The Reason Morning Routines are Helpful

Developing a morning routine is often seen as a Type A personality trait or a tool people use to increase productivity. If we examine routines more closely, we find that even basic routines are pretty useful to almost everyone. In fact, for better or worse, you probably already have a few.

  • Forgetting your gym clothes
  • Wondering if you unplugged the iron
  • Leaving your coffee on the kitchen counter
  • Yelling at your loved ones to get in the car because you’re late

Those habits don’t really comprise an ideal morning. What are more preferable habits?

  • Walking or playing with your dog
  • Reading
  • Making a healthy lunch

Morning routines are really just intentionally healthy habits. A routine means that you have found the flow that works for you, and you are trying to do basically the same thing each morning so you can give your brain a break from decision-making, save time, curb forgetfulness, or foster positive interpersonal communication. Maybe you have other reasons!

Currently, my morning routine includes:

  • Brushing my teeth
  • Putting up my hair
  • Gardening in my greenhouse
  • Yoga
  • Reading and meditating

The rest of the day, my plans are usually pretty loose. I try to go with the flow and not let others’ plans throw a wrench in our day. Some days are easier than others. The reason morning routines are helpful is that they can bring us closer to balance. They may offer a familiar assurance. The stability of a morning routine contributes to filling my well of inner peace. Then I can draw from that peace if things around me seem frustrating, chaotic, or uncertain.

Download your free Crosswork Mindful Morning guide.

What to Expect in a Yoga Class for Cancer

I’m not sure I can do those crazy yoga poses.
Class is on Tuesday? I don’t know how I’ll feel that day.
I’m just not up for seeing people.

If you have cancer, or have had cancer, you may wonder if a yoga class is a good fit for you. Some oncologists recommend yoga as a complimentary practice in patients’ wellness plans. After all, yoga has been shown to be beneficial to some individuals who are receiving cancer care and others who are in remission from cancer. But all yoga classes are not the same. Look for classes that use words like adaptive, restorative, and gentle. Whether they meet online or in person, they are usually slower paced and focus more on the experience than what the poses (or asanas) look like.

You may also find yoga classes specifically for cancer. In a yoga class for those affected by cancer, you can expect to find a non-judgmental environment that includes breathing, gentle stretching, or greater relaxation. You are free to participate as much or as little as you prefer, including joining others in the physical asanas or in spirit. There is freedom to simply sit and learn to be with your body. In a yoga for oncology class, accommodations are easily made for ports, pumps, central lines, and other considerations.

You can also feel open about asking instructors if they are Registered Yoga Teachers or if they have experience or training in teaching yoga with those affected by cancer. I am grateful to have had the opportunity to receive Yoga for Cancer Teacher Training at the UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center. I am honored and encouraged to bring yoga to the oncology community, including those facing cancer, their caregivers, and oncology healthcare providers.

I am here for you. Reach out or complete the form below to get started.

Free Yoga Class for NC State Day of Giving

Whether it’s by making a gift or spreading the word, we can all help support the Wolfpack on the NC State Day of Giving. In lieu of paying for your Crosswork yoga class on March 24th, please consider giving to NC State University 

Our Crosswork Yoga Class for the Pack will be loads of fun and feature:

  • an invigorating, 30-minute yoga asana to start your day
  • access to the spring issue of Crosswork magazine
  • a desk reference .pdf of seated yoga that you can do at your desk
  • 20% off of your next Crosswork yoga class

Wear RED and join us in giving back on the NC State Day of Giving so the Pack can continue to prepare future leaders to tackle the world’s biggest problems.

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When Your Job is No Longer Exciting

There are times when people run into textbook scenarios in their field. I often hear folks complain about how boring these situations are– how they crave a challenge and think the only option is to leave because they are tired of the mundane. Textbook situations can actually be quite beneficial. Here’s why.

First, there’s just nothing like sharing space with others– even if that space is monotonous or difficult.

“You were overlooked because of an outside hire? Me too.”
“You’re tired of the hour-long weekly meetings that could have been an email? Me too.”
“You are afraid of returning to work after a health scare? Me too.”

There is a type of friendship that can only be forged through adversity; it is a worthwhile pursuit. Any friendship is one for which we can be thankful. So if you find yourself on a plateau, look around and see who else is there with you. Reach out to them.

The second reason plateaus are gifts is that they give us space to change the way we see things. The buttes of Monument Valley, Colorado are freestanding structures with steep cliffs on all four sides and a plateau at the top. Once you get to the plateau, you’ve seen all there is to see. This is the apex. The zenith. The highest you can go.

On the other hand, the mountains of Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado offer a multitude of stepped plateaus. You can hike up to one, step out and survey a picturesque landscape, then turn and hike up to another plateau. Each plateau is an opportunity to rest and refuel. It’s a place to stop moving upward and begin moving outward. It is an opportunity to step away from the trail and explore your own path. It’s a place to notice, to discover, and to see things from different perspectives.

Plateaus can be great; it’s all a matter of how we choose to see them. Through mindfulness, we can choose to see that being in familiar territory allows us to shut down some of the decision-making energy and choose to direct that energy toward other worthwhile pursuits such as mentoring others, networking, learning more about new developments in our field, or resting and refueling for the next project. When we accept the fact that we are where we are, we can embrace our position and use it to our advantage.

And even if the path you thought was leading to a mountain-top experience actually resembles more of a butte, resist the urge to complain. Take a moment and look around. Everything you have been through to get to this height has provided you with a learning experience and a great vantage point from which to see where you want to go next.

Reduce employee turnover, increase worker satisfaction, and increase productivity when you bring Crosswork Lunch & Learn wellness classes to your group. Contact me to get started. — Sarah

How Gardening Teaches People to be Resilient

Take a look at this miraculous fourth round of lettuce that I planted last March!

After I harvested the first bunches early last summer, I was delighted when about half of the lettuce seeds that I planted in March of 2020 sprouted a second time later that season. By late fall, I brought in some straggling leaves… maybe enough for one, good, family-sized salad. Christmas came and went, and then came the rain, the hard freezes, the sleet and frigid air. I didn’t even walk out to the greenhouse for over a month. When I went out today to begin preparing the soil in the raised beds, this perfect head of Burpee buttercrunch lettuce was there to meet me. I was floored!

It was such an encouraging reminder to me that living things are more resilient than we can logically account for. Where there is a willingness to grow, you can’t keep a hearty plant with deep roots from doing what it is compelled to do. People aren’t so different. Gardening is really a leap of faith that always yields far more than we anticipate. You plant some seeds. You expect to eat fruits and vegetables, or cut flowers. But in gardening, we also reap the benefits of working the soil, absorbing minerals, and breaking a sweat. It brings our awareness to the microscopic ecosystems of living things that harmoniously exist outside of four walls. It also gives us a chance to clear our minds, unload our burdens, and notice how we are feeling or what we are thinking.

Through Crosswork mindfulness, you can learn to pay attention to your life and invest in your health by setting boundaries and prioritizing time for the things you enjoy most– including hobbies. Through Crosswork yoga, you can learn to move toward gratitude, a more optimistic outlook, or consideration and empathy toward others. This will help you to become a healthier individual, partner, friend, or employee. Healthy employees are more productive and more likely to contribute to positive peer relationships in the workplace.

Do you have a hobby that allows you to step away from the daily grind and be restored? Maybe you used to; maybe it was golf, running, or reading. Whatever it is, make time for it this week.

P.S. If you just said to yourself, “I just don’t have time for hobbies,” then it’s time to email me.

Learn mindfulness personally through Crosswork 1:1 coaching, or bring lean practices to your entire team with Crosswork Lunch & Learn.
Email me to get started!

5 Reasons Why Your Health is a Certain Investment

I continue to read the word “uncertain” in headlines– whether the articles relate to the economy, politics, employment, travel, conferences, our culture, or the future of humanity. Highly emotive words, especially in repetition, have an impact on our perception of the world around us, our health, and our well-being.

Take a moment to reflect on the things for which you can be certain. Here are just a few:

  • You are important.
  • There is only one you, and you matter to more people than you will ever know.
  • You may feel exhausted, but you’re still here. That makes you resilient.
  • Paying attention to your health mentally, physically, socially, and spiritually is time well spent.
  • Considering others, listening to them, and humbly asking encouraging people to help you grow are noble and worthy pursuits. Seek out encouraging friendships, and invest in being an encouraging friend to others.

The bottom line: you can be CERTAIN that investing in taking care of yourself and those around you is a good investment– today and in the future.

Invest in yourself today!
Email me to learn more about Crosswork.

How to Keep a New Resolution

It’s been one week since we turned the page on 2020. How are your resolutions going? Maybe you thought about making a resolution for 2021 but never actually got around to it. If your old treadmill still looks like a clothes tree or you’ve already eaten more carbs this week than you care to admit, this post is for you: the procrastinators, the slow starters, and the still hopefuls. Here are three steps to make a new resolution and keep it… for good!

At the end of 2019, I was talking with a health coach about a plateau in my workouts. Her advice was to define my bigger why. Your bigger why is the driving force behind your goal. I wanted to lose weight‒ but why? To look better, sure. To feel better, definitely. But if those were the only reasons, then I would abandon my healthy eating plans as soon as I wanted a doughnut. She challenged me to define my bigger why in a single word. I chose FIT.

Fit meant I was prepared to handle whatever came my way. It meant I was willing to do the work mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually to get fit. It also meant that I was committed to continually learning, growing, preparing, adapting, and calibrating to stay fit. I made a graphic (I’m a visual learner.) And for 6 weeks, I used that word as a gauge. A benchmark. When I wanted to sleep in, I told myself “This won’t help me get fit” so I got out of bed and worked out. When I wanted to eat junk food, I knew it wouldn’t help me stay fit, so I ate a salad instead. It worked.

Finding my bigger why helped me reach my goal! But as 2020 came to an end, I didn’t really know what to do. Fit was a successful mantra; should I just stick with it? As I brought mindfulness to my goal, I realized that becoming fit had opened the door for a new goal: listening. Over the last year, I have found a deeper appreciation for the art of listening. Being present. Thinking on what you notice in your body, your environment, and those around you. Who are you listening to? It matters.

So here are my big three for keeping a new resolution.

  1. Define your bigger why. What is motivating you? A career change? A luxurious dream vacation? More time with your family? Writing a book? Playing more golf? Be honest with yourself. What do you want to change, and most of all WHY? Write it down. Come back to it. Make daily reminders on your phone, or frame a picture of your last vacation, your next set of golf clubs… whatever it is. Keep it at the forefront of your mind and your plans. Think on it.
  2. Make a Plan. Now it’s time to align your actions with your bigger why. Make an incremental plan to achieve your goal. It’s not hard! First, sit down and write out how you would budget your time for a single day– from the time you wake up until the time you go go sleep. Look at your habits. Where can you trim the fat? Maybe you need to wake up 1 hour earlier (maybe you need to go to sleep an hour earlier!) Maybe it’s time to hand over some of your commitments. The first habits to change are often omitting the time wasters: social media, video websites, texting, and repeatedly checking email. Set some boundaries for yourself. Omitting time wasters may seem hard, but when you do, you are making time for the life you want. Once you’ve written down your ideal day, try doing it.
  3. Stick To It. It may take a week to tweak your routine and find a realistic groove. But once you do something for one day, then you have proven to yourself that you have what it takes to budget every day. So do it! A lifetime is just a series of days, and you can build the life you want through intentional habits each and every day. Consider what’s at stake if you don’t. If you get off track, it’s okay. Start over right where you are and go from there. We’re only 1 week in to 2021; this year can still be the year that you start to construct the life you want!

Learn how to develop habits to build the life you want. Let’s get started!

How to Bloom Where You are Planted

Years ago, a friend and I were standing in the kitchen transferring hors d’oeuvres to platters when she shared a disappointment in her work. She had been overlooked for a role for which she was clearly the better candidate. I was surprised by her optimism when she joyfully concluded, “I’m good, though. I’ve always believed you should bloom where you are planted.”

After the party, I continued to think about my friend’s situation. The fact that she had joy in spite of her futile circumstances really perplexed me. Where was her drive, her determination, her resolve to make lemonade from lemons? Why didn’t she defend herself? I didn’t like her analogy or the idea of being planted. It implied that someone else was in charge of her future. How could someone whose life was marked by pioneering new courses and notable achievements say that this passive philosophy was something she had always believed?

I concluded that I must have missed something. I thought about the context of the analogy and how my friend had used it in relation to moving from disappointment to acceptance to joy. In the analogy, she was a seed or bulb. Her motivation was to bloom. Conditions were not favorable, and it was not probable that she would bloom. To me, it seemed like she should move on. But how could a seed will to move? That is when I began to understand.

She had the self-awareness to discern that she had a finite amount of energy. Even if she was not promoted by her boss, it was more profitable to spend her time on what she could do: grow. Although her position was not ideal at the moment, ultimately, she believed it could be better in the future if she was willing to adapt and be faithful in what she could do today. She didn’t gossip, grumble, or complain, neither did she try to prove to the boss that he made a mistake. Getting the promotion was outside of her locus of control, but personal development wasn’t. She chose to focus inward and believed that her boss would either see her differently, or she would appeal to someone else who could appreciate her. Who could resist the desire to pick a radiant flower in full bloom? So she bloomed. And in that way, she did move herself.

She began to spend more time doing things she loved. She became pretty good at one of her hobbies and took a step of faith by starting a small side business. Through connections she made there, she was offered a different day job. Her side business never grew. She didn’t make a million dollars or become famous. In fact, a few years later, she closed her side business, but it had been the catalyst that opened the door for her to ditch her dead end job and step into a new vocation. Through mindfulness, she shifted her focus and so can you.

Through mindfulness meditation and yoga, you can learn how to increase your self-awareness and move toward balance. Let’s get started!


If your New Year’s resolution includes a renewed commitment to your health and wellness, then you don’t want to miss our biggest sale of the year! HURRY! It only lasts for 2 days.

I want first dibs! Email me when the sale starts!

Recognize the Warning Signs of a Stroke

A stroke occurs when your brain is not receiving the blood that it needs. When a person is having a stroke, s/he may or may not be aware that something is off. If the person experiencing a stroke receives proper medical care fast enough, then their chances increase for recuperating from or surviving this event. For this reason, it is important that everyone knows how to recognize the warning signs of a stroke so that they can act F.A.S.T.

F – is for FACE. Ask the person to smile, and see if their face is symmetrical or if one side droops.

A – is for ARMS. Ask the person to raise their arms. Is one arm weak? Are they unable to lift it, or does it sag?

S – is for SPEECH. Ask the person to say a simple phrase like “My name is Mike.” Is their speech slurred, slow, strange, or altered in any way that is unusual for them?

T– is for TIME. If you suspect that you or someone around you is having a stroke, don’t wait. Call 9-1-1 immediately so that medical professionals can get the person to a hospital right away.

For further reading, check out this article.
If you think that you or someone around you is experiencing an emergency, dial 9-1-1.
The opinions stated in this blog post are not a substitute for professional medical advice. Always consult with your physicians before incorporating new foods into your diet or making any lifestyle changes.