How to Create a Bedtime Routine

How to Create a Bedtime Routine

I think most of us could use a bit more sleep… am I right? Or, at the very least, better quality sleep. This is exactly why today we’re talking about creating a bedtime routine!

You might remember that I started a series awhile back on how to get better sleep.  If you haven’t already, be sure to check out the previous posts: Part 1: How to Get Better Sleep and Part 2: How to Relax Before Bed

Alright, here’s the deal: our bodies function best on a consistent sleep schedule.   In order to get the deepest sleep possible, we need to get in touch with our natural circadian rhythm (aka sleep/wake cycle) and have a consistent bedtime and wake-up time every day of the week.

So, here’s how to create a bedtime routine!

1. Set a regular bedtime

I know this first step might seem silly and obvious, but how many of us don’t have a regular bedtime and then wonder why our sleep is inconsistent and our bodies don’t feel rested?

Begin by listening to your body and noticing what time you naturally start to feel sleepy.  What I’ve noticed from my own experiences and talking with others is that each of us tend to have our own sleep schedule that makes us feel rested. Some folks thrive as “night owls” while others prefer to be “early risers.” Although work schedules might interfere with your desired bedtime and rising time, try to follow your body’s natural clock as much as possible.

Once you pick a bedtime, be consistent in following it.  This will help your body to expect sleep and you will have better quality sleep as a result.  If you must adjust your bedtime, try to adjust it in small, 15-minute increments so that it does not cause a huge shift all at once.

2. Create a bedtime routine 

Once you have your bedtime set, assign yourself a time to start getting ready for bed each night.  This can be anywhere from a half hour before bed to an hour and a half.

One of the keys I’ve found to being able to keep a consistent bedtime is planning time to relax before bed. Ideally, I like to start getting ready for bed about an hour before I actually want to be asleep. In Part 2 of this series, I shared my tips for How to Relax Before Bed. Some of my favorites include taking a bath, listening to music or podcasts, drinking Natural Calm (a magnesium supplement) which helps to ease stress, and reading a book.

A lot of us neglect this simple step and then we hop into bed, find our minds still racing from the day, and toss and turn for hours trying to wind down. Instead, be proactive and train your body to relax, which will help to promote consistent and deeper sleep!

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Toasted Coconut and Goji Berry Trail Mix

Toasted Coconut and Goji Berry Trail Mix

There are a lot of reasons why people make trail mix. Most people I know make trail mix because they need quick energy on a hike. Or a bike ride. Or perhaps a good run.

But me? No. 

I make trail mix prior to a shopping trip at IKEA. I mean, can you think of a better time when you’ll be under stress, most likely hungry, and really needing some energy? I certainly can’t.

I made this batch of trail mix in preparation for an IKEA run a few weeks back. Even though my friend and I were estimating it would be a “quick trip,” I knew I had to be prepared and that definitely meant bringing food along.

Three hours, two lamps, a kitchen cart, and a giant shelf later I found myself stuffing this trail mix into my mouth by the handful and I couldn’t have been more grateful.  If you need a tasty and nutritious snack on hand to prevent low blood sugar, I think this toasted coconut and goji berry trail mix is the solution…

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DIY Kitchen Makeover

DIY Kitchen Makeover

I believe that the kitchen is the most important room in any home. The kitchen is where food gets made, bodies get nourished, and important conversations happen. I’ve found that when your kitchen is in chaos, so is your life.

This is precisely the reason why I have been wanting to leave my apartment for the entire six months that I’ve lived there.

It all started when a pyrex dish exploded in my oven.  I had been living in my apartment for about two weeks at that point and in hindsight, I think that pyrex dish was just a warning of things to come.  After this incident I got an oven thermometer and realized that my oven was running about 200 degrees F hotter than it should have been. It also fluctuated in temperature so much that it got to the point that it was completely unusable. My apartment manager then replaced the oven and I had to spend the next month trying to burn off the fumes of the chemicals they used to clean it.

The other big problem I had with the kitchen is that the huge fridge was crammed into the tight kitchen space so you could barely stand at the counter or get to the sink. I wish I had taken better “before” photos so you could get the real effect, but just know that in any picture where you see the kitchen cart, that’s where the fridge used to be. And since my kitchen is pretty narrow, I couldn’t even open the fridge door the entire way or use the produce drawers. I’m not sure who designed the kitchen, but it was a really silly use of the space.

I finally got fed up last week and decided that I was either going to fix the kitchen or I was going to move. So I hauled the fridge across the room and put it at the end of the counter. Instantly this changed everything. I could suddenly access the entire fridge, I had room to walk to the sink, and the entire room felt more open and light.  Sometimes all it takes is a simple change to get started.

Who knew that all it would take to make me absolutely love my kitchen is moving the fridge, installing a few overhead lights and a shelf, and getting a kitchen cart? After I completed the project I felt so silly for not doing it earlier! And, the best part? I actually love cooking in there now! I had forgotten that I used to actually like being in a kitchen! :)

My hope is that sharing my kitchen makeover with you will inspire you to create a kitchen that you adore and inspires you to create delicious food. So here we go!

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Coconut Crusted Salmon

Coconut Crusted Salmon

Do you ever have those nights where you wake up at 3 am and just cannot get back to sleep? I had one of those nights recently and it was downright miserable. Although, I will say I got a lot of thinking done.

Thinking about really, really important thoughts like…

  • Should I go back to DSW and just buy that purse? I didn’t really like the color, but it was the perfect size… Ooh! Maybe I can find it in a different color online!
  • I think I should rearrange my kitchen. I hate the way it feels so cramped in there. Maybe if I move the fridge? Wait, is there an outlet on the other wall? Hmmm…
  • Go back to sleep. Go. Back. To. Sleep.
  • What is that noise? Which one of my cats is making it? What did he get into now?!
  • I really should make more salmon. It just feels right for spring. I wonder if there’s a way to combine it with coconut somehow. Maybe with shredded coconut flakes? Now we’re onto something… 

The only thing that came out of my miserable, sleep-deprived evening? This Coconut Crusted Salmon recipe. And to be totally honest, it was completely worth it. Who knew that a recipe created at 3 am could be so delicious?

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C Punch Smoothie & Vibrant Life Cookbook

C Punch Smoothie

I get really excited when readers tell me that this blog inspires them to start creating a healthier lifestyle.

One of the reasons why I began this website and became a certified holistic health coach in the first place is because I wanted to help people feel better in their bodies. I believe that when we feel vibrant and have real energy, this allows us to do the things we are really meant to do in our lives.

And if we don’t have our health? Then this is the place we need to start.

I’ve dealt with my fair share of health issues throughout my life and I’ve always noticed a difference when I take care of my body. Getting sleep, eating nourishing food, and making time for relaxing activities is absolutely vital. I know that when life is busy and there are a million things on the to-do list that it can feel really overwhelming to think about making big changes to your diet.

This is precisely why I always share the message here that making a small change is better than making no change at all.

A small change can be as simple as drinking a glass of water before coffee, eating almonds instead of a candy bar, or going for a ten minute walk in the afternoon. These changes add up over time and  I’ve often found that once a healthy habit sticks, then we’re more likely to create a new one. This is how real change happens. But you have to start small. 

Over the years I’ve worked with a lot of clients and the way we usually start by creating a healthier lifestyle is by adding more leafy greens and green vegetables into their diet. Kale, chard, spinach, arugula, collard greens, broccoli, bok choy… these are some of the most nutrient-dense foods and most of us don’t get enough of them.

This is why today I wanted to share with you a really cool program and cookbook created by my friend Leanne Vogel of HealthfulPursuit.com. Leanne is a holistic nutritionist and she creates some of the most delicious and allergen-friendly recipes I’ve ever seen. She just released her new Vibrant Life Cleanse Program and Cookbook and I think you’re going to love it as much as I do.

Vibrant Life Cleanse Program & Cookbook

Leanne’s Vibrant Life Cleanse Program & Cookbook is for people that are ready to take better care of themselves. On the surface, it’s about juices, smoothies and cleansing. But really, it’s about activating your most radiant self. This book contains over 55 original paleo, vegan and gluten-free recipes and 160+ pages to show you how to:

  • Effortlessly use juices & smoothies to boost your health
  • Listen to your body and know when you’re legitimately satisfied
  • Move into, through, and out of a cleanse safely (with shining results)

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What I learned during my week off

Taking a break

Sometimes we really need a break… but for some reason in American society, it’s sooo hard to slow down and take one.

I should know. I’m the prime example of someone who has often refused to take a break. Why? Because I’m silly and stubborn sometimes, and in my mind, it always seemed like I could get more done if I could just. keep. going.

Oh the years I wasted with this mentality.

The way I see it is that in our culture we reward hard work. We look fondly upon those who are doing a million things at once, appearing successful, accomplished, put together, and happy. The truth? I know a lot of those people. Often times, I am one of those people. And on the inside we just feel really burned out.

I am in the middle of a big career transition in my life and recently started a new job. It is terrifying, exhilarating, and amazing all at once.  During this transition, I was able to get a week off in-between jobs. I wasn’t initially expecting this break so I instantly found myself creating massive to-do lists of everything I could get done during this time.

Car repairs.

Writing a new cookbook.

A trip to IKEA.

Buying some much-needed new shoes.

Getting my pants hemmed.

Website updates.

The list went on and on.

A few days before my week off was to begin, I looked at that list and instantly felt stressed and overwhelmed. That’s when it really hit me: I didn’t have to spend my week running errands and feeling miserable. I could make different choices.

The beauty of this life is that we get to choose how we want to feel and the way we spend our time. — click to tweet it!

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Purrrfect Mornings

Purrrfect Mornings

And here is the post where I officially go out on a limb, show you all exactly how weird I am, and lose about 3% of my readership in the process.

It’s okay, I’m willing to risk those odds because I must show you how cute my cat is. And to do that, you’d have to know that yes, in fact, I do spend a good portion of my day observing my cat and wondering what he is thinking. So here we go…

This is my second cat, Frodo. I love him dearly.

You know how people sometimes look like their pets? I think that we might have a slight resemblance. That’s fine with me though because he’s pretty darn cute.

Frodo’s day starts every morning at 5:30 am. Why? Because the birds are up. And if the birds are up, Frodo is up. Simple as that. Someone’s got to give them menacing cat threats from the window and tell them to pipe down.

Frodo does this with ease.

Purrrfect Mornings

Well, unless he’s too busy cleaning himself. He gets easily distracted sometimes…

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Spring Detox Smoothie

Spring Detox Smoothie

I have made a lot of green smoothies in my time. Seriously. A lot. I’m talking a green smoothie every day for the past seven years. That’s a lot of smoothies.

It all started back in 2007 when I was working at a raw foods cafe. I probably made over 10,000 green smoothies during that time. And that’s not even including green smoothies for me.

I used to rely on my Green Smoothie 2.0 recipe. This was my go-to standard smoothie for years.

Then came some fun green smoothie variations. Including my Kale and Pear Smoothie with Herbs and my Energizing Green Smoothie, which uses green tea for an energizing antioxidant boost. Yum!

Somewhere in there I became a holistic health coach and started encouraging others to make green smoothies of their own. (Are you a green smoothie newbie? I made a Green Smoothie 101 Video Tutorial just for you!) 

I also spent the past three and a half years years working at a nonprofit organization doing food education with low-income children and families. The best part? I got to share my Kale Smoothie for Kids with hundreds of kids all around the city of Seattle. I’m really gonna miss that job.

Then came my Kale Smoothie for Ladies. This one combines kale with potassium-rich bananas, hormone-balancing maca powder, and cacao powder (because… who doesn’t love chocolate?!) for a delicious, creamy treat.

Recently I even developed a low-sugar smoothie, perfect for those needing to cut back on fructose. The result? A creamy Fruit-Free Green Smoothie that uses avocado and cucumber as the base.

This week I found myself reflecting on the different smoothies I’ve made throughout my life. Just like the weather, I usually switch up my smoothie 3 – 4 times a year to coincide with the seasons and meet the needs of what I’m craving.

Since we’re now into spring I thought it was time to create a new smoothie using all the fresh greens available. This smoothie is a slightly spicy blend of arugula, kale, pea shoots, and micro greens, combined with avocado, cucumber, lemon, and a little coconut water for sweetness. It’s low in sugar, high in fiber, and the perfect way to add more greens into your diet this season. Hello spring detox smoothie!

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