Time, Time, Time

Time-Edit

We all wish we had more time. There is not a person alive, that I have met, who has ever said “I have all the time in the world to do whatever I want”. It’s always “I don’t have enough time” or “I am too busy for….”.

Well, that’s life. We all have things we need to do to live and for society to function. However, I think many of us spend too much time on things that are not important to us and don’t make time for our top priorities…like family, self-care, hobbies, rest, our health, a career or lifestyle change, etc.

For example, for me, Facebook is a time suck. I can think I am going on it for 10 minutes but 1 hour later I am grumpy and stiff from sitting and scrolling. In this scenario, I lost 50 minutes I could have used to meditate, read, work on my newsletter or an upcoming event, or return a call. Heck, I could have prepped healthy snacks/meals for the week or have gone for a walk. So now, I limit my time on social media so I don’t waste my free time, but I don’t feel deprived, and I can have time for what is most important to me…and it’s not surfing the web.

There is also an app for that. (of course there is)  She Knows: programs to limit time on social media

Managing your calendar is especially important for people who do not have a regular schedule. When each day is different, it’s hard to get into a routine. For me, there are days that I even need to schedule time for my shower, just to make sure my schedule is manageable, I get done what is most important to me, and I don’t over-extend myself.

If you want more time for what you truly love…get organized and just schedule it. No if’s, and’s, or but’s. Make a place holder in your calendar and set a reminder. If it’s important to you, it’s important to give it the attention it deserves. Almost all of us have some time in our schedules available or where we are wasting time.

When I work with my coaching clients, every goal is defined by a day, time, duration for a very specific action they want to accomplish in the week.  They ALWAYS come back saying how much that strategy worked and how they got so much more accomplished. Even those that really fight that level of commitment do come back to say how much it helped…IF what they are doing is important to them.

So, if you really want to do something. Put it on your calendar. It can always be moved/delayed if something comes up, but do not delete and forget about it.

Your personal priorities are important and deserve your time. Do not give yourself away. Create time boundaries that protect what is most important to you.

If you do this, I think you will find that you feel more focused, energized, and accomplished.

 

PS: Social Media addiction is real and growing. Read this article by LifeWire on ways to beat Facebook Addiction if you or someone you know is struggling to gain control over their Facebook usage.  Beat Facebook Addiction

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Tips for the new school year

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For parents and kids alike, the new school year can be exciting and full of new opportunities. It can also be a source of stress and frustration. Parents are inundated with papers to complete and return, upcoming events to record, check writing, meetings, coordinating schedules and rides, after-school activities, etc. For students, it can elicit feelings about being successful, accepted, supported, and safe, popularity and fitting in, with who will they eat lunch or what will they eat, what to wear, how will they get to school, etc.  The lists are never-ending.

IF you are a fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants kind of parent and IF that works for you AND your kids, then great. You can stop reading now. For the rest of us…I hope you find something that will help you with the summer-to-school transition.

So what can parents do to help minimize all this emotion?

  1. Acknowledge it. First, we have to take our heads out of the beach sand for a moment and realize that this is a transition and it is coming up quickly. Also acknowledge this transition can be hard on us and our kids. Ignoring it won’t make it so.
  2. Prepare your mind. Make a list of all the things you know will be changing and coming your way. Get it out of your head and onto paper. This may help to relieve the internal mental churnings and allow you to observe the list and think about possible solutions for each item. For example…
    • If you know that the paperwork trail is overwhelming to you….maybe you can think about creating a place for all school forms to go so they don’t get lost.
    • Or if you know that the busy schedule gets you stressed, plan to take a little time each day to relax or exercise or do some other actviity that helps you reduce that stress so you can be more present and positive.
  3. Sleep. I don’t know about you but our sleeping patterns change in the summer: later nights lead to later, slower mornings. Decide whether you need to start going to bed and getting up a little earlier each day as you get closer to that first day of school OR will you bite the bullet and just get up early for that first day, struggle for a few days/weeks and let your body adjust to the new routine? Whatever works for you, but make the choice.
  4. Healthy Meal Planning. The new school year may also bring changes and challenges to meal planning. You can do a little prep work here too.
    1. Think about what worked in the past.
    2. Research and save recipes and meal ideas that are healthy easy, and quick in a file or on pinterest for easy access.
    3. Use a whiteboard to write the meal options/ideas for the week
    4. Create a snack bin
    5. Put out veggies (and fruit) after school. Kids will pick at it as they walk by.
    6. School lunch… discuss with your kdis about making healthy choices
    7. Bag lunch…. find creative and healthy options so they don’t get bored.
    8. Share dinner time responsibilities. This is great if you have older kids but younger kids can help out too.
  5. School supplies. Getting all those supplies can be expensive and stressful for some. My daughter loves shopping and organzing her supplies, my son hates it. Here are some things we do…
    1. Make a organized list.
    2. Get in a mindset of fun
    3. Get creative…my daughter likes to color coordinate classes. The best part is that it helps with organization all year long.
    4. Re-use…whether it’s from last year or a hand-me-down, if it’s in good shape why buy more?
    5. Set your priorities… what is more important to you? time or money? Shop accordingly.
    6. If you are able, buy backpacks and supplies for local children who cannot afford it.
  6. Homework.  It’s coming, why not prepare for it. Create a space that is welcoming and conducive for homework…quiet, well-lit, distraction-free, and comfortable.  Allow your kids to help create and decorate the space.
  7. Visualize a great year. What does it look like? What does your student want out of this year? Talk about it and set some goals. Create a vision board or a sign to serve as a reminder and motivator.
  8. Talk about fears and anxieties. Discuss steps that can be taken to reduce the anxiety so your student can feel more in control and prepared. Also make sure perspectives and expectations are realistic. Help your children develop tools to handle real life. Plus, always get professional help when needed. Here are some other ideas to consider…aikido blog
    • exercise routine
    • tutoring
    • school guidance or other services
    • academic coaching
    • therapists
    • health and lifestyle coaching
    • activites and interests outside of school

What do you do to help with the school year transition?

please share your ideas

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My Plate

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Trying to eat healthier and don’t know where to start? Try the “MyPlate Checklist Calculator” at www.choosemyplate.gov. You enter your information and it tells you how many servings you need in each food category.

Sometimes, I use the MyFitness App to help log what I eat when I need to get back on track and eat a more balanced diet.  Logging my food into categories helps me realize what I eat and I eat a lot of protein. I already know that but when I document and see the real data and impact of my choices, it’s harder to make excuses or deny the reality that I need to make some adjustments and be more mindful about my nutrition.

 

For some people eating more protein might be good.  I believe that one diet does not fit all. Some people function best as vegans, some NEED meat. Most of us are somewhere in the middle. Your diet needs may depend on body type, lifestyle, blood type, allergies & sensitivies, etc. Find what works for you. If you have a hard time figuring it out, hire a nutritionist or a health coach to help you.

No matter what your eating style is, we all need nutrients to help our body function properly.  Fueling our body is the #1 reason we eat…not taste, not emotion, not joy, not social…fuel and nutritional support for all the processes and functions that are occurring in our bodies. cell division, DNA replication, liver function, brain function, heart and lungs…you get the gist. Important stuff.

So get rid of the sugar, chemicals, and other processed foods and start feeling better.

Your body will thank you!

You are a good mom

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This week I met with a friend for coffee. During our time together, we began talking about our kids, like any mother eventually does. Her kids are much younger than mine, so her stories brought back old memories…both good and “bad”.

In the telling of her stories, I could see in her eyes: joy, fear, guilt, frustration, anger, hope, confusion, love…all those emotions our children elicit from us on a daily basis. It reminded me of a time when a stranger made me cry.

Many moons ago, I took Jordan to lunch at Applebee’s after picking her up from preschool.

NOTE: I was a fairly new mom and parenting didn’t always feel natural for me. I struggled emotionally.  I was a task-master. I loved working and struggled with being a stay at home mom. I did (and still do) not like to be uncomfortable, physically or mentally. To me, obstacles need to be overcome, a solution to be found. Well, in parenting all of these traits can be counter-intuitive and make parenting (and life) that much harder. My true person has not changed but I worked really hard to adjust my mindset and grow into being a better, more balanced parent. and, by the way, I am still working on these traits so I can be more accepting and present.

So, we are at Applebee’s. I am sure I encouraged 3-year-old Jordan to order for herself, we were playing games, and/or I was asking her questions and showing genuine interest in her and her day. I know I was praising her for actions and behaviors (I love psychology so THAT I knew to do).  I don’t really remember all the nitty-gritty details. But a man came over to our table and said to me “YOU are a good mom.”

Even now, as I hear that memory in my head, I cry. How nice it was to hear a kind word from a stranger who had no ulterior motive or any pressure to do so. It is not very often someone compliments us. When that compliment is about something you feel so in adequate or insecure about, it makes it that much more meaningful and emotional. Mothers are rarely complimented. Shamed, yes. Judged, yes. Praised? Hardly ever.

The memory of this kind man is one of the most important memories I hold onto. It helps me through hard times with my kids. It reminds me that I do have some natural parenting skills or instincts. It is the kindness I need, when no one else is offering it.

I didn’t get a chance to tell my friend what a good job she was doing with her children (and she truly is). She is a natural mother, although it may not always feel that way to her. So I sent her an email and explained to her what I observed in our conversation and told her that she was a good mother. She seemed very appreciative. I know she will hold onto those words in tough times. They will help her build self-trust.  I know this because I have been there. I am still there.

It is SO important to be kind and give words of encouragement and positive feedback, to our friends, family, co-workers, even strangers; maybe especially strangers. None of us hears it enough. We get plenty of judgement, name-calling, put-downs, and negative feedback. Hell, check out social media if you don’t believe me. But in real life there is not enough encouragement, empathy, and kindness.

On the flip side, giving a compliment can bring up some deep-seated emotions. I know I got emotional when I told my friend she was a good mom. When I want to say “thank you” to a soldier, I get so emotional that I can’t get the words out. I know their family’s pain and the sacrifice they made. I grew up with it, so it brings up some strong feelings from my childhood. One day I will find a way to get the words out. For some people, this type of emotion is scary and something they avoid at all costs. But in the end, you both will feel better. It is a win-win.

So if you see someone doing a good job, tell them. If you see a mom being a good mom, tell her. If you see a mom struggling , be supportive maybe give her a compliment on what she is doing well. It will help her more than you ever know.

Compliments are good for the soul for both the giver and the receiver.

Why not make a committment to compliment one stranger this week?

See how it goes.

I would love to hear your story and I am sure others would to.

 

The Case for Coaching Teens

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Many people ask why I am focused on coaching teenagers. My answer is easy. I like teens, their energy and outlook on life, and I want to see them be successful. To me, they are mini-adults with a zest for life! I gain as much from them as much as they learn from me.

High school students are under an enormous amount of stress to perform by teachers, parents, colleges, coaches, peers, and themselves, and yet, many do not have the emotional tools to handle the level of stress they are experiencing. For these students, developing resiliency and a growth mindset is very important so they can interpret mistakes as opportunities, instead of fearing them or considering them failures.

I recently attended a seminar with Suniya Luthar, PhD, whose “research involves vulnerability and resilience among various populations including youth in poverty, children in families affected by mental illness, and teens in upper-middle class families”. She reports that a caring adult relationship is a strong protective factor for drug and alcohol misuse in high school students. This is consistent with the messages I learned in my teacher-training program and the experiences I had as a teacher.

In many cases, health and wellness (or lifestyle) coaching can provide that supportive relationship, while helping this population achieve their personal goals. Parents and teachers tend to be in an authoritative position, but coaches are not and therefore receive less resistance.

Coaches have no motives other than to support our clients and help them overcome obstacles and find success. We do not tell our clients what to do; we help them find what works best for them. This is powerful for an emerging adult, who wants independence but needs more tools, experience, and confidence making decisions, asking questions, and reflecting on their learning.

Kids do well if they can.  Provide the tools and the support and watch them flourish!

 

Student Athlete Performance

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Next month, I will be leading a workshop for a girls’ hockey prep school/college showcase at Breakaway Ice Center in Tewksbury. The topic is “Improve your health, Improve your performance”.

You might not think this is a necessary conversation but truly it is.

Do you know how many times I see student athletes walking into practice or a game with a Dunkin Donuts Koolatta or some other nutrient-lacking, chemical-laden fast food? All the time! You would be amazed at how many student athletes are overweight, go to their sport hung over, or struggling to control stress and anxiety during high pressure moments.

This demographic is not immune to the same temptations and health concerns of every one else.  Although they exercise and are usually physically fit, they do not always have balanced fitness routine, they are not necessarily mentally or emotionally fit, nor are they eating foods that support the body’s need for nutrition and energy. In time, these bad habits will catch up to them.  And for now, I guarantee, they are not playing as well as they could.

There was a recent article on the benefits of pilates for hockey players. From In Goal Magazine, “Hockey Players and Pilates Reformers“. It briefly discusses how pilates and yoga can help bring the body in balance.

“Hockey players spend most of their time in a crouched over position. Because of this, their bodies are extremely imbalanced.”

Physical fitness should not be the only focus of the student athlete. Mindfulness is becoming increasingly more popular among professional athletes says “The Mindful Athlete: Can Preventative Mental Health Improve Performance, Too?” on Vice Sports. Our brains cannot function when they are stressed and anxious. A calm, centered mind is more creative and capable of functioning in the most stressful environments.

As a parent, I know how hard it can be to provide healthy meals and a balanced enviroment while running from rink to rink, game to game. Sometimes you do what you have to do and, from this, we helped to establish these bad habits.  But teens can take control over their own behaviors and work with their parents and coaches to determine the best choices for them.

Health and wellness coaches, like myself, are available to work one-on-one with student athletes to determine what habits are holding them back and how they can take charge and perform at their preferred level of performance. Not all student athletes WANT to function at their optimal level and that is okay. For those that do, how they treat their mind and body should be as important as going to practice.

 

Just Do It?

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Just do it….that’s what Nike says. I call BS.

Making lifestyle changes does not come down to having information and self-control.

Think about it. We have all the resources and information we need at our fingertips and yet the American people are sicker and fatter than ever before.  The life expectancy of our children’s generation is actually shorter than ours. SHORTER? With all the advances in medicine, our children will die younger than us and primarily because of preventable diseases. (New England Journal of Medicine, Mar 17, 2005 and CDC Life Expectancy Tables).

Why are almost 50% of Americans overweight and yet we have nutritional, fitness, and health information flooding our lives?

Because the “Just do it” motto does NOT work for most people. Plus, sooooo many factors play a role in health….environment, social networks, government policies, genetics, behavioral choices, education, poverty/wealth, access to healthcare, access to mental health, access to healthy foods, trauma, chemicals and poisons in our environment, food, and products…the list goes on.

However, obesity in America crosses all socio-economic lines. WHY? Because even though we know WHAT to eat and that we need to exercise more and reduce our stress, we don’t always know HOW to implement those changes for long-term success.  We know how to “diet” and then we gain it back. We know how to deprive ourselves and then binge later. We throw ourselves into exercise routines then quit just as quickly.

This is not the way to live.

Life is about balance and enjoying life. You CAN be healthy AND happy.  Hiring a health and wellness coach has shown to be the most effective way to reach and maintain your personal goals. Trained coaches offer guidance, accountability, and collaboration.  Coaches are patient-centered, not disease-centered. When you have someone who is listening, brainstorming, and supporting you, it is uplifting, energizing, and emotionally rewarding. Coaches build confidence and success.

Here is more proof that coaching works:

Everyday Health on Coaching

The Health Coach Group

The American Academy of Family Physicians

Medical Economics

National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine

The Mayo Clinic

 

Meeting Zelda

“Zelda is a Storyteller,
Drum and Rattle Maker,
Creator of Personal Shields,
Keeper of the Ancestor Doll and Creator of the
Sacred Dream Circles.”

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This week my friends and I went to Circles of Wisdom in Andover, MA because there was a native american artist displaying and selling her creations, Zelda Hotaling. What was just a fun trip to check out rattles, drums, and dream catchers on Saturday afternoon, turned into a personal journey and connection to a wise mother and the importance of friendship.

Zelda was the jovial, beautiful woman with long hair, blue eyes, and a deep connection to her purpose in life.  Once we got talking to her, we couldn’t stop. She told us cool stories about the events that led up to her retirement and the creation of her 7 foot Sacred Dream Circles, something she usually gets paid to do.

Each of us was drawn to an item in her store and because it was the day before Father’ssign
Day, we decided to buy these items for our respective husbands. We asked about each item and she gave us a story and a suggestion for its use. HOWEVER, she told us they were NOT for our husbands they were ours and we needed to stop giving ourselves away.  (ain’t that the truth)

 

Each time we would be ready to leave, something or some comment, would bring us back to Zelda. She showed us how to give a massage with her shell rattles and we had a ceremonial singing circle with drums, rattles, and a very special turkey feather.

The most special gift she gave to each of us was a comment. Apparently, out of the blue, she would make a statement, either out loud or quietly in one’s ear, that was exactly what that person needed at that time. It was like she could read our deepest needs and then gave us the gift of healing. Without going into private details…it was amazing for each of us. Many tears fell that day.

When we left, after promising to come visit Zelda’s Sacred Dream Circles and have a girls weekend at her place, we all just looked at each other and hugged and laughed in the hall. What a gift this day turned out to be. We lost time in that space with Zelda…3 hours had passed since we walked in.

There are so many wonderful people and beautiful teachings in this world. I was so glad to have been able to share this experience with my friends. I think Zelda was as drawn to us as we were to her.

Had I gone there alone I probably wouldn’t have talked to Zelda as much; not because I wouldn’t want to, but because I tend to get shy and reserved in new experiences. I wouldn’t want to bother her (but that’s another issue). I sink into the background and observe….soaking it in. With my friends, I was pulled in and benefited from their adventurous personalities. I definitely learned that I could be a little more outgoing in these situations. I also know to honor myself and, if that is who I am, so be it.

Doing this with friends was so much more fun than alone anyway.

Maybe THAT was the real lesson.

 

 

How do you reset your diet?

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Lately my stomach has been a nightmare. I am sure everyone can relate to that feeling. I miss feeling light and energetic. I know how I got here…to much eating out at restaurants, too much junk/sugar, emotional eating, and too much alcohol for my system.  By most standards, I don’t do any of these things a lot. I actually have a pretty healthy diet but for me the combination of all these things in a little bit of excess over time caused some annoying health issues to return.

I know what I have to do. I need to stop and reset. BUT HOW?

Here is a list of things I pulled together that I know will help me…

  1. Just stop eating crap
    • (easier said than done) I know need to stop eating those things that I know irritate my stomach and watch my portion sizes. I have been a little lax in that area lately. Plus I need to limit eating out at restaurants…there is NOTHING better than homemade. We all know what we SHOULD do, but doing it is a whole another ballgame.
  2. Take Zantac
    • Last time time I felt this way, I went to the doctor because it was such a new and terrible sensation. Zantac did help it go away BUT there are many downsides to taking such prescription meds and I prefer to heal the root of the problem and not just treat symptoms because that’s just a bandaid.
  3. Do a diet cleanse.
    • Eliminate the sugars, processed foods, foods I know I know cause me symptoms. Heal my gut. Eat simply.
  4. Hire a health coach.
    • I am a coach and I know how beneficial a coaching relationship can be to help people overcome obstacles and reach their goals. I also know how motivating and energizing talking to a coach can be.
  5. Retake my MRT food sensitivity test  with my nutritionist, George.
    • Over time, food sensitivities can change. It would not be unlikely that foods that used to be safe for me are now causing issues. Identification REALLY helps.
  6. See Sarah for ART
    • My friend Sarah specializes in the “Allergy Relief Technique” or ART, which has helped a number of my friends overcome food allergies, lyme, and chronic inflammation by teaching the body to stop over-reacting to stimuli.
    •  Per the website….”A.R.T.™ is a unique combination of advanced energy medicine and Western technology, working to balance an individual’s energy to allow the immune system to function optimally.”

This is a pretty good list of things I can do to get better. I don’t really have any excuses and there are definitely more benefits to doing something than staying where I am.

What did I decide?

I decided to start with a diet reset as described in the book “If the Buddha Came to Dinner: How to Nourish Your Body to Awaken Your Spirit” by Hale Sofia Schatz. I don’t do juices and I don’t starve myself but I need a plan. My friend Carol is in the middle of this plan and feels and looks great. The gist is to eat simply…just vegetables for 2-6 days, then add grains for 2-6 days, then add protein for 2-6 days.  For me the slow add is a good way to test for foods that I am sensitive and getting rid of my cravings.  No juicing, no dieting, no crap; just simple whole foods.  However, this is NOT a long-term approach.

Quick resets do NOT establish healthy eating habits and we are most likely going to go back to bad habits if we don’t establish good ones.  But this type of approach does work for me as a reset and helps me re-establish a better and healthier relationship with food. I lose cravings and the emotions attached to eating. I also re-establish good habits such as meal planning, preparing meals, getting creative in the kitchen, and enjoying the taste of whole foods.

I also called Wellcoaches for my own personal health coach today. I am coach and I know the benefits of having a coach. What I love about BEING coached by someone else is that you don’t have to work on just one thing. Really, the factors in our health are all related anyway. I can get support and accountability for my healthier eating goals AND receive collaboration and support in my business and personal goals. It’s a total win-win! The proverbial killing 2+ birds with one stone.

My next steps, which I haven’t done yet, are to reach out to Sarah (ART) and George (Nutritionist). I want to find out what foods I am reacting to, just in case there are new ones that are causing these negative effects. The easiest way to get rid of symptoms is to identify the cause by retaking the MRT test. Then I can work with Sarah to heal my body and my gut so that it stops reacting to foods all together.

This is MY plan.

What do you do to reset when your eating habits have gone awry?

MyPlate Calculator

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Trying to eat healthier and don’t know where to start? Try the “MyPlate Checklist Calculator” at www.choosemyplate.gov. You enter your information and it tells you how cmp_slideshow_platemany servings you need in each food category. You can take that information to help you modify your diet, if needed.  There are actually a lot of good tools on this website.

 I use the MyFitness App to help log what I eat when I need to get back on track and eat a more balanced diet.  Just like everyone else, eating a healthy and balanced diet gets turned upside down sometimes with parties, eating out, and stress/emotional events. Logging my food into MyFitness App helps me and I realize that I eat a lot of protein, maybe too much. Truly, I know that but when I document it and see the real data, it’s harder to make excuses or deny the reality.  Can’t run away from facts.

For some people eating a lot of protein might be good.  I believe that one diet does not fit all. Some people function best as vegans, some NEED meat. Find what works for you.

No matter what your eating style is, we all need nutrients to help our body function properly.  Fueling our body is the #1 reason we eat…not taste, not emotion, not joy, not social…fuel and nutritional support for all the processes and functions that are occurring in our bodies. Cell division, DNA replication, liver function, brain function, heart and lungs…you get the gist. Important stuff. The taste and enjoyment and social aspects are just the icing on the cake…so to speak.

Back to the checklist. I KNOW I need to eat less protein because I have with every meal and I crave it. It fills me up, I enjoy it, and tastes good.  But I am not sure how much I should be having for my body. I also know that I need to eat MORE fruits and vegetables. No one was ever unhealthy from eating vegetables and Americans just don’t get enough, including me.

So this Checklist, really helped me understand how much protein I should be eating in a day to help reduce my saturated fat and guide me to eating more fruits and vegetables.

Next time, I reach for that Bell & Evans Chicken Tender as a snack, I will think about how much protein I have had or will have and maybe grab the apple or carrots instead. It’s a journey. This will take some time to incorporate…all change does take time.

Today, I consciously paid attention to the proteins I was eating and when I was craving them. Next step, I will make a plan and see what works. I am not far off but a little tweaking may be good.