6 Easy Ways to Boost Your Quality of Life

Are you satisfied with the overall quality of your life today?  I was unhappy with how I felt most of the time – frustrated and tired.

As a mom to four sons and small business owner It seemed the harder I worked the more behind I was. Fatigue set in by the middle of the day.  I still had a “second shift” when my older sons came home from school. From this point on we had sports practices, homework, dinner. This was ongoing. I was not in a good place during this time.

My life quality improved when I was introduced to some practical and emotional tools showing me a simple effective way to manage and get ahead.

Gradually I became more productive, was less stressed and tired! I no longer felt like a hamster on a wheel every day!

The changes I made were small and doable. A big one for me was learning why and how to create a simple morning routine. With this in place, mornings went from chaos to calm.

Here are 6 simple tips you can take to gain more time, ease daily stress and improve your quality of your life!

  1. Become a student of cultivating gratitude. Practicing thankfulness and appreciation is a game changer and available to everyone.
  2. Get outdoors in nature. Being outdoors in a natural setting whether urban or on a hiking trail puts you in touch with yourself and has a therapeutic benefit of stress release as you are enjoying your natural surroundings!
  3. Hydrate. We are 70% water; we need to maintain hydration to feel healthier and balanced. Keep a personal water bottle with you at all times so you’ll remember to hydrate throughout your day. Staying well-hydrated fights fatigue and decreases hunger.
  4. Eat more fresh fruits and veggies. A diet with fresh fruits and veggies eaten daily feeds your body with vitamins, minerals, fiber and more energy!
  5. Move. Take 10,000 steps daily. Never has there been so much compelling evidence at our disposal that daily physical movement is good for brain health, can lower high blood pressure, cholesterol and decrease some cancers. yet we have become even more sedentary due to being overworked and allowing old life habits to take over.
  6. Cultivate an AM or PM routine. You choose the elements that matter to you as you begin and end your day with a consistent self-care routine. When I cultivated an am routine a key element was waking and getting out of bed early in the morning so I could have time to care for myself before my school-age sons needed to wake up and start their preschool  day. When I took care of myself with my easy AM routine not only did my day go smoothly but our entire household went from morning chaos to calm!

I challenge you to choose a tip from this easy list and observe what results you gained and noticed by taking action! Leave me a comment.

Nancy!

5 Exercise Fun Facts!

“Exercise is amazing, from the inside out. I feel so alive and have more energy.”   

Vanessa Hudgens

 

Back in the day, I viewed exercise as a chore on my to-do list. I didn’t know about the “fun facts”  I worked too much and slept too little. I had no margin in my life for extra “fun” Exercise certainly didn’t make the cut!  

Absent from my mindset was this fact:

Exercise can be fun, motivating, inspiring stress releasing – all of the above. I didn’t have this vantage point and stayed in “exercise is a chore and too much work mode.”

I didn’t feel I needed to exercise because I always received compliments that I looked like a runner due to my body type. I could not even run down the street and back without coughing up a lung and break a sweat due to being so out of shape: in all areas – cardo, muscle, and tone.

A light bulb reality moment took place as a college student knocking me squarely back in reality.

In a forced College Wellness class I was required to know my body type which included being hydrostatically weighed. The results were astounding, but not in a good way.   I didn’t know back then what BMI was. I found out that day. The number was not in my favor. You see… as a result of never doing anything my BMI was a whopping 28%.  my body weight was 120.  Not good and not healthy. I was advised to get moving immediately.

That day marked my foray into trying different fitness classes and even included using walking as a means of exercising!

I discovered that walking was enjoyable and fun and to this day I enjoy a daily walk and lots of hiking.

Fast forward years later… I ‘ve found the fun in exercise!

This didn’t happen overnight but it did happen through intentional effort and being interested to try new classes and types of exercise.  Today my happy places are walking/hiking and yoga classes both in the studio and home!  I’ve learned from my own journey and in the fitness community that without the fun factor exercise won’t make it into your life as part of who you are.

How do you find and claim your fun!  Start small: one class and one type of exercise at a time.

Be curious and interested in finding something that appeals to you and makes you want to go back a second, third to become a regular!

Here is a motivating and true story!

My two friends Angela and Anna were sedentary, overweight and extremely busy moms running their households while working outside the home.  The exercise was the last thing they wanted to do with any downtime!  I came to know them as first-time class takers in classes I lead our local gym.  They showed up to see if exercise was even something they could being unsure and uncertain if this was even possible.

I’m happy to share that from this uncertain and unknown path both ladies found their fun. Angela through bodybuilding and kickboxing. She is a personal trainer and group fitness instructor motivating many. Anna is a 7x a week workout winner. She found her fun, her community, and place as a  group fitness cardio dance class taker.  She shares her story with love on social media daily.

The common ground here…. Fun!

I think as whole… we miss out on taking care of our physical bodies more often than not because of the fun piece. We need to feed our soul and spirit with joy while feeding our bodies with exercise.

Both physical and emotional need to be in sync or the doing of exercise just won’t get done without this element!

 

5 exercise fun facts:

 

1.Bring on the tunes. Create your playlist and get carried away and through your workout. Music makes exercise fun, motivational and time goes by faster!

2.Exercise is more than physical exertion and a sweat fest. Its a solo and social connector that goes beyond the physical into positive emotional vibes felt long after the workout has ended.

3. Exercise is linked to better Sex!  When you get moving your body releases some feel-good hormones that lift your mood and as you get into your workout you not only feel better but become more toned and fit!

4. Exercise is “anti-aging” When you sweat and get your glow on consistently through life, your body reaps the rewards with stronger bones, muscles, and energy to do more!. My fitness friend Janeth at age 84 takes 2 of my classes back to back. I asked her what her “secret” is. She told me – “I have always been consistently active as a runner, and class taker.  This is my daily dose of fun!”

5. Eat up!  ( don’t go crazy…)  Exercise burns calories and fat while … increasing muscle which… in turn, burns more calories than a pound of fat!  Bonus!  Even when your workout is complete your body will continue to burn calories.

You’ve got this! I hope this gets you thinking and moving.  Please leave a comment about your fun go to exercise and why this is yours!

 

6 Practical Steps For Mindful Eating

 

Have you heard of “mindful eating”? It’s a lifestyle “buzzword” that seems to be everywhere right now. “Be mindful!” and “Live in the moment with mindfulness!” are phrases I’ve heard many times.

But if you’re not at all familiar with this practice, or mindfulness itself, how can you seek to become “mindful” in how you live your life? And is it something worth pursuing?  

 

-This is what I know:-

 

Mindful eating is a vital part of living who you were meant to be, in every aspect of your life.

 

Your relationship to what you eat is a doorway through deeper change and growth both felt and known in many areas of your life including – work, relationships, exercise and personal interests!

 

For most of my life, I ate mindlessly – as an afterthought.

 

Eating on the run, in the car, on the phone, on the way out the door. Late night food runs as a college student for junk food/fast food.

 

I rewarded my hard work as a mom to four sons by indulging nightly in a large chocolate bar loaded down with peanut butter, then went off to bed with this sitting on my stomach.

 

I didn’t know what I didn’t know – that food was my emotional rescue from a hard day, a social gift shared indulging with friends and family.

 

And at times the food was also a punishment when I ate little to nothing to make up for an eating bender while filled with self-loathing.  All of this as I later learned was mindless, emotional eating.  

 

What initiated change for me was the experience of practicing yoga.

Slowly over time as I learned yoga both physically and mentalluy, I also learned what it felt like to be and become mindful and this included eating!I was introduced to myself and my place both on the mat while in class and how to live my life more thoughtfully and compassionately in each day.

 

I didn’t wake up one day from being mindless to mindful. This was a journey with setbacks and growth to where I am today – comfortable with food and healthier as a result inside and out!

 

Food and mindless impulses no longer affect me. As a result, I know what I eat, how much and if there are emotional triggers. I enjoy what I eat instead of being controlled by impulses and “life events”  In a word  – balance!

 

Here are some Mindful Eating FAQ’s

 

What is “mindful eating”?

 

It’s a practice that involves tuning into your thoughts, feelings, and physical sensations, -without judgment

while you are eating.

 

Do any of these sound familiar?

  • “I shouldn’t eat this.”
  • “Here I go again.”
  • “I have no willpower.”  

 

When you eat with mindfulness, you leave those judgments at the door. You choose to be thoughtfully involved with what you are eating right now – physically and emotionally.

 

The benefits of eating mindfully include you having a positive relationship with food as good  for you and enjoyable! Being mindful with what, how much and why you are eating… will put you in control instead of being controlled or unaware that you ate. Your attention actually increases with mindfulness in the moment which over time gives you the ability to focus and see greater productivity in all areas of your life. You may even lose weight and increase your nutrition “know how” if this is something on your radar!

Where are you in the spectrum of food and your life?

 

Where you are is where you are. Because becoming a mindful eater was so impactful to me, I want this for you as well. With many things out of our control…  It is in our control of what we put in our mouths and the ability to be compassionately mindful when we are eating!

 

Many of us today have overpacked our daily life with lots of multitasking which excludes time to eat slowly and restfully, which causes us to eat on the run in a state of stress—not tasting, noticing or remembering what we ate or how much. This is bad news for our bodies and minds.  

 

Sadly most of us are well schooled in the art of mindless eating. Too much food eaten too fast, or eaten on the run… followed by a sense that you’ve received no felt enjoyment and even worse, no recall of what you actually ate!  Sound familiar?  

 

6 mindful eating steps to try now!

 

  • Start Slow: Start slowly by noticing your eating patterns with one meal daily.  Just notice without any judgment so you can learn and see your eating patterns.

 

  • Press Pause: Before considering a meal or snack, take a few seconds to ponder whether or not you are truly hungry. You’ll be less likely to misinterpret sensations like tiredness, or emotions such as anxiety as true hunger.

 

  • Chew your food: Too many of us eat our meals/snacks on autopilot or on the go. Learning to eat at a slower pace is a key practice of mindful eating. Chew – slow down – notice what your food tastes like, feels like!

 

  • Unplug: Watching TV or thumbing through your smartphone while eating is the opposite of mindful eating. Eating this way distracts your mind and does not give your brain a chance to register pleasure from what is in your mouth or that you’ve had enough to eat. Give yourself permission to sit and savor what you are eating.

 

  • Be Compassionate: Do this for yourself! The practice of mindful eating is about taking pleasure in food. Don’t beat yourself up if you’ve downed a pint of ice cream or polished off whatever this is for you. The more you beat yourself up for eating foods that you’ve labeled “off limits” or think you’re overeating, the more stress you will have which will actually induce you to eat more!

 

  • Reflect: Take time quietly to reflect what your eating patterns look like. It can be helpful when starting out to write these down in a journal or smartphone app if this is helpful.  Common eating patterns include ( but are not limited to): eating in response to stress, boredom, sadness, and social events.

 

As you bring in all or some of these tips you will find yourself stressing less and savoring more as you become a mindful eating master!  

 

How to find your purpose!

 

“If you’re alive, there’s a purpose for your life.”

Rick Warren

 

Have you ever gone through a season of discontent with what you are doing in your career and life in general?  

What is a purpose and what is my purpose?  Is this question murky or vague at best? Without a sense of purpose, life is like that of a plastic bag drifting aimlessly in the wind.  Purpose, on the other hand, when known, is an anchor.

To me ..  learning how to find my purpose set me up and moved me from being a passenger in my life to a driver.

having a purpose-filled life is one that while flexible is strong and rooted at the center of who you and I are.

Whether you’ve have lost the way in the midst of getting everything done for family, career and daily life chores or know there is something else out there for you – your sense of being and purpose lie within you, it’s always been within.  It just needs your time and care to uncover this!

When I was asked this question a few years back  I was stumped as a deer in headlights.  Nothing came to me.  I filled in the blank space with life labels—wife, mom, daughter, sister, friend, professional fitness instructor, health, and wellness coach— to signify what I thought I  could identify as my purpose.  

To be truthful I had no idea. My labels sounded meaningful and purposeful but didn’t cut to the core of who I was in my own space. Not the space of my life at this time. Busy mom to 4 sons, online business owner, group fitness instructor. These were things I did and took satisfaction in doing and being. But when I spent time drilling down I came to realize these labels were not who I was nor did they point me to my purpose.

My identity crisis was in full swing now! This was a good thing as I was actually processing and seeking out my why and who. I realized as I began this process that I wanted to be immersed in the life I was given to live and share abundantly where I was planted.

Finding my purpose began with recognition of a feeling that something was missing and untapped.  I noticed and felt out of touch with who I was and wanted to know what this “out of touch” was, and why. I sat with this thought not knowing where to begin.

A friend gave me a self-help book and from here I began reading many personal development and self-help articles and books by the likes of Martha Beck, Tony Robbins, Brendon Burchard, and Dr. Wayne Dyer, and I began personally working with a life and wellness coach who pushed me on and through my “stuff” into who I am today!

What came through loud and clear as I dug more deeply into the mud and pain was this: I am a connector of people to themselves.

Yoga while deeply personal to me, led me to my purpose of owning that I am a natural connector, motivator, supporter, and collaborator of people to find and own who they are at their core so they can achieve what they’re meant to in their lives!  Eureka!

When you come to know and understand your purpose your feet stay grounded as natural growth occurs! 

If you’re  struggling to get started read and reflect on these questions now. Start with the one that stands out and stay here to ponder and listen what comes up!

Use these questions to get started now!

I recommend journaling with some of these questions.

  • What am I good at?
  • What excites me?
  • What difference do I want to make?
  • What are my strengths?
  • What do I feel are my gifts?
  • What makes me feel drained/fatigued/depleted?
  • What activities/tasks/jobs give me energy?

For some of you, this may be clear and these questions may be a catalyst for deeper growth. For others, these questions may cause you to come to a halt and want to walk away. Don’t!

The process of “how to find your purpose” is… a process! When you shift from not knowing to living this.. a whole new way of opening up and what you initially thought of as blah or ordinary is now who you truly are and what you are meant to do.

Why practicing silence is key to self-care

“Silence is a true friend who never betrays.”  Confucius

 

Silence and the power of this was an unknown to me for many years. I was fully immersed in the busyness of life and allowed life to dictate who I needed to be and what to do using this as a covering for who I was.  Noise prevailed and silence went missing! What came into my life overtime was the importance of practicing silence as a key to self-care.

I wore many hats: stay at home mom to 4 sons under the age of 11, wife of a never home music producer and an online business owner.   “silence and being still”  wasn’t even on the radar of my being at a time when “silence” was most needed at the very depth of who I was and how I was l being asked to live.

 

I didn’t realize it then but my constant state of doing and supervising and talking and thinking and “resting” in front of the noise of a few fav TV shows was slowly wearing on my emotional well being.  How quickly I fell into victim thinking mode and being easily frustrated when something happened to me or in our household that was out of the normal. My son missing the bus sent me spinning and blaming because now I had to get in the car and drive him to school spending an additional 25 minutes.  I was involved in the noise, not the beauty of what could have been – a connecting time in the car alone with my son simply being an understanding mom!

I guess the simple answer is I didn’t know what I didn’t know and as a result kept going at my life receiving the same results in ever increasing amounts of frustration, fatigue and constant state of emotional chatter of would’ve, should’ve, why me thinking.  I was reacting and moving mindlessly in those early days. The chatter in my mind only increased and outwardly I appeared nervous/edgy.  

 

I recall my loving mom who worked for years as an elementary school teacher, now retired,  telling me I looked tired and acted agitated as if always “on.”

I’ll never forget her words:  “ Sit and do nothing, just be quiet, it’s ok”   Nothing is going to happen when you take a much-needed break to rest. It will all be here waiting for you whether you’re calm or chaotic and nervous.”

Initially, her words actually had the opposite effect on me that now I need to cover up and actually do more so I could relax in my frenzied accomplishments to look as if I had it all together on the outside!  

 

Overnight (not really!) ……  change happened. I was introduced to what has now become a cornerstone of my life – silence and the beginning of mindfulness.

 

As a first-time yoga class taker I was introduced to “savasana”  – a simple state of  resting once class has come to its natural ending –  done seated or lying on the mat)  

The moment wasn’t initially transformative or life-changing. However, I went back to that class many more times and in each class at the end, I was given permission to just to be still and silent.

 silent life takeaways:

It was in being silent and still that change had a chance to occur and the door opened for me to step forward into more felt and authentic self-care. using silence as a foundation of learning and growth! The simple care act of being silent and still was a teacher of a life practice – mindfulness.

Now almost daily I practice silence/stillness and quiet at the beginning of each day. I can’t imagine my morning routine without this key care piece.  I’m calmer and focused. The frustration and state of agitation always present within are gone for the most part and I’m more relaxed, at ease and present to all that is happening in the day to day of my life and world.

 

Why practice silence for self-care?

  • Silence relieves stress and tension and helps you refresh and refocus.
  • Silence replenishes our mental resources
  • Silence is healing to both body and mind. Silence can be learned and practiced by everyone no matter how busy, stressed or your personality type!

How do I start if I’ve never truly done this?   

Start little by little easing into this! The easiest way is to simply sit in a comfortable place that is noise free/distraction free and give yourself permission to be where you are at this moment. – quietly.  Although it seems counter-intuitive  – you can set a timer on your smartphone for at least  3- 5 minutes and gradually increase the time. Next – open up to what I call “kind space” allowing yourself to be still and quiet. Notice what comes up without becoming wrapped up in that thought  – move through it back into quiet. Notice and focus on your felt breathing pattern – actual inhalations and exhalations. That’s it. No need to overthink, just be present where you are and what you are becoming:    – a student of learning and mastering the life skill of being silent.

The essence of resting

 

“Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes….including you.” Ann Lamott

 

The essence of resting is …  taking personal meaningful rest from day to day things in your own life such as career, family and life events those known and unexpected.

Rest is defined in the dictionary as: (Verb:) cease work or movement in order to relax, refresh oneself or recover strength.(Noun): an instance or period of relaxing or ceasing to engage in a strenuous or stressful activity.

Common synonyms for “rest’  include: repose,relaxation,leisure,respite, time off,breathing space,downtime,unbend,unwind,recharge, ease up/off, let up,slow down.

 

I think our culture today sees rest as a great, good, noble “thing” to have and do, but in the quest of our frenzied culture distracting us…. asking more and more of us  – rest is placed on the never-ending to-do list when everything else is done. It seems that only a  few of us are truly able to settle down for a rest in our results-oriented distracted world. Rest is revered as a pursuit and goal but doing and incorporating this into daily and weekly life is out of reach for so many.

Unfortunately, our hectic pace is causing damage to our quality of life. We are destroying every sense of our being ( body, mind, and spirit)

The result? Stress, overwhelm, fatigue, nervousness, guilt, tired to name a few.  Do you see yourself in this? Maybe not all the time but perhaps at one time or another or for a season due to work, family or unexpected.

 

Rest isn’t just for those who are lucky enough to be able to take a “break”  or for those who have it all together, it is essential for everyone to simply renew and recharge body, mind, and spirit.

Somewhere along the way, we’ve lost the way to the essence of rest. 

The essence of rest/resting when practiced allows us to take a step back from all that is taking place now and to evaluate the status of our lives as well as to identify our values and determine if our life is being lived for our personal values and what matters to us.

What does lack of or a need for resting look and feel like?  

Signs include and are not limited to: literally feeling exhausted and tired the majority of the time, easily angered, irritable, overwhelmed, unable to focus, having little to no energy to complete what is asked of you in your day to day, and always feeling behind or never caught up.

Why the need for rest physical and mental rest?

Rest is essential to our physical health. When our bodies are deprived of sleep and full of stress overtime it is unable to rebuild and recharge itself adequately which opens the door to what can be significant health problems such as weight gain, and insomnia, high blood pressure and in some cases depression and heightened anxiety.

 

Resting reduces stress by moving us out of the physical and emotional situation of what is and acts as a reset or recharge button to our bodies and minds.

The essence of rest and becoming restful starts from within you.  It is a personal journey of you noticing  – being actively mindful of what is going on and compassionately asking what does this mean to me? What am I being directed to do with these emotional or physical sensations felt in my body and mind?

Here is a “mini-primer” on how to think and incorporate intentional rest in your day to day.  Go slowly with this and as you make small changes overtime rest will become a daily and or weekly behavior interwoven in the fabric of your life instead of an occasional planned event or bucket list item!

 

  • Look for contentment in your current life today – One big reason many of us are not able to gather in the essence of rest is that we are always on action mode always looking ahead of where we are and wanting and seeking more than what is at hand today. Just be where you are at today taking off judging and comparing or blame and guilt. Rest in this!
  • Plan your rest!  Planned rest can simply be taking a walk outside during lunch, exercising after work, sitting quietly away from the TV or other electronic devices such as our beloved cell phones. Adding in intentional silence/stillness as a form of meditation at the start or end of your day.
  • Take responsibility for your life – Know this about yourself. No matter what is going on in your life and how busy you are you do have all that you need to bring in a state of rest. No one can do this for you!  Each of us has the ability to do at least one thing daily/weekly/monthly that is personally resting to us.  We are only as busy as we choose to be. Learning to delegate and just kindly saying no is ok!
  • Embrace simplicity –    Gathering and collecting things  – wardrobe, home goods, cars, stuff takes time to keep organized, cleaned maintained which adds on yet another layer or doing. Find and take on a lifestyle that is authentic to you and incorporates your values versus material possessions. Use discernment between want and need.

5 soul drains and 5 energizing solutions

Soul drain is a phrase that implies just as it sounds when read or spoken.  A depletion of emotional and physical energy lost and or given to someone or something.  Anything can be a personal depletion of your energy and resources that you allow in either consciously or unconsciously. Life can become easily unbalanced if someone or something zooms in and becomes an obsession or distraction taking you away from feeling and centered and balanced within your daily life. This soul-draining can be seasonal at a given time or ongoing. I feel that anything or person that I place the majority of my energy, resources, and emotions to whether positive or negative has potential to become draining chronic or acute.

 

5 common soul drains:

  • People – These are not necessarily negative, mean, rude or dominating people but can be happy, upbeat fun to be around positive people who love to talk, visit, share and just be in your presence. Notice how you feel when around the obvious negative, toxic types and around happy, positive types. While it may be obvious that the toxic folks are draining to the core at times even positive, happy best friends become too much of a good thing, therefore, draining you of emotional energy.
  • Toxic people – people who have nothing better to do than let you in on all the not good things going on in their world whether health, career, relationships, finances. Usually, they have a deep need for your presence to dominate time taking the best of you not being able to reciprocate back what they took because they simply can’t or do not care bc they need to be heard and validated or to share their crap to bring you down to their drain site.
  • Busyness –  Busy being busy all the time always on with little to no “down time”  I’m tired just thinking about this.   Career, life, family, relationship obligations taking depleting the finite care resources you have down to the core. The result of busyness is just that depletion. Yes, I agree I feel satisfied when I’m involved and get things done but when I’ve placed too much on my daily and weekly agenda I’m not energized at weeks end but soul drained which leads to classic burnout.
  • Problems of life – Health and medical issues, financial issues, conflict in work,  family and relationship issues. Each and every one of these has the power like no other to temporarily and permanently drain us to the core.
  • Coveting – Never enough mentality. Always wanting to make the next goal be it professional, academic, social, material, life status. A feeling of chasing behind that what we want by choosing to place thought’s, feelings and emotions on what it is we feel we “need” to gain contentment and soul satisfaction. Depleting!

 

 5  soul energizers to set you free

 

This is, of course, my favorite list because in this I have hope and direction to move away and notice that soul drains so I have now had a way to navigate in and through these areas draining to me. Energy returns with the mindful decision to let go and open up to different perspectives and thought patterns. Start by finding a quiet place to be still and silent. In this place with an attitude of compassion for your situation make a note of where you are and using the emotional and practical steps find one or more that resonate with where you currently reside. No judging. In yoga, the term beginner’s mind refers to seeing your situation openly with curiosity about possibilities. You have permission to look without judgment at what could be a good possible fit to meet you now!

 

  • Sleep – Your body needs sleep, just as it needs food and oxygen to function at its best. During sleep, your body heals itself and restores its chemical balance. Your brain makes new connections helps memory retention. Without enough sleep, your brain and body systems won’t function properly. This can dramatically lower the quality of your daily life if ongoing. So give yourself the soul renewal of 6-8 hours quality sleep.
  • Rest – Give your body and soul a literal rest and break from all that is needed to be done with career, family, life and everything else.  Rest can feel like running, walking or hiking or sitting. Rest is giving you access to pause and renew by doing an activity considered by you to be restful and renewing. You do not need to schedule a full day or weekend off if you are time limited, shorter time periods… ( even a mid-day coffee/tea break is rest)  are also great as long as you feel better off emotionally and or physically as a result of taking a break just for you.
  • Reflection – Often we are so busy adding up and monitoring all that is and what could have gone better or what we need to do next we don’t stop to reflect on what has gone well in a season or short time period. Reflections ask you to spend attention on what has not been attended to in order to know and from this learn and grow. The act of practicing gratitude is a form of self-reflection that just feels good and gives wider access to creating a more positive and affirming story!
  • Recreation –  Whether planned or spontaneous doing something for the fun of it that makes you unwind and smile whether an outdoor adventure or family game night, coffee date or a road trip.  This can be planned in advance or done at a moment’s notice. For myself, I’m taking a planned road trip in 2 weeks to one of my favorite places. Just thinking about this road trip makes me smile and feel relaxed.
  • Time – If you feel behind at the beginning the week see this for what it is. You’ve planned far too much either out of necessity for career/ work travel or caregiving. Even amidst what seems out of your control you can pull the reigns in a build in a little self-time before your days kick in, maybe midday or at days end. I found myself crunched for time with 5 solid hours spoken for with teaching fitness classes, attending a virtual meeting, driving my son to soccer practice and then home needing to prepare a quick meal. I was emotionally spent and it was only Monday. With only a small amount of time, I knew what I needed was a time out from doing. Going for a walk in my neighborhood was my go to for renewal, calming and feeling less stressed by taking time out to simply be and process all that had taken place and for more work yet to be done. By honoring myself and need for a break using time off I moved from feeling scattered to calm.

 

You can move from burnout to balance

 

Does burnout and overwhelm make you feel like a plastic bag tossed around by the wind only stopping when caught in a fence, bush, tree or limb?  

Does this bag blown in the wind scenario remind you of your life? I can tell you my life has been like that of the plastic bag carried up and around awkwardly landing in a place not where I wanted to be at all. I constantly felt as if I was chasing after my own life putting out fires and reacting last minute.

Burnout and balance are nice sounding emotional buzz words used to describe states of being internally and externally.

Good News! You can move forward it is totally possible to go from feeling overwhelmed, stressed and overextended due to life obligations that seem out of your control to walking in daily work-life flow even when things seem crazy. In order for any type of action forward movement to occur you need to:

  • Be completely and totally still in the midst of the craziness and spend time in thought and reflection.
  • Take an interpersonal survey of where you are right now – physical health, emotional health, relational health.  
  • Ask yourself a “magic wand” question. –  If I could have one thing right now with my personal life (where I am right now)…. What would this look like and feel like to me as if I were living this today? Start here and notice what comes up for you. Be curious on your behalf!

70% of Americans struggle to find a work-life system of balance that works for them according to the  American Sociological Review.  For many working in and out of the home today.. the idea of having balance is a myth. Technology has created an environment of the 24/7 always on and available. This, in turn, creates a mind never turning off and offers the sensation and feeling of burnout to enter your life as a good friend in the worst possible way.

It is completely possible for you to start with some small easy action steps right now that overnight can bring you some balance. Over time when done with intention your life will change from one of burnout/stress to doable calm and comfort on your terms. I’ve included just three easy thought actions to allow you movement from feeling burned out to feeling balanced!

Here are 3 steps to apply and explore now:

  • Set up work and home boundaries. This can be as easy as setting up start and end times to your workday to include morning and evening rituals. Finding and using an app to allow you access for start and stop times.   Start by recognizing who you truly are and what is important to you and what you value for your work and personal. Write these down on your phone or in a journal
  • Be deliberate. Notice if you are letting life happen. Ask yourself if it is possible for you to make deliberate thought filled choices about what it is you want from life with your career, relationships, how you would like to spend your time.
  • Gather your tribe. People who have achieved work-life balance have a strong support network they can depend upon to get them through their struggles and celebrate their wins. Interestingly they are curious, open and want to experience life to the fullest. Start if you are at ground zero to get curious and interested on your behalf with compassion. Ask yourself what is it that you need and who is in your tribe to help you thrive!

 

 

“Most of us spend too much time on what is urgent and not enough time on what is important.”
Stephen R Covey

Kindness  is self-care in motion

 

“No act of kindness no matter how small is ever wasted”  Aesop

 

Kindness truly is self -care in motion!

This is your first step in allowing the action and thought of bringing in personal self-care to take root and grow.  Simply put – your ability to become your best self-care advocate begins internally with your own thoughts of kindness towards what it is you want and need in your life –   both emotionally and physically. This journey starts with your kind thoughts!

This is your first step in allowing the action and thought of bringing in personal self-care to take root and grow.  Simply put – your ability to become your best self-care advocate begins internally with your own thoughts of kindness towards what it is you want and need in your life –   both emotionally and physically. This journey starts with your kind thoughts!

When I began my journey of seeking to become more physically fit and emotionally fit. I didn’t take action immediately. It took awhile for me to process and slowly realize what I thought was missing and what I could do going forward to find and have these. Before anything… I had to learn to become kind towards myself and my needs. I didn’t have in place then what I do now so the journey was slow and the road had many switchbacks for me to traverse.

Kindness is vital to each one of us no matter race, religion, culture, age, sex, socio economics. It is a basic need that too many of us (myself included) don’t take time to grow and as a result, do unto our own self-let alone others.  

Kindness is strength and the fabric that connects and binds us. In order for us to flourish and grow we need to learn to and or become more kind and loving to our lives so, in turn, others can flourish.

Last year I set an intention to teach my classes and work with my personal clients with open aware kindness towards giving and making their class experience and our time together as full and caring as I could. I choose to learn how to be present from the perspective of teaching the class I would really enjoy receiving from beginning to end and showing up as a private yoga teacher and life coach completely open to them whatever this needed to feel like and be on their behalf.

Here are the “results”:  My classes doubled and my clients extended their private sessions continuing on.  My kindness towards them opened up their ability to grow and I received back more kindness as a result of what I placed in my group classes and with private one to one sessions.  

Kindness makes magic happen in your life! When you do nice things for people, it has a ripple effect; they feel inspired to do something kind for other people.

Start with your self first by taking a moment or more of silence in a quiet space to ask what kind service can I give myself today. This may be an affirmation such as “ I am loved or I have everything I need to succeed. This may be acknowledging that you are tired and need to take a break or you need to say no to something because you are over booked, whatever this means to you!

Here is my kindness gift to you. A simple guide for you to have as a tool for your life and to share with others:

Titled –  The Kindness Scale.  ( Here is the original source and from where this guide has come:)

“The Kindness Scale” is taken from a book I purchased titled “Clear” Living the Life You Didn’t Dream Of”.   Author: Herman J. Williams, MD (what an amazing personal story that is very inspiring!)   As a result of all he has been through he created a chart among other teachings, of being kind along with other ways to living with kindness and full attention!  Buy the book!!)

 

The Kindness Scale:

Level 1:  Use basic gestures

  • Smile
  • Say Hello to a stranger
  • Ask someone who appears in need how they are doing
  • Inquire about a loved one
  • Compliment someone

Level 2:  Take Simple Actions

  • Offer to put a bag in the overhead bin on an airplane.
  • Open a door for a stranger.
  • Send an “I appreciate you” letter to a friend or colleague.
  • When appropriate, use a gentle, comforting touch on the shoulder.
  • Have a positive/funny spontaneous conversation with a stranger.

Level 3:  Take Involved Actions

  • Use your clout to help someone.
  • Clean up someone else’s mess.
  • Visit someone in the hospital.
  • Pay for someone’s coffee without their knowledge.
  • Call your parents daily.
  • Tell your spouse and kids you love them every day.

Level 4  Put Yourself  at Risk

  • Perform CPR.
  • Donate an Organ.

Use the list as a starting point and create your own personal acts of kindness towards others as meaningful to you. 

Bring on yoga for an easy to do self care gift to you!

 

(Pictured here is my yoga student and her dog who tried yoga for the first time here!)

I remember fondly my first yoga class experience. Unknown to me was that at the time I gave myself a “gift” called self-care.  It wasn’t the all-over workout nor the teacher who taught but the emotions that came up and a sense that I received something really good. This  ( yoga class) was something so much needed by my body and mind and so touching to my spirit I softly cried during savasana at the end of class. This experience was truly what I consider a “self-care” first. What made it so was my emotional and physical place after class was over. I felt nourished and better now than prior to taking a class.  Yoga from that point on was my go to for  what I would later learn the terminology – holistic self-care –   Yoga worked  in unison on my innermost self ( thoughts, feelings and emotions  and outer physical self (muscles, bones, and connective tissue)

 

Yoga provides easy access to anyone and can be practiced just as easily in the comfort of your home as in a class setting or elsewhere. More time is best but even 10 minutes is good. LIttle by little over time done consistently will give you access to more flexibility, less stress, better ability to handle and deal with intimate, professional and your own relationship with yourself.

 

I encourage you on your path and journey to finding a time and taking care of your-self to try a yoga class outside your home or in the comfort of your home. YouTube offers a nice variety of beginner’s easy classes ranging in length from 10 minutes and over 60 minutes.  I lead several yoga classes weekly on many levels from private one to one, corporate yoga and group fitness yoga through my local parks and recreation district. My “best students” are to me not those who arrive looking fit and toned nor those who easily master the yoga asanas, but those who simply come as a rookie first timer and show up doing yoga where they are now and returning to class again and again!  

 

Self Care is a holistic process of trying new things related to your physical body, need for rest or relaxation, laughter and innermost thoughts, feelings and mental state.

  • Yoga increases physical, emotional and spiritual wellness and brings about a certain peace.

 

  • Yoga, breathing exercises and meditation can reduce stress, promote healing and enhance the quality of life/self-care.

 

  • Yoga encourages the student to slow down and focus on the present which in turns lessens stress and mental chaos and in its place a more open and relaxed mind and mental state

 

  • Research suggests that yoga can produce an invigorating effect on mental and physical energy that improves fitness and reduces fatigue. Improved flexibility is one of the first and most obvious benefits of yoga!

 

  • Bonus:! when practicing yoga, a fundamental emphasis is placed on accepting one’s moment-to-moment experiences creating mindfulness and not forcing the body past comfortable limits. Having this healthy sense of acceptance is especially important for each of us in the day to day of our lives.

 

With continued practice comes a gradual loosening of the muscles and connective tissues surrounding the bones and joints become more flexible giving a greater range of motion in the body; this is thought to be one reason that yoga is associated with reduced aches and pains. Yoga helps to build muscle mass and/ or maintain muscle strength, which protects from conditions such as arthritis, osteoporosis and back pain.

 

A yoga home or anywhere mini practice for you!

Breathing:

Begin seated in a comfortable place. Close your eyes and take a moment to notice how your body is feeling right now without any judgment needed.  Quietly scan your thoughts, feelings, and emotions noticing without judgment the quality of your mind. Begin to slowly inhale from deeper in the belly traveling your breath all the way up to the top of your head and softly with equal length exhale the breath back to the belly. Repeat breathing pattern five times or more if you like!

Cat/Cow Pose:

Start on the floor on your hands and knees in a tabletop pose. If you have a mat or large towel or carpet use this for  your cat/cow as the floor may be too hard for your knees and hands.  

 From (table top) Take an inhale through the nose as you flex your spine gently reaching back through your tailbone and forward with a slightly arched /swayed back. Exhaling, press both hands into the floor as you round your spine while moving your chin in the direction of your chest. Repeat this three times or more.  Come to sit in an easy crossed legged seat or with legs straight. Pause quietly enjoying any noticed physical opening in your body and a calmer mind!

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 Nashville,Tn.
email: Nancy@nancystevenscoaching.com

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” The more you praise and celebrate your life, the more there is in life to celebrate.” 

 – Oprah Winfrey

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