Three Heel Clicks

Healthy

Developing Your Morning Habit Routine

Fashion, DIY, How To, Healthy, Petite Style, Lifestyle, Inspiration, Style, TravelCrystal JacksonComment
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Lately, I’ve begin growing into the discipline of developing habit routines. After reading a few incredibly inspiring books like Thrive and The Power of Habit I’ve learned to begin my day the way I need to so that I set up a foundation to be kinder, gentler, more compassionate and most of all loving. There was a time in my corporate work career where I moved from one activity to the next without giving any thought to how it might affect my body, mind and soul. After a decade of living like that and burning the entire candle not just both ends, I’ve made a conscious and deliberate effort to change a life of chaos and develop a life of purpose, discernment and intention.

While hardwork and diligence is a discipline, I was far exceeding discipline and I turned it to a full obsession. I was a corporate supervisor’s dream… always ready to tackle more. Always willing to say yes. Never realizing that the more times I said, “yes” without hesitation or intention I was slowly become less of me and more of something I did not want to become. Late nights at work spilled over to not being able to sit still and enjoy time at home. I literally lived in chaos for a decade. Although I appreciate every single experience from that time, I now realize I can achieve a better life by implementing discipline into my morning habit routines that will allow my mind to have the space it needs to flourish. At the beginning of May I set out on a new journey. A journey to redefine my purpose - you can read more about that in last week’s post.

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After exptensive research and trial and error I begin to develop new routines. I start my day with a glass of water beside my bedstand. Before I even move or stretch I get this first glass down to fill my body with the hydration it needs. I spend a few minutes making my bed and stretching. I slowly let my body come alive instead of being my previous pop tart of a self. Then, I read a small meditation or excerpt from something inspiration and journal about thoughts. From there, I make a list of three categories:

  • One Big Thing I’m Going to Accomplish Today

  • Three Important Tasks

  • A Timeline for My Day

I begin with the end in mind which is how I am going to accomplish one big thing. That way if nothing else goes my way, then at least I knocked off one thing. Sometimes the one big thing is a long workout. Sometimes it’s a project or chore. My one big thing has become the center of the day. From there I list three other important tasks - pick up dry cleaning, coffee with a friend, or maybe write a blog post. I base my entire day’s timeline on these four items. I allow plenty of time to accomplish things and keep my schedule simple. I’ll be sharing my daily schedule with you guys over the course of the next few weeks on Instagram Stories.

If I could rewind the clock I would have been kinder to my twenty something self. I would have taken more breaks. Turned off work and slept more. Turned off the phone, the emails and late texts for work. I became consumed with being a slave to deadlines and projects. I literally could not go on a Sunday drive through the city without thinking as I passed by an industrial building that maybe I could help them become a client. While I do believe that many work inspirations can bloom out of the office, I was not being inspired… I had conditioned my mind to think only about work… about the next meeting, the next sale, the next goal I needed to reach to support my family financially. Now my days are different. My morning routine sets me up with intention. I realize what’s important and urgent and what can wait. At the conclusion of my day I reflect upon the things I put on plate and decide if it’s too much or too little. Whatever your current routine is I challenge you to start with just five minutes. Take five minutes to think about your purpose in life. Build your day around that purpose.

How do you prepare for your day? Anything especially helpful? Leave a comment or send me a tweet!

All photographs courtesy of the talented Andrew Sherard.

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Spending Time on My Purpose

Fashion, Healthy, Inspiration, Petite Style, Lifestyle, Photography, Style, Travel, VintageCrystal JacksonComment
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This is the first blog post I’ve written in weeks and feel like the break from everyday life was exactly what my spirit needed. At the beginning of this year I wrote the following on my mirror in pink lipstick:

  • Simplicity

  • Discernment

  • Purpose.

I’ve prayed over these three words and back in March I felt compelled to spend time alone addressing underlying parts of my soul. If you are one who has come to a point in life where you are seeking the deeper part of your soul, I can relate. I felt an overwhelming desire for discernment and purpose in my life. For months I battled with an internal struggle and what I would call spiritual warfare. My soul was literally battling with purpose on a daily basis. I decided at the beginning of April it was time to schedule free time (a contradiction in itself - haha!) to do some soul searching without the distractions of daily life.

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And so I made plans. Although the course of the plan did end up shifting and maybe one day I’ll feel it is placed upon my heart to dive into deeper details, just know that I was meant to be in the very place in time this past month. Something happened one day when I was driving home. I had knots lining my shoulder blades for the past month. There were over 15 spots that ached daily. It was excruciating. I was told I had a build up of lactic acid.

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As I am behind the steering wheel suddenly so many things in my heart, soul and mind came together and I realized I’ve been carrying around the weight of my past experiences. I also realized in this moment that every wrong choice, circumstance and event in my life led to the preparation of this moment where my purpose in life was revealed to me. Within 30 seconds my knots disappeared.

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I awoke each morning this week with a peace I’ve never experienced before. The knots are still gone and my eyes shifted to focus on my purpose which has been known to me by Jesus. I prefer on this blog not to share religious or political viewpoints, but to make it a space to encourage you to live a better life.

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What about you? Are you at a place in life where you are going through an unexplained internal struggle or spiritual warfare? Please share your experiences!

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5 on Fridays - Five Tips for How to Safely Lose Weight and Get Into Shape

Fashion, Healthy, How To, Lifestyle, Petite Style, StyleCrystal JacksonComment
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I’m writing about my own experiences over the past few years. I’ll start off by saying that no matter what body type you are you can improve your self-esteem by being fit. Not only does being in good shape help your body look better, but it elevates your mood and increases health to your organs. Today I’m writing about my personal experiences for what has worked for me. I understand that not everyone has the same lifestyle but I hope it serves as a point of inspiration for you if you are looking to increase your fitness and a result of that is to lose unnecessary weight.

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Seek not to Lose Weight But To Live Healthier

First thing first do not seek to lose weight, instead shift your focus to living a healthier lifestyle. I think when I focus on the latter there is a positive emphasis on my body image and mental state. Instead of focusing on flaws, I put my energy towards my health. It makes it so much easier to choose a plant based meal or go on an extra walk knowing that it’s only going to benefit my overall health mentally, physically and emotionally. The bi-product of living healthier is being trimmer and slimmer. Here are the things I’ve done since last August to improve my health:

Removed Alcohol Completely

I will be the first to tell you that this was not easy for me. I love wine. Anyone who knows me knows my affinity for the taste of a deep red Bordeaux. However, I struggle with anxiety and panic disorder. It was at a point where any alcohol increased panic attacks. Back in September I stopped drinking at my home and on a regular basis. At the time I only had alcohol on vacation or for something special. I realized that if I was going to be more focused, alcohol wasn’t going to help. Over the course of the past year, I’ve now removed it all together. I found I felt best when it wasn’t apart of my diet. Whether you choose to cut back or maybe eliminate it from your own diet, you will find so many benefits and improvement to your well being.

Increase Walking

I’ve probably harped about the importance of walking way too many times, but without daily long walks I do not maintain a healthy lifestyle. I use to use the Steps app from Adidas prior to my Apple Watch. It’s one of my favorite fitness apps and works with any mobile device. Now I aim for 11k steps a day, but I started out by just seeing what I was currently doing then slowly increasing the activity. Let’s say you already do 4k steps a day you can set a goal for a 30 minute walk and add another 3k steps. You’ll quickly almost double your activity by adding a scheduled walk in every day. Try taking a walk for 15 minutes at lunch or park at the back of a parking lot when you grocery shop. For more tips about getting steps in see this post!

Add a Fitness Class

From October to January last year I actively took 3-5 yoga classes a week. It was such a beneficial decision and allowed me to work on focus, toning and flexibility. Attending classes also pushed me further to master moves and challenge myself. Whether you choose something with high intensity or more relaxing getting involved in a class breaks up the monotony of working out alone.

Move to a Plant Based Diet

Now I understand not everyone is interested in eating vegan or vegetarian. There are so many benefits on our digestive system when you choose to eat more green leafy vegetables instead of bread, cheese and meat. Eating a plant based diet doesn’t mean you have to go rogue and eat only salads. You can start off by just having a vegetable first with every meal. Fill your plate with as many fresh vegetables and fruits as possible. Then, after you eat them have meat, gluten or dairy. I will tell you, you will be so much more full on nutrients you’ll find you will eat less of the latter. This helps so much in processing your food. Your body can’t burn stored fat if it’s working on processing all the food you just put in your body. The easier your food moves through your body the more nutrients will be absorbed and your body can free up energy for other things like restoring your skin or losing weight! You can read all about this philosophy in Kimberly Snyder’s Book The Beauty Detox Diet.

Well, there you have it. This is exactly how I lost weight over the past six months. My skin is clearer, my mental focus is better and my body feels lighter. I did take pictures throughout the journey as a reminder of my progress and the proof is there. I try not to step on a scale often (maybe once a month) since I tend to get a little obsessive about scales. Instead, I took a picture and would reference the success when I felt like I wasn’t making progress.

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Building a Better Foundation for Life

Fashion, Healthy, Inspiration, Lifestyle, Petite Style, Style, VintageCrystal JacksonComment
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This is hands down the most personal post I’ve ever written. One of the benefits of running a blog is that you get to control the message you are putting on the internet. Since 2012, I strived to make this a space to inspire your life in many areas including beauty, style, interior design, travel and recently deeper discussions. Today I enter 30 days on a retreat to address many underlying issues I chose in the past to stuff inside. I am taking time to put my air mask on so that I am a better mother, partner, family member and friend.

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I mentioned on Friday’s post that I deal with panic attacks. After working with a psychiatrist over the past year we decided a full immersion in counseling and behavoiral cognitive therapy was the only way I’d learn to cope properly without the use of medication. If you know me, you know I hardly take anything related to pharmaceutical drugs. For many reasons, I prefer a more hollistic approach to treating health issues for myself. I only take medication if it’s absolutely necessary. To achieve this in regards to my anxiety I have to put in new techniques and strategies in my life.

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I think that this is going to build a foundation for me to live a better life. I’m spending 30 days on myself in a remote retreat location with no access to the internet, a cell phone, email or social media. I know. Crazy huh?! I delegated my personal responsibilities and my family is helping out a lot to fill in during this time. I decided to take a break to get down to the bottom of things. After a few life or death situations and past experiences, I know that learning how to deal with them is going to better me as a person in the long run.

In preparation for time away, I’ve prescheduled 3-4 blog posts a week. I’ve also pre-scheduled social media posts to announce blog posts and additional things I’ve prepared. I encourage you to comment, respond, DM me, etc. I will be checking any and all messages upon my return and love hearing from all of you! Just because it feels one way for a few weeks, I’ll be back and responsive in no time!

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I wanted to share a little more about preparing for a month long trip. There were a lot of things that had to happen from financial to childcare. I want to encourage those of you who need a break to not be afraid to ask for help. A break is good. A break is rejuvinating. A break allows your mind to gain the space it needs to respond appropriately to situations. I read so often that people feel discouraged after scrolling through social media after an hour. So take a break. Take a break from all of it. Line up your responsibilities. Prepare as much as you can. Delegate to willing and able trusted parties and take your break.

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The more I’ve been reflecting upon entering this transition in my life the Psalm that states for us to “Be Still and know that I am God.” comes to mind over and over. I am choosing to be still. To remove myself completely from the public eye, social media and the constant noise of society. No I’m not a hippie, but I do believe the soul craves for us to be still. I believe that it’s impossible to be your highest self and push on the gas pedal constantly. Life needs breathing room and when I feel like I’m suffocating I’m not my truest self. I have no room to be because I’m barely surviving.

So, the break is here. For 30 days I pushing the reset button. I cannot wait to share about this experience when I return. In the meantime, I spent time this month not only preparing blog posts for the duration of my leave but also enhancing my navigation menu on the website. You will now find a variety of sub-categories if you scroll across the top of the site. I created a little video for you here if you are interested in better ways to navigate Three Heel Clicks.

I will leave you all with one note - Listen to your inner voice. Listen to your gut. Listen to your heart. Those are what makes up your soul. Take time to nourish those parts of you so that you can be your truest self. So that you feel at peace even when the world is cycloning around you. Take the time to breathe. Take time for breaks the best way you know how without guilt. Rest your body, rest your mind and rest your soul.

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5 on Fridays - Five Ways I Cope With Panic Attacks

beauty, Fashion, Inspiration, Healthy, Petite Style, Lifestyle, Travel, StyleCrystal JacksonComment
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As I enter a new era of my life I realize more than ever how important it is to manage anxiety and panic attacks. I have been diagnosed with Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Panic Disorder and OCD. Yep, that’s a mouthful. It’s a condition I’ve battled with for several years and one of the toughest parts of my life. I am writing today’s post based solely on my own experiences in hopes that if you also struggle with anxiety or panic attacks that you will find help and create a better environment.

  1. Make sure physical needs are met - This seems obvious but lack of sleep, exercise and poor diet all contribute to my panic attacks. Although I have an affinity for wine, I have found alcohol only temporarily minimizes anxiety and then immediately increases panic attacks the following day or two. Removing alcohol requires me to deal with a situation instead of medicating myself. I feel better when I don’t drink all around and can tackle more situations with a clear mind.

  2. Have a plan - I go through a checklist when I start feeling light headed. I start with making sure I have snacks and water. Then, I find a quiet space. I slow my breathing down and focus on things that bring me positive feelings. It may be a song playlist, it may be a photograph or words of encouragement. I have a list of about ten things that bring me joy so when I feel one coming on, I slow down and go through my checklist.

  3. Take a walk - A ten minute walk can do wonders when I feel anxious. I usually have an exit strategy in place prior to most situations. I will excuse myself to the restroom or take a call if I need to in certain situations, but the best remedy for most of my panic attacks is a short brisk walk around the block. I set a timer and walk in one direction, then turn around and walk back. It takes the guess work out of things and I can just focus on moving my body. Panic attacks usually last 15-30 minutes so I know if I take a walk my mind will settle as my body moves.

  4. Remove things from your plate - Now instead of multi-tasking I try to focus on one thing at a time and only on my top 3 priorities. Once those things are accomplished I work on my next three items. By only worrying about three things it helps my brain to focus instead of feeling like a thousand thoughts are swimming in my head. I also allow breaks throughout the day, naps if needed and a good shower usually helps. I wrote an entire post about Taking Life Slower which you can read here. It’s helped so much and decreases the pressure I put on myself.

  5. Seek guidance - This is probably the best thing I did to help cope with anxiety and panic attacks. For years I only treated the problem but didn’t work on the underlying issues. My body was in a constant fight or flight state with adrenaline rushing through my veins. I found after meeting with counselors and a psychiatrist I was able to get the tools I needed to handle tough situations instead of freaking out. If you are currently experiencing panic attacks, I recommend visiting a reputable psychiatrist and a therapist. They will begin with evaluating your body and mental state to see if your brain chemicals are off balance. I used both medication and behavioral cognitive therapy to put long term strategies in place.

I write this post not from a doctor’s perspective but from a patient’s view. Anxiety and panic attacks haven’t completely gone away but they are more manageable than six months to a year ago. I’ve had to try different things over time to include meditation, journaling and yoga. All of these have aided but at the end of the day it boils down to making sure my body and mind are in a healthy state.

Have you ever experienced a panic attack? What are your coping strategies? Leave me a comment or send me an email at threeheelclicksblog@gmail.com. I love hearing about your own personal experiences.

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