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Tag: stress

Wow…What a Week…

Wow!  What a week, right?  Yea, it’s been a crazy one for me and it’s only Tuesday!  I honestly don’t think my emotions can’t handle anymore.  It all exploded after my workout tonight.

This is what I looked like.  Not pretty right?  But honestly, who cares.  I totally broke down.  I’m was done.  Exhausted – mentally,  physically and emotionally.

First, I’ve got a TON going on at my full time job.  I’m in the middle of my normal monthly project and then an even bigger project gets thrown in.  I mean, it’s one where you’d have to drop everything if you got an email.  This one…mental stress.

Then, in the wake of what happened in Las Vegas, I was literally torn apart.  No, I didn’t know anyone attending the concert, but honestly I don’t think that matters.  The fact that this event even took place is devastating for anyone.  I’ve been to Las Vegas and loved it.  I’ve stayed at Mandalay Bay before.  I’ve been to outdoor concerts.  I have never had something this awful happen in my life.  However, the fact that it CAN happen, scares the crap out of me.  Over the past few days so many questions have been running through my mind (and I’m sure yours too) but some of them I can’t answer.  All I can do is tell my loved ones how much I love them and give them all hugs next time I see them.  This one…emotional stress.

Lastly, tonight’s workout was a challenging one.  It was the last straw, if you will.  Tonight we (my husband/accountability partner/workout buddy) did a 45 minute kickboxing workout.  It’s one of my favorites because the music gets you amped, the moves are fun to do because they make you feel like a true fighter and at the end, you’re sweating buckets.  It might not be the workout for everyone, but it’s the workout for me.  There are a few tracks that literally leave you breathless.  Like crazy breathing.  Out your ears breathing.  Whenever I do this workout, it makes me think back to 5 years ago when I first started my journey.  Back then, I would have never been able to get through this workout without pausing the DVD.  This one was not only physical stress but it was emotional stress too.

So what do I do with all this stress?  Well, I could do a few things:

•  I could cry my eyes out every day.

•  I could bottle it up and just harbor all that energy.

•   I could decide not to leave my house because it’s too scary of world out.

•   I could go see someone and get things off my chest.

Granted, I do the first one maybe once a month but that’s not so fun.  Harboring energy, whether good or bad energy is never a good thing so I think I’ll pass on that one.  Leaving my house is just not an option.  But, I can get help.  And listen, it’s not a bad thing to ask for help.  It might feel like you’re failing, but trust me…you’re not.  Getting help is one of the best things you can do for yourself because it’s part of self-care.  There are many, many people out there that swear by therapy because you’re getting feedback from unbiased parties.  It can be as simple as that.

So has your week been stressful like mine?  If so, how are you handling it?  Stress management can happen in a variety of ways and I love to hear what you’re doing to get through it.  Leave me a comment and share!  You  just might be helping someone else in the process.

 

Lost…But I’m Found

Have you ever felt lost?  I know I have.   And believe it or not, I currently do.  Lately I’ve been looking at my life and realizing how crazy things are.  And despite how busy I feel, I’ve been feeling very alone lately.  Let me explain.

I grew up surrounded by people, and always seemed to have a lot of friends.  My circle may have been small, but it was there all through high school and college.  As I got older, I started to work more and I ultimately found a job that I liked.  I even made friends at that job.  We’d make plans, hang out on the weekends and life was good.  Now, most of these friends have kids.  I don’t.  And part of me feels left out.  Because I don’t have kids, I’m not included in a lot of things anymore.  Instead, my “kid” is my business and it’s in the toddler stage, which means it needs a lot of attention.  And finding a balance can be tough.

As I work on building my business, and work toward my ultimate goal of freedom, I have realized that this is, and will be, a lonely process.  My business is me, myself and I.  That means working my full time job 13+ hours a day plus working on my passion 2-3 hours a day.  Then factor in sleep and you’ve got the entire day accounted for.  Where does that leave time for relationships?  It barely does.  As a result, my circle of friends has shrunk.  Am I ok with it?  Not really.  But then I think about it and realize that the people who are still with me are my true supporters.  They are in my tribe and will always have a place next to me.  And the others that have faded away, well they’re still in my mind, but not in the forefront anymore.

The relationship that means the most to me is the one that I have with my direct support – my husband.  And I’ve noticed, my relationship with him is starting to suffer.  And I don’t like it…not one bit.  I said to him just last night that I feel like I never see him anymore.  Like ever!  Because I’m working so much, I try to set aside one night a week to have some us time.  It’s usually Fridays because at the end of the week, we all need a break.  Sometimes I try to plan something and it doesn’t actually work out.  Last night, that’s exactly what happened.  And for some reason, it destroyed me.  I cried, I was angry, I was fed up with my life and I broke down.  I told him I couldn’t live like this anymore because I felt like it was breaking me down to the point where I couldn’t handle anything anymore.  We didn’t talk almost all night.  I hated it.

Today, was better.  We talked and agreed that I can’t keep going like this because it is breaking me.  I mean, we all experience times where our relationships struggle, but to continue down the same path means going to the dark side.  So how do I fix it?  Together we formed a plan, created a timeline and took a breath.   The breather was the best part.  It was needed…desperately.  It helped me realize not everything is as bad as it seems.  Instead of being bad, it’s more of an uphill challenge.  So my journey toward freedom and a better life for me and my husband might take longer and my circle of friends might get smaller but in the end, it is mine and is being done my way.  Just like your journey is yours and only yours.

In the meantime, how will I handle the anxiety and stress along the way?  It won’t be easy, but I know I’ll be able to manage it.  By using meditation, self-care techniques, proper nutrition, scheduling my time and taking time off, I’ll be able to work through the challenges ahead of me.  Bring it on obstacles, I’m ready for you!

It’s Ok to Say No

Sometimes it’s ok to say no.  Sometimes you feel like you have to say no and sometimes you feel like you can’t say no.  But saying no can be good for your health.

Facing burnout is a very real thing.  And it can be very damaging for your mind and our body.  In a past post, I wrote about the differences between between America and other countries when it comes to stress.  What was interesting to me was that other countries seem to have very different lifestyles.  They have more time off, they actually eat lunch without looking at a computer screen and they eat very differently.  All of this adds up to a healthier lifestyle.  But what I did not see in any of my research was information on saying no.

Saying no is hard.  It’s not a fun thing to do.  You might have FOMO (fear of missing out) when you say no.  But it’s something that, if done regularly and mindfully, will help you live a life that has much lower stress levels.  This year has been my year of saying no.  Yup, it’s true.  Last year was my year of saying yes and it caused a lot of issues.  I learned in April that I had to start saying no or I would be burnout almost all the time.  Since I started, I’ve learned a few things.  I’ve learned that you might upset people, that you might lose a friend or two, that you might cause a riff with your family and that you might feel guilty.  But I also learned that saying no can be freeing.  Because saying no has helped me live with less stress, I’ve come up with some tips to help you feel ok with saying no.

1. Remember what YOU want!

By keeping your priorities in mind, you won’t have that guilt surrounding saying no.  If you have an event to go to or a project to work on or even just need to do laundry and get an invite, don’t feel bad saying no.  Because you’re saying no in order to make room for your own personal yes.

2. Don’t be afraid

For most people, we are afraid to say no because we don’t want to hurt someone else’s feelings or we don’t want to look like we’re a bad person.  Sometimes we have to do what scares us most in order to feel ourselves.  Saying no might be something that scares you so much, but by saying it more and more, it will become easier.

3. Ask yourself “What am I saying no to?”

By asking this question, you’ll be able to get down to the nitty gritty of what you’ve been asked to do or invited to.  You’ll figure out if it’s really important to you to say yes or if you can live with saying no.  And you’ll learn what is really important to you.

4. Know that you’ll find your tribe

By saying no, you actually find out not only what’s import in your life, but you’ll also find out who is important in your life.  When you say no, you may find you offend people or make people mad.  Most of the time, they’re mad because they don’t understand your situation.  Those that you say no to but still are ok with it won’t be mad because they do understand.  And you will find out, those people are in your tribe.

5. Fake it until you make it

In the beginning, saying no is going to be hard.  It’s not easy because you’re not used to it.  You’re not confident with using the word no.  I say fake it until you make it!  And this goes for anything.  If you’re not comfortable, do it anyway.  If you’re scared, do it anyway!  The more you try something, the more it will become easier.

Trust me, saying no is not easy.  I’ve said this a number of times already, but it’s true!  Saying no is something that is scary, but it can also be very freeing too.  Saying no can help you with a lot of things.  So here’s my challenge.

I dare you to say no at least 7 times in the next week – one for each day of the week.  

Yup, at least 7 times.  Next Sunday do a self-check.  How did you do?  If you only said no 5 times, don’t beat yourself up.  Heck, if you only said no 3 times, definitely don’t beat yourself up.  But continue the practice and don’t give up.  Make sure to get back to me next week on your challenge.  I want to hear all about it!

Caffeine – How Much Is Too Much?

I’ve been paying a lot of attention to how I’ve been feeling lately.  One of the things I’ve been taking into account is my caffeine intake.  I typically drink only one cup of coffee a day, but sometimes, I feel like I need two.  Recently, though, I’ve been asking myself, how much is too much?

Today, I read an article in Prevention Magazine on this exact topic.  It was an article from an older edition, but hey, it’s still good information.  The article indicated caffeine is one of the world’s most popular drugs.  Yes, that’s right…DRUGS!  I’ve never seen it put that way and it shocked me.  Kind of eye opening, really.  Caffeine once in your body, it blocks brain receptors for certain molecules that impact the feeling of being tired.  Imagine a defensive football player as the caffeine and an offensive football player is the molecule you need?!  The visual really helped me understand what coffee actually does once you ingest it.

So what do you do?  Quit caffeine cold turkey?  It’s hard to do this because you may experience withdrawal symptoms, like headaches, fatigue and cloudy thinking.  This withdrawal is so common that it’s even considered a diagnosis in the psychology field.  If it’s so common that a diagnosis had to be created, that’s enough for me to understand that many people in this world may be addicted to caffeine and not even know it.

And yes, caffeine can have it’s benefits.  Evidences suggests that coffee may help with diabetes, lower the risk of stroke and improve good (HDL) cholesterol levels.  It can even reduce the possibility of developing Parkinson’s disease.  But are these benefits enough for me to say I should keep drinking coffee?  I’m not so sure.

For me, I think it’s addictive.  I know I love the taste of coffee so that’s why I tell myself it’s ok to have 1-2 cups per day.  But at the same time, I’ve been having anxiety attacks and haven’t been able to sleep well.  These are a few symptoms that too much caffeine can cause.  For me, I think avoiding coffee all together is better.  What I think may be there to help me swap out my morning beverage is green tea.

Green tea is typically lower in caffeine that coffee per cup but has health perks that are actually good for you.  It helps with cancer prevention, has metabolic benefits, has antioxidants and can even calm the mind and body.  However, I do think changing it up will be a little difficult.  That flavor just won’t be the same.

If you’re going to stick with coffee, go for an organic or fair trade version and limit yourself to one cup per day, but no more than two cups.  If you’re going to switch, ween yourself off.  Go slow and take it day by day.  If you need an extra help with the change, grab a piece of dark chocolate with at least 705 cacao.  If you can get through a few days, you’re more likely to give up the coffee.  I’ve even heard changing to hot water with lemon is a great option too…if you’re not into the green tea.

Let me know if you have gotten rid of the coffee and how you’ve done it.  And if you need help, check out Eliminate to Feel Great.  It launches May 1st and may help you learn if removing caffeine is right for you.

Burnout is a REAL thing!

One thing I’ve been noticing lately (a lot lately) is how the American population tends to always be on the go all the time, with no rest or relaxation.  I see my friends and family always on the go.  Whether they’re working at their 9-5, participating in family obligations or just doing meaningless activities that don’t necessarily add value to their lives, everyone seems to be busy all the time.  Even as a health coach, I tend to be this way from time to time too.  But what exactly is “busy”?  While everyone defines busy differently, one thing I know is that we all can experience burnout from being busy.

When I started to research this burnout that I’ve been experience, I’ve always been told to go to the doctor and get treated.  But no one has ever told me to just take a day and relax.  Strange, isn’t it?!  As a holistic health coach, I’m a big proponent for treating things naturally rather than popping a pill because the pill does not necessarily treat the actual reason for the condition, it just treats the symptoms.  This is one of the reasons I ask “Why” all the time.  I like to get to the bottom of things rather than jumping to conclusions.

I’ve started to research this burnout phenomenon and one interesting article I found was a comparison to the United States and Europe.  The article was an eye opener into the different cultures and how people living in the United States live very differently from those living in Europe.  The article gives 10 differences between the United States and Europe, but here are my biggest eye openers:

  1. Vacation – Most Europeans have a minimum of 4 weeks vacation and many take this time all at once rather than a few days at a time.
  2. Lunch Time – Europeans actually leave their desks during lunch time and many for an hour or more.
  3. Smaller Food Portions – The food portions in the United States are enormous compared to Europe.  For comparison’s sake, a small soda or coffee in the United States is like a large in Europe.

These three stuck out to me because the directly effect stress and how we feel about ourselves.  The note about lunch time is HUGE for me because at my full time job, I literally never leave my desk because I know how much there is to do and how much pressure is on me to reach the goals set for me by the company.  Can you imagine a goal set on just one person to capture millions of dollars in savings in just one year?  Yea, talk about pressure.

Here’s my call to action for you:

**Take time to rest and recover, even if it’s just a little time each week. ** 

I want you to do this a little bit at a time, baby steps, because it will help you.  Be mindful with your decisions and how you make your choices in life because in the end, they will effect your stress level.

Listen to Your Body…It Knows What It’s Talking About

Ever heard someone tell you to listen to your body?  Yup, I have heard that all the time.  Yet, how often do we really listen to it?!  Not much, I bet.

I am one of those people that don’t listen to it often and sometimes it kicks me in the boo-tay!  Let me give you an example…

A while ago, for the first time that I can ever remember, my lymph nodes under my chin swelled up.  Like I’m talking the size of grapes.  They hurt, it was sensitive to the touch and I literally felt exhausted all the time.  Instead of working out like I normally do, I decided to listen to my body.  It was probably the best thing for me too because I found out I had some sort of infection going on.  This was a wake up call for me because it was my body’s way of telling me to slow down.

For me, life is always crazy busy.  Sometimes I like it and sometimes I don’t.  I work a full time job with an hour and a half commute every day, I’m a part time health coach and a part time Stylist with Stella & Dot.  I also have a house to run, we’re trying to start a family and I want to make time for my friends and family.  My time is thin but I love supporting people, volunteering my time and energy and giving my all.  But sometimes, I need to take a step back and remember that I matter too.

My husband calls it “Pell Mell” when you’re pushing the pedal to the metal and going 120 in a 65 mile per hour zone.  I tend to push it a little too hard and you might too.  Sometimes taking more than just one rest day is ok.  Most of us want everything life has to offer, but make sure to take a second and see the bigger picture.  Is it worth it to go Pell Mell just to make yourself stressed out and sick?  I say no.

Moral of my story…take a day for YOU every now and then.  It will help you relax, recover and be ready to support the people around you again with a fresh sense of stability.  What does your next YOU day look like?

Stressed Much??

One of the things I use exercise to manage is my stress level.  And when I don’t exercise, I notice my mental health deteriorates.  Over the past month, I’ve been dealing with some crazy stuff at work and boy, has it been a stressful September!  Needless to say, I have allowed myself to slack a bit and not exercise as much as I should.

I know everyone goes through ups and downs with health and fitness but the question is, how do you start back again quickly?  I know this stressful period of time will pass and I will get my life back on track…but when?! It’s like I’m in a movie and the suspense is killing me.
That being said, I have managed to keep up with my nutrition…mostly.   With the holidays approaching, candy and yummy goodness seems to be all around! It has been a battle but I know because I am not able to exercise as much as I would like and because I am not able to control a lot of things with work, my nutrition is the one thing I can control.  I have even parties with snacks galore and been ok.
One  of the ways I’ve managed to keep up with my nutrition is by using the containers that come with the 21 Day Fix program to monitor my portion size.
21 Day Fix Containers
I am able to eat whatever I want (really) within a certain portion and goal for each day.  Because I’ve been able to control this aspect of my life, my weight hasn’t changed all that much and yes, I can deal with my stress level, even if just a little bit.
The moral of my story is that even if you are struggling with your health and fitness, it is okay because you will get back on track.  If you can’t control the time you have available to you, find pieces of your life that you control, like your nutrition intake, your spending habits or the company you keep.  Another thing that has really helped me is having people I can turn to when I need to.  Becoming a Health Coach has helped me realize that there are ups and downs with health and fitness and the Coaches I have met (and now call my tribe) are there for me if I need support.  If you’re in this position and need support, message me!  At the end of the day, remember to keep your head up and know that things can get better if you will them to.

Confessions of an Emotional Eater

Have you ever been stressed and just want your favorite cheat food?  For me, it’s sweets that I crave.  Like chocolate or cookies.  For others, it might be something salty, like chips, or crunchy like pretzels.  And if you go even further, it might be an adult beverage.  Here’s my question to you…when you get stressed, what do you do?

For me, I usually eat…and I eat poorly.  My cravings vary too.  Sometimes I just want to eat everything in sight whileother days, I just need that one bite.  When it’s bad, it’s really bad.  Anything can set me off when I have these bad days.  It can be meetings all days at work, no

t being productive at all because of the ebb and flow of the day or even something as simple as the wind blowing my hair the wrong way.

When I have one of these days, I always want to grab that bottle of wine and pour myself one glass.  Instead, I try to have a better plan.  Something like doing a little school work, reading a book or getting my workout in.  And I don’t get too down on myself if I have one glass of wine while I do the better task.  Why?  Because it’s all about balance.

The moral of my story is that no matter how stressed you get, no matter how much life gets you down, always remember that you are on a journey and there will be peaks and valleys.  Try to stick to your plan as much as possible but don’t beat yourselfup if you decide to have a treat once in a while.  You can have your cake and eat it too…just watch out for how big your slice is.

Are you an emotional eater too?  What’s your go-to food or beverage when you get like this?  Put yourself out there by commenting below.  I promise you, it will help you relieve some stress just by typing it out.

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