My head is killing me! Yep, it started late in the day yesterday and has not stopped since. The tell true sign, for me at least, it’s time to take a break and reset.
I am not sure about all of you but I for one am always going, or at least it sure feels like it. Not complaining over here, this is actually the lifestyle I thrive in, it beats sitting on my tail idol doing nothing. But you can only maintain this for so long before it catches up. My day starts around 3:15 on the weekdays. I’m in the gym by 3:30, from there I am on the go working on one thing or another the rest of the day. It generally looks like, get ready, spend some time with my other child (he’s a twelve year old boxer and truly my other child), get some work done with my company then off to work to at my day job which is again nonstop, home, dinner, sneak in some yoga, more work on my company then bed. And, the cycle continues. Again, I’m sure this looks somewhat similar to your days.
This lifestyle can catch up and it is ever so important we all listen to our bodies and mind, take a step back, breathe and re-center. It took me a long time to realize this. In fact ten years ago I would have still gone to my office miserable, head pounding, irritable with my teams (which is not OK), and low productivity (which is not a good representation of who I am). See, all not good things.
I recently came across an old article in Forbes about Workaholics and people who work too much. Yep, it’s official, I am pretty certain I borderline the definition of “Workaholic”. When I am not doing something in relation to working out, working my business or working my career, I am thinking about one of them, YIKES! Type “impact of working too much” in google and you’ll find various studies and articles that speak about the harm from Stress, depression, sitting too much, lack of productivity and more. Friends I know we all have responsibilities to manage but I hope you will agree with me that balance is important. This goes for all my mom/dad readers out there too, parenting is a full-time job in and of itself. I remember when my son was growing up and balancing everything while being a strong supportive parent for Boe.
When the signs of overwhelm of too much for too long show up, slow down, take a day, in the journey of life it’s really only a blip in time and in the long run it will help keep you healthy and strong for you and those around you!
To help avoid getting to that point, here are some of the things I’ve done to stay healthy in my every day.
These are the top six that have benefited me most. Of course, getting in nature, getting good sleep, scheduling “you” time, and getting exercise all very important too. We are all different, unique, amazing beings, try different things, see what positively promotes your well being then do more of that.
Stay well friends, much love!
For years, I heard this from people, employees, peers, and even family, "Jen you are so intense"! See, here's the thing, when I do things, anything, I'm all in. If I don't have passion, a strong enough why or desire, it's clear. I'm the person who is in the gym by 3:30 each morning just to make sure I can get my workout in before the day gets ahead of me. I'm that employee who will give it 10-11-12 hour days to make darn sure that my customers’ needs are fulfilled. Is it possible to be "too" intense, maybe, but for me my intensity comes from my passion. Passion and drive to grow, to get the things I am working towards, to accomplish my "why" in all areas.
Through time, OK, years, of hearing this comment I started changing my demeanor I slowed down to accommodate those that got intimidated or took my intense passion however they do. I thought I needed to change to not as one colleague put it, "scare people away". Don't get me wrong I would never be rude, mean, harsh or disrespectful in any way. Those are values I hold very close and dear to my soul. I do however want to be that person who demonstrates so much passion and intensity to my why's in life that others can see and grow from it. So, others can get enough "intensity" around their passion that they stop allowing the naysayers to stop them.
This morning when I was in the gym listening to a podcast, the person speaking gave me a kick in the ass (not literally of course), a moment where you think, "what was I thinking", ENOUGH! I knew that slowing down and not being genuine to me was never the right choice but in this moment, I heard it loud and clear. Then it hit me even harder, I thought about what it does to my anxiety level when I'm not being true to me. I thought about how it makes me feel physically when I have to be cautious of showing my passion and intensity.
Fact is this is one of the best parts of me.
Why am I sharing this, you ask? See friends, there are qualities of all of us that we try minimizing or hiding because, "what will people think". Fact is, they are probably the best parts of you. Be you, the people who you should truly have and want in your life are the ones who will appreciate you for your genuineness. Don’t get me wrong we all have work to do on ourselves, I am not a believer of “I am who I am take it or leave it” but don’t stray from your natural qualities. Don't cause anxiety or worse living a false sense of your life.
You do you! Stay strong friends!
In the good words of Warren Buffett,
"Intensity is the price of Excellence"
Perspectives in communication are such an interesting thing. Let's just call it what it is communication and perspectives can be hard. Stephen Covey wrote, "Strength lies in differences, not in similarities!" As I write this post this quote rings oh so true.
I was getting ready for work on Friday, and my darling husband kept making comments. I'll spare you the details, but I recognized throughout the morning I was getting a little annoyed by them. I continued throughout the morning, not saying anything about it as I just wasn't up for an argument. We all have those mornings, you know the ones that the energy will just be enough to get you through the day. The end of a long week and what I was anticipating being a very long day ahead. The last thing I needed was a frustrating argument before I got to work.
I finished up getting ready, gave my lovely husband a hug and a kiss and got on the road to work. On this day I was headed to Milwaukee, so I had about 80 minutes of time on my head before I got to the office. I started rethinking the morning getting more and more annoyed with his comments. I think the thing that got me most was I felt that he wasn't listening to me at all. I knew in that moment if I didn't say anything, I would be stewing about it the rest of the day. So, I called.
He answered in his altogether hottie voice. I proceeded to explain how his comments made me feel that morning (again sparing you the details). In that moment, I heard his tone, the comments that came next made me feel horrible for a moment then loved, so loved. He proceeded to tell me, he was just making the comments he was as he thinks I am so very beautiful and oh so good looking. He then went onto share that he wasn't trying to, "get anything" just wanted me to know how beautiful he thinks I am. Now ladies, after 20 years together I'm sure you would agree hearing these words from your husband would make your whole heart feel warm. It sure did mine. In that moment, my whole perspective and day was changed by one simple phone call. One brief conversation to better understand his perspective.
Consider all the times you didn't say anything. I don't know about you but for me all those moments have led to bigger arguments and misunderstandings that could have been avoided. Could this conversation of gone far differently, sure but either way, I would have been confident in knowing I used my voice to gain perspective. Don't assume you know what your partner, colleague, boss, etc. meant. Take a step back, think about the right approach then talk about it. You will be glad you did. A great approach I heard many times in the past and still use is this, when you said (fill in what they said), it made me feel (explain what it made you feel), or I took it as (enter in how you interpreted it) is that what you meant?
Always remember, starting a conversation is the hardest part, it may not always come out the way you want but the more confident you get the more natural it will feel. You will feel so much better and be glad you did!
Be well friends!
I started meditating and it has started to really change everything. I tend to be a very, well let's call it high stressed, highly anxious person. The thing of it is is that I don't enjoy either of these traits when I'm in them. We all have a certain amount of both but, as many of you are aware, chronic stress and anxiety can cause several health issues. Friends do some research on this one, it can really be harmful long term in so many ways. When I did some research on the topic and learned about the impact on the mind and body it really pushed me to start practicing. Aside from that, living a happy fulfilled life is so much more enjoyable and fun! Based on the research I found, meditation has science proven benefits around stress reduction, helping control anxiety, emotional management, and memory just to name a few.
So, about six weeks ago, I decided, why not give it a try. I've heard a number of influential (to me) leaders’ speakers on their belief of this practice throughout the years so it was pretty easy to be open to the idea. If thought leaders use it to help maintain balance, calm, stress, etc. there must be something to it. I decided to try it and determine if this is something that would help me, meditation.
First, I listened to a couple speakers online specifically about the topic. Then I looked at all the resources on YouTube. There are a lot and it may be a bit overwhelming at first. This was all within a couple days then I just jumped in. I started by doing 3-5 minutes every morning and night. The first week and a half or so was hard. I found it difficult to stay focused, my mind wandered a lot. I still find on certain days my mind wanders more than others. Now I do longer in the evenings generally 10-15 minutes. I find that my evening meditation helps me to get relaxed from my daily stresses and let them go. I also found that I am dreaming better. And, I feel more relaxed in the morning when I wake up. I still do 3-7 minutes in the morning too. For me, this helps in several areas, most significantly it has helped me to better focus throughout the day. I also noticed over the last couple weeks that I have not felt any sense of anxiousness where I would have in the past. This is a huge relief for me as I mentioned earlier my stress and anxiety generally run high.
It may be a bit too soon to fully determine but all in all it has had a significant impact on me so far. Give it a try and see what it does for you!
Stay well my awesome friends!
I originally started this blog post May 8th, 2016. Wow, over two years ago, I knew this is what I wanted. Two years later, this title rings even more true then it did at that time. Much of this post includes my thoughts from 2016 and a whole lot of new stuff. The picture you see above to the right was truly a pivotal point for me, a true detour of life. I learned I had a 4cm tumor in my thyroid, now that is a bad day! At that point in life I was about to make a huge job change into a new regional role with my company, My husband and I weren't at our best moments together and Boe, oh, my pride and joy. The time in life your child needs you most and I felt like I was failing him with all of this. We'll talk more about all of those in future posts
In the months after my diagnoses I had two surgeries, radiation and the start of trying to get my medication right to manage my hormones. Let me tell you friends managing hormones, emotions, or metabolism with no thyroid is no joke! And, how horrible it is that people actually say, "that's the easy cancer" ya right like any cancer is easy, I think not. I didn't realize it right away but all of this took such a toll on my emotional well being.
For the next several years, I had a real struggle getting my emotional balance in order. I also worked to hide it from everyone both personally and professionally. The last thing that I wanted was to be judged for anything, you'll learn more in future posts this was a huge barrier for me for a lot of years.
For the first few years post surgery I had some really dark moments. I remember one day so vividly. It was spring, I was at one of my offices for the day, this particular office is on the second floor. There is a beautiful entryway with a second floor balcony that looks over the huge glass windows outside. I took a call from one of my other offices and stepped out to take the call. The employee on the other end of the phone was very frustrated and clearly having a bad day. Now as leaders we always work to be strong for our people. In this moment what no one knew was I was having a horrible day. I felt worthless and completely overwhelmed with life. As I stood there employee frustrated in the phone I thought, what would it be like if I just jumped right off the ledge. I wondered if anyone would really care. Life would move on and they could do just fine without me. They would find someone else to complain to and no one ever heard what I had to say anyway. Then of course the next thought, this is only two stories up I would have to go much higher. The good thing for me was that I quickly redirected these thoughts each time they showed up in my head. By the grace of whomever was looking over me, yes I believe, I m strong and didn't act any number of the times these showed up.
The emotions that would come from anything were so overwhelming. For a good couple years after my surgery, I would eat my emotions. I couldn't quite figure out yet how to navigate my voice. There were days I would eat anything I could get my hands on. Not the good healthy stuff, anything that screamed carbs or sweets had me. One day Joel asked me to pick up ice cream. It was Friday night and by this point Friday nights were on for pizza, burgers, ice cream with any number of horrible for me toppings. Mind you, I had lost and kept off a lot of weight for years before this and if I would have kept this up would have been right back there. I stopped at Walmart as directed, got the pizza and ice cream. I had to throw in Oreos and M&M's, cause why wouldn't you do that. Before I even got home half the bag of family size peanut butter M&M's were gone. I would eat until I felt sick trying not to think about all of the things that were really going on.
It was about three years into my journey after my thyroidectomy that I started really listening to myself. See during this time, I had placed the biggest mask on myself. In public I would try showing everyone how OK I was, positive, I had quotes all over my office and home. At this point, I started actually listening to those quotes, relating them to myself, I started talking to myself better. I'll go more in depth on this one in a future blog, self talk is so important. I started being very aware of myself and my triggers and began limiting my time with people who brought me down. Which by the way is very very hard to do especially when they are close to you or family. I started really getting back to my basics of positive learning, books, and quickly became of fan of YouTube and watching any motivational videos I could find. Each of these things helped me get out of the darkness and start building into who I really wanted to be.
Each day is a chance to be the best you you can be, they may not be easy but with each positive push in the right direction you will get better and stronger. You have a tribe here to help and support you. Stay well friends!
As Aristotle once said, "It is in our darkest moments that we must focus to see the light."
Supporter of people and growth. I absolutely LOVE helping others see in themselves what I see in them. We all have good in us, we just need a bit of help seeing it at times.