Reduce Stress Now With These 3 Tips!

tips for stressEvery single day, I see signs of stress.  The most stressed people seem to pop in to my yoga class as beginners.  They are literally alive with stress.  I can read their energy like a neon sign.  Do I have the right mat?  Let me look at my phone again for just a second to alert everyone not to bother me for an hour.  Oh, look at her yoga pants.  Is that what I should have bought?  My toes.  Crap.  I didn’t get a pedicure and this class sees my toes.  What if she makes me ohm?  I can’t be doing that.  It’s against my beliefs. 

Okay, so some of these have actually been said directly to me as the yoga teacher…and others said to a friend nearby.  It’s a small quiet space and I pick up on things.  The truth is, I can actually narrow it down to 3 tips because we just don’t do this in our lives.

Reduce Stress With These 3 Tips:

  1. Be present.  <<< I can actually end the article right here, but most people don’t know how to be present, so let me explain.  I read somewhere that being present is an ART.  And I want you to remember that.  In your Activities, Routines, and Triggers.  What we do daily…where we are.  Kids activities or yours.  Be mindful of your feelings and stress levels.  In your daily routines, pay attention to what you are thinking about.  Is it in the now or the past or future?  Focus.  Lastly, triggers.  These we need more help with.  <<< You can open my linked guest post after this.
  2. Are you taking a step back and breathing?  Most people do not take a step back and inhale deeply.  Even in my yoga classes, I actually have to teach deep breathing.  People even breathe quickly.  Like hurry up breath, I got things to do.  But instead, rephrase and mentally say “I can slow down and breathe today.”  If you take longer, deeper, more cellular breaths you will actually start to lower your blood pressure, so do that for a full round of three.  Daily.  Each time you feel stress, panic or anxiety come on.
  3. Think for yourself in a non-judging way.  As I said today on my FB Live, yes, this one is hard people.  Most people lack the ability to just let the thoughts pass by as observations.  Sometimes we think not nice things.  About ourselves, others, society as a whole, etc.  Sometimes, the thoughts aren’t even ours.  They were programmed in long ago by things we heard our parents say and now we say them to ourselves too.  But what if we practiced discernment?  The ability to practice more understanding or awareness.  What if we knew we sounded like a programmed robot on auto-pilot?

My glorious and wonderful friend was so scared of letting me down, her words, in my yoga class that she came in apologizing.  She hadn’t seen me in years, and wasn’t aware at all of how I taught yoga.  She knew she wanted to do it, and in her eyes, it was the Instagram version.  Umm no.  I am not an Insta teacher.  She thought she had to be flexible (no), dressed in the latest (no), and have a pedicure.  No.  It took several classes of me actually teaching the yogic breathing, philosophy and more to get her to come in to class and just breathe a sigh of relief.  No one was watching her.  They were all in their own heads.  It is okay to fall out of a pose.  It is okay to try something and fail.

The stress she had created in her mind was all based off assumptions of judgement, and fear of wanting to fit in.  As we practice patience, trust, acceptance, and letting go, we can begin to feel the stress melt away.  So what if you mess up?  In anything?  The beauty of life is that you can start again.   

5 Tips on How to Face Your Fears

Without breaking the confidence and trust of my very close friends, I want to tell you about something I coach women how to handle.  The word is fear.  Most often, when I do a client intake, fear of failure at trying something new is there in the beginning.  One of the most important things for me is not to push people, but to get them moving in the right direction.  Once I see that, I can step back and let them go.

This fear of failure needs to be explored.  De-cluttered.  Looked at under a microscope.  And then released.  Once we have done everything we needed to do with it, we let it go…kind of like catch and release.  How do you propose I teach you to do that in one short blog post?  Well, honestly, that’s where my 4 Weeks to Wellness program comes in and you take the bonus option, but I want you to start today so that you have these tools under your belt for later.

5 Tips on How to Face Your Fears:

  1. Name it.  Yes, I know.  This seems too simple.  But what exactly are you afraid of and why?  For some of my clients, it’s getting better and I know this fear only too well.  What if…it starts off like that.  Write out all of your “what ifs” and “but this could happen” until you narrow it down to the one that clicks.  The final reason.  The real McCoy.  The one you look at on your list and you say “Well, shit.  I didn’t know I was still dragging this around with me.” 
  2. Examine the feelings.  Journal it.  You knew I was going to say that.  How has this held you back?  What would it be like if you could get over it?  What changes can you see coming into your life for the better once this fear has been released?  Now that it is named and out there, it’s kind of like Rumpelstiltskin…the one from the fairy tales.  It has no power.  You know its name.
  3. Ask yourself why now.  Maybe it came up because it was related to something else someone else is going through and you are afraid that will happen to you.  Stop those kinds of stories right now.  Is it something from the past?  Is it something you are afraid of in the future?  What are you missing out on right now by not fully living?
  4. Come up with the absolute WORST thing that could happen.  Will you look stupid?  Will you die?  <<< that scenario might be the worst thing that really could happen, and if that is a thought, then go to your next question.  Can you stop it by worrying about it?  Could you join a support group and help others on the same path as you and thus by helping them face this fear, help you realize you are not alone?  Could you turn this fear into a leadership role?  Could you learn something new from it?  Could you, in fact, live in the present and celebrate the abundance you already have?  Could you meditate or do yoga to continue to help release this fear?
  5. Make a plan to move forward.  What would the opposite of this fear feel like?  What are your dreams that it has blocked up until now?  Step into your light, no really visualize the white light of protection from this fear and step into it.  Your dreams are possible.  Repeat that mantra.  Life is an adventure and it’s your to take.  See the sights you want to see, take from it what you need, but learn to release what no longer serves you. 

fear_kid

Save

5 Self-care Tips to Lighten Your Load.

self-care tips5 Self-care Tips to Lighten Your Load.

self-care n.  The care of oneself without medical, professional, or other assistance or oversight.

Let’s pretend you have lots of time on your hands for a self-care regimen. What would it look like? Maybe you are not sure where to start.

Let’s take a look at your mind first.

  1. Have the right attitude. Did you know that looking at things from different points of view can actually lower your stress level? That’s right. Instead of automatically jumping to the wrong conclusion, you can think about something in a positive light or try to see it from a different perspective. This can actually bring you more success in life instead of constantly feeling like you have to be on the defense. Sure, there are moments when you want to fall back into your old negative thought patterns, but if they haven’t brought you anything but pain, try a few positive affirmations and move forward.
  2. Meditation is a powerful brain booster. Try some 5 minute “mind-training” to make it still or even some guided meditations to clear the mind. Be patient with yourself as this takes time to practice, but you will start to feel better once you master your mind.

Now let’s take inventory of your body.

  1. Get enough sleep. 8 hours a night of sound sleep is essential for stimulating new connections and brain growth. What are your obstacles to a good night’s sleep? Do you have an over-active mind, physical tension, undiagnosed sleep apnea or pain? Try a bedtime routine of a lavender bath, hot tea, and a simple meditation to clear the mind. Unplug from technology an hour before bed.
  2. Do you love to exercise? I already hear your “no” getting ready to form…but wait. What if it was walking with an old friend or adding the stairs to your day? Meeting a friend at yoga? Take my advice…add some movement to your day no matter what. Don’t wait for that friend though…because it may never happen and this is your self-care routine (not theirs). Make habits that you know you will stick to even if someone else can’t help you be accountable.

Lastly, let’s look at your spirit.

  1. Inform others about what you are doing and find like minds. This is the part that might be hard because you need human contact to nourish your spirit, but not everyone is in the same place as you are right this moment. In fact, some might never be ready to move forward. And that’s okay. This is your self-care routine. Hopefully others will be supportive of what you need to do to take care of you. As a for example…maybe your goal is to unplug more from messages and talk to people in real life. Encourage your friends to make that shift and see what happens. Who knows, maybe you will inspire others around you to move forward and take a look at what their spirit needs. I know that as someone working from home, I need to get out of the house and make contact with others at least once a week. That’s where my yoga practice comes in. It is soothing to feel the energy of others around me who are working towards the same goals.   If you need more support, click the linked words.

challenge

Save

Save

Tips for living with pain…

Oh great.  Here is yet another blog article trying to tell me how to live with pain.  What does this writer know?  This writer lives with 6 invisible diseases…and all of them have caused pain.  Hereditary Hemochromatosis (iron overload), Porphyria Cutanea Tarda (sensitivity to light, skin blisters), Hashimoto’s Thyroid (autoimmune…caused extreme stomach issues), Epstein-Barr Virus (felt entire vertebral column flare-up), Depression from pain, and Fribromyalgia (when anyone touched my skin, it felt like a slap).

Over the last three years, the pain continued to get worse.  I opted not to be on the pharmaceutical drugs due to the fact that HH is a genetic condition and no doctor could tell me for sure if the drugs would make my liver worse.  So pain it was.  But I wasn’t going to stop there.  I continued my search for things to help me cope that were going to work with my body naturally.  What did I find?

  1. Turmeric milk.  Turmeric has been used in India for thousands of years for its anti-inflammatory properties…due to the active compound curcumin.
  2. Relief.  Building on that, I take this product because it has ingredients such as glucosamine and chondroitin, but even more than that it also includes turmeric root extract, as well as yucca root, which has long been used for osteoarthritis as well as inflammation of the intestine.  Ah-ha.  Hmm.  Remember my stomach pain before?  Better within weeks of getting on this.
  3. Restorative yoga.  Yoga has been shown to decrease the stress hormone cortisol.  Do you think I might have been stressed when I moved if my whole body felt like it was on fire?  Yes.  Just a little.  The difference in restorative though, is that you get to use comfy bolsters, blocks and blankets.  So we made little nests, and sat in that pose for 5-15 minutes depending on what it was.  I had a hard time at first, but learned to let go of my expectations of what my body used to be able to do.  The poses became second nature.
  4. Vinyasa yoga for back pain.  I graduated to Vinyasa…honestly, only because a friend pulled me in the direction my mind was afraid to go.  When she suggested restorative, I gave it a try.  When she said that I could do Vinyasa and possibly teach one day, my mind shut her down due to the pain.  “She has no idea how much moving hurts.”  Said the mind…but the heart wanted to get better.  Thankfully, it’s pretty strong, and said “Let’s do this thing!!!”  And so I did.  Almost 200 hours later…the girl on fire.  Literally.
  5. Meditation-like thoughts.  When I felt myself go into the dark place of pain, I would literally stop and say things to myself like “I am breathing in.  I am breathing out.”  I didn’t come up with this on my own.  I read part of a Thich Nhat Hanh’s You are Here, except at the time, I didn’t want to be there.  ha.  So I never finished it.  But it did teach me to focus my breathing.
  6. Friends checking in on you.  This part became difficult.  Not many people were in this category.  When you are in pain, people slip away.  They do.  It’s not their fault, but it is in the human nature to be uncomfortable when you don’t know what to do.  Most don’t climb down in the hole with you.  Watch this short video to get the full meaning of “The Power of Empathy”.  Rarely can a response make something better, says Dr. Brown, what makes something better is a connection.

So my friends, I leave you with my connection to you.  I am in the hole with you.  I have climbed down there.  I will hug you.  I will give you that love and connection to your pain, but the next step is on you.  The best advice I have for you is to read more about my 4 Weeks to Wellness course and take that as your next step.  The program was created based off what I did to get my life back, and it truly and honestly saved me.

Read moreNew, “Work with Me” tab has more options to help you from home!

Save

Save

Motivational Monday…wellness interview

Hello there, it’s me.  Your friendly guide to getting the most out of your Monday.  Today I am going to share a little video a friend of mine put together.  Be warned…I don’t know what I am doing.  But at least maybe it appears I did…not sure as I had the camera in the wrong place, and it was using my phone, etc.  Okay, no more stalling.

Aimee’s interview seemed to go well.  But as I watched it, I judged myself.  Ack, do I sound dumb?  Why does my face look puffy?  It does look puffy.  Am I puffy today?  Wait, none of my thoughts are serving me right now and this was not the point.  I discovered I don’t like being on video…which is why I decided to actually do this video interview.  I know it’s crazy, but I do things I don’t like to get them over with. 

To give you a point of reference, when I was 14 years old, I stepped on a snake…in Florida.  I tried to be calm, but it wrapped around my ankle and bit me.  Number 1, I was not calm.  Number 2, I hate snakes.  Number 3, I could swear it had a diamond-shaped head.  And then I screamed.  Long story, I spent 4 hours in the hospital having tests.  I was at a hotel with an inclosed, but open pool area when this happened.  When I became a volunteer years later at my favorite Living Museum, guess what I did?  GUESS!!  It was amazingly scary.  I had to reach into a pillowcase and pull out a………….SNAKE.  But it was a black rat snake.  Yes, it was the scariest thing perhaps in the universe to me.  I learned all about snakes though.  And how the scales are actually like fingernail material and blah, blah, blah.  But I just wanted to NOT be afraid.  I even held a corn snake.  So now, when I take my daughters to the museum, and she looks at a tiny green snake on a limb and says “Mom isn’t he the cutest?”  I say “Sure baby.  But we are not getting a snake.  Not even a little one.” 

So to change your thoughts, you have to embrace the pain maybe for a minute, then turn away from that by changing the pattern of your thoughts.  I decided I didn’t want to be deathly afraid of stupid snakes because there are LOTS around Virginia.  I wanted to be mildly interested in them as another living creature, but you know, we don’t have to be like BFFs or anything.  So change snakes to pain and you have me taking yoga teacher training even though I was afraid I couldn’t keep up.  You have me challenging my mind to change my thoughts from focusing on pain all the time, to moments where I am NOT in pain.  Aha.  To moments where I am living in pain, but in those moments, I can still create my own happiness.  I can still focus on what is working and less and less on what is NOT working.  I can focus on helping lead others out of their pain and darkness.  I can reach my hand right in that pillowcase and take life out and say “Aha!!!  I got you.  You aren’t as scary as I thought.  Maybe you’ll bite me, but not this time.  Not this time.” 

And that my friends, is how to change your thoughts.

Suffering

Save

Save

Motivational Monday…for the UNbroken

Hey friends…you know how last week on the Facebook fan page for my blog, I asked you a question?  I asked you to tell me what kind of “invisible disease” you had.  Many times, we feel so alone with these diseases, because they are in fact, not visible to people looking in at our lives.  But this statistic came from the link I posted: 96% of people with chronic medical conditions live with an illness that is invisible. 

I don’t really think we are alone.  So let’s say you didn’t get your disability and you have 5, maybe 6 illnesses on that list.  Guess what?  It happens.  I decided it meant something different.  I decided it meant that I was supposed to find a flexible job working from home and helping others.  Don’t be discouraged.  You have a few options.  You can continue the fight without a lawyer.  I have been told that’s why I never got anywhere.  You can get a lawyer.  Or you can move on.  Moving on is not giving up.  I just want to give you permission in case you needed to hear that.  I know all the excuses in your head.  I know all the what ifs.  But do not stay in that place of despair.  Make a plan.  Work on it.  Move on.

So now I am in yoga teacher training, and it’s hard.  Very, very hard emotionally and physically.  I doubt my path at times.  I do.  But as my friend said yesterday, okay really paraphrasing, if we didn’t have emotions or feelings we’d be like Data from Star Trek.  He was an android who was unable to feel emotion or understand certain human responses.  We don’t want to live like that.  So acknowledge the feelings you are having, and work the plan.  Whatever the plan is.  If you don’t have plan, write something down.  Just a few things.  It can be as simple as get out of bed, and get dressed.  Get to the store today.  Fibro friends, this is an important plan.  You know this.  Get out of your pajamas…says the blogger still in pajamas.  But you know what I’m talking about!!!  You do.

Next on your list, make a new friend.  Okay, this one is hard.  Why is this hard?  It is hard for people who feel alone, because opening ourselves up and getting vulnerable with new people is like going to a new doctor for us.  We hate having to start at the beginning and tell our story.  I know this.  You know this.  Stop ignoring this one.  So here’s how you can go about doing this.  Re-evaluate who is in your life right now.  Who checks in on you…who checked out on you.  Those people who checked out of your life during your hardest times, they have left you space for new people.  I know it sucks, believe me I do.  But it’s time to be honest.  Those people didn’t understand anyway.

So start a new practice.  Get your list out.  What did you like to do before all the bumps?  For me, I already liked yoga, so I looked into restorative, which was low-key.  I researched other types of exercises for fibromyalgia, and decided I didn’t feel like going to water aerobics, but if you like that, put that down.  if you liked gardening put it down.  Don’t think about the pain, I know you automatically went to “I can’t get down there and bend.” Stop.  So here’s a neat idea, look up community free classes or workshops in your area.  You can also container garden and not have to bend.  See how I did that?  Put it at eye level.  Flower arranging?  Do it.  Whatever it is that old you did, write it down.

So guess what’s going to happen during this process of thinking about other things that you now have room for in your life…you are going to make new friends.  You are going to feel better, and you are going to feel less alone.  Anytime you have a negative thought, push it away and back to the things you are doing that are positive.  That are a step in the right direction.  So when you get that letter in the mail from social security…don’t be afraid to open it.  Make a plan.

broken

The Law of Pure Potentiality…

I need to clear up some common misconceptions.  Yoga is a practice.  Not a religion.  Just like how Buddhism is a way of life…a practice or philosophy.  If you come from another religion or way of life can you take these philosophies with you back to your religion or way of life?  Yes.  But people fear what they do not know or understand.  So they are afraid to go deeper into the world of “stillness”.  Therein lies the problem.  At the beginning of my yoga practice yesterday, the teacher said “Be still, and know that I am God.”  When we are practicing our stillness…or just being, we are closer to who we are really meant to be.

This is where Deepak Chopra’s The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success come into my practice.  One of the absolute hardest steps for me to apply to my life is to take time each day just being silent.  Some people who know me are laughing…my parents I’m sure.  But what this really means is that I have to work at just being.  That seems like such a small thing…to just be.  To sit alone in silent meditation actually means that you clear your mind.  As thoughts come and go you focus on the moments between the thoughts.  Not the thought itself.  Pretty soon you are focusing on those in between moments for even longer and one day, you will come to realize that your thoughts have finally stilled.

And therein lies my problem.  One thought produces one more like it, then it spirals, and so on and so forth.  So I am working on this ability to carry stillness with me.  Chopra writes “Through silence, through meditation, and through non-judgement, you will access the first law, the Law of Pure Potentiality.”  Many times people say “Oh I’m not judging…but blah, blah, blah.”  If you have to say you are not judging, here’s a hint, you might be.  But that’s okay for now.  Work on letting that thought go and focusing on something positive you learned from that situation.  If your mind is constantly on re-wind and you are judge, jury and executioner of your thoughts and you can’t let the negative go from a situation, you need meditation in your life.  You know it costs less than therapy…it does.

Here is an introduction for you to watch:

problem

 

Releasing the outcome…

So I had a post all ready to go yesterday in my head…but here’s the thing.  I feel like the only motivational thing I did yesterday was pry myself up off the couch, take a shower and say to myself, self, get out the door to yoga…ignore that it is cold and rainy and extremely dark.  JUST go.  Then I said to my husband, “If I tell you I don’t feel like going to yoga because I ache/hurt, tell me to go anyway.  No matter what I say.”  I am positively sure this will come back to haunt me.

So I knew I made the right decision when I started to release the pain in my neck, shoulders, lower back and hips.  I absolutely love restorative yoga for my aches and the slow, no pressure, use as many props as you need to hold the pose feeling goes with fibromyalgia.  I am encouraging as many people who need healing to go to this type of class.  By healing I mean any kind of healing.  Seriously.  But you have to go all in.  You can’t try to fool yourself.  You can’t make excuses.  It doesn’t work that way.

So I have my calendar set up with my appointments.  I have my yoga nights on there…and soon my yoga weekends.  I can’t let my mind stop me from doing something I know is good for my body.  I can’t let weather, aches, pains, and any other excuses stop me.  I have made a decision and I have a goal.  I have to release the outcome as I have done my part.  Small steps people.  Small. Steps.

ReleaseAuthor’s note:  This post was the start of my yoga journey, and I have now recovered almost full mobility and have gained much strength and knowledge.  I took all of my resources and created a course just for you, even if this post is where you are right now.  Please note, that for the life of the course, I will be adding extra resources and you only pay the price it is right now when you sign up.  You only have to decide if you want the bonus pack.  Much love to you!  ~Aimee

Here’s to you…New Year’s You!

New youHey there friends.  I’d like your help.  We are working on a way to change ourselves.  Really and truly in the New Year.  Not resolutions that can be broken, but a plan.  A real plan.  On my Facebook page for the blog I am making a few posters about ways to help yourself, but I want you to sit quietly and think about all the ways you are blocking yourself from your greatest potential.  Whether it is weight loss, healthy eating, negative thinking, depression and/or anxiety, excuses for why you don’t leave the house, excuses for why you don’t exercise, well you name it, you and only you know how to change yourself.  The fact is, we can go to all the therapists in the world, but until we are ready to make that change, that commitment, we are simply going to continue hoping what they tell us will work one day.

Wake up and open the curtains.  Remember my last post about getting more light?  Hint, you had to watch the video I posted.  Clean your room and get rid of anything you are not using.  It makes you feel better.  I don’t know why or how, but it does.  Make ROOM in your life for things you need.  You are getting rid of things you no longer need in your life.  I guess it could be the symbolism, but it really does work.  Fluff your comforter, change your sheets.  Go to bed earlier.  I personally know how hard this one is.  I am erm a night owl.  Nevertheless, I am going to be shutting down 30 minutes earlier and working on a new routine.

Get your refrigerator ready for good food.  Throw out the Christmas fruitcake…no not your relatives, the sweets you still have.  Wash and prep veggies for the week.  Make your list of smoothie items or simply use these greens I use everyday.  I use berry but you can try orange or whatever you like.  It actually is cheaper than buying all the veggies to throw in the blender.  I also take my supplements for my pain and drink turmeric milk or tea.  I immediately change my thinking even if I am in pain to thinking that the tea or whatever I am using is helping me.  It really is helping but I try hard not to concentrate on what is wrong.  I work daily at this.  Do NOT dwell in the negatives.  Let the negative thoughts pass by, but don’t stay there.

I am also working on a yoga plan as well as a getting out of the house more plan.  This is very important if you have fibromyalgia and tend to sit too much.  Stop dwelling.  Just stop.  Make a plan.  If I can do it, you can too.  So let’s go.  2015.  It’s almost here.  Move more.  Eat better.  Do good things.  No resolutions you won’t keep, but goals.  Gather your supplies, your buddies, if you don’t have buddies, get out of the house and make some.  NO excuses!  Ok, pep talk over…and today wasn’t even Motivational Monday.

Note:  see the top tab on working with me and my new for 2017 group coaching option.

 

Save

Motivational Monday…procrastination

Procrastination.  Excuses.  Reasons why your path looks like Billy’s from The Family Circus when he had a job to do.  I don’t want to hear it.  We all know deep down what’s holding us back and usually it has one name.  Fear.  You need to pull a Bruce Willis on that thing and just go for it.

Things do come up.  I know they do.  But if you let these “things” get in the way of your goals, then your life will become a string of excuses.  I meant to do that, but…   We were going to, but…  I’m not saying I don’t have my own fears because I do.  I certainly do.  It’s just that I am ridiculous when it comes to them and do stupid things to get over them so I can move on.  Like the time I got bit by a snake, then was afraid of snakes for a while.  So then I volunteered at the local Virginia Living Museum, and learned how to stick my hand in a pillow case and pull out a snake.  Yes.  True story.  I also learned how to identify which ones were venomous in my area.

Quitting my job when I had no extra income was like sticking my hand in that pillow case.  I knew when I went on my “sabbatical” I was never going back.  I knew I needed more.  Starting my business was that more.  I love getting messages from clients asking me for help.  That’s brave of them as well.  They have tried lots of things to lose weight, feel better, get healthy, but for whatever reason, fear, they need a little extra help.  And that’s ok.  I did too!!  I was afraid I was going to stay stuck at my old weight forever.  When I got on the scale and realized how much I weighed compared to old me, I was shocked.  At 5’2 I knew I needed to get a handle on it.

When I put all my research skills into formulating a plan that worked best for my diseases and body, I knew I was finally on the right track in December.  I have now lost 14 pounds, but I am not done.  I have 6 more to go, and the extra 20 will be gone.  I am going to be adding yoga back into my routine again and I will also write about that.  I have been being a taxi cab, so I made excuses why I didn’t make it to yoga.  I sat down today and wrote out the yoga schedule so it was in front of my face!!! I know that going back worries me.  I am afraid it will hurt because of my existing pain, but I know that it will help me.  I have researched exercises for fibromyalgia and this is one of them.  So, I’m going to pull a Die Hard and go for it.  Stick your hand in that pillow case folks.  Go for it!!

 

Fear

Save