A Special Way to Welcome Spring

special spring ritual

Happy Spring friends!

Earlier this week we celebrated the Spring Equinox, where we have equal amounts of daylight and darkness.

Now that springtime is underway, the amount of daylight is slowly increasing each day. I like to think of this time of year as a time where we are all moving toward the light.

The energy of spring brings new life and renewal. This makes it the perfect time to set new goals or intentions for what we want to grow in our lives.

My daughter June and I celebrated the Spring Equinox with a special ritual that I want to share with you! It is a simple, but powerful way to welcome spring and start moving toward the beautiful visions that you have for yourself and your life in this new season!

spring equinox ritual

How to Create a Simple  & Special Spring Ritual:

  1. Buy or gather fresh flowers

2. Take a moment to set an intention, or goal, around what you want to see grow in your life this spring.

spring ritual

3. As you cut your flowers and pull out any dead or bottom leaves, imagine that you are pulling out anything that has been keeping you from achieving your intentions/ goals/ dreams.

4. As you arrange your flowers into containers, imagine that you are arranging everything that needs to fall into place in order to allow your dreams to bloom!

As an added bonus, you can light a candle to symbolize the increase of light, and play calming or uplifting music while doing this ritual.

Dedicating some time to intentionally welcome spring and think about your hopes and dreams will create positive momentum in your life. This will help you stay focused on your ambitions and cultivate your desires.

Please let me know how you feel after trying this ritual! It is so simple but powerful, and easy to do either on your own or with your little ones!

I am wishing you all that you desire and more this spring.

Be well,
Ambar

How to Process Grief

how to process grief

Hi friends,

I am coming to you with the heavier topic of how to process grief today. My community of friends from college was hit hard this week with the tragic and untimely death of one of our own. I know that some of you who follow my blog and read my emails are currently coping with this massive loss. I imagine that others of you in other parts of the world may be dealing with your own experiences of grief. Whether you have experienced grief in the past or you are grieving right now, the truth is that grief is a human emotion that every single one of us will face from time to time. I am writing this for all of us.

I have experienced a lot of loss in my life. I don’t say that so that you feel sorry for me; it’s just the facts. Throughout the years I have lost many people who I loved and cared about. I have learned a lot about grief from going through these experiences, and I want to share this knowledge with you in hopes that it will make your grief process a little more easeful. At the very least, I hope that this will help you see that whatever you are feeling is completely valid, and that you are not alone in this process.

You may have heard about the 5 stages of grief. I will briefly outline them below:

1) Denial – The first stage is often denial. When we face a major loss, oftentimes the first emotion that we feel is denial. We think “But that’s not possible, I just spoke her to yesterday”, or “this can’t be real”. We shut ourselves off from the pain. These thoughts are the natural way in which our minds process the shock.

2) Anger – Anger is often thought to be the second stage of the grief process. After the initial shock wears off, it’s natural for us to feel angry and pissed off. We think about how unfair life can be. We get angry at God. We wonder how we can live in a universe where things such as this happen.

3) Bargaining – The third stage of grief is said to be bargaining. We start to think thoughts along the lines of “Maybe if I had stayed with him last night, this wouldn’t have happened.” or “I should have called her.” or “Why didn’t we get medical attention sooner?” This is part of the grieving process as our minds are trying to make sense of a senseless situation and process what has happened.

4) Depression – The fourth stage is often described as depression. We fall into a deep, dark sadness over the loss that we are experiencing. We cry and mourn. We are slowly coming to terms with our loss and realizing it that it is real and there is no going back.

5) Acceptance – The fifth and final stage of the grief process is acceptance. By this point, we have processed many of our emotions and are starting to come to terms with what has happened and starting to accept this new reality that we find ourselves in.

For anyone that is coping with death or loss of any kind, I have 5 suggestions for how to manage this difficult time as gracefully as possible.

1) Know that these 5 stages are not linear. The 5 stages of grief are often thought to be a linear path where you go from denial to anger to bargaining to depression, and that by the time you get to acceptance, you have completely moved on.

In my eyes, it’s not quite so simple. Grief is such a personal process and you may find yourself returning to one of the earlier stages at any given time. I believe that time lessens grief and makes it easier to cope, however, it is very natural to get to a point where we are living in acceptance most of the time, and then something happens that triggers us to feeling angry or depressed again. This is all part of the process and does not mean that you are doing anything wrong, that you are moving backwards, or that you are not on your way to healing. It simply means that you are on your own individual journey.

2) Don’t judge yourself. A common thing that happens when we are grieving is that we begin to judge ourselves and our feelings. If we find ourselves lingering in the depression stage, we may start to think thoughts like, “But, it’s been 2 years, I should be over this by now.”, or “I wasn’t even that close with them, this shouldn’t be hitting me so hard.” Other times, we judge ourselves by thinking that we are moving on too quickly. We find ourselves laughing and enjoying life, and we instantly feel guilty and think that we should not be feeling anything other than sorrow.

There is no place for judgment in the grief process. Each one of us grieves in our own unique way. There is no set time limit for how long it should take to feel better. There is no hierarchy in the grief process; all feelings are valid. It is completely valid to feel grief for the loss of not only our closest friends and family members, but also acquaintances, old friends who we lost touch with, and even celebrities who we never met personally. Life is about connecting and touching other people’s lives. Grief is a sign that you were emotionally connected to someone; that their life mattered to you; that they made an impact and touched you in some way. Also, it is perfectly natural to be enjoying a happy moment laughing with your family one moment, and then be hit by a wave of sadness over the loss of your good friend in the next. This does not mean that you loved them any less. This is all normal. It is all natural. There is no right or wrong. In life, there are moments of beauty even in the midst of darkness. Try to soak in every light-filled moment you can get, especially when you are grieving.

3) Be with your feelings. I think that many times when we are grieving, we want to skip over the unpleasant feelings. But, by not taking the time to sit with our sadness, anger, or whatever else we may be feeling, we prolong the grief process. Unprocessed emotions have nowhere to go, so they get stuck in our bodies, making us feel worse. Take time to sit with and acknowledge anything you may be feeling.

4) Let your feelings out. After you have acknowledged your feelings, it’s important to get them out so that they don’t wreak havoc on your body. Let your feelings out by talking with someone you trust, doing physical activity, crying into a pillow, or seeing a therapist. The important thing here is to give your feelings a way to leave your body.

5) Don’t grieve alone. When we are faced with the heaviness of loss, many of us have the instinct to isolate ourselves. We want nothing more than to crawl into a cave where we can hide out for awhile and not have to face the world. This is one of the worst things that we can do.

If you get one thing out of this post, let it be this: Don’t grieve alone. Tell people how you feel. Write in a journal. Send an email. Schedule a therapy appointment. Join a support group. Speak with others who understand. Create new rituals to honor those you have lost. Do this all in the company of good people who care about you and your wellbeing.

You are not alone.

Sending love and strength to anyone who is grieving right now.

Be well,
Ambar

 

Click below to download a free guide with 50 ways to relieve stress and enjoy life’s simple pleasures. 
decrease stress

 

3 Reasons Why You Need a Morning Routine

3 reasons why you need a morning routine

Hey friends!

Earlier this week I had asked my friends over on Instagram stories if they have a morning routine. My morning routine has become an integral part of my life, so I was surprised to learn that a lot of people don’t currently have a morning routine in place! I truly feel that you are missing out by not having a simple, daily routine of your own.

Here are 3 reasons why a morning routine is so important:

1) A morning routine guarantees that you get some “me” time each and everyday.

So many of us are aware that we need more time for ourselves. The problem is that most of us are so busy that we have trouble finding time to fit it in! By creating a morning routine, you are making sure to take time for yourself first thing in the morning. By taking this time early in the day, you are no longer struggling to find time for it. This way, even if the rest of the day gets away from you, you still know that you took some time for yourself that day! Taking consistent time for self care helps us feel happier, less stressed, and well taken care of.

2) A morning routine sets the tone for the rest of your day.

Implementing a daily morning routine ensures that you start your day on your own agenda. When we sleep in until the last possible second, wake up to the sounds of our children screaming for our attention, or jump out of bed and immediately start tackling our to-do list, it’s very easy for our anxiety levels to run high. These are all very jarring ways to wake up and start the day. If instead, you start your day with a few moments of peace and quiet, it allows you the opportunity to ease into your day with peace and presence. These feelings will be more likely to stay with you as you go about the rest of your day.

3) A morning routine helps you focus on what matters to you.

Everyone’s morning routine looks different. I personally try to start each morning with 10-15 minutes of yoga and meditation. Your morning routine might consist of lighting a candle and drinking your coffee in peace, going for a quick run, or taking a few minutes to journal. There is no wrong way to create a morning routine; they are a very individual thing. By creating your own morning routine, you are taking a stand for what is important to you and making time for the things that matter most. This shows you that you are a priority and that you deserve to make time for the things you enjoy.

Now, I know that you may be starting to recognize the value of having a morning routine, but you might be thinking that this sounds great, but you simply don’t have that kind of time in the morning. Well, let me prove you wrong, my friend. 🙂

Here are 3 simple ways to get started with creating your own morning routine:

1) Work with what you have.

I believe that whenever possible, the ideal time to implement your morning routine is first thing in the morning. However, you have to do what’s right for you.

In some occasions, it might make more sense to take time for your morning routine once you’re alone in the house. If it feels more doable for you to start your morning routine after your kids leave for school, or your husband leaves for work, then start there. For others of you, the best time to take a few minutes to yourself might be as soon as you get to work in the morning. When I was working outside of the home, I would always take a few minutes as soon as I got to my office to make a cup of tea in my favorite mug and sip from it slowly before starting my day.  This simple act helped me feel calm and grounded before jumping into my workday.

Find the pockets of time that work best for you and start creating a simple morning routine during these precious moments of time.

2) Start small.

Your morning routine should not take a lot of time or be overly complicated. In fact, I believe that the simpler it is, the better!

If you’ve never had a morning routine before and don’t consider yourself a morning person, the idea of waking up earlier might seem impossible to you. If you tell yourself that you’re going to start waking up an hour earlier each day, it’s very likely that you will set your alarm, but then keep hitting the snooze button until that hour is up. That’s why it’s so important to start small when creating this new habit.

Start with something that is simple and doable. Many of my coaching clients have had success with starting their morning routines right in bed, from the moment they open their eyes. Keep a journal on your nightstand and take a few moments to make a short gratitude list first thing in the morning. Sit up in bed and do a short meditation before getting out of bed. Keep a tall glass of water next to your bed and take a couple of minutes to slowly sip and savor it as soon as you wake up. Starting with small, simple steps like these feels much more doable.

3) Work your way up.

Once you are in the habit of waking up just a few moments earlier to enjoy a few moments of solitude, it starts to get a bit easier to add on to your morning routine. You may find yourself rolling out your yoga mat and doing a few light stretches or sun salutations next to your bed. You might walk over to your bathroom to use some luxurious face cream. You may find that you are feeling more energized to get dressed and cook a healthy breakfast before anyone else wakes up.

Take it day by day and don’t put too much pressure on yourself. Start small and slowly work your way up to the morning routine that feels just right for you!

I hope that you’ve found this helpful! In the comments below, I’d love to know about your relationship with morning routines! Do you currently have one? What does it consist of? Is the idea of having a morning routine new to you? Are you feeling inspired to create one now? Please share in the comments below!

Wising you a week full of peaceful, intentional mornings.

Be well,
Ambar

 

How to Change your Life by Changing your Thoughts

how to change your life by changing your thoughts
Photo by Bilimama Photography <3

Many of us have heard the concept that by changing our thoughts we can change our lives. When we think negative thoughts, our life experiences become unhappy and negative. On the other hand, when we think positive thoughts, our lives feel more positive. And so, it seems that the key to living a happy, positive life is to think happy, positive thoughts. It sounds simple, right? The tricky thing is that it’s not always easy to do.

Most of us know that we want to feel good as we go about our lives. We may see the correlation between our thoughts affecting our feelings, which in turn impact our life experience. We want to think good thoughts so that we can live good lives… but where we get stuck is the HOW. How exactly do we change our thoughts? Here is my 3 step process:

1) Notice how you feel

Our feelings are the #1 indicator to whether we are thinking positive thoughts or negative thoughts. If we are feeling pretty good, chances are that our thoughts have been positive, or at the very least neutral. If we are feeling angry, sad, or anxious, it’s very likely that we have hopped on the negative thought train.

2) Pay attention to your thoughts

Once you notice that you are not feeling as good as you would like to feel, it’s time to explore your thought patterns. Start to pay attention to the words you are saying to yourself. This may feel a little bit strange if you have never done it before, but it will get easier the more you do it. Pretend that you have a bird’s eye view of what’s going on in your brain. Become a non-judgmental observer of your thoughts. Start to notice what you are saying to yourself. What phrases do you find yourself repeating over and over again? What are you telling yourself about yourself?

3) Change the script

Once you’ve established your negative thought patterns, it’s time to change them! Creating a new thought pattern is simple; it just takes a little bit of commitment. Create a mantra or affirmation that describes the new thought that you want to have. If you’ve been telling yourself, “I am so miserable” instead start saying, “I find something to smile about everyday.” Instead of thinking, “I’m poor and I have no money.” try, “Money-making opportunities are coming my way.” Instead of, “I hate my body” try “I treat my body with love and respect.” Make your new mantra stick by repeating it to yourself over and over again. Each time you find yourself thinking your old negative thought, replace it with your new mantra.

After following this process for a few days, you will start to feel much better!

I recently used this 3 step process in my own life. I realized that I had been feeling pretty anxious for several weeks. I started to notice that the first thought I had most mornings was, “I have the worst anxiety.” Throughout the day, I found myself repeating different versions of this same thought. I was walking around my daily life telling myself, “I’m so anxious” over and over again, and then I wondered why I was feeling so anxious!

Thankfully, I remembered that my feelings can be influenced by my thoughts. So I consciously started working to change them.

I created a new mantra: “Every day, in every way, I am feeling better and better.” I started repeating my new mantra each time I caught myself thinking about how anxious I was. I went to sleep reciting my mantra. I woke up and repeated it in my mind before I opened my eyes.

For the first couple of days, this took a little bit of effort, as I was still reprogramming my mind. But, by the 3rd day of doing this, I noticed that when I woke up, my first thought was “Every day, in every way, I am feeling better and better.” without my even having to think about it! It was working!

In the days that followed, new, more positive thoughts started replacing my inner dialogue. I started to notice myself saying things like “My life is really good and I’m really lucky.” By changing the one major negative thought that had been consuming me, my other thoughts started to become more positive. And, more importantly, I started to FEEL so much better! This is how I knew that I was on the right track.

Now, that’s not to say that everything is rainbows and butterflies all the time now. But, I’ve remembered that I can change my thoughts. Whenever I notice that I am feeling off, I follow this 3 step process of noticing how I’m feeling, paying attention to how I am talking to myself, and creating a new script. It always helps me feel better!

Have you ever tried to change your own mind before? It may sound a little bit crazy but I promise it works!

If you would like some help reframing your thoughts and creating a more positive life experience, I currently have one opening for a new private coaching client. Send an email to mamabirdwellnest@gmail.com to see if coaching might be right for you!

Wishing you a week full of happy thoughts!

Be well,
Ambar

 

 

Don’t Compare and Despair!

don't compare and despair
Photo by Olivia Hamilton Jones <3

Hey friends!

I heard a really great quote this week that I want to share with you:

Don’t compare your insides to someone else’s outsides.

These words really resonated with me because I think that it’s very easy for us to look at the people around us and think that they have it all together. In today’s high tech world especially, we are always getting glimpses of other people’s lives. When things feel difficult in our own lives, it can very easily turn into a game of compare and despair where we start to think that we are falling short, or that we aren’t doing as well as everyone around us.

I have felt this way many times in my own life. So many times when I’m going through a hard or stressful time, I start to resent myself for feeling anxious or on edge. I find myself wishing that my anxiety would just go away, that I could just be “normal like everybody else.”

But what is “normal” anyway?! The more people I talk to the more I realize that we all have a little bit of crazy going on in our minds. The truth is that we ALL struggle at times. We all experience highs and lows. We all have feelings of peace, serenity, joy, anger, resentment, anxiety, sadness, elation, and everything in between! It is all a part of the human experience. Just because we don’t always see other people displaying these feelings outwardly, it does not mean that they are not there.

Next time you’re feeling lost in the comparison game, remind yourself that you can’t see what other people are thinking or feeling, and we never really know what anyone is going through on the inside. We are all more alike than we realize, and YOU, my friend, are completely normal just the way you are!

Don’t compare and despair… instead, connect and share.

Stay in your own lane and focus on living your own best life, different from everyone else’s, yet unique and perfect for YOU.

Don’t compare the realities of your life to the highlight reels you see on social media.

Don’t fall into the trap of believing that just because someone seems to have it all together necessarily means that they actually do.

Connect to your own inner thoughts, feelings, and desires, and then from that place, connect to the people around you.

Stay open and honest.

Share what you are going through.

Ask others how they truly feel.

Be receptive.

You will realize that we all have more in common than we allow ourselves to believe.

Does this resonate with you? In what ways have you been comparing yourself to others? How can you start to look at yourself and everyone around you with a little more empathy?

We are all in this together, friends!

Wishing you a week of self-compassion and acceptance.

Be well,
Ambar

10 Ways to Practice Self Love

10 ways to practice self love
Photo by Bilimama Photography

Hi friends!

February is often thought of as the month of love. With Valentine’s Day right around the corner, I wanted to give you some ideas for simple ways to improve your relationship with the most important person in your life… yourself!

Self love is the key to having every single relationship in your life flourish! Quite simply, you cannot give what you don’t have, so it is vital for you to love yourself first, so that you are capable of giving love to the people around you!

When we do not love ourselves, we go looking for outside sources to fill up our love tanks. This leads to self destructive behaviors and codependent relationships. Happy, healthy relationships consist of two people who feel complete by themselves. It is from this place of wholeness that we are able to attract relationships that complement our lives. It all starts with loving ourselves first.

I know what you’re thinking… “That sounds really great, Ambar, but HOW do I learn to love myself more?”

Here are my top 10 ways to practice self love:

1) Start a gratitude practice.

Start a daily ritual of stating 5 things that you are grateful for each and everyday before you get out of bed in the morning! You can write them in a gratitude journal that you keep by your bedside, or even say them out loud! Showing gratitude instantly puts us in a positive mood and attracts more good things into our lives.

2) Start a daily self care ritual

Do one simple thing each day to show yourself a little extra love and attention. Wake up early to sip your coffee in peace. Give yourself a hand or foot massage. Light a candle and meditate. Start each morning with yoga. End each day with journaling. Choose something simple and doable and commit to doing it daily! This will show you that you deserve to be well taken care of.

3) Use affirmations

The ways in which we talk to ourselves matters. They become a self fulfilling prophecy. One of the quickest ways to change our inner dialogue is by using affirmations. An affirmation is a statement that is phrased in the positive tense and often starts with the words “I am…”. Create a self love affirmation such as “I am worthy.” “I am perfect exactly as I am today.” or “I treat myself with loving care.” Repeat your affirmation to yourself 10 times each morning, 10 times before bed, and 10 times each time you think of it throughout the day. For an extra boost, you can set reminders on your phone to remind you of your affirmation, and you can even start writing it down ten times daily for extra impact!

4) Eat more vegetables

I don’t care who you are or what your typical diet consists of, chances are, your body would love you a little bit more for feeding it more vegetables! Veggies are so good for us. They are detoxing and nourishing and make us feel healthy! Instead of restricting yourself by trying to cut out junk food, instead try adding in more vegetables.

5) Drink spa water

On the same note as eating more veggies, most of us could benefit from drinking more water! A really loving way to fuel yourself with H2O is to make a pitcher of spa water. Slice up some fruit or vegetables and throw them into a pitcher with distilled water. Some great options are cucumbers, lemon, and/or berries! Every time you get thirsty, drink a little spa water. I promise you it will feel like a treat!

6) Dress up

It might sound silly, but making an effort to get dressed everyday is a fun way to show ourselves some love. Take time to adorn yourself. Wear jeans instead of yoga pants, blowdry your hair, make a little extra effort with your makeup, put on your favorite sweater, and/or wear red lipstick! When we feel good about our appearance, this positive attitude radiates outward.

7) Surround yourself with people who love you

The people that we surround ourselves with make a huge impact on our lives. Take a look at your inner circle and make sure that it is full of people that are loving, encouraging, and supportive. Spend more time with the people that treat you well and less time with those that bring you down.

8) Nurture your spiritual connection

Take some time each day to tune into your connection with God, the Universe, angels, or whatever you believe in. Trust that there is more to life than what meets the eye and do whatever you can to nurture this connection. This will go a long way towards helping you feel loved and supported, which will in turn help you feel more loving toward yourself.

9) Move your body everyday

Find a movement practice that you love, and do it as much as possible! Go for a run, take a challenging exercise class, go for a daily walk, have a dance party in your kitchen! It doesn’t matter what you do, all that matters is that you get moving and have fun while doing it!

10) Thank yourself

Take some time each day to thank yourself for all that you do for yourself. The fact that you made it to the end of this list shows that you have the desire to take good care of yourself, and that’s something to celebrate! Stop whatever you’re doing right now, sit comfortable, and close your eyes. Place one hand over your heart, and the other hand over that hand. Silently say to yourself “Thank you, ______ (insert your name here). I love you ______ (insert your name here.” Do this for a few moments until you feel the love and gratitude spreading throughout your body.

I hope that you find these tips helpful, and that they encourage you to give yourself a little extra love this week!

Wishing you a week full of self love.

Be well,
Ambar

A Simple Self Love Challenge!

Love Yourself First

Hi friends!

Do you have trouble putting yourself first? Do you feel guilty for taking time for yourself? Do you spend most of your time taking care of everyone around you, and find yourself with little energy to take care of yourself?

I get it. As women, we are the nurturers, the life-givers, the caretakers. A big part of our role is often to love and look out for the people we most care about.

We all know that in order to be of service to the people who need us, we need to be taking good care of ourselves, yet when it comes down to it, many of us struggle with actually implementing this self love and self care.

February is the month of love, and there is no better time than now to focus on loving yourself!

I’ve created a simple challenge to help you spend the next month in devotion to self love. I want to show you just how simple and easy it can be to start taking action toward treating yourself well, taking care of yourself, and showing yourself a little extra love each and every day.

Step 1: List what you love!

The first thing I want you to do is make a list of 28 things that you love! Make a list of 28 simple pleasures that bring you love and joy! Don’t overthink it; just start writing. Begin each sentence with “I love…” and see where it takes you.

Here is my list to help get you started:

  1. I love going to the beach.
  2. I love snuggling in bed with my husband and daughter.
  3. I love clean sheets.
  4. I love going for nature walks.
  5. I love curling my hair.
  6. I love using natural, organic makeup.
  7. I love being pampered.
  8. I love listening to Dave Matthews Band, Red Hot Chili Peppers, and any classic rock music from the 90s.
  9. I love lighting candles.
  10. I love diffusing essential oils.
  11. I love listening to relaxing music while I cook.
  12. I love making chicken chili.
  13. I love reading.
  14. I love taking my daughter to story time at the library.
  15. I love meditating.
  16. I love doing yoga.
  17. I love being silly with my girlfriends.
  18. I love taking pictures.
  19. I love going out for nice dinners.
  20. I love having family adventures.
  21. I love taking long, hot showers.
  22. I love writing.
  23. I love drinking tea.
  24. I love drinking red wine in a stemless wine glass.
  25. I love chocolate.
  26. I love stripes.
  27. I love having fresh flowers all over my house.
  28. I love date nights with my husband.

Step 2: Get busy DOING what you love!

Now that you have this epic list of simple things that you love, it’s time to step into action and actually start doing them! Choose one thing from your list each day and spend the next 28 days devoted to doing what you love!

It’s that simple! List what you love, and then do what you love! As you can see, the things on my list are not rocket science. They are simple, everyday activities that bring my joy. So often we forget about these joyful, mundane tasks. We think that self love and self care has to be extravagant. We find ourselves wishing for a tropical vacation, counting down the days to the weekend, or hoping for some future plans that will make us feel more relaxed and more joyful. But, we don’t have to wait for some future moment in order to start taking care of ourselves. Our lives are happening RIGHT NOW. Now is the time to focus on loving ourselves. Now is the time to take better care of ourselves. Now is the time to start doing these simple things that we love!

I promise you that if you take each of the 28 days of February to focus on crossing each and every item off of your list, you will be a happier, more joyful person by the end of this month!

I am going to be going through this challenge with the women in my private Facebook group for extra support and accountability! If you want to join us in making February the month of simple, stress-free self love, please join us over in the FB group!

Please feel free to share your love list in the comments below! I can’t wait to see what you come up with!

Wishing you a month full of everything that you love!

Be well,
Ambar

 

What are your “Bad Habits” trying to teach you?

what are your bad habits trying to teach you?Do you ever notice yourself falling back into your bad habits and wishing that you could make them go away? I know I do! It wasn’t until recently that I realized that my bad habits aren’t really so bad after all… and that the reason that they keep reappearing is because they are trying to teach me something. Let me explain…

If you’ve been reading my blog for awhile, you know that I’ve had a stressful few months with my grandmother being in the hospital. This last week we made the decision to bring her home, and while it was the best decision, it was also an emotional one. I spent every day this week traveling back and forth trying to get everything settled for her to come home, and then checking in to make sure things were running smoothly once she was discharged. When I wasn’t at my grandparents’ house, I was still doing all of the things I do on a daily basis to make sure that my own life is taken care of; spending time with my husband and daughter, cleaning, running errands, making dinner, working on my blog, meeting with clients, etc.

My week was so busy that I had very little time to do anything for myself, and each night I found myself feeling depleted and exhausted. On Wednesday night, as I was driving home, I decided that I wanted to find a drive-through Dunkin Donuts so that I could get a hot chocolate. This in and of itself, wasn’t really a big deal… it was cold out, and during the winter I occasionally like to get hot chocolate as a treat. But then, when I found myself wanting hot chocolate again on Thursday, and then on Friday… I knew that something was up.

That’s when I realized that I was trying to use hot chocolate as a way of filling myself up, because there was something that was missing from my life. I realized that I hadn’t been making time to take care of myself this week; that I had been running around trying to take care of everyone else, and leaving myself running on empty. I was trying to fill this emptiness with hot chocolate!

Sometimes, when we find ourselves craving sweets, it’s a sign that we need to treat ourselves in other, more fulfilling ways.

Here is my 3 step process for noticing when this is happening to you and using your “bad habits” as opportunities to learn how to take better care of yourself.

Step 1: Notice your habits

In the story I just described, my “bad habit” was my sugar craving. At other points in my life, my habits have been a craving for wine every night after dinner, or a desire to veg out on the couch watching the Real Housewives. For you, they may be something entirely different. Only you know what your own bad habits are. Start to notice the ways in which you find yourself wanting to numb yourself out from the world a little bit. Notice when these habits start to become a pattern.

Step 2: Ask yourself what you really need

Our bad habits are really trying to teach us something; to help us tune in to something that we are missing. Once we start to look below the surface, we can find the deeper meaning behind our habits.

Take some time to sit quietly. Place one hand on your belly, and one hand on your heart. Close your eyes and take slow deep breaths. Then ask yourself, “What do I really need?” Keep asking this question until you get an answer.

You might discover that a craving for sweets is a sign that you need to treat yourself more sweetly; that you need to devote more time and attention to yourself. A craving for wine every night might be your body’s way of telling you that it needs more down time. A compulsion to watch the Real Housewives for hours on end may really mean that you are feeling stressed out and need some time to relax and unwind.

What are your habits trying to tell you? What do you really need?

Step 3: Change your habits

Now that you know what it is that you really need, you can start to change your habits and fuel yourself with activities and habits that make you feel good.

Once I realized that my desire for hot chocolate every day was really trying to tell me that I needed to take better care of myself, instead of turning to hot chocolate each day, I started finding ways to step up my self care. I started going to sleep earlier. I got back on track with my morning yoga routine. I started going for walks everyday. After just a couple of days of taking better care of myself, I started feeling better, and my craving for sweets started to go away!

So, next time you find yourself falling into some “bad habits”, have some compassion! Your bad habits aren’t there to annoy you or frustrate you. They are a sign that there is something deeper missing from your life. Become a detective and start to uncover the lessons underneath your habits! I know that you’ll start to feel so much better once you start building healthier habits and giving yourself whatever it is that you truly need.

I hope that you find this helpful! Have you had any revelations about your own habits while reading this? Please share in the comments below!

Be well,
Ambar

 

How to Make a Vision Board & Why You Need One!

How to Make a Vision Board and Why You Need One

Hello my friends and happy new year!

Angelo, June & I celebrated New Year’s Eve with a quiet evening at home making vision boards. It was so much fun to do together as a family! This is not really Angelo’s type of thing, but he humors me and is willing to try new things. I loved getting him involved and getting an inside look at what his dreams are! And, it was extra special to help my little June create her very first vision board! She chose all of her own photos and is apparently planning to spend the year playing superheroes, swimming, eating cookies and apples, and playing with bunnies. 😉

I’ve received a lot of questions about vision boards after I shared some photos on social media, so I decided to write a post to teach you how to make a vision board of your very own!

What is a vision board?

You might be wondering; what the heck is a vision board?! A vision board (also called a dream board), is a way of creating a tangible way of looking at your dreams. Vision boards help us get clear about the future vision that we hold for ourselves and our lives. They help us answer the questions: What do I really want? What are my dreams? What are my desires? Who do I want to be? By creating a vision board, you get clarity on your dreams. Once we have clarity on our dreams, we are more likely to achieve them!

How do I make a vision board?

Here is what you will need:

  • Magazines that you don’t mind cutting up
  • Scissors
  • Glue or glue stick
  • A poster board or large picture frame

Step 1: Set the Scene

Creating a vision board should be a special experience. It’s all about getting clear on your hopes and dreams, and this is a process that deserves its own dedicated time and attention. Set aside 1-2 hours to work on your vision board. Light a candle and put on some music that makes you feel good. Get into a space where you are ready to be inspired and creative.

Step 2: Cut out photos

Go through your magazines and start cutting out pictures of everything that appeals to you. Do not sensor yourself. Cut out every photograph, word, or phrase that strikes a chord with you. You can choose different pictures to represent different aspects of your life, for example, I often use pictures of mothers and daughters to represent my daughter and me, and pictures of couples to represent my husband and me. Choose photos where the people are doing things that you yourself would like to be doing. Choose words that you find inspiring and motivating. Choose pictures that make you feel happy and excited.

Step 3: Edit photos and create a collage

After you have collected all of your picturess, it’s time to create your vision board! Take some time to lay your photos out in a way that is appealing to you. This is the time to make any last minute changes, such as leaving out any pictures that do not truly resonate with you, or looking for things that you feel may be missing. Put your pictures together in a way that looks and feels good to you.

Step 4: Put it all together

After you have your collage all lined up, it’s time to make it permanent. Glue everything onto your poster board. Tip: Take a photo of your collage before you take it apart to glue everything together, so that you remember where everything went!

And that’s it! Now you have your vision board! You are officially ready to make your dreams come true!

What do I do with my vision board?

Place your vision board somewhere that you can see it every day. Take some time each day to look at everything on it and notice how it makes you feel. Imagine yourself living your best life; the life that is depicted on your vision board. Then, stay open to new possibilities as you go about your everyday life! Your visions will become clearer and your desired life will start to creep into your subconscious. You will find yourself naturally starting to take small actions that lead to the creation of your dreams. Check back in with your vision board periodically and notice if any of the things on your vision board have come true! You will be surprised at the ways in which your dreams become a reality.

I hope this inspires you to create your own vision board! Please let me know if you do, and share your photos with me! I would love to help hold space for your dreams to come true!

Dream big.

Be well,
Ambar

 

P.S. If you would like some personalized attention in making your dreams a reality, I would love to support you! Please check out my coaching program, Self Care Queen which starts next week! This program is for a small group of women who are ready to take ownership of their lives, start taking great care of themselves, and make their dreams a reality. Get all the details here. I would love to have you join us!

P.P.S. I am holding a FREE 5 DAY LIVESTREAM TRAINING all bout SELF CARE FOR STRESS RELIEF! If you’ve been wanting to learn more about why self care is the BEST and EASIEST way to relieve stress, I would love to show you my best tips and tricks! It’s all happening over in my FB group, The Stress Free Society. Click here to join the group and get access to the free training!

 

Do THIS before you make your New Year’s Resolutions

Do This Before you make your New Year's ResolutionsHappy almost new year my friends! 2018 is right around the corner. The new year brings a time of goal setting and focused intention. But, before you get started on creating your big dreams in 2018, it’s important to take a look back and reflect on 2017, the year you are leaving behind. This will help you start the new year with a sense of closure and clarity, which will make it easier to make your new goals a reality as you move forward.

Here is a simple exercise that you can use to walk you through the process. You can do this on your own with a journal, or share aloud with someone you trust. My husband and I did this exercise together on a long car ride, and it was a meaningful experience for us both.

Go back through the year of 2017 month by month starting in January.

What stands out to you about each month?

What major and minor life events occurred?

What did you do?

Who were you with?

Who did you help?

What did you create?

Notice any celebrations that you can recall.

What made you happy?

Where did you find joy?

Now look at the challenges.

What was difficult for you?

What did you learn from these challenging experiences?

What lessons did they hold for you?

Bring to mind all of your achievements big and small, personal and professional. Notice how you feel when you think about them. Take some time to soak in these positive feelings.

Bring to mind all of the lessons that you learned from the hardships you faced this year. Feel grateful for these learning experiences. The difficult parts are over, and now the lessons remain. Soak in the gratitude for these lessons.

Now you are ready to begin 2018. Now that you’ve taken a look at where you’ve been, you can decide where it is that you want to go next.

You are a different person than you were one year ago. You are ready to step into 2018 with all of the achievements and lessons of 2017 to back you up.

From this place, you can get clear about what you want to create in your life in the coming year. How do you want to feel in 2018? Who do you want to be? What consistent, daily actions can you take to feel the way you most want to feel? What small, doable action steps can you take to become the person you most want to be?

Cheers to a beautiful year ahead.

Be well,
Ambar

P.S. My new coaching program Self Care Queen is currently open for enrollment. I created this 6 month program for women who would love a high level of support to help them step into action toward making their dream lives a reality. You don’t have to do this alone!

If some of your goals for the new year are to release stress and anxiety, take better care of yourself, and form deep, meaningful friendships with like minded women, I hope you’ll consider joining us in Self Care Queen. You’ll be supported every step of the way to making 2018 your most fabulous year yet! Click here to get all the details.