Wow. Talk about being REAL with the title… when stress kicks me in my lady bits. And this wee bit of a blog post is all about being real with you but mostly with myself. See. In January, I realized I needed to start focusing on my health… I noticed my gut was a bit unhappy with my life choices: not sleeping, not eating enough calories, not drinking enough water, getting anxious over things I have no control over, saying “YES” to things that weren’t my focus or getting TO my goal!
So. I designed a plan…. something doable. Focusing on what I could control which included:
saying “NO” to things that weren’t healthy for me or my goals (business, personal, family, relationships, faith goals)
drinking MORE water and hitting my water intake goal (ie. at least 1/2 my body weight in ounces: so my 140lb frame needed at least 70oz of water throughout the day)
focusing on self-care and doing ONE little thing for me each day (ie. facial mask, bath with herbal tea bath salts, scheduling a hair cut appointment, foam rolling)
starting my day with talks with God (ie. broke out my devotional which is a FAVE of mine)
LOOK at my plate: leafy greens, vegetables, clean protein source, carbs and a healthy fats
unplugging in the evening and making sure to get at least 7hours a sleep a night
Right? Focusing on things I can control… my words, my habits, my plates, my commitments, etc. And the funniest thing happened. It worked, I was doing quite well and feeling my best in a long time. I began sleeping soundly. I was on task with my business and even hired an accountability coach to help PUSH me a wee bit further because I was tackling all the commitments I had already scheduled for myself. I was acing HOMESCHOOLING with our twins… it’s kindergarten level, so don’t give me FULL props!
BUT then something happened… something I didn’t really prepare for… which is silly because it’s a constant for any human being.
How did I not plan for LIFE happening… Gillies, our twins, got sick. Hubster got called into late night on-calls. Therapy sessions got cancelled then rescheduled. Additional medical tests needed to be performed at the last minute for one of our littles. Clients reached out asking for additional information and 1:1 calls. Family members needing my time/energy more than expected. Friends calling asking for advice. Snow storms and sick dogs. The list goes on… and you know what I did.
Now. This isn’t a pity post it’s more venting… there’s a difference- ha! Just kidding, it’s more about accountability. About owning up to the fact, that I, Amber am not perfect… that I have struggles and even though I share health hacks focused on women living their most optimal life possible… I get off track to, my focus gets skewed when I get stressed. It’s okay. It’s human.
Since I recognized this was happening, this past week… I noticed my weight increased because of a few things:
I am a non-eating stressed person… unlike the hubster, when I get stressed, I don’t eat which is no-bueno for my body nor my metabolism. Hello!
I skimp out on meditation and prayer time with God… how is that good? Shouldn’t I be leaning into Him?!?
Self-care goes bye-bye out the window along with going to bed early… because I’m so focused on getting EVERY. THING. done and night time is when it happens. So, I’m sleep-deprived.
My plates are non-existent… and what I am eating is good foods but NOT as much leafy greens and healthy proteins like normal.
I turn into a hot mess of myself when I’m stressed… which is normal, but not good. Just because it’s normal doesn’t mean it’s good or okay. It means I have allowed this to be NORMAL for me. I allowed a stressed out version of myself to look like this… I have placed this “NORMAL” as a setting which is not good for me.
And I don’t know if this happens to you, too? If not, freaking amazing. Send me a love note on how you battle your stress and keep it from kicking you in your lady bits. Seriously… fill me in!
After a morning of harsh realization (and seeing the scale as well as my SKIN, heaven help me- my skin shows everything), I gathered up myself and decided to kick LIFE in the lady bits and take ACTION.
(feel free to print it out for YOU to use as well, if needed)
The focus of this week on my wellness journey is simple… just taking a beat to focus on what you can control and reduce the stress from what you can’t.
Oh, doesn’t it sound so simple. I know it’s not… trust me, I’m right there with you. With my acne on my skin from not eating properly… my dry skin from not hydrating myself well… and my diminished energy levels from trying to do TOO much of not the right things. OUCH!
Time to get to the goods… and break down the steps as well as take a look into my toolkit on how I plan to kick LIFE in her lady bits!
Stop being a COMPARDASHIAN. Now, I can not take full credit for this terminology… I heard about it on Instagram from a guy named Tyler who is hilarious. But, let’s get back to the point. Stop comparing yourself on social media from Susie who just ran 6 miles before you even got out of bed… or Meghan who is complaining on her feed about how disheveled she looks in her sweats and messy bun… when you are also in sweats on the couch with a messy bun, however, she looks like a Victoria Supermodel and you look like you just binged watched Netflix while stuffing your face with cheetos til 2am. It’s okay if that’s you, too… we are a work in progress, right? Wait? Is that a cheeto in your bun?!?
The thing is… nothing is going to make you feel WORSE about being stressed than viewing others “highlight reel” on social media. So, either unplug for the day (or ten)… or UNFOLLOW that person! YOU have control, love. You control what YOU feed your brain… so make sure you are surrounding yourself with uplifting images, encouraging words and folks who inspire you to take action… not those who make you feel worse.
Spend time in meditation, prayer or a devotional. This one is huge for me… and one that slips away when life gets hectic which is absurd because with MY FAITH, I should be leaning more into Him when life gets crazy… not away. Anywho. Whatever your faith… allow yourself to simply be in silence and in prayer.
One of my most favorite devotionals is from Sarah Young, Jesus Calling. It’s a daily devotional which focuses on His word with a few bible verses to read and dive deeper into the bible with.
I absolutely love it… and started journaling alongside with it. This helps me get my head on straight knowing I am not alone and gets my heart filled with knowing I am working towards serving others using the talents within me.
Learn to say “NO”. This is one I typically… typically… do not have a problem with doing. I think I get it from my pops… who automatically says, “NO”, but then will stew on it and either take action or tell the person, “YES”. And it never fails WHEN I feel like I’m “on top of the world”… I feel like it’s okay to “take on more crap.” WHICH hindsight is 20/20… not good. Here’s my tips to saying… NO!
Take a firm look at your goals… what does this look like? Where are you headed? Set a deadline, a reasonable one. Now, when someone asks you to do something… simply say, “Thank you for thinking of me with this ____. Would you mind if I took a minute to see if it fits into my schedule and my own goals?” IF they say, NO. Well, bugger off. It wasn’t meant to be. IF they respect your wishes, then take a beat… does it follow your goals? Will it hinder you from reaching your goals? Will it cause you more stress? More burnout? More sacrifice towards your well-being? If any of those questions were answered with a: well, yes… sort of. Then gently tell your friend, “NO”.
Another tip is to GIVE YOURSELF SPACE… space for grace if you say YES to more than you should. YOU are human and a kind person. AND most importantly, give yourself SPACE period. If you finish all your tasks and feeling like you got your stuff together… allow this space to simply BE!!! You don’t have to FILL IT UP!
You can use it to brainstorm new ideas… focus on taking that pottery class… going window-shopping… lounging for a bit and pampering yourself… taking your kids to the new museum. WHATEVER. Don’t feel like you have to FILL UP SPACE WITH MORE WORK because you are getting all your tasks done… you earned that space. Let it be!
Drink your water, Amber! See how I am fussing out myself! It’s because I know drinking water is vital for my mood, my energy levels, how my body feels, my gut flow… you feel me? Anywho. One down-n-dirty trick I use to make sure I’m getting enough water is to use this formula:
1/2 body weight (lbs) in ounces throughout the day!
ie. 140-lb woman would drink 70 ounces of water throughout the day!
Unplug in the evening and get your zzz’s…. this was something I once mastered, shutting OFF and getting my sleep. So much so, I shared my tips HERE! However, when life kicks me in the lady bits, it’s one of the FIRST things to get sidetracked because I start piling things on my “TO DO” list and the ONLY time I have to get things done… is when the house sleeps which means early mornings and late nights. And let’s do the math for a second:
EARLY MORNING + LATE NIGHT = NO SLEEP
OVER TIME NO SLEEP = POOR MENTAL FOCUS, DECREASED ENERGY, POOR GUT HEALTH, MOODY DISPOSITION
AKA. GROUCHY PANTS MAMA (as we like to term it in our house)
If you would like to dive further into “how to get a good night’s sleep”… then read on love regarding my sleep hacks! Note, I’ll be joining you with taking part of these as well, but first the key is to SAY NO to piling up your TO DO LIST!
Fuel + Move your body… okay, that was a two-fer. But, I didn’t want to OVERWHELM you but wanted to get BOTH of these points in here. Being my best self… means fueling my body with nourishing ingredients. As I mentioned before, I’m one of those rare breeds that does the OPPOSITE of stress eaters, I stress starve which I think is just as harmful to one’s body. Now, first, let me say this… if you have an eating disorder or medical condition, please seek advice from your primary care physician. Your health is vital… and YOU need to do what is right for YOU. I am just sharing what helps ME… however, if tracking numbers is a trigger for you… please do NOT do this!
Okay. That being said… when I know my body is undergoing stress, it sends me signals. These will vary for everyone, mine responds with: left (only left) eyelid twitching, reluctance to eat and not feeling hungry, headaches, anxiety, “bubble” guts, inability to sleep and moody. Plus, I get cold sores. I’m like an itchy moody monster twitching one eye with a cold sore running to the bathroom every few seconds… it’s so becoming!
However, FOCUS ON WHAT you can control… right? Here’s what I do…
Drink a glass of water… to signal a clean slate (if only in my mind)
Whip out my iPhone and go into FITNESS PAL APP to start tracking my numbers: macros and calories (because I undereat, I know I need to get back on track… so for at least 3 days, I’ll track to make sure I am eating ENOUGH!)
Make sure to LOOK at my plate… does it have leafy greens? is there a good helping of veggies? a clean protein source? healthy fats? If you want to take a look at how I build a plate, click HERE!
Get out my calendar to schedule out ways to MOVE my body… making sure to schedule time OUTSIDE in nature (ie. walks with Gillies, our twins), adding some flexibility and strength training. Need help scheduling your workout like a boss, then READ ON!
BONUS: With fueling your body, you also have to FUEL your body with encouraging words and stop LYING to yourself. Stop telling yourself you aren’t enough. You are able to do this. You aren’t good enough. Whatever LIE you are telling yourself… FLIP THE SCRIPT and use the reversal of the lie as your daily affirmation.
ie. I am not enough — FLIP THE LIE — I am able. I am capable. Christ lives within me, I am ENOUGH!
I am not even going to lie… sharing my struggles with how the stress of LIFE slipped me back into old habits was truly hard. It’s not easy to open up and share that, well, you aren’t superwoman.
To share that you struggle.
To share that sometimes, life does kick you in your lady bits.
So. I want to thank you… thank you for being kind. Thank you for allowing me this space to share the struggles I am facing. Thank you for allowing me to showcase what I’m focusing on this week… to focus only on what I can control, then forgetting about things I can’t.
To stop being a compardashian! To start saying, “NO” to what hinders me from my goal… to my wellness… to my family. And to start making, well, ME a priority in my life.
It’s like the quote from the movie, Holiday…
“You are suppose to be the leading lady in your own life.”
Now. These are just a few tid bits I am focusing on to get back on track with my wellness goals… nothing life-shattering but also knowing each small step forward will compound over time to get me closer to my wellness goal. How do I need your help? Well. I would absolutely LOVE to hear what you do, love… how do you get back on track? do you have a special mindset shift? Do you have a tool in your toolkit that I didn’t mention? Or maybe you have a person who you reach out to and just want to give them some props! Well.. fill me in. Drop me a DM (aka. direct message) and let me hear from YOU!
Because the more you know, the more you can grow!
love + gumption.
Brain + Gut Health Explorer