September Intentions

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"The key to success is to focus our conscious mind on things we desire, not things we fear." A perfect quote to open up September by Brian Tracy. This is my favorite part of the month. Day one: a fresh start, a new beginning. The first day of the new month is always the time to reflect on what's gone and look forward to what's coming. I say this all of the time that it's vital to manifest what you want. It's easy to get caught up in life stuff and the day to day tasks, but we must be constantly manifesting what we want to in order to achieve our goals. The easiest way to do this is to talk about your goals and what you want out loud. Does it sound silly? Something as easy as using our vocal chords can actually be pretty hard. When you vocalize something, you give it power and you send your intentions out into the universe. I do this all of the time. It can be annoying to some, but I don't care because it's how I manifest what I what. Another easy way of doing this is to write down your intentions for the month. What do you want September to be? What goals are you still working on? What goals have you achieved? Are you being the human you want to be? I like to start the first day of each month by writing in my Law of Attraction planner. It's a wonderful tool that reflects on the past month and helps me lay out goals and intentions for the new month. Below are some of the questions I ask myself each month and hopefully this will help you map out and set your intentions for the month. 

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 1. What people have I learned from and who has inspired me?

2. What did I learn I this past month? 

3. I'm celebrating my top 10 achievements. What were they? 

4. What distractions and fears set me back this past month? How can I move on from them moving into September? 

5. How much money did I save? What's my financial goal for this month? 

6. What fears did I face this past month? What fears do I want to face this month? 

7. Did I live in the moment? Was I present? Can I be more present moving into this month? 

8. Did I help out when I could? 

9. What new things have I learned about myself? 

After I do this personal reflection, I write out and say out loud my intentions for this month. Normally, I keep this private, but I thought I would start doing this each month to share and hopefully inspire you guys to do the same. 

September Intentions: 

My goal this month to enjoy every moment that I can. August went by in a flash and I really want to make sure that I'm being present and enjoying the small moments this month. Sure, not every moment is going to be joyful, but I can make a conscious effort to be more joyful.    

Walk the Capilano Suspension Bridge in Vancouver, British Columbia!   

Drink ALL the water. This is an important one that I easily forget in the early fall months. The weather starts to get cooler and I drink less and less water. My goal is to keep on drinking all the water all the time in all the places. Did you know that even if you are a little bit dehydrated, it can wreck havoc on your hormones?  Hydration is key!  

Run every day. Running keeps me sane. It's something I do for me and my dog that keeps me moving at a normal pace and keeps Roxy on her toes. My two other dogs aren't running dogs, but Roxy is my running partner in crime and when we don't run, we are not fun to be around. If you have something you need to do every day in order to stay sane, there is no rhyme or reason why you should have to explain that to anyone. Running keeps my anxiety levels in check and keeps my body happy and my mind calm. 

Help out where I can and accept help when I need it. Whether that be responding to someone's questions or giving an idea to another blogging friend. Helping is the easiest and free thing we can do for others. Showing up too! Show up online, in-person, sending a friendly message to a friend and asking how they are doing is the easiest way to be there for someone. I want to be there for people like they are there for me. 

Write every day. Write first thing in the morning. Writing it's is so therapeutic for an anxious mind and it helps keep me sane and keeps my brain moving forward. 

Go paddle boarding! I want to go paddle boarding at-least once before summer is officially over with. 

Kayak as much as possible even when it get's chiller. I already have a wetsuit lined up to ensure I keep this deal with myself. I'm blessed to be able to kayak and live near water. Plus, it's a killer abs and shoulders workout! 

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Meditate every day, even for 5-minutes! This one is the most challenging intention for me. How can sitting be so hard? But it is, and I need it more in my life. When I keep up a regular meditation practice, I'm calmer, happier, and I take time to breathe.

Save. Save. Save. When I want to buy something (that obviously isn't food) my goal is to really think it through. Do I need it? Is the item going to serve me? Does it serve a greater purpose? 

These are my intentions for September and I'm excited for this month and for all of the wonderful things that come along with fall? 

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What are you guys excited for this month? Comment below and tell me. 

Self Sabotage: The Inner Demons That Hold Us Back From Creating Our Best Lives

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Around 2:00 am I was hanging a fresh batch of eucalyptus in my shower (I do this every week) and I turned around for a quick moment and saw all of it. The dimples, the paths that lead to crackles and pockets of fat still lingering around my thighs even after all of this weight-loss. I gazed down my legs and noticed how bigger my thighs have gotten, despite the daily miles I run and the heavy weights I lift. I began to sabotage myself and out loud said: "yuck!" as I sighed frustrated and annoyed. And so it began. Do other people notice these dimples of cellulite on the back of my legs? What must they think? They probably assume I don't work out. They probably think I live on junk food and I never exercise. Do I look like I never exercise? More importantly, do I even look like I workout? Oh no. STOP! I literally yelled that into my bathroom mirror. Enough is enough, I said as I stepped down from the bath tub ledge, shut the light off and left the room. 

Sound familiar? These are just some of the daily thoughts that bully us in our minds every single moment of every single day, and most of the time we do not even know it until we've gone so far down the rabbit hole that we have a hard time coming up for air. These thoughts are what I like to call the inner demons that hold us back from creating our best lives possible. These voices, thoughts, and emotional reactions are what keep us from sending those e-mails and hold us in fear that we may fail or that despite however many miles we run each day, we still have cellulite.

I also have these thoughts during my runs. My mind unconsciously goes to the negative, even when I'm doing the things I love to do. My thoughts tend to go down the rabbit hole where I start wondering if I'll ever achieve all that I want to achieve. If something is worse than I think or if I'll be able to manage all the tasks and do it all. These thoughts occur at odd times during my run. They tend to creep in when I'm running faster or when I'm able to run longer and when I know I can push through to the next mile. Isn't it odd that negative self-talk creeps in when we are actually doing the work, achieving the goals, and moving past the hard stuff?

I look at running like the stuff the I'm working through. There are hills, loops, and rocks I have to climb to get to the next hill and to run through to the next mile. Some days my runs are all over the place and pretty similar to my mental mindset that day. Other days, my runs are spot on and I walk away feeling like a boss. Although the self-sabotaging thoughts do creep in, I do my best now to manage those thoughts and push them to a positive one like "You've got this G, keep going!" 

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I self-sabotage in vital areas of my life too. I force myself to stay awake at night, thinking I don't have enough time to get all of my work done. The scenario plays out like this: I get legitimately tired around 11 pm where my eyes start to get sleepy and my body begins to go into rest mode. I immediately jolt myself awake and think thoughts like: "Oh no! I didn't get all my the tasks done today, okay I've got to do this, and this, and oh I forgot to do that, but if I post this tomorrow, and so on and so. The running narrative that plays in my head is detrimental to my overall well-being and keeps me awake at night. I then go and do the task that is bothering my brain, and start to feel sleepy again. So this plays out again and I'm awake thinking of everything and next I know it, it's 4 am. See how this cycle is self-sabotaging? I realized the other night that I've been doing this for years. 

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Most of my early twenties were spent awake at night attempting to catch up on the day's tasks and never really feeling a sense of satisfaction before bed at night. I do not want this habit to continue and I'm slowly working out the kinks. The change is not going to happen overnight and there will inevitably be nights where I force myself to stay up, but now I cut myself off after a certain time. I do this in stages each night to slowly adapt my body by going to bed a few minutes earlier and earlier each night, eventually working to my goal bedtime which is 10 pm. I also run my salt lamp at night and run aromatherapy to lull me to sleep. The best combo which works for me is listening to jazz music and letting my thoughts come and go without acting on any of them. I predict this will be what eventually get's me to a 10 pm bedtime.

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Psychologists say that we all have various sleep schedules and depending on the time we were born is when we fall asleep at night. I was born at 8:30 pm and I've always been a night owl. Some people just sleep better later, but I believe we can adapt our bodies and change our natural circadian rhythms to find a healthy sleeping pattern that falls in tune with our bodies. When you really cannot sleep, turn on dim light, grab a notbook and journal. Write it all out. Your fears, worries, goals, wins, losses, all of it. Write it all down and get those thoughts down on paper. Turn off all technology and keep a journal and a good old fashioned pen on your nightstand. 

When the self-doubt and fears creep into your mind, or when you make a decision and then change it because the emotional demons take over, try to ignore them. This sounds too easy, right? Ignoring the voices in your mind that make you feel inferior is the easiest way to move past them. I'm not saying these voices are going to go away because that's not remotely realistic, but I can say that ignoring them does work. When ignoring them doesn't fit the bill, try this: Instead of feeding the demons that say you are fat and worthless, switch up your inner voice to I'm beautiful and worthy. It can be as simple as changing one word in a thought that creeps into your head. For example, my thighs are fat changed to my thighs are strong.

If you can see what can be instead of what isn't, you will slowly begin to reverse these inner demons that take over us in vulnerable times. Begin to change the negative self-talk to positive self-talk. Smile a lot. I'm serious about this one. Smiling is free and spreads good vibes everywhere which I think the world needs right now. Smile every time you look at yourself in the mirror. Smile to your spouse and partner when they get home. Smile at your friends when you see them. Smile in public! Most people walk around frowning and ticked off the entire day. I would rather be a person who sheds light than negativity and smiling helps me do that and so much more. I also laugh out loud a lot too, which I'm sure freaks people out, but it helps keep me from feeling overwhelmed and anxious.  

These tips are just the tip of the iceberg. Get it? I have a plethora of more posts similar to this that will help us all navigate this crazy world we live in, while still keeping a smile on our face. And when the inner demons start to take over, get up, move around, and walk away from them. Know that I'm in this with you all and each moment of the day I'm working on being the best human possible. 

Comment below and tell me if you want to see more posts like this one the blog. Did any of this resonate with you? I would love to hear your feedback. 

As always, spread the light, be the light, move the light. 


When I Run, I Feel Free

This post is sponsored by Mizuno via Fitfluential, all opinions are my own. 

I started running when I was eight-years-old when my Dad would take me out on the track at my elementary school and I would practice my 1-mile times. Moving onto middle school I then practiced my 1-mile times in PE class and I remember loving that after-run feeling, even though I was tomato-faced and sweaty profusely after each run, I loved the feeling every time. I continued running on an off throughout high school and into college. Anytime a stressor came up in my life I would run as much as possible and I would use running as my escape in my sometimes turbulent home life. When chaos was around me I would choose to lace up my shoes and run. I began to fall in love with running and filling my free time between hitting the pavement and swimming. I've run in countless pairs of shoes and I go through pairs pretty quickly. When I was fitted for running shoes in a running store I learned that I'm a neutral runner which means that my feet pronate inwards when I run which could potentially cause more injuries and shin splints if I'm not wearing proper neutral running shoes. I was grateful when Mizuno asked me to review their new Wave Sky running shoes. I literally feel like I'm running on air in these beautiful shoes and with proper amounts of stretching and lots of comfort, my shin splints have dissipated and I've noticed a huge difference in the amount of time and miles I can run. This is my first time trying out Mizuno's and I'm grateful they sent me a pair to review. If you're in the market for new running shoes, I highly reccomend checking out the new Wave Sky if you are a neutral runner. 

Running for me is so much more than the physical benefits I get from it. When I'm hitting the trails with Roxy, my furry, tail-wagging 34-pound running partner I feel free. I'm able to take time out of my day for myself and be with her outdoors in the sun doing something I enjoy and reaping all of the benefits from it. I struggle with generalized anxiety disorder and I tend to overthink and fear everything. Running keeps my mind in check and helps keep me from going over the edge. If you struggle with anxiety then you know that it can completely take over and keep you from doing normal, everyday tasks. I'm also a hypochondriac and running helps keep my irrational fears from taking over my mind. I listen to my feet hitting the ground and I hear the birds chirping and the wind whistling through the trees. I hear the dirt crunching beneath my feet and the other runners and cyclists around me. I breathe with the rhythm of my feet hitting the ground and instantly I feel calm. With my anxiety disorder, I find I function better outside in nature. We are building a deck in our back yard for this exact reason. So that I can write and work outside because I feel less anxious outside. I believe that's because anytime something chaotic was happening in my home growing up, it always happened indoors. When I'm outside, I'm free. When I'm running, hitting the trails, letting my feet dictate where I go and how we head on the zig-zags of the trails, I'm in control and I'm free. My dog and I have done this so many times that she knows when I need to rest and I know when she needs water. She knows when I want to go faster and I know when she wants to explore new territory. Running helps me feel confident in my own skin and helps calm my mind. When I'm outside I notice I'm more mindful. I'm more mindful of my reactions, my thought process and patterns and my emotions. 

I also notice that on the days I run my reactions are different and my stress levels lessen. I feel better overall and the serotonin levels in my brain seem to function better. It's been scientifically proven that some people with generalized anxiety disorder are missing the chemical that keeps anxiety levels in check. I have to work ten times harder to keep my thought patterns in check and to not let my mind go to the dark side. I consciously have to rehearse positive thoughts in my head to keep me thinking negative thoughts. Running helps because during and after each run my serotonin levels are higher and I feel better. I run for so much more than getting abs and strong quads. Sure, those aspects of running are great and I'm physically stronger for it, but the mental aspects of running benefit me far more. 

Do you run? Do prefer running indoors or outside? Comment below and tell me your favorite ways to lace up your running shoes and run. 


Show Up For Yourself First

I'm sitting in bed, wide awake at 4 am as the words for this piece come tumbling out of me, but I've got a lot to say and I fear I won't sleep until I get this post written and live. What I'm about to tell you is some of the most important words you are ever going to hear. You don't have to listen to me, you can think I'm wrong, hey, you may not even read past this intro. But for those of you that do, these are some of the strongest words you are ever going to hear and if you follow what I say, I can promise you that one way or the other, your life is going to change.

Read my story first: My goal in 2017/2018 is to obtain my 200-hour yoga teacher training certification. I've been wanting to do this for years, and I've decided that thirty is the year to put this long-term goal into motion. Last month I reached out to a bunch of local studios in town, some I heard back from right away, other's not so much as a: thanks for contacting us. Yoga teacher training is serious business and it's not something that should be taken lightly. It costs a lot of money, time, effort, vulnerability, and oh yeah, did I say money? So in my search to find a good fit, a local yoga studio graciously offered me a month of free classes.

GO! My outer, courageous, loud, vibrant voice screamed to echo. Don't go! My self-doubt voice cried out. I was determined to ignore that doubtful voice and listen to my strong, wise, voice, the one that tells me on a daily basis that I'm badass and can do anything! 

Welp. So here's what happened on the way to yoga class on my first day. I left my house over an hour early. (The studio is an hour away from home) I prepped my car with two insulated water bottles, my yoga mat and towel, a sweater for after class (because Power Vinyasa yoga are heated classes, the studios are kept anywhere from 85-95 degrees, you need to keep yourself warm afterwards to avoid an extreme temperature change which is not good for your body and can make you very sick.) I hopped in my car, nervous, but prepped and ready to go to class. There were lanes and lanes of traffic, a huge accident on the freeway (I hope everyone was okay!) and cars everywhere. I did not make it to class. I was frustrated and upset, and nearly turned the car around, when my inner voice said, "Don't you dare turn around courageous girl, you've got this." So I went to a local cafe, took 10-deep breaths, ate a stunning bowl of fruit, and reset. I sat at that cafe for nearly two hours, until the next class started worrying about whether or not I would pass out in that studio, but still sitting there, patiently waiting, breathing in the good, breathing out the bad. It was finally class time, and I found a parking spot right next to the studio (score!) it's in downtown so parking can be a pain.

Despite all of the things that happened, I still showed up.  I did it! I made it through the class, felt slightly woozy once, and just kept flowin! I left the class feeling super sweaty, elated, relived, and happy. The following day I was very sore from all of the heavy weight lifting and hot yoga, but I still felt really good and proud of myself for showing up......for me! No one else in that class knew me or cared whether or not I showed up. I had to do it for myself, to establish day one, to begin the habit of practicing yoga outside of my home, in a studio, surrounded by like-minded people who want to sweat the day out. Then on day 3, I woke up with a ton of emotional junk stirring up, lack of sleep, and a lot of brain gunk. You know what brain gunk is right? It's old memories or feelings that haven't quite left your heart yet. It's the dark stuff you are still holding onto from the past and probably don't even realize it's still got a hold on you. It's the events that happened out of control that should never happen to anyone. Hot yoga and yoga does that though, it begins a cleansing process of releasing anything that no longer serves you. Apparently, there is a lot of stuff that no longer serves me. I went to class two tonight and we practiced moon salutations, vs. sun salutations as a way to end the week on a high note. It was beautifully hard and glorious and I cried during my Shavasana and had the trippiest flashback to my surgery last year, filled with flash memories that I didn't even know I had in me because my brain was not able to recall them until tonight. Isn't that strange? My mind is still letting that traumatic event go.

 I have a feeling there is going to be lots of crying during Shavasana in the coming weeks. 

Why do we have such a hard time showing up for ourselves? We are the most important people in our lives outside of our spouses, kids, and family, but in order for us to be our best selves to them, we need to be our best selves to us. There are moments that I can recall in my life where I regret not showing up for something. No one else knew I regretted it, but I surely beat myself up for it afterward. The hardest part of anything is showing up because showing up is the first step to the next event that will trigger the next event, and so on and so on. When we show up we make a difference in our world and events begin to unfold, even when we are paying attention. Showing up is the hardest step, but it is the most important one, when we show up, we rise up. When we honor ourselves, the universe notices that and credits us, moves us along, gives up that little extra nudge we need to do the things we've always been too afraid to do. 

SHOW UP. Show up for yourself first! Make this commitment to yourself for 7-days and your life will change. You will start to see that things take motion and new opportunities will come your way. A chain of events will take place, and things will start to move. On those days when you want to hit the snooze button on your alarm or those days where everything seems to be going wrong, so what would be the point of showing up, are the days you need to show up the most! 

I challenge you to try this for 7-days and see how your life changes because it will. Go take that hot yoga class you've been itching to try, or go to that new juice spot you've heard raves about, more importantly though, SHOW UP! If you've finally signed up for college courses, don't quit, show up! If you're stuck and in a rut, and you want to take tap to changes things up, SHOW UP! If you say you're going to meet someone over coffee for a new challenging opportunity, but the challenge scares you, SHOW UP! I'll be showing up right along with you as I go through this emotional journey of hot yoga, and wanting to become a certified yoga teacher. 

Let me know what things you've shown up for that changed your life. What are you wanting to try? What are you afraid of? What's the worst that could happen if you followed through and just showed up? 

And remember, showing up is the hardest part, the rest is easy after that! 

Learn How To Say No | Stop Glorifying Being Busy

I pull over on the side of the road, get out of car in front of some vineyards and stop to take a photo of me doing a yoga pose. As I'm moving out of the yoga pose, I start to see spots, feel dizzy, and woozy, and everything is spinning. I nearly fall over and immediately work to get back to my car. This was episode one of my dizzy spell and I knew something was very wrong. I e-mailed my doctor the next day and told her my symptoms and she immediately ordered up a blood panel. Now this is the first of strange things that have taken place this last week. On Saturday I was capturing a wedding (my day job is wedding photography) and a girl came up to me in the middle of me capturing some detail shots, and asked if I felt okay. She explained she was a nurse and and I told her no, things have felt off lately. I've been feeling fatigued, having dizzy spells, shorts of breath, and hypotension. She asked to look inside my lower lips and under my eyelids and said, "Oh no, I think you are at a level 6." "Huh?" I replied back. "Your hemoglobin, I'm presuming is at a level 6. You need to contact your doctor immediately and have her do a full blood panel on you. I was shocked by her ballsiness and thankful for her wit, because this girl was spot on! The next week of events to transpire are something I never care to go through again. 

I went in for blood tests on Monday, got my results back early Tuesday morning. My doctors called me on Tuesday in the afternoon, and sounded very concerned. My white blood cell count and red blood cell count looked normal. Thank god! My hemoglobin levels are at a 6 and my ferritin levels is at a negative 5. Healthy adults should be a level 12 hemoglobin level! What this means is I'm extremely anemic (like we're talking at the panic level) and my body isn't absorbing iron. I've talked about this before on my blog, but for anyone that's new here, I have benign fibroids which are benign tumors all over my uterus that cause me to have very heavy periods and cause me to clot a lot. Where most women have a period for 3-5 days, mine typically last 8-days long. Fibroids are awful and I don't wish them on anyone. I want to have children eventually, so a hysterectomy is out of the question. Going back to this week. My doctor is very worried and is in shock that my OBGYN didn't catch this in time. I'm sitting here wondering why I'm having all of these weird symptoms and wondering why my normal, high energy self, has been hit with major fatigue for the last few weeks. Being me, though I ignored the symptoms and my body just got use to running on nearly empty. To say I've been burning the candle at both ends is a major understand. Let's put it this way: If a candle had 10-ends, I've already burned through all of them, and then went back and burned through them all again, twice. I'm working on my master's degree in nutrition, I run two businesses, this blog and my wedding photography business, I have wedding every single weekend in May, I'm working with a company all month long on events, I'm shooting and editing food videos, and I never sleep! To say I've run my body into the ground is fact and now I'm paying the price. So how did we get here, you may be asking? Well, I don't eat meat, and I stopped taking iron 3-months after my surgery. This is the lowest my iron levels have ever been and surely the lowest my hemoglobin has ever been. Without iron, you body cannot replenish itself, hemoglobin represents about two-thirds of your bodies iron, if you don't have enough iron, your body can't produce enough healthy oxygen-carrying red blood cells, and basically everything goes haywire. Hence, the strange symptoms of dizziness, seeing stars out of my left eye, feeling fatigued and super tired, and run down. I couldn't for the life of me figure out why I was having such a hard time running my 5K's. Welp. It turns out lack of iron and low hemoglobin levels is the culprit. I also chew ice like a mad woman, but lately my ice chewing has taken a dark turn. I go through a bag every two days. I literally chew an entire bag of ice every two days.

Now, being anemic is nothing new to me. I've know I've had anemia, basically since I started menstruating. What I did not know was that I had fibroids up until about two years ago. The fibroids cause anemia due to heavy blood loss. Now, when you live with fibroids like I do, you are supposed to take iron, especially women like me who very rarely eat meat. So I did this to myself. I started feeling better and I stopped taking the iron. 6-months later, here we are, with me running myself ragged, having to let go of obligations, and get healthy again! Blood is super important and if you don't take care of you could be in serious trouble. Tomorrow, I go in for my first iron IV drip, which I'll to do for the next 5-weeks along with taking a iron supplement of 325-mg per day and eat red meat 3x-week. That's a ton of iron! But my body can't function without it. Then we will do another blood panel and hopefully I'll land at an 12 where I should be. I'm so sick of feeling like crap and I'm excited to start feeling better. They talked about me going into the ER and giving me a blood transfusion, but I'd like to avoid that as much as possible. Today, while I was at Costco that horrible dizzy, black out feeling came over me again, and I thought, I need to go to the ER. But then I got driven home, at an iron rich meal, slept, and felt slightly better, but only slightly. I'm telling you all of this, because this all happened because I got busy. So busy that I stopped taking my iron and wrecked havoc on my body. 

I'm so tired of seeing all of these Instagram posts where women are glorifying being busy. They're running around, thriving in it and it's not okay! Yes ladies, you read that right. It's not okay to be so busy that you put your health at stake. This is coming from a woman who knows busy like the back of her hand and whose an expert in it. If anyone has nailed down busy, it's me. I'm begging you all, shouting from the rooftops to look at your life and take a giant step back. Are you feeling so overwhelmed that you can't sleep at night? Are you starting to forget things? Are you missing out on YOU time because of some other task or obligation? This is what glorying busy is and it's not okay. We must stop this redderick that to be busy means to be living a fulfilling life, when in reality it's just the opposite actually. You may think you can handle being so busy you're missing out on sleep at night, but I can promise you that it all catches up to you one way or the other.

And when it catches up to you and affects your health, please wake up and realize you need to let some things go. Are you saving lives? No, probably not (if you are saving lives, you rock!) but unless you have a divine purpose for being so busy you can't see straight in the morning, give something up! And if you do have a diving purpose, trust me, it takes days off too. Take days off, not one day but DAYS off to fully relax and recover. Stop spending your precious moments scrolling through Instagram and turn your phone off and take some YOU time. 

I hope you can all learn from my experience and stop the glorification of being busy because nothing is worth your health. 

Take it from me and remember, health is wealth!