Rain or shine, we all have days where nothing seems to go right. Rather than staying trapped in a downward spiral of feelings, Sunshine Lists are my favorite way to snap out of it. As a teacher on the hunt for inspiration, the list blossomed out of a free-writing assignment for my students and is a personal inventory of simple things that bring joy and contentment.
Positive Psychologist, Tal Ben-Shahar explains that everyone has painful emotions, but our mind’s consciousness is comparable to an immune system: the more we tap into better choices, the less we get sick and the quicker we recover when we do. Active gratitude is one such choice, but in a time where the word gratitude – while rooted in meaningful principles – has become clichéd, Sunshine Lists are a welcome alternative.
The best part is that anyone can easily create one by following a few simple steps:
1. Set the Mood
The intention of this list is to remind you of things that make you happy. In order to do that, create a space and time where you feel calm and open. Light your favorite candle, cozy up with a comfy blanket, take a deep breath, and relax!
2. Set a Timer
Creating this list is meant to be a free-flow of thoughts and setting a time limit will allow you to completely focus on the activity at hand. I recommend at least ten minutes, but it’s best to decide what works for you in your day.
3. Start Writing and Don’t Stop
Record anything smile-worthy that pops into your head: favorite smells, sounds, and tastes; climbing into a bed of freshly washed sheets; that first sip of red wine; buying a new book– or re-reading a favourite; the places you love to visit or an activity that makes you feel complete. Once you’re on a roll, write until the timer goes off. You’ll be amazed by how many things in this world make you happy and how simple many of them are.
4. Keep your Sunshine List Handy
In order for this list to work you need to have it readily available when that bad mood strikes. I have a copy posted near my desk at work and also saved as a note on my cell phone so I can access it from any location.
5. Save it for a Rainy Day
Next time you’re on a downward spiral toward gloom and doom, whip out your list and start reading. I bet you won’t even make it to the end before you find your day shining a little brighter! - Kate Lombardo
I travel for a living. And while living out of a suitcase can often be challenging, I’ve found that the best way to ground myself is to bring along some of the comforts of home. My wellness travel essentials do double duty to comfort me and keep me healthy while on the road. Here’s what you’ll find if you unpacked my bag.
'Fashion with a conscience' is JADEtribe’s motto and their natural, organic, ethical textiles follow suit. You can find me wandering the streets of Thailand or Colombia with any one of the messenger bags– large enough to carry my water and camera, but not too big to be uncomfortably heavy. I often get stopped in the street and asked where I purchased the bag, as the feel of the hand-woven fabrics seems local no matter where you are in the world. The fact that JADEtribe employs small women’s co-ops in South East Asia makes me return for a new one every season.
Guided Meditations with Dr. Miles Neale
Technology isn’t inherently bad, it’s how you use it that makes all the difference. For me, my meditation practice is more consistent when I’m traveling. Whether I give myself ten or thirty minutes, I’m able to set aside the distractions of daily life when I’m by myself in my hotel room or in a comfortable spot in the garden. Dr. Neale is a Buddhist psychotherapist who teaches an Indo-Tibetan meditation lineage. All four of his albums occupy a prominent place in my iTunes library. My morning mood determines my playlist. Mindfulness, breath work, visualization, or the Lam Rim Prayers help me to start the day centered and aware.
Yoga Tune Up® Therapy Ball Plus
My life changed when I started traveling with my Yoga Tune Up® balls. These grippy, rubbery balls created by Yoga Tune Up® founder, Jill Miller, are the key to my active recovery. From sitting too long on a plane to over using my legs on a strenuous hike, I use the Therapy Ball Plus' to give myself a welcome stress relieving massage. I roll out any part of my body – spine, sacrum, hamstrings, forearms, feet – that is feeling achy or sore and after a good night’s sleep I’m back to feeling better than normal.
iwilla remedy Bug Off Bug-Spray
From oily finishes to smelling like chemicals, I’ve tried every bug spray out there as mosquitoes find me no matter where I am. Finally I landed on an herbal insect repellent that not only smells good, but actually works. This Brooklyn-based brand uses certified organic ingredients including apple cider vinegar, citronella, eucalyptus, lavender, and lemongrass essential oil. The spray smells so good that on hot summer nights it can actually double as your scent.
Dr. Alkaitis Organic Nourishing Treatment Oil
The first time I tried this healing oil was in a dry mountain atmosphere where no matter how much lotion I was using, my face was left feeling dry. Dr. Alkaitis changed all that! This ‘miracle in a bottle’ is made from virgin cold-pressed organic oils including Jojoba, St. John’s Wart, Andean Mountain Rose Hip seed, and with some added natural vitamin E complex. Not only does it nourish dry and damaged skin, but I discovered you can use it as a scalp treatment to prevent stretch marks, and on your nails. A full sized bottle lives in my medicine cabinet and a travel size lives in my pre-packed cosmetic bag.
To read full article with all 10 wellness travel essentials, click here.
Every summer I get this insatiable yearning to eat lighter foods. Independence Day, summer parties, and beach weekends are at our doorsteps, and whether it's a summer BBQ companion or weeknight scramble, this versatile side dish is one of my favorites. Healthy and easy, it's complete with cleansing cilantro, jalapeno, and tropical fruits to pack a unique, refreshing punch. You’ll leave the barbecue light and recharged instead of bloated and sluggish (while everyone asks for the recipe!).
The Ultimate Summer BBQ Salsa
1 ripe mango (here's a post on the easiest way to cut mangos)
1 orange bell pepper
1 can organic sweet corn
1 can black beans
1 handful of cilantro (more if desired)
1 jalapeno pepper (optional)
salt & pepper, to taste
Prepare: (makes about a quart)
Chop all ingredients to desired size, mix, and devour!
5 ways to showcase this salsa:
Fish Tacos: All you need is fish, taco shells, chopped cabbage, and fresh lime juice.
Salmon: Top the salsa with grilled salmon and lime juice– it's that easy.
Chips & Salsa: No directions required. Marries nicely with chopped avocado and organic corn chips (blue ones for beauty points!).
Salad: Mix with Boston Bibb lettuce and top with a simple olive oil and fresh grapefruit juice dressing for a light summer salad.
Steak: Combine jasmine rice with fresh lime juice, grill up your favorite steak (mine’s skirt steak), add salsa and you’re set!
I hope you enjoy this recipe and are able to enjoy your own creative uses for it. Feel free to share them in the comments below. - Jessica
Jessica Geier is a Certified Holistic Health Coach and the co-owner of Raw Generation Juices. Raw Generation makes it more convenient to incorporate fresh juices into a busy lifestyle without being a slave to a juicer. Jessica trained at the Institute of Integrative Nutrition and continues to educate herself daily on what’s new in the field of nutrition. In her spare time she runs, practices hot yoga, is obsessed with the Bar Method classes, and writes for her two blogs at Raw Generation & Plenty of Thyme. Connect with her on Facebook and Twitter.