Tag Archives: simplify

Quick & Easy Ways To Relax And Re-charge


Use the Summer to Relax and Recharge


Dr. Jeff Ulery

Have you felt anxious or stressed lately? On going feelings of apprehension, fear or just nervousness can rob people of their quality of life and even negatively impact their health. Research shows that chronic stress and anxiety can shorten our life spans, speed aging and dramatically increase our risk of life threatening diseases. Stress can also cause immediate problems of poor performance, cognitive function (cloudy thinking) and depressive or angry mood swings. The good news is that there are things you can do to help with stress and anxiety.

You probably already know the most important things you can do to manage stress . . . That’s right . . . eat a healthy diet, exercise, and get a good nights sleep. Foods have a profound effect on mood and coping. Processed, refined and sugary foods exacerbate symptoms of stress while eating a diet rich in fresh produce, high-quality protein and healthy fats (especially omega-3s) help you better cope with stress. Give your body all the nutrients it needs and try some of these tried and true stress-less strategies:

  • Write in a journal
  • Go for a walk or hike…spend time in nature
  • Call a friend, socialize and welcome good humor
  • Get involved with helping others
  • See the big picture and slow down
  • Avoid unnecessary stress
  • Prioritize your life, set realistic goals and use a to-do list
  • Celebrate anything (successes, holidays, people)
  • Read a good book for enjoyment
  • Accept things you can’t change
  • Establish/maintain a daily routine
  • Keep thoughts positive
  • Make time for hobbies (music, dance, cultural)
  • Meditate- use a meditation or breathing app
  • Take control and learn to say “no”
  • Relax in a long Epsom salt bath
  • Light scented candles
  • Work in a garden
  • Get a massage
  • Listen to music
  • Watch a comedy show
  • Be optimistic and express gratitude
  • Let it go…don’t drown in perfectionism, lower expectations
  • Simplify, eliminate and delegate
  • Forgive yourself and others
  • Make time for fun and relaxation

Come up with a list of your personal favorite ways to relax and recharge and keep this list handy. Remember, YOU have the power to transform your health … ONE healthy choice at a time! So take some time to rejuvenate everyday and remember to eat right, exercise and get your rest.

We love Dr. Jeff Ulery and his team at Whole Body Health, especially their holistic, functional and alternative approach to health. For more information, visit their website at austinwholebodyhealth.com.

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Music: the Multipurpose Medicine

iGnite - music

Point to Ponder: 

 How often do you listen to music?

by Neissa Brown Springmann

by Neissa Brown Springmann

Today I am feeling relieved and amazing! Thanks to grandparents keeping the kiddos, my entire weekend was devoted to cleaning, sorting, organizing and purging.  I started on one end of the house and thankfully made it to the other end, and through all rooms, closets,cabinets, drawers, etc.  After five loaded 42 gallon trash bags, a garage piled with garage sale and donation items and a non-cluttered and totally organized house (with the exception of the garage), I feel light as a feather and grateful to have cleansed from what felt like years gluttonous behavior.

It’s ironic, because during the fall and even within the past few months I have spoken on and off with Russell about the idea of purging, downsizing and simplifying our lives.  It’s not like we live in a big house, but I have found a way to collect an excessive amount of stuff.  I had a closet filled with clothes and shoes I don’t wear, shelves crammed with books I don’t plan to read, a kitchen loaded with dishes and platters that I don’t need, and soooo much more.  Be careful for what you ask for, because downsizing and becoming a minimalist is exactly what the universe gave me!  I got what I asked for, I just didn’t think it would show up in the loss of a job and a move to San Diego, making downsizing and getting rid of all non-necessities a must.The point of this journal is not to convince you to organize or purge (but if you do, iGnite Member Annemarie Glover shared the awesome organizational blog IHeartOrganizing with me — check it out), rather it’s to remind you of the power of music!  Oh my goodness…from the moment I started until the time I finished, my shuffled iTunes library was cranked up! I had every single window in the house open and at about 11:00pm on Saturday night. I thought for sure my neighbor was going to come over and ask me to turn it down.  But, there was no way I could’ve heard the knock on my door or door bell ring anyways. It was awesome!

From Otis Redding, Guns and Roses, George Strait to Bruno Mars, I was rockin’ and, had it not been for energy that the music gave me, there was no way I could’ve completed my project — much less dance from one room to the other.  It was fantastic!

From infants to seniors, I think it would be hard-pressed to find a person on the planet who doesn’t like music.  It’s the universal pick-me-up, and multipurpose medicine, which might be why the The Voice continues to be the #1 rated television show on Monday nights. For sure, getting to look at Adam Levine, Blake Shelton and Pharrell Williams doesn’t hurt, but music is magical and according to the Huffington Post article Music And Health: 11 Ways Playing And Listening To Music Help Both Body And Mind, music has plenty of healthy benefits. In brief:

According to Researchers from Drexel University, they found that cancer patients who either listened to music or worked with a music therapist experienced a reduction in anxiety.  A doctoral thesis from the University of Gothenburg reveals that listening to music everyday lowers stress. The University of Maryland Medical Center researchers have found a link between listening to music and heart health. The researchers found that listening to joyful music is linked with dilation of blood vessels’ inner lining, meaning more flow of blood through the blood vessels. Specifically, the diameter of blood vessels grew by 26 percent when a person listened to happy music. Researchers from University of Utah Pain Research Center showed that listening to music is effective as a distraction for anxiety-prone people from feeling pain and as a result, could help people feel less pain. Finnish researchers found that listening to music soon after a stroke could help with recovery, News Medical reported. Published in 2008 in the journal Brain, researchers found that listening to music was linked with improved verbal memory and attention among stroke patients, compared with listening to audio books or not listening to anything at all.

Action Item:

In addition to listening to the birds happily singing their springtime songs, I encourage you to play music, dance and let it be one of your happy and healthy pick-me-ups and medicine for your week!
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Keep It Simple

(The Wisdom Share, Continued)
Living in Community, Part III


Point to Ponder:
Could you benefit from some life simplifying?

by Neissa Brown Springmann

by Neissa Brown Springmann

Spring Break was outstanding…well, minus the UT Men’s basketball team losing their first game in the NCAA tournament. This matters to me more than the average person because Russell, my husband, is an assistant coach for the program, so having mediocre seasons and losing is never great for job security. But, that’s when our faith consistently kicks in.

The kids and I could’ve made the trip to the tournament in Pittsburg, but I know my strengths, and schlepping a four-year-old and a 22-month-old on a plane, then to a basketball tournament in a city I’ve never been to (that’s cold) would have taken me down. At one point I thought I’d take Durant and Malaine to Sea World in San Antonio, but my sister advised watering down my plans and waiting until they are a little older so it would be more enjoyable for everyone. Then in class one day, iGnite member Tracy Picone gave me additional great wisdom: “Keep it simple. All your kids want is to spend time with you, and when Mom is happy, so are they.” What great advice!

So, we kept it real simple and because I didn’t have to worry about traffic (hurray), on Tuesday afternoon the kids and I went on a simple adventure to Cabela’s in Buda. We stayed for an hour — looking at the fish and all of the animals. We then stopped at a friend’s house on the way home and had dinner at Phil’s Ice House. It was a simple, yet a fun and full day.

Then, on Wednesday evening we drove to my mom’s in Waco and went to the Cameron Park Zoo on Thursday morning. Like a dummy, I didn’t bring a stroller or wagon, but we managed and thankfully had no meltdowns. Needless to say, after two and a half hours of walking, playing and animal sightings, we were all pooped, leading to a delicious afternoon nap. It too was a simple, yet fun day.

Finally, and because the basketball team lost, Russell got home early Friday morning and so the remainder of Spring Break was family time, which was so nice because time with him is something we don’t get a lot of during the season. This too was so simple, yet so rich.

Based on the great wisdom from my sister and Tracey Picone, the wisdom I’m passing along is this: Regardless of where we are in life, keep it simple. Bigger is not always better.

A few more pieces of inspiring life wisdom from our members and leaders:

“Pave your child for the road, don’t pave the road for your child”
-Barbara McTee, iGnite Member

“If it is to be, it’s up to me.” (basically, take responsibility for yourself and don’t blame others if you don’t reach your goals) – Tracy Picone, iGnite Member

Doubt kills more dreams than failure ever will.”
– Tracey Picone, iGnite Member

“___ years are going to come anyway.” (my father-in-law’s response when I would say something was going to take too long, like finishing school or getting the job I wanted)
– Tracy Picone

Alli“I love this simple yet powerful nugget from Charlotte Benson: ‘We are put on this earth to help each other, plain and simple.'”


“The words of wisdom that I find to be truer and truer the longer I live are….
Be kinder than necessary, because everyone you meet is fighting some kind of battle.'”


There’s no point in having nice things if you don’t share them with others” (Mimi) This was my grandmother’s response to me being scared to drive her brand new fancy Lexus after she insisted I drive us around in it–I had just turned 16! It taught me to not value things for things’ sake, and remember that the real point of life is to share the things we’re blessed with. If I don’t plan on enjoying something WITH others, then what’s the point in having it?!


Advice from my mom: “not to worry” (in the vein of “no worries” — her sing-song words were, when something went amiss, “oh, not to worry!”)


When you and your husband or significant other finally get the opportunity to go on a vacation together, reconnecting can sometimes be difficult. Something my husband and I have found helpful in having the fun we need to have together is going on adventures, such as zip lining, hiking, water rafting, etc. These adventures are built-in fun that we don’t have to create for ourselves.

Kathleen ParkerVulnerability lost is intimacy gained” –Dave Sunde (at iGnite retreat last February). I grew up with a very proud father whose mantra is “Happiness is found through your accomplishments.” So, although we all looked good on the outside, not being able to share things led to some loneliness even growing up in a household of 8. How freeing it is to realize that I will not be judged when I show vulnerability! I love it! My relationships are much richer and my mind is at peace. Thank you Dave! Also, “If you focus on the mud on the windshield, you miss what is on the road ahead.” -Bill Swinney, my father.


You catch more flies with honey than vinegar.” My dad taught me this.

Action Item:
Identify one small change you could make to simplify your week’s plans or responsibilities.

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How We’re Simplifying Our Lives in 2015


“The more you have, the more you are occupied.
The less you have, the more free you are.”
-Mother Theresa

It’s never a bad idea to simplify. But exactly how to simplify? Now that’s another story. Our team shares the small ways they are choosing to simplify their daily lives this year.

Simplify… Your Time

by Sha Klatt


On the day of my annual doctor’s check-up, I schedule my appointment for the first thing in the morning. I fast the night before so that I can also get any bloodwork done right afterwards, and then I have my mammogram scheduled for right after so I get it all done in one morning!



I do two things: I say “no, thank you!” when my PERSONAL schedule is full, and I have a fun little tool that shouts at me if I try to replace my happy time with something less happy. My tool is a colorful little schedule that I created, and it sits where I can see it, all bright and loud. It’s all self-assured and happy, so thrilled that it’s not saturated with stress…it’s like a pretty new piece of jewelry and I love it so much.

photo-373In the happy color areas of chosen activities (family, yoga, teaching, my horse, Newt) I can’t add anything else in.  It’s CLOSED. I CAN’T. Those areas are sacred and content with who they are and what’s going on in them. And the set-in-stone colors keep me from over-scheduling and getting in over my head, with no down time for me and my family at all.  So say “no, thank you” and make a pretty, colorful schedule!



I have found 2 things that save SO me much time by not having to come home and shower between every workout I teach. I LOVE my new hair straightener that plugs into my car lighter from Amazon and lavender body wipes from Amazon.  After I teach a class, in my car I take a “shower” with my lavender wipe and plug in my straightener, which heats up in 7 seconds, and straighten that ponytail dent right out.  I LOVE THESE TWO AMAZING TIME SAVERS IN MY LIFE!!!  One shower at night and SO much more time during the day smelling and looking good in 30 seconds!



I was once told to use the time I spend waiting for my car to fill up at the gas station to clean out my car. I have done it ever since and it makes a huge difference in the clutter in my car!  I mean, why not? I’m there waiting anyways!



Dry hair shampoo!  It takes me so long to blow dry and flat iron my hair, and on the days when I don’t sweat as much…just spray your roots and go!

Simplify… Your Home



I’ve compiled my own ‘simplify’ list with the help of Deepak Chopra…
– Reduce the clutter.
– Turn off the TV.
– Stop junk mail.
– When you bring in something new, get rid of something old.
– Get rid of all but one credit card.



Make kids’ lunches during dinner clean-up: We have a system where my kids make their own lunches for the next day immediately after our family dinner during “kitchen clean-up” (with a little help/guidance with food selection/balance from me).
…. I realized about a year ago that every evening, after I’d clean the kitchen post-dinner (no easy task when feeding a family of 7!), then help the kids finish homework and get ready for school the next day, we’d return to the kitchen to make lunches and make a huge mess again. So, making lunches right after dinner means only one evening kitchen clean-up instead of two, and also the kids often pack “dinner leftovers” and save me the work of packaging and storing what’s left of the dinner. 🙂

Simplify… Your Work Load



Something I was taught in professional coaching with Martha Lynn Mangum that has definitely simplified my life is: each Friday, from 11-12 I review the week that I’m wrapping up, determine what needs to translate into the following week, create a “dump list’ based on everything I need to accomplish for the following week, then I organize the upcoming week and enter it all into my calendar. This activity has single handedly allowed me to feel free throughout the weekend. My brain isn’t full of everything I need to do and I can actually enjoy my weekends much more and don’t feel distracted by my work to-do list. And, of course it’s made me much more organized, effective and efficient!

Simplify…Your Daily Habits



Do one thing at a time.
Don’t be a slave to your phone.
Get up 20 minutes earlier to set your day and not be rushed.
Go to bed earlier.
Slow down to the posted speed limit.
Make water your drink of choice.

Simplify… Your Finances



My husband and I are frugal and always save, but we’d like to be more aware of where all of our money is being spent and follow a budget that works for us. We’ve decided to simplify this “big process” by using an online course to help us categorize where it is going. The course is called Financial Peace by Dave Ramsey. I’m looking forward to simplifying our budget in 2015!

Simplify… Your Emotions



Steer clear of toxic energy and relationships.

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