Category Archives: Life Coaching

Confidence Unveiled: Physical Identity

WDYT or FOFO???

Let’s remove some veils before we smother.

We are living in a culture of extremes that glorifies the smallest to the biggest of sizes.

We are either obsessing with appearance (WDYT) or settling with health (FOFO). And, because we’re at one extreme or the other, we usually “weigh in” with either pride or despair….

Can anyone relate?

In the event you don’t think I’m reality based, here are recent facts to substantiate:

  1.  1 in 2 deaths in the U.S. is due to lifestyle choices.
  2.  Plastic surgery apps on your phone now make it possible to cut yourself to a smaller size before posting onto social media.

 

 

We listen to the voices of culture that begin to play inside our minds creating thick, internal veils….

“I’ll never measure up.”

“What good does it do to take care of myself? I’ll die of something…”

Culture sways…Satan speaks….We hit “Play” and our Identity is Taken Away!

Whenever you compare yourself to others, you’re actually lowering your standard because you’re one of a kind…the unique combination of your physical, emotional, relational, and spiritual components that make up YOU in totality.

Let’s offer some HOPE, shall we?

What would it be like to approach each new day with the following mindset….

“What can I do today to care for my body?”

“How can I eat properly so my body and mind are nurtured well?”

“How can I work my body to keep it strong and active?”

“How can I appreciate (and even like!) the one body God gave me?” (Psalm 139)

“How can I use this body to fulfill God’s earthly mission since it’s the vessel He has given me to accomplish my daily tasks?”

A healthy balance is to take pride in your appearance without being prideful.

A healthy balance is to be proactive with your health, especially if you know your medical history.

The question ISN”T “Why Do I?”…. The question IS “Why Wouldn’t I?”

Two points to offer hope:

  1. Selectively focus on the traits you DO you like when you gaze in the mirror!
  2. Focus on what you’ve got; stop trying to look like someone you’re not!

Remove those veils of obsessing and settling and UNVEIL some confidence today.

 

 

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H.O.P.E. for Helping Those Who are Hurting

It’s been an atypical week.

I’ve been on the receiving end of people who are hurting. Different “shapes,” “sizes,” and “scenarios” of pain. But pain, nonetheless. It can be pain as a result of having lost a loved one, pain from injustice, or pain from living in this imperfect world with imperfect people. Pain from any angle is still pain.

For any atypical week that I have, I handle and process these situations in my typical way – trying to offer a word of affirmation in the midst of life events that blindside the people we know.

We try hard to comfort, but let’s be honest. Many of us are uncomfortable in their pain and, because we care, we want the pain to go away quickly. Sometimes we don’t know what to say or we say nothing at all.

Here is a simple and powerful formula to help those who are in pain:

H. = Hug

When appropriate to do so, a hug says… “My words are void of making you feel better, but my touch imparts how much I care.”

And let’s face it…there’s nothing you can say that will lessen their pain.

O. = Offer

If someone is grieving a loss, offer comfort after the casseroles have ceased. Offer a meal long after the week of the funeral.

Offering a service or an intentional act of kindness says that you know would help them says, “I acknowledge that this pain has interrupted your life. I still want to serve you in a small way even though time has passed.”

P. = Plan

Plan a time to get together with the person in pain. As someone who has experienced different “shapes” and “sizes” of pain, it hurts when people withdraw or disappear altogether.

To plan a lunch, dinner, or coffee date says…. “I want to check in and just see how you’re doing.”

That’s it. And if your time with the person hurting is just a time of allowing them to cry while supplying tissues, it’s not wasted time. Be a safe and confidential person with whom they can let down their guard and cry or vent as needed. Be the person who offers no judgment, just a shoulder.

E. = Empathy

Empathy doesn’t come naturally; it is learned.

Empathy says…. “I don’t need facts,”  “I can’t imagine the pain you must be feeling, ” and “I am so very sorry.”

Empathy allows their pain to override the amount of facts you know. If it is someone outside of your family, the true test of whether or not you really feel empathy for the one hurting, you won’t desire the need to know facts. The other’s pain is enough. Put yourself emotionally in their situation.  Be in the moment with the person hurting. Don’t hurry into their future by offering painful platitudes such as “There is a reason,” “There is a plan,” or “You’ll be fine.”

Learn the art of offering hope in an atypical way. This is Hope Unveiled!

Why Women Need Other Women

I’ve never been “in” to girl drama.  But there’s HOPE!

Needing other women in my life has absolutely nothing to do with drama.  It has everything to do with the value they bring to my life. My peers. Older. Younger.

This past week I deeply missed our sons for family vacation.  But what did God do for me?  He confirmed for me what I will affirm for you:  Women need other women.

Here’s why:

The physiology of our brains is similar (unlike our male counterparts). We literally process life and relationships differently.  Women have more connective tissue between the two hemispheres which, in turn, allows for differences in communication and understanding.

We need to carve out time to BE with these special women face to face.

Social media does not take the place for this kind of shared space. 

We need same age peers to encourage us. My trusted peers have been part of my life for decades.  They’ve seen me at my best and worst.  

We share milestones and stumbling stones. Through it all, they are my stepping stones.

We need older women to teach us.  My older female friend has been a part of my life since I was a toddler.  I learn from her in ways she doesn’t even know.  She encourages me as a woman, wife, and as a mother. She’s wiser, gentler, and kinder.

She is further along on the path.  Through it all, she is my corner stone.

We need younger women to inform us. We must stay abreast of current societal and cultural trends. I’m older and (hopefully) wiser, but I don’t know it all.  And the challenges that affect generations after us are unlike any that we’ve experienced.

They clarify culture, refine me, and polish my understanding.  Through it all, they are my gem stones.

Do you have generations on each side of you to teach you?  Do you have trusted friends – just a few – to encourage you?

Don’t look for “girl” drama.  Look for real HOPE by connecting with a selected few.

This is Hope Unveiled.

 

 

 

Anxious Living: “C” in R.E.S.I.L.I.E.N.C.Y.

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The “C” in R.E.S.I.L.I.E.N.C.Y. acknowledges four concepts for buffering stress. Consider the following:

CALM

Learn to cultivate calm evenings.  In particular, there are two recommendations:

  1.  Do not discuss “heavy” topics at night with family members.  This activates the brain in ways that is not conducive to restful sleep.  If needed, discuss stressful topics during daytime hours.
  2. Develop a calm bedtime routine.  This may include a relaxing bath, soft music, no blue light (for an hour and a half before bedtime),  reading a hardcover book, etc.

CONNECTION

Share your stress with a trusted friend or professional.  You are a “jar of clay” (2 Corinthians 4:7) and need to have an “inner circle” to connect and commune with during challenging times.  In addition, these trusted individuals can bear the burden of your stress by either just listening, or actively serving you to lighten the load. In either instance, put pride aside.

CAFFEINE

The tendency to be stimulated during a time of stress is a vicious cycle, especially if you haven’t been able to sleep well.  Be intentional about greatly reducing your caffeine intake.  If you’re used to caffeine at all three meals, begin by deleting it at the dinner hour.  Once your body is used to this, delete the caffeine at lunch as well.  Ideally, drink your cup of Joe in the morning and be done.  Your body is already stressed enough; caffeine doesn’t help the cause.

CRY

My grandmother always told me that a good cry was good for the soul.  Neurobiology has confirmed her wisdom.  The hormone that causes the production of cortisol is found in your tears.  Specifically, a 2-4 minute cry has stress reduction benefits. So go ahead and cry; however, beware of a pattern.

With these 4 concepts in mind, how can you…..

A. Make one change – and eventually more – in your bedtime routine to alleviate stress?

B.  Identify a trusted friend, family member, or professional to share your stress with?

C.  Monitor and delete your caffeine intake? Perhaps a family member to hold you accountable?

D.  Not suppress your feelings and give yourself permission to cry?

In summary, use these tips to manage stress.  Remember: The idea is to buffer and build (resiliency).

This is Hope Unveiled!

 

Anxious Living: “E” and “N” in R.E.S.I.L.I.E.N.C.Y.

IMG_0039These beautiful roses were given to me yesterday by a new friend who picked them from her garden.  The mere sight of them makes me smile!

The two concepts discussed today for stress management are EVALUATE and “NOTICE.”

EVALUATE

Evaluate what? Hydration.  When your body is under stress, you produce more cortisol, a “cousin” to adrenaline, that is in excess supply. Cortisol is good for you only to a point when you are stressed.  During times of normal stress, this hormone helps you feel more efficient and productive.  If you are overstressed, however, this hormone works against you when you’ve got too much on your proverbial plate.

Neuroscience now postulates that during water during times of stress is beneficial in lowering your cortisol levels.  Whether under excess stress or not, drink.  Constantly.  And how much?  Let’s just say…. until things are “cleared” up, if you catch my drift. Furthermore, staying properly hydrated prevents a whole host of other health concerns.  Another benefit of drinking water is to “DRINK THIS, NOT EAT THAT” when you think you’re hungry.  Chances are, your body is screaming for water, not food.

How can you begin the process of habitually drinking more water?

NOTICE

Are you too busy to stop and pay attention to what’s going on in the moment?  Does it pass you by? Or do you pass it by? This could be anything of valuable, intangible importance:  people, pets or animals, music, sunsets, birds chirping, the sound of ocean waves?

Be mindful of daily “miracles” – those things you take for granted that lighten your spirit. These things make your “Mind Full” and help you stay present focused rather than future focused.  Our American culture works against this.  Go to Europe or another country.  Observe how they do life.  Meals are long, and fellowship equally so.  The aroma, sights, and sounds are absorbed and assimilated into everyday living.  God gave us senses to enjoy all that He has placed around us every single day.

How can you begin the process of habitually noticing what’s going on in your moments during the day?

Fill up on water and daily “miracles.”  When you do so, your gratitude for everyday occurrences will start to bloom.

Meanwhile, I’m taking time to “smell the roses” from my new friend.

This is Hope Unveiled!

 

 

Anxious Living: “E” in R.E.S.I.L.I.E.N.C.Y.

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R.E.S.I.L.I.E.N.C.Y. = “E”

Reality check:  As a kid growing up, I hated P.E. class as much as I did math class.  In college, I was praying to survive the basic mile and a half within the time allowed so as to “Pass” the class – a freshman course that I waited to take until my senior year – to meet graduation requirements.

Thankfully, being athletic and being fit are not synonymous.

My lifestyle change came while my husband was in graduate school.  I needed something to do while he studied, so I found time on my hands for Jane Fonda’s workout routine (Don’t do the math!).

Why is exercise so important?

Recent neurobiology has discovered that a 10-20 minute brisk walk reduces stress.  How is it possible to know this?  Measuring cortisol and performing brain scans.  What is cortisol?  It’s an essential hormone in our body, but when we are under stress, our bodies produce too much.

Exercise is a MUST if you are in a season of crisis (acute) or daily (chronic) stress (e.g. caregiving, etc.). Why? Because your body is a “trap” for the extra load you are carrying.

Don’t know how to start? Set a realistic goal for yourself.  Just start!  If you’re used to no exercise, just get active.  Go for a walk. Gradually increase your pace.  Just start where you are with what you CAN do, not what you can’t.  For instance, if you’re not used to any activity, set a goal to do something for 3 days in the first week.  At the end of the week, reward yourself (this positively reinforces a new habit which you are cultivating).  Don’t reward yourself with food, but something like purchasing a book, getting a manicure, time with friends, etc.

It takes a good solid 21 days or so to begin a new habit or lifestyle change.  So here are some pointers to get you started:

Use this formula to begin:  “BFF”

  • B = no more “buts” (“But I don’t have time….”).
  • F = enlist a friend.
  • F = do something fun as a reward.

When you think about it, exercise really is your Best. Friend. Forever.

You will be well on your way to incorporating activity into your life that will only benefit you physically and emotionally (exercise increases the production of serotonin which combats depression).

Just start.  Don’t wait for a better time.  Today is the BEST time.

This is Hope Unveiled!