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...

Six Ways to Improve Sleep and Lower Your Stress

Six Ways to Improve Sleep and Lower Your Stress

Are you getting enough sleep?  

Equally as important, are you getting enough of the right kind of sleep.  Those not prioritizing sleep miss a crucial part of overall  health and happiness. Getting 7-9 hours of sleep, including plenty of deep sleep, is one of the most underrated things we can do for both our physical and mental health.  It is as though sleep is a magic bullet for our health- if only we could just get a full, high quality sleep each night our health would improve in so many ways. I’ve been doing a lot of research and learning on this topic both for my own sleep and to help others.  One thing that came up again and again in my research was the important relationship between sleep and stress. 

When our bodies don’t get enough sleep, it has a major impact on the brain.  That may explain why sleep deprived individuals are more likely to experience heightened stress and anxiety than their well rested counter-parts.  Lack of sleep activates our fight or flight mechanism in the brain; making us quicker to anger and irritation, more reactive, less social, less rational, and more prone to stress.  This is why it is so important to get a good night of sleep when trying to manage our stress.  

Here are a few things I found that actually made a difference for me, hopefully it can help you too!

1. Make sure your sleeping area is black out dark

According to Dr. Matthew Walker, professor of neuroscience and psychology at UC Berkeley, you should get rid of ANY light at night. Even if you don’t think it’s bothering you, just the tiniest amount of light can negatively impact sleep or reduce the quality of sleep.  So many people have said to me that they sleep “fine” with light on in their bedroom or shining through their window. 

 Here’s the thing I want you to understand- even a little bit of light impacts deep sleep or slow wave sleep.  According to Walker, deep sleep is needed for things like learning and memory, strengthening immune function, and the regeneration of new, healthy cells.  To promote deep sleep, either black out your windows using blackout curtains OR use a sleep mask- trust me it will make a noticeable difference when you wake up in the morning and feel more rested and less prone to negative, stress causing emotions.  

2. Use Lavender

I’m not big into essential oils but this sleep hack is backed by science.  Not only is lavender known for its relaxation and stress-relieving properties, it has been shown to promote deep sleep as well as faster onset of sleep.  Diffuse a little bit of this at night to deepen your sleep… it worked for me!  

3. Get out of your bed

 it should be used for sleep and sex ONLY. Don’t read in bed, work in bed or talk on the phone… using the bed for other things trains the brain to think the bed is a place for being awake.  Try staying out of your bedroom until you are absolutely ready for sleep- cut the scrolling Facebook, checking your emails ,and online shopping (just me?) right before bed. Besides, cutting down on a little screen time never hurt anyone!

4. Get plenty of light during the daytime.

 This goes hand in hand with eliminating all light at night.  Our bodies are programed on a circadian rhythm, the 24-hour clock inside each of us that is regulated by the natural cycles of light and dark.  One of the major problems people run into is that in modern society we spend so much time indoors surrounded by artificial light. Our body’s internal clocks become dysregulated and confused.  Try taking a walk around midday when the sun is shining the brightest. 

The best way to reset your circadian rhythm and reorient your body to its natural rhythm of light and dark is to go camping for a week.  Camping tends to eliminate a majority of artificial light and exposes us to light and dark in a more natural way. Getting outdoors has the added benefit of naturally boosting mood and alleviating stress- sounds like a win-win!

5. Take a meditation class

When it comes to stress reduction, meditation has a reputation for being a big time stress buster.  Sleep and meditation go hand in hand when looking to reduce stress. Meditation helps calm the overactive brain which is so often the culprit in keeping us up at night and preventing sleep.  Try taking a meditation class or check out my 5 Steps to Get Started Meditating to learn how you can begin incorporating this stress reducing practice right away!

6. Last but not least

Prioritize your sleep!! This one may sound obvious, but it is probably one of the biggest sources of our nation-wide sleep crisis.  I too, have been guilty of putting off sleep in order to “get things done.” The truth is, we are so much more productive and energetic when we get a full night of sleep.  Putting off sleep ends up being counter productive since we have a clear mind and more energy after a full night of sleep.  

Good luck and happy sleeping!  

Did I miss anything? Is there something you’re doing for sleep that I didn’t touch on here? Comment below to let me know!

 

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...