2020 was a weird year – no one can dispute that. I felt a little bit like this picture at first, as I went through all of the emotions and experiences – stress, unpredictability, shock, awakened, relieved, free – all at the same time. I would say 2020 tested our resilience, compassion, trust, and stability, more than ever before. Most people I know actually embraced the changes – extra time, less pressure at work, more time with their loved ones. Travel restrictions, lockdowns and business closures made the world seem like a much smaller place. It made us appreciate what we have right in front of us. I found myself grateful for the house I own, the friends I have, and the clientele I allowed into my business as this then became a business I run from home and I mean, completely from home. So thanks to the events of 2020, I will be going into 2021 with some really great realisations, and this post is dedicated to what I learned
1: SOCIAL MEDIA HIATUS
I took a three-month break from social media – all platforms, apart from messenger. Highlight, you ask? Hell yes! Social media is not my jam. I hate it, actually. I think it’s filled with lies, absurd competition, and fakery, and I have wasted a lot of time over the years trying to work out who is honest, and who is not. I think there are better ways to occupy our time. When the lockdowns started, I really felt the pull to go inwards. There was literally nothing else being spoken about online but you-know-what, it was all very negative, and fear-based. This is not how I like to live, nor can I do my best work or live my best life in this environment. So I decided this was my opportunity, I had always wondered whether it was necessary to post on social media for my particular business. My client spots have been full since 2013, and I don’t think any of them told me they found me on social media. So, this was my big chance! I deleted it, and instead filled this time (now that my brain wasn’t filled with everyone else’s ideas and perspectives), with re-connecting with my goals. At first I found myself scrolling Pinterest, but then deleted that too. The habit is hard to break, eh? I then got stuck into work. It was great. Whilst not on social, I learned of how it changes your brain (not for the better), I learned of its political bias, how it supports particular messages and not others, and got some real evidence that reinforced to me why I never liked it. Once I was done with my three months, I didn’t care about it at all. It didn’t effect my business. Now I just post what I think my clients would love to read, and I don’t worry about anyone else. So that’s made the social world a little more fun. I am sure there are many out there who always saw it this way, but it took me a while to get there! So, that was highlight number 1.
Despite it being a stressful year, I realised that I have everything I need right here, right now. If I was to never acquire anything else, I would be one happy woman. I realised that my business isn’t going anywhere, and no lock down is going to dull the flames that fuel the drive in my clientele. I would say about 95% of them cruised through the year, didn’t quit, stayed on track, and smashed their goals – some had babies, lots of bodies and minds were transformed, a few ladies competed (Robina turned PRO!). They actually inspired me! Because growing up I experienced a lot of stress, there has always been a part of me that clings really hard to what I have. I work non-stop fearing that I am not doing enough, not being enough, and that with the slightest ‘bump’ I could lose everything I have worked so hard for. I feel like the penny is going to drop an any minute. 2020 was the year in which I realised that will never happen. I built my business with integrity and it is here to stay. I feel so much calmer since having this realisation, as I didn’t realise I was still operating with this underlying fear playing in the background. If anything, my business has been busier than ever. I am working from home now, still considering whether I will return to a gym or open up my own, but for now I am content. Which brings me to highlight number three…
3: I WORKED ON A LONG TERM DREAM
With no travel, no social media distractions, and a few less clients in the first month of lockdown, I found myself feeling really energised with this extra time. Even though it was only 10 hours or so, it felt like a lot of time to spend on me. I made a connection with a long-term friend and client, to assist me in a work project which will be revealed very soon – a few months time in fact! It’s how I always wanted my business to be, but with health issues and such a consistently heavy client load I was never quite able to piece it together. Anyways, I can’t reveal too much. In the meantime, enjoy browsing my new Website! This is part one of the change we have been working on during this time.
4: IT WAS THE HEALTHIEST YEAR OF MY LIFE
Health is the greatest wealth. I would always read this, whilst battling health issues, but never really understood it’s full meaning. In the past all my money and focus was on healing my body – I wanted to be completely healthy so I could live my life to the fullest. Although it did take me years to achieve, 2020 was the first year I was able to reap the rewards of all that hard work. I was able to save money as I didn’t spend it all on health care. I experienced no mental health interference, consistent sleep, no break in training, no fatigue outside the normal kind, I branched out and ate various foods that I haven’t been able to eat for years and lost another 6kg. I had the time and mental space to read up on, and learn about topics outside of the health field, which included studies on surveillance, gender identity issues, social media toxicity, political memoirs, and other topics. (yes, heavy, i love this kind of thing!) But I love to learn and grow so it was great to be able to focus my attention in this way.
5: I FOUND OTHERS WHO WERE EMBARKING ON A SIMILAR HEALING JOURNEY TO ME
Healing yourself from illness is not something that the larger population understand, and I always found this isolating. When you want to bypass medical recommendation and unwind your health problem, there is no one to talk to but the specialist groups you find on social media, or the professionals you are paying for this support. Even now I am healed, I still struggle to find others that understand my journey, but one event stood out to me in 2020, and that was a conversation I had with others who were working on healing their bipolar disorder (this is one of the things I healed in myself). They found themselves in such a similar place to where I was in the past, and were seeking answers to missing pieces, or things they could add to their efforts, as they were so close but not quite over that line. I contributed mine which brought me much joy! Might I add this was on Facebook – so that’s another thing that it is good for 😉 When you find people who understand all of you and what you have experienced, it is a very freeing thing.
6: UNCOVERED SOME INSPIRATIONAL WOMEN TO CARRY ME THROUGH 2021
Again with the fact that my attention wasn’t on my health, and I was researching new areas from politics to history, I found myself super focussed in on women who speak their minds and aren’t afraid of what other people think of them In a healing journey, much of what you need to do is reclaim what you lost in your childhood – what you were shamed for, isolated for, and disliked for. One of those things for me, was honesty. I always told it like it was, didn’t like being told what to do, but was convinced that this was a bad thing that I needed to ‘stop’. The next piece of my healing journey is to reclaim that part of me. In my research I found women who can inspire me into 2021, and with their strength and wisdom backing me, I don’t see anything getting in my way. I don’t believe any of us can achieve what we want without modelling off the courage of someone who has already done what we wish to do. So, that’s it. In summary it has been an amazing year, one of great transformation, realisation, gratitude, and joy. What was your favourite memory of 2020??
I’m kind of stating the obvious here by saying that these are trying times for many of us; things are going a little crazy out there, and there is contradictory, confusing and confronting information being spilled out of every media outlet in sight.
As much as I love to express my opinion on global issues, I like to stay in my lane when it comes to expressing them publicly unless they are directly related to something I know well, and practice often. Given the fact that I am in the health and wellness sphere, I will focus my attention on supporting you all in finding positivity, within crisis, as that is something I am particularly skilled at!
Finding silver linings to seemingly negative and hopeless situations is one of my favourite things to do, and something I have done hundreds (if not thousands) of times throughout my life whilst dealing with depression and anxiety growing up. It is really all about attitude, resilience, and where you choose to direct your attention.
When facing stress, or feeling blue, you need to do two things; the first is to change your state, meaning, you need to snap your body out of whatever funky energy it is ‘sitting’ in. The second is to find a silver lining, something that brings positive opportunity to a negative situation, so you can move forward.
So in the spirit of contributing something to this weird and stressful time, I’ve compiled a few of my favourite ways to uncover that silver lining, change your perspective, and your physical state, so you can continue on thriving in times of stress.
Perspective shifts are all about flipping a negative into a positive, moving from self-defeating mindset to a constructive one. It’s not an easy task, and sometimes you need to keep yourself accountable and snap out of victim mode in order to make it happen. It all depends on how ‘stuck’ you are.
STEP 1: Write down a list of all the benefits to your situation
You probably rolled your eyes when you read that. What positives!? In order to do this, you need to dig deep, as when you’re not in a good place these things don’t just jump to the surface. If you lost your job, did you actually like it? If you have no money, were you out of control with your spending? If you just went through a breakup, was that relationship really serving your highest good? Think outside the box a little and answer with honesty.
STEP 2: Write down a plan as to how you will make the most of the situation
A plan is where you take that benefitfrom the stressful situation that you uncovered in the previous point, and write down actionable steps to make something happen. This may be something like;
- The problem might be; I lost my job, but I didn’t like it anyways. The actionable step might be; reflect on what I would actually want to do. Apply for jobs in a more desirable field. Seek out further education to bridge the gap between what I can do, and what I want to do.
- The problem might be; I have no money, but I was overspending before. The actionable step might be; Make a budget; what can you afford, what do you need in your life, and what can go? When you do have money again, how are you going to hold onto it? What better way to reel in your spending when you actually have no money to spend anyways?
There is always a silver lining, you just need to look for it. Resilience comes along with stronger foundations after every ‘fall’, as when approached constructively, you climb out stronger than before.
STEP 3: Write down everything you have, that you are grateful for
Write a list and stick it on your fridge if you have to. When the coronavirus shutdown first occurred, I was pretty angry as gyms closed so now I am working from home, my income down, my business in limbo and to be honest I was feeling pretty apathetic for a day or two. Then a quote popped up in my feed, which I reposted, that put things way back into perspective;
“Ok, but honestly, how privileged are so many of us that during a global pandemic, we can just stay warm at home, reading, working, still being educated, creating, talking to our loved ones, with little worries and a fridge stocked with food?”
I have no idea who wrote the quote but what a reality check for us westerners who are complaining about lack of toilet paper and (these next two were me) closed gyms and the fact that it took me three hours and 4 grocery shops to find and purchase meat to fit my specific macro requirements??
Reality check. There is always something to be grateful for.
CHANGING YOUR PHYSICAL STATE
Sometimes, this one needs to come before the first if you can’t seem to get past your negative thinking cycle, or victimhood. We’ve all been there, where we have a problem and are not even slightly open to solutions to those problems, whether being offered by friends, family, coworkers, psychologists, etc.
When you’re stuck, you need to do something to change your state before you go ahead trying to be grateful. And fun fact, you probably won’t want to change your state, because you don’t feel like it. Oftentimes, in order to surpass out limited selves, we have to do things we don’t feel like doing. So to change your state, here are some of my favourite suggestions;
Create a go-to playlist, with all those songs that light you up
I mean lights you up, from the inside. You know those songs you hear that bring you such joy and make you just want to dance around like a crazy person? I have a playlist of those; it’s called ‘Wake-up/Inspirational’. I put it on when I feel crappy and eventually, you get back to feeling good
Get out into nature
Nature changes your state, something to do with the negative ions and the sounds it makes. Whether your jam is the beach, rainforest, up on a hill somewhere, or the local lake, force yourself to get out there and sit still, in your fave place, until you change your state.
Express yourself through whichever means possible
Whether it be dancing around the house like a crazy person, singing at the top of your lungs, playing an instrument, drawing, reading, writing, do something that brings your soul to the surface. You don’t need to be skilled or talented at it, you just need an outlet. Having a go-to outlet is an easy way to change your state. Mine is singing, as I find it relaxing, or I have tribal music that I love to play loudly while dancing around in the lounge room. Weird, I know.
If you know how, this is a good one. Breathing, mindfulness, sound mediation, or walking meditation are all ways of changing your state and bringing about inner stillness.
Physical movement is crucial for releasing stored energy and reinvigorating your body. Whether for you this is running, walking, cycling, going to the gym, and whether or not you feel like doing it, just get it done. This will change your state.
So there you have it, I hope you find these suggestions useful! Once you change your state, you can return back to your original task of finding a silver lining to your challenging situation. There is one there, always, you just need to dig down a little deeper, and find it.
Note that I have steered away from focusing on more obvious things such as eating a healthful diet, getting plenty of sleep, avoiding the narratives of the mainstream media, though it is my belief that these things are crucial for physical and emotional resilience as well.
Being in the business game I constantly see coaches and entrepreneurs talking (or shall we say bragging) about their ‘hustle’ – how hard they work, how many hours they put in, what time they get up in the morning, etc.
Is hustling really all its cracked up to be? How does it apply to life in general?
Lets compare the two…
Hustling is a masculine energy; it’s about pushing, controlling, forcing, and working things into place. It’s about doing whatever it takes. It’s a cognitive (thought-centred) process, where you observe what others do, think about how to beat them, and strive to outwork.
Aligning is a feminine energy, where you lay goals out, and ensure they’re congruent with you personally. It’s about bringing who you are, and what you want to do together, so they can work along side each other. Sounds like the winner already, right?
I think it depends on the level of success you want to achieve in that particular activity, and the kind of person you are, but assuming we are all women here I am going to propose that you get aligned, before you hustle.
I learned this lesson the hard way, always working harder, longer, and more effectively than all of my competitors. Yes it brought me a lot of ‘success’ at the time, but it lead me down a pretty dark road to burnout, which left me back peddling in the end. So here I am making sure you don’t make this same mistake!
I learned that simply working hard wasn’t enough. I needed to bring alignment into the mix.
Alignment + Hustle = Success
Success is not just about beating the competition. It’s about liking yourself, liking what you do, and liking how you do it. We can thank Maya Angelou for that quote. So before moving forwards you need to have a pretty good idea of the goal posts you’re aiming for.
If you simply want to feel happy, then alignment is literally all you need. If you want to excel however, you need to hustle once you have your aligned and your goals are in place. It’s a constant push and pull between the two energies; we align, then we hustle, and repeat this process over the long haul until our goals have been achieved.
How to apply this ‘alignment over hustle’ principle
In general nutrition/health/weight loss goals, you align by making sure you’re losing weight for the right reasons, and that you are using a method that works with your body. That is enough to get you great results. The hustle comes in when you’re partaking in a competitive sport such as bodybuilding, or wanting to lose that extra 5% in the end.
In training/exercise, you align by finding a training regimen that you enjoy, is at your experience level, and is well balanced. Working with your body, and not overstepping your physical capacity, is essential. You hustle when you want to excel, after you have laid the foundations down
In business and at work, you align by working out what you want to gain from your business, regardless of outward ‘success’ markers. You hustle once you know why you are doing what you’re doing, and where you want to end up.
In relationships, I believe alignment is really the only thing you need. If you have to hustle someone to be your partner or friend, or hustle your family to do what you want, they’re probably not your people.
Finding alignment, with yourself and your goals
Finding alignment means finding out who you are on a deeper level. Remember that finding alignment is essentially a feminine energy, and feminine energy is PASSIVE. It works better when it’s aligned first.
STEP 1: You have to get quiet. Take a break from the ‘noise’ of the outside world. Meditate, go to the beach, or sit alone in your favourite café. Tuning out the outside world is the only real way you can work out what is going on for you, on the inside.
STEP 2: Ask yourself some deeper questions; is what I’m doing making me happy? Do I have a clear goal? Am I energised, or exhausted? Do I feel supported, or isolated? Be honest with yourself here.
STEP 3: Work out what you can let go of, and what to focus your attention on. Work out how you are going to ensure you don’t get caught up in other peoples ‘hustle’, and stay aligned with yours.
If you find yourself cringing at the idea of this whole suggestion, it’s a sure-fire sign you need to do a lot of work in this area!
Without alignment, we risk losing connection with our deeper wants and needs. We risk going a million miles in the wrong direction. We risk never discovering, or losing sight of our own unique gifts and talents. We also risk burning out and having to backpedal, which in itself is extremely stressful. Been there, done that.
I got such a good response to my recent business change announcement that I thought I would start my blogging early! With the popular topic of…
NEW YEARS RESOLUTIONS
Personally, I don’t set them. Not in the traditional sense anyways. I tend to opt for introducing changes to my life whenever I feel they’re needed. I used to be an avid believer/setter of new years resolutions though – from getting a summer body, quitting alcohol, junk food, or coffee, to quitting being treated like crap, etc. So I know a thing or two about why these kinds of ‘resolutions’ don’t work.
As much as we want them to, patterns and behaviours don’t go away just because we decided. They are way more complex than that.
So why don’t they work?
In short, we are highly programmable and habitual beings that act unconsciously, most of the time. We are the result of everything that we have witnessed and experienced throughout our lives up until this point. The habits and behaviours we exhibit are ingrainedin us. Yes we can choose to change, but without the right approach our mind and body just goes on with the same old pattern it is used to.
We often get insights about what we want to change. They’re like visions toward a more powerful, wholesome you. That’s all they are though. these insights are not powerful enough to make us actually change. They are there to plant the seed.
True change requires effort, persistence, self-awareness, and patience.
Lets take the ‘I will never drink alcohol again’resolution as an example;
You set the intention to change your habit of consuming alcohol. You have identified that you’re using it to calm down or numb, and you don’t want to do that anymore. You are tired of being that person who relies on a drink, and want more self-control.
1st January passes, and you succeeded! Good job.
2nd January passes, and you succeeded again! Even better 😉
3rd January passes, and maybe the 4th, 5th, 6th. Still going strong.
As you continue with it, you begin to feel a little restless. You’re not feeling great. It’s Saturday night, your friends are drinking, and you don’t want to be left out. Maybe you had a fight with a significant person in your life and you’re struggling to settle the emotional stress that lingers on afterwards.
You think, to hell with it! I love alcohol, alcohol loves me, everyone else is doing it and I’m not technically an alcoholic, so – it’s okay. You justify to yourself why this needs to be a part of your life again, instead of sticking it out for the long haul like you promised.
Once the initial drink wares off, you’re disappointed. Why cant you do anything right?
Because the alcohol, just like every other habitual behaviour or addiction has an emotional connection along with it. Whether it’s belonging, numbing, relaxing, feeling like a queen, avoiding boredom, it doesn’t matter. There is an emotionalreason behind your need for alcohol, and your body/mind will make an excuse to bring it back in.
Unless you deal with the emotion, or the reason you’re doing what you’re doing,you will constantly revert back to it, justify sabotaging it, and go back to your old ways. You’ll still feel bad about it on some level, but you’ll wait until the next significant time or date, before you decide to try again.
So the key to understand here is that your emotions drive your choices, and they are more powerful than your decision to change.
What’s the solution?
The first and most powerful way to approach a resolution is….. DRUMROLL…. to deal with the emotion head on. Given the fact that this is a confronting idea and out of my scope of practice, I’m going to suggest a method that is much more practical.
I recommend that you choose a theme, or statement for the New Year, and nut out some practical ways to approach it. So here is how that works;
STEP 1: Choose a theme
A theme is like a blanket-statement, written as a commitment to yourself. It can be as broad or specific as you like. Here are some examples;
- “I commit to finding two things that I am really good at this year”
- “I commit to taking good care of myself”
- “I commit to finding a new career path”
- “I commit to engaging in frequent physical activity”
- “I commit to educating myself about self-love and self-mastery”
- “I commit to making time for myself and learning more about who I am”
- “I commit to making new friendships with people who _________”,
- “I commit to embracing all aspects of myself without fear” (that’s my one for 2020)
Overthinking it? Simply put, your theme should be whatever floats your boat and bugs you the most about yourself.From here, you need to set some clear boundaries about how that may look. So taking the example of ‘I commit to taking good care of myself’. Here’s how it looks;
STEP 2: Write down your ‘WHY’ * This is the most important step *
If you have no reason for the goal that comes with an emotional drive, there is no reason to change. Your why should be the emotional benefit that you gain by honouring your commitment to yourself.
STEP 3: Write down all the ways in which you believe you aren’t doing this.
- I eat takeaway every night.
- I am constantly exhausted but haven’t looked further into it
- All my friends are into partying, and aren’t healthy
- I am dependent on coffee.
These are just examples, but write down literally everythingyou do, that you feel is incongruent to the statement ‘I take good care of myself’. Make sure you write down what youwant, not what you think it should look like.
STEP 4: Brainstorm the things you can introduce into your life to counteract these incongruent habits you have
- I will eat home-cooked dinners 4 nights per week
- I will see a health practitioner once per month and implement what I can in relation to my fatigue
- I will seek out new friendships with those who are interested in health and fitness
- I will limit cut my coffee consumption back by 1 shot per day.
STEP 5: Assess whether they are achievable, and come up with a game plan!
Grab your list of commitments, and ask yourself, as you go down them individually, if they feel achievable for you. If they don’t, or they feel too full on, then reduce them a little. You don’t want to set yourself up for failure. Remember if they intimidate you, they’re probably good choices. Change is nevercomfortable
You may need to enlist the support of a friend, your family, a professional, or sign-up to a group, etc. Do whatever you need to do to get the ball rolling.
So that’s it. You need to spend a little time on it, but it’s sure to get you headed in the right direction.
Why this method works;
- It’s positive, and all change requires a positive drive.
- It’s not too specific – there is room for movement and growth
- You’re likely not to fail, thus avoiding the ‘I’m useless’ trap
- You can approach it with bite-size chunks depending on your comfort and speed
- You can revisit it throughout the year, add more commitments underneath it, or change directions where needed.
Word of warning:Don’t get caught up thinking that if you don’t commit to ‘quitting’ a bad habit cold turkey that it won’t go away. Small steps towards change allow the process to occur more organically. You let go completely when you’re ready, rather than ripping off the band-aid in one go.
So, that’s it! Sorry its not an easy solution. True change is never easy!
If you found value in this, please share. It takes a couple of hours to put together good content, so the more people who get to benefit from it the better!
“The deepest pain I ever felt was denying my own feelings to make everyone else comfortable” – Nicole Lyons
So often as women we put themselves last, after watching our mothers slave away for the family and learn over time through societies conditioning that it’s better to be quiet then it is to raise your voice
The long term repercussions of stifling your emotions and not being heard can be huge. Anger, resentment, and feeling inadequate or unimportant are all emotions that increase cortisol (stress hormones) and can erode away at your self-esteem over time. Eventually you find yourself in situation after situation feeling just as powerless as the last .
Know that your voice matters. Everyone’s voice matters. Women, men, children, adults, elderly, all important. We all have individual value to share. Stifling yourself or playing it small so that others don’t respond poorly may will give ‘haters’ a momentary win, but for you in the long run it’s a massive loss .
If you find yourself keeping quiet when you want to speak, saying yes when you want to say no, and denying yourself of healthy emotional expression in order to keep someone else happy, then maybe it’s time to start expressing yourself .
I learned this one the hard way and as much as it was anxiety-provoking the first few times, the long term consequences have been so liberating
“Don’t waste another second thinking that you’re failing, when really all you’re doing is growing” – Chani Nicholas
Growth comes in many forms.
Sometimes it’s the obvious things like getting a new job, completing your degree, or getting a pay rise
Sometimes it’s the more subtle things like not eating that chocolate bar, saying no to drinking on the weekend with your friends, or making to the gym each day of the week that you planned to
But then there are those REALLY subtle changes that are disguised as ‘failures’. A relationship breakup, leaving a job, or ‘stuffing up’ something that means a lot to you. These are the things we beat ourselves up about but they are just as powerful as the rest for growth and change
We learn from failure. We grow from failure. Bringing our attention to the things we do ‘wrong’ can empower us to change them. Sometimes you need to take a step backward in order to move forward
Don’t miss all of the beautiful things you have done that helped you to become the person you are today. If you are alive and conscious, your growing