This Monday I am pleased to introduce Jessica Claire Haney. Jessica is the founder, publisher, and editor of Mindful Healthy Life who is likely going to be annoyed that I totally added an Oxford comma to her bio.
Jessica is very busy. She is the author of the Guide to Holistic Family Living in Metro DC. She volunteers on issues related to wellness in public schools and was the founder of the Arlington/Alexandria Chapter of Holistic Moms Network. A writer working on her first novel, Jessica offers writing, editing, and consulting services.
She probably also sings to plants and harvests artisan catnip for feral felines. I’m assuming.
I met Jessica in 2016 at MommyCon DC. We realized that we were basically neighbors and planned to get together for coffee someday. You all know how that goes. I’m not convinced that she even drinks coffee. Jessica seems more like a kombucha kind of lady. Last October, we randomly ran into one another at the Type-A Parent Blogger Conference. We totally hung out that weekend, and Jessica is the sweetest. I’ll miss running into her at those East Coast Conferences.
SPEAKING OF CONFERENCES, Jessica will be at BlogHer Health next week so if you are there too, tell her I said hello. You will have an instant friend. Jessica might be the kindest person on earth. I’m not sure. I haven’t met EVERYONE.
Jessica was nice enough to answer my questions. Jessica put SO MUCH THOUGHT into my silly little Monday’s Mama questions. That is just who she is. Genuine. Considerate. And MINDFUL, y’all.
1. What is your go-to yoga practice, or meditation, or whatever else works to keep you centered in your every day life?
I have been doing yoga since 2001, and in the past few years, I’ve tried to integrate it into other aspects of my life. Sometimes that’s been more successful than others. I’ve taken my mat to the lawn of a blog conference – two years in a row – but had other times when I fell off the wagon.
I’m super pleased that I’ve been starting each day with movement for the past six months. I do a jiggling and tapping along my meridians that is sort of a Qi Gong “lite.” It gets your lymph flowing and awakens your energy pathways to clear out stagnant stuff. I do it three times – head to toe – followed by three deep breaths and centering.
Then I do a yoga sequence that takes just about 12 minutes. I do it first thing, no matter what, and I think it’s really helped to do this daily. On school days, I do alone in the dark. On weekends, it happens whenever I get up, even if my kids are running around or watching TV or trying to crawl under me.
The kids don’t often join in on their own mats, but sometimes we practice together. At least they see me doing yoga regularly now, and they know they are doing it on my business card and website, so that’s something!
2. What is one easy thing we could do/change we could make for those of us wanting to stay both mindful and healthy in their everyday lives?
Easiest: Get out in nature every day.
Harder: Eat foods mostly from the perimeter of the grocery store.
Really Big: Make a list of goals and ideals for how you want kids to feel and to interact with the world as they grow and mature. Consider what kind of future you really want for your kids for their heart and soul and then to think about what behaviors, habits and special moments align with that vision.
3. What is your most crunchy hippie belief or practice, in your opinion?
(Darlene here: Jessica gave me those links. Thankfully. I left them in in case you ALSO wanted some further explanation.)
Oh, and I am a sucker for health and wellness conferences and events. I probably attend even more than most reasonably crunchy people.
4. It’s the PTA Bakesale. Handmade, store-bought, or nope?
I don’t speak Bakesale!
No, seriously, I just opt out. Given my history with celiac disease and my kids’ genetic markers for it, we are all gluten-free and I’m mostly grain-free. It’s clear that my kids have also inherited the need to be super conservative with sugar consumption.
Of course, sugar isn’t good for anyone, and neither are artificial dyes or artificial flavors, so I wish schools would stop elevating sweets in a public way with bake sales and birthday celebrations and other treats and leave families to manage their indulgences outside of school. Lots of kids have more severe food issues than mine, and it is no fun for anyone to feel left out!
(Darlene again: Jessica is TOTALLY RIGHT OF COURSE but I like cupcakes. So.)
There are plenty of non-food ways to celebrate and have fun. For a school to serve the needs of the whole child, I’d like to see it pursue best practices toward health and wellness. I’m so glad to see more gardening integrated into schools so kids can have a better understanding of healthy eating and of where food comes from.
And remember to say hi if you see her at BlogHer Health next week. She won’t even give your cheese danish any side eye. Ask me how I know.