Category Archives: mental health

The Permission Slip

I was multi-tasking, as I often do these days…so while I was driving to work I was listening to “Rising Strong” by Brene Brown and she brought up an excellent idea that I wanted to share with you:

Write yourself a permission slip – give yourself permission to feel _________________(fill in the blank) or be _________________or do __________________.

Give yourself permission to be authentically, unapologetically YOU.

To Whom itMay Concern_

Do you ever find yourself saying: I wish I could….I wish I was more….If only I had….

Well, guess what???  You CAN give yourself permission to be those things, have those things and do those things.

Here’s an example of a permission slip I wrote for myself today:

To Whom it May Concern:

Today I give myself permission to believe that I am enough, that I am doing the best I can and to breathe when I feel like I’m getting overwhelmed.

Write it on a slip of paper, keep it in your pocket, and pull it out WHENEVER you need it.

This is a wonderful, easy and cheap way to give yourself a mental boost when needed.

And believe me, if you’re human, (and I assume you are if you’re reading this) than you will need a mental boost at least once in your lifetime.  We all do!  And that’s okay!

Instead of looking to get approval from someone else or looking to get a push from someone else or looking to drown your sorrows in a bottle of booze or a binge session of Blue Bell Ice Cream…try this instead.

We can’t always count on someone or something else to give us what we need.

Be your OWN cheerleader.  Be your OWN source of support.  Let the energy come from within, envision who you want to be, what you want to be and what you want to have and…give yourself permission to do it!!!

And, don’t forget, write it down and keep it in your pocket.

We All Fall Down

Vulnerability. Shame.  Fear.  Failure.  Disappointment.  Heartbreak.

We have ALL experienced it. If you are alive, you have felt it.  If you are alive, you have been through it.

This does NOT mean you are weak or frail or insignificant. Just the opposite!!!

It means you have LIVED. It means you have LOVED.  It means you have TRIED.  It means you have DREAMED.

birds

Brene Brown says that this is how you measure COURAGE. Courage does NOT belong to those who hide behind the veil of perfectionism.  Courage does NOT belong to those who seek out the easiest path to success.  And courage does NOT belong to those who refuse to ask for help.

Courage is for those who FAIL, who FALL, who TRY, who NEVER give up, who keep FIGHTING, who keep DREAMING.

We all fall down…We all fail…but the question is, then…do we all get back up and TRY AGAIN?

Successful people do. Successful people NEVER give up, NEVER stop fighting, NEVER let others tell them they can’t…no matter how many times they fall down…no matter how many scrapes and bruises they accumulate falling, they get back up.

And…they try AGAIN.

It is easy to stay down when you’re defeated. It’s easy to hide under the covers when you’re sad.   We all want to do it.  I want to do it!!!

But, here’s the thing…successful people ALWAYS get back up. Even if they have to hobble.  Even if they have to limp or stumble or ask for help…they get back up…they show up…and they never, ever give up.

They choose to do the hard thing. They choose to do what others will not.

girl hiding

For many, many years, I chose the easy route. The hide-under-the-covers route.  The coward’s route.  I couldn’t face it.  Any of it.

I didn’t like looking at myself in the mirror. I didn’t like who I was.  I didn’t like who I was with.  I didn’t like how others treated me.  I didn’t like how I treated myself.  I didn’t like how I felt on the inside.

BUT I didn’t do anything about it either.

I didn’t know how. I didn’t know what to do.

So, instead of reaching out, I hid. I hid behind my forced smile.  I hid behind my makeup and fancy clothes.  I hid from myself, from my friends, from my family…I didn’t let them see the REAL me.  I didn’t have the confidence.  I was too scared.

Gradually, as I got older, I started to care less about what others thought and started to care more about what I thought.

And then…I started coaching…I started helping other reach their health and fitness goals while working on mine and everything changed…my confidence, my body, my self-esteem, how I felt about myself, how I felt about others, how I interacted with my kids…all of it.

I started paying attention to me, to what I needed so I could then give others what they needed.

Now, when I fail, I get back up and I tell myself “It’s okay. Try again.”  Now, when I don’t reach my goals I say, “It’s okay.  You did your best.  Let’s start over and try again.”

And the thing is, I know it really will be okay. Maybe not right now.  Maybe not right at that moment or even a few days later…but it will be…eventually…because I am stronger than I ever knew.  I am more capable than I ever knew.  I am more wonderful, just as I am, than I ever knew.

pic of me

 

I rather fall, and fall, and fall some more then stay underneath the covers. I rather show up, every day, live my life, wear the cuts and scrapes as battle scars and keep on fighting because every day truly is a blessing.  And without those falls, you haven’t really lived.

And I CHOOSE to LIVE.

You Say it’s Your Birthday

i'm notToday, April 28th, is my birthday…and as I sit here, reflecting on this past year…it is almost mind-blowing to realize how much has changed for me.

 

This time, last year, I wasn’t completely comfortable with who I was.  I wasn’t happy when I looked in the mirror.  Sometimes, I would stare at myself in the mirror, look into my own eyes, and think – who are you?

I didn’t know.  I was lost.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I had (and still do have) a beautiful family- a caring husband and healthy children – but something wasn’t right.  Everything on the outside looked perfect…but looks can be deceiving…and inside, I was a mess.

Six months ago, when I started this health and fitness journey, I had no idea it would become a mental health journey as well.  I had no idea that taking 30 minutes for myself every morning to exercise, before everyone else got up, that eating clean, drinking super food shakes and reading personal development books would lead to this whole new outlook I now have on life.

I’m going to be real and open and honest because, really, what’s the point of writing any of this if I’m not?

I used to be the girl who looked in the mirror and thought she was fat.  I looked in the mirror and thought I was less than.  There were a lot of “un” words running through my mind when I got dressed and put my makeup on in the morning.  “Unconfident, unattractive, unmotivated, unloveable, unworthy, unfit, unable….un -….un-….un-….fill in the blanks with anything else you can think of.

I’m not being dramatic.  I promise.  This is how it WAS.

NOW – I am “full of” – full of joy…full of peace…full of confidence…full of appreciation…full of all the wonderful things that life has to offer…full of superfoods 🙂 and sometimes even…full of hot air 🙂

For my birthday today, someone posted this picture on my timeline:

birthday

I messaged her, told her it was perfect, and she said – “I thought of you when I saw it.”

I can’t even explain the amount of joy that fills my heart when I get messages like this because not only do I see myself this way now, but others do too.  And not only do they see me this way (which is nice of course) but more importantly, I am helping them change…change their body, their life, their lifestyle, their family and their mindset.

pic of me

I am changing lives.

But first, I had to change mine.

And now that I have…the view when I look in the mirror…is totally different then it ever has been before.

Lessons From the Zoo

Last week the sun was shining (a rare thing this time of year in the Pacific Northwest).  I packed up me and the kids (which, if you have small children, you know is no small feat) and took them to the zoo.

zoo

There are rare times when I’m able to enjoy the moment…and I mean REALLY enjoy the moment…where I’m able to let things go, forget about the mess in the house (because there always is one), forget about my to-do list (which is a million miles long) and just focus on what is going on RIGHT NOW.

For me, spending time with my kids is PRECIOUS.  They are growing so fast.  These moments are fleeting.  My daughter will be going to kindergarten next year (with I can’t even really deal with) and not to be cliché – but I literally feel like we just brought her home last week from the hospital.  And my son will be 2 in a few short months…ahhhhhhhh!

*Just a quick side note for all you moms out there who are glaring at me through your computer screen right now – I do get frustrated with my kids.  I do lose my cool and I do have days where  I ask my husband to watch them because I just NEED some time to myself.  BUT, overall, I try to remind myself that they will only be little for a little bit and I need to soak up as much of it as I can.*

At the zoo last week was one of those rare times where I was able to pull myself away from all of the hustle and bustle and TRULY be with my kids.  It was amazing because I really enjoyed our trip to the zoo.  We didn’t go anywhere fancy for spring break.  We didn’t go to the beach or a different city or anything like that.  We just went to the children’s museum and the zoo.  But it didn’t matter.

Being with them, really present with them, in those moments, were worth more than any amount of money I could’ve spent on a trip to the beach.

Here’s the sad part of all this – while I was busy BEING with my kids, there were SO many other parents busy yelling at their kids, yanking their kids, losing their patience with their kids and threatening to spank their kids.  Their faces said it all- the lack of joy, patience and the overall look of stress plastered across their features was a sad sight to see.  They clearly were not enjoying themselves and I seriously doubt the kiddos were having a whole lot of fun either…

And there’s one more thing that struck me hard – the way these parents were talking to their kids was just plain UGLY.  I doubt they would talk to their friends the same way they talked to their kids because if they did…they wouldn’t have any friends.

the way

Who knew that an ordinary trip to the zoo could teach me so much about life and what’s truly important?

Here are a few lessons I learned that day:

  1.  You can CHOOSE how your day is going to go.  You can make a mindful decision to have a good day or a good trip or a fun time playing with your kids.  (As I was packing our stuff up for the day, I thought to myself that this was going to be a special, fun day – me and my kids and the zoo and the sun…and guess what…it was!)
  2. Talk to your children with KINDNESS.  Talk to them as you would talk to your best friend.
  3. Ask yourself – is it really that important?  Is it really necessary to get all stressed out about this…(“this” is whatever situation you’re in at the time)

I have to practice this stuff DAILY.  I have to remind myself DAILY that this is how AND who I want to be.  I’m not perfect at it.  I don’t get it right every time.  Sometimes I forget…

BUT, I will tell you, I am more conscious of it all and I do catch myself more often and I do, as often as I can, keep in the forefront of my mind who I want to be for me, my kids and my family.

Broken is Beautiful

Have you heard of the Japanese art of ‘kintsukuroi’?

japanese pottery

I just heard about it today at work and thought it was absolutely perfect and beautiful…It means to glue a piece of broken pottery back together with gold lacquer…to restore something that was once broken and make it even more beautiful than it was before.

Do you know what this reminds me of? LIFE!

No matter who you are, no matter what you do, no matter where you live, no matter what you have…we all have hardships we must face. To be alive is to know pain. To be alive is to know struggle. To be alive is to know shame and vulnerability and sadness.

BUT – we can either continue to hurt and fall deeper into this chasm of pain and despair OR we can turn it into something beautiful and amazing and meaningful!

These scars, whether they are visible or not, whether they are on the outside or on the inside, can show our strength, our determination and our courage. We can wear these imperfections as a badge of honor, as proof of not only what we’ve been through but what we’ve overcome.

No, we won’t look the same ever again and we won’t feel the same ever again BUT we will be more beautiful than ever before because this is what’s REAL. This is LIFE.

I have imperfections (gasp).  I have hang ups (double gasp).

I have been through some HARD stuff in my life (just like you).

jap writing

I have been through break ups where it literally felt like someone had ripped my heart right out of my chest, threw it on the side of the road and ran a 18-wheeler right over it.  I seriously thought I was going to die.

But low and behold…I survived.  And I was stronger because of it.  Not only did I get stronger, but I ended up being grateful for those break ups.  Looking back, if I had ended up with any of those guys I would have already been divorced by now.

I’m grateful for these relationships, for these learning experiences because they eventually led me to my husband.

I’ve dealt with addiction in my nuclear family.  I watched my family fall apart, piece by piece, until there was nothing left but some dust on the floor.  I watched my parents get divorced after 41 years of marriage.   And even though I was 25 when they got divorced, it still hurt like hell.   BUT  I survived.

I have dealt with low self-esteem my ENTIRE life.  I have hated myself, wished I was someone else, wished I had been born in someone else’s body and wished I would just die.

BUT now, after years and years (literally) of working on myself, my issues and my hang ups, I can truly say I am loving who I am today.  I am finally at peace.  I am finally content.

I am the person I am today because of all the people who have walked in and out of my life, or walked in and stayed.  I am who I am today because of the experiences I’ve had, because of what I’ve endured, what I have chosen to do, because of what I have learned, what I have worked hard for and because who I have chosen to be.

me outside

Even though these things I’ve been through were excruciating at their worst and hard at their best, I can honestly say I wouldn’t change a thing.  Because the cracks that these experiences have left behind…I have filled them up with gold…and they are beautiful.

 

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