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carol@inkwellcoaching.com

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February 2, 2023

Colorful Cauliflower and Fresher Berries

Interesting what shows up in conversation when a bunch of friends gather. Most recently, this is what happened. “So, have you ever wondered how caul

January 25, 2023

5 Ways to Stop Playing the Comparison Game

We all do it. As human beings, it’s part of our nature. We compare for points of reference. But we don’t have to play the game anymore. If you fin

January 19, 2023

Dining Out Made Simple

We know that home cooking is the healthiest. For starters, we’re not loading our meals with ingredients that we can’t pronounce and preservatives

January 11, 2023

Look for the Bright Spots

It’s been almost 2 weeks since we’ve celebrated the newness of another year. Perhaps you’ve set up some small action steps that lead to a positi

January 5, 2023

5 Ways to Stay Committed to Your Goals

We’re into another year in what seems like a flash. Even if I didn’t look at a calendar, I’d know this. How, you ask? BECAUSE MY PARKING SPOT IS

December 29, 2022

Wishing You a Happy, Healthy 2023

It’s that time of year when we think about starting something new. Perhaps even a resolution. Or three. Here’s a tip: decide on a small daily acti

December 22, 2022

Hachiya, Winter and the Movie

Curiosity got the best of me. This week I tried the heart-shaped Hachiya persimmon fruit.  I allowed it to sit for several days to ensure that it wa

December 15, 2022

Persimmon, Christmas Movies and Compassion

Intrigued by seeing persimmon fruit in the produce section of the grocery store, I decided to be adventurous. The Fuyu variety that I found are about

December 8, 2022

5 Tips to Help Calm Holiday Overwhelm

In conversation, I’m hearing the sentiment of overwhelm from just about everyone. Too much. Too many. Not enough time. Decorations, parties, gift wr

December 7, 2022

Italian Sausage and Gnocchi Soup

Makes about 6 servings    Ingredients 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil or avocado oil 1 pound bulk Italian sausage (or other ground meat) 1 medi

A Cure for the Blues

I don’t think I’m alone in feeling very sad about the events happening in our world today.

It’s heartbreaking.

We wish we could do more. We wish we knew what to do. We wish and we pray, and it is the season of Lent.

For those of you who take up some practice during Lent, which began March 2 with Ash Wednesday, here’s an idea.

Practice generosity. 

“The Generosity Habit” by Matthew Kelly is a book that offers 101 creative ways to be generous. Here’s a twist: it doesn’t have to be money or material goods.

Have you told someone how much you appreciate them lately? When was the last time you had a conversation with someone and REALLY listened? The cashier at the grocery could probably use a loving smile and hearing her/his name (if they’re wearing a name tag), to help balance out numerous complaints.

We all have too much stuff—at least I do, and I hear that same sentiment from many others. A plan is to find something to give away each day that someone else would enjoy. By the time Easter arrives (April 17), you’ll have a full box or two of goods to take to your local thrift store.

Food pantries will always accept donations, as will your favorite charities.

Surprise a friend with a special meal. Be generous with forgiveness.

Matthew’s teachings offer a different way to be generous for each of the 40 days of Lent, and beyond.

Yes, you could give up chocolate. And/or you could give some(things) away.

Thinking of ways to give will lift your spirits, help you feel more positive, make you happy, bring you more friends, lead to better health, give you hope, and bless your life. And these are just a few of the benefits of living the generosity habit.

To hear more about this habit, check out Matthew’s video by clicking here: The Generosity Habit

Sending lots of love,
Carol

“Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.”—Leo Buscaglia

Feeling Stressed? Gorge on Bliss

I’ve had conversations with lots of people lately, and everyone is a bit stressed. Well, maybe more than a bit.

Stress shows up lots of ways. It is cumulative and sometimes feels as though it compounds daily.

We’re all expected to “handle” it. Many times, we think we are, then the bottom falls out.

We get sick; we blow up at a loved one; we binge on junk food or alcohol; we sleep too much or not at all; we lose our joy.

It’s time to do something that you love doing—just because.   

Not everyone can take a vacation now, which I strongly suggest doing if it’s at all possible.

If not, figure out what you can do. It doesn’t have to cost money or take an entire day or weekend, although it can.

Take a break from your routine in some way and have stress-free fun.

Some ideas:

  • If you can’t take any trips in the very near future, plan your next vacation and figure out a rough timeline of when you can get away. Having something to look forward to is part of the fun and gives you daydream material.
  • Go on a planned date with your spouse or significant other. Again, make it an event that you can look forward to: the symphony, a concert, play or movie, bowling (if that’s your thing).
  • Stay at home and binge watch movies or read or cook interesting food.
  • Athletes, if you haven’t planned your next competition or race, check out some ideas for your next event. Shop for new gear for your sport. Isn’t it time to replace those shoes?
  • Gardeners, plan your spring planting schedule. Need some new tools? Spring really is almost here. My daffodils are peaking through the ground.
  • Get together with friends and cook a themed meal together. Include everything from music to drinks to the food.
  • Go on a positivity diet. I got this one from my coach, Emily, and it has nothing to do with food. She recommends doing this for a minimum of 3 months. (Sounds like a good Lenten practice, which begins March 2.) Take it a week at a time and see how much better you begin to feel. Watch only funny or cute videos, movies, etc. Only listen to happy music, and only have positive conversations. No gossip, and no mean self-talk either. She says you are to “fast from cynicism, sarcasm, and gossip, and gorge on bliss.” (Rose, Emily. Break Your Bad Love Habits: 5 Steps to Free Yourself from Heartbreak and Transform Your Relationships Forever (p. 10). Kindle Edition.)
  • Bake a birthday cake and pretend it’s your birthday and celebrate amazing you.
  • Anything else you can come up with that makes you feel joyful and is not stressful.

Remember to do your best to get your sleep, drink your water, and eat some vegetables. Exercise helps a great deal too. Choose one to prioritize and practice. During stressful times, things start to slide that help us cope.

Success is showing up and doing something. It doesn’t have to be perfect to be beneficial. 

Oh, Mr. Non-Compliant baked me my birth month cake and it was amazing. It made me very happy. I’m spoiled.

Blessings and love to you,
Health Coach Carol

 “A man should hear a little music, read a little poetry, and see a fine picture every day of his life, in order that worldly cares may not obliterate the sense of the beautiful which God has implanted in the human soul.”Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

The One Habit that May Reduce Stress, Improve Sleep, and Increase Productivity

This one habit may also help improve your relationships and encourage more consistency with healthy nutrition and fitness.

This magical habit: bookending your days.

Intentionally mark the beginning and end of each day.

This is something I could improve upon.

In the morning, spend anywhere from 5 minutes (to get started if that’s all you can manage) to one hour (ideally) setting yourself up for a great day. This is time that is set aside for you to ramp up your energy, focus your mind, and help you grow as a person.

During this time, you could:

  • Do some light stretching, take a walk, or go for an intense workout
  • Meditate or pray
  • Study a topic of interest or personal development by reading or listening to a book or course
  • Set an intention for your day (not a “To Do” list, but an attitude that you’d like to carry with you. Examples: being present to others; having a spirit of forgiveness; peacefulness; clarity)
  • Do a brain dump and write 3 pages longhand, whatever comes to mind. Also known as Morning Pages.

If you typically begin your day listening to the news, reading emails, or scrolling social media, try some different habits for two weeks. Take note of what your day is like depending on how you begin it.

See if your new habit helps you feel calmer and clearer—more productive.

At the end of the day, bookend with another habit. An hour is ideal—do what you can.

Maybe:

  • Cook a simple meal, which can be meditative (If you enjoy cooking, that is)
  • Read something lighthearted
  • Listen to music
  • Stretch or meditate
  • Do a brain dump or gratitude journaling
  • Take a bath or shower

Any calming activity that helps you relax is a good choice.

Again, try this for two weeks and see if you find your overall quality of life improving.

Consistency in bookending your days may lead to a variety of positive results.

Experiment with the amount of time you spend and the activities you select. These may change over time, or even daily.

Do what works. The goal is to have set boundaries for your day, separating the time you give to others and the time set apart for you.

Bookends. 

And in case you’re wondering, I’m still in full birth month celebration mode. I think I may need to bookend my birth month with a warm-up month prior to and a wind-down month after.

I’ll see if I can convince Mr. Non-Compliant to go along with that idea.

Cheers to more February fun,
Carol

“Though, February is short, it is filled with lots of love and sweet surprises.” ― Charmaine J. Forde

9 Reasons for Celebrating Your Birth Month

Another year around the sun complete. Time to celebrate my birth month as I begin the journey for another go around.

My dear friend, Cheryl, finally found the perfect card to express this sentiment. 

If you’re not on board with a lengthier celebration, perhaps you need to rethink your position.

9 Reasons why it’s good to celebrate your birthday for at least a month:

  1. How many lunches/dinners with friends and family can you really pack into one day?
  2. Snail mail is a bit slower these days, and all your cards and packages may not arrive exactly on time.
  3. You take the pressure off those who may feel bad for missing “The Day.”
  4. It gives you more time to see all the Facebook greetings.
  5. Celebrating is fun and enough things in life are not.
  6. It makes it possible for you to do things you like to do but may not be able to do on your birthDAY.
  7. Restaurants love to treat birthday people with complimentary dessert and song, and sometimes the gatherings are on a different day.
  8. You are very special and one day doesn’t do you justice.
  9. Why not?

Birthdays are also fun because there’s FINALLY a benefit to getting all those excess emails the rest of the year.

I scored a FREE Bundtlet from “Nothing Bundt Cakes.” Yes, it was as delicious as it looks. Half of it was just right with a bit of chocolate oat milk ice cream. 

Note: This is the gluten-free cake. They always carry GF chocolate chip bundlets, and you’d never know it’s GF.

Panera gifted me with a reward for $2.00 off my next beverage.

Houlihan’s will give me a complimentary entrée, up to $15.

These cool offers are valid for anywhere from 1-2 weeks after my birthday. See, even food establishments know that it’s good to celebrate for more than a single day.

I must really be extra efficient since I was born in the shortest month. Each year, I improve my celebratory skills.

 Thanks to my family and lots of friends, I’m off to a great start.

And I’ve only just begun.

Feeling the love,
Carol

“It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are.”— E. E. Cummings