stress management

33

Today is my 33rd birthday. I’ve never been one to loathe aging. In fact it’s quite the opposite. I’ve always viewed each birthday as a personal new year; a time to reflect and show gratitude.

Between my divorce, navigating life as a single parent, my mother’s cancer diagnosis, and my sister’s car accident, the last year has been absolutely brutal. Without a doubt, the most devastating challenges I have had to face thus far.

For years I was the queen of keeping a cool exterior. I viewed showing any kind of emotion, or asking for help as signs of weakness. Mind you, not when other people sought my council. No, it was only weakness if I required help. 

I was a rock. I could handle whatever blows life was going throw. And I was going to do it by myself.

This mentality seemed to serve me well through the first 30 years of life. It wasn’t until my marriage started to unravel, and I had completely lost myself in the roles of mother and wife, that my no emotion, no help, rock mentality started taking its toll, and some destructive behavior started becoming a daily practice.

“Vulnerability sounds like truth and feels like courage. Truth and courage aren't always comfortable, but they're never weakness.” - Brene Brown

I had never learned the tools to cope with big emotions because I had never allowed myself to ever feel them. I shoved them into the dark depths, where they would never be seen (of felt).

I knew in the midst of coming to terms with my decision to file for divorce, and having just learned of my mother’s cancer, that this was a pivotal moment in my life. This was not something I was going to be able to send into the labyrinth, never to be dealt with. The pain, fear, and anger I felt was overwhelming. Consuming. And I realized I only had two options; let it break me down, or break me open.

I chose the latter.

We are not what happens to us, we are how we choose to respond to what happens to us.

We go through the tough stuff to grow and be better; because there will come a day when someone is struggling and are in need of the tools you’ve learned, and you will be able to provide them.

33 is a new year. There will be more pain (such is life), but there’s also going to be a whole lot of vulnerability, joy, and mindfulness.

“Vulnerability is the birthplace of love, belonging, joy, courage, empathy, and creativity. It is the source of hope, empathy, accountability, and authenticity. If we want greater clarity in our purpose or deeper and more meaningful spiritual lives, vulnerability is the path.” - Brene Brown

XOXO - 

Jules

Self-Care Non-Negotiable

“Nature’s peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop off like autumn leaves.” - John Muir

What do you need to feel balanced? To feel whole? These are questions I ask every client, and it’s important to understand, because these should be your self-care non-negotiables.

I am a mom, a daughter, a sister, a friend, and a coach. There are people who need and deserve me at my best. It used to feel like a constant battle to be everything my daughter needs, everything my clients need, and to also give myself what I need. All too often we forgo what might be best for us, because we feel the need to serve others before ourselves.

But what I’ve learned over this last year is that making one’s own mental and physical wellbeing a priority is not selfish, it’s essential. When you are caring for yourself properly, you’ll be operating closer to your optimal, which in turn will allow you to serve those you love with more enthusiasm.

So in reality, self-care is an act of selflessness.

My self-care non-negotiables:

- Move (and sweat) daily.

- Time in nature. Being amongst the trees is where I feel most at peace.

- Quiet time to read and meditate.

So, now I ask you. What do you need to feel balanced? What do you need to feel whole? What are your self-care non-negotiables? And most importantly, are they part of your daily routine? If not, it’s time to re-prioritize.

I deserve me at my best. And so do you, my friend. But if all we do is give, burnout is inevitable. Self-care is key. When you feel whole, you shine. And the world needs your light.

XOXO -

Jules

“An empty lantern provides no light. Self-care is the fuel that allows your light to shine brightly.” – Unknown

How to Deal When Shit Hits the Fan

2015 was a whirlwind year; 

  • My beloved grandfather passed away after a 10-year battle with cancer, and I am so thankful to say I was with him at the end.

  • Discovered I was pregnant.

  • Planned my wedding.

  • Got married.

  • After 5 wonderful year of owning my own personal training business (and 8 years living in LA) I closed up shop and moved to Santa Fe, NM (my husband’s hometown), officially making myself unemployed (for the first time since I was 16).

  • I gave birth to my daughter.

  • I became a stay-at-home-mom who worked from home.

To say I was stressed is an understatement. To combat such major life stressors, or when things are just busier, you have to have a strategy, otherwise that shit can paralyze you. 

“Its not stress that kills us, it is our reaction to it.” – Hans Selye

1) Mindset.

First and foremost, your mindset is everything. Life is 5% what happens to us and 95% how we react to what happens to us. It rarely goes as we have planned. Life is always going to throw obstacles in your path, so you’ve got to have the mental fortitude to adjust and keep pushing forward. 

Life is an adventure my friends, and a beautiful one at that, if you choose to see it that way.

“I love sleep. My life has the tendency to fall apart when I'm awake, you know?” - Ernest Hemingway

2) Sleep 8 hours.

Yes, this might feel impossible when you have a million things to do, but sleep is crucial. I guarantee the fastest way to burn yourself out, get sick, crave nothing but junk food, and generally be miserable and unproductive, is if you skimp on sleep.

Here’s the catch, when you get enough of it, you are actually more productive the following day.

You can read more on the importance of sleep here. – link to sleep blog.

“The time to relax is when you don’t have time for it.” – Sydney J. Harris

3) Exercise for, at minimum, 30 minutes.

The gym is my sanctuary and the weights, my therapist. Time away only makes me feel worse.

“But how can I possibly get a quality workout in 30 min,” you ask? I am the master of the 30 min workout, and it goes a little something like this:

  • 5 min warm up: foam roll and dynamic stretches.

  • 10 min HIIT: treadmill, KB swings, med ball slams, rower… the options are endless.

  • 15 min AMRAP circuit: choose 6-8 exercises, pick your reps, set your timer, and crush it.

Wham. Bam. Thank you ma’am!

“Walking is the best possible exercise. Habituate yourself to walk very far.” - Thomas Jefferson

4) Daily brisk walk.

My favorite time for a walk is first thing in the morning. I brew my coffee and head out the door. The blood flow + caffeine wakes you up and gets those brain cells firing, and it’s going to lead to a much more productive day. 

A daily walk (and regular workouts) is essential to keeping my positive mindset. 

“Suffering is due to our disconnection with the inner soul. Meditation is establishing that connection.” – Amit Ray

5) BONUS! 

Quiet time with stretching, meditation, foam rolling, hot showers/baths, reading, yoga and power naps will make you feel recharged and help to bring back mental focus. Restorative downtime might feel like a luxury, but self-care is of the upmost importance, especially during those high stress times in life.

“Very little is needed to make a happy life; it is all within yourself, in your way of thinking.” - Marcus Aurelius

I made it through, hands down, the craziest year of my life, and I’m a better mother, wife, daughter, sister, friend, and coach for it. Make yourself the priority and you will get through your stressful times with grace and strength.

XOXO –

Jule