What Are Some of the Smallest Baby Step Lifestyle Changes You’ve Made in Your Thirties?

It’s amazing how habits take shape and slowly, incrementally change the structure of our lives. I feel like it’s usually not the big, sweeping ‘grand decisions’ made in bold statements that change our lives (ie most New Years Resolutions, most “I’ll never drink again!” statements, most “no more sugar for life” proclamations, etc), but actually the small changes made in private moments and repeated again and again that actually make a major long term impact.

In the past year, I’ve made a few changes- most of them arbitrarily or unpremeditated. But these particular changes have slowly but surely changed my everyday patterns of thinking and feeling. Here’s a list of the ones the made the biggest impact.

1. Deleting the Facebook app from my phone- I did this in a moment of pain and anguish on election night back in November. I mean, you get it. But I never put the app back, and that in turn has me going on Facebook a whole lot less. Which in turn frees up a lot of my time. Which also in turn really tones down a bad habit I have of comparing myself to others. I still go onto Facebook and read stuff and post things, but the amount of time I spend on the site has decreased immeasurably. Results of deleting Facebook app on my phone: I feel happier and have more time. And I still have Facebook so I don’t even feel any weird “I deleted my profile feel sorry for me” stress or Fear Of Missing Out.

2. Starting to make green smoothies full of vegetables – I’ve made green smoothies on and off for a few years now, but it’s only recently that I followed nutritionist Kimberly Snyder’s basic recipe for her diet staple: the Glowing Green Smoothie. This smoothie is made up of all vegetables with the inclusion of an apple, almond milk or water, and some stevia. She includes a bit more fruit but I’d rather eat that fruit separately. This smoothie is the equivalent of having something like three or four salads before lunch, without all that annoying chewing. The ingredients of my smoothie, if you want to try it, are a head of romaine, either a bunch of celery or a large cucumber, a handful or two of spinach leaves, a handful of cilantro, an apple, half a lemon, stevia to taste, ice, and a bunch of almond milk or water. Results: I put a TON of nutrients in my body before I have time to think about anything or eat a bunch of nonsense food. Therefore my mind feels clearer and my body feels happy.

3. Tracking my spending- I wrote about this in the post How Tracking Money is Like Weighing Yourself and then again in The Anti-Budget Budget In Your Thirties. I began using the app Goodbudget to track each and every dollar I’ve spent. I started this back in June, and it was very painful. I didn’t want to track every dollar because I felt like I knew where every dollar went already, and the whole thing felt tedious and filled me with guilt whenever I spent a penny. However, after about a month and a half it all got a lot smoother and easier. I realized exactly where my money was going each month and that small purchases really add up to way more than I thought. I swear I’ve saved a ton of money simply by writing down my expenditures- because I think about where my money’s going every time I spend it. And I feel more accountable for a purchase if I know I have to write it down and it goes into my monthly total.

All of these small activities have added up to big change in my life. Are there any small changes you’d like to start or have recently begun? Don’t worry about those big, scary changes- concentrate on a little tiny change every day, or even every other day. Don’t underestimate what seem like small tweaks- they add up.

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Lessons From a Fever in Your Thirties

I was traveling for work for the last 25 days, and for most of that time I was well- physically at least. Mentally, I was exhausted at times, from both the amount of travel and the sheer magnitude of people and bustle and noise constantly surrounding me at most shows.

But the mental and the physical are intertwined, and during the last week of my travel, I developed a fever while working in Cleveland, Ohio. It’s funny how illnesses sometimes sneak up on you, and my weakening muscles deceived me into thinking that I had always felt so unsteady. I tried to furtively stretch while still on the work floor, but every tendon in my body ached, and it felt more agonizing by the minute to simply stand up, never mind give infinite presentations and answer the slew of questions coming at me. Plus, my stomach was wrestling with my mind as well- telling me it was utterly starving one minute and then agonizingly full the next- right after I’d eaten only 3 bites of something.

My coworkers said I had The Cleve- a mythological disease known to strike first-timers to the Cleveland area we were in: the airport area of despair. You see, almost everyone who’d worked this particular show fell deathly ill at some point at least one of the years they’d worked it. Why? Who knows. The lighting is yellow and dim- sort of despairing. The convention center used to be a military facility, if that adds anything. I googled whether there was something up with the water supply in the area but my search returned nothing. No offense to any of you who may be from/live in Cleveland. The downtown area seemed awesome, but alas we weren’t ever near there.

Somehow I made it to the end of the work day that day, and with the help of lots of zinc and rest that night was able to make it back to work the next day (sick days are unheard of in my field during a show). Even though my muscles ached less and my stomach was slowly starting to unclench, I ended up taking it extra easy on myself for the remainder of the show…and even into this week. I probably should always be taking care of myself so thoroughly, if not more so.

This week -and last- I put myself to bed earlier and sleep in when I can. I eat and chew extra slowly in case my stomach turns on me. I lie in bed and bask in the sheer bliss of a few moments of extra meditation. Sometimes I’m not even meditating- just staring at the ceiling, feeling smooth sheets underneath me. I drink less- well, I drank less last week anyway. We had a Cleveland bowling onesie costume party one night, and somehow I got through that without touching a sip of alcohol. I allowed myself to go very slow as I packed for the next trip. I ran outside extra carefully this week. I spent a few lovely  moments staring out of the airplane window or watching a movie as opposed to trying to accomplish tasks. I let myself breathe. I give myself room.

And as I do, I feel healthier, but I also feel more loved. I’m taking care of myself as if I love myself and as if I’m treasured. And as I do that, all of those things are true to me.

But you don’t need to be sick to treat yourself with love.

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Temptation in Your Thirties (Or, What About Those Times When Only Nutella Will Do?)

I remember the good ol’ days when I had no idea what the heck Nutella was. Those days are fuzzy and feel like they happened in another life.

Then I went through a period where Nutella was my kryptonite. It’s so delicious and tempting, I could eat the whole jar in just a few days if it was in my apartment (ok, maybe more like 2 days…or maybe even 1. Eek!). I used to stare longingly at the Nutella in my kitchen cabinet. I wanted it so badly. I had to use every ounce of my willpower to avoid it.

But then I discovered a funny thing- if I didn’t buy Nutella and didn’t have it in my apartment, I wouldn’t eat it. I couldn’t eat it. It wasn’t there to eat.

In my thirties, the Nutella lesson has become a life metaphor for many things. I started making it a habit to keep my phone ringer on silent while meditating first thing in the morning. That way, nothing can come up and interrupt my meditation- it’s just the first thing I do. I also blog at least twice a week- and I have an accountability agreement with Jane: she writes, then I write, then she writes, then I write. It’s good to have that kind of system set up.

I think that by your thirties, you’re really beginning to know yourself- your strengths and weaknesses, what you can tolerate and what you can’t, where you can push yourself and where you cannot. If you work with your strengths instead of against them, and you take your worst weak points out of the equation as much as you can, your life will run smoother. There are ways to really start working well with yourself in your thirties the way you never could before.

Setting up habits is super helpful, and can help remove kryptonite situations from your life. It’s hard to remove your kryptonite until you know what it is.. but once in your thirties, you know yourself better. So you can set yourself up to remove bad temptations from the equation and make way for good temptations to come in and make your life way more fun.

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Discovering More About Your Body in Your 30s

I don’t know about you, but since I turned thirty three years ago, I’ve learned a lot of new information about my body. Maybe I’m just taking better care of myself and scheduling doctors appointments where I ask for professional feedback, or maybe I’m just more curious than I’ve ever been before. Whatever the reasons, I’m finding out new information about my physical self that surprises me each time.

In this past year alone, I learned from my eye doctor that I have an enlarged optic nerve and more than one nurse/doctor has commented on how surprisingly low my blood pressure is. One nurse joked that I must be really adapting to the laid-back California lifestyle. Then, at a pilates class last weekend, the teacher informed me that I may have mild scoliosis in my back. Instead of being alarmed, I was surprised and somewhat excited! It was the same feeling I get when Aaron (who I’ve been with for six years) reveals some new story from his past. Just when you think you know all there is to know…there’s more.

I find it fascinating that we live so intimately with our bodies, and yet, can be unaware of so many of our own inner workings. Our bodies keep revealing themselves to us as we get older. We get to live in a state of perpetual discovery and wonder.

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Getting the Measles at 30- or Vaccinate Your Children Please!!

My coworker just got a notification from a tradeshow she recently worked. It said:

“We received official notice by the Florida Department of Health that an individual who attended Enterprise Connect Orlando 2015…was hospitalized with a laboratory-confirmed case of the measles. We immediately began working with the Florida Department of Health and the Florida Department of Health in Osceola County to assist them with their thorough investigations and notification process.

The safety and security of our staff, attendees, exhibitors and partners is our top priority. We are working closely with Florida health officials, and are following their recommendations and guidance on the immediate actions we take.”

This is a pretty messed up letter to get after working hard at an otherwise pretty typical tradeshow.

Even 5 years ago, if I saw something like this, I would have been shocked. But now I’m just angry and confused.

When I was a kid, I remember crying about getting vaccines such as the ‘measles, mumps, rubella’ vaccine, but I was dragged to the doctors office, like every other kid I knew. I’d never heard of anyone’s parents opting them out of these vaccines. It just wasn’t a thing. And I also never heard of anyone I knew getting the measles. All my friends in their 30s have never had the measles.

But now measles outbreaks seem to be happening again, and it’s not okay at all. Are future children going to be exposed to diseases that we once thought were eradicated… just because they don’t get the cure that we have in our hands?? We. Have. The. Cure. Now.

I’m a very holistic person, and I believe in alternative medicine. I use ginger tea and apple cider vinegar and garlic and lemon water to cure colds. But sometimes enough is enough…sometimes you simply need to get antibiotics or your infection won’t go away..it will get worse. In the past, before our time, you could have strep throat and then have it develop into scarlet fever without antibiotics. You need antibiotics for strep throat. Holistic medicine won’t cure it.

I get that some people are worried that vaccinations can possibly cause autism and other complications- but there’s no real proof of that. However, there IS definite proof that unvaccinated people- especially babies and children- exposed to measles WILL GET MEASLES.

So please, parents in your 30s, vaccinate your children!

Below is an amazing and hilarious Jimmy Fallon video about vaccinating your kids. Share with others.

Finally…an all-natural deodorant that works!

I used to eat a lot of junk food. In high school, I remember eating greasy pizza for lunch and then having a “snack” of a McDonald’s burger and fries. My desire to change my eating habits stemmed from a superficial goal of wanting to lose weight. But as I ate better, I discovered I felt better and the habit was re-inforced. Now that I’m a much healthier eater, I’m trying to tackle other areas of my health.

On my journey to live healthier and happier in my thirties, I’ve decided that I’m going to try to use all-natural products, products that don’t contain those dreaded parabens and toxic chemicals. Too often I forget that our skin is our largest organ, and absorbs those products we slather on ourselves.

I won’t replace all my products at once, because I am grad student after all. I’m simply starting by switching each product out for an all-natural one once I’ve used up my old drug store brand. My first product swap: deodorant. From what I’ve read, this is perhaps one of the most toxic of all the beauty products out there. This is mainly for two reasons: 1) Most deodorants contain aluminum that has been linked to various diseases and 2) Your underarm skin is incredibly sensitive and nearly 100% of what you put on this area is absorbed into your blood stream.

Over the years, I’ve tried lots of different all-natural deodorants – from Tom’s of Maine to that weird crystal stick. None of them worked for me; the scent always ended up fading away and leaving me with an au natural fragrance that I wasn’t too thrilled with. But I can finally say that I’ve found one that works.

I saw this new product by a brand called Refyll in a market near my house in LA, and something about the display drew me in. Perhaps it was the ads with store testimonials that said “This actually works!” I also asked the cashier what she thought, and she backed the ad up, “It actually works!” I also love the scents, they smell earthy and vaguely masculine.

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It was $12.50, and yes, perhaps that’s a bit indulgent for deodorant, I’m hoping it lasts at least two months  and I love knowing exactly what is going into my body. (And just so you know, this is not a sponsored post.)

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