How to Make Room for Healthy Habits in Grief

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Grief is never an easy thing to talk about, and you may think that it has absolutely nothing to do with my job as a health coach. But, if you’re a client of mine, you know everything I preach is about holistic wellness, and taking care of our mental health at all times is vital.

Grief is something we all encounter, and self-care during these turbulent times can be difficult. I’m honored to host this article, written by Camille Johnson, on my site this week. Camille and her friend experienced grief at the same time, but the process looked completely different. She asked her friend about her experience, and she was kind enough to share her grief story with her. She pointed to her bereavement counselor, who gave Camille the tools she needed to heal. And now Camille wants to pay it forward through her site, bereaver.com

When you’re experiencing the loss of a loved one, the last thing you might want to do is think about creating healthy goals. But taking care of your health will make the grieving process much easier to navigate. Good mental and physical health play key roles in emotional regulation and can ease feelings of depression and anxiety. When you establish healthy habits in grief, you start taking those first steps towards healing your mind and body from this difficult experience. Here are some tips to get you started.

Hire a Personal Trainer

According to Verywell Fit, research shows that exercise can offer some relief from symptoms of depression. Engaging in physical activity can help you burn off stress and get a little mood boost. Because grief can take a heavy emotional toll on your body, stick to easier workouts for the time being. You could even work with a personal trainer if you need help finding the motivation to exercise right now. Consider hiring an in-home personal trainer like Jessica’s Fitness for convenient and affordable exercise programming!

Stay Social

It’s normal to withdraw from your social circles during a period of grief. After all, it can be tough watching other people’s lives going on when yours has been shattered. But finding ways to stay social can help to alleviate feelings of loneliness and solitude after a loss. 

Seek support from people in your life who make you feel your best, accept help when it is offered, and join a support group to connect with others who have experienced a similar loss. If you work from home, make a point of getting out of the house and maintaining contact with your coworkers. Also, do what you can to work designated hours so you can draw a line between your personal and professional life.

Feed Your Body

Fueling your body with a well-balanced diet is essential when you’re grieving. HuffPost suggests preparing frozen meals in advance so you have something easy to pop in the oven when you’re feeling exhausted. You could even use paper plates and plastic utensils so you don’t have to worry about doing so many dishes after cooking a healthy meal. These steps can help you avoid ordering takeout and consuming processed foods that could make you feel worse.

Get Some Sunshine

Spending time outside in the sunshine is one of the best things you can do for your mental and physical health. Sun exposure has been found to trigger an increase in serotonin, which can boost your mood and help you feel calm. To get more sun while you’re grieving, consider eating breakfast on the patio and going for walks around your neighborhood. You could even purchase a light therapy box that mimics natural sunlight so you can enjoy the mood-boosting effects when the weather is cloudy.

Try Meditation

Research shows that practicing meditation can increase concentration, reduce pain, relieve anxiety, and ease symptoms of depression. As a result, many people find that a mindfulness meditation practice can foster healing after the loss of a loved one. Meditating is a great way to bring your focus to the present and maintain an awareness of how you’re feeling and what you need to do to start the healing process. There are many ways to practice meditation. Try sitting still and focusing on the feeling of your breath as it moves through your body. Don’t try to force anything—just be.

It’s easy to let our healthy habits slide when we’re navigating a period of grief. This is completely normal and okay! You should never feel guilted or pressured into getting active or eating healthy when you’re going through life’s most difficult event. Do as much as you feel comfortable with and remember to be kind to yourself.

Are you looking for help staying active after a loss? Jessica’s Fitness offers in-home personal training sessions to help you achieve health and wellness regardless of what’s going on in your life. Fill out the contact form to get in touch today!

Healthy, Happy Kiddos

You all know I’m obsessed with wellness and nutrition, but I’m also a mom and a school based OT, and, quite frankly, pretty worried about what I see served in schools and it’s impact on physical and mental wellness for our kiddos.

It’s absolutely not uncommon for me to see my students eating fries, pop tarts, rice crispy treats and a bag of chips for lunch. I guess it’s at least good that our schools don’t have soft drinks available anymore??! Yikes!

Like I said, I’m a mom. I get it too. I don’t want my five year old to be the only kid bringing lunch in from home, so I let him eat what they serve at school. On school days, we just make sure to serve a wholesome breakfast (like oatmeal and berries) and try to stick to plant based dinners those days. He knows to politely decline the juice they offer him and ask for water instead. To me, it feels like a decent compromise between what I’d really love for him to avoid eating and being realistic at the same time.

Anyway, I stumbled upon this article in a group I’m in and thought I’d share, in case any other parents find themselves in a similar position.

We can’t change everything overnight, but here are some easy foods to start integrating on school days and the reasons why they’re so beneficial:

Power Foods Kids will Actually Eat to Improve Attention and Memory in the Classroom

Hope you all find some easy takeaways from these tips. Please share how you integrate healthy habits at home!!

To your health!!

~Jess

Distracted much????

I put this book aside as life got crazy, but I’m finally getting back to it and, man, it’s like the author is speaking right to me!!

It has become very clear to me how accessible we are at all times. My watch buzzes as I’m (finally) drifting to sleep at night or I get a notification on my phone as I’m playing with or reading to the kids. I sit down to finally catch up on work emails and, as my computer is loading, I become distracted by messages and spend 20 minutes responding. It can become so difficult to truly be present wjth ANYTHING, cause we’re trying to be present with EVERYTHING.

Anyway- this book is full of some useful tips. Not alot of what I didn’t know already, but some good reminders about strategies to implement and why I need to start doing that now. Our brains actually become addicted to distraction- crazy, right?!!

I’ve been time blocking a bit more consistently lately with work and putting my phone away and out of sight for two hour blocks at a time when home. The watch might be next, but let’s not get too crazy 😂😂😂

I’d love to hear if you’ve read this book and found any strategies particularly helpful??

Micronutrients for Athletes

I so often hear clients talking about their macros- which is SUPER important for meeting body composition and overall health goals. But, how often do we think about our micros?? This is important for everyone, but here are some athlete specifics recommended by the training industry:

Iron: low levels of iron can affect physical and cognitive energy as well as overall health. Athletes at greatest risk include distance runners, vegetarians and blood donors. Increase your iron intake with clams, mussels, oysters, beef, beans, spinach, dried fruit and pumpkin seeds.

Vitamin D: low levels of Vitamin D affect the body’s ability to absorb calcium and phosphorus, as well as metabolism and bone health. Athletes at greatest risk of low Vitamin D levels include athletes who train and compete indoors, live in Northern climates, have a high body fat percentage or train early in the morning or in the evenings. Ramp up your Vitamin D intake with sunlight and Vitamin D supplements.

Calcium: Low levels of calcium lead to decreased bone strength (think, fractures or stress fractures). Athletes at greatest risk for low levels of calcium are those with low energy intake, disorder eating patterns, or those who avoid calcium rich foods like dairy. Increase levels with milk, yogurt, dark green veggies, canned salmon or sardines.

Antioxidants: low levels, combined with shredding exercise, can lead to increased released of oxidants in the body. Again, athletes at greatest risk are those who restrict energy or fat intake or don’t get enough fruits, veggies and whole grains. High antioxidant foods include fruits and veggies.

Blueberries are an excellent source of antioxidants and make it into my bowl of oats almost daily 👌
Weve gotten much better at adding in greens at lunch and dinner
and this afternoon beverage helps increase our veggie count too

Bottom line: macros are important. But don’t forget the little guys either!!

I’d love to hear which micros you’re going to focus on going forward!

To your health…

~Jess

Super Bowl plans?? Do this first!!

Soooo…apparently tomorrow’s some big football game or something?? I’m gonna be honest…I’m a total New England girl and, when the Patriots aren’t in it, neither am I. But…I do always LOVE a chance to do a themed workout, so I bring to you…a SUPERBOWL HIIT workout you can do in about 30 minutes or less!!

We’re gonna spell out the word “Superbowl”, with each letter representing a different move. For the first round, do 15 repetitions of each move. Rest 1-2 minutes, until your heart rate comes down close to 100. Then repeat the circuit, doing 12 reps of each. Rest again. Lastly, repeat the circuit with 10 reps of each move:

S- Skaters (15 per leg)

U- Upright row (medium to heavy weight)

P- Push Ups

E- Elbow to knee crunches

R- Row (plank row)

B- Burpees (sorry!)

O- Oblique V-ups

W- Weighted Squat

L- Lunges (15 per leg. Can be static, step back, forward or curtsie lunges- mix it up and make it fun!)

*always make sure you have clearance from your physician to exercise. Include a dynamic warm up, cool down and stretch. And, if you don’t know any of these moves, replace them with moves you know well OR reach up to set up a one time, virtual session with me. Mention this blog and receive $10 off!!

There ya go!! Quick weekend workout to do before watching the game tomorrow. Let me know if you do it and what you thought of it!!

Happy weekend, friends!!!

Galentine’s Glam 💅💇🏻‍♀️

Anyone else feel that winter “blah” feeling this time of year?? After three weeks of school closures for my kids due to the COVID surge and then being stuck in the house due to an ice storm yesterday, I’m SO ready to focus on myself for a bit!!

Selfish?? Nope

Necessary?? YES!!

So this past week, I teamed up with some awesome women business owners and friends for a “Galentine’s Day Glam” event- and it was super fun to find some incredible products to add to my own self-care toolkit…and to gift to some important women in my life too!! I wanted to share some of the products with you all, because I think you deserve it too!!

First- who doesn’t just LOVE the way they feel after a fresh mani?? For some reason, it changes my whole vibe. But…when do I get time to actually do that?? Umm…never!

So, we bring you Color Street! I just love that it takes minutes to give myself a whole manicure, I really love how long it lasts and I love that I can’t mess it up!! Seeing how horrendous I am at painting my nails, this is a major win!! Also- you can’t beat the price of these things!! Shop here for some pretty awesome nail sets: http://Www.laurelsnaillounge.com

Now that your nails are looking amazing, how about we focus on skincare?? You know me, and you know I believe that your skin is a window into overall health. If your skin, hair and nails aren’t quite where you want them to be, I’d recommend taking a look at nutrition, stress and sleep FIRST. I’m a huge believer in cellular cleansing to rid the body of toxins and impurities, replenishing the body with vital nutrients, and making sure you get some form of adaptogens in your body daily. Once you do that, then you can start focusing on a liquid collagen supplement to enhance the look of your hair skin and nails. I’ve been using mine for 11 months now and couldn’t be happier!! Here’s my link to shop whatever you might be missing from your health/beauty toolkit:

https://jessicatreadwell1.isagenix.com/?fbclid=IwAR2K_TJ0K7G6tFW_-ZDpksGk37ExCqV_N6ejsk5-YKCmEkTKs0TAqF6Yjag

And…once you start taking care of the HEALTH of your skin and body, don’t smother toxic stuff all over it and mess it up again!! This girl who used retail makeup for wayyyy too long is here to tell you that the ingredients you put on your skin matter!! I love the Seint uses so few ingredients in their products- that matters a lot to me. I also love the incredible CONVENIENCE and EASE of having everything I need in one small palette- it could not be easier to travel with this makeup!! Click here to get your complimentary color match- you won’t regret it: https://heather-barbour.seintofficial.com/en/shop/party-270712/shop-all

Now, you’ve all heard me talk about CBD before and how it has helped me manage chronic anxiety and insomnia. If you deal with either of those things on a daily basis (or stress or pain), I really think it’s worth looking into a well researched, clinically validated, CLEAN CBD supplement. I love the tinctures and gummies and would gift them to everyone in my life if I could. But, since I can’t, I’m sharing this website with you, cause they’re offering some incredible deals right now!!

https://sarahmckinnon.greencompassglobal.com/

And last but DEFINITELY not least, I bring you your solution to healthy, affordable, allergy friendly meal kits and kitchen solutions…because who doesn’t love healthy recipes that are also quick and affordable. And, as a carb lover who has had to switch to more gluten free meals over the years, I can tell you…you need their brownies and cupcakes in your life!! I made the chocolate cupcakes for my son’s birthday and no one could believe they were gluten free! And they disappeared well before all of the gluten filled snacks were touched! Shop here for your kitchen solutions: https://janinegrant.epicure.com/en-us/

Let’s all just treat ourselves to a few things on this list. It’s been a long winter already- we deserve it!!

I’d love to hear what you try from this list, so please share!!

Back to getting some work done while the kids are napping. Or…maybe just a few more minutes of shopping???

Snow Day Fitness

Ok, if you’re in the New England area like me, you’re experiencing this weekends blizzard and thinking “no way I’m going to the gym!” Or walking outside, etc…

I took the kids outside this morning and was thinking wrestling them into their snow gear should count as my workout. I mean, it REALLY is a workout with my 2 year old…

But, my mental state is SO much better when I get my workout in, so I joined my 12 PM client in a HIIT workout. It felt great, I’m a whole lot warmer, and my energy is about 100x better…

If you’re stuck at home today without much workout equipment, try a HIIT circuit of your own. Or try a Nifty 50” circuits- do each of these moves for 50 repetitions (but not all at once- divide them into manageable chunks and take breaks as needed):

1. 50 muscle makers (some call these “man makers”, but I’ve changed the name)

2. 50 side lunges (with or without weights)

3. 50 cricket climbers

4. 50 push ups

5. 50 touch downs

Put on some show you’ve been dying to catch up on, grab your yoga mat and let’s do this!! (And don’t forget a proper warm up, cool down and stretch).

And then, cozy up by the fire with a book and cup of tea and enjoy that snowfall ❄️❄️❄️

We’re only halfway through the storm. Pretty sure that fence will be buried!

Can fitness be fun again??

This morning I was watching my son run around the soccer field during practice, out of breath from non stop running and yet giggling and smiling so big! It made me think…

My littlest being silly at big brother’s soccer

When did exercise stop being fun?? When did it become a chore for you??

I mean, I help people develop effective exercise programs for a living, I have a wide repertoire of exercises in my mental library, I LOVE how I feel after a workout, and still…I don’t always love working out. (It’s true- it’s work for trainers too)

Somewhere along the way, we learned that exercise is an obligation for us as adults. We need to exercise to stay healthy or fit like we need to work to pay bills or clean our houses. But what if we didn’t…

What if we went back to making exercise a game, a chance to connect with friends, a chance to truly be SILLY and laugh the whole time.

When we do this, we actually end up “getting as much out of a workout” as one of those hard HIIT workouts we feel we have to do every week. We really enjoy the movement, making it more likely that we’ll do it over and over again (and the BEST type of exercise is the one you’re consistent with!!). And we get that extra endorphin high- from working out and from laughing while we do it.

This weekend, I encourage you to make exercise fun again. Take a class you’ve never tried, grab a friend to catch up while you walk or bike ride, play in the snow with the kids (don’t tell me walking up those hills in snow gear doesn’t burn calories!). Dance. Stretch. And laugh the whole time

Hikes and hugs!
Our favorite fun family fitness activity!

I worked out with a friend this morning and later I’m doing a kids yoga workout with my kids. Tell me what you’re up to this weekend for fun AND fitness!!

~Jess

Don’t Go It Alone!

Ever set that resolution on January 1st, only to find you’ve forgotten about it by the 14th?? Or committed on Sunday night that you’ll get to the gym five times this week, to find yourself on the couch Wednesday evening?? And the next two evenings after that??

DO NOT start beating yourself up right now. You ARE NOT alone. There are many of reasons our goals my lose traction as time progresses, but today I’m gonna talk about the major one.

You probably didn’t set up accountability. My clients and I joke all the time that they really pay me to be an accountability partner (I like to think the time I spend designing effective workouts is the reason, but it’s not a totally off base thought)

Think back to the times you’ve set a goal in your own head, or maybe just spoke it to the people in your house. The main reason we do that is to protect ourselves from our fear of failure- but, chances are, by doing that, we don’t often see the goal all the way through.

You also may be trying to go it alone. NEVER a good idea. Motivation naturally wears off, life gets overwhelmingly busy, you may not see the progress that someone else does. All reasons we quit too soon.

This is exactly why I run accountability groups. I’ve found that my clients who join either my 11 day or 30 day groups meet the goals they set for themselves. We state our goals out loud, we set daily challenges for everyone, we check in often, we share recipes and workouts and we cheer each other on days when the couch looks more inviting then the gym or when the pizza sounds better than the healthy meal we would need to cook.

So do yourself a favor: this year, this month, this Monday…whenever you set your next wellness goal, find a tribe to do it alongside you and cheer you on. If you need a tribe, I’m always excited to welcome you to mine.

Here are a few transformation from our past challenge groups:

Tell me about your goals this year. Remember, speak it out to the universe- we’ll be here cheering you on the whole time!!

To our health!

~Jess

Laughs, tears and lots of in between

Here we are…the end of another crazy year. A year that started out with some optimism but had lots of ups and downs along the way. Like any other year, I’ve been taking these last few days in December to reflect on it all and I’m choosing to end the year in gratitude, optimism and a plan for healing and growth.

(My daily affirmations from this app have helped to shape this thinking a lot!)

This year, I’ve continued to grow as a person, which has helped me in all of my roles…parent, Occupational Therapist, Personal Trainer and Health Coach. I’ve continued to develop tools to deal with what started as postpartum anxiety two years ago and developed into the anxieties and stress so many of us are dealing with in this pandemic. I’ve focused on healing and facilitating the healing of my students and clients…and I am grateful for what the very hard parts of life have taught me and continue to.

I am grateful for this healthy, strong, beautiful family of mine. My kids have learned to fight with each other, they have some pretty epic meltdowns and sometimes it feels like days are absolute chaos. But we are happy. Most nights, you can find us dancing around the kitchen to loud Disney music, snuggling with our favorite books and building LEGO’s…oh so many legos. When I am stressed or scared, I remember that this home and family Adam and I have built is strong, it’s safe, and it’s capable of holding up in the storms

I am grateful for my work and the chance it affords me to witness the resilience of children and families who have overcome so much. And truthfully, this pandemic has allowed me the opportunity to work with my student’s families much more closely, and see progress like I’ve never seen before.

And I am deeply grateful for the chance to help others find a path to wellness, through both training and my wellness store. Even during this historically stressful time, my clients are focusing on self-care and meeting wellness goals that once felt so out of reach.

And I am so, so, so grateful for community. Five years ago, I found a tribe of entrepreneurs in the wellness field and we have had the chance to lift each other up and make a huge impact on this world. 2022 will only get better and better for our group!!

And lastly, my friends and family. We’ve all had so many ups and downs this year, but knowing I have so many people to call at any time-the importance of that does not escape me, ever

Wishing you all peace, calm, strength, health and pure joy in 2022. Onward!!

xo,

Jess