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Faith Family Health and Wellness Self-care Stress Relief

Forced Stop

Sometimes I find ways to slow things down, other times God has to force me to stop.

Last year, when the pandemic started and our world stopped, it forced us all to take a break and re-evaluate. I realized two things: 1. my current job caused me to miss time with my children and 2. our schedules were filled with too many things.

Last summer, God provided me with a new job that allows me to work at my kids’ school and no longer miss their activities and afterschool conversations. My husband and I have also been more intentional about what we sign our kids up for — we want our kids to be active, but to also enjoy just being kids.

Well, it’s a year later and, once again, God has forced me to stop.

A couple of months ago I joined an incredible Women’s Entrepreneurs group that values support, encouragement, and authentic relationships. In my typical fashion, I made the most of things and dove right in, filling my calendar with lunch meetings, Zoom meetings, and networking. A couple of weeks ago, I felt it starting to catch up with me…that I had let my excitement cause my calendar to be filled with back-to-back activities. Every space that wasn’t put aside for my kids and teaching was filled with lunches and meetings. I was afraid I was going to burn out…and that’s when God stepped in.

I’m now on day 8 out of 10 in isolation after testing positive for COVID. I’ve been fortunate to have few symptoms and have felt fine most of the time, but my body is getting much needed rest — mentally and physically. I’m able to use this time to work on my own business without running myself ragged. And I’m going to be more diligent going forward with spreading things out in my calendar so I don’t risk burn out again. (And since my daughter tested positive the same day as me — I’ve gotten some sweet time with her in isolation.)

Thank you, Lord, for knowing me and forcing me to slow down when I struggled to do it for myself. Thank you for this time to refresh, relax, and restore my soul.

Categories
Goals Health and Wellness Self-care Stress Relief

Start Your Day Off Well

Whether you consider yourself a morning person or a night person, how you start your day often determines the outcome of it. From health to mindset to productivity, here are some tips to start your day off well.

  1. Get up! As soon as that alarm goes off, get out of bed! Don’t hit the snooze alarm. By training yourself to get up with the first alarm, you will actually be more rested and ready to go. You’ll also feel better about yourself and start the day with a positive mindset.
  2. Open the blinds and make your bed! As soon as you are up, let in the morning light! (If it’s winter and still dark out, you can wait — no need to flash your neighbors in the early morning.) Then make your bed. Why make your bed? Multiple reasons:
    • You have already accomplished one thing for the day!
    • This leads to a better self-perception, lowers your stress, and increases a positive mood.
    • It helps you keep the rest of your room tidy…
    • As well as your life — it increases productivity!
    • It will help you fall asleep at night. Getting into a bed that has been made actually helps your to relax better and get to sleep faster.
    • It’ll also keep you from crawling back into bed when you need to be up and going. 😉
  3. Drink a glass of warm lemon water. Squeeze half a lemon into 8oz of warm (not hot) water. Benefits of lemon water in the morning:
    • Boosts your immune system
    • Aids in digestion
    • Helps with weight loss
    • Balances pH
    • Clears skin
    • Freshens breath
    • Relieves respiratory problems
    • Helps you kick the coffee habit
  4. Spend 15 minutes in prayer and/or meditation. You can also spend the time reading an inspirational or motivational book. This allows you to prepare your heart and put your head in the right mindset for the day.
  5. Move your body. Spend 30 minutes doing some sort of movement. It doesn’t have to been an intense workout. A brisk walk is fine. Moving your body helps wake you up and gets the blood flowing to your brain, making you more productive and ready to conquer the day. Moving your body can be fun! Need ideas, let me know. 🙂
  6. Shower. Other than the fact that it’s good hygiene (especially after you workout), with so many people still working remotely, it’s important to mention. Take your shower, do your hair, put on makeup, and put on real clothes. Why? You will both feel better about yourself and be in the mindset that you are working and need to get things done.

Start with one thing above and add it to your morning routine until you are doing all of them! You will see a change in your mindset and outlook for the day. And remember…one bad thing doesn’t set the tone for the day. You can turn a bad day into a good one with a positive mindset!

Categories
Faith

How Big is Your God?

This week is Holy Week and on Sunday we celebrate Christ’s death and resurrection — the centrality of the Christian faith. Easter is my favorite holiday as I’m humbled that God chose to die for my sins and filled with hope of eternity through Jesus rising from the grave. Our God is bigger than death and the grave.

Recently, I’ve been thinking a lot about the big-ness of God. When it comes to faith and grace, I’m amazed that the God of the universe sees me, loves me, and knows me. I believe that God can do great things…but my prayer life doesn’t look that way.

When it comes to my prayer life, I’ve made God small. I don’t pray for the big things and then wait in expectation for his answer. I move through my daily life, compartmentalizing as I go, sending out small, easy prayers along the way. Sure, sometimes in the moment there are bigger prayers, but there’s not a lot of faith behind it.

Jesus said that with faith as small as a mustard seed, you could tell a mountain to move from here to there and it would! (Matthew 17:20) Jesus’ disciples were able to heal the sick and raise the dead through their big faith in God and his promises. Do you pray big prayers? Prayers that can only be answered through the work of God?

My desire it to live fearlessly, praying BIG prayers with BIG faith to my even BIGGER God who can do all things. How big is your God?

Categories
Health and Wellness Self-care

Know Your Body

I’m officially old.

This past Monday, while playing kickball with my 5th grade P.E. class, I tweaked my back throwing the ball in from the outfield. The muscles instantly tightened and pain shot through my glute whenever I turned. I sucked it up and moved on, but knew I needed to get help that day. If I let it go for too long, the muscles would continue to tighten and I wouldn’t be able to get out of bed the next morning.

As soon as we got home from school, I called my chiropractor and scheduled an appointment for a hour later. After a painful but needed adjustment, my pain decreased by 50% when I went to bed and 80% the next morning. I’m thankful that I know my body well enough to know when the pain or “tweak” is something that I can manage or is something that needs to be taken care of right away.

This was a learned process. Trust me, I’m often the last person to go to a doctor or take the needed rest for any type of pain. But after a big injury back in the summer of 2019 that had me flat on my back, I learned to listen better to the pain signals, give myself time to heal, and not just “suck it up” or “walk it off.”

Nothing hits the ego or makes you feel old, then tweaking your back simply throwing a ball (another not-so-gentle reminder that I’m 42 and not 22). Even though I exercise, lift weights, eat well, take good supplements, etc., age can still be a factor. As we get older, it is even more important to take care of our bodies and listen to them.

Stay active. Eat well. Take high-quality supplements. Reduce the toxic chemicals. And don’t forget to take time to rest, heal, and listen to your body. Getting older doesn’t mean you have to stop doing what you love, but it might be different. You might have to ease into things, stretch even more (if you’re young, be good with your stretching NOW), and give yourself those rest days.

And if you need a sympathetic ear or encouragement, I’ll be over here nursing my back and ego.

Ready for some kickball! — pre-injury 😉
Categories
Faith Health and Wellness

Lemons Into Lemonade

If you’ve read my previous blog posts, you’ll notice a different look to it…and location. Why? Let me tell you a quick story.

A few weeks ago, I looked to make a minor tweak to my website. I paid a designer to create the website about 6 years ago and updated things here and there, but haven’t done a lot with it. Well, I managed to push ONE BUTTON and removed the custom front page my designer had created. I tried to undo, go back, etc. but it was no use. Totally gone and now my home page looked epically stupid.

Now, on other days of the month, I would have been crushed and cried, but instead I shrugged my shoulders and put on my big girl panties. In all honesty, my website needed an update, and this forced me to do it.

Do I know how to do web design? Absolutely not. But I do know how to use Google. So, I used Google, cast aside fear of mistakes (I mean, I already screwed it up, what else could I possibly do?), and started fixing it.

And you know what? I’m so thankful I messed up my website! I learned a lot, built my confidence, and felt empowered. Plus, I realized that a lot of my links and other info were outdated and should have been updated a long time ago. AND, I finally figured out how to move all my blog posts to my website (instead of being links to a different blogging program)!

My website is 10x better than before and offers all the info and connections that I need to help clients and reach more people!

There will be frustrating times in your life when you have to make a choice: To be defeated and see the negative or to trust God and your abilities and make the best of an unfortunate situation.

I’m so glad that I didn’t get discouraged or look to someone else for help, but took those lemons and made an amazing whiskey sour…I mean, lemonade.

Categories
Health and Wellness

What Are You Waiting For?!

Sit and pause for a moment. Take a deep breath. Now close your eyes and picture how you see your life in five years…in one year…next month. What are you doing right now to get you moving toward the life you desire?

We all have dreams and desires but so often we let the excuses and fears crowd in and keep us from taking a step forward. 

A dream of mine for the past 20+ years has been to go skydiving. First my excuse was that no one would go with me (at the time, I felt like I needed to share it with someone else). Then it was that it was so expensive. Then my kids were little. And it just kept getting pushed to the back burner. Here’s the thing…I still really want to go skydiving. 

I’m tired of the excuses. My kids aren’t the excuse — they are my reason. I want to inspire my kids to go for their dreams and live fearlessly. So, I’m going skydiving this Spring (doesn’t really make sense to go in the winter in Chicago — I would freeze and the view would be pretty ugly 😉 ). I’ve told my husband and started planning. I’ve done the research and figured out the price. This year for Mother’s Day, I’m going to celebrate by finally going skydiving! 

We can spend all our time preparing for the perfect moment that will never come. At some point you just have to get started. Make the decision to start and take the first step. Don’t let fear and excuses hold you back.

Want to start getting healthy? Don’t wait until it’s more convenient or you’re less busy or you don’t have a Girls Night planned. Start now. Where you are. Doing what you can at that moment. 

Want to run a marathon (or a 5k)? Start small and take that first short run. Run around the block one day. Then a little bit farther the next. Slow progress is better than no progress.

Want to follow a passion or dream? Don’t wait until the stars magically align. Find a way that you can use your gifts and passions NOW and see where it leads you.

There will always be difficulties and there will always be people and things that want to hold you back. But if you wait for the perfect time, it’ll never happen. So strap on those shoes / grab your guitar / open your computer and start writing / schedule the appointment / contact a Health Coach to get you going. What are you waiting for?

Categories
Marriage

Lessons I’ve Learned In Marriage

On March 2nd, my husband and I celebrated our 14th wedding anniversary! I’m so thankful for my wonderful husband and God’s faithfulness throughout our marriage. To find someone to love and loves you back is truly an amazing thing — especially when he chooses to love you even at your worst.

As in all marriages, there are highs and lows. I wouldn’t change a single second of it for I have grown as a person and in my faith through our relationship. However, I wanted to share with you two lessons that I have learned in my marriage:

1. He shouldn’t be my everything. Walter is my best friend, my confidant, and I love just being in the same room as him. It’s romantic to say that “he’s my everything” (which in many ways he is), however, I don’t expect him to be my everything. It’s an unfair pressure to put on him. My husband needs to be able to hang with his friends and talk with them without constantly worrying about me. And I need to have people that I can be with as well. When our shelter-in-place happened last March, I was totally content — I’m an introvert and I got to spend my time with the people most important to me. I would be completely happy only hanging out with my husband every single day, but that doesn’t mean that’s all I should do. God designed us to have relationships with others and even though I struggle with idea of female relationships, I’m learning that there is a place for them and that I need them in my life as well.

2. He doesn’t define my worth. My husband and I are two imperfect sinners that are able to love each other and live together by the grace of God. My husband gets to see both the best and worst of me…and sometimes we are quicker to point out where the other one is lacking and forget to point out the good things. My worth isn’t defined by my husband or any one else. My worth is defined by God. When I remember that, I find myself less defensive to criticism and open to improvement…knowing that he loves me still.

I thank God every day for giving me Walter and I pray that the Lord would continue to work in my heart and teach me how I can love my husband more each and every day.

Categories
Goals Health and Wellness

You Don’t Have to Be The Best

I’m a recovering competitor and perfectionist…two things that don’t always go well together. 

I’ve always been an athlete and was above average in most sports growing up. However, because I’m so competitive, all I could see was everyone who was better than me. And because I was a perfectionist, I aligned that with never thinking I was good enough. In my mind, if I wasn’t the best, I clearly wasn’t a good player. At that time, I didn’t realize that was my thinking pattern…I just never really saw my talent. But looking back now, I see how it all connected. 

My dad was a constant encouragement to me and would tell me all the time what a great player I was (while also being honest about where I could improve), but it never made a difference. I simply didn’t believe I was as good as he (or the stats) said. And because of it, I gave up on my favorite sport when I was 15 and later wished I could go back and make a different decision.

Perhaps you are a little bit that way as well…especially when it comes to wellness. You see the slim people in magazines and think that you would never be able to look that way, so why try? (As I say all the time, what’s on the outside doesn’t always reflect the health level on the inside…) Or you see people your age running marathons and you feel bad about your two mile walk and just want to give up. 

Here’s the truth in life…you will never be the best at ANYTHING. There will always be someone better than you. You don’t have to BE the best to succeed in life and reach your goals, but you owe it to yourself to always DO your best.

Let the people who are “better” than you inspire you, but don’t let it defeat you. Determine what your dreams and goals are and work toward them — independent of others dreams and successes. You are capable of great things!

I’m thankful that God has worked in my life and my perfectionist ways — that I am able to show myself grace and see the amazing ways that He has made me and all the gifts He has given me. I don’t want to be the best anymore — because then I have no where to grow.

Categories
Family Goals Health and Wellness

How to Vacation Well

Last week, my family and I escaped the artic chill and snow and headed to Florida! It was sunny with temperatures in the 80s all week — a huge difference from the weather back at home. We spent our time as Universal Studios Orlando (both parks) for five days and loved every moment of it. (As I sit here at home writing this blog post, it is 2 degrees outside and I can feel the winter blues descending…)

After a crazy (and oftentimes, disappointing) pandemic year, it was great to finally be able to vacation and spend time as a family. Yes, we had to wear masks the entire time (which is annoying when you are outside in warm weather), but because of the limited capacity, it wasn’t as crowded and the wait times were so much shorter! Woohoo!

For some people, when they go on vacation, they also see it as a vacation from living a healthy lifestyle. Here’s the thing, you can enjoy all the good things AND be healthy while vacationing…it just takes some planning and discipline.

Here are some tips for staying healthy while on vacation:
1. Focus on moving your body, not getting your best workout ever. 😉 For our trip, I got over 20,000 steps each day walking around the parks, so missing workouts wasn’t a big deal to me. 80% is nutrition and only 20% is exercise — so if I do well with my nutrition, than I’m fine. If you are planning a beach vacation, break up your day with some longer walks to keep your body moving.

2. Pack your supplements! The easiest way to keep your energy up and not get sick while on vacation is to TAKE YOUR SUPPLEMENTS! Vacation is not the time to leave them at home. 😉 I figure out what I need for the time I’m away and then put them all in a ziplock bag so I’m not bringing a bunch of bottles with me (you can also create a MyHealthPak which are pillow packs of vitamins — SUPER easy for travel). 

3. Plan out your dining options. I knew that our dinner would be our nice meal each day and when I would be eating good food, so I made a plan for during the day as we walked the park. I packed healthy low-glycemic snack bars and looked for healthy options at the park. Instead of getting a meal with fries, I would get a snack of hummus, carrots, celery, and pita bread (it was really filling and cost half as much as the meal!). I also made sure to drink plenty of water throughout the day. When it came time for dinner, I was able to enjoy some amazing food guilt-free. 

4. Take time to breathe, pray, read, etc. I made sure that I was up first each day so that I could have time to breathe and pray before heading out for the day. Some days were better than others, but it’s important to still care for yourself and your mental health.

I hope that this year will give you the opportunity to take a break and get a vacation or two. 🙂 And, hopefully, this tips will help you keep to your health and wellness goals when you go.

But most importantly…

Enjoy the trip and don’t beat yourself up if you eat a lot of junk! Just jump back on that wellness train when the vacation is over. (I’ll be here to help you!)

Categories
Faith Family Health and Wellness Self-care

Honestly…

I’ve been thinking a lot about honesty lately, specifically in relationships. For the most part, I consider myself an honest person. When I worked in retail, my customers appreciated that I would give them honest feedback and let them know if something worked for them, instead of just trying to make a sale. I joke around that if you give me a just a little alcohol, you will be sure to know my opinions about any and everything. 😉 However, when it comes to people who are close to me, I have a harder time being honest.

I can be honest when it doesn’t matter — even when it is with people I consider my friends. I think because there isn’t as much at stake — if they judge me, get mad, or walk away, it doesn’t really matter. I know that I was honest and I can move on in my life. 

However, with those closest to me, I’m careful to keep things close to me and compartmentalize instead to sharing how I honestly feel. There’s way more at stake. Yes, I know that the people closest to me should be and are the ones who won’t walk away or leave me, but I clearly struggle with trust.

One of the things that I am working on this year is being more honest with people — those closest to me included — and sharing when I am disappointed or hurt, etc. See, I’m also a people pleaser and want everyone to be happy (that’s a whole other post about how I need to let people feel…), so even when I feel rejected or hurt, I tell people that it’s okay and move on. But by doing so and not being honest, people don’t see how I value them and our time spent together. Clearly, if they mattered, it would bother me.

So, if you have known me for years, be aware that I’m going to be more honest with you. Yes, life happens, so if you cancel a lunch date, I’ll understand, but I’m also going to let you know that I was looking forward to hanging with you and adjusted my schedule so we could spend time together — not to make you feel bad, but to let you know that you are valued…and maybe I won’t be the person that you know you can always cancel on. 😉

My quest to be more honest has already lead to some tough conversations with people closest to me. You know what? They still love me. They didn’t walk away. 

How about you? Are you good at being honest with people when it really counts? Who do you need to be more honest with today?