How Facebook Helped Me Get Back On Track

Last Sunday, I tried to take a day off. I had an anxiety attack. I have been working on creating harmony in my life. Making time to spend with my friends, time to read, exercising regularly and I felt good about all of that. Then I backslid. A series of events happened and I lost my way. So when I tried to go back, my anxiety gremlins crept in and kept my mind spinning with all of the things I “should” have been doing when what I really needed was a break. To put it mildly, it was a very unsettling feeling. During that time, I posted on Facebook reaching out for some positivity and inspiration.

WELL. I GOT A HUGE REMINDER.
Immediately after posting, I got a phone call. My friend Elisa asked if I needed to talk through anything and offered some really great suggestions. Listen to a really great album, which made me rediscover Norah Jones and Joss Stone. More so than anything else, I felt so loved that she would take the time to call me. Throughout the day as people scrolled through their Facebook newsfeed, I got three more phone calls about five texts and a couple Facebook messages. This was in addition to the reactions and comments I was getting on the post itself. The bad feeling was quickly replaced with an incredible warmth that grew in the center of my chest. Where my heart had been pounding previously, I now had an overwhelming cozy feeling and a feeling that I was loved. Pretty soon, my stress just melted away. I had a chance to talk it out with a couple people and I was reminded that as much as I love my work, I love it because of what it allows me to do for my family and how it allows me to connect to people. That’s what it’s all about for me and that’s what you all reminded me. Whether you reached out or not, I am so grateful for all of the incredible people that God has put into my life. My relationships are what give me the most joy. You all are what keep me moving forward and growing my business so that I can reach people and have a positive affect. I can’t even describe to you the lightness that came with those phone calls, but the shift I was struggling to make was believing that allowing my body a chance to recharge is a productive way to spend my time. Only qualifying my productivity by how many items I check off of my list was allowing my stress levels to grow exponentially. I am so fortunate.

I had been sick since October, and I was actually pretty concerned about myself. Throughout the process of figuring out what was going on, which, by the way, ended up being manageable and non-life threatening, I had people texting and calling on a regular basis to see how I was doing. Elisa, Laura, Brandi, my mom, several clients. I am not usually one to share what’s going on with my health to more than just my close circle because people can sometimes say some insensitive things. I had to get over that. I needed support in that. I had to cut my work load in half and I was in what I call “essentials mode”. I only did what had to be done. I only did what HAD to be done to keep my business and household afloat. I wasn’t working out, I wasn’t eating well, because I was depressed and I was sleeping a lot. I am taking the necessary steps to get better. It has been so amazing to have people show their care and concern. It reminded me that I matter to people.

So this blog post is a big fat whopping THANK YOU! This was a great reminder to me and I hope to you too, that sometimes doing nothing is the most productive thing you can do.

My Week: Reining It In

So if you’ve been following me on social media, you know that my life has been a bit crazy. I feel like every few months everything changes, and as a busy lady, I have to figure out how to roll with it. Since October, I have had two colds, bronchitis twice, lots of side effects from medications, gained weight, felt tired and sick all the time, and now, almost five months later, I am still feeling the yuck trying to drain from my body. According to my doctors, everything is fine…that’s an entirely different conversation. I need a nap almost daily, my moods are up and down, even though I try so hard to stay positive, there have definitely been some days where I have just felt like poop emotionally. I’m trying though. The one thing I knew I needed was something I could look at everyday to see exactly what needed to be done that week and to see high priority items next to low priority items so that I could move things around, do some quick things here and there and not freak out if I needed a day off. Just move it to another day. So I created this super simple weekly planner. What I do is, I find some time over the weekend, take everything out of my digital calendar and apps and I write it down on my weekly planner. It’s one sheet of paper, it gets messy during the week, but boy does it feel good to cross things off.

Click Here To Download

I think this is going to be good for me because right now I have to be careful how many things I do in a day, how many super busy days I have in a row, and make sure that I get rest, exercise, meditation, and healthy food. I wanted to share this weekly planner with you. I’ve been doing something similar for a long time, but this seems to be working better. For three weeks now I have been using this one sheet of paper to keep track of the entire week. I still use my Google Calendar and Google Keep, and the lead system my company provides, but for looking at just the coming week, I use this one 8½ by 11 sheet of paper that I print out. I could laminate it and reuse it, but as much as I love to be green, it’s just not as mobile. Dry erase tends to write bigger and smear when you throw it in your purse. So here is the link. I hope it helps. Pick a writing utensil you really like. I just found those multi-color pens we used to die for in the 80’s and ordered a bunch. My kids stole most of them, but I managed to hide a couple. Make this a relaxing experience for yourself. After a couple weeks, I started to realize how much more I can get done if I have a list before I start. My mind was ready to get the work done and I DO have time for myself and my family. As Mary Poppins says, “Well begun, is half done.”
#organization #calendar #TimeManagement #FamilyTime #Stress

 

 

How to Practice Meditation When You Don’t Have Time

 

Meditation: sitting pretzel leg in a quiet, candle lit room…sitting on a mossy rock in the middle of a calm lake with a dancing waterfall behind you… how about sitting in the sand with the gentle sunshine creating a halo as the fingers of the water curl gently with every wave, oh and of course there’s a small stack of gray pebbles balancing next to you…No?

 

You mean that’s not what it always looks like when people meditate?!

 

Almost nothing looks the way it is depicted in the media. In fact depicting it that way can be discouraging. People want to practice meditation, or are told to practice meditation to counteract the effects of stress and improve their health, but they are are almost never given a realistic method to incorporate it into their lifestyle. If you’re told to meditate and you have an unrealistic expectation of what that is, you will be more stressed. It’s the American way; we’re stressed about being stressed.

 

Well, here are three things you need to know.

  • Meditation does have many health benefits for the average person.
  • Meditation doesn’t have to look a certain way
  • Meditation doesn’t have to take a lot of time for you to start to see the benefits.

 

To find out about some of the benefits of meditation, I spoke with Sue Simon, owner of Peaceful Moon Energy (peacefulmoonenergy.com). Sue started her holistic journey over 20 years ago and now practices Reiki, Reflexology, Emotion Code, and Hypnotherapy. She is very passionate about helping people reach their full potential mentally, spiritually, and physically. When I asked Sue about getting started with meditation for someone who is struggling with finding time, she said, “Any amount of time you meditate is beneficial, and the more you meditate, the more you will want to because you will feel so much calmer and at peace.”

I asked Sue to list the top benefits of meditation for the average person. She listed…

 

  • Calms the central nervous system
  • Lessens anxiety
  • Increases self awareness
  • Increases patience
  • Increases creativity
  • Lowers blood pressure

 

Who doesn’t want that?! If you’re thinking, “Well Maria, yeah sure, I want that, but I also want a personal cloud that rains money…who has the time?”

 

When we talk about how stuck we are in finding time to take care of ourselves, I get very sad and frustrated. So many of my friends, including myself, are parents who are drowning in the everyday care of their families. Whether working outside of the home, staying at home parenting, or a combination of the the two, like me, it is a constant struggle to find time for fun family nights, time as a couple, and we have absolutely nothing left for ourselves. So where do we even begin to incorporate this into your life?

 

Let’s start by changing our idea of what meditation is. When Deepak Chopra, author of many books on spirituality and health, was asked for advice on how to get started when you are struggling with meditation, he replied

 

“If you are struggling with meditation, then my advice to you would be to let go of all your expectations of what you think meditation should be. Your ideals of it being something that gives you instant peace and happiness can make you feel frustrated and lead you to think you are doing something wrong if you don’t feel those things in your meditation. Understand that when you are doing meditation correctly, you are in the hands of your highest intelligence and guidance and everything that happens leads you to greater healing and self-awareness. And that is really what meditation is for.”

 

There isn’t a rule about how long you have to meditate. In fact, if you find 30 seconds to take 3 deep breaths, you’re starting your practice. Maybe, once you drop that last kid off at school, you sit in the car for a few minutes and just relax your body, and practice deep breathing for 60 seconds before you take off into the house to get all of those tasks done. Maybe when you’re sitting at your desk, you take a few seconds every hour to just take a few deep breaths. You may not feel the peace right away, but one day, you will. Once you have that feeling in your muscle memory, you will know that you can activate it whenever you need to. Deeps breaths in the shower, clearing your mind as you’re washing the dishes, watching the squirrels run through the trees, there are so many ways to slow down your mind and slow down your body. Experiment and find your own ways. Attach a small meditation to something you already do everyday. Chug a big glass of water in the morning and take 3 slow breaths. Meditate on a mantra every night or every morning as you lay in bed. Make it something that you do everyday, not necessarily for a huge chunk of time but small, intentional moments throughout the day. One day you will find something that just feels right, and one day you’ll have more than a few minutes.

 

Whether it is a spiritual practice or a healing practice for you, either way it is beneficial. Remember that it’s a practice; you do it, and you get better. You may find that your chaotic household doesn’t bother you so much, maybe your child, or your partner will learn from you, maybe you’ll learn that you just need less and that’s all we can hope for.

 

#meditation #holistic #stress #peace #calm #healing #highbloodpressure #goals

The Zombie Mombie Apocalypse: Finding Your Pillars of Strength

As a family of 4, Mom, Dad and two small boys, our routine at night ends with story time. Well, now, my oldest is reading to me. It is a time in his life where he is opening doors and becoming more confident, but this has posed a new challenge. By the time he has put the bookmark back into the book and closed his eyes, I am already fast asleep next to him. Eight O’clock and I’m snuggled up between my seven and four year olds.Sounds great, right? No! I have to finish a couple things! Once my eyes are closed, I am the Zombie Mombie. My brain is off. Running three organizations, and being Mommy finally caught up with me. The same thing is happening to Daddy. We’re so depleted by the end of the day that if we’re not both passed out in between the kids by 8:00, then we’re doing the notorious head bob struggling to get through an episode of one of our shows.  It’s futile. We are exhausted.

We’re not alone. At least in my circle, we are finally starting to talk about the exhaustion of living in modern society. In my newsfeed, we’re seeing a lot of funny memes, and comedy is born from truth. As a whole, we are finally talking about the pressures of life, work, family, and the seemingly inevitable guilt that goes along with it all. People are finally talking about what they need to thrive. I see parents walking to school with their kids holding giant cups of coffee. I hear moms talking about getting a sitter so that they can go anywhere, just anywhere without having their littles hanging on them. Days off are a dilemma because, while you’re getting an extra hour of sacred sleep you’re then trying to find a way to keep your kids occupied throughout the day.

It isn’t only parents! People are feeling the pressure from their jobs, from social media, from everywhere they look to do more and be more. I am my own worst enemy. When you’re an entrepreneur, a lot of the pressure comes from within. It’s difficult to stop what you’re doing when you’re excited and driven, but we have to learn to keep our health in check.

So what do we do? I had to go back to a principle I learned a long time ago. The pillars of strength. These are the things you need to do so that you can function at your highest potential.They are the things you do first to front load your week. They are the most important part of your schedule, which is how it should be. Without you, this ship doesn’t run.

I bet you can guess what my first one is…You got it! Sleep! I need more sleep than most people. When I’ve been around a lot of people or working a lot, this is the first thing my body craves. Hence the zombie mombie I’ve been lately. My other pillars are exercise, planning time and pondering time. Exercise helps me keep my mind clear and planning time helps me to understand what I need to do and how much time I have to do it. Pondering time helps me clear my head. Sometimes it is meditation, sometimes it’s just thinking about something, or watching my kids play. It’s not thinking about work or other things that need to get done.

Here are a few questions to help you find your pillars.

  • What does your body need? Nutrition, exercise, sleep?
  • What does your brain need? Organization, a calendar, someone to develop ideas with?
  • What does your spirit need? Time to yourself, meditation, mantras and mindset exercises?

Honor these needs and slowly work them into your schedule. Ride the seesaw, where some weeks you work hard to meet a deadline and the next you tilt to the other side to integrate more self care. Learn to check in with your body on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis. You can’t drive a car without gas, you can’t go on a trip without some preparation, so why would you try to fly by the seat of your pants with any other part of your life. This is the work that makes a difference.

Abundance

How to Be Grateful: 4 Steps to Living a Life of Abundance

I have heard for many years about the elusive gratefulness. “Be grateful” was a statement whipped at me as a child to teach me about the value of hard work and a dollar. It was a sword wielded to put me in my place when I wanted more as I got older. It was an empty statement hurled at me with the force of a wiffle ball to explain an abstract concept that made your life better. Needless to say, I didn’t get it. It didn’t make sense to me. Be grateful and I’ll be happy? Am I supposed to just figure out a way to convince myself to be happy with my life because “it is what it is”? Then they would say, “You have to enjoy the journey.” Okay, now you’re just repeating a bunch of neatly packaged quotes because you don’t really know how to tell me what you mean. There are actually times when this seemingly benign comment can be particularly injurious. Telling someone to be grateful for what they have when they can’t see the forest for the trees, is cruel. I didn’t know how to really be grateful. I could have made a list, but it wouldn’t have changed anything. I could make a daily Facebook post about how wonderful my life is, but it can sometimes be worse trying to live up to the pristine images we see and create on social media.

 

Has anyone ever felt this way?! I seriously felt like this for so many years and then…when I finally figured it out…I wanted to scream, “Why didn’t you just say that?!” So I am. I am going to try to help you get on your way to pursuing all of your hopes and dreams in such a way that you feel amazing all the way there and you feel motivated to stay on the journey.

 

Here goes…

4 Steps to Living a Life of Gratefulness and Abundance

 

  • Learn to recognize it in yourself: Gratefulness and Abundance are feelings. It’s a state of being and less of an action. So you have to find it first and then when you know what it is, you can look for it. This can be a process, but it’s a fun one. What are things that you can do that make you slow down and calm and stop thinking for a minute? Do you enjoy that first sip of coffee in the morning or that feeling when your head sinks in the pillow at night? How about when you go for a walk on the perfect day? Do you have a friend that can really get you laughing? Do you see where I’m going? Find those moments in your life.
  • Create Consistency: Start acknowledging those moments in your everyday life when you feel good and make them even better. When you have that first sip of coffee, where are you? Are you sitting in your kitchen? Your office? How about turning some great music on, or going outside? Maybe you like that moment after a run, how about laying in the grass for a minute and just enjoying a great job taking care of yourself. Start doing those things all the time, look for them, make them even better, make them consistent. You will start to look forward to those little things. Recreate those moments often. Sometimes when I find myself hunched over my computer with my eyes glued open because I’ve been staring at the computer so long, I simply, look out the window, and take a few deep breaths. Really deep breaths, stretch my neck from side to side, roll my shoulders back and let my eyes focus on something far away outside my window for a minute or two. I have an intricate understanding of the lives of the squirrels, birds, and bunnies in our neighborhood and I’m always the first to notice when the neighbors dog sneaks out.
  • Partner with someone: We often forget how communication is therapeutic. As you begin this journey, remember that there are other people in the same place, and looking for similar things. Talking with people about your experiences will help you to understand them more fully. Look for someone who will try new things with you, will find local deals on meditation classes, salt caves and share them with you. Will make a date to go for a walk on a new path he/she discovered, or go to a presentation at a local library. Heck! Someone that will hold you accountable to doing things that are new and interesting and for you! These are people who will trade babysitting with you so that you both can have some time to read, nap,or reflect. They are on this journey and they will understand. Keep your eyes open. When you find those people, it is an awesome experience.
  • Make yourself a priority and schedule it: This is the part that I think requires the most explanation. Read this carefully. You have to be healthy, happy, and feel fulfilled in order to do your job well, take care of your responsibilities, and care for others. If you don’t put yourself first. You will come last and everything else will suffer. Make a list of things you’ve been meaning to do for yourself like: making doctor appointments, finding a local book club, taking a group exercise class, volunteering, going to bed earlier, scheduling time out with friends. Create a routine around incorporating these things into your schedule. Maybe you only have time right now to do two a week, but schedule it. If you have push back from someone in your life…I know this happens…tell them in a way that they will understand. If you need help with this one, this would be a great thing to work through in a coaching session.

 

This process is cyclical and you will find yourself starting over again during transitional periods in your life. Is that bad? No. It means that you’re learning to embrace changes and transitions and adapt to them. It means your growing as a human being. We are all works in progress. That’s really what it means to be on a journey. When we recognize that we are feeling better because we are taking care of ourselves, we feel accomplished. It creates a momentum that bleeds over into every part of our lives. If we get off track, we just pick up where we left off and we start to feel better because we are back on our journey. That’s what it means to enjoy the journey.

To learn more…check out this webinar.

Ask Me If I Care…

I do. It’s really hard to go through life being completely self centered and egotistical…well for me it is. I can just imagine the looks on some of your faces. Some of you were like, “my ex-husband, my mother-in-law, my boss…” I know, we all know someone who is so totally enthralled with themselves, that your inner twelve year old is like, “Well just marry yourself already!” Am I right? Well for each of those, you probably know 60 more, who are always there for their friends, or the most amazing mother, an amazing son, father, wife, boyfriend…at times to their detriment. There it is. “Aye, there’s the rub.” You know what I’m talking about. We’ve been taught to glorify codependency and honestly, it is really hard to figure out where being a kind and caring person ends and being sucked dry by the need to feel needed begins.

You know what you should do?

You don’t?

Of Course you don’t. I hate to disappoint, but I think the see-saw of life is too rough a ride to try and create some sort of algorithm. I do think that we can learn to gage our health, our feelings and our ability to work towards our goals in such a way that we can work towards a sense of balance, or rather a sense of harmony. My friend Julie Anne uses the comparison of life to music metaphorically which really speaks to me because one: I love music and two: sometimes certain parts of our lives play more fortissimo than others. Some parts of our life scream at us, while others wait quietly by the wayside.

 

What movement of your life are you in? Which part of your life is taking center stage?

 

As I look around I see an incredible number of people sacrificing their health and well-being because they are taking care of others. Whether it be their children, spouses, parents, friends or a relative, people are diminishing themselves to the point where they get sick or are emotionally spent.

 

Do you see it? Do you do this? How do you get out of that cycle?

 

Well, it’s a process, and one that is well worth it. Some big changes and some small changes need to happen, but the underlying principle is if you continue to fill everyone else’s cup before yours, you run out, but if you continually fill your cup, you will always overflow into others.

 

Nice idea, but what the heck does that mean in real life?

 

I hear the proverbial you because I’ve been there. I’ve asked the same questions. It means starting with the small things that you can change tomorrow. Here are a few easy examples.

  • Drink a glass of water as soon as you wake up.
  • Turn off your devices and notifications before you go to sleep.
  • Schedule a massage, manicure, or a walk with friend and stick to it.
  • Take a nap.
  • Talk to a life coach and work on a goal. (Schedule a Discovery session to see if WE would be a good fit for each other.

Pick one or two. Commit to it. It’s something you need. As you start to implement these things, you may start to day dream about different goals, more challenging goals. Make sure to break them up, make them attainable, customize it to your energy level and the tempo at which you feel comfortable moving.

 

How can you support yourself?

 

Be honest about the challenges. My best example is working out. I would love to say that I work out four days a week because I love it and I’m so committed to it. The truth is I enlisted help. I hired an in home trainer. Brittany comes to my house twice a week and we do really intense workouts and then she gives me suggestions for the other days. I have to show up…it’s my house! She checks in with me and makes sure that I’m staying committed. It’s integral to have someone hold you accountable and it’s fun to have someone to celebrate with. If a personal trainer just isn’t in your budget right now, enlist a friend. Maybe you have the same goal and you need each other to stay accountable. This is something that my team has adapted to work on their professional goals. They have accountability partners. They have similar goals, or just work well together and they hold each other accountable to the goals that they have set for themselves on a weekly basis. They set together time to work together or just a check in time. They offer suggestions or are just an open ear. Even just saying out loud to someone else feels more like a contract than just thinking about it.

 

Anything is possible when you start to break your goals down into hunks, chunks and bites.

 

I can’t wait to tell you…

 

 

I am so excited to release these opportunities. I have so many things in the works. I am almost ready to announce them. Sign up for the Newsletter. No one likes spam. I wouldn’t do that to you. I also, wouldn’t share your info with anyone. That’s not my way. I’ll give you a little preview…

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