I've lived with anxiety for as long as I can remember, even as a child. I didn't know that not everyone felt this worrisome all the time. I didn't know how to explain it or even who to explain it to. I was painfully shy as a child due to generalized anxiety and the lack of self-confidence that comes along with it.
The anxiety symptoms seemed to increase with the birth of my second son, and then they intensified tenfold after my daughter was born a little over a year ago. I'm still working every day on recovery, on maintaining as much calm as I can muster on any given day. Every day is a battle with my own head. That voice that tells me I'll never be enough, do enough, or be worth enough to even bother trying... but I try anyway. I give it hell every single day. Some days it overpowers me and I end the day emotionally exhausted, ready to throw in the towel and just be done with it all. Other days, there's a fierce fighter in me that knows I'm tougher than the anxious thoughts and feelings of overwhelm.
I'm not sure I'll ever be ready to speak of one main source of this long-held anxiety, but another source that I can talk about is also the source of my perfectionist tendencies. Growing up, I received the message loud and clear (whether it was consciously intended that way or not) that I was only lovable if I was perfect. When I did all the right things, got the good grades, was nice to my siblings all the time, knew all the right things to do. Then, and only then, would I be worthy of love. That's the distinct message I got from more than one family member. It's just like the Alanis Morrissette song:
I now refer to myself as a recovering perfectionist, knowing now that their expectations of me weren't achievable anyway, and that I'm my own person, worthy of UNconditional love and respect from those closest to me, no matter what. I continue to work on improving my self-confidence and sense of self worth. And I blast this song in my car any chance I get, singing it at the top of my lungs... it's cathartic, healing, empowering.
One of my biggest wishes is to feel what it's like to be completely confident and self-assured, without a pang of worry, fear, doubt, or panic. Simply flowing with my intuition, knowing that I can trust myself to choose the right path ahead. I'd love to know what it feels like to live completely withOUT anxiety...
In the meantime, we've got a hoppin', happenin' little group going on over on Facebook. The Anxiety Support Group is our gathering place to vent, chat, offer and receive support, and discuss all things related to anxiety and methods to lessen its impact on our lives. If you're not already a member, stop by and join us!
Let me know if you can relate to the song lyrics or to having anxiety in general. I'd love to hear from you in the comments below!
I've been out of the blogging world for the past couple of years. A surprise pregnancy and raising an infant kind of took over my whole life. I have a 14 month old daughter now, along with a 5 year old son and an almost 13 year old son. It's been a wild ride, adjusting to having 3 children - homeschooling, breastfeeding, working from home.
I've been through a year plus of postpartum anxiety, which is slowly getting better, though I still have some rough days. I'm very much an introverted person who requires alone time to recharge my people-batteries, but with 3 kids and a husband, along with work and extended family, it's darn near impossible to find but 10 minutes in a day to be alone. I'm learning to adjust and learning to deliberately carve out more time for solitude and silence, asking for help when needed, and knowing that just as soon as I'm able to get outside and stretch these runner legs more regularly, the pent-up anxious feelings will be easier to manage.
I also use meditation to deal with the overwhelm and anxiety. In future blog posts, I'll share some of the meditations I like best. Videos and audios containing binaural beats are also great tools that I've found helps me subtly reprogram my thoughts and drop down out of the sense of panic and feeling of being frozen in indecision or sensory overload.
This anxiety is honestly something I've lived with for as long as I can remember, but it seems to have grown more intense since the birth of my daughter. I feel like I'm in the process of shedding so much I've bottled up from the past, and it's hard and heavy work. I get occasional glimpses of the confident, self-assured person I have the potential to be, yet so far I've found it to be incredibly difficult to stay on that wavelength for very long at a time. I keep trying. Each day, facing the thoughts in my head that try to tear me down, voices from the past, the critical voice of perfectionism, the habit of trying to please everyone, and putting myself last out of guilt.
Slowly, but surely, I've started on a path toward creating time for self-care, making healthier choices, setting healthier boundaries, doing things that I love to do. Looking out for myself. It isn't selfish. It is necessary. I have to keep convincing myself of this. I must. I have a daughter now to set a better example for. I have two sons that look up to me as well.
This time, I haven't sought one-on-one therapy or any other medical treatment for this most recent battle with anxiety, I have in the past sought out and had decent success with speaking to someone on a one-on-one basis. I find that having a mentor, a counselor, or a coach of sorts is a really great way to help hold yourself accountable to your highest goals and potential, to help you process your emotions and feelings, to help you through healing. Never be afraid to reach out to someone when you're struggling. You're never alone, no matter what your thoughts try to tell you.
I look forward to staying in touch with you all via my blog once again. I've missed this. It's something else therapeutic that helps me process and handle the anxiety more effectively. What's something that helps you when you're feeling anxious? Let me know in the comments. You might help someone else with your suggestion!
As of the posting of this blog, I'm 9 months into nursing my daughter. This is the longest I've breastfed any of my children, and while I haven't had the most impeccably healthy diet since her birth, I'm so proud to be able to provide her main source of nourishment throughout her first year (and beyond...).
Now that we are introducing solids to her diet alongside breast milk (and our small amount of supplemented formula), I'm beginning to make small changes in my diet and exercise more in an effort to start to lose the baby weight. So I was more than excited to give Mother Nurture Chocolate Truffles and Enhanced Water a try. I was sent a bottle of their Enhanced Water and two Chocolate Truffles to sample and review.
I'll Never Forget You . . .
You knew me as a very young girl, as the niece of your good friend, my aunt. We lost contact until Facebook came along, we connected as friends, and quickly developed a strong, loyal and honest bond, though we never did get the chance to reunite in person, at least in this lifetime.
You were the first to support my Team Beachbody endeavor by becoming a coach yourself, right alongside me, as although that venture didn't pan out in the long term for either of us, I was so encouraged by your belief in and support of me, that I began to believe in myself that much more.
Though you battled your own anxiety and PTSD issues, you were always one of the first to offer someone else (often me) when they were suffering too. I thank you for your beautiful role in my various groups (mainly Fitness with Friends and Anxiety Support Group) - your presence will be missed and your absence will be honored with our sharing of memories of you.
I'll never forget your excitement and support when I joined the Pillai Center, Tripura Foundation and Nambu Herbs teams, becoming not only a more avid student of Dr. Pillai, but also part of one of the kindest, most compassionate, positive and supporting team of coworkers I could have ever imagined.
You knew exactly how much it means to me to be able to be at home with my babies while also providing an income for my family, plus doing my part to make a positive difference in this world.
Though you had only just experienced your own devastating miscarriage, you were overjoyed at the news of my pregnancy and the birth of our daughter. You told me you saw something special in her.
And you supported both my husband and me in all our ventures, big and small.
You were one of our biggest cheerleaders, and now you're one of our closest guardian angels.
As you always told those closest to you, thank YOU for being you.
I'll never forget you. I don't want to, either. Along with the great sadness that comes from missing you lives a universe of gratitude for having shared love with you at all. Our connection changed my life. I'm honored to be able to miss you. - Scott Stabile
If you knew Jeni, please leave a comment below sharing a memory of her. Many heartfelt condolences to all who knew her bright and beautiful soul.
It's been quite a year. A year ago I was gearing up to train for my next big running challenge. Nearly a year ago we found out about our surprise pregnancy and our world (and my body) began to change.
I was so sick and exhausted at the beginning and off and on throughout the pregnancy. I didn't exercise heavily. I gained around 30lbs on top of the 20lbs I had put on while marathon training in 2014.
Three plus months after giving birth, I have about 35-40lbs I would like to shed to get to where I want to be. Slow and steady weight loss has always been my way to go, and this time around is no different.
However, what IS different this time around is the need to be careful not to restrict too many calories lest it affect my milk supply and nursing relationship with my daughter.
I have to be honest and say that from time to time I catch myself feeling disgusted with the extra weight I'm carrying around at present and my super slow weight loss progress thus far.
At those moments, I remind myself that I have been gifted this amazing little being, my daughter. I got to carry her in my womb and I continue to nourish her through my body.
I am blessed. This is a relatively short season in my life and I'll gladly snuggle my daughter and continue to provide nourishment for her for as long as I'm able, because I'll miss this time when it's over.
For now, I am ok with carrying around a few extra pounds, and you can be sure that I'll send that inner critic packing any time she has a harsh word to say about this body of mine!
So, the last time I blogged, it was August 2015. I was unexpectedly pregnant, yet determined to get back into blogging regularly alongside the other Team Beachbody coaches I had signed on to my team. Well, since then, a lot has changed (again!).
For varying reasons, I no longer have any coaches signed on to my team. My time with Team Beachbody may have run its course, or I may yet begin to revive it. That remains to be seen, but for the time being I am still a coach and still bring in a commission from any sales I make through my link. It's not going to be a huge factor in the overall sharing of my fitness journey at present, though.
Nearly 3 months ago, I gave birth to our beautiful daughter, Elanor Ann. I gained around 30lbs during my pregnancy. I'm currently still about 20lbs above my pre-pregnancy weight, and about 30-40lbs above my 'ideal' weight range. I've not been in a huge hurry to lose the weight though, as I've so far been successful with exclusively breastfeeding and haven't wanted to do anything to jeopardize my milk supply in the early days.
I'm thinking of starting to log my food intake on MyFitnessPal again, not only to help with weight loss efforts, but also to track down and eliminate the cause of little Elanor's gas and reflux issues.
I plan to begin a 30-day challenge with my Fitness with Friends crew on Monday, April 11, as well as 'Mommy and Me' type yoga with my little lady. I'd also like to squeeze in some time with the Wii Fit and other active Wii games for fun and fitness.
This year, I will ease back into running with no major goal in mind, other than rebuilding stamina and such. In 2017, I will set myself another more ambitious running goal. There will also be cameos from Les Mills Combat, Jillian Michaels and Bob Harper in the workout rotation as we progress through 2016.
I aim to publish a new blog post once a week to stay connected and on track to continue sharing my fitness journey with those who care to walk, run, and jog along with me to better health and fitter days!
Stay tuned... and in the meantime, tell me, what are some of your fitness goals for the remainder of 2016?
Then, wouldn't you know it?! Only about a month later, we find out... we're expecting!! Like, out of nowhere. It was such a struggle to conceive our now-three-year-old, and the odds were frankly not in our favor to conceive ever again. But life has a way sometimes, right?!
In just over 5 months, we'll be bringing home a new little bundle of GIRL joy. Wowza. I'm still absolutely blown away and feeling amazingly blessed. I'm going to have a daughter!?
So, I still have no idea how much of the Fort4Fitness races I'll actually be running this year, but I'd love to still be able to do the 10k and the 4 miles.
Anyhow, that remains to be seen, and in the meantime, I have a duty to return to blogging. Not only for myself, but for my Team Beachbody team. We've lost a coach along the way, but we gained another. And I want us (and anyone who decides to join us along our journey) to become more tight-knit, more cohesive, and more supportive of one another.
So, my plan is to have each of the coaches on Team MotivationSpark as co-bloggers. Over the next couple of weeks or so, I plan to publish bio posts for each of my team members, and I'm hashing out a blog schedule so that the Spark Your Motivation blog comes out of dormancy in an organized, active and VERY helpful to those of you looking for health and fitness resources, inspiration and, of course, motivation.
Watch this space.
Yesterday, on a whim, I decided I'd start up one of those fun little Facebook diversions in the form of a collaborative story. As illustrated by the post above, I started out with two words, and those who chose to participate each added two words at a time. I promised everyone I'd collate their posts in to story form and post it for everyone to read and have a good laugh.
For the purposes of continuity and sense-making, I added a couple of small edits (noted in brackets) throughout the story.
And so, without further adieu, the story y'all created and have been waiting to read in its entirety....
One day, I hopped these tacos with a jump rope that was mixed with gasoline and glitter glue. The tacos were delicious and sparkly, tasted like corn syrup combined with grits and hash browns.
The clown underground said, "We float down here, down here."
He said, "That's awesome, down here, over there."
Said [t]he, "Where there, we all are monkeys trapped in a cage made of wire and strawberry Twizzlers, chicken feathers, in cake topped with jelly beans."
Sour patch that went down the rabbit hole carrying a rabbit's foot, looking for Lucky Charms, but monkeys flying out, we saw Batman with a web of snot and hope, and he hopped over Grandma's house into the swimming pool filled with gummy sweettarts surrounded by [a] search for garden gnomes praying to win the battle and make banana bread.
So they took turns mixing with Deadmau5 and vanilla pudding with a mixing board tied to the bottom of a [lamppost] with cake all over the front two teeth, forgetting where they put an enigma of seagulls with diarrhea and breadsticks.
Unfortunately, when Santa came, the flowers wilted away after the Batman arrived, until he STOMPED forcefully upon those hairy spiders who said, "Stop it!" But I am addicted to breadsticks, to spinach, [and] the end of ducks.
Ask and It Is Given - Esther & Jerry Hicks
This book was my first real introduction to the Law of Attraction, by way of the nonphysical entity, Abraham. This book will help you learn how to manifest your desires so that you're living the joyous and fulfilling life you deserve. As you read, you'll come to understand how your relationships, health issues, finances, career concerns, and more are influenced by the Universal laws that govern your time/space reality - and you'll discover powerful processes that will help you go with the positive flow of life.
Lead With Your Heart: Creating a Life of Love, Compassion, and Purpose - Regina Cates
My name appears in the acknowledgements of this book! I was privileged enough to work closely with the author and be one of the first to read one of her first drafts. Author Regina Cates asks us to question our notion of what success and happiness really mean. Through the sharing of her own personal stories as well as providing helpful meditations, questions, and exercises, Regina offers a combination of wise advice, compelling anecdotes, and practical strategies for living a life that is authentic, fulfilling, and healing.
Change Your Thoughts - Change Your Life: Living the Wisdom of the Tao - Dr. Wayne W. Dyer
For this book, Dr. Wayne W. Dyer reviewed hundreds of translations of the Tao Te Ching and has written 81 distinct essays on how to apply the ancient wisdom of the Tao Te Ching author Lao-tzu to today’s modern world.
The Compound Effect - Darren Hardy
This book proves that little, everyday decisions will either take you to the life you desire or to disaster by default. It's those small decisions and choices that add up over time that determine your future experiences. This is a great book to keep on hand when you begin to get weary of not seeing results right away from all those small positive efforts over time.
E-Squared: Nine Do-It-Yourself Energy Experiments That Prove Your Thoughts Create Your Reality - Pam Grout
This book could best be described as a lab manual with simple experiments to prove once and for all that reality is malleable, that consciousness trumps matter, and that you shape your life with your mind. Rather than take it on faith, you are invited to conduct nine 48-hour experiments to prove there really is a positive, loving, totally hip force in the universe. Yes, you read that right. It says prove. Yah, this is one I intend to read again, and really apply all nine experiments again. Just so my logical mind finally GETS it! Then, my next step will be to read author Pam Grout's follow-up book, E-Cubed: Nine More Energy Experiments That Prove Manifesting Magic and Miracles Is Your Full-Time Gig.
A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life's Purpose - Eckhart Tolle
In this book, author Eckhart Tolle describes how our attachment to the ego creates the dysfunction that leads to anger, jealousy, and unhappiness, and shows readers how to awaken to a new state of consciousness and follow the path to a truly fulfilling existence.
I Could Do Anything If I Only Knew What It Was: How to Discover What You Really Want and How to Get It - Barbara Sher
If you suspect there could be more to life than what you're getting...if you always knew you could do anything if you only knew what it was, this extraordinary book will prove you right! A great read to find out exactly what you really want!
Tiger-Tiger, Is It True?: Four Questions to Make You Smile Again - Byron Katie
This is a great children's book - a story about a little tiger who thinks that his whole world is falling apart: his parents don’t love him, his friends have abandoned him, and life is unfair. But a wise turtle asks him four questions, and everything changes.
Inspiration: Your Ultimate Calling - Dr. Wayne W. Dyer
There’s a voice in the universe calling each of us to remember our purpose—our reason for being here now, in this world of impermanence. The voice whispers, shouts, and sings to us that this experience of being in form, in space and time, knowing life and death, has meaning. The voice is that of inspiration, which is within each and every one of us.
Assertiveness for Earth Angels: How to Be Loving Instead of "Too Nice" - Doreen Virtue
Do people take advantage of your niceness? Do you have trouble honestly communicating your feelings? If so, you may be an Earth Angel. In this groundbreaking book, author Doreen Virtue teaches Earth Angels—extremely sweet people who care more about others’ happiness than their own—how to maintain their inner peace and loving nature while at the same time holding boundaries.
Now that I've shared ten great inspirational books.... share one that you love in the comments below! :)
Get My Latest Blog Posts Delivered Straight To