Sunday, September 13, 2009

Arming yourself to get through the stresses

Sunnyside Up was the name of my blog when I was over on AOL Journals. I thought that it pretty much summed up my viewpoint on life regardless of what was going on at any given time. Here I am, a few years later, having come through both difficult times and blissful times and I still feel the same way. In fact, my husband and I are grappling with a really huge challege that admittedly puts my stomach in knots if I allow it to (rather: WHEN I allow it to) but I still chug forward with the intent of being open to the works God wants to do in my life and with the faith that everything will be alright and that I still need to cherish each day with those I'm blessed to cross paths with.

You see, we received a lovely little certified letter from our mortgage company (5 identical letters, in fact. What the flop is up with that?! Why the waste of our precious resources?!) stating that we've got a quick and dirty little 45 days to get current on our mortgage lest they begin foreclosure proceedings. This has been several months in coming. The nutsy economy resulted in my husband and his coworkers taking a hit to their pay in the form of both a salary reduction and a decrease in commissions. This has REALLY impacted us. This challenge also arrived in tandem with our recent loss of two beloved (and unrelated) members of our extended family. It's a lot for any two people to have to process and work through in such a short time period.

It's like I told my mom yesterday when I chatted with her on the phone, though. Yes, these are super difficult times and we're feeling trepidation and stress but we're working to process it through positive means. Ironically, though this is one of the most horrible times we've experienced, we are experiencing such richness and strength in the form of family togetherness and happy times. All of us have heavy issues that find themselves on our shoulders from time to time in life. It's plain and simple just a part of life. The way I see it, since we pretty much know that the occasional stressor is GOING to make it's way to us, we've got to elect to stay strong and to focus on the positive and to do whatever it takes to keep ourselves of sound mind, body ad soul to do so. Maybe some of these things that continue to help me will help you get through rough patches as well.

I didn't just read about the balance of and attention to mind, body and soul in some book and decide that, "Hey! That sounds good. I'll cleave to that idea." I have, through trial and error, found that it actually does result in a happier and more fulfilling life. It's so easy to crawl into a hole when you feel that life's gotten so rough that you can't begin to even think about facing things. But I challenge you to kick that inclination to the proverbial curb and try some of these other tactics. Most of you know by now that I place a great emphasis on keeping the body fit and healthy through regular, consistent (and combat boredom) exercise. I like to aim for doing some form of movement everyday. Some of my favorites are running, biking and swimming as well as the various workouts I've got through BeachBody--the different P90X workouts and others. Yoga, in particular, is one of my absolute favorites for it's diverse benefits in helping with strength, balance, flexibility and stress release. Though it may seem difficult to dip your toes in and get a workout going, you typically feel energized and recharged within 10 minutes or so of moving. It's truly wonderful how our bodies were created to work. Those endorphins kick in after a bit of cardio work and pain starts to go away and your mood instantly lifts! This is why I like to do SOMEthing each day! It's not because I'm a 'fitness freak' who charges away with exercise because I'm some's because I like the TRUE and pure great and lasting feeling I get from my workouts. It sure doesn't leave me feeling dehydrated and hung over, that's for sure! Of course treating your body right and fueling it to be it's strongest involves eating and drinking thoughtfully and purposefully. I love to drink my Shakeology each day (the healthiest meal of the day for SURE) and to follow Michi's Ladder (message me on that if you're interested). Matt and I are always looking for ways to further positively tweak our eating for even more positive impact on our bodies.

I've found it really important to keep my mind challenged and active as well as my body. I want to stay alert and focused so that I am up to the task of problem solving with my husband to work our way out of our financial dilemma (or whatever the challenge may be that we need to get through...helping children with a problem, fixing something that breaks in the house, whatever). I want to be completely present! I've found that reading works wonders for the mind! It's nice to read some great works of fiction--that can be so fun--but I also like to combine that with reading about the body or biographies or history or some far away place. In the 4th grade class I taught the other day I diverted from the plans for about 15 minutes in the middle of the day to gather the students in a circle. We sat down together and I had us all go around the room and share something that we'd like to learn more about that we really have limited knowledge on. The answers were so varied and interesting! Then we brainstormed ideas for how we could find information on our topic of interest (libraries, internet, other people who could teach us, etc). It was an inspiring exercise that I enjoyed along with my students! My point was to get them interested in learning about things for the sake of learning! This is what I'm talking about...realizing the importance of challenging our brains and of utilizing more of their capacity! It keeps us engaged and active and helps to give us purpose and satisfaction.

Then there is the spiritual part of us. This is such an important part of who we are and yet I'd be willing to hazard a guess that it's probably one of the most undernourished elements of our being. Sometimes our internal dialog gets to buzzing around in our heads so fast. Add to that the keeping up with our daily grind--the routines and things that we have to tend to. Throw in a dose of worry over whatever challenges lay on our plates at any given moment and our poor wearied souls lay shrivelled and desperate for rejuvination. Ironically, I've found that we often come to the realization that our spirits need some TLC when faced with a crisis. I guess it's when you fall flat on your face that you realize you really need to slow it down and be more careful about tending to your core. For me, this means my relationship with God. I have a beautiful relationship with him and the knowledge that he resides inside me and all around. I speak to him throughout the day everyday and have faith that no matter what happens he ultimately works it out to good. I even need to remind myself, though, to take special REGULAR time to really get quiet with God. I like to take time to shut out the noise of the world and to relect on things with God and look for direction and guidance. Prayer is a wonderful thing. When I practice yoga--especially during the stretching and relaxation portions--I am taking that time to give thanks and to focus on the blessings that God has given lift up prayers. I consider the people in my life--my immediate and extended family, my friends and acquaintances, the adults and children that I work with and even people I happen upon during my day to be tremendous blessings. Any type of fellowship and communication with people is a way to nourish the spirit. I like not to take even the slightest of contact with another person for granted for this reason but to look for opportunity within each connection--however brief--to make it meaningful.
Somehow, we'll come through this dilemma. God is so very good and takes care of us--he always has. No doubt we are being formed and molded even more intricately through this experiece so that we might be used one day for greater purpose--perhaps to help and encourage another who will tread frantically in the shoes we are treading in now.

Maintaining this balance between mind, body and soul takes time and practice but I can tell you that focusing on each of these things has made me a happier person. Stresses DO come but they also will go. I have no doubt that our current problem will work itself out--somehow. Yes, I have some worries that crop up. I can't deny that. I'm human. Things upset me as they would anybody else. I like to not dwell and wallow in the worries, however. Moving forward through them is important to me. Making the most of each day is important to me. As we were reminded all too painfully recently: we truly do not know how long we'll be blessed with life together in this setting. I'd really hate to look back upon my life someday and realize that I'd wasted a good portion of it being consumed by my worries. I would much rather arm myself, through the tools that I've found to work, with healthy mind, body and soul to get through this life with mostly a smile on my face and lots of great relationships and memories with those people.

If you need a jump start getting started with an effective and fun fitness plan that's what I'm here for! I'm a BeachBody Coach and can help steer you toward one of our many you find one that suits your personality and needs. One of my purposes is to motivate others to strive for higher ground. I hope you'll allow me to do that for you through this blog. I know many of you are struggling in one form or another. People were made for people! Let me help you focus on the positive to transform yourself into a stronger you~