Welcome 2020

Welcome 2020.

I honestly don’t know how to feel about today.

I do feel beyond relieved that 2019 is over. Quite honestly 2018 and 2019 have been some of the most brutal I’ve had in my life. Every day seemed like a battle and I was exhausted. I have always been an optimist by nature but these past few years have brought me to my knees and made me question everything.

I could recently tell I was just tired of it all and it all caught up with me. I could tell because writing has always been a release for me, but these past few weeks I didn’t have the energy or motivation to even think about it. The emotions of the first holiday season without my dad or our should be 6 month old son crept up on me. The first holiday season without both of my birth parents on this earth was more than I could process. All of the life (and there was plenty of it) that happened to me over that last two years seemed to be weighing me down during this already tough time.

I was tired. I am tired.

But a new year was just around the corner. My entire life I have loved the idea of a new year and all the possibility it brought. It always has such promise and hope, and now more than ever I needed both. And a new decade, even better. So as the new year approached, I found myself anxiously yet cautiously awaiting the strike of midnight. I didn’t know what would come but I desperately needed a new year.

As the minutes of the year came to a close, I found myself with mixed emotions. I was sad because I knew when I left 2019, I would be leaving the last moments with some of the most precious people to me. I was heartbroken thinking of all the hard times. Yet I found myself filling with pride that I had made it through it all. And I felt warmth thinking about all of the loved ones who helped me through it all.

I don’t know what this new year will bring. But I do know I am ready for a new year and I welcome a new decade.

So today I welcome 2020.

~ C ~

Halfway Point

This week is the official halfway point for Autumn.

What a season it has been so far.

It has been more challenging than I ever anticipated or really wanted quite frankly. But even in the chaos (and it has been a true mess) I have found great clarity and have been blessed beyond measure.

I realized that when I fiercely stick to my wellness focus and living in the present, I thrive. But when I allow life to pull me away from those areas of focus, I begin to struggle. When off balance, every little thing that goes on can become traumatic, overwhelming and even seem earth shattering.

In this season of “starting over again“, I realize that we get opportunities to stop, adjust and restart as many times as necessary in life. Even though the season is halfway over, that doesn’t mean all is lost. But rather what a blessing it is that we have a whole other half of a season to get back on track and thrive.

I very much welcome the second half of Autumn.

~ C ~

Wellness Check-In

I have to be honest. Focusing on wellness this Autumn has been so incredibly difficult. I’m honestly at a loss. How in the season that inspires me so much, do I also get so far off track?

My eating, sleeping, exercising regularly, personal development focus, staying in the moment and staying in prayer have all been off over the course of the last few weeks. I mean I haven’t been awful I suppose but I’m certainly not where I want to be in all of those areas, among many others.

Although several reasons as to “why” come to mind, if I’m being really clear with myself then I’d have to say this is the season for me where I am finding it easiest to “slip”. And by “slip” I mean come up with an excuse to avoid making a disciplined decision.

As an example last week I wasn’t feeling great, which usually happens for me when the weather starts to change from hot to cold each year. Over the week it was so easy for me to pass on going to the gym, order no-so-healthy takeout (because I was too tired/sick to cook) and let my house clutter quickly to build up (because I was too exhausted to manage it). Instead of pushing through the current state I was in, I gave myself a little too much grace, that ultimately negatively impacted my health and wellness even further. And this is just one example of how off track I have been this season.

Now as much as I want to beat myself up over this, I realize it will only waste more time. So my action plan is simple. Go back to the basics and focus on the little decisions each day. Because each little decision adds up and makes a big difference. I will get reacquainted with my vision board, daily goals and my gratitude daily recaps.

I am refocused and ready to take back my Autumn.

~ C ~

Why I Chose The Salad

Tonight for dinner I chose the salad.

It was a simple summer salad filled with mainly vegetables, a few fruits and dash of lemon vinaigrette to finish it off.

Was a salad what I was craving? Not really. But after quickly reflecting on my meals for the day and the week so far, I knew it was the right choice. I needed balance. I could use an extra dose of vegetables and fruits. After giving myself some grace over the weekend, I knew it was time to tighten back up on my healthy meal selections for the week.

There was a period not too long ago in my life where the salad wouldn’t have even been on my radar. I wasn’t disciplined enough. Instead it would have been “which fast food fries and random main item (because I clearly go for the fries) would I get?” Somewhere in the abyss of my mid 20s I lost my way health and wellness wise and it truly was anything goes. And my overall state of being showed it.

But where I stand today in my life, I choose wellness. Today I choose less chemicals, GMOs and artificially filled foods to put in my body. Today I choose foods that are created from the Earth. Today I make decisions to support a better tomorrow rather than decisions that support a fleeting immediate “need”. Today I choose health.

The salad for me today has become a symbol of something so much larger. It is a reminder of my new found strength and discipline. The salad reminds me that I am thinking clearly enough now to know when I’ve hit my “treat yourself” limit for the week. The salad is a symbol of the wisdom I have gained from the seasons I have recently crawled through. The salad reminds me that my continued wellness journey is critical to achieving my goals in every facet of life. The salad is a clear reminder that I always have choice in life.

So that is why tonight I happily chose the salad.

~ C ~

Wellness Check-In

One of the things I have really embraced since my wellness journey began this year is going with the ebbs and flows of the process. Instead of getting frustrated that I fail to meet unrealistic expectations of doing everything and living perfectly healthy, I try to focus on doing a few things each day that I feel are important to me and giving myself grace on the rest.

In any given day I try to do a mix of the following:

  • Spending quality time with my husband in between our busy work and life schedules.
  • Eating vegetable and fruit based clean meals.
  • Drinking a kombucha, kefir drink or vegetable based juice daily.
  • Drinking lots of water to flush out toxins and chemicals that enter my body each day.
  • Cooking and eating meals I prepare (vs eating out).
  • Doing a workout (strength training for at least 45 min or cardio for at least 30 min).
  • Praying for at least a few minutes.
  • Reading or listening to podcasts for about an hour focused on personal and professional development.
  • Cleaning, picking-up or reorganizing an area of our home that is in need (because life happens and things can get messy).
  • Participating in an activity to support my mental and emotional health (such as going to a grief group).
  • Checking in with family and friends.
  • Writing a gratitude note to summarize all the things I am thankful for that occurred during the day.
  • Getting quality sleep (at least 7 hours each night).

I have really found this new system to be working well for me. I’ve been able to stay on track making positive decisions each day, while not worrying too much when I don’t get all the things done.

But I realized over this weekend, it’s so easy to get in an automatic routine in life doing the same things. I determined that I needed to regularly stop and look at the big picture with how I am doing in each area. Maybe I have not been eating as many vegetables as I would like or drinking enough water. Maybe I only did two workouts this week and my preferred is a minimum of 4 workout sessions each week. So I’ve instituted an end-of-week check in to review how I’ve done over the past week holistically. This allows me to review choices I’ve made, reflect on the total successes of the week and reset for the week ahead.

While over the past week I have done a great job taking in new information by listening to tons of podcasts and reorganizing some problem spots in my house, I have slacked in the areas of getting quality sleep and drinking lots of water each day. Those are just two of the areas that I will make a focus this upcoming week. In addition, I am anxious but very much looking forward to trying acupuncture for the first time this upcoming week.

I now have great joy about taking ownership my wellness journey. I just wrapped up my wellness check-in for the past week and I am ready for the week ahead.

~ C ~

Relearning Discipline

Not too long ago I lacked discipline in almost every aspect of my life. Prior to my life crumbling to pieces this past winter, if I’m being brutally honest, I was just a hot mess. I was eating terribly. I was working out basically never. I was late to everything. I woke up every morning exhausted due to a lack of quality sleep. Stressed out was a constant state of being. Somehow over the course of my mid twenties, I just allowed small poor decision after small poor decision to snowball and affect every aspect of my life. Then one day the rug was pulled out from under me and I was fatherless, motherless, childless and a shell of the woman I always hoped I would be.

I’ve always heard that when you are at life’s lowest point you find out who you are and what you are made of. I can now attest to this.

After hanging out in that dark place for a while, I knew I had to put a plan together to pull myself out of it. I knew for the first time in years I would have to be incredibly intentional about every choice I made because I was just too emotionally fragile to handle further failure and loss. Even though I had an incredible support system of my husband, countless family members and friends, I knew I needed to rely on myself to climb this mountain. And I knew I had to become disciplined again.

It started off slow. Eating bone broth and spinach for lunch. Reading a personal development book for an hour a day. Walking on the treadmill for 20 minutes twice a week. Recognizing when I became stuck in a cycle of negative self talk and taking steps to move out of it. I painstakingly analyzed every decision I made each day and if it didn’t support my physical, mental or spiritual healing, I didn’t do it. Although it was not easy at first, slowly but surely I was practicing self control, daily positive decision making and discipline. Here I stand 8 months out from that devastating period in my life and I honestly can say in every way I am completely a different person for the better.

But this brings me to last week. After weeks and weeks of healing and growth, I suffered my first relatively significant set back. I tweaked my back during one of my workouts at the gym. It wasn’t a terrible injury by no means but I was in some serious pain at the time and knew working out for several days was out of the question. Now no big deal right? Well to me, who had for the first time in years incorporated discipline in my life, I was terrified. Would this break in working out throw me completely off my positive track? Would I revert back to the weak person I once was and lose all those hard earned gains? Would this begin to negatively affect other decisions in my life? I know it may sound silly but this was so much bigger than a missed workout or two for me. I knew the extremely dark place I had crawled out of months ago and I just couldn’t afford to go back there.

But I decided to give myself grace and although waiting impatiently, give my back some time to heal up. After several days down and out, my pain subsided and I finally started feeling almost back to full speed. I decided it was time that I could try a light workout to get myself back in motion. And to my delight the workout went well and I felt amazing after it.

As I was walking out of the gym I realized something important. Discipline can’t be lost in a day or a few days. A lack of discipline is the conscious decision to make poor choice after poor choice (or poor excuse after poor excuse). Discipline is all about choices and when we have power over our choices, we have discipline. It was in that moment I knew I would never be in that dark place of a complete lack of discipline again. Life is too short and I want to live my best life for as long as possible. Although I will undoubtedly have setbacks in the future, I can always choose to reset and forge ahead.

~ C ~

Bonus: Below is a picture from my early twenties at my very peak of discipline. Although I don’t aspire to get back quite to the same place (that season has passed and I am okay with that), I use this as motivation that I can do anything I put my mind to, including winning my first figure show.