The Story of the Green Cast

Once upon a time there was a young (yep, I said young…stop snickering) woman who loved to ride her bike. Actually she loved to be outside, period. She ran outside, worked in the yard, hung out in the pool, took her dog for walks, and planted flowers. A sun bunny to the max (with sunscreen and a hat, of course). This woman enjoyed being active, getting stuff done, and marking tasks off her to-do list. She walked fast, talked fast, drove fast, made decisions fast…I’m sure you get it. The bruises on her shins made the point clear that moving quickly was a priority over moving carefully.

While enjoying her bike ride one beautiful morning in May a battle between bike and sidewalk ensued with the sidewalk emerging as the clear winner. After checking to ensure her teeth were in their appropriate spots and holding pressure on her busted lip, she was able to ride home. I’ll clear a couple of things up right off the bat for you: No she was not on a mountain. No there was not a mountain lion chasing her. No she was not rushing to perform CPR on a choking child. She was just moving…fast. Bicycle fail. User error. #nooneelsetoblame

IMG_2187Cue green cast. After three rounds of negative x-rays and no perceived improvement of left wrist, the MRI finally showed the fractured wrist bones. A crack so hard to see had gotten this fast girl a place on the bench.  As the cast was applied, the reality of the doctor’s words pierced my heart, “expect a 3 month recovery”.  “Expect a 3 month recovery”.  He repeated it at least three times, my face must have shown my disbelief.  I’d love to say my attitude was great from the start. I wish I could report a positive mindset and trust in God to use this time to produce good things in my life, but I’d be lying. Instead, I stewed, felt guilty, denied my situation, and stomped my feet around a bit. I pouted and stressed. I felt anxious and disappointed. I felt bored and useless. I felt stupid. I felt sad. For a couple of weeks, not hours.

My response to the situation led to some introspection that was overdue. God didn’t judge me or tell me I was stupid for having an accident, and He didn’t want me to dwell on those emotions. He didn’t get frustrated with my pouting and struggling as I tried to resolve the feelings I was experiencing on my own, He was just there. I love God. He is my Father. I am a long time committed follower of Jesus who enjoys a precious, personal, and saving relationship with Him. I knew He was there, I just wasn’t ready to sit still with just Him. But He didn’t leave. Mentally I really struggled with being still, not accomplishing. I wanted to “do”. I would wake up and think, “What am I going to do today?” “What can I accomplish today?” “How can I fill this time?” I was a broken record. I knew I needed to be still with God, but I had forgotten how. It sounds simple, but just stopping and physically sitting still does not necessarily mean that you are emotionally or mentally still…do you get what I’m saying? Being truly still and receptive to His voice is a discipline that I had allowed to fade away.

It has taken several weeks, but I am getting the hang of it. The perks include peace, joy, and rest. Nice replacements for stress, guilt, and anxiety! As I stopped talking and trying to “do” the right thing, I was able to listen. I was surprised to realize the focus of my life had become my two-day a week nursing position. Two 12-hour shifts had become king. Not having them created a void that shocked and dumb-founded me, I was used to having 5 days off every week, why was this such a jolt? I didn’t think I was defining my life by my job until my job wasn’t part of the equation anymore. My job provided my purpose, my social outlet, my mental challenge, and my excuse to be a hermit when I wasn’t at work. My job is a blessing and I realize that so much more now than ever before! I miss my job, my friends, and my patients, but I needed to get my priorities back their appropriate places in order to serve them best. I am grateful for my broken wrist. Not because it is so fun to wear a cast in June in AZ, but because I am excited about this time to reset my daily living. Work will be a part of my life, not the hub. Christ is the center, the cornerstone of my foundation. When I tried to put other things there, I felt the instability and relationships suffered. God didn’t push me off my bike, as much as I’d like to blame someone other than admit my own error. But He creates beauty out of every situation I give to him, He promises to do that for all His kids. “For we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them” (Romans 8:28, NLT).

If we set our pace by the world around us, we are not encouraged to be still or quiet. Rather, a hectic schedule and fast pace is equated with success and importance. Technology reigns and connects us to devices rather than people. It is so easy to get lost in the tasks and the “doing” and slip into auto-pilot mode. That lonely, empty place where we just function without much thought. A healthy lifestyle involves creating space for inactivity and rest. We all need space in our days to unplug and slow our roll. It has to be intentional or it won’t happen. We need time to process emotions and events in our lives. We need a time to slow our pace and hear about the people we share life with. We need to slow down to take care of ourselves and model this practice in front our kids. It is hard to carry on a conversation while you are sprinting…you know?

Here are some things I’ve been reminded of as I’ve been re-kindling my relationship with God and learning to be thankful for stillness and quiet. Be sill for just a moment and consider these thoughts:

  • We benefit from coming to grips with enjoying free time and not feeling guilty. We need hobbies and ways to unplug and decompress, they are not a waste of time.
  • We are not as important as we think we are. (Surprisingly, the staff at work continues to function even when I’m not able to be there…crazy, right?)
  • We can relax and learn when we stop taking ourselves so seriously.
  • Perfection is not the goal…pursuing it is a waste of time and energy. Choose to pursue realistic goals.
  • Relationships are what life is about. Accomplishing tasks, mastering skills, making money…all good things, but relationships are most important. Relationships require a time investment and a mental presence to grow.
  • A solid foundation is critical for resilience. A reset is possible when our foundation is solid. Pursuing a lifestyle that promotes mental, spiritual, emotional, and physical health is a great place to begin.
  • We are going to fall. Getting up is optional. Get up.

Coping with Summer Attire

swimsuitWomen and Swimsuits

The invite comes…pool party. Even though you love the people extending the invitation, maybe your first thought is, “I am not wearing a swimsuit in front of her!”  Wouldn’t it be great to just look forward to the fun and not stress about your thighs?  Let’s talk about pulling that off!

Summer is full of opportunities for fun times, pool side conversations, grilled yumminess, and relaxation.  It is such a shame to miss out on enjoying life because you don’t want to have a swimsuit or shorts on in public.  Decide that living in shame ends today! You don’t need to meet your health and fitness goals before you can enjoy each day and even a pool party!  Start changing your mindset today as you work to achieve your physical health goals.  Here are some helpful tips we’ll discuss:

  • Lay down your perfectionism
  • Focus on relationships
  • Practice healthy self-talk
  • Live one day at a time                                                                                                                         

My husband and I will celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary this summer.  I am amazed and grateful that we are able to celebrate by taking a trip to Maui.  I’d be lying though if I said I didn’t immediately think about living in a swimsuit for a week as we were booking our travel!  My self-talk quickly focused on those 5 pounds I’d like to lose.  So, I thought maybe you guys would be able to relate and we might all benefit from some tips and encouragement for feeling good in our summer attire.

Lay down your perfectionism

 

Women are pros at being critical of themselves for every flaw, real or perceived.  We tend to minimize our accomplishments and set our expectations at perfection resulting in disappointment and feelings of failure. Consider this scenario: If your child was upset because he got a B on an exam, would you berate him for a month because she didn’t get 100%? Of course you wouldn’t.  But we often treat ourselves in that way. Despite your best efforts, you may have cellulite, you may forget a friend’s birthday, or you may be derailed by chocolate fudge brownies or the best margarita on the planet. Accept that perfection is not an attainable goal and take credit for each step you take towards a healthy lifestyle.

Focus on relationships

 

When the time comes to don the swimsuit and you are attempting to overcome feelings of insecurity, switch your focus to relationships. The best place to start is to turn off the comparison talk in your head and focus on learning something new about the people you are with. It is good for us to remember that life is short, and people/relationships are much more important than the size printed on the tag inside your shorts. So, get out there and have a good time. Change takes time, make the choices that will propel you towards your goals but keep your priorities in place.

Practice healthy self-talk

 

I can’t stress enough about how huge the impact our self-talk has on our behaviors and moods. Being aware of how you talk to yourself is the first step. With that said, being kind to yourself does not involve justifying your unhealthy choices! It is re-directing yourself towards your goals without name calling or shame. We often say things to ourselves in the privacy of our own head that we would never say to someone else.  You are valuable and deserving of respect all the time, even from yourself!  Confidence begins in your mind, not on the scale.  When you believe in yourself and have healthy self-talk, it is much easier to speak truth to yourself and rise above insecurities when they try to rain on your parade.

Live one day at a time

 

Try to stick to living your life in 24-hour segments instead of trying to do a week or next month today. I recently read a devotional that reminded me how often we borrow concerns from tomorrow! Achieving goals takes time whether it is a week or a year.  Start today by making some short-term and long-term goals to give yourself direction. Then begin stepping in that direction one day at a time. As you progress towards your goals, enjoy the day your are in!  Life won’t wait for you to finish school, lose weight, get fit, or fix your marriage…the days will keep on slipping by.

So…as we jump into pools across the country, let’s have a good time.  Work towards your goals, but enjoy the journey.  Take steps to be healthier in each area of your life, but don’t lose your perspective that life is bigger than just how we look.  Support those women around you too, let’s encourage each other to stay on track by showing ourselves and others grace along the path.

Happy Summer!

The Instructions for Change

daisy Mental Health: 1st Step

Many times I have pretended to believe silly things just to justify my choices. The reality is that even if I tell myself that “calories don’t count if no one sees you eat them”, the facts remain the same… they do. Working towards mental health is a critical piece of a healthy lifestyle that many people disregard completely. Challenging negative self-talk and recognizing distorted thinking are worth the effort as they reap priceless benefits including self-acceptance and confidence. As you practice eliminating extreme thinking and focusing on reality you will find that when hard times come you can not only withstand the trial but come out stronger on the other side!

If you are interested in changing a habit, reaching a goal, or creating the life you really want, you must embrace a healthy mental status. If you could poll professional athletes, concert musicians, Navy Seals, or whoever you look at and respect their determined discipline, I bet they would agree that winning the mental game is 2/3 of the way to the goal.

“Thinking, eating, exercise, in that order” Bob Harper                                                                                                                                                                                    

Emotional Health: BFF to Mental Health

I have struggled off and on with depression for most of my adult life. It runs in my family and I have come to accept it as just part of my bundle of genes. This acceptance does not mean that I accept the symptoms or allow myself to have a victim mind-set; it simply means I stop being frustrated by what is true for me. This practice, of accepting what is real, has come into play in many areas of my life. As I’ve gotten better at it I enjoy the benefit of freeing up emotional energy that is no longer spent feeling sorry for myself or wishing I was someone else. I then can focus on how I can adjust my behaviors and thinking to make my life the best it can be. Maintaining emotional health for me means staying on my antidepressant medication, staying in close and open communication with my husband, kids, and immediate family, applying healthy instead of self-destructive coping skills in stressful situations (working out and running are huge for me!), having fun and laughing as much as possible, and maintaining daily, quiet, personal time with God.

Keeping emotions in check can take a lot of work initially, but I’ve found that with practice I am much better at thinking and making choices based on facts instead of feelings. For example I can reason through my craving for simple carbs when I’m overtired and feeling down and decide to take a nap instead of indulging in a couple of doughnuts. Emotions are wonderful and I love that I’m an emotional person; I have just learned that I can dictate the control they have on my decisions and it helps so much with making healthy choices.

healthy lifestyle pic Physical Health

The eating and exercise portion of a healthy lifestyle are often the focus, but I believe that the mental and emotional pieces are just as important…it has to be the whole package for lasting change! The best place to start with pursuing physical health is to evaluate where you are and where you want to be. Ensuring that you are being realistic is key for this step! Begin with small steps towards your goals understanding that what took years to develop is not going to go away in a matter of weeks or even months. Simple goals to begin with: drink more water, add more vegetables to your diet, get active for 30 minutes a day most days. Maybe you can’t run a mile, no worries, just start moving and build slowly and before you know it you will amaze yourself. Don’t wait to feel proud of yourself until you reach your goal, feel proud for starting and taking the steps to get there one day at a time.

GO! 

If you are wondering where to start or feeling overwhelmed with all you want to change to have the lifestyle you really want, here are step by step instructions for success!

  1. Breathe.  Stop and get your mind focused on realistic goals for this day.
  2. Choose one place to begin your journey and start today. It is too much to start with a personal trainer, change your diet, and stop smoking all this week…be patient with yourself.
  3. Then follow through. Take one day at a time and as you meet your goal each day you will build trust in yourself to set new goals.
  4. Be accountable somewhere.  Maybe your spouse, maybe your BFF, maybe a group…find what works for you and reach out.  Lasting changes take time and we all need support.
  5. Avoid fads, extremes, or high-dollar solutions for change.  These types of choices breed short-term fixes, discouragement, and often create new issues.

This may not be what you hoped to see.  This is the “crock-pot” method and maybe you were looking for a “microwave” solution.  That is your first place to start then!  Understand that change takes time and placing unrealistic expectations on yourself will just push you further into the ditch with your wheels spinning.

AuntJodi

 

 

 

Contact me at nowubhealthy@gmail.com if you want further information about mentoring and coaching available.

 

 

 

 

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