Learning to Cope with Stress

Sunday, January 29, 2012

One thing I learned from looking over my journal from last week was that I desperately need to set some health goals and since Week 2 of my Feel Fabulous Makeover is about setting health goals now is a perfect time to start! However, my health goals are not all about improving my physical health. Keeping a daily journal helped me to realize that I needed to set some emotional/mental health goals. Lately, I have been taking my emotional health for granted not realizing that I need to give it the same effort that I give to to maintaining physical health. Don't get me wrong I strongly believe that physical and emotional health go hand in hand but most times we pay so much attention to the exterior us that we forget about how important the interior is. For example, how many of us talk to our family doctor if we have an ongoing emotional problem? However, the minute we feel sick we make an appointment. Same thing goes for taking a sick day from work, I believe sometimes we also need to take an emotional health day!

So what exactly is an emotionally healthy person?
An emotionally healthy person:
~is in control of their thoughts, feelings and behaviors.
~can keep problems in perspective and bounce back from disappointments.
~is able to balance stress and emotions.
~is resilient.

Wow! I used to be all those things! I used to be able to cope with stressful situations while still maintaining a positive attitude. However, lately, I have lost my ability to leave my work stress at work and I find myself being emotional, irritable and stressed. I stopped paying attention to my own needs and feelings. I let stress and negative emotions build up without talking about them as often as I need too. Suddenly it just became harder to maintain a healthy balance between my daily responsibilities and the things that I enjoy doing just for me.

Now this is not at all uncommon. I did a lot of reading on building and maintaining emotional health and the one thing that I learned was that we all go through a time where we just get overwhelmed by the day to day stresses of life and find it hard to cope with these stresses in an acceptable and healthy way. So it is time for me to take control and set some emotional/mental health goals for myself.

1. Make leisure time a priority. Do things that I enjoy doing for no reason other than it makes ME happy!

2. Manage my stress levels. I read that the body responds to stress by making stress hormones which over a long period of time can wear down your body so it’s important to keep it under control. I know that not all stress can be avoided but I need to reactivate my stress management tools that help me bounce back from stressful situations.

3. Learn to express my feelings. Sometimes I just need to let the people who are close to me know when something is bothering me. Keeping feelings of sadness or stress inside takes too much energy and can cause us to feel alone which can lead to depression.

4. Focus on the positive things in my life and there are a lot of them! I need to start paying attention and appreciating what is good, positive, and beautiful in my life.

I know that whatever negative factors have allowed me to neglect my mental and emotional health can be counteracted with just focusing on more positive factors. By learning to cope with stressful situation as they arise in a healthier way I will become resilient and feel fabulous again!

How do you define yourself?

Friday, January 27, 2012

Let's face it...some of us define who we are by our relationships, children or jobs because it gives us a sense of validation. Although, I love being a wife, mommy and educator if you unravel all the layers of me you will find that I can not be defined by one title, one role, one word....I am complex.

Ultimately, what really defines who we are is the way we feel about ourselves. Our self-concept is the most important opinion. Some days I feel like a success, others a failure because there is still so much more that I want to do with my life and haven't.....yet. I also tend to dwell on decisions I made in the past and often wonder did if I made the best choices. It is so true when they say that we are our own worst critic.

The truth is my visible roles do not who I am. It's the woman that I am when I am alone with God that defines the real me. This is where I am truly at my best. This is where I am the most happiest. This is where I learn to rejoice both my successes and failures because there are lessons to be learned in both. This is where I learn to forgive myself and let go of my past. This is where I learn to love myself unconditionally just as He loves me. So how do I define myself.....I am a child of God.

How do you define yourself?


Saturday, January 21, 2012

Week #1 of my Feel Fabulous Makeover kicks off today by starting my journal. People say that writing in a daily journal is a great way to keep track of habits and can even help with weight loss just by recording what you eat everyday. Personally, I never was a fan of keeping a written journal but two years ago when I was trying to lose weight I recorded my weight and BMI in a notebook every time I weighed myself and seeing those numbers go down or up was a great motivation. So there is something to be said about writing things down honestly and without judgment.

So the first thing I did was to get this inexpensive yet inspiring journal and designated it my Feel Fabulous Journal! (Love the message on the cover!)

The trick is not to make writing in the journal another chore to do in an already busy day so I am dedicating only 10 minutes each night to journaling. I also decided to keep my entries short so instead of writing everything down in detail I'll just keep it simple by writing short comments or even jotting things down in bullet form.

Most importantly, I will write how I feel at the end of everyday:
1. Fabulous
2. On my way back to fabulousness
3. Unfabulous

I am hoping that journaling will allow me to relax and release some of my frustrations at the end of every day and also help me to identify any unhealthy habits and areas in my life that may be the reason I have been feeling not so fabulous lately.

I'll keep you posted!

My Feel Fabulous Makeover!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Lately, I haven't been feeling quite like myself. In other words unfabulous. It's been an extremely challenging school year so far and my calendar has been jammed packed with meetings, deadlines, workshops, conferences, dinner parties, social events....and oh yeah laundry! I really need an assistant! It just seems like there is always so much to do and never enough time to get it all done. By the end of most days, I am so exhausted that I barely put my head on the pillow at night before I am snoring sound asleep. It's gotten so bad that other people have even commented on the change they see in me. *sigh* I am just overwhelmed.

I can't pinpoint exactly when it started but slowly I feel myself losing my fabulousness! And that is just unacceptable. It took me too long to feel fabulous about myself to lose all that fabulousness in just a few stressful months. Although, I try to keep up with my outer appearance....I realized that I have been neglecting the inner me. Recently, I was reading an article on how you can give yourself a feel great makeover by setting and accomplishing small practical goals each week. Perfect! Because my mind, body and soul is desperate need of a makeover.

So here is how my Feel Fabulous make over is going to work. For the next 8 weeks I will make small changes in my life that will focus on a different goal. I am hoping that by doing this I will reorganize my life, regain my energy, rethink my routines and get my fabulousness back!

Week 1- Start a Journal
Week 2- Set New Health Goals
Week 3- Practice Positive Thinking
Week 4- Drink More Water
Week 5- Make Each Day More Active
Week 6- Add a New Exercise
Week 7- Catch Up on Sleep
Week 8- Be More Mindful

Each week I will share what I did to accomplish my weekly goal and who knows my feel fabulous makeover may inspire you to make some small changes that can result in big results. Hey, you have nothing to lose and everything fabulous to gain!

Endless Possibilities

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

"The creation of a thousand forests is in one acorn". Ralph Waldo Emerson
Life is full of endless possibilities, isn't it?

This past weekend my daughter and I were having a talk about the career choices that she might be interested in pursuing. She is a sophomore in high school and still very undecided but that is perfectly normal. After listening to her list of choices (and they all were really good choices) I started thinking about how great it is that she has the ability and so many opportunities to be anything she wants to be. The world as they say....is her oyster!

One of the reasons we moved our family from the city to the suburbs was to give our girls more opportunities to achieve their dreams. Not that I have anything against raising children in the city....many a rose have grown out of concrete! Hey, I am a rose that was grown out of concrete!!! But we wanted to give them as many options as we could. Although she is still young I am so grateful that she is taking advantage of all life has to offer she is excelling both academically and socially. Exactly what we prayed for.

Even at my age it still excites me to know that there is always more to learn, achieve and conquer. I am more motivated and empowered at this time of my life than I have ever been and after reading some of your New Year's Resolutions posts I know many of you are also feeling this way. So whether it's going back to school, starting your own business, changing careers or expanding your side hustle just remember that the opportunities are endless and I am rooting for your success!

Do You Know What Today is?

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Yes, not only is it New Years Day (Hello 2012!) but it is also my first blogiversary! One year ago today I sat on this same spot on my couch and decided to start a blog as sort of an "online diary". I had no intentions on making this blog public. I had finally developed a healthy disregard about what others thought about me and just wanted someplace to celebrate the new unconditional love that I found! I was learning to embrace the flaws that I could not change and work on improving the ones that I could. I stopped making excuses and started celebrating everything that was fabulous about me! I realized that my titles of mother, wife, daughter, friend, sister and teacher make me who I am but in order for me to be the best I can be in all of these roles I had to go back to just being me and learn how to love myself unconditionally!

After I finished writing my first post- Allow Me to Reintroduce Myself (this is where I would normally link the post but for some reason my link isn't working so feel free to check it out on the blog archives list) I let my husband read it and he was so impressed that he suggested that I let my god daughter read it. So I did. She loved it and suggested that I open it up to readers so that other women may be inspired. So I did. Hired a fabulous graphic designer had a blog makeover and as they say...the rest is herstory!
This little space in the blogsphere has allowed me to meet so many phenomenal women. I look forward to reading many of your blogs because it makes me feel like I'm catching up with an old girlfriend. I have celebrated accomplishments with some of you and sympathized with your disappointments. I have learned fashion tips, recipes, decorating ideas and how to side hustle. This blog has even helped me become more social network savvy. I even joined Facebook and Twitter this year and even got accounts for Google+ and Pinterest (still working on figuring out these two)...if you know me personally you know that is a big accomplishment!

This blog has encouraged me to really think about what God's purpose is for my life and as a result I started my girl's mentoring program I Love Me! This past summer I started the I Love Me! Summer Workshop for Girls. It was an amazing experience for the girls and for me.

I appreciate each and every one of you! Your comments, encouragement, likes, tweets and inspiration. Thank you for accompanying me on my journey during this season of my life! Stay tuned....the best is yet to come!