Wellness Is for You!

I get asked more then I should if I can personally train people. Although I am flattered I do not feel comfortable training people. Although I have knowledge of working out (due to my own experience) I am not a trained professional (in that expertise anyway). In fact I use coaches and personal trainers to lead me. If you are looking for exercise advice or ways to lose weight you cannot go wrong with a trainer. The stuff I post is to motivate and encourage people in a world where negativity reigns and obesity kills more and more every year! The exercises I post are my attempts to be a show off and do what I see the pros doing. I also do not feel comfortable sharing meal plans or workouts because not only did I have to pay for that service for myself but what I do and what I need is totally different from what others will need. A trained professional can best tell you how and what to do. But what I do do is help others. So many people are stuck in a rut. So many people are abused (or currently being abused), keep making the same hurtful relationship and life choices, use drugs, alcohol, and food to cope, hate their bodies and self, and so many are lost, depressed, and seeking. I preach health and wellness because I care about you; The whole you and what can be done to overcome the barriers and the issues that keep you stuck. I preach fitness because it saved me, it is fun, and I love it. However the focus should be on being a better you! May is Mental Health Awareness Month and I want to focus on letting people know they are not alone, there is hope, and you can overcome!

The Mental Health Issue You May Be Ignoring

May is Mental Health Awareness Month.  Most people think that mental health relates to depression, anxiety, or being “crazy”.  However mental health issues can and will impact everyone.  Yep, everyone has mental health problems.  Even you!  Do you get stressed?  I bet you do.  Even good things in life, graduation, moving, marriage, or having a baby are considered stressful.  Stress is a mental health problem because it will impact your emotional health, your physical health, your mental health, and your behavior.

Please see the article below for more information on why stress is considered a mental health issue and what you can do about it.  I was going to say it but Mental Health America said it so well I thought I would share it with you all today.

Everyone has stress. It is a normal part of life. You can feel stress in your body when you have too much to do or when you haven’t slept well. You can also feel stress when you worry about things like your job, money, relationships, or a friend or family member who is ill or in crisis. In response to these strains your body automatically increases blood pressure, heart rate, respiration, metabolism, and blood flow to you muscles. This response is intended to help your body react quickly and effectively to a high-pressure situation. However, when you are constantly reacting to stressful situations without making adjustments to counter the effects, you will feel stress which can threaten your health and well-being.

Image

According to the APA’s Stress in America study, nearly 70% of Americans experience physical and mental symptoms of stress, but only 37% think they are doing very well at managing stress.

Tips for Reducing or Controlling Stress
If you are feeling stressed, there are steps you can take to feel better. As you read the following suggestions, remember that conquering stress will not come from a half-hearted effort, nor will it come overnight. It will take determination, persistence and time. Some suggestions may help immediately, but if your stress level doesn’t seem to improve, it may require more attention and/or lifestyle changes.

Be realistic. If you feel overwhelmed by some activities (yours and/or your family’s), learn to say NO! Eliminate an activity that is not absolutely necessary. You may be taking on more responsibility than you can or should handle. If you meet resistance, give reasons why you’re making the changes. Be willing to listen to other’s suggestions and be ready to compromise.

Shed the “superman/superwoman” urge. No one is perfect, so don’t expect perfection from yourself or others. Ask yourself, “What really needs to be done?” How much can I do? Is the deadline realistic? What adjustments can I make?” Don’t hesitate to ask for help if you need it.

Meditate. Just ten to twenty minutes of quiet reflection may bring relief from chronic stress as well as increase your tolerance to it. Use the time to listen to music, relax and try to think of pleasant things or nothing.

Visualize. Use your imagination and picture how you can manage a stressful situation more successfully.  Whether it’s a business presentation or moving to a new place, many people feel visual rehearsals boost self-confidence and enable them to take a more positive approach to a difficult task.

Take one thing at a time. For people under tension or stress, their day-to-day workload can sometimes seem unbearable. The best way to cope with this feeling of being overwhelmed is to take one task at a time. Make a list of things you need to get done and start with one task. Once you accomplish that task, choose the next one. The positive feeling of “checking off” tasks is very satisfying. It will motivate you to keep going.

Exercise. Regular exercise is a popular way to relieve stress. Twenty to thirty minutes of physical activity benefits both the body and the mind.

Hobbies. Take a break from your worries by doing something you enjoy. Whether it’s gardening or painting, schedule time to indulge your interest.

Share your feelings. A conversation with a friend lets you know that you are not the only one having a bad day, caring for a sick child or working in a busy office. Stay in touch with friends and family. Ask them how they have dealt with a similar situation that may be “stressing you out.” Let them provide love, support and guidance. Don’t try to cope alone.

Be flexible! If you find you’re meeting constant opposition in either your personal or professional life, rethink your position or strategy. Arguing only intensifies stressful feelings. Make allowances for other’s opinions and be prepared to compromise. If you are willing to be accommodating, others may meet you halfway. Not only will you reduce your stress, you may find better solutions to your problems.

Go easy with criticism. You may expect too much of yourself and others. Try not to feel frustrated, disappointed or even “trapped” when another person does not measure up. The “other person” may be a coworker, spouse, or child whose behavior you are trying to change or don’t agree with. Avoid criticisms about character, such as “You’re so stubborn,” and try providing constructive suggestions for how someone might do something differently.

Where to Get Help
If you think that you or someone you know may be under more stress than just dealing with a passing difficulty, it may be helpful to talk with your doctor, clergy person, or employee assistance professional. They may suggest you visit with a psychiatrist, psychologist, social worker, or other qualified counselor.

In crisis? If you or someone you know is in crisis, seek help immediately. Call 1-800-273-TALK (8255) to reach a 24-hour crisis center or dial 911 for immediate assistance.

Ideas to consider when talking with a professional
• List the things which cause stress and tension in your life.
• How does this stress and tension affect you, your family and your job?
• Can you identify the stress and tensions in your life as short or long term?
• Do you have a support system of friends/family that will help you make positive changes?
• What are your biggest obstacles to reducing stress?
• What are you willing to change or give up for a less stressful and tension-filled life?
• What have you tried already that didn’t work for you?

For more on Mental Health America head over to: http://www.mentalhealthamerica.net/conditions/stress-coping-everyday-problems

Remember stress is something that everyone experiences.  Those that may not appear so stressed out may have learned ways to manage it.  Stress can be managed.  There is help and there is hope.  You do not have to be controlled by stress and overwhelmed.  You can live relaxed and calm even if there a million things going on.  Take things day by day and do something today that will make you smile and relax.

It’s A Lifestyle Change

“Progress not perfection”.  I have said that probably a thousand times.  “Fitness is a lifestyle change”.  I have also said that a thousand times.  Yet despite the frequency we are reminded of these encouraging statements, people continue to struggle with the process of living a healthy lifestyle.  I want to spend some time talking about living a healthy life and explain how distracted views, unrealistic goals, and difficult expectations make fitness for life challenging.

I want to start with my personal journey.  I was not athletic as a child.  I was not tough or strong.  I was sensitive, creative, whimsical, and fun.  I wanted to spend my time hanging out with friends and sought to discover life on my own terms.  At a young age I started to experiment with drugs and alcohol.  It is by the grace of God that I never physically harmed or arrested, although I did land myself into some legal troubles, during my escapades.  I witnessed numerous friends make life altering choices that left emotional, mental, and physical scars.  I saw myself go from a secure young lady to a confused and morally lacking young adult.  All I cared about was the next party or the next opportunity to hang out.  This lifestyle started to negatively impact my professional future.  I was at a University and I was broke, alone, miserable, and depressed.  One night my parents had an intervention with me and threatened to pull me out of Baylor University.  Mind you, going to Baylor had been my childhood dream.  They threatened to force me home, make me get a job, and start drug and alcohol rehab.  I had hit “rock bottom”.  I re-focused my priorities and my responsibilities, found a job, and I was able to find a balance to graduate successfully from Baylor University.

Image

Picture of me and a friend not long after graduation from Baylor – I am the brunette and at a heavier weight.

I was quickly accepted to graduate school in Chicago, Illinois.  Living in Chicago proved to be too much for this young, small town girl.  I quickly returned to the party lifestyle.  My days were spent in school and my nights consisted of drinking and dancing until it was time to go back to class. My diet consisted of “hangover food” from any grease filled fast-food chain or Chicago-style pizza.  Needless to say I was overweight.  Eventually I added an internship to this mix.  I worked with children that had witnessed domestic violence or abuse and helped mothers that had been violently abused by their partners navigate the court process and start the emotional healing process.  Most days I left my “job” in tears feeling hopeless and angry of the hate that existed in the world.  This only fueled my desire to drink more.  I  held it together long enough to graduate with a 4.0 and land my “dream job” immediately following graduation.  I worked with young women with eating disorders, trauma, and substance abuse issues.  Rather than carefully learn to cope with what I heard and saw I choose to cope by staying up until 5 and 6 in the morning drinking and eating poorly.  It all caught up to me one morning as I was driving to work on a busy Chicago interstate when I had to pull-over and vomit from being too drunk from the night before.  During supervision later that day, my director looked at me and asked, “Is anyone using drugs or alcohol to cope?”.  Although I knew she was talking to me I denied this to her, the group, and to myself.

I was a hot mess.  I was overweight, sick, and hated myself.  It was time for a change.  During this time my sister was planning a wedding.  I purchased my bridesmaid dress and gained so much weight that when I needed to have it altered the seamstress said to me, “why do you buy a dress and gain so much weight”? I was at least 4-6 dress sizes bigger!  My wake up call came when I moved for a job to a small East Texas town.  My friend and I decided that in order to save money we would stop eating out and drinking for 60 days.  I bought food to eat at home and since my social life was lacking I bought 2 $10 dance workout DVDs.  This was late 2006 that I started to eat healthy and workout.  I started using the DVDs in my living room 3 days a week.  I started feeling better.  I started spending time working on my spiritual life grew spirituality and emotionally.  I had improved self-esteem, confidence, and fulfilled relationships.  I was truly happy.

I am not sure what I weighed when I started my journey in 2006.  I do know at one point I weighed as much as 160 pounds and I was wearing between a size 12 and size 14.  However as I improved my life my physical body started to shed weight.  My clothes got bigger.  They were so big they were uncomfortable to wear.  I had to buy a whole new wardrobe.  I became stronger and started working out in my apartment complex fitness center.  It felt so good to be in charge of my life that I was working out 5 days a week.  As I continued to work on myself I obtained a job promotion and once again moved.  This time I moved to a suburb of Houston.  I was thin, happy, and confident.  I started to workout more.  I was the girl in the gym 3 hours a day 7 days a week.  I read books and journals on food and found that I was eating less and less.  After reading Skinny Bitch, which I advise anyone interested in the quality of our food to read, I threw away all the food in my house and vowed to be vegan.  I lost even more weight.  People commented on my body and my physique and how they wanted my abs, my arms, and sought to weigh as much as I did.

Sadly I, too, was obsessed with the number on the scale.  I thought that if I weighed a certain number I would have achieved the ultimate goal.  As I lost more weight I became sicker both emotionally and physically.  I lost my period for several months.  I would weigh myself 3 times a day and if the number went up, I would lock myself in my house, cry, and tell myself I was fat.  One night I had plans to hang out with friends.  These were great plans too, it was going to be a fun night.  However, I weighed before I left for the night and I had gained.  I drove around for 2 hours crying and squeezing all the “fat” on my body.  I drove home and knew I had a problem.

Image

A picture of me at my thinnest – I was unhealthy and obsessed with the number on the scale.

I had to find “balance”.  That was the word my psychologist said to me and it made total sense.  I had spent my life letting something consume my thoughts, behaviors, and my emotions.  She explained I could have health, fitness, friends, professional success, and love all at the same time.  When I stopped worrying about achieving a particular goal and enjoyed the daily process I was able to find balance.  This was 2009.  Since that time I enjoy the daily process.  I enjoy the work that needs to be done today because in 6 weeks, 6 months, 1 year, 6 years, I will be a different, better, and more fabulous place.

Image

How I started to look as I found a balance – I was fit, active, healthy, successful, and happy.

So many people ask me, “what do I do to lose weight?”, “what do I do to have toned arms?”, or “what do I do to have a better booty?”  Here is the answer – WORK – every single day!  The fitness instructor you see or the toned and strong person you see in the gym did not wake up looking that way.  They have been working toward their physique everyday.  Most often for YEARS!  They embrace the daily grind and know the decisions made today will lead to results tomorrow.

Image

Progress picture – from early in my prep

 Image

Progress this week – 8 total weeks!

I know so many people that spend hours in the gym, and they are in every group fitness class.  As a group fitness instructor I love people like you in my classes.  You make my classes fun and challenging.  However if you want to see progress the key is not to spend hours in group fitness classes.  (Please keep coming to class, but understand I did not achieve my physique by attending group fitness classes).  However I want to keep you from hitting rock bottom and having to experience the emotional and psychological pain I felt.  I want you to know that you can achieve a healthy lifestyle.

The key to living a healthy lifestyle is to eat with balance, workout with balance, and live life with balance.  You must eat healthy.  Your diet must be consistent from day to day.  A healthy lifestyle is actively making a decision to chose to eat fruit instead of cake at the company party and not feeling deprived.  A healthy lifestyle means eating a meal at home rather than the drive thru.  A healthy lifestyle means drinking water instead of soda, EVERY SINGLE DAY!  However living this lifestyle means that you can afford to eat cake or you can afford a nice dinner at restaurant and do it guilt free and without sabotaging your hard work.

Living a healthy lifestyle is knowing that physical fitness and exercise is necessary for mental, physical, and emotional health.  It is a decision to workout daily.  It is knowing that a balanced workout regime should include some cardio and strength training.  Your cycle instructor with the toned arms did not get toned arms from riding a stationary bicycle.  No, the lean arms comes from lifting weights.  My physique did not come from teaching cycle or RIPPED, no it came from lifting heavy and hard before and sometimes after class.

A healthy lifestyle means it is OK to say “no”.  There are times when your family will need your attention, your support, and your love.  Family is always more important than a workout.  You can plan accordingly and get your workouts in prior to the commitment and enjoy a family day and a rest day at the same time.  Rest is necessary to build muscle and burn fat.  You body will not improve if it is constantly under stress from working out.

Going to the gym consistently 3-4 days a week, or more, for 6 months may not yield the results you want.  If you started working out in January and still have weight to lose and muscles to tone than keep going.  If every time you work out you expect to reach your goal, you will never be satisfied.  A healthy lifestyle means doing the work because you know that each day you get a little better.  Give up on achieving your goal and start living life.  Start living a life where you choose health, you chose happiness, you choose love, and you choose wellness.  One day you will look back and see how far you have come!

Get Over It…

“Get over it” is the worst thing we can say to ourselves or say to each other. I have heard various versions of this phrase working with families and individuals. Family members and loved ones may tell a person with upset emotions to “cheer up”, “get over it”, or “move on”. Although it is used to motivate or encourage the upset individual, these phrases have a way of shaming as well. These words can create greater individual upset and distress.

I am here to tell you to be upset. Be angry. Be sad. Be frustrated. Yell. Cry. Isolate. Whatever you feel is 100% OK. A mature and well-functioning person should be able to regulate emotions. In other words it is average for people to experience emotional upset but not sacrifice relationships or jobs and not cause harm to self or others. However when feelings are not managed correctly relationships and jobs may suffer and there may be emotional or physical harm to others. Rather to avoid feelings and try to “get over it” it is best to feel and deal with it!

Some emotions and situations are very difficult to just “get over”. A depressed person cannot get up and go enjoy activities. An anxious person cannot stop worrying. It is a shame we have made feelings such an insignificant matter. Feelings are very important and I am here to say, “You don’t have to get over yet”!

When feelings are shamed and ultimately suppressed the feeling only grows and gets bigger. Imagine an area rug in the middle of a hardwood floor. The floor around the rug is dusty so you sweep the dust under the rug. This is what happens when people are not allowed to express or feel their emotions. The dust is still there. You may try to ignore feelings but they are still there. Continue to sweep the dust under the rug and eventually the rug will no longer be able to contain the dirt and the dust will be exposed. Sadly when the dust is exposed it is a much bigger mess. The same is true for feelings. If feelings are suppressed long enough they will struggle to be maintained, the feelings will explode, and there will be emotional and perhaps physical harm to self and others.

Although the feeling is ok, feelings become dangerous, scary, and unmanageable when they are not addressed. If you have a loved one with upset emotions acknowledge them and let them know you see how they feel. Let them know that what they feel is ok and they can take their time to feel better. Let them know you are there to help them come up with ways and explore ways to make the feelings decrease. Tell them you see them and you see how they feeling.

If you have upset emotions feeling them may seem overwhelming. Perhaps you feel if you start crying you will never stop crying. Or perhaps you feel if you no longer worry you will no longer be in control. Remember the feeling does not control you. You CONTROL the feeling. You can choose to feel sad and worried and you can choose to feel happy and relaxed. You have the right to do something to improve your situation. Try talking to someone. Sometimes simply verbalizing how you feel is enough to feel better. Write down how you feel. This will help you identify how you feel but also helps express any thoughts that are contributing to the upset.

Feelings are like a wave in the ocean. At times they will appear very large but eventually the wave crashes and the water is calm again. The same is true for emotions. At times they will seem very large but eventually the feeling will decrease and things will be calm again. Feelings come and go. You are not bound to feeling depressed, anxious, angry, stressed, and scared if you deal with feelings rather than ignore them, and eventually you will “get over it!”

20140512-171239.jpg

Not your typical “fluffy” fitspo post!

I have written posts on here about working to better myself.  I have read blogs and posters that remind me “I am my own competition”, and all fitness motivation sites urge me to be better today than I was yesterday.  The quest to be a better person is exciting.  The belief that I can work to improve myself, my situation, and my body each day is motivating and inspiring.  But let’s be honest here for a moment – this “fluff” is at the same time, FRUSTRATING!

In order to believe I am capable of being a better person today I have to believe that I am a good person.  The desire to self-motivate implies I have enough esteem and self love to convince myself I am good enough to be better.  Not everyone has self love.  Many of us are filled with self-doubt, shame, regret, and disrespect ourselves.

Decreased self-esteem keeps us small.  It keeps us from pursuing our true potential.  The problem with self-motivating tips and encouragement that uses lines like, “I am my own competition” is these do not work if I do not like who I am and I do not see much to strive for.  We are very self-critical and it is likely you judge yourself, your behaviors, your thoughts, and your body.  You see what is wrong.  You see what needs to improve.  Sure you see others improving their bodies and their lives but because you are unsure of what you can do, you do not see your potential.

People that self-evaluate and seek to improve self have a tendency to also focus on weaknesses.  I am going to get a bit personal here.  I am 9 weeks into my prep for a bodybuilding (bikini) competition.  The season has commenced and many have already competed.  I follow several accounts on social media as a means to motivate myself, and I witness my inspirations compete and succeed.  I see their physique and compare my body to their body.  When I do this I think, “I am not prepared” because I see they look better than me.  (Please don’t see this as a means to obtain sympathy or encouragement – I am being really honest here – we all think these things – many just won’t admit it).  I see their legs and then I see my legs, my greatest weakness.  My legs is where I hold my body fat.  My upper body is lean and vascular however rather than focus on my best area, I focus on my worst.  For so long I used this weakness as my motivation to work hard in the gym and lift harder in order to train and shape my legs.  Sadly I started to dread leg day and I started to feel weaker in my legs, rather than stronger.  This only caused further frustration.  As I continued to use self-talk and encourage myself that “I can improve myself”, “I am the barrier”, and “I am my own competition” my legs slowly started to look better.

The problem starts when I compare myself to others.  In the fitness world there are fit and beautiful people everywhere, it is hard to NOT compare myself to them.  I tell you this to let you know that, first of all, you are normal.  Secondly even fit people, people that compete, see weakness and compare their weaknesses to others.  Lastly do not be discouraged if you struggle with self-motivation and pushing yourself to the next level.  I understand.  We compare ourselves to others but many fitness motivators discourage us from this.  They ask us to see our own strengths and improve our weaknesses.  Yes this is true, and yes it works, but why not use others to motivate us as well?

As I pour over fitness pages for encouragement and motivation I see girls with well-defined quads.  They boast of their ability to lift heavy and their ability to break personal records (lift heavier than they have been able to lift previously).  I want to be like them, at least have their quads, so why not lift like them?  If I want to achieve a goal that another person has successfully achieved I am going to do what they do.  I am not ashamed to say I am a copy cat.  If they can increase how much they dead lift, then so can I.  Once I started to think this way I walked into my next leg training session with encouragement and motivation.  I was able to lift heavier and even set personal records.

I became comfortable with myself, at least comfortable enough in the work I was putting into my training, and stopped pushing myself.  I needed to see my weaknesses compared to others and I needed to use that motivate myself to work harder.  We need a challenge, at times, otherwise we become complacent. But if we are going to change and improve we need a challenge, and we need things to be hard.  Losing weight, maintaining weight, living a healthy lifestyle is NOT easy. If it were easy obesity would not be considered an epidemic.  Just like any thing in life we reach a period where our motivation will decrease.  No one has 100% motivation 100% of the time.  I encourage you to work to be a better you.  I encourage you to focus on how you can improve.  You are your own competition.  But I also encourage you to work to be better than your motivation.  Seek people who motivate and encourage you and then work to be better than them.  Compete with yourself but know that it is OK to compete with others too.  They say there is only 1 winner.  If that is true I want that to be me! Therefore I will work harder to be better than myself and better than my competition.  If you want to win and be successful I encourage you to work harder to be your best self but also work harder to beat me!

Are you Fully Well? 31 Steps to Find Happiness in Life

We all want to be happier, healthier, fitter, richer, and more successful.  As humans, we fundamentally have this right.  Although we have this right, I question if many of us are truly well.  Wellness is having  happiness, physical, emotional, and spiritual health, success, loving and supportive relationships, and ultimately satisfaction in life.  Millions of Americans are constantly pursuing this yet so many struggle to find it.

All seek wellness but many struggle to achieve it.  There are many reasons people struggle to find life satisfaction.  A major reason people struggle to obtain wellness is because limit their focus on improving only one area of life.  Wellness includes many different facets of being human.  Wellness is what makes a person whole and wellness involves all human thoughts, actions, beliefs, experiences, hopes, and expectations.  Rather than working to improve the whole person many people become fixated on fixing one area of life.  The expectation is that improving in one area of life will bring ultimate wellness.  A common belief is that to become more fit and lose weight means more success in relationships, health, emotions, thinking, and behavior.   It is true that making positive changes will increase confidence, health, thinking, behavior, and interactions with others.  However people are more than physically fit creatures.  Achieving physical fitness will not improve relationships, job happiness, emotional health, or spiritual health unless individuals work on these areas daily as well.  The “psyche” (who you are) strives for balance in all areas of life.  When one area starts to decline, other areas will all decline.  Whereas when areas of a person start to improve, other areas also need to improve to achieve wellness.

Lisa Rankin, MD describes the concept of wellness and explains that in order to find wellness a person needs to achieve satisfaction and happiness in different areas of life.  Lisa describes the areas of wellness as, physical health, mental health, finances, environment, creativity, sexuality, spirituality, work and purpose in life, and loving and supportive relationships. (You can read more about Dr. Rankin and her wellness model by clicking the link associated with her name above).

Finding happiness in these areas brings happiness with self and with life.  Part of achieving wellness is honoring your own beliefs, morals, values, expectations, hopes, and dreams.  The heart of wellness is connecting to “who you really are”.  I know this is a concept that millions struggle with.  Age does not mean a person has achieved wellness and many will waste a lifetime questioning who they are and their purpose in life.  However working to find balance in all areas of life can help people figure this out.  A person can achieve wellness in life by daily practicing behavior that will strengthen and improve these areas.

1.  Seek pleasure!  Find something that makes you happy and do it every day.  If you enjoy chocolate have one piece of dark chocolate a day.  You do not have to limit yourself or deny yourself things that you like or enjoy.  That is the opposite of wellness.  Do not over indulge either.  You are allowed to enjoy while you work to achieve wellness.

2.  Volunteer and help others.  We live on a planet with billions of others and all of us are connected.  We can make the world a better place when we decide to help others.

3.  Remember and recall your blessings daily!

4.  Hug the ones you love as much as you can.  A hug makes them feel better and will make you feel better as well.

5.  Be physically active every day.  Take a walk.   Walk the dog.  Play tennis or basketball with your kids.

6.  Eat more fruits and vegetables.  Try to eat a cup of fruit or vegetables at every meal.

7.  Do not be afraid to seek medical care.

8.  Journal for 20-30 minutes a day.  Find a pen, paper, and a quiet spot and simply write your thoughts and feelings in that moment.  Journal pleasant and unpleasant thoughts and feelings.  Journaling these things can help you release emotions, connect your mind to your body, and help control thinking and feelings.

9.  Do not hold onto emotions.  Many people are fearful of expressing feelings like sadness and anger for fear of consequences.  Feelings are never a bad thing, rather the reaction to the emotion may hold devastating consequences.  Find ways to express emotions in healthy and socially acceptable ways.

10.  Engage in positive thinking daily.  Negative thinking causes negative emotions.  Simply switching thinking will improve your mood.  Read affirmations, count your blessings, think of happier times, and engage in behaviors that make you smile.  These things will improve your thinking and your mood.

11.  Make a monthly budget.  Determine when bills are due and establish a budget based on spending patterns last month.  Keep this budget with you when you go shopping or leave the house.  Spend only money allowed according to the budget that has been established.

12.  Be in control of your money.  Tell your money where to go.  Your money does not control you.  You are the boss of your money and you can use your new budget to determine how and when money is spent.

13.  Limit spending.  We live in a society where we believe we need certain items to make us happy, successful, and satisfied.  Sadly these things do not love us back and continue to leave us lacking.  There are few things that we as humans really need (food, shelter, water, and connection with others).  All other things can wait until you have saved enough to purchase it.

14.  Where you live, work, and play determines how you feel.  Make your home comfortable.  Clean out and organized drawers and throw away any unnecessary items.

15. Rearrange items or furniture to give your office or home a new fresh look.

16. Take a walk in a park or sit outside in a place full of nature.  Spend time enjoying the ambiance of the outdoors and the creatures that live there.

17.  You do not have to be an artist to be creative.  Try reading a book or listening to music.  Let this inspire your mind.

18.  Journaling can also spark ideas and solutions.

19.  Take a class to learn more about a creative outlet.  Try a cooking class, a pottery class, painting lessons, or a dance class.

20.  Be proud of who you are!  You are you.  You are unique.  This is what makes you and the world special.

21.  Find confidence in your body by highlighting areas of your body that make you proud.

22.  Respect your body.  It is your body and it is only one you will have.  Express yourself and avoid limits but practice self-control and know your boundaries.

23.  Meditate/pray daily.

24.  Connect with your Higher Power.  You do not need to be a Christian to have spiritual practices and beliefs.  Know there is a source greater than you that is in control.  Letting go of control to a Higher Power gives freedom.

25.  Let go and forgive others.

26.  What did you want to be when you grew up? Ask yourself this question to help discover your passion and purpose in life.

27.  Make an effort daily to work toward or learn what you need to do what you want to do. Make a To-Do list of things needed to prepare you or start living your dreams.

28.  Find what you love and discover your passion by talking and serving others.  Volunteering not only serves others but will serve you to discover your purpose in life.

29.  Make time weekly to spend undistracted time with loved ones.  Turn off cell phones, TV, cancel all other responsibilities, and make a day where you can focus on the ones you love.

30.  Listen to your loved ones.  Hear what they are telling you and acknowledge how they feel.  This does not mean you have to agree, it only means you hear what they are telling you.

31.  Do not assume your loved ones can read your mind.  They cannot!  It is up to you to tell them what you need and what you expect from them.

This list is not exhaustive.  There are hundreds of ways to find wellness.  Wellness is unique to each person. The key is to seek fulfillment in all areas of life.  It is great to focus on your physical fitness, but are you neglecting those you love as a result?  It is great to have lots of friends, be kind to others, and serve others but you may neglect your self by not maintaining boundaries or allowing yourself to do things you truly enjoy.  Wellness is worth pursuing.  You deserve health and happiness in all areas of your life.

 

Full Body Workout

Here is a treat for you all today.  I am posting a full body workout.  This is my go-to workout.  This is for anyone looking to start strength training and not sure where to start.  It is also for people that have been involved in a strength training program but looking for variety and a way to change up the routine.

This is a 5-6 days a week workout plan.  It includes 2 leg workouts because my legs are my weak area.  I do not do much cardio, however if I do cardio it is only 2-3 days a week for about 30 minutes.  These workouts should take no more than 1 hour.  Moving quickly through the exercises and the sets will keep heart rate up and increase intensity and it will burn extra calories.  These workouts should increase breathing and cause you to break a sweat.  Lift a weight that is heavy and difficult but light enough to complete all reps for all sets.  As you near the end of reps during a set the muscle you are working should feel a burn!

MONDAY – Shoulders/Abs

4 sets 12 reps – little to no rest between each exercise – 30 sec/1 minute rest between each set

 Set 1:

Shoulder press

Delt fly

Arnold Press

Lying leg lifts (25)

Set 2:

Front raise

Side raise

Delt pull

Reverse crunch (25)

Set 3:

Shoulder shrugs

Shoulder fly

Planks (45 seconds)

Tuesday – Back/Biceps

4 sets 12 reps – little to no rest between each exercise – 30 sec/1 minute rest between each set

Set 1:

Deadlift

High row

Seated row

Set 2:

Wide Grip Pulldown

Close Grip Pulldown

T-bar

Set 3:

Bicep Curl

Preacher Curl

Rope Curl

Wednesday – Chest/Triceps

4 sets 12 reps – little to no rest between each exercise – 30 sec/1 minute rest between each set

Set 1:

Lying Bench Press

Incline Bench Press

Sit ups (25)

Set 2:

Seated Chest press

Cable fly

Tricep Pushdown

Set 3:

Tricep Kickbacks

Dips

Plank (45 seconds)

Thursday – Rest day or cardio day – take a spin class/Group X class/Yoga

Friday- Quads/Abs

4 sets 12 reps – little to no rest between each exercise – 30 sec/1 minute rest between each set

Set 1:

Front squat

Squats

Set 2:

Step ups

Lunge

Set 3:

Leg Press

Leg ext

Split Squat

Calf raises

Set 4 – Abs:

Leg lifts (25)

Reverse crunch (25)

Plank (45 seconds)

Saturday – Upper Body

4 sets 12 reps – little to no rest between each exercise – 30 sec/1 minute rest between each set

 Set 1:

Bicep curls

Shoulder press

Chest press

Sit ups (25)

Set 2:

Tricep ext

Back row

Lateral raise

Reverse crunch (25)

Set 3:

Chest fly

Wide grip pull down

Preacher curls

Leg lifts (25)

 Sunday – rest day/cardio/1 more leg day (if you have it in you)!

4 sets 12 reps – little to no rest between each exercise – 30 sec/1 minute rest between each set

Set 1:

squats

Hack squat

Set 2:

Deadlift

Hamstring curl

Set 3: 

Lunges

Calf raises

Set 4:

Bridge

Donkey kicks

 Pistol squats

Sit ups (25)

 

*Note: Stephanie is not a personal trainer.  This workout is based on Stephanie’s experience working out and consists of Stephanie’s favorite exercises.