sleep

Don't Neglect Your 30s - Set The Stage To Thrive

You know those gorgeous women and men who blossom in their 40s? I reckon they’ve taken excellent and conscious care of themselves in their 30s. 

The other day I felt so tired in the middle of the day. I got feverish for the first time in many years. Nevertheless, I stayed in the go-go-go mood as I had to meet a deadline. My husband came and told me that I had looked like I needed to take a rest. He continued: “You are 30 now. You aren't 20 anymore, and you need to listen to your body more carefully”. I felt as if I heard the guardian angel speaking ♥ 

I’ve been teaching the importance of self-care, but in all honesty, deep inside I believed that I've still had some time to work my way around all that maintenance. I was doing great, and I thought that was enough.

Knowing something is not the same as doing it. In that light, to be able to practice self-care we need to become aware of our behavior - moment by moment.  

I wrote this holistic guide for myself and for you who are interested in getting the most out of the decade before us. I know that some of my friends who are in their 40s might feel as if they’ve missed on something, but please know that our bodies are the powerhouses that will give back generously as soon as we start treating them well. They regenerate themselves every seven years, and the best thing you can do for yourself is to start now.

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NUTRITION AND GUT HEALTH

It’s high time to understand that nutrition is not a calorie in and calorie out. Most disease start in the gut. Your gut is connected to your immune system and your brain. About 80% of your immune system is in the gut. The majority of serotonin (the neurotransmitter responsible for our sense of wellbeing and satisfaction) is produced in the gut. Brittle nails, brain fog, poor digestion, dry skin, eczema, psoriasis, allergies, PMS, migraine, depression, mental challenges, fluid retention, constipation, bloating - could all be the symptoms of leaky gut. All the anti-wrinkle creams won’t work if you don’t have decent gut health. Gut health is one of the most important things when it comes to fertility. Eat food that is basic, directly related to the land or sea that is fresh, whole and unprocessed. Don’t neglect the power of bone broth and fermented veggies. Learn how to cook at home and let go of takeaways.

MENTAL HEALTH

Mental health is high up on my priority list. Managing stress, resolving pain, becoming aware of the emotions and feeling them instead of neglecting them has been on my radar all the time. I know so many people that are afraid of their pain. I used to be as well. Pain could only be resolved once we feel it. Dr. Bernie Siegel said that the number one problem most patients face is the inability to love themselves. This gotta change, folks. If you suffer from any addictions (cigarette, coffee, alcohol, food, drugs, sugar, sex), know that they are not the problem. The ACE study said that they are the solution to the unresolved pain. Make your 30s a decade to identify and resolve your pain. 

SPIRITUALITY

If you feel like everyone is getting woo around Higher Power, God, Universe, Mother Earth, and other entities, and it feels intimidating to you, I want to encourage you to consider a different perspective. Our healthcare and dietary imbalances and woes are related to a disconnect from nature’s processes, from pleasure, and from the feminine in every one of us (both men and women). We encounter so many distractions from media, friends, influencers, governments, telling us how to be and what to do. The solution is to connect with ourselves, to love and appreciate our bodies, to power your lives with love, cultivate the discipline of pleasure, and move with delight. You can be religious; you can be spiritual, or both. Find what works for you, but know that the ultimate goal of spirituality is to connect with love and to surrender

FITNESS

During your 30s the motivation to exercise to get the beach body is loosing on its intensity. We start experiencing back pain from sedentary lifestyle that we cultivated during our 20s. The 30s bring bone density loss, loss of a muscle mass and steady weight gain. If you have a sedentary job, I cannot stress enough how important it is for you to start the regular exercise routine. Not only that your body will become strong and more flexible, and that you’ll prevent conditions as mentioned earlier, but you'll also be able to assimilate the nutrients from the food that you eat, ingest more oxygen and sweat out the toxins from your beautiful temple. Now, I hear many times that people don’t like to exercise. What I discovered is that majority of people had tried only one type of exercise, and base their judgment on that single unpleasant experience. Going to the gym isn’t the only way to exercise. Explore barre, hot yoga, pilates reformer, TRX. If all of these options evoke the same feelings of resistance within you, then commit to making 10.000 steps per day. Only by trying different things you’ll get to know what you like. You cannot think your way through - you must try!

BREAST HEALTH

There is a lovely book called Goddesses Never Age by Dr. Christiane Northrup. In that book, she gives a detailed manual on how to holistically care for your breasts. Some of the things that she recommends are regular breast massage to increase the flow of the lymph fluids and blood to the tissues and bring them oxygen and vital nutrients. She says that going without the bra as much as possible is very important for the same reason. Acknowledge and express your feelings, eliminate negative self-talk around breasts, open yourself to love, and sweat regularly to remove toxins and reduce cortisol. She suggests taking vitamin D3, vitamin C, omega 3, coenzyme Q10, and iodine. Avoid drinking as it’s connected to breast cancer. Eat rich, a low glycemic diet with plenty of high-fiber vegetables. Know that insulin resistance is a risk factor for breast cancer and the smartest thing you could do is to cut down on sugars as soon as possible.

SKIN
 
Do you still expose your skin to the sun? It’s crucial to do so, but only for the 15 minutes and in the morning. In our 30s we start getting the first wrinkles. Depending on your genetics, lifestyle, type of the skin, some will wrinkle faster than others. Taking plenty of water, having regular exercise, cultivating restorative sleep, eating right fats, taking various strains of probiotics, supplementing with vitamin C and consuming a low sugar diet, will significantly attribute to having healthy, radiant and beautiful skin. Another critical thing to remember - your skin is all over your body, not just on your face. Ditch the synthetic lotions and potions and use au natural coconut oil, sesame oil or some more conscious products based on natural ingredients. Your body absorbs chemicals from the products that you put topically, and you don’t want them to end up disrupting your endocrine system. 

SLEEP 

If there were one single thing that I should choose from this list - that would be sleep. Go to sleep every evening at the same time, ideally at 10 pm, as much as you can. At least one hour before hitting the bed, turn off your computer, your phone, TV, and other gadgets. Blue light is not your friend, and you want to shut it down, so it doesn’t interfere with the melatonin production. Following the circadian rhythm of nature is the best advice to regulate your sleep naturally. Create the rituals that will help you end your day. For example, I like to take a shower with warm water, put the body oil, massage my face and scalp and thoroughly comb my hair. I love the silky sleeping mask, and I start using it with the first days of spring. 

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Does this seem hard to you? Let me know as I'd love to learn how you feel about my approach. I'm here to serve you, and I want to do my best to find the way that will support your efforts. In that light, I'll appreciate your honest feedback. You can reach me via Instagram, Facebook, email, or here in the comments. 

If you ever feel overwhelmed, remember to get back to Doing Simple Better. As you know, lifestyle is the set of daily choices, and I know that you’re wise enough to choose the best for yourself. 

Love you,
Marija 

You Cannot Swallow Sleep - Here's What You Can Do

Hello beautiful!
 
I have a confession – I’ve been struggling with sleep for quite some time. Getting to fall asleep has been challenging for me in the last year. As a holistic health coach, I’ve been working with people and helping them master the sleep, yet I’ve been struggling with the same thing myself. 

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As I wanted a sharp focus, vitality, energy to work, create, run around with my boys, as well as the ability to be present with my family and friends, I knew I needed to hack my sleep. However, let’s get clear here - I don’t value sleep only regarding being a servant of waking life (improving memory, appearance, immunity), but as an extension of natural rhythms on our planet.

It's easy to realize that I was very motivated to learn what was going on with my staying awake and getting energized in the evening. Hopefully, my insights will help you in finding that missing piece of the puzzle, so you can accept the benefits from the sacred time you spend in your bed (and stop looking at it as a wasted time).

First of all, here’s a little bit of a hot truth about the importance of sleep. The facts always get my attention on point, so here you are. There is substantial evidence emerging from chronic, severe illnesses tied to not having enough sleep. Short sleepers have 50% increase in the risk of viral infection, insulin resistance, obesity, diabetes, cancer, arthritis, mood disorders. 

Insomnia is an early sign of depression and depression is a late stage of insomnia.

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If we consume too much, we won’t be able to sleep well. Consumption of poor indoor light during the day, an excess amount of information and food that inflame our bodies all contribute to the accumulation of excess energy.
 
We have the reluctance to go down and let go. People who do not sleep well get excessively energized at night. Are we able to emotionally, physiologically and spiritually let go? There is very much turbulence that’s happening all the time, and we have to know how to calm our minds, our bodies and prepare them for sleep. 

I actually learned how to do this thanks to my kids. They need a structured nighttime routine to fall asleep - showering, brushing the teeth, putting on pajamas, hearing a story, getting and giving plenty of kisses and bam - they are off. However, if I just tell them to go to sleep - that will never happen. Adults, just as kids, need to unplug and disconnect from daily events slowly. 

Some people keep saying that we should take a rest, so does it mean that we can go and watch TV to relax? Did you know that rest is not about having fun, reading a book, hiking or watching TV, nor scrolling the Instagram page? Rest is being in bed, unplugged, meditating and preserving the energy.

While we sleep and dream the brain digests and assimilates the information that it has received during the day. Dreams are the part of the memory consolidation as well as emotional healing.
 
Practitioners of Traditional Chinese Medicine say that we need to be in horizontal position by 10 pm as that is the time when we get a second wind if we stay up. The horizontal position helps our bodies balance the liquids.

Now, there is a vast body of research on the effects that sleep has on our hormonal balance. It affects regulation of cortisol, leptin, ghrelin, HGH, etc. I will cover this subject another time, but for now, I want to share what has changed my life for better - release of a Human Growth Hormone (HGH) during the sleep. That one is responsible for antiaging, tissue regeneration, liver regeneration, muscle building, a breakdown of fat stores, normalization of blood sugar. If I don’t sleep well, I will wake up with tension in my calves. However, thanks to HGH release - I wake up fully refreshed and with my limbs ready to move and be active during the day. 

We cannot swallow sleep through pill, tea or milk. We should build faith in our capacity to sleep. Our task is to learn to let go of the emotions, aspirations and other things that we carry to the bed. Chronic use of sleeping pills increase the risk of cancer, more than smoking, so play smart. 

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Now, I suggest that you observe your behavior during the day. When do you wake up? How do you feel when you wake up? How does your day look? Are there tasks that drain you? How do you feel after meeting certain people? Can you easily identify your thoughts? What and when do you eat? How much do you move? When do you get tired?  

When you get clarity on what is going on on daily basis, I suggest that you apply some of the following hacks. Discovering them all at once can give you additional stress, so take it slowly. Less is more, give yourself a time and find out what works for you. 

1. TURN OFF YOUR PHONE

I mean it. I've been guilty of this one. Entertaining yourself with your phone is such a time waster which provides additional stimulation for your brain. We don't need that before going to bed. All the information coming from different photos, news and articles interfere with our intention to relax. My goal is to turn the airplane mode on at 6 pm. 

2. HAVE A LIGHT MEAL 3-4 HOURS BEFORE GOING TO BED

Your body starts cleaning the house around 10 pm. If you eat at that time, it will be too busy digesting the food and you'll miss a part of the valuable cleansing process and as a result wake up grumpy, sluggish or exhausted.

3. SHOWER WITH WARM WATER AND USE LAVANDER ESSENTIAL OIL

If your nervous system is aroused, showering with warm water can calm you down. I do not recommend to finish with a few seconds of cold water as this will wake you up. Leave it for the morning or afternoon pick me up, and instead use a few drops of lavender essential oil to inhale under the rush of the warm water. That will help you regulate the activity of your nervous system and get you ready for the beautiful and restorative sleep.

4. USE BLUE BLOCKERS IF YOU NEED TO WORK AT NIGHT

Any light suppresses the production of melatonin, but the blue light is even more powerful in doing so. Melatonin helps us sleep, so we want to make sure that our body is producing sufficient amount of it. Our eyes are the gateways for light, as well as our skin, so for the basic protection use the blue light blocker glasses. In case you need to work at night, I have a nugget for you - the most amazing software that removes the blue light from your computer called F.lux. Here you can get it for free. You welcome! 

5. GUIDED MEDITATION FOR SLEEP

I love guided meditations. They are so comforting and they easily propel me into the world of fairy tales. The most important thing is to find the voice that you like. Here is one beautiful meditation for chakra alignment that you can listen with your earphones while already in your bed. No worries if you fall asleep - that's exactly what we aim for. 

Do simple better and remember that lifestyle is a set of choices you make on a daily basis, so choose wisely. 

Have a beautiful holiday!

Love,
Marija

How To Master The Winter (In Order To Thrive In Summer)

Hello, my dear friends! 

Hope you had a proper time to rest and digest during the festive season. If you’re slowly shifting gears into expecting longer days and warmer weather, you'll love this text. I'll share with you a compelling take on how to be and what to do during the next couple of months to welcome the spring with a lot of energy and excitement, avoiding the pitfalls along the way. 

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As you can notice - winter is not over yet! We have a few more months to go before the sunshine makes us fly high. I'd love for you to read this and to explore the meaning of winter to get everything you need and set yourself up for the warmer months that follow.

If you are anything like me, your social media feed might explode with endless lists on how to start the New Year off right, how to set goals, plan for the year ahead and repair the damage from the festive season. However, the reality is - we’re not going to apply 10 things straight after reading them. Here is why - our habits are more powerful than our knowledge. 

Now, I intend to help you understand the meaning of the winter season that is (still!) on and to help you get ready for the spring and summer months that will require much more of your energy. This time of the year is not about focusing your power on that booty. It’s about learning how to give yourself an additional boost and how to create habits by getting the most out of the winter and eventually becoming that beauty or the beast (whatever floats your boat). If you get this - you’ll be set for the best year ever. 

As you've probably noticed - it’s still cold and dark. Days are short; windows get frozen in the morning. However, we live in the cult of light, where everything needs to be bright and shiny. We try our best to stay away from the dark, from the shadow, from the introspection. We are encouraged to be hustlers, to stay up late, and to be up early. We live in the world where yang energy dominates. I’ll explain.

According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, winter is the time of the yin energy. The time for introspection, femininity, dreaming, imagining, restoration and stillness. It’s the perfect time to figure what you want. Nevertheless, we get intimidated by the opportunities that winter give us - one of the worry and anxiety or another of the possibilities. Winter serves as the preparation for the spring which is the time of anger, clarity, and the time when we define our boundaries. All those things will lead us to joy, bounty, and fun of the early summer. 

How do we mess up?

Thanks to the countless festive occasions during Holidays, we tend to act as if winter was the summer. We stay up late; we spend energy on socializing with many people, we have plenty eating and drinking occasions, and we try to keep up with our stressful end-of-the-year tasks both at work and with our families. Eventually, we get so tired of doing this whole summer thing, as it entirely exhausts us and makes us empty. That is why I love the potential that January brings - we can finally live according to the season.

If we stay ignorant to the requirement of the winter season - we’ll suffer (hey there, spring blues). We wouldn’t be able to give anything from an empty bowl. Our bodies would continue to shut down, and we’d probably end up with colds as well as the hormonal imbalances, migraines or headaches in the months to come. 

What could we do? 

Firstly - stop living as if it was July on Ibiza. Staying up late, drinking, going out and hosting is going to tax your body. I know that it’s fun, but it’s not the best season for it. Days are short, and nature’s circadian rhythms are calling for more rest and replenishment. The festive season is now over, and you can give this a try. Prioritise your sleep and get deep and restorative rest. Try giving up on your phone, computer or TV at 9 pm, dim the blue light and make peace with being less entertained. Grab the book, make a cuppa and chill out. Make it the time when you stay with yourself and when you ask yourself hard questions. Stay with the answers no matter how much you like them or don't like them. Take advantage of this precious time and do not push this inner work towards the long summer nights - that time is going to be about something else, which I’ll happily share with you.

Try making it about sleep, movement, and food. 

Winter has challenged me after moving to Scandinavia. Even though I love winter and I adore hygge, being in this mood for eight months straight every year was h-a-r-d until I learned how to do it. Eventually, it made me get closer to discovering who I was. And that's been one of my life goals. 

I learned a lot about periodization. I learned that focus is the most powerful thing and that setting  goals within the seasons make so much sense. Winter is the time when you build the foundation. You build intimacy with people, you take better care of yourself, create routines around cooking, bedtime, and exercising. 

How to move?

Winter is not the best time to get the long duration workout. It’s not the perfect time for endless cardio trainings such as running, aerobics, spinning. Focus for winter is building - strength, muscle mass, bone density. It’s important to make your structure and give it potential. Our goal should be to become a useful human being and to be able to play without the fear of yet another injury. By building body strength, we build our inner strength. And that's my jam.

It took me years to understand the importance of patient and methodical building of the foundation as I was the all in or all out type of person. I believed other people rather than myself. And don’t get me wrong - there is nothing wrong with other people, it’s about us giving our power away to others without taking the responsibility. It's an easy way around. I learned the importance of understanding our values and how vital it is to match them with our behavior. 

What to eat?

I cannot finish this text without mentioning the food. Even though this topic is highly polarising, I tend to approach it according to the knowledge I have acquired by studying more than 100 different dietary theories ranging from East to West. I do not support labeling nor religious take on nutrition, and I tend to value quality more than anything. Real quality. Not whole grain biscuits type of quality. I believe in honestly sourced, pastured, grass-fed, free-range, organic or bio-dynamic rather than any vegan, vegetarian or paleo movement (especially if done poorly).

In that light, let's explore what makes the best choice for winter. Stews, soups, broths, good quality protein, warm vegetables such as sweet potatoes, beets, cabbage, parsnips, carrots, celeriac and more robust greens such as kale and fennel should be a foundation of our winter diet. We don’t need much fruit. We need to be careful about the types of fat we consume. Feel free to regularly change the sources of fat - use nuts, seeds, grass-fed butter, coconut oil, olives, avocados, olive oil and flaxseed oil. They will make your hormones work well, and your arteries happy. However, an alert here - watch out not to eat cakes and candies if you are to up your fat intake. Your body won't be very fond of it. 

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Now, I'll try to help you with a powerful exercise that gave me so much clarity. Imagine you are 20 years older than you are now and ask yourself: How would I live if I could go back? How would I like to feel? What would be the most important to me? Then, take the paper, make two columns and decide what you want to keep doing and what needs to change. This exercise will help you get clarity and will induce the lasting change informed by internal motivation. 

To wrap it up - follow the common sense, relax as much as you can, pay close attention to the circadian rhythm of nature, sleep, rest, move, eat in season and watch the quality of the stuff you consume - foods, cosmetics, books, movies, people, water. 

It all becomes - you.

When you master the basics, you'll be set to dig into more juicy stuff.

Have fun!

Love,
Marija