Keep it Simple

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In life we often try to make things more complicated than they are.  If we can just take the time to listen to what our hearts, minds, and bodies are telling us, we can face the world and all its challenges with confidence.

 

March 2016 – positively present

living happily ever after now.

Source: March 2016 – positively present

In all areas of our life we need balance. It has been a struggle for me and others to take time for ourselves and to also realize that that time is a necessity. Don’t let guilt seep into your personal time. You deserve it and it is essential to your well-being.

Might as Well Jump!

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I am a very cautious person.  I’ve always been the person who weighs every possible option before making a decision.  It is a blessing and a curse.  I have found this quality beneficial to my friends when they ask me for advice, but mostly it has been a hindrance for me.  I go back and forth so many times and usually it prevents me from making a move or trying something new.  Fortunately, I have been making some much needed changes and they have been paying off.

I have decided in some instances, not all, I might as well jump.  I may make a mistake, I will just learn to deal with it.  The most important part is learning.  I never want to stop learning.  How will I continue to learn if I don’t accept and welcome new experiences?    I have met many amazing people and even made new friends. The process has been challenging and I am not quite at the point I want to be, but I am still working on it and enjoying the journey.

I have made a list of things that I plan to do and I am holding myself to it.  There are so many things that I’ve always wanted to do but, have talked myself out of.  I might as well jump!

Persistence

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Persistence is the cousin of consistency, but they are very different.  As I mentioned in my previous post, I have been struggling with consistency, but I have been persistent.  I’ve noticed that my goals in life have not changed, but I have an issue with long-term commitment.  I have been successful in many things, but eventually I tend to slow down and it takes some time for me to reach my full potential.

I have fallen into the habit if putting things off.  Without having deadlines, I have become a bit of a slacker.  I have been putting of so many things and have started to fall into another dangerous habit of putting my needs last.  One thing I am thankful for is my ability to recognize it when it happens.  It started with the light weight gain, headaches, and other signs that my body was telling me that it was being neglected.  Surely, it was upsetting, but I had to do something about it.  I couldn’t let it go on.  I had to practice the things that I had in the past.  I couldn’t let my slight, but evident regression discourage me.

Many of us struggle with various things in our lives, but we must be persistent in the pursuit of our goals.  We can’t let the past effect positive changes we can make today.  Falling behind should not stop us from running, walking, or crawling to the finish line.

Keeping Things in Check

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Like I have mentioned before, I have been a stay-at-home mom for over 7 years.  I must stay that the rewards are endless, but for me, the lifestyle of a stay-at-home mom has had some challenging aspects as well.  I let a lot of things slide including my personal well-being.  I gained weight and chose to spend the majority of my time catering to my son and his activities while neglecting my own.  Just as I see all the benefits of choosing not to work outside the home until my son was younger, I am also aware of the the things I didn’t keep in check.

Now I am in the process of doing the things for myself that I had put off for so many years.  I am aware that others may be in my same position for various reasons.  Some may be taking care of an aging parent, a recuperating spouse, or settling into retirement.  All of these things are honorable and good, but one must take care to not neglect oneself.  Taking care of yourself takes nothing away from the good that you do  for others. I have realized that now that I am working to put myself back in the shape I was in prior to being a wife and mother.  I would like to share some of the things I have learned from my past mistakes.

Your health is priority

You would think that your stress level drops dramatically after you quit your 9 to 5.  For me it didn’t.  Being responsible for another human being can be very stressful.  There were so many things I had to plan and to plan around.  I didn’t have a scheduled lunch break so oftentimes lunch did not happen for me.  It no longer became part of my routine.  I made sure that my son was fed and dry and well rested, but I didn’t schedule that same thing for myself.  Sometimes I only ate once a day.  Usually my meal was fast food eaten in the car while my son was napping in his car seat.  I felt that I was being a good mother because I was placing my needs above my son’s.  Eventually the pounds started to pile on, my blood pressure began to rise, and when I looked in the mirror I didn’t recognize myself.

Maintain a connection to the outside world and also make frequent ventures into it

I didn’t realize how much structure my job outside of home added to my life.  I had scheduled meetings, lunches, presentations, and most importantly social interaction with adults.  These social interactions were vital to my life.  These connections were not only important for my work, but also for me as a person.  I did not realize how important they were until I no longer had them.  I also didn’t realize that my social skills needed to be exercised.  After a while I began to shy away from any social interaction.  I stopped going to church, I stopped going out with friends, and I spent most of my time at home.  Had I continued to to maintain some form of social interaction I may have been able to keep some of the things in check that I had let go.  I could have had the encouragement and fellowship of other people to aid me in that transition.

Accept help when it is offered

I can’t tell you how many times I turned down offers of babysitting just because I felt I didn’t deserve a break.  I felt that it would be selfish of me to accept help for something I had quit work to do myself.  What I failed to realize is that parenting is work.  And just like with any other job breaks are not only deserved, but should be mandatory.  If you are a caregiver in any capacity you must give yourself a break.  Accept the extended hand that is offered to you.  If you aren’t offered help there is nothing wrong with asking for it.

Don’t compare yourself to others

I am still struggling with wondering if I am a good enough mother.  My I breastfed my son for 10 months.  He began to ween himself I had very little choice in the matter.  If it were up to me I would have done it for longer.  I was envious of the women who were still nursing their children.  I also wondered if my son was involved in enough activities, if I was feeding him the best possible food, if I was capable of providing him with enough intellectual stimulation, etc.  Every time another mother mentions something they were doing for their children I would feel bad if I wasn’t doing the same.  In reality nothing is perfect an we are not going to do things perfectly right all the time.  All we can do is our bests.

It wasn’t until 2 miscarriages and several hospitalizations that I, who had always been very healthy, realized that I was seriously harming myself.  The altruistic behavior that I had placed so high on a pedestal was killing me.  I could not do my best if I was making myself sick.  I am so glad I learned my lesson before it was too late.  I would encourage all of us to do the same.  There are enough hours in a day to get what you need done.  Take full advantage of them, but most importantly, use some of that time for yourself.

 

 

 

 

Know your Worth: Share yourself with the Worthy

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Knowing your worth means something different for each person.  Essentially it is important to know that you have value.   Our values differ, but once you have established what your values are, you owe it to yourself to maintain them and not to be willing to compromise them.

We must be aware of our worth in relationships.  When I was much younger I was in a relationship that left me feeling empty and unfulfilled.  Being very young,  it took time and experience to realize that I deserved to be full and fulfilled in every relationship and in every aspect of life.  If I chose to share my life with someone, that person must be worthy of my time and attention.  I should not be in a relationship that does not honor the value I’ve placed on myself.

If you find yourself in a similar situation it would be in the best interest of the relationship to have a discussion about how you expect to be treated.  If that person is not willing to meet your expectations, this may be the time to move on or reevaluate the terms of the relationship.  Life is too short to not celebrate your value.  You should enjoy yourself and be in the company of people who will appreciate you.

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Hooked on a Feeling

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I recently had an amazing conversation with my favorite uncle.  He is in his early sixties, but you would never guess it.  He is in extraordinary shape and lives a very healthy lifestyle.  The conversation we had was about how his peers believe he has some unattainable ability to get up every morning and exercise, eat only good food, and take such amazing care of himself.  He said he was so tired of hearing how people would say things like “I wish I could get up at 5 in the morning to go running.  I just don’t feel like doing that.  I just don’t feel like watching everything I eat”.  Then he told me that when he gets up in the early in the mornings it may be cold, or hot, or raining, and oftentimes he does not feel like it either, but he does it anyway.  He then went on to say that if he let fleeting feelings dictate his life he would be out of shape and miserable.  He told me that the feeling of not wanting to get up and workout disappears the moment he steps into the gym, or on the track, etc. and he feels great afterwards.  He is rewarded by a much greater feeling by pushing through a temporary negative one.

How many times have you let a feeling prevent you from doing what you knew was going to help you?  Have you created a multitude of weak excuses not to take care of yourself?  Have you convinced yourself that by indulging your feelings it is okay to slip into an unhealthy lifestyle?  I would like to encourage all of us to stop doing that.

There have been so many times I have started  fitness routine and just one day I wouldn’t feel like doing the exercise or I wanted just one unhealthy food, and those feelings began to accumulate and all of the progress I had previously made would quickly slip away.  Then I was left feeling terrible for giving in to those feelings.  I have learned to push through those fleeting feelings to stay on track.  The rewards have been tremendous.

This does not only apply to physical fitness, it also applies to overall fitness.  We can take this same tool and use it in every aspect of our lives.  Sometimes it means stepping outside of our comfort zones to accomplish a goal.  A small moment of discomfort is quickly forgotten when you are reaping the rewards of your perseverance.  I had often used my introversion as an excuse for passing up on things I wanted.    I have learned to use my introversion as an advantage.  I no longer sit on the sidelines and hope for my goals to reach fruition.  There were times I had to step outside of my comfort zone, but it was worth it.

My challenge to all of us is to not get hooked on a feeling.  Don’t let a small moment in time affect your success.