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The Best Self-Care Skills Take Discipline, Not Self-Indulgence

The Best Self-Care Skills Take Discipline, not Self-Indulgence “Discipline is the refining fire by which talent becomes ability.” ~ Roy L. Smith

Do you think of self-care as relaxing in a flower-strewn bath, letting stress melt away? That is certainly one small aspect of it. But the best self-care skills take a lot of commitment, hard work and grit. It’s not glamorous. It’s not pampering. It’s getting tough with yourself as you make choices that nourish your body, mind and spirit.

Some people say that self-care is selfish…that nurturers can’t take the time. However, I’ve found that too often this is an excuse. As leaders in our industries, community and families, we need to create within ourselves the strength to lead. This takes strong self-care skills that are based on discipline. Otherwise, we can’t influence others – our business associates, our romantic partners, our children – to become the best versions of themselves.

Self-care is not indulgence. It’s discipline to do what’s best for YOU and others. Can you really say you’re taking care of yourself if you’re sitting for hours, eating tubs of ice cream? NOT! Real self-care skills require mental toughness and a deep understanding of what really matters.

 

Five essential self-care skills everybody needs:

 

Get plenty of restorative sleep. This means mindfully choosing to quit working or looking at a screen an hour before bedtime, allowing your mind to shut down and peacefully drift off to sleep.

The problem: After a stressful day, it’s easy to mindlessly watch TV or your Facebook feed. Or if you have a deadline, you push to get it done.

The solution: Put the remote in a hard to reach place so you have to think about what you’re doing. Create a special space and time for a relaxing project (like talking with a love one or doing something creative). This should quiet your mind so you can fall asleep quickly. Don’t allow anything to break this appointment with yourself. You’ll accomplish more in the long run.

 

Exercise regularly. Our bodies are designed to move and work. If you don’t, you’ll hurt and become more anxious and stressed.

The problem: People hate discomfort (not the same as pain), exercising in front of others, going to a gym, getting sweaty, etc… What’s you’re current “reason” for not exercising?

The solution: Find something you love. Mindfully focus on the increased energy, mental clarity, stamina and endurance you achieve each time you push yourself.

 

Eat healthful foods and stay hydrated. Throughout history, nations have used starvation as a way to torture and control others. Why would you do that to yourself? Why would you willingly deny your body the fuel it needs? 

Become more aware of how different foods affect YOUR body. For example, you may not be able to eat wheat like other people do. While your taste buds say, “Yum!”, your body cries, “Why are you poisoning me?!”

The problem: People hate to “go to the bother” of fixing healthful meals. They’d rather grab something and run.

The solution: Make healthy eating your passion. The Whole30® program changed my life. Find something that works for you. Take a class. Find a recipe buddy. Make sharing meals with friends and family a regular, pleasant activity you look forward to.

 

Create boundaries. We “take care of others” in the sense that we support them and respect them. In our families, this means providing food, clothing, shelter, open communication and love. But each person is responsible for their own well-being. If an option isn’t right for you, have the mental strength to say “no” despite how others react.

The problem: We have the tendency to either be controlling or be people pleasers.

The solution: Give others respect by letting them take care of themselves. YOU are responsible for YOUR emotional, mental, and spiritual well-being.

 

Be financially independent. We all have needs. Having MORE doesn’t guarantee more happiness. It’s a trap to compare what you have with what other people have or with what you see in magazines. Gratitude for what you have will help you see the difference between needs and wants.

The problem: Living with credit card debt or paycheck to paycheck is stressful.

The solution: Live within your means. That includes having the discipline to save a certain amount out of every paycheck for an emergency fund and a certain amount for your retirement. Pay off your credit card debts so interest rates don’t eat up your funds.

 

It takes discipline to always do the things that are good for you. Why not reboot your self-care skills by joining us at our Women: Wisdom, Presence, and Flow! Retreat June 20 to 26th in Grand Canary Island. You’ll return home with renewed purpose and energy!

Benefits of CrossFit Training for Women Like Me

The benefits of CrossFit training for women like me literally transformed my life! Here are scads of reasons why it might be exactly what you’re looking for too!“Successful people pursue hard things. Unsuccessful people avoid them.” ~ Coach Greg Glassman

I know you highly value health and wellness. That’s why you’re here – because it’s my mission to help you achieve your optimal health through mindfully making good choices. To be totally honest and open, even though I’ve practiced a healthful routine for years, sometimes I lacked motivation. Something was missing. I like how Brian Carter put it, “Even people who aren’t sick may not have optimal wellness.” Is that how you feel? My breakthrough to my optimal wellness happened when I discovered CrossFit training for women like me. It might be exactly what you’re looking for too!

I am so proud to be part of Crossfit Inconceivable community in Ashland Oregon. Over the last almost 3½ years, I have literally changed who I am. I have become the person who:

  • works out regularly (Who knew that was possible!?!)
  • looks at sweating and challenging myself physically as self-care,
  • is more mindful about body fitness and wellness, and
  • has found a community of like-minded people that inspire me, challenge me and keep me sane. I love seeing those beautiful faces first thing in the morning. I look forward to feeling inspired everyday.

So I challenge you…if you don’t already have a supportive community that inspires you to makes your workout routine a sustainable habitwhat are you waiting for? Go find them! Your wellness program doesn’t have to include CrossFit, because it’s always important to listen to your own body and its limits, but here’s why I love it so much…

Nine benefits from the special way CrossFit training is designed.

 1. Somatic approach. As a Somatic Coach, I am all about caring for the whole mind/body/spirit connection. CrossFit training ticks all of those boxes. It’s an intense, full-body workout that prepares you for the unexpected, which has far reaching benefits for your mind and spirit, too.

2. Time-saving. Most CrossFit “Workouts of the Day” can be completed in 15-20 minutes.

3. Dynamic workout. CrossFit combines strength training, explosive plyometrics, speed training, weight lifting, kettle bells, body weight exercises, gymnastics, and endurance exercise. It mixes and matches different exercises to push all parts of your body to their limits. (That’s a good thing!)

4. Variety holds off boredom. Each “Workouts of the Day” is new and exciting. You’re not likely to do the same workout within a 6-month period. 

5. Learn what you’re really capable of doing. Each exercise builds on the previous one, so you achieve more than you thought possible.

6. Community. The camaraderie in CrossFit makes this exercise experience so unique. You will be applauded for doing your best, no matter what your best is. No comparisons made!

7. Personal coaching. All CrossFit classes are led by an experienced coach who ensures proper form and standards. Yes, occasionally you’ll get a “no rep” when you’re not doing something properly or not giving it your all. Your coach is your inspiration, counselor, buddy, nutrition advisor and biggest cheerleader.

 

What actual health benefits can you expect from CrossFit training? For women like me, there has to be tangible results to make it worth investing the time. Wouldn’t you say these benefits are well worth your time?

  • heart health
  • joint mobility 
  • stamina
  • strength
  • coordination
  • flexibility
  • power
  • speed
  • agility
  • balance
  • endurance
  • immune system
  • creativity

As John F. Kennedy said: “Physical fitness is not only one of the most important keys to a healthy body, it is the basis of dynamic and creative intellectual activity.”  

 

And that leads me to the two most important benefits from CrossFit training for women like me…

8. New lifestyle.You’re surrounded by people invested in fitness and health, which reinforces your resolve to achieve and maintain total wellness.

9. Mental toughness. You leave behind the practice of taking the path of least resistance or cutting corners. “Taking the easy way out” is no longer in your vocabulary. You discover the difference between discomfort and pain, and you aren’t a quitter.

These benefits literally transformed my life! They make my health and wellness routine sustainable. I look forward to the daily encouragement and inspiration, because it keeps me going. It’s never a burden. And I’m not even tempted to cheat.

Do you want to feel that way about your health routine? I’d love to be part of your supportive community. Please contact me and schedule an “Unlocking Your Potential” 30-minute complimentary consultation (in-person, by phone or via Skype). Let’s work through the rough patches, so you can find your way to YOUR routine for total health and wellness.  

Optimal Health and Wellness – It Starts With Food

Optimal Health and Wellness - It Starts With Food“Your diet is a bank account. Good food choices are good investments.” ~ Bethenny Frankel

When I had my 49th birthday, I decided to try the Whole30® plan. I’d heard friends talking about it for years. So, when a friend announced that she was going to do it (Thank you, Tia!) and asked for people to join her, I thought to myself, “I’ll give a try!” I was curious and I really thought that it was going to be good for me. I’d lose a few pounds and feel better. Well, I am happy to say that it changed my life, by putting me on the path to discovering my highest level of optimal health. I truly feel like nothing can stop me from becoming the best version of myself now.

I began reading one of the books that goes with Whole30® program, “It Starts with Food.” I didn’t know their information would blow my mind! It showed how the food industry has been playing into our weaknesses by massively producing our craving for sweet, salty, and fatty foods. I’m not going to let them do that to me any more! I want to be in the driver seat as I make mindful decisions about what I put in my mouth and how it affects my body. Isn’t that how you feel too?

How does the Whole30® program promote optimal wellness?

First, I highly recommend reading or listening to an audio version of the book “It Starts with Food,” written by Dallas and Melissa Hartwig, founders of the Whole 30® Challenge. It explains the science behind healthy eating and healthy living, in an easy-to-understand way that has kept me motivated ever since reading it.

For 30 days, you remove all potentially inflammatory foods and beverages from your diet (sugar, sweeteners, alcohol, grains, legumes, dairy, processed foods, and junk foods) and eat three “clean” meals a day, made with ingredients like lean meats, seafood, veggies, fruit, good fats, and eggs. When you eliminate inflammatory foods in a mindful way, you see how food is affecting your body on all levels.

Yes, it is challenging. But it’s also empowering! One of my favorite lines in the book was: “It is NOT hard. Please don’t tell us this program is hard. Quitting heroin is hard. Beating cancer is hard. Birthing a baby is hard. Drinking your coffee black. Is. Not. Hard.”

I feel and look healthier than I have in years. I sleep better, I have tons of energy ALL. DAY. LONG…and drum roll…. For the first time in my life, I feel in control of what I eat. During the 30-day program I went to potlucks, birthday parties and even Christmas celebrations, without wishing I could eat sugar, carbs or drink alcohol. I am so excited to make Whole30 my lifestyle, a way to feed myself to promote optimal health and wellness, both physically and mentally!

Do you want to incorporate this program into your new way of thinking about 2019? To begin with, I suggest you become very clear about your intentions for the program. Do you want to heal a health problem? Perhaps reduce the inflammation in your system so you don’t have to deal with chronic pain? Do you want to become more mindful about your choices, so you can love yourself again? Do you need to find motivation that keeps you going through the ups and downs of weight loss? Identify why you want to do this program, and it will help you stay committed. It’s only 30 days of your life. Within that small span of time, you will discover what foods make YOU feel good!

If you want a whole new understanding and respect for your body, give this 30 day challenge a try. It helps to do it with an accountability buddy and guide. I’d be honored if you’d contact me and schedule an “Unlocking Your Potential” 30-minute complimentary consultation (in-person, by phone or via Skype), so we can work on this together.

How to Fully Utilize the Power of Gratitude in Your Life

How to Fully Utilize the Power of Gratitude in Your Life How much would you pay for a tool that changes your day? You could live anywhere in the world and use this tool to turn a gloomy day into a bright cheery day; you could combat illness and make yourself healthier; and you could even change your brain, so you gracefully cope with any distressing event. Guess what? It doesn’t matter if you’re rich or poor; you already own this amazing tool. It’s the power of gratitude.

To illustrate how the power of gratitude works, try to put yourself in the following story and feel what Meg feels.

Monday morning Meg wakes up early to get to her new gym class on time. It’s not easy, but she’s happy, because she’s determined to honor her promise to protect her health. As she enters her garage, she sees the car has a flat tire. Not only that, she discovers that her son left the lights on and the door ajar, so the battery is dead.

Meg’s good mood disappears. She won’t make it to the gym. As she thinks about calling Triple A for assistance, she gets very angry with her son. He’s ruined her day. She’s not even going to make it to work on time. She slams her coffee mug on the counter and sprays coffee on her coat. Great! Can anything else go wrong? Yes. While she was preoccupied, her favorite cat, which just had surgery, slips outside.

My guess is she, and you, are feeling pretty stressed right now. It’s human nature to dwell on negatives and to what you don’t have. But when you take your focus off these things and zoom out, so you’re noticing your life from bird’s eye view, you’ll feel a shift occur.

In your imagination, zoom out so you see your house on your street – see the trees, the road, the stop sign, and the neighbors’ houses. Zoom out further and see your house nestled in your city block. Zoom out still further and see it within your city. Now return to the story. Let’s see how the power of gratitude can change your feelings toward “your son.”

As you look down on the garage, you notice the tree he helped plant in your pretty garden. Yes, your son made a mistake, but at least he’s not battling leukemia like the young man down the block, and he’s not on drugs like the boy across town. In fact, he’s a really good kid. And you start to feel grateful that he is such a good kid.

At the very moment you soften and feel gratitude, your breathing and heart rate slows. You notice tension in your shoulders, and you shrug it out. You start noticing how nice and warm your home is; how beautifully the sun glistens off the early morning frost; how lucky you are to have a family that loves you.

It’s not just a coincidence that gratitude creates such a profound shift. From this highly condensed story, we can identify how the power of gratitude works. (In real life, the process may not occur so quickly.)

Gratitude makes you present in the moment. Rather than becoming stuck on “the disasters” you aren’t afraid to take a step back and see the bird’s eye view of your life. Why? Because, on a deep level, you already know for a certainty that there’s an abundance of goodness in your life that you can rely on.

Gratitude makes you aware of your body sensations. You don’t notice how tense you become during the crisis, but feeling gratitude brings awareness and allows you to let it go.

Gratitude makes you see what you do have. The negative event is crowded out by the thought, “He’s a really good kid.” No matter what’s happening in your life, it’s not as bad as someone else. As you become aware of other less fortunate people, you’ll feel a deeper appreciation for what you do have.

Gratitude makes you content with what you have. Feeling grateful feels like you’re giving yourself a giant hug. You love your life and everything about it. No doubt, there may be things that you’ll change in the future, but for today, what you have is enough to fill you with satisfaction, joy and well-being.

Gratitude is contagious. Being grateful has the power to block out negativity. You can’t pay attention to what’s missing or what’s not going well, if you mindfully focus on what is. Since the Thanksgiving holiday is here, why not come over to my Facebook page and let’s spread the power of gratitude. Please share with me: What are you grateful for today?

 

Read other articles on gratitude:

Choosing Gratitude – The Recipe for a Happier, More Meaningful Life

Amplify Your Attitude of Gratitude – The Secret to Lasting Transformation

Practice Gratitude and You’ll Feel Rich Beyond Measure

Rewire Your Brain by Taking in the Good and Savoring the Moment

Lynne Goldberg’s Story on Gratitude

Neuroplastic Healing: Make New Brain Connections for Optimal Wellness

Neuroplastic Healing: Make New Brain Connections for Optimal Wellness“Better keep yourself clean and bright; you are the window through which you must see the world.” ~ George Bernard Shaw

For years, we’ve heard advertisements for apps like Lumosity that work to improve your neuroplasticity. But what exactly is neuroplasticity, and how can you use neuroplastic healing to achieve optimal health and well-being?

According the National Center for Biotechnology Information, a branch of the National Institutes of Health, Neural plasticity (also called neuroplasticity or neuronal plasticity)…

“can be defined as the ability of the central nervous system (CNS) to adapt in response to changes in the environment or lesions. This property of the CNS may involve modifications in overall cognitive strategies to successfully cope with new challenges (i.e., attention, behavioral compensation), recruitment of new/different neural networks, or changes in strength of such connections or specific brain areas in charge of carrying out a particular task (i.e., movement, language, vision, hearing).”

Did you notice the words I highlighted in bold type? They show that just as plastic is flexible, your brain and nervous system is flexible too. If it wasn’t, you couldn’t learn a new skill. In a nutshell – when you mindfully make healthy, new connections between the neurons in your brain, which result in greater well-being, you’re taking advantage of neuroplastic healing. If one brain circuitry isn’t working properly, you can often consciously train a different brain circuit to work around the broken one.

Another way of explaining neuroplasticity is to think of it as rewiring your brain. Take for example deeply ingrained habits. They literally form pathways in your brain, however you can mindfully disrupt these and reroute to create a new pathway towards a better habit. It takes time to form these new paths; that’s why using microhabits can be so useful.

Problems may arise because of inflammation, toxicity or genetic abnormalities at a cellular level. Brain circuits may die, become dormant or fire at irregular rates. Other circuits may become overactive. If your system has gone haywire because of illness, stress, trauma or unhealthy choices, your whole body-mind-spirit wellness will suffer.  

Since your nervous system physiology is directed connected to your neuroplasticity, it’s important to keep your nervous system healthy. Read through the following list of how a person benefits from a healthy system. Then use this information to determine where neuroplastic healing may help you obtain your optimal state of well-being.

People who are out of balance and need neuroplastic healing often react to life’s challenges in one of two ways:

  • They either live in the survival mode of fight/ flight response that pumps adrenaline and cortisol throughout their system all day long.
  • They freeze up, shut down, tune out or numb themselves so they feel nothing.

When you work at restoring total body-mind-spirit wellness via somatic coaching, you create a foundation for neuroplastic healing. Then the above-mentioned benefits will become part of your life naturally. If you’d like to learn more, please contact me and schedule an “Unlocking Your Potential” 30-minute complimentary consultation (in-person, by phone or via Skype).

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