Finding Joy - Cultivating and Nurturing Friendships

February’s calendar published by Action for Happiness offers daily practices to cultivate and nurture friendships.  For the time challenged, the suggestions don’t require a major commitment.  However, the ROI on taking a moment to appreciate and connect with others can be exponential.

There was a long period of time while at the grips of self-defeating behaviors and insomnia when this practice seemed impossible.  As result, I consistently turned down invitations, late canceled or no-showed.  Over time friends justly stopped reaching out.  A life-enriching friendship requires mutuality in making time, showing up, presence, demonstrating empathy, compassion, and caring.  Although I desperately wanted this in my life I was unable to give during that time. 

Thankfully, through therapy, coaching, support groups (yes, it takes a village), and an overhaul of my self-care rituals, I have been able to direct time and energy towards cultivating female friendships.  This initially posed a challenge for me.  As an introvert, I have to honor my requirements to “cave,” aka rejuvenate, after working one on one with clients all day.  Otherwise, people just won’t get the best version of me.  Also, to BE the quality of friend I want to attract in my life I have to practice serious boundaries around self-care.  As mentioned, I struggled with insomnia and have learned that I need to be in bed by 10PM to ensure that I get the required 6.5-7 hours of sleep.  Regardless of the time I get to sleep my eyes will open no later than 5AM.  So this requires that I be very selective with evening plans. Today, I show up to (most) invitations to celebrations for family and close friends and select networking opportunities.  In these instances I accept that I may be off my game the next day due to a commitment that is too important to decline.

It has taken time to strike a healthy balance and thankfully, I have discovered a strategy that works for me.  I absolutely LOVE to schedule walk n’ talks and other daytime activities around wellness.  Add an intimate deep diving dialogue - YES, that means a RECIPROCAL time of sharing and listening and my connection tank is filled for days!  My goal is to schedule at least one/weekly.  I’m happy to report that I now have a group of amazing women in my life I can reach out to for connection, support, inspiration, and FUN!

What is your practice for cultivating and nurturing friendships?
 

Calling Myself Out

I took a couple of extended “time-outs” in April and May.  Taking time off as a solo business owner is a major emotional workout for me.  People are always bewildered by the fact that I have clients scheduled 7 days a week unless I have unforeseen circumstances and/or for a planned time off.  I am truly grateful for each and every client in my life.  AND when I do take time off I realize the critical need for creating more open space during my week.  I always return from these breaks refreshed and re-connected.  I recently hired a business coach for guidance and much needed accountability to create a couple of programs I have been procrastinating on.  When I described my practice and current work schedule she first assigned the task to take a look at my client load and determine which days I would be willing schedule consistent time off.    Okay, no problem, right?  However, when I sat down to begin, extreme anxiety overwhelmed me.  I mean, how do I choose?  Each day offers the opportunity to work with people with whom I absolutely enjoy!  Needless to say, I came back to her with NOTHING and requested that we begin with program development instead.  She has continued to ask me if I’m ready…

 

These past two retreats have revealed to me how tightly wound I am.  Last year I wrote a blog focused on creating and feeling comfortable in white space;  those moments and periods of time when I am not hustling, but rather connecting without distraction.   It has been a year and I have still managed to fill my days totally disconnected.    On a typical day I’m in perpetual motion.  I awake and do what I call “shoot out of a cannon” downing 2 BIG cups of coffee and immediately get ready for morning clients.  I have a running list of tasks between clients and evenings, sadly, are no different.  While my husband and dogs are sacked out relaxing on our new nicknamed “slumber party” sofa (which I picked out for US) enjoying a show, I’m still in spinster mode.  I MUST get my workout in (for a specific period of time), have dinner (same - roasted veggies and hummus), respond to emails, shower and get to bed hopefully, by 10:30.  Pheeew! It’s no wonder that I have sleep challenges.  It usually takes at least a full day of feeling completely uncomfortable on vacation to give myself permission to “be” where my feet are instead of riddled with fear that my business is going to completely fold when I return.

 

I often listen to clients tell me about their crazy, packed days filled with both family and work commitments and how impossible it feels to take time for themselves.   I immediately put on my coaching hat and guide them towards realizing the importance making time for self-care and setting boundaries. 

 

Uh, HELLLOOO?!

 

I realize that although I place a high priority on healthy living there are critical areas of my wellbeing being compromised, which make it difficult to speak from a place of integrity.  I’m putting just as much pressure on myself to be “productive” and often find myself completely highjacked by the chatter of “to-do’s” in my head instead of honoring my body and soul’s needs for connection and sleep.

 

I believe that this hamster wheel I’ve succumbed to is a due to a faulty societal belief that we have to EARN our sense of worth.  Worthiness boils down to checks on a to-do list, our accomplishments, accolades, job title, salary, how well our kids are performing in school and sports, and for mostly women - the (!*!*!) number on the scale, etc..

 

In her amazing, must read book, Daring Greatly, Brene Brown talks about our deep-rooted need to “hustle for worthiness.”  She further suggests that we are in constant need to gain approval, love and belonging in this world and have completely lost ourselves in the process.  I can certainly agree!

 

One of my dear friends and I have an agreement that we are allowed to vent about problems to each other on condition that we can commit to one action towards a possible solution.  So here it goes:
 

What is the solution? 

 

First to challenge the “hustle” mindset

 

Begin with letting go of judgement of yourself and STOP comparing yourself to others.

Brene’ Brown states, that, “When we can let go of what other people think we gain access to our worthiness—the feeling that we are enough just as we are and that we are worthy of love and belonging.

 

BELIEVE with every cell in your body that you don’t have to buy into society’s BS that you have to lose yourself to gain love and belonging.  The most effective tools we can use in this process are patience, compassion, and kindness. You must speak to yourself from a place of deep understanding and compassion and stop beating yourself up for ‘not getting it right,’ be patient with yourself during the process and show your own heart empathy and love.

 

Define and ENFORCE personal boundaries

 

We also must define and enforce personal boundaries and STOP with the people pleasing.  Again, referencing Brene Brown, “Everyone” has differing views, opinions, and needs, so it is exhausting to try and keep “everyone” happy.  And since it is impossible to please “everyone”, the hustle is perpetuated. It’s a no-win wasted effort.

 

Life is too short to spend your days doing things you don't want to do, or conversely not doing the things you do want to do. Understand that saying no to others' requests does not make you selfish or a bad person. If you are going to do something for someone else, do it because you want to, not because you want their praise or recognition or because you are afraid you will lose them if you don't do what they want. Maybe you will lose them, but if they do not respect your boundary maybe they just aren't the people you should bend over backwards to have in your life.

 

Build the stillness muscle

 

Break the frenzied habit.  This is THE most challenging practice for me.  I can workout for hours, run errands, complete domestic chores like nobody’s business.  However, the practice of actually sitting down for extended periods of time to relax and/or get into a creative space is EXTREMELY challenging for me.

Making time for stillness, like any other habit, takes preparation and practice. 

 

Begin with scheduling an appointment with yourself for an activity such as journaling, meditation, yoga, massage, painting/art for any amount of time that’s realistic for you.  I tell my “Alexa” to start the timer for 20 minutes to write.  I don’t do anything else during that time.  The first few times I felt my chest tighten and had to redirect my breath and thoughts.  When you rest in stillness and get connected to your body, you notice the momentum of your habits and urges, but you don’t act on them. You actually experience the moment. You can tell what your body wants and needs. You are here, alive, receptive.

 

When you get to the other side of this practice you will feel a sense of calm and confidence.

 

Try this experiment of non-doing for a few minutes or longer. Do it even when what appears is painful or challenging. Relaxing into stillness is so loving because you are letting go of the need to fight or control your experience. And if you feel the urge to fight or control, simply let that be also.

See how it works.  There is always a path to peace. Allow everything, effortlessly, and resistance ends.

 

What comes up for you here?

What are you willing to try to stop the hustle get re-connected to your body?

I will keep you posted on my progress!

Make Self Care A Priority - article

Prioritizing Your Self-Care

Learning to prioritize yourself and to claim time for your goals is critical for long term success with health and weight loss.  Staying on track, finding the time, and maintaining motivation can be major challenges when you are trying to develop new habits. It’s all-too-easy for healthy eating, exercise, and self-care activities to slide off the to-do list. You’ve probably been there—you get worn out and lose your motivation or you just can’t figure out how to fit it all in your already busy schedule.

When life gets busy, personal priorities, self-care, or “me-time” may start to feel expendable and to drift off your radar. Many smart, busy people get stuck in the mindset trap of believing that self-care is selfish or a luxury—something you can get to later.

Not true.

Are you putting self-care at the bottom of your priority list?

The way you care for yourself counts and it counts big. The way you prioritize yourself affects your health and fitness goals as well as the time that you can devote to them. It affects your eating. Emotional eating, including stress eating, sky rockets when you aren’t getting what you need in other areas of your life. When you are at the bottom of your priority list, it affects how you show up in your relationships. If you struggle with the (incorrect) belief that making yourself a priority is “selfish,” know that prioritizing self-care sets a powerful example for others in your life.

Taking care of YOU is not a luxury.

Like getting regular oil changes for your car, prioritizing your self-care is what allows you to run smoothly and to bring your best to your other priorities and challenges.

The cost of not making and taking time for self-care:

The truth is, when your well-being isn’t a priority, just about everything goes downhill. When you don’t devote time and energy to your needs and your health:

You have less energy and motivation to follow through on your goals

You are more easily distracted and less focused

Many people tend to turn to “vices” to fill in the gaps that aren’t being filled with in quality ways. Stress eating and other kinds of emotional eating, smoking, drinking too much, wasting time surfing the internet—these are a few things that tend to show up, waste more of your time and energy, distract you, and contribute to a vicious cycle of decreased happiness and less effectiveness.

Stress levels are higher

Sleep is often impaired (or sacrificed)

It’s common to feel deprived, irritable, more easily frustrated, or impatient

Creativity suffers and life usually includes less play and fun

Health is negatively affected

When you’re not a priority, you simply don’t function at your best and your ability to contribute to the world is compromised. If you are trying to lose weight or maintain a fitness routine, without really claiming the necessary time and energy for it, you are sabotaging yourself before you even start.

How to start prioritizing your own needs even if it feels like you’re too busy

  1. Start claiming 10-15 minutes a day for yourself. It won’t take away from your productivity, it will increase it. Really. Use this time to connect with yourself and to pay attention to how you feel and what you need. Journal, walk, meditate, soak in the tub. Try not to save this for the end of the day when you are too tired to move and your brain has stopped working. Pay yourself first or, if necessary, take a break during your day.
  2. Adopt the following mantras: “I’m doing my best,” and “I can’t do it all.” They are true. Put them where you can see them and remind yourself of them frequently.
  3. Create effectiveness in do-able steps. Each evening, identify your top three personal action items for the next day and decide when you will accomplish them. Think do-able. If these daily goals seem overwhelming, make them smaller. A fifteen minute walk that you take is better than the 45 minute one you couldn’t fit in. If possible, knock out your personal priorities early in the day.
  4. Plan for food that fuels you—especially when time is tight. Don’t skip breakfast, have a plan for lunch, and don’t starve yourself before dinner. Make sure you have the groceries that you need. Choose foods that are appealing. No starvation diets.
  5. Cut the multitasking. It stresses us out and makes us less effective. Practice focusing on doing one thing at a time. You won’t get it perfect, but that’s okay, remember step number two.
  6. Take emotional eating seriously. It’s often a signal that life is out of balance and your personal priorities need more attention. Emotional eating happens when our spirit or our life isn’t getting fed the non-food things we need or crave. If you wonder about how to stop emotional eating, it starts with paying attention and developing ways of caring for ourselves instead of turning to food. When we do this, huge changes are possible. This can be complicated but it doesn’t have to be overwhelming. cycle.
  7. Don’t skip #1 (you’ll probably be tempted).
     

Learning to prioritize your own needs is a process, but you don’t have to get it perfect to see big, far-reaching benefits. Try out these tips and keep me posted on your self-care progress.

source: toomuchonherplate.com

The Power of Letting Go - article

As a wellness professional, I have had to learn hard lessons about letting go and allowing others to own their own process.  The following article completely resonated with me so I'm sharing in hopes it will help you gain peace in the Power of Letting Go.  I'm finding it takes way more strength and discipline to release than to hold on, even with a "death grip!."

 

Part of life is having attachments. In relationships, we attach to our partner. We attach to our belongings and physical items that we love. We attach to places and ideas. We attach to our hopes and dreams. Ideally, life is a cycle of holding and letting go, but we become so attached that we can no longer see clearly. Our attachment can become so strong that we actually lose sight of the bigger picture.

 

Many spiritual teachings and traditions teach about the benefits of living with non-attachment. In Buddhism living with detachment is a sign of spiritual maturity. It shows that the soul has purified itself and evolved mentally. Now, the real question is, "Why would the average person strive to live with non attachment?" Isn’t human experience all about being attached to each other, to those we love? Well, yes and no. When we can hold and release, we are able to build healthy connections. When we let go, we are releasing our need to control and releasing the conditional love that comes with attachment so that we can love unconditionally, being okay with whatever path life takes us down. When we live with non-attachment we can go with the flow more easily, and are not as impacted emotionally by the punches life may throw at us.

 

We often confuse connectedness with attachment. When we are connected with someone, they become a part of our life and us a part of their life; that is connection. Connection is a yin/yang exchange. This is healthy. Once we become attached, we become entangled. This is different from connection. Our energy and our thoughts become disproportionately focused on the thing or person we are attached to. The more entangled we become, the more we lose perspective. Attachment moves us into a state of need. Once we believe we need someone or something in order to be happy, we give away our power to the object of our desire.

 

Once we have attached to someone or something our perspective changes. We begin to perceive that as something we need in our life to make us happy. However, nothing outside of us can truly bring happiness or security. You are the one who decides whether you are happy or not in any situation. Once we become attached, we give away our power to be in control of our own happiness.

 

As the attachment grows, so does the fear of losing the very thing we desire. It is in the moments when we fear that the person or object we are attached to does not meet our expectations, or may be lost, that we experience moments of great emotional suffering and pain in our life. Our mind, in an attempt to save us from that potential loss, sends us into survival mode. We become hyper focused, obsessed, and often even addicted to the person or thing that we have attached ourselves to. We can become clingy, controlling, domineering and extremely emotional and insecure all in a desperate attempt to protect our attachment. Once we get to this space we are so entangled in the attachment we are out of balance, often reacting irrationally. None of this gets us to happiness and it does not make for a healthy relationship.

 

The good news is that all this pain and suffering is a choice. We can avoid this by choosing to let go and live with non-attachment. Letting go does not mean removing yourself from the relationship or letting go of your dreams. It does not mean withdrawing or never connecting with another again. It does not mean giving up on your dreams. Living with non-attachment means releasing your need for the relationship, thing or idea; It means accepting things as they are, knowing that everything is evolving and changing, nothing is permanent everything is temporary in life. It means letting go of the details and trusting in the Universe. When you can let go and practice healthy detachment, you are able to express unconditional love for our partner and are fully able to appreciate their presence in your life. You are able to see more clearly and be more objective. You are able to focus and operate at a higher level of productivity.

 

Being detached does not prevent you from having harmonious, healthy, and passionate relationships. It allows you to have those experiences. When we can live with non-attachment, we can live life with intensity and depth that we cannot realize when we are entangled by fears and insecurities. Once we release those cords of entanglement, we can make decisions from a solid place of wisdom and love.

 

We all have attachments. That is human. The goal is to be aware of attachments we have created or are creating and release them. The following steps will help you in letting go of attachments:

 

Awareness: Be aware of the attachments you have in your life. What are the areas where you have given up your power? Where fear and insecurity have taken over and are running the show. Where do you need to detach?

 

Examination: Step back and take a truthful honest look at your attachments. What is keeping you attached? What fears and insecurities are causing you to hold on? Are these fears real? What are you really worried about or afraid of? Dig deep and decide if you are willing to let go.

 

Forgiveness: If this is an attachment where you have been harboring resentment or negative feelings it is worth considering forgiving the person and yourself. As long as you hold on to resentments, you will remain attached and unable to fully let go. Once you forgive, you no longer need to tell the story. You are free to let go and move on.

 

Mantras & Affirmations: Choose a mantra or affirmation to repeat daily. Mentally repeat this mantra whenever you feel yourself falling back into old patterns or struggling with letting go.

 

Journal, Meditate & Pray: Set aside some time to contemplate how you are progressing. What was easy to release and what are you struggling with? Writing down your feelings is helpful in letting go.  Meditating and praying about your intention also helps you to gain clarity about your objectives and barriers you are trying to overcome. Often when we dig deep enough we find that the actual solution is very simple; it was our minds that made it complicated. You may even want the formality of a ritual where you write a letter about releasing your attachment and then burn it, letting the smoke carry your intention to the Universe for help in letting go.

 

Forgiveness: If this is an attachment where you have been harboring resentment or negative feelings it is worth considering forgiving the person and yourself. As long as you hold on to resentments, you will remain attached and unable to fully let go. Once you forgive, you no longer need to tell the story. You are free to let go and move on.

 

Mantras & Affirmations: Choose a mantra or affirmation to repeat daily. Mentally repeat this mantra whenever you feel yourself falling back into old patterns or struggling with letting go.

 

Journal, Meditate & Pray: Set aside some time to contemplate how you are progressing. What was easy to release and what are you struggling with? Writing down your feelings is helpful in letting go.  Meditating and praying about your intention also helps you to gain clarity about your objectives and barriers you are trying to overcome. Often when we dig deep enough we find that the actual solution is very simple; it was our minds that made it complicated. You may even want the formality of a ritual where you write a letter about releasing your attachment and then burn it, letting the smoke carry your intention to the Universe for help in letting go.

 

Patience: Life is a process and we all make lots of mistakes while we are learning from our experiences. Do not beat yourself up. You are doing the best you can. Sometimes change and letting go take time. Keep working the process. There will be ups and downs, but with time you will heal from the pain and find that with less attachment, life is more vibrant.

 

Build Your Foundation: If you become so entangled that you have no life outside of your attachment, now is the time to find one. If you leave an empty void where the attachment once was, and do not intentionally replace it with something else you may find yourself repeating the pattern over again. Get out and spend time with friends. Find a new hobby. Take a class. Whatever you choose to do, get busy and rebuild your foundation.

 

Find a Professional: If the attachment is so strong you feel you cannot do this alone, seek the assistance of a professional counselor who can support you and hold you accountable as you go through the process.

Learning to live intentionally with nonattachment supports you in maintaining your power over your own happiness. Be kind to yourself and cut yourself some slack. The pain of detachment is temporary. It will pass and you will be stronger and able to love more deeply from your state of non-attachment. Stay vigilant. Be consciously aware of attachments as they develop and flow through your life. Life is a series of attaching and releasing. You will avoid much suffering, and be clearer, happier, and more productive by simply letting go and learning healthy detachment.

 

Author: Dawn Demers
Source: Beliefnet

Practice Self-Love This Valentine's Day

Valentine's Day puts the emphasis on love for someone special in your life. But did you ever think that, hey, YOU are someone special in your life?

 

Why not make this day about loving yourself? You can't love someone else until your truly love yourself.

In honor of February 14, the designated day of love, here are 14 ways to practice self-love:

 

1. Practice acceptance.

You are perfectly imperfect. Learning to accept yourself for who you are is the most important step to self-love. Stop comparing yourself to others and learn to embrace the person you are.

You have beautiful qualities, both physical and emotional, that draw people to you. You don't need to look or talk or act like anyone else. We all offer the world something different. That's what makes it so beautiful.

 

2. Declutter your space
Living or working in chaos can deeply affect your mood and create a feeling of chaos within. An open, organized space can be freeing and uplifting. I'm not saying you have to keep your space perfectly clean, but taking a little time to tidy up can make a big difference.

Getting rid of that pile of clothes you've been meaning to donate or sorting through that stack of papers you've been staring at for months can be quite refreshing. Think of it as getting rid of the old to make room for the new!

 

3. Pamper yourself.

Taking care of your body shows you have respect for the amazing temple your soul inhabits. Simple self-care techniques like dry skin brushing, taking a detox bath, or prioritizing quality sleep are all ways of respecting your body and showing it the love it needs (and deserves!).

 

4. Nourish your body.

Replenishing your body with clean water and real, whole food is a loving gesture. As they say, you are what you eat. If you eat garbage, you tend to feel like garbage. Show your body that it matters by providing the high-quality nutrients it needs to thrive.

5. Leave yourself a note.

When I was really down on my luck, battling chronic illness, my husband did something so simple but so helpful. He wrote a little note on my bathroom mirror to boost my spirits.

Every morning, the first place I went was my bathroom and the first thing I saw was that positive affirmation. Try writing a positive note or listing your goals as a reminder on your mirror so you can't avoid it. It's a great way to wake up each day.

 

6. Choose your tribe wisely.

As we grow up, the number of friends we have tends to shrink. But that's a good thing. As we mature, we start to value our time and our friendships more and shift focus from quantity to quality.

The energy of your inner circle is contagious, which is why it is so important to surround yourself with uplifting, supportive people.

 

7. Be grateful.

Our inner dialogue tends to focus on the negative — whether it's physical features, a mistake we made, or an opportunity we missed. How can you look at these in a positive light?

Are you grateful to have a healthy body that you can move and transform? How lucky are you to have a good job to provide for your family? Are you thankful that you were able to learn so much from that one little mistake you made the other day?

Finding things to be grateful for on a daily basis can help change your inner dialogue. If you tend toward negative internal conversation, gratitude is a wonderful way to change that.

 

8. Learn to let go.

This proved quite the challenge for me. It took me a long time to realize that other people's problems were just that — other people's problems. I had to accept that I cannot change and save everyone. I can only learn to establish my boundaries, offer help where it is welcomed, and — most importantly — know when to walk away.

You are not the world's savior. You can show kindness and compassion to others but not to the point at which it detracts from your other responsibilities. Sometimes, you just have to let things go.

 

9. Get comfortable with "me time."

So many people struggle with the idea of taking time for themselves. They dedicate their lives to careers or children or ailing parents, and the thought of taking a couple of hours for themselves brings too much guilt to consider.

Well, I am here to tell you that there is absolutely nothing wrong with taking some "me" time. Even just an hour every now and then can help to recharge, reset, and reenergize you. This is not only important for your own well-being but for those around you.

If you run yourself into the ground, what good will you be to anyone else? Remember, you have to put your oxygen mask on first if you want to be able to help the person next to you.

 

10. Take a tech time-out.

Between our phones and computers and TVs, our minds are constantly overstimulated. All this screen time can distract us from reality and from ourselves. Taking time at the end of the day without gadgets is a great way to get back in touch with yourself. How are you feeling? What are you thinking? What's going on in your body?

 

11. Start your day with a positive affirmation.

Begin each day by acknowledging something positive about yourself. Maybe you handled a stressful situation really well yesterday or accomplished your first headstand in yoga class. Even something as simple as acknowledging that you smiled a little more yesterday is worth noting. All the little things we overlook truly make a difference. Focusing on the positive moments in your day will transform your mindset over time.

 

12. Learn forgiveness.

It took a long time for me to accept this one. As much as I tried to be, I'm not (and no one is) perfect. Instead of harping on that mistake you made or beating yourself up over another "failed" diet, learn to forgive yourself. If you've never failed, then you've never tried. And that is the ultimate failure.

Be proud that you tried. Think of all the things you learned from each mistake you've made in life. Every bump in the road has helped you become the amazing, strong-willed person that you are today. Embrace your imperfections and learn to forgive yourself.

 

13. Have fun!

Life is short! It doesn't have to be so serious. While there is a time and a place to be serious, there should also be plenty of time to enjoy yourself. When's the last time you danced? Or sang at the top of your lungs? Allowing yourself to be creative and let loose will boost your spirits and remind you that life isn't just about work. There can still be some playtime in there, too!

 

14. Learn to say no.

I'm still working on this one, but I'm getting better. While it may feel uncomfortable at first, learning to say no is important. You must be able to set boundaries for yourself. I used to get frustrated and feel like people were taking advantage of my kindness. Looking back, if I wasn't showing myself any respect, why would others?

You can't be everything to everyone — and that's okay. Trust me, people will respect you when you stand up for yourself, and your relationships will flourish because of it.

This Valentine's Day, as you think about how to show that special someone in your life how much you care for and appreciate them — don't forget about yourself. Practicing self-love is something that takes very little time but has the ability to transform your life .

Source: Sandy Eulas, mindbodygreen.com 

 

Alternatives To New Year's Resolutions for 2018

Alternatives to New Years Resolutions

 

As 2018 approaches we automatically begin to contemplate New Year’s Resolutions. Unfortunately, most resolutions are usually too big and unrealistic.  Rather then making small, incremental changes proven to be more life sustainable, New Year resolutions tend to feed into the all or nothing mentality to making behavior changes.

 

Does the following sound familiar? As of January 1st you commit to working out every day, completely eliminate sugar and/or a food group, establish a digital detox day, sign up for volunteer opportunities, etc.  Things are going great the first week then BAM, your workload increases, a loved one gets ill, and you’re barely holding on, much less keeping up with your new lifestyle.  What was suppose to be an excellent start to a new year is now just one more thing to do.  You miss a workout, succumb to a slice of pizza, cancel on a volunteer commitment and decide you’re a failure so you abandon your resolutions altogether.

 

So why not try throwing solutions out the window for 2018?  Following are 5 alternatives to making New Year’s Resolutions that will leave you feeling empowered for who you are.

 

1.  Develop a Mantra

Rather than decide that 2018 is going to be the year that you “lose 10 pounds,” pick a mantra that says, “I am making the best choices possible for my wellbeing in this moment.”  A mantra can feel more positive and empowering than a resolution.  After all, you either fail or succeed with a resolution but a mantra becomes a way of life.

 

2. Establish 12 Mini-Goals

Instead of setting a huge daunting resolution that you’ll tackle for the next 365 days, establish monthly goals for yourself.  Perhaps January will be the month that you go to the gym before work three times a week.  And February will be the month you focus on packing your lunches and prepping food at home instead of eating out most days of the week.

 

The key to success is to pick measurable goals.  So rather than say, “I’m going to bring my lunch every day to work,” commit to a goal like, “I’m going to bring my lunch 3 days/weekly this month.”  Then you may decide that you’re ready to add an additional day.  Short-term, realistic goals can help you stay motivated to keep going.

 

3. Conduct Weekly Experiments

Rather than make 2018 the time you’re going to engage in grueling habits that don’t excite you, decide to make it a year of curiosity.  Establish weekly experiments that test out various behaviors that challenge you to try new things.

 

4. Make a Bucket List

Choose a number of things you’d like to do in 2018.  Whether you want to take a healthy cooking class, learn photography, and go on a Yoga retreat.  Create a list of activities and have it posted in view.

 

If you pick small things, you might put 52 items on your list and check one off each week.  If you’re hoping to do some big things, pick 12 and tackle one each month.

 

Having things to look forward to can boost your mood and when you feel better you’re likely to do better.  So you might find you naturally want to get healthy, save money, be kinder to others when you’re enjoying your bucket list items.

 

5. Identify Your Tribe

Rather than committing to new things to do, commit to the people you want to spend time with this year.  Life is too precious to spend it with people who bring you down.  As much as possible, surround yourself with those who lift you up, challenge you, and support you in becoming who you want to be.

 

Make a list of everyone in your life who is good for you.  Who brings out the best in you? Who makes you laugh?  Who leaves you in a good mood?  Then narrow that list to the most important 5 to 10 people.  Figure out a way to connect with them throughout the year and plan things ahead of time.  Here are some ideas:

 

•     Monthly Dinners

•     Weekly coffee/tea dates

•     Exploring a different nature trail

•     Paint night

•     Take a fun group workout class i.e.; Zumba

 

Change Your Life One Small Step at a Time

These New Year’s resolution alternatives will remind you to live a life to it’s fullest as you create a healthier, happier life.  So give up the idea that you need to pick one big thing to work on and decide that you’re going to reach your goals and become your best self one step at a time.

Announcing NEW Group Coaching Program - EVOLVE!

 

Introducing Evolve Group Wellness Coaching

Have you been promising yourself you'll take action in at least one of the following areas?:

• Making time for physical fitness – gaining strength, flexibility and improving balance

• Preparing healthy, delicious and well-balanced meals

• Living more mindfully in a body that feels energized

• Reducing stress

• Improving quality of sleep

• Awakening your Spirit and forming meaningful connections with others

 

 

Of course, you have! Which is why I decided to launch Evolve Group Coaching.  Join me for this journey of wellness and personal evolution and live more intentionally, aligning your action plan with your personal goals to achieve the quality of life you want and deserve.  The 60-day program will kick off on August 13th.  

Because Evolve is a brand new program, I am offering it to EIGHT women ready to commit to making health a priority at a VERY discounted price.  Evolve group coaching will provide you with the knowledge, guidance, and support of a certified Wellness Coach (yours truly), the fellowship and encouragement of a dedicated group of women, and the benefits and accountability of regular meetings.  

 

 

Immeasurable Benefits of Group Meetings Include

  • Getting clarity on the quality of life you want for yourself by answering specific questions and articulating a detailed, personalized Well Life Vision.
  • Establishing a personal road map with Individual short and long term goal setting broken down into manageable pieces to support your path to success.
  • Group sharing and connecting to build friendship, support and better tools for meeting your goals.
  • Recipe sharing and meal swapping, if there is an interest, to expand your repertoire of nutritious, ready-made meals to enjoy throughout the week.
  • Celebrating accomplishments – no matter how big or small!
  • Idea sharing to help you develop new strategies to meet whatever challenges you are facing.

This is a holistic approach to wellness to bring mind, body, and spirit into alignment. 

Schedule and Pricing

  • Meetings to take place at a residence in Irvine Aug. 13, 20, 27,  Sept. 3, 10, 24, Oct. 1, 8 - EIGHT Sunday’s, 4 PM - 5:15 PM - A weekly structure will help to set specific intentions for the week ahead.
  • Discounted Cost  - $80
  • Register by 7/30 and receive 10% off!

If you are ready to sign up for the information session or would like additional information, please inquire with me by clicking the button below.  

*** Please forward to a special female friend who may be interested***

For a recent Mayo Clinic study of the long term benefits of Health and Wellness Coaching please click HERE

To sign up and/or inquire for further info contact: denise@personalrevolutionswellness.com

 

 

Excellent Article on Emotional/Compulsive Eating and our Brain

Written by my coach, Ellen Schumen www.aweighout.com:

I eat to zone out. I eat for the pleasure it gives. I eat as a reward for working so hard.”

Sound familiar? That’s what one of our newest Members just wrote about in our Support Circle. I so understand. I used to eat for the same reasons!

I used to think I lacked “willpower”. But how could I be so hyper vigilant in other areas of my life and still fail at every single attempt to fix my emotional eating? I ended up thinking I must be self-sabotaging. Why else would I keep doing this; eat as a reward, eat to disconnect, eat to self-soothe…and hate myself for continuing to do so?

Something just didn’t feel right. Something was missing from my understanding of this!

No one yet knew what neuroscience was about to tell us. The brain held the secrets to why I felt out-of-control with food.

My life experiences, to date, had programmed my brain to FEEL I had no choice BUT to turn to food when the emotional intensity went up. Some situation, or exchange, or time of day would trigger me, often out of my conscious awareness, and I’d get this automatic FIGHT – FLIGHT – FREEZE feeling. The EMOTIONAL – ACTION SYSTEM that resides in my BOTTOM – PRIMITIVE BRAIN suddenly was telling me I had absolutely NO CHOICE BUT TO EAT and I believed it.

Over the years, the bottom part of my brain had become programmed; those programmed, well-traveled neural pathways in my bottom brain told me “I MUST EAT NOW or I WON’T SURVIVE”. My bottom brain was running the show. But it doesn’t have to…

Today, I know how to stop those old programs from running my life. I know… and more importantly no longer FEEL I have to turn to food to survive the uncomfortable moments of my life. I don’t have to eat as a reward. I have learned how to stop those false feelings. I have learned how to step back and get my TOP BRAIN – EXECUTIVE FUNCTION – PREFRONTAL CORTEX to run the show.

I am no longer driven by the bottom brain, by that fight- flight- freeze feeling.

Now that we know how to change brain programming; how to make new neural pathways in the brain (that’s called neuroplasticity), we understand how to use our brains to reduce the habit of emotional eating…it’s very exciting!

Our brains are amazing…I’ll be talking more and more about this in future posts…

Wellness is MORE than "Diet" and Exercise

Recently, I had the privilege to speak with a group of amazing women about making self-care a priority.  First, people often have the perception of self-care being only about “diet and exercise.”  Caring for our personal wellbeing encompasses so much more.  When we limit our focus on just what we eat and how much we move our bodies, we still aren’t living fully and in balance.  Total wellbeing includes the following areas:

 

Physical - sleep and rest, consistent movement with activities you enjoy, strength and flexibility, whole nutrition, hydration, seeing Doctor for annual check ups, self-monitoring for chronic conditions

 

Connectedness/Social Support - quality time (in-person) with family, friends, and community

 

Spiritual and inner wellbeing- meditation, Church, Synagogue, journaling, reading, nature

 

Mental/emotional - spending time alone, reading, therapy, support group, saying “no,” minimizing tech distractions (boundaries around social media, phone/text)

 

Intellectual- exploring new ideas, exposure to different beliefs, taking a class, learning a new hobby

 

Meaning -  sense of purpose, living in line with core values, enjoying new adventures, doing activities outside of your comfort zone.

 

After sharing this concept with the group it opened up an entirely different conversation around wellbeing, life balance, and self-care practices.  Of course, we cannot immerse ourselves in each of the above on a daily basis.  However, I invite you all to take a moment to reflect and determine those you would like to increase our awareness and focus.  I say “we” because I also need to look at areas that aren’t getting the necessary attention.

 

To make this process easier I have designed a “Self-Care Inventory” as a guide to reflect on areas in personal self-care in which you are thriving and those areas that could use a little attention.  Simply send me an email by clicking this link and I will send your way!

 

Curious about my new “EVOLVE” Coaching program?  I am offering a complementary 30-minute phone coaching session to discuss how this personalized program designed to help you experience YOUR optimal level of wellness for LIFE!  Contact me directly to schedule.

A Return To White Space - A podcast episode that changed my life

A few months ago I listened to a life changing podcast (referenced at the end of the blog) on creating more “white space” in your life.   Koren Motekaitis, a life coach, interviewed Hiro Boga, a business strategist, and mentor.  Hiro’s message completely resonated with me.  She beautifully explained how most of us try to keep up with the progressing speed of technology which we are not biologically designed to do.  Perpetual stress wrecks havoc our bodies and souls as days are filled with back to back work and family commitments.  We don’t make time to really check in with ourselves.  Any time left for white space is blotted out because our brains have been wired by habit for constant stimulation. We continually find ways to either distract ourselves or buffer the “noise” via social media, binge TV, food, alcohol, etc.  Our tolerance for stillness and true self-reflection has faded.   

 

After leaving a stressful career and starting my Pilates and coaching practice in 2004 I thrived in a life balance which provided for the white space perfect for my temperament.  Fast forward 10 years and I found myself moving at a frenetic pace between private clients and corporate wellness coaching appointments/team meetings.  I was working in a way that did not allow me the transition time or space necessary to regroup and recharge.  The time I did have I wanted to be alone, which meant minimal leisure time with friends and family.  I often struggled with conflicting thoughts because I was doing rewarding work with amazing people, yet my craving for downtime would cloud out feelings of fulfillment and gratitude.   Deep down I knew something had to change and I let guilt and fear prevent me from bringing this issue out into the light.

 

I had listened to the podcast just before a weeklong trip to Yellowstone National Park where there is absolutely ZERO data and internet access.  I made a commitment to take this time to get connected to my thoughts and feelings around my situation.   The questions Hiro suggested reflecting upon include “Is the work that I am doing in line with my values? Are the actions I am taking bringing me towards the life that I truly want? and “What needs to change?.” Without getting into too much detail the bottom line is that I realized if I am going to continue to help others take charge of their health and well-being I needed to actually reflect it in my own life.  The most challenging part is that I had to commit to action once I became clear about what I wanted.

 

I can happily report that I am back into the groove of creating a schedule and quality of life suited perfectly for me.  I have much more energy for my private clients and am exploring ways to support others who would like to take the control of their health and address their over-scheduled lives.  At the same time, it’s felt awkward being able to navigate my day at a more intentional pace.  I have to be extra vigilant not to disconnect from myself through compulsive busyness and engage in those aforementioned behaviors that don’t add value to my well-being.  It’s not a perfect process, however, I have learned that character and grit are developed on the journey.

 

Not everyone is in a position to make such immediate drastic changes to their schedule’s as I have.  However, I’m encouraging everyone to make time in your day to check in with yourself by asking the questions which Hiro suggests.  If you find a large value gap start with one small action you can take in a positive direction.  Perhaps this exercise may reveal a calling for you to explore.  It’s amazing what you can manifest when you get clear on the life you want and begin aligning your actions and focusing energy in the direction of your dreams.

Thank you for taking time time to stop by!

Link to podcast ( you can also find it on iTunes to download): http://howshereallydoesit.com/podcast/white-space-to-return-to-yourself/