Slow down and everything you are chasing will come around and catch you. ~ John De Paola
I LOVE what I do! As the creative force behind a wellness brand and busy wellness coach I get to do what I love every day AND make a living at it! But, sometimes, probably because I love it so much, I work too much!
WHAT??? You may be saying… “Jen, you are always telling us to make sure we keep things in balance, to take breaks, to rest, and most of all NOT TO WORK TOO MUCH!” Yes, that is true! And for the most part I do follow my own advice. But January is huge month in the wellness biz. I’m launching three new programs and this blog is becoming a full online magazine! Woot Woot!
In other words, Peaceful Living Wellness and its newest division, Empowered Through Peace, has a lot going on this month. And for that, I am super excited and grateful!
Plus, my dear mother, whom I love and adore. But, who can also sometimes forget to check with me about things, scheduled herself for knee replacement surgery this month! Bless her heart, she did this with the full expectation that I would take her to her surgery and help get her settled in the rehab center, and visit her in the rehab center, and take care of her cat, and water her plants, and…and…and… 🙂 Yet, she forgot to check with me about the timing of this elective surgery. Sigh…
There are many reasons people find themselves in a situation where they are doing way too much! Maybe it’s work. Maybe it’s kids. Maybe it’s parents. Maybe it’s all of the above. This happens to way too many of us! It’s really one of the main reasons my coaching clients come to me: They are overwhelmed and exhausted by thier schedules. But, it is NOT sustainable. As humans we can keep a very hectic schedule, just not for long. Our bodies will start to break down. We will sustain deleterious physical, mental and emotional effects of stress.
The challenge is to be mindful enough – to pay close enough attention to our minds and bodies – that we recognize the effects our hectic schedule is having on us. When we are very, very busy this can be hard to do because we are not taking the time to check in with ourselves.
Is your stress due to your overly hectic schedule?
A SIMPLE SELF-ASSESSMENT CHECKLIST
I am really good at recognizing the signs and symptoms of doing too much! And I want to share my knowledge with you all. Here is a simple checklist to do just that:
I love setting intentions! This year I set my intention of 2019 to be my year of elegant. I choose to set intentions instead of resolutions each year as I often find it difficult to think of something I absolutely must resolve in my life. However, I do have a lot of room for intentions.
To me, an intention gives us the space we need to create questions that we may like to answer. For example, as 2019 opens with the intention of elegance for myself I may ask, “How may I feel elegant throughout my day?” “What may I choose today to receive elegance?”
I answer these questions by creating space in my life to receive the feelings of elegance and the opportunity to experience elegant situations.
New Years Day brought me the feelings of elegance by enjoying a Chicago based pizzeria in the luxury of my home thanks to a thoughtful Christmas gift from my husband’s God Father.
The definition of elegant from the 1828 Webster’s Dictionary states: EL’EGANT, adjective [Latin elegans.] Polished; polite; refined; graceful; pleasing to good taste; as elegant manners.
Therefore, I aim to add moments of pleasing experiences more to my life in 2019 by choosing my desired intention of elegant.
I wonder, have you set a resolution this year? How has that worked for you in the past? Or, better yet, how is that working for you now?
If it may not be working in your favor or if you feel as if you have now simply added one more item to your todo list; please allow me to offer you this suggestion.
Set an intention for 2019
It may be any word you desire to feel more of in this year. Do you want to feel more love? Set an intention that 2019 is your year of love.
The key to setting intentions is to listen, be still, have patience, and trust. Perhaps you ask yourself, what do I need to adjust in my life to receive more love? Are you holding on to negative feelings toward a person who is no longer a part of you life?
The act of letting go or forgiveness may be all you need to do to allow more love to show up in your life.
Know that your intention is for you and make it your own. Let go of the resolution and set an intention today.
Be bold, bountiful and prosperous in your New Year!
She loves living a life of inspiration, joy, and happiness! She genuinely teaches others how to create and live in their own happiness through her Yes To Possibility! Coaching Program and Laughter Yoga.
Enjoy a complimentary Possibility call with her and begin to create the life you desire most by visiting brittneyhilleryoga.com
It started on Thanksgiving: The question of if we really need to spend time with family on the holidays.
I was feeling very fortunate to be spending time not only with my immediate family, but with extended family for the first time since we moved 3000 miles across the country from our family! (To follow that story check out my “Moving and Changing” blogs.
At the same time, one of my closest friends was driving with her husband and kiddo to spend time with friends in another state. The problem was that her kiddo was not too happy about it. He was so upset that he bemoaned having to spend time with people he doesn’t really even know instead of family. The thing is, he does know these people. They are actually quite close family friends. But, at the heart of the matter was that he wanted to be with family.
The funny thing is, while both scenarios make complete sense to most people, to me they do not.
FLASH BACK 1992
Actually, I’m only sort-of sure it was ’92… It was definitely during my college years… A group of my friends and I got together at my house for my first “Friendsgiving.” I don’t remember why I did not go home for Thanksgiving that year, but it was probably because I was upset with my family for some reason or another. I do remember that a number of my friends could not go home because their families were in Northern California (we were in San Diego) and they had to work.
There are two Thanksgivings I remember with both fondness and clarity. That first “Friendsgiving” and one several years later when my then boyfriend, now husband, and I had friends over for Thanksgiving during my graduate school years.
We all cooked together AND cleaned together! That never happened at family Thanksgivings – just sayin’! Then we played board games and laughed and laughed. Okay, well, during the college Friendsgiving we may have gone to a bar to shoot pool… But still, good times were had by all!
On the other hand, I have so many memories of family Thanksgivings and Christmases that are full of stressful memories. These are holidays where my mom (or step-mo) and I did all of the cooking AND cleaning. These are holidays for which people made last minute changes about whether or not they were going to show-up. And there were so many years in which I had to do what I not-so-affectionately termed, “The Southern California World Tour,” when I would have to drive all over So Cal going to my divorced parents’ two houses, grandparents’ houses and, if I had a significant other, his family’s houses.
Now, just so that my family doesn’t freak-out when they read this, the holidays over the years were not all bad. Many of them, especially after my kids were born, were very nice. I am very blessed and grateful for the fact that my mom and my step-mom get along and have been able to spend many, happy holidays at each others’ houses. They are both gracious women.
In the case that family holidays are not full of peace and joy, you would be well-advised to go beyond the boundaries of family and spend the holidays with others.
The moral of my story is that sometimes being with friends is more of, (or as much of) a blessing as being with family on the holidays.
And sometimes, when family is far away – or maybe doesn’t even exist – friends can become your family! My friend, the mother in the earlier story with the unhappy kiddo, put it eloquently when she said, ”… and the nice thing is you get to CHOOSE your friends!”
Be open-minded about who you spend your holidays with. And be open-minded about who you hold close to your heart. Friends can be as dear to you as family.
If at this point you are thinking to yourself, “I have such a hard time making friends,” check out my blogs on how to build your friend tribes.
Another truly wonderful and fulfilling way to spend your holidays is to spend them being in service to others.
Another friend of mine did just that this past Thanksgiving. She volunteered to help serve food at a Thanksgiving party for retired nurses and their families. She said it was one of the most personally fulfilling things she had ever done.
There are many, many opportunities to volunteer during the holidays. Nursing homes, foster care agencies and homeless shelters are always looking for people to come serve food to, and just spend time with, people who are alone and less fortunate than many of us.
We know from research and common wisdom that spending too much time alone can cause depression. We also know that one of the best stress reducers is to spend time in community. However, in the case that you have a life full of people most of the time, you may find that spending a holiday alone is just the ticket you need for rest and relaxation. Personally, I tend to do this on Mother’s Day. I like nothing better than to spend the day at a spa by myself or with one cherished friend. It’s my present for being a mom the other 365 days of the year!
Some people find the most peace in spending time with one loved-one or just thier immediate family. If your extended family is not available, or if they are just too stressful to be around, you may want to spend the holidays with just your nuclear family. In the past, we have found that traveling to a relaxing destination with just our immediate family during a holiday is a very nice way to spend a holiday.
IT’S OKAY TO THINK OUTSIDE THE BOX
Whether you decide to have a Friendsholiday OR to spend your time volunteering OR to spend the holiday relaxing alone(ish), give yourself permission to think outside the box! We do not all have family to spend the holidays with. And some people just plain do not want to spend the holidays with family. And that’s okay.
Of course, if you have accessible family and love spending time with them, then by all means enjoy the traditional family togetherness of the holidays! As my friend Elizabeth replied when I asked how her Christmas was, “Truly a special day. I love my family!”
The thing about Christmas (and any holiday really) is that it’s a time to appreciate people around you and spend quality time with them.
Picture this: A busy mom (me) in the middle of Christmas season. I am tired. I have dark circles under my eyes. My six month old infant fell asleep in his car seat and I took the opportunity to enjoy silence. That five minutes of silence felt glorious.
Thoughts of my to-do list swirled endlessly in my mind. I had a billion things to buy and a billion more things to do, as soon as that baby’s nap was over. “Ugh. Christmas. I used to love it so much,” I thought to myself.
My inside thoughts and raw emotion was a juxtaposition against my joyful surroundings. My car was parked on Main Street in my hometown that is crazy for Christmas. Lights adorned every shop and restaurant. There were lanterns and wreaths everywhere, and people were merrily skipping from store to store finding treasures for their loved ones. I knew that I needed to approach this holiday season in a happier, healthier way that would let me feel excited and joyful again.
As I sat in the frosty car I thought of my family and dialed my sister. I got to talk to her for a few uninterrupted minutes while baby napped. During that conversation we talked about Christmas and all the pressures. We commiserated about everything we bought and everything we were doing as moms of young children. The pressure of providing Christmas magic the way our mother did for us weighed heavy on us. We often cope with these pressures by laughing at it together. Our parenting fails, our perceived shortfalls and the craziness of being a mom to little humans.
At some point, my sister simply blurted out, “We are skipping Christmas cards this year- so a head’s up that I’m not sending one okay?” For a second, I was shocked. “What does she mean no Christmas cards?” “Is that allowed?” “What will mom think?” But the initial shock quickly wore away and then I was nothing but happy for her and her choice.
“Good for you!” I said. And I meant it. I was so proud of her for making the choice to forgo a tradition that seemed nonsensical and outdated. She was making more space to simplify her life, spend more time with her children, and allocate money to something more meaningful for her and her family. She went on to explain, “Well, I am going to reach out to everyone to let them know that I am thinking of them. I know they have all seen my family photos on Facebook anyway.” And again, she’s right.
The thing about Christmas (and any holiday really) is that it’s a time to appreciate people around you and spend quality time with them. It is not the card or gift that’s important, it’s the genuine connection that is infused with thoughtfulness, warmth, and love. That is the foundation of holidays, and what we all need to return to. I fully believe that if you genuinely reach out to friends and family during the holiday to express love and gratitude, a card is not only unnecessary it is unwanted in comparison to that moment of synchronicity.
Guest Blog by: Diane Webb, LMHC. Diane is a psychotherapist in upstate New York that specializes in anxiety reduction, post-traumatic stress disorder, overcoming depression, transpersonal therapy and achieving emotional peak performance. For more information and how to work with Diane, visit: The Peace Journal Connect via Facebook Here: The Peace Journal Facebook
“Celebrate who you are in your deepest heart. Love yourself and the world will love you!
~ Amy Lee Mercree
Besides your birthday or anniversary, when was the last time you celebrated yourself? And then, even on your birthday, did you really celebrate yourself? Or did you underplay it and tell everyone, “thank you, but it’s not a big deal?”
I want you to close your eyes and go back to a time in your life, perhaps your childhood, where you were really excited about your birthday or another special occasion that was centered on you!
Thank you to the sponsor of this blog post: The Andell Inn, Kiawah Island!
This is the first installment of a series of “local” Peaceful Living Travel blogs! I am writing these with my Carolina tribe in mind. But, don’t stop yourself from indulging in reading these blogs OR visiting the places I’m covering just because you live further away than the Carolinas. Because these places are ALL WORTH THE TRIP!
Whenever I mention Kiawah Island to my friends here in Charleston, the common refrain is, “Oh it’s beautiful there, but so expensive!” Well, I am here to tell y’all it really is within reach both physically and financially.