Viewing entries in
Faith

Stress Management: Pursuit for Peace

Stress Management: Pursuit for Peace

At the end of 2017 I received the best gift and the most unsatisfying diagnosis of severe hormonal imbalance with Hypothyroidism. Despite my focused approach to “health”, I had some major blind spots. I had to take a long, hard look at what was in my life that didn’t need to be and what was missing.

social-curator-04-2019-44.JPG

How does this happen to a health coach?

I’d gotten lost in the day to day. I was tied to my commitments and obligations. I was ruled by the “shoulds”. I allowed the “chores” to become my beacon of direction. What needed my attention? Who needed something from me? What wasn’t complete and was needing only me to be finished? These days turned to weeks and the weeks turned to months.  My life was much more reactive than intentional.

I focused on my work, my tasks, and “what can I control”?

In this season, I allowed all of the “shoulds” and “need-tos” to consume me. Yet, that wasn’t the part that rendered me ineffective as a wife, mom, daughter of God, friend, daughter, employee, or business owner. The largest missing piece for me was my time with God. I had allowed the excuses of why my health could not be a priority or why my time with God would be compromised during this season of my busy. You see, those things can’t be SEEN. They aren’t necessarily physically in front of me demanding my attention. God isn’t like a child, always pulling at you and grabbing your face to look at Him. He doesn’t give you deadlines to meet. He patiently waits for us to seek Him. I believe there are blessings within our days that God places to remind us of His faithfulness and love.  But you must be still to find them.

There was very little room for stillness. When I found it, I typically saw some shiny object begging for my attention, and there is where my attention went. “Sorry peace, you’ll just have to wait until I complete this project or travel for this conference or create more content” …blah blah blah.

I tend to strive for perfection and sometimes it paralyzes me and renders me ineffective, looking like a deer in headlights. I want to meet the expectations of all the people, I desire to please, and I will sometimes forget that my needs are important too. Does that sounds familiar?

I swapped out my morning walks for email responses and never-ending meetings about the meetings. I missed my time in nature, but God’s creation wasn’t going anywhere, right? So I kept striving. I was working about 50 hours a week in a full-time career and I was building my growing coaching practice. I was still a wife and a mom. I was burning the candle at both ends and pouring gasoline in the middle.

As time went on and the demands grew, it felt like walls were closing in on me. I yearned for time to just be. To be still and just be in God’s presence. My health wasn’t nearly as patient as God. The reminders of the importance of maintaining my health came frequent like an annoying neighbor kid who rings the doorbell every 30 minutes. I was fatigued most of the time, I started gaining weight, I was irritable with most, but especially my family. 

I was trying to manage my stress as best as I could and my symptoms smelled of Adrenal Fatigue but it seemed like something more. After my visit to my primary care physician, I was frustrated and confused. I KNEW something was off and all she could gather was a “mid-life slide”.

You know, the downhill slide you embark on once you hit 40 (and this was just before that)? Your metabolism slides down, your energy slides down, your weight slides up and your boobs and belly button also head south. She made me feel like my extreme fatigue, brain fog, irritability, weight gain, heavy periods and dry skin were just a sign that I had one foot in the grave and another on a banana peel. Her solution? How about an anti-depressant?!

I didn’t have a Xanax deficiency, my body was telling me (loudly) that I had no longer made my health a priority.

In my pursuit of success, I had lost the roadmap I give to my clients to prevent and recover from burnout. I had allowed the voice of social media and “experts” to shift my attention and priorities.

My next best steps?

social-curator-04-2019-31.JPG

FIND SUPPORT:

Thankfully, I had created amazing connections with practitioners that I trusted to help me uncover the root cause of my symptoms. I asked for help. I knew that I couldn’t see all my blind spots. I needed some people to guide me through this time. I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism and severe hormone imbalance. We are talking crazytown imbalance.

I gained new insight into what was going on within my body and a plan to lead me back to recovery and homeostasis. I had new adjustments to make. I also needed to focus on restorative exercise (yoga, walking, stretching, deep breathing).

REASSESS MY PRIORITIES & GOALS:

As I was working on healing my body and recovering from stress induced hormone imbalance and hypothyroidism, I knew that I could no longer keep up the pace I was running in life. It was time to let go of my full-time position that I had held for over five years as a Business Development Manager of a supplement company and focus on my health, family, and growing coaching practice.

I understand that not everyone has the ability or luxury to take this step; I am so grateful that I could. I worked hard to build my practice and gain new clients (I’m still working on this!) and I desired to build upon what I had started a few years before.

It was time to shift my lifestyle to promote wellness. Again, let me say, the answer isn’t for everyone to quit their job and become a full-time entrepreneur (and this could be more stressful), the point is to dig in, seek God and ask what He has for you. For me, I had a calling to build my business and reach more women.

I allowed myself to build margin into my day. I allowed myself to rest. I allowed myself to just be.

SEEK GOD:

Another “next best step” was for me to lean into God. I had missed the connection, the peace, the growth, and the relationship that I gained when I made time to listen to His voice. I couldn’t move forward without His direction.

This time of physical challenges left me grateful that I was given an opportunity to stop looking inward and instead, focus my eyes back to God. I had been living in my own strength for some time. It was time to get His help.

What did I learn?

social-curator-03-2019-51.JPG

In the past 12 months of changing my lifestyle, my career, my priorities I have learned so much about myself and was able to increase a better understanding of my clients. What were my main lessons?

I was not as much of a time-management ninja as I thought. Being in charge of your own time can be challenging when you do not report to anyone, have nobody expecting deliverables with a deadline, and have open structure to your day. I had to create structure for myself. My time is a commodity and I was wasting it at a neck-breaking speed. I had to implement systems, processes, and time limits to get things done (even writing this blog has a time limit).

Health is not a constant. Once you figure something out and feel pretty comfortable, you may need to make new changes. I have spent the past year doing lots of tweaking, testing, changing, and going back to the drawing board. I feel like I have a good hold of what is working for me to normalize my hormones and thyroid function but I understand that it can change and I will be ok when it does. Being frustrated and stressed about it doesn’t improve my health. I can only pay attention to what my body is telling me and move from there.

Comparison is a thief of joy. Embarrassingly, I spent too much of this past year looking at other coaches in my industry and wishing I was where they are. I wanted the number of clients they had, I wanted my website to look like theirs, I wanted my photos to look beautiful like theirs. I was focused on other people more than I was on my own journey. This creates a root of bitterness and resentment. It makes us discontent where we are. We get so focused on what we are lacking and where we want to be next that we miss the joy of right now.

What I came to know? I have a journey to experience and teach me. There are no short cuts. I can have a growth mindset or fixed mindset about my journey. I can be positive or negative. It’s up to me. I have a choice. Thankfully, I chose to embrace my place and I have felt the freedom and success that brings.

There are not fast fixes that last. We all want the easy button. I am totally guilty of this. Why draw out a process and the results to be had by taking the long way? Here’s why: Because the quick fixes are often not sustainable. They work temporarily because you can only do the work for a short time (think crash diets, long hours working, caffeine dependency) and they are never something you can build a healthy lifestyle around. I wanted to jump 1,000 steps forward . In my own health and business, I wanted to get to the glory days of success without the work…because that just feels better, right? I mean, why can’t it just be easy? You know the saying, “you don’t appreciate what you didn’t earn”? It’s true. I have earned my success (and I will continue to earn my future success) in my current business and health and family life and it’s amazing to know I put in the work. I appreciate the people, the journey, and the results so much more. The best part? I can keep this pace forever or until God asks me to change my direction.

Community is key. I have had struggles in my path (and some continue) but I asked for help. I knew that I couldn’t do everything on my own. I have an amazing support system between my husband, kids, friends, and experts that help guide me, pray for me, keep me accountable and check in on my progress.

We tend to have a default setting that tells us we can do it all alone; it will be faster, cheaper, and keep the anonymity. If we don’t share the struggle, it’s not really a struggle, right? WRONG. It continues to fester and eat away at us until burnout, breakdown, or both, happen. Gather your people and ask for help. Seek expert advice and trust the process.

What does this mean for you?

I pray that my lessons offer a light of hope for you. In my struggles, observations, and research, I was able to better understand you! I understand your stress (even better!) and I know how to help you increase your energy, focus, time management to improve your success in work, family, and lifestyle.

During this year, I was able to fine-tune my programs based off of feedback and need. Revitalized Wellness is now open and offers you a sustainable roadmap to beating burnout! Click the link to find out more about the 12-week group program that is offering my clients AMAZING results-greater than they imagined!

I am making this journey one of ease for you (notice I didn’t say EASY). I guide you, you become more aware of your lifestyle, choices, and the impact on your health.

Drop the shame.

Lose the guilt.

Feel empowered.

Believe you can feel better.

Accept help.

Make a choice.

I hope you choose you.

In health, Ericka 💜

Additional resources:

Facebook Live - What causes burnout?

5 Ways Stress Impacts Weight Loss

What is Adrenal Fatigue and how does it impact health? - Interview with Dr. James Wilson




How Do I Fix Stress -3 Lessons To Improve Health

How Do I Fix Stress -3 Lessons To Improve Health

How Did Losing My Dogs Teach Me 3 Life Lessons for a Healthier Life?

This past weekend my two dogs became escapees after shimmying the gate open in our back yard. They were gone for approximately 36 hours and I was a wreck. …

Stress Management: Women-Balance, Self-Esteem, & Body Image

Stress Management: Women-Balance, Self-Esteem, & Body Image

I interviewed Dr. Ariane Machin, co-founder of Conscious Coaching Collective, to discuss modern issues that we, as women, deal with. There are impossible societal standards that are placed upon us requiring unachievable perfection. It negatively impacts our body image, self-esteem, relationships, and overall self-worth. This discussion is rich in grace, humor, and balanced perspective that gives women permission to say no and embrace your space. 

I hope you love this interview as much as I do! Isn't Dr. Machin the greatest?!?! I could talk to her allllll day. If this spoke to you the way I think it will, then make sure you head over here to get on the waitlist for INTENTIONAL WELLNESS! It is a whole wellness program that flips "diets" on their heads! It's time to look at stress management, gain energy, and feel healthy & whole again. JOIN THE WAITLIST!

Until next time, sisters!

Whole Health. Whole Love. Whole Success. 

Surviving Stress

Surviving Stress

You’re exhausted. Burnt out. Done. You’re trying to do everything. All the things. All the time. But you’ve hit a wall. You wish for moments of complete silence. Time alone, doing nothing. How do you manage the stress?...

Happy International Women's Day!

pexels-photo-167921.jpeg

It’s about time. The world gave ME a day….today is International Women’s Day!! I have one day to bask in all of womanhood and delight in the estrogen flowing through my body. Break out the piñata! Fiesta! Such joy! 

However, the ironic humor is that this very celebrated (everybody celebrates, right??), festive, pinnacle of all peaks, day that the world has given ME…..is the day that nature gives me the swift kick in the pants and I get my period. Of course. Happy International Women’s Day to ME. To begin the celebration, here is the fiercest of cycles! Of course. I feel like my body turned on me. 

Nonetheless, I do celebrate being a woman. I celebrate all of my femininity each day.  I don’t need a day to celebrate or acknowledge that I have a uterus. I celebrate all the good and bad of being a woman. The best part for me was that God made me a woman because He knew I could do hard things. Each day I am given breath, I am thankful for the women who have gone before me and done hard things. I am thankful that I have gifts and talents and I can share those with others. I am grateful that I have a chance to impact my children in a positive way, especially our daughters. I am grateful for women who will come alongside and help mentor me to become a better wife, mother, leader, and friend.   

I celebrate the hormone shifts because it reminds me that even on my fiercest of days, when it seems as though I have no heart, I can still cry at someone being compassionate to another human. I celebrate my changing body, because I grew three babies inside and they are miracles! Who cares if it’s softer and I have stretch marks?!! Without this body, those amazing people wouldn’t be here….there are days I wish I could shove them back inside to give me some quiet, but they are still amazing and I love them with all my heart. I celebrate all that I have accomplished. Life is tough and we have each been knocked down. There were times that I thought there was no way I could get back up. But God. He has a way of leading us down the dimly lit path. I celebrate having courage. I celebrate having faith. I celebrate being bold. I celebrate being quiet. I celebrate being thoughtful. I celebrate being scared. 

 

We are busy. We are tired. We are overwhelmed. We are over-scheduled. We sleep too little. We worry too much. Sometimes, it’s just one day at time. And that’s ok. We are loved. We are precious. Take a deep breath. There is always something to be thankful for. 

Each day, I choose to celebrate and love myself so that I can also love others better. It’s a choice. I haven’t perfected it. Some days are easier than others. Each of us, as women, have gifts that we must share with the world. Don’t keep it to yourself. You are a gift. Celebrate it. Make a cake...You are THAT special!

Today, try these three things to celebrate yourself:

  1. Be thankful. Take time to write down 3 things you are thankful for right now. Anything. Gratitude breeds joy.
  2. Do something kind for someone else. Nobody ever feels bad after doing a good deed for someone else.
  3. Love yourself. Speak kind words to yourself.  Take some time for you. Take a nap. Whatever you need today. 

Don't just celebrate being a woman today. Celebrate every single day. Celebrate you. Don't forget the cake. 

 

 

 

 

 

Room To Grow

This past weekend I decided to tackle the most giant of tasks. The Goliath of tasks. I didn’t want to. I thought it wasn’t bad enough. I’ve procrastinated for months already. Life was still continuing to move forward without this task being finished. I was getting by. 

What was the task that made me feel a little nauseous every time I thought about it? Purging and organizing my closet. I can hear the collective groan from all of you too. I dreaded this task. But I couldn’t stand it anymore. 

Many of you may know that I became the happiest of brides last September. God heard my most fervent of prayers and blessed me with an amazing husband. Jeff moved into the house and it was a challenge to find room for his things. I didn’t realize the amount of shifting, moving, donating, and selling that we would each have to do! I thought he was coming with his toothbrush and a bag full of underwear and socks and we would live happily ever after. I figured I would give him my side of the bed (because it turned out we both slept on the left side of the bed on our own and I can compromise) and it would all be good. Then I see a moving truck pulling up. And it was FULL. 

Fast forward to the master bedroom closet. We needed to make room for his clothes! I let go of 5 tops and what felt like 1,000 pairs of shoes and it didn’t even look like I made a dent, but we carried on with the tight closet. I knew I needed to get rid of so much more but I just couldn’t. I’d sacrificed so much already! I NEEDED all of that stuff! I put it off and procrastinated. Then finally I decided it was time to rip off the band-aid. 

I had been inspired last week when I listened to this podcast on closet organization by Chalene Johnson. She inspired me to make the move I was dreading, my conviction and need flipped the internal switch and I began the dirty work. Within two days of listening to Chalene, I went through every single piece of clothing and purged what was no longer in style or fit. I was ruthless. It was liberating. 

Cleaning the closet made me think…how many times have there been things in our life that we are afraid to change? How often have we known that in order to grow, we need to move past something holding us back? How often have we let fear of the unknown prevent us from experiencing a “clean closet”? How many times have we told God, “not now”?

You see, there can’t be growth when things remain unchanged. In the same way, I couldn’t appreciate so many pieces of great clothing because they were being hidden by items that I would maybe one day wear again. Never mind that it has been over a year or more since I’d worn it, one perfect day, when all was right in the world, I would be glad I hung on the cardigan with layer upon layer of ruffles or that skirt or blouse! Those extra, unnecessary, items were preventing me from having an organized, open space. I was being greedy and selfish by holding on to items of material worth. I wasn’t willing to let go and allow someone else to be blessed by what I no longer used. I wasn’t allowing myself to dwell in the place of contentment of what I have. Cleaning my closet allowed me to see my blessings and find contentment. 

Similarly, we prevent our own personal growth because we allow the clutter in our lives to hold us hostage. We don’t allow God to use the old to bring forth the new. We don’t allow the growth. We seek “perfection”and acceptance through new things. 

We allow the fear to creep in, we stay safe. 

We don’t share that idea at work because nobody will care, or worse, they will think it’s dumb. 

We don’t reach out to that person because they probably aren’t interested or are too busy to have another friendship. 

We don’t participate in groups or activities because we probably wouldn’t fit in. 

We don’t change our diet and lifestyle because it’s too hard and we won’t be successful again. 

We don’t jump forward with the business plan because we would probably fail. 

We don’t leave toxic relationships because what if we end up alone?

We don’t join in conversations because what we have to say is probably not valuable. 

We don’t submit our resume because we probably won’t get the job. 

We don’t give up the addiction because it brings us comfort. 

Think about this. What if we did? What if we said yes to what God has placed in our hearts? What if we stepped out in faith and allowed God to work through us? What if instead of fighting the pruning that will come anyway, we submitted? 

I have had some hard lessons in life. I have regrets. I’ve hung on so tightly to things, and sometimes I still do. I’ve looked for people and things to fill my needs. Slowly, I am learning that when God says it is time to move forward, it’s at that time I need to obey. Letting God do what He needs to do while I have a willing heart is so much easier than acting like the toddler who you’re practically sitting on to get the medicine in their mouth because they NEED the medicine to get better.  If I just took the medicine or washed my hands so that I wouldn’t get sick in the first place, it’s much easier to handle. The medicine can still be bitter but it allows us to grow, regenerate, and stay healthy. 

I know, such a life lesson from a closet about to explode, right?  But God uses everything. And there lies the blessing.