Personal Wellness Wheel

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It is a good time of year to evaluate your individual wellness as the end of the year approaches and we are often in the mindset of  “a new year, a new you” and new years resolutions.  In review of personal wellness I often use a wellness wheel to review the main categories of my life.  The exercise asks you to rank each area on a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being very weak and unsatisfying and 10 being very strong and satisfying.

  • Physical:  Ask yourself how you are in the physical aspects of your life.  This is a popular area for people to choose to work on when it comes to resolutions.  This is proven by the major increase of gym memberships around the first of each year.  However, physical is not just about getting in shape at the gym, it can also mean just taking time to stretch, or even get an annual physical with your doctor, an eye exam, dental checkup or skin evaluation.
  • Environmental:  Are you spending time outside in the sun and fresh air?  Are you connecting with nature in some way?  Are you taking care of the planet by recycling, picking up trash, or even planting a garden or trees?  Research shows, connecting with your environment has positive affects on our health.
  • Occupational:  How do you feel in your job or career?  Are you feeling burned out?  Do you need a new perspective on your job, are you thankful for your job, have you been doing your best in your career?  Do you need a change and want to quit and start your own business or go back to school?  Are you financially stable with your job and does it support you with insurance benefits and/or a retirement?  Be honest with yourself and address your fears and how you can improve in your job status.
  • Intellectual:  Do you read, listen to audio books, listen to pod casts, have a mentor, have a library card, watch documentaries or attempt to learn through movies, videos, YouTube, Ted talks, seminars, or any other method that helps you in your personal growth? You should be attempting to learn something new, no matter how small, every day.
  • Emotional:  Where is your emotional maturity?  Are you capable of understanding and expressing your thoughts and feelings in your relationships?  Are you struggling with certain areas and feel excessive anger, sadness or other emotions?  Do you hold back emotions and shut down in order to avoid the pain?  Counseling, prayer, meditation, and mindfulness are all great ways to understanding and managing your emotions better.
  • Social:  Are you a social person?  Do you have time to spend with friends and family outside of special occasions?  Making time for a simple coffee with a friend or even just a weekly phone call to talk to your mother can make a big difference.  Studies show, having good social connections each week are important to our mental and physical health.
  • Spiritual:  Do you make time to have a deeper relationship with yourself to explore your own thoughts, perceptions, morals, values, and beliefs?  Do you research and explore different belief systems and areas of life to make your own decisions on what you believe?  Do you make time to regularly practice your beliefs and find that peace and connection with your source?

As you evaluate each area of your life and rate it on a scale of 1 to 10 and ask yourself what you could be doing to make each area better.  This process can help you narrow down what areas of your life might need a little extra attention.  Then, you can set some goals and take steps to work on improving.  Finding balance in all of these areas will most definitely lead you to a healthier and happier life.

With love, health, and happiness,

Stacy

Water Seeks Its Own Level

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Water seeks its own level…if you have never heard this phrase it may be a bit eye opening to you, especially when describing your romantic relationships.  Basically, it means that we attract others who have similar issues to ourselves.  It can also mean we attract people on the same path, with similar goals, similar drive and similar core values and morals.  The truth is whatever vibe you are putting out in the world is what you will attract in both situations and people.  Sometimes this can be unconscious if you don’t really know what your issues might be.  Ever wonder why you keep getting in the same relationships with different people?  Look at these people and ask yourself what issues they have that really stand out to you.  This can often be hard to admit but often their issues and struggles are similar to yours and that is why you have attracted them into your life.

In review of my recent relationship I can find both the good in him and the bad that I have probably attracted without fully realizing it.  Instead of feeling bad about it I have chose to use this as a learning experience of what I may need to work on within myself.  My ultimate goal is to raise my own level and in the process, steadily raise the standard or quality of people I attract into my life.  This also makes me laugh when I hear people talk about their crazy, jealous or insecure ex because often those descriptions that pop out at us most, well there is a reason they are popping out.

If we are self-aware and pay close enough attention, the world is constantly putting signs, signals and learning experiences right in front of our faces.  The goal is to grab those learning moments and really apply them to our lives so we can stop repeating the bad cycles in our lives and jump on the high flying wave more often.  It is easy to point fingers and blame others for our bad day or a bad relationship but the truth is we all need to look within ourselves more often and ask, what can we be doing better?  What are we attracting in our lives that we want more of?  What people in our lives inspire us to be better versions ourselves? Focus on those more and give less energy to those who leave you feeling drained and feeling bad about yourself.  Where you put your focus is where your path will lead you.  Keep your eye on the prize and your water level will rise!

With love, health and happiness,

Stacy

Know Thyself

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Through my twenties I was just a leaf in the wind of life, my thoughts and desires and curiosity floated from one thing to another.  I finished my first two years of college with an Associates degree, then I got married, moved to another state, had a baby and worked a few different jobs trying to decide where I really fit in and ultimately moved back to my home state, got a divorce at 28 and met a new guy a year later, but that ended by the time I was 34.  Many lessons were learned in my late twenties and early thirties, lessons that were humbling and forced me to take a deeper look at myself.  I wasn’t happy, I was just following a pattern of thought and I am not even sure where it came from.  Social norms that made me believe getting married and having a family should come first, then college and career or any other desires I had should come later, if time allows. All I know is after a failed marriage and a bad break-up, I was tired and unhappy with who I had become.  I was focused on trying to get a life I wasn’t even sure I really wanted and I knew I needed to re-evaluate my situation.

The next 5 years I started a quest for change, I bought my own home, bought a nicer car, started a second job and went back to school.  I completed my bachelor degree (and soon will be starting my masters).  I also focused on what I really wanted out of a relationship and started dating a really great guy who is on the same page with me.  I am now entering into a new decade of my life and taking another look at myself.  I ask myself, based on my past experiences, my current circumstances and my future hopes and dreams, what is the wise thing for me to do?  Every decision I make I run through this process, but first I must be clear on what my future hopes and dreams are.  I know within five years I will own my own private therapy practice; so completing my degree and supervised hours are the priority at this point. However,  I understand I should have other goals as well.  So what is really important to me beside my career? My relationships, investing in fixing up my home, paying off debt, taking better care of myself by eating healthier and exercising more, and saving money to start my practice and for retirement and travel as much as I can.

I want to be debt free, get my house completed and paid off, eat healthier and exercise more regularly to lose a little weight, and work for myself all before I turn 50.  Now that I know what my hopes and dreams are I must create a game plan on how to make all of this happen.  I already signed up for my classes for Fall so career goals are in process, I already have an automatic draft for a retirement fund set up, I have been paying my bills on time and extra when I can afford it, I have a gym membership I just need to use it more often and I make time for my relationships throughout the week.  So then I ask myself what areas can I be doing better and I know diet and exercise and paying off my debt are the areas I could be more aggressive.  So how can I address these issues?  I can devote 3 days a week to going to the gym after work and I can create a payoff plan for my debt and maybe cut out some unnecessary expenses.  This process of re-evaluating is something I think every person should do on a regular basis, especially when you start to feel stagnant.

I like to take inventory of how I am doing and how I have changed over time.  As we age we get to know ourselves better and understand what we want, what we like and what we are willing to do or not do.  We should be able to set boundaries better and say no, and prioritize things easier.  If you are not, ask yourself why and what you can do about it.  Know what helps you with stress, know yourself well enough to know when you are getting too stressed, pay attention to things that cause you stress and consider how to make those things less stressful.  We all have our own unique past, present and hopes for the future, so don’t follow the path of someone else, don’t compare yourself, just focus on getting to know yourself and everything will fall into place.

With love, health, happiness and love of thyself

Stacy

 

Never Enough

Has the words “never enough” played through your mind before?  Do you constantly find things about yourself or your life that you want to improve upon?  At what point does a healthy drive for self-improvement turn in to something defeating and negative?  I am a weird mix of a dreamer and a doer so even though I pursue bigger goals for myself constantly, I also find myself dreaming about the what-ifs.  I love my job, but also go to school full time trying to complete my degree so I can pursue a bigger career goal.  I love my home, but I am constantly painting, remodeling and landscaping to make it my dream home.  I am a pretty healthy individual, but I know I can always do better and lose just a few more pounds….and the list goes on.  Are we all on a hamster wheel of betterment?  If I just stopped all my pursuits, sold all my stuff and lived in a little hut close to the beach and waited tables at a local diner for the rest of my life, would I be a failure?  Would I regret it? Or would I be happier?  When is it enough?

Is it crazy to think that we are all just one choice away from completely changing our entire lives?  My daughter is graduating high school next month and goes off to college, she has a job and her own car and a boyfriend.  Her life stays busy with friends and work and school.  When I divorced I stayed in the small town I currently live in because I wanted my daughter to have a relationship with her Dad.  Even though I dreamed of moving to another state and starting over.  Now that my daughter is ready to spread her wings and fly I find myself at a point where I could actually consider moving.  However, with the passing years in this small town changes have occurred, I bought a home, went back to school, made lots of friends, met a wonderful man and the idea of moving and starting over isn’t as appealing anymore.  I have started this new path and things seem to be falling in place fairly well, but sometimes I still dream of escaping to that small place near the beach with a lot less responsibility.

So where does our need to be great come from?  Are we trying to keep up with the Jones’s so to speak?  Are we trying to make someone proud or make a bunch of money so we can have the nice car, big house and take extravagant vacations every year?  Do we just work-out and lose the weight so we can look hot in our summer beach pictures and get the compliments on social media?  How much of what we are working for is really for us?  How much of it is really what we value in life?  When is it enough?

When I feel overwhelmed from constantly pushing for a better future I make myself stop and reflect.  If I don’t slow down sometimes I feel the possibility of burn-out coming.  I evaluate what I have in my life and take time to be thankful for where I am, what I have, and who I have become.  Once I have taken the time to be thankful, I fully accept it and all the good and bad that comes with it.  Maybe you have a long way to go to get where you want to be but accepting it and knowing that you are trying is the key.  With acceptance comes relief of being able to let go of the need to push for more.  Just stop and take a moment to fully embrace where you are in this very moment in life and know that it will change.  How it changes is up to you, don’t push too hard, don’t force it, just allow yourself to embrace the moment and actually enjoy the process.  If there is no joy in the process maybe you should let it go.

At the end of each day make peace with yourself in knowing that you put out effort, maybe not as much as the day before and maybe more, but that doesn’t matter because the world is constantly changing and tomorrow is a new day.  Be thankful for each day you have and don’t waste it by constantly focusing on the future.  Stop and take a breath, become fully present and enjoy the moment you have right in front of you and know that right now, in this moment, you are enough.

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With love, happiness, health and knowing you are enough…

Stacy

Your 5 People

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It has been said that you adopt the behaviors, habits and thoughts of the 5 people you hang around the most.  So stop and think for a minute…does this thought make you feel proud or panicked?  Honestly?  It made me a little worried when I thought about it. I am forced to spend time with some people, family or coworkers,  and if I am so busy that I am not getting much time with friends I value and admire then I may be absorbing some aspects of others I don’t really care to have in my life.  I felt the need to tip the scale a bit more in my favor by making time for those people who really motivate and inspire me to be a better version of myself.

Have you ever met a person and the conversation flows so easily and every topic lights a fire in your soul because you can relate to their perspective so easily?  Or maybe the person who just throws out a perspective that you have never considered before and suddenly you are asking rapid fire questions to learn more about where their thoughts and ideas come from and how you can learn more?  Is there a person in your world that you are in awe of their career, their relationships, their style, their looks, or financial gains?  Why not ask them how they do it?  You think these people got their without asking questions or being on the learning end of the spectrum at some point?  I think the world today has created a bunch of competitors and that can be great up to a point…those failing points are when competition becomes a game where everyone thinks they should win no matter the effort and the other fail is when people become so competitive they refuse to learn from others because they think they can do it all on their own.  Those two extreme ends of the spectrum will create a monster.  As I often in say, balance is key.

Surrounding yourself with amazing people who are doing and succeeding better than you is actually a win for you.  Learn to be humble, accept the fact that you really should not always be the smartest person in the room and if you are, you are doing yourself a great disservice.  I grew up in a household where not knowing was a weakness and shameful.  My Dad would get so frustrated if he quizzed me and my brother on a subject and we didn’t know the answer.  It didn’t feel like a learning opportunity with gentle guidance, he just made us feel stupid.  So I learned to associate asking for help and not knowing the answer with being stupid and weak.  This has been one of the biggest struggles in my life, I always felt great embarrassment when it would come to admitting I didn’t know the answer and sometimes bigger embarrassment when I would not admit I didn’t know and just pushed through hoping no one would notice.  As I have gotten older and went through raising a child of my own, my perspective on this subject has drastically changed.

I have asked myself who the top five people are in my life right now that I feel could benefit me in my goals.  Some may say this is very selfish, to choose friends and relationships based on your selfish needs, but I strongly disagree.  You can have people in your life that you love and respect for exactly who they are and not want anything from them and especially not want to be anything like them, but that is rare.  We are naturally attracted to people who we can see qualities that we value in ourselves or qualities we wish we had.  Those people are the ones you should be making more time for.  Do not be afraid to admit you do not know things, ask questions, look for people you admire, find yourself a mentor in areas that you are interested in learning.  My mother often would say “birds of a feather flock together”.  As a teen and young adult I thought that phrase was kind of dumb because I knew I was hanging out with some bad influences and believed I was the “good girl” in the group.  I thought I would be the one they would come to for advice on life and maybe even influence them in a positive way….but the opposite happened. We may think we are stronger than we actually are, over time some negative relationships and people will change us whether we want to change or not.  Be aware of co-workers or friends who constantly share their negativity and find a nice way to remove yourself from their vent sessions.

At the end of the day, everyone needs a little motivation and support to stay on track, make sure your home team is one you are proud of.

With love, health, happiness with a supportive top 5,

Stacy