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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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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Houston Hotspots: Local Foods

Fashion, Houston, Lifestyle, Petite Style, Style, TravelCrystal JacksonComment
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Lately I’ve been on the hunt for healthy restaurants around the city that have a great atmosphere. I stumbled upon Local Foods when I was doing research on the Impossible Burger. The Impossible Burger is a plant based burger that tastes like beef! Local Foods which is a Houston based restaurant chain with locations all over the city took the Impossible Burger and turned it into a meatball sub. I was astonished at how delicious this sandwich tasted! Anyhow, the Impossible Burger is made by White Castle - yep the fast food brand many of us already love. You can find all locations that they serve the Impossible Burger to include Local Foods on their website if you are not in the Houston area here.

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Local Foods is a Houston restaurant chain with a selection of gourmet sandwiches, salads and prepared meals sourced from local ingredients. They have a variety of plant-based healthy options each served with such attention to detail and presentation. I visited the Heights location and highly recommend going there if you are looking for a delicious casual bite complete with cocktails. They have the most beautiful tile and navy booths throughout the space. I decided to pop over to visit in a beautiful watercolor skirt from Anthropologie (oldie but a goodie) and an embellished navy blue blouse. This outfit is perfect for the office during Spring time. Just throw a trench coat (this one just arrived for me yesterday and can’t wait to wear it!) for those chilly days.

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An orange skirt is a must have right now! Pantone released their Fall fashion report and shades of tangerine, peach and orange were staples in this Fall’s predictions! The runway was flooded with the warmest color on the color wheel. Orange is known as the happy color and works beautifully with blue since they are contrasting colors. A skirt is a safe way to wear a new color since it’s not next to your face. If you want to add a new color into your wardrobe think about opting for a skirt, scarf or accessory. I’ve rounded up 15 options here for you in all different price points.

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Nude pumps never go out of style and they are the first thing I reach for when I’m headed to a meeting, date or even just to go to church. They elongate the leg, add a little height to a petite frame and go with practically every color. I love this pair from Michael Kors because of the color of leather and comfort. Find a pump that your heel doesn’t slip out of and doesn’t rub blisters.

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Add a beautiful scarf on your handbag or you can tie one in your hair if you are wearing your hair up. Scarves and hats are a favorite accessory of mine because they add drama with a single accessory. Immediately outfits make a bigger statement with a scarf and it’s a classic timeless way to accessorize. I wore a scarf around my neck in yesterday’s post if you are looking for other styling options! I love the way they look when tied around the neck with a casual tee, sweater or blazer.

What do you think about adding more orange to your closet this year?

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Be a Better You with a Little Self Love

Fashion, DIY, Healthy, Houston, How To, Inspiration, Lifestyle, Petite Style, StyleCrystal JacksonComment
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Self love. It’s been a topic on my mind so much lately. Maybe it’s because I spent so long without it. Maybe it’s because I’m trying to figure out now, at 33 years old, how to be my best version. Maybe it’s because not long ago I realized I couldn’t keep going the way I was, but my perspective on taking care of myself dramtically shifted.

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Taking Time for Yourself

More than I ever have before in my lifetime I’ve been focusing on listening to the inner voice. How can I begin to love myself better if I don’t even listen to myself? Being healthy, balanced, and simplifying are daily priorities but I can’t work through those priorities if I don’t take the time to do so. Time is funny - it seems to go wherever you direct it to. I’ve begun in the mornings to sit down and write the top priorities for the entire day. Asking myself the following questions helps ensure I stay on track throughout the day:

  • What am I doing today to nourish my body?

  • How can I move my body today?

  • How do I express my truest self today?

  • What will I do to allow my body to rest?

  • How can I glorify God today?

  • What will keep me organized today?

  • How will I challenge my mind today?

Each question serves to make sure I am the best version of myself. I wake up so often tired and uninspired, but after I journal asking myself on the above questions my perspective changes. I usually feel happier and lighter knowing my day is not controlling me.

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Start Small

We don’t get into the habit of not taking care of ourselves overnight. It’s not like I woke up one day and said to myself, “I am going to run myself ragged, starve my body of nutrition and gain a few extra pounds from stress and exercise.” I don’t think there are many people in this world who sets out to have a day like that. But I do think we get into small habits resulting in the above scenario. Day after day we chip away at ourselves giving more and more away leaving our souls to run on empty. If prioritizing a million ways to achieve self love seems overwhelming start out small. Set aside just 15 minutes at the beginning of your day for you. Do one activity that makes you feel good. Maybe it’s making tea or coffee. Maybe it’s skincare so spend that time regularly doing facials or slathering on comforting products. Maybe it’s getting to go for a run or sketch. Just start with a few minutes first thing every day. As you make time for yourself regularly, you can then increase as you go.

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Stop Playing the Guilty Game

After years of constantly doing things to please others you may find it’s difficult to do something for yourself and actually enjoy it. The thing is, we must enjoy our alone time. We must let ourselves rest when we need to rest. It gives us more energy and stamina for us to focus on loving others. This is your life, your masterpiece, and your legacy. Do you want to be grounded in yourself or do you want to be remembered as someone short tempered and run down? Self love gives us the opportunity to be better as a person. It grounds us and focuses us on our priorities. Feeling guilty about taking that time is the opposite of being grateful for it. Give yourself time and then make the most of it by enjoying each second.

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Expect the Worst

It was probably part of growing up in the military but expecting the worst is now a regular thought process. While it can be looked as negative thinking, I’ve found a way to turn it around for better quality of life. As I go through life I expect that my child will wake up early if I have a deadline and try to work last minute. I will be bombarded with questions on every car ride. The laundry has to be folded daily or it overwhelms my life. All of these things happen so how can I prepare myself better for them? I now keep a book downloaded on my phone for delays in meetings. A tripod is always in my car so I can take the time to photograph something I enjoy. Packaging snacks at the beginning of the week ensures I have less to worry about nutrition wise. Expecting the worst makes life run smoother because it forces me to slow down and prepare for the day.

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Surround Yourself with What You Love

I love quiet spaces with beautiful surroundings. My nightmare is being in a grocery store the day before Thanksgiving. Chaos increases my heart rate and makes me feel so anxious. I now plan around this. I know I want to eat at a pretty restaurant and not wait in line or for a busy waiter. Now I go in off peak times like 2pm for lunch or a late night week day dinner. I use tools like Yelp to find pretty atmospheres! If surrounding yourself with things you love means staying home in an organized space and ordering pizza then do it! Take a few minutes and jot down the types of atmospheres and settings that bring you joy.

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Be Grateful

Whether it’s 5 minutes or 5 days of self love, start out with making a list of things you are grateful for. It sounds corny, but we are sum of our parts and being grateful for those parts is the beginning to resting our soul. I now prepare to have a few minutes before going to the nail salon to make sure I have downloaded a book onto my phone to read or have a podcast ready to start playing. I touch my makeup up before going inside and make sure that I have everything easy to access so I don’t have to dig around with wet nails later on.

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Be patient with yourself and plan for hiccups. Being able to actually sit down and enjoy a few moments of rest helps improve anxiety and your overall well being. You’ll find that your thought process improves as you improve the ability to enjoy more, do less and feel better. I’m all about sharing the love and want to know how you guys make time for yourself? Is it daily, weekly or monthly?

Leave a comment about one thing you do to show yourself love!

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Favorite Features of the Apple Watch

Style, Lifestyle, Healthy, FashionCrystal JacksonComment
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As much as I love technology and worked in the tech field for a decade you may be surprised that I’m not always the first person to jump on the new gadget bandwagon. I’ve found over the years that first editions of most tech devices are overly expensive and come with glitches or kinks to be worked out over time. That’s why when the apple watch debuted a few years ago I wasn’t the first to go out and buy one. I wasn’t really sure why I would need a watch on top of my cell phone. Although I love watches (like this beautiful wood version from JORD), they haven’t been an item I wear everyday.

Let’s fast forward to today. After months of research about the Apple watch, I decided I wanted to get one. Lucky me received it for Christmas this year and I couldn’t be happier. In fact, it was my favorite gift received this year! I’m still getting to know all of the functionality but for today’s post I thought I would share what I already love after using it for just a few weeks.

Effortless Set Up

One of my hesitations for upgrading my cell phone is that it’s such a pain to set up a new gadget. The Apple watch is different. You charge it up, turn it on and it walks you through exactly what to do and how to pair it with your phone. I have zero clue if it can be used with non-Apple products, but if you are an iPhone user it’s completely effortless. Apple has this amazing ability to make things easy. Apple also trains you on new features as they roll out which is another reason to love their products. The easier something is to set up the more motivated I am to immediately put it into good use.

Getting Directions on Your Watch

I oftentimes am not the one driving but the designated navigator. I found that it’s so easy to miss your turn when you are the navigator if you get distracted by multi-tasking. With the apple watch it automatically gives you directional updates and vibrates your wrist when you need to make a change in your route. It’s saved me many times already from missing my next turn (thus, decreasing the stress on the actual driver - haha!) Now I know when my watch notifies me to quickly make a move in the next direction.

Closing those Activity Rings

Tracking my steps was the number one reason I wanted to get an Apple watch. I know there are Fitbits and other pedometers, but I’m one of those people who likes less than more when it comes to gadgets. I figured if I was going to invest in a step tracker it might as well sync with my health app on my cell phone. What I discovered about the Apple watch is it challenges you more and more everyday. It reminds me when I’ve been sitting too long and tells me if I’m behind in the day on hitting my activity goals. It also separates exercise from steps by measuring your heart rate. It’s almost become a game to me to make sure I close all of the rings each day.

Answer Calls Without Having to Pull Your Phone Out

There’s nothing worse than being out and about with your phone tucked away in a pocket or purse when you receive an important call you just don’t want to miss. The watch will allow you to put a call on speaker so you don’t even have to touch your phone! Also, if you don’t want to answer a call you can simply dismiss it using your watch instead of your phone. The best part is, your phone doesn’t duplicate things! If you dismiss a call on your watch it doesn’t tell you that you have a missed call on your phone. The two act in tandem to make things easier!

Relax and Breathe Feature

This was an unexpected feature I’ve grown to enjoy. The breathe feature will randomly remind me to take a full minute and focus on breathing. It uses an expanding and contracting visual design to help you take a moment to relax. Being a person diagnosed with anxiety and panic disorder this really helps me slow down throughout the day. I am defintiely one that needs to be reminded to relax and the app is perfect for keeping me on track!

There are a ton of other features that I know I haven’t even explored yet. The ones listed above were immediately active when I started using my watch! I love the silicon pink band and overall aesthetic of the rose gold face of this version. I’ve found it looks great with most of my casual outfits and if I get dressed up I can still wear it under long sleeves. I plan on eventually looking for a dressier band but for now I’ll stick with the classic blush pink hue this one came with!

If you have an Apple watch, what are your favorite features?

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