Coaching in this time of “new normal”

I’m not even sure what “normal” is anymore, but I do know that many people are being challenged beyond their limits, knowing that they’re not quite functioning they way they’d like to be, but not sure what to do about it.

I’d like to share that I’m part of an incredible group of coaches, Health Coaches Without Borders, and we are offering free individual and group coaching for a 4 week period beginning soon!

Check out their site, and check out my group offering! Spaces are still available! I’m offering a 4 week group for women who fall into any of these categories:  moms, helping professionals, teachers, and basically anyone who could use a little bit of time, support and compassion at a time when life is anything but “normal.” We’ll work on building hope, confidence, realistic optimism and come away with a feeling and deep knowledge that we are not alone.

Please reach out at contact@joanyounghealthcoach.com with any questions! Registration ends April 22nd! My group begins May 2nd!

Who’s Taking Care of You? 7 Simple Tips to Get Back in the Self Care Groove

Who’s taking care of you? 

It better be YOU!

When was the last time you sat peacefully sipping on __________, feeling alive and excited for the day?  

When was the last time you felt comfortable in your body, excited to put on your clothes, and energized for any activity you desired?

When was the last time you took some time for yourself, went off and read a book or took a hike, and later regretted it?

When was the last time you sat down to a meal you created (ok maybe you took a picture and posted it too!) and said, Damn! This is nurturing my body AND it tastes amazing!

If you can’t find the answers to these questions, you’re not alone. Many of us are far more able to generously care for others but lose track of ourselves in the process.  

Here are 7 simple tricks to get back in the self-care groove:

 

1.Practice the pause before you say yes. 

 

Many of us are so accustomed to pleasing others, we hear the yes coming out of our mouths before our minds catch up. Sometimes the best thing to do when someone asks you to do yet another thing is pause first. Sometimes this pause will create a moment for the asker where they realize they can actually do it themselves! Practice saying these words in your head: Let me think about that. 

 

2. If the pause doesn’t work, ask yourself a couple questions: 

Am I going to regret agreeing to this? What toll will this take on my: a) sleep b) other work c) relationships d) joy?

 

 

3.Take 5 minutes alone, anywhere, and get them on your calendar every darn day. Make sure your kids, significant other, coworkers, whoever, know that you are NOT available. Start with 5 minutes as you train others that you deserve this time and increase up to an amount of time that will work for you! What to do during those minutes? Perhaps some mindful breathing, journaling, listening to a song you love will energize and motivate you to create more time for you! 

4. Brainstorm a list of foods that delight your senses AND make you feel energized. My favorites in the summer: frozen blueberries, blackberries, and raspberries that I keep in my freezer at all times. When that sweet craving hits, I am prepared.

5. Listen to your body!

When you feel compelled to push through something but your body says, “Hell No!” you’re better off listening. Injuries happen when we are tired or hurting. It takes practice, but with some attention you can notice cues that tell you, no workout today, just rest! 

6. Connect with others: 

Don’t underestimate the power of reaching out to a friend, smiling at someone in the store, (especially a little person as they often smile back!) We are social creatures who sometimes forget how much we need to be seen and valued by others. Today: send a message or call someone you’ve been missing! Get a date on the calendar before another year goes by. 

7. Challenge that inner critic: 

You probably know who I mean! All of us have those limiting voices inside that focus on what’s wrong not strong. Take a moment to pause when you hear that critical self-talk and ask yourself: Is this true? Chances are, it’s b.s. You are whole, smart, beautiful, loving, and genuine. Take my word for it and tell that critic to take a hike! Need more practice? Check out the resource for Loving Kindness meditation at the end of this post.

 

Resources:

Free Loving Kindness Meditations by Dr. Barbara Fredrickson, one of my favorite researchers. 

           Check out this article to learn more about challenging your limiting beliefs.

What Fuels You? Find out With a Food Journal

Maybe your energy isn’t where you need it to be? Maybe you’re completely confused about choosing the right diet plan to lose the pesky pounds that won’t go away? Or maybe, like me, you’ve suffered from innumerable bouts of bloating, perhaps alternating constipation and diarrhea and you wonder if there’s a connection to food.

Of course, always seek medical help for any issues with gastrointestinal symptoms, but when you walk out of the doctor’s office with no help, it doesn’t mean you have to live in discomfort.

Many people find success using a food log or food journal to make connections between what they’re eating, their energy level, hunger, and any associated symptoms. 

Just find a spot that makes the most sense, and write down what you eat throughout the day along with how you’re feeling before and after.   

Some options on how to do it:

  1. Write in your planner. This way you don’t have to use another notebook or journal. Simply record what you ate, when, and how you feel at the end of the day (or anytime you notice a symptom, jot down the time) 
  2. Add to your online calendar: Google calendar works for some! Just add it at the time you ate and then later, at the end of the day, add notes about how you felt.
  3. Use an app that makes recording food easy. I use one called Loseit but needed the paid version to add notes. When I was going through a lot of issues with bloating, being able to record notes about when I was experiencing my symptoms helped me track some of the trigger foods. 
  4. Find a pretty notebook that you’ll want to write in. Even better, get some smooth pretty gel pens. They make everything more fun! 
  5. Set a timer to check in with your body. It’s easy to forget how we felt yesterday 2 hours after eating, but having this info will help you be a better detective for yourself. 

Eating the way that’s best for you is a key factor in your health and well-being! Remember: little experiments and detective work can lead to big wins in understanding what foods fuel you to be your most energized self. 

Pre-empt the Doughnut Monster

You know the drill. You’re tired, it’s raining, and your usual self-control has left the building. You’ve committed to cutting down or even cutting out the sugary, processed treats because they make you feel like crap, but you walk into the faculty room and there they are: cronuts, maple bars, and brownies, oh my!  One bite turns into twelve and suddenly you’re sluggish and feeling blah. 

Although we may think self control is endless, and that we should be able to resist temptation through sheer willpower alone, many experts in habit change, such as James Clear, author of Atomic Habits, write about ways we can set ourselves up for success. (Check the link at the end of this post to read Chapter 1 for free!)

Here are a few ways we can pre-empt the negative choice and set ourselves up for a better day:

  1. Make another choice readily available. A few treats I stash in my office are RX bars, (current favorite flavor: blueberry), Autumn’s Gold Grain Free Granola Bars, granny smith apples, and Lilly’s stevia sweetened chocolate bars. 
  2. Have a snack buddy who you can keep you accountable, and share healthy treats with!
  3. Have a mantra for those moments like: Is this worth it? If it is, then be sure to slow down and savor every bite! 
  4. Ask yourself: How will this make me feel? For how long? Often times those impulse bites are joyful for a few moments but our bodies let us know later with a vengeance that they need different fuel!
  5. Start a movement for healthy options for all! At my school this year, a team of kind folks added some gluten free options whenever they put out treats. I certainly appreciated their efforts and hope to add sugar-free to the options this year as well! 

I’m not suggesting that you can never have treats at work, just be prepared so you make an intentional choice that doesn’t derail your day. How do you proactively prepare for the donut saboteur? 

 

Looking for those resources I mentioned, check out:

Chapter 1 Atomic Habits free download 

Lily’s Chocolate Bars

Autumn’s Gold Granola Bars

 

Laughter IS The Best Medicine

You may notice that you feel your best when you’re around those who make you laugh. Sometimes, though, it’s easy to get too serious or so stressed that you don’t take the opportunity to laugh at the situation, or even at yourself.

Here are some of the benefits of laughter, along with some tips to intentionally make humor a bigger part of your day!

 

5 Benefits:

  1. Makes you calmer. Laughter gets the oxygen flowing and increases blood flow, leaving you feeling simultaneously energized and calm. 
  2. Improves our immune system. Say what? Yep, laughter has been proven to increase the activity of our fighter cells. 
  3. Relieves pain. Laughter has been shown to reduce pain by increasing endorphins. I know that for me, when I am not feeling well, comedy also distracts me and also helps me focus on something other than how crappy I feel. 
  4. Connects us to others. When we share a moment of laughter with someone, it’s a positive connection that can lead to better cooperation and mutual understanding.  
  5. Improves our positive feelings and decreases depression. Laughter increases the release of serotonin and dopamine, which can lift our mood. 

 

8 Easy Ways to Laugh More: 

  1. Be on the lookout for funny signs during your errands. I can almost always find a typo or sign that somehow makes me chuckle. 
  2. Trade that serious nighttime show for a funny one. Blackish has become one of my faves recently. It’s humor is intelligent and filled with messages to make you think. 
  3. Recall a funny story from your day. Share it at dinner or in the lunch- room! 
  4. Share a funny image with someone.
  5. Keep a folder of funny images on your desktop or on your phone.
  6. Write down funny things kids say. 
  7. Be able to laugh at your mistakes. Having a lighthearted attitude about making mistakes frees us from the feelings of shame and self-loathing that can take over if we feel embarrassed. I still laugh about the time a kid sat in a bean bag chair right behind me and I tripped, nearly falling on him and showing what was underneath my dress! 
  8. Listen to a comedy podcast on your commute. Start your day laughing and notice how it impacts your stress during the day! 

Resources 

Check out this short article from the Mayo Clinic. 

Here’s a list of comedy podcasts from Happy Human.