Endless "To Do" List? Try this life-changing happiness tip.

Change your focus, change your world.

Does your life feel like a never-ending to do list? Does your to do list, have to do lists?
Do you live in a sea of post-it notes?
Does it feel like you’re drowning in tasks and as soon as you finish one or two, you have 5 more to add to the list?
Do you go to bed at night thinking about all the things you didn’t yet get to, and everything you have to do the next day?
Does this even keep you up at night?

The struggle is real. I’m here to tell you you’re not alone.

But I’m also here to give you a really powerful tool that I discovered on my own the other day.

Create a “Things I Did” list.

Things I Did List

I am a recovering perfectionist. I’ve spent much of my life measuring my self-worth by my accomplishments. I am a compulsive achiever. And yet I rarely celebrate those achievements.

I know I’m not alone, and I know it’s rare for most of us to celebrate all we’ve done. In this fast-paced digital age, there is always one more thing to do. It seems things are moving at the speed of light and we often don’t give ourselves the time and space to


pause.


In that pause, there is so much to be grateful for. We have so much to be proud of.
You have accomplished so much.
You accomplish so much every single day.

One Saturday a couple of weeks ago, I decided to try something new. I was swimming in a sea of work, and had a bunch of paper to-do lists sitting around, but I knew that I wanted to do a lot for myself, and that I needed to catch up around the house.

I had a transformative thought that changed my entire day.

I decided to focus on my accomplishments.

So I made a new list. I crossed out “to do” and wrote “I did”.

My “Things I Did” list made me feel so accomplished, so proud of myself, for all that I had completed in a single Saturday. I wrote things big and small. Doing the dishes made the list. Watering the plants made the list. My cooking made the list. My crafts and work tasks made the list.

Not all of my days will look like this. Some will have more and some will have less. Some will be focused on all the yoga classes I taught, the errands I ran. Some will be focused on the phone calls I made to catch up with friends and family.

But when I make this list, it helps me to realize that - I am accomplishing a lot. We are all accomplishing a lot. You should feel proud of all that you do, and celebrate each day.

And as an added bonus, you will gain added insight and self-awareness into how you spend your time. If you’re not sure you like what’s on the list, you have the opportunity to recognize it and then change it. For me, I’m working to change those days that I spend 2 hours exploring instagram…we all have our things!


What are you proud of accomplishing today?

P.S. You’re awesome.

Full Moon Forgiveness: One way to find healing and happiness

This past weekend was an epic full moon and lunar eclipse in Aquarius. In my Sisters of the Moon circle, we've been chatting about the energies of the moon in its difference phases. With today's historic lunar eclipse, the power of the full moon energies is double time. Don't be surprised if you feel a little "off," emotional, restless, or out of sorts these days. It's time to let things come up and out.

Release, Let Go, Forgive

The full moon is a time to let go and release what doesn't serve us. Even more importantly (in my opinion), the full moon is a time to forgive.

We all have forgiveness work to do. Lack of real forgiveness holds us back. Forgiveness comes in all shapes and sizes. You may have big forgiveness work to do, or it may seem more trivial. Whether you need to forgive another for past hurts or betrayals, or whether you need to forgive yourself, now is the time to reflect and set the intention to release and let it go.

You may think you have forgiven, but if you still feel a negativity toward yourself or another person, there is still more work to be done. Regret is a sign that we need to forgive ourselves. Once you truly forgive, it frees you from any burden or negative feelings you may still carry in the present.

Keep in mind that forgiveness does not mean you are giving approval of a harmful action. It doesn't mean you agree with what was done, or think it was "okay." It means you are releasing and letting go, for your own sake. It can no longer harm you from within. Because emotionally and psychologically holding on to past hurts and resentments do harm you. Your emotions are directly tied to your physical health.

Some questions to consider today on this full moon:

  • What have you been holding on to that isn't serving your highest good or purpose?
  • What can you release in order to step into your ideal life, and feel the way you want to feel?
  • Who can you forgive? Include yourself.

If you want to take it to the next level, you can turn this into a meditative ceremony. Write down all you need to release, all you need to forgive. And then burn the list (safely). This ritual will help you to tangibly feel the effects of releasing and forgiving. You can do this alone, or with friends or family.

Forgiveness is the key to our freedom. 

 Photo credit:  Josh Alves

Photo credit: Josh Alves

Want to learn more about working with the energies of the moon? I've found these resources amazingly helpful. I also plan on using Yasmin Boland's Moonology Diary for the upcoming year!

Lunar Abundance
Moonology
Moonology Diary 2019
Moon Magic

 

The above are affiliate links. That means that if you purchase a product I've recommended, I may earn a small commission from Amazon. I only recommend books, products, etc. that I have personally used or experienced, and that I believe will help you change your life! Purchasing through these links helps to support Wander Free Wellness in the mission of spreading healing and self-discovery. Thank you!

Yoga + Nature, and why you should try it.

Out in nature is my favorite place to teach yoga.

I believe yoga and nature both serve the same purpose in their own way, and that purpose is connection. Yoga is about connecting mind, body, and spirit, and through this awareness connecting us to all beings and entities in our infinite universe. I believe being in nature, truly experiencing the natural world around us, does the same. A lack of connection with nature contributes to our stress, anxiety, depression, and general feelings of less-than-ideal well-being. The comfort, quiet, and rejuvenation of being in nature calms the body and mind and can help you connect with your truest self - just give it the chance, and to learn to listen.

Growing up in rural New Hampshire, I have always felt the greatest sense of peace and contentment when I'm walking in the woods. In fact my "happy place," the vision I imagine when I want to feel calm and connected, is laying in my hammock as a child, at the edge of our woods, looking up at the trees and sky. It feels only natural that yoga, something that also brings me a sense of peace and clarity, should be combined with nature.

This is one reason why I am passionate about leading yoga outdoors and on retreats. I want to make it easy for others to disconnect from their technology, their daily grind, and get into nature to restore and rejuvenate both mind and body. My upcoming retreat in Maine this June 2017 (co-led with Ellie and Dave from Venture Outside) is a way to do that.

Photo credit: Matt Lambert

If you haven't participated in an outdoor yoga class, do your best to try one as soon as you can. Whether it's beach yoga, stand-up paddleboard yoga, island yoga, a yoga retreat, or yoga on your own in the woods - I guarantee you it will take you to a different head space than your typical studio or home practice.

What has your experience been with outdoor yoga?

If you could try yoga in one new space - where would it be?

Let me know in the comments!

Dreaming of Retreat

Those of you who know me may know that one of my big goals is to lead wellness and adventure retreats. As an avid traveler in my personal life, as well as someone who has worked in the travel industry, it only makes sense that I combine all of my passions together into one big happy family. What are all of those passions, you ask?

EXPLORATION. YOGA. NATURE. ADVENTURE. GOOD FOOD. COMMUNITY.

I want to create a travel experience that balances you. I want to create a dual experience for you, where you feel both ease and excitement. One where you feel like you have rejuvenated your mind and body with yoga, meditation, healthy delicious food, and rest. But also one where you have broken out of your comfort zone and tried a new food, a new adventurous activity, or made a new friend. Even just having a conversation with a  new person, and thus expanding your own personal community, adds to your growth.

I have been learning the ins and outs of becoming a retreat leader through the amazing guidance of Julie Zuzek, The Corporate Yogi (check out her amazing podcast), and her program for current or aspiring Retreat Leaders called Retreat U. I have been learning a lot and am constantly inspired being a part of this group.

In the below interview with Julie, I chat a lot about my goals and aspirations - and about how I am starting first by building Sangha (community) and attracting my "tribe" in Boston before jumping into leading retreats on my own. 

If my vibe matches yours, please join my email list here and be updated on my events and future retreats!

 

And if you are another yoga teacher looking to lead retreats - I highly recommend becoming a member of Retreat U @ www.retreatu.co 

Yoga Mix Tape: Volume One

"Jen was an expert mix-taper in the 90s. Cassette deck perpetually poised and at the ready, radio consistently playing in the background, Jen could often be found diving across her wallpapered bedroom to press record and snag that song she'd been waiting for. Times have changed, and Spotify has made all of her dreams come true, but we don't have to lose the vibe of this beloved memory."

Yoga Mix Tape is my first original yoga series where I am tracking back to my childhood to bring something fun and lighthearted to the yoga community. I hope to attract like-minded people who love music, love moving, love community, and love fun. At each Yoga Mix Tape event, you can expect a themed throwback playlist - something that would have appeared on the homemade mixed tapes of the 90s. I hope to bring a little fun and good memories into the positive yoga scene.

On December 8th I hosted Vol. 1: Throwback Holiday Jams. We moved and sweat to a holiday playlist filled with 90s and 00s goodness...from Mariah to Britney to NSync and even Adam Sandler. A few of my favorite classics (including Dean Martin's version of Baby It's Cold Outside, my most favoritest ever) rounded out the mix.

Check out the playlist here and on Spotify - maybe it can become a part of your holiday yoga repertoire?

SUP Yoga Meets Acro Yoga...What!?

Two things I've been dabbling with came together this summer...

Stand Up Paddleboard Yoga, say hello to AcroYoga.

This was something I decided to do on a whim when a friend invited me to this class with SUP Yo! I love trying new things, and so I had to say yes. Say yes, people! For me, it feels so amazing just to TRY something new. The excitement that comes from traveling just a little bit outside your comfort zone is kind of exhilarating. The only thing more fun is when you try something new, and then you also find some success in it. Having an experienced base for my flying helped me to feel steady and comfortable, and he coached me through the process. Being able to nail a couple of these poses made me feel like a superhero for a day. And trust me, I'm just a normal human.

My friend Yvonne and I as we watch with amazement what others are doing.

So my challenge to you? Say yes! Get out and try something new, whatever it is! If you've never tried Stand Up Paddleboard (SUP) Yoga, or even just SUP without the yoga, get out there and try it! It's such a fun summer activity that gets you connected to nature while working your body and mind at the same time.

If you've never tried AcroYoga, check your local studios for options, or check Facebook and other social media sites for groups near you. Often you'll find these yogis just playing around at local parks. I have never met an AcroYogi that wasn't super friendly, open, accommodating, and willing to meet someone new - so give it a shot! What's the worst that can happen? You might just discover a new hobby...

What's been your experience with SUP Yoga or AcroYoga?

What's one new thing you're going to try this year?

Bachelorette Party and Wedding Yoga!

I love special occasion yoga. Not only do I love creating fun themed playlists to go with a particular event or theme (some fun past playlists here), but I love teaching yoga to groups of people who know each other. Whether it's workplace yoga, team yoga, or what I like to call - party yoga.

This summer this bachelorette party took their yoga lakeside, under the trees, on beach towels, to a soundtrack of 90s hip hop jams and love songs. 

"Forest" Yoga?

Lakeside Warrior Twos

But let's not stop at Bachelorette Yoga! Yoga on the morning of a wedding might be just what everyone needs to shake off any rehearsal dinner residuals, or calm those pre-wedding jitters. I had a blast making this wedding themed playlist for just the occasion.

More wedding yoga pics to come!

If you'd like to book a group session for your bachelorette party or wedding, please be in touch!  Playlists and sequences can be made to order based on your preferences, style, and yoga experience level. Mimosas optional.

Writing for FITT Boston

I have had the pleasure of doing a little bit of freelance writing for an up and coming website that rounds up the best fitness, food, and fun happenings in various cities around the country. Check out the Boston version of FITT here. Boston has become a real hub for all things local and healthy and FITT is a perfect showcase of local businesses, classes, events, and more.

Two articles that have been published on the site so far are the Summerlong Schedule of Outdoor Yoga Classes and the Boston area Farmers Markets. Check those links out - it's not too late to go try something on those lists!

I love being involved in fitness, health, and wellness in any capacity, and freelance writing has been a wonderful way for me to infuse those passions with a little sprinkle of creativity, and then share it with a wider community. Thanks, FITT!

Community Garden and Wellness Day at Russell Elementary

Outside of yoga, I'm still working full-time as an elementary school teacher (and have just made an exciting transition from a 2nd grade teacher to an art teacher!). And since I spend the majority of my time in that job, I try to find ways to incorporate the things that I love - especially yoga and wellness.

As our school "wellness champion," I've coached our 100 Mile Club walking and running club and helped organize events such as our annual 5K race (check out last year's recap here) and our community garden and wellness day.

Our most recent Community Garden and Wellness Day, which took place in May 2016, was such a highlight for me because I got to teach two short outdoor yoga classes to our students and families. It was nothing less than the. cutest. thing. ever. I was in my element and it helped me realize that I love teaching yoga to people of ALL ages.

In addition, I spent a good while the night before in the Whole Foods bulk aisle picking out delicious and healthy snacks to add to our "Make Your Own Trail Mix" bar.

Other highlights were bike and scooter races, planting in the garden, Fresh Truck produce, and more. To see the full scope of everything that went on, check out this awesome recap here.

We will continue with another 5K Race and Community Day this school year. Our upcoming 5K race is on October 15, 2016 at Mother's Rest in Dorchester right next to Carson Beach. We'd love your support - come run with us! Sign up here!

NamaStay Sober: Synchronicity in the City

I have the pleasure of being on the team of volunteers for a wonderful Boston nonprofit and charity called NamaStay Sober. The goal of NamaStay Sober is to connect recovering addicts with free yoga, fitness, and meditation classes to aid in their recovery and connect them with a healthy and positive community. In addition, NamaStay Sober hosts sober fitness and community events around the city and gives Boston a fun and healthy alternative to the social bar scene. Here's a pic from our "Raw Yoga" event at Brooklyn Boulders.

How I became involved with NamaStay Sober is where the synchronicity comes in. One evening last winter, I was sitting in Boston Common Coffee doing some "yoga work" and applying for yoga positions. At the same time I overheard two people nearby in the shop chatting about yoga and what a difference they feel it makes in their lives.

I became overwhelmed with the feeling that this must be a sign from the universe (of which I had become more aware since teacher training), and I felt compelled to go introduce myself. When I met Nicoletta, the founder of NamaStay Sober, and realized what she was doing - I knew I had to take part. As someone who has lost a loved one to addiction, I feel close to the cause. In fact, yoga for addiction was one area of interest before meeting the NamaStay Sober crew! The rest is history. I now help secure food and beverage sponsors and donations for our fundraisers and events.

Check out our next event on City Hall Plaza, the NamaStay Sober Fit Fest

September 11, 2016 ~ 10am-5pm

Facebook Event link here: https://www.facebook.com/events/311969705820226/

Playing with AcroYoga

In January and February I explored a few AcroYoga/Thai Massage workshops in the Boston area and absolutely loved it. I had the pleasure of learning a few things from local teachers Izzy Vanhall and Brian Lam, but then ventured out to the burbs for some more fun.

Centre Yoga in Woburn (a really beautiful studio) hosted a fun and relaxing AcroYoga night around Valentine's Day. Some yogini friends and I had fun getting upside down, trying not to fall (but still falling...), and just enjoyed trying something for the first time. It was a blast, and so rejuvenating at the same time. You do not need to be an acrobat or expert to give this a try - you can even be a newbie in yoga! The benefits are endless and I encourage everyone to try it.

Thanks to my friend Anne for being an amazing and trustworthy base!