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Ivana Tuđen

LEAF

Crush your goals in 2017 with Leaf

Using a health tracker can have a great effect on your health and fitness resolutions. But it’s not about wearing a tracker. It’s not just about monitoring data about your health. And it’s not about being perfect. It’s about effort. When you put effort into your life every single day, that’s when transformations happen. That’s how change occurs. Leaf is your faithful partner in all your healthy choices. The only thing you have to do is to follow its healthy vibe and keep it as a reminder of all the goals you’ve set for 2017.

Here is the short version of your Leaf SOS manual that will make this the year you introduce changes that will stick. Every month we’ll surprise you with some educational content, videos and advice so you can crush your goals with the help of Leaf’s features and give your lifestyle an overhaul.

 

MONTH TO DO LIST
January Relax and decide to sleep longer – set your sleep goal and stick to it!
February Schedule your monthly gynecologist check ups. Set a Leaf alarm as a reminder.
March Walk 5 minutes longer each day. You won’t even notice the difference but your  body will!
April Decide every morning that this is going to be your perfect day – repeat that mantra over and over.
May Dream big, but put some effort in too. Schedule your favorite activity and track it with your Leaf.
June Start every morning with gentle Yoga practices. Your body & mind will feel youthful inside and out.
July Pick an activity you’ve never done before and enjoy the feeling of trying and practicing to the fullest.
August Find a place in your city, your country or even in the world you’ve never been and go there! Don’t forget to take photos and create new wonderful memories.
September Walking & meditating – a perfect match! Try walking meditation and you’ll never get upset again!
October How about waking up every day at the same time? It has never been easier with Leaf’s smart alarm.
November Add some new winter activities this year. Track them with your Leaf and have fun!
December ‘Healthy’ can be very yummy! Discover some new recipes for your holiday table and surprise your family and friends.

Leaf will inspire you to be more active, encourage you to reach your sleep goals and motivate you to introduce more mindfulness into your life.

 

The sweat. The time. The devotion. It pays off. Your Leaf knows the secrets and we’ll share them with you every month. Stay tuned!

 

Your Bellabeat Team

January 13, 2017
LEAF

Watching Gilmore Girls gave us an idea on how to relieve stress

Gilmore Girls

Photo: Netflix
We admit it: We spent the entire Thanksgiving weekend watching Gilmore Girls. 4 episodes, 90 minutes each. And just as we counted how much couch potatoing that is, we started thinking how each episode actually taught us a couple of things on how to improve our well-being. So much in fact that the new activity in our Leaf app was inspired by Gilmore Girls! Read on to find out why Tap dancing is our new activity and how it helped us reduce our stress levels!

Over the years, Gilmore Girls taught us very important life lessons and the revival Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life was no exception. New episodes taught us something about getting out of our comfort zone, about well-being, managing anxiety, doing Wild and needing time for ourselves to think about life’s important questions, how to deal with grief and most of all – how to accept and love yourself for who we are.

Rory’s changed and that’s OK

Let’s start from the beginning. It’s 2007 and Rory just graduated from Yale. A very bright future as a super successful journalist was in front of her. At least that’s what everyone expected. That’s what Rory expected. That’s how it was supposed to be. But life is a roller coaster and it often takes us different ways.

Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life brings us to into the now. It’s 2016 and suddenly we see a 32-year old woman full of insecurities. At this point in life, she should have had it all figured out. She’s Rory. At least, that’s what everyone was expecting from Rory. But Rory wasn’t the only one surprising us. We see Lorelai getting out of her comfort zone, doing Wild in order to catch up on herself, spending some time with herself to find her inner peace and clear her thoughts. We could relate to and identify ourselves with so many situations and that’s probably one of the things we love the most about Gilmore Girls as a TV show: it’s real. They show us two amazing women figuring it out on their own. Furthermore, Gilmore Girls is so much more than just a TV show, it’s an entire movement. And Rory being on this roller coaster ride of life is what life’s all about. Not everything goes as planned sometimes, and it’s perfectly normal to feel overwhelmed. To be honest, it’s a relief to see that even Rory’s made of flesh and blood, she has her ups and downs just like we all do.

Let’s talk about very important well-being messages throughout the show

In the very first episode of the revival we see Rory tap dancing in the middle of the night. When asked about her motives, Rory says that it helps her “get out of her anxieties” and serves her as “stress relief”. First thing that came to our thoughts when we saw Rory tapping her troubles away was: Finally! Let’s talk about anxiety! Yes, it’s happening all around us, in fact – it is happening to us so let’s stop considering it a taboo or something to be ashamed of! Let’s talk about our insecurities and share experiences on how to overcome them. That way we can help each other and have every woman out there feel better every day.

Our second thought was – We have to try this out!! And so we did.

How to start tap dancing

New activity in your Leaf app inspired by Gilmore Girls

We spent the last week tap dancing every day to test out this new stress-relieving method and we tracked how much it affected our stress levels.

  • First we added “Tap dancing” as a custom activity in Leaf app.

  • We borrowed a pair of tap shoes and went to YouTube to find a tutorial on how to tap dance at home. There are so many tutorials for beginners out there and you don’t even need a studio, you can practice in the comfort of your own home with one huge benefit – Nobody can laugh at you while you’re trying to tap dance… Even if it turns out trying is the operative word!

Dancing our stress away

  • At first it wasn’t easy at all, but every day it got better and tapping your thoughts, stress and troubles away became a habit. A little disclaimer – even though we do have some dancing experience, we’ve never tried tap dancing before this experiment… We found coordinating arms and legs to be the hardest part, and we had difficulties keeping our balance. What was particularly challenging to overcome was not to drop the heel when we weren’t supposed to, but after repeating the step for a couple of times it got better. In a matter of days we couldn’t wait for that time of the day we would have only to ourselves! We found making music with our feet to be more relaxing than we thought, and realised we were working out without even aiming for it, not to mention the satisfaction and pride we felt when we’d manage to complete a routine.

  • Our self-taught lessons lasted for about an hour in the beginning, just because it took us some time to learn the basics but from day 3, we were already making some progress so we practised for about half an hour to 40 minutes every day.

The main purpose of our little experiment was to test if tap dancing as an activity could help us reduce stress levels. With the average activity of 7500 steps per day and 7h of sleep we usually have, Leaf showed us that our stress sensitivity was around 20% in average. By adding 30 minutes of tap dancing to our daily routine, we managed to reduce our stress sensitivity to 7% in only a week! How great is that?

Tap dancing is a new activity in Leaf app

Dance your stress away – Tap dancing as a new stress relief activity

We’re, just like Rory and Lorelei, women who sometimes forget to stop and take a breather, so tap dancing for a week reminded us of a couple of things we thought we had covered. It showed us how physical activity helps getting tensity out from our bodies, making us feel more energized, but most importantly, it showed us that you have to take time and give yourself the opportunity to try several activities to see which one is working for you and which one you enjoy the most. We have to admit that we would have never tried tap dancing without having seen Rory doing it and it was so much fun trying out something new! So go on, experiment, try different activities and see where it takes you. Your new favorite activity might be soul cycling, rope skipping or kickboxing!

How to start

If you want to try tap dancing, all you have to do is get yourself a pair of tap shoes, put on some comfy clothes and, if you’re practising at home, it would probably be wise to get a tap board so that you don’t scratch your floor (or wake your downstairs neighbors :). There are so many tutorials online that you won’t have trouble finding one that suits you the most. We suggest wearing your Leaf as a bracelet or a clip while dancing. You’re all set – now relax and try to have fun! After you’ve finished with your practice, simply go to your Leaf app and add Tap dancing as your activity. Remember, one dance lesson won’t have that big of an effect so it’s important to practice regularly and you will be able to see all your data and progress in your Leaf app.

Tap dancing with Leaf Urban

Important lessons we’ll be taking with us from Gilmore Girls: A Year in Life

  • Believe in yourself and chase your dreams

  • Get out of your comfort zone

  • Keep only things that make you happy (thanks Emily Gilmore for the reminder, we’re huge fans of Marie Kondo’s book The Life Changing Magic of Tidying as well!)

  • Don’t be afraid to try different things

  • And whatever you do, don’t forget to “live more, laugh more, eat more, talk more, Gilmore.”

Try tap dancing with your Leaf today! Don’t own a Leaf yet? Click below to treat yourself and start dancing your stress away!

 

December 6, 2016
MINDFULNESS

How gratitude can change your life and make you happier

Every day is a day for giving thanks! Join our 7-Day Gratitude Challenge

Every day is a day for giving thanks

When was the last time you complained about something or even thought of a problem? Five minutes ago? An hour ago?

Now think about the last time you counted your blessings and things in your life that you are grateful for? Can’t remember? Then this challenge is for you.

Don’t  wait for Thanksgiving to express your gratitude for something or someone in your life. Start cultivating the habit of gratitude today and practice it daily. In order to form a habit, you need to practice it, and what better habit is there than being grateful and showing it! Our 7-day #BGratefulEveryDay challenge is here to help you get started.

This is the start of your gratitude journey.

Gratitude is thinking about the blessings in your life and appreciating them. It’s really very similar to meditation when you focus all your attention and thoughts on something positive, like people and things in your life you are grateful to have. Life isn’t just black and white and there will never be a time when there’s nothing to be thankful for. There will never be a time when everything is perfect either. But it’s totally up to you to decide which mindset to put in practice: one that focuses on problems or, one that focuses on happy moments, the people and things in your life that bring out the best in you.

Gratitude has been “associated with greater happiness. It helps people feel more positive emotions, relish good experiences, improve their health, deal with adversity, and build strong relationships” (Harvard Medical School, 2011).

You will feel the benefits of implementing gratitude into your daily routine instantly! It leads to better overall physical health and shifts your perception to a more optimistic outlook on life. Gratitude teaches you appreciation and compassion so it can improve your relationship with others too.

I am thankful for nights that turned into mornings, friends that turned into family and likes that turned into love. – Unknown

7-Day Gratitude Challenge

Let’s make this whole week about giving thanks, not just one day. Find something to be grateful for every single day and write it in your notes, journal or your phone. We definitely recommend making a visual diary on your Instagram to help you feel motivated and aware of all the things you usually take for granted. Upload a photo of something or someone you’re grateful for and tag it with #BGratefulEveryDay. Not only will you inspire others to join the challenge too, but we have also prepared a special giveaway to help give you that extra nudge to practice this habit even after this challenge is over (pssst, it’s a secret!).

How to start? Think about all the things you could be thankful for today.

Start by looking around you. Are you in the comfort of your own home? Are you drinking your morning coffee, enjoying your very own moment when you get to relax and spend some time taking in the calm? Or if you are at work, think about the things you like about your job. Maybe you found a really good and close friend in your colleague, maybe there were some negative experiences that helped shape you as a person. These are all things that taught you something and lessons you should be thankful for.

Let’s be grateful to people who make us happy. They are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom. – Marcel Proust

Don’t just focus on finding the things you are grateful for. Think about the people in your life you are lucky to have, think about all the experiences and adventures you get to remember every day. Make someone’s day today by showing them your appreciation for everything they do, be it a kind gesture, or a compliment.

tankful
By focusing on our blessings, we are reminded that life isn’t as difficult as we often feel it is. And remember, without your struggles you wouldn’t have found the strength you have now.

We at Bellabeat are grateful for being able to do what we love and for having an amazing group of women who love and are inspired by what we do. What are you grateful for today?

Follow our 7-Day Gratitude Challenge on Instagram!

Sources:
http://www.health.harvard.edu/healthbeat/giving-thanks-can-make-you-happier

Photos:
http://amymaypaper.com/

 

November 17, 2016
WOMEN'S HEALTH

Breast Cancer Awareness Month – Have you done your self-exam yet?

Breast Cancer Awareness Month

We are here to support you and remind you to take care of your health every day. October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month so this month we want to remind you about the importance of regular breast checkups. Breast cancer is the most common cancer among women in the US, but early detection is the best prevention and can save thousands of lives!

So, this October we invite you to do a breast self-exam and invite all your girlfriends, moms, daughters, sisters to do the same. Self-exams should be a part of your monthly routine and if you don’t know where to start – take a look at the guide we prepared for you.

 

“About 1 in 8 U.S. women (about 12%) will develop invasive breast cancer over the course of her lifetime. In 2016, there are more than 2.8 million women with a history of breast cancer in the U.S. This includes women currently being treated and women who have finished treatment” (BreastCancer.org 2016).

 

These statistics are not meant to scare you, but to make you realize that this is happening and affecting all of us – not just us personally, but other women (and men!) we care about too. 8 out of 10 lumps found on the breasts are not cancerous but it’s important to get to know your body in order to notice anything unusual and that’s why it’s important to make self-exams a part of your monthly routine. You can perform a breast self-examination while you’re in the shower, in front of the mirror or lying down. Remember, this exam is a part of getting to know your body better so relax and don’t let the fear prevent you from getting regular checkups.

Here are the steps that will help you examine your breasts:

The best time to do a breast self-examination is a couple of days after your period, when your breasts are least likely to be swollen or tender.

In front of a mirror:

If you’re doing the self-exam standing in front of the mirror, make sure to stand with your shoulders straight. Look for the changes in your breasts (unusual size, shape, color, discharge), but remember that your breasts change constantly and some changes may be caused by a variety of reasons, which include your period, pregnancy, breastfeeding or the menopause.

Raise one arm and move around your entire breast in a circular pattern moving from the outside to the center and checking the entire breast and armpit area.

In the shower:

For some women, it’s easier to notice and feel changes when their skin is wet and slippery. Repeat the same hand movements as described in the section above and check both breasts for any lumps or thickening.

Lying down:

Place your right hand behind your head while lying down and use your middle fingers gently to examine the entire left breast. Then put your left hand behind your head and repeat the same on your right breast.

Breast Cancer Awareness

While looking for changes in your breasts, let these questions guide you:

  • Can you feel a lump or an unusual thickening of the breast tissue?

  • Can you notice any change in size, shape or color of your breasts?

  • Is there anything unusual about the appearance of your nipple (rash, discharge)?

Mammograms can help you detect cancer before you can feel a lump, but according to John’s Hopkins Medical Center “40% of diagnosed breast cancers are detected by women who notice unusual changes on their breasts, so establishing a regular breast self-exam is very important” (National Breast Cancer, 2015).

If you notice anything unusual, don’t panic but don’t ignore any of the symptoms! Make an appointment with your doctor who will guide you along the way.

References:

Breast Cancer 2016, link

National Breast Cancer 2015, link

October 3, 2016
LEAF

YOUR LEAF IS NOW BETTER!

While we’ve been working on the LEAF app and adding new features and polishing the app’s outsides, we’ve also been making some under-the-hood improvements that might have easily gone unnoticed by you. Well, in this post, we’d like to tell you more about them so that you could get the most out of your LEAF!

New improvements for the LEAF


As we’ve mentioned, we’ll focus on under-the-hood improvements, the things you can’t really see, but it will make your experience with the LEAF a lot more pleasant. So, let’s get to it then.

FIRMWARE IMPROVEMENTS

You might have noticed the blue card on your app’s home screen. It’s the one telling you to update your LEAF. This is not an update for the LEAF app, but for the LEAF itself. Every LEAF has it’s own firmware, think of it as a program that runs and manages your LEAF while you wear it. It’s the thing that tells your LEAF what’s a step and what’s not a step, that those last three minutes were deep sleep and not light, the thing telling it that it’s battery is three bars instead of four.

Click Update LEAF button to complete
Once you press the “Update LEAF” button and complete the update, your LEAF will have a brand new firmware! You can check your current version by going into the LEAF app’s Settings > Status and your firmware version will be there. The latest and greatest firmware versions will be the one ending in f07 and this will improve your LEAF’s step and sleep tracking accuracy.

In some cases you won’t see the card prompting you to update your LEAF
There are some caveats. In some cases you won’t see the card prompting you to update your LEAF. If that’s the case, your battery might be lower than necessary to complete it. We’re not saying low, but lower than necessary to successfully update your LEAF. So if we were you, we’d check the status of the LEAF’s battery and if necessary, go grab a new one and do the update to have the best LEAF possible.

SYNC SETTINGS

Every once in a while, your sync might fail and you might have no idea why. Since syncing is the only way your LEAF app communicates with your LEAF, we wanted to make sure that this is as easy as possible and that there’s a minimal amount of those head-scratching moments where you have to re-do a sync.

Well, we believe that we’ve done it! This is one of the things that have been a long time in testing and are now available to all of you! The new settings should be downloaded to your app automatically as you sync your LEAF, but there are steps that you can do to ensure that you’re always up to date with the best possible software for your LEAF.

If you’re on iOS, don’t worry, simply have a strong internet connection and sync your LEAF a few times, the new settings will already be on your LEAF.

If you’re on Android it will take a few more steps, but then you’re set and you don’t have to think of it again! Go into your phone’s Settings > Accounts and Sync > Bellabeat and press the “Sync now” button. It may be hiding behind the three dots in the upper right corner so make sure to check there if you don’t see it right away. Once you’ve done that, turn on the auto-sync option for your Bellabeat account and you can be sure that all of your data is being backed up and that you’re receiving all the new settings for your LEAF.

After that, sync your LEAF successfully at least once and enjoy the benefits of all the subsequent worry-free syncs.

ACCURACY

Last but not least, we’ve improved the LEAF’s accuracy. How did we do it? We’ve tweaked the tracking algorithms, of course! Now, every time that you change your LEAF from bracelet to necklace or clip or vice-versa, go into the LEAF app and change the LEAF’s placement during activity in the Settings to benefit the most out of the new improvements that we’ve made to the tracking algorithms. That way, your LEAF will adapt to the new position and track your steps as accurately as possible!



And that is it, you’re good to go and enjoy your new and improved LEAF
And if it seems that your LEAF is tracking too many or too few steps, go and check if the placement in the app corresponds the actual placement as this will really affect your results! 

And that’s it, you’re good to go and enjoy your new and improved LEAF! Happy stepping!

July 21, 2016