Everyday Advice for the Working Millennial {Guest Post}

The professional lifestyles of today are more different and unconventional than ever before. Especially among millennials, career paths often involve non-traditional working environments and responsibilities, compared to the older, more established generations.

But while most millennials understand the importance of a work-life balance, that temptation to become consumed with our careers often takes priority over well-being. We tend to stick our own health on the backburner—not realizing the immense value of staying both physically and mentally fit in the long-term.

If this sounds familiar, you aren’t alone. Fortunately, there are numerous strategies for balancing work and wellness, so here are some easy-to-implement solutions to keep that mind and body going strong!

work-and-wellness

Exercise Your Way to Happiness.

After a tiring workday, the first instinct is often to turn on Netflix rather than hitting the gym, but making time for exercise is a habit anyone can develop with conscious effort and persistence—even with a hectic schedule. If you’re not sure how to begin a workout regimen, just aim for completing 10,000 steps on a daily basis which promotes cardio strength and stamina. In addition to the physical benefits, exercise releases endorphins that alleviate stress or burnout too.

Meditate for Inner Peace.

Engaging in a mindfulness practice is among the most effective tools for stabilizing your emotions. Ancient forms of meditation, like pranayama or SuperBrain yoga (Thoppukaranam), keep the mind both alert and active. Not to mention, this deep conscious breathing ritual promotes balanced hormone levels and gives you an outlet for much-needed “me time.”

Eat Well and Eat Often.

Long work hours often lead to grabbing a quick bite at random intervals, choosing the convenient “fast food” option or skipping meals altogether. While a nutritious lunch might require more time and effort, consuming small portions of healthy foods on a frequent basis keeps the body satiated and the mind focused—without hunger pangs distracting you or processed ingredients draining your energy.

Don’t Be Penny-Wise and Pound-Foolish.

Poor money management is a leading cause of stress, so it’s vital to maintain “financial health.” Spend at least 5 minutes each day tracking your expenses to make sure the bills are paid on time, the savings account is secure, the budget is still intact, and there’s enough cashflow remaining for an emergency fund too. When you aren’t worried about living paycheck to paycheck, that sense of freedom translates into a less anxious, more productive mind.

Do What Your Love.

Ultimately, it’s important to evaluate if your chosen career path brings happiness. You’ll spend about three-fourths of each day working, so you might as well pursue a job that gives you satisfaction. While it’s unrealistic to assume that professional success can guarantee 100% contentment, make sure you’re self-aware enough to recognize when a job starts compromising your quality of life. Offset this “occupational hazard” by dedicating time each week to non-work related passions and hobbies that create a sense of purpose you just won’t find in punching a clock.

Implementing these habits into your routine can dramatically enhance that work-life balance we should all be striving for. It’s a common pitfall to focus just on career ambitions—especially if you’re new to the workforce—but don’t allow this to become a long-term trend. Give yourself the time, space and permission to manage other aspects of life too. Your physical, mental and emotional wellness depends on it, after all.


Akshata Mehta has a passion for traveling and exploring the world. She loves to write, and is especially interested in sustainability for everyday life. Being a foodie, she also enjoys cooking up healthy concoctions in her kitchen, recording these recipes and more on her blog With Love From Akshata.

 

 

Advertisements

Thirty Things to Do Before I Turn Thirty (Well…Here’s Hoping, Anyway!)

Two weeks ago, I turned 25. Cue the quarter life crisis. I’m supposed to be adulting now, but instead I’m just over here binging Netflix.

Turns out, “halfway to 30” doesn’t mean “existential questions answered.” Shocker. Guess I’m still the clueless human I was at 24.

Alright…so, my twenty-something years are numbered. So, I’m nowhere close to nailing down my purpose—outside of moscato and HIMYM. So, life hasn’t taken the course I once assumed it would. So what?

Age doesn’t have an expiration date, and 30 isn’t even that old. Besides, five whole years stand between me and the Big Three-0. Five years of adventures, opportunities, aspirations and undertakings. Five years to define (and re-define) my goals. Five years to make. it. happen. 

On that note, you obviously know what’s coming:

30 before 30 bucket list

Drumroll, please…

bucket list 1

bucket list 2

bucket list 3

bucket list 4

bucket list 5

bucket list 6

bucket list 7

bucket list 8

bucket list 9

bucket list 10

bucket list 11

bucket list 12

bucket list 13

bucket list 14

bucket list 15

bucket list 16

bucket list 17

bucket list 18

bucket list 19

bucket list 20

bucket list 21

bucket list 22

bucket list 23

bucket list 24

bucket list 25

bucket list 26

bucket list 27

bucket list 28

bucket list 29

bucket list 30

Phew…that was one monster post. If you stuck it out, thanks for being a trooper! Now, what’s on your “30 Before 30” bucket list? Promise I won’t steal your brilliant ideas—unless I need more inspiration when I turn 40!

Simple Steps to Feel Amazing Every Day this Summer

Summertime is the official spokes-season (see what I did there?) of relaxation, vitality and pure amazingness. In fact, my personal mantra during these gloriously sun-drenched months is to Feel Amazing Every Day through self-care rituals, alfresco explorations, fitness commitments and superfood sustenance.

 And in that spirit of epic expectations, lemme divulge my Top 4 no-fail wellness pointers, along with statistical snapshots on why you should care. Then, we can ALL proceed to make this summer one for the history books!

feel amazing every day

1.  Start Each Day with a Yoga Flow.

  • Stimulates physical energy
  • Alleviates emotional stress
  • Cultivates breath awareness
  • Forges a mind–body connection
  • Promotes full-body movement
upward dog

upward dog, anyone? ignore the…err…unflattering angle!

2.  Say “Hell Yeah” to Whole Foods.

  • Gives the body nutrient–dense fuel
  • Satiates hunger for extended periods
  • Curbs refined sugar cravings over time
  • Encourages a mindful eating practice
  • Replaces “artificial” with all–natural
amazing grass pancakes

protein pancakes topped with almond butter drizzle

3.  Spend Quality Time Outdoors.

  • Improves respiration & circulation
  • Reduces stress for mental clarity
  • Offers the benefits of Vitamin D
  • Motivates cardiovascular activity
  • Fosters appreciation for nature
amazing grass smoothie 2

RayBan shades and 95–degree Florida humidity…optional

4.  Slurp on Amazing Grass Smoothies.

  • Contains 20g of plant-based protein
  • Yields 2 servings of fruit & veggies
  • Includes 7 alkalizing leafy greens
  • Supports lean muscle development
  • Regulates optimal digestive health
  • Provides these wellness benefits:
    • USDA-certified organic ingredients
    • non-GMO & gluten-free verified
    • no added sugars or preservatives
    • vegan, kosher & pareve compliant
amazing grass smoothie 3

organic pea, hemp, chia and quinoa…OH MY!

Psssst…wanna experience all that AMAZINGNESS for yourself this summer? Then, don’t forget to enter my Amazing Grass Protein Superfood Giveaway! Check out the details below and indicate which flavor you’d prefer: Original, Vanilla or Chocolate–Peanut Butter.

instagram giveaway

***Open U.S.–based entries only.  Winner selected at midnight July 9.***

 

Sweat It Out With a Protein-Packed Snack Attack

There’s a 50/50 chance I might’ve *casually* mentioned once—maaaaybe twice—that I’m getting married in the near future. 160 days if you wanna get technical, but who’s counting?

Although I don’t buy into that stereotypical “wedding workout” mentality (fitness is a lifestyle, not some Must. Drop. Two. Dress. Sizes. For. The. Big. Day. thing), exercise does have a prominent place in my routine. That would still be true regardless of this whole bride-to-be caveat…but extra motivation a la Alfred Angelo never hurts either!

post pure barre

That time I dragged the (almost) hubs to Pure Barre…Couples who sweat together stay together, dontcha know!

Don’t get me wrong though, it’s not just about turning heads on your walk down the aisle or rocking that honeymoon bikini you’ve ogled for months. Exercise relieves stress (pre-wedding jitters, anyone?), boosts productivity (those guest lists aren’t gonna write themselves!), and influences even more healthy habits too.

Like eating. A.K.A. the other part of this wellness equation. In order to sustain physical activity, our bodies need fuel. Mainly protein-dense fuel which promotes muscular development, strength and endurance, so we can keep moving for longer periods of time. Fact: no snacking repertoire—for pre-workout energy or post-workout recovery—is complete without this nutritional powerhouse.

Think raw almonds, steamed edamame, roasted chickpeas, hard-boiled eggs, sunflower seeds, plain Greek yogurt and nut butters, for example. Or, need some further “nom”spiration? (Just invented a new word. No biggie.) Check out my Sweat Sesh Snack Attack go-tos for your protein loading pleasure!

protein post-workout snacks

Whether you’re #SweatingForTheWedding or craving a healthier alternative to Cool Ranch Doritos, these mindful munchies just reinvented snacktime. Yup…don’t underestimate the power of protein. This bride-to-be has spoken.


*For even more ideas, recipes and tidbits to pack your diet with protein,  Nuts.com  has you covered!

Sporty, Stylish & Sustainable: The PrAna Trifecta

Lately, I’ve been inspired to start dabbling in yoga after a 5-year hiatus. During college, I considered myself an avid yogi. Not a particularly skilled yogi…but consistent and dedicated nonetheless.

But once I graduated and began “adulting”—to quote my people, the oh-so-illustrious Millennials—yoga’s restorative influence was replaced by financial stressors, professional demands and household responsibilities. Sure, I still exercised like a mad woman, but gone was that calming mind-body connection I’d once achieved from yoga.   

So, here’s the goal for this spring: make yoga an integral part of my fitness regimen. Which means going back to basics. Embracing “newbie” status, relearning foundational postures, and accepting that my form is…ahem…a work-in-progress.

Despite being a clueless noob on the actual mat though, at least I can look the “rockstar yogi” part in everyday life. Thanks to PrAna anyway!

prana logo

image courtesy of prana.com

Named after a Sanskrit phrase, meaning energy force, this active lifestyle brand combines fashion and functionality to move unrestricted through various yoga sequences—while snagging a Best Dressed award in the process! Well, maybe not. But point taken, right?

PrAna recently launched its Spring 2016 collection, and not gonna lie, I’m obsessed. From figure flattering tanks to vividly patterned capris, this athleisure line is studio-to-street chic.

prana bluesign apparel 3

prana bluesign apparel 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

prana bluesign apparel 1

Each garment features stretch compression for maximum flexibility, moisture wicking for decreased perspiration, and bluesign verified textiles for eco-friendly design. PrAna takes environmental consciousness super seriously—in fact, all products are made with these sustainable materials:

Plus, even if yoga isn’t exactly your forte, you’ll look legit regardless! Proof’s in the pictures (I guess that’s debatable, but let’s just go with my not-so-humble opinion)…

prana yoga pose 1

prana yoga pose 2

 

 

 

 

 

prana yoga pose 3

prana yoga pose 4

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Since I’m a PrAna fan—and clearly think you should be too—enjoy this discount code for 15% off your next order: PSS16HBAH.

So, happy yoga-ing (or whatever the correct Sanskrit expression is). Namaste maybe…?

 

Netflix and…Don’t Chill!

On average, Netflix subscribers spend about 1 1/2 hours per day binge-watching their favorite shows. Which is 1 1/2 hours that could be devoted to exercise instead. But since the Netflix trend is here to stay—hey, fine by me!—why not put those multi-tasking skills to work rather than…you know…just sitting there?

If a show typically runs between 30 minutes and 1 hour, maximize this time by combining your daily Netflix binge with those easy-to-overlook-but-doesn’t-mean-you-should fitness commitments.

So, all you streamer extraordinaires, take a look at these suggestions for some no chill motivation…

stay active while watching netflix

 

1.  Sneak in Cardio Intervals:

  • 5 minutes of jogging in place
  • 3 minutes of skipping rope
  • 100 jumping jacks
  • 50 high-knee climbers
  • between 30-50 burpees

2.  Do Bodyweight Exercises: 

  • 3 minutes of planks
  • 1 minute of wall sits
  • between 50-100 pushups
  • between 50-70 squats
  • 50 lunges on each side
  • 50 lower abdominal curls
  • 50 bicycle crunches
  • between 20-30 leg lifts

3.  Keep Dumbbells On-Hand:

  • 30 arm circles in each direction
  • 30 overhead tricep extensions
  • between 20-30 overhead presses
  • between 20-30 bicep curls
  • between 20-30 lateral arm raises

4.  Practice a Yoga Sequence: 

  • 1 minute of modified bridge pose
  • 1 minute of seated twist pose on each side
  • 30 seconds of warrior 1 pose on each side
  • 30 seconds of tree pose on each side
  • between 20-30 seconds of chair pose
  • 10 seconds of triangle pose on each side
  • 10 seconds of downward dog pose
  • 10 seconds of upward dog pose

5.  Give Circuit Training a Try:

  • during scene 1, do a cardio exercise
  • during scene 2, do an upper body exercise
  • during scene 3, do a core exercise
  • during scene 4, do a lower body exercise
  • repeat during the remaining scenes

 

image courtesy of Pinterest

Alrighty. So, that’s how I tune into workout/streaming success. How do you fuel a Netflix addiction without skimping on physical activity? Lemme hear your fitness tips for a zero chill Netflix binge. And…go!

Healthy Habits to Keep the Odds (of Cancer) Ever in Your Favor

February is National Cancer Prevention Month—a cause which has deeply resonated with me over these last 10 years. And that’s due to one remarkable girl who, during the short time I knew her, impacted my life more than some people twice her age ever could.

February 25, 2006  will forever be etched into my memory. On this date, heaven gained an angel in the form of my childhood friend and role model, Kalyn Elizabeth High. I avoid using the expression “lost her battle” to describe Kalyn’s final moments here on earth—because that girl was the toughest fighter I have ever met, and osteosarcoma couldn’t crush her spirit or shake her faith.

But this disease did take an incredibly gifted 16-year-old away from a world who just didn’t want to say goodbye. So, throughout the past decade, I’ve become passionate about cancer awareness, research and prevention. Kalyn is the inspiration for this post, but anyone can benefit from the information.

After all…cancer doesn’t discriminate based on age, gender, ethnicity or background. Cancer is ruthless. But we can stack the odds of survival—and even avoidance—in our favor. Check out these statistics from the American Center for Cancer Research:

Approximately 1/3 cases of the most common cancers in the U.S. could be prevented by eating healthy, being active and staying lean. That’s an estimated 374,000 cases of cancer in the United States that would never happen.

For practical and effective pointers on limiting your exposure to physical, chemical and environmental stressors that could put you at risk, I’ve teamed up with the Mesothelioma & Asbestos Awareness Center, an online resource that warns against asbestos usage. This substance  is a leading cause of the rare but aggressive Mesothelioma and other lung cancers. 

As illustrated by the following infographics, cultivating simple habits throughout everyday life can make a positive, long-term impact on your overall wellness…

cancer prevention

healthy home checklist

Finally, remember—February might be Cancer Prevention Month, but these tips should be utilized year-round.

Kalyn…this one’s for you!