Category: Blog

How to Start a New Life When You’re Scared to Start Over

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How to Start a New Life When You’re Scared to Start Over

Is it too late to start over in life? There is no age where starting over is “too old.” It isn’t really a person’s age that keeps them from wanting to start over, but the fear of doing something new that we learn from life and being responsible over the years.

Our past experiences have also taught our brain to view situations in a certain light, and it’s scary to try and relearn your natural reaction to things. Change and the unknown are some of the biggest roadblocks people face when changing their lives, but there are ways you can overcome the past and be brave enough to start over.

How to Start a New Life When You're Scared to Start Over

The scariest moment for me was when my past and present collided, and I realized I had spent my entire adult life building the wrong one.

When the past and present collide

When I was younger, I had very little fear when it came to believing in myself. I remember being a sophomore in high school and arguing with my guidance counselor that I could go to the college campus and take the English 101 there.

The school had a dual enrollment program, but typically the kids just took a few classes here and there and earned college credits for things like public speaking. I wanted to take as many as possible, so when I graduated high school, I would almost have an associate’s degree.

We bantered back and forth, and I assured her that even though I was only in my second year of high school English, I would do just fine in the college class. She finally relented. I ended up being one of the first two students (a friend of mine was the other one) to graduate from PHCC before completing high school.

I had too many credits and they wouldn’t even let me go to high school my senior year, so I took a full course load at the college. Instead of almost having an associate’s degree, I ended up walking across the stage in my college cap and gown, before my high school graduation ceremony.

This article is from when we graduated and they interviewed me. It was the winter of 2000 (I’m not sure why it says 2005…), and I remember how much pride, excitement, and joy I felt. I read little of the rest of the article, to be honest, other than the part about me. I was a teenage girl after all, but now when I reread it there is a part that sticks out.

The writer says, “For some students, the journey lasted much longer than it did for De Santo and Stalford. Elizabeth Mohammed, 35, of Brooksville attended PHCC on and off for the past six years while battling rheumatoid arthritis and lupus and working to support her three teenagers.”

I was not the 17-year-old reading her “first interview” anymore. I was the 35-year-old woman, stepping out of her comfort zone, facing all the fear of letting her family down, but still believing in her dreams enough to try.

You see, I had spent a lifetime building a career and educational background in business. I worked for over 20 years in various management roles in several industries and earned a master’s degree in management and leadership. Yet one day, I woke up and realized this was not the life I wanted.

That young girl I was in high school wanted to earn a degree in journalism and be the next Christiane Amanpour. However, life kept throwing me curveballs and when I went back to school, I already had a few years of management experience. So, a business degree made sense.

That’s how we build a life as an adult; doing things that make sense, things that pay off financially, things we find security in. That’s why when we realize it isn’t the right path, it is scary as hell to imagine starting all over. But you are not too old, too ‘set in your ways,’ or anything else you might tell yourself. Face your past first and see what you can learn from it.

How to use your past to kick-start your new life

The past has many valuable lessons to teach us, both about what we can take with us to start over and what we can leave behind. Depending on your past experiences, going back and reliving them can be another scary factor in starting a new life.

However, this is an important step you will not want to rush past. Learning from the past doesn’t mean that you unpack your suitcase and stay there, though!

Learn from the past and then let it go

We can use negative life experiences to learn what went right, and what didn’t! Everything we go through allows us to grow. Spending a little time reflecting on the experience, focusing on something you gained (knowledge, a skill, perspective, or a habit, etc.), gives you the building blocks to start your new life off right! You can look back on these situations and ask yourself these questions to build a better path for your decisions in the future:

  • What actually happened? Only look at the facts.
  • What emotions did you feel?
  • What can I take away from that and use to empower myself and my feelings?

Developing an understanding of these feelings and emotions will help you start a new life filled with healthier relationships, better workplace dynamics, and a stronger sense of who you are.

It can be terrifying to walk away from a poor relationship that we have grown comfortable with or from a job that doesn’t serve us. The trick is to ask yourself what you gain, instead of focusing on what you lose.

Using skills from your past career to start a new one

I was nervous when the realization that I was in the wrong career hit me. I didn’t enjoy my job anymore, the last couple of classes of my master’s degree were draining, and I realized I just wanted to be writing.

I started off walking around a lake near my house every day, just trying to reconnect with nature and myself. It was a great exercise in rediscovering who I was, and I decided to pursue a career in writing. That meant leaving behind a decent-paying job with wonderful benefits, all the things I thought I needed as an adult.

It was scary, and I wondered if I had just wasted the last twenty years of my life, but I realized that many of my skills were transferable. Instead of directly managing a team, I could use my knowledge to write articles about leadership, management, and team development.

The topics related to career and business that I could write about were endless. I could also use my life experiences to write about how to overcome trauma and build a glorious life despite how life might have started off.

Change the way you approach challenges

Asking yourself if you should start over because you will be throwing away everything that you have worked for, is the wrong question. What will improve in your life if you change directions? How can you use your expertise and talents toward your new goals?

These questions will change your perspective because it forces your brain to frame things from the perspective of “What if this works?” That opens up more doors than you ever thought possible.

According to Alistair Cox, “With a shift in mindset and practicing adopting this mindset, you can quickly expand your skills as you’re starting to approach every new challenge with enthusiasm and confidence, instead of with avoidance and fear.”

Overcoming fear is much easier said than done, but I have found that the best things that have happened in my life were the things I was most afraid of trying. The NHS, Scotland’s national health information services, offers some great tips for dealing with fear:

  • Face your fears. Avoiding our fears causes them to seem scarier. When we face it, it starts to fade.
  • Look at the evidence. Challenge those fearful thoughts with evidence. If you are afraid to start over in life because of your age, take a look at all the people older than you who became successful! This is evidence that it can, in fact, be done!
  • Don’t try to be perfect. Your quest for a new life will likely have some setbacks and challenges, but that is to be expected. The life you were living before also had setbacks and challenges, so don’t let the fear of it not being perfect hold you back!
  • Breathe through the panic. When your palms are sweating and your heart is racing, don’t fight it. It is ok to feel the panic without trying to distract yourself. Place the palm of your hand on your stomach while taking slow, and deep breathes. This will help your mind get used to coping with panic, which takes the fear of fear away.

So, take that leap if you are ready. It’s ok to be scared, but don’t let that stop you from living the life you were meant to. It is your life, and you deserve to live the best one you possibly envision.

Published at Tue, 06 Apr 2021 13:35:00 +0000

Trust the Process is More Than Just a Buzz Phrase. It’s a Mindset

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Trust the Process is More Than Just a Buzz Phrase. It’s a Mindset

I have been hearing the phrase ‘trust the process’ a lot lately. I recently had weight loss surgery, and in the support group on Facebook, whenever someone complains about slow progress, one answer is inevitably ‘trust the process.’

What does that phrase even mean? It seems like it’s becoming the latest buzz phrase for many situations, but it is actually phenomenal advice that could help you get through nearly any struggle. There are many benefits to trusting the process that will improve your life.

Trust the Process is More Than Just a Buzz Phrase. It’s a Mindset

Trusting the process means you value yourself enough to stop stressing about things you can’t control. There is no use obsessing over the steps of the process you can’t change, and sometimes the best response is to let it go and hope for the best.

“When you do things the right way it will take longer, just trust the process!” ― Hopal Green

Where did the phrase come from?

It all started in the NBA when Sam Hinkie took control of the 76ers. The team had a terrible record, and he was determined to improve the team. He developed a “process,” that according to Khadrice Rollins, was “Hinkie’s plan to find the best way to acquire top talent for the team by getting as many assets—draft picks, young players, players with trade- and team-friendly contracts—as possible, and using them in a way to bring in a superstar player.” His approach received a lot of pushback until it started working and people started quoting his philosophy!

The slogan itself became a locker room chant and a fan favorite slogan, but it really took off into mainstream life when Tony Wroten used it during an interview with ESPN’s Pablo Torre. If it started as a sports slogan, why is it used in a weight loss group on Facebook, in self-help articles, and everything in between? The answer is because it works, and it improves your perception of a challenge you might be facing.

“They tell us every game, every day, ‘Trust the Process. Just continue to build.” ― Tony Wroten

How does trusting the process work?

The beauty is that a process is a repeatable set of steps or decisions that anyone can make to achieve duplicatable results. For instance, everyone in my Facebook group has had the same surgery. That is step one in the process. Step two is to follow all the post-op diet restrictions and guidelines. Step three is to incorporate healthy lifestyle choices. The common goal everyone is seeking is to lose weight.

However, we are all individuals, and there are so many factors that are specific to our DNA, bodies, and lifestyles that affect weight loss. Someone might lose lots of weight in the beginning, or they might have longer stalls in between weight loss, or they might lose weight at a slower pace. Without fail this question gets posted daily:

“I’m 3 months out and I haven’t lost any weight this week. What am I doing wrong, my friend lost 5 pounds?”

Let’s look at the process:

  • Did you have surgery? CHECK.
  • Did you follow all the post-op guidelines about water, protein, and calorie intake? CHECK.
  • Have you made some lifestyle changes with food choices and exercise? CHECK.

Maybe your progress isn’t as fast as someone else’s, and that is ok. It isn’t about the time it takes to reach your goal, but rather that you reach it. The progress and the steps you take matter. Trust the process and eventually you will get there! Now, that doesn’t mean that maybe you need to make a few adjustments, but it means you do not have to worry about it and make yourself stressed.

“It is more important to go slow and gain the lessons you need along the journey than to rush the process and arrive at your destination empty.” ― Germany Kent

Trusting the process is good for your health

Everyone knows that extra stress, and worry is not good for them. Trusting the process has several health benefits because it means that you worry less about the things you can not change. The first benefit is that you are calmer. According to the University of Michigan, being calm and relaxed doesn’t just impact your stress level. It also has physical implications, like less tension and more flexibility in your muscles. Trusting the process is essential for your physical health, but that isn’t the only benefit.

Placing your trust in the process also helps you build some mental health skills like patience, gratitude, and resilience. The fruits of trusting the process do not always happen in our desired time frame, sometimes it can take longer than we would like.

Learning to be patient helps build character and improves your overall attitude. Facing challenges with patience helps you live in the moment and learn to be grateful for where you are now. It also gives us time to be grateful for the smaller victories and how far we have come.

The process is not without its hiccups and challenges, and facing those with patience and gratitude helps you build resiliency. As you face and overcome challenges, you will also build faith in yourself. According to Kendra Cherry (reviewed by Amy Morin, LCSW), “Resilience is what gives people the psychological strength to cope with stress and hardship. It is the mental reservoir of strength that people are able to call on in times of need to carry them through without falling apart. Psychologists believe that resilient individuals are better able to handle such adversity and rebuild their lives after a catastrophe.”

“What we are waiting for is not as important as what happens to us while we are waiting. Trust the process.” ― Mandy Hale, The Single Woman: Life, Love, and a Dash of Sass

Trusting the process helps you live a life of purpose

Trusting the process helps you better adapt to change. Sometimes that openness to change can be just the thing that helps us get on the right path. When we trust the process and become comfortable waiting for things, and not being afraid of change, it becomes easier to find our overall purpose in this life.

Every one of us has a purpose and deserves to live to our greatest potential. According to the staff at the University of Minnesota, “Purpose can guide life decisions, influence behavior, shape goals, offer a sense of direction and create meaning. For some people, purpose is connected to vocation—meaningful, satisfying work.” Purpose doesn’t just pertain to what we do for work. It can also mean the responsibilities we feel to our family and friends. For others, it could be the quest to find meaning through spirituality or religious beliefs.

No two purposes are alike as it is unique to the individual, just like individual results from trusting the process. No two paths are ever identical. Purposes can shift and develop throughout life in response to the developing priorities and changes in your experiences. This is another reason becoming more open to change is a benefit of trusting the process. Keep an open mind always and be flexible in where life is taking you.

“Trust the timing of your life. Keep focusing on putting one foot in front of the other, be kind, and follow your heart. Doors will open effortlessly, but first, you have to be ready to walk through.”― Brittany Burgunder

Trust the process is a way of building and creating the best version of you. Letting go of stress and worry, and using that energy to improve life skills will get you much further than stressing about why something isn’t happening as fast as you might want it to.

Give yourself permission to value who you are and what you bring to the challenge that you are facing. It’s more than just a catchy phrase. It is a mindset that brings you growth and personal development and improves your overall wellbeing.

When was one time you followed the process and allowed yourself to be calm and relaxed? Share your thoughts in the comment section below! It is easy for us to see someone else’s success, just like the people in my support group, who get upset that someone has lost 100 pounds in the time it took them to lose 50. There are so many reasons that might happen, but the bottom line is that they still lost 50 pounds!

Trust the process, tweak it if you want to put in a little more effort, but don’t get discouraged and sabotage yourself. Just keep going, one day at a time, and one foot in front of the other. You will get there, and it will all have been worth it.

Published at Mon, 22 Mar 2021 12:00:00 +0000

Why Keeping Your Dreams To Yourself Can Help You Achieve Them

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Why Keeping Your Dreams To Yourself Can Help You Achieve Them

Everybody has had a dream at some point or another during their lifetime. Whether it was dreams of your wedding day when you were six years old or dreams about being the next Hulk Hogan, every little person that grows up to be a big person has had a dream for their life.

While I am a HUGE advocate for having a team of supportive people around you, you also have to be mindful of the chaos that can arise from having too many voices speaking at one time.

Woman Smiling

I do believe that at the human core, we all have ample amounts of goodness in us – we want to see others win. We love to see our friends and family members happy. We’d expect that they’d desire the same from us in return, right?

Well, more often than not, our expectations of others are unmet. We find out that there is a little bit of underlying jealousy and pessimism lurking behind the scenes. And sometimes, we don’t realize it until it’s too late.

This is a sign that every now and again, keeping your excitement to yourself is sometimes the best option. When it comes to goals and dreams, it’s often better to keep it to yourself.

Based on my own personal experience and the first accounts of a few good people I know, here are a few good reasons why you should keep your dreams to yourself.

On Goals and Dreams: 4 Reasons To Keep It To Yourself

1. The ones you share your dreams with may try to talk you out of them.

keep it to yourself

Some of the people who may share your excitement when it comes to your dreams are usually the individuals that will try to discourage you from following it. Deep down inside, those you share your dreams with may be questioning their own – and in turn, they’ll question yours. 

They’ll ask “how” and “why” and “what happens if…” , things you may have already considered. But hearing them from the mouths of others may get to you. Unless you’re unshakably sure about what it is you desire to see for yourself, don’t allow someone else the opportunity to change your mind. For now, it might be best to keep it to yourself.

2. Sometimes people are not as happy for you as they depict themselves to be.

keep it to yourself

It’s a part of our innate human nature to WANT things. Sometimes, we want what others have – especially if it seems like it brings them a happiness we may lack. What does this mean? Just because they seem to be happy for you, they really may not be.

This kind of interaction affects us on a deeper emotional level than on the surface, because it toys with our emotions. We start questioning ourselves instead of the person sending negative vibes our way. “Maybe this dream is too big for me.” “If they don’t see how great this is, others may not either”, and so on.

Whenever you sense that someone in your circle may NOT be rooting for you as you think they should, don’t take it personal. Allow them to feel whatever it is they feel. Better yet, ask them HOW you can improve your plan to make your dream a reality. People like to feel included.

3. Your biggest supporters may be your biggest critics.

keep it to yourself

I once read this statement on a social media post and it changed my world:

“Stop taking constructive criticism from those who have never constructed anything!”

So often, the loudest voices are the voices of those who talk a lot but seldom act on what they say. And what good can that do? Nothing for you or them.

Know that criticism is NOT always a bad thing. Be willing to accept it – if and only if – it comes from a reputable source. If otherwise, it might be best to simply keep it to yourself. Remember: dream killers don’t fit the position!

4. Your dreams need your protection.

keep it to yourself

There is only one YOU. No matter how similar someone else’s dreams may seem to yours, only YOU can make your dreams happen the way you want them to. Just as you have to shield yourself from negativity, you have to do the same for your dream.

Keep it to yourself for protection. Treat your dreams like a newborn baby. Without the proper attention, nutrition, and constant validation, just as a baby won’t develop, neither will your dream. Protect it from those who may not want it to grow.

And because you may never know all those who may be against you, sometimes, things are better left unsaid. Let the product of your work speak for you.

The key to making your dream a reality is to believe so strongly in it that even if you have to make it happen alone, you are more than willing to do so. Don’t allow those who cannot control your destiny to deter you from doing what your soul desires to do.

You are in charge of seeing your dreams happen.

Published at Thu, 04 Mar 2021 12:55:00 +0000

3 Small Steps That Could Make the Biggest Impact on Your Life

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3 Small Steps That Could Make the Biggest Impact on Your Life

“The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.”Lao Tzu

Every day that passes by, there is someone who is living a life that does not fuel their passion or purpose. Each moment feels like they are just existing or living life by accident. This could be due to fear of change, or limiting beliefs within them that say “you’re not worthy” or “I don’t deserve to be successful”.

3 Small Steps That Could Make the Biggest Impact on Your Life

It could be a number of things. Believe it or not, I used to be this person. I was stuck in a 9-5 job, in a 7-year relationship that was emotionally draining, and I was 75 lbs. overweight.

Then came that ONE day that would forever change my life. I remember it as if it were yesterday. I looked at myself in the mirror and saw what I had become. I didn’t recognize myself. I immediately burst into tears. This was NOT the life I wanted to live. I had neglected the most important person in my world: ME. 

It was then that I had to make an important choice. I decided to take the first step towards creating the life I would often dream about. That very next day, I promised myself that I would do just one thing that made me feel more connected to the goals I wanted to accomplish.

Not two or three. Just one. It didn’t matter how small it was. The point was it was a small step in the RIGHT direction. This has led me to the level of success that I am at today.

Here are three small steps that will help you make that same important decision and transform your life.

3 Steps That Will Impact Your Life

1. Have a heart to heart with yourself

small steps in the right direction

Take time to get away from people, places, or things, and just spend some time with yourself. In order to truly make any step towards the success you desire, you must have a great sense of self-awareness.

What is it that you want to accomplish and why? What truly makes you happy? What are you passionate about? How will accomplishing this change your life? How would it make you feel?

Be completely honest with yourself, your thoughts, and your intentions. Having these questions in front of you will keep you from going around in circles. They will give you more clarity and vision that should help you determine which small steps you need to take.

As a result, instead of being frustrated or reluctant to leave your comfort zone, you will be more confident now that you have a plan in place.

2. Do ONE thing everyday that is connected to your goals

small steps in the right direction

Always remember that you don’t have to always make massive amounts of progress at one time. The important thing is that you are continuously moving in the right direction. After all, Rome wasn’t built in a day. It took consistent daily, focused action. Over time, it became one of the most celebrated cities on the planet.

We live in a world that is bombarded with messages of instant gratification. But the truth is, any level of success is the result of a daily routine of the right things done for a certain period of time. That time can vary from days, weeks, months, or even years.

However, throughout the journey, you can see that you are moving closer and closer towards your ultimate goals. Do not underestimate the power of small steps. You will find yourself accomplishing things you never thought possible (and sooner than you anticipated).

3. Do not measure your level of success by comparing yourself to others

small steps in the right direction

Success means something different for everyone. You must not become fixated on what media or entertainment portrays as successful. A fulfilling life is more than material possessions. Understand that you can only live the greatest life possible when you have defined what success is to you.

As you begin taking small steps and making progress, focus only on what your desired goals are. Don’t allow yourself to be distracted by what others are saying, doing, or what they believe success should look like. Too often, we get caught up in what society, current trends, and what the masses portray as “I’ve made it”.

This is your life. Only YOU can determine what accomplishment, achievement, and true success means to you. In fact, one of the reasons why you may be in the position you are in is because you designed your life based on the thoughts and opinions of others. This was my case years ago.

Conclusion

You deserve to be great. You have greatness within you. Sometimes, that can be clouded by limiting beliefs, adversity, or just the many circumstances in life. Think about everything that has happened in your life right up until the point you are reading this article.

I want you to know that everything that happened before NO LONGER MATTERS. What matters now is that today, you have the knowledge of who you are and where you want to go. The ability to change your life is within your grasp and your power.

Today, you have the chance to begin a journey that leads to some amazing and incredible years ahead. The best part about it is that you only need to take small steps in the right direction. So take action now – your dreams are waiting for you!

Published at Fri, 19 Feb 2021 13:00:00 +0000

9 Ways To Increase Your Ability To Make Things Happen

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9 Ways To Increase Your Ability To Make Things Happen

For you to improve on your ability to make things happen, you need to understand why some people are more productive than others.

Procrastination – we are all familiar with the term. Some of us find ourselves procrastinating too often. What causes procrastination? On the subconscious level, our biggest fear is failure.

9 Ways To Increase Your Ability To Make Things Happen

When you are about to embark on a new task or project and have no idea what the outcome is going to be, you try and put it off. In a way, you don’t want to fail.

But it doesn’t always have to be that way. Here are nine tips on how you can make things happen so you can achieve your dreams for the future:

1. Make things happen by using the Pomodoro Technique.

Use Pomodoro technique.  This is a powerful technique that helps you concentrate your mind and focus efforts on a task for a specific duration.

I find focus by concentrating all of my energy on a single task for 25 minutes, taking 5-minute breaks in between.

2. Every week, make a list of things you need to achieve.

This will force you to spend time thinking about your priorities and organizing them. Don’t have more than 2-3 priorities a week.

Remember, you want to focus your energy into achieving those priorities. Your body releases dopamine every time you achieve your goals/priorities. This hormone motivates you to work hard so that you can achieve satisfaction through reaching that goal.

3. Create a reward system for yourself.

Once you achieve your goals, allow yourself to do something you enjoy. Watch your favorite YouTube video, eat chocolate, or go for a walk.

Provide yourself with some kind of satisfaction that your brain will associate with achievement.

4. Choose your priorities.

Every day before going to bed, decide on what you are going to prioritize the next day. It has been proven that making your “To-Achieve/To-Do List” before going to bed helps your brain prepare for it.

Think of this as preparing your outfit the night before so you save time getting ready in the morning.

5. Be persistent.

If you need something from someone, remind them. Give them a clear deadline, and check in with them halfway.

People tend to forget, so a reminder cannot hurt. Some people feel it is annoying, but you will have to put those feelings aside if you want to make things happen.

6. Practice self-awareness.

Become aware of the things that distract you. Make a list of things (e.g. phone, Facebook, emails, etc.) that divert your attention and avoid them when you are trying to be productive. Either keep them away in a safe place or ask someone to help you hide them until work is done.

7. Maintain laser-like focus.

Once you get your brain going on a certain issue, don’t lose focus. Losing your train of thought can delay your progress. To make things happen, you need to practice laser-like focus on the tasks at hand.

8. Make time to be helpful.

Help people when you can. Put others before yourself. Generosity can help you build a social network and provide you with valuable resources.

9. Make each second count.

Most of the people feel desperate and give up before time’s up. You can make miracles if you put your mind to it. Use every minute to achieve the goal.

Some people lack the energy needed to get productive and make things happen.

This lack of energy can be caused by lifestyle, lack of sleep, or poor diet. In order to improve your hustling skills and become someone who can truly achieve their goals, you need to understand what procrastination is and equip yourself with tools and strategies needed to get down to business.

So, how about it, are YOU ready to really make things happen?

9 Ways To Increase Your Ability To Make Things Happen

Published at Fri, 05 Feb 2021 12:00:00 +0000

How to Wake Up Pumped and Ready to Achieve Your Goals

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How to Wake Up Pumped and Ready to Achieve Your Goals

It can be hard to get motivated, especially first thing in the morning. You’re tired and groggy and would rather stay curled up in bed, than jump out of it to get things done.

However, you aren’t going to achieve your goals that way.

wake up ready

 

Here’s how to wake up pumped and ready to go!

1. Have a Goal Board

Have a vision board or a board with your goals written on them right beside your bed so it’s the first thing you see when you wake up. Figure out which one is better for you.

Vision boards work because visualization is a powerful mind technique. You put things on your board that motivate and inspire you, and then you see it every morning when you wake up. Use a visual representation of your goals to trigger your thoughts.

You can also just use a whiteboard and write your goals on it. If you respond best to hard facts and words instead of visualization, this is for you. Having your goals written out can remind you what you’re working toward and prepare you for the day.

 

2. Stay Active

Exercise helps your body in more ways than just fitness. It can help you get better sleep, reduce day-to-day stress, and keep your immune system in tip-top shape. It also aids in managing anxiety and depression. It helps you avoid those melancholy moods that prevent you from wanting to work.

Making sure you’re staying consistently active can improve your mood each day. That helps you stay motivated instead of letting the bad days drag you down.

 

3. Utilize Apps

Wake up Pumped

With all the technology available these days, you might as well use it. There are several different apps you can use to wake up right.

For example, get an app that uses a soothing voice or nature sounds to wake you from your slumber. It’s a lot better than getting sick of your favorite song by playing it all the time or waking up to a jarring alarm clock.

There are also apps that track your sleep cycle, provide workouts to give you a jump start and offer recipes for some amazing breakfast smoothies. Try one or a combination of all of these to get your day going.

 

4. Write in a Journal

Keep a journal beside your bed and write your accomplishments down before going to sleep. You could also write in it throughout the day to keep track of your goals. Writing things down is cathartic. It also keeps you focused on what you’ve done so far and what you would still like to accomplish.

 

5. Lighten Things Up

Decorating or painting your room can impact how you feel when you’re in it. Having lighter paint colors in a room can have psychological benefits. Lighter and brighter colors can lift your spirits, while softer colors like greens and blues help you relax.

Redecorating is a big accomplishment that gives you benefits for the long-term. Getting rid of clutter and brightening things up can give you a better place to work on your goals. It’ll make you feel more positive when you’re in there.

Decorating your bedroom with pale blues and greens will make it a nice place to recharge at the end of the day. You want to be calm and relaxed in your bedroom, and these colors will help you feel that way – leading to waking up refreshed.

 

6. Make an Epic Playlist

Wake up Pumped

Music is one of the best ways to put people in a certain mindset. Make yourself a morning playlist to put on while you’re getting ready for the day (here are the best motivational rap songs to wake up to).

Choose songs that put you in a good mood and make you pumped to get things done. Upbeat songs that you can sing along to while you’re making breakfast usually will do the trick.

 

7. Make Sure To Take Breaks

You’re not going to want to hop out of bed if you burned yourself out the day before. Even if it seems like there are a million things to do, you have to give yourself breaks throughout the day. If you keep on working, there’s more of a chance you’ll get bored or unfocused with what you’re trying to do. You’ll be strained and stressed and lose productivity.

Take a step back from what you’re doing and give yourself some YOU-time. Read part of a good book, watch a movie, or bake something delicious. Breaks let you work longer without tiring yourself out.

 

8. Focus on the Present

Don’t try to take on too much at one time. Giant goals don’t need to be accomplished right away. Instead, focus on little tasks. You don’t want to wake up and immediately be overwhelmed by what you said you were going to do that day.

Accomplish your daily goals. Working on them every day is what gets the bigger ones done.

 

9. Keep It Positive

Wake up Pumped

We all have a tendency to be too hard on ourselves. Negative thoughts just limit our productivity and kill our motivation. Positive thinking is a powerful tool and helps keep us less stressed. Figure out a technique that helps you think positively, especially right from the start when you wake up.

A good way to do this is to surround your workspace with positive quotes and images. Pick your favorite inspirational quotes and tape them to the walls. Put up pictures that make you smile or remind you of your accomplishments. Put some on the bathroom mirror or on the fridge, where you’ll see them.

This way, you have them on days when you’re struggling with negative thoughts.

 

10. Get Things Clean the Night Before

If you wake up to a house that needs vacuuming, is dusted and has dirty dishes piled in the sink, you aren’t going to feel very motivated. If things need tidying up, make sure you do it the night before. You want to make sure your mood doesn’t get ruined right from the start.

 

11. Eliminate Distractions

Give yourself assigned smartphone and social media time if that’s a problem you have. Device temptation is becoming more and more prevalent as we become increasingly addicted to our phones. Put it on airplane mode, or turn it off completely. Throw it in a drawer where you can’t see it.

If you’re on your computer for what you’re working on, try to avoid the internet unless it’s necessary for your project. If your goal is to write a book, use a computer that doesn’t even have access to the internet if possible. That way, you can’t even be tempted to use it.

 

12. Have Goals You’re Excited About

Wake up Pumped

You’re not going to get anything accomplished if your goals don’t involve something you’re passionate about. If you’re thinking about doing something, but you don’t get incredibly eager to do it, then what’s the point? You aren’t going to want to work on it if you just feel “meh” every time you think of it.

Do the things you’re passionate about. Don’t waste your time on stuff that isn’t what you want to do. Life is short and it’s important to be excited about your goals.

It’s time to wake up and get down to business.

Start using these tips to get yourself pumped and start tackling everything you want to do TODAY.

wake up ready

Published at Thu, 21 Jan 2021 15:00:00 +0000

8 Leadership Lessons I Learned From My First Boss

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8 Leadership Lessons I Learned From My First Boss

Have you ever had a personal encounter with someone that absolutely changed your life? Whether for better or worse, that one person impacted the way you see things and the choices you make.

For me, one of those people was Blair Rigby, owner of Showcase Interiors, and my first real boss.

8 Leadership Lessons I Learned From My First Boss

As you can imagine, I learned a lot at my first job, but the skill acquisition far surpassed traditional characteristics like punctuality and reliability. I learned valuable leadership lessons that stuck with me throughout my whole life and still impact my personal interactions to this day.

Let me tell you what I learned.

Leadership Lessons I Learned From My First Boss

1. Attitude is more important than education

Leaving one of my night classes at Ricks College, I noticed a posting on the hall bulletin board, advertising an opening as a warehouse assistant at Showcase Interiors.

It seemed like destiny since I had recently decided I wanted to be an interior designer (this was a foot in the door!).

Five minutes into the interview, I was informed that a college degree was a prerequisite for the position.  I wanted the job so bad…I lied.  I said I was in my last year of school and would graduate in a few short months.

I was given the job but Mr. Rigby soon discovered my deception. He would have been justified in his decision to fire me; however, he allowed me to stay.  What made him disregard his own, self-imposed requirements?

My work ethic.

Mr. Rigby had given me an opportunity to excel both personally and professionally. He had welcomed my interest in new business areas and let me earn my rank as a purposeful team player in a few short months.

Hard work, determination, perseverance—these qualities are at least as valuable, if not more valuable, than a college degree or inherent business acumen.

I’m not just saying this because the ‘attitude over education’ debate saved me from unemployment. I’ve seen firsthand, time and time again, that the best team members are those who are willing to go above and beyond.

A leader must be careful to not discount the potential for greatness simply because there’s a lack of education or experience.

There are certain short-term gains associated with trained ability, but perseverance, drive and dedication win in the long-term.

2. Employees are human…and should be treated as such

In many businesses, employees are more often seen as a job title or a list of responsibilities rather than actual human beings. Employees have feelings and families. They have good days and bad. They have passions and desires.

The leader who takes these things into consideration is the one who is able to truly optimize productivity.

Despite being the owner of the company, Mr. Rigby was the type of boss who was also your friend. He took time to get to know every employee and genuinely cared about their welfare.

He created rapport with each member of the team, which ultimately enabled a better understanding of their competencies, strengths, and abilities.

These assets are easily overlooked by the bosses who reject the opportunity to get to know their workforce.

Mr. Rigby taught me that we are all humans. Knowing I had a boss that genuinely cared about me created a sense of belonging and inspired reciprocal results.

Regardless of how busy a leader becomes, it is important to not forget or dismiss the fact that humans are not robots; there is infinite potential for a human despite faults and shortcomings.

Successfully matching employee’s strengths with responsibilities is the best way to cultivate a productive team. Only personal interactions will identify the most important components for success: passion, drive, and interest. It is human attributes like these that take mediocre to great!

3. Pinpoint the cause of each problem and then identify a solution

Mr. Rigby didn’t just point out mistakes and walk away. He took the time to explain what caused the mistake and helped me identify specific ways to avoid the same shortcomings in the future.

He downplayed my personal faults by turning the situation into a learning experience.

To be honest, I made a lot of mistakes in the interest of trying to be the fastest and the best. If Mr. Rigby would have only identified the symptom and not the cause, he would have ignored the fact that my mistakes were really derived from a lack of understanding—and not a symptom of negligence or incompetence.

With the wrong leadership style, my boss’s reactions to these mistakes could have robbed my confidence and left me too afraid to try new things – which would turn a valuable employee into a complacent and uninspired robot.

4. Be passionate

Mr. Rigby was incredibly passionate about his business. He showed appreciation for all the details of his operation, even the seemingly insignificant ones.

Many business owners are passionate about things like providing great customer service and selling quality products. However, generating overall enthusiasm is challenging if you aren’t interested and attentive to the little things.

It’s important to note that there is a difference between cultivating passion and micromanaging. Micromanagement is derived from a lack of trust. Passion stems from a desire to improve and a commitment to quality.

As Warren Buffet said, “Without passion, you don’t have energy.  Without energy, you have nothing.”

5. Inspire people to do and be more

I can’t tell you how many times I was pushed outside my comfort zone while working with Mr. Rigby. He just kept assigning tasks with blind faith that I could do them.

He let me work to improve and allowed me to fix my mistakes. I did make mistakes while venturing outside my area of expertise, but his forgiveness and encouragement motivated me to improve.

And I wanted to improve. He inspired me to be better and learn more, and I wanted to impress him with my progress.

Mr. Rigby demanded more than I thought I could do, but sure enough—he was right. As a result, I ended up realizing that whatever I think I can do, I can actually do a little better.

I hope my leadership has that same impact on others.

6. Work shouldn’t be work

I may get gussied up in suites and spend the majority of my day sitting behind a desk now, but it wasn’t always that way. I used to spend significant portions of my workday in less conventional ways.

At Showcase Interiors, my speedy and masterful command of the company’s forklift earned me the nickname Mario Andretti.

The crew regularly paused to play a bit of basketball because there was a hoop installed in the warehouse. And to learn essential details about the products we offer, we created ad-hock quizzes and competitions.

Why?

Because when work is fun, it isn’t a chore.

7. Accept advice when people are willing to give it

My boss had instructed me on how to measure and cut the carpet from the roll. The headstrong teenager that I was, I figured my method was better than his.

You can probably guess how that turned out. I miss-cut the carpet. And as you know, there isn’t much use for a piece of carpet that is shorter than the room it is supposed to fill.

I had made a costly and inconvenient mistake, but that mistake turned into an essential life lesson.

Humility is a valuable characteristic. We shouldn’t assume we have the right answers, best strategies, and superior rational.

Those who have gone before us are wiser and more experienced. If they are willing to guide us down the right path, we will often do better to follow.

8. Own your responsibility

I once sold a product to a customer that we didn’t actually stock.

Mr. Rigby could have handled the situation himself, soothing the client and rectifying the problem. Instead, he made me call the very upset customer who accused me of being completely incompetent. The abuse may have been warranted, but it was oh-so humiliating!

At the time, it was hard to get past the embarrassment and shame I was feeling. In hindsight though, I can appreciate the lesson Mr. Rigby was trying to teach me.

Responsibility is a gift we give people. We enable them to do things and act independently. But that gift can be a double edge sword. Responsibility demands we own our actions, whether good or bad.

We can’t highlight our successes while simultaneously downplaying our failures. We need to acknowledge our shortcomings too—and learn from them.

Even though it’s been years since I left Mr. Rigby and Showcase Interiors, the leadership lessons I learned will last me a lifetime.

What about you? What legacy are you leaving your employees? Is your leadership style impactful and memorable in a good way—or bad?

8 Leadership Lessons I Learned From My First Boss

Published at Wed, 06 Jan 2021 13:00:00 +0000

How to Find The Perfect Balance Between Humility and Confidence

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How to Find The Perfect Balance Between Humility and Confidence

They say that success in any area of life equals finding balance. In your relationships for instance, you need to be independent and keep doing your thing. You must make compromises; think not only about yourself, but also care about the other person.

In business, you need to start with passion and create a product that solves a problem your customers struggle with. But you also need to know how to get paid for it, as well as scale, and manage other people.

How to Find The Perfect Balance Between Humility and Confidence

To reach your goals, you should be focused on the end vision and take consistent action in the right direction. But it’s easy to keep aiming higher every time. Thus, you’re never be satisfied with the result. So in this case, you should try finding balance between going after your goals AND being happy with what you already have. To appreciate it on a daily basis.

In writing, you should know when to keep writing. When the message is conveyed, you should stop adding words as it will only make it harder for the reader.

But there’s one other aspect of life that needs to be in harmony. It’s something we all face at some point, but which – sadly – most people can’t realize and simply overdo. I’m talking about two opposites – humility and confidence – and how we can easily lead astray and end up on the wrong side, even if our intentions were good.

For more inspiration, don’t forget to also read our collection of quotes on being humble.

Why We Need Both Humility and Confidence

Humility is this beautiful human trait that lets us be modest even though there’s a lot we can brag about. It’s about being humble in the face of achievements and success, accepting these but never losing the connection with your true self.

Confidence, on the other hand, is something we can see everywhere around us. Most of the time, it’s groundless. Things like social media, insecurities that end up turning people into individuals who feel superior than the rest, being surrounded by the wrong people, and more – all these make it hard to be positive about someone the moment you consider him confident. It’s just the world we live in.

But in its essence, confidence is a fantastic quality. To me, for instance – and to most men, I believe – it took years to get to where I am today. But I am now comfortable in my own skin (which lets me approach women of all kind and just start conversations).

I am okay with my weaknesses; I accept myself and my past. I am also positive about what’s to come and I constantly put time and effort into becoming a better person to succeed in life.

That’s the REAL face of confidence. It’s where you turn to self-knowledge, when you don’t listen to others and don’t allow society to dictate the norms and say how you should live. Where you don’t try to please others, or have this desire to pretend to be a better version of yourself.

No. It’s this type of self-esteem we should all be after. Because that’s where it’s easy not to lose the connection with your inner self, and where humility is still part of who you are.

As for those who take different paths and see the dark side of confidence, they rarely find pleasure in the daily round. They rarely even feel good about themselves; it’s just a mask they wear. That’s because they’ve let confidence turn into pride and vanity. These, as we know, are referred to as one of the deadly sins.

Now, let’s see how NOT to get to that state of mind and live such a miserable life. Here are steps to finding balance to fulfill our destiny.

The 3 Steps To Finding Balance

1. Stop and look around at every step of the way.

If only most people were doing that!

I didn’t learn it the hard way, and am truly grateful for that. But I did come to the realization that mindfulness is the way to go. To practice it, we should STOP (every day, hopefully) and simply look around while taking a deep breath, or a few.

This helps you find peace no matter what’s going on. It’s like taking a break from the haste, and slowing down for a while. Even doing only that will help let go of some of the pressure and clear your mind. Once you do, however, you’ll be able to do something more – to define your current situation in the most realistic way possible.

How is this helpful?

Well, for a start, if you’re getting way too confident in yourself, it will serve as a reality check. Sometimes, others around you might not feel comfortable telling you that. So there’s basically no feedback coming from anywhere. And because YOU are your biggest critic, but also supporter, it should be YOU.

The purpose of this mindfulness exercise is to open your eyes for the things you’re doing with your life. To make sure you’re still going in the right direction. That’s how you keep things under control, and eventually helps in finding balance.

 

2. Be careful who you spend time with.

Your environment shapes you. You might think you’re stronger than any other influence, but spend many hours daily in the wrong company, and you’ll become the average of them. It’s just inevitable.

It’s ONE thing to be surrounded by positive and successful people, who you can ask for advice and who’ll inspire you to persevere. But it’s completely another to be with those who do nothing. They are so confident in themselves that they expect things to be easy for them, for other people to treat them with respect, or else. You don’t need that, trust me.

I’ve been there, and got out of this on time. In case you have someone around you who’s way too proud and self-assured, make sure you don’t follow his steps. Finding balance requires finding the right company.

 

3. Go for the meaningful things.

There will be moments on your way to finding balance when you’ll need to make some serious choices, each of which will define the direction of your life.

It’s easy to start having doubts when facing such a decision. To begin over-thinking and stress over what can go wrong. But know that this is your mind playing tricks on you. Nothing’s happening until you say the final word and actually take action.

So, when making a choice, simply go for the essential. That’s a sure way to choose humility over pride, but to still go after your goals and accomplish big things.

What are the meaningful things? You’re the one who knows that best. But most of the time, these include:

  • family, loved ones,
  • the things you love doing,
  • kindness, helping others,
  • following the path that feels just right for you,
  • taking care of your health,
  • building better habits,
  • doing work that matters,
  • and being a student of life.

Anything else is usually unnecessary.

When friends ask you out for beer, and you know that can turn into a big night out that will cost you A LOT of money, a headache tomorrow, and being unproductive for the whole day after that (along with not really investing anything in the relationship with the boys as it will be meaningless conversations and drunken thoughts anyway), well, then it’s better to spend a quiet night with your partner OR meet a new person and be completely present.

That’s just one example about the choices we make in daily life that usually have two outcomes. Don’t make excuses, though. At any moment, you can be honest with yourself, define the meaningful thing, and consciously decide to focus on it.

Over to YOU now

Set aside some time today to think about humility and confidence in a way you haven’t considered before. Finding balance is all about awareness. You might also write down your thoughts. It really does help.

See what conclusions you come to, define your current situation in life, and maybe even set some goals on how to be more humble but determined at the same time.

How to Find The Perfect Balance Between Humility and Confidence

Published at Mon, 21 Dec 2020 13:00:00 +0000

5 Reasons to Celebrate the Success of Others

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5 Reasons to Celebrate the Success of Others

Achieving success is something that practically ALL of us strive for. We want to feel accomplished. We want to attain our goals and see our dreams become reality. We want to live that purpose that we feel deep inside. Every day, we plan and work towards growth, and we strive to celebrate success.

We live for the day when we will see the fulfillment of our efforts and reap the prosperity we crave. Basically, the quest for success drives us from day to day.

5 Reasons to Celebrate the Success of Others

So how do we feel when a friend, family member, or acquaintance succeeds BEFORE we do?  Do we celebrate their success or do we hate? Well, without a doubt, we should be happy.

Here are five reasons why we need to celebrate the success of others

1. We need each other to succeed

I was a spectator at a youth gymnastics event recently and watched how the young ladies, pushed to do well on their own, but still congratulated each other’s performances. As I reflected on this, it spoke to me as a perfect example of team dynamics – when one wins, we all win.

Take, for instance, the fact that the scores of all the members on a team are used to determine the winner of the “team” gold medal at the Olympic Games.

So, every individual score impacts the overall total and helps to determine the winner. If our teammates excel, it helps the team and everyone on that team becomes a champion – earning a gold medal.

The success of each member solidifies the standing of the team.

Our teammate’s success can propel our success so that we stand atop the medal stand with them.

Because of outstanding individual achievements, the entire team can share in a group accomplishment.

So, cheer others on instead of pouting when they perform better; because their success is OUR success.

2. It motivates you to strive for your own personal success

Watching someone else give it their all and make or exceed their goals is energizing and inspiring.

There are times when we get disgruntled or disenchanted because we have been trying and working for what seems like a long time. Yet we still haven’t accomplished our dream.

When someone else reaches their target, it should fill us with hope and possibility.

Their success stands as a testament to us that we too can fulfill our dreams. If they can do it, then we can too!

The more we celebrate success and take on that positive stance, the more determined we will become.

This will help us shake off doubt and unbelief as it fills us with the spirit of perseverance. It will then result in nudging us to take concrete and constructive steps towards achieving our personal victory.

3. You care about the person and want to maintain your bond

When we love and care about someone, we want to see them succeed. We never want to see them fail or fall short of their goals.

Of course, at times, there may be healthy and friendly competition. But, when we truly care about someone, that competition can never turn to jealousy because they climbed the mountain before we did!

In fact, when we do love and care for another and they accomplish some fantastic goal, we will usually find ourselves beaming with pride just to know that we are related to or associated with them. We will even take the initiative to announce their accomplishments to others because we share in their joy.

If we find ourselves hating a friend, family member, or colleague because of their success, then we need to evaluate ourselves and our relationship with them.

When we truly care about someone and want to maintain positive relations with them, it usually signals that we have their best interest at heart. If so, then how can we be jealous and hateful when they succeed? 

The strength of our relationship should surpass any tinge of jealousy or concern we may feel at the outset. We should find ourselves naturally rooting for them, cheering them on, and even using them to motivate us to strive harder for our own goals.

Thus, we will not only maintain our bond with the individual but we will truly secure it.

4. It can open doors for you through networking and referrals

A big part of gaining success is tied to networking and making connections with key people or organizations that are in the field in which we are seeking to achieve. This means we need to meet individuals and build relationships to help us along our journey towards success.

When we celebrate the success of others, we get a chance to meet the people they know and go to events and functions that they have access to. This will in turn give us opportunities to connect with folks who can help or direct us as we continue striving to meet our own goals.

As we sing the praises of the other person’s success, it will likely ensure that they do not look at us as a threat and are more likely to refer us to others.

5. Keeping a positive attitude elevates you

A wise man once said, “Attitude is altitude…”

Our attitude, demeanor, and personality contribute significantly to our ability to succeed. Knowledge, talent, and hard work are important factors in getting there.

But regardless of our familiarity with information, our skill level, and work ethic, many times we fail because of that one wild card – attitude! 

If we do or say something that superiors, peers, suppliers, or customers find indifferent or offensive, we are at a great risk of failing. If we become consumed with self and focus solely on our desires without considering the needs of those who support us, then we are on the path to failure.

And of course, if our attitude is one of unbelief, then we are damaging our ability to succeed. If everyone else believes in us, but we don’t believe in ourselves, it is unlikely that we will accomplish our goals or carry out any of our plans.

Ready to celebrate success?

Success is best savored when you share it with others.  So, as we walk along the road to success, the following tips will help us to reach the end we seek:

  • We must remember that there are times when we need to rely on each other to achieve.
  • Use healthy competition to drive and inspire your efforts. Cheer on those who run head realizing that they are blazing a trail for you to use as directions for your own journey.
  • Relationships and personal bonds do not need to suffer or be severed in our quest to be the best.
  • Connections you gain from those who have already succeeded can go a long way to getting you to your destination.
  • A positive mindset and demeanor gives us the calm, confidence, and determination we need to persevere and win!

When we experience setbacks, we cannot let them permanently define our attitude. We must realize and deal with them as temporary. So when we celebrate the success of others, we are fostering that positive attitude and strengthening our own resolve to reach that pinnacle we desire.

5 Reasons to Celebrate the Success of Others

Published at Fri, 04 Dec 2020 12:35:00 +0000

If 2020 Triggered You at Every Turn, You Are Not Alone

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If 2020 Triggered You at Every Turn, You Are Not Alone

Do you feel triggered by everything that has gone on during this year?

There is no shortage of funny memes about 2020. You might have seen the one about the “season finale of 2020;” that one made me giggle.

If 2020 Triggered You at Every Turn, You Are Not Alone

Then there was the one with a clip from the movie Halloween: Jamie Lee Curtis has this terrified look on her face, and the caption reads, “Me, barely getting through the 1st half of 2020.” Next to her is Michael Myers creeping in the doorway, and the words read, “The second half of 2020.”

I laughed at that one too, but then I realized that these memes are relatable because most of us feel triggered by everything that has gone on during this year.

What exactly does the term triggered mean?

A trigger is anything that reminds you of previous trauma. If you have PTSD, you know that it can be a sight, a smell, or even a similar feeling that induces a physical or emotional response.

The traumatic things that have happened this year have been difficult for many trauma survivors, including me. While the Coronavirus pandemic, being furloughed, and the crazy political mess are all new to me, the feeling of having zero control is not.

That feeling of not knowing what will come next, despite arranging and living my life in a way that I almost always knew what was coming next, is a big problem.

Now, I’m 37 and have learned to be much better about what I can and can not control, but this year has tested me in a way like none other. If it has done the same to you, please know you are not alone. 

Let’s revisit the first half of the year

We started off the year with devastating fires in Australia. The widespread damage had any person who is reasonably concerned about climate change feeling triggered.

We remembered every dig people threw at Greta Thunberg while we watched Koala Bears die. We started asking our friends when people would begin to understand and listen to science.

When scientists tell you the planet is dying, why don’t people listen? I didn’t know at the time that I should have had a T-shirt made that said, “Science is real.” 

The US launched an attack on Iran that killed Qasem Soleimani, which raised US-Iranian tensions. China began battling a virus while the Australian fire tragedy wound down, unbeknownst to all of us. Then Europe had an outbreak on February 23, followed by Iran reporting 95 cases and 11 deaths on February 25.

Then, the US began hearing rumblings about Coronavirus and COVID-19. I did my preliminary research and learned that coronavirus is a virus similar to the common cold, there were many strains out there, and this was a novel one. Ok, that didn’t seem so bad, but then the WHO declared it a global pandemic. 

Suddenly, people were dying all over Europe in droves. The virus hit Italy so hard that they were piling bodies in the streets and rationing care. Our guidelines from the CDC changed as doctors and scientists learned more about what was happening. The news began to get much darker, and it became clear we were not dealing with the cold or the flu.

Then my child got sick while at a state basketball tournament in March. She is a dancer, and her team was there to perform during halftime shows. Practically the entire state of Montana was crammed into a stadium.

Fear triggered all the mommy emotions, and I couldn’t do anything because I was hours away. Her coach brought her to urgent care after I called there asking what I should do.

They told me they couldn’t test her for coronavirus until they had tested her for everything else. Those tests came back negative. They also told me to have the coach call the clinic when they were outside because they wouldn’t be allowed inside until they were masked up. It was surreal.

The next day, as cases rose all over the country, our governor canceled the tournaments, and my daughter and her team returned home. Days later, I got the call that my daughter had an older coronavirus strain and didn’t need a coveted COVID-19 test. I was relieved, but she was still so sick. 

Shortly after this incident, governors started closing states and businesses, and our governor followed suit. I remember being in absolute shock that places like Disney had shuttered their doors. They are never closed.

Walmart reduced its hours drastically. I worked at a bridal retail store at the time, and we closed to the public but were offering curbside pick up. Weddings began getting canceled or rescheduled, and brides were freaking out.

This went on for a few weeks, and then layoffs and furloughs started happening across every industry as more places closed or reduced their hours. Suddenly, we were being triggered by worries about our financial lives and how we would stay afloat… and not get COVID.

Right around the time I got furloughed, I received a $500 bill from the urgent care for all the tests they had run on my child to prove she had something other than COVID.

The economy was crashing, people were dying, and it didn’t seem like we had a plan in place. We had a religious leader claiming he could blow away the virus and a President who asserted that “One day — it’s like a miracle — it will disappear.”

All of this was happening while bodies were being stored in freezer trucks in NY because the morgue had no more room.  These traumatic events triggered everything from anxiety to depression and fear.

There was much fear of the unknown, distrust of politicians, politicians questing trust in the news reporting, and ultimately trying to discredit scientists who have spent their lives studying viruses. How I wished I had my ‘Science is real’ shirt.

It didn’t end here, though! In May, a plague of a different kind struck India. Locusts, which have been affecting crops across the region, decimated crops. Then came the ‘Murder Hornets.’ If I  hadn’t been triggered before, then a plague of biblical proportions and murderous hornets, which had me terrified, did the trick!

Then came the second half of 2020

The contentious campaign and onslaught of political ads spewing hatred ramped up right around the second half of the year. This election cycle poured gasoline on our already inflamed emotions.

We lost friends on social media, were bickering with or blocking family members, and worried about war. I have never seen anything like it in my life, and triggered doesn’t seem like a strong enough word for how I felt.

My husband became irrationally angry about the political mail and the ads on TV. I really thought he was going to stop collecting the mail or turn the TV on at all. 

I started thinking about worst-case scenarios a lot instead of my usual “how could this be worse” mentality. My inner alarmist was not so silent. I needed to work hard at a defense mechanism that had always come easily to me: focus on how this could be worse and be thankful it isn’t that bad. Only, good God, the bad just kept coming, and the “how could this be worse” was a lot…worse. 

So what do we do now with our bundles of charged emotions?

The first thing that you can do is accept yourself where you are right now. I also had weight loss surgery in September, even though I am terrified of needles and sharp objects.

I also have never been under anesthesia, so the process caused me a great deal of stress. Add to that not using food to cope with stress, and it was too much. I started smoking again after having quit years ago.

I was upset and annoyed with myself, as were my children. My teenager, ever the rational being that she is, said, “You had this weight loss surgery for your health, and now you are going to start using the cancer stick? That doesn’t make any sense, Mom.”

I told her that I understood that it made no sense, but I was struggling with a lot of things. I talked with my therapist and told her that I would quit again, but today was not that day. I gave myself until after the election was over and haven’t had a cigarette in nearly a week.

According to Banyan Treatment Center, “Millennials are leading the way in drinking with 25% saying they are drinking more.” Now, I am in no way advocating that we use destructive addictions to make it through, but if you are facing something similar, please don’t judge yourself too harshly!

Also, do not be afraid to reach out to a mental health professional because times are tough! Be compassionate enough with yourself to understand your struggles, and reach out to those who can help.

Instead of turning to drugs and alcohol, try practicing some grounding techniques. What do you see? What do you hear? Talk yourself through what is real and happening right now, not what your anxiety is trying to convince you will happen. Meditation is a helpful tool, as well.

Whether it’s yoga or turning off the news for a day, make sure you do something to guard your mental sanity. It’s only November, and we still have a month and a half left of this year. Something tells me we are going to need every shred of sanity we can cling to.

If 2020 Triggered You at Every Turn, You Are Not Alone

Published at Fri, 20 Nov 2020 12:58:43 +0000

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