The holidays are quickly upon us, and I’m cheerfully listening to Christmas music and wrapping presents. My love and I have three-and-a-half Christmas events we’re attending in the next two days, so I know how much time is a commodity for us all this season. If you are a last-minute shopper, I’m sharing my holiday gift guide, including some of my personal favorites for the body, mind and soul. And if you’re done shopping for others, consider a gift to yourself. Either way, these are some of favorite picks from 2014. Skip to the end of guide to find a really nice giveaway for local readers.
GET THE WRAP ON THESE APPS
Meditate On This
Stop, Breathe & Think is a favorite meditation app, launched by the educational non-profit, Tools for Peace, earlier this year. Learn how to meditate: Get present, practice mindful breathing, tune into your feelings with a body scan, engage the senses and track your progress. Pick from more than a dozen meditations.
Through January 1st, you can get k.d. lang’s guided meditation 5-pack on sale for $.99. Lang handpicked and narrated meditations for Gratitude, Dealing With Anxiety, Compassion Toward Cruelty, Sound Bed and Just Like Me, which encourages listeners to find what connects us to others rather than differences and division.
Download the app on your smartphone or tablet, or use it online at http://stopbreathethink.org/
An Insomniac’s Dream
As a professional insomniac, I do not endorse any sleep aids lightly. The Sleep Deep Hypnosis Subliminal by Erick Brown app was the first guided imagery session that helped push me over the edge from deep relaxation into full sleep. With lulling music, peaceful sounds of the beach and the soothing voice of Eric Brown, and a step-by-step relaxation process, the Sleep Better and Instant Relaxation courses are a wonderful way to help rest the body and mind completely for a good night’s sleep. Other hypnosis courses are available for health, motivation, creativity, phobias and productivity. You can find the Sleep Dream Hypnosis Subliminal app on iTunes but hypnosis courses can also be downloaded at ErickBrownHypnotherapy.com
Brown’s hypnosis courses also paved the way for me to find Yoga Nidra. Natasha Kerry Yoga offers the calming Yoga Sleep Method to help you refocus, reconnect and relax, night or day. I’ve found it extremely helpful for focusing and stilling the mind at bedtime. Download a free 10 minute audio of the Yoga Sleep Method here.
A Fit Bookworm’s Wonderland
The Audible App is a wonderful way to catch up on your reading with audiobooks while you’re on the go. For the health-conscious, Audible recommends:
• THE HUNGER FIX by Pamela Peeke, read by the author
• THE MIRROR OF YOGA by Richard Freeman, read by Erin Moon
• THE VITAMIN D CURE by James Dowd M.D. and Diane Stafford, read by Kevin Pierce
• RUNNER’S WORLD COMPLETE BOOK OF RUNNING by Amby Burfoot, read by Daniel Thomas May
• THE ABS DIET by David Zinczenko and Ted Spiker, read by Eric Conger
INSPIRED READS FOR BOOK-LOVERS
Conquer Your Dreams, Battle Resistance
Easily one of my favorite reads of the year was The War of Art (not to be confused with The Art of War). The inspirational guide is not just for artists seeking to overcome writer’s block. It’s not just for entrepreneurs who need that final kick in the butt to bravely leap to the career of their own choosing. It is for anyone with a dream, needing to get out of his or her own way to achieve it. Slay inner demons, and cut off external critics at the pass. Overcome resistance—eliminate obstacles and excuses—to live the life of your dreams. This is a fast read (even for self-proclaimed slow readers), and it’s a critical one. Be sure to get an extra copy or two because this is one you’ll feel compelled to share with friends and family.
Need Extra Motivation to Live Your Best Life?
Are you living a life of freedom or fear? Are you letting fear and insecurity lead your life, or are you transcending doubt, regret and pain to not only set goals but also to accomplish the life of your dreams? Brendon Burchard’s The Motivation Manifesto includes nine declarations to, discover your destiny, claim your personal power, live a life of integrity, greatness, joy and love. We all want to live our best selves, and this is a wonderful guide to discovering your authentic self, claiming and conquering YOUR dreams, and finding contentment in life. This a great gift to give to your loved ones AND yourself. Find out how you can get a free copy and the 12-week online Motivation Manifesto course with the price of shipping and handling.
PRODUCTS I LOVE
Fun Fitness Apparel With a Great Message
When GLP (Good Looking People) Lifestyle and Fitness brand first contacted me a couple of months ago to take a look at their fashion line, I was immediately impressed by their message. To them, fitness is not just having a strong physique, but having a healthy mind and soul as well. Reaching out to a diverse clientele—from athletes with Down’s Syndrome or prosthetic legs to women bodybuilders, fit moms, GLP encourages athletes to embrace their “Confidence from Within” and be their best selves. With full inventory of performance apparel, clothing displays inspirational messages like BeYOUtiful, and Love Yourself. The tanks I have from them are incredibly high quality, soft to the touch and provide a flattering and supportive fit.
Let Your Toes Do The Talking
Toe Talk is a new line of stylish, non-slip socks that are woven with inspiration, perfect for those who practice yoga or Pilates. When asked to become an ambassador for the company, I immediately wanted to get involved as each pair is written with mantras that seem tailored for being wholly present—body, mind and soul: Be Mindful, Seek Balance, Inhale Exhale and Namaste. For Each pair of sock purchased, Toe Talk donates $1 to your charity of choice—The Nature Conservancy, Best Friends Animal Society, FINCA (Foundation for International Community Assistance) International, Save the Children, Stand Up to Cancer Foundation. The Warrior Chick – Go Pink socks remind me to constantly embrace my inner warrior. A $1 of each sale of Warrior Chick socks is donated to the breast cancer prevention charity, Bright Pink. Look out for socks savings on Mindful Mondays, and get a pair today.
I’m also giving away Toe Talk socks to seven lucky readers. To enter, leave a comment below sharing what you love most about winter.
Skincare for Sensitive People
As someone with very sensitive skin, finding the best skincare products that don’t give me a rash or a headache is like a miner panning for gold. So when I found the chemical-free, fragrant-free skincare line Zen Society, I was beyond thrilled. The Tea Tree Facial Cleanser is my go-to when I first wake up in morning, and it leaves me feeling fresh, clean and invigorated. The Makeup Remover, made from a combination of organic oils, painlessly gets rid of mascara and eyeliner in seconds. Zen Society also offers toner, hydrating mist, dry skin repair serum, and completely natural lip balm—their pomegranate flavor is my favorite. In addition to being handcrafted, certified organic and healthy, the company is out of my home state of Connecticut—and I love to support local businesses. If you are seeking non-toxic skincare products, I highly recommend heading over to their website.
The tea collection from The Republic of Tea are perfect to warm you up on a cold winter’s day, cool you down in the heat of summer, soothe your cold or flu or deliver the healthy energy boost to start your day. Whether you like simple herbal and green teas, fruity flavors like Ginger Peach or Cranberry Blood Orange or the full, rich tea alternative to coffee, Yerba Maté Latte, The Republic of Tea has the tea-lover covered for the entire year. Seasonal flavors like Peppermint Chocolate and Peppermint Bark Holiday Herb Tea delight by giving a hint of hot chocolate, through blends of rooibos tea, organic cocoa and peppermint and other natural flavors. You can also choose from full-leaf loose teas or herbs and caffeine-free options. Also, most teas are certified gluten-free.
PEDAL YOUR WAY THROUGH THE WORKDAY
We’re all starting to learn the dangers of sitting for hours and hours at a time, including increased risks of cardiovascular disease, cancer and early mortality. Studies show that walking breaks of just 5 minutes per hour might help reverse these risks, but what if you could also get in some movement while you work? I had the pleasure of trying out the DeskCycle pedal bike this year. This smooth and quiet exercise bike fits under your desk so you can pedal while you work and get in some exercise behind the computer. I’ve found it a great stress reliever, fun to do, and it‘s also energized me to do my work more efficiently!
And for the holidays, a lucky, local reader—you must live in CT and be able to pick it up—can get a DeskCycle pedal bike for free by leaving a comment below telling me what you’re most looking forward to this holiday season.