Posted in Meditation, Self Care, Yoga

5 Important Tips for Yoga Success

Happiness is a state of inner fulfillment

Matthieu Ricard

Yoga has been proven to relieve stress by using exercises, in the form of poses, to unify the mind, body, and spirit. If you are a newbie to yoga, expect a little bit of a learning curve to get used to the positions and their names.  It takes consistent practice to find your groove and be able to follow along with the other yogis comfortably – this is absolutely normal. Before you start, do a little homework to ensure that your yoga lifestyle begins with success!

1. Talk to your doctor

Explain what type of yoga poses you would like to practice. Show your doctor pictures of the poses for illustration. Your doctor may rule out specific poses if you have high blood pressure, glaucoma, a history of retinal detachment, or heart disease. Make sure you follow your doctors recommendations.

2. Search Yoga Studios

Find a yoga class that best fits your abilities. Talk to prospective teachers, and decide whether of not you can handle a program before you sign up. Its very important to take it one step at a time. Try a few beginner classes before you attempt more vigerous classes. Dont move ahead too quickly. Allow your body to adjust to your exercises.

3. Body Talk

Listen to your body and be aware of your physical abilities. You don’t want to hurt yourself. Make sure the instructor understands your level of experience and any limitations you may have. Dont allow anyone to push you ahead too quickly. Remember, this is supposed to be fun and relaxing.

4. Yoga Buddy

Find a friend to take the class with you. It’s nice to practice alongside someone you are comfortable with and it will help reduce injuries. It’s also a great way to keep up your enthusiasm and interest. You will make other connections with your fellow yogis and teacher but I find the bring a friend approach will help you stay accountable while you are setting up your routine.

5. Snacktime

Eat lightly before practice. Wait at least two hours after meals before yoga class or practice. An empty stomach is best, but don’t let yourself get too hungry to think. You won’t be able to focus on the poses or enjoy yourself during the relaxation or meditation portions.

If you need more guidance then consider private lessons to start. You can book one-on-one sessions with a teacher in your area and have the focused support to design the right poses and sequences for your yoga goals. You can always take group lessons or practice at home after you’ve had private lessons and learned the basics. There are so many books, programs on YouTube, and DVDs available to help you get started. Search for the best products on the Internet and be sure to read reviews. Talk to others for recommendations.

Now it’s time to grab your mat and a towel and get the most out of your yoga journey.

Inhale. Exhale.

Violet Buddha

Posted in Self Care, Stress Reduction

8 Self Care Tips for Dealing with Everyday Stress

I have always grown from my problems and challenges, from the things that don’t work out, that’s when I’ve really learned. – Carol Burnett

Stress invades our lives all the time, even on a daily basis for most people. Life gets hard and it can be challenging to juggle all the things that the universe seems to be throwing our way. It’s important that we get our stress levels under control because constant high levels of stress are actually toxic to our body and can lead to heart disease, high blood pressure, obesity, and diabetes. Stress also has a negative effect on our mental health and can appear as memory problems, confusion, brain fog or as an inability to concentrate.

Thankfully, it’s easier than you think to implement some strategies to help yourself decrease rising stress levels. 

Just follow these simple steps:

Reduce Alcohol, Caffeine, and Nicotine

Caffeine and nicotine are stimulants and do not decrease your levels of stress; they actually increase them. Alcohol is a depressant when consumed in large amounts and a stimulant in small amounts, making it bad for you to take as an option to relieve stress. Instead of reaching towards alcohol, caffeine, and nicotine, grab some water or herbal tea. These are hydrating and will provide you with stress relief.

Physical Activity is your Friend

Try taking part in physical activity every day – a simple walk around the block on your lunch hour or 30 minutes at the gym will release hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol. Releasing these hormones throughout the day can help your stress levels to go down.

Get your ZZZ’s

Get more sleep to allow your body and mind to recharge. Lack of sleep has a direct correlation to high-stress levels. However, stress sometimes prevents us from relaxing enough to fall asleep. Below are my go to activities to set myself up for sleep – pick one or two to try 30 minutes before your target bedtime.

  • Take a warm bath with Epsom salts, bubbles or essentials oils
  • Read a magazine or chapter of your favorite book
  • Go to bed at roughly the same time every night
  • Sound Bath with Tibetan bowls
  • Guided sleep meditations

Find Time to Relax

Try relaxation techniques. Every day, try a different stress-reducing technique. You can try self-hypnosis as this is very simple and easy to do anywhere. You could also attempt saying one word repeatedly to yourself that holds meaning for you. Don’t worry if these relaxation tips don’t work right off the bat. Relaxation is a skill that takes time to master.

Reach out to your Tribe

Talk to someone you trust and who can help. Letting someone know how you feel is a great way to reduce your stress. Many people have said that it’s like a weight being lifted off their shoulders. Stress can cloud our minds and prevent us from thinking clearly. Talking through your situation with someone can help you figure out a solution to what you’re stressing about.

Keep a Journal or Diary

Keeping a diary and writing down your thoughts and emotions will help you become more aware of what you’re feeling. Write down the date and place the stressful event occurred. Also include what you were doing and how you felt, both emotionally and physically. Writing everything down will enable you to avoid another stressful situation and you’ll discover some new coping mechanisms.

Time Management is Key

Manage your time. Many people experience stress when they run out of time to do important things. With a schedule to follow you can ensure that you get all of your important tasks done in a timely manner. Having all your work done on time will help to decrease some stress.

Two-Letter Word – No!

Learn to say “No”. It’s easy to believe that you have all the time in the world and can juggle one more thing in your life. But sometimes you need to remember that you have so many other important things that need to be juggled. There’s only a certain amount of hours in a day, making it hard to get multiple things done.

Take care of yourself. Stress invades everyone’s lives but dealing with stress is manageable. Know that everything will get better and the thing that’s causing you so much stress won’t be a worry to you down the road.

Share what works for you below…

Inhale. Exhale.

Violet Buddha

Posted in Anxiety, Mental Health, Self Care

The Signs I Ignored

“Imperfection is beauty, madness is genius, and it’s better to be absolutely ridiculous than absolutely boring.”

Marilyn Monroe

Hi Moms are always tired…right? I became a mom before I turned 20 and by 40 I had 4 kids with a grandbaby on the way. Many of my symptoms I attributed to motherhood, being a wife and working full time. I also have 2 types of anemia so I figured it must be a result of that, or stress from going through my divorce in my early twenties and subsequent custody battle that was on/off for years. I made excuse after excuse instead of paying attention to what had been building over all this time.

Flag 1 – Why can’t I stay asleep?

The insomnia started in my twenties, the baby was sleeping in way past my wake up time.  I would take advantage of the fact that I was an earlier bird to drink my coffee in the morning quiet, read magazines or start to tackle my to-do list for the day.  I never complained about the fact that I was getting fewer and fewer hours of sleep as the years went by. I could fall asleep with no problems (probably because I was so exhausted from my day) however I was starting to wake up between 3:00 am and 5:00 am more consistently.

Flag 2 – Why do I wake up with a headache?

The next flag should have been the headaches….I would wake up in the morning and my head would be throbbing, a dull ache in the base of my skull or in between my eyes.  I must be dehydrated, need my caffeine fix, slept wrong or maybe a migraine would be on the horizon due to the barometric pressure. Sometimes it would pass after a few hours but the frequency was definitely increasing.

Flag 3 – Why can’t I remember anything?

I know that stress, lack of sleep and poor eating habits can lead to memory issues but I have also have pernicious anemia which causes brain fog if my vitamin B12 levels get too low.  I have monthly injections to maintain the proper level and grew accustomed to a few days of memory issues when I was due for a shot. What began to happen was that the fog never lifted.  I tried diet plans, increasing my B12 dose, sleeping pills and even sought help from my acupuncturist.

The Verdict 

The truth of what was happening didn’t come together for me until 2019.  I was diagnosed with seasonal depression and started daily light therapy with a Happy Light.  My brain was loving it and so was I because after each light session I would feel more awake and energized.  I was able to concentrate for longer periods of time, my memory has improved and I was sleeping 6 hours straight at night.  I was relieved that I didn’t need to take medication but then the New Year hit….

In the first 3 months of 2019, I had several family members that had health crises which lead me to have an overload of stress and put my anxiety into high gear. I was worried about everyone and everything – ALL THE TIME. I was terrified of what could happen next. My positive personality was sliding into darkness and all my usual tools were failing me.

For weeks the insomnia escalated until I did not sleep for more than 2 hours straight for weeks.  I was lucky if I slept for a total of 3-4 hours a night. I began to get the shakes, tremor in my hands and was experiencing panic attacks on a daily basis. All I wanted to do was stay in bed and hide from the world.  I would struggle through the day, try to put on a smile and be there for my family.

When I sought out professional help the message was clear: Stop, Sleep, Eat, Fill your cup.  I had to hear the words Adjustment Disorder, Anxiety Disorder and Depression from my Doctor. It wasn’t an easy moment to absorb.  I needed some medicine to help balance out my serotonin – after a few weeks and playing with the timing of the dose – I started to feel like me again. 

This blog is part of my therapy, I do it to stay accountable and to help others who struggle with Mental Illness. I am here to bring awareness on mental health topics and to share what I’m learning in relation to self care.


If you have at least four of these symptoms on a pretty much  daily basis for more than a month, please talk to someone you trust and seek medical intervention. 

  • Depressed or irritable mood most of the day, nearly every day or people asking if you are OK.
  • Decreased interest or pleasure in activities always enjoyed
  • Increased headaches
  • Eating too much or too little (unintended weight gain or loss)
  • Change in sleep (more or less than usual)
  • Fatigue or low energy levels
  • Feelings of worthlessness or excessive worry or inappropriate guilt
  • Diminished ability to think or concentrate, or indecisiveness
  • Thoughts of death or suicide

Keep in mind that besides headache, other body complaints you can experience with depression are:

  • Pain (neck, back, abdominal)
  • Joint aches and pains
  • Constipation/diarrhea
  • Overall body weakness

I want everyone to know that they are not alone and there is no shame in asking for help. I’d love to connect on social media and hear your story.  We can learn a lot from each other by sharing our experience and squashing the stigma that exists on mental health challenges.

Inhale. Exhale.

Violet Buddha


Posted in Anxiety, Mental Health, Self Care

Journaling is easy as 1, 2, 3!

“Journaling is like whispering to one’s self and listening at the same time.”

Mina Murray

Ready, Set – Journal!

So I started small.  I found a great lined notebook with a purple cover to capture my day, a blank notebook from the Dollar Store to doodle in when I was stressed or anxious.  I was lucky to find an app – in my first search – to track my symptoms and also another one to do my daily gratitude practice.

I was reluctant to start a journal when I experienced my anxiety and panic attacks.  I wasn’t sure if I really wanted to explore the triggers or assess how I was feeling both emotionally and physically.  The thought of reviewing those more difficult days wasn’t high up on my priority list. I focused on the positive side and tried different ways of capturing my thoughts, feelings, symptoms and accomplishments.

Here are my suggestions to start journaling on paper, electronically or even both!!  There are a few things to consider in order to make the habit stick:

  1. Get a notebook that you will want to write in.  It can be your favorite color, have an inspiring quote on the cover or is unlined so you have the option to add drawings instead of just words.
  2. When a quiet moment arises that you are alone, do a quick check in:
    • How are you feeling?  Happy? Sad? Anxious? Annoyed?
    • What happened during the day that brought forward these feelings?
    • Write down your thoughts on the cause and then take 3 deep breaths to let the feeling go.
    • Close the Journal and continue on with your day, try to let go of those emotions. Consider the feelings you jotted down and you can reflect what you wrote down at the end of the day. Only do this if you feel the need because the feelings are lingering.
  3. Did you know that multiple journals can also be very helpful?  Here are some addition journal types that could inspire you:
    • The PMS Journal: Track how your cycle affects your physical, emotional or mental health.
    • The Food Journal: Track you food choices, calories or even physical reactions to certain foods.  I used this type of journal during an elimination diet so that I could follow if my symptoms improved as I made different food choices in relation to dairy, wheat and eggs. This was a tremendous help for both my family doctor and allergist.
    • Gratitude Journal: This type of journal is fantastic for staying in a positive mindset and be thankful for the people that have an impact in your life. As I mentioned, I have been using the thankful app on my iPhone because it also allows me to include pictures in my entries. I am a visual person so the images trigger memories and evoke strong emotions.
    • Dream Tracker: Do you thrive off of looking into the meaning of your dreams?  Do you like interpreting the experiences and gain insight on your dream patterns.  A dream diary can definitely help you reflect and learn more about your personality.
    • Pregnancy Diary: As an adult, this was my first real attempt at journaling.  Tracking my pregnancy experiences was rewarding and has enabled me to compare each experience (I’ve had 4 pregnancies!!) to see how unique they all have been.  Another benefit is the ability to share this information with my children as they get older. In fact, my oldest daughter just had a baby and was so appreciative to be able to look at my pregnancy experience with her.
Doodle Art

Countless Benefits

There are plenty of reasons to keep an online journal or diary. The most rewarding can be in regards to your emotional health.

Mental health benefits from journaling:

  • Reduces overall stress
  • Increases happiness
  • Keeps you on track to achieve goals
  • Increases your emotional intelligence
  • Develops self-awareness
  • Improves memory
  • Allows you to emotionally heal from trauma
  • Boosts problem-solving skills
  • Gain clarity on confusing situations

I suggest that you have some kind of schedule in order to make journaling a habit and incorporate it into your lifestyle.   Journaling throughout the day helps me capture all the various emotions and experiences I encounter. I aim for upon waking up, mid day, while cooking dinner and before bed. Just a few minutes per day has improve my mindset, gratitude and appreciation for all people and things that contribute to my journey through life.

Do you Journal? How has it benefited you? I’d love for you to share YOUR experience with the Violet Buddha Tribe and help others incorporate journaling into their daily To Do list.

Hellow Sunshine Journal

Inhale. Exhale.

Violet Buddha