declutter main photo

Coach Dan’s Tips to Overcoming Clutter

Navigating twists and turns in life often come with a mix of unexpected challenges. Today, we’re diving into the nuance of change, overcoming resistance, and using a clutter-free mindset to navigate the unexpected.

Meet Dan Faley, a wellness coach in our Chicago center with a rich background in psychology, sports, and various health positions. He draws from unique experiences to find a blend between instinctual and science backed approaches to help members achieve a wellness path that’s right for them. From playing college baseball to working in mental health and neurophysiology, we see how his journey and experiences have shaped his perspectives. 

In our chat with Coach Dan, we’re reminded of the power of our uniqueness, and how trusting our instincts can guide us on what matters most. This approach leads to the most powerful aligned actions on our journey. With a more humble approach, Coach Dan also gives us that much needed reminder that despite our differences, we all share common ground. Looking at the world through a lens of compassion is how we can start to truly connect, and let go of a need to please! As we dive into his perspectives on change, resilience, and clutter-free living, we’re given his personal guide to navigating life’s twists.

Dan’s Guide to Decluttering:

1. Embrace Your Uniqueness:  

Embrace what makes you… you! Embracing what makes you tick uniquely is the key to personalizing your journey with distinct elements that make your wellness journey uniquely yours.

2. Decluttering Clears Your Path:

Once you can focus on what matters, learn to let go. Tidying up your space will work wonders for your mind. Both mentally and physically, Dan suggests using a Mari Kondo approach as one of the most powerful tools to combat stress, regain focus, and leave the monkey mind behind.

3. When You Take on Too Much, Check if You Feel Like Enough: 

No matter who you are, where you come from, what your life experiences, what your situation is, you deserve happiness. Understand your limits, don’t bite off more than you can chew. To prioritize your well being, first embrace your self worth independent of what you provide for others.

4. Trust Your Instincts: 

Your instincts are pretty sharp, so listen to them! Validate and trust your instincts for refined decision-making and heightened self-awareness. Otherwise, dismissing your gut feelings may lead to disconnection to yourself and regret in the future.

5. Be Humble, We’re More Alike Than We are Different: 

Take your business seriously, but don’t take yourself too seriously! Leave room for error, play, and a curiosity of other approaches. Remember that we’re all in this together; Recognize shared humanity, focusing on common ground, and maintaining humility in life’s challenges.

Wellness journeys are very personal adventures, so every step taken with self-trust is a victory in itself! Whether it’s learning to let go of made-up obligations, navigating life changes, or simply tuning into your instincts, you have the strength to make shifts and create the change you need. So, begin letting go and tuning in. Embrace your uniqueness and with a little self-trust, and rest assured that not only are you capable of achieving the wellness you deserve- you’re already on the right track.

Interview Transcript

Sydney: Dan, thank you so much for being here with me today. Could you please introduce yourself and what you do here in the world of ZOE Wellness? 

Dan: Okay, great! Yeah, I’m Dan, Daniel Faley. and I’m a wellness coach here at Zoe wellness, also the service director for the Chicago market. I have a degree in psychology from Southern Illinois University in Carbondale. I also played college baseball. So I have a sports background and grew up playing sports. You know, I became interested in the marriage of sports and psychology, working with sports psychologists and doing a lot of operations for games for goal setting, but I always had a passion for health and fitness. After graduation, I worked as a mental health counselor with all sorts of populations. I’ve worked in other mental health spaces with more high risk people, I worked in community health, I worked in care management, in weight loss, I also worked in the operating rooms as a neurophysiology technologist monitoring brain and spine surgery. So I have a pretty well rounded background in various health positions. And I like to bring knowledge from all areas of study in my background to help Zoe members achieve optimal wellness. it’s different for everybody, you know, some people may require information. Some people may require motivation or the development of a belief in themselves. It’s different for everyone, so I draw from my various backgrounds and apply that so they can gain optimal wellness.

Sydney: Right! everyone’s unique, there’s no one size fits all diet, plan, lifestyle, mental framing-
As someone deeply invested in motivation and mindset and helping others
How do you personally stay motivated to continue making positive changes in your life?

Dan: Well, one thing I do is have an exercise routine I do every day. I have mindfulness practice, I focus on deep breathing. I read a lot and listen to a lot of podcasts. I try to stay up to date on neuroscience, habits, and wellness, everything from nutrition to, you know, daily practices. I’ve cultivated some incredible resources I follow daily and it’s something I really enjoy. So if I’m washing dishes or working out, I listen to podcasts that help keep me motivated, and it’s just part of my daily routine. It’s part of my lifestyle. I don’t even have to think about it anymore. You know, it’s so deeply ingrained in me and who I am that it just comes naturally and then if there’s something relevant that I can pick up from a podcast or an article, then I try to incorporate . Especially if I can better assist somebody with some more recent knowledge.

Sydney: Amazing, you really do a lot. Do you ever feel like you’ve taken on too much? 

Dan: Yeah, and for everybody, that can happen. Certainly, that’s something to be aware and mindful of. I know in the past working in Psych hospitals, double shifts, you know, that was something that I was prone to, but just having greater awareness of that, and just having practices, that doesn’t happen very often. I’m able to manage that pretty effectively these days. I’m able to keep things in perspective to not become overwhelmed. Whereas in the past I think I was more prone to becoming overwhelmed in situations like that. Yeah.

Sydney: In this article, this series of interviews and blogs, we’re talking a lot about the concept of clutter. Right? physical clutter, how that can have an influence on mental clutter or overwhelm and vice versa, you know, how your mental space can depict what your living space will look like, too. I personally am very routine driven. Oftentimes in the face of changing circumstances, A lot of little factors, clutter, overwhelm, can rear its head and throw you off your game. Could you share with me, your internal experience with that, the challenges, and how you overcome the resistance to change?

Dan: Yeah, Clutter can be can create unnecessary stress or anxiety, like if your workspace is cluttered. Research is pretty clear on that, just by cleaning up your workspace, it can allow you to focus on the task at hand and in reducing anxiety. Believe me, I used to have a pretty messy desk and I’ve learned that just having what I need for the task allows me to focus better and definitely reduce my stress. So that’s one small example. But I mean, that can spill over into having a messy home that can create mental chaos, so just trying to be tidy can really bring a sense of calm and, and yeah, I do believe in that.

People become overwhelmed when they have multiple challenges, right. You may have heard the term monkey mind. you know, not a technical term, but in order to calm the “monkey mind”, we really have to focus, whether it’s breathwork or prayer meditation, to bring that down and also focus on those things that you have control over. I know it sounds cliche, but it’s so true. 

You know, so many people worry about things they have absolutely no control over, so it’s important to focus on the things you can control and not to worry about those other things that you have no control over. Develop some sort of mindfulness or practice like deep breathing to bring a sense of calm and focus. When we’re stressed and our cortisol levels are high, the activity leaves our prefrontal cortex and goes to the back of the brain, you know, the amygdala, the fight or flight or freeze response. So we don’t do high level thinking when we’re stressed, we don’t make good decisions when we’re stressed. That and that could factor into decisions about food, right? People talk about stress eating, you know, you’re grabbing the bag of chips, you’re not really thinking about it. You just start crunching. If you’re able to de-stress and calm down, You’re able to think more clearly about anything including eating. Surround yourself with things that you enjoy, things that bring you joy. I was speaking with a member recently and she said that she, like she had a birthday coming up and she requested two family members to give her I don’t know, like a coffee mug so that every time she took a sip of coffee from that mug, she would think of that person so that that became part of her regular environment, because it brought joy if she thought about the thoughtfulness of that other person. At the surface it may seem like requesting gifts may not be thoughtful but it is because she’s remembering and appreciating those people who gave her those things. That’s something that she said that she does in her daily life and I thought that was pretty special.

Sydney: How does your mindset contribute to your approach in letting go of things that aren’t working for you?

Dan: I’ve been just recognizing, a lot of things become habits whether it’s an automatic behavior or automatic thought. You know, once you practice them regularly it just becomes second nature and you don’t really have to think about it as much. I’ve developed that mental habit at a gut level. If things are not working, I’ll feel something at a gut level, like there’s almost a physical sort of sensation in the body where if something isn’t working, then it will alert me. So let’s figure out what that is. And let’s identify it and then try to figure out a way to make a change. It’s like your instincts. It’s a visceral reaction.

Sydney: If someone is learning how to trust their gut, how could they start cultivating that? 

Dan: Well, and one thing I’ve noticed in myself, I usually have really good instincts, but I wouldn’t listen to them. I would dismiss them like “I’m just being irrational,” or maybe I thought I was misreading the situation, but almost all the time my instincts were correct. They were spot on, but I dismissed them. Then over time, I just started validating them. I mean, I knew they were valid, but it took a while to really recognize that a lot of those were actually valid instincts, and then I started listening to them more. In times when I’ve gone against my gut, I’ve regretted it, you know, and regret is a horrible thing. So just, I think have faith that your gut is actually telling you something, and that it’s valid. 

Sydney: We can go through life feeling like we can’t trust ourselves, But as spiritual people, and instinctual beings, we really do have kind of a radar that we can tune back into. 

Dan: Yeah, we can. And I know I’m and believe me, I’m no master of quantum physics but that comes into play. There’s some neuroscience that comes into play as well. I mean, I can’t really speak about the studies that have been on this right now but let’s say you’re on the subway, and you just get this sensation, like, you might be in danger Out of nowhere and you’re not consciously aware of why that could be. But there’s something developing near you, so always be aware of that and pay attention. There’s really something to that. I know you’re a dog lover, so am I. You know how our pets can detect certain things about people. They’re great judges of character, right. I know my dog would growl, and my dog was the friendliest dog in the world. But once in a while they would kind of growl at somebody and there was a reason for it. You know, there were people that maybe didn’t have the best intentions, so if animals can detect it  so can we. I mean, we’re animals too.

Sydney: I think those instincts and gut feelings can come into play with approaching life changes too. What are common challenges you see, with our members coming in as they’re making a big choice that would lead to change?

Dan: There’s so many challenges, you know. Sometimes people just don’t want to change what they’re doing. They want change, but not the work to get those changes. Sometimes people just don’t think that they can achieve that goal. Get off their medication, get down to a goal weight, whatever that is. Sometimes they just deep down don’t believe in themselves. So I try to really focus on that and focus trying to get them to believe in themselves and believe that they’re capable and deserving of those changes that they want. Some people, it could be a work schedule. They may work 12 hour days and it could be the logistics, like how to best schedule your meals and take the supplements and so I try to help them schedule those logistics. Some people may have a family member or a spouse who’s not supportive. You know, there’s so many different, different challenges.

Sydney: What practical tips would you offer to someone who feels like they’ve spread themselves way too thin in life? They are just taking on too much, biting off more than they can chew, and now trying to juggle it all.

Dan: Well, try to slow things down and identify things that are absolutely necessary. They may be, you know, taking in too many things that really aren’t important for them personally. So try to eliminate some of those things to get life a little bit more manageable. Maybe logistically, scheduling things better. Food prep on a day when they have more time, prepare meals in advance so that when they are overwhelmed, they’re able to just take this meal that’s ready for them and heat it up versus going through the drive thru. Focus on some sort of relaxation technique or meditation, slow down the thoughts, relax.

Sydney: Why do you think we do that though? Why do you think people take on too much?

Dan: Well, I mean, there are a number of reasons but one reason why I think people who take on too much is they really do care about other people, they may want to take care of parents or children, siblings, spouses, other people, you know, they just have a good heart and want to do as much as they can for other people. Sometimes they may feel that it’s a way of validating themselves, maybe they don’t feel like they’re a good person, or meaningful unless they’re doing all these different things to contribute. There’s so many reasons why people may take on too much. Sometimes it may be out of necessity, let’s say somebody has three jobs just to get by and they’re paying medical bills and things like that. They may be really overwhelmed in that way. So, there are so many reasons, but it’s important to identify what’s absolutely necessary, what’s frivolous and what we can cut out to make things more manageable.

Sydney: From your years of experience, what have you learned through helping other people?

Dan: I think I’ve learned more from people that I’ve taught, actually. You never know what someone else may be going through, everybody’s going through something, and you just don’t know what that is or how it affects their behavior. But we really are more alike than we are different. Focusing on the common ground and just being human I think is so important. Always be humble, and always treat people with respect and dignity. I mean, it all starts there. Establishing that connection, that rapport, that relationship, and letting people know that you really do care. You have their back no matter what, and they’re free to express themselves. Honestly, I think that’s a healthy way to start. Never take things too personally or take yourself too seriously either. Take the business at hand seriously, but don’t take yourself too seriously. 

Sydney: Any last advice or thoughts you’d like to share? Perspectives you’d encourage someone to adopt?


“No matter who you are, where you come from, what your life experiences, what your situation is, you deserve happiness. 
You deserve wellness, and you have what it takes to achieve that.”

Do you have one wellness tip or personal insight you’re taking away from this journey?
Join us in building out ZOE Wellness Online Community by leaving a comment below or call to take the next step on your journey today!

ben and sydney blog

Transform Your Mindset

Health Consultant Ben Tule on Navigating Personal Growth

Embarking on a journey of self-improvement is more than just reaching a destination—it’s about having a strategy, adopting the right mindset, and having a support system. Join Sydney as she sits down with Ben, one of the leading consultants at the Zoe Wellness Center Headquarters, to ask about Ben’s secrets to staying inspired, overcoming challenges, and nurturing a growth mindset. Together, they dive into decluttering life, setting priorities, and embracing compassion. Let’s see how Ben turns aspirations into reality.

Interview Transcript:

Let’s dive in! I’d like to kick it off with how you maintain motivation while making positive changes. How do you personally keep yourself inspired?

To stay motivated, I need to surround myself with people who have the same goals as me. I intentionally surround myself with success-oriented friends. The company you keep is crucial; as the Bible says, “bad company corrupts good character.” So, aligning myself with those who share a similar definition of success is key. Now, a second thing I do to stay motivated involves social media. I often come across things that are encouraging, inspiring, and motivating. I save them, but the crucial part is revisiting them. I let each impactful message sink in and then apply it. Given my busy weekdays, I commit to this process on weekends, particularly on Saturday or Sunday mornings. It’s about blocking out that time intentionally.

Exploring deeper into times of significant change, what goes on in your head during challenges, and how you overcome resistance?

Whether the change is positive or not, it’s about recognizing what I can control and what I can’t. For things within my control, I focus on managing them, especially with what I can do short-term. However, there are some things, maybe long-term, that need to be put on the shelf for now. It’s a matter of not worrying about those far off stressors right at this moment. I think you can apply that towards anything negative or positive, where there’s lots of changes coming up. Look and see what is in your power to be able to control. It’s a delicate balance of addressing what is actionable now and acknowledging what can wait. For someone like me, who tends to be rigid, it’s vital to also embrace flexibility. Being flexible is key.

You mentioned “putting it on the shelf,”  as if the different factors create life clutter. How do you “declutter” your life?

When you have life changes going on, sometimes there are just so many moving parts. There are certain things that have to be done now. In such cases, I prioritize the immediate tasks, those that need attention in the short term. On the other hand, there are certain things, more long-term in nature, that need to be put on that mental shelf. It’s like focusing on one goal at a time. This is vital for avoiding anxiety or feeling overwhelmed. Recognize what needs attention now and what can wait. It’s about putting things on the shelf that can wait – not just postponing and pushing things off, but pausing to intentionally set aside stressors that don’t require immediate attention. This allows me to focus on what truly matters.

How does your growth mindset contribute to this approach?

Personal growth requires being open to change. I think it’s important to look at people that you admire and their characteristics you want to emulate. It’s a process, you say, “ that’s the style that I like, that’s what I want to be able to do.” and then see if you can follow that. It’s about evolving and embracing challenges. It involves recognizing the need to adapt. Not to mimic them entirely but to adapt strategies that match those goals. To be able to incorporate that in your style, according to how you achieve things.

What common challenges do you see people facing when making significant life changes?

I think that a lot of it is going to be fear. Especially fear of failure or the unknown. Identifying and understanding these fears is crucial. So I think you got to understand where people are coming from. Each individual brings unique concerns- health, relationships, finances. Tailoring the approach to address their unique fears and challenges enhances the support I try to give to people that come in.

For those feeling overwhelmed, what practical tips do you offer to regain balance?

The key is to slow down. I think we can go back to what I said before about recognizing if it is absolutely necessary right now. Evaluate and prioritize tasks based on urgency. Recognize the need to handle one thing at a time rather than attempting to manage everything simultaneously. Scheduling tasks, setting deadlines, and approaching them with a system that works for you.

Thank you for that. Finally, what have you learned through helping others?

So what I’ve learned from helping other people is that you just have to really look at each person as the individual they are, and be compassionate. Think about where they’re coming from. A lot of times, I think it’s about just listening to what’s happening in that person’s life. To help someone you have to genuinely understand the need and how are you going to do that unless you listen. Right? Because you only have your own perspectives to weigh in. Yeah, we’ve really got to learn to just slow down, stop talking and start listening. Because we are programmed to want to fix stuff and check off a list, because that’s how we feel like we’ve contributed. But sometimes it’s not a matter of just checking off the list, it’s a matter of getting in there and just listening. You could talk to your significant other, and she doesn’t want you to fix it. She just wants to know somebody’s gonna listen.


In this enlightening conversation, Ben shares his insights on maintaining motivation when life throws you curveballs. From creating a success-driven environment to addressing challenges, he reveals practical strategies for navigating change. The growth mindset takes the spotlight, guiding us to explore how fear often hides behind our desire to transform. Unpacking life’s complexities, Ben emphasizes slowing down, assessing priorities, and facing one challenge at a time. Lastly, delve into the lessons Ben has gained from helping others, highlighting the transformative power of compassionate listening.


1. Curate Your Circle:
Surround yourself with individuals who share your definition of success and value the journey. Having morals and values that match yours is the key to seeing the success you want.

2. Don’t Be Afraid to Put a Pin in It :
Distinguish between short-term and long-term priorities, focusing on what can be controlled in the moment. Take it one thing at a time.

3. Embrace a Growth Mindset:
Open yourself to change, learn from successful individuals that inspire you, and confront challenges with adaptability.

4. Fear, The Silent Player:
Understand and address the fears that hinder progress, recognizing that everyone’s journey is unique.

5. Unpack the Overstuffed Suitcase:
Slow down, prioritize, and tackle challenges in a way that works for you.

6. The Art of Compassionate Listening:
When guiding others, be a compassionate companion—sometimes, a listening ear is more powerful than a solution mindset.

Ben’s practical tips cut through the noise. Whether you’re facing a career shift or just need a spark of inspiration, this conversation serves as a compass, guiding you towards a more empowered and intentional existence. Let the adventure begin!

What resonated most with you in Ben’s approach to navigating challenges? Share your thoughts or experiences in the comments below!


Cherry Secrets: Tiny Treats with Big Benefits

They say good things come in small packages, and for cherries, that couldn’t be more true! They’re packed with punch after punch of health benefits – not to mention, they’re so sweet! Delicious, and healthy?! It may seem too good to be true, but science stands behind the magic. Let’s dive in and discover what gives these berries the best of both worlds.

First, let’s have a little history lesson! Cherries first made its debut in Western Asia, then traveled to Eastern parts of Europe before becoming one of the largest producers in North America. Over the years as they’ve bounced all around, cherries have also become popular as home remedies for reducing pain and inflammation, and symptoms of gout.  But that’s not the only thing that cherries are good for.

Cherries’ high Vitamin C content is absolutely essential for immune support. For those who don’t care for bananas, cherries are able to support reaching your daily potassium intake, while also providing a good source of fiber. They’re natural sources of sugar and carbs, but not high enough in carbs that it would interrupt those adopting a low carb diet the way that grapes, mango, pineapple, and other sweet fruits would. Like we said, punch after punch! 

Did you know that different colored cherries also have distinct tastes? This may come as no surprise, like apples getting sweeter the more ripe they become. But rather than ripeness depicting the flavor, Cherries stand out with rich sources of potent anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, which contribute to their vibrant colors. There’s a difference in acidity and sugar levels, and with that in mind, it seems that those different colors can signify different benefits as well!

Finding the Right Cherries

Bright, Bold, and Tangy


  • Sleep: 

Turns out you can also skip the “warm glass of milk” and opt for cherries instead to promote a good night’s restespecially if insomnia gives you trouble.

  • Sore Muscles: 

Next time you hit the gym, drink tart cherry juice to prepare for your workout! Not only have studies suggested that there is an improvement in soreness of muscles, but there may even be an improvement in endurance as well.

If you need a bit of colon support, and want to ensure your gut flora is supported in efficient ways, don’t knock tart cherry juice before you try it!

  • Weight Loss Support: 

The fiber in cherries helps with feelings of satiation, and studies even show that cherries are beneficial for those making lifestyle adjustments for Diabetes Type 2, with effects on heart health and high blood pressure too! 

In the Kitchen:
Savory dishes like our Cherry Wine Sauce benefit best with tangy and tart cherries, and you’ll also want to opt for this option. Tart cherries are also great for baking needs, and any canning, spreads, and preserves!

Dark, Deep, and Very Sweet


  • Antioxidants and Vitamin C: 

For those not on the antioxidant bandwagon: Compounds in cherries help in fighting off the free radicals that damage cells and create oxidative stress. Anti-pain and reduced inflammation- it’s like bubble wrap for inflammation! 

  • Cancer Prevention: 

Prolonged, constant oxidative stress in the body contributes to an endless list of diseases: cancer, diabetes, organ disease – Sweet cherries specifically have been shown to support the prevention of cancer with the abundance of compounds called phenols and anthocyanins. Literally, they’ve watched malignant transformations slow down at a cellular level

Over the decades, our ability to think, process, and remember requires support to keep our minds sharp. There are many studies showing improved working memory benefits from tart cherry juice, both on experiments with rats and real clinical trials with small groups of people

In the Kitchen:
If you want that very berry cherry flavor, definitely opt for sweet cherries! They’re great for salads, and of course a sundae topper (you’ve got to try our cottage cheese ice cream)!

When asking if one is better than the other, it seems tart cherries win! But for that shirley temple recipe, you may end up choosing something sweeter. Still, whether you’re savoring the tangy twist of tart cherries or indulging in the dark side (too cheesy?), these delights offer a medley of unique flavors, antioxidants, vitamin C, and fiber. Not only that, they do so without triggering the same insulin reactions that super sweet fruits would. So, the next time you put a cherry on top, cherish not only the taste but also the wave of benefits it brings.

3 ways powerful connection

The Power of Connection: 3 Ways to Realign Your Relationships

In the season of love, the air becomes sweeter, and our hearts are in full bloom. With heartfelt gestures and grand plans to celebrate our fondest relationships, we’re reminded of the influence that our connections have in our lives. A comforting embrace from your partner, sweet memories shared with a best friend, or the encouragement from a supportive group—these moments add flavor to our lives! Could it be that these simple joys—connection, belonging, and community—are keys to a more deeply fulfilled life?

“A dream you dream alone is only a dream. 
A dream you dream together is reality.”
 – John Lennon

We all crave love and togetherness; it’s in our blood (and more literally… our brain)! When we bond, cuddle, or engage in deep conversations, our bodies are flooded with “the love hormone” Oxytocin, boosting feelings of trust and intimacy. [5] It soothes us, brings us together, and motivates us to invest more time in our bonds. While Oxytocin reinforces our desire to nurture good relationships, a deeper drive for connection goes beyond mere brain chemistry.

When it came to survival as a species, the ability to rely on one another was the difference between life and death. Granted, we don’t need to double-check that our friend is picking the non-poisonous berries, or trying to decide on the best hunting partner to help bring a mammoth home for dinner. Yet, I think it’s all a testament that time and time again, the way that our relationships align with us can make or break our growth.

Have you ever noticed how couples sometimes begin to talk alike and share mannerisms? Our connections are more than just companionship; they are mirrors reflecting who we are and who we aspire to be. 

As Jim Rohn famously said, “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” So, you are what you eat, and you are who you meet? With that perspective, it means that when we invest an abundance of our time into connections that aren’t right for us, it’s like having a diet full of indulgent foods. We exchange perspectives, share meals, offer advice, and invest in each other’s well-being. How essential it is, then, to surround ourselves with those whose personalities, values, and aspirations align with our own!

3 Ways to Realign Your Relationships:

1. Plan Meaningful Activities
Strengthen your connection through shared experiences! Change up the pace, and plan new activities to create unique memories together. It could be a movie night, a workshop, a weekend getaway, or something random you draw from a hat. Create a fun experience to foster a sense of camaraderie and ensure your connections are filled with laughter and positive energy. [1]

2. Talk about Recent Goals and Accomplishments
Take your aligned aspirations and values a step further by creating an atmosphere focused on encouraging each other’s growth. Every so often, talk about goals from the past period, celebrate achievements, and provide encouragement for each other. Whether it’s fitness, career, recent struggles, or personal growth, these talks allow you to really support each other’s journeys.[2]

3. Talk Value!
Sharing something you appreciate about each other, and something that makes you feel connected to them. It can be a trait, a recent action, or even a fond memory. This strengthens your bond, gives insight into love languages, and ensures you both feel valued and understood. [3]

They say that you are a reflection of the company you keep. Being intentional about your values guiding how you choose and build relationships ensures that when you look in your “relationship” mirrors, you recognize yourself.  As we celebrate love and connection this month, let us cherish the relationships that nourish our souls and strive to cultivate deeper connections in the days ahead. Remember, the power of connection lies not only in companionship, but also in the core of connection itself.

Get Your Best Rest

Get Your Best Rest

Sleep is essential to everyone’s health and wellbeing. The same way we have to eat, drink, and breathe to survive- we also have to sleep.

Not only is sleep a powerful stress reliever, but it also helps us have better control over our emotions and our behaviors throughout the day. It improves concentration, sharpens our decision-making skills and strengthens our immune system. The benefits are seemingly endless.

It’s recommended for most adults to get more than 7 hours a night, but this comes a lot easier to some people than it does to others. Sleep disorders affect up to 70 million Americans every year – with insomnia being the top diagnosis. Insomnia is formally diagnosed when someone’s lack of sleep is causing them enough distress to negatively affect major aspects of their life, like their work or relationships.

Before you diagnose yourself with a sleep disorder, though… try to relax.


The KEY to falling asleep is to cultivate a sense of relaxation.

We know, we know… That’s a lot easier said than done. That’s why we put together some tips to help. We’ll start with what you can do to create the right atmosphere for quality ZZZ’s.

First and foremost, you want to turn off all screens at least 30 minutes before bedtime. Even if you are using screens to read, the blue light from your phone or a tablet will stimulate your brain and keep you awake. If you’re serious about getting sleep, make sure to dim your lights and use the last 30 minutes of your day to relax your mind as well as your body.

Secondly, check the temperature. The ideal bedroom temperature for sleep is approximately 65 degrees Fahrenheit. This slightly varies from person to person but find what works for you and set the thermostat accordingly.

Next, let’s talk about noise. Depending on where you live (or who you live with) it might be impossible to have a silent room throughout the night. It can help to add a sound machine or fan, but if you’re someone with a busy mind then you might find it more difficult to drift off when it is too quiet. If this is the case, try playing soothing music or audiobooks. Audible is a great source for audiobooks, and it has a feature that allows you to set a sleep timer. If you decide to go that route, make sure you are listening to something that helps you relax and not something that will stimulate your mind. Think of it as having someone read you a bedtime story, not an excuse to get more work done while drifting off into dreamland.

The last two suggestions go hand-in-hand. Keep your bedroom sanitary and fill it with a soothing fragrance. A lot of people prefer essential oils, such as lavender, eucalyptus and heliotropin. Find what works for you. It is also proven that the scent of your partner could improve your quality of sleep.

(Kind of cute, right?)

There are also things that you can do throughout the day
that will prepare you for a better night’s sleep.

The same way that you dim the lights at night, you should increase your light exposure during the day. For people with insomnia, daytime bright light exposure has been proven to improve both sleep quality and duration. It also reduced the time it took for them to fall asleep by 83%! If you are unable to get enough sunlight throughout the day, you can use an artificial light that simulates sunlight.

It’s also important to avoid caffeine late in the day. According to one study, having caffeine 6 hours prior to bedtime had significant effects on sleep disturbances. Even if you can fall asleep after drinking an afternoon coffee or energy drink, it will still worsen the quality of your sleep. We know the midday crash can be rough, but that is a symptom of not being well-rested. To eliminate that and to feel more energized throughout the day, it is imperative that you have good sleep hygiene. If you are a coffee drinker, try switching to decaf after lunch and remember to drink plenty of water throughout the day to stay hydrated.

Exercising regularly will also help improve your sleep. There are some stipulations, though. Exercising in the morning will help you wind down at the end of the day, but high-intensity exercises in the evening will give you more energy at the end of the day, keeping you awake for longer. If your schedule doesn’t allow for you to exercise in the morning, then you can do low-intensity workouts at night. You should still give yourself a few hours in between the exercise and your bedtime so that your body can wind down.

Creating healthier sleep patterns will help your body and your mind recharge, leaving you feeling refreshed and alert. If you have exhausted all these efforts and are still dealing with sleep troubles – we suggest speaking to your doctor.

Sleep should not be a luxury. It is a necessity! Take care of yourself so that you’re able to show up and be present with the people around you. You deserve it.

Feel-Good Ways to Stay Active

Feel-Good Ways to Stay Active

Staying active doesn’t have to be something you dread. In fact, in order to incorporate physical activity into your daily life, it should be something you look forward to. If this is something you want to do but aren’t sure where to start—this blog is for you.

We’ve put together a list of our favorite feel-good ways to keep our bodies in motion.

1. Walking
This is one of the most basic forms of movement, and it is one of our favorites! Walking is known to ease joint pain, boost immune function, improve your mood, strengthen your heart, burn calories and help you think more creatively. It’s also proven that walking can increase your life expectancy.

Now that it is Spring, it is the perfect time to go to a local park, walk in your neighborhood, or even explore new neighborhoods around your city or town. If the weather isn’t ideal you can also go to local malls or rec centers to get your steps in. One of our coaches here at ZOE Wellness, Luis, recommends to start walking with the goal to hit 5k steps (~2.5 miles) per day and to slowly work your way up to 10k (~5 miles).

Walking is fun to do with friends and family, too! If you don’t have anyone nearby to walk with, you could use the time to call someone and catch up, or just take this time to yourself to pray, meditate, or clear your mind.

2. Gardening
The benefits of gardening are plentiful. Not only do you get exposure to Vitamin D (don’t forget your sunscreen!), but gardening is also known to fight stress more-so than most hobbies. It decreases your risks for dementia and can have you doing aerobic exercises without even realizing it. If you don’t have a place to garden at home, check to see if there are any local community gardens near you. This is a great way to socialize with other people and simultaneously benefit a local neighborhood.

(Not to mention the satisfaction you’ll feel when your flowers bloom, or your crops are ready for harvest. You’ll be proud of yourself.)

3. Dancing
Dancing is your body’s way of expressing itself. We aren’t suggesting that you audition for the next season of America’s Got Talent, but we are suggesting you put your headphones on or turn your speakers up and let yourself have some fun. Not only will this put you in a better mood, but it will help you get in touch with your body.

According to Richard Powers, a professor at Stanford, dancing is also known to increase your intelligence. “Dancing integrates several brain functions at once — kinesthetic, rational, musical, and emotional — further increasing your neural connectivity.” (For more information on that topic, click here to read the full article.)

4. Hiking

There are many different intensity levels of hiking, and we recommend getting information on the trails you embark on before you get started. There are apps, like “AllTrails” that you can use to find nature trails near you, and you can filter them by difficulty level. You can also see other people’s comments and photos of the trails which will help you decide which trail is best for you. Don’t forget to bring water to stay hydrated!

5. Stretching
If you are someone who enjoys watching TV Series or movies, this one’s for you. Next time you pull out your remote, instead of sitting on the couch— go for the floor. Stretching is a great way to get back in touch with our bodies. Start with reaching towards your toes, and practice moving in a way that feels good to you.

TIP: To increase flexibility, focus on your breath. Every time you exhale, your body will relax deeper into your stretch. You can challenge yourself by doing a stretch like reaching for your toes and reaching as far as you can during an exhale. Hold that position through your next inhale and see how much further you can reach on your second exhale. You might surprise yourself!

6. Go on a Treasure Hunt (Geocaching)
This might sound silly, but hear us out.

Geocaching is an outdoor activity that is happening all the time, all over the world. People use GPS to set up containers called “Geocaches” at specific locations that are marked by coordinates. Try searching “geocaching near me” in your search bar and see what you can find! It’s like an easter egg hunt, but for all ages, and happens all year long.

This is a very similar concept to Pokemon Go, except instead of finding treasure – you are catching cartoons in an augmented reality. This is an app you can download and is a fun activity to do with your friends, or your kids!

7. Get a dog
Dogs are a lot of responsibility. Please only explore this option if you can give time, energy and money into your K9 companion. If you do have the resources though, having a dog will have you out and about a lot more than you would be otherwise. Rain or shine, your dog will need to be taken out a handful of times a day. Dogs make excellent exercise companions, just make sure you do your research on the type of dog you get and what types of care it requires.

Responsibility? Yes.

Rewarding? Also, yes.

If you do not have the resources to adopt a new furry family member— you can always watch someone else’s! There are dog-walking apps, such as Wag! that connect dog owners to dog walkers. Not only will this get you outside and moving, but you could be earning extra money and a four-legged friend at the same time.

8. Swimming
Getting into water is a great way to move your body. It is easier on joints than most exercises and can be a lot of fun. You could go as far as to look up water aerobics classes in your community, or just take a dip in the deep end for small periods of time. Swimming laps is also a great way to get your heart rate up for cardio. If you’re lucky enough to live near an ocean, spend some time in the water! (You know what they say… salt water cures everything— sweat, tears, or the ocean.)

Remember: exercise should be fun! It feels good to take care of yourself. You deserve it.


Movement and Sleep

The Benefits of Moving and a Good Night’s Sleep

Movement and sleep are two very opposite, but equally important, aspects of wellness. They affect us physically, mentally, and emotionally, so it’s crucial to make sure you have the right balance of both in your life.

Our bodies are naturally designed to move, so if we aren’t engaging in some type of movement each day, then we’re not allowing our body to thrive the way it was meant to.  Movement can help increase strength, flexibility, and stamina, help boost your immune system, help fight many chronic diseases, improve sleep, and even release hormones that will help you feel better emotionally.

The great thing about adding movement to your day is that it doesn’t necessarily mean spending hours in the gym – however if that’s how you choose to get your body moving, that’s great too. Movement can be as simple as a 10-minute walk during a break at work, doing yoga or gentle stretching, taking the stairs instead of the elevator, swimming, or biking. Movement shouldn’t be stressful; in fact, it should be the opposite. Choose a physical activity that you find joy in and get moving.

At the opposite end of the spectrum, there is sleep. Sleep plays a significant role in our health. Getting enough quality sleep every night can help strengthen your memory, keep your metabolism active, lift your mood, improve your cardiovascular health, and help your immune system fight disease.  Sleep requirements can vary from person to person, but, as a general rule, adults should get 7 to 9 hours of sleep per night.

Here are a few things to keep in mind to ensure you get a good night’s rest. First, stick to a consistent sleep schedule as much as possible. Create a relaxing and comfortable sleep environment, free from unwanted noise, light, and allergens. And finally, make sure your body is prepped for bed: avoid caffeine, heavy meals, and spicy foods near bedtime, and develop a relaxation routine. You should also avoid taking your electronic devices to bed with you.

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The Importance of Hydrating

The Importance of Hydrating

A common mistake many people make when tackling their daily fluid intake is grabbing an ice-cold soda or energy-boosting drink instead of water, but as it turns out, this can be counterproductive and lead to dehydration, along with other health risks.

Your body uses water in all its cells, organs, and tissues to help regulate its temperature and maintain other bodily functions. Because your body loses water through breathing, sweating, and digestion, it’s important to rehydrate and replace what’s used by drinking pure water and eating foods that contain water.

Did you know the human brain is 80% water? That’s more than any other organ in the body. Even slight dehydration can result in an immediate cut down of the brain’s energy supply, which leads to fatigue, lethargy, depression, and stress. When we don’t keep our bodies hydrated, we run the risk of muscle cramps, depression, constipation, hypertension, uremia, gallstones, and weak joints.

The benefits of drinking water are endless. Water promotes cardiovascular health, keeps your body cool, helps your muscles and joints work better, and helps to cleanse your body inside and out. Not to mention, water keeps your skin supple, clear, and smooth, helps prevent dry mouth, and keeps your lips and throat moist. To keep yourself hydrated, use the “8 glasses by 8 pm” rule as a general goal every day.

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Getting your daily D.O.S.E.

Dopamine: The Reward Chemical

Handles motivation, learning and pleasure

Oxytocin: The Love Hormone

Creates feelings of love, trust and bonding

Serotonin: The Mood Stabilizer

Balances mood, self esteem, importance and happiness

Endorphins: The Pain Killer

Relieves pain and stress


These neurotransmitters are known as the brain’s Happy Chemicals. They each play an individual and equally important role in our lives. And the good news is, you can release them naturally with ease. They’re natural chemicals, with natural sources! So it is important to learn the healthiest ways to release them. It’s easier once you learn how your mind works.

Dopamine: There’s no feeling of satisfaction quite like a job well done, when you’ve seen your hard work pay off! Often referred to as the Reward Chemical, Dopamine is responsible for allowing you to feel pleasure, satisfaction and motivation! It’s released in response to doing something good our mindy/body deems as good or pleasurable. After a release, your brain takes note of every environment cue: where, when, why, hoe and what caused you to feel this pleasure? We’re filled with motivation, driving us to keep going and do it again!

Healthy levels of Dopamine contribute to →

  • Motivation
  • Focus / concentration
  • Learning
  • Appetite
  • Forming habits
  • Pleasure and happiness
  • Altertness
  • Coordination and movement
  • Interests, curiosity and desire

Low Dopamine could be the reason for your bad mood! You may also experience: 

  • Sadness or apathy
  • Poor memory
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Exhaustion and low energy
  • Difficulty with concentration
  • Loss of interest in passions
  • Less motivation and enthusiasm
  • Easy weight gain 

Oxytocin: You know that warm feeling of comfort you get when you make a new friend, play with your puppy or kiss your partner for the first time? That’s Oxytocin: The Love Drug or Cuddle Chemical! This neurotransmitter has learned its many names for its release when we form bonds with our family, friends, romantic partners or even pets! Similar to all neurotransmitters, this chemical plays several roles in our lives: physically, emotionally, mentally, socially and romantically. Oxytocin is necessary! 

Oxytocin plays a physical role with: 

  • Childbirth
  • Facial recognition 
  • Triggering protective instincts
  • Breastfeeding 
  • Boosting arousal 
  • Reducing drug cravings
  • Appetite 
  • Sleep 

Oxytocin also helps to: 

  • Strengthen friend groups
  • Solidify relationships
  • Make friends
  • Create emotional memories
  • Improve social skills
  • Foster generosity
  • Generate trust
  • Feel extroverted

Serotonin: It’s time to meet the neurotransmitter most sensitive to diet. The one responsible for your moods, well being, self esteem and happiness. Although its functions are carried out within the brain, 90% of the body’s serotonin supply is located within the gut! This Happy Chemical is converted from an amino acid known as Tryptophan, which our body cannot produce on its own. It comes from foods such as dairy, chickpeas and turkey. So of course… proper diet is the best way to ensure that you have an appropriate intake of Trytophan!  

Serotonin, the Mood Stabilizer, helps your body to: 

  • Heal wounds
  • Reduce depression
  • Manage anxiety 
  • Promote sleep
  • Balance libido 
  • Control appetite
  • Support learning 
  • Regulate emotions 

When absent, low serotonin results in:  

  • Low self esteem
  • Social withdrawal
  • Decreased appetite
  • Anxiety and depression
  • Sleep issues and fatigue 
  • Mood swings
  • Nausea and digestive issues 
  • Brain fog and poor memory

Some causes of serotonin deficiencies:  

  • Lack of sunlight exposure 
  • Prolonged drug / medication use
  • Chronic stress
  • Hormonal shifts
  • Age related health 
  • Poor diet**

Endorphin: Think of that amazing, euphoric feeling you get after finishing an intense workout. The Runner’s High is the body’s release of endorphins. This is your body’s natural chemical response to pain and stress. It’s also helpful in alleviating anxiety and depression. There are plenty of natural, healthy and easily accessible sources for endorphins that you can find in your everyday life!  

Alternatively, the lack of endorphins result in: 

  • Anxiety and depression
  • Pleasure food cravings
  • High emotional sensitivity
  • Mood swings
  • Aches and pains
  • Chronic headaches
  • Low pain tolerance
  • Impulsive behavior 

Some causes of endorphin deficiencies: 

  • Imbalance gut health
  • Constant stress
  • Poor sleeping schedule
  • Trauma
  • Overconsumption of caffeine and alcohol
  • Chronic stress and fatigue