay in your home, workout in your office, workout while the kids are reading to you, eat healthy, and use efficient movements to boost your body’s metabolism and oxygen consumption.

Here is why and how it works: In my post Take Your Personal Fitness Up A Notch With These Workouts, I described to you the difference between aerobic and anaerobic exercise:

Anaerobic exercises push your body out of its comfort zone and challenges your heart, lungs, and muscles to do more. While in the anaerobic zone you burn the most calories and do the most good. In contrast to the aerobic zone, you don’t want to or need to stay in the anaerobic zone very long.

When you’re done, your body enters EPOC, where your body continues to burn calories while it repairs and replenishes oxygen. Because anaerobic exercises are so effective, six minutes a day is all you need. Add in a longer workout such as running, biking or booty shaking Zumba, and healthy eating, and you’ll get fabulous results. My clients lose an average of ten pounds a month using the Tabata Bootcamp system!

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Tabata Bootcamp Workout Session – Group Photo in Ravenna, OH

The point to the long-winded explanation about Tabata Bootcamp is that you should…

  1. Do an exercise that is comfortable for you. If you enjoy running, go for it. If you enjoy yoga, weight lifting, cycling, or Zumba, go for those!
  2. Instead of exercising out of necessity, exercise because it is enjoyable. The more you enjoy it, the more likely you are to stay with it. Did you know that 80% of people who buy a gym membership as a New Year’s resolution stop attending by the fifth month!?! This tells me not enough people are doing something they love.
  3. Add a quick 6-minute workout like the one in this video to your morning, lunch break or bedtime routines.
  4. Choose healthy food options. (Try the Take 3 Method from Tabata Bootcamp Nutrition Guide)
  5. Add an accountability partner to create your own personal success story.
  6. Find a Health & Fitness Coach to support you. If you are interested in learning more about joining Tabata Bootcamp, please contact me. There are camps all around the country or you can try an online option. There are Zumba instructors and personal trainers all around the country as well.

Good luck and keep it moving!

In health and fitness,

Megan

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Megan_Lunge_Health_and_Wellness[ThePhoenixRisingCollective]Megan Weidner is a fitness coach and environmentalist in the Akron/Canton, Ohio area. She manages a global sustainability and corporate responsibility program for a large multinational company; her areas include environmental compliance, social equity, community engagement and health and wellness. Megan is also devoted to Rock. It. Fitness., her fitness and natural skincare business. She is committed to making the world a better, more environmentally friendly and healthier place through motivation and education. She is certified through AFAA and Tabata Bootcamp.  She has a B.S. in Soil, Environmental, and Atmospheric Science (University of Missouri), a Graduate Certificate in Environmental Management and Policy (University of Denver) and an M.P.A (University of Missouri).  She lives in Green, Ohio with her husband and three kids.