Simplify

Life is complicated.

Jobs are complicated.  Relationships are complicated.  The internet/cable service is complicated.  Politics are complicated. Religion is complicated.

So, how are we to live a simple, yet fulfilling life in the midst of all this complication.  (I’m not talking about a simple, boring life!  I’m talking about a simple, abundant life!)

Good question!

Here are 5 tips for simplifying life to create space for fulfillment and abundance.

1.Declutter

Your external environment is a direct correlation to your mental state.  If you live, work, or play in a place full of clutter you are likely going to be stressed and anxious.  Your life will not feel simple.  It will feel complicated and messy.  Take 5-10 minutes a day to pick up, clean up, get rid of, or organize.  Breaking it down into chunks will help remove the feeling of overwhelm.  I might also recommend  de-cluttering your schedule as well.  What are activities or events that drain you?   What can you let go of?  Fill your calendar with things that nourish and fulfill you instead of clutter.

2. Meditate/Pray

Take a few minutes a day to clear your mind and just breathe.  This can be a prayerful time too!  There have been abundant studies to show that taking time daily to meditate/pray makes you more productive, more compassionate, less anxious, happier, and focused.  Who doesn’t want that in their life?!?! In addition,  it helps you to feel more grounded so you can make better choices to simplify your life.  Opening your mind and heart in prayer can also give you guidance so you can take the next step forward.

3. Take a walk

There are soooo many reasons to get outside in nature.  We all know the benefits of  exercise.  And, so many of us think exercise has to be complicated to be beneficial.  Actually, it doesn’t.  You don’t have to do zumba, pilates, rock climbing, or surfing (But if those bring you joy, then by all means go for it)!  We just need to move our body in a way that feels good for us.  Taking a walk is easy on the joints, gets us outside, works our heart muscle, and gives us time to think or enjoy the company of a friend.  Simplify your exercise routine to help create a simpler life.

4. Take a day (or a week) off

You have vacation days.  You have sick days.  You are allowed to use those!  Take a day (or week) for you!  Send the kids to school, the spouse to work, and lay in your pj’s all day, binge a Netflix series, get a massage, take a bath, or whatever!  Simplify by using this time to fill your cup.  When we do all the things all day,  everyday we become depleted, sick, and life feels complicated because we don’t  have any energy or patience left.  Take some time for you to renew and rejuvenate.

5. Don’t expect so much from yourself

Of course, do your best.  And do your best at a few things.  You don’t have to do all the things.  God created the entire universe in 6 days.  He didn’t do it all in one day.   And you don’t have to either.  This is one thing near and dear to my heart because it’s a struggle I’m having right now, actually.  And I recently read a book called  The 12 Week Year.  It has opened my eyes to the tasks that are most important in achieving my goals.  AND it has helped me make a step by step plan to reach my goals.  AND I’ve taken several things off the to-do list because of it.  I highly recommend this book if you’re someone who has big goals, a large to-do list, and overwhelm.  Whether you read it or not, simplify by removing items from your to- do list (or get help doing them).

Remember:  life is short.  Do what’s important in the long run!  Simplify now so you have more space/time/sanity later.

For more help on simplifying your life email Carrie at needahealthcoach@gmail.com

 

The PTSD Christmas

Happy Thanksgiving!  Merry Christmas!  Jingle Bells!  Santa Claus!

Do these words make your heart swoon or send dread all the way to your toes?!?!  For some people, the holiday season can be a time of anxiety, sorrow, dread, worry…

And I get that.

If you’re like me and have suffered from PTSD or anxiety/panic attacks, the whole thing and especially socialization of the holiday season can feel like a boulder on top of you. Even thinking about being with all those people and having to have conversations might just send us into a full blown “I refuse to get off my couch and celebrate – bah humbug” state. And possibly even the idea of getting one tree out of the attic -much less seven (yes, I have seven Christmas trees!) – is just too much to handle.

Let me explain.  When there is an emotional war going on in our brains the body is trying to figure out how to create balance and peace.  Some days it does better than others.  And some days it’s a total loss.  Either way, when something is thrown in – expected or not – that is out of our control our brains flip out.  Our brain is already overloaded and this small feather just sent it into full combat mode.  Que the heart palpitations, sweaty palms, shallow breathing, tight chest, dread, fear, and fight or flight mode.

The sympathetic nervous system -the fight or flight system – is fully engaged and anxiety is high with panic riding full force towards us on the horizon.  And grandma, parents, aunts, uncles, sisters, nephews, and in-laws are arriving shortly!  What am I supposed to do?!?!?!

Here are 5 tips for those of us with PTSD and/or anxiety to use in moments like this.

  1. Stop.  Take a deep breath.  And another.  And another.  And another.  When we breathe slowly and deeply for at least two minutes our brain says, “Hey!  I was freaking out, but I’m breathing like a calm, relaxed person soooooo – I must be relaxed.”  This turns on the parasympathetic nervous system and allows us to relax and calm down the nerves.
  2. Focus on what is going well in this very moment!  We are in control of our thoughts!  Much to many people’s surprise, we have the ability to stop negative thoughts from taking over and sending us in a downward spiral.  “Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable, if anything is excellent or praiseworthy think about such things.”-Philippians 4:8 (NIV)  Paul’s words are written as he sits in a jail cell wondering if he will live or die.  If he can focus on positive thoughts in that situation then I can too.
  3. Get grateful!  Begin to name all the things you are grateful for.  This also takes the focus off of the negative and puts it on the positive.  Gratitude can do more for us than we realize.  I’ve been keeping a gratitude journal that I write in everyday, and I really notice a difference in how I respond to anxiety producing moments.
  4. Be prepared ahead of time.  Take some time for yourself filling your own cup.  Maybe you’ve heard the thought that you can only serve others from the overflow of your own cup.  And if you’re dealing with anxiety or PTSD then you need some extra filling of your own cup to be able to deal with life – especially around the holidays.  What nourishes you or helps you relax?  What is enjoyable? Go do that!
  5.   Choose your activities wisely.  What are some parties, events, or gatherings you want to attend (if there are any)? You don’t have to go to all of them.  Choose the one or two that will be important for you but also the ones that could end up nourishing your soul.  If it’s too much to have Mammy, Pappy, and Uncle George over then ask if someone else can host this year.  Things don’t have to stay the same just because, “That’s the way we’ve always done it.” Being kind to yourself and to others, make the best choice for you.

Implementing these tools won’t stop your anxiety, but they will help you manage it.  And as a yoga teacher I often tell my students that when we feel depression we are living in the past.  When we feel anxiety we are living in the future.  The best way to counteract both of those is to live in the present moment.

Comment below with a way you help manage your anxiety!

To learn more about me and my story visit my website, and contact me if you need advice for dealing with anxiety or PTSD.

Serendipity

My sweet 91 year old grandmother visited me a few weeks ago, and she used the word serendipity several times.  Then within just a few days this word, serendipity, presented itself to me many times in random locations.  It was right in front of me again yesterday.  I figured this is a word I am supposed to pay attention to.

Realizing I didn’t really know what it meant, I went to the trusty Google to find out.

A pleasant surprise, according to Wikipedia.

The phenomenon of finding valuable or agreeable things not sought for, according to Mirriam-Webster.

And according to Wiktionary, the term was coined by Horace Walpole in 1754 when writing a fantasy story about three princes.

Many other definitions include the word luck.

Luck.

Hmmmm….

I love a good St. Patrick’s Day celebration full of leprechauns and luck, but I don’t really put much faith in them.  I’m not sure I believe in luck or coincidence at all.  In fact, I believe that everything happens for a reason.  And a good one too.

I think I like the definition of serendipity to be:  amazing things happening without trying or looking.

Like seeing an old friend you haven’t seen for years at the salon.  Like opportunities falling in your lap.  Like peace on a chaotic day.

I have found myself in the battles of control lately.  Knowing that I can truly only control things like what color shirt to wear that day (and sometimes something gets spilled on it and I have to change, so I’m sometimes not even in control of that!).  One of my yoga teachers, Victoria, once said that when we hold onto things in life so intensely, like a squeezed tight fist, everything gets so intense.  Eyebrows are constantly furrowed, shoulders are tight, and necks are painful.  And when we choose to let go of control, releasing the fists, relaxing the muscles, allowing the ebb and flow of life, we can often feel such release.  Such peace.  Possibly even serendipity.

I invite you to stop what you’re doing (cause I’m about to ruin the image and the style ya used to). Yes, I love me some 90’s hip-hop dance music!

Anyways, I invite you to stop and actually take a deep breath.  And with your exhale relax all your muscles.  Allow your shoulders to drop, your jaw to release, your brows to relax.  Un-clench anything that is squeezed.  Actually open your palms and allow them to release anything you’re holding on to.  Release control of that one moment.  Then release control of the next – allowing yourself to flow with the tide.

I think when we can truly live a life allowing ourselves to flow with what is that is when the entirety of life will be serendipity.

 

Where does your confidence lie?

“Your level of strength is directly related to your level of confidence.” –Carl Lentz

Where does your confidence lie? Is it in yourself? Or is it in something more powerful?

Anxiety often occurs because of worry and lack of confidence in the future. What if I…? How can I…? Where do I…? Who will I…?

Notice all those statements revolve around confidence in self! There’s a feeling of the future depending on me.

Again, where does your confidence lie? Is it in yourself? Or is it in something more powerful?

How do you gain the strength to step out of the boat into confidence? I’d love to share a bit of my own story to illustrate this idea.

I was an elementary school teacher for 17 years. It’s all I knew. Kids. Kids. Kids. And about half way through those years something began to stir inside my soul. I went through an extremely difficult time personally with anxiety, depression, and major health issues during this soul shaking. Through about 10 years, God brought me from a place of complete despair and lack of confidence in everything to a place of complete confidence in Him. And He healed me completely and totally.

Then He asked me to step out of my own boat. He asked me to leave my teaching career and trust Him. He allowed me to be trained as a health coach using my own personal struggles with health as a basis for my new career. In May 2017 I left my job and stepped into a new job with completely unstable income. I didn’t and still don’t know where the next paycheck is going to come from- or if it will come at all.

I have stepped out of my personal boat. My personal life raft. Me. And I have stepped into the confidence of God.

At a worship service recently, God gave me an image. Just like he asked Peter to step out of the boat and trust Him, he has asked me to do the same. And I have listened. I have stepped out of the boat. I am completely vulnerable. I have the weight of worry and anxiety tied to my feet. As long as I keep my eyes on Jesus the weight doesn’t even bother me. Yet, when I let my eyes wander down and focus on the weight it begins to pull me under.

I’m not going to lie and say I’ve kept my head above water. I have had days where I have been flailing trying to keep my own head above the water. This flailing is painful and anxiety provoking. Then… Jesus reminds me to keep my eyes on Him. And as I return my eyes upward, almost instantly the peace returns and I am again standing on the water instead of nearly drowning.

This is a Peace that passes all understanding. I can’t explain it. I can’t tell you why God has chosen to give it to me. What I can tell you though is that this Peace is available to every single person on this planet. It’s available to you.

All you have to do is step out of your boat into the confidence of God. When you’ve reached the end of your rope, the end of your confidence tap into a confidence that is so much stronger and powerful. And unlimited.

Now, I’m not telling you to quit your job. What I’m suggesting is to put your confidence in something more powerful than yourself. Step out of the boat of yourself and into the version of you that you were designed for.

What are you waiting for? Step into confidence today!

Listen to Your Body

The Hunger Game:  Want to learn to play?!?!

I’m here to teach you how to tell the difference between emotional hunger and physical hunger by playing the “Hunger Game.”

But first, why am I talking about emotional hunger vs. physical hunger and what’s the difference?

Emotional hunger means you turn to food either to avoid uncomfortable emotions or to heighten pleasurable ones.  It means you eat based on how you feel instead of what your body needs.

Examples of emotional hunger (FEELINGS):

  • Eating for comfort or out of loneliness or sadness
  • Eating from boredom
  • Eating to try to soothe anxious or depressed feelings
  • Eating to fill an aching heart

Whereas physical hunger means you eat when your body signals to you that you are in fact, hungry.  And it means that you stop eating when you are satisfied and before you are uncomfortably full.

Examples of physical hunger (SENSATIONS):

  • Stomach growls and gets that hollow hungry sensation
  • Body feels weak and energy goes down
  • Blood sugar gets low and you feel shaky
  • You feel lightheaded or faint

So what will learning to listen to my body do for me?

It will free you from being a slave to food!

What that means for you is that you’ll feel more in control of your eating and less dependent on food to “help” your moods and emotions. By listening to your physical hunger signals, you can determine how hungry or full you really are.  With practice, you’ll be able to pinpoint where your body is at any given moment.

By doing so, you will train yourself to stop eating BEFORE you are too full and to not turn to food when you are not actually hungry but are in fact bored, upset, anxious, or depressed.  Because everyone knows that’s a vicious cycle…so let me show you how to end that cycle and have some fun while doing it!

ENTER…….the Hunger Game!

How do I play the Hunger Game?

Let me first clarify that I’m not talking about undergoing top-secret weapons training to learn to “kill” off your colleagues or friends… I’m talking about a simple, helpful game that you can play all by yourself even in a busy restaurant!

Here’s how you play the Hunger Game:

  • See if you can be the slowest eater at the table – no one has to know you’re playing or that you’re trying to win the Hunger Game
  • Periodically check in with yourself throughout your meal and honor when you’re energized and satisfied by completing the meal
  • Use and end-of-meal ritual, like putting your napkin over your plate or ordering hot tea and fresh fruit to symbolize completion of the meal

What do I do now?

In my health coaching practice, I help my clients learn to tell the difference between emotional hunger and physical hunger.  Together, we come up with a plan to help you keep identifying the difference so you can lose weight naturally and double your energy.

If you think you may be engaging in emotional eating and you don’t know how to change it, then click here now to schedule a time to talk with me today!

To your health!

Carrie

Getting That News

Recently, I drove to town to take a yoga class (yoga teachers need yoga classes too!).  While I was in town I received some news that changed the course of my life, my path.  Or at least what I thought was my path.

I had planned on purchasing a yoga studio that was already a thriving business.  And I was actually going in to town to take a class at said studio.  The owner met me before class and told me she had received a deposit from someone else for the purchase of the studio that morning.

I tried not to let the complete disappointment show.  I was kind, calm, and friendly.  But inside I was a little angry and very disappointed.  This could’ve been a break for me!  This could’ve been exactly what would help my health coaching business get off the ground.  This could’ve been an opportunity for some cash that I desperately needed.

But it wasn’t.

And sometimes life is like that.  Sometimes, we get started down one path and quickly (or sometimes slowly) realize that wasn’t THE path.

But I was excited!

Yes, and perhaps something wasn’t quite right for me.  Something that I didn’t, and still don’t, understand.  Yet, I trust.

I trust in the path God has laid out for me.  I trust that God will lead me to the right thing.  And maybe that thing is right where I am.  Maybe I just need to be still for one moment.  Stillness is very hard for me (That’s a whole other blog post! HA!).

So, when life takes a 180, or a 360, or just spinning in circles, perhaps it’s time for rest, stillness, and listening.  I’m giving it a try.  Want to join me?

That Sneaky Ingredient That Has Me Stuck

I went to bed last night not feeling the best and when I woke up this morning my throat was scratchy and I had a very heavy head.   And I knew exactly what it was and why I was in this boat.  It was the food choices I made this week that put me there.

See, I am on the outer edge of a major health journey in which I completely renewed my gut microbiome.  However, I am still on that edge.  I still have flare ups when I am not making the best choices for my body.  My symptoms include sinus irritations/infections, allergies, UTIs, and soooooo tired.  All these are brought on by one little ingredient – and one thing I’ve struggled to say no to this week.

Image result for sugar

Yup.  Sugar.  That sweet, melt in your mouth, so delicious, and addictive sugar.

So why is sugar so addictive?  Well, when you eat sugar your pancreas secretes a hormone called insulin to bring your blood sugar back into balance.  And when it sees sugar in the blood – to your brain and body – this is an EMERGENCY!  So your body often secretes too much insulin and your body goes into a blood sugar crash.  Yikes!

Then, when you’re down there in that nasty crash what do you think your body craves?  You got it!  More sugar!  So you eat more sugar and you’ve gotten yourself on a blood sugar roller coaster.  And it’s very hard to get off that roller coaster once it gets started.

And there’s more to that story too.  Sometimes, there are things in our life that we are unsatisfied with.  Perhaps our career, our relationships, our finances, our workouts, our sex life, our family, where we, live, the weather….whatever.  Sometimes it’s so much easier to reach for sugar than deal with what’s really going on.  And I get that.

See, I was in a job for 17 years that slowly began to drain the life out of my soul.  And looking back I definitely had some increased sugar cravings during that time.

A craving may seem like a pain in the butt.  BUT, what if cravings were a messenger to help you step into the best version of who you are?!?! That would be pretty amazing!

Is it time for a cleanse?

IgniteLife png

Carrie here, to help you decide whether or not it’s time for a cleanse.

But first, why am I talking about cleanses in the first place?

Good question!

The body is designed to be self-cleaning and to excrete toxins, but here’s the problem….

It can’t always handle the toxic overload present in today’s environment.

Chemicals not excreted accumulate in our fat cells and cell membranes become internal toxins.  These toxins corrode the body from the inside out, making it harder to lose weight, have more energy, or feel good in your body.  Yeeech!

So, what is a cleanse?

A cleanse is a gentle way of clearing excess toxins from the body so it can operate at it’s highest potential.  Think of a cleanse as something that delivers an all access pass to boundless reserves of energy that you didn’t even know you had!  You’ll find that every part of your body works better simply by “switching on” your metabolism through cleansing.

My clients find that cleansing helps them:

  • Shed excess weight (especially belly fat)
  • Boost energy
  • Feel lighter and cleaner
  • Decrease cravings
  • Experience deeper sleep and clearer skin
  • Improve your digestion (less gas and bloating)
  • Decrease congestion and allergy symptoms
  • Discover food sensitivities
  • Create healthy habits that enliven you

How will I know if it’s time for me to cleanse?

Glad you asked!

It’s time for you to cleanse if you answer ‘YES’ to any of these questions:

  • Do you get bloated after eating?
  • Do you tend to gain weight easily, especially in your belly?
  • Do you have extra pounds that won’t come off with diet and exercise?
  • Do you have headaches more than occasionally?
  • Do you frequently belch or feel gassy or gurgling in your belly?
  • Do you tend to feel lethargic during the day?
  • Do you have cravings for sugar or starchy foods?
  • Do you experience mood swings or anxiety?
  • Do you have difficulty focusing or experience foggy brain?
  • Do you have allergies or hay fever?
  • Do you experience pain, muscle achiness, or stiffness in your joints?
  • Do you feel addicted to foods that you know aren’t good for you….and yet you can’t stop?
  • Do you feel anxious, upset, nervous, or downright cranky?

What do I do now?

In my health coaching practice, I lead my clients through a detailed, step-by-step 14-Day Cleanse, complete with cleansing menus, recipes, and daily guidelines.

If you answered ‘YES’ to any of the above questions, then click here now to schedule a time to talk with me about cleansing.

I’ll help you decide whether or not to cleanse, and if cleansing is right for you I’ll show you how to get started.

With Peace and Love,

Carrie

fridgeHere’s a picture of my fridge when I was cleansing.  Yummy!

Adventure

What adventure are you craving?  Do you know how to make it happen?  What is getting in the way?  We all have roadblocks to overcome in life.  It all depends on how we react and who we have to support us through those trying times that determines the outcome.

  Who is in your support group, your tribe?  Do they fill you up or drain you?  One way to cope is making self-care a priority.  This doesn’t mean we’re selfish.  In fact, it’s the opposite.  When we care for ourselves we are much better equipped to care for others.  What is one thing you can do today to fill your cup so that it can be poured out for others?

If you need help with the answers to these questions or just how to walk through life gracefully I’d love to be one of your guides and hold you accountable to be the best you there can be.  I’m here for you!

needahealthcoach@gmail.com

Schedule your first complementary coaching session today:  https://www.timetrade.com/book/FKPFQ