5 Signs You Need A Time-Out

Recently I wrote about the signals our bodies give us when we are falling out of alignment and veering off balance in our lives. For each of us, those signs might look slightly different. However, one thing I have noticed with the many women I work with is that there are a few common tell-tale signs that signal to us it is time to slow down and pay attention. The same way we might give a child a time-out, we can think of giving ourselves a much-needed, loving break.

Knowing these top 5 signals for a grown-up gal time-out are crucial to avoiding burn out.

1.  You are cranky as ever. That’s right. In the words of Beyonce, Ring the Alarm babe because you are Cranky with a capital C. When you find yourself snapping back for no particular reason, or offering up a short and sassy response, give yourself full on permission to excuse yourself for a little break.  

2.  You are tired. When you are struggling to get anything done, or even get out of bed, the time-out needed here is really in form of rest. How can you embed some more sleep, a nap, or even just some intermittent 1-3 minute breaks throughout the day to chill out and quiet your mind? Can you get outside and get some fresh air daily? What about your diet? Are you fueling your body properly to feel energized and refreshed? Considering these questions will help combat exhaustion when you see and feel it.

3.  You are on auto-pilot. When you find yourself going through the motions, first I want to celebrate the fact that you are noticing yourself going through the motions. That, my friend is a sign of presence, of you being aware of the moment, which is exactly what you are NOT accustomed to doing when you are on auto-pilot. Your grown-up gal time-out can be in the form of mindfulness. Challenge yourself to pay attention and notice what you do as you do it moving forward, even as you do it like clock-work.

4.  You are prioritizing work. When work is number one, when it comes before anything else, before your friends and family, even before you, consider this a red flag that it is time for some major realignment, and I’m not talking about visiting the chiropractor. Nothing comes before taking care of you. Period. When you notice that you are spending all of your time on work, and that it feels absolutely unimaginable, frightening even, to consider taking time away, it is abundantly clear that you are in need of a major time-out girl. Do it. I promise it is not as scary as you think.

5.  You are skipping out on your self-care. This one takes me back to the basics of my intention for writing this note to you in the first place. We are talking about the signals and cues you might notice for when you are in need of a time-out—when you fall off balance, when you feel out of alignment, and when you are veering from your feel-good things. You might skip a workout one day, that turns into two days, then three. You might have constant headaches because you can’t remember the last time you took a sip of water. You might say you feel “overwhelmed” because you truthfully haven’t given yourself the gift of time in ages to actually reflect on where you are at and how you are feeling. These are your cues my friend that it is time for a break. 

Now my challenge to you, is the next time you notice these signals, how will you respond? Will you keep pushing through and aiming for productivity? Or will you listen and respond to what you are needing and give yourself a time-out?

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What My Puppy is Teaching Me About Self-Care

I am somebody who knows a thing or two about self-care. 

I start my day slowly, even if it means I have to wake up a few extra minutes.

I make some coffee. I journal, get my mindset right for the day and write out my daily intentions. I move my body, shower, and eat a healthy breakfast.

And yet, somehow when little Migo entered our lives, that whole self-care thing went out the window.

I wake up, brush his teeth, and take him outside for a potty break.

I play with him for a few minutes. Give him water. Feed him. Put him in his crate and then try to get to work. Key word, try. Having his little puppy eyes stare at me while writing has proven to be quite the challenge. Since I was not slowing down to tend to myself first, the moment I had any time to get to work, I found that I was skipping over my most important self-care things and trying to be “productive” instead.  Items on my to-do list took priority, so things like journaling, showering (yep, I admit it!), exercising, etc. were not happening.

And then it hit me. I was not practicing what I know to be true: We must take care of ourselves first and foremost.

So after a few days of neglecting my own self-care for my little Migo, I decided I would have him wait in his crate a few extra minutes in the morning while I tended to me.

I can see how easy it is to want to skip over our most important things when we have something or someone else in our lives we love dearly and want to care for. My puppy is very much teaching me this right now. But I also know that I am a happier human being, a happier dog mom, a happier wife to my husband, and a happier coach to my clients, when I show up from a place of treating myself well.

Whether you are a mama, a caregiver, or a dog mom like me, I hope you remember to fill your cup first, to put on your own air mask, and tend to yourself like you would a child, or in my case, a sweet little pup. 

5 Steps to Holding Space with Your People

Holding space with someone is one of the most important gifts we can give to the people we love and care about when they are experiencing profound loss, pain, or suffering.

And yet, so many times we fail to do this.

We turn to our inner fixers. We try to jump in and “save” the person in our efforts to comfort them while offering up our lackluster solutions.

What I am learning through the work I do with my coaching clients is that people just want a safe space to unravel, to reveal what scares them, and to share what gets in their way.  Simply meeting them right where they are at, with no effort to try to fix or change their situation, is the most supportive thing we can do.

I have experienced this first hand within my friendships as well.

I can think of a recent time in my life where I felt fear over a health situation that presented itself with many unknowns. I really wanted to talk to a friend about it.

The friend I chose to share it with was someone I have always felt immense safety to be vulnerable. She is somebody who truly listens and offers an empathetic, warm and trusting space to be me, even when my emotions are messy and are all over the place.

Think about it. You are not going to share your fears, your pain, your soul, with someone who does not really listen. If you find yourself repeating the thing that is already very hard to discuss, or find that your vulnerability is met with unwanted solutions,

Oftentimes when someone jumps in to their inner fixer mode, it is usually because they themselves are feeling very uncomfortable. Naturally, the desire to take away the pain triggers them into fixing mode. However, for people who hold space, they understand that while the moment is uncomfortable, it is real, and it deserves to be let out.

So the next time you find yourself in a situation where someone is vulnerably coming to you, remember these essential steps in holding space:

1.   Notice their vulnerability as a sign of their trust with you. Celebrate this fact in your mind for a moment, and really take stock of how important it is that you show up right now in this moment fully for your friend.

2.   Remember this is not about you. As uncomfortable as it might be that someone you love and care about is completely unraveling before you, remember step #1. By them coming to, it is a sign of their trust in you. They need some major love and compassion right now. Be there for them.

3.   Offer your comforting ear and really listen. Hear their pains. Hear that worries. Hear their sadness. Whatever is coming up through their physical state or words, just simply notice it. Be in the space with your friend.

4.   When they are completely done speaking, say things like:  

  • “I hate that you are going through this right now.”
  •  “You are loved more than you know.”
  •  “I am here with you.”
  •  Nothing at all. (Yep, sometimes just being there, offering a hug, and sitting through the silence is absolutely everything.)

5.   Ask how you can help. Do not do this until the very end of holding space. Remember, holding space is about really being with your friend in the moment they are needing you most where you are the listener and they are free to be. Sometimes we resort to the statement “let me know what you need” when we find out someone is going through a tough time. We can do better than that.  Ask your friend specifically what you can do or how you can support them. And more likely than not, the safe space you provide with your friend will be the very thing they want and need most from you.

 

5 Steps to Get Out of a Funk

We have all been there. You know, where things are going well and smooth, and then you notice either gradually over time or it suddenly hits you hard that you have been in a funk. You are not in your normal flow. You are not tending to your usual self-care things. You are not feeling like your best you.

I know this feeling all too well. I will have strides of productivity, strides of momentum with my health and fitness (drinking water like a champ, getting my morning workouts in), and an overall peace and positivity within. And then gradually, I will start to notice I skip one workout, then two. I procrastinate on important projects. I wake up feeling a fog hanging over me. 

These are cues that help alert me that I am in a funk, and it is time to make some shifts to help bring me back to feeling my best. The next time you find yourself in a similar place, I want to share with you my top 5 tips for getting back in alignment and out of a funk:

1. Make a Stop-Doing List. Think about how you are spending your time in your day. What specific tasks and activities are you doing that you think are contributing to how you feel? Are you spending too much mindless time on social media? Are you watching lots of TV and laying around on the couch? What are the things? Write them down if they aren't serving you and make a commitment to stop doing them now, or at least set some parameters around how much you are doing them. If you want some help with this, grab my FREE Daily Routine Workbook that is my go-to for helping you create your own peaceful daily rhythm. You can check it out here!

2. Create a Morning Routine. As human beings, we love and crave routine. Think of any baby, any young child, and you will see how deeply they thrive in environments that are highly predictable and regular. As adults, we need the same thing. It can be as simple as making your bed every morning, drinking a warm cup of coffee, reading scripture or your favorite self-help book, or taking a walk outside. Whatever your activity or set of activities are, it is critical that you do them, and you do them daily. (Curious why it matters? Check out this post!) I try to choose things that I can do wherever I am. When you are feeling off, or feeling in a funk, it is crucial to reflect on your mornings. How are you waking up? What actions start out your day? 

3. Check in with Yourself. Oftentimes, we go, go, go and get into these habits of not checking in with ourselves. We have to pause and ask what we are needing and how we are feeling. From journaling, to practicing mindfulness, to checking in with a coach, friend or therapist, there are a number of helpful resources and tools out there to help you create habits and awareness around noticing your feelings. 

4. Wake Up with a Positive Mindset. To really shift ourselves out of a funk, we need to be sure we are waking up feeling grounded and calm before we do anything in our day. It all starts with how we start! So why not start in a positive, loving place? I always love a feel-good mantra to wake up to, but to really take it a step further, I recommend printing and posting my Top 10 Morning Mindset Rituals Checklist to help get you in the right headspace first thing when you wake up. Get yours for FREE here!

5. Be Extra Kind to Yourself. When we are in a funk, oftentimes our most important things get pushed to the side. Be easy on yourself when you make the realization you have been feeling off. Just as it took some time to fall off track, it takes time to get back on. So be extra kind to yourself in your mind and with your self-talk when you are noticing you are not feeling your best. You will get there. Start slow with each one of these steps and you will be on your way love!

Your Social Media Self-Care Plan

It must be in the summer air...

Over the last few weeks, I have had several conversations with women, from close friends to clients, about taking a social media break. 

I would say almost every single one of these incredible, vibrant ladies, shared how they have in some way felt less than after scrolling through their Instagram or Facebook feeds. Can you relate? 

I love the idea of stepping away from the screen as part of tending to our self-care. The thing is, whether we step away for a few days or take an entire month off, at some point, when we decide to go back on, that feeling of being less than will likely creep back in at some point. Am I right??

So, what do we do?

We have to create a social media self-care plan for noticing the feelings as they arise, and then some action steps to follow to take care of ourselves in the moment. A few months back, I wrote a piece that was recently shared on Create & Cultivate that has my step-by-step flow for dealing with the comparison game. Check it out here, and bookmark it for the next time you find yourself feeling less than in any way.