Category Archives: Programs

The September offer I’ve been teasing you about: “Pay What You Can” Coaching

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“Pay What You Can” coaching is a chance for me to give back! One month where I can offer my services to women who could use my support but have so far been unable to afford it.

 

If you get my emails, then you know I’ve been teasing for several weeks that I had an special and limited offer coming to for new clients in September. Well, I’m finally going to share what that offer is:

In the spirit of giving back, I am offering a “Pay What You Can” month where you can purchase a 3 month of private coaching at a price you can afford

(read on below to find out why and how)

You’ve probably noticed I’m doing a lot less “promoting” than I was when I first started coaching. In order to make a coaching practice grow, you really do have to do a ton of promotion and marketing – either in person through workshops and conversations or online (or you have to hope your lovely past clients will send you referrals). When I first finished the Health Coach Training Program at IIN, I was heavily immersed in reading and learning all I could about marketing a budding practice – and so my online content often reflected that.

But it started to feel hollow. Icky. False. You may have noticed I’ve dropped some of the programs I offered in the beginning, like the 12 Day Detox and the 28 Day Spiritual Program. As I developed and evolved as a coach they just weren’t feeling right anymore. They weren’t “me”.  I didn’t feel like they were as helpful to my core clients as I wanted them to be and so for the past year I’ve really focused my coaching practice on one on one coaching alone (specifically, working with emotional eaters, women who eat more than they want to and those who are sick and tired of dieting, want to stop but aren’t sure how).

Marketing is important, even in a business that is more authentically aligned with who I am so you’ll still see me promoting things I’m rather excited about – the things I KNOW can help women who struggle the same way I have, but I’ve had to shut out a lot of the online chatter from the big marketers and reassess how I want to do things.

Since I’ve been coaching, I’ve met with many women who could greatly benefit from coaching on their eating struggles (I see so much of myself in them) but who confided in me that they couldn’t afford coaching right now. They’re building a house. They’re pregnant with their 3rd child. They’re a single parent.  The first couple of times I heard this, I understood, accepted it and moved on. We all have things we have to pay for first and foremost – the mortgage/rent, groceries, car payments etc (that stuff adds up!) and really, there’s only a small subset of the population that can afford to pay for all the “needs” in their life and still have money left over for things like coaching, which many view as frivolous want. Every marketing guru out there teaches entrepreneurs that the “right” clients for us WILL have the money to spend on our services. On some level, I do believe this too. But on the other hand, it sometimes hurts my heart to feel like someone wants my help and I believe I can be of help to them and to have to go our separate ways because of money.

Yes, I deserve to get paid for what I do. I have to make a living too. We all do. I can’t work with people who can’t afford to pay me.

Or can I??

A while back I saw that author and speaker Danielle LaPorte offers an annual “Pay What You Can Day” on her books and programs – generously allowing people who feel drawn to her work to benefit from it and pay what they are able, and she too has benefited greatly from it. Then I saw this post from Charles Eisenstein in a similar vein, about offering “Scholarships” at multiple levels for people to pay what they can afford for his work. Two of the things that these folks have in common is a desire to give back and remembering what they were going through when they were struggling too.

I’m nowhere near at the success level of these big wigs but I have things pretty good right now (and I’m so thankful for that). I’m in a position where I can give back. So while it’s a bit non-conformist and could possibly attract the wrong people, in the spirit of giving back, I am offering a “Pay What You Can” month where you can purchase a 3 month long coaching program with me at a price point that you can afford.

Some details you may want to know about:

  • I’m opening this up to 5 people only.
  • You must be a new client (we can’t have worked together before, so sorry) and you can’t be a relative of mine (too much history there kids!).
  • There are 6 different price points you can choose from. All are significantly less than what I normally charge for a 3 month program.
  • You pay in full for the full 3 months (if you need to pay monthly, just shoot me a note and we can totally work that out together).
  • You get 3 months of coaching with me on any of these concerns:  Emotional eating, overeating, a desire to stop the diet and binge cycle or improving body image. This includes 6 coaching sessions (via phone or through skype video calls) over three months, recommendations/assignments to do in between our sessions and email support from me in between our sessions (ask questions, get support and encouragement).
  • You have to be ready and motivated to get to work. I can’t do any of this for you. Coaching is a supportive process that will help you get the space and clarity you need to take action but it is useless if you don’t really want to make changes or are unwilling to do the things we decide are right for you.

How to take part of this offer:

  1. Schedule a 30 minute discovery session with me between now and October 10, 2016. It’s free and painless. If you don’t see a time that works for you in my scheduler, please message me. I will work with you to get this call on the calendar!
  2. After our discovery session, if you get off the call saying “yes, yes. I want this!! I know this can help me.” then you can purchase your 3 month program at your chosen price (anywhere from $75-$450 for 3 months).
  3. You can purchase your program anytime between when you complete your discovery session with me and October 22, 2016.

You should schedule your discovery session immediately if (any or all of these are true):

  • You’ve been reading my blog posts, emails or following me on social media and relating to everything I say.
  • We’ve done a discovery session in the past and you wanted to work together but were unable to commit financially at the time.
  • You’ve been interested in coaching but afraid to pull the trigger.
  • You are sick of overeating and then trying to compensate for it by dieting and restricting.
  • You are tired of doing this to yourself and want to stop but you know you need some support to do it.
  • You are ready to put yourself first, highly motivated to make real changes and willing to be honest with yourself (and with me).

Please do not take part in this if you are:

  • a former client or relative (so sorry, love you, but newbies only this time)
  • hoping for a miracle diet that will fix you (I don’t give out meal plans or tell you exactly what you should be eating)
  • looking for coaching help that doesn’t have anything to do with one of these concerns: Emotional eating, overeating, a desire to stop the diet and binge cycle or improving body image. These are my “babies” and I want to give back to other women who need help with these things.
  • just hoping to get something for cheap or free. Sometimes we don’t value or put as much effort into things we don’t pay much for. How many times have you purchased a groupon or a item of clothing just because it was a great deal and then never used it?? Please value this offer as if you were paying full price (your time and my time is worth it).

I am super excited about doing this and hope you take part! I wish I had encountered a coach with a similar offer when I was in the peak of my eating struggles – I feel like my path would have been a little less bumpy! I’ve been so fortunate to have made the progress I have in my own relationship with food and been along for the journey with so many other women on theirs. I feel blessed and grateful that this is the work I get to do and this is a small way I can give back.

If you’ve been following me for awhile and thought about scheduling a session, now is the time to do it! Schedule your discovery session now. There’s no obligation to go forward with a program!

You can learn more about me and what my coaching is about here.

Find additional info about this offer here.

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A Few Awesome Reasons to Get Your Bum off the Couch (Besides Looking Better)

photo credit: The endemic fauna of the Amsterdam AirBNB Apartment: Poezi via photopin (license)

Great reasons to not be a couch potato like this little guy.    (photo credit: The endemic fauna of the Amsterdam AirBNB Apartment: Poezi via photopin (license))

Most people who exercise do it to look better, either from expected weight loss or more defined muscles. It’s true. We do it because we’re vain! Yes, there’s a subset of us who do it to be healthier (myself included) but we’d be lying if we said the outer appearance benefits didn’t help propel us to lace up our sneakers and work up a sweat.

But aside from stroking our vanity, exercise has a wide range of benefits, some that you may not even be aware of! Physical activity is quite possibly a panacea for everything that can go wrong in the human body – mental, emotional and physical. Knowing that, it’s hard to imagine why more people don’t do it – but then again, not everyone is tuned in to quite how beneficial it can be aside from out appearance.

If you keep vowing to start exercising but don’t, read on to see some of the “side effects” physical exercise can bring you. Maybe these will be enough to motivate you to get going (and if not – I highly recommend you join the free Light A Fire Under Your Butt 30 Day Exercise Challenge that starts October 12)!

Here are just a few studies that show the benefits of physical activity:

I literally could make this list a few pages longer but I don’t want to bore you! There is no shortage of evidence that exercise is vital for a healthier life. If looking better isn’t enough for you to get moving, what would motivate you? A longer lifespan? Less cognitive decline as you age? Reduced risk of heart attack or diabetes? Better sleep? Less aches and pains? Preventing depression? All of these things are possible if you start today.

How much could your life be improved with just a tiny bit of exercise? I bet quite a bit!

Need some hand holding as you get started? I’m running a casual free exercise challenge that starts October 12, 2015. You should join in – it’s just a few minutes of activity per day for 30 days. I want to get people moving! It’s called Light A Fire Under Your Butt. See you there!

Free Exercise Challenge for Bottom of Blog Posts

Light a Fire Under Your Butt! A Free 30 Day Exercise Challenge starts October 12

You, me, your living room and just a few minutes a day.

You, me, your living room and just a few minutes a day.

The hardest thing about making exercise a habit is the whole getting started part!

If I had a dollar for every time someone told me they wanted to start exercising . . .

How many times have you said “I need to start working out! I’ll start tomorrow!” and then found yourself not feeling up to it when tomorrow comes? Or you decide it’s not worth doing unless you can do a whole hour or at least a half hour – which almost never happens. You might also hate working out alone – it’s so  much more fun and the time passes by faster when you’re with a friend (but none of your friends can exercise when you’re free so again, it just doesn’t happen).

How many weeks, months or years will go by before you do start exercising?

How much more fit could you be at the end of this year if you started now?

Why wait?

What’s really stopping you?

One of the biggest reasons people don’t get themselves moving despite a desire to be healthier and fitter is the time issue I mentioned at the beginning of this post. We think if we can’t exercise for 45 minutes 5 times a week then we shouldn’t bother. We think that it doesn’t make a difference to do what we can but even just 3 minutes of intense exercise per week has been shown to have health benefits! Bump it to 7 minutes and you can see some even bigger benefits. Anything is better than 0 minutes!

Another reason people don’t do it is because they think they need fancy equipment or a gym membership to get fit. In the beginning, your body weight can be enough – in fact, some of the most challenging exercises can be done with just your body weight (think planks, push ups, and squats!). I’ve been working out in a variety of ways for years and I still find ways to make body weight exercises strenuous – so I can get some activity in wherever I am.

Lastly, despite what it might look like on Instagram, not everyone who works out does so in $100 tights and $80 sport bras. It’s not a requirement for getting fit! While I’ll admit that wearing clothes that make you feel good will help make you want to workout more often, they certainly don’t have to cost a lot to do that. You just need something comfortable to move in and a supportive pair of sneakers (unless doing barefoot routines like yoga, barre or pilates)! And if you’re going to be wearing them in public, you may want to bend over in front of a mirror (in a well lit room) and check out your rear to make sure they’re not see through. It happens to the best of us.

Because I have a lot of people in my life who tell me that they really do want to start exercising but just can’t get themselves started, I started thinking about what I could do to help that. I’m not a personal trainer and I’m not super buff (though I like to pretend I am) but I do know the benefits of exercise and I have a lot of experience in trying to find activity that keeps me from getting bored (because if I get bored I’m not going to do it!). While I workout several days week consistently now, there have been many times in my life where I was just like you, sitting on the couch, wishing I could find the motivation to do some physical activity and I just couldn’t get myself started.

I want to light a fire under your butt. Please, let me light a fire under your butt. I’m putting together a free 30 Day Exercise Challenge that starts October 12 (Columbus Day). Each day of the 30 days as a group we will commit do doing at least 5 – 8 minutes of activity. I will send out an email daily that has a link to an online workout routine for all of us to do. The daily workout will be between 5 – 8 minutes long and they will be challenging. You will sweat, you will feel clumsy and you might feel like giving up if you’re new to exercise but you won’t because you don’t want to let the rest of us down (and you want to see what a difference it can make in your life).

If you don’t want to do the daily video, you are welcome to do whatever you want for exercise – you can dance, run, bike, lift weights, whatever! But you must do it (a minimum of 5-8 minutes per day!).

This challenge is free. It’s online and you’ll have group support and encouragement. I’ll either be doing a Facebook Group or Google+ community (though I haven’t decided which yet!) to go along with the daily emails and I’ll post the daily workout there as well. All you have to do is show up each day and do your 5-8 minutes. I don’t even care if you do your 8 minutes on commercial breaks while you watch TV. Just get it done!

Can you do that? I know you can.

At the end of the 30 days, you’ll be stronger, you’ll find the workouts don’t tire you out as much, you’ll be sleeping better, you won’t get as winded going up stairs and you might even lose weight or see muscle definition in places you’ve never seen it before! But the best thing of all, is after 30 days, you will have created an exercise habit that you can continue – 8 minutes a day will become a part of your normal day, like brushing your teeth or taking a shower. You can then choose to do more or make it harder – whatever you want, but you can pat yourself on the back because you are NOW someone who exercises. You are NOW someone who is making their health a priority (and that is my goal for all of you). You are NOW someone who knows they can commit to lifestyle change.

If you can do this, what else will you be able to accomplish?

Come light a fire (under your butt!) with me! It’s free and we start October 12th. Sign up here . Share this challenge with your friends who also could use some help changing their habits – it’s always more fun to do something like this with friends!

Join the Light a Fire Under Your Butt free 30 Day Exercise Challenge.

Please read below
Participation in this challenge is free but joining means that you accept and agree to the following disclaimer:

All information provided by Andrea Quigley Maynard for this Free Exercise Challenge is of a general nature and is furnished only for educational/entertainment purposes only. No information provided is to be taken as medical or other health advice pertaining to any individual specific health or medical condition. You agree that use of this information and participation in the Free Exercise Challenge is at your own risk and hold Andrea Quigley Maynard harmless from any and all losses, liabilities, injuries or damages resulting from any and all claims.

 

 

 

The Real Benefits of a Mindfulness Practice & Last Chance to Save 15%

Most of the benefits we talk about a meditation or mindfulness practice bringing to one’s life are the intangible kind – ones that can only be measured by each person’s individual experience.  But did you know that there are many real, scientific and measureable benefits from daily meditation practice?  Here are just a few of those benefits (with links from scientific studies that used blood tests, MRI’s and other accurate markers of effectiveness):

What’s amazing to me is that doctors don’t prescribe meditation to every single person walking in to their offices. It can help with so many conditions (mental and physical), it can be done anywhere, at any time and without any required equipment or tools. All it takes is a little discipline and a willingness to try something different.

Do you need special training to start meditating? Absolutely not. But if you want support to develop and structured practice that you can customize to your changing needs you should join me June 1st for the 28 Day Spiritual Cleanse. You don’t need to be religious, be into “woo woo” kind of stuff or have any type of experience to get a lot out of this program.  You just need an open mind and be able to dedicate 20 – 30 minutes per day (for just 28 Days) to learning, writing and meditating.  How will your life change for the better?

There are only 2 more days to save 15% with Early Bird Pricing (though you need to be on my email list to get it) so if you are thinking of taking part – now is the time to sign up! If you have any questions I’m happy to answer them – send me a message or leave a comment here.

How A Meditation Practice Can Help You Lose Weight

11187217_944500648914551_6888870963403059405_oMost of us know that practicing meditation can help us feel more peace, more focus and generally more at ease, but did you know that a meditation practice can also help you lose weight?

It’s true. It’s especially true for those of us who identify with being an emotional eater. For people who find themselves eating in order to not feel an emotion (or in order to feel a certain emotion), one of the things they have in common is a lack of paying attention to their eating. What I mean by that is, if we are eating emotionally – usually the act of eating isn’t a memorable one. We eat fast, we chew quickly, if at all, we barely taste the food we’re eating before we swallow it. Many of us read, watch TV or browse the internet while eating. We do anything we can to not be present during our meal.

Why is that? Well, most emotional eaters don’t want to feel something that they’re feeling and they believe that eating this food will bring them comfort. Eating fast and without thoughtfulness is in an effort to distract themselves from the feelings they don’t want to feel. On some level, they believe that overeating or eating the wrong foods feels better than feeling the emotions they are trying to avoid. The worst part is that eating this way feels terrible afterwards and the guilt and shame that comes with it leads to us repeating the habit again and again.

Overeating is the opposite of awareness. And when we overeat regularly, it leads to weight gain. Let a few years of this behaviour pass and it won’t just be a couple of pounds that we want to lose, it can be many pounds as well as health problems.  Most emotional eaters are aware that their eating behavior isn’t normal (how do we know this? We hide our emotional bouts of eating from other people – it’s usually done in secret).  They know it’s not a normal way of eating – so in that sense they are aware that there is a problem, but they aren’t always aware that the issue stems from a deeper unawareness in their entire lives. Overeating to deal with emotions allows us to not be present or mindful or take responsibility for our feelings and actions. It’s a distraction. It’s a painful way to live and can feel impossible to get out of.

Earlier I mentioned that meditation can be helpful in losing weight. The reason for this, is that meditation can be a path back to mindfulness, back to being present and being thoughtful about our choices, not just in our daily lives with how we treat others and feel about ourselves but with how we interact with our food and our bodies. There is nothing mindful about overeating, whereas meditation essentially is the practice of being mindful.

When you first start a meditation practice, it can be really challenging. Your brain likes to keep a constant chatter of thoughts to distract you and your body doesn’t feel comfortable no matter how you sit. But with practice and consistency, it gets easier and you get more out of each session. You’ll find that your meditation sessions bring you awareness in so many other areas of your life, including eating. Your meditation practice will put you more in tune with your body which can help you determine feelings of hunger or fullness and it will put you more in touch with your emotions, which can make us less likely to reach for food. If we’re not using food to deal with our emotions as often, weight loss often becomes a side effect of practicing being mindful.

Will meditation alone fix emotional eating issues? Probably not but it’s one of many tools we can use that can make a huge difference.

Mindfulness Meditation is one of the types of meditations that emotional eaters can benefit from and it’s actually a part of what we’ll be doing on June 1st when the 28 Day Spiritual Cleanse begins.  If you’ve ever considered starting a meditation practice, this is a great way to learn! If you are interested in joining us, my email subscribers get a discount so sign up in the green box below!

Wavering Over A Big Decision? Here’s What I do.

Image courtesy of ponsuwan / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of ponsuwan / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

When it comes to making big decisions in your life, are the answers easy and clear for you? Or is it exhausting trying to figure out the right path for you? If you feel like you don’t really know what to do most of the time it might seem like everyone around you just instinctively knows the answers to big questions like what should I major in?, Should I stick it out at my job or look for a new one?, Should I move in with my significant other?, or Should we have a baby? But the truth is, there are more of us who struggle with making big decisions than those who don’t.

Why is it so hard to choose? Well, we get overwhelmed by the pros and cons of each. We’re afraid that if we chose it will be the wrong choice and we’ll forever regret that we didn’t chose the other way. We worry if it’s the right time or if this is really who we are. We worry about succeeding with either choice. We worry about failure. We feel conflicted between choosing what we want vs. what we think is expected of us. We question if we even know what we truly want deep inside.

I’m tired and anxious just thinking about it, aren’t you?

So what do you do when you have a big decision to make and aren’t sure which way to go?

One thing you can do is talk to friends or family about the decision and hashing out your thoughts on either choice can be a big help. Sometimes just hearing yourself talk out loud is enough to sway you in a direction.  Sometimes feedback from people who love us is helpful because they see parts of us that we may not be able to recognize ourselves. And sometimes feedback from those same people isn’t very helpful since everyone has an opinion (and sometimes their “stuff” gets in the way of what’s right for you) but it can bring up deeper feelings inside you that might be revealing. Writing can also be incredibly eye-opening when you’re going back and forth on something. Writing can helps you to see what you’re thinking about, where the balance is falling and if there are any red flags to watch out for. Writing privately in a journal is a space where you may feel safe to bring up things you wouldn’t in conversation. Doing this can really uncover your true feelings.

What if talking with loved ones and writing about our feelings doesn’t help? Don’t fret, there is still something that can help – Meditation. You’re probably thinking, but I thought meditation was for relaxation?  It is but it’s wonderful for so much more.  Meditation has been incredibly helpful to me when it comes to making some of the biggest decisions in my life (including quitting my job and launching into the coaching field).

Why will meditation help you with decision making? Deep down we are intelligent intuitive beings who have all the answers we need inside of us. It’s true! We really do. Sometimes we get clouded by external (media, parents, societal pressures etc) and internal (our own thoughts) distractions but your soul has an answer for you. You just need to find a way to access it! Meditating can help us access those answers because it quiets the chatter going on in our bodies and minds and it allows those deep intuitive feelings to rise to the surface. It’s an amazingly effective way to get clear and refine your focus in any part of your life.

A few minutes of quiet contemplation, where you focus just on your breath and the question at the forefront of your mind and you’ll often know what to do when the session is over.

You’ll know you’ve reached the right answer when what comes up feels like it is coming from your heart – our true place of knowing. If it feels wishy-washy or immediately wants to contradict itself, the answer is probably still coming from your mind.  Settling in for a longer meditation session may help you go a bit deeper. How do you know it is coming from your heart? It will feel confidently true. It will feel like something you just “know”. The doubt will move aside.

Do you want to try meditating on a big question? Here’s a free 1 Day Meditation for Decision Making that will walk you through it (save it to your computer for later). If you want more meditation tools like this, I have something that can help you go deeper!

When I chose to leave my desk job and start my own business, I spent time meditating on the decision. And when the answer finally came (on 4th of July weekend), it came from my heart (and I walked in and gave my notice that Monday). Yes, I was scared and worried about how or if I would make it all work (the details) but deep down I knew that this was where I was supposed to be.  Meditation helped me stop focusing on the “noise” and the anxiety that was preventing me from stepping out of my comfort zone.

Do you have a meditation practice or want to start one? Share with us in the comments.

Finding clarity is just one of the many many benefits that can come from starting a daily meditation practice. Earlier I mentioned that I have a way for you to go deeper if you are interested in learning more about meditation – it’s my 28 Day Spiritual Cleanse program which starts on June 1st.  In this program, you’ll learn all you need to know to start an enjoyable and effective meditation practice but at an unintimidating beginner level! We’ll go day by day and build on our knowledge step by step so that at the end of the 28 days you can move seamlessly into your own regular meditation practice (because you’ll already have developed one!). There are 3 levels / options for participation. You can read all about them to see which one is right for you here.
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Ps. I’m offering a special discount for early birds who purchase the program before May 20, 2015 at 11:59pm but you have to be on my email address to get access to the discount.  Sign up in the green box below if you’re not already a member!

If you think health is only about diet and exercise, you’re missing something that may be critical

You’ve finally got this exercise thing down. You know how much better you feel when you get some form of exercise most days and you’re loving the changes in how your clothes fit and how you look in the mirror.

You’ve really made some amazing changes in your diet too. You’re eating more vegetables than ever before, cooking at home more often and eating far less processed food. Your digestion is better and you have more energy.

You feel pretty good about all the changes you’ve made in the last year and you’re less worried about your long-term health now that you’re doing all the right things.

But there’s something really important that you haven’t given much thought to in regards to your health. Stress. Sure, you wish you had less of it and know you should probably find ways to manage it better, but if you’re eating well and exercising, it doesn’t really matter, right? Nope. It does matter and it matters more than you think.

Increases Risk of Disease and Complications
Both long term chronic stress and shorter term stressful events increases the risk of cardiac events, high blood pressure, stroke, makes blood sugar harder to control for diabetics, and so much more.  People with stressful lives more times more likely to develop Alzheimer’s. Chronic stress interferes with the speed at which wounds heal. A quick internet search will give you study after study that confirms the links between stress and health issues.  There’s no doubt that our stressful lives are adding the skyrocketing costs of health care in this country (though that’s a topic for another day and time).

Mental Health Issues
Chronic stress not only leads to the health problems mentioned above, but it also can cause anxiety, depression and sleep issues, all of which can increase our perceived feelings of stress and cause health problems of their own.

Poor Digestion
Being stressed can even interfere with digestion so even if you are eating better, your body won’t be able to utilize all of the good nutrition you put into it. Stress can reduce gut motility, gastric juice production, is a risk factor for diseases like IBD and GERD and can even increase permeability of the gut.  In the short term, immediate stress can cause bloating, gas, constipation and diarrhea as anyone who has tried to eat a meal when feeling stressed can confirm.

It ages both our DNA & our outward appearance
Chronic stress can age us too! Researchers have found that stress can shorten telomeres (a structure on the ends of our chromosomes that affects how quickly our cells age). Telomere length is important because each time a cell divides the telomeres shorten and when they get to a certain length, the cell dies. Anything that shortens telomeres, increases the speed at which cells die, which is associated with aging and a shorter life. Here’s an easy to understand description of what telomeres are (if you’d like more details that I’m giving here).    Another reason stress may age us is because when we are stressed, we are more likely to take part in activities that can show visible signs of aging (as well as increase health risks), like smoking, drinking, not exercising or eating poorly. Or we may find it difficult to sleep and a lack of sleep absolutely makes us look tired and older.

Making changes in my own life
I’ve been neglecting this area in my own life. I exercise 5 or 6 days a week, eat whole organic foods from nature for about 90% of my diet (much of it fruits and vegetables) and yet I know I don’t spend nearly enough time managing stress. It’s ironic, as I spend my days helping my clients make goals around taking better care of themselves, including reducing their stress levels. I find that many of the women I work with are resistant to doing the recommendations we come up with that are designed to reduce stress.  When asked why, it’s usually “I’m too busy”, “I just didn’t have time.”  or “Something else was more important.”  Perhaps my clients are able to read my mind because I find myself sometimes thinking the same things.  For several months now, I’ve just been chalking that up to “This is how business owners feel” and figured I need to get used to it.  But I know that doesn’t have to be true and it’s certainly not something that I want to be true, especially since I work in a field where taking care of the whole person is the goal.

The worst part of me ignoring my stress levels is that I’m a health coach who has high blood pressure.  I’ve had it forever. I was diagnosed many many years ago and my dietary changes, supplement additions and even major weight loss (90 lbs at one time) have never resulted in lower readings. In my case, it’s caused by my genes – BUT I know better than anyone how much worse stress can make blood pressure issues no matter the cause.  It’s essential that I make reducing stress as important as my diet.

In 2015, I’m making a commitment to myself to do more to reduce my stress.  I haven’t worked out the specific details of when and how yet, but I’m committing to:
1. More quality meditation
2. More cups of herbal tea, hot water with lemon and apple cider vinegar
3. More regular dry brushing and time in the bath (with a good book).
4. Cutting back on my internet time when I’m not working (no more phones in bed!)
5. More breathing exercises
6.  Eating slower.  (on my busy days I find I’m wolfing meals in between tasks too fast)
7. Be more selective about how much “news” I allow in my life. It’s not that I want to be uninformed, but it’s not healthy to hear about nothing but bombings, kidnappings and hostage situations on a daily basis.

What can you commit to doing to reduce your stress? 

Some of you may feel it’s not something you need to work on because you don’t think you have a right to be stressed. Maybe you have a cushy job, maybe you have lot of free time, maybe finances aren’t something you have to worry about. Stress doesn’t just affect those who are at their wits end.  On the outside, it may look like you have the perfect life, but you might be perceiving serious stress or anxiety anyhow.  Some of us make our own stress (natural worrier? perfectionist?), some of us are sensitive and feel stress from the pressures other’s put on us and some have physical or situational stressors happening. It doesn’t matter where your stress is coming from or whether or not you think you have a “right” to feel the way you do, if you perceive stress and it’s affecting how you feel or perform, you can bet it’s affecting your health. I tend to make some of my own stress by putting pressures on myself. In some ways, that’s great because it helps me reach goals, but sometimes it can be stifling and silly to feel like I have to do something just because I set a goal. Sometimes goals can be chucked out the window if they no longer fit your needs, especially if the only reason you’re trying to meet it is because of a need to be perfect.  So, I’m a work in progress just like you.

I want to be able to help you relieve stress too so I’m working on some exciting stress relief related programs that will be released in the coming months, including a workshop, group programs and even an online meditation program that you can do from the comfort of home! I’m super excited about them. I’m absolutely not veering away from my focus on healthy cooking and the relationship we have with our bodies, mind and food but this is an important area that needs some attention, not just in my life, but in all of our lives.

If you want to be among the first to be notified when my these programs go live, make sure to get on my email list if you’re not already.  You can sign up in the green box at the bottom of this blog post (you’ll also get a download of my free eBook as a bonus). You can also become an active member of my Facebook community. I say “active” because Facebook only shows posts to those who comment/like on posts on a regular basis.

Let’s have a calmer, less stressed 2015 together.  xx