Fitness, Lifestyle, Mental Health, Motivational, Wellness

How to Maintain Mental Space When You’re Overloaded

In today’s fast-paced world & instant access to almost anything we could possibly ever want, our minds are being constantly crammed with all kinds of knowledge & information. These aren’t inherenly bad or evil — it’s nice to know the latest score on the game within seconds or to find the best 5-star restaurant on a whim.

What happens is that we start to experience “Information Overload.” You know the feeling – having information pumped at you from a firehose instead of a garden hose. It doesn’t have to be information, either. The feeling can come from stress (having several projects going at once) or emotions (all the feels hitting at the same time.)

You’re feeling defeated.

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We’re not superhuman

If only you could find some space to just breath.

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A few deep breaths can calm the body.

You can! And it’s easy to do – whether you’ve got 5 minutes or 5 hours.

Here are my top 2 ways to maintain mental space when I feel overwhelmed.

1. BREATHE MEDITATIVELY

We take our breath for granted b/c it’s something we don’t have to think about. However, taking a few moment to do meditative breathing can help maintain mental space. Here’s how to do it:

Sit in your chair, back straight, feet firmly on the floor. Your left hand is on your belly button, and your right hand is above it on your diaphragm. Close your eyes and breathe in deeply, filling your lungs completely, then exhale slowly, emptying your lungs. Do this for up to 5 minutes.

2. REMOVE YOURSELF

Sometimes, the best thing to do is to remove yourself from the overloading factor. For instance, you’ve been working hard on a project when you start to feel overwhelmed…or it’s not going the way you want it to go. Stop working on it and move on to another less-stressful task. If possible, go outside for some fresh air. If that’s not an option immediately, do it as soon as possible. It’s amazing what that can do for mental space!

 

I find these to be the most beneficial ways for maintaining mental space.

What is your favorite way?

Fitness, Lifestyle, Mental Health, Motivational, Wellness

What To Do When Negative Self-Talk Hits

You’re going along, living your life, and feeling pretty good about it when – BAM! A negative thought weasels its way into your brain, triggering a downward spiral of negative self-talk. Now, you feel hopelessly lost in the sea of negativity.

What do you do?

Before I dive into that, I want to talk about what negative self-talk or negative thoughts look possibly like.

Negative thinking is a thought process where people tend to find the worst in everything, or reduce their expectations by considering the worst possible scenarios. This approach can allay disappointment in some situations; but, negative thinking tends to manifest into a pattern that can cause tremendous stress, worry, or sadness over time. (Source)

You’re having a good day – all the lights were green when you were running late; the cake you were making turns out perfectly. Then it happens – someone makes an offhand comment that wasn’t intended to be negative; the icing for the cake doesn’t spread right. That’s when the first thought pops up. “This doesn’t look as pretty as I want it to.” Then it begets another thought. “It’s not right.” Then that snowballs into an avalanche of negativity. “I can do nothing right. I’m such a loser. Nobody likes me.”

The spiral has started.

Now what?

Here are 3 strategies I use to “talk back” to the negative self-talk.

1. Say “No.”

Tell that negative voice “No, that’s not true” because the reality is that you are not what your thoughts say you are. (“Stupid” is a common thought.) The situation is whatever. (“That was a stupid decision” vs “I’m such a stupid person.”)

2. Practice Mindfulness

Mindfulness in its totality has to do with the quality of awareness that a person brings to everyday living. Learning to control your mind, rather than letting your mind control you. Mindfulness is the process of observing, describing, and participating in reality in a non-judmental manner, in the moment and with effectiveness.

Take a moment to Observe, Describe, and Particpate. Take a walk and be in the moment. Don’t fret over the future or the past. Be aware of your feeling about where you are (e.g. a park, a neighborhood, etc.), or your thoughts about your location, or the sensation of each foot striking the ground.

You can practice mindfulness anywhere you are just by showing up in the moment and observing, describing, and participating. And don’t worry if it “doesn’t work” the first time. It is a practice, after all.

3. Radically Accept

What does it mean to “Radically Accept”? It means that your acceptance is complete and total. It means that acceptance is in the mind, heart, and body. It’s when you stop fighting reality, stop throwing tantrums b/c reality isn’t going the way you want it to go, and start letting go of bitterness.

Here is what to be accepted:

  • Reality is as it is
  • There are realistic limitations on the future for everyone
  • Everything has a cause
  • Life can be worth living even with painful events in it.

One big reason to accept reality is that the path out of hell is through misery. By refusing to accept that fact, you fall back into hell.

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Name the show. 🙂

Don’t get discouraged if the “magic of positivity” doesn’t work the first time you practice it. I have been practicing these skills – and many others – for over a year now and still have times where the magic doesn’t happen.

Life, Mental Health, Motivational, Wellness

When I Feel (A Glimpse of My Life)

These days, there are plenty of things that will drag your spirit down – social media comparison, decisions being made beyond your control, economic downturn…just to name a few. Some people can just trot right on with their lives as though these things don’t bother them at all. Other people get down-right depressed. Still others are somewhere in the middle.

It’s those people who, in my opinion, have it the hardest emotionally. Now, don’t get me wrong – being depressed is no picnic in the park, and neither is being the only “happy” person in your circle of influence. However, at least those people know just where they are emotionally.

Being a person with Borderline Personality Disorder, I know what it’s like to be in the middle – not knowing exactly how I feel from one minute to the next. And when I do feel, having that emotion be so intense that it all but consumes me and not being able to just acknowledge then release all in one fell swoop.

So, how do I deal with it?

I could say that I do a really quick meditation or visualization in which I see my trigger floating away down the stream or float up into oblivion on a cloud, but I’d be lying. The truth is that I shut down (which, in clinical terms, is “dissociate”). I retreat far into myself where nobody can reach me – “zone out” if you will. What can’t be seen is the war going on in my head to “snap out of it,” to deal with the situation in a more positive manner.

I hate the fact that I feel emotions so much more intensely than others in my immediate circle. I hate the fact that I can’t seem to live a “normal” life – a life free of such intenseness. (Is that even a word?) I try so hard to see a positive to this, but all I see is negative.

It’s a daily struggle – a struggle that I grow weary of fighting. But fight I do for it’s all I know to do. I am very thankful to my support system who love me no matter which aspect of my true self is showing up. I am very blessed to have the kind of husband who takes his wedding vows seriously – “for better or worse til death do us part” – and who does his best to understand what I’m going through.

Life, Motivational

The Wait Is Almost Over

Summer – the dream of children and the nightmare of parents.

8 whole weeks (give or take a couple of weeks) – 2 whole months – of listening to “I’m bored!” “I have nothing to do!” “I don’t wanna do that!!!” (That last one is when the child is given a task to do b/c he is “bored” with “nothing to do.”)

If you’re in this boat with me, take heart dear Parent! The school year is just around the corner.

Now, don’t get me wrong…..I have loved having my son home with me. I love all the morning and bedtime snuggles (and random snuggles in between) and all his random kisses, BUT…

Momma needs a break. The constant “Where are you going? I wanna go, too!” “Why didn’t you take me with you?” (He’s called me from the house when I’d sneak off and leave him with his father for male bonding time.)

He’s my only child. So naturally, I don’t want to quite cut the apron strings just yet – though I know I need to in order for him to grow up in more of a male fashion. I want him to grow to be an independent person who fends for himself.

So, it’s about this time every summer that I’m like a kid in the backseat of the car on a long road trip – asking every 5 seconds “Are we there yet??”

My answer to myself: “Almost. A little over 2 weeks – you can make it.”

Are you there yet? Leave your answer in the comment section below.

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Life, Motivational, Nutrition, Wellness

Diet vs. Lifestyle

Diet.An ugly 4 letter word.

An ugly 4 letter word.

A rollercoaster of emotions and reactions for such a small word.

But it seems that everybody that we know – aunts, uncles, cousins, best friends, etc. – is on a “diet.” Then there are all types of diets like low carb, keto, and paleo…just to name a few. Not to mention the famed “Grapefruit Diet” and it’s vegetable counterpart the “Cabbage Soup Diet.”

We are constantly being bombarded by advertisements for different products claiming to be the “miracle product” to “cure obesity.” In reality, they are over-processed, chemically-laden food-like products that essentially starve your body into submission.

Let’s face it…..

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I have an assignment for you. It’s really simple and will take only a couple of minutes.

I want you to sit there and count how many diet plans you have been on in the last 6 months…in the last year…in the last 2 years.

You don’t have to tell me if you don’t want to. (If you choose to, please know that I will not judge you at all!!)

Have an idea of the number? Great. Now, think about what happened each time your diet plan ended. Were your results maintainable? Did you “crash and burn”? Did you gain the weight you had lost….and then some?

You’re not alone.

According to the website Fitness for Weight Loss, over 100 million Americans are on some kind of diet. Within 5 years of beginning a diet plan, almost 95% of dieters regain the weight they had lost.

And I’ve been one of “those people” – not happy with the health/state of my body and desperate to change that. I have tried a lot of different things over the years only to have minimal success in losing weight…..and I probably succeeded in hurting my body in the process.

 

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The Diet Cycle

 

 

Let’s switch gears for a few minutes.

I want you to visualise your world without obsessive calorie/macro counting. A world where you’re free to eat 4 slices of pizza at a birthday party or 2 big brownies for a special treat. A world where no food guilt exists.

How would you feel in such a world? Would “Heaven” be a good description?

Do you believe that world is within reach?

No? Let me help you.

That world is called “Lifestyle.” You are no longer dieting and can still enjoy your favorite foods like pizza, brownies, and hamburgers.

The key to living a healthy lifestyle is to eat whole, nutritious foods 95% of the time while still indulging yourself 5% of the time.

 

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Here’s an example:

You’ve just started your journey towards better health. You have been doing exceptionally well – your willpower is like steel.  You are now on Day 3 and are being tempted by the thoughts of a nice, juicy cheeseburger with all the fixin’s and fries smothered in cheese and bacon.

You have a choice – eat that meal today OR save that meal for a Friday night date with your Significant Other. Either way, it’s a win-win because you get to have that meal.

If you were on a diet, chances are you wouldn’t be “allowed” that meal…or you’d “spend” all you had in points/macros/calories for the day to enjoy the meal. If you chose to eat the meal on Day 3, you may feel like you cheated and that you might as well give up.

At least, that has been my experience.

With eating nutritiously as a lifestyle, there are no guilt trips associated with foods. To top it off, the more plant-based you can get your eating, the healthier you can potentially become.

**Note: I do not advocate one particular eating style (carnivore vs herbivore vs omnivore.**

Personally, I love the freedom I have from eating nutritiously as a lifestyle. I no longer feel guilty for eating “off plan” and can explore different diets. (I use this in the context that a diet is what a person eats…e.g. plant-based.)

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Post your comments below. I would love to know what you think about this topic. 🙂

 

Life, Motivational

Back in the Saddle

*gasp* She lives!!It has been quite some time since I’ve written!

It has been quite some time since I’ve written! I won’t bother with any excuses or reasons – no matter how valid – for why I’ve been noticeably MIA.

So, here’s a quick rundown of what I’ve been up to lately.

May saw the end of school, my brother’s wedding, Mother’s Day, as well as Memorial Day. June was packed with corrective eye surgery (I no longer need glasses to see distance though I’ve discovered I will need reading glasses sooner than I originally thought…but I can live with that!), Cub Scout Day Camp (check out the pictures here), and Vacation Bible School at my church (you can see a glimpse of what we did by clicking this link.)

July has started off well with celebrating the birthday of America and with my getting my first ever tattoo!!

Yep.

A tattoo.

Not just any tattoo. It’s a picture of a “weed”….depending on who you talk to.

It’s not just any “weed.” It’s a thistle. A flowering thistle.

 

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The flower of Scotland. The home of my ancestors.

 

I had it placed on a very sensitive part of the body – my wrist. It’s there to serve as a reminder that I’m stronger than my inner “demons” and that I’m never alone, even in my darkest hours.

I look forward to beginning a new – or finishing an old(?) – series with you.

If there is a topic you would like for me to talk about, please let me know! I will try to accommodate as many as possible.

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Life, Motivational

My Weekly Planning

You’ve heard the saying “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” Let me tell you, it is so very true!

I can tell the difference between the two: the week that I don’t plan is total chaos; the week that I plan runs more smoothly. (Notice I didn’t say perfectly, b/c life just isn’t perfect!)

Planning doesn’t have to take a ton of your time each week. Personally, I don’t feel the need to spend hours decorating my planning pages. However, if you believe this will encourage you to use your planner more, then be my guest! This is your planner. Either way, the point is that you use it!

I like to sit down on Sunday afternoon with a cup of hot tea and plan my week. Why Sunday? Well, 2 reasons: (1) it’s a more relaxed day for me, and (2) my week starts on Monday. Find what works for you, though, and go for it!

I’m going to walk you through my weekly planning process, which takes – at most – 30 minutes.

Let’s go!!

 

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In preparing to plan, I make myself a cup of hot tea. While that is brewing, I will gather my materials: planner, pen, correction tape, and any appointment cards I may have. Then I head to my favorite place: my couch.

That’s when the real magic happens.

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This is not my personal planner. It’s an example of what mine looks like.

I look at my week and divvy up all the things I need to accomplish that week to the appropriate days. For me, it’s household chores, Cub Scouts activities, my workouts, blog posts, YouTube videos, and business tasks.

Here are my weekly tasks, broken down into a daily schedule:

  • Monday: clean the bathrooms, 1 load of laundry, go to the gym (leg day #1), write blog post, business-related tasks as needed, get WT from school, homework, cook supper, go back to the gym for class, get ready for bed/lights out
  • Tuesday: dust, 1 load of laundry, go to gym (upper body #1), start tweaking blog post, script YouTube video for filming, business-related tasks as needed, get WT from school, homework, cook supper, Cub Scouts meeting
  • Wednesday: laundry, no gym (unless I go strictly for a cardio session), continue tweaking blog post, edit video script, business-related tasks as needed, get WT from school, homework, church
  • Thursday: clean the kitchen, 1 load of laundry, go to the gym (leg day #2), finish tweaking blog post and schedule, film YouTube video, business-related tasks as needed, get WT from school, homework, cook supper, go back to gym for class, Scout leadership meeting as needed, menu plan, get ready for bed/lights out
  • Friday: clean the floors, 1 load of laundry, clean fridge in preparation for grocery shopping, go to the gym (upper body #2), check blog to make sure it uploaded correctly then share to social media, business-related tasks as needed, edit YouTube video, lunch with parents, get WT from school, cook supper, go back to the gym for class, get ready for bed
  • Saturday: grocery shopping, chore catch up day, previously scheduled Cub Scout activity (if any)
  • Sunday: church, cook supper, weekly planning

 

Then I take the daily tasks and apply time frames to them. Let’s take a look at Monday:

  • 6 a.m. – RISE AND SHINE! Get WT started for school, have a cup of coffee, watch a couple (hundred….b/c let’s be real – I’m procrastinating here!) of YouTube videos
  • 8 a.m. – write blog post
  • 9 a.m. – gym
  • 11 a.m. – work with Daddy on rental property
  • 3 p.m. – Pink Lady related tasks, get in carline for WT
  • 4 p.m. – get WT from school, go to gym
  • 4:30 p.m. – class starts (lasts 1 hr)
  • 6 p.m. – cook supper, help WT with homework
  • 7 p.m. – send WT upstairs to get ready for bed (bath, brush teeth, jammies)
  • 8 p.m. – WT lights out, my nighttime routine begins
  • 10 p.m. – adult lights out

 

In a perfect world, this is exactly how each Monday would function. I don’t live in a perfect world. There are several Mondays (and other days, to be honest!) that I have gotten up with my husband and son, had my morning coffee, and have gone right back to bed….if I even got up in the first place!

And I don’t always get my tasks done for that day.

But I try not to let that get to me. Take each day as it is.

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That’s how I plan my week. To get the planner pictured in the post, click here to customize your personal planner. This is the second year I’ve used this planner. (Not sponsored. I truly love this planner!)

What’s your favorite way to plan your week? Leave a comment below!

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