I truly never imagined living life in true joy – this is deeper than happiness. Joy comes from deep inside and is not a fleeting emotion as happiness is. I love my 40’s (never thought I’d say that!), I love the woman I continue to become (and hope I never stop “becoming”), and I truly love living life. The trials I’ve been through (several), mistakes I’ve made (LOTS of them), people I’ve disappointed (including myself) have helped me learn. These things have taught me grace, kindness, forgiveness, compassion, unconditional love, and acceptance; invaluable life lessons. I never imagined a life where I am comfortable with who I am, in my own skin, appreciating the gifts and talents I have been blessed with (not in a self-serving, conceited way), and truly loving myself. I want to encourage others that this kind of life is possible – it is amazing, it is a gift, and is something meant to be shared and given away. I want to help anyone I can to understand this is possible and to be there helping others reach the same thing…it is beautiful.
If you struggle with anxiety, you know what I mean by the lurking beast. When will it surface? When will it rear it’s ugly head?
Most days I am fine. Going about my daily business, enjoying life, and living to my fullest. However, every now and again, I end up with my breath choked from my being by the merciless hands of anxiety.
If I knew why it shows up it would be easier to address. I search for the cause yet often come up empty and am hit with an overall sense of heaviness; “impending doom” as some like to say. Regardless, it sits on my chest, steals my ability to breathe, and stings my eyes with tears.
My goal is personal – it is to not use my prescribed anxiolytics but to work through these symptoms with skills I have developed by pushing through these moments. My go-to anxiety buster has been talking to my husband or a friend. Do you realize the more you turn inward, the more power you give the anxiety beast? The beast wants to shut you down and render you helpless. What many do not realize is how many others struggle with the same thing! Talk about it! Be open about it! Take your power back! It is quite amazing how this seemingly simple act (notice I did not say easy) frees up your spirit and makes the beast hightail it out of your life at that moment.
While anxiety might always be part of my life, I do not have to succumb to its demands…and neither do you. It is a horrible disorder to deal with but can be managed. I encourage you to talk about it. Together we can bring awareness and make it okay.
Have you ever been job searching and found the perfect job? Only to have that job require experience…but you know you can do this job!! There is nothing more frustrating! So, how do you get the experience if no one is willing to take someone without experience?
This analogy went through my head this morning after I finished a very difficult workout. I was thinking how many people do not start a fitness program because they believe they are not “strong enough” or “in shape enough” or able to compete with the others. That mindset is why I love Beachbody and not going to the gym, but working out at home!! I have no one else to worry about but myself; no one is looking at me, I can focus on my workout and challenging myself.
Back to today’s workout…another “fitness sister” posted a workout yesterday that sounded like a workout I would enjoy so I checked it out today. The workout was very strength-intense – my strength is nowhere close to that of the cast in the program but I knew it was not about them, it was about me challenging myself. Did I have to modify? Heck yeah!! I have chronic back problems and occasionally my symptoms flare – especially if I am not using my core during difficult workouts. That was going on today, requiring me to modify those movements. Plus, like I said, I am still developing my strength and modifying was necessary – but my workout STILL COUNTED!! Some individuals (like my hubby) do not like to modify and look at modifying as failure and would rather just forego the workout if they are unable to do it full out. Just like getting that job experience, modifying gets you the ability (the experience) to go full out. Modifying is a necessary step in fitness progression. No one goes to the bench press for the first time, loads up each side with 150lbs and does 10 reps!! They start light – it is the same thing…it is still modifying!
That being said, only compete with yourself; challenge yourself! Embrace the modifications there to help you progress to the next level…to get your “experience” in for the full workout (that perfect job). It builds belief, strength, and ability. You CAN do it!! No matter how long it takes…never give up. If you do not do it now because you believe you “can’t” and look back a year from now from the same place you are at, will you regret not starting because you did not want to modify? Just modify…and let’s look back a year from now seeing how far we have come!!
My “new” life journey is now a solid six months in. While the outward physical changes are so rewarding, the inner changes of spirit, mind, and body are priceless! Eating clean, adding a “daily dose of dense nutrition” simply through adding Shakeology in the morning, and adding exercise to my daily living has helped me establish a strong foundation.
I would go so far as to say getting to this place of jumping in and doing it has taken years, many starts and stops, yet never giving up. I have always desired healthy living, however, during earlier times in my life, looking back on those times, what I was trying was not right for me and I unconsciously allowed the obstacles I was facing to be stronger than the inner fighter within me.
Stability in my relationship has been key to changes along my life path. When I met Will, I was struggling very much with depression. I had a negative thought process which I passed off as being a realist. He challenged me to, at least, not post negative thoughts/feelings on Facebook. This impacted me – I love this man so deeply and did not want him thinking I was being negative…so I became cognizant and stopped this bad habit. That was three years ago. As I stopped putting out negativity, I noticed my thought process changing and my depression becoming more stable.
Jump ahead three years and I am so positive-focused and my mind frame is steeped in positivity. Clean eating has no doubt contributed to my mood stabilization. Depression and anxiety are null – that does not mean I am inhuman and do not have my “bad days” or struggle with things like PMS! But I handle those times so much better! I feel inner peace, joy, contentment. I love my life!! This is an amazing place to be at! I had always struggled with life and the challenges of life. When those challenges come now I am stronger and due to being positive-focused am able to weather these “storms”. Through strengthening my body, developing mental strength and habits for positivity I come through these “storms” faster and more successful than I would have in years past. I do not become derailed like I used to. I also embrace the storms because that is how we grown and change – like metal, we are refined by fire!
While my excitement for each new day and my improving metabolism springs me out of bed each morning now and keeps me from napping (I seriously used to nap almost everyday and now cannot nap for the life of me!!) I thrive on the passion and positivity that flows through my soul daily. I want to share that and bring that to the lives of anyone yearning for it…and stopping at nothing to get there. It is possible!
I have been consistently committed to my daily lifestyle change for health and wellness for four months now. Yesterday I decided to weigh myself, which is something I do not engage in frequently. I have been noticing several changes recently in the way my clothes fit such as tightening my belt about 4 notches tighter (close to 2″) and the way my scrubs and jacket hang on me at work. I wasn’t expecting big results. After returning home March 31 from our trip to the Dominican Republic where I even worked out in our room in the mornings and kept up my nutrition, I only gained 3 lbs but easily got back on track upon returning (no access to All-Inclusive tropical drinks will do that!!). I decided to do a more relaxed program, Country Heat, and focus a little bit on cardio. This program is much different than the MMA-focused Core de Force or the pilates-yoga inspired 60-day PiYo, which I absolutely LOVE!! Country Heat is pretty much like simple line dancing, but the slower pace allows you to actually concentrate on contracting and holding your muscles while you dance. I do not feel a significant change in my appearance, only the change in how my clothes are fitting, as previously mentioned.
Needless to say, I have lost ten pounds over these last 3 1/2 weeks! I am thrilled! My coach always says, “Get off that scale! Trust the process and trust the program! It works!” and I can truly say it does! I have not lost a total of twenty pounds since the start of this journey in January. If I can lost another twenty over the next eight months I will be elated, however, my goal is to continue trusting the process and program and making sustainable lifestyle changes each day to continue a healthy lifestyle.
Today I am not myself.
That being said, I have chosen to go back on my antidepressant. This looks like failure in my mind at the moment, however, since stopping my medication almost a month ago I have slowly declined and today I do not recognize the positive, optimistic, change-embracer (I’m declaring this a real word) of six weeks ago. I have grown in irritability, anger, and pessimism; depression has reclaimed a toe-hold in my life again. I will not let it get a foothold! I tell my patients, medications for mental illness are like medications for diabetes, or high blood pressure…if you needed to manage your diabetes with insulin for your body to function properly, would you withhold insulin or metformin?? No!! Same with antidepressants – and all other psychotropic medications. If my brain needs help keeping its serotonin levels at a functional level, I’m not going to withhold my antidepressant. Why would I not heed the advice I give my own patients? Where is the accountability and logic in that?
The past several months have been the best months of my entire life mentally – I will get back to that level of function. But for now I will be gentle with myself. I will work on accepting this physiological need and revisit it in the future. I will continue to press forward, stabilize, and press some more…I will never quit hoping and I will never give up.
I want to share an article with everyone. It is FANTASTIC! I experience this “somatoemotional release” regularly and this article does an amazing job explaining what’s going on. (The article is a bit long though). As a nurse who has devoted over 50 hours of training in holistic health and energy, as well as working the past 3 years in acute mental health crisis, there is no doubt people “store emotions” and for “conventional scientists” to poo poo this notion simply because it cannot be measured on demand is pure ignorance. This emotional release is so healing, freeing, lightening, and therapeutic. I had a fitness coach at the Y tell me years ago when I was overcome with tears streaming down my face during corpse pose after an hour long BodyFlow class (yoga, pilates, tai chi combo) “There are issues in our tissues.” I will never forget that and every time I experience this release I just acknowledge what I had been carrying around that was likely weighing me down in so many ways, that I needed to let it go, and thank myself for the healthy gift I have given to myself.
(Also, I might have found an area to focus on for nursing. We shall see…it’s pretty specific and narrow, however, there is important work to be done here)
Here is the link to the article (I apologize – I haven’t been able to get the hyperlink to stay in the post) https://experiencelife.com/article/laugh-cry-lift/