Struggling with Stress

Most of us know that we need to take care of ourselves to feel good, to manage stress and to be healthy. We know that we need downtime from the stresses of life and all that that entails. Knowing we need to do these things and actually doing them, are two very different things…as we all know. Right? So, maybe the question is, why does it really matter that we manage our stress and how bad is it for you, really?

When our bodies are in stress-mode, our stress hormones, adrenaline and cortisol, kick butt into gear. For instance, if we are getting chased by a bear, the adrenals kick in to produce adrenaline, which in turn triggers the release of cortisol into the bloodstream. We are now in fight or flight-mode to help us get away from the bear (you’re not actually supposed to run from a bear, but that’s another blog entirely). Hopefully you get the picture.

When this happens, our bodies go into survival mode where blood is moved into the muscles and away from the vital organs in order for us to ‘take flight’. Unfortunately, paying bills, unemployment, school, work, famiy issues, etc. all trigger the same stress response in your body as getting chased by a bear. So our bodies are constantly swimming in these increased hormone levels making our hearts pound, muscles tense and stomach constantly in knots. We have a hard time finding the off switch. This has become the new ‘normal’ for most of us in our over-worked, over-stressed society, that we don’t even realize it.

Being in this state produces a chronic situation for our bodies and that’s when problems can arise. The immune system can shut down, inflammation is constant, white blood cells are reduced and now we’re more susceptible to disease.

Cuddling
The GOOD news is that oxytocin, another hormone, can come to our rescue and has shown to reduce this stress response by helping the blood vessels relax, helping us to feel good and relaxed as well. How do I get more oxytocin, you ask? We can get more oxytocin flowing by caring for others and social interaction. It is sometimes called the “cuddle hormone”. Who doesn’t love to cuddle?? When we are around those we love, serving others, doing things we love, we are usually happy beings. When we are in happy-mode, there is no room for stress-mode. They cannot coexist.

Taking a little (or a lot) of self-care for oneself is not a selfish thing. It’s exactly the opposite. When we take care of ourselves, we are better moms, dads, sisters, friends and humans. What have you been allowing yourself to stress about lately? What one change can you make today to find more oxytocin and happy in your life? Find someone to cuddle up with and enjoy!

Today is the youngest you’ll ever be.

It’s 2016 ~ Are You Ready for a Change?

It’s a new year and a new you. How many times have you heard that phrase this time of year? Well it is a new year. Will it be a new you? Well, that is totally up to you. Usually the beginning of the year motivates us to want to make some changes in our life. Do you want to move forward with your business? Do you want to finally lose that weight? Do you want to leave that job that you’re not too fond of? Are you ready to set some goals and stay on track to reach them? If so, it is possible with others supporting you, cheering you on and offering encouragement.

Join a supportive, like-minded community to help you accomplish those things you’ve always wanted to accomplish, along with having fun and not stressing out.

Coming in 2016, we will be having workshops in locations that will assist you in goal setting and transformation. Nature is powerful and we can learn a lot from Her…if we allow ourselves to get quiet and listen. Studies have shown that blending with nature can invoke new possibilities and new ways of thinking. Change isn’t always about taking control, but more often than not, it is about letting go.

Our first retreat of the year is coming up April 1st-3rd in the beautiful Texas Hill Country. For more information, click here.

Why not set some goals now to have the body and life you love, and have some fun with like-minded, inspiring women while you do it? Today is the youngest you’ll ever be. Let’s do this together.

Neighbors ~ The End of an Era

I moved into my home 17 years ago. My neighbors, Mr. and Mrs. D, moved in about the same time. We watched our garden homes being built, we moved in, we shared a drive way and we bonded. That was in 1998. Mr. D passed away while I was on vacation in 2003, but I just happened to make it back in time to say my final goodbyes at his funeral. On Wednesday mornings, trash day, he would always roll my trash can up my driveway to my garage door. Every single week he did this, for the 5 years he was my neighbor.

After he was gone, Mrs. D started rolling my trash can up my driveway to my garage door and I would do the same for her. We both worked, but we helped each other out…for 12 years. Mrs. D passed away this past week. I had just spoken to her a few days before. I can still hear her laughter. She worked until just a couple of months ago. She still drove, still did everything. Her mind was sharp.

She had a special place in her heart for cats. In the 17 years that I’ve known her, she had 7 or 8 cats that she cared for (and loved). But over the last few years, one by one, they didn’t come home. We always talked about what could have happened to them…Cars? Coyotes? The last one didn’t come home about a month ago. She missed her cats. She mentioned to me, about a year ago, she didn’t know what would happen to her cats if something ever happened to her. Somehow, things have a way of working themselves out.

In the evenings, when I drove up my driveway, I could see her lights on. I knew she was there. She had her Christmas lights up on her bushes. It was a festive time. A festive month. It’s almost Christmas.

Now, as I drive up my driveway, the lights are no longer on. There are no cats chasing birds or lizards. Her Christmas lights have been unplugged. It seems so dark over there. But I think of Mr. and Mrs. D. and the light they were in my life. What great neighbors they were. I don’t want new neighbors but I’m sure it will happen. I will never forget Mr. and Mrs. D. I don’t think any other neighbor could quite measure up.

During this Christmas season, I will be thinking of them and their family. They had 7 kids and many grandchildren. It will be especially difficult for them. After all, I’m just the neighbor. But I will miss exchanging Christmas gifts this season, checking each other’s mail when we’re out of town, exchanging good recipes as well as many other things. We really weren’t just neighbors, we were friends.

Never pass up the opportunity to be neighborly. One random act of kindness could last 17 years. Forever. It can touch a soul. It has touched mine.

I will miss you Mrs. D. It is an end of an era.

Happiness and a Grateful Heart

Turning gratitude into a daily habit isn’t the easiest thing to do for some.  But with practice, positive changes can be made in how we think on a regular basis.  Most of us spend most of our time thinking about what we don’t have and worry about our to-do list.  That does get tiring and it wears on us more than we realize.

With Thanksgiving being just a few days away, I thought it would be an appropriate time to share this TED talk that my brother shared with me.  It explains how thankfulness and happiness go together.  Shawn Achor has a very entertaining way of getting the message across.  I was inspired.

However you choose to spend your week, have a beautiful Thanksgiving.  It’s never too late to be truly grateful for what you have.

Click here to see the TED talk.  Enjoy!

The Joy of Forgiveness

This is a wonderful story that I just had to share.  Stories like this can touch us on so many levels. Life is full of trials, tribulations and disappointments; some being worse than others.

Without forgiveness, it can truly hold us back from living the life we are supposed to be living.  Like it says, it can tear family and friends apart.

People are human. We are all broken on some level.  There are things that happen in life that seem to be unforgivable.  But yet, it happens.  Forgiveness.  There is Love and then there is BIG Love which comes from the depth of our soul.  It is life-changing.  ♥  Let the transformation begin. It is a process. ♥

To read the article, click on the link below or copy and paste into your browser:
www.epm.org/blog/2015/Nov/16/joy-forgiveness