Wellness Check-In

Over the past few weeks it has been so incredibly hard to focus on my wellness pillars. Everything from reading books, to listening to professional development podcasts, to working out, to focusing on the present, to eating clean has been an uphill battle it seems. I am doing my best but if I am being honest, I am not exactly where I want to be.

It’s such a slippery slope. A few small not-so-great decisions turn into a day full of bad decisions. And that can spiral into a week filled with unhealthy decisions. It can happen in the blink of an eye, which is the scary part.

But one new tool I have in my life this year is discipline. Becoming disciplined has completely transformed so many areas of my life over the course of the year. I couldn’t see it along the way, but as I look at my overall healthier state now, I almost can’t believe the person I was before.

So as I find myself struggling a bit to stay focused on my wellness pillars, I will lean on my faith that small positive decisions each day will continue to open doors in my life. I will just keep doing my best and focusing on the small decisions each day. It’s worked so well for me before so I know the sky is the limit if I keep moving ahead.

~ C ~

Wellness Check-In: Week 2

Reflecting on this last week, it was one filled with some really positive wellness choices and gains.

It was filled with some great workouts, clean eating, self reflection time, my first acupuncture session, some much needed rest and time filled catching up with loved ones. I even had a much needed vision board session to help set some plans and goals as I head into this new season.

One wellness highlight for me this week came in the most unlikely place – the kickoff to the college football season. My husband and I are huge sports fans. Sitting down to watch college football games is one of the ways we connect and spend time together each fall. And these gamedays for us usually involve getting some takeout pizza or heading to a restaurant/bar to eat greasy tailgate-like food. Now although this is okay once in a while, this year I am just looking to reshape this gameday tradition for us. So I decided this past weekend to make a healthy and completely from scratch gameday meal (picture below). It turned out amazing and after I ate I didn’t feel like I had the itis or needed to go for a run. Creating healthy gameday meals is a tradition I very much look forward to this football season.

(Gameday Menu: The main dish was made-from-scratch organic turkey meatballs and tomato sauce created with vegetables from the farm. Dish was topped with organic cheese. Garlic lemon organic green beans was the side dish. To drink I exchanged my old favorite hard cider with my new favorite Kevita Apple Cider Vinegar Tonic. The whole thing turned out amazing. Definitely a wellness win for me this week.)

~ C ~

My First Acupuncture Session

In my quest for a stronger state of wellness, today I had my first acupuncture session. After a suggestion from a trusted counselor, I knew I needed to give it a shot. I didn’t know what to expect at all but I went into it open-minded.

Most of the initial appointment was just discussing with the acupuncturist my past and current state of health. Although I am new at this (obviously), I can already tell that one of the real keys of the entire acupuncture process is the relationship building process between the client and the acupuncturist. And I was so relieved to have an almost instant connection with my acupuncturist. I could tell she was very knowledgeable not only about the practice but about how to meet her clients where they are in life.

As far as the actual needles going into the body part, there is nothing to write home about. For me, it didn’t hurt and I barely knew they were there. Once they were all situated and I was laying in silence, I must admit that I did feel an energy flowing through my body. Nothing painful at all, but rather more like a heightened awareness of my body during the treatment. Could the energy I felt all have been in my head? Sure. It was just the first time so I’ll have to see how I feel post treatment and in the days to come.

Now if someone would have asked me even a year ago if I could imagine doing acupuncture, I would have said no. Not that I was too scared of the needles, but rather I just wasn’t in control of my health and wellness. And it wouldn’t have made sense to incorporate acupuncture into my life if I wasn’t eating right, drinking right or exercising. Honestly I wouldn’t have even found the energy to schedule my day to incorporate getting to the office.

But here I am after completing my first session. Another example of how this is a new and welcomed season in my life. I look forward to continuing on this acupuncture journey. I expect nothing but am open to whatever may come my way.

~ 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.

Journey of Healing

I have spent the last 8 months on a journey of healing. Every minute has been hard, yet in the midst of it I have found joy. It has been pitch dark at times, yet at the same time I have been showered with immense light. It has been the worst period of my life, yet I know without it I would still be lost.

When I made the choice to move forward in my life after loss, I began by making a series of pivotal life shifts. I started a life long voyage of making healthier choices. I made focusing on my mental health and building effective coping mechanisms my number one priority. I embarked on a journey to relearn how to learn so I could grow in every facet of my life. I surrounded myself with only those people who lift and fill me up. I made a promise to find ways to serve others as often as possible along the way. I made a conscious decision that I will no longer be just a taker from this earth and find ways to give back and reduce my footprint. I reduced clutter from my physical and mental spaces to make room for possibility. I ran towards change because remaining in the same spot was no longer an option.

Day by day, I have made small decision after small decision, each with those life shifts top of mind. Quite frankly focusing on these decisions and shifts saved me from thinking about the people I had lost, the life I would no longer know and the person who I would never be again. At first I was fueled by blind faith alone. But slowly I saw the tiny changes I was making each day compound and make an actual difference in my life.

Today I am so proud of the person I have become through these decisions and shifts in my life. It doesn’t mean I have “made it”, I never will. It doesn’t mean I won’t have any more bad days or setbacks, I am positive I will have plenty. It doesn’t mean my grief is over, it is tattooed on every aspect of my being. But what it does mean is my joy and pain can coexist. It means my darkness and light can stand next to each other. It means the decisions I make today will positively affect my future. I am proud I have arrived at a place that seemed impossible to get to only 8 months ago. And moving forward I will continue to take this healing journey the same way I have over the past 8 months, step by step.

~ C ~