Be Nourished: A Girl’s Guide to Living the Nourished Life

Be Nourished: A Girl’s Guide to Living the Nourished Life

As the kiddos are getting ready to head back to school and summer is coming to a close, I am hearing the words “diet, self-care and balance” from many women.  These words came up often this week during my attendance at several women’s networking events for the Frederick County Chamber “She Week.” As women discussed their desire for balance, taking care of themselves while being mothers and entrepreneurs and living fearlessly through uncertainty, it made me think.  I wondered; how many women are striving for balance and how many are frustrated with trying to achieve it? 

As women, we tend to do everything for everybody.  We pour into our families, careers, community, relationships and other areas of life.  All while often times placing ourselves on the back burner. This ends up leaving us frustrated, depleted, exhausted, sometimes resentful and overwhelmed.  Ladies, can you relate?

So many people think, “I’ll focus on getting my finances in order when I grow myself personally.  When I lose weight or feel confident, I will work on building a relationship.” Well, it’s time we said goodbye to the “I’ll be happy when..” mindset.  It’s time to live the Nourished Life.

That’s not to say that we won’t do parts of life messy and imperfect.  Honestly, I don’t even think that exists. There is no “perfect time, moment or scenario.”  It’s important to take action towards the goals we want to achieve, the dreams we want to fulfill and the desires that we feel burning inside of us.  We want to have a healthy and fulfilling life aligned with nourishing food, movement, relationships, finances, passions, and joys. 

It was through my own struggles and journey that I learned how to live the nourished life for my own bio-individuality.  Something I educate and share with other women whom I work with. When I began to implement what I learned through nutrition school and life, I felt empowered.  I discovered the foods that supported my own unique body and lifestyle. Foods that reduced inflammation and pain, increased my energy, impacted my mood and emotions.  Ladies, you can even increase your sex drive! Not sleeping well? That was me too! Now I sleep well and wake rested and refreshed.

Creating and implementing healthy habits that are designed for your unique, beautiful body not only help increase health and happiness, but it’s also an act of self-care.  I understand that self-care comes in many forms and one may work for you but not for your girlfriends. Maybe you don’t like Epson salt baths or find the gym to be “not your thing.”  Maybe you prefer grabbing a glass of wine with a friend or taking a walk after dinner with your spouse. Whatever you enjoy that fills your cup. Do it and then do it more.

Through my coaching programs and working one on one with clients, I emphasize several areas that support one another in life.  These areas are fuel for life (nourishing foods), movement for life (whatever movement you enjoy), surrounded for life (relationships), fulfilled for life (passion, purpose, spirituality, and joy) and loved for life (self-care and love).  Using a holistic approach, I educate others about how these areas of the “wellness wheel” are connected with one another.

Let’s think about it… 

How many times have you felt lonely, bored, stressed about your job or frustrated with your spouse and you grabbed the ice cream container or cookie jar?  Often our emotions and things that are going on in our world resort to the actions we take (especially with food and other means). I’ve been there and I am sure many of you can relate too! 

Being mindful of how we are feeling and what we are thinking makes a huge difference in how we respond to things.  Not to mention, our gut health is connected to our brain. So, if we are damaging our gut and microbiome, it’s impacting our thoughts, feelings, and actions.  This is another big reason to discover what foods support your own unique body.

As the season changes and summer moves into fall, I encourage you to slow down.  Observe the above areas in your life and how they are connected. Where can you make some changes?  Where are you not feeling fulfilled and nourished?  

Just as the leaves fall from the trees, fall is a season of releasing things that are no longer serving us.  Whether they be habits we need to change, toxicity, unhealthy relationships, fears and doubts, emotional baggage from the past.  Fall is a great time to detox…mind, body, and spirit.

I encourage you to include more self-care to support your body and mind as you naturally move through this beautiful process.  Experiment with things that bring you joy. Get out and try something new. Maybe try a new yoga or cooking class, volunteer, grab some friends and enjoy a picnic at a local winery.  Hold yourself accountable by penciling in your “self-care date” into your cute planner like you would a meeting.  

Consider the areas I shared and see how you can interconnect them.  Discover ways to fill the different areas of your own wellness wheel that work for you and your lifestyle.

Ladies, I say this to all of my clients.  Think about the oxygen mask on an airplane.  Who has to put theirs on first so that you can show up greater to give back and help others?  That’s right..it’s you! So, please take your cute little teapot off of the back burner and start creating or fulfilling your nourished life.  This isn’t a trendy new diet or phase. It’s a lifestyle and one you have to stay committed to.

 

Compassion, Space, Grace, Self-Care & HUMOR

Compassion, Space, Grace, Self-Care & HUMOR

COMPASSION

Kristen Neff has defined self-compassion as being composed of three main components–self-kindness, common humanity, and mindfulness.

She says self-compassion involves acting the same way towards yourself when you are having a difficult time, fail, or notice something you don’t like about yourself. Instead of just ignoring your pain with a “stiff upper lip” mentality, you stop to tell yourself “this is really difficult right now” how can I comfort and care for myself in this moment?

Instead of mercilessly judging or criticizing yourself for various inadequacies or shortcomings, self-compassion means you are kind and understanding when confronted with personal failings-after all, whoever said you were supposed to be perfect?

Please practice cultivating gentle, loving-kindness towards yourself as a way of being more self-compassionate.

SPACE

 A continuous area of expanse, which is free, available or unoccupied.

There have been times in my life I needed some space. A weekend getaway, walk through the woods, riding in the car playing my favorite tunes or just to being in a room all by myself.

Who remembers the Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella 1965 song that went like this…In my own little corner, in my own little chair, I can be whatever I want to be. There is such freedom in that chair.

When was the last time you allowed yourself some space?

GRACE

Is the spiritual freedom that arises from living in harmony with yourself, others, and with the entire world. ~Unknown

A virtue coming from God.

Mercy, pardon, favor, privilege, kindness, courtesy, approval, dignity, temporary exemption, honor, beauty, elegance, harmony, charm and divine love.

My 2019 One Word is Grace. I believe grace allows for our Wholistic heart, body, mind, and spirit to all be in full alignment bringing JOY to the world and all those in it.

What does Grace mean to you?

SELF-CARE

The practice of taking an active role in protecting one’s own well-being and happiness, in particular, during periods of stress.

I would like to share a blog that I think is well written. I credit Tracie Nichols with these wise words:

Recently I saw a social media post about self-care steps someone was taking after coming through an intense few weeks inviting folks to talk about the way they were taking care of themselves.

Not surprisingly, an impressive list of messages, nature rambles, spiritual experiences and the like followed.

What was surprising to me was the mixed set of reactions I felt when reading them.

There was my usual surge of “go you!” appreciation for people truly caring for themselves. I also felt exhausted and overwhelmed at the thought of trying to attempt any of these truly beautiful self-care practices myself. And then came an ache of aloneness and an alarming pulse of shame. (Shame?)

You see, my life right now is a storm of worry and off the charts stress. There are hard, hard things happening for 2 people I love. 2 people who are inextricably woven into the fabric of my daily life. People for whom I have a foot and a heart in the role of caretaker.

I’ll pause here to let you (deeply kind, so very compassionate and caring folks) no I’m OK. I know you’re all wise in the ways of healing and self-love and I’m not asking you to do the labor of offering advice (with a gentle appreciation for any who had that impulse). I simply offer this snapshot of my life to give you a bit of context So what I’m saying next about self-care makes sense.

Since a lot of my work centers around helping people Cultivate resilience, my aversion reactions to this post gave me this ghostly sense of being an outsider in a space I typically call home.

That pulse of shame? She’s there because “I know this stuff and I should be doing better.” which is hogwash, of course. But As I am sure you know when our resilience is stretched rice paper thin, that’s when our inner monsters stage their coup.

Hello, monsters…  Nope. You don’t get to take over ‘t get to take over…

So right now…

~because it’s all very intense and utterly beyond my control
~because it’s swampy with all the feelings, especially grief
~because my time isn’t my own – or doesn’t feel as if it is
~because the weight of this is bringing me to my knees – sometimes literally
~because massages and painting classes and long walks and silent retreats feel mythical. Unreachable. A climb up Everest in flip flops. 

…my version of self-care looks like

  • Remembering to eat.
  • Breathing a quiet “yes!” when it’s veggies rather than donuts.
  • Wearing the softest, most comfy clothes I own.
  • Embracing unplanned naps.
  • Stopping by a park for 10 minutes between transportation runs, rolling down the windows and breathing. Getting out of the car optional. Walking optional.
  • Wrapping my hands around a warm Cup of tea. Breathing.
  • Letting plans – for my business and life – go dormant for a bit.
  • Holding schedules – for my business and life – gently and loosely.
  • Whispering “I love you. You’ve got this.“ when I catch a glimpse of myself in random reflective surfaces.
  • Kindness and patience when none of these work.
  • Kindness when the patience fails.
  • Retroactive kindness when the kindness fails.

So, here’s my invitation to you this time: take a moment to notice the state of your resilience. And, if it feels nurture nourishing, whisper “I love you. You’ve got this.” when you catch a glimpse of yourself in random reflective surfaces. Saver how that feels. Build yourself a sweet well of self-love to draw on when life gets hard.

HUMOR

The quality of being amusing, comical or funny.

Humor is the gift we give ourselves but one that takes a little bit of work. We must look for the humor in every situation and use it to gain perspective, reduce stress and make others laugh and smile. When was the last time you had a good belly laugh?

About today’s author: Kat Middleton is an Empowerment Coach who is passionate about her work and advocates for authentic wholehearted living both personally and professionally. She is a Certified Professional Coach and Occupational Therapy Practitioner who loves working with people holistically; helping others to help themselves see things through new filters. Kat joined the Wholistic Woman community in September of 2017. She is very excited to learn, grow, and have much fun with this AMAZING group of women. Kat is available for private one-on-one coaching as well as group workshops, seminars, and speaking events.

“Spring” Into New Beginnings

“Spring” Into New Beginnings

Spring is finally here and it’s shown in many forms.  The weather is shifting, animals are awakening, the farmers are planting their crops and nature is blooming.  Spring brings so much beauty and joy in many forms.

While in yoga the other day, I connected with several ladies and our discussion shifted to the concept of spring and change.  This year, I keep hearing that so many are resisting change and feeling stuck.  Naturally, our bodies want to change as we leave winter and come into spring.  Yes, we often times get stuck in old habits, fear the unknown and resist this growth.  After leaving class, it made me think more in-depth about this concept.

It’s important to remember that change ultimately begins with us.  We are the main person who can shift our own lives. Change is inevitable but how we show up, the choices we make and our perceptions all play an important role.  As we make choices for change and reflect on who we’ve been and who we want to become, it’s important to do so with self-compassion.  There are a variety of feelings that may come with change, leaving the old and growing into the new.  If you’ve made choices that didn’t serve you well, don’t beat yourself up.  Ask yourself what you can take away from it and how you can grow from it.

Looking at life from a holistic perspective, think about where change can be made in your nutrition, movement, relationships, career (and finances) and spirituality.  Think about areas that may need improvement and implement a plan that works for you.  Consider some habits that may be holding you back.  Reflect on when they began, outcomes that have come from them and what improvements can be made to change them.

Below are some tips that may help as you transition into the spring season.

Nutrition

As we move from winter into spring, our plate will change. In the winter season, we eat hot, heavier root based meals.  We crate hearty stews and soups.  As spring approaches, our body craves lighter, refreshing meals.  Spring focuses on liver health, detoxification and it’s important to add in foods and tools that support the liver.  Some of my favorites are beets, fresh herbs (great for detoxification), carrots and avocados.  Eating with the seasons is very beneficial and it’s much easier to do this time of year with the farmers’ markets.

Relationships

It’s important to reflect on your personal and professional relationships. Unhealthy and toxic relationships play a huge part in our health and goals.  Focus on gratitude, forgiveness and implementing boundaries as needed.  Looking to grow your personal relationship?  What new activities and experiences can you create with others?  The warmer weather provides opportunities for outdoor events and activities.  There is a bounty of possibilities for simple pleasures.  Think about the things that bring you joy and who you want to experience them with.

Your Space

If you find your work and home space to be cluttered, chaotic and overwhelming, this may be a good place to make changes.  “Spring cleaning” can help with de-cluttering space, bring an opportunity for new things, minimize stress and overwhelm and help us feel lighter and leaner.  Spring is a good time to donate things that no longer serve us or things we don’t use.  It’s a good time for deep cleaning.  Open the windows to release old air and bring in freshness.

Movement

Healthy movement is so beneficial to the body and mind. Spring is a good time to get outside and move. Consider the activities that you enjoy.  Movement can be anything from hiking, biking, signing up for a race or trying a new yoga class.  With longer days and lighter evenings, spring offers an opportunity for walks after dinner and quality time with family and friends.

Self Care

As you experience change and implement new things, it’s important to be mindful of your experiences, what you’re thinking and implement compassion and care.  Making time for self-care daily is important for the body and mind.  Self-care doesn’t have to be time consuming or expensive.  It can be anything from a relaxing Epsom salt, reading a book, cooking a healthy meal and implementing breathing techniques and tools for alleviating stress.

When we look at the different holistic areas as I mentioned above, we can see how they often go hand in hand.  Taking a hike with your partner brings joy, creates quality time and includes movement and exercise.  Pack a healthy picnic and you’re adding in healthy nutrition.

This is just one example of creating healthy habits, fueling things that nourish your life and help with change.

Begin this new season by focusing on the key areas of your life.  Allow opportunities for change and growth while embracing the uncertainty.  Focus more on love (of yourself and others) over fear and the ego.  Discover new habits for growth, happiness, gratitude, joy, and nourishment.

Let’s get Spring Cleaning!

Today’s author: Kim Wilson is a retired police officer with a huge passion for helping others and working in the community. She is a Certified Holistic Health Coach (CHC) with a Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology from Towson University. For more information on Kim and how she is empowering women to live the nourished life, please visit her website.

Be Washed; Girl, Wash Your Face

Be Washed; Girl, Wash Your Face

As an Occupational Therapy Professional, one of the many things we do every day is to help people with their activities of daily living. Things like grooming, bathing, and dressing.

In the upcoming BE WASHED Event, as your Evening Coach, I will be helping you in another activity of daily living…the area of your thinking.

Imagine if you will, that voice that sometimes sits on your shoulder. Is it whispering words of TRUTH and LOVE or FEAR and LIES?

We will begin the evening retreat by exploring the book, Girl; Wash Your Face by Rachel Hollis. Here, we will learn to STOP believing the lies about who we are so we can HONOR and become who we were meant to be our true authentic selves.

Have you ever found yourself saying things like “I’ll start that diet tomorrow.” Then several pounds up on the scale you hear yourself repeating those same words weeks later? Me too! I can’t tell you the number of times I have started my diet tomorrow, Monday, or the first of the New Year. Or how about…I’m going to take that spin class at the Y, or I’ll start walking around the block every day from now on.

WELLLLLLLLLLLL Lies, all lies we tell ourselves. We like to talk about all the things we are going to do, learn about the things we are going to do, but somehow, we never get around to DOING all the things we say we are going to do. Ugh! Can anyone out there relate?

Many of us can. The Be Washed event will expose more of the most common lies we tell ourselves and offer new strategies to help us be honest with ourselves about what we are blowing off.

The second half of the event we will be taking a look at the book Change your Mind, and Your Life Will Follow by Karen Casey. Her book showcases 12 principles that guide us towards LOVE. Who out there doesn’t need more of that?

Thirty years ago Karen Casey wandered into a support group and learned there was only one thing she could change—herself! The result of this change was so profound she dedicated much of her life to teaching others about it.

I, like Karen, believe if we change our minds, our lives WILL follow. I want to use the opportunity I have as an Occupational Therapy Professional and a Coach to help others grow in this area of thought. Let’s face it; it truly is an activity of daily living.

Let’s think better, do better and feel better. What do you say?

Hope to see you there!

About today’s author: Kat Middleton is an Empowerment Coach who is passionate about her work and advocates for authentic wholehearted living both personally and professionally. She is a Certified Professional Coach and Occupational Therapy Practitioner who loves working with people holistically; helping others to help themselves see things through new filters. Kat joined the Wholistic Woman community in September of 2017. She is very excited to learn, grow, and have much fun with this AMAZING group of women. Kat is available for private one-on-one coaching as well as group workshops, seminars, and speaking events.

Love Over Fear – A New and Growing Superpower!

Love Over Fear – A New and Growing Superpower!

Are you one of the people that have a tendency to be fearful and hard on yourself? It’s like an automatic default to the land of negative thinking and feelings of unworthiness. Others tell you to stop being so hard on yourself, and you wonder how? If you knew how to do that, you would certainly have done that a long time ago to stop the suffering.

Over the years I began to realize this was a real problem for a lot of people and me. I now see it as an opportunity and blessing in the pursuit of wholehearted living. I learned all about distorted thinking and the lies we tell ourselves and automatically believe. It was a real awakening. I read a book titled Ten Days to Self Esteem by David Burns, and there I found a breakdown of the many ways we can distort our thinking.

  • All or Nothing thinking – Looking at things in Black & White
  • Overgeneralizing – Viewing an adverse event as a never-ending pattern of defeat
  • Mental Filter – Dwelling on the negatives and avoiding the positives.
  • Discounting the Positives – Insisting that your accomplishments or positive qualities don’t count.
  • Jumping to Conclusions – Concluding things are wrong without any conclusive evidence. (Mindreading) or (Fortune Telling)
  • Magnification or Minimization – Blowing things way out of proportion or shrinking their importance.
  • Emotional Reasoning – Reasoning from how you feel. You feel like an idiot so you must be one.
  • Should Statements – Criticizing yourself or others with should, shouldn’t, must, ought’s, and have to.
  • Labeling – Instead of saying I made a mistake. You label yourself a loser or stupid.
  • Blame – Blaming yourself for something you are not entirely responsible for or blaming other people and overlooking the ways you may have contributed to the problem.

What I initially believed is that we feel the way we think. So, I thought to myself, just think positive! But as my default would have it that led me back to… I am thinking positive but still feeling negative so this must be my fault. Not knowing if that was self-centered or reality-based, I kept searching for answers.

That’s when I discovered Brené Brown. This quote of hers spoke directly to me:

(Love over Fear and growing a new superpower was in the works but it would require more explanation and understanding).

Brené teaches us YOUR THOUGHTS + ACTIONS + FEELINGS ARE LIKE A THREE-LEGGED STOOL

One leg represents Thinking.

 One leg represents Feelings.

One leg represents Behavior.

Incorporating all three would then equal our wholehearted living and loving selves.

FEAR thinks-I’m not good enough, or I’m no good at this, how frustrating, I’ll numb out with some of my favorite comfort food.

WHOLEHEARTED LOVE thinks – I’m going to work on this, I feel good about having a goal, and I will take it one day at a time and strive to build on that.

Wholehearted living and loving are about engaging in our lives from a place of worthiness, being brave, putting love over fear and knowing we are enough.

While some argue that you can change your life by changing your thoughts, Brené has seen no evidence of this in her research. She says, “Real transformation doesn’t happen until we address all three parts as equally essential parts of a whole, elements that are inextricably connected to one another”.

If being wholehearted makes us whole, then the opposite of that is to be broken, fractured, or in disarray. So many of us are moving thru life this way. The irony is that we attempt to disown our difficult stories to appear more whole or more acceptable, but our wholeness actually depends on the integration of All of our experiences.

Remember… the three-legged stool shows the way you THINK affects the way you FEEL which then determines and will have a direct impact on your BEHAVIOR and what you DO.

So what then do we do?

WE GET CURIOUS

Be willing to open a line of inquiry into what’s going on with you, and why?

  • Why am I being so hard on myself? Or others?
  • What is setting me off?
  • How did I get to the point of no return and wanting to punch something?
  • Why am I so overwhelmed?
  • Why can’t I shut my brain off?
  • Why am I reacting so emotionally?
  • What is going on?

Since we respond to EMOTIONS FIRST, and they often direct us to shut down or disengage. This is why we need to train ourselves to get curious about our emotions and develop a desire to learn more about why we feel the way we do. Although we don’t want to feel our feelings, this is the starting point to growing our superpower.

Brené says “The opposite of recognizing that we’re feeling something is denying our emotions. The opposite of being curious is disengaging. When we reject our stories and disconnect from tough emotions, they don’t go away; instead,

“They own us, they define us”!

Our job then is not to deny our feelings in fear of feeling them, but rather to explore them with love, grace (My One Word for 2019) and curiosity, teasing out the distorted thoughts and getting clear on our truth (My One Word for 2018). Being open to the daily Wholistic  (heart, mind, body, and spirit) practice of consciously choosing our thoughts, feelings, behaviors, and living and loving as a whole person, growing and strengthening our Love over Fear Superpower!!

About today’s author: Kat Middleton is an Empowerment Coach who is passionate about her work and advocates for authentic wholehearted living both personally and professionally. She is a Certified Professional Coach and Occupational Therapy Practitioner who loves working with people holistically; helping others to help themselves see things through new filters. Kat joined the Wholistic Woman community in September of 2017. She is very excited to learn, grow, and have much fun with this AMAZING group of women. Kat is available for private one-on-one coaching as well as group workshops, seminars, and speaking events.

Fiscal Self-Care

Fiscal Self-Care

Self-care can be described as incorporating practices that increase our mental, physical and spiritual wellness. It’s about taking time to reflect on the parts of your life that leave you feeling drained or overwhelmed, and taking action steps to lower your stress and increase your well-being.

Practicing self-care can often take a back seat to the hustle and bustle of our everyday lives. We can forget how important it is to make sure we nurture ourselves so that we can show up as our best selves for those that are counting on us-as the saying goes, “You can’t pour from an empty cup!”

Financial self-care is no different! By taking a few steps you can begin to re-nourish your perspective about your money mindset and increase your overall sense of wellness.

Here are some steps you can take to begin the practice of self-care with your finances:

  • Take some quiet time to reflect on your short-and long-term goals. How are your financial decisions supporting these goals? How can you change your approach to making financial decisions to facilitate these goals?
  • Try using new self-talk about your approach to money: stifle that inner critic!
  • Instead of saying, “I am bad with money,” try saying, “I am learning more about how to manage my money.”
  • Rather than “I can’t afford it,” try saying,” This is not in my current spending plan.”
  • Replace, “I’ll never be able to (go on vacation, get out of debt, purchase a home) with, “I am learning to make financial decisions the will help me reach my financial goals.”
  • Make a Money Journal: this can help serve as a place to dream and reflect on the positive steps you are taking in increasing your financial wellness!
    • Use one section for your goals and dreams. Use pictures that will give you a visual reminder of what you want your money to do for you!
    • Label another section for tracking your financial decisions. Pay close attention to how you were feeling when you made those decisions! Were you spending extra to make up for some negative emotion that you were experiencing? What did you purchase? How much did this cost you fiscally and emotionally?
    • Make a section for giving yourself an “Atta Girl” moments: have you decided not to spend and actually put that money into a savings account? Make sure you give yourself recognition for taking a step towards your savings goals. Give yourself some gold stars!
  • Reward Yourself! We have all been conditioned to be rewarded for doing something well. I am a strong believer in rewards! Find ways of rewarding yourself without sabotaging your budget or your goals! Make a list of affordable rewards so that you (and your family) can feel rewarded without derailing the positive steps you have been taking with your money.

Self-care is vital to a holistic approach to our lives! Financial self-care will enhance all areas of your life mind, body, and spirit! By incorporating these tips, you will feel an increased sense of optimism about your future, and new-found confidence in your financial wellbeing!