How to Start Your Week on the Right Foot

Running across the Golden Gate Bridge

I’m super guilty of getting the Sunday Blues—that dreadful feeling that rolls around on Sunday afternoon or evening and leads you to start thinking about how your days of weekend bliss are waning, a present mind goes out the window, and all you can think about is how Monday is just around the corner. Well, Monday doesn’t have to suck. With a little preparation and mindset shift, you can feel rested after the weekend and be thankful for the coming day—another day to do the things you love and make an impact on the world. Here are a few things I recommend doing to start your week off on the right foot.

Morning Meditation

I’ll be the first to admit that sometimes morning meditation is not at the top of my to-do list. However, whenever I do prioritize it, I definitely notice an uptick in the quality of my day. Sit in silence and do some deep breathing before heading out for work, use an app like Headspace for guided meditation, or repeat a simple mantra for a few minutes to set the tone for your day. I also follow my meditation with prayer for the perfect beginning to my morning.

Meal Prep

Can I express to you the joy I feel when I open my fridge and see containers of prepped healthy and delicious food? Like, there is literally nothing better. I instinctively feel like a rockstar when this happens and I know I’ll have lots of nourishing options for when hunger strikes either during work or for dinner. Take some time out of your Sunday to meal prep and you’ll feel just as great, I promise!

Work It Out

While you’re waiting for your veggies to roast in the oven, pack your gym bag and book a class with your favorite instructor for Monday. Whether it’s in the morning, afternoon,or evening, make time to move. Even if you take an active rest day you can plan to take a nice morning walk just to get some fresh air and get some gentle movement in before you begin your week.

Make It Fun

We make Monday out to be this dreadful day, but why can’t we be just as excited about it as we are Friday—if not more? It’s the first day of the week and can really set the tone for the rest of your week, so make it special! Plan to meet up with a friend for lunch, treat yourself to a new workout, or buy yourself some flowers on Sunday so that you wake up to a beautiful bouquet. Take the stigma out of Monday and it’ll feel a whole lot better.

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Friday Favorites

Looking at Mount Shasta from Castle Crags Castle Dome Trail

Happy Friday! Here are a few things I’ve been into lately.

DO: Hike to Castle Dome in Castle Crags State Park

The final third of this trail’s ascent is scenic and adventurous, offering magnificent views of Mount Shasta and Castle Dome and leaving you with an amazing view of nearby granite pinnacles. This hike is a must for any outdoor enthusiast!

READ: Eat Dirt: Why Leaky Gut May Be the Root Cause of Your Health Problems and 5 Surprising Steps to Cure It by Dr. Josh Axe

I’m only halfway through this book, but I’m learning so much about the gut, the human digestive system, and what can  happen when leaky gut syndrome rears its ugly head.

EAT: Maca Powder

This adaptogen has an earthy flavor that I’m still getting used to, but I’ve noticed that I laugh a lot more/feel more relaxed and not stressed out since starting to take it on a daily basis. Interestingly, my face also looks clearer than usual since I’ve been tossing a teaspoon into my morning smoothie. Check out some more of the benefits here. This is the one I use.

LISTEN: Leon Bridges Coming Home Album

This album is a couple years old, but it’s new to me and I love it. Bridges is a young soul and gospel singer who makes songs with a retro Motown vibe that’s perfect background music for dinner parties.

THINK: Henry David Thoreau

“It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see.” – Henry David Thoreau

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Running My Way to Positive Body Image & Self-Love

Melissa from Cook Slow Run Fast running by Lake Merritt in Oakland, CA.

Before I became a runner, I used to obsess about how much I weighed, how I looked, and what I ate. I fell into the same mental traps that many women (and men) have battled. My abs sure didn’t look like the woman’s on the cover of Self magazine, and I fixated on how my body would never compare to hers.

At the time, I thought that the best way to feel better about myself was to punish my body. I grew up with an aversion to running (I prayed for sickness every school mile day), so I deemed this as appropriate calorie-burning torture.

However, soon after I bought my first pair of running shoes since high school P.E., and got over the fact that thighs have the tendency to rub together when you jog, I forgot that I started this running thing out of self-hate.

With each run, I found myself focusing more on—and excited about—going just a little further or getting just a tiny bit faster. Rather than simply jogging around the comfort of my neighborhood, I wanted to see if I could make it to the lake without stopping—and in record time!

I forgot to worry about how I looked to people driving by, or how the body jiggles when it moves, or why I even compared myself to that woman on the cover of Self in the first place. Instead, I found myself thinking about how it good it felt to run a little further and a little faster.

I stopped seeing my body as a burden, and realized that it’s a beautiful and miraculous machine. I saw what I was capable of. While my pants got a little looser and I began to see a bit of muscle definition, what I cared about wasn’t the number on the scale. Rather, I impressed myself by shaving a few seconds off my mile time, taking on that crazy-tall hill by my house, or finishing a race with a smile on my face. My accomplishments meant more than my appearances.

I’ve since learned to embrace my body for exactly what it is. I’m on the shorter end of the spectrum, “long” is not the best word to describe my legs, and I was born with curves. And I love it all because it’s who I am. I no longer hate, or even simply accept, who I am. Rather, I’m empowered by it. I’m strong and unstoppable.

I encourage all women (and men) to lean into their current body with gratitude, and running is a great way to do so. Whether you have a beautiful, naturally thin body type, or one that’s composed of gorgeous curves, learn to love it by pushing it physically. Forget the Photoshopped models on the covers of beauty magazines, hit the pavement and chase after your own body happiness and self-love.

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