Self-preservation during the holiday season

season4stress

How well do you know yourself? If you’re anything like me, the holiday season just saps the life force out of me. As an introvert (who seems to get more introverted by the day), I have learned to be very protective of my time. The social calendar keeps stacking up with work holiday parties, multiple family holiday parties, and other social gatherings. This year I’m putting into practice all of my strategies for managing the stress of a busy calendar.

I found myself a little overwhelmed a few weeks ago, and my live-in health coach (a.k.a. my husband) asked me a really great question. “What would coach Marilyn tell you to do?”

That’s it, right there.  I could tell you the same thing you can read on HuffPo — rest, gratitude, self-care, time management, etc.  In fact, those things seem to be a theme on this blog.

But really, ask yourself, “If I was my own health coach, what advice would I give myself?”

Only you know and understand your threshold for family drama, exposure to excessive sugary baked goods and alcohol, and small talk with acquaintances at parties. Really take some time this holiday season and come up with your own plan to manage life’s chaos. We really do have our own answers, but sometimes we just need to ask ourselves the right question.

Having trouble finding the answers? Or the questions? Let me know if I can help. You never know how a single conversation can change your outlook on everything.

Peace to all.

Breathe.

Reboot your thinking

Sometimes you just need to give yourself a break.

Period.

We can be so hard on ourselves, and this time of year when the calendar gets full and work gets intense trying to meet deadlines while working around holiday schedules, it’s important for me to remember: self-care is not selfish.

Over the past few weeks, I have found myself overcommitted, full of anxiety, and with a to-do list a mile long. The most important thing I did was to recognize those feelings, own them, then come up with a plan to mitigate what felt like an impending implosion. Okay, truth time: I had a bit of a mini-meltdown.

I know I am not the only one who has experienced these emotions.

So what are some strategies for rebooting? Here’s a few I have been employing.

  • Sleep. I have worked on my sleep habit over the past few years. I aim for 7-8 hours which is a huge improvement over 4-5 that I thought was enough. After my mini-meltdown, I set an 8:30 bedtime for myself and even chose sleep over exercise to just get my energy back on track.
  • Protect your time. I have had to pass on some lunch and coffee invitations because as an introvert, they are a huge effort for me. I love my friends, but I needed to recharge before I can engage, at least for now.
  • Take some mental health time. I have so much banked vacation time, so I have been using it as a way to rest and refocus my energy, especially while building up my coaching business.
  • Eat well. Nutrition for your body contributes to the nourishment of your soul. What you eat affects how you feel.
  • Practice gratitude. Daily reminders of the good things in life help reframe your mental energy when in a rut.
  • Hug your dogs. (Well, that’s what I do.) If you don’t have a critter to hug, maybe it’s time to open your heart and adopt one!
  • Hydrate. Dehydration can add to your funk. With the weather getting cooler, herbal teas have worked their way into my hydration agenda.
  • Laugh. Read or listen to a funny book, or indulge in some Netflix time for a mental break.
  • Breathe. Practice focused breathing or meditation to help bring some mindfulness to the situation.

What are some of the ways you choose to reboot? Share them here or tweet with me @OffthePlateMC.

Namaste. 🙏

Finding balance in your financial house. 

I’ve announced my retirement from my day job. It’s actually 449 days from today. Not that I am counting, but it’s an important data point for setting and achieving my measurable goals. So what does this mean?
I need to maximize my time and save as much money as possible.

A Strategy for Saving Time

Time is a valuable commodity. This year will fly by, so I feel like I can’t waste any of it. With prompts from one of my most valuable mentors, I’ve been thinking about how I use my time, and how I feel while performing various activities. Just thinking about this has made me curb the mindless Facebook trolling, and other non-productive uses of my time. Instead I have been focusing on getting more grounded. Recoginizing signs of stress and when I am overcommitted. Ramping up to be a health coach takes a lot of work and planning. However, none of this effort really feels like work. That’s a sign that it’s my calling! Talk about an affirmation.

Keeping my eye on the prize is what I tell myself. Maintining that single point of focus.

Last week, I revisited the goals and intentions I set six months ago. I did not and would not change a thing. It just goes to show that despite a major surgery in July, and lots of change at my day job, keeping my eye on the prize is paying off.
My best strategy for saving time is simply not to waste it. But that includes time for breathing and reflecting. For saying no when I feel overloaded. For holding myself accountable for my own state of mind.

A Strategy for Saving Money

I have had to define “want” and “need.”

Now that I have a target retirement date, I am asking myself, “do I really need this?” I think I have talked myself out of buying an iPhone X or an iPhone 8 on 3 separate occasions in the last week. I am looking at every purchase with a different lens, and just that way of looking at things has really impacted my behavior. 
This goes back to the single point of focus. I don’t think I have ever been so focused. This feels like a new beginning — the next chapter.
Connecting the dots: budgeting time is as valuable as budgeting your finances. Everyone needs to find their own balance that aligns with their goals and lifestyle. And then stick to the plan. And when something goes awry — stick to the plan. We will all have bumps in the road, but success comes through perseverence.
In the spirit of gratitude — I give thanks to my very wise mentor for her coaching, even when she isn’t coaching.

Open for business!

IMG_8258

It’s true! It’s go time!

I have now completed six months of my coach training program so I am ready to start small and start building up my practice.  For now, I will be available on Fridays for initial consults and coaching sessions, which can be conducted in person for you local folks, or by phone, Skype or FaceTime for anyone outside of the greater Sacramento area.

So what would it be like to work with me?

Initial Consultation

The initial consultation takes about 50 minutes to an hour and includes getting a health history where we’ll discuss your health goals, a bit of your history, and your current nutrition and fitness plan.  This is a great way to determine if we’re a good fit to work together and to identify a few areas of focus.  Health and wellness can be within your reach with some gradual changes.  Should you decide to work with me, we’ll create a customized program to focus on helping you refine and achieve your personal health goals.

What’s Included?

You’ll get 2 coaching sessions per month, either in person or by phone, FaceTime or Skype. We will customize an approach based on goals that we set together. Local clients can go on field trips to farmers’ markets and their regular grocery store to get some tips on healthy, balanced, and whole food eating. You’ll also get handouts, recipes, meal prep tips and newsletter articles tailored to your needs.  What I really offer is a holistic approach to creating a more balanced life, both on and off the plate.

Why do I need a health coach?

To be honest, not everyone does. Some people have worked to achieve the right balance of nutrition and lifestyle, physical activity and career, relationships and body/mind connectivity. I can tell you that I’ve been working at this a long time, yet I still have a core group of supporters that help me stay on track and focused on my goals. I even have my own accountability coach I have been working with through my training to help me hone my coaching skills and strategize my practice.

You need a health coach to help stimulate some ideas about how to get out of a rut, how to figure out where to start, and how to make the changes you already know you need to make — and make them sustainable over time. It’s not for everyone, but if you’re really ready to dig deep and mix things up, it might be for you.

Sound intriguing? Let’s talk!

Staying positive in a world full of negativity 

Making lasting lifestyle changes takes work. A lot of work. And when social sites are part of the equation for your support system and connecting with helpful resources, it’s important to check in with yourself about the value of your social network and its content. 

I’m not even talking about the news and political climate. That’s a whole other ball of wax that I just can’t get into. I’m talking about your friends. We all have a friend or two who use Facebook as a way to vent, complain, namedrop, finger point, and basically bitch. 

Sometimes you just have to keep scrolling. Scroll, scroll, scroll. It’s so easy to let the negativity sink in, but if the positive support from your social network outweighs the negative, just scroll on by. Or hide them. Or de-friend. Your comfort zone gets tested every day, so do what’s best for you. 

But sometimes, life calls for a digital detox. Find sources of positivity outside of your social network. Like with nature and real people. Or give your dog or cat a hug. And if you don’t have a cat or dog, adopt one! Pets are great medicine. 

Fill your journal with positive affirmations and revisit them when you need a boost. Pinterest is always a great source of inspiration if you can’t completely break free of your phone. 

This post is brought to you by Dionne Warwicks’s “Walk on By.”