Have you ever worked really hard to change a habit? You think you are on the other side ...and then all the sudden realize you are headed straight back to the depths of the habit you were trying to change? No? Just me? Ok, well I am going to share anyway. 😊
I just had this happen, in a big way. I have been doing my best to take care of my health - physically, mentally and emotionally and for me that means not taking on the world anymore. It means saying no and doing less. Doing only the things that really matter for me and my family. It means telling my husband and my kids and often times others, “no I’m sorry that is just not possible right now - I need to take it easy”.
All of this is part of stress management and for me it is an integral part of managing my Autoimmune Disease. I have felt great for the last year or so and in the last few months my marriage has been able to begin to recover from several years of just simple lack of care and lack of priority. Let me dive a little deeper into that. I hadn’t made space for myself or what I needed in order to be well. I was taking on everything for everyone and I didn’t know how to tell anyone I couldn’t make that happen. I also didn’t realize I was allowed to give myself grace and say, “I can’t make that happen”. As a wife and mother, we think we MUST put our families first - it is what is expected. For some folks though that is what is slowly killing us. If we don’t find balance, we can find ourselves in a place of exhaustion that our body cannot physically recover from without it shutting down. I know I am headed into that place when I can no longer think straight to even make the list of things that need to be done.When I am at that state of overwhelm it is a huge sign that I am headed to an unhealthy place. Learning your own signs AND listening to them is a sign of healing and making that new habit. IT IS OK to put YOURSELF first!!!
So, I have shared what I can’t do and now I want to share what I DO to help myself stay in the healthy place:
1. Sleep - I make myself go to bed, the “things” will still be there in the morning and I do my best to get a minimum of 8 hours of sleep.
2. Eat - I am a much better and healthier human when I eat 3 good meals a day.
3. Have a plan - for meals, for who is taking the kids where and when, what my husband and I will be doing as a couple every week.
4. Use my tools - Essential Oils are a HUGE part of my routine and my wellness. I apply oils frequently and keep them all around me, I follow my gut as to what I need and I don’t over think it. For example, Northern Lights Black Spruce is something that makes my stress level much lower when I use it frequently. The Envision, Gratitude and GeneYus blends are things that help me stay balanced and on top of my game, as well as several other blends I mix together myself.
5. Make time for myself - if I am exhausted and feel depleted, I have nothing left for anyone else. I have given myself permission to fill my cup with friends and my Bible Study group weekly. Without that time, I recognize that I am not fully functioning. Find what fills YOUR cup.
6. Cooking/ Baking - this is something I love and that serves a dual purpose. It provides me an outlet of enjoyment and it feeds my family. We all have to eat! Meal planning and prepping can also be a family activity. My kids love to help in the kitchen and it is a great lesson for them.
So many of these things are individual preferences but you get the idea. If you aren’t taking care of YOU, you will eventually not be able to take care of anyone else. Why do we think it is only ok to put the oxygen mask on ourselves first on the plane? This is a metaphor for our lives... you cannot take care of anyone else if you are depleted, exhausted and unwell. YOU must come first; this isn’t a frivolous luxury but a necessity for your family. I take it as my personal responsibility to set a good example for my children. It is important to make sure we are well as individuals. You are responsible for you.
Curious about how to find the essential oils I talked about? I can hook you up! You are going to want to start here, want more details shoot me an email or text!
How often do you just feel stressed and strung out? Do you feel like you are ALWAYS on edge? This is something that unfortunately is pretty commonplace in our culture, and it is one of the things that slowly wrecks our health. When we are constantly in this stressed out, high cortisol place our body thinks it is fighting for its life. Imagine being chased by a bear ALL the time… that is what your body thinks is happening. Unfortunately, bodies were meant to only sustain that level of stress while actually BEING chased by a bear, not every.day.all.day. Our system gets to a point where it just can’t manage this anymore and it begins to break down. We see higher inflammation in our bodies and we struggle to manage the little things because, at this point, EVERYTHING is overwhelming to our bodies. Instead of diving deeper into the science of this, I promise there are tons of articles out there and books on this exact topic… lets look at how we can do little things to help reduce and manage our stress and stop letting the bear chase us all the time! Here are 8 ideas to help you take a breather and slow it down.
Before you tell me “I don’t have time to slow down” because I know that’s what you are thinking. Let me just say this – I didn’t think I had time either and then my body didn’t give me a choice. Instead of giving me the gentle cues that enough was enough it forced me to plant myself in bed for weeks at a time. It is our responsibility to MAKE time to slow down because once our bodies force us to slow down the consequences can be MUCH greater than little Jimmy not making it to soccer practice on time or the family eating leftovers for dinner… which believe it or not is actually a favorite in our house – it is a chance to get your favorite meal from the week again! So, without further ado… lets dive into ways to slow down
As you can see, there are LOTS of different ways to take a step back and stop allowing the bear to chase you. It is so important for not only your mental health but also your physical and emotional health to find this slower pace that allows you to find peace daily. Trust me, I still have my stressful days but for the most part I do what I can each day and have let go of the idea that everything must get done TODAY. It is a hard lesson to learn but one that I don’t personally want to learn again. I hope you find this information helpful and maybe are even intrigued to try something new! Be Well!
As I have begun walking this journey to start a Functional Nutritional Therapy Practice it has been a bit more challenging than expected. I mean, in full disclosure, I was thinking one of the most challenging things was going to be getting my logo just right. Boy was I wrong! The last several months have been full of pivoting, adjustments and challenges that I never would have imagined in my wildest dreams. I have had to rely on the tools in my stress management toolbox as well as grow that toolbox. The first hurdle was finishing school… I know that I require my space and my quiet time to recharge and that is typically when I get my most focused and productive work done. In all honesty, home (with all of it’s distractions) was NOT that place. If you are reading this in the future – please note the date… it is August of 2020, the year of insanity and shutdowns. Let’s rewind to mid-March. The really challenging part of my program was beginning. I needed my routine and my quiet recharge time, but it totally vanished. My quiet time was replaced by having kids home all day trying to do school work, a husband working from home almost full time AND finishing graduate school online IN our shared office space. Last but definitely not least, my little slice of heaven, my escape – my favorite, little, local coffee shop - was forced to go to a take-out only model. Let’s just say my stress level hit a high and I had to find a way to rebalance my world and it wasn’t a quick shift. My family and I had to find a way to all be productive and all stay sane in a constantly changing environment. My children never went back to school and my favorite, local coffee shop was eventually allowed to reopen (THANK GOODNESS) but in the meantime I had to make a few investments for my sanity. The first was setting a schedule for when and who did what. This changed weekly and required my husband and I to reevaluate and really work on our communication (this is something that is ALWAYS a work in progress in our marriage). The second was a portable hammock – I know this sounds like a ridiculous item but it gave me my own space AND it allowed me to get some much needed time outdoors and a quiet space to read and study without the distractions of being inside the house. Taking advantage of the tiniest things can make a HUGE difference in your mental health and stress management. I also had to make sure I was getting appropriate sleep and using the oils that keep me grounded (yep, I am an essential oil junky – more on that in another blog post). All of this helped but we still felt a little claustrophobic and uncertain – which is something no one does well with long term. So… we all finished school and then we completely went off the rails – the kids took advantage of all of the free time they could get their hands on, lots of outside time riding bikes, playing and just being KIDS! My husband focused on work and keeping life moving. Me… I started working on launching my practice.
So, I already told you, I was thinking a logo was going to be my biggest challenge… oh that was a challenge but nowhere near the largest challenge I faced in launching my practice and I think you will notice both logos turned out AWESOME. Starting a business is stressful enough in a normal year but doing it when the country is a hot mess is a totally different set of circumstances. I learned there are options for creating an LLC and actually becoming a business entity. The process was pretty simple, but only after a lot of research and really considering what I needed. It would have been easy to use the readily available, heavily advertised, big box options, but local was much more cost effective and gave me what I needed without all of the extra fluff and cost. Setting up the LLC was daunting at first, but the uber challenging and time consuming task was opening a bank account!! It took almost two months!! I had done my research and was looking for a small business friendly banking option that wouldn’t hit me with constant fees and that was a Credit Union. The credit union wasn’t opening new business accounts because they were focused on existing customers and making sure customers could get the PPP loans they needed (Paycheck Protection Program for those of you that aren’t aware). I think this is awesome but it definitely added to the stress of getting started because everyone talks about how you need to be smart with your business and keep your personal and business finances separate. That gets harder to do when you are unable to open your bank accounts but I did it! Next up was insurance… thank goodness they had talked briefly about this in school AND one of my closest friends is in this industry. It was super confusing and challenging and took the better part of a month to be squared away… and is still a stress point for me to be honest! If you are starting a business of any type, don’t go cheap with an industry plan unless you have fully vetted it and make sure that it covers every aspect of your business. I started down the industry plan path and realized very quickly that the cheap cookie cutter option left me uncovered and that is really scary in this sue happy society we live in – find a broker!!! If you need a referral, I am happy to share my broker’s information. You need someone that actually understands your business and, in the grand scheme of things, the monthly cost is minimal to make sure I am not wide open to risks! This was totally unexpected, but applying for insurance also required me to define my processes and practice management which was a HUGE blessing in disguise.
I know…you are thinking none of this seems that crazy, but I am a Type A person… I have become way more “go with the flow” over the years but that only goes so far. Imagine you are launching a business - and that business looks a certain way in your head - and then all of the sudden it looks nothing like you had planned or expected. Imagine being in the middle of a pandemic and your life twists and turns on the daily. Oh yeah, the major change, did I mention that I had no intention of this being an online practice 6 months ago?? I had planned to have a brick and mortar practice where I would see people, in person, and use ALL of my skills to help them. Instead I have pivoted a bit and am now working with clients online. For now, it is great, and I love my clients but wish I could give them more – it will happen, just not right now.
Now that you know I have pivoted to an online practice, let’s talk about web design and development! I had intended to hire this out when I was opening a brick and mortar because I didn’t think it would need to be maintained as heavily. Oh, how wrong I was! When I went to the online model, I decided I really needed to build my web presence myself because I needed to be able to maintain it on my own. When looking at web design options they don’t always give you all of the details of their pros and cons up front, OR I am unable to understand their lingo. This website has been built three different times on three different platforms from scratch, yep, you read that correctly THREE times! I was never so glad to be Type A. I had written all of my copy and kept it in files offline. Rebuilding was painful, but it made things SOOOO much easier to not be worried about losing things that I had put hours of my heart and soul into. The most fun experience (tongue in cheek) was learning that the platform I was using wouldn’t support a blog – the night before I planned to launch!! As you can see, that is a key item that was not optional. So there I was, recreating my third website, the night before we were scheduled to launch and 45 minutes before we were scheduled to leave for my son’s birthday dinner. . I made the choice to put my son first and go to dinner. I had faith I would get it done after he was in bed. Pushing the launch any further was not going to happen and guess what – that was July 24th and we launched the afternoon of July 25th! The experience was totally worth it and I know we are where we belong and we started right when we were supposed to. I used my tools that day and got through it - the amount of Stress Away and Build Your Dream in our office that night was enough to motivate a small army.
If you have a dream, take the leap even if it is 2020 – you are totally worthy of your dreams and I know you can do it. Use your tools, find your space and GO FOR IT!! I wouldn’t give up any of this experience or any of the hurdles because it has made me more aware of who I am and has really forced me to own it and be proud of what I have accomplished.
Totally taking the chance for a shameless plug – if I weren’t feeding my body properly and hadn’t been helped to find my tools over the last few years I couldn’t be here. If you are searching for those tools – I AM YOUR GIRL!!!
THANK YOU FOR BEING HERE!!!
NOW subscribe to our newsletter on our homepage for some tips and awesome recipes!!!!
Karly is a Wife, Mom, Entrepreneur, FNTP and Non-Toxic Living Specialist and Lover of Food - living in a small suburb of Austin, TX.