7 Ways to Spark the Holiday Spirit
Mention the word “Christmas,” and what comes to mind? Is it idealized scenes of stockings hung above a roaring fire, a beautifully decorated tree surrounded by piles of wrapped gifts, and happy families all wearing matching pajamas? Instead of feeling stressed at falling short of Martha Stewart perfection, give yourself permission to change your approach to the holidays. Here are 7 ways to spark the holiday spirit, and breathe new life into your celebration…
- Change what the holidays represent to you.
Of course, the holidays are for giving, but instead of giving gifts, why not make personal connection your goal? Start small. Make a phone call to someone each night of December that you haven’t talked to in a while. You’ll be surprised at how great it feels to hear the delight and surprise in their voice when they pick up the phone. You gave them that little sparkle just by taking the time to call.
- Start a new holiday tradition.
Traditions start when a singular moment was so fun and meaningful that people want to recreate it. Lean into that. Did everyone think it was hilarious when Grandpa wore felt deer antlers while he opened gifts last year? This year, get EVERYONE in your family a pair of antlers. Put antlers on the dog. Get a family antler photo, and recreate that photo every year. If people are talking about your “holiday moment” months or years later, that’s the makings of a new tradition.
- Reminisce. Reminisce. Reminisce.
Take the time to re-share old stories that everyone can repeat by heart. You might just learn a new detail that surprises you. And pay attention to what memories each person shares. It’ll give you unique insight into what they hold on to in their heart. Just that little window into their soul will warm your holiday spirit.
- Seek out different holiday entertainment.
In December, every streaming platform is packed with Christmas movies, and radio stations play holiday songs 24/7. There is always comfort in enjoying those Christmas favorites, but how about finding a new way to make the Yule cool. When was the last time you listened to an audiobook? The library is full of spectacular holiday tales in audiobook form that will keep you spellbound for hours as you decorate the tree. Want your family to gather together for a holiday game night? Christmas Trivia will have everyone laughing as they try to remember all the lyrics to “The 12 Days of Christmas”. Be open to the new and different, and see how it reinvigorates your holiday attitude.
- Embrace the holiday silly.
What’s a little something that brings you joy? Go build a snowman in someone’s front yard for them. Fill your coat pockets with birdseed, and feed the wildlife the next time you take a walk. Paint the river rocks in your flower bed with Santa hats. If it makes you giggle, then do it. That smile is the foundation of your holiday spirit.
- Learn about holiday traditions around the world.
You’d be surprised at what happens around the world during the holidays. In Oaxaca, Mexico, December 23 is The Night of the Radishes, a festival where merchants sell radishes that have been intricately carved to depict nativity scenes. In Venezuela, everyone roller skates to early morning mass on Christmas Day. So while you don’t need to decorate your tree with spider webs for luck like they do in Ukraine, isn’t it fun to talk about that over dinner?
- Make a holiday bucket list.
When was the last time you went caroling? Or sledding? Or ice skating? Get the neighbors to join you in a massive snowball fight. If there’s something you haven’t done in years, maybe this is the holiday spark you’re looking for.
All it takes is a little holiday spark to add more warmth and meaning to your celebration. Years of holiday bah humbug may be hard to break, but if you put a little effort into trying new activities, sharing old memories, and embracing the silly, you’ll realize that connecting your values to the holiday in a way that is uniquely authentic to you will allow your holiday spirit to soar. Merry Christmas!
At OHI, we LOVE this time of year. OHI is already a special place where we come together, count our blessings, and show our gratitude. And during the holiday season it gets an extra touch of warmth and cheer. At OHI Austin and OHI San Diego, we have festive poinsettias, twinkling white lights, and special holiday meals – all reminders of the love, caring, and sharing that makes the holidays such a wonderful time of year. Come to OHI for the holidays. Visit our website at www.optimumhealth.org, and call us at (800) 588-0809 to make your reservation.
“Catch” the Joy of Living Generously!
It might be too soon after the pandemic to joke about “catching” anything, but let’s make the case for “catching” the joy of living generously!
Generosity is defined as the willingness to give or to share; an act of unselfish giving. So whether you tithe to charities, volunteer your time at a local soup kitchen, or donate gently used clothes to a homeless shelter, small acts of kindness and generosity can make a huge difference to the recipient. But the truth is, people who are generous also reap rewards for themselves — studies show being generous brings givers feelings of true joy and fulfillment. While generosity is meant to help those in need, generosity has a “pay it forward” inspirational quality that has the power to create a kindness ripple effect. The bottom line is when the joy of generosity becomes “catching,” EVERYONE wins — the recipient, the giver, and all who are inspired to become generous.
Get Your Family to Catch the “Generosity Bug”
The family that finds the joy in giving nets so many benefits in return:
- A deep bonded connection across generations
- An appreciation for the values of kindness and generosity
- A strong family identity, which influences the self-identity of younger generations
- An understanding of true gratitude as the focus shifts from self to others
While generosity can help build strong family bonds, practicing generosity is also a valid mental health principle and could be the key to a happy and healthy life. Year after year, studies have highlighted the benefits of generosity to both our physical and mental health:
- Reduces stress
- Naturally fights depression
- Builds self-confidence
- Enhances one’s sense of purpose
- Promotes social connections and improves relationships
How Do You Inspire “Generosity” Within Your Family?
Generosity rarely happens by chance. Instead, it is an intentional decision that we make in our lives, and one we consciously incorporate into our family value system. The reality is that it’s easy to believe in embracing generosity, but you have to walk the walk not just talk the talk. Here are three ways to get your family to jump on the generosity bandwagon:
MODEL: When you organize a fundraiser for the local school, make sure your kids join you for the event. They need to see generosity in action so they’ll want to participate in charity themselves someday.
ENCOURAGE: Regularly discuss with your kids where their community service interests lie. You can’t support everything charity, so your kids need to figure out what causes are meaningful to them.
ENGAGE: Share news stories with your kids that show the results of good works so that they can see how generosity can change outcomes.
The 7 Forms of Generosity
When most people think of ways to be generous, they think of monetary donations or donating items they no longer need to charity. These are both excellent ways to unselfishly give, but they are not the only ways to spread kindness. In fact, there are seven forms of generosity. Here are the forms of generosity, and an idea or two for ways to bring that form to life with your family:
- THOUGHTS: Forgive someone (or yourself), and let go of the anger and resentment towards them.
- WORDS: When someone does something kind for you, accept it with genuine gratitude.
- MONEY: When you get paid, give first to a favorite charity.
- TIME: Call someone you haven’t talked to in ages just to let them know you’re thinking of them.
- THINGS: Sell something you don’t use anymore, and give the money to a family in need.
- INFLUENCE: Give someone a tutorial of something you know how to do that they don’t — be patient!
- ATTENTION: Put your phone away when you’re with friends, and give them your full and undivided attention — no scrolling in the bathroom!
As English author John Bunyan once said, “You have not lived until you have done something for someone who can never repay you.” Generosity is truly the gift that keeps on giving, so make it a priority to “catch” the joy of generosity whenever you can. Each day life presents us with hundreds of opportunities to be generous. By making a lifestyle out of generosity, we can do ourselves, our families, and our community a world of good!
Share the Love, Share the Feeling, Share the Gift of Healing
The OHI community relies on acts of kindness and generosity from people like you to support those in need. Please make your donation now – by calling (800) 588-0809, or online at www.OptimumHealth.org – Support OHI – many more lives are at stake.
Belonging Starts with Self-Acceptance
Belonging. We all strive for a sense of belonging, to feel part of a tight-knit community that we trust to offer us love and support in all phases of our life. But it takes courage to let your guard down and show the real “you” to the world so you can find your people and join a group where you can truly fit in and feel you belong.
Brené Brown, author of the book “Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead,” had this to say about belonging: “Because true belonging only happens when we present our authentic, imperfect selves to the world, our sense of belonging can never be greater than our level of self-acceptance.”
Those powerful words ring true. In order to feel we belong somewhere, we first have feel comfortable in our own skin and truly accept ourselves for who we are before we can ever expect anyone else to accept us into the group.
So let’s explore the concept of “belonging” as a journey of self-acceptance.
What is the Meaning of Self-Acceptance?
Self-acceptance means accepting all attributes about yourself, positive or negative. You accept that you have made mistakes and that you have flaws, but you do not let them define you. You accept yourself without judgment. It is only by accepting ourselves that we can begin the process of meaningful self-improvement. To fully accept yourself and your flaws does NOT mean that you condone bad behavior or embrace unhealthy actions. Accepting those less savory aspects of yourself is the first and most important step in improving that which you don’t like about yourself.
8 Ways to Learn How to Accept Yourself
Learning to accept yourself for who you are can bring peace and calm to your life. Here are eight ways to practice self-acceptance:
- Forgive yourself: If you’ve hurt someone or acted in ways you’re not proud of, forgiving yourself doesn’t mean you condone your behavior. It means you accept what you’ve done, take responsibility, and give yourself permission to move on.
- Practice self-compassion: Give yourself warmth and understanding during difficult times. Talk to yourself like you would to a friend, and give yourself compassionate advice.
- Lean into mindfulness: Mindfulness means being in the moment — right here, right now. Mindfulness also involves thoughtfully creating your purpose. Set your purpose for the next day each night before you go to sleep. It will give you direction and intention.
- Acknowledge and love your abilities: Whatever your strengths are — no matter how big or small — you should write them down in gratitude. When you’re struggling to find self-acceptance, this list is a reminder of all the wonderful things you contribute to the world. Be proud of them.
- Ignore your inner critic: Author Brené Brown said, “Shame is the intensely painful feeling or experience of believing that we are flawed and therefore unworthy of love and belonging.” Don’t give in to shame or negative thoughts. When you feel self-criticism coming on, take a deep breath and think about what you would tell a friend who was thinking about themselves in that manner. Banish the criticism.
- Cultivate your inner circle: Surround yourself with family and friends you can trust and share your deepest thoughts and concerns with. Lean on people who see the good in you so you’ll see the good in you.
- Move on from disappointments: When your hopes and dreams aren’t met, it’s easy to feel lost. Don’t wallow in self-pity. Allow yourself to mourn, then move on from unsatisfied aspirations. Establish a new goal, and start working toward that. Turing aspiration into action gives you purpose.
- Gain perspective on your limitations: Accepting your flaws and failures doesn’t mean you’re settling for less. In fact, knowing your limitations sets the foundation for healthy mental wellness.
Learning to accept ALL of who you are can be challenging. There will always be parts of you that you you’re not satisfied with. Remember, you are a unique, wonderful work-in-progress! Embrace the present, gain perspective on the past, and set goals for a positive future. You are worthy of love and friendship and belonging. Start your journey to belonging by learning to accept yourself today. Visit our website at www.optimumhealth.org, and call us at (800) 588-0809 to make your
What is empathy? Empathy is defined as the ability to recognize, understand, and share the thoughts and feelings of another. To have empathy is to take their perspective, and walk in their shoes with compassion. It’s the basis for lifelong friendships, inspirational politics, and altruistic volunteerism. Empathy powers change.
Different kinds of empathy
Psychologists have defined three different kinds of empathy:
1. UNDERSTAND: Cognitive empathy is “perspective taking.” It is the ability to identify and understand other people’s emotions.
2. FEEL: Emotional empathy is when you physically and emotionally feel what the other person is experiencing. It is essential for those in caring professions.
3. HELP: Compassionate empathy enables us to not only understand and feel what another person is going through, but empowers us to help that person.
What are the benefits of being empathetic?
Empathy impacts our everyday lives in five ways:
• Builds strong social connections: Empathy enables us to build social connections, and forge friendships, relationships, and partnerships. Those relationships are key to our optimal wellbeing, and increases feelings of happiness and self-worth.
• Improves leadership skills: Empathy improves our capacity to communicate well with individuals and a team. It helps you effectively lead and inspire others.
• Successful marriage/partnership: Empathy with our partner allows us to feel valued, loved, and cared for, and to mirror those feelings in return. Partner empathy is a strong predictor of a successful relationship.
• Better parenting: Empathy makes parents more resilient and better able to face the challenges associated with raising children. Empathetic parents also model empathetic behavior for their children, thereby teaching them empathy at an early age.
• Averting global disaster: Empathetic people are more likely to come together to tackle challenges on behalf of humanity, like global warming, a pandemic, or war.
Experts say empathy can be developed, so let’s learn how…
8 Strategies to Develop Empathy
Here are eight things you can do to cultivate empathy within yourself:
1. Cultivate Curiosity
Follow people on social media from different backgrounds — religious, ethnic, political — and listen to what they have to say. Visit new places, and immerse yourself in their life. Expand your horizons for a new perspective on the world.
2. Step Out of Your Comfort Zone
Learn something new, and experience what it’s like to be unable to do something well. Let it humble you. Humility is a path to empathy.
3. Receive Feedback
Ask for feedback from family, friends, and colleagues regarding your active listening and relationship skills. How could you improve? What opportunities did you miss?
4. Walk in the Shoes of Others
Find opportunities to mix with people from other backgrounds. How do they live and work? Compassion and understanding are the first steps toward empathy.
5. Examine Your Biases
Often without realizing it, we judge others. Again, mix with people from other backgrounds, and examine the preconceived notions you brought to the interaction about their intellect, their work ethic, and their generosity.
6. Difficult, Respectful Conversations
While it can feel uncomfortable to challenge or be challenged by alternative points of view, open your mind to new and different ideas. Start by researching an issue, and understand where a point of view has come from and how it affects the people involved. Then talk to people with those points of view. Listen and don’t interrupt. Active listening is at the heart of empathy.
7. Join a Shared Cause
Working together on community projects can heal divisions and remove biases. Or join others who have been through similar life experiences as you, and lean into the shared experience with empathetic support. It all helps to build trust and empathy.
8. Read Widely
Reading fiction, nonfiction, newspapers, journals, and online content that captures people’s lives from different backgrounds increases our emotional intelligence and our capacity to empathize.
Empathy is at the heart of what it means to be human. It’s a foundation for acting ethically, and for cooperative professional success. It’s at the core of healthy and supportive friendships, relationships, and partnerships. And it’s key to preventing bullying and other cruelty. Learning empathy is like learning a new language. It requires practice and guidance, but with a little effort empathy becomes a natural reflex. Just a little extra empathy from everyone will contribute to a much kinder world.
Learn more about the benefits of empathy in our Communication class. Our caring staff members are eager to give you all the unconditional support, inspiration, and transformational tools you need to bring your body, mind, and spirit into healthy balance in a serene, peaceful setting. Visit our website at www.optimumhealth.org, and call us at (800) 588-0809 to make your reservation.
Guillermo Romero is exactly what you think of when you say “Jack-of-all-trades.” A native of Peru, he’s lived all around the world. He’s multi-lingual. He studied industrial engineering in college. He trained as a sommelier in Spain. He worked in the hospitality industry at Marriott for a decade. And he has worked in various departments at OHI from Housekeeping to Guest Relations.
Oh yeah, and he’s a really great human being.
“I honestly love my job,” said Guillermo. “I believe in the healing power of the OHI for Life program. I enjoy the guests. I appreciate the staff. I’m just really grateful to be here.”
Guillermo immigrated to the United States almost 20 years ago, and joined OHI in 2013. “I came to OHI looking for a better work/life balance,” said Guillermo. “At the time my son was only 5 years old, and I didn’t want to miss his childhood. OHI looked like the kind of organization that valued its employees, and valued what they could contribute to the guest experience. I’ve been very happy here for the last 9 years.”
Guillermo started as Assistant Housekeeping Manager, was promoted to Housekeeping Manager, and is currently Director of Guest Services. He also works on projects with the Facilities Department. “As Director of Guest Services, I oversee the staff in Housekeeping, the front desk, security at the gate, and all of the Managers on Duty. As our Board approves projects that reinvest in the campus facilities, I also work on executing them. A facilities improvement project could be anything from renovating guest rooms and classrooms, to replacing the roof, or installing wood floors. I am in charge of budgeting, obtaining materials, and contractor coordination. Many of our project ideas come directly from guest survey input. Our goal is to always make sure guests feel at home so they can focus on themselves and the program. If there is anything that a guest says would make them feel more comfortable during their stay, then we work to make that happen. A recent guest suggestion was to renovate the hot tub, and that’s exactly what I am doing right now. Everyday is different here. Our Facilities Department handles everything from tree trimming and landscape management to campus renovation and emergency repairs. No matter what the problem, we handle every request that comes our way.”
Guillermo works at the OHI San Diego campus, but when it came time to experience the OHI for Life program for himself, he went to the OHI Austin campus to try something new. “My health opportunity was pre-diabetes and caffeine addiction, so I was excited to have the chance to detox and reset my body again,” said Guillermo. “I’m not going to lie —detoxing was hard for me. But I had seen so many guests do it who were experiencing a serious health opportunity, and they came out the other side so much better for it. Along with being pre-diabetic I am also borderline hypertensive, and my father died of diabetes, so I wanted to make the most of this re-set. Now I do a weekly 24-hour juice cleanse, I eliminated red meat and alcohol from my diet, I drink more water, and I make sure to get plenty of exercise playing soccer and surfing. I have lost some weight, reduced inflammation in my joints, and feel much more alert and energized. The detox was so worth it! And the staff at the Austin campus treated me so kindly through it all. I couldn’t have done it without them. Halfway through the week I was ready to throw in the towel, but they made sure I was as comfortable as possible. That’s what’s noteworthy about the OHI for Life program — whether your body is detoxing from caffeine, sugar, nicotine, chemo chemicals, or other toxins, you are going through a lot physically. The staff knows it’s important to support you mentally, emotionally, and spiritually as they make your body as comfortable as possible. No one shows more heart than the OHI staff. That’s why 75% of all guest bookings are return guests. Once you experience the OHI for Life program, you’ll want to come back over and over again to reboot your body, mind, and spirit. That’s what happens here every single week of the year.”
Guillermo knows the OHI for Life curriculum well, so it’s difficult for him to choose a favorite class. “All of them are great, but I really love the Elimination class,” said Guillermo. “I had no idea the body could eliminate toxins through a variety of ways like juicing, lymphatic exercise, and massage. The healing power of the OHI for Life program is truly amazing.”
Guillermo has simple advice for guests. “Invest in yourself, and make the time to come here,” said Guillermo. “Whether you are facing a health opportunity or just want some ‘me time’, you won’t believe how much better you can feel every single day of your life.”
Optimum Health Institute is here for you! We will motivate you to stick with your commitment to health and discover new ways to empower yourself. Explore the holistic healing program offered at OHI. This program offers three week-long sessions, where you will learn to cleanse the body, quiet the mind, and awaken the spirit.
Breanne Scott first discovered OHI when a client challenged her to attend. “He didn’t tell me anything about it, but challenged me to go,” said Breanne. “I went to the San Diego campus in 2009, and loved it so much I’ve never stopped coming. Every time I walk in those doors, I look forward to the reset, the sense of calm, and the feeling of being closer to God.”
Breanne was a very successful medical sales rep in Michigan, California, Texas, and Florida for 15 years. She has always been active and healthy, crewing on competitive sailboats, going to the beach, and working out. “My first visit to OHI was very eye-opening,” said Breanne. “After detoxing, I suddenly felt better and more clear-minded than I had in my entire life. I lost 8 lbs, and it changed my relationship with food. I became aware of how the nutritional density of foods make me feel. I felt so much better after eliminating sugar and gluten. I now eat foods with very few ingredients, and incorporate fermented foods like raw sauerkraut. I even make my own kombucha. It makes my body feel great!”
Over the years, Breanne has spent 13 weeks as a guest with OHI. “I absolutely love the feeling I have on Friday/Saturday/Sunday of Week 1,” enthused Breanne. “The people you meet at OHI become life-long friends because it is the only place where you can open up, be vulnerable, and still feel safe. This is a no judgment zone. The deep feeling of community and fellowship found here just doesn’t exist in the outside world. What I experience at OHI is what I would like to experience every single day of my life. That’s where the missionary program came in.”
Breanne made a huge change in her life to be part of the OHI missionary program. “Every time I’m here I always want to stay longer,” said Breanne. “The last time I was here as a guest, I had an epiphany that maybe I shouldn’t be trying to implement OHI into my life at home, but rather I should be trying to implement myself into OHI. So after applying and being accepted, I resigned from my job in medical sales, found a friend to live in my home and tend to my rental property, and drove here. I’m now letting things unfold as they will. I have successfully surrendered to not controlling the outcome, and it’s liberating! For anyone who has the OHI missionary program on their bucket list, I guarantee when you invest months here instead of weeks, you will deepen your spirituality and get closer to God.”
Many who have been a part of the OHI Missionary Program say it has forever changed them. “I really like how long your stay is with the missionary program,” said Breanne. “It gives me a chance to go deep into the detox, focus on spiritual quests, and even take a deeper look at some of my personality traits to identify what serves me and what should be let go. It’s never easy to change, but with sufficient time, the right focus, and of course a supportive environment, it can happen. It took me two weeks just to get out of my ‘fight or flight’ mode, which has been my continuing state of mind for the last four years. That was the ah ha moment for me. I don’t want to live like that anymore, and I realized that being in the missionary program is where I belong in this moment of my life. No looking back. I feel less worry about what the future holds. Now I can fully invest myself in getting to know each and every guest, and supporting their healing journeys.”
Breanne’s time in the missionary program has changed her in so many ways. “I’d describe myself as a ‘doer’ because I like to take action, step up, and get things done,” said Breanne. “I enjoy being of service, and doing a good job. Being part of the missionary program has expanded my mindset about being of service, and now I include stepping up for myself as a priority. I want my life to be more calm and holistic, and being in the missionary program is giving me the time and space to examine my life and make changes. Achieving optimal health is worth the work.”
Breanne’s last bit of advice for those considering a stay at OHI is simple but profound. “Let thy food be thy medicine, and let thy medicine be thy food,” said Breanne. “I have learned so much from my time in the missionary program at OHI, but it all boils down to appreciating the power of raw dark leafy greens. I have seen people face the most overwhelming health opportunities here. The healing power of food is truly inspiring.”
Optimum Health Institute is here for you! We will motivate you to stick with your commitment to health and discover new ways to empower yourself. Explore the holistic healing program offered at OHI. This program offers three week-long sessions, where you will learn to cleanse the body, quiet the mind and awaken the spirit. Visit our website at www.optimumhealth.org, and call us at (800) 588-0809 to make your reservation.
Mac MacEwen has found her life is filled with the kindness of others. “In 2019, I found a lump,” Mac said. “Doctors told me I had an aggressive lymphoma that required immediate surgery, high dose chemotherapy, and radiation. I had just met Jordan, the love of my life, and he was the first person I called after my diagnosis. Upon hearing the news, all he said was, ‘What a great opportunity for us to get to know each other.’ I moved forward with traditional cancer treatment, and while it was successful, it really took a toll. I knew that I needed nutritional support to help me fully recover. One day I stopped in a gallery in New Mexico, and started chatting with the owner. We discovered we both had lymphoma, and she suggested OHI. My previous employers, Robin Connell and Mary Catherine Casey, generously sponsored my first 2-week stay at OHI. The food was very cleansing for me, but I found myself sick for nearly the entire first week as I detoxed from all the chemo. I began to ‘wake up’ the second week, but I could tell my spirit needed to catch up from all the trauma. I wanted to undertake a second stay at OHI to focus on my spiritual healing. All of the staff at OHI were so supportive, and helped facilitate a scholarship for my return.”
Mac returned home, and put in the work to implement the OHI lifestyle. “I began growing and juicing my own wheatgrass, and fermenting Rejuvelac,” said Mac. “Four months later, I returned to OHI for two weeks, and was able to participate more fully because I was feeling so much better. The fellowship of the OHI program is so important to me. Just hearing other people’s stories and sharing my own is very healing. I discovered a lot in Danielle’s Mental Detox class, and was able to see some of the ways I had been limiting my own healing. Without the scholarship from OHI, I definitely would not be here today. I am deeply grateful to OHI for the opportunity to attend on scholarship. THANK YOU!”
Please consider contributing to the OHI Scholarship Fund to help those in need experience the benefits of the OHI for Life program. Over the course of our 46 years, OHI has provided scholarships to individuals who could not afford to otherwise attend. In most years, we have been able to fulfill all requests for assistance through the generosity of our community. OHI invites you to join us in celebrating our healing mission with a tax-deductible gift. Your contribution will help to make our community stronger, healthier, and more vibrant.
Provide the Gift of Healing today by supporting the OHI Scholarship Fund with a tax-deductible:
• One-Time Donation, or
• Sustainable Monthly Contribution
Thank you for your generosity!
Optimum Health Institute is a non-profit, religious organization. Your donation is tax-deductible.
A strong, healthy body leads to a clear, active mind, and an open, giving spirit. Good nutrition is the very foundation of good health. If you want your body, mind, and spirit to thrive, then you need to fill your body with the right balance of delicious, nutritious food. It goes without saying that you should eliminate processed foods from your diet — they are packed with salt, sugar, preservatives, and chemicals. But what should you eat, and how often? Learning more about nutrition is a great way to support your goals of better health, but you don’t need to take a deep dive into the deep well of nutrition research to become an informed consumer. Why not start by focusing on these 10 smart nutrition takeaways to jumpstart your healthy eating.
- Eat more whole, organic, plant-based foods to create a fiber-filled diet, rich in vegetables, fruits, whole grains, beans, and legumes. Make vegetables the star. Eating vegetables is linked with a reduced risk of Type 2 diabetes and a reduced incidence of cardiovascular disease. Eating vegetables also promotes healthier blood pressure and weight loss. Vegetables also have fiber, which women need at least 25 grams of every day. For vegetables and fruits, go for color and variety — dark green, yellow, orange, and red. These foods are rich in essential nutrients and critical to good health.
- Include a source of lean protein in every meal. Nuts and beans are great choices.
- Choose foods with healthy fats, limit foods high in saturated fat, and avoid foods with trans fat. Avocados, plant oils, and nuts are the healthiest sources.
- A healthy gut is a happy gut. A large portion of your immune system is in your gut, so keeping it healthy extremely important. Eat foods that contain probiotics, which can aid digestion and create and maintain a good balance of healthy bacteria in your gut. Probiotics are found in natural foods like plant-based yogurts, coconut kefir, miso, kimchi, and sauerkraut.
- Stay hydrated. At 1-3% dehydration there’s a noticeable effect on health and performance, including mental clarity, moodiness, difficulty concentrating, fatigue, and more. OHI recommends you drink half your body weight in ounces of pure water daily. For example, if you weigh 150 pounds, you need to drink 75 ounces of pure water every day. And ditch the flavored water. Instead, try adding a slice of cucumber, lemon, or a sprig of herbs to your water for a healthy splash of flavor.
- Practice mindful eating. Focus on the food in front of you instead of looking at your phone or watching television. When you focus on the food you make healthier choices, you eat only until sated, and you enjoy the experience of eating more fully.
- A daily multivitamin is a great nutrition insurance policy. Add in a Vitamin D supplement and an Omega-3 supplement to take advantage of their extensive health benefits.
- Walk away from the pantry in times of stress. Eating is one coping mechanism, but emotional eating can lead to struggles with weight, sleep, and mood. Find other coping mechanisms that are better for your body — go for a walk, do some stretches, listen to music, phone a friend, etc.
- Don’t eat if you’re not hungry. Listen to your hunger cues. Some people prefer to eat breakfast as soon as they get up. Others prefer to skip breakfast altogether. Some people eat three meals a day. Others eat five to seven small meals per day. Listen to your body, and only eat when you’re genuinely hungry.
- Have a plan for eating IN — It’s easier to eat nutritious, healthy foods when you have a plan. Eat breakfast before you leave for work. Pack a lunch. Reach for healthy snacks. Have a plan for eating OUT — Look at the menu online before you go to a restaurant. Ask for food to be served with no added salt, oil, or butter. Load up at the salad bar. Choose a lean protein, and ask for it to be prepared without salt or sauces.
At OHI, we believe your body is self-healing. When given the proper food, it can restore itself to its natural balance. When you stay with us, we’ll feed you food in its purest form — fresh, organic, and raw — to best support your journey to optimum health! YUM!
Our entire OHI for Life Body-Mind-Spirit Program – including our classes, diet, and community fellowship – supports all dimensions of wellness. Remember, wellness is a life-long pursuit. Strive for balance, control what you can (diet, exercise, stress), and surround yourself with supportive care for the rest of it. May the changes you make to your wellness habits change your life for the better! Visit our website at www.optimumhealth.org, and call us at (800) 588-0809 to make your reservation.
OHI is a retreat that draws guests from across the country and around the world. Some choose OHI to help them build a strong body/mind/ spirit foundation in their life. Others come to OHI looking to deepen their connection to God. Many visit OHI to help them work through a health opportunity they are facing. Whatever the reason, OHI seems to attract the most intelligent, interesting, and passionate people to our campuses. Dawn Dickson is just one of the many intriguing people who returns to OHI regularly for a reboot. A seasoned professional speaker, business advisor, and angel investor, Dawn is recognized as one of the nation’s top retail tech entrepreneurs.
“I describe myself as a serial entrepreneur and inventor with over 20 years of experience in technology and business development,” said Dawn. “I have founded six companies since 2001, including Flat Out of Heels (2011) and PopCom (2017). I was named to the inaugural Forbes Next 1000 List (2021), and was in the March 2021 issue of Entrepreneur magazine, in Fortune, Fast Company, Venture Beat, Huffington Post, Essence Magazine, and more. Throughout the year I’m invited to speak on numerous panels and workshops, and all of that entails A LOT of travel. I started to feel really worn out from all of my time on the road. My friend, Malika James, told me about OHI eight years ago. I was always interested in giving OHI a try, but was just so busy. I realized that if I kept up this pace, my body was going to start breaking down. I know better. My health and my personal growth deserve all my attention, and I wanted to give myself a clean start. OHI felt like the exact right place to give my body, my mind, and my spirit the attention it deserved. So I booked a stay at the San Diego campus.”
Dawn arrived at OHI ready to make changes. “Before my first visit, I was feeling tired, heavy, and sluggish,” said Dawn. “I had gained a few extra pounds, and I needed a jumpstart to making life changes. I was hoping the curriculum at OHI would give me the education and the support I needed to change my eating. From the minute I walked in the door at OHI San Diego, everyone was so welcoming. I felt at home immediately, and that gave me the courage to fully embrace change.”
Dawn jumped in with both feet, and took as many classes as she could. “The education and programming at OHI is outstanding,” said Dawn. “I learned so much about the benefits of wheatgrass, dehydrating food, and the importance of the body/mind/spirit connection in achieving any health-related goals. The biggest change I’ve made in my life with the help of OHI is in my food choices and also in my overall outlook about health. I truly believe anything can be cured naturally. Wheatgrass is really a miracle food! After my first visit, I lost 12 lbs and had a new outlook on my health and eating. I know that I can live a long, healthy life with the tools OHI has given me.”
While Dawn embraced the education around food and better health, she also appreciated the camaraderie found with fellow guests. “I learned so much about myself through OHI,” said Dawn. “The opportunity to meet like-minded people of all ages, backgrounds, and lifestyles is invaluable. It’s the people that I’ve met, guests and missionaries alike, that make the experience of staying at OHI even more rewarding. And the OHI staff is spectacular. Danielle in particular is a gem! She is so relatable, and makes everyone feel welcome. I met her at the San Diego campus, and when she moved to the Austin campus, I scheduled a visit there. I’ve been to OHI San Diego twice and OHI Austin once, and they are both wonderful. I will definitely continue to come back each year for maintenance, prevention of a challenging health opportunity, and to meet more interesting guests. The bonds that you make with others while you are here are friendships for life!”
Every visit Dawn makes to OHI is a different experience as she focuses on different aspects of her physical, mental, and spiritual growth. But she looks forward to a few simple things with each return visit. “Honestly, I really look forward to the peace I find here,” said Dawn. “The rest and deep relaxation I experience here I just can’t find anywhere else. The juice cleanse and the massages really put me in touch with my body. And I love that I don’t even have to think about what I am going to eat when I’m at OHI. I know that I’ll find only the healthiest organic raw foods on my plate, and at the end of the day my body will feel all the better for it. Thank you OHI!”
Optimum Health Institute is here for you! We will motivate you to stick with your commitment to health and discover new ways to empower yourself. Explore the holistic healing program offered at OHI. This program offers three week-long sessions, where you will learn to cleanse the body, quiet the mind, and awaken the spirit. Call OHI at (800) 588-0809 or visit www.OptimumHealth.org today for more information.
The Importance of Having Personal Values
Everyone talks about personal values, but what are they, why are they important, and how do you identify which ones have meaning for you? Let’s get the conversation started…
What are personal values?
Personal values are defined as the basic, most fundamental beliefs a person can have. They help to determine what a person prioritizes, who they want to be, how they live their life, and how they interact with their community. Your values help determine what is important to you and inform your decision-making, helping you decide what you want to achieve and become. Values are the tenets that guide actions and motivate attitudes, behaviors, and personality traits. Values are expressed through your actions, words, and behaviors.
Where do values originate?
Values originate from the source of your beliefs — authority figures, your past experiences, and your environment. Authority figures like parents, relatives, teachers, mentors, or religious leaders have a very big impact on your value system. Children build their foundational value system based on the values of authority figures they respect, but as they age and have their own life experiences children develop values through personal growth. People often prioritize their values based on a number of different factors, including their socioeconomic status, their environment, and their upbringing.
Overall, there are four different categories of values:
Personal Values: These are the values you exhibit in your own life, and what you consider to be the most important. Personal values might include creativity, compassion, selflessness, enthusiasm, personal fulfillment, or friendship.
Relationship Values: These values demonstrate how you relate to others in your life, including your friends, family, peers, and colleagues. Relationship values might include openness, trust, generosity, empathy, caring, and communication.
Organizational Values: An organization’s values help to provide it with a purpose, so it can manage both employees and customers more effectively. Organizational values include teamwork, productivity, innovation, volunteerism, financial growth, and strategic alliances.
Societal Values: These values depict how an individual or organization relates to society. Societal values might include accountability, environmental awareness, sustainability, individual rights, social responsibility, and future generations.
The bottom line is when we use our values to make decisions, we make a deliberate choice to focus on what is important to us. When values are shared, they build internal cohesion in a group, whether that group is a family, a corporation, a school, or a country.
Why are values important?
Values help to inform your thoughts, actions, and beliefs. They differ from short-term or long-term goals because they’re not specific to a single situation. While you may not always be aware of your values, taking the time to understand what you believe and why can help you make decisions that make the most sense for you. Recognizing your values can help you live life with more intention, and increase your integrity. There are many benefits to living in alignment with your values, like:
- Improving your problem-solving and decision-making skills. When you’re in a challenging situation, consider how you can use your values to make a choice.
- Increasing your self-confidence and motivation. When you understand who you are and what you believe, you’ll have the confidence and enthusiasm to overcome obstacles and solve complex problems.
- Helping you realize what’s important and that improves your well-being. Identifying your core values helps you better focus on what matters most to you.
- Enhancing your career choices which have a direct impact on your personal and professional life. Clarifying your values helps you choose a career you truly want, and helps you transition to roles that best reflect your values as they evolve over time.
How do you identify your personal values?
Here’s a 3-step guide to identifying your personal values, and putting them to work so you can be the best version of yourself.
Step 1 — Ask “Who am I?”
Look through the following list, and choose 10-15 values you think you live by. Then share the list with family and friends, and ask them to pick the values they think best represent you. Compare the lists, and that will give you a very realistic portrait of who you are. That realistic portrait is the starting point of self-awareness and self-reinvention.
Step 2: Prioritize your value list
Some values are more significant to us than others. Prioritize your values, and you can then prioritize your primary and secondary behaviors. Read your list often, and reinforce your identity to yourself. If you like yourself and believe in your values, you’ll avoid sabotaging your own efforts to succeed.
One way to change the direction of your life is to re-shuffle the order of the values in your list. That re-prioritization will dictate the behaviors you should be focusing on. For example, if your goal is to spend more time with your family, that value should be at the top of your list, and should guide you in the choices you make.
Step 3: Complete regular value audits
As our life circumstances change, so may the things we consider most important to us. Your value list can and should change over time. Just recognize those changes, adjust your value priorities, and make sure your primary behaviors support those top values.
At times you will even add new values to your list. One way to find new values that are meaningful to you is to look at the people you respect and want to be like. What values do they live by? Can you emulate them? Whatever values you add to your core beliefs, make sure you wholly embody them. Be courageous. Let new life experiences prove to you that this is a value worthy of being at the top of your list.
How does OHI focus on values?
One of the most pivotal classes taught at OHI is our Focus I & II classes. Franklin-Covey helped design these classes, and they’re based on the Franklin-Covey time management principles. The intention of this class is to help you identify your core values, and define the goals that support these values so you can achieve what matters most to you. With your values and goals clearly in view, it’s easier to stay focused on your highest priorities and experience greater success in achieving what you desire. Your personal values are at the heart of your success.
So at the end of the day, how do you live a life of value? The secret is to plan the things that matter most to you into each day, and place those items as top priorities. Think about what values you’d risk everything for — people you love, ideals you hold dear. Keep laser focused on that list of core values, and your actions will follow. Understanding your values allows you to live a meaningful life of purpose.
Our caring staff members are eager to give you all the unconditional support, inspiration, and transformational tools you need to bring your body, mind, and spirit into healthy balance in a serene, peaceful setting. Visit our website at www.optimumhealth.org, and call us at (800) 588-0809 to make your reservation.
“Values (ethics and social sciences), Wikipedia
“How to discover your governing values,” May 28, 2018, www.blog.franklinplanner.com
“Personal Values,” Western Oregon University, www.wou.edu
“Personal Values Explained: 7 Examples of Personal Values,” written by MasterClass Staff,
May 3, 2022, www.masterclass.com
“What are personal values? Discover yours in 5 steps,” by Lois Melkonian, April 27, 2022, www. betterup.com
“How to define your personal values and live by them for a fulfilling life,” by Evelyn Marinoff, www.lifehack.org
“The Importance of Values (Plus Benefits and Tips), by Indeed Editorial Team, March 25, 2022, www.indeed.com
“Why Values are Important”, by Jarrod Davis, Barrett Values Centre, www.valuescentre.com