Working Toward Your Best Self

Self-care is such a popular subject these days, as it should be – especially for moms and women in general. When women are asked to name their top three priorities, they never include themselves. Are we really surprised? Can’t say that I am. We tend to give and give until nothing is left in our cup rather than filling our cups up first so it can then overflow on to everyone else.

For the past decade personal growth has been on my radar. I wanted to find balance, train my brain to focus on the positives versus the negatives, gain more patience and just overall perspective. As we get older we start to realize some of our behaviors from childhood should not remain in our adulthood. We realize it takes work, like really HARD work, to maintain relationships and marriages. We are blindsided by what it takes to survive motherhood. The stresses of work, family, maintaining health and the day to day responsibilities can really take a bite out of your happiness if you let it.

It’s mentally draining when your reality is not living up to your expectations of what you thought your life would look like. And, that’s okay because in the grand scheme I believe life has already been planned out anyway. When I started appreciating this rigged destiny, I learned lessons from the hardships and chose to be grateful to grow– the perspective, patience, happiness, and balance eventually came.

Did I figure this out on my own? No. Did I have a lot of help getting to a place of content? Yes. Am I still learning and growing every day? Absolutely.

In my early 30s I went to therapy and it was one of the best decisions I ever made. I was struggling with debilitating anxiety and the notion that I had to be perfect at everything. There wasn’t any balance, it was all or nothing. That drive was a good thing and got me far in life, but it wasn’t until I learned how to control it and let go of certain behaviors that it started working more in my favor.

Those toxic behaviors include being a people pleaser at the expense of my own happiness, competing with myself on a daily basis, caring what other’s thought about me, and trying to save the world. When I realized I am just one person with only 24 hours in my day and that other people’s opinions of me are none of my business – my life changed.

If you’re reading this and it’s speaking to you – I’m glad you’re here. There’s nothing worse than carrying around these burdens and feeling hopeless. I also have some advice for you, but first, I’ll remind you I am not a doctor – just someone who had help, learned a few things, and now I want to pay it forward.

First off, I’ll say, even if you think therapy is for the weak or doesn’t work or not worth it, you’re wrong. It’s refreshing to speak to someone with an outside perspective and knowledge of how the brain and behaviors work. It’s also great to get advice, or get on medications (if needed) that can help you. There’s no shame in getting help and having support to work through issues.

Another practice I put into play is meditation. I wake up 30-45 minutes before my kids every morning to have silent me time. I am not rushed, I can take some deep breaths, stretch, and get ready for the day without the drama of a toddler. I don’t look at my phone until after I wake up my kids, get them ready and out the door. If I look at it before then – I’ll see the tons of unread emails and it immediately makes me anxious about the workday ahead. My priorities in the morning are me, the kids, then….work.

All you need is 10 minutes.

Before bed, I read 10 pages of a book. Nine out of 10 times they are usually self-help or an inspiring story of some sort. This keeps me from looking at my phone and allows my body to fall into relaxation mode. I go to sleep on a positive note. Do not, I repeat, do not watch the news or scroll through social media right before bed. You don’t need sensationalized messages and doomsday scenarios entering your brain right before you want to shut it off for the night.

My favorite books I’ve read over the past decade that have made a lasting impression on me:
The 5 Second Rule, Mel Robbins. Gives you exercises to help you gain control of your thoughts and actions. I’ve also seen her speak and talk about inspiring! I recommend you follow her on social too!

The Miracle Morning, Hal Elrod  An inspiring story of a young man who overcame so many obstacles and his morning routine that sets him up for success every day.

Girl, Wash Your Face, Rachel Hollis. Rachel is my spirit animal. I think I might have a serious girl crush on her. I connect to her story on so many levels and I think many of you will, too. If you need that smack to get out of your head and realize you’re much stronger than you think you are – this is your girl. It’s time to be your own hero.

The Compound Effect, Darren Hardy. I can’t say enough good things about this book. He is a success coach to many celebrities, CEO’s you name it. His in your face advice will help anyone looking for personal growth in any facet of their life. His main message is how little daily actions turn into big achievements and why it’s important to stay consistent and go the extra mile when necessary.

Unf*ck Yourself, Gary Bishop A raw in your face approach to help yourself get out of your head.

The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving A F**k, Sarah Knight.  I bought this more for a fun read on a flight home and to my surprise gave me some serious come-to-Jesus moments. It’s all about not feeling guilty for your decisions and saying no when you want to. It gives you a good laugh and some life-changing advice! Who knew?!

The last thing I did to elevate my well-being was to get healthy! I learned the hard way how important eating healthy, working out and taking care of your body is after I developed thyroid disease. This disease rocked me and took years to gain control of. It’s amazing how much a healthy lifestyle leads to overall happiness.

Now, if you’re a mom and you just want a laugh and to know you’re not alone in the parenting fails then check out one of my books. Sometimes laughter is all you need.

Learning To Let Go in 2019

Here we are. Another year under our belts. A new year represents a fresh start and while most people make resolutions to get healthy, save money, or pay off debt – I’ve actually made some revelations. In light of these revelations, this year I’m letting go and saying “no”. I know, I always preach to be the “yes” girl – and that hasn’t changed when it comes to new opportunities, new friendships or taking a vacation on a whim. You should say “yes” to all the things that make you happy and enhance your life. My problem is I say “yes” too much and let guilt put me in situations I don’t care to be in.

So, while I’ll continue to be the “yes” girl to help foster positive grow, I’m now going to be the “no” girl to anything else. I know so many of us, women especially, battle with this on the daily. We try to be kind and helpful. We act from the heart. We like to take care of people and stay loyal. All good things, but not when you’re getting taken advantage of or made to feel guilty.

So, this year I plan to tighten up my “no” game and let go. Maybe you’ll join me on this journey to…..

Let go and say “no” to toxic relationships. We all have them, and they aren’t pretty. You’re both better off walking away. It will hurt at first, but you’ll come out on the other side stronger and happier. No one plans to be in these relationships, but when they develop we tend to hang on. Let go, momma!

Let go of friendships that are notoriously one-sided, meaning you’ve always been the friend while they just take advantage of you and don’t return the friendship. I had a lot of these in the past. You can’t always give 100% when they give 0%. It’s exhausting. Letting go doesn’t mean you don’t care about them, it just means you’re removing the stress out of your life.

Let go of the friends who have unrealistic expectations of YOU. You can’t be in five different places at one time. Your family should come first and if they don’t get that – bye bye. The best friends are the ones who can pick up right where you left off even if 20 years has gone by. Keep those friends close.

Let go of that terrible job you hate. Life is too short to be stressed and miserable all the time. Trust me when I say there are so many opportunities out there if you just open your eyes and ears! Sometimes the money isn’t worth it. Remember that.

Let go of your unrealistic expectations you place on OTHERS. You can’t expect people to be the way YOU want them to be or you’ll always be disappointed and hurt by their actions. No one is perfect and that includes you.

Say “no” when you don’t want to go to a social function. I over schedule myself all the time and I’m not the type to cancel on people. I always do what I say I’m going to do. I have good intentions. It’s not that I don’t love being out and about and spending time with friends and family, but damn it – I’m tired. Ha! I can’t make it to every event this year so some of those RSVPs will just have to be a “no”.

Say “no” when people or businesses ask you to do work for them for free. I need to be better at this. I’m a blogger, business owner, social media influencer, branding consultant and author. That’s a lot of jobs. Since I have these credentials I can’t tell you how many messages I get from people asking me to promote things, write about things, or pick my brain on how to grow a business on a daily basis for free. Friends or colleagues asking is one thing, but strangers…it’s getting out of hand. Trust me – I’d truly love to help everyone and maybe one day I’ll teach virtual classes, but time doesn’t allow it now and this is how I make a living. I can’t pay a mortgage working for free. I know a lot of freelancers deal with this and it’s time we knew (and asked for) our worth.

I think with these positive changes I’ll be able to live in the moment more, focus on work goals, veg out on the couch once in a while and hug my babies until they make me stop. Now that sounds like a great 2019.

This year is the year of you. Do what makes YOU happy, learn to put yourself first sometimes. Who’s with me? Are you ready to let go and say “no”?