Handling Stress When Life Gets Crazy- A Shift in Perspective

Handling Stress When Life Gets Crazy- A Shift in Perspective

 

I wanted to sit down and write this post to share my thoughts on handling stress during crazy times because, let’s be honest these are crazy times.  I’m not writing from the perspective of the expert with all the answers. Instead, I write from the perspective of a coach who is figuring it out WITH you instead of for you.  

 

Right now, the world and all the people in it are going absolutely crazy.  Our modern, comfortable lifestyle does not allow for the uncertainty and discomfort that this pandemic has brought us.  

We are 21st century humans with expectations like safety, comfort, a certain level of ease, and a relative level of predictability.  As a society we have come to expect these things in our daily life. We don’t know how to cope with our lives and our thoughts without knowing what’s going to happen next.  We have built our society upon routines and procedures, and have become accustomed to the mundane but helpful nature of this predictability.  

Why are we so stressed?

The stress many people are currently feeling comes from several things. First, we are social creatures and are looking to others to figure out how to feel about the events unfolding around us. If other people are LOSING THEIR SHIT, we naturally think, “so should I.”  

Also, we have no idea what is going to happen next.  Things like job security, childcare, education and the survival of many small businesses are entirely uncertain at the moment,  which is really, really scary.  

Additionally, when life is turned upside down like this there are a lot of things that are just out of whack. What that means for each person may vary from person to person depending on individual circumstances.  These are legitimate causes for stress and concern.

But how do we handle all this stress?  

The most important thing to remember is that most of this is completely out of our control. While this might be a scary thought for some, I want to encourage you to try seeking comfort from it instead- it is out of our hands, and stressing about it will help no one.  

The focus needs to shift from what is out of our control to what is 100% within our control- our thoughts. The way we think about what is happening around us is completely within our control.  

The way we think will determine the feelings and actions that result from our thoughts.  It is important to remember that our thoughts can either help us or hurt us. 

Accepting what is

A thought that will always serve you well is to accept what is at any given time, in any given moment.  Accept that life is not always going to be comfortable and predictable. I’ve had many clients say to me, “I don’t understand why this is happening to me.”  The important thing to understand is that nothing bad is happening to us, things are simply happening.  

The sooner we can see the world around us for what is, rather than what we think it should be, the sooner we will find peace within ourselves. 

We cannot change the events of the world. We cannot change the actions of others.  We cannot change the awful things that are happening around us. What we can do is accept and appreciate what we do have. 

Gratitude can help

I want to encourage you to consider a perspective of gratitude.  I know not everyone is ready to hear this, but there are many good things that can come from every bad situation.  This is ALWAYS true.  

Ask yourself, what is good about your situation right now?  

Our brains have a tendency to look for the negative things happening around us (the negativity bias).  This comes naturally and doesn’t take a lot of work. What does not come naturally for many of us is a conscious focus on the positive- especially in trying times.

I challenge you to fight back against your evolutionary instinct to seek out negatives. Instead, find what could be your rainbow to this storm.  What is it that you could be getting out of the current situation?  

As life coach Brooke Castillo often says, “You have to give the good equal air time.”  Equal air time! That means you can’t just sit around allowing yourself to be upset all the time.  You must make an effort to not only find the good (or potential good). Also, allow yourself to think about it just as much as think about all the terrible things that are happening, or that could happen.  

Develop a meditation practice 

Lastly, I invite you to take up the practice of meditation or deepen your practice if you already meditate.  Meditation is an excellent means of learning the art of acceptance and gratitude. It trains the brain to get out of the constant barrage of negativity that is happening in most people’s minds on an hourly basis.  

Teach yourself to take up a more useful perspective so that you may go out into the world and be the best person you can be.  The world needs you at your best to move forward as a society in the most positive way possible.  

Go kick ass, and report back to let me know how it goes! 

Why I LOVE health coaching

Why I LOVE health coaching

My experience with coaching

I love coaching!  Although I am a coach, I am not talking about coaching others; I am talking about being coached myself.

During my time in coaching, I have reached so many goals and worked through so many obstacles that I simple would not have been able to do on my own. Together my coach and I have worked on diet, sleep, exercise, stress and so much more. She has worked with me through situations that seemed overwhelming and discouraging, and I was able to come out the other side with a changed mindset, positive outlook and landing in a healthy place, especially at times where I felt like I had too much to do and not enough time.

I have always had a love for learning, especially anything health and wellness related.  With all the awesome new (and old) things I have discovered, I have so many ideas and thoughts that I I would be excited about want to implement. 

On my own I think about these thoughts and ideas, and tell myself what I am going to start doing. These conversations with myself usually occur while I am running errands or multitasking in some manner. Then one week passes, and then another, and I have barely accomplished any of the things I had said I would, again! Over the last few years this has been a reoccurring theme for me. I just didn’t have the time!

Making time for myself

With my coach, things are genuinely different. I have time set aside just for ME.  I will admit that this is a different experience for me since I easily do this for others but do not take a lot of time for myself- I know I’m not the only one!

What really makes the difference is that she is there simply to help facilitate my change and growth.  She listens and really hears what I say. She doesn’t just agree with me or argue with me she makes me think deeply.

Because of the trust we have built, I can be open and honest about my struggles.  She asks questions that increase my self-awareness and move me to a deeper level of commitment, helping me realize that I do have the power and ability to make positive changes.

She has me looking at things from a completely different perspective, which can sometimes make all the difference in the world. My coach takes the time to help me really process what is going on in my head, what goals I want to work on, and what challenges I want to take on for myself.

We talk about why.  This is especially helpful because when I really focus on my why I am truly motivated. There is something extremely powerful about speaking the words out loud someone showing an unconditional positive regard towards my hopes and dreams.

Co-creating a plan

In coaching, we make a specific plan that I know will work for me even with my busy schedule. I am confident the plan we create together will work because it was created just for me.

In coaching, there is no one size fits all approach- everything we do is tailored to me and my unique set of strengths and challenges. This custom model of planning is what makes coaching so successful, and why when I set a goal with my coach I know I will reach it.

Accountability

Another important and effective aspect of coaching is accountability. Before I hang up the phone with my coach, we have discussed how I will be held accountable for accomplishing the goals I have created for myself.

When I set a goal, I know my coach will be there every step of the way, to check in with me during the week as needed and to follow up with me at our next appointment, celebrating my wins and trouble shooting my challenges together. This gives me the confidence I need to go about my week as my strongest self, accomplishing all of the things I have set out to do for the week, knowing I have that additional support available when I need it.

When we talk the next week and I have been successful, we celebrate, and it becomes easier to add more to work one and build on what I have already accomplished. Not every week goes as planned, and so If I don’t accomplish my goals for the week, we simply look at why and what I want to do different.

We acknowledge that true, lasting change does not happen overnight- and we embrace the slow, steady, life altering change process.

Coaching helped me get through some of the most challenging times in my life. With this process I have so much more positivity, and I leave our sessions feeling more hopeful and empowered. The experience has truly been life changing.

Some of the things I have learned through my coaching experience:

Stop saying I don’t have enough time, instead I can find them time if it is that important to me.

I can do much more than I thought I could.

Think about what I can do rather than what I can’t do!

I can fall (many times) and I can and will get back up and be better and grow stronger

Think about my dreams and start making steps towards it.

Small changes will eventually turn into big changes!

Sometimes you just need to step off the ledge and jump in, take a chance and try something new!

For all these reasons, I LOVE to be Coached!

Episode 13- Yoga Nidra With Su

Episode 13- Yoga Nidra With Su

In this episode I talk to the woman who introduced me to yoga and meditation, my good friend Su McFadzean.  Su teaches us about the benefits of yoga nidra, plus how and why we should be engaging in this practice for our overall health and wellbeing.

read more
Episode 13- Yoga Nidra With Su

Episode 12- Intuitive Eating With Emily

In this episode I sit down with Emily Kennedy to discuss intuitive eating- what it is, what it isn't and our own personal struggles navigating diet culture.https://directory.libsyn.com/episode/index/id/19680383

read more
Episode 13- Yoga Nidra With Su

Episode 11- Five Pounds Stronger Challenge

In this episode I talk about a challenge I'm doing inside my life coaching group called five pounds stronger in 90 days.  I talk about what it is and how you can join me!https://theliveyourwellnesspodcast.libsyn.com/five-pounds-stronger-challenge

read more

Let's Connect...

Get Started Meditating With These 5 Steps

Get Started Meditating With These 5 Steps

You’ve probably heard that meditation can change your life for the better.  Well, I can support that claim from personal experience. Meditation can do different things for different people, but for me I noticed myself feeling calmer, less overwhelmed and more productive throughout my daily life after incorporating meditation sessions into my routine.  Getting started with meditation can feel intimidating if you’ve never done it before. These five tips helped me develop a positive practice that I’ve incorporated into my everyday life!

1.Pick a place that is quiet and consistent

Especially when you first get started, it’s choose a quiet place and try to use that same place every time you meditate.  The keyword here is quiet. Especially when you are first starting out, you’ll want to minimize noise and distractions as much as possible. It doesn’t need to be fancy- for my practice I use a room upstairs that has a nice view of some greenery that puts me at peace.  

2.Start small.  

A lot of people think that you need to meditate for some massive amount of time to be effective…. You definitely don’t.  Begin by dedicating 3 minutes per day and work your way up to where you feel comfortable. You can still get the benefits of meditation with just 3 minutes per day!  Eventually it will feel so good that you will naturally want to increase your time. I like to use the Head space app so that I don’t have to worry about how much time has passed, and I can select a guided practice if I’m feeling unfocused.

3. Get comfortable.

Most people like to meditate sitting up, with a straight back and palms facing up resting gently on the lap.  I personally like to lay down on the floor when I meditate. For a lot of people this can cause drowsiness, but for me it works.  If you prefer to meditate sitting up, make sure your back is supported so that you don’t get tired and begin to slouch. Slouching can cause back pain and take away from the practice.

4. Be patient.  

When I first started meditating, I really thought it was all about the absence of thought.  As it turns out, trying to force yourself to not think only brings more thoughts. A strategy I like to use is focusing on the breath and counting to ten.  One count for the inhale and one count for the exhale, starting over once you’ve reached ten. If you find yourself drifting off into thought, have patience with yourself… this is NORMAL! Gently let that thought drift away and bring your focus back to your breath. ​

5. Don’t judge your practice.  

Most people who are just starting out on their meditation journey are critical of their meditative practice.  It is really important that you LET THAT SHIT GO. There is no wrong way to meditate and there is no such thing as a “bad meditation.”  Try to take a deep breath, say a few ohms and just enjoy the journey!

RELATED POSTS

Episode 13- Yoga Nidra With Su

Episode 13- Yoga Nidra With Su

In this episode I talk to the woman who introduced me to yoga and meditation, my good friend Su McFadzean.  Su teaches us about the benefits of yoga nidra, plus how and why we should be engaging in this practice for our overall health and wellbeing.

read more
Episode 13- Yoga Nidra With Su

Episode 12- Intuitive Eating With Emily

In this episode I sit down with Emily Kennedy to discuss intuitive eating- what it is, what it isn't and our own personal struggles navigating diet culture.https://directory.libsyn.com/episode/index/id/19680383

read more
Episode 13- Yoga Nidra With Su

Episode 11- Five Pounds Stronger Challenge

In this episode I talk about a challenge I'm doing inside my life coaching group called five pounds stronger in 90 days.  I talk about what it is and how you can join me!https://theliveyourwellnesspodcast.libsyn.com/five-pounds-stronger-challenge

read more

Let's Connect...

Going Deeper With Meditation

Going Deeper With Meditation

Finding the right technique

Hopefully by now everyone has tried out my 5 tips to get started with meditation, and maybe you are beginning to see the benefits of reduced stress, mental clarity, and emotional regulation the way I did when I was first starting out. The next step in your meditation journey is to find a technique that works for you.

Counting your breaths is a great way to get started with meditation. This fundamental technique can be helpful for beginners and experienced mediators alike.  Today we are going to dive into some more advanced techniques and ways to combat some common problems that come up when attempting to meditate for longer periods of time. In my first post, I advocated for beginning with just three minutes per day using the breath counting technique. This is a great place to start, but eventually most people find it more beneficial to grow your practice to 10-20 minutes per day and may want to experiment with a variety of techniques.

Pro tip: Don’t bite off more than you can chew.  If you were meditating for three minutes per day, don’t try jumping to 20 overnight.  Many experienced meditators choose to meditate for just 10 minutes per day, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that.  Meditation is not a one size fits all model- find what works best for you and stick to that. By setting unrealistic expectations for yourself, you are turning your practice into a chore and are therefore less likely to follow through with it each day.

During your meditation

But what do you actually DO for 10-20 minutes while you are meditating?  Again, meditation is not a one size fits all model, but I can tell you what has worked very well for me.  As I mentioned in my first post, I like to get comfortable in a quiet place and I try to use the same space each time I meditate.

 Begin each meditation session with a full body scan. To do a full body scan, first close your eyes and get into a position that is comfortable for you. Next, slowly take inventory of each part of your body, beginning with the top of your head, moving down to the neck and shoulders and slowly making your way to the feet.  During this scan, simply notice how the body is feeling. Sometimes you may notice a heaviness, other times you may feel very light. Be on the lookout for places where you may be holding tension; common places for holding tension include the jaw and the back. Is there any pain? Discomfort? While doing this exercise the goal is not to change anything, but simply to notice how the body is feeling.

Once you’ve scanned the body, turn your attention to your breathing. When you breathe in, notice how how the air feels coming into your body.  Which parts of your body move- do you feel the rising and falling of your chest? Your stomach? Any other part of your body? As you breathe out, pay equal attention to how your body feels as you exhale. Often times when we inhale, there is a sense of lightness, contrasted by a relative sense of heaviness on the exhale. See if you can notice this, or any other sensation as you breathe in and out. Continue this throughout your practice.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is mindfulness-rocks-2-3-1024x683.jpg

What happens if I can’t concentrate on my breath?

When thoughts come into your head, rather than try to resist them, let yourself simply acknowledge them. Once you realized that your thoughts have strayed from the breath, release the thought from your attention and come back to your breath.  By releasing the thought, you are not allowing yourself to get caught up in it. For example, if the thought is “I have so much to do today,” this can lead to a series of other related thoughts such as what needs to get done, when it will get done, and stress over the fear of not getting enough done.  Alternatively, when the thought arises “I have so much to do today,” the aim is to notice the thought about getting things done, then let it go by returning focus to the breath.

Don’t allow yourself to get frustrated. Letting go of your thoughts is something that can be extremely difficult at first, but gets easier with time. When this happens it is so important not to give up.  The mind is made to think and that is what it will try to do. Rather than getting frustrated, be proud of yourself for noticing the mind drifting off and being able to bring it back to focus on the breath.

Each time the mind wanders and you are able to notice it, your mind and your practice get stronger. Observing your thoughts takes practice.  If you need more guidance I recommend downloading the Head space app for guided meditation.

Ease back into the day

Once you’ve finished a session, try not to rush off immediately back to the grind.  Take a second to find appreciation for the time you’ve put aside for yourself and remember there are no “bad” meditation sessions.  So, if you’ve managed to put some time aside each day for your meditation practice, pat yourself on the back and keep up the great work!  

Episode 13- Yoga Nidra With Su

Episode 13- Yoga Nidra With Su

In this episode I talk to the woman who introduced me to yoga and meditation, my good friend Su McFadzean.  Su teaches us about the benefits of yoga nidra, plus how and why we should be engaging in this practice for our overall health and wellbeing.

read more
Episode 13- Yoga Nidra With Su

Episode 12- Intuitive Eating With Emily

In this episode I sit down with Emily Kennedy to discuss intuitive eating- what it is, what it isn't and our own personal struggles navigating diet culture.https://directory.libsyn.com/episode/index/id/19680383

read more
Episode 13- Yoga Nidra With Su

Episode 11- Five Pounds Stronger Challenge

In this episode I talk about a challenge I'm doing inside my life coaching group called five pounds stronger in 90 days.  I talk about what it is and how you can join me!https://theliveyourwellnesspodcast.libsyn.com/five-pounds-stronger-challenge

read more

Let's Connect...