It’s May. Which typically is a busy month for my clients. There are all kinds of graduations, kids events, parties, etc… This is the time you check in with yourself.
Can you notice when you stress levels are higher than normal? How are you holding yourself accountable?? Learning how to keep yourself accountable and coach yourself through uncomfortable times is so important, especially as we age.
How good are you at practicing curiosity? Without shame or judgement. Can you look take an impartial review of what is going on with yourself? What went well? What are things you want to improve for next week?
Are you feeling overwhelmed?
Feeling overwhelmed is optional. As real as it seems, it is a feeling and you can learn how to quit overwhelming yourself-yes, even when the whole world is going CRAZY around you. Thought management take practice Learning how to plan your morning routine as away to set the pace for the remainder of the day and eliminate decision fatigue is a powerful tool. You have to learn how to be realistic with your time and it takes practice.
Last week at church they talked about Romans 12:2.
Romans 12:2 – “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.”
Now you’re talking my language. THIS I can understand.
The pastor went on to say the best way to stay with a renewed mind is to read the Bible. The magic number? Four.
And he backed that up with all kinds of statistics about how people that read the Bible at least 4 days a week have less depression, less addiction issues (food alcohol, substance abuse), less divorce, and less infidelity. Strong reasons to lean in.
A past version of me would have felt a little judged. And feeling some shame because, like I have said previously, I have had more than a few periods of “Stuckness.”
Reading my Bible 4 days a week?!? That’s such hard work! Do you know how much stuff I have to do?!?
For me, Biblical principles never felt Joyful. It felt like work. It felt like shame. I looked at reading the Bible as just another way to remind myself I would never be good enough. I have often said, “just throwing Bible verses at someone will never make someone follow Christ.” I think it’s more lead by example. I think its about being kind. I think its about telling your own story on why you believe in what you do.
It’s about having so much love in your own heart for yourself that you are able to share how you got there with others.
For me, it’s about being able to look at things like reading the Bible, drinking our water, caring for our personal body, and shifting our mindset not as work, but from this place of joy. Gratitude.
Will there be days when we don’t feel like it? YES! Of course. That’s when we all need to begin learning the tools that can help you refocus and understanding about those pitfalls that keep us from doing the things we “should” be doing to care for our mind, body and spirit.
The negativity bias
That is the tendency to pay more attention to negative information than to positive information. Here, more weight is given to negative experiences over neutral or positive experiences. It’s a human thing, and we all do it. It is something you have to be aware of.
Self care takes work
It takes effort, and you’re probably trying to do too much at one time. Acknowledging this can help you be realistic with the goals you set.
Self care can be a magnet for shame. Be it shame about not doing the things you know you want or need to do, or the more insidious shame that quietly questions whether you actually deserve care and compassion in the first place.
Shame can be a toxic bedfellow to self-care, and is a powerful accelerant of self-loathing. Naming and befriending shame is the fastest way to dismantle its impact on your life. Asking yourself, “What is causing me to feel shame?” Avoid having shame about feeling shame…that really leads nowhere.
Confusing indulgence with self care
This is a great example I read recently – “Take, for example, eating dessert. For someone who maintains a healthy weight and body image, eating dessert is no big deal, whereas for someone struggling to shed unhealthy extra pounds, eating a dessert can be a dangerous threat to their hard-earned momentum. The trick to determining whether an indulgence is safe is to understand your relationship with an activity, be honest with yourself, and aim for moderation. Too much of a good thing is always too much.”
But you have choices, and you are the only person that can define what that is FOR YOU.
Our expectations are too high
We set ourselves up to fail. We set our goals too big and too lofty. Then, we have a day, or month, or YEAR that is really stressful, and our goals go out the door. We take that as confirmation we can’t do it, so why try?
You have to start slow and be realistic. Otherwise, we will subconsciously give up before we have even started.
So, how is the month of May treating you?
If May is consuming you or kicking you in the teeth, it’s time to make some big decisions.
Take time to think about what you want at the end of this month – Do you want to feel exhausted and rushed through those events you have planned? It’s really hard to show love and appreciation for the ones we love when we are a crazy tornado of emotions. Are you allowed to say no to some things? Why or not why not?
Talk about your emotions. Get them out in the open.
Pick one thing.
Be fiercely committed to that one thing, and that’s it. Be gentle and decide to decide what it is you can do. If you are not a Bible reader, and you have wrestled with shame, guilt, and other things that you feel the Bible represents for you, start with asking yourself the hard question of why it is you feel this way?
If you’re not feeding your body good food, it’s very hard to have uplifting or fruitful thoughts. If you’re not moving your body, it doesn’t release those feel good endorphins to help you relieve pain and stress.
The point is, you have choices!
We are given a new day each day, and if you’re constantly feeling MEH! about life, telling yourself “I’m fine,” it’s time to figure out why! Fine is mediocre. No, you’re not always going to feel happy. But learning how to sit with difficult emotions without reacting, lashing out, or numbing out on an extra piece of cake or one more drink…THAT is health. THAT is self-leadership.
Hey! This middle age? It gives you every opportunity to be overwhelmed. We are wrestling with all kinds of life changes. It’s up to you to decide what it is you want from your life and begin making the small steps each day to get there and that usually begins with what you’re saying to yourself.
MINDFUL MAY CONTINUES!!
There’s still time to sign up for MINDFUL in May.
This is 30 days of meditation at 7:15am CST each day over Zoom. Each meditation lasts 15 min. The hyperlink includes the Zoom link we are using for these meditations. You may do as many or as little days as you can and to help you get clear about the reasons you think meditation might be useful!
I have come up with a companion guide as well, you can find it Here.
Not only will you find the mindful in May worksheets, you will also find some of my new spreadsheets I have added to my arsenal to help us all stay consistent when time is BUSY and we want the world to slow down for just a moment.
We know that health is way more that the size of our pants.
We know that God has a plan for us all (you just have to get busy understanding it)
We know we have choices EVERYDAY on how we care for ourselves.
We KNOW we will have to set some boundaries with people in order to care for ourselves so we can ENJOY this beautiful wonderful life that God has put in front of us.
I am looking forward to it.
May Book of the Month
“EMOTIONAL AGILITY” by Susan David.
We will be doing a book club study starting in June – Meeting online every 2nd Wednesday at 11:30am CST.