Balancing being the primary caregiver and growing a business and writing books is, well... it's tough to say the least.
Identify Your Needs
I've realized lately that I NEED time to be focused and productive. It is the reason I started a business in the first place! But even though I knew that was behind starting a business, I see that the opportunity to do my work in a focused, UNinterrupted environment is really a core need I have... and one having young kids who are only in school part of the day really impedes upon!
I struggle with how best to use my childfree time... do I take care of myself? Do I run errands (that are way easier on my own of course)? Do I try to buckle down and get my work done?
And of course, when I'm talking about just a few hours per day, those hours go FAST!!! Just making sure I exercise take up a third of that time!!! And, exercise, I've come to realize, is also a non-negotiable!!!
Of course as someone who has a lot of ambition for both my family and my business..and my self! It is really hard to take care of all three to the level that I desire.
Oh, especially without cutting into my sleep!!!!!!
Yes, it's complicated.
Observe How Things Affect You
I definitely don't have all the answers. What I find is that I can only do some of those at once.
There are time I cut into my sleep, and then realize that makes me feel shitty.
There are times I quit exercising, and then realize that makes me feel shitty.
There are times I do not focus on work, and then realize that makes me feel shitty
There are time I don't do self care, and then realize that makes me feel shitty!
The best plan I have right now is to let go of the crap I really don't care about - no clean house, no fancy meals - just tried and true recipes, no big parties. (Don't get me wrong... I LOVE PARTIES!!! I just have to put hosting them on hold for a while... I do a pool party once a year in the summer, and that is easy since all everyone does is hang out by the pool, but otherwise, they have been temporarily arrested.)
And then, honestly, I cycle through my other priorities... so I don't ignore one area entirely, I just give it up a little until I need to bring it back.
I walk instead of doing classes (until I crave the strength and yoga).
I work less (until I want to work more).
I eat cheese and crackers and carrots and dip (until I need something more grown up).
I stay up a bit too late (until I get crabby and go to bed earlier).
Well, you get the idea!
And Reality Check...
I know this isn't necessarily the most inspiring approach, but it's the most realistic. Sometimes we just need a reality check. There is so much bullshit out there about how you can have it all...and I think you can. But you can't necessarily have it all at one time, and that's ok.
Enjoy the Ebb and Flow
It's actually one reason why writing my books has been so awesome for me right now! I love the cycle of book writing. I do the writing - that usually comes in bursts of inspiration and the journals are usually written in a week or two! (My longer books sometimes come in several periods of inspiration spread out over time.)
Then, there is a period of handing a lot of work over to others... that feels great! The content is written, and it starts to transform into an actual book with the help of others!
Then the tedious finalization... I look forward to someday outsourcing this, but for now I want to have the final say so I have to be part of the last steps :)
Then... the launch! This gets exciting again and so I'm re-energized!!!
Then... time to rest... before I take on another project :)
This is something I've been thinking about lately.
Old & Sexy?
This is a subject that I've been grappling with. Ever since I had kids I've felt... well, old. I know I'm not really *that* old, but something has changed.
A big part of what I realized was going on is that I am mourning my maidenhood... our culture, our society worships being thin... but it also worships youth.
The truth is that I actually thought I was immune to the media messaging. I thought I was "above" worrying about how I looked. But the truth was that I was young, and I was on the lean side naturally. My struggles with weight were short lived, as I was forced to come to terms with my emotional eating a young age.
The truth is that I was not immune AT ALL. In fact, a lot of the messaging was deeply ingrained, and as I near 40, I come face to face with my wrinkles, my squishy, jiggly body (not youthful and taut), and it's really difficult.
What Women Are Feeling As They Reach 40
Sadly, I'm not alone. It feels very lonely to feel sad that you don't meet media's messaging about who you should be. But it's not lonely. In fact it's pretty damn highly populated over here. I speak to woman after woman who deals with these issues, whether it's weight or age or both.
Personally, I have a really high level of awareness around these emotions and thoughts, and I manage them pretty well. And it's still a work in progress! It HAS to be - we are constantly exposed to bullshit in the media that tries to tell us what we need to look like!
I work with some of the most amazing women. They are ambitious, manage a full and rich life, and I can tell you many of their amazing achievements... and I can also unfortunately tell you of how they struggle.
Let me share what some of these awesome woman have told me...
I’ve been struggling since my second child... I obsess about how my body looks... not necessarily with my weight...if I lose some weight, I think I’ll feel better... I need a positive outlook. I’m not skinny. I always had a belly... I never felt like I needed to lose weight, but always thought, "A few pounds less and I’d look better and feel better."
The good news is that P.L. also had an amazing sense of gratitude! This was a saving grace that we focused on as her personal strength!
P.L. had a humorous approach to making sure her mindset was top notch:
I don't know if it's feasible; I need mental acceptance, if I can see myself as attractive at size 14, I’ll take it! What's more feasible? Get more in my head and change my outlook... or lose the weight?
With this in mind, she prioritized her goals of body movement and made sure she built up her confidence with daily movement alongside a personal affirmation practice!
We Feel Invisible
Here's one that is so often repeated in nearly the exact same sentiment...
I’m invisible, nobody sees me anymore.
I think almost any woman approach 40 and definitely in her 50s or 60s or beyond has felt this. This is the result of a three fold situation!
1) Men from ages 15-75 pay attention to 25 year old women at disproportionate rates. Not much we can do about that, but they do notice women of all ages, I promise.
I had about a year when I was obsessed with my wrinkles!!! But after my experiment with botox, I was literally EXCITED to get my wrinkles back!!! Haha!
My client P.L. said the same thing:
It's the youth obsession. I would never consider body enhancement... but now I see myself considering it!!!!! Thinking it!!!!
Luckily she knew it was her environment talking and not her real self. She, like me and many of my clients, used mindset work to retrain her brain out of these self harming thoughts and think positive thoughts about earning her wrinkles instead!
2) We stop going putting ourselves out into the world in a way that attracts attention. We aren't dressing the same, we aren't going to the same places, and most of all we aren't putting our energy out there in that way. We're busy, and probably tired. The answer here is deep self care and some time being a bit naughty with fun girlfriends!
E.D. identified this issue for herself:
I have a hard time to carve out time for myself. I don't have much me time... I’m always running out of time; food is the last thing I put on my schedule... water, coffee, toast, I used to eat smoothies in the morning... I don't have time to make it. I don't have time... I need to schedule ten minute to eat something healthy.
What was her answer? This is where my logistical approach to meal planning and preparation (sometimes I call them pre-decisions) was the way to save the day. She treated every day like a work day and was able to prepare her food in advance and start making these changes!
3) We lose our confidence. This is a result of f*cked up societal messaging, but we CAN overcome it, just like P.L. did!!!
I have felt this, and so has A.Y. She said:
I want validation with myself! I want to be happy. It's hard. How I feel strong at work, in my relationship, in my sex life... right now it's not happening...
She really called it out! When we feel bad about ourselves it affects EVERYTHING in our lives! And when we can boost ourselves up into a place of confidence, it also affects everything in our lives... in a good way! Even our problems become more manageable and we are able to act from a place of confidence in crisis.
How Our Inner Goddess Can Help Us
I like to look at our lives through the lens of the inner goddess. In many stories, there is one character (or sometimes several characters) who represent the arc of a woman's life: Baby, child, maiden, mother, grandmother, crone. Most of our adult life happens as maiden, mother, and grandmother.
But unfortunately our media tells us that the only one of those worth celebrating is the maiden. So of course it's a bitter pill to swallow when we leave that phase of our life behind. And it's ok to mourn the loss of your maiden (which happens more with age than actual motherhood, though both can trigger it). But it's not ok to stay in mourning of this transition.
And the truth is that, just like the stories, we actually have all of those inside of us all of our life, it's just that we don't have access to them. But once you've lived the various parts, you can actually tap into them easier. I'll be honest, it's swimming upstream because of how the media portrays women. But it's time.
It's time to embrace the mother and the grandmother. It's time to allow for love, sensuality, and yes even sexuality to belong to a woman at any age! It's time to celebrate our wisdom and our wrinkles as hard earned badges that we can and should be proud of!
Is old the new sexy? I don't know, but it definitely should be!
Do you want some personalized help to channel your inner goddess for balance and wellbeing? Check out my Inner Goddess Habit Coaching!
Thinking about getting botox?
Yeah, I was, too.
And then I did.
This is what I learned.
Why do you want botox?
First of all, make sure you consider the reasons you are seeking botox. This should not be something you are doing because you are worried about what other people think. You need to make sure you're coming from a healthy place.
What are your expectations?
The botox might not give you the results you are hoping for. I got it 4 times and only once did I feel truly satisfied with it. And it wasn't the last time, or I'd probably be getting it again! haha!
How does your body react to things?
Are you sensitive? I am. I'm honestly not that surprised that I got a headache from the treatment, despite that I didn't realize it for the first three times due to extenuating circumstances around my neck causing headaches in the time frame I got the first three rounds. So, if you are sensitive, you might have side effects that don't make it worth it.
What's the bottom line?
Honestly, go for it if you want to. We are all vain in certain ways - our clothes, our makeup, our hair, our shoes, our purses... whatever. Maybe botox will help soften up some lines that bug you. Or maybe it won't. In the end, you only know what you'll get if you try it, and if you go into with the right attitude, you'll be able to confidently decide whether or not it's worth it to you.
What about emotional eating?
And, as always, what does this have to do with emotional eating???? EVERYTHING!
It's ALL connected, and we are all susceptible to vain thoughts.
If we live in fear of people finding out we are vain, or discovering we got botox, or not getting botox but wishing we had... we are shutting down our emotions and making ourselves susceptible to numbing by any means... whether overeating, over drinking, smoking, gambling, having too much sex, drugs, or whatever unhealthy behavior we use to forget our pain as being out of alignment and under stress.
By addressing ourselves WHOLLY, even our vanity and other "weaknesses", embracing them, and accepting them for what they are, we can make choices that leave us feeling our best, no matter if we get the botox or not.
What do you think? Have you thought about botox? Have you tried it?
Ok, as you know, my guided journal launched over Thanksgiving and hit #1 in it's ebook category twice over the holiday weekend. I was obviously riding high!
So, it's been a month now and I'm not obsessively checking the page anymore :)
But, because of the past obsessive watching, I went to amazon just to buy something the other day, and it auto-populated the website address to my journal's direct page... and my heart did a jump.
Because I had a one star review :(
So, in all honesty, here is how things went down.
My first reaction: Ego/anger.
"Who wrote this? Do I KNOW this person??" I looked at her amazon page (only three reviews, two x one star, one x five star), no other information. I had no idea who she was.
My second reaction: Stuff down the emotions.
"Okay, Alegra, this is going to happen. You can't only have 5 star reviews. Get over it and just move on." This is tricky because it actually feels helpful. It's true that getting agro and wanting to figure out if I can identify who wrote this is not serving me... but moving on and forgetting about actually isn't serving me either.
My third reaction: Sit with it.
So, I had to sit with it. I had to take it to bed with me and let it percolate. I had to let my ego do its thing, so I could go deeper to the stuff behind the stuff. It didn't exactly keep me up, but it was definitely on my mind as I fell asleep and again when I woke up.
(Feels a little crazy to say that. Feels like I "should" be tougher than that. Feels like I "should not" be so affected. But yet... I am. This is me. I want everyone to think my journal is 5 stars and it upsets me that someone thinks it is 1 star.)
My fourth reaction: Inspired acceptance.
As I lay with these feelings... it did start to seem like less of a threat. I realized, as I wrote and re-wrote a million possible comments to her review on amazon (in my head, of course), that what she said was in some ways irrelevant and in some ways a helpful critique.
She actually didn't realize it was a journal. With blank pages. To be written upon. So she was surprised at the lack of "information." That's useful - I want other people to know what they are buying. And at the same time, she wasn't really reviewing the content; she hadn't done the journal.
So it is what it is.
I came up with a way to acknowledge the fact that I appreciated her pointing out that yes, it is a journal, and yes, it has blank space. And I also asked her to share her new perspective if she chose to answer the prompts.
How this applies to the rest of life...
And guess what... ALL of this process applies to emotional eating, too!
Initial reactions rarely serve. The stuffing it down is usually where we get stuck - literally stuffing the food down in order to stuff the feelings down. The sitting with it is SO SCARY!
And yet, only when we sit and actually feel it (whatever "it" is) can we get to inspired acceptance or action.
That is the EXACT reason why I created a JOURNAL and not a book of information. People have enough information. In fact, we have TOO MUCH information. What we don't have is the time and space to reflect on what the hell is happening in our lives that is making us eat the food we don't want to eat and/or obsess over the one star reviewers in our life.
But the truth is... there is always going to be someone who thinks I'm one star. And there is always going to be BS in our life that makes us want to eat that pint of Ben and Jerry's.
So what we all need is a plan and a path to process the feelings and reactions we have, in order to make sure we are taking inspired action.
You can start by blaming the 1-star factor in your life. Take my quiz to find out who or what it is!
You don’t have to berate yourself for eating whatever it is that you like to eat. You don't even have to berate yourself when you eat so much of it that you feel sick, or guilty, or sick and guilty.
I've done all of these things. I've eaten myself sick on candy, and I've eaten myself sick on "healthy" things like prunes and pineapple. And when you repeatedly feel like crap from overeating, it doesn't matter if it's junky or "healthy" - it's not healthy.
And even if you aren't binging or feeling like crap from overeating... if you are feeling bad about your self because...
You used to run, but you just can't seem to make the time anymore...
The candy bowl at work always seems like the perfect stress relief, even though you don't even like the candy that much...
You know you are not being healthy, but you just don't feel like there is anything you can do about it...
Well stop right there!
You’re a smart, ambitious, successful woman.
You know what it takes to get it done. You are in charge of so many things!!! You know so much!!
So you know the thing to do THIS time is to hire someone who...
(a) has been through the same thing and come out thriving
(b) has compressed the system for results and success
(c) is almost 6 feet tall and loves drinking tea
Yes, that's right! I'm talking about myself! Hire ME!
The best way to do that is to start with your clarity call.
Fifteen years ago I struggled with recurring throat and lung infections. The doctors prescribed antibiotics even though I tested negative for strep every time and they could not tell me what was causing them.
(Yeah, strep throat that was NOT actually strep throat... so what the hell was it? Read on.)
So I found an MD who practiced alternative health. He gave me better solutions for dealing with the infections... but had no advice on how to prevent them.
So I found an traditional chinese medicine doctor who was an amazing overall healer... and she told me to STOP EATING SUGAR.
(But in a really nice way, because she was such a nice lady.)
And at the time that SHOCKED ME. I mean, I ate super healthy! (Except for the sugar.)
And to be honest, I did not do it. Because I was, actually, pretty addicted to sugar.
But I started working towards it. I looked at hidden sugars.
I started coming up with sugar alternatives, to do when I wanted sugar instead of sugar.
And it took a long time, and in the beginning it was a real struggle.
But slowly, with a lot of self work on what the heck that love of sugar was really about (beside the fact that dessert is delicious), I transformed that relationship with sugar to one that is really healthy.
Do I still eat sugar? Hell yes! I'd never tell anyone to stop eating anything they enjoy.
Can I get an Amen to that???
And yet, I had to shift that dynamic. It wasn't serving me and it was only creating problems with my body.
It was a substitute for certain lack I felt in my life. I had a wound that I couldn't tell you where it came from. I had a sadness that didn't really make sense considering how generally awesome my life was. I felt a loneliness in the world that couldn't be explained because I was surrounded by creative loving friends. And I turned to sugar to cheer me up.
& It was contributing to recurring INFECTIONS!
But as I slowly slowly, over the course of years, came to terms with my love of sugar and learned when I actually wanted to eat something sweet or when I just needed something to distract me or cheer me up, those infections did slowly fade away with time as well. Thankfully!
And I still get to eat sugar!
Manage specific health concerns like losing the extra weight or getting rid of the aches, pains, or even infections by upgrading your nutrition and self care.
Transform your relationship with food into a positive force in your life.
Turn your food talk into a friend and ally (instead of a judge, informant, mean girl, or police).
Whatever your personal concerns, my program is 100% customized to help you take baby steps towards the health goal you wish to achieve. I've helped women with all of the above and more. My program is not for everyone. I do not offer quick fixes. Change does not happen fast. But you can transform your health with improved nutrition, quality of food, exercise you love to do, and self care that makes you feel great EVERY day!
Because my strep throat was NOT actually strep throat. It was my body telling me to stop eating sugar.
So what could your extra few pounds or whatever concern brought you here be your body telling you?
Get started on figuring this all out by taking my quiz! Because eating the cookies (or hot cheetos or whatever) is NOT your fault. Take the quiz... and find out who to blame!
Ever since my quiz told me that I could blame all my sugar binges on Junior High I've been relieved... and also thinking about Junior High!
I ran "A Team" in cross country all year long, but usually only placed like 10th or so. Then after I threw up at a cross country meet (only because I ate RIGHT before the run, which was clearly a bad idea), I ran "B Team" the next week... and got first place (it was half the distance). And EVERYBODY was giving me high five and stuff because they announced that at school... but I remember thinking it was so much easier and less an achievement than getting tenth on A Team!!! It only "sounded" better! In then end of the season I was actually highly ranked because it's all based on points, and A Team is way more points!
I also won first place in the Texas History Competition for my Spanish Aqueduct model. That was a bigger deal.
I also thought the vice principal was awesome. He eventually became principal, and later the principal of my high school (after I was gone, but I was still happy to hear it). He knew EVERY SINGLE kid's name!!!! Mr. Bannister, you rock!
Oh and I loved my science teacher, Mrs. Jobe. We licked rocks to taste them, wrote stories about the sea (mine starred Cephus the Whale), built atoms (or maybe that was solar systems? Don't recall), and much more.
Why am I writing a blog post about Junior High? I blame ALL my problems on Junior High now! And I have been thinking about it quite a lot.
Take my quiz and find out who YOU can blame for eating the cookies... or anything else!!
And of course let me know what answer you got below!
I'm working on a fun project - my new quiz - that has me exploring some kinda random subjects... such as Junior High!!!
Most of what I remember about junior high is that it was awful.
But the other day I was thinking about junior high in more depth because of this project... And one thing I very fondly remember about Junior High is all the songs I STILL know from being in choir!!
One of my very favorite songs that we sang was a musical rendition of a poem by one of my favorite poets...
i thank you god
for most this amazing day
for the leaping greenly spirits of tress
for the true blue dream of sky
and for everything which is natural
which is infinite
which is yes
i who have died am alive again today
for this is the sun's birthday
this is the birthday of life and of love and wings
and of the gay, great happening illimitably earth
how could tasting
in the know of all nothing
human merely being doubt
now the ears of my ears awake
now the eyes of my eyes are opened
But on the other end of the spectrum all the Disney songs have served me well over the years, too. Except that my family doesn't want to watch any of the 90s Disney releases with me because I can't help but sing along :p
So, anyway, Thanks, Mr. Glenn! You taught me a great repertoire!
The other day was a doozy.
My kids can be crazy. Straight up monsters. I know all kids are difficult, but when my kids BOTH get going, they get a bit extreme.
So a few days ago they were just wild in the morning. They wouldn't listen. My 4 year old freaked out when I told him to put pants on and swiped his arm across the counter, knocking all my things down... including my phone, which stopped being able to make calls after that (though I didn't realize for a few hours, just thought it was the network. In hindsight this was lucky.)
We were late, which makes me crazy. And I was PISSED.
And for whatever reason I just couldn't shake it. I tried to apologize. I explained that I was really mad. I told them I was trying to change my attitude. And that uggy feeling just wouldn't go away.
So pause for a minute. THIS IS NORMAL. It's normal my kids are goons sometimes. And it's also normal to just have really bad days when you are pissed at the world over fairly mundane things.
After I finally got both kids to school, I drove to the gym. Everything on the radio was BUGGING me. I couldn't shake it!
I had a few minutes. I called my sister. That distracted me a bit and I felt like I was finally moving on.
And then I went into my strength class, started piling up my sets of weights, bands, mat, risers... and this woman says to me, "Is this your stuff?"
"Could you move it over there?" (She points three feet away but more in center of room.)
"Uh, yeah." I respond, kinda wondering why, but not thinking too much about it.
But as I kick all my pile of gear a few feet over I think more... she has NO stuff piled up yet.
WHY THE FUCK DOESN'T SHE GO IN THE MIDDLE OF THE ROOM?????
Oh girl... when this dawned me 15 seconds later, I had dagger eyes. I had to move to the entirely other corner of the room because I could just tell I was going to PISSED!
And I was. I couldn't even LOOK at that byotch the entire class.
I was so angry. It was by most measures totally unjustified.
And yet... I don't care. I don't care I was mad at her. I'll probably hate her forever. (I mean, assuming I never actually get to know her and she remains the anonymous self absorbed person to take the last spot on the wall even when someone else is CLEARLY claiming it.)
And even lifting some hard ass weights didn't check that anger.
But guess what did! I went home and started WORKING!
Which, also, by some measures is not the healthiest choice. We shouldn't ALWAYS distract ourselves from our feelings with work. That is what workoholics do.
(Using anything to distract from our feelings can be unhelpful. This is often the challenge of ending the habit of using food to deal with our stress or emotions. We need more than one tool in the tool kit. )
But in this case, it was perfect. I already knew that my anger was not necessarily commiserate with the unfolding of the morning. And some days are just like that.
My business coach who also gives me spiritual advice is always telling me to embrace my feelings, and I did. I embraced. I allowed. Then I worked my booty off to move on!!
And I blame that woman for ruining my morning.
The best news??? I made this super fun and insightful QUIZ to find out who YOU can blame!
I have had neck/shoulder pain for a while, and especially since my second son was born. After he was born the pain was debilitating. I couldn't hold him & could barely move.
I went to physical therapy for a while, made progress, worked on neck strength and mobility at home (because, you know...babysitter arrives, transition time, 20 minutes to drive there, wait around 5-10 minutes, only 20 minutes with the physical therapist, pay, 20 minutes home... pay babysitter. You can only go for so long).
I did make good progress with strength, but I went back to PT for a while. Made progress, worked on it at home. Felt good about the whole thing.
Then I was getting headaches and not able to figure out why. I thought I was maybe dehydrated.
So I hired myself a health coach last year. (Yes even health coaches need health coaches at times!)
That work was really helpful, and I discovered it was still the neck issues, and that it was triggered by lack of sleep! What helpful information my coach helped me discover.
So I started working on getting more sleep. And now I'm seeing a naturopath! Because my sleep quality wasn't good, and I thought there may be something more going on. And guess what... I'm anemic!!!
So I've been working on balancing that out, feeling less exhausted during the day, and getting more restful sleep. So at this point, as you can see, I've worked hard to take good care of my body.
And yet I still have lingering neck/shoulder pain at times. I know I need more strengthening, and unfortunately that takes time (especially because I can only do so much without causing MORE pain, so it's just slow work).
And I also have taken to looking at what this pain means in a more esoteric sense.
Many times when I've explained my neck pain to friends they instantly shout "It's stress!"
And while it's not ever what I have though , I also know they are right. Parenting is stressful. As a parent, and especially as a mother, I "shoulder" a lot of emotions, logistics, and even socks and underwear.
(My husband: "Where are all the boys' underwear?"
Me: "In the drawer where they belong.")
So I'm looking at my neck and shoulder pain as more symbolic in my life. How can I relive myself of some of this burden? Obviously, to some extent I can't. My kids are here forever.
So what CAN I change? And then how can I "shoulder" it with less stress? I believe our pain and discomfort is our body talking to us. When he have body issues, our body is telling us something. Unfortunately, our world makes it hard to speak this language. But with a little patience and guidance, we can learn it again.
What is your body telling you? Where do you have pain or discomfort? Write me back and let me know, and I'll be happy to tell you what may be a helpful next step to learn more.
Recently I suggested a woman who called to try ayurveda or acupuncture, because it sounded like her digestive issues where based on too much "yin" food (like lot of cold smoothies and salads) that can be healthy, but which I suspected may be causing some of her imbalance.
Sometimes a new perspective can help you make a small adjustment to course. Imagine a ship sailing and how one change in direction make a great change in the final destination.
So, what is your body telling you?
I help busy, ambitious leaders to step off the emotional eating roller coaster, so they can lose weight and keep it off, still eat all the foods they love, and finally find the work life balance they crave.