Reclaiming your time (and sanity)

maxine

You’re probably familiar with Maxine’s Waters’ famous clip where she shuts down political rambling by chanting “reclaiming my time.” See it here.

Who among us, doesn’t want to reclaim some time?  We know how fast it goes, and how it can be easily wasted.  There are some great articles and tips in this month’s Oprah magazine.  Here’s the cliff’s notes version of my favorite part…

  1. make a list of all the things you have on your agenda today
  2. mark which ones you look forward to (!)
  3. mark the ones you feel like avoiding (x)
  4. decide if all the Xs are actually important enough to do (cross out a few if possible)
  5. see time open up for the better stuff !!!

It’s simple to explain, but not so simple to actually do.  If you have a lot of Xs on the list and can’t see a way to get out of them, then maybe it’s time to revisit priorities.  Yes, there is always going to be laundry, grocery shopping and cleaning the kitchen.  (which you could outsource, but that’s a topic for another time.)

How about those things on your to-do list you dread like going to a networking meeting you know will be boring, or attending your kid’s school’s PTA meeting because it seems like something you should do?  Basically, I’m talking about all those things you say “yes” to because you feel you should, but you’re not actually all that interested.  These are the X events you need to bail on, and not look back.

What do I avoid like the plague? PTA meetings, for one, let’s talk about a snore session, shall we? I also toss half read books if they can’t hook me in the first few chapters.  Same thing with TV shows, I mean, why sit there if it’s not keeping your attention?

It’s not always easy to say “no” to people who want you to serve on committees, volunteer for events, or even ask for advice and sympathy (when you know they won’t listen anyway or return the favor.)

Let’s listen to our guts the next time a request comes your way.

Gut check:

  1. does this sound like fun?
  2. will I learn something useful?
  3. do I want to spend time with these people?

There may actually be times when you just aren’t sure if an opportunity is right for you.  Maybe it’s something that needs exploration, or there is something there that’s attractive to you.  It’s OK to try something new out, but we all owe it to ourselves to be honest if that new thing becomes an annoying time suck.

Stick up for yourself, your time, and your emotional well-being…say yes to what you love!  (The rest can wait till tomorrow, or never.)

I’d love to hear how you prioritize your calendar!!!

 

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New, custom, ways of eating

veggies

Hey, everyone, hope your August is off to a good start!

I wanted to write today about food.  Like many people, I’ve battled with food and weight gain and fluctuations in my health for as long as I can remember.  I learned at an early age that eating too much wheat made me break out in fever blisters, and in my 20’s I realized that excess sugar was not meant for me!  (And boy do I have a sweet tooth!)

I’m 40 now and see that my metabolism is slowing and that fatigue is my nearly constant companion.  This is no good, considering I’ve got decades to go, and my kids are still pretty young.  I simply have to figure this out and get healthier to have more energy and not be a total bitch!

I’ve been following the blood type diet on and off for years.  My blood type is O, which recommends a paleo type diet…meats, veggies and little grain.  There are parts I can stick to easily and parts that are tough.  However, if I follow it, I generally feel better, so there is some truth to it.  I also appreciate the fact that it’s by blood type, so there are 4 distinct diets, not just one for the whole population.  Let’s face it, our bodies are different, so not everyone should be eating the same thing – duh!

Find the book here.

My recent addition to the blood type diet is the Wahls Protocol.  Dr. Wahls became famous when she gave a TED talk about beating her MS (multiple sclerosis) with a specific diet. (Which is pretty darn amazing).  I sent this info to my mom, who has MS, and she’s had good results following Dr. Wahls’ diet.

I decided to start following the Wahls Protocol recently, too.  Why?  Well, MS, an autoimmune disease, obviously runs in the family.  Also, Dr. Wahls’ research suggests that many autoimmune and other common chronic diseases like diabetes and depression may be caused by inflammation.  The diet is designed to fight inflammation with lots of natural antioxidants found in fruits and vegetables, while cutting out gluten and dairy.

Find the book here.

Since I like both of these approaches to eating healthy, I try to eat where my blood type O diet overlaps with the Wahls Protocol.  So far so good.

Don’t get me wrong, these diets are not easy to stick to in our modern world.  I mean, I really miss eating cheese and bread, for the love of ….well, you know.  There are days I fall off the wagon and eat chocolate and pizza.  But, I always dust myself off and get back to work the next day, trying to be careful.

My results?  In a week and a half I’ve lost 3 pounds.  I’m guessing it was bloat from eating the wrong stuff.  Even more telling, though, is that I don’t feel as bad as I usually do during PMS time.  My typical is feeling like I want to yell at everyone and shove food in my face 24/7.  This month, however, the symptoms were much weaker, which I find amazing!

And what do I want from you?  Do some research and see what kind of diet seems right for you.  You might like these diets I mentioned, or you might prefer something else.  Our bodies are unique and will not operate well under all eating plans.  Find what’s right for you, and know that there is an answer out there, it just might take some digging.

Let me know if you find some good stuff!

 

 

What do you want, anyway?

resort

Hello, all, how is the summer treating you?

I’ve been lucky enough to enjoy two trips with my family – to Lake Tahoe and to Seaside Park.  I’m a nature lover, but my happy place is the beach hands down. (see photo above – not my actual vacation!)

In my coaching I talk a lot about listening to your instincts.  This means listening to your body.  For example: does that person/ place or thing make you feel calm or stressed?  If we get to know ourselves and tune into our physical bodies, they give us a lot of clues about what works for us and what doesn’t.

This, in practice, is kind of magical.  It’s not your brain giving you information, it’s your animal body (muscles and bones) saying “yes” or “no”.  Have you ever had a dog?  It’s really clear when people come over to the house that the dog either likes them or doesn’t.  The dog isn’t analyzing what the person says or how they dress, they just get a feeling about the person and that’s the end of the story.

Humans, can get that “yes” or “no” message, too, but they can’t help using their analytical brains to gain more information and spend extra time making up their minds.  I’m guessing, though, that the first reaction is usually quite valid in the end.

Of course, learning to turn off the brain from time to time and really listen to your heart and back and legs is something that takes practice.  It might seem kind of weird, but I think it can be pretty useful.

On that note, I wanted to share two quotes from my fave coach, Martha Beck.  I signed up for free daily inspirations from Martha’s website, and enjoy reading them each morning.  There were two that came in the past month that stopped me in my tracks, and they both relate to listening to the body and heart, in order to find out what you really want!

#1

Who would you be if you were simply present, like a wild animal, without past or future? What would you do if you didn’t know it was impossible? What would you believe if you trusted that all your longing will be fulfilled? Every time you contemplate a question like these, you become a little bit more bewildered—by which I mean you’re learning to be wilder, to let go of your mind’s judgments and fears and live from your core.

#2

Recently I’ve been pondering a process I call “bewilderment”—or, as I like to pronounce it, be-wilder-ment. It’s like enlightenment, but way less ambitious. I figure if we all become a little wilder, a little more present, a little more connected to whatever it is that makes dogs so damn happy, we’ll feel better and do better things. The first step in the bewilderment process, upon which everything else depends, is simple: CALM DOWN.

I don’t know about you, but I’d like to be as happy as some dogs I’ve known!

I tried thinking about #1 – Who would I be without my past and future plans?  What do I want so bad that I’d go do it if I wasn’t scared?

Frankly, I’m not sure how to imagine me, today and present, without also thinking about the past and future with my family, etc.  But I did see that the past is the past, and that I can make my future go in pretty much any direction I want it to.  I also thought about what I really want, and the thing I’m reaching for and scared and worried about is graduate school.  I want it, I want the work, the self growth, the knowledge and a new future career with more education and perspective.  And I’m scared, but I have to do it, because it’s my true heart’s desire.

In the same way that I was able to sit quietly and say, “heart, what do you want?”, you too can give it a try.  Take some quiet time, relax and think about what makes your heart soar, whether it’s a person, a job or just a new idea.  When the body speaks, and you listen, it puts you on the right path.

So, what do you really want?

 

The Able Body

eagle

Hello, friends!

I just got back from vacation with my extended family.  We visited the north side of Lake Tahoe in California.  I took the photo above from the top of the trail at Eagle Rock.  Let’s just say that while it wasn’t a terribly difficult climb, it still took stamina, balance and a little endurance.  Of course, the reward for climbing to the top is a stunning view which almost doesn’t seem real!

This day out on the trail taught me something valuable.  Stay with me here…now, generally, whenever I vacation with my siblings, I feel like a beached whale.  My sister and younger brother and their spouses are quite fit.  I’m more of an average size with about 15 extra pounds on my frame.  If you see me in a swim suit, you won’t be impressed.  I can’t help but compare myself to others around me, but I still find a way to rationalize and enjoy myself anyway. (Hey, nobody is perfect!)

While realizing that I, again, failed to lose those stubborn extra pounds before this year’s vacation, I decided not to dwell on it.  I was having a good time with my family, and decided not let my less than perfect body spoil my week in nature’s paradise.

Then came our family hike up Eagle Rock.  Some individuals in our party labored to climb the trail, having trouble with the incline and rocky terrain.  I, on the other hand, was completely able to climb the trail, help my girls up the steep parts, and make it to the top with a smile on my face.  That’s when it hit me… I may not have the perfectly shaped body, but I have a strong one.  My body was strong enough to make it to the top that day, go horseback riding the next, and generally handle whatever adventure was on the roster for the rest of our stay.

That day really opened my eyes.  I saw clearly that the big picture isn’t about being perfectly thin and shapely, but about taking care of yourself.  I’ve found more inspiration to eat well, sleep well, and keep moving.  Yes, this body is aging, but it doesn’t have to stop climbing mountains.  As long as I keep moving, and taking care of myself, my able body will take me where I want to go.

 

 

 

What’s new, anyway?

butterfly

Hello, friends, I apologize for being away from the blog for so long!

I’d been working a lot (outside of coaching) in the past few months, and not feeling much inspiration or energy around the thoughtful topics I love, like wellness, self-help and positive thinking.

I’m glad to say that I’m feeling a little more balanced these days, and have made some changes to my coaching practice.  One great thing I found about my training, was that the process could be applied to all kinds of different situations from wellness, to career goals to personal enrichment.  The down side of this wide spread application was choosing, initially, not to specialize.  Over time this lead me to feel a bit scattered, as I tried to apply my coaching in a number of different directions at the same time.

So, I went back to the drawing board and gave some thought to what I do best:

#1 I am a good listener.

If you are feeling alone and need someone to talk to (about anything), I can be a big help.  I hear you!

#2 I’ve spent a lot of time learning to recognize and follow my instincts.

If you don’t know what to think or what you even want anymore, let me help you get back in touch with the real you.

#3 I can talk turkey with the best of them.

I pride myself on being tactful, but if you want honest opinions about situations and decisions from a neutral 3rd party, give me a call.

In addition to the points above, I’m continuing to study and learn more about conflict resolution, health and wellness, and creating sane, effective plans of action for positive change.

If you think I can help, please let me know!

 

 

What moves you?

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The cure for anything is salt water: sweat, tears or the sea. (Isak Dinesen)

Please excuse my lousy photography, I left this graphic large in the hopes you’d be able to read the text at the bottom.

I found this greeting card in a cute little shop on Cape Cod many years ago, and I stopped dead in my tracks.  Somehow this sentence resonated deep within me, and I thought, “Oh my God!  This is genius!”

There is almost no problem that can’t be overcome with hard work, venting frustrating or taking a meditative break.  Mama Mia!

This seemed very real for me, because I’m pretty much up for all three of those things.  I’m not afraid to work hard, take the time to express my emotions, or spend time on the water.  In fact, I often wonder if I’d be better off living next to the ocean, because it feels so relaxing and inspiring by turns.

Have you ever come across a quote, image or idea that inspires you or feels like absolute truth?

I’d love to hear about it, please leave me your comments!

 

Those darn groundhogs!

groundhog-day-usa

All of you living in cold weather winter places right now probably tuned in yesterday to see if the groundhog saw his shadow.  We get pretty excited about it here in Pennsylvania, since we have thee famous groundhog/ weather predictor: Punxsutawney Phil!

As we shiver through the winter, we hope every February 2nd that Phil won’t see his shadow, since that forecast means 6 more weeks of winter.  (This year more winter was predicted.)  Of course, it’s also impossible to observe the day without thinking of the movie with Bill Murray, Groundhog Day, where his day just repeats on a loop.

groundhog-day-bill-murray-phil

On that note, I recently told a friend of mine that I felt like I was living in Groundhog Year.  It seems that the seasons spin around faster and faster each year, and that it’s the same s#!t each time. As in, this time of year always is awesome, this time of year is always depressing, and I’m always broke!  I still haven’t paid off my credit cards, lost that 10 pounds or changed much of anything.

It’s as if my weaknesses around money and weight loss are the groundhogs that keep popping out of the lawn (like in Caddyshack.) Nope, still didn’t fix it!

This realization at first made me sad.  Wasn’t I getting anywhere?  (Insert deep thoughts here.)

After a while I noticed that I actually had progressed in other ways.  I had gotten better at keeping things in perspective and noticing my priorities.  I had gotten better at finding the silver lining when things weren’t going so great, AND I pride myself on never really giving up, even if I momentarily pull the covers over my head and hide from the world.

Yes, I may have to struggle with that chocolate and shopping addiction for the rest of my life, but that’s OK.  I figured out a way to let myself off the hook, and it made me feel a whole lot better.  Nobody is perfect, and those little groundhogs are gonna pop up time and time again when you least expect them.  But, we keep moving forward the best we can.

I guess that’s the moral of this story…we keep moving forward the best we can, and we do everything in our power to keep our sense of humor.  They can be really annoying, but sometimes groundhogs can be pretty funny and cute, too.  Don’t let the groundhogs get you down!