The Bullet Journaling Trick That’s Helped Me Stay Sane This Year 

There was a period in recent months when nearly every time I inhaled — so, often — it felt like a troop of butterflies was beating their wings around inside of my stomach. And not in that lovely, oh-my-gosh-I-totally-have-a-crush-on-that-cute-barista way. More in an oh-my-gosh-I-think-I’m-on-the-verge-of-a-panic-attack way.

Now, before you get the wrong idea and assume that this was alarming to me because I am generally a spitting image of Deepak Chopra leading a YouTube meditation video (admirably calm and collected, that is), it’s important to know that this is not entirely unusual for me. I’ve been known to wake up in the middle of the night in a full-blown state of panic. That said, for me to feel constant anxiety during a week when I wasn’t actually consciously worried about anything at all was not normal.

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The Checkup: Ick! These Are the Germiest Spots in Your Kitchen

• New research out of Drexel found the germiest spots in Philadelphia kitchens, so you’re going to want to read their breakdown (highly frequented areas like the fridge and the sink both make the cut), then bust out the Lysol immediately. Fair warning: They found fecal bacteria in nearly half kitchens they looked at. Gross, we know. [TIME]

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Take Notes: How 7 Philly Yoga Pros Smash Stress

I don’t know about you, but it’s incredibly likely that I will still be checking my e-mail at 9 p.m. tonight. And, let’s be honest, probably taking a peek at my Slack work channel, just to make sure nothing is going on, too. Needless to say, this feeling of worry interferes with me really getting to my place of after-work, stress-free calm while watching Chef’s Table and drinking red wine.

When you’re constantly busy and feel like you’re working 24/7 — which so many of us do nowadays — it can be hard to turn off (both mentally, and to literally shut down your phone and laptop) and de-stress. (As a baby step, you can try  turning off your phone’s vibration so you’ll stop compulsively checking it, or start mandating no-screen time before bed.)

With addict-like technology and work habits running rampant, it comes as no surprise that, in a 2015 study by the American Psychological Association, 75 percent of adults reported experiencing moderate to high levels of stress, and nearly half reported that their stress had increased in the past year. Then there’s the whole competing for “most busy” prize that happens at work, which just adds to stress.

So the question: How the heck can we de-stress?

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The Checkup: The Coffee Mistake to Blame for Your Mid-Morning Hanger

• There was a time in a my life when I would drink not one, but TWO Venti White Mochas from Starbucks every. Single. Day. My point: I’m not here to judge. That said, if you feel your energy slumping and hunger setting in after your sweet morning mocha (or chai, or whatever your syrup-laden caffeinated drink of choice is), even though you JUST ate breakfast, you might want to try a plain ol’ black coffee, says dietitian Keith Kantor. [Women’s Health]

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The Checkup: Exactly What Happens to Your Body When You Stop Working Out

• If you’ve ever wondered about what exactly is going on in your body when you take a week or month (hey, it happens) from working out, here’s the breakdown of what happens to your body when you stop your sweat sessions, from how quickly your muscles start to shrink to how your body starts storing sugar as fat rather than as energy for your gym time. [Outside]

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The Checkup: These Are the Two Happiest Ages of Your Adult Life

• Womp, womp: If you’re like me, the happiest years of your life — that would be ages 23 and 69, according to research — have either passed are in the very, very distant future. We wonder: Any coincidence those ages seem to line up with around when many folks are just entering the work force and when they are leaving it? [Well + Good]

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The Checkup: This Will Convince You to Never Charge Your Phone in Bed Again

• I am basically attachment parenting my phone: It goes everywhere I go and it sleeps in my bed. I am not proud. But that whole co-sleeping thing is about to be a thing of the past, thanks to this story of a man who, while charging his phone in bed with an extension cord, like many of us are guilty of doing, was hit with around 110 volts of electricity, suffering some serious burns. As he says, “From my experience to others, it is not worth your life charging your electronics in bed … I wouldn’t wish what happened to me on my worst enemy.” Heard. [Washington Post]

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A Philly Health Coach’s Guide to Getting Unstuck

You may be sitting where I was about a year ago — in a large office building, feeling like you’re not in the right place in your career, job, or life, but not knowing where you do belong, either. Or you may be perfectly happy in your career, but feeling stuck where you’re at with your health, weight, or relationships. Either way, I hope some of the lessons I’ve learned about getting unstuck from my quarter-life career crisis of sorts will help you through any change you’re making in your journey to ultimate health and happiness.

But first off, in case we don’t know each other already, I’m Sam Vander Wielen, a corporate-attorney-turned-certified health coach who helps (mostly) women learn how to create a healthy relationship with food/exercise, prioritize self-care, and live the life they want.

In 2016, I left my career as an attorney at a large law firm to start my own health coaching business, Hygge Wellness. It was hands down the hardest thing I’ve ever done (and the Pennsylvania Bar is no joke!). Not only because I chose to walk away from great coworkers, an amazing managing partner, a generous salary, bonus, and the perks afforded to an attorney working at a great firm, but because I realized I had gone so far down a path I didn’t want, I didn’t know how to get back home. I know so many people, in various jobs in different fields, in the same position.

I realized life wasn’t going to hand me the perfect situation or timing to leave. It was actually pretty alarming to realize that I was in control of my happiness and future.

Here are the top 11 lessons I learned through the process of leaving my career as an attorney to chase my dream of starting my own business, helping others make themselves a priority, and spreading wellness across the Philadelphia region.

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The Skeptical Person’s Guide to Kick-Starting a Meditation Practice

We feel you: It can be hard to feel like you have room for meditation in your life — another thing to do?! — when you’re just so busy with life as it is. That’s why we reached out to Daphne Lyon, a meditation teacher and 500-hour registered yoga teacher at Amrita Yoga and Wellness who also surfs and teaches paddleboard yoga with Aqua Vida SUP. In case you couldn’t tell, she’s a busy gal who can relate to the daily grind.

“You have probably meditated before when you were on a run, knitting, painting or anytime you felt in the zone, completely focused, present, and in the moment,” Lyon says. “The practice of meditation is just that, but more controlled and with intention. We set the intention that we want to bring our awareness to in the present moment by watching the breath.”

We caught up with her for a Q&A about how to jumpstart your own meditation practice. (For starters, you can try her 3-minute guided meditation, because you KNOW you have three minutes!).Who knows? It could just be life-changing. As she says, “I feel so grateful for the ability to share this powerful practice with the community because the results are always amazing, no matter how big or small, and the practice truly transforms your life.”

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