Category Archives: lifestyle

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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Go Nuts with this Recipe!

I go nuts over walnuts.  That’s probably why temptation got the best of me while shopping @Costco before Christmas when I spotted this Kentucky bourbon cake.  I discovered that the topping was what I loved — a mixture of nuts, chocolate, and sugar.

So I decided to tweak my temptation in a healthy way by using this original recipe to substitute one for the other.

Sauté walnuts in a 1/2 – 1 T. coconut oil (amount of oil depends on amount of walnuts).

While sautéing, sprinkle the following: cocoa powder, stevia, and cinnamon (and any other  spice that’s appealing to you!).

Remove from heat after coated and rest on paper towels until cooled. Store in airtight container.

It’s not just about deleting something from your daily intake; it’s about substituting something healthier!

Unless you’re allergic to walnuts, find ways to incorporate them into your diet.  They contain fiber, protein, minerals, vitamins, and Omega-3 fats (the healthy kind!). Use on salads, greek yogurt, or eat a few as a snack.

If you’d like clean recipes, visit Amazon.com and order my gluten and dairy free cookbook to get you started (Recipes Unveiled by Shirene Gentry).

Remember:  Simple.  Easy.  Clean. In 2017!

This is Hope Unveiled!

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

This is the last blog in my series on stress management.

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You wake to another day of stress.  Instead of a “new beginning,” it seems more like “here I go again.” Chronos time instead of kairos time.  The former indicates the time ticking off the clock, while the latter connotes time that is “pregnant with purpose.”  Keep reading.

The “Y” in R.E.S.I.L.I.E.N.C.Y. implies leaning in and saying “yes” to whatever the particular life challenge may be that is causing stress.  Let me make a clear distinction here….

This is not permission to continue with a frantic lifestyle.  If your schedule is stressing you because your problem IS saying “yes” to too many things, this is an issue of boundary setting.  Your life needs margin on every level: physically, socially, emotionally, and spiritually.

These are things that you ultimately have control over, whether or not you believe it to be so.

What I’m specifically referring to in this blog are the stressors that you have no control over. Examples would include, but are not limited to, grief; family crisis due to another’s actions; caregiving; conflicts in relationships; marital difficulties.

These are things that you ultimately don’t have control over, but are affected by.

Neurobiology is currently clear about the psychological and physiological benefits of tackling issues instead of avoiding them.  And here we have the concept of “fight or flight” coming into play as well as one’s interpretation of the stressor itself:

“I can do this. It’s not an easy time, but I can handle this”   rather than    “This is the worst thing that can happen,” or “Why is this happening? I don’t deserve this.”

For instance, grieving people need to clean out their loved one’s belongings, dine at frequently visited restaurants, etc.  In other words, saying “yes” to those things they wish they didn’t have to deal with. The process of doing so, however, is not only healing, but also allows them to grow in confidence as they journey toward a new normal.

You are actually more resilient than you believe you are, but how you interpret an unexpected life stressor is crucial to your ability to maneuver through it.

Here are some additional coaching tips for a season of stress:

  • DAILY GRATITUDE.  Yes, gratitude.  Be intentionally thankful and focus on what is going well (e.g. physical wellbeing, healthy relationships, what you’re thankful for, etc.). Be grateful for the smallest, often taken for granted, things.

The Positivity Ratio (>3 to 1) postulates that learning to incorporate gratitude as a habit when life is going well will be psychologically beneficial when things aren’t.  It help you cognitively balance out the negative (the “1”).

  • DAILY RECOVERY TIME.  If you are in daily chronic stress, have daily recovery time (e.g. listening to music, reading a book, a favorite hobby, etc.).
  • DAILY INQUIRY FOR GROWTH.  Viktor Frankl, author of Man’s Search for Meaning, encouraged his post WWII patients to look for the “bigger picture” perspective (e.g. “How can I allow this event to not be wasted in my life?” or “How can I help others later on?,” or “What can I now contribute to society [mankind] because I have gone through this experience?”

Lean in. Say yes. Be proactive as possible.  Seek professional help if needed.  Practice self care.  Set boundaries (either for self care or relationally).  Allow margin.

Each day has an ending.   One day you will awake to a new beginning where you find yourself to be stronger, wiser, and better able to encourage others.

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!