A FabYOUlous life. We all want one but how do we get one? Well, would you believe that living a FabYOUlous life is as easy as ABC?
Just follow these 26 simple suggestions and you’ll be feeling the FAB in no time!
A is for Apples: We’ve all heard the adage “an apple a day keeps the doctor away” right? Well, as it turns out–there’s actually a lot of truth to it. Okay, so maybe apples aren’t a guarantee that you’ll never need to see a doctor, they are however rich in flavonoids which are antioxidants that reduce cellular damage that leads to the risk of heart disease, lung cancer, stroke and diabetes. They are also a great source of dietary fiber. Thanks to evolution and creative breeders, there are now over 7,500 known apple varieties and over 100 of those are grown and sold in the U.S. For more information on some of the most popular apple varieties and my sweet, Grandma Brown’s delicious apple crisp recipe click here.
B is for Breathe: It’s something that we are born knowing how to do and yet during times of great stress, it is something that many of us do incorrectly.Rather than taking deep, cleansing breaths that adequately fill our lungs and invigorate us, we take shallow, hurried breaths that can deprive the brain of oxygen at a time when we need it the most and leave us feeling fatigued. Click here for a powerful breathing technique that will help to calm you the next time you feel hurried, overwhelmed or stressed out.
C is for Capitalize on your Commute: I am very fortunate because my office is less than 10 minutes from my home. I have friends however, who commute an hour and a half to south Denver every day (which means that their round trip commute is three hours!) Regardless of where you fall on the commute spectrum, there are wonderful ways to make the most of your traffic time. If you are fortunate enough to commute to work on a train, bus or subway, you can spend the time enjoying a hobby (knitting, crossword puzzles, reading etc.) but obviously those activities shouldn’t be attempted if you are the one behind the wheel. Instead, if I am the one doing the driving, I love to spend my traffic time listening to books on CD or plugging my phone into my car’s auxiliary function so that I can listen to podcasts or audio books through my Audible app (for a free trial of Audible which includes your first book for free click here.) If podcasts are more your cup of tea, click here and scroll down to number 23 for a list of some of my personal favorites.
I’ve also had friends who have used their commute time to take classes through iTunesU and others who have used the time to learn a new language through CD courses. Just because you are stuck in traffic doesn’t mean that your time has to be wasted. Brainstorm some fun ways to capitalize on your commute and make the most of your drive-time.
D is for Delegate: You can do a lot of really incredible things, but no matter how spectacular you are, you simply can’t do it all. Trust me–you really just can’t. This has been a hard lesson for me to learn and I still haven’t completely mastered it. My inner control freak wants to scream “but I want it done right so therefore I obviously have to be the one to do it!” Gah! Get over yourself! (Don’t worry–that was intended for me not you). We are amazing, incredible beings who can do so, so many extraordinary things but we simply cannot do it all. That’s why we must learn the fine art of delegation if we are ever going to experience our full FabYOUlousness. For a great article on delegation (that includes pictures!) click here.
E is for Experience: You know the old saying “money can’t buy happiness”? Well, it’s kind of a lie. As it turns out, money can buy happiness if it is spent on experiences rather than on more stuff. According to Elizabeth Dunn, Ph.D., author of Happy Money: “Experiences, especially those shared with others, make you feel more connected. Plus, they’ll never get lost or ruined.” Your new high tech gadget might get dropped in a sink full of water and be ruined but your memories of favorite experiences can never be destroyed. So, the next time you have a few extra bucks in your pocket, buy concert tickets or a zoo pass. Don’t worry though–not all wonderful experiences cost money. Go on a hike, attend a free poetry reading or visit a farmer’s market. Money spent correctly can buy happiness but at the same time, some of the best things in life truly are free.
F is for Fitness: We don’t need to be ultra-buff body builders to live a FabYOUlous life, but maintaining a healthy and active lifestyle does require a certain level of physical fitness. If you are a couch potato who rarely walks further than the distance to the fridge, you’ll definitely want to start slow as you implement a fitness routine, but you’ll soon see that the more you do, the more you’ll be able to do. For ideas on how to incorporate a simple walking practice into your fitness routine, click here.
G is for Gratitude: The practice of gratitude is one of the most powerful components of a truly FabYOUlous life. In fact, it can be argued that without gratitude, true FabYOUlousness can never be experienced. To make gratitude a more ingrained part of your life, click here to try these seven steps for cultivating an attitude of gratitude.
H is for Home: “Home is where the heart is”. Whether you are living in a small, one bedroom apartment or a multi-million dollar, ocean front mansion, our connection to home is a basic thread that runs throughout our lives. It doesn’t require a large sum of money or a multitude of material possessions to create a sense of home; all it takes is a bit of creativity, imagination and inspiration to create a space that resonates with your deepest values, reminds you of your hopes and dreams and inspires you to reach for them. With a little intentionality, our place of residence truly can become, in the words of Joseph Campbell, “a sacred space where you can find yourself again and again.”
I is for Inhale: So much research has been conducted on the benefits of aroma therapy (for a great article click here) and I absolutely love diffusing essential oils in my home with my Blue Fire Ultrasonic Essential Oil Diffuser. Here are a few of my personal favorite essential oil diffuser blends…
For a great night’s sleep: 3 drops of lavender plus 3 drops of cedarwood.
For stress relief: 2 drops of lemon, 2 drops of wild orange and 2 drops of bergamot.
For an energy boost: 2 drops of Frankincense, 2 drops of wild orange and 2 drops of peppermint
When using essential oils, it is important to make sure that you are using a Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade(CPTG) oil. My favorite oils come from the doTerra product line but there are other good companies that sell high quality oils as well. Do your research and discover which oils you prefer. For a fun D.I.Y. bath bomb bomb recipe that uses essential oil aromatherapy, click here.
J is for Journal: Journaling has been proven to be an effective way of improving both mental and physical health. It is used for stress reduction, and problem solving and is a valuable tool for personal development. If you’re new to journaling and have no idea what to write about, try using our monthly question series as journaling prompts to get you started.
K is for Kiss: Whether it’s giving your teenager a peck on the cheek or make-out session with your love, kissing stirs up positive feelings. According to Sheril Kirshenbaum, author of The Science of Kissing, neuroscientists believe that our earliest experiences with lip stimulation through nursing as infants, lay down neural pathways in our brains that associate kissing with comfort. Plus, says Kirshenbaum, “our lips are packed with nerve endings so even the slightest brush feels good.” For a more extensive list of benefits associated with kissing, click here.
L is for Learn: We’ve all felt the anguish of being trapped in a classroom feeling forced to do pages of math problems or sentence diagramming. Those lessons were lessons that we no doubt needed to learn but didn’t necessarily want to learn at the time. Eventually however; we begin to understand that there is benefit in learning and those who go on to live a truly FabYOUlous life are those who deliberately and voluntarily seek out opportunities to learn. Life long learning can enhance our understanding of the world around us and provide us with more and better opportunities to improve our quality of life. To become a lifelong learner, simply find something that interests you and begin to study it. Click here for more suggestions on developing a practice of lifelong learning. By becoming a lifelong learner you will expand your options in life and gain a greater capacity for FabYOUlousness.
M is for Make a Mess: Yes, there is something calming about having tidy surroundings; however, there are also therapeutic benefits to occasionally getting a little messy. Sometimes the very thing that we need most is to get our hands dirty and dig around in the dirt to plant a garden. Or maybe your “mess therapy” consists of slapping some paint on a wall or participating in a charity “mud run”. Regardless of how you choose to make your mess, getting messy can free us of inhibitions and allow us to color outside the lines, even if only for a little while.
N is for Nibble: Are you hungry? If so, reach for a carrot, or maybe some snap peas or blueberries. We all know that fruits and veggies are good for our physical health but new research now shows that noshing on these goodies is also linked to improved mental and emotional well being–especially if five or more servings a day are consumed.
O is for Outdoors: I am so blessed to live in beautiful northern Colorado, right at the base of the majestic Rocky Mountains. With over 300 days of sunshine a year in my area, it is very easy to get outside and enjoy some fresh air. Regardless of where you live however; getting outside on a daily basis is sure to increase your levels of FabYOUlousness. Spending time in nature has many physical and psychological benefits. It is the best way for your body to receive vital Vitamin D (which boosts immunity), it makes for better, more restful sleep, and it has been linked to increased activity in the parts of the brain that regulate empathy, emotional stability and love.
P is for Play: Sometimes as adults, we get so caught up in our busy lives of work and family responsibilities that we forget to take time out to play. We feel as though taking guilt-free time for enjoyment is somehow irresponsible and an unproductive use of time. That however; simply is not true. In fact, studies show that those individuals who regularly incorporate scheduled play time into their daily routines are actually more productive than those who keep their noses to the grindstone all day every day. If you feel as though a little more playtime would feel FabYOUlous but you struggle with allowing yourself the luxury of unstructured playtime, click here for seven FabYOUlous ways to live a more playful life.
Q is for the Quest for Quiet: Are you feeling the stress of a looming deadline? Are the kids making you crazy? Do you have a million things to do and no time to do them? If so, you need to find a few minutes to get away and get quiet. It may seem counterintuitive to take your mind off of your stressors when you have so much going on, but taking your mind off of what you need to focus on and getting a few minutes of peace and quiet can actually lead you to more creative solutions. Your brain needs regular breaks in order to maintain peak function–ideally, 10 to 20 minute breaks every two hours. In order to really maximize your quiet time, try pairing it with a simple meditation practice. For some great suggestions on beginning your own meditation practice click here.
R is for Re-ignition: I often hear people saying that they long to reinvent themselves. While I understand the yearning behind this desire, I don’t like the word “reinvent” because I feel like that means making one’s self into something new or different and that just doesn’t feel very authentic to me. Instead, I prefer the term “re-ignite”. To me, re-igniting all of the FabYOUlousness that already resides within your physical and spiritual DNA just seems so much more honest and sustainable. In order to do this however; we must have an understanding of just what that FabYOUlousness is. What are you passionate about? What makes you come alive? What can you spend hours doing without getting bored or restless? What interests/activities would you pursue if time and money were of no concern? By getting in touch with our true essence, and making an effort to re-ignite and fan into flame our core desires and purpose in life, we can enjoy a much more authentic and therefore FabYOUlous existence. For greater guidance on discovering your true purpose, click here.
S is for Save: We’ve already talked about the fact that money (spent correctly) can, in fact, buy happiness (see letter E above) but there’s another thing that money can “buy” and that is security (and if you have been following our series on the Fab Factors, you know that security is one of the factors. If you haven’t been following the season, you can click here for five exercises to strengthen your sense of security). Make an effort today to start a savings plan if you don’t already have one. Just knowing that we have a stash of cash available “in case of emergency” can do so much to increase our levels of FabYOUlousness. Saving money might not be as much fun as blowing it at the shoe store, but I guarantee that when your hot water heater needs to be replaced or your kiddo needs a mouth full of braces, you will be SO glad that you were disciplined enough to set some money aside for these unexpected expenditures.
T is for Tempt your Tastebuds: Do you ever end up in a meal rut? Do you find yourself making Tuna Casserole for supper every Monday night because it’s Monday night? When you eat out, do you frequent the same restaurants and order the same entrees–every single time? While there is nothing wrong with having favorites, if we’re not careful, we can often find ourselves in a boring routine of sameness–otherwise known as a rut. If this starts to happen to you, do something to shake things up before your rut takes on Grand Canyon sized proportions. Varying our meals is one simple way to bust a rut that can also be a lot of fun. Pick a type of cuisine that you haven’t had before (I had Tibetan cuisine for the first time a few weeks ago and guess what–it was delicious) or get together with friends and form a “diner’s club” where you each take turns picking new restaurants to explore. Or…if you would prefer to treat your taste buds by way of beverages, host a wine tasting party to explore unfamiliar vintages. These simple rut-busting exercises will help to pull you out of a boring routine and who knows–you might just find some new favorites to add to your list.
U is for Unplug: Okay, I’ll admit it–this one is especially difficult for me–I love my gadgets. Still, I know that being constantly tethered to my smartphone (or Chromebook, or Kindle…you get the picture) not only interferes with my relationships but also with my sleep–both of which are key contributors to a FabYOUlous life. So, in an effort to not be constantly connected, I am trying to wean myself off of my smartphone after 9:00 at night and when I am with other people. Another simple suggestion is to stop using your smartphone as an alarm because doing so makes it way too easy to start scrolling through you email before you even get out of bed. Yes our technological gadgets can make many aspects of life easier but they can also make things more stressful if not used in moderation. Be sure that you make an effort to unplug your device and plug in to your FabYOUlous spirit.
V is for Vision Board: I know that there are two camps of people when it comes to Vision Boards–those who have watched The Secret seventeen times and have Vision Boards in every room of their house and those who think that Vision Boards are a bunch of new-age hooey. I fall somewhere in the middle. Yes, I’ve watched The Secret (once) and I have a Vision Board (pictured here). I believe in the power of having a Vision Board and I’ve seen amazing things become manifested in my life as a result (I believe) of having a Vision Board; however, my thoughts about Vision Boards are less about treating the universe like some giant genie who is waiting to grant your every wish, and more about creating a tool to focus your time and attention on the things that you desire in life and allowing those aspirations to motivate you to action. Regardless of where you fall on the Vision Board spectrum, I encourage you to make one. They are a lot of fun to put together and you might just be surprised at what FabYOUlous things begin to unfold in your life.
W is for Wine (not Whine): Cheers! If you haven’t already heard the news–wine is good for you! A Spanish study has found that people who drink two to seven glasses of wine a week (yes–that’s week, not day–sorry!) are less likely to get depressed. Plus, wine can also be good for the heart and bones and may also shield off some cancers. The key here is to keep things in moderation. Stick to two to seven glasses of wine a week because any more than that can increase health risks.
X is for eXpectations: I have found in life that I very often get exactly what I expect to get. That being the case, it only makes sense that we should train ourselves to start expecting the best from situations. If being an optimist with great expectations isn’t your natural bent, don’t despair–optimism is something that can be learned. Click here to discover four ways to cultivate more optimism in your life.
Y is for Youthfulness: Age is a state of mind over matter. If you don’t mind–it doesn’t matter. I’ve met 90 year olds with the youthful exuberance of a child and 30 year olds with less vitality than folks more than twice their age. Rather than being hung up on the number of candles on your birthday cake, celebrate the fact that every new day is a chance to experience FabYOUlousness in your life. One of the best ways to stay young (regardless of your biological age) is to have fun. Click here for seven FabYOUlous ways to stay young by having fun.
Z is for ZZZZZ’s: We all know that we feel a thousand times better when we are well rested, and yet how many of us still burn the midnight oil, knowing full well that our alarm is going to go off at 6:00 A.M.? According to Sonja Lyubomirsky, Ph.D., professor of psychology at the University of California, Riverside, “studies show that we are happier on days after we’ve slept well than we are on days when we’ve slept poorly”. Fortunately for those of us who struggle with quality night time sleep, naps can deliver a restorative effect that can help to turn a bad day into a FabYOUlous one.
There you have it–the ABC’s of a FabYOUlous Life. Since there are twenty-six different letters, you can go through the list, focusing on one letter at a time for a week and make it through the entire list twice in a year’s time. Incorporating these simple tips into your life will do wonders for both your physical and emotional well being. Start making these simple changes today and see just how FabYOUlous your tomorrows can be.