Trade Stress for Ease on Your Next Vacation

Never before have we had so much access to the world, to visiting new places, seeing new sites, experiencing new cultures, meeting new people. Wanderlust has become an entrenched value for those of us who crave a sense of adventure, who want to learn everything there is to learn about the world not through information, but through experience.

And while travel can be one of the most exciting things we do, and can even be one of our greatest pleasures in life, it can also be stressful. From navigating transportation in a foreign country to finding a place to stay and the best things to do once you’re at your destination, the logistics of travel can be exhausting. Combine that with being in an entirely new location, potentially unable to speak the language of those around you, with little sleep, restricted access to healthy food, and a complete shift in routine, and many of us are faced with a recipe for stress, neuroticism, or immune dysfunction.

I could provide you with tips and tricks for healthy eating and exercise while on vacation, and in fact I have provided some at the bottom of this post because I think they are an important part of feeling good throughout your vacation. But for those of us who grapple with travel anxiety, what is most important is the frame of mind in which we live each day of our vacation. When I traveled for a month throughout Europe, and country hopped every few days, I started my vacation by thinking of all the things I was “supposed” to do while traveling: I was “supposed” to get as many things done in a day as possible, see as many sites as I could wherever I was. I was “supposed” to plan my days on a schedule and do everything on the list. I was “supposed” to get cute pictures of myself doing touristy things and posting them on social media to keep my friends and family updated on my life, and maybe make them a little bit jealous about how much fun I was having. I was “supposed” to be having the most fun of my life during every minute of every day. And if I wasn’t, I was failing at vacation.

And of course, as I write this, it seems ridiculous that this would be my mindset about vacation. Vacation is supposed to be relaxed and easeful – it’s vacation! But after being in school, where many of us think we should be productive every single moment of every day (I know I did), it’s no wonder that many of us end up feeling this way.

I finally realized that everything I thought I had to do was not only impossible to accomplish in the short amount of time I had at each location, but that by focusing my attention on these things was actually taking away from my happiness and making me neurotic and stressed – on vacation! When I finally realized this after about a week and a half of travel, I started leaning back and allowing. I allowed things to happen as they were going to happen, without needing to control every little aspect of my day-to-day. I allowed myself to get enough sleep without feeling like I was missing out on wherever I was visiting. I allowed myself to read in a park or at a beach. I allowed my vacation time to not be a competition of how much more fun I was having than anyone else, but to just let myself be content in whatever moment I was experiencing. And once I made that switch from control to ease, I actually did start having the most fun I’ve ever had in my life.

So, how can you shift your mindset if you struggle with this? And maybe you don’t have this problem with feeling a need to control every day, but you may still feel like you’re missing something from your vacation, a sense of fulfillment you thought you would achieve but can’t seem to grasp. In both instances, the answer is to go within. Instead of relying on the fun you’re having, the breathtaking sights you’re seeing, the exciting people you’re meeting, you have to start from within to feel a sense of joy and contentedness throughout your travels and your life. Mindfulness practices such as meditation, prayer, or journaling can be incredibly helpful while on vacation, as in other times of life. When I was in Europe, I bought a journal after a week into my travels, and started writing about what I was doing, and more importantly, how I was feeling. It was a way of getting all of my stress and anxiety out on the page: by allowing that to release, I could then allow easefulness to wash over me, and knew that missing a train, not doing all the things I set out to do at a particular destination, or finding myself stuck at the top of a mountain I didn’t think I would be able to get back down would all work itself out in the end. I could allow myself to trust.

If you already have a mindfulness practice going into vacation, it will help you immensely throughout your travel to continue it. If you don’t yet have an established mindfulness practice, journaling is a great place to start to really get to know your mind and how your thoughts effect your emotions, behaviors, and actions. Journaling for 15 minutes every morning (or another time of day – perhaps while traveling from one place to the next) can help you trust in all of the amazing things you’ve already experienced, as well as the incredible and unknown experiences to come, all while staying grounded in yourself, rather than relying on those experiences for happiness.

And for those of you who want practical advice about food and exercise while traveling, I am a big advocate for grocery shopping. You can still experience the cuisine and traditional food of your destination by eating one meal at a restaurant per day and cooking the rest of your meals at home. In fact, I found many hidden gems in the grocery stores and marketplaces of Europe that I wouldn’t have found had I only eaten at restaurants. Not only will preparing healthy food from your kitchen help you to stay well and feel energized throughout your trip, it will also be much easier on your wallet! Salads from whatever produce you can find at the store, oatmeal with fruit and nuts, rice and veggies to make a curry or stir fry, and veggie sandwiches are all great options for easy-to-prepare meals. Also, bringing a reusable water bottle will keep you hydrated when water is more expensive than alcohol in many destinations!

As for exercise, starting the day with even 5 minutes of jumping jacks, lunge or squat jumps, running in place, or stretching will help you feel more invigorated to start your day and keep you healthy on vacation. And walking everywhere instead of taking transit will help you not only keep your steps and energy up, but it will also allow you to see so much more of your destination than you would otherwise. I even did some exercises and yoga when we were waiting in airports or spending time in a park – mountain climbers, burpees, lunge and squat variations, and other exercises without weights are perfect for keeping your strength and for stepping out of your comfort zone!

And remember, if you don’t end up following this advice for preparing meals and explicitly taking the time to exercise every single day, don’t beat yourself up about it. This is your vacation, and it’s not “supposed” to be anything other than what you want it to be.

I hope this blog has been helpful for all you travelers out there. I would love to hear what your experience is with travel and whether you can relate, or if you think this will help you in your future travels.

Bon voyage!

– Hadlee 

 

 

Take the Step

When was the last time you told yourself “I’ll start tomorrow….”? It was probably recently. I used to tell myself that every single day, about healthy eating, working out, practicing mindfulness, telling someone I’m thinking about them. I still catch myself thinking it now.

Why do we do that? Why do we put it off, telling ourselves that instead of starting ourselves on a growth trajectory today, of taking that little step toward improvement, we’ll start tomorrow? Or maybe it’s not even tomorrow: maybe it’s once we finish this project, once we move to that new place, once we get to the next stage in our life. Then we’ll start. Then we’ll take the step to becoming healthier, happier, more productive, more positive, more comfortable in our skin.

I believe we do this because we’re scared. It is ‘safe’ to stay the same. Even if we don’t like the results we’re getting, we know what to expect if we keep doing what we’ve always done. Our egos don’t want us to change: they have a way of pulling us back. If we want to achieve greatness, to become a better, happier version of ourselves, our egos will try to sabotage us. What if we don’t actually get what we want by doing what we set out to do? What if we are disappointed? What if we fail?

We sabotage ourselves by thinking this way, by staying small and not going for what we want. After having talked to many people about their health and life goals, I have encountered deep desire to make a change, but also countless objections to doing it, and they usually revolve around this fear of commitment. They are not objections to getting the results they want or a desire to improve themselves. They are objections to committing to something that will change their way of doing things, shift the way they’ve always been, differ from the way their friends are.

The most common objections I hear are about time and money, which are both branches of commitment. Many of us think we don’t have the time to do something because the ego says we don’t. We tell ourselves there is not enough time in the day to get that done, that we have too many things to do to take care of ourselves, to invest in ourselves. We give our time to others, to watching Netflix, to Buzzfeed quizzes, to school work, to our jobs, to extracurriculars that will build our resumes, but we don’t invest our time in what will make us healthier, happier, better people, more productive, or more purposeful.

We also don’t think we have the money to invest in our own growth. Instead of investing our money on our growth trajectory, we spend it on things that bring us fleeting happiness or help us cope with outside influences. We stay at the same earning potential at a job, spending sick days and not getting promoted or making the money we could because we’re too tired to function at peak performance. We spend our money on coffee, alcohol, eating out, clothes, ubers, painkillers, weed, hangover cures, and quick fixes, but we have an inherent barrier to spending money on actually getting to the results we so deeply desire.

This is not the fault of any individual, but rather the fault of society, of the culture in which we’re steeping. It is okay and encouraged to invest in stocks, in real estate, in monetary things that are out of our control, but it is not okay to invest in our own growth. We think that if we want something badly enough, we should be able to just do it ourselves. We should have the discipline to get healthy on our own, to look and feel the way we want and achieve true happiness through willpower and determination. But this isn’t true. We all need help, as we are social creatures and need the support of others in order to achieve our goals. And unfortunately, the habits of those around us are usually just as toxic as our own (if not more), and are not helping us get any better. By investing the time and money it takes to commit to improving ourselves now and get the help we need, we can design the future we want. We can try to do it on our own, but our lives will only be that much harder, and the results will be that much further out of our reach.

We tell ourselves: “Once I do this…, get to this stage in my life…, move here…, finish this project…, THEN I’ll start the next step in my life, the next step toward growth, toward health, toward happiness.”

The next time you find yourself saying these things, ask yourself: why wait? What are you gaining from waiting? If you keep doing what you’ve been doing, will you keep getting what you’ve been getting? Is that enough for you anymore? Or do you want to move past the old you into the new you, the healthier you, the happier, more purposeful and passionate you?

The time is now to take your future into your hands. If you don’t want to continue getting what you’ve been getting out of your life, your health, your relationships, your time, your body, your mind, your soul, you can’t keep doing what you’ve been doing.

So take that first step, and start moving into your potential.

– Hadlee 

Todd’s Black Bean Veggie Burgers

Want a perfect BBQ food that’s not going to make you feel sluggish and heavy in the summer sun?

Todd made some amazing veggie burgers the other day, and I can’t get over how much better they are than frozen store-bought burgers! As you can see, I’m rather enjoying them. 😉

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These burgers are healthier and cheaper than the frozen ones you would buy at the store, and they’re tastier and more fun! Plus they’re just as easy to reheat once you’ve made them! This recipe makes 12 patties, so you can make it for friends or freeze and reheat them for later.

3 16oz cans black beans, drained + rinsed
1 green pepper, finely chopped
1 onion, finely chopped
6 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
1 head broccoli, finely chopped
½ cup frozen corn
4 eggs
2 tbsp chili powder
2 tbsp cumin
2 tsp salt
2 tsp pepper
¾ cup breadcrumbs

Smash beans in a bowl and add veggies and garlic. Stir in eggs and spices, then stir in breadcrumbs, adding more or less if needed to make the mixture dry enough to make into patties.

Form them into twelve patties, then either refrigerate or freeze them. Heat them slowly on the stove either from frozen or refrigerated, and enjoy on a bun or by itself! I like to put them on flatbread with avocado, and add mustard and (low sugar) BBQ sauce. Yum!

Tip: Play around with your spices, and add whichever ones sound good to you. We’ve made them with curry powder in the past, and I’m sure another spice mix would also be good!

 

 

My Journey through Happy Healthy Habits

In our modern world, it has become the norm to hurry from one thing to the next, to cram for a project deadline at work or an exam at school, to finally finish and then let loose with binge watching, binge drinking, or binge eating, to feeling a little bit empty inside after the fact. But what if we challenge the idea that this is how life has to be? What if we could take our health and our happiness into our own hands, and create the life we want? I’m not saying we need to stop going out or having fun, or that we need to stop being productive in our daily lives. I’m saying there’s a way to incorporate these things in a way that actually brings us daily joy and excitement, that makes us feel good in our bodies and minds.

I know what it’s like to be terrified of my future, to feel uncomfortable in my body, to live out of integrity with the way I know I want to live. I know what it’s like to struggle with autoimmune issues and frequently get sick, to be out of commission for days at a time. I know what it’s like to feel groggy and tired all day, to rely on coffee to wake up and alcohol to have fun. I know what it’s like to feel wiped out for more than one day after going out and partying. I know what it’s like to have a dysfunctional relationship with food and with my body. I know what it’s like to feel a loss of control when eating, and a sense of regret and self-contempt after the fact. I know what it’s like to be constantly dieting and obsessing about my weight. I know what it’s like to feel a general and constant sense of sadness as well as irritability, annoyed with myself and those around me for no real reason, feeling like time is passing me by without knowing what I want to do or be.

But I now know what it’s like to be alert and focused, to have mental clarity and to honor my body’s needs without punishing myself for eating something “wrong” or not working out as hard as I “should.” I now know what it’s like to be free of colds, infections, and allergies. I now know what it’s like to have a handle on my autoimmune issues, and be able to control whether or not I have a flare-up (without medication!). I now know what it’s like to wake up in the morning excited for the day, to feel loving toward my body and soul. I now know what it’s like to have positive relationships, to feel blessed instead of annoyed. I now know what it’s like to go out with friends and have more fun than I’ve ever had without binge drinking and feeling hungover for days later. I now know what it’s like to have found my passion in life, and to have turned that passion into a purpose and a career.

Of course, I am certainly not living the perfect life, and there are times when I slide back into old thought and behavioral patterns. I eat too much, I stay up too late, I skip my mindfulness practice, I get stressed with the amount of work I have to do. And some days I still feel like crap in my body and out of integrity with how I want to live. But all of these things happen much less frequently than they ever did in the past. While most of these things used to be almost daily occurrences, now they happen much further apart, and it’s thanks to the habits I’ve learned and implemented in my life.

The habits ground me while at the same time propelling me forward into the next version of myself. I no longer have to make a choice about whether I will perform these habits each day: I just do them without thinking about it. Instead of experiencing decision fatigue from deciding whether or not I’ll do them, I can spend that mental energy on other things. That includes following my passion in order to guide others to arrive at another level of health and happiness by implementing these same habits in their lives.

But these habits can always be refined, can always be improved in order to venture deeper into our growth path and depth of self. I continuously iterate on these habits, and cement them deeper into my neural pathways, into my physiology. As I guide a group of people on a journey into improved wellness and greater self-love, I will not only be the leader, but will also learn and grow with everyone along the way.

We can always grow more, do more, be more. That is not to say that we aren’t living our best lives right now, and it’s not to say that we shouldn’t live in the present moment. But our future selves will not be the same people we are right now: we can’t stay static and expect to continue to be happy. As we grow and age, our natural urge is to improve and deepen our sense of self while continuously improving, little by little. We can do this simply by living our most aware, present, and fulfilled life right now, and by learning from our mistakes and victories along the way. I don’t know who the future Hadlee will be, but I’m excited to do the work to make her the best version of herself, and to impact the most people at the most profound level she possibly can.

So how do you want to feel, be, and serve in the future? How will you serve your future self now? Is there anything in this post that resonates with you and makes you want to change in your life? Make sure to comment to share your struggles and accomplishments in growth and self-evolution: i really do want to hear what you have to say. Or if you really want to dive deep into your health goals and priorities, sign up for a free strategy session with me at https://happyhealthyhadlee.com/contact/ ,and I will guide you into clarifying what you want from your health, your body, and your life

Here’s to the future you and all you can become!

Hadlee

What is the Happy Healthy Habits Program?

Happy Healthy Habits is an online course designed to help you improve your health and your life. In this program, the habits of ancient Yogis meet modern life via evidence-based practice and practical methods for habit change.

The course incorporates the 10 daily habits of Ayurveda, the ancient sister science of yoga, into everyday life. These shifts won’t happen overnight: instead, we’ll use behavioral science research to achieve small, incremental changes that over time will make massive improvements in your life. And instead of struggling to change your habits by yourself, this course will immerse you in a group of like-minded people simultaneously striving toward the same habits and goals. Not only will our group support you in your journey toward greater health and happiness, but we will also have a ton of fun along the way!

You’ll automate these self-care habits:

  • Earlier, lighter dinners to optimize digestion
  • Maximize sleep and rest
  • Start the day right
  • Movement practice
  • Food as nourishment
  • Mindfulness and reflection
  • Get in touch with your body through self-massage
  • Dive in deeper with food and meal spacing
  • Care for your sense organs
  • Live with ease

And you can expect to experience the following (and more!):

  • Get rid of perfectionism and make lasting change
  • Improved digestion and weight management
  • Exponentially greater energy and capacity for getting things done
  • Improved sleep
  • Better waste elimination
  • A stronger, leaner body
  • A better relationship with food and your ecosystem
  • Greater mindfulness and ability to learn from life experiences
  • A more loving relationship with yourself and your body
  • Enhanced ability to listen to your bodies needs
  • An improved immune system
  • Less sick days and more fun days!!
  • Greater ease and joy in everyday life

You are a perfect match for this course if you:

  • Want all of the above benefits and more from your life
  • Feel like there has to be more to life than the “work hard, play hard” mentality
  • Frequently beat yourself up about what you “should” be doing but aren’t
  • Want to be more gentle with yourself
  • Get sick often (including colds and allergies!)
  • Suffer from autoimmune issues
  • Want to feel lighter, stronger, and more grounded in your skin
  • Have a desire to design your life the way you want it to be, and not the way others tell you it should be
  • Are willing to do what it takes to get there
  • Are willing to let go of “victim mentality” and take control of your present and future self
  • Are excited to work on your habit recalibration and reap the benefits

Join me as I guide a group of people through this life-changing journey into wellness. It won’t be easy, but it will be fun, and it will be so worth it. I promise.

 

 

“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” — Aristotle