You Deserve To FEEL GOOD! How To Step Out of A Negative Cycle favorite_border

Conversations from the Heart - September 25th 2020

Author: Rachel Brathen

Topics: Growth, Self-Love, Healing, Lifestyle

Links: Apple Podcasts / Spotify

About the Episode

Have you been having a hard time implementing day to day habits that lead to you feeling really good, throughout the day and throughout your being?

We are all struggling somewhere, and there are little changes in our self-care we can make that can help to get us out of a rut and into a more centered, clear, connected place.

On this week’s episode, Rachel shares the 3 changes she has made in her life that finally got her out of a rut and back into a lightness of being.

As good as it feels to sit on the couch, eat homemade baked goods and watch Top Chef, it feels a lot better to watch the sunrise at 5 am, and start the day from the inside out.

Starting the day by exploring your inner world and cutting out that which does not serve you can do wonders for your wellbeing.

This episode will inspire you to really give yourself time to be alone, to meditate on what it is that you can bring into balance into your life, to get outside into nature, and to make the commitment to implement small daily changes in order to feel good deep inside of your soul.

Key Takeaways

  • Don’t wait for a better time. Start making the change you want to make now! Take some time to journal on what it is that makes you feel good in your soul and then make changes in your life to reflect just that.
  • You don’t have to transform your entire life! Make small habit changes that are unique to you, that you know you will be able to implement easily into your day to day life.
  • Change is hard. Cut yourself some slack, be kind to yourself and remember that it’s the smallest changes implemented over time that lead to the biggest transformation.
  • Get into nature every day. Include this in one of the changes you make this week. It is non-negotiable! Would you rather look back on your life and have watched more Netflix than sunrises or sunsets? Try to find nature wherever you can in your day to day life.
  • Start your day from the inside out. Take time in the morning to do something that makes you feel good and connected. Try not to look at your phone or a screen until after you have established a connection with your inner landscape.



[0:03] Hi, you beautiful human being, how are you doing? Welcome back to the Yoga Girl podcast, I am so happy that you’re here. I was thinking about that just today, how fricken grateful I am that you are listening to this show. And yes, I mean you. You exactly, you listening to this show right now; I am so grateful for that, the fact that I can sit here a million miles away from everything else and connect, it just, it fills my whole heart.

[0:35] I am kind of high energy right now, which is not normal for me when I [laughs] sit down to record this pod, so let’s take a moment right now just to ground into the body, wherever you are. I know some people listen to this podcast out on a walk, or out for a run, or moving about your house, so if you have the opportunity right now to close your eyes and anchor into the body. And then, just taking a moment to place your hands to your heart center, maybe a hand to the belly and a hand to the heart, if intuitively that feels good for you.

[1:11] Let’s close the eyes and take a deep, deep, long breath in through the nose… [inhales] open the mouth, and let it out [exhales]. Now start to bring a bit of awareness in toward the workings of the breath right now. You can begin by just noticing the way the breath flows in and out of your body. And it’s a, a beautiful thing just to, to sit with, to be present with is that inhale, and that exhale that unfolds within you all the time. Noticing this receiving of energy, your breath as your life force, and then in the exhale, how you’re giving it all away, you know, it’s this beautiful dance between holding on and letting go. Between taking something in, and then giving it away.

[2:14] So noticing right now if your breaths are equal, or if they feel balanced. Is your inhale longer, or deeper than the exhale, or the other way around? And just notice that, without judgement, without the idea in our minds that there is some kind of breath that we should be breathing right now; just acknowledge the breath the way the breath is. And then as the breath starts to slow down, because that’s the beauty of these present moment practices is the moment they bring our awareness back home, everything settles for us. We get a little more space between the breaths, and we get a little more space between our thoughts.

[3:00] So moving into that deep place within the body, where you can just check in. How am I feeling right now? And let’s give that a truthful answer. If you’re alone right now and you can speak it out loud, you know, as if we’re just here having a conversation, how are you doing right now? Speak that out loud. Sometimes just verbalizing how we’re feeling actually makes it, or gives it a bigger impact, it allows it to settle as, as truth within the body, especially if we’ve been resisting our emotions a little bit or a lot.

[3:41] So how are you doing? Just checking in with yourself, “how am I feeling? What’s moving through my body? What’s moving across my heart?” And then as you feel for the answer to that question, as always, we’re going to just practice letting that emotion be. And it’s this life-changing practice, it’s a transformational practice to stop trying to fix things all the time, you know? We try to constantly shift, and change, and fidget, and you know, “if I only get better at this, then I would be happier. If I only fix this, then everything would be okay,” and, you know, just the way you are right now, if you didn’t have to change this emotion, if you could really allow it, if you could really accept it, if you could look at it and invite it as if you chose it, you know? Even if that emotion is really hard, if it’s sadness, or anger, or frustration, or anxiety, or fear, something big here, now, moving through your heart space, can you invite it as if you chose it?

[4:58] So if that, that feeling is, is doing something to you right now, right? That feeling is moving around inside of you right now, where does it go? So with your eyes closed, if you start to move your hands a little bit, where can you sense this feeling in the body? You know, doesn’t have to be the heart, or the belly, could be somewhere absolutely different, and just notice that; where is this feeling going? You know, what does this feeling actually feel like, you know? So if right now, you’re experiencing sadness, okay, well where in the body is the sadness right now? And what does sadness feel like? Is it warm? Is it cold? Does it feel tense, is there a contraction, a release? Is there an emptiness? What’s there, what does it feel like?

[5:57] So give yourself a, a few moments here to track this emotion, which is another way of just allowing it, just giving it some space. So we don’t have to resist how we are feeling right now, but you can just let it be. And then with that, continuing to bring more space around the breath, long inhales, long exhales. And then anchoring into this beautiful knowing that you are allowed to feel the way you feel. Make it your mantra, your intention, your affirmation; really hold onto that idea, because maybe it just feels like an idea somewhere far away. I am allowed to feel what I am feeling.

[6:52] If you’re alone and you wanna repeat something out loud, say it out loud a couple times. “I am allowed to feel what I am feeling. I am allowed to feel what I am feeling.” So validating your own emotions, validating your own existence in this world the way you are, right now. You are allowed to feel the way you’re feeling. And you’re allowed to show up exactly the way you’re showing up right now. There’s nothing, nothing about how you’re feeling in this moment that has to change. Nothing to fix, nothing to improve, but it’s okay for you to be here the way you are, right now.

[7:37] See what that feels like. Just take a deep breath into that place [inhales]. Open the mouth, and let it go [exhales]. So you can stay with your eyes closed a little while longer if you like, or blink your eyes open. Hmm. Thank you for [laughing] thank you for gifting me that moment of tuning into my own body, and feeling my feelings a little bit; isn’t it wonderful how oftentimes if we, we think someone else needs something, and actually, we’re the ones who need it. I feel like I do that all the time.

[8:23 — Commercial Break]

[9:36] So, speaking from the heart, how am I doing right now? In this exact moment, I’m just, like I have my hands on my belly, on my thighs, I have this deep need to anchor, to just connect physically to my body, and that’s a way to do that in case, in case you need a little nudge. Whenever we start to feel like we’re kind of floating off the Earth a little bit, or we get antsy or anxious, a great, simple way to reconnect with your body is to touch it, right? And especially the feet and the legs s a really good, just giving yourself some self-massage, or squeezing your own thighs, or your belly, or your arms and reminding yourself of like, “hey, I’m right here.”

[10:21] And that’s what I’m doing [laughs] right now, as I’m talking to you. I’m sitting up in my little sanctuary at the top of our house, our rooftop space, and I’m feeling pretty happy today. Isn’t that something? [Laughs] I’m feeling happy right now. I cannot remember the last time I recorded a podcast and felt genuinely happy. It’s been a long, it’s been a long couple of months; okay, it’s been a long year, we all know that. But I’m going to share a little bit more about that, because I had a lot of big, big realizations this past week.

[10:55] But this is literally the first week that I am starting to feel a little bit more like myself, that I’m starting to feel some lightness back in my being. I’ve really missed that. I’ve really, really, really missed that feeling of just, yeah. I’ve had this, almost like a hard, wet blanket covering my whole, my whole brain; I don’t know if it’s my brain, or my heart, or my whole being so, where I’ve woken up every day and felt this heaviness, like it’s a little harder for me to move through my day than normal.

[11:29] It hasn’t been debilitating depression or, you know, anything like that, but just this feeling of being totally down. And this week is the first week that I’m not experiencing that. And honestly I think, I think the reason that is is because I’ve changed a few really specific things in my day-to-day life that I’m going to share because it actually has helped, and it actually, actually does work.

[11:53] So, [inhales] wow, where I’m sitting right now, this little sanctuary, sanctuary space, I had a friend visit from Sweden, Mikaela who’s like a really old friend of mine, is an amazing, amazing goddess of a, of a human, and it was one of those things where just, I was feeling super, super low, and she was like “let’s hang out,” [laughs]. And she came over, it was a journey to come over here, you know, I don’t even know how many corona tests she took along the way, and to get here now, you need all these special insurances, and then she quarantined in an AirBnb before she saw us, it was like this whole, this whole ordeal to just connect.

[12:34] But then, actually, finally, you know, having a really friendly face, and someone to hug that isn’t just, you know, Dennis and Lea Luna, it’s been really wonderful. And we spent the past two weeks just not doing anything totally special other than spending a lot of time outside. And that’s something that I definitely have not done enough this year. I have spent so much time in my house, and I mean we have a garden and, and stuff, so you know, I’m outside in that sense, but just venturing out from my little cocoon.

[13:05] And I think when, when I got cancelled, I can’t get used to that fricken sentence. I need to, can someone come up with like a new term for me that I can say that doesn’t make me cringe [soft laugh]? I don’t know how else to describe this event that I sometimes have to talk about because it’s impacted my life, right? So since I got cancelled — if anyone has a better term for that bullshit, let me know, DM me or something on Instagram, let me know so I can figure it out.

[13:33] But since that happened, definitely I, I just, I haven’t left the house, you know, at all. And for so long, I was just totally terrified to even, you know, go to the grocery store, or go to a restaurant, and it really brought out some really, yeah, difficult qualities inside of myself, and it made it really hard to, to navigate pain, because I stayed in this little cocoon, right, where everything felt painful.

[13:59] And now these past couple of weeks, just having been in the ocean every single day, been in the sun every day, been on the beach every day, all these things that I never do even though I, I live on a Caribbean island; I don’t go to the beach, you know? I think most people who live in a really sunny place, we try to stay out of the sun most of the time. And also we have a really comfortable thing going here at home, so I don’t really have to leave the house for anything, especially since quarantine, literally our setup at home is like we don’t need to go anywhere for anything [laughs] you know?

[14:29] Like Dennis has a setup for his bike in his little gym slash man cave slash something something where he can bike virtually with other people, you know like, we can do all our stuff at home, we don’t have to go anywhere. We have a little pool, we all that stuff. So I’m really grateful just having been out and about. And, having some normalcy, I think, has helped pull me out of, of this really negative spiral I’ve been in where everything felt terrible.

[14:57] And that’s the dangerous thing about ending up in really shitty place, is the shittier we feel, the more we think about how shitty we feel. And the more we think about how shitty we feel, the shittier we feel, it’s like a very vicious cycle that’s hard to get out of. And what I was doing for almost a month straight, was pretty much lying on the couch, watching Netflix, watching Top Chef, eating baked goods [laughs] that I’ve been baking. Like that’s, that’s been my life for like, many, many weeks now. And, no judgement, this is the best thing ever, I mean it’s like the most wonderful thing every, to bake something delicious, and then sit on the couch, and enjoy a show, and eat that shit, like that’s the best, we all know that.

[15:41] But every single day? And that happening from a place of, of like depression versus a place of, of happiness, you know? No, no, that’s not good. No. And Top Chef didn’t bring me any closer to, to enlightenment, or, or peace, or healing. I gotta say though, maybe you’re like laughing right now, I, Netflix just suggested to me — I love watching cooking shows, I love baking shows as like my thing. And even though I’m vegan, baking shows, it’s like my go-to for all the things, so give me any baking show and I, you know, it’s the best.

[16:17] And then I ran out of baking shows, because I watched them all, so I started watching some cooking shows, and then all of a sudden — I don’t love cooking shows, especially shows that cook with meat, like I have to look away, as a vegan I have a hard time with that, but — and suddenly, Netflix was like, “hey, I think you would like this show,” and I’m like, “what’s this? Top Chef. Like it looks like it’s 20 years old. Oh, it is 20 years old [laughs]” it’s literally like the oldest show ever. If you’ve never seen it, or you saw it then, back in like 2002 or something, or whenever it was, you have to rewatch it, it’s amazing.

[16:51] It’s like one of those really old school, like first reality-style shows, but it’s a competition, and they cook, and some of them are talented, most of them are totally crazy, it’s so good, okay? It’s really good. I’m not even at all a little bit embarrassed that I like Top Chef this much. But I went into this little Top Chef coma. Yeah. [Laughs] Where just I, I, I had a hard time getting off the couch. And there’s nothing, you know, no shame in that, but what I, what I really, really, really realized, and I think because I haven’t been in that space before where I literally felt like, “I can’t get off the couch, like I’m not excited to do anything. I don’t want to work, don’t want to go outside, I don’t want to…” and I didn’t want to read, I didn’t wanna, anything else. “I just want to lie here on the couch and eat something, and watch something, I don’t care what it is,” is that it was 100 percent a way of checking out, you know.

[17:44] And yes, I’m checking out with a home-baked, vegan, organic goods, and I’m on the couch with my kid and my husband; my kid, like Lea, loves Top Chef. I don’t know, we’ve like Pavloved her into liking the shows that we like, which I don’t know if its good for her. The other day she was like, “momma, is this Homeland? Are you watching Carrie?” And I’m like “oh, my God, this, she’s three years old, she [laughing] should not know who Carrie Mathison from Homeland is, like that’s…” but that’s quarantine life. That’s like a hashtag.

[18:16] But we have Pavloved her. You guys know the Pavlovian thing, right, where you…Pavlov, come on. Who, who, who rang a bell and then fed the dog, and then after awhile realized that if he just rang the bell but didn’t feed the dog, the dog would still salivate, right? it’s that expe, expectation. Oh, my God, I’m so, I’m so, so bad at describing this. But yeah, now that I like, go up to the couch, Lea’s like, “are we watching Top Chef?” And she’s all into it and excited about it.

[18:45] So it’s not like I’m alone and in a dark place, you know, but it’s made it actually harder to get out of, because I think if I was all alone, in a tiny apartment with the, you know, windows shut, watching Top Chef, eating, I would like to imagine that at some point, i would feel like, “man, this is making me feel really bad.” Now, I didn’t feel that way, I felt like, “but we’re like a family, watching, you know, all these shows, and sitting on the couch,” but actually what I was doing is escaping the fact that I felt like shit.

[19:13] Which is okay, we all escape in different ways, we all numb ourselves in different ways. Sometimes we feel feelings that are too big for us to manage, so we have to numb out a little bit, to actually cope, and actually manage and make sense of things. Sometimes I think numbing, or escaping, is a part of the healing process, you know. So maybe I can say that Tom Colicchio from Top Chef, he’s, he’s part of my healing process now. Like I needed to have a month of just, just being collapsed on that, on that couch, I think.

[19:44] Because I got to a point, at least now, where I decided, “okay, enough. Enough of this [laughs].” It wasn’t taking me anywhere good, like, “enough of this, enough Top Chef [laughs]. Enough baked goods, enough, like all of it, just enough.” And, I implemented some changes, okay? First thing I decided to do immediately is I’m getting up at five a.m. Which to someone who is a bit depressed or feeling low probably sounds like a hard thing to do, but the, the cool thing about deciding and committing to getting up really, really early in the morning is that you actually want to go to bed really early.

[20:25] And for me, when I’m not healthy or not feeling well, the last hours of the day are my most wasteful hours of the day. That’s when I end up tired, scrolling on my phone, doing something totally purposeless that doesn’t sustain me in any way. So, deciding to get up at five a.m. just to have, you know, that, that, that special, magical moment that happens in the morning, and the cool thing about this, it happens everywhere. Literally wherever you are in the world, you don’t have to be on a Caribbean island somewhere, or on the beach, or anything like that, but the first hour of the day, like the time before and around sunrise, is a magical time. I mean it really, really, really is a truly, truly magical time.

[21:09] There’s something so special about watching the world come to life, you know? Such few people actually experience that every day. And even if you live in a city, like waking up at that time, just the light in the morning, watching the light begin to filter through your window, you know, or taking a walk at that time, or getting outside if you can at that time, it is so special, it is…that’s the true magic hour, is like the time from five to six.

[21:35] And here, the sun rises pretty late now, like it’s, I should know this because I’m up at five, but I don’t bring my phone so I don’t look at the time, but I think the sun rises at like 6:30? Or something, so I have…or maybe six, six-ish…I think six o’clock probably. So I have a lot of time in the darkness in the morning, which is really cool, really, really, really cool. Because most evenings I’m not, I don’t spend a lot of time lying flat on my back, looking at the stars anymore. Like, raise of hands, who, who did that, you know, this week? Not a lot of us, I think.

[22:09] And just those simple kind of child-like moments of, “hey, there’s a whole universe out there.” I seen two shooting stars, like is that crazy or what? [Laughs] Just, just this week. There’s something really special about it. And the reason I decided to do it is, well, I know that there’s a moment in the morning, like that special, special hour where I feel more at peace with myself than I do all throughout the rest of the day, I know that. And that silence that exists in the hours when no one else is awake, there is something so, so, so special about that silence.

[22:44] It’s easier for me to anchor into a place of deep meditation at that hour than it is at any other time of the day. And I wanna feel in tune with nature again, I wanna feel in tune with my body again, I wanna feel, I wanna be free of distractions again, you know? So I started this as a little ritual, I just decided, “I’m going to do it.” Libra season has started, I’m a Libra sun so this is like my time, you know, if I want to make any changes in my life, this is it. And not thinking that if I make a change, then all of my life stuff is going to figure out, but I just decided that making some constructive shifts in my life in terms of how I move through my day when I feel this low probably isn’t going to hurt me [laughs] right?

[23:30] So I started doing that, I get up at five, I move like a ninja through the house to not wake any, anybody up. We have five dogs at the house; we have two foster dogs that are insane, they bark all the time, our, our house is like, chaos right now. And Lea who wakes up like, drop a pin and she wakes up. So I move like a ninja through the house, and I go upstairs, I go up to the rooftop with a cup of tea, with my mat, with my journal. And I can’t even journal in the earliest hour because it’s too dark outside.

[23:59] So literally I either sit, and I sit in silence and I meditate, and I breathe, and I just sit, or I practice, one of the two. And the cool thing about it is — because I do that at some point every day anyway, not so much the last month, obviously — but I have at some point, every single day, you know, if it’s ten minutes sitting on the couch outside or, you know, I’m always on some sort of couch as you guys can, as you guys can tell, but at some point every day.

[24:25] But it’s totally different to do that when there’s people around, totally different to do that when you just spent half an hour on your phone, super different to do that if you just came out of a meeting, or some, some sort of doing, right? Or to go from Tom Colicchio on Top Chef and like, “hey, I’m going to go meditate,” that’s a hard vibration to shift, you know? No offence Tom, if you’re listening, you’re, you’re awesome, I, I love you [laughs] but that moment in the morning is that undisturbed moment. And it’s something Jay Shetty told me on the podcast a couple weeks ago is, you know, “begin your day inside out instead of outside in.”

[25:02] And it really resonated with me, you know; I used to have a lot of, we had, I think we had at least a year where we had a super solid rule in the house, and it was a rule, personal rule for myself: no social media or phone before 9 a.m. in the morning and after 9 p.m. in the evening,” like how, how much sense does that make? That’s, it’s kind of insane how majority of us wake up in the morning, reach for our phone, and that’s the first thing we see. And I find that even if my alarm clock is on my phone, and I have to reach my phone to turn it off, then suddenly I’m on the phone, right?

[25:33] So I have to turn the alarm off, and then I realize “ooh, wait, did that important e-mail that I was waiting for this answer via e-mail, did they answer me?” I’m like, “mmm, maybe I’ll just check it real quick before I go make breakfast for Lea,” or whatever. And then suddenly I’m there, suddenly I’m on Instagram. Suddenly I’m watching a TikTok on Instagram, because that’s a thing now [laughs] where people are taking TikToks, putting them on Instagram, and it’s like a girl doing some dance that I, I, and, you know, and then suddenly like 45 minutes have passed and I’m like “whoa, I just spent 45 minutes on my phone in the morning, completely for no reason, right? Doing nothing purposeful.”

[26:09] So getting a proper alarm clock, like one of those old-school ones with a battery, I have one of those, it’s the best, just so your phone can be somewhere else. Your phone shouldn’t go in the bedroom at all, it can go somewhere elsewhere. And then when you’ve done your practice for the morning, and then have that decided moment where, “okay, I’m picking up my phone. My phone day, my phone-involved day, begins now. Now I’m going to check my e-mails. Now if I’m going to scroll through something, or engage with people, or ingest information, I’m going to do it now, but I’ve decided it now.”

[26:40] And I really wanted to make that distinction again, because I lost that. Especially this year when the only way we are connecting to anybody is online. It’s like we have, I’ve had for sure this year days where I’ve had like eight plus hours use of phone time every single day. And what I want it to be like one, max, you know? The idea of spending more than one hour on my phone, no! And I want to get back to that like, sensible use of, of just screen time because it doesn’t make me feel good.

[27:10] And there are certain moments and things that happen online that are really inspirational, and inspiring, and uplifting, and that’s wonderful, and I want to use my phone for that, right? Or for writing my loved ones, or calling people, or, you know, doing work, if it’s purposeful work, which most of it I can do on my computer, and I don’t hang around my computer the way I hang around with my phone. So, that was one of the things I decided, just, “okay, more discipline around the use of phone and screens in the morning, doesn’t make any sense.”

[27:19] “Start your day inside out, instead of outside in,” meaning if you wake up, and you immediately have to digest information from the outside world, even if it’s positive, even if it’s someone saying, “hey, you look great in this photo you just posted,” or if it’s a friend or someone saying, “hey, here’s what happening in my life.” Oftentimes it’s negative, right? Maybe a negative comment from someone, or the news, which are always negatives, it’s always negative, every day, then you’re starting your day from the outside in, so you begin with having to react and respond to all of this stuff that’s coming your way.

[28:12] And starting your day inside out literally is waking up in the morning, before anything has come your way, before anyone is telling you a bunch of stuff, before the world comes at you through your phone, you go, “huh, how am I feeling right now? How am I in this moment,” you know? “Today’s a different day, we’re going to wake up today feeling different than we did yesterday, so how am I today? What is, what does this feel like, this experience of waking up in my body, in my heart, in my mind? You know, how am I doing right now?” And then getting to answer that for yourself, instead of having all these outside factors impact how you feel right away. It’s a game-changer, you know?

[28:54] And it doesn’t sound complicated, and it doesn’t sound like rocket science. But we live in a society now where this is really hard, it’s a really hard thing to do, to put our phone down, and to begin our day inside out.

[29:05 — Commercial Break]

[30:19] So I do that, I wake up in the morning, I brew my up of tea, I, I go outside, I roll out my mat, and I just sit down, right? And I’ve noticed that the first hour of the day when it’s just me, and I, I used to do this…[laughs] you guys, I don’t, I can’t even pinpoint when I lost this as like a regular day-to-day practice, but I would wake up — so when I lived in Costa Rica, I was 18, 19 when I moved — I woke up every single morning, not even at the crack of dawn, I would wake up like at four, you know, and have a lot of time in the morning before the sun even rose, because where I lived in Costa Rica, at sunrise, all the surfers are already out, it’s already busy at the beach.

[31:00] I was up at four every morning, took my little puppy, walked along the beach, found a life guard tower, like an old one, and climbed up there and sat in meditation, sat in silence, for a long time, like that’s what i did every single day. And I, I can’t pinpoint when I stopped, you know? Like my first years in Aruba, yes, and I’ve gone through cycles of having that as a practice, and then at some point along the way, I totally lost it.

[31:28] And I can’t even blame motherhood [laughs]. You know, if you have a newborn baby, it’s, that’s a hard thing to do, to even get five minutes of that to yourself in the day. But long before that, there was that moment where I got really busy, and my phone became really important, and my practice shifted, and I would wake up and, you know, maybe have breakfast with Dennis, and do something different, and then roll out my mat for my asana practice later in the day, or, or in the morning, or whatever. But getting up before sunrise to sit in silence? No, I haven’t had that as a steady practice in a long time.

[32:03] And it is nourishing my soul, you guys. It is…[sighs] it is, it’s, it’s amazing. It’s absolutely beautiful. It’s, no matter what the rest of the day has in store for me, I got that. And it’s not even an hour, like I get almost two solid hours in the morning when no one else is awake, when everything is quiet, and it’s just time for me. So if I just sit there and sip my tea, and watch the sun come up, and listen to the birds, and, you know, that’s beautiful. And if I practice and sweat, that’s beautiful. And if I just stretch a little bit, that’s beautiful. And if I read a book, or journal, like whatever, that’s it, that’s really, really, really it.

[32:42] And the, the cool addition to this is, you know, I really cherish my mornings. So okay, so I’ve been doing this for like a week, you know, straight so it’s not like I am, I am the new guru of all things getting up at five o’clock. No, who knows where I’ll be in a week from now. But, the cool thing about it is I really crave it. So at night, when normally we would put on a movie, or we would do something, you know, different that kind of stretches into the night, I just go to bed. I’m like, “you know what? Like, I’m going to get the hours of sleep that I need so I can wake up at five and feel good doing that,” right?

[33:17] So that little habit change, the reason I’m sharing this now is because small habit changes lead to ginormous results. And it’s really important that we don’t underestimate the impact these small choices that we make throughout the day actually has on our entire wellbeing. So just a thing, like getting up a little bit earlier in the morning — maybe five o’clock is a stretch for you, but could you get up 30 minutes earlier so you have 30 minutes to yourself before your kids wake up, or before you have to rush to work or whatever you’re doing in the morning, just to have some quiet time for yourself. And then leave you phone behind.

[33:55] I think this, and this is not a complicated practice, this is maybe something that a bunch of you guys are doing already, if that’s the case, kudos, but I really think that practice is simple and profound enough that it can really change how we feel. I really, really do. So, that’s one big change that I, that I’ve made that I’m really sure is, is contributing to me feeling of, of, of happiness today [laughs] you know?

[34:18] I didn’t…so what happens is Lea wakes up like 6:30 or seven normally and, and then she’ll roll out of bed and come into bed with us, and then we cuddle for awhile, and then we go make breakfast, and then stuff happens, and then, you know, if, if I can linger in bed til eight, if Dennis like takes the first hour with Lea, then I’ll do that for sure. And then by the time I’m up, it’s like daytime, the sun is, you know, the day is bright, it’s like you’ve lost that feeling of morning even.

[34:46] So it actually makes a difference, just if, it doesn’t have to be huge, right? It can be small as well, as long as it’s for you, right? And to have that intention of, “I’m, I’m doing this because it’s a sacred space I’m creating for myself, and it’s worth it. So I super, mega recommend that.

[35:03] Another little change that I really think has, has helped with my well-being lately is I’m, I’m, I’m choosing, or I’m incorporating as a disciplined thing — all of this requires discipline, by the way, which sucks. We all know, being disciplined around stuff is the worst, and the best [laughs]. But disciplined practice around being in nature, which I normally don’t do, I normally take all things nature for granted. I spend time outside around our house, I’m in our garden a lot, I’m by the pool a lot, but in nature in terms of like the wild side of this island? Of actually alone, on my own, not to like entertain a toddler with, with, you know, like toys and stuff, right? But on my own, alone, time spent sitting on a cliff by the sea, because I have the sea right here.

[35:55] If I was in Sweden, I would be in the forest, like in the forest every single day, or by a lake, or whatever is around, right? So dedicated actually disciplined time in solitude, in silence, in nature at some point every day. And what I did — this is like the simplest thing ever — Lea has a new school, it’s on the other side of the island, which we thought is like a huge struggle in the beginning. The other side of the island means it’s an 18 minute drive [laughs]. This 18 minute drive was long enough that Dennis was against her starting the school, which is the best school on the island; it’s Montessori, it’s amazing.

[36:31] He was like, “No, she should go to a shittier school so that we doin’t have to drive the 18 minutes,” because living on a tiny island, an 18 minute drive, it’s like a three hour drive if you live in the city or something. But so we, we chose that school of course, it’s the best. But then so we drive every morning, and then normally we drive together, and then we drive back home, and then that’s it.

[36:50] What I started doing now is I drive her alone in the morning, and I bring my stuff, like I bring a little like, Thermos, Thermos, Thermos…how do I pronounce…in Swedish we say thermos, like how the hell do you pronounce that in English? Oh, my God, I’m blanking. It’s a container that holds, that keeps hot liquid hot. A Thermos? Yeah, I feel like that’s a word. Oh, my God. Okay, remember I’m not stupid, I’m just Swedish, and, and a little all over the place.

[37:20] Yeah, so I bring that, I bring a big thing of water, I bring my fins and my mask. And I drop her off, there’s a really beautiful beach right next to her school, or a little cliffy area with a beach — I don’t go to the beach, I go to the cliffy area — and I sit there, and I breathe, and I journal, and sometimes I swim, and sometimes I snorkel, or do something, and it doesn’t take a long time. And this is something that, you know, most people think if you’re living in the, on an island somewhere, you do this all the time. No, I don’t. I’ve completely stopped taking advantage of the special parts of living on, on an island.

[37:54] We’ve been in this total rut where we don’t go to the beach, we don’t go outside, I’m just in my house, right? And we all have these opportunities in our own areas, like a hundred percent, there is some source of beauty, in terms of nature, in your home, right? And I know for a lot of people, the idea of like, a beach is like the dream, and if everyone lived over there, I would be so happy and no, you know, there’s something so special about seasons, about the weather shifting, you know? About forests, about diversity in terms of nature. Here it’s the same thing all year round, I’m not complaining, it’s just, it is the same thing all year round, it’s 100 degrees [laughs], it’s super hot, super sunny and super windy all year, and it’s always the same.

[38:40] So, just taking advantage of whatever is special about nature where you live. And maybe that’s a little nook, you know, like a special tree in a park, like one special tree that you really relate with. Maybe you have one of those like little community plots, like a little garden, or you can find your way to a body of water somehow, like getting that into your day in a disciplined sense, just the same way as, “hey, I need to do yoga every day to feel good,” hey, I need to commune with nature, right? I need to be present with Mother Earth at some point every day.

[37:15] And it’s different, it is different, you know? I go to the beach with Lea and we have a blast, and she loves the ocean, and it’s so, so special of course, but there’s something different when it’s just, what it’s, when it’s as a sacred practice versus just, you know, going there to hang out. And it’s, it’s made a difference in how I feel, you know? I come home from dropping Lea off at school, and I feel like invigorated, you know. And yeah, maybe we don’t have time to do all this stuff all the time, but inviting this into our day — right now, the way my life is structured, I have time to do that.

[39:49] Yesterday, I, I went to the, I went to my little cliff with my coffee, and then after my swim, I took my meeting there. Like I had a, I had a ten o’clock, or a nine o’clock — I can’t remember — meeting, and I was like, “I have to rush home so I get back to my meeting,” and then I was like, “why am I rushing home to go sit inside in front of my computer for this meeting when I can just sit right here? Like I have my phone, why, why am I not taking all of my meetings outside, what’s [laughing] wrong with me?” You know, we get into this routine of, “here’s the what, here is what things are,” and we just keep that going, right?

[40:23] And I’m just committed right now to changing some of those things up, or at least exploring them a little bit more. Like, “does this make me feel good? Is there a way I can continue this that would make me feel better? Like can I change a little something around this that, that would improve how I feel? Like can I take most of my meetings outside this week? Can I go sit in the sun on my lunch break? You know, can I go find that tree thats special to me and just sit there for a moment? Like can I make those changes that actually make me feel better, and then implement them?”

[40:56] It’s a, it’s a, it sounds really simple, I don’t know, I’m talking about this like right now like I had a big epiphany, this was a big epiphany for me. I felt really out of control, I felt like I’m waiting for life to turn around and make me feel better and it’s not, it wasn’t happening, right? So all of a sudden, I’m getting up, you know, in pitch darkness at five o’clock, like, “okay,” and it’s helping, right? So sometimes, kind of putting ourselves in the way of feeling better, even though it’s hard, you know, all it takes is that tiny little change, like a little tweak, right?

[41:32 — Commercial Break]

[42:48] And then the other thing that I have done — and this is two things wrapped up into one — is, and this like, it like pains me to say, but not really. Not really. I have completely cut alcohol and sugar out of my life. Temporarily, okay? It’s not…this will never in a million years ever become a, a podcast that talks about dieting, or some bullshit. You guys know me, I’m like the queen of baking, I bake every day, I bake with Lea…literally, we bake every day. And it’s not like we’re baking raw granola cheesecakes, like no, we’re making like, big lemon meringue cakes, and we’re making chocolate ganache, you know, like four layer cakes, like we’re making extravagant stuff with a lot of sugar.

[43:34] It’s vegan, I use good ingredients, but it’s still sugar. And I just got to this place where how, how would I feel if I really cut this completely out of my life? Which I never normally do; I did it last year when I got really sick, I had, I had a, I had, had, I don’t even know, six months without it, or three months without it completely and I felt awful all the way through because I was really sick.

[44:00] So I didn’t really get to experience, you know, what is it really like to just be cleaner — and I don’t like that word because it implies that we’re not clean if we’re not eating a specific way. I guess the word that I’m looking for is clearer, keeping my inner space more clear, will that help me align a little bit more with this direction that I’m looking for right now? Or make me feel lighter as a whole, you know, if I didn’t have that moment of sugar every day? I don’t know, I honestly don’t know.

[44:29] But it got to this place where I felt like, “okay, this has now become something where I feel like I need sugar every day, not just like I made a beautiful dessert and we’re having it after dinner as a family, but like at the end of the day, I had this, this massive craving like bring on the sugar. And I felt like it was a part of, of really trying to move through these, these heavy emotions is I felt better if I ate something sweet.

[44:53] And that’s, I don’t know if it’s new to me. I think it’s new to me to do in this kind of excess that I have in the past month, where it’s literally felt like something that just isn’t good for me, but it’s ben hard for me to, to stop. And as I speak now, I can sense like there’s some shame inside of me around that, like it’s hard for me to share really openly, like there’s some, like there’s something shameful about, about that, about having a hard time quitting sugar, or eating too much sugar, or it’s probably something conditioned or programmed into me by all of society.

[45:24] Like, you know supposed to be super healthy, and live on green juice, and be Yoga Girl, and, you know, and, and, and these past months, like I’m absolutely not. This year has not been the year of green juice for me, this year has been the year of Old Fashioneds for me. And Dennis and I have had a wonderful time, like we’ve had such a good time during quarantine playing mixologists and, like getting serious with like the kind of wine we want to drink, and we’ve had really fun with it. And it’s not like I’m drinking until I’m drunk, but like two glasses of wine at the end of day has become like a normal thing, and it didn’t used to be that way for me.

[46:04] So…[inhales] I decided just to call it quits, you know? And then I thought, “well what if it’s going to be hard to make this change, like whoa, what if I’ll struggle? What if it’s like, you know, I realize I have a problem or something?” And then just the fact that that voice came up, I was like, “whoa, okay, okay. This is something that I need.” So, so that’s where I am now, I mean it’s been this week, I don’t feel, I don’t feel drastically different in terms of, in terms of like body, and health, and stuff like that, more than the fact that I wake up every morning feeling a little bit lighter.

[46:38] And I think for awhile, I’ve been so leaning toward the, the side of things where, “hey, we should all eat whatever we want, whenever we want,” you know? I’m so anti-anything diet, anything weight obsessed, anything, you know, “be, look a certain way,” like I really, really despise all of that. And diet culture is the worst thing ever. And I think I kind of leaned really far over to the other end where it become “but you should eat dessert all the time, and you should drink that wine, and you should, like you do you, be,” you know, but there’s also a huge component of it for me, which is health [laughs].

[47:17] You know, how do I feel drinking that glass of wine every single night if I do that, you know? How does it feel to like eat cake all the time? How do I feel in my body after that? And honest answer to that is not great, you know? And it’s not going to make or break me, and it’s not about weight or, or putting on a few pounds or, you know, the idea of looking a certain way, just that feeling, you know?

[47:42] And if I’m in that space where I have a hard time looking for that lightness, right? Where I’m just feeling heavy emotionally, then, you know, what am I doing to, to make myself feel lighter, beginning in that physical place, like really cherishing this vessel. And I think a lot of the ways that I’ve lived in the past month has made everything worse, you know, it’s like I felt like I need to eat sugar because I’m feeling like shit, and then I eat sugar and then I feel worse, and then I go down that cycle again, right?

[48:11] So I’m looking at this just as a little bit of a reset, I don’t know. Just like I, I don’t want to spend another week feeling depressed, I don’t want to spend another week beating myself up about stuff, or judging myself, or you know, all of these, these really tricky places I’ve, I’ve had a hard time getting out of. So I feel like these things aren’t super drastic: getting up at five, no sugar, [laughs] no alcohol, and nature. Like, come on. Like early rising, nature, you know, taking good care of my body, like that’s [laughs] that’s, that’s, that’s kind of a no-brainer.

[48:48] But the thing is it’s not a no-brainer. It isn’t. Especially in the wellness world where we are told all the time that this is how we’re supposed to be, how we’re supposed to live, what we’re supposed to eat, all the things that constitute living well, right? And then when we fall outside the box of that, we start to feel like we don’t fit in, or we start to feel bad about ourselves, and, and all of that is just adding on to the weight that is living in this world right now; being a human being in 2020, what we don’t need is more guilt over what we’re eating or how we’re living, you know? What we want to find is that inner voice telling us what we actually need, and the ability to listen to that.

[49:31] And I think it’s within the really early hours of me sitting in silence outside, under the stars, that’s when I can hear that voice the clearest, right? That’s when I can actually put all the other noise aside and hear the truth that’s already inside of me that’s hard to find all throughout the day, especially when I’m distracted by my phone, and by Tom Colicchio on Top Chef, you know? That’s, [laughing] it’s hard to really harness that inner voice.

[50:00] So time spent with ourselves, you know, I think is something that should go high at the top of the list of things that we do to take care of ourselves, is time spent in silence, time spent alone. And what better time to do that than in the morning, when everything is just so magical, and so special.

[50:21] So, what I would love to kind of nudge you toward, right now, this week, is to make a change for yourself. And the change that you’re going to settle on is going to be totally unique to you, right? But just give yourself a moment right at the end of this podcast, or at some point today, where you really have the time to just be. And do that alone. To meditate or contemplate what makes me feel good, and what makes me feel bad?

[50:50] And there’s a difference between that fleeting sense of good that we feel, that we feel eating a bunch of sugar in front of Netflix, right, versus the feeling of good that’s deep inside of our souls, that feeling of good. The feeling of good that I feel at five a.m. watching the stars is a different kind of good than I feel watching Top Chef. You guys get it, right? So what we’re looking for is that deep-rooted sense of actual goodness. What makes me feel good? What makes me feel bad?

[51:22] And you can even like, bullet list this, you know? Just take a moment to write about it, and then see which of these columns are you spending more time in. If you know that there’s something you know that really doesn’t make you feel good, and you’re doing it all the time? Okay, well that’s your change this week, right? If it’s sleeping in, or snoozing, or maybe you’re online shopping, spending a bunch of money on things you don’t need, or maybe you’re gossiping, or talking bad about other people, or maybe eating things that don’t make you feel good, or drinking things that don’t make you feel good, or not moving your body, or something, you know?

[51:55] What is it that makes you feel bad, and can you start to spend more time in the column of things that make you feel actually, genuinely good. And then implement one of those changes right now, you know? And if you feel intrigued by the idea of getting up at five, you know, start tomorrow. Why not? Start tomorrow. Start right now. Don’t wait for some better time, or for “Monday is a new week,” or for New Year’s Eve or something like that; just start now. Like give it a try.

[52:22] And I think there’s a part of us that kind of holds back a little bit when it comes time to making constructive changes in our daily habits because we are so comfortable in our day-to-day routine, you know? Like it’s really hard to get off the couch, especially now when everything is hard, and everything is horrible, and the world is falling apart, like the couch is a comfortable place to be, we are in that comfort zone. And we’ve kind of told ourself that, “hey, this is our safe space. I feel safe in this space, and I also feel familiar with this level of suffering,” right?

[52:56] Especially if you’re using those things as a way to escape feeling your feelings or to numb yourself, we get really familiar and comfortable doing that, and the idea of facing things head-on, you know? If it’s quitting that habit that you know isn’t good for you, or sitting in silence with yourself, which can be really confronting if we do it for long periods of time, like it’s scary because we know we might be faced with some sort of big shift, and change is hard, you know? Change is really hard.

[53:27] And I also think, if you’re listening to this now and you’re nodding along, or you feel like, “yeah, yeah, I’m resonating, I need some of that,” then yeah, trusting in that voice. And then maybe give that voice a helping hand by actually choosing to commit to something right now. Because at the end of the day, fuck man, we get one life, we literally get one life. The thought of, at the end of my life looking back and realizing that I watched more episodes of Top Chef than I did the sunrise? That would be game over. That would be a genuinely bad thing, right?

[54:05] We want more mornings watching the sunrise, more evenings watching the night sky than time spent on the couch in front of Netflix. Do you agree? I really, really feel it. So I, I hope you feel empowered in your ability to make a change, if there is a change that you feel would make you feel good. It can be something small; start with that tiny little thing, you know? Like small habits lead to big changes, and I think that’s where we should focus our energy right now, you know? We’re trying to change the world, we gotta start with ourselves, and feeling good in our bodies, in our lives, most importantly, in our hearts.

[54:46] Thank you so much for tuning in with me today. I hope you have a really great week, I love you so much. Thanks for listening, and I’ll be back next week.

[54:56 — End of Episode]