The Refined Collective: Creating Space

When it came to write about this month's subject for The Refined Collective, I had major writer's block and if I'm being completely and whole heartedly honest I feel like I've had writers block for a few months now. With so many transitions and changes in 2017 for me a lot of my energy has been focused on trying to get grounded and centered. This evening during my Yoga Teacher training class it hit me.

photo by Tonhya Kae for #lafemmeforte

photo by Tonhya Kae for #lafemmeforte

 

Creating space is about giving permission not just to others, but to yourself. It's about giving yourself the permission to try something new knowing that failure might be at the end. Throughout exploring my life with fitness I've found that every stage required a new challenge to face. Sometimes the challenge was a physical one like trying to increase the amount of weight I was lifting or trying to get into competition training and other times it was a mental one like being able to find yourself enough grace and inner strength to keep pushing through. After class I couldn't help but reflect back on this past year and all the lessons I've learned in life and how it all intertwines with one another. From making a huge career change to trying to have to navigate through all the different transitions in life. I underestimated the amount of grace I needed to provide myself through all these life changes and how much more energy emotionally and physically.

Sometimes I wish someone had told me these things before I started my fitness journey, instead I heard messages like "Despite life happening you're going to have to stick to your plan, you just have to push through." or "Life is going to happen and you have to stay the course no matter what." As true as those words are I think the messages that need to be told to people starting their fitness or health journey's are things like "You're going to fail and you're going to have setbacks, it's part of it, and that's OK" or "Give yourself permission to go slow." 
 

One of the issues I see with fitness so often is people who give themselves a hard time for not being able to complete a plan, stick to their diet, and/or to have to slow down on their fitness goals because "life gets in the way." The idea that life is getting in the way of our fitness seems so bizarre to me because life is what happens while we fitness.  Give your self permission to grow, learn, and to explore all the possibilities that your life is unfolding. Your workout is only 4% of your day, don't forget to create space for the rest of your life. 

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This post is curated in conjunction with the ladies of The Refined Collective.  Be sure and read the other articles on love today by: The Refined Woman,  Jackie V., Lauren Scruggs, and Sarah Shreves.

Also, join us over on instagram today under #therefinedcollective to join the conversation.

Joanne E

I’m a mother of two beautiful daughters and married to a man who completes me. I started my fitness journey as a way to heal my soul and launched my blog in hopes to continue to inspire and empower women to use fitness as a tool to heal depression and find their self worth. I strongly believe that each woman deserves to be in love with herself just as much as her man does. I have an obsession with reusable water bottles, I enjoy action movies, and I’m in love with burpees.

U.S. Virgin Islands, The Perfect Getaway

It’s funny when the travel bug bites because the moment it does I think it’s natural to start looking for the next travel destination before you even have the chance to get back home and settled from your most recent adventure. It’s at least the case for me and as I sit thinking about my upcoming trip to Mexico with one of my best friends, and San Diego for a family getaway, I can’t help but plan for a bigger adventure next year. Not to mention it’s summer time and every time I scroll on Instagram someone’s enjoying the beach somewhere in the world. 

photo by @witherin

photo by @witherin

Although I haven’t had the chance to travel much to the ends of the world yet (thanks to making babies at an early stage in life), I’ve always looked forward to the idea of traveling the world when my kids are a little older. Both with and without them. One of the things that has always been on my top 10 was to travel to the Caribbean and after seeing one of my friend’s recent trips, I started to do a little bit of research on the U.S. Virgin Islands and decided that this would have to be some place I needed to escape to at some point in my life. 

There are three main islands that make up the U.S. Virgin Islands: St. Croix, St. John and St. Thomas and each has its own unique character. My husband is a bit of a history buff and the fact that St. Croix was the island that Christopher Columbus sailed through would be enough for him to want to go and explore and learn more about what the islands went through in order to become who they are today. One thing that we love to on vacation is eat, but we love a little bit more of an eclectic and educational dining experience such as the one we had at O’o Farms in Maui. While searching up the dining scene in St. Croix I found this Ridge to Reef Slow Down Dinner experience. I’m a huge farm-to-table fan and I love being able to learn about the bio-individuality of food cultures from all over the world. It’s a great way to learn more about sustainable living and healthy eating from different perspectives.

Photo by @genevievehope

Photo by @genevievehope

Last year we had the chance to go to Kauai for the first time and one of the things that everyone had mentioned to me prior to our trip was that the island was really untouched and it’s not as busy as Oahu or Maui, which we frequently visit. I’ll admit after hearing that from friends I was worried that I’d get bored or not enjoy myself as much, but there’s something about the stillness that every busy woman needs from time to time. St. John seems very similar to that. It’s got a laid back vibe, pristine beaches, and tons of snorkeling. Which the entire family and I LOVE to do. 

If you’re not into water adventures there’s also a ton of hiking you can do to keep your vacation active. There are several trails you can hike on that range from short easy trails to more difficult all day adventures. Two of the trails that peek my interest are the Reef Bay Trail and the Cinnamon Bay Nature Loop.  

St. Thomas is the more cosmopolitan island out of the three. It’s known for its thriving nightlife and packed events calendar. It’s the gateway isle of the U.S. Virgin Islands with one of the most visited harbors in the world. Despite being only 32 square miles there’s still tons of adventure including the Skyride which takes you 700 ft up above the town of Charlotte Amalie for some of the most breathtaking views. 

photo by @gabyerice

photo by @gabyerice

photo by @heatheradamcewicz

photo by @heatheradamcewicz

My perfect getaway requires a whole lot of sun, beautiful beaches, great food, and a little bit of snorkeling. What does your perfect getaway include? 

This post was brought to youby U.S. Virgin Islands and POPSUGAR and I was compensated to write this post, but all views are my own. 

Joanne E

I’m a mother of two beautiful daughters and married to a man who completes me. I started my fitness journey as a way to heal my soul and launched my blog in hopes to continue to inspire and empower women to use fitness as a tool to heal depression and find their self worth. I strongly believe that each woman deserves to be in love with herself just as much as her man does. I have an obsession with reusable water bottles, I enjoy action movies, and I’m in love with burpees.

Sleeping on the idea of imperfection with Helix Sleep

I was going to write this entire piece on why sleep is important but I’m pretty sure we all know how vital it is to get a good nights sleep and why its essential for our beautiful bodies and I’ll get to that. But first I’m going to share my day with you and how rough yesterday was for me. I’m still learning the ins and outs of this concept of letting go and allowing the little things to roll of my shoulders and not stress over them. Some hours I really feel like I’m excelling in this area and other days I’m failing with a capital F. I swear it changes throughout the day and I’ve learned to embrace it. 

Yesterday was a busy morning, I woke up later than usual because its summer and the fact that I don’t need to wake up at 5 am or 6 am to start my day because of my kids going to school has been amazing. EXTRA SLEEP! Sorta… As you guys may have read I’ve been getting terrible sleep so Helix Sleep was kind enough to send the entire family brand new mattresses to help reconnect with our REM. So yesterday we decided to run to IKEA to pick up some new bedroom furniture for miss little Olivia. IKEA can be a jungle sometimes but thankfully yesterday wasn’t so bad. We got all our things and Airis had a teenage girl moment at IKEA so we spent a good 20 minutes talking about feelings, issues, what caused it, and what she could’ve done to prevent it. More importantly to not speak to me in a disrespectful manner.

We left IKEA during rush hour traffic which doubled our travel time home. As soon as we got home we started to set up Olivia’s new bed frame and get our new mattresses all set up. Airis was first since all we were doing was setting up her new mattress. It was such a fun experience opening up the Helix box and seeing a Twin sized mattress shoved into a tiny box. Amazingly enough the set up was easy enough for her to do with very little help.

Next came Olivia’s which was short of a minor shit show. We began to set her bed frame up and realized we picked up the wrong slats for her bed. It was already 9PM, IKEA was closed. The kids hadn't eaten dinner yet and my anxiety was starting to stir up. We opened up her mattress, and as soon as we laid it on the floor I jumped right on top of it and about 20 minutes in I fell asleep. That just speaks to how comfortable this mattress really is. 

This morning I woke up this morning to Olivia reading me a list of birds. Sharing me with me her journaling and telling me how she's going to dress me to match her for the day. 

I thought I should share this with you because often times I think as women and mothers we’re so critical about our days. If they don’t go the way we planned it in our minds we begin to stir thoughts like lack of self worth which is definitely is not good for our overall health. Anxiety can begin to rise and all of a sudden you're stuck in this conversation with yourself that's leading you to no where but a negative mindset. Number one rule: DON'T BE SO HARD ON YOURSELF! Which of course is my note to self as well. 

Now on to the health benefits of sleep...

Sleep is the most devalued component to our health.

Think about it. In our society we have a tendency to praise those who are always on the go and consider those who rest lazy. We say things like “Let them sleep while you grind.” or “I’ve got a dream worth more than my sleep.” Amongst all the other health benefits of sleep a few that aren’t discussed are how sleep can cause metabolic disruption. 

Some of these metabolic disruptions are: 

  1. Impaired glucose tolerance

  2. impaired insulin resistance

  3. increased ghrelin aka the hunger hormone

  4. decrease leptin aka the satiety hormone

  5. increased body mass index (BMI)

The benefits of quality sleep include the following: 

  1. increased energy to make beneficial lifestyle choices 
  2. strengthen immune system
  3. heightened alertness, focus, and creativity
  4. improved mood by reducing anxiety, irritability, and mental exhaustion 

In our household we need a lot of sleep to function. We’re a busy family who’s constantly running around, utilizing our brains for creativity in different ways: photography, art, and writing. 

Here are some things you can do to get better sleep. 

  1. Maintain a consistent daily schedule. 
  2. Reduce your daily intake of coffee/caffeine
  3. Get off any electronics two hours before bedtime 
  4. Don’t go to bed on a full stomach
  5. Don’t go to bed on an empty stomach
  6. Exercise regularly 
  7. Invest in an amazing bed that’s customized for you like the ones from Helix. 
  8. Invest in comfortable bedding. 
  9. Go to sleep and wake using your internal clock (meaning, don’t fight it when you’re tired)
  10. Sleep in a dark room and diffuse ess

I’m partnering up with Helix to giveaway a free mattress of your choice. 

To Enter! Just head on over to my INSTAGRAM and head to my sponsored Helix post. Follow GOFITJO and Helix and tag a friend on the photo for one entry and for an additional share a photo that shows me what it means to #sleeplikeyourself.

Disclaimer: This contest is in no way sponsored, administered, or associated with Instagram, Inc. By entering, entrants confirm that they are 13+ years of age, release Instagram of responsibility, and agree to Instagram’s term of use.

I was gifted product by Helix in exchange for this post. However all these thoughts and opinions are my own!

Joanne E

I’m a mother of two beautiful daughters and married to a man who completes me. I started my fitness journey as a way to heal my soul and launched my blog in hopes to continue to inspire and empower women to use fitness as a tool to heal depression and find their self worth. I strongly believe that each woman deserves to be in love with herself just as much as her man does. I have an obsession with reusable water bottles, I enjoy action movies, and I’m in love with burpees.

Summer Body Care Must Haves

Summer Body Care Must Haves

Summer is here and its that time of the year where we honor the right to bear arms and legs! That’s why its key to have products that will keep your skin soft and smooth all season. Your skin goes through a lot especially during the summer months between excessive sun exposure and sweat.

Here are 6 of my summer body care must haves that I swear by for summer! 

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How To Fight That Mid Morning Crash

We all know that there’s never enough time in the day especially if you’re a modern day hustler (aka running your own business or simply a busy human). I always seem to find myself running from one errand to the next or having to go from one checklist item to crossing off another. When you’re on the hurry it’s easy to succumb to junk food, but it doesn’t always have to be that way.

Mid-morning is typically when the hunger starts to kick in. For me, it’s after the morning routine with the kids and after an early morning workout and a few rounds of emails and work at my desk. Instead of reaching the point of desperation and devouring everything in sight before lunch, try a mid morning snack to ease the hunger pains.

The problem is, we don’t listen to our bodies closely enough and when our tummy starts to talk to us, we try putting it off instead of giving it what it needs.

Here are some simple ways to power through that mid morning crash.

The problem is, we don’t listen to our bodies closely enough and when our tummy starts to talk to us, we try putting it off instead of giving it what it needs. Drink water. When it’s telling us “I’m hungry” we don’t take into consideration that what it actually might be saying is I’m thirsty. Try drinking water instead of reaching for a bag of chips. If you want or need flavor in it, add some slices of lemon.

Get your body moving. When I find myself hitting that mid morning crash it’s often because I’ve been sitting in front of my computer trying to get as much work done before lunch time. Get up and go outside for a quick bike ride, a walk around the block, or to just soak in some Vitamin D and fresh air.

BelVita Protein is a great mid morning snack. It’s got 10g of protein and incredibly tasty! My favorite part is that it takes just like a baked good and makes the perfect companion for your mid morning coffee or as the main attraction with your other snack items. They come in two flavors Protein Oats, Honey and Chocolate and Blueberry Almond, I enjoyed them both, but if I had to choose I’d go for the Blueberry Almond. It reminded me of a baked good I would pick up at a local bakery on the way to school when I was younger.

What do you do you keep yourself from playing the mid morning hunger games?

This post was sponsored by belVita and I was compensated to write this post, but all the opinions are 100% my own. || photography by my talented daughter, Airis Encarnacion.

Joanne E

I’m a mother of two beautiful daughters and married to a man who completes me. I started my fitness journey as a way to heal my soul and launched my blog in hopes to continue to inspire and empower women to use fitness as a tool to heal depression and find their self worth. I strongly believe that each woman deserves to be in love with herself just as much as her man does. I have an obsession with reusable water bottles, I enjoy action movies, and I’m in love with burpees.