Viewing entries in
Journaling

Download your free Self-Kindness journal!

Comment

Download your free Self-Kindness journal!

Have you ever felt frustrated or confused when you want to lose weight, gain muscle, get more toned, or really… make any kind of body change?

I don’t blame you!

There’s a lot of confusing information out there.

Here's a video with 7 different mental shifts + practical approaches that you can use to practice kindness while you’re focusing on a body change. 

PLUS below there's a printable Sparkes Wellness Self-Kindness Journalette with questions for YOU to answer for each step!

Watch...

Read + Write...

This section is designed to act as journaling prompts for you!

I recommend writing in a stream-of-consciousness fashion - write as much as you can without picking up your pen and let whatever comes up for you come onto the page.

Click here to get your 14 page journal delivered to your inbox! 

After you answer these journaling questions, I'd love to hear from you! 

Send me a message or leave a comment below to tell me what you discovered. 

With love and body kindness, 

xoxo elyse

 

PS - Know someone who might need to hear this today? Send them this page! 


                              Hiya, I'm elyse!

I'm a personal trainer, fitness coach, and yoga teacher who gets people moving with in-person training and my signature online 21 day + Sparkes Wellness Library program. I want to help people drop the guilt/shame game around exercise and start working out with ease and kindness. When I'm not doing squats and sun salutations, I'm dressed up in vintage lindy hop dancing or gathering other Lovely Lady Entrepreneurs to talk about their careers and living their most passionate lives. Start moving with me today with these FREE stretch breaks you can do to feel more energized and aligned during your day! - stretchbreak.elysesparkes.com


 

 

Comment

Want to be more kind to yourself as you get fit?

Enter your name + email to get this 14 page printable Self-Kindness journal delivered to your inbox!

6 ways to befriend your body right NOW

Comment

6 ways to befriend your body right NOW

The brain is the organ that learns, so it is designed to be changed by your experiences…whatever we repeatedly send and feel and want and think is slowly but surely sculpting neural structure.
— Hardwiring Happiness by Rick Hanson, Ph. D.

So then, what do you want to teach your brain? 

And how can your daily experiences - what you repeatedly send and feel and want and think - inform that learning? 

I want PLAY, JOY, LOVE, GROWTH experiences. 

I want to befriend my body, rather than feeling like my body and I are in a constant struggle.

I want to show up with confidence, with optimal health, and with vibrancy to the things I'm passionate about. 

(Just to name a few) ;)

 

What about you? 

 

The beauty is, it only takes a few simple changes – done consistently – to start creating thoughts and behaviors that will help you feel better in your body. 

I wrote an article for Sivana East about 6 of my favorite ways to use mindfulness throughout the day to start to respect, honor, and feel better in your body.

They might not seem like *such* big deal things to do each day, but these changes have had huge impacts on sculpting those good 'ol neural structures of mine, so I hope they're helpful to you too. 

 

 
 

Read it here! 

 

*Spoiler: My favorite is #5. 

Can you guess what it is? 

That's right, the #JOYworkout. 

In my online programs, we talk about a JOY workout as something that gets you moving, but feels like SO MUCH MORE than a "workout" just for the sake of squats + push-ups.

It could be something like:

  • blasting your favorite music for 10 minutes and having a dance party at home,
  • going out for a nature walk or bike ride,
  • heading to the pool for a swim,
  • or playing hopscotch!

Most importantly, you’re getting your body moving in a way that feels good and finding a type of movement that you really truly enjoy!

 Taking a little time to PLAY is Mar del Plata, Argentina!

Taking a little time to PLAY is Mar del Plata, Argentina!

Moving your body does wonders for your physical health as it increases your cardiovascular endurance, strengthens your muscles, helps with balance, creates better sleep, aids in digestion, decreases stress, and much more.

It also gives your mental health a boost. You get a dose of warm fuzzy positive endorphins leading to a natural boost of confidence, as well as feelings of happiness and joy.

A few minutes of a JOY workout and BOOM, usually feeling better already!

So, two questions for you:

 

1. What is your JOY workout?

(I'll go ahead and answer the most commonly asked question... YES, sex counts!)

2. What helps you feel good in your body (right here, right now, today)?

 

Leave me a comment and let me know!

With love and blending fitness + mindfulness! 

xoxo elyse


HIYA, I'M ELYSE! 

I'm a personal trainer, fitness coach, and yoga teacher who gets people moving with in-person training and my signature online 21 day workout program. I want to help people drop the guilt/shame game around exercise and start working out with ease and kindness. When I'm not doing squats and sun salutations, I'm dressed up in vintage lindy hop dancing or gathering other Lovely Lady Entrepreneurs to talk about their careers and living their most passionate lives. Start moving with me today with these FREE stretch breaks you can do to feel more energized and aligned during your day! - stretchbreak.elysesparkes.com


Comment

Want to be more kind to yourself as you get fit?

Enter your name + email to get this 14 page printable Self-Kindness journal delivered to your inbox!

If you're exhausted by writing 'lose 5lbs' on your to-do list, read this

Comment

If you're exhausted by writing 'lose 5lbs' on your to-do list, read this

There is SO MUCH more to life than weight loss. 

And yet... 

I spent many many New Year's Days writing out my target weight goals and devising complex systems for my exercise and meal plan in order to lose that 'final 5lbs'.

Finally, THIS will be it!

Then throughout the year I would stare at the scale every morning (sometimes noon and night too) to loose that weight OR to make sure I wasn't gaining.

Ironically, those years were the most UN-healthy times of my life.

I felt like there was always weight I couldn't shed, I had anxiety attacks, loss of my period, had severe skin and digestive problems, and so much mental stress that I could never relax at a meal with friends. I always had to be moving to 'burn calories' (I even took up knitting so I could move my hands while I watched a movie)!

Studying mindfulness flipped that lifestyle on it's head and now I feel connected with my body (how it is, right here, today) and exercise and eat for altogether different reasons.

If you're exhausted by writing LOSE 5 POUNDS on your resolution list (yet again), follow these steps for a new approach. 

*Pssst... You can write your own answers in (click here), with this interactive worksheet!

Find your WHY

One thing that helped me was shifting my focus from "Skinny=Happy" to "Healthy=Happy". Instead of my one and only goal being to maintain a certain weight, I concentrated on using food and exercise to heal my health. 

I see huge shifts in my clients and program participants when I encourage them to dig deep and discover the true WHY behind their health and wellness goals.

What is it for you?

  • increased energy,
  • more sound sleep,
  • building flexibility/stability/mobility,
  • practicing balance,
  • being able to lift your kids/grandkids,
  • improving your posture,
  • reducing stiffness, aches and pains,
  • preventing diabetes and high blood pressure,
  • preventing frail bones,
  • improving your digestion, 
  • decreasing mental stress, 
  • feeling confident in your clothes?

1. Write out ALL of the reasons being fit is important to you.

2. Keep it somewhere you can see it everyday and look it over when you need a friendly reminder. :)

Take an action towards how you want to FEEL

If the number goals (lose 5 pounds, have a 29 inch waist, etc.) ARE really important to you, go deeper into the WHY behind that as well.

Ask yourself:

  • WHY is this important to me?
  • What will be available to me when I reach this goal?
  • What will I do differently when I've gotten there? 

3. Write out the answers to the questions above. 

  • Will you buy yourself a new outfit? 
  • Go to a group yoga class?
  • Start dating again? 
  • Apply for a new job? 
  • Finally think you look good? 
  • Make a YouTube video for your business? 
  • Take a selfie? 

4. Choose something you can do TODAY to treat yourself like you're ALREADY there.

  • Buy yourself an outfit you like!
  • Go to a class!
  • Set up a date!
  • Compliment your body (to yourself or to a friend!). 

I know, I know!

This might feel uncomfortable.

You might want to deprive yourself from the get-go and say, 'but I'm NOT there yet!'

So I'm going to step up on my soap box for this one.

Listen up:

You've got ONE life to live and the living starts NOW.

From my personal experience and from working with hundreds of people over the past 12+ years, those magical five pounds are NOT the catalyst for change. 

The catalyst for change starts in shifting your thoughts and your actions.

By,

A) Talking to yourself and about yourself with respect and honor.

B) Moving from product based goals (ie: lose 10 lbs by May) to PROCESS based goals ("I move my body - in a way that's exciting to me - for 30 minutes 3x a week. I text a friend when I need support").

C) Recognizing that,

  • your body is with you for the long run, so this whole health/fitness/wellness stuff is an ongoing, continual process, and
  • gifting your body exercise and nutritious food is something that's important to do at ANY + ALL body sizes, shapes, and ages.

D) Treating yourself like your most precious possession.

 

Ready to really take action on this?

Click HERE for an interactive worksheet to record your answers and go deeper into this process!

 

After you go through the worksheet, I'd love to hear about your answer to #3!  

Comment below and let me know what is the thing you're going to commit to do TODAY?

With love and shifting thoughts and actions, 

xoxo elyse

 

PS - After last week's post, many people expressed interest in starting one of my programs and we've had great new members joining in!

If you're interested in getting fit and healthy in a way that's holistic, body positive, and achievable, you can start the 21 Day program with us this coming Monday! 

Click here to sign up! 


Hiya, I'm elyse!

I'm a personal trainer, fitness coach, and yoga teacher who gets people moving with in-person training and my signature online 21 day workout program. I want to help people drop the guilt/shame game around exercise and start working out with ease and kindness. When I'm not doing squats and sun salutations, I'm dressed up in vintage lindy hop dancing or gathering other Lovely Lady Entrepreneurs to talk about their careers and living their most passionate lives. Start moving with me today with these FREE stretch breaks you can do to feel more energized and aligned during your day! - stretchbreak.elysesparkes.com


Comment

Want to be more kind to yourself as you get fit?

Enter your name + email to get this 14 page printable Self-Kindness journal delivered to your inbox!

3 simple things to calm your mind

Comment

3 simple things to calm your mind

I was tossing, I was turning, my mind was going a mile a minute, and most importantly it was 1am and I wasn’t sleeping.

This was the eve of Labor day here in the US, the unofficial end of summer, the week of ‘back to school’ mentality, and I was up all night worrying about every single tiny detail of my life.

Ever happen to you?

Here are 3 simple things to do when your mind is on overdrive:

1. Breathe

When your thoughts are going a mile a minute, your breathing is probably speeding up as well and increasing your anxiety. Zone in on your breath to focus your attention and heighten your experience of this present moment.

Try this:

  • Lightly close your lips
  • Breathe in and out through your nose
  • Count how long it takes you to inhale
  • Match that count to the count of your exhale

Ex: Inhale for 1-2-3-4, Exhale for 1-2-3-4.

Continue for at least 8 breath cycles. 

2. Write it out + be curious about the struggle

Remind yourself of this: The one thing we can count on? Impermanence.

Things will always change. So what you're struggling with right now? It may be monumental* or it may be minute, but no matter what it WILL shift, change, and make you grow over time.

Maybe it will be a catalyst for saying No to an unhealthy relationship, maybe it will be the brick wall forcing you to follow a different career, maybe it will be the injury that urges you to listen more deeply to your body.

This moment always changes.

What if instead of rushing to figure out all the details, you had patience and curiosity around where you are right now?

My favorite tool for being curious is simple pen and paper.

Get your pen to the page and write out all your questions (and perhaps some answers will pop up too).

  • What’s bothering me right now?
  • What is this really about?
  • What’s important about this?
  • What do I truly want?
  • What’s the next step I need to take to get closer to what I want?
  • What do I KNOW about this?
  • What don’t I know about this?
  • Where do I feel this in my body right now?
  • And now?... And now?

You might find that after writing it out, it’s already shifted.

*I’m referring to ‘struggles’ that are not putting you in danger, abuse, or extreme risk. If you are experiencing that, please seek professional help to change your situation as soon as possible.

3. MOVE

Get up and move your body! Gentle, slow, and steady movements can help relax your nervous system, help relieve places in your body where you’re holding onto tension, and get you from feeling stuck and frustrated to creative and inspired!

My favorite quote from Julia Cameron speaks to this,

Exercise is often the going that moves us from stagnation to inspiration, from problem to solution, from self-pity to self-respect.

We do learn by going. We learn we are stronger than we thought. We learn to look at things with a new perspective.

We learn to solve our problems by tapping our own inner resources and listening for inspiration, not only from others but from ourselves.

Seemingly without effort, our answers come while we swim or stride or ride or run.

By definition, this is one of the fruits of exercise: ‘exercise: the act of bringing into play or realizing in action’ (Webster’s Ninth).

Follow along with me in these short videos to join me in moving your body:

Over to you... 

Tell me, which one of these resonates with you the most? 

Do you have go-to simple tricks you do when you need to calm your racing mind? 

I'd love to hear about them in the comments below! 

With love and a calm mind, 

xoxo elyse


Hi, I'm elyse!

I'm a personal trainer, fitness coach, and yoga teacher who gets people moving with in-person training and my signature online 21 day workout program. I want to help people drop the guilt/shame game around exercise and start working out with ease and kindness. When I'm not doing squats and sun salutations, I'm dressed up in vintage lindy hop dancing or gathering other Lovely Lady Entrepreneurs to talk about their careers and living their most passionate lives. Start moving with me today with these FREE stretch breaks you can do to feel more energized and aligned during your day! - stretchbreak.elysesparkes.com


Comment

Want to be more kind to yourself as you get fit?

Enter your name + email to get this 14 page printable Self-Kindness journal delivered to your inbox!

How to handle overwhelm

10 Comments

How to handle overwhelm

 I found this brilliant image on the instagram account of @publicpersona

I found this brilliant image on the instagram account of @publicpersona

When you've got too many tabs open in your browser, your computer will slow down and not work that well.

Guess what?

Same thing applies to your brain.

You know that feeling when you've got 101 things on your mind, none of them seem to be getting done, the list keeps getting longer, and the last thing that's being taken care of is YOU?

You might start to feel an underlying feeling of anxiety and overwhelm. And you might feel sensations in your body like tense muscles, tight chest, closed off throat, or a pit in your stomach.

Here are 6 things you can do to close your mental tabs + feel better in your body:

 

1. Pause + BREATHE.

Sure, you're already breathing. But when you have too many things on your plate and your mind is racing, you might be holding your breath and increasing your stress levels. Take a moment right now to focus on three slow breaths in & out through your nostrils.

All together now: Inhale, exhale... Inhale, exhale... Inhale, exhale...

Feels better already, right?

 

2. De-clutter your Brain.

Get it out of your brain and onto a piece of paper. Write down every single thing that's on your mind (the errands, ideas, to-do's, projects, brainstorms, things that are bothering you, things that are awesome... ALL the things) so you're not taking up mental capacity remembering it all.

3. Choose ONE

After you've de-cluttered your brain, look at what you've written. Choose the ONE most important thing on that page. This is the task you're going to get started with. “But what about everything else!?” Don't worry, now that you've got it all written down, you can go back to the list when this task is done.

4. Close all other tabs

Literally? Those open windows on your computer screen are a huge distraction. Close Facebook, silence your phone, log out of your email.

Figuratively? I like to say you've got to put your horse blinders on. Don't let your periferal vision divert your attention. Keep your eyes forward and on the ONE thing you choose to focus on right now.

5. Stop, drop, + MOVE

The #1 thing you MUST prioritize is taking care of yourself. I'm talking good quality sleep, nutritious food, and moving your body! You won't be able to focus on any of your tasks if your basic needs aren't taken care of. Plus, rest, nutrition + exercise will help increase your productivity and your creative + critical thinking skills.

*Want to get moving right now?

6. Call a lifeline for help

Tough love: You can't do it alone. We all need support to keep on rolling. When it feels like the weight of the world is on your shoulders, you MUST allow people to help you out. Pick up the phone and call a friend for support, delegate some of your responsibilities, ask your partner to chip in, or hire a professional to help you out.

now, over to you...

Which of these resonates most with you?

Do you have your own tab-closing tips you want to share? I'd love to hear yours. Post them in the comments below!

Know someone who might need to hear this today? Send them this post!

With love and brain de-cluttering,

xoxo elyse


HI, I'M ELYSE!

I'm a personal trainer, fitness coach, and yoga teacher who gets people moving with in-person training and my signature online 21 day workout program. I want to help people drop the guilt/shame game around exercise and start working out with ease and kindness. When I'm not doing squats and sun salutations, I'm dressed up in vintage lindy hop dancing or gathering other Lovely Lady Entrepreneurs to talk about their careers and living their most passionate lives. Start moving with me today with these FREE stretch breaks you can do to feel more energized and aligned during your day! - stretchbreak.elysesparkes.com


10 Comments

Want to be more kind to yourself as you get fit?

Enter your name + email to get this 14 page printable Self-Kindness journal delivered to your inbox!