How to Make the Most of this Summer

I think we can all agree that this summer will be one for the books! While we are all still under quarantine and taking safety precautions, the nice weather that comes along with summertime has been extra crucial this year.

Now that we are well into August, I want to make sure that I’m taking advantage of this moment in time and making the most out of the rest of the summer! I thought I would share my 3 best ideas for creating a memorable summer with you! 🙂

3 Ways to Make the Most of this Summer

1) Get outside – The first way to make the most out of this summer is to get outside as much as possible! While you may not be able to take your typical summer vacation this year, there are still plenty of things that you can do to make your everyday life feel more like a vacation and enjoy having a staycation at home!

While many of us may be a little bit tired of being inside our homes after the long days of quarantining this spring, we can take steps to enjoy the change of scenery right outside our front door! Some ideas include: drinking your coffee on the front porch, having picnics in the yard, grilling out every night, getting a new firepit to enjoy nights out by the fire, or grabbing some new cushions to freshen up your outdoor living space.

Also, just because you aren’t traveling to a tropical location, doesn’t mean you can’t go anywhere! Use this time to explore where you live! Take a road trip to a different part of your state. Check out all of the parks, beaches, mountains, or anything else that your area has to offer. You may end up finding some new favorite spots close to home!

2) Play! – Summertime is the perfect time to let your inner child out to play. Make the most of this summer by letting the easygoing and free spirited parts of your personality shine through and give yourself permission to act like a kid again.

Swim, run, swing, and splash in the water. Run through the sprinklers, blow bubbles outside, and catch fireflies in the evenings. Roast marshmallows on that new firepit you bought, have a campout and make some s’mores. Hint: these are all such fun activities to do with your kids! Angelo and I taught June how to catch fireflies this summer and the joy on her face the first time she caught one is something that I won’t forget! It’s the simple, playful moments that often make the best family memories! Enjoy more magical moments by having a sense of adventure and being more playful this summer.

3) Enjoy leisure time – Savor slow living this summer. Don’t let the rest of the summer go by without taking time to soak in some rest and relaxation.

Take some time out to read for fun, take a nap under a tree, or sip a cold beverage while you watch your kids play outside. Take long baths, flip through a magazine, and play soothing music. Enjoy lazy days and long conversations with friends. Take time to slow down, relax, and unwind. Do something just for you!

Are you ready to get outside, play, and enjoy some leisure time?! I hope these ideas help get the wheels turning and inspire you to have some adventures as you make the most out of the rest of this summer!

Be well,
Ambar



How to Be More Present in the Moment

Practicing presence with my family this weekend 🙂

Last week, my family and I set out for a beach day. It started out as a bust because as soon as we got there, it started raining, so we had to run for cover like the rest of the beachgoers.

But, as our time waiting for the rain to pass got longer, it started to feel kind of nice. The three of us have been spending ALOT of time together lately (because #quarantinelife), but something about this time felt a little bit different. We were stuck waiting for the rain to pass for close to an hour, and I started to realize that this together time felt different because we were completely undistracted with nothing to do except talk to each other and watch the rain. It made me realize the importance of being present with one another, and that just because we’re together almost all of the time now, it doesn’t mean that we’re spending quality time together.

So, I came up with 3 ways to practice being more present with my loved ones. I want to share this with you in case you want to be more mindful about spending quality time with the people you love most.

  1. Put your phone away

    This one is a little obvious, but if you want to be present with the people around you, you have to put down your phone. Our phones are a major distraction from what’s going on right in front of us. Make an effort to be where your feet are, and find some time each day away from the phone.

  2. Watch your body language

    Our body language is a big part of the way that we communicate with others. If you want to show the people you love that they are special to you, you can use your body language to demonstrate your love for them. This means looking them in the eye, turning your body towards them, uncrossing your arms and getting down to children’s eye level. Use your body language to communicate that you are open and willing to engage with the people you love.

  3. Notice your surroundings

    The final step in being present in the moment is to engage your senses and pay attention to the things going on around you. Enjoy your environment by indulging in your senses. Notice the things you can see, hear, touch, and taste. Coming back to your senses is a quick way to bring your awareness back to the present moment anytime your mind starts to wander. By being aware of your surroundings, you force yourself to acknowledge what’s happening in the moment, which then allows you to be more present with the people you are sharing the experience with.

And that’s it! Practice these 3 steps and you’ll notice yourself feeling much more connected to the people around you. You will start to see how good it feels to live in the present moment… at least some of the time!

Wishing you a week full of love and presence!

Be well,
Ambar

World Peace Begins with Inner Peace

world peace begins with inner peace

Hi friends,

There is a lot going on in our world right now… COVID-19, 3 months of quarantine, racial injustice. It’s a lot to take on.

I truly believe that all of these things are coming to a head right now to force us to change and evolve. If it feels heavy and uncomfortable, that’s because it is. Change is always tricky in our personal lives, so it makes sense that it would be even more challenging when it’s happening on a global scale. We are quite literally living through history right now. It’s heavy, it’s uncomfortable, and it’s scary, but it’s also necessary if we want to create a better world for the next generation.

If there’s one thing I know for sure it’s that world change begins with inner change, and world peace begins with inner peace. This is not the time for us to shut down. It’s time for us to rise up.

Here’s what you can do to make the world a better place in your own unique way:

1. Support your mental health and wellbeing. Your mental health is more important than ever right now. Change has to begin with you, first and foremost. If you can’t help yourself, you can’t help anyone.

Take time for yourself each and every day. Create quiet space to be alone with your thoughts. By cultivating this daily habit, you will start to feel more tuned in to your own intuition, and that is what will lead you to the next right steps to take in every area of your life.

Pay attention to your energy and anxiety levels. If you notice that you are not feeling your best, try to notice what’s triggering you and take steps to correct it. You may be called to disconnect from social media for a while, turn off the news, get outside and spend time in nature, pray, meditate, or exercise.  Remember that taking care of yourself is always your #1 job.

2. Make changes at home. Once you’ve tackled your own wellbeing, you can start making changes at home, within your family unit.

Start having important conversations with your kids and family members. Get creative and think about how you can begin to make positive changes in your own special way. You may be called to read certain books, make posters to hang in your window, or have difficult conversations with relatives.

Remember that change begins at home and often the thing that matters most is what we do to raise the next generation to be better than the previous one was. It starts at home.

3. Choose one way to help. The last few weeks have been overwhelming. There have been an influx of resources, events, organizations, and calls for help. This is all amazing, but when we spread our energy out all over the place we end up making very little impact.

Choose one way to support racial injustice, global health, and/or any cause that feels most pressing to you. There is no right or wrong way to do this, what matters is that you follow what feels true in your heart.

Do your research, financially support an organization, volunteer in your community, get out and vote, or join a peaceful protest. Choose one thing and devote yourself to it. You can make a bigger impact when you focus on one right thing at a time.

I hope that you find these ideas helpful. I am by no means an expert at any of this, but this is what feels true to me, and I wanted to share it with you as part of taking my next right step.

Take good care of yourself, your family, and the world. We are all in this together.

Be well,
Ambar

10 Weeks of Quarantine

surviving quarantine life

Hi friends!

Here we are – a full 10 weeks into quarantine life. Can you even believe it’s been this long? As we start to settle into this wacky way of life, I figured it was time to get real about what’s working for us as a family, and what’s not, so I decided to make a list.

What’s working:

  • Laughing instead of crying
  • Family walks
  • My morning yoga/meditation routine
  • Having a daily rhythm for June’s schoolwork
  • Tagging in and out with Angelo so we each have time to get work done

What’s not working:

  • Fighting with Angelo because we feel like neither of us ever gets a break
  • Too many snacks…and I’m not just talking about June 😂 ha!
  • Slacking on quality family time together
  • Nothing that even resembles a date night

I made this list at the beginning of last week, and it was so helpful in getting me to focus on doing more of the things that are working, and taking steps to fix the ones that aren’t.

I started off with tackling my snacking habits and told June that I wasn’t going to eat any extra snacks in between meals this week, so that if she saw me having some, she should call me out on it (nothing like having your 4 year old keep you accountable! Lol!). I was surprised that when I got her involved, she decided that she wasn’t going to have any extra snacks either because she wanted to do what I was doing. She typically asks for snacks all day long and ended up making it a day and a half without any snacks, but it helped me be more aware of how we’re feeding ourselves as a family.

We also kept up with all of the things that were already working for us, and this week we’re going to work on creating more quality time together outside as the weather warms up and summer unofficially begins.

Making these lists of what’s working and what’s not is such an easy and practical way to make sure that we make the most of this extra time together at home, without driving each other crazy in the process.

Where are you at on your stay at home journey? What’s working and what’s not?

Have a beautiful week and stay healthy and happy!

Be well,
Ambar

How to Stop Anxiety about the Coronavirus

how to stop anxiety about the coronavirus

Hi friends!

The world feels a little crazy right now. Businesses and events are shutting down, schools are closing, supermarkets are running out of necessities, and the possibility of being quarantined has become real, all due to the spread of the Coronavirus.

During uncertain times such as this, it can be all too easy for panic and anxiety to set in.

If you’re starting to feel anxiety about the Coronavirus and society’s reaction to it, please keep reading! The following 3 tips are here to provide you with a sense of calm during this unsettling time.

HOW TO STOP ANXIETY ABOUT THE CORONAVIRUS

1. Set Boundaries – Now is the time to set firm boundaries about the news that you’re taking in. Yes, we all want to be aware of what’s going on, but keeping the news channel on 24/7 and scrolling the media outlets all day is not helping anyone. The media is programmed to increase viewers and in order to do that, they often sensationalize current events to hook you in and keep you watching. This is disastrous for your nervous system.

Decide how often you want to check in on the latest news. Maybe you want to check in twice a day – once in the morning and once in the afternoon. Choose the number that feels good to you and make efforts to stick to this boundary. The rest of the time, carry on with life as usual to the best of your ability, knowing that you’ll be aware of any new developments during your scheduled check in times.

Aside from restricting how much time you’re spending on news and media, choose not to engage in fearful conversations. Let the people around you know that you are choosing to stay positive and will not be engaging in obsessive and unhelpful conversations about the Coronavirus.

2. Focus on Wellness instead of Illness

During times of uncertainty, it always helps to focus on the things we CAN control instead of what we can’t. So on that note, make wellness your main focus right now.

Check in with your body and do all of the things that it needs in order to feel good – eat lots of fruit and vegetables, wash your hands often, take your vitamins and supplements, get fresh air, and exercise.

Check in with your mind and see what it desires in order to feel at peace – read an interesting book and engage in interesting conversations. Use any extra time home with your loved ones to work on board games or puzzles together.

And lastly, check in with your soul and give yourself some soul fuel – practice yoga, meditate, or pray as often as you need to in order to keep your soul at ease.

By focusing on wellness rather than illness, you will be able to stop anxiety about the coronavirus and bring wellbeing into your life.

3. Be in your Body

Finally, the last thing to remember is to keep your energy inward and really be in your body. Instead of focusing anxious energy into what’s going on in the world at large, bring the focus back into yourself and your own being.

Breathe deeply. Feel your feet on the ground. Bring a hand to your chest and feel your heart beating. Notice your environment and the people around you. Be here now and keep bringing your attention back to the present moment… it’s always all we have.

I hope that these 3 tips help you keep anxiety about the Coronavirus at bay and allow you to find some peace during this chaotic time.

I am thinking of you and sending you health, love, and light.

Be well,
Ambar


Winter Solstice : Be the Light

Hi friends!

The holidays are upon us, winter has arrived, and yesterday we celebrated the winter solstice which represents the darkest day of the year.

Today we begin the process of slowly moving back toward the light.

During these dark days, it’s important to pay attention to both the light and the shadows in our lives.

What are you wanting to bring to light in your life? What are you ready to let go of?

Here’s a simple journaling activity you can do to get clear on your intentions…

Fold a piece of paper in half. On one side, write “my shadows” and on the other side write “my light”.

Under your shadows, list out any challenges, uneasy feelings, or struggles that you are facing.

Under your light, list out your gifts, the blessings in your life, and the things that you are naturally good at.

Take a close look at your lists and notice where your focus goes. Which of these aspects would you like to work on in this next season of life? Which shadows are you ready to let go of? And what parts of your light are you ready to let shine even brighter?

Circle these items on your lists and set your intention to let it be so.

What are you bringing to light this season? Please share in the comments below!

Be well,
Ambar

Happy Fall y’all!

Photo taken at Sacred Beginnings Retreat by Olivia Hamilton Jones <3


Tomorrow marks the autumn equinox and first day of fall in the northern hemisphere. It is a powerful day to get intentional about our lives, hopes, and dreams.

Living an intentional life is not difficult; it just requires a little bit of introspection and planning.

Tomorrow is the ideal day to take a little time for yourself and look at the life that you want to create.

Ask yourself: 

What have I created that I am proud of?

What ideas, projects, and goals did I set into motion that have now come to fruition?

What am I ready to let go of?

What beliefs and habits are holding me back, and how can I allow them to fall away?

What small steps can I take today to start living my happiest, most fulfilled life?


Another simple thing that you can do is to start a new habit where every time you see a leaf fall you imagine that you are letting go of something that needs to fall away in your own life. This might sound a little silly but try it and notice how you feel! 🙂 

I hope that you take a few minutes to think about these powerful questions as we begin this new beautiful autumn season. 

If you’d like some more ideas for how to celebrate the transition into fall, you can check out this blog post I wrote about simple rituals to celebrate autumn.

Happy Fall!

Be well,
Ambar


Using Vision Boards to Live your Dreams in 2019

 

vision boards with kids
Photo by Brandi Grooms Photography

Hi friends!

The holiday season is upon us! During this time of year, many of us like to look forward and make plans for what we want the next year of our lives to look like. We envision our dream lives, set goals, and make resolutions for how we will make the new year our best year ever!

For the last few years, I’ve been using vision boards as a tool for helping me make my dream life a reality. A vision board is a way to create a visual representation of our desires. It helps take our hopes and wishes from an intangible idea in our heads and places them in our physical space where we can see them.

I like to create a vision board each year right before the new year. I then place it on my nightstand where I can see it everyday. Within a few weeks, it becomes something that I don’t pay much attention to, but it is still sitting right beside me as I go to sleep each night and is one of the first things I see when I wake up in the morning. My subconscious mind gets to work interpreting the things on my vision board as part of my reality. It’s always surprising to me to look back later in the year and see how many of the things on my vision board have materialized.

vision boardThe first year that I started creating vision boards was in 2015 when I was pregnant with my daughter. Like any first time expecting mother, I had certain ideas of what I envisioned life with my new baby would look like. I remember being just about 5 months pregnant as I created my vision board that year. I pasted sayings like “healthy pregnancy” and “blessings” on it, along with photos of a mom and baby doing yoga, a smiling mom and dad with their baby girl, and the green smoothies I pictured myself having as part of my postpartum health regimen.

Shortly after creating this vision board, I got wrapped up in the end of my pregnancy, preparing for baby, and then, finally, bringing my baby girl into the world and adjusting to life with a newborn. I forgot all about my vision board as I started acclimating to my new life role as a mama and started bonding with my baby and being the mom I had always hoped to be.

A few months later, I was really shocked when I looked at my old vision board and noticed that everything on it had come true! I had a super healthy pregnancy, my husband and I literally could not stop smiling at our baby girl, I had just started making mommy and me yoga a part of our morning routine, and I had been having green smoothies everyday after I discovered how sensitive my little babe was to the foods that I ate! My life was filled with blessings at this time and it was really awesome to see that everything that I had dreamt about as I created my vision board was now my reality.

I’ve continued to make vision boards each year, and have had similar experiences with my visions coming true time after time. Last year, I included my daughter June in the vision board making process. She was just 2 years old at the time and she helped pick out photos of the things she wanted more of in the new year. She chose photos of cookies and apples (now 2 of her favorite foods), and we added in pictures of toddlers brushing their teeth and using the potty… two things that seemed so far away at the time, but now things that she has mastered in the last year! It was so much fun to include her in the process that I’m planning on doing it again this year!

After I shared about my vision board making process with June last year, I had lots of moms reaching out to me asking for ideas on how to make their own vision boards with their little ones. And so, this year I’m going to be hosting a VISION BOARDING WITH LITTLES workshop!

Who is this for?: Mindful Mamas and their Kiddos

What is it?: Vision Boarding with Littles Workshop

Includes –

  • Crafting & creating vision boards
  • Talk on how to use vision boards to reach your goals in 2019 (explained in a fun, easy way for kids to understand)
  • Setting doable + powerful goals
  • Kid friendly mommy and me meditation that you can use over and over to connect with your intentions in the new year!

When: Friday 12/28 from 10am – 12pm

Where: Long Branch, NJ

Price: $30 (Includes healthy snacks & refreshments & all materials needed to create 2 vision boards – one for you and one for your child) $5 each additional child

Space is limited to 10 families and we have just a few spots left. If you are a local NJ mom and would like to attend this workshop, please send an email to mamabirdwellnest@gmail.com and I’ll send you all of the details to sign up and secure your spot. 

This is going to be such a fun time to connect with your innermost desires and show your kids a fun, tangible way to start making their dreams a reality! 🙂

If you are not local to NJ, and would like to learn more about how to create your own vision board, click here to read the in depth blog post I wrote with all of my tips for creating powerful vision boards.

Wishing you a happy and healthy holiday season! May all of your dreams come true in 2019.

Be well!

Lots of love,
Ambar

 

3 Words to Stop Stress in its Tracks

 

3 words to stop stressStress is something that we all experience from time to time. It’s a part of being human. However, in today’s modern world it can be all too easy for feeling stressed to become the norm. Our lives our busy, we are constantly stimulated, and many of us can feel pressured to keep working harder, do more, or respond to every little thing that calls out for our attention.

When this starts to happen, the stress response in our bodies starts to go off as a way of telling us to slow down, be quiet, and take a moment to breathe.

When we ignore that voice, we can get into trouble.

What exactly is stress, and why does it happen?

Stress is our body’s way of keeping us safe.

The stress response developed back in primal times as a way of keeping us away from danger. When our bodies noticed that we were faced with a life or death situation, such as being chased by a bear, it would signal the stress response in our bodies. When the stress response was triggered, our adrenaline would spike up so that we were able to run faster, fight harder, and have a better chance of survival.

The problem is that we no longer live in a world where we are faced with this type of dangerous situation, but our bodies continue to fight everyday stressors in the same way.

When it comes down to it, stress is just trying to keep us safe. It is not our enemy or something that is working against us. It is our body’s way of making sure that we are out of harm’s way.

Knowing this, we can start to recognize that the best way to keep stress at bay is by showing our bodies that we are safe.

The first thing that we should do when we feel stressed is to give a voice to how we are feeling. Say, “I feel __________.” (Fill in the blank with a word to describe how you feel).

It sounds so simple, but it really works!

Most of us respond to stress in the opposite way… we hide from it, ignore it, try to numb it out, or keep going despite of it, pretending that everything is fine.

The problem with doing that is that when we ignore our body’s stress signals, they continue getting louder. They are trying to keep us safe so the stress response keeps getting stronger until we feel so stressed out that we can’t ignore it.

On the other hand, if we start to recognize our body’s stress response quickly and give voice to it right away, it starts to quiet down.

Why is saying how we feel the first step to managing stress?

1) It gives us permission to feel whatever it is that we are feeling. When we state our feelings out loud and acknowledge them, we immediately feel seen, heard, and understood. We stop making ourselves wrong for not being happy-go-lucky all the time and give ourselves permission to feel human. The simple act of giving ourselves permission to feel our feelings helps to validate them, and as a result, we start to feel better.

2) It empowers us to do something about it! Once we have recognized how we are feeling by stating it out loud, we are put back in the driver’s seat of our lives. By voicing how we feel, we take responsibility for our life experience. We recognize that we are capable of changing how we feel and we are empowered to do something to feel better!

Next time that you notice that you are feeling stressed out or overwhelmed, try it for yourself! Stop whatever you are doing and take a moment to say how you are feeling. Say, “I feel __________.” (And insert a word to describe how you feel; i.e. stressed out, anxious, overwhelmed). Notice what happens next. Do you feel better now that you got that off your chest? Are you now thinking of the next steps that you can take to feel better?

Getting into action and doing something that makes you feel better is the second step toward relieving stress, but it always has to start with acknowledging how you feel first!

Yesterday I lead a workshop on using meditation & mindfulness to relieve stress. I taught 11 different meditations, breathing exercises, and mindfulness practices to relieve stress and anxiety in just minutes. If you want to learn some simple, practical, and doable steps to take to stop feeling stressed, you can still sign up! Just sign up for the workshop here, and you will receive immediate access to the recording, + a printable worksheet of all of the different exercises that we covered.

I hope that you find this helpful!

Wishing you a stress-free week ahead!

Be well,
Ambar

 

 

Back to School! Saying Goodbye to Summer & Hello to Fall

transition from summer to fall

Hey friends!

September is upon us and all of the back to school/ back to work energy is in the air! I have been feeling a strong shift from the more relaxing, laid back energy of summer to the busy-er, hustle and bustle of fall! Have you been feeling it too?

With the change of seasons I have been feeling excited to get back to blogging more consistently again! I’ll be back to writing new posts every week with tips, information, and motivation to help you live your happiest, healthiest life! I have really missed writing and connecting with all of you on a regular basis and am so looking forward to getting back in connection with our wonderful little community!

My daughter June will be starting preschool for the first time this week and I am just a bundle of emotions over here! If you have been with me for awhile, you might remember what a big deal it was for me when I left my full-time job in December of 2016 to be home with June. Now that she is getting ready to start school and we are evolving to a new phase of our journey together, it feels like a big milestone. I left my job because I truly wanted to soak in June’s baby years. Now that they have gone by in a blink of an eye, I am so thankful that I made that decision (challenging as it was at times!). I can hardly believe that my little baby is growing up into such a “little big girl” as I like to call her. 😉

Does anybody else feel extremely emotional and bittersweet about watching their babies grow?

Regardless of how old your children are, or if you are entering a new “back to school” season or not, the shift in energy from summer to fall is something that affects all of us.

I encourage you to do something this week to mark the unofficial end of summer and create a smooth transition into fall. Marking these transitions is a beautiful way to honor the different seasons in our lives.

Here are some ideas to get you brainstorming!

Ideas for celebrating the end of summer:

  • Get outside and soak in as much warmth as possible
  • Pick seashells or rocks and bring them into your home as a reminder of a summer well spent
  • Wash and put away any beach or summer gear that you won’t be using again in the near future
  • Go for a walk with your family and talk about your favorite moments from the summer
  • Take a moment to look at the sun and thank it for the warm, sunny summer memories

Ideas for marking the upcoming fall:

  • Spend time outside in the evenings and notice if you feel a shift in the air
  • Bring some falling leaves or pinecones inside to start preparing for the upcoming autumn season
  • Declutter a room or closet
  • Buy a new calendar or planner
  • Create a new morning routine for the “back to school” mornings

Being intentional and creative can be a helpful way to create easeful transitions and get excited about what is to come.

I am planning to spend the next few days engaging in the above activities to help set myself up for success as my family and I adjust to our new routine and schedule.

I’ve also decided that the best way to channel my emotions about my changing roles is to dive deep into new projects to keep me learning and growing. With June starting school and my new burst of creative energy, I am excited to start working a bit more this year and am lining up some new virtual and in person events, so stay tuned! 🙂

The first event that I have planned is a virtual workshop on Meditation and Mindfulness for Stress Relief. During this workshop I’ll be sharing different practices that you can use to relieve stress anytime, anywhere whenever you are feeling anxious or overwhelmed (no meditation cushion required)! If this is something that would be helpful to you, you can click here to learn more and sign up! Early bird pricing is available through Labor Day.

meditation and mindfulness for stress relief

Now, I’d love to catch up and hear from you! How was your summer? Are you or your children embarking on any new transitions this fall? What exciting plans and intentions do you have for this upcoming season of life? Please comment below and let me know! One of the things I want most is to get to know each of my readers on a more personal level. I personally read each and every comment I receive and would love to be in true connection with you!

I am so happy to be back to blogging and look forward to talking more soon!

Have a beautiful week, friends!

Be well,
Ambar