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3 Things I’ve Learned About Feeling Overwhelmed

Today I have the great honor of guest posting over at Lindsey Cotter’s blog, Cotter Crunch.  If for some reason you don’t know Lindsay, she is the Sherpa Wife of pro-triathlete James Cotter (aka. The Kiwi) and a wealth of knowledge in the healthy living genre.  Her blog is my “go to” for gluten-free goodness.

I am talking about feeling overwhelmed.  My writing on this topic comes from 10 years of experience with my own feelings and guiding my coaching clients through their process of self-discovery .  My writing also comes from the heart as well as my anecdotal research.

Banish those feelings of overwhelm by reading what I have learned about feeling overwhelmed.  3 Things Ive Learned About Feeling Overwhelmed via @familysportlife

(c) depositphotos/andresr

As I sat down to give an intro here I googled the definition of “Overwhelmed.”  The word has more than one meaning and the first two grabbed my attention.  The first is to” bury or drown beneath a huge mass.”  True.  Another definition is to “defeat completely.” Interesting.

What I have learned about overwhelm can be summed up in it’s multiple definitions.  I have learned it is completely possible to go from feeling buried under a huge mass to defeating (that feeling) completely.  Don’t believe me? Head on over to Linday’s and find out what I have learned and how I am changing my perspective.

I am hanging in the comment section at Cotter Crunch so come find me there!

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Things I’m Struggling With Right Now

Since it’s a short week, I thought we would go with some honest talk opposed to Meal Plan Inspiration.

How do you do it all? How do you keep it all together?

I get these questions often and they make me chuckle.

I don’t have it all together. I don’t do it all. There are a lot of things I don’t do.

I am no different than anyone else. I stand beside each and every one of you in our collective messy moments. Every day I set my intention to redefine balance in a busy world. Just like you.

I have strengths and successes and opportunities. Just like you.

There are things I struggle with. Maybe my struggles are just like yours or maybe they are completely different. Either way, I struggle, along side of you.

Nobody's Perfect.  We all have our struggles.  Here are the things I'm struggling with right now. via @familysportlife

Sometimes we avoid talking about our reality because we feel vulnerable or shameful or we simply don’t want to focus on negative things. However, there is important work that needs to happen to overcome our struggles and it starts with awareness and acceptance.

How do we talk about our struggles and stay positive?

We celebrate what’s working to acknowledge ourselves. Then we talk about our reality and think of options. These options start to form our positive actions for moving forward.

Like this…

Let’s start with what I am NOT struggling with:

I am not struggling with motherhood on a whole. I am in a place where I am feeling calm, present, and joyful in my parenting. Somehow I woke up and realized my kids are growing and one day (sooner than later) they will be grown. I want to be present now.

I haven’t always been like this. This has taken choice, control, and work to get here. I slip up but not as often now that I have a vision for my mothering. My vision provides me a place to focus my intention.

I am not struggling with my purpose. My vision is cast, my mission is clear, my actions are aligned. Some days life is balanced. Some days balance is illusive. I accept that. That is life. I am learning to love it anyway.

I am not struggling with my self-confidence. Since starting my coach training program back in September, I have been working on myself diligently. Part of my coach training requires me to have a coach and she has been instrumental in helping me reframe much of my beliefs around my skills and abilities. Also helping is my daily meditation practice and having a process in place when I am feeling less confident.

Here is what I AM struggling with:

I am struggling with diet and nutrition. Specifically cheese! It has become abundantly clear that I react to dairy. I cut it out, the body works better but I am less happy. Cheese makes me happy. Eat the cheese, it tastes great but the congestion, immediate skin breakouts, and digestion issues stink.

Outcome: I am practicing patience and kindness for myself. While it should be an easy answer for me, it’s not. I continue to limit my dairy and be more mindful of my triggers.

I am struggling with maintaining my energy. I have been on a strict physical rest protocol for about six months. I want to get back into a routine but I am scared I won’t do a good job balancing my energy. I am scared to go back to a place of chronic fatigue and depletion. I am scared that old habits die hard and my “push through all the things” mentality will come back.

Outcome: I am working on recasting my fitness vision for 2015. I am creating a vision that strengthens, heals, and nourishes my body. I am working to reframe my fears into opportunities.

I am struggling with doing to much. Always! I am skilled at saying “no” to outside commitments. I have even improved my ability to say “no” to my children. I always struggling with saying “no” to myself. I attack my goals with enthusiasm that borders obsession. When I feel passionately about my work, it becomes hard for me to step away from it. Bringing my performance and lifestyle coaching business on-line in 2015 is a HUGE goal for me and a dream I have held for 10 years. There are no shortage of tasks to be done.

Outcome: While I have timeframes of when I want certain things done, I am my own boss. If timeframes need to get pushed off so I can do less, I am in control of those decisions.

Tell me something you want to celebrate and give me one of your struggles.

15 comments - Latest by:
  • Kim It took me years to get to the point that I wasn't struggling with my parenting but I'm happy to …
  • Tara Newman I remind myself daily that I don't sweat the small stuff. Enjoy that blogging break!!

The Sherpa Wife Chronicles: The Beginning

The other week I had the honor of recording a podcast episode with Arshad Bahl, founder of Amrita Bars and the Nourish Your Passion podcast.  I was guest number TWO, y’all!  Arshad and I chatted away for about an hour on all things family, sport, and life. Oh, an we dished blogging and social media too.

Amrita Bars Podcast Nourishing Your Passion

Part of the discussion focused on my support of John, Family Sport Life’s resident Ironman Triathlete. Today, I am elaborating on how I became a Sherpa Wife.  The beginning wasn’t pretty!

When I wrote the Sherpa Wife Chronicles version of our experience at Ironman Lake Placid I was flooded with emails from athletes who wished their spouses supported them the way I support John. What I want everyone to realize is this is our middle. And you can’t ever compare your beginning to someone else’s middle.

THIS was our beginning…

A little over three years ago I was waking up on a beach. In a tent. The light rain falling from the pre-dawn sky was the calm before the storm. It was barely 6 am. I pat the spot next to me on the air mattress to check for my husband, he wasn’t there. I curse and stumble across the dark tent to check on the kids. At the time they were five and three.

We had planned to sleep on the beach with neighbors but it was the weekend of John’s first triathlon. A sprint distance not too far from where we were camping. John was going to wake up early (is there any other time for triathlon), go to the race, then come back to the beach. The night before the weather looked bad and I asked him if he was planning on racing. With never having completed a triathlon, he was already a triathlete. Yes, he was definitely racing regardless of weather.

As dawn broke, the rain became torrential. I sat there alone, in a flooding tent with two scared kids, and not a clue as to how my life would change over the next few years. The Sherpa Wife Chronicles had begun and I didn’t even know it.

I left the tent cursing John and triathlon (that didn’t take long) to check on my neighbors. We definitely had to get off the beach. Our skin was already pruning and my kids were terrified.

John had taken the truck and I couldn’t drive my volvo wagon onto the beach. I sucked it up. I got the kids to the car, bundled them up in blankets, shoved a bagel in their little hands and locked them in the car while I proceeded to decamp. Running back and forth on a beach with heavy loads of gear on my back. While John was trying not to drown somewhere in the Great South Bay , I endured in my own way.

When I finally got home, I dropped my freezing kids in a hot bath and lied in wait for my prey to walk through the door. I am not going to lie, the second he walked in the door I pounced. I was all sorts of ticked off at being abandoned on a beach in a rain storm while he went off to do this “triathlon thing.” But as I was trying to vigorously make my point, he was already plotting his next race.

It took me a long time to stand beside John and truly support him in his passion for triathlon. I spent much of 2012 resisting what was happening in our home. It was a contentious triathlon season. I attended no races out of a combination of spite, protest, and someone had to be at home with the kids.

By the time the 2012 season ended, I realized there was no way I was going to win this war. Nothing worked, not even indifference. John was determined to make triathlon a lifestyle. Even if I did win this war, what did that mean? John quits doing something that gives him purpose? When I stepped back to reflect on that, it hardly seemed like a win.

In 2013, I made a commitment to shift my perspective about triathlon and embrace my role in supporting my husband. It was not an easy shift to make and something I continue to work on.

Looking back on the last three years, I can tell you that triathlon has strengthened me in ways I didn’t expect and I am not even a triathlete. It has taught me more about motivation, goal setting, performance psychology, and human behavior than any graduate class I have ever taken. It has taught me that the world is big enough for all of our dreams. Standing is the shadows of someone else’s achievement knowing you played a role in that success has brought me a level of confidence I didn’t expect. A confidence that has allowed me to step out of the shadows and stand in my own success.

I wouldn’t be where I am today without John’s competitive spirit, triathlon, Ironman, and all the friends we have made along the way.  It’s been a great ride and just wait till you see what we have in store for 2015!

If you listen to the podcast (which you are all rushing to do RIGHT NOW), I would love to hear your feedback!

Tell me about a time when you had to shift your perspective.

20 comments - Latest by:
  • Tara Newman I think sometimes we forget to talk about our beginnings. Not to hide anything but because we forget or …
  • Tara Newman Thanks Nellie. It felt good to tell the story.

Get Your Groove Back Meal Plan

Looking for new real food recipes? Check out this MEAL PLAN INSPIRATION via @familysportlife


This past week was an off week for us with meal planning.  Last weekend we decided to chuck a lot of our responsibilities aside to get out doors and nurture our family.  Chucking our responsibilities meant not really doing a great food shopping, no meal planning and no food prep.

I didn’t quite realize what I was doing when I made that decision last weekend.  We spent the week out of sorts, not sure what we were eating for dinner, scrounging in the cabinets for ingredients, and meals of any kind were disorganized. Without a proper grocery shopping, I didn’t have a ton of stuff to pack for lunches which meant The A’s bought more days than not.

Not surprising the kids loved the “laid back” eating plan and have been trying to strategize a way to maintain this new program.  So, now I am left trying to figure out how to get our groove back this week.

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16 comments - Latest by:
  • Tara Newman Whoa! That's huge for you that he is doing the cooking. That must be a big help.
  • Sarah @ Beauty School Dropout Love your simple meal plan! My husband has almost completely taken over cooking in the past week or so …

How to Slow Down the Holiday Rush

Stress Less This Holiday Season with these tips to slow down the holiday rush.  via @familysportlife

(c) Depositphotos/markin

Nine years ago my son was born in October and prior to going to the hospital I sent out handmade Thanksgiving invitations to 23 of my closest relatives.  Packed in my overnight back was my coveted collection of Bon Appetite magazines.  I had already tested most of my recipes, created 23 individual menus and decided on the pumpkin bread I was going to bake to be given out as “favors” (one loaf per family).  Nobody was allowed to bring anything.  I took great pride in doing it all myself.

This had been my routine for the three prior years.  Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday and nothing made me happier than to spend six months planning for my big day.

Thanksgiving 2005 went off without a hitch but I was tired.  I had little time to recover before I started to plan for Christmas Eve, my second favorite holiday.  I love the sparkle and enchantment and the magic.

I remember running around Christmas Eve day like a LUNATIC.  The expectations I had put on myself were too much and I was cracking quickly.  My sister looked at me and said (with great irritation) “you have GOT to CALM DOWN.”

And you know what? She was absolutely right.  If I couldn’t manage the expectations I was putting on myself, I needed to lower the bar.  I needed to create traditions that brought me joy in the simple things allowing me to savor these precious moments with my kids.

So I said farewell to Thanksgiving for 23 with handmade invitations and favors.  Instead, I said hello to things like our annual tradition of “Christmas Tree Hunting.”   We take the kids to go hiking at Mohonk Mountain Preserve and cut down our own tree the day after Thanksgiving.  Something I wouldn’t have had the energy for if I was catering a large Thanksgiving.

We now go to my sister-in-laws for Christmas Eve so I can focus on decorating gingerbread houses, making reindeer food, hiding elves, and watching Christmas specials.

In the nine years since my son was born, life has changed a lot.  Our family’s interests and hobbies have changed.  Each year brings a new exciting stage in our kids lives.

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19 comments - Latest by:
  • Ana Lynn These are great tips. Just the other day, Frank and I have been talking about whether or not we want …
  • Tara Newman That's the bummer of it isn't it? That you wind up feeling inadequate and comparing. That's how I used to …