Skip to content

How to Embrace Rest

Today I am over at Cotter Crunch sharing my story about Adrenal Fatigue and the lessons I have learned about embracing rest from a physical and mental perspective.  I was so honored that Lindsay asked me to guest for her so she could take some much needed rest! If you are new to Lindsay’s blog, hang around a while and check out her posts.  She is an honest blogger who writes from her perspective as the wife of a Pro Triathlete, nutrition manager, and fitness consultant.  She has great health tips and gluten free recipes that focus on gut health.  If you are willing to learn, she has a lot to teach!

Oh! Lindsay is also the founder of a company called Healthy Bites.  I highly recommend you check out her Healthy Bites E-Cookbooks (Book 1 and Book 2).  These little bites are packed with healthy fats and protein.  I like mine with a cup of coffee in the morning!

WIAW The Protein Challenge via @familysportlife

 

Well, what are you waiting for? Go check out How to Embrace Mental and Physical Rest.

No comment so far

The Art of Uncluttered Living

The Art of Uncluttered Living via @familysportlife #organizationI am so excited to be writing about this topic today. We are big believers that a cluttered space equals a cluttered mind. The very first thing I do when I am feeling overwhelmed is to do a mini purge. A mini purge for me is when I pick a nook or cranny of my house and spend 15 minutes freeing that space from clutter.

The reason why I am jazzed to be writing on this subject is because I am at the tail end of a 3 week purge. I have never in my life purged so many items from my home.  I can say without a doubt this experience has been life altering.

There are absolutely people who thrive in spaces that are more cluttered and this is comforting to some. As a matter of fact, many creatives need to fill their spaces to feel inspired. I judge you not.  Defining what clutter vs. a productive living space means to me has taken the better part of 10 years and will most likely evolve throughout my lifetime.

We have always had minimalist tendencies. We aren’t big on “stuff” but then you buy a house, you furnish a house, you throw in some kids, a cat, and triathlon.  Before you know it things are feeling a little congested.

I feel like we have parted with the majority of our personal items but surely the actual number is much less. Most were donated.  Bigger ticket items were sold on Craigslist or in closed Facebook groups which received a lot of attention from people we know and people we don’t know.

Are we moving? Are we in financial crisis? Are we sick? Will you let me into your home to have a private showing of your belongings?

Nope. Nope. Nope. Huh?

We are all good. Actually, we are better than good. We are fantabulous! And then came the next questions.

WHY? Followed by HOW?

Why?

We believe our lives needed to be simplified. Drastically simplified. We believe our focus is better spent on the most important things – our relationships.  Our relationship to our spiritual selves, as husband and wife, with our children, with our health and with the achievement of our highest potential.

If you think about what these relationships require, the answer is simply our MOST focused energy. It doesn’t require:

  • 4 sets of sheets for every bed.
  • Enough towels to outfit an NFL locker room.
  • More toys than there is time to play.
  • Furniture for show.
  • An extra set of dishes.
  • 4 tablecloths that get used maybe once a year.
  • A dining room table for folding laundry.
  • Beauty products and clothes that are rarely used.
  • Home decor items that I don’t LOVE.

We felt that we had abundance but in the wrong places. Freeing our space allowed us to make room for the right abundance when the time presents itself.

How?

If you having been hanging with my crew for a while, you know there was a time in our lives when things were tight financially. To be completely honest, we were totally broke.

To help ease the financial strain we would hold a few garage sales each year. Lots of items that we prided ourselves on went during these fire sales.  It was way back then that we started making peace with letting our possessions go. It has been an arduous process of separating emotion and sentiment from “things.” This did not come easily to us.  A sad commentary on our culture is that we as a society place too high of a value on the material. In my opinion, it is easier for us to make a connection with a tangible object than something intangible like an emotion or feeling.

So, for those who have asked me HOW do we do this? How do we unclutter our space and our life?

I don’t have that answer. I can’t give you a process to prepare you emotionally. I can only share with you what might be helpful to get you started.

The Art of Uncluttered Living|Getting Started:

  • Create a vision for what an uncluttered life looks like to YOU. Be introspective in determining what this means for you and those who live in your space. In June, I sent John an email outlining my thoughts for our vision and goals after Ironman Lake Placid. Included was a mission to Live Simply.
  • Set a concrete goal. Uncluttering your space can be objective. For example, donate all items from the kitchen that we don’t use on a monthly basis by the end of September.
  • Take it slow and start small. People look at what we did and thought “Wow that was…( brave or extreme or enviable).” However, there is no such thing as an overnight anything. We have been on this path for a while and our journey just took a major shift.  Don’t compare your beginning to my middle.
  • Find inspiration. Ever watch Tiny House Nation? Watching people dramatically downsize their living spaces contributed to our evolution of thought.
  • Be Patient. If this is something you want to do but are struggling, be patient. The universe works in mysterious ways and when you least expect it you will experience the right shift in thinking that will allow you to continue your journey. An episode of Tiny House Nation spotlighted a couple who lost everything in the Colorado wild fires. It was heartbreaking. A few weeks later I was gappling with letting an item go when I asked myself “what would you save in a fire?” The answer was surprisingly simple – my family.

There are very few words to describe how I feel after letting so much go…

Freedom. Peace. Happiness.  Gratitude.

Humbled.  Blessed. Uncomplicated.

Do you have a recent example of how you recently challenged yourself to live differently?

34 comments - Latest by:
  • Tara Newman Excellent awareness and a great strategy. We can only change the things we have control over. My kids …
  • Tara Newman Yes, we are shopping twins! I hardly buy anything anymore.

5 Ways to Stop Negative Thoughts in Their Tracks

5 Ways To Stop Negative Thoughts in Their Tracks via @familysportlife #motivation #inspiration #personaldevelopment

You yourself, as much as anyone in the entire universe deserves your love and affection. – Guatama Buddha

Much of our lives are based on our beliefs.  Beliefs lie under the surface and are the essence of who we are.  We have positive beliefs and we have negative beliefs. Typically we sail through life with our underlying beliefs causing no problems.  Occasionally, we hit a bump in the road which leads to some negative thoughts, patterns, or beliefs (whatever you want to call them).  These beliefs stand in the way of our ability to achieve at our highest potential and they stand in the way of our happiness.

It happens to all of us.  We hit a slump or we get stuck.  We just don’t feel like our best self.  Maybe it’s mental.  Maybe it’s physical. Most likely it’s both.

We don’t look a certain way – we are too fluffy, don’t look fit, too scrawny, our arms are too big, our legs are too skinny.

Maybe you are fine with how you look physically but have critical thoughts about your success.  You have set your expectations too high so you never feel successful.  Even when you are succeeding, you don’t feel that true sense of achievement.  Have you ever fallen short of a goal and that feeling of shame lingers a little too long?

Sadly, these thoughts and underlying beliefs start to shape how we perceive our SELF and effect our performance.  I know for me, I have experienced all these things.  Critical thoughts about my body image as well as my sense of achievement have played on my belief system effecting my thoughts, emotions, and behaviors.  In these times, I feel like I am stuck in a negative loop of thinking.
Here’s the good news!  We all have the ability to pull ourselves out of these negative looping thoughts when we are ready.  Below are some suggestions to get you started, give you inspiration, or simply validate the path you are taking.

5 Ways to Stop Negative Thoughts in Their Tracks:

Understand What Self Awareness Is

Have you ever realized we are our own worst critics?  How we eviscerate ourselves in the name of self-awareness?  Self-awareness isn’t about only focusing on what doesn’t serve us, it’s about seeing the full picture. Self-awareness is not about action, that comes later, nor should it be about judgment.  Self-awareness is simply the acknowledgment of a belief or behavior.  It is a lifelong journey focused on gaining greater insight into what makes us uniquely us.  Self-awareness is a positive experience and we should be cautious when it turns negative.

Maximize Your Strengths

On an interview for my graduate school internship I was asked the dreaded question of what I thought my strengths and weaknesses were? Since I was in my early 20’s and not a skilled interviewer, I did what was natural.  I launched in to all my weaknesses without a thought for presenting my strengths first.  I got the internship but I also got the first piece of honest feedback in my life.  It was made clear, in no uncertain terms, leverage your strengths to overcome your weaknesses.

Next time you start looping on the things you aren’t good at stop.  Start looping on the things you are good at!  Take a new look at that body part you have been nit-picking on.  What body parts are your strengths?  Play those up.

Be Mindful

Observe your thoughts and behaviors.  What messages do they send? If there is a negative thought that seems to loop over an over, try finding a mantra to stop the looping thought.

Consider keeping a journal to track of your thoughts, beliefs, emotions, and behaviors.  Journaling is a great way to create mindfulness and identify patterns in our behavior.

For the purpose of identifying patterns, I keep a weekly journal in Evernote so I can see all the days grouped together without having to flip through pages.  However, if you are really struggling to sort something out, I find pen and paper work best.  Something about the physical motion of the pen that is meditative.  It is important to pick a process that works for YOU!

Reframing Thoughts and Perspectives

Not all our thoughts, perspectives or beliefs need to be reframed.  Most serve us quite well.  The key is being able to identify the thoughts requiring a shift in perspective.

While you are being mindful and journaling, you can ask yourself “is this thought empowering or defeating?”  On a very simplistic level this will let you know if you need to consider reframing the thought.

To reframe the thought, you will need to flip it from defeating to empowering.  Some examples are:

  • Defeating thought: I missed my goal and feel like a failure.  Reframed: While I didn’t make my goal there is an opportunity to learn something about myself.
  • Defeating thought: I never meet my own expectations and feel unsuccessful.  Reframed:  I work hard, take initiative, and have a positive attitude.  That is what defines success.

Give Voice to Dark Thoughts

We all have dark thoughts.  Things we don’t want to admit to anyone.  Thoughts that embarrass us for having them and induce feelings of shame.  These thoughts make us feel weak and vulnerable.  From my experience, when we leave these thoughts in the dark recesses of our mind (and hearts) they give way to underlying beliefs that don’t serve us.

Finding the courage and support to shine light on those dark places is one of my greatest struggles.

I have recently had a shift in perspective while listening to the Strong Body Whole Heart podcast episode 38: Being Honest and episode 41: Real Talk on Shame.  Kelly and Maggie are beyond brave, authentic, and encouraging for people looking to embrace their vulnerabilities.

Conclusion

Don’t take this list to be finite and don’t think you need to do all of these.  If and when you are ready, find the encouragement to start small.  One small action will give way to other small actions.  I am certainly not an authority on this topic.  As a matter of fact, I consider myself a life-long student.  What I do know for certain is that the self is the guru.  In other words, we have the answers we seek.

Leave a comment telling me how you stop negative thoughts in their tracks? I would love to hear your perspective.

PS. I would be so grateful if you shared this post with others on Facebook or Pinterest.  I want to encourage others to be their own guru!

34 comments - Latest by:
  • Tara Newman As someone who has been bullied in the past, I will agree with you here. Support is critical.
  • Tara Newman Awareness is the first step and I think we all need to work on this continually.

Meal Plan Inspiration|September 7, 2104

Meal Plan Inspiration via @familysportlife

Last week was back to school and we decided to wing it.  This week’s theme seems to be time-crunched! John is racing Mighty Hamptons triathlon today which throws are prep day off.  Then I have a busy week at work with a few days off-site and a formal (work) dinner on Tuesday.

If there was ever a week that required some serious meal prep, it was this week!

Food prep via @familysportlife #foodprep #mealplan #realfood

I spent much of Saturday morning prepping for snacks, lunches, and dinners.  I kept it simple as to not overwhelm or take up any more time than it needed.

Here is what I prepped:

  1. 2 dozen hardboiled eggs
  2. Blanched kale for John’s smoothies – John says it takes away the bitter taste.
  3. Strawberries
  4. Baby Carrots (I just took them out of the bag :-))
  5. Broccoli
  6. Red peppers
  7. Cucumbers
  8. Grapes
  9. String beans
  10. Red and gold beets
  11. Spinach
  12. Beet juice (not shown)
  13. The start of breakfast rice bowls (not shown)

Now on to the meal plan:

Sunday: Spaghetti and Crockpot Meatballs

Monday: Some kind of egg thing like this Sausage and Egg Bake.

Tuesday: Dinner out for me.  The rest of the fam is going to wing it.

Wednesday: Ginger Lime and Tamari Sablefish.   

Thursday: If I can get my act together, these Peanutty Quinoa Bowls with Tofu look delish! NO The A’s will most likely not eat this.  Big A likes tofu but uncooked (weird!).

Friday: Whatever is left in the fridge.  Honestly, that’s my favorite way to eat.

Saturday: Date Night! We are heading to our favorite restaurant and I hope they have some Pumpkin Ale!

Do you food prep? What are your best tips for a time-crunched week?

 

17 comments - Latest by:
  • Michelle @ A Dish of Daily Life I hate time crunched weeks. I did plan a little ahead this week though, and tonight I have something already …
  • Tara Newman The meatballs were good. We added a little extra almond flour though.

Lately.

LatelyThis week my family has required my full attention.  Ensuring my children have a successful back to school experience is my priority this time of year.  This means listening to all their new adventures, helping them acclimate to their new routine, and taming the chaos this first week of school.

It’s weeks like this where I feel the stress of having a blog but I am working on letting go of pretty much everything – stress, guilt, negative energy, people who aren’t that into me, things, hurtful memories, and the list goes on.

While I didn’t want to leave you hanging this week, I also don’t have a lot of time to hang out.  Let’s play a quick game of catch up and don’t forget to SIGN UP for our newsletter!

Our newsletter, The Successletter,  has become my priority.  I enjoy the more intimate engagement with our most devoted readers.  So, once in a while there may be a week with no blog post (life happens), there will always be The Successletter!  It is full of informative links, tips, tricks, hacks, and more personal updates from FSL Headquarters.  Readers are encouraged to send me helpful links to be spotlighted and I will gladly give you a hat tip!  (yes, bloggy friends, it’s ok to send me a link to your own work).

The biggest thing in my life right now is my health and taking a holistic approach to overall wellness.  I have always believed in holistic health but I think my view of “healthy” has been skewed.  For example, I eat a real food diet the majority of the time with a few treats here and there.  However, almost every meal I eat is “on the run” or in front of a screen. There is a lot of mindlessness that goes into my consumption of food.

“In front of a screen.” And then there is that.  Most of my day if not all of my day is spent in front of a screen whether it is at work or through blogging/social media.  I can’t help but think about how the EMF exposure is effecting my health.

I talk a lot about organization and productivity.  It’s kind of my thing.  It’s my thing because it is something I need to be the most mindful of.  My writing serves as a reminder for myself first and then to serve others in however they want to receive my words.  I am energetic, passionate, and love to be involved.  These qualities require much reigning in. It isn’t that these qualities are unhealthy but they usually come at the expense of an extra hour of sleep or cause unneeded stress.  I am hyper focused on the critical few right now.

As some of you may know, I am working on healing my body from Adrenal Fatigue.  My symptoms include:

  • Extreme exhaustion making it hard to get out of bed on some days.
  • Digestive problems.
  • Brain fog.
  • Irritability.
  • Depression.
  • A number of different “itis'” – plantar fasciitis and tendonitis of the supraspinatus
  • Disrupted sleep.
  • Hypothyroidism.
  • Here are some other symptoms that might indicate your adrenals are broken.

Under the care of a Naturopathic Doctor, I am taking a mega load of supplements to get me through the day with consistent energy levels and give me a solid night sleep.  These have been helpful in my recovery but not as helpful as the lifestyle changes I have been making.  The supplements didn’t completely do the trick with the irritability, brain fog, and heaviness in my body.

Shifting priorities to accommodate my health and my life has not been easy.  I have taken some pretty deliberate and in my opinion drastic measures to put my healthy first.  Here are some things that are working for me in support of my health:

SLEEP comes first.

Whenever in doubt, the answer is sleep, rest, nap, recharge.  I like to get up at 5 am but I have shifted this to 5:45 am.  I stick to a consistent bedtime.  If I can’t because sometimes life happens, I adjust my wake up time to give me a minimum of 8 hours of sleep.  I realize I have a choice.  If I want to stay up later to say go out with friends or watch a movie, then I can do so if I am willing to give up my plans for the next morning.  It’s a trade off but one that I control.

Embrace change.

For now, gone are the days of the run.  While I haven’t run in a long time due to pneumonia that gave way to plantar fasciitis that gave way to Adrenal Fatigue, it has taken me just as long to let go of running.  Many failed starts and ultimately stops has told me, this is not my path right now.  Instead I am working on being active throughout the day.  Walking breaks and working in short circuits numerous times throughout the day is working.  Brushing teeth – squats for 2 minutes.  Read a chapter in a book then stop for wall sits, plank, squats, and push ups.  Try a few pull ups while cooking dinner.  Waiting for water to boil…dynamic stretching and some high knees.  Definitely not my mental picture of a workout but it is working.  It has also allowed me to cancel my gym membership.  My gym had bad energy.

Protect my energy.

This is where things have become the most drastic in my opinion.  Through regular reiki treatments, meditation, and a consistent yoga practice I have been able to get more in tune with my energy.  I have become more clear on what is working for me in my life, what needs to be resolved, and what needs to simply be let go.  I am reevaluating how I pretty much do everything.  New boundaries are being drawn.  It is hard to put into words because to my “energy” is very meta physical and intangible to others…only I can really feel my energy.  The best illustration is to give you some examples of the changes I have made:

  • Everything is evaluated as either a “heck yes” or a “no.”  I am minimizing any grey area in my life when it comes to where I place my attention and ultimately my energy.
  • Limit my use of social media.  I am now only really spending time where I feel the most authentic – Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest.  The Twitter app is off my phone and I check it once or twice a day.  My media of choice for interacting with my blog readers? The Successletter.  My newsletter is where I feel the most authentic connection.  This probably requires it’s own blog post.
  • Limit time on email.  I removed email from my iPhone.  I also manage my subscriptions dilligently using unroll.me.
  • Don’t associate with anyone or anything that feels like it has negative energy.  Bye-bye gym membership, moms who engage in mom drama, inanimate objects that feel heavy, companies with negative employees, and etc.

Inanimate objects that feel heavy?

Yes.  This was surprising to me too.  The past two weeks I have spent getting rid of 80% of my furniture and LOADS of personal items.  By nature, my furniture was heavy.  I had chosen a traditional style decor when we moved into our house 12 years ago. Dark pieces, dark rugs, heavy wood with pedestal or claw type legs.  Then I noticed (just this last week) that the furniture has absorbed some of the negative or unhappy energy that has passed through our lives over the last 12 years.  Our struggles to run a business, our financial struggles, my struggles as a mother who works outside the home, and even the death of John’s mom.  It all had to go.

It was hard for me to let go.  I am not an overly sentimental sort but I loved the furniture when I bought it and some of it was given to us as a gift from my mom.  Through the clarity I have gained over the last two weeks (meditating, reiki and yoga), I was able to connect with the feelings I had for my Mom and disconnect from the actual “thing.”  While the piece of furniture is gone, my gratitude for her love and generosity is still with me.

I learned that letting go isn’t giving up.  Letting go is simply another way of reframing our perspective.

Since this post was meant to be quick, I have chosen to leave it unedited.  Please forgive typos, grammar mistakes, and the meandering nature this post has seemed to take on.  This is me letting go and letting life be a little random, unscripted, and imperfect.

The comment section is open for whatever thoughts and opinions you want to leave.

 

15 comments - Latest by:
  • Tara Newman Yes, to all of this. Let me know if you want to talk it through.
  • Michelle @ A Dish of Daily Life Wow...lightbulb moment here!! I need to sit down and figure out where my best efforts should be as well. I …