We like certainty. When things feel uncertain, it is normal to feel stressed. Part of protecting your health is being mindful - what are you thinking?

What Are You Thinking?

We like certainty. We are hard-wired to want to know what is happening and notice threats, and when things feel uncertain, it is normal to feel stressed. And while this reaction is there to protect us, it can cause havoc when there is a sense of uncertainty and conflicting information around us. What are you thinking?

Are you feeling some anxiety? Right now, many of us are worried about COVID-19. We may feel helpless about what will happen and uncomfortable with our apparent loss of control, and this uncertainty can remind us of times when we didn’t feel safe and the future was uncertain.

In times like these, our mental or emotional health can suffer without our realizing it’s happening. Take time to notice … what are you thinking? You might feel more on edge than usual, angry, or sad. Or you might find yourself feeling depressed and less motivated to carry out daily activities.

I want to encourage you that you are not helpless, despite what you are reading in current news. You can always choose your response. If you notice that you are struggling here are some things you can do to take care of mental and emotional health in the face of uncertainty:

Separate what IS in your control from what is not

Focus on what you can do. Wash your hands. Make sure you sleep. Check out other suggestions I shared earlier this month, and limit your consumption of news (it’s not encouraging positive thoughts, right?).

Do what helps YOU feel a sense of safety

This will be different of each of us, and I encourage you not to compare yourself to others. It’s okay if you feel safer when you limit your attendance at social events, provided you are isolating yourself out of concern for infection and not because of depression.

Get outside in nature!

Even better, take a walk in nature. There are numerous studies that have documented the benefits of being out in the sun where you can see the signs of spring and hear the birds and the wind in the trees. This one practice alone will boost your mental, emotional and physical health. If you didn’t read my suggestions for supporting your immune system, check it out here.

Challenge yourself to stay in the present

Do you find your worry is compounding – you are not only concerned about what is happening now, but also the “what ifs” in the future? When you find yourself worrying about something that hasn’t happened, gently shift yourself back to the present. To do this, notice sights, sounds, tastes and sensory experiences in your environment and name them. This is called mindfulness, and coupled with deep breathing, it helps to reduce stress. Here are more approaches.

Stay connected with people and reach out for support

Talk to trusted friends or family members about what you are feeling. It’s okay to reach out to a mental health professional for support. You don’t have to be alone with your worry. It can be comforting to share what you are experiencing with someone trained to help.

Parents be aware that teens tend to feel emotions more intensely. If you have a teen who seems anxious about current events, read this article for some tips.

There may also be a physiological reason for your anxiety or depression. The microbiome (bacteria in your gut) is a key player in making the neurotransmitters that govern our feelings. When it is damaged by medications or eating foods to which your body reacts, your body will lack the neurotransmitters that it needs. Thankfully, the gut can heal and the microbiome can rebound, and I can help identify what is needed to support healing.

Life is full of uncertainty and change. It is important, as part of your overall wellness, that you take note of your emotional and mental health and mindfully take action to support yourself.

Kelly Lutman Pursue Wellness

Bust The Holiday Stress Cycle

Whether you celebrate Christmas or Hanukkah or Kwanza, the holidays can be a great time of joy for many. But for others, they are filled with anxiety and stress. You can set yourself on a more positive path – and bust the holiday stress cycle – when you understand the how to best support your body for joy.

When stress hits at this time of year, it’s easy to turn to that tray of cookies for moral support. After all, cookies won’t criticize you about your choices the way your family will. What we don’t realize is that we are self-medicating with sweets – the quick spike of sugar in our system can bring an increase in serotonin, a neurotransmitter that promotes feelings of well-being and happiness. Sadly, the benefit is fleeting, and we find ourselves reaching for another fix.

How do we bust the holiday stress cycle? First admit that it’s a problem, and then consciously choose some strategies to support a different outcome. I am offering you these tips for boosting your energy and outlook through these coming weeks.

Be active

Instead of reaching for the holiday goodies when you feel a lag in energy, get outside in the fresh air for a walk, hit the gym, chase your kids in the yard, or just do something physical that appeals to you. You’ll release the stress and the exercise will help release the proper chemicals in your brain to make you feel better.

Workout your mind

Your brain needs exercise too! Rather than allowing your mind to dwell on the negative things that push you toward those cookies, give your mind something constructive to do. Take 10 to 20 minutes to yourself to read something engaging for you, or work on a crossword puzzle or something else that stimulates your mind in an enjoyable way. I use my Sudoku app for this purpose. It will help you feel refreshed.

Focus on healthful eating

While it’s true that the holidays are certainly a time for more indulgent meals, when you focus on your healthful eating prior to those big family dinners, it won’t be such a shock to your waistline. Make sure you’re eating meals that have a small amount of protein, a portion of good fat, minimal grain-based carbs and lots of vegetables. Don’t skip meals. If you starve yourself all day because your job or your family (or both!) is making you nuts, you’re more prone to stuffing yourself at dinner with things that aren’t very healthful.

Practice moderation

Yes, there are certainly foods we only get to enjoy during this time of year. But again, eating all of them isn’t going to do any good. So indulge mindfully and moderately. Looking forward to your sister’s famous pecan pie? Then focus on eating that when the time comes and say no to treats that aren’t as delicious.

Forgive yourself and others

No one is perfect. If you find you caved in to peer pressure at work and ate treats you declared you wouldn’t, forgive yourself and move on. Take a deep breath or two and release the situation. Get back on track with the next food choice and move your body. But above all, keep your head up and your focus on gratitude.

Make gratitude your focus

I have noticed that more and more people are recognizing how a gratitude practice is  profound in its effects. It isn’t time consuming – you are simply recording 3-5 things for which you are grateful on a daily basis. I have found it helpful to write these on an index card to review throughout the day. Something as simple as being thankful for the poinsettia arrangement my husband brought home, or the uplifting smells of spices, can shift my energy … and yours.

YOU are on my gratitude list. I am thankful for all who recognize that they have a choice related to their health. I’m passionate about encouraging the choices that will support their body and supporting those who prioritize their pursuit of wellness!

Kelly Lutman Pursue Wellness

Prioritize Self-Care

Do You Prioritize Self-Care?

December is a busy month! Many of us love the holidays, yet when you get past the anticipated special moments, there is far more demand on each of us. Will you come through the holidays with positive outlook or will you claw your way through to the end?

Are you doing the holiday cooking?
Who is hosting or organizing the holiday parties?
Are you the primary shopper? And who does the wrapping?
If you send Christmas cards, are you the one who writes the letter or signs and addresses the cards?
And then there’s cleaning the house, hosting guests …. and your daily responsibilities, too!

I don’t know about you, but I’m tired just reading this!

You could hire some help or you could come into this holiday season with a plan to focus on nourishing yourself for the tasks at hand. And by nourishing yourself, I’m not speaking of what you eat. There is more to it than food.

In my coaching training, we discovered primary and secondary foods. You might be surprised to hear that the edible stuff is secondary, and primary food pertains to your full well-being. It encompasses your relationships, career, physical activity and spirituality. You can eat healthy real foods, but if you are falling short in primary food, you won’t experience wellness.

What Is Self-Care?

We – women and men – need to nourish our minds, our spirits, our innermost beings. That’s where self-care comes in. Self-care is defined as the practice of taking an active role in protecting one’s own well-being and happiness, in particular during periods of stress. Thriving is dependent on whether you prioritize self-care.

In an aircraft safety briefing, you are directed to put your oxygen mask on first. Does that sound selfish? How can you pour out to others without first filling up? If you would answer “yes” to any of the following questions, you need to shift your focus …

Are you feeling overwhelmed?
Do you ever feel like you’re running on empty?
Have you been feeling like you’ve lost your focus?
Have you experienced weight gain?
Are you feeling irritable or impatient?
Has your skin been acting up?

What Does Self-Care Look Like?

It can be as unique as you are, and you are the only one who can determine what will fill you up. Perhaps it’s a walk in the woods or coffee with a friend. It may be a mani/pedi, a massage or a walk on the beach. Self-Care is not usually an exhausting or sweaty activity, but rather one that recharges you. I found a list of self-care activities in this blog post to spark ideas. And it may take some experimentation to determine what works best.

Those who prioritize self-care have been known to experience positive impacts on their mental and physical health. It is an essential step to truly living a healthy, more balanced life. You, and those around you, are worth it.

As noted above, self-care is not a one-size-fits-all experience. It is important that you keep an open mind and remain committed to your self-care practice in order to reap the benefits. My goal is that you thrive this Christmas and set a new priority of self-care for the rest of your life.

You are important to so many people, and they need you to practice self-care so that you are there for them. Fill your cup to the brim for you and pour out for them. Everyone benefits!

Kelly Lutman Pursue Wellness

Arm Yourself Against Illness

‘Tis the season – the flu season is being heralded all around us. Are you prepared? And how can you arm yourself against illness, be it flu or cold or other form?

Though there’s no guaranteed way to avoid getting sick, supporting your immune system is what I consider the best way (even ahead of vaccines). Here are 7 ways to arm your immune system:

Decrease Stress

Prioritize taking time daily to enjoy relaxing activities such as meditation or listening to music, which reduce physical perception of stress. When experiencing stress, your body releases hormones that can tax your immune system and raise your susceptibility.

Get Out In The Sun

The sun does more for you than raise your Vitamin D levels – it improves your circadian rhythm and lifts your spirits. So get outside, even in the cold. If getting sufficient levels of UVA rays from the sun is difficult in the winter where you live, explore getting a Vitamin D lamp or lightbox. These simulate noontime sunshine and can provide an alternate source of “sunshine.”

Exercise (Or Move) Regularly

Getting 30 minutes of physical activity daily will increase your blood circulation and can help strengthen your immune system. Movement helps antibodies and white blood cells move around the body faster so they may detect invaders sooner. Walking outside combines sun and exercise – win!

Eat Purposefully

No single food will fend off a cold or flu but certain nutrients can help protect your body from bacteria, viruses and other germs. Consider these foods:

  • Garlic and ginger – antiviral and antibiotic
  • Wild-caught salmon & cold-water fish – Omega3
  • Pumpkin seeds, grass-fed meat – Zinc
  • Brazil nuts, broccoli, sardines – Selenium
  • Bell peppers, Brussels sprouts, kale, citrus (fruit not juice) – Vitamin C
  • Reduce sugar which depresses the immune system for hours after consumption

Boost Vitamin D Levels

Vitamin D is crucial for healthy immune function and maintaining a positive mood in the winter. Therefore, have your blood vitamin D level tested and supplement it if your level is below 30 nanograms per milliliter.

Drink More Water

Hydration is key to whole-body health. Every system in your body needs adequate water to function properly. It’s not just liquids your body needs – water or herbal teas provide hydration.

Prioritize Restful Sleep

Clinical study has demonstrated that several days of partial sleep deprivation has significant detrimental effects on immune function. Adults should try to get 7-9 hours of sleep per night, while those with a compromised immune system should get even more.

You can’t expect your immune system to function well if you don’t support it with the right building blocks. A vaccination won’t cover you if you are skimping in the other areas. Rather, it will initially depress your immune system.

So take a cue from the airline safety briefing and put your oxygen mask on first.

Kelly Lutman Pursue Wellness

Natural Remedies for Allergy Relief

Natural Remedies for Allergy Relief

Struggling with Allergies is real! You may have more trouble in the spring, but many find that allergies persist throughout the year, especially in the humid south. Those symptoms are signs of your immune system being both weak and overburdened. Your body isn’t trying to make your life miserable but is seeking to keep you safe. But it needs your help! I’m here to offer you some great natural remedies for allergy relief!

One of the first steps you could take is to eliminate dairy from your diet and observe how your body responds. For many people, dairy promotes excess mucus formation and congestion and is a common food sensitivity that can cause inflammation.

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Food Journal Benefits

Food Journal Benefits

Jotting down everything you eat throughout the day can unlock so many clues as to what foods work best for you, and what foods may have a negative effect that you haven’t noticed until now. I want to talk with you about food journal benefits and what you can discover by recording what you eat!

It can be as simple as carrying a small notebook with you, or even as quick as downloading a Food Journal app on your phone to keep track.  There are many great ones to choose from if you search for “food journaling” in your phone’s app store.

Here’s what you’ll discover about yourself when you start keeping a food journal.

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Eco-Friendly Cleaning Products

Eco-Friendly Cleaning Products

Are you in full spring-cleaning mode, yet?  Tidying up your home and cleaning its surfaces can breathe such a breath of fresh air into your life.  Provided your cleaning products are not adding more toxins in the process. I’d like you to try some eco-friendly cleaning products to shine up your home.

The majority of the household cleaners we see in the store and advertised in media contain chemicals that can make it hard for us to breathe, cause our eyes to water, or even lead to health concerns we certainly want to bypass.  These damaging chemicals are found in everything from your fabric softener that gets clothes feeling snuggly to your soap-scum remover, and everything in between.

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Make Time for Me

Make Time for Me

Do you ever feel like you’re giving too much of yourself? What about making time for doing more of what you love? What about Making Time for Me!?

With the coming of spring, there’s no better time to do some spring cleaning in your personal life to get back more of what you put out there.

I have often used the illustration of putting on your oxygen mask. If you have flown recently and heard the safety briefing, you know they recommend the adult putting on the mask before helping a child. You have to fill yourself up to have a supply from which to pour out.

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Healthy Grocery Shopping Tips

Healthy Grocery Shopping Tips

Have you despaired of finding “healthy” foods at your local grocery store? We don’t all live near health food stores, but you can still find foods that will nourish your body, and often at lower prices than those stores. Let’s talk about some healthy grocery shopping tips to make your trip to the store easier.

With a little practice, you can learn to navigate your local grocery store to find foods that will fuel your body and fit your lifestyle. Here is how you start….

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Causes of Hair Loss

Hormonal Hair Loss

Our hair is an integral part of our style, personality, and sense of attractiveness. It is one of the first things we notice about someone when they enter a room. But thinning hair, bald spots and hair loss can undermine our self-confidence and cause great frustration.

How many products have you used to remedy the situation? The root cause can be elusive. These can involve unique hormonal imbalances, nutritional deficiencies, and environmental factors. Hormones are generally a prime suspect, so let’s explore them.

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