Archive | December, 2014

New Year, New Goals

27 Dec

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New year + new goals = a new you! January is a perfect time for you to look back at 2014 and self reflect. Think about everything you’ve accomplished and what you are most proud of. Also think back on things you wish you could have achieved but didn’t get around to, and what you’d like to change in 2015. HAWA wants to help. Take a look at our Pinterest page “New Year, New Goals” for free printable goal sheets to help guide your self reflection. After you complete your goal sheet put it somewhere where you will see it everyday so you can stay focused throughout the whole year! Pin it in your closet, use it as a bookmark, tape it in your planner, place it under your keyboard at work, or even put it in your gym bag. Enjoy looking back at 2014, Happy New Year!

Reduce Your Holiday Stress

20 Dec


Sit next to a window

Those of us living in the Midwest and in colder regions have a higher chance of experiencing seasonal affective disorder “SAD”. Relieve the associated symptoms by spending more time outdoors or even near a sunny window.

Plan low cost fun holiday activities

It’s only normal to stress around the holidays about money and having all of the family at home. Plan activities that your family will love even on a small budget. Schedule a movie night, go on a holiday lights tour around your city, host a holiday gift craft night, bring out your favorite board games.

Reach out to other people

When you are feeling down, you typically try and withdraw yourself. Instead of staying in, reach out for good company to ease your mind.

Drink more tea

Chamomile is one of the best herbs for anxiety, next time you start to feel anxious brew yourself a cup of tea.

Learn to delegate

Don’t try to do everything by yourself, learn how to break down tasks and ask for help when needed.

Change your soap, lotion, air fresheners and perfume

Your body processes aromas in the same area that processes emotions. Grapefruit and vanilla essential oils have great antidepressants and calming properties. Next time you are buying soap, lotion etc, reach for “mood boosters”.

Exercise every day

Exercise reduces stress hormones and elevates your “feel good” hormones.

Put your cell phone down.

When your cell phone is constantly buzzing and you’re on your toes waiting for your next email, you are unable to relax. Have your friends and family unplug by leaving their cell phones at the door. Enjoy quality time with those you love.

Flee toxic people

Stay away from toxic people who bring you down, learn to surround yourself with those who love you and will lift you up.

Eat more omega 3 fatty acids

Omega 3 fatty acids reduce the effects of stress and anxiety by over 20%. You can find omega 3 fatty acids in foods like fatty fish.

Clock in at least 8 hours of sleep every night

Not getting enough sleep can trigger anxiety. Unplug your cell phone, TV, I pads and all of your electronics at least one hour before bed. Another helpful hint to get quality sleep is to keep a notepad on your bedside table; when you wake up in the middle of the night with a thought or reminder –write it down, so you are not up all night thinking about it.




The Connection Between What You Eat And Your Mood

13 Dec

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Do you clock the recommended 7-8 hours of sleep but can’t make it out of bed without snoozing your alarm ten times?  Do you get that 2pm slump and reach for the quickest fix in caffeine or sugar? Do you experience low moods in addition to being tired? Well, there is good news – there is a connection between a healthy cognitive system and your diet! Ensuring you receive these nine essential nutrients in your daily diet can help combat depression and fatigue while boosting your mood. If you’re experiencing low moods on a regular basis, it is important to report this to your doctor.


The most abundant mineral in the body, it’s no surprise a deficiency affects our moods.  However, low levels affect women more than men (sorry, ladies!) since Calcium plays a role in premenstrual-syndrome related depression.

Sources: dark leafy greens and vegetables, low fat dairy, fortified foods, yogurt.

 Vitamin D

The sunshine vitamin, Vitamin D helps ward off depression.  Deficiency is most often a result of indoor lifestyles and decreased sun exposure in the winter months, so consuming vitamin D in the winter months is essential.

Sources: cod liver oil, salmon, milk, fortified orange juice, fortified yogurt, egg yolk.


Chromium works directly with the brain’s mood regulators and chemical receptors: serotonin, norepinephrine, and melatonin. Increasing your intake of chromium rich foods raises the levels of these regulators and, in turn, this helps lift your mood!

Sources: potatoes, turkey breast, whole grains, green beans, broccoli, egg yolks.


Folate (B9, Folic Acid) helps support serotonin regulation.  A deficiency in folate can cause fatigue as well as feelings of depression.

Sources: leafy greens, fortified cereals, oranges, black eyed peas, asparagus, brussels sprouts, avocado.


Magnesium is another mineral that plays a role in the regulation of serotonin.  Deficiency in magnesium can lead to irritability, fatigue, mental confusion, and stress.

Sources: Almonds, cashews, peanuts, spinach, edamame, dark leafy greens, fish, avocados, bananas, low fat yogurt.


Iron’s important role in the body ranges from transporting oxygen, supporting energy levels, and aiding in muscle strength. Iron deficiency (anemia) appears more frequently in women than in men (sorry again, ladies!) due to menstruation and especially in women of childbearing age. It’s very important to keep your iron levels stable to curtail fatigue and mood changes associated with depression.

Sources: Beef, turkey, chicken, egg yolks, dried beans, fortified cereals, pumpkin seeds, spinach.

Omega 3

Omega 3 fatty acids are notorious for their role in brain health.  Omega 3 is an essential fatty acid meaning it must be consumed in the diet and deficiency can lead to fatigue, mood swings, memory decline, and depression.

Sources: chia seeds, salmon, herring, spinach, flaxseeds, walnuts, fish oil/cod oil, shrimp.


Vitamin B6 is essential for brain function, specifically production of neurotransmitters. Deficiency can lead to short-term anemia, a weakened immune system, confusion, and depression.

Sources:  chickpeas, salmon, chicken breast, fortified breakfast cereals.

Vitamin B12  (cobalamin)

B12 is associated with creation of red blood cells and nerves; deficiency can cause short term fatigue, slowed comprehension, depression. Vegetarians and vegans are highly susceptible to deficiency of B12 due to its main source being meats, eggs, and animal byproducts.

Sources: Fish, meat, poultry, eggs, milk, fortified cereals.


By: Valerie Bannos, DTR, ACE Certified Health Coach  


Yoga Sequence Builder

6 Dec


This week HAWA Challenges you to build your own yoga sequence using Truestar yoga sequence builder ( Truestar has over 163 poses for you to choose from, allowing you to build yoga sequences specifically for your skill level. Truestar not only provides you with 163 poses, but they give you the benefits of each pose, and detailed instructions on how to preform them. You are able to save and print each sequence you build, building your own virtual yoga studio.

Yoga has many health benefits, improving your:

  • Flexibility
  • Mood
  • Balance
  • Asthma
  • Memory
  • Migraines
  • Anxiety
  • Posture
  • Self-esteem
  • Sleep
  • Immunity
  • Back pain
  • Blood pressure
  • Gastrointestinal functions
  • Metabolism
  • Concentration

December S.M.A.R.T Challenge

1 Dec


December can be a stressful month preparing for the holidays, which can often result in end of the year weight gain.

HAWA wants to help you change that trend by challenging you to a more relaxing December while you wrap up 2014 and start looking forward to 2015.

Here are your December challenges:

  • Set your S.M.A.R.T goals
  • Make your goals public
  • Incorporate yoga into your weekly workout routine: Try HAWA’s 4 pose sequence located in your December Newsletter, download a recommended app, or visit the Yoga board on our Pinterest page