Monday Mindset: Our power struggle with time.

Consider this:

We don’t get or have time at all – instead we are time. We’ll never get the upper hand in our relationships with the moments of our lives because we are nothing but those moments.

Last Sunday I was sleeping in a dark hotel room with my husband when I heard his alarm going off for the second time. Only to quickly realize it wasn’t his alarm, it was a phone call. A phone call saying our two year old sons asthma was bad and we needed to come home. Luckily our “getaway” was only ten minutes away. If you’re a parent you know you don’t need to be 500 miles away to feel recharged, all you need is a hotel bed, black out curtains and a night or two without a toddler, iykyk. After getting home, giving Johnathan his nebulizer treatments we realized he wasn’t improving all that much. And so, in all too familiar fashion, we filled a bag with necessities and headed for the hospital. Our little bubba ended up needing to stay in the hospital for 36 hours, getting some extra oxygen his body needed.

In the past five years I’ve sat and laid next to each of my children and husband in hospital beds and each time I’m hit with this paradoxical feeling of having time slow to a crawl within the walls of your hospital room while the world outside goes about their lives. Often in our daily lives we are consumed with ideas of not “wasting time” or the pressure of “living in the moment”. We innately begin to view time as a resource that we can manipulate or control, but there’s no greater reality check on your lack of control than a hospital. In a hospital you’re forced to surrender any illusion of control over time or finitude you think you have. As much as we want to wield control over our time the universe will continue to show us that no one can master time, that you can’t outrun the flipped hourglass that is each of our lives.

In 4000 weeks, Time Management for Mortals, Oliver Burkeman describes “a more fruitful approach to the challenge of living more fully in the moment starts from noticing that you are, in fact, always already living in the moment anyway, whether you like it or not. To try to live in the moment implies that you’re somehow separate from “the moment” and thus in a position to either succeed or fail at living in it.” So stop beating yourself up for “not living in the moment” enough. You have no choice you are living in the moment, it’s how you to choose to give your attention and experience those moments that matter.

While we were in the hospital last week I kept thinking about this quote. Usually living in the moment is associated with saying yes to the spontaneous invitation, watching the sunrise, dancing without inhibition, fun, light things. Yet there I was, with the Cars 2 movie playing for the third time in 30 hours, laying next to my son, trying to memorize his little curls and the way he rolls his blanket between his hands while simultaneously sucking his thumb, and I could not have “lived in the moment” more. It was a moment I would never have chosen for myself, but it was my reality. Ask any mom about the paradox that is time. The days can drag on, the phases that feel never ending, and yet suddenly you have a walking, talking toddler and you don’t understand how so much time has already passed. This feeling of chasing time, of wanting to savor every minute of it, of older generations reminding us how quickly it all really flies by can add pressure to make sure we’re doing THE most. When what would benefit us the most is to stop splitting our attention, stop trying to see how much we can cram into our day but instead shifting our focus to our focus. What makes our lives meaningful are our experiences. But in order to truly experience something we have to give our attention to it. Burkeman notes “to have any meaningful experience you must be able to focus on it, at least a bit. Otherwise, are you really having it at all? Can you have an experience you don’t experience?”

Things like meditation and breathwork train our brains to pause. To allow room for focus in a world that is filled with pings and dings, devices that are constantly pulling our focus in a hundred different directions.

I snapped this photo this week, we were reading books on the couch before bed, Chris was reading Dragons Love Tacos, and Johnathan held my hand. And I couldn’t stop looking at that little hand inside mine. I gave that little hand all my attention and focus, feeling the warmth from it, how his little fingers gripped onto my palm, the tiny veins that run along the top of his hand, the calmness of the moment. It was hard to believe a few days prior we were in the hospital and now we’re back at home, in this moment.

I hope this post encourages you to slow down, to draw more attention to the moments you’re already living it. Whether they’re the same bedtime routine you’ve grown tired of, or a new destination, or lifes cruel realities. I hope you can find moments to take in and fully experience for all that they are.

23 in 2023

For the past four years instead of new years resolutions, I’ve made a list to help bring intention, thoughtfulness and whimsy into the year. I make these lists without the pressure the everything must.get.done. Instead I try to pick a mixture of little tasks that I’ve been putting off (get my sons birth certificate, get dental work done, etc.), things I want to try (new hikes, new recipes, new travel destinations), and then some broader goals like decluttering, start meditating. Yesterday I shared my 2022 wrapped and what got completed on last years list. You can also read about the origin of this idea in my 2021 post, here!

So here’s my list for 2023!!

Monday Mindset: 2022 Wrapped

The week after Christmas and before the New Year is inherently made for reflection. It’s hard not to look back at the last 12 months, no matter what they held for you, without some kind of pause. Most of our years are filled with a mixture of ups and downs. Last year I shared my tradition of making a list for each year (20 for 2020, 21 for 2021, etc.) I wrote about the origin of this idea and what kinds of things fill this list in a post here . But the idea is that broad, overarching resolutions are ineffective and typically lose their shine rapidly. Filling a list with a mixture of small tasks, fun things, and bigger goals and checking in on the list through out the year is a great alternative to resolutions! Admittedly coming up with over 20 items can feel a little daunting so you could easily have the same effect with a list of 10 or 15 things. Below I’m sharing my 2022 list & some other milestones that happened!

22 in 2022

  1. Get family photos taken – Done! And SO happy with how they turned out!
  2. Read 12 books – To my own surprise, I ended up reading 20 books this year!!
  3. Trip to NYC – This did not happen – but we did go to DC and had a kidless weekend away in Sonoma
  4. Build a neighborhood free little library – YES! Did this and it brought me so much joy!
  5. Day dates with boys – I was not very consistent with this but did do some
  6. Switch to clean makeup – Done!
  7. Run a 5k – I actually laughed when I looked back at my list, I have no memory of wanting to do this!
  8. Go to the dermatologist – eek this did not happen… BUT I did get all my dental work done this year & went to my routine cleaning & have no new cavities or issues!
  9. Find a PCP – yes!
  10. Do 3 Day Refresh – maybe in 2023
  11. Get pictures off old macbook Done!! This was huge, pulling about 7,000 photos off my college computer!
  12. Do a 30 minute meditation monthly – I didn’t do this monthly but I crossed a huge meditation milestone of meditating for 500 days! And I did complete two different meditation courses this year.
  13. Take boys to Tilden / BADM 3x – We didn’t make it to either place once 😦
  14. Plan and Plant a spring / summer garden – yes the summer of tomatoes!
  15. Pay off mazda YES grown up stuff
  16. Take Juno on weekly walks – We didn’t do as many adventures as I’d liked but she got way more exercise than last year so calling it a win!
  17. Make an album of now – did not do this.
  18. Paint master bath / add shelving – nope. still have paint samples taped up lol.
  19. Take a social media Sabbath each week – YES! I did this most of the year and loved it!
  20. Go to a National Park – Arches in UT, was a major highlight this year!
  21. Try therapy – didn’t happen. thought about it a lot. lol.
  22. Shiplap entry way – also no.

Despite half of my list being incomplete, 2022 was a year that has some amazing memories, lots of fun and some tremendous personal growth. I hit a huge meditation milestone of 500 days, something that seemed impossible when I started! I left my kids and went on a solo girls trip! I stepped WAY out of my comfort zone & taught two group exercise classes. I put down my phone and picked up books, reading 20 books this year. I learned to use a jigsaw & nail gun and built a little free library for our neighborhood. We spent more time with family & cousins, we hosted birthdays and I kept decorating themed cakes. I drastically purged and simplified our home and belongings, everything from clothes, kitchen gadgets, to digital clutter. Oh and I survived a road trip with two toddlers from California to Utah!

The last few months of 2022 have been a barrage of high fevers, cancelled plans, sick kiddos, trips to the pediatrician and urgent care; pushing me to my outer limits. But reflecting on the year reminds us that it is so rarely as simple as a “good year” or a “bad year”. There were thousands of amazing moments this year and endless things to be thankful for. The purpose of the yearly list isn’t to have every single item checked off. Instead it’s to bring intention, thoughtfulness and fun, into what you want your year to hold. So that December doesn’t roll around and you realize you floated through the year, reacting to what was thrown at you.

A vital part of growth is allowing ourselves space to reflect. Being able to look back on moments that brought you joy, made you proud, things you may have handled differently etc. If reflection doesn’t come naturally – sometimes reading some simple prompts can open the gates of inspiration! Below are some prompts to get your reflections started.

Tomorrow I’ll be sharing my 23 for 2023 list! I’d love to hear what goals you crushed in 2022, dreams you have for this year or if you make a list yourself I’d love to see it!!

The Magic of Toy Rotation, and Your Quickstart Guide!

If you’re a parent you know how quickly toys can get out of hand. And maybe you’re wading through a sea of toys currently, feeling the burden of the plastic and clutter, the frustration of toy rooms looking like war zones. Not being able to take a step without being impaled by plastic pieces. Or are you at a loss for why your kids have hundreds of toys but won’t play with anything for longer than a few minutes? Well science has shown us kids do not do well with an overwhelming amount of choices. When all the toys are out all at once, not only does that make a huge mess BUT your child feels the chaotic energy. They are overwhelmed with choice and move from toy to toy rapidly. So what’s the fix? Toy Rotations!!

Rotating toys in small, manageable groups on a frequent basis takes away that feeling of overwhelm. The toys no longer appear hectic, and by giving them less you allow them the ability focus and play MORE. Less toys also boosts creativity, and has been shown to increase patience.

Besides the benefits your kids will get, YOUR life will also change mama!! Toy rotations will drastically improve the clutter and clean up when it comes to toys! We only put out 5-10% of the toys we own. Which means cleaning up takes less than 10 minutes. I have four baskets that hold some combination of vehicles, animals, constructing toys. The boys know each basket is for each thing and then it’s a simple as everyone grabbing a basket and picking up. The remaining items go on the second row of our toy shelf. This is a super manageable and approachable way for kids to clean up. No more feeling like “why bother” or taking an entire weekend to organize / clean your play room.

Where to start?

A starting point is to take inventory of the toys you have and loosely group them into genres. Then try to have one option from each genre available for your child to play with, the genres remain the same but the toys rotate. There is no single perfect way to rotate toys, it will depend on your child and interests and there are no rules when it comes to this. If you don’t have a ton of different vehicles or animals don’t feel like you suddenly have to go out and buy them… just split up the cars you put out and save the second batch for another rotation. Below is a loose frame work so you can get an idea of genres and toys, but it will look different for everyone based on what they have and kids interests.

Bigger Toys:

Things like a play kitchen that invites open ended and small world play are amazing & don’t have to rotate out. If there are toys that your children play with every.single.day don’t feel like you suddenly have to put them away for 3 weeks! For us there are a handful of toys we always have out: their pretend vacuum, guitars and a little bumblebee car they zoom around on. Those are the three things that are being used almost daily. Below is a picture of our actual toy space. In their rooms they don’t have any toys… Each boy has a basket of stuffed animals and a bookshelf.

Our actual toy space.

How often to rotate?

If the toys are off the shelf and on the ground in play you know your toy rotation is solid. When things start staying put on the shelf, switch it up. Or when items are being used for a completely different purpose (my kids in particular love to play “master disaster” and it’s where they just make a huge pile (read: mess) of their toys…. That’s usually a sign to me that they’ve lost interested in the toys that are out. When the dinosaurs make the switch from going on adventures to being part of the the master disaster it’s time to switch them out. That being said, rotating every 1-2 weeks is usually plenty. I will switch out puzzles more frequently because they may not hold interest for 1-2 weeks. The key here is to observe. Notice what your child is playing with or has lost interest in and adapt your rotation accordingly.

Where / how to store the toys?

Clear bins are my BFF for toy storage, I want to be able to see what is what so I can quickly switch toys out. Out of sight, out of reach, therefore out of mind, is best for toys not in rotation. At our old apartment I stored them in Wills closet which had a door. The boys closets in our new home are open, which does invite more pointing to toys from my two year old. But they are familiar with the fact that we rotate toys and if they really want something (I usually need to rotate anyway). Target has 6 packs of small bins for under $10 and i’ve used those to keep things organized. My goal for 2023 is to add more shelving to their closets.

Takeaways

  • There are no rules when it comes to toy rotations, so don’t get caught up on making it perfect.
  • Be clear to your kids that the toys are not being thrown away or going away forever. This should be a positive, fun experience. Frame it as creating a space for THEM to have the most fun and not to have to spend hours cleaning!
  • Categorize your toys the best you can & go from there. Remember to try to have a toy from each genre / category represented.
  • Enjoy the mental and physical space that removing toys will bring you.
J enjoying a new rotation 🙂

Monday Mindset – The Power of Reframing.

Reframing is the ability to change your life without actually changing your circumstances. It is a powerful shift that costs us nothing but can make a huge impact on our daily lives. This is not to say that you have to pretend sh*tty things are actually rainbows and blessings – that is toxic positivity. But instead considering things that we come across in our daily lives that we tell ourselves are problems or burdens. What mountains have we made out of molehills? What story are we perpetually telling ourselves? In theory reframing is great but IRL it can be harder to implement, especially if all you’ve known is to reflexively look at situations through a lens of criticism, blame or negativity. Below are some tips to actually make reframing something you can put into action versus just a far off concept that you’re never able to wrap your hands around!

Start finding the good – The harder you look for it the more you will find. The easiest and most effective way to start finding the good is something I’ve talked about before, gratitude. Simple gratitude lists will shift the way you see your day to day life and the more you do it the more powerful this practice becomes. It doesn’t have to be fancy or in-depth, keep it simple. Keep a gratitude list pinned to the top of the notes section in your phone. Next time you’re standing in a line instead of mindlessly scrolling see how many things you can find that you’re grateful for.

The power of pause – when you find yourself doing dishes and telling yourself “this sucks, there’s always dishes, I can never keep up, my kids make such a mess” pause! Try to create some space and reframe. Often times we can’t control what happens to us in life, the dishes will inevitably be there day after day, the unexpected work project, the cancelled babysitter, so much is out of our hands. But the control we have lies in how we choose to react and respond to our lives. There is immense power in seizing that control versus simply relying on old habits or built in reactions. Pausing and reframing takes practice like all of these – often times you won’t pause until well after you’ve complained about xyz, but even catching yourself later that day is progress. As you continue to reframe and look for the good it will get easier to catch yourself in real time. The first huge step is even just realizing you were building a negative narrative in your mind whether you notice a minute after or a day after, progress is progress!

Write. It. Out. Journaling is talking things out with yourself, a diy therapy session… How are you supposed to know what you want, or what’s bothering you, or how you actually feel, if you never give yourself a moment to be with your thoughts. In today’s world we are bombarded by stimulus through our phones. We so rarely turn inward to assess our inner dialogue. At the end of the day all this stimulus can leave us feeling some sort of way that can be difficult to pinpoint. Was it that rude interaction at the store or in traffic, was it the triggering tiktok that you stumbled upon, was it an off handed comment a friend made, was it a narrative your subconsciously told yourself? Writing can give us clarity. It can help us find the good.

Ultimately reframing, like most mindset changes doesn’t happen immediately. It takes practice, and each day present new circumstances and challenges. With mindfulness and mindset improvement it’s so important to remember the journey is not linear. On my own personal journey I’ve often felt the idea of two steps forward, one step back. I’ve thought “I’m writing gratitude, I’m meditating, why is this so hard, why am I still losing my cool and yelling at my kids?” And the reality is it’s because life, and motherhood is freaking hard and I’m human! Over the years I’ve learned how important it is to hold grace for myself the same way I give it to others. We are human and life is hard. But that is what makes it beautiful, and choosing to lean into our emotions and become more aware of our thoughts is powerful. It allows us to feel and live life more deeply, even if it feels like we move backwards from time to time.

Monday Mindset: Affirmations For Every Situation

Consider this: “We think in words, and these words have the power to limit us or to set us free; they can frighten us or evoke our courage. Similarly, the stories we tell ourselves about our own lives eventually becomes our lives.”

Dan Baker, What Happy People Know

Try This: Affirmations. I used to roll my eyes at the idea of affirmations, but science has shown us that affirmations are in fact a way to help alter our internal dialogue, that will otherwise gladly tell us: we aren’t good enough, smart enough, we’ll fail etc. For many of us if we let our subconsciouses run wild they will chatter at us in negative and anxiety ridden tones. It takes work to change our narratives but one of the most powerful ways we can do that is through affirmations.

Below you’ll find affirmations for most situations! It can sound so silly when you first start saying them. But other ways I like to incorporate affirmations are:

  • Write it on a sticky note and put it on a mirror you look at daily
  • Pick one or two to say daily at a specific time (ie: waking up / going to bed / rocking your kid etc.)
  • Save an affirmation as the background on your phone, when you’re going into a tough situation or experience. It’s the perfect easy reminder to see some words that should bring you calmness or courage!
  • Save my PDF version with these affirmations!

Monday Mindset: A holiday pep-talk

Let’s talk IG vs. reality… On the daily instagram serves us ultra-curated snippets of perfection. Perfect angles, perfect lighting, spotless homes with farm sinks and all white aesthetics. And then the holidays hit and it multiplies – elaborate family costumes, porches decorated to the nines, kids smiling in photos. It is so easy to scroll on social media and feel like you aren’t doing, buying, planning, being “enough”. This Monday Mindset is here to remind you are enough and your reality is beautiful even if it looks nothing like one of those curated squares. Let go of the pressures to do/be/buy more & instead just be. Let’s embrace the parts of the holidays we truly enjoy and let the rest of the expectations go! This halloween is completely different for us, because everyone is sick. I’d be lying if I said I haven’t felt the pangs of disappointment that Will is missing wearing his costume to school and their Halloween Party, but at the end of the day I’m disappointed because I’m attached to that expectation. As soon as I let go of all the expectations I had and welcomed our reality it felt easier to shift gears and decide to make the most of our halloween at home this year. So whether you’re a crafty mom, and event planning mom, an amazon prime mom or some combo like most of us, here’s your reminder to leave your phone in the other room, let go of whatever expectations you’re putting on yourself. The funny thing is when we take a deep breath and slow down and be, our kids mirror that energy and you might just get a genuine smile.

5 Ways to Stop Pushing Snooze

For years I bought into the limiting belief that I’m not a morning person, my old night shift working self loved spending all day in bed and having breakfast at 4pm. Now fast-forward to having two toddlers. Sleeping in all day just isn’t a possibility anymore. But I also quickly learned that mornings where I got up a 15-30 minutes before my kids I was suddenly more patient, calm, I felt like the morning started on my terms instead of whatever meltdown my three year was gonna choose to have at 7am. If you’ve tried waking up early and are in a constant standoff between you and the snooze button here are some tips that have helped me skip the snooze and get my mornings off to a more peaceful, intentional start!

  1. Lay your clothes out – have your clothes for the morning already set out. Whether you’re headed to work or working out, having your clothes picked out the night before makes getting dressed something you can do while still half asleep. There’s no riffling for that pair of legging you swore was clean. Have everything you need right there so you can shut your alarm off and start changing!
  2. Charge your phone across the room – This is the change that has helped me the MOST when it comes to getting up early… Having to physically get out of bed to shut your alarm off means your feet are on the ground and you’re physically “up”. You have to then make a decision of if you want to get back in bed. The snooze button and I have our battles but I know that button would be undefeated if I it was directly next to my bed. Bonus about charing your phone across the room is you cut down on mindless scrolling in bed, which gets me to sleep faster at night!
  3. Have a plan – Take a few minutes the night before and know what your plan is in the morning. Will you be working out, will you be taking your dog for a walk, getting some work tasks off your list? Reading? Our brains will look for any excuse or reason to push snooze. By taking a few minutes to plan ahead, having your laptop charged and set up so you can start on your list, knowing exactly what workout or where you’ll walk your dog, keeps us from having to make these decisions in the moment when we’re struggling to wake up already!
  4. Go to bed early – The best way to ensure you wake up earlier is to get more sleep!! Waking up earlier actually starts the night before. If i’m in bed after 11 the chances of my morning ritual happening are low!! Stop sacrificing tomorrow by staying up late the night before.
  5. Look forward to something – this can be a hot shower after your workout, your cup of coffee, getting to read uninterrupted, a delicious breakfast, enjoying the silence before your kids wake up. Having something you look forward to in the morning helps your brain remember why we’re dragging ourselves out of bed!

Monday Mindset: How I broke up with toxic diet culture, for good.

It’s Sunday night, I scroll pinterest for “healthy” dinner ideas, saving “at home arms & abs” workouts. I tell myself this Monday will be different. This time I’m really going to stick to my goals. Monday I’m on fire, but by the end of the week my plan has gone off the rails and I’ve thrown in the towel again, wondering what was wrong with me, why I couldn’t stick to my plan… gearing up to tell myself next Monday it will be different. And so the exhausting cycle continues. I spent a decade living in this cycle. Constantly making and breaking promises to myself. Having the pendulum swing from overly ambitious fitness goals to binge eating taco bell in my car alone. I subscribed to toxic fitness myths that “nothing tastes as good as skinny feels”, I tracked calories, I held the unhealthy belief that food was something to be earned. I thought if I saw a certain number on the scale that would mean success. I took every fresh start I could and it would burn hot and bright but only for a moment. And then I would find myself right back where I started, never reaching any goals & not feeling any better. The constant starting and stopping, the feeling of defeat before I even started felt never ending. But I’m going to share how I broke this cycle, how I became consistent and found a way to enjoy movement, how I helped mend my relationship with food.

I prioritized – the simple unsexy truth is: I cut the crap and prioritized 20-30 min 3 – 4 days a week. I don’t have some secret abundance of extra time laying around but I MAKE the time. We live in a society that tells us a “good” mom gives absolutely everything for her children regardless of the toll it takes on her. I call bullshit on that. As moms we wear a hundred different hats, and it’s easy to feel like nothing is ours when we spend our days giving so much to everyone else. But this 30 minutes is mine. It isn’t for anyone else but me! It gives me more energy, patience, confidence, and strength than any bubble bath or night out ever could. I learned to protect this tiny window of time and make it happen more days than not, because at the end of the day only you can make YOU a priority.

I broke up with my all or nothing mindset – Life is not all or nothing. Being healthy or fit isn’t comprised of perfection it’s built upon dozens of small choices we make day in and day out that compound over time. It’s moving your body more days than not. It’s going to bed 20 min earlier, it’s drinking water before a meal, it’s eating less out of boxes and more real food, it’s getting outside, it’s carving out stillness. It’s showing yourself kindness and focusing on building yourself up instead of tearing yourself down. I accepted the imperfect workouts where a toddler joined me, or a nap was cut short. I learned showing up imperfectly four days a week would carry me further than to show up for one perfect day.

I simplified. If a new habit is gonna stick it needs to be as easy and resistance free as possible. After having kids the logistical struggle of coordinating childcare and then finding motivation to use that precious kid-free time at the gym was just not a reality for me. I’m also not a personal trainer, I don’t enjoy or have the mental capacity to create my own workouts. I need it to be simple, straightforward and requiring as few decisions from me as possible. I found a netflix for workouts that I can do anywhere. I started in our tiny living room in San Francisco with a set of 5 pounds weights. I picked a 21 day program to do over 31 days and I simply started. Remember, you don’t have to see the whole staircase to take the first step.

Lead by example: I thought about the message and the example I wanted to set for my boys. Do I really want them to view exercise as a way to punish our bodies for things that we eat? Do I want them to moralize food as “good” or “bad”. I though hard about the message I wanted to send them. And I decided I want them see movement and exercise is a way to thank and care for our bodies. I want them to view food as fuel for your body. I want them to know what science has shown us, that movement boosts happiness, decreases risks for depression, improves sleep, strengthens muscles and bones, cuts our cancer and diabetes risks, reduces pain, energizes us, helps our immune system, the list goes on and on. There are dozens upon dozens of reasons to exercise & eat well. I want them to be able to think of 100 reasons to move and have none of them to be about the way their body looks or a number on a scale. We create our children’s inner dialogues and the same way we teach them to have healthy relationships with peers we also wield the power to teach healthy relationships with food and exercise and the most powerful and meaningful way to teach them is to be an example of healthy relationships.

I swapped motivation for discipline – I stopped letting motivation be the determining factor of whether or not I was going to do my workout. Because the truth is motivation is unreliable. More days than not it is nowhere to be found, so instead I lean on discipline. It’s okay that I’m not motivated, I’m still going to follow through on my commitment because I know how I’ll feel afterward. Honoring our commitments builds momentum. If I had an obligation to a friend I wouldn’t break that promise so it’s time to treat myself like a good friend.

I found gratitude – I stopped viewing working out as a burden. I’m incredibly fortunate to have a body that can move and lift and jump and run and carry my babies. Why I am a purposefully turning a blessing into a burden?? Instead I shifted my mindset to one of immense gratitude. Gratitude for all my body has done for me over the last 30 years. The miles it’s carried me, the heart and breath that go on without thought, the safe home it’s grown and then nourished multiple babies from. Why would I want to punish my body when all she truly deserves is thanks.

80/20 – I unsubscribed from thinking carbs were evil. I quit eliminating entire food groups, I don’t track macros or count calories. I don’t tell myself I can’t eat something that I love. That’s not living and it is not sustainable. If your plan is restriction based that’s where you’ll have serious back slides, fueled with resentment. Instead, 80% of the time I focus on more water, more protein and more vegetables. And 20% I eat what I want, without guilt. The without guilt is key. I order my five guys burger and milkshake or get pizza and drink wine on Friday nights and don’t worry about how many calories are in it or how much cardio will be required to even it out. I don’t have to fill myself with guilt because I know I’ll be back to my 80% tomorrow. This allows to me eat Halloween candy or bake Christmas cookies or get cocktails and dessert on date night and truly ENJOY it, giving myself this 20% of guiltless freedom makes the 80% doable.

I keep grace in my back pocket – This journey is not about perfection. So we have to take a little pressure off ourselves. There will be sick kids, unexpected errands, injuries, travel, sleepless nights, or days our bodies yearn for rest. So I’ve learned how to extend grace and be gentle with myself. And when I get off track, when a day or two off turns into a week, I pick up right where I left off. I don’t spend time beating myself up about it, I let go of any shame or guilt or thoughts of failure and I simply choose to show up again.

There is no finish line when it comes to living a healthy lifestyle – so it is KEY to find sustainable habits that fit into your life no matter what season you might be in. We love to dramatically overcomplicate fitness and then wonder why we aren’t seeing results or feeling the benefits. I hope this post encourages you and helps you shift some mindset blocks you might have when it comes to working out. Not only have my home workouts helped me lose 40 pounds (not once but twice!) they have truly been a gateway to immense personal development and growth! And if you’re curious about what programs I use, if you want an accountability buddy or just have questions feel free to reach out. I’m an open book about my fitness journey & would love to help another mom create this space for herself!

Monday Mindset: How to harness your hardships & why it matters!

We think it’s the happy experiences, the birthdays, the week long vacations, the promotions, that make us happy in life, but it’s not. Ultimately what allows us to find happiness and joy even for the smallest moments is in fact, hardships. How can you appreciate the warm sun on your face, if you’ve never known what it feels to be cold. The same is true in life. Glennon Doyle reminds us “The truest, most beautiful life never promises to be an easy one. We need to let go of the lie that it’s supposed to be”

All of our lives are shaped by a mix of circumstances, choices and luck or lack thereof. And “being happy” is deeply connected to our ability to find joy and optimism regardless of our circumstances.

Consider This: “Your worst memories don’t go away and they don’t get better. But you can get better. You are more than the sum of your suffering.”

Dan Baker, What Happy People Know

Your struggles ultimately leave you with this choice of allowing them to shape you for better or for worse. Choosing to do so isn’t as simple as a flick of a switch. It takes acknowledgment and reflection. For me personally, writing about my experiences has been key to allowing myself to learn and grow from that experience. I wrote a post about Chris’ encephalitis and how I really struggled to process that experience. A textbook trauma response to a situation I had yet to really come to terms with. I so desperately wanted to step around it, vehemently resisting reliving it or talking about it. I simply wanted to “move on”. The funny thing about trauma is, it doesn’t work that way. The harder you slam the door shut on it & the stronger it will boomerang back bursting open. Ignoring hardships or choosing not to engage is not processing. And you certainly can get better by ignoring it.

No matter what your struggles are, big or small they play a key role in your mindset. If you’ve allowed every struggle, every misstep to accumulate, if you’re holding on to blame, and grief, and anger it is undoubtedly weighing you down. Dan Baker puts it simply “other people can hurt your, but only you can victimize yourself”.

If you play this life game long enough you realize that bad ish happens to everyone. Even the happiest person you know has not had a life free from suffering. The magic happens in your response when life is throwing obstacles in your way. We get the opportunity to write our narrative. The story we tell ourselves becomes our life.

Try This: Harness your own hardships

Write! This is my biggest tip for transforming hardship. Write. Write about what it was like. The way it made you feel, give actual names to emotions that come up: helpless, disappointed, lonely, anxious, jealous etc. Whether it was a job you didn’t get, a string of bad luck, whether it was something life altering or something on a smaller scale, these are all opportunities for us to grow. You know how you feel better after a good cry, writing is very similar. You’re able to empty out your mind and your emotions and often will feel a weight lifted.

Reflect on the story you’re telling yourself – is it one of blame, insecurity, anger? Or is it a story that is hopeful, perseverant, joyful, energetic? The words we tell ourselves our incredibly powerful.

Give yourself time – Not every hardship is created equal. Some may effect us for longer or just take more time to sort through. And that is okay, after Chris was in the ICU I so badly just wanted to snap my fingers and for life go back to normal. When in reality it would take over a year before he felt like himself again & it would take me a whole other year to process from that experience.

Ask yourself “what can I learn from this experience”… Once you start writing a page or two a funny thing happens it all pours out!