While unplugging and disconnecting are many people’s go to answer to de-stressing, these days this isn’t always possible. Online, offline, at home, at work, in the gym, on the road… Stress is inevitable. As a professional dancer, I’m hyper aware of the fact that a stressed mind a stressed body go hand and hand.
Here are my methods to control the madness and cut the stress.
Tools of Torture.
Mental stress creeps down to my neck and shoulders first, then makes its way down to my mid and lower back. I keep a bucket of stress relieving fun next to my couch to pick up whenever I have a spare moment. Trigger points (knots) develop in your muscle tissues from physical, metal or emotional stress. I use a TheraCane or lie on tennis balls to massage these spots and increase blood flow. I like to use Rescue Cream on problem areas to moisturize my skin and relax my muscles as I iron out the tension.
Sitting still and taking 5 deep breathes helps me relax, but when I have time I like to float. Floatation therapy (sensory deprivation) is gaining popularity among professional athletes and those looking for complete and utter relaxation. In your hour long session, you float in a pool of water filled with 10K lbs of epson salt. This pool is enclosed in a pod or room that blocks all light and sound. Without distraction, you increase relaxation, creativity and clarity while decreasing stress and mind clutter. Note that the first time I floated, I was a mess. I was anxious I was doing it wrong and stressing about not de-stressing. It takes several times to achieve a peaceful Theta state of relaxation.
While any form of yoga or stretching helps me relax, aerial yoga really changes the game for me. In an aerial yoga class, you use a silk hammock to maneuver yourself into positions that suspend your body in the air and allow you to hang freely. There is a tourniquet effect created by wrapping the hammock around your limbs. Though uncomfortable in the moment, when you dismount the pose, fresh blood travels around your body and through your joints. This gives you an adrenaline rush and releases “happy” hormones like endorphins, serotonin, dopamine and oxytocin. All this boosts your mood and makes you feel more energetic, happy and stress free.
Sometimes it’s hard to pop into a deprivation chamber between meetings and unfortunately, the TheraCane doesn’t fit in my purse. My portable means of relaxation are herbal supplements like products from Rescue. Rescue Remedy is made of 5 of Bach’s flower remedies: Rock Rose, Impatiens, Clematis, Start of Bethlehem and Cherry Plum. I reach for an Elderberry Pastille (hard little gummies) to chill out during Los Angeles traffic from hell, to help focus at an audition or while learning choreography. I pack the dropper in my yoga bag and add a few drops of Rescue to my water bottle to enhance my relaxation and deepen my practice throughout class. The Rescue Plus Sleep gummies with melatonin have been key while I travel and adjust to sleeping in new places in new times zones.
This post was sponsored by Rescue, who was kind enough to send me some of their products earlier this year. I’ve since been able to find them at Whole Foods here in Los Angeles.
It’s a chewy nutty bowl of fall comfort. I am loving changing up my normal breakfast routine with these savory oats. Anything goes, especially when you dress the final product with flax oil to tie it all together. I keep it dairy free by use nutritional yeast, but I imagine it being next level with cheddar cheese! Enjoy.
Bring 1 cup of water to a boil
Add 1/2 cup of Steel Cut Oats and pinch of salt. Lower heat to simmer for 5 minutes until water is absorbed. Stir every minute.
Stir in desired amount of Nutritional Yeast (I added 1 T) or Cheddar Cheese for dairy eaters.
In a separate pan, sauté kale with olive oil. I like to let the kale rest in the pan while on high heat so it chars 🙂
Fry an egg, scoop and avocado, throw it all in a bowl.
Drizzle with Flax Oil. This ties the elements together and adds a delicious nutty flavor. Flax oil is packed with good omegas and fiber.
It’s really difficult for me to stray from my GO-TO Green Shake. It’s delicious and every time I think about making something different I get major FOMO. A recent attempt at #SugarFreeSeptember reintroduced me to some delicious low sugar fruits I had been ignoring. I worked up the courage to experiment with a new favorite.. kiwi! I’m super into the low-sugar tropical vibes so blend it up when you need something light and bright.
Adidas recently launched Adidas Athletics and its Z.N.E. line to help you #findfocus off the court or at the start line. This structured hoodie is thick. It keeps me warm and muffles the noise with the hood on. The pants are super stretchy and are loose enough to wear tights or shorts underneath. I’m a fan of this concept and this line, can’t wait to see more. I’m wear a small top, bra and pant. Links below.
Dance rehearsals are long and snacks are essential. They need be quick bites, easy to eat, non-bloating and energy packed. I recently teamed up with friend and fellow professional dancer Liana Blackburn to share a dance and a snack.
Liana, fresh off the road touring with Selena Gomez as dance captain, is the creator of a YouTube series called Daily Dancer Diet. Not only does she share my passion to dance but also to nourish our bodies with delicious, REAL food. We challenged each other to bring dance snacks that catered to both of our allergies and food intolerances. Liana: gluten free, dairy free, refined sugar free. Meagan: allergic to peanuts/nuts (almonds ok) and fish. We danced and snacked the afternoon away full of energy. Of course these snacks aren’t just for your dance bag, they’re great for travel, at your desk, pre or post workout.
Meagan’s Dance Snacks
BERRIES: Strawberries, blueberries, blackberries. Berries are a no brainer- they are are easy to grab on the go, the sugar keeps your energy high and the antioxidants help keep your memory sharp.
ALMOND BUTTER FILLED DATES: Because of my nut allergies, it’s difficult for me to eat protein bars. Most bars contain a variety of nuts or are processed in a facility containing nuts. Barney Butter is an almond butter that is processed in a peanut free facility. That being said, most bars contain a few solid bites of protein, fat and sugar. This is essentially what these almond butter filled dates provide: The pitted date is packed with natural sugar and the almond butter carries the protein and fat. You can get creative and sprinkle some coconut flakes, bee pollen, or chocolate chips on top. The sky is the limit!
POPCORN: I’m addicted to homemade popcorn! It’s so easy. Coat the bottom of a pot with high heat oil like sunflower oil, coconut oil, or canola oil. Pour a layer of kernels to fill the bottom of the pan. Cover and pop until you hear a couple of seconds between kernels popping. I top mine with Flax Oil, turmeric, cayenne, salt and Nutritional Yeast. The flax oil and popcorn itself has a lot of fiber to keep you full as you burn calories while sweating. Turmeric and cayenne are anti-inflammatory and fire up your insides. The Nutritional Yeast contains the vitamin B12 to keep your energy up. This popcorn was left over from last nights’s Netflix and chill so I packaged it up and brought it to the studio.
Liana’s Dance Snacks
JICAMA WITH LIME: Jicama is so underrated! It’s a vegetable but its juicy, sweet and crunchy texture is refreshing. Liana explained that since the flavor is subtle, it takes well to anything you pair with it. She skinned the jicama, cut it into easy to grab sticks and smothered them with lime juice.. so good!
MARY’S GONE CRACKERS: Mary’s Gone Crackers are gluten free, dairy free and nut free. They’re jammed with fiber and are super durable so they wont turn into dust in your dance bag. Once a specialty item available at those niche health stores, these crackers are now on most major grocery store shelves and come in several delicious flavors.
I recently received a gorgeous pair of Sudio VASA Blå wireless headphones from my friends at Sudio Sweden. At first glance, these headphones are absolutely stunning. After living with them for the last couple of weeks, here’s my review.
Pro: Swedish design is stunning. Each pair comes with a chic matching leather pouch and rose gold clip to store and secure the headphones.
Pro: The sound is great, even my musician boyfriend approves. Sudio explains the headphones have a “tuned driver and amplifier. The combination of driver and amplifier is able to separate the sound of every instrument in every song, thereby giving the listener a true studio experience.”
Pro: Bluetooth/wireless aspect helps streamline my everyday activities. City walks and airplane rides are less of a mess and I don’t have to make sure my phone is within wire’s distance away.
Pro: The headphones are super light, I forget I’m wearing them. Sudio claims they are the lightest on the market thus far weighing 14g.
Con: Despite trying all four ear bud sizes that come with the headphones, they fall out when I jog, dance or workout. This was major for me as I continue my search for a pair of headphones that not only look and sound amazing, but stays secure even with extreme physical activity.
Overall, these headphones are chic and fantastic for all activities except working out.
Sarah Hall is my girl on so many levels. I met her while working on VH1 television show Hit The Floor where us 11 dancers were forced to draw straws to decide who got to sit in her makeup chair. For some perspective- 12 year old boy with severe acne would come out of Sarah’s makeup chair looking like Kim K on a good day. This Emmy nominated make-up artist is not only a former model, she has a bachelors in Biology, is a certified Nutritional Biochemist and Esthetician, and is also a wife and mother of two insanely beautiful children. Sarah is my go to on any skin question- what ingredients are good/bad in my products? what make up is ok to sweat in? will washing my face before AND after my workout dry it out? how do I get the mountain range on my forehead to flatten by tomorrow?
The number one habit Sarah pushes whether it be about my face or my body— you must exfoliate! “[Exfoliating will] enable the skin to generate new skin cells and open up the surface to allow oils to penetrate and increase nourishment,” Sarah explains. This makes so much sense- We spend so much money on fancy products, but debris aka dead skin can actually block their effectiveness. Exfoliating my face twice weekly and body once has made all of the difference. My skin shines brighter and any eczema flair ups settle quickly.
Sarah created Restoration Skincare and explains, “I believe in eating clean and not putting anything on my body that I wouldn’t put in my mouth. I like to feed my skin vitamins and nutrients to promote a healthy status and balance inside and out.” Though I love her Hydrating Mist and deodorant dispensed Body Butter Balm, the Sugar Body Scrub is definitely my favorite. I’m in awe of the simple ingredients: coco butter, coconut oil, raw sugar and vitamin E. I’ve noticed that after I use the scrub and pat dry, the coconut oil and cocoa butter subtly remains on my skin to moisturize it without feeling oily.
Sarah recently hosted a Restoration Skin event at Soule Spa. This Sunday Spa Day was equipped with a brow bar, oxygen facials, shoulder massages, and hand treatments. Naturally, I kicked off the event with a glass of rose accompanied by a plate of brie and brownies. I experienced a brow revolution with Candy who pointed out that my left brow was round and sloped downwards compared to my perky and pointy right brow. She evened me out and taught me how to fill my brows in to lift my face (tail end to center, then define the inside corner point). Candy used Restoration’s lavender hydration spray on a Q-tip to calm my freshly waxed skin which I loved because other calming oils and creams make me break out. Sarah gave me a hand treatment with her Brown Sugar Scrub which I was already sold on and my garden shoulder massage was heaven accompanied by Restoration clove body butter. I went home with a mini lavender hydrating spray and roll on body butter which will keep my skin fresh and dewing during a month of heavy travels.
Adidas does it big. Pure Boost X was launched earlier this year and I was lucky to participate in the shoe’s epic three day launch in Santa Monica, CA. Recently, Adidas Running continued the Pure Boost party but this time in Montauk, NY. For those who are unfamiliar, Montauk was once a quiet fishing town past the Hamptons on Long Island, and is now THE summer getaway place to both escape and be seen. The event started with a bang as we boarded three helicopters from NYC to MTK. One hour later we were at Gurney’s Resort. We went through hair and makeup glam, picked out our outfits for the weekend, and got the new Pure Boost X. The two days centered around what adidas Women always stresses- being strong in every sense of the word. We trained- ran in the rain, took a Barre 3 class, examined our gaits and took SUP paddle board yoga. We also spoke with 3 time Olympian Jennifer Rhines and Barre 3 founder Sadie Lincoln on building our own empires, finding balance and doing it all with positive energy. The video and photo library below represent it well. Thank you adidas Running for another epic event.
It’s always better together. I recently teamed up with my girl Michelle Carigma of Modern Fit (@_modernfit) to create a self sufficient workout date. Assign your partner a number, complete these three exercises, then switch! Grab some water then do it all again.
Partner 1(Michelle) – Forearm Plank. Engage your core and glutes. Use your lats to press your forearms into the ground and chest away from the ground.
Partner 2(Meagan) – 20 Tuck Jumps over Parter 1. Get your knees up and count the 20 jumps aloud.
Added difficulty: Partner 1- Lift one leg and hold. Switch lifted legs halfway through Partner 2’s set (jump 10).
Partner 2 – Wall Sit. Sit against a wall with your feet shoulder width apart. Have your partner check that your bum is even with your knees to make a perfect 90 degree angle. Roll your shoulders back, engage your lower abs and hold the position as long as it takes for Partner 1 to complete their set below.
Partner 1 – 30 Tricep Dips. Bend your arms to 90 degrees while holding your partner’s knees. If this feels awkward, have Partner 2 widen their stance. Without letting your elbows splay outwards, push up until your arms are nearly straight. Repeat 30 times.
Added Difficulty: Partner 2- Do 15 dips with right leg lifted parallel to the ground then switch legs for the remainder of the set.
Partner 1- 25 Sit Ups. Two feet on the ground. Arms crossed or behind your head.
Partner 2- Mountain Climbers. Start in plank position while holding Partner 1’s feet. Draw one knee towards your nose, switch. Repeat as fast as you can for as long as it takes Partner 1 to completes their sit-up set.
Added Difficulty: Partner 1- Touch opposite elbow to knee while sitting up. Partner 2- Cross your knees to opposite shoulders.