It’s been nearly a month since my last post. I was hoping I’d be more consistent in this blogging thing, but life got busy. And I felt a tad overwhelmed. Why? Because I had this one project at work take over my life. I’m not even sure how that happened. It’s not like I was working a ton of extra hours. I just felt overwhelmed. Sad that one project could do that to me.
But during this month, I had the opportunity to visit my alma mater (California State University, Fullerton) and attend a Women’s Conference. Now, it’s not like the Women’s Conference that Maria Shriver put on, but it was still worthwhile (and free)! Kristen Bell was the keynote speaker. I don’t know too much about Kristen, but she came off as very down-to-earth and committed to a pretty good cause (Invisible Children).
There were two breakout sessions we could attend. I chose a Stress Management presentation by Kristen Welsh-Simpson (seemed an obvious choice with my current inability to balance) and Eating Right by Christine Jackson-Mohler. I figure if I put my learnings to paper, I might do a better job of incorporating these into my life. And the two really go hand-in-hand.
There are 6 R’s:
- Responsibility (telling yourself that you are in control, establishing priorities, and keeping it simple)
- Relaxation ( do something good for yourself, schedule “worry time,” and schedule a time out and be consistent about it!
- Reflection (know what triggers your stress, know your symptoms, and check the balance of your life)
- Relationships (have supportive relationships, manage them, and improve your relationship with yourself)
- Refueling (eat a balanced diet, be aware of poisons, drink a lot of water)
- Recreation ( laugh and love, learn how to have fun with your family, enjoy your life and treat others the way you want to be treated)
Specifically, I learned to see stress as a challenge, not a road block. Mrs. Welsh-Simpson did an excellent job in explaining this. She used a very simple formula: E + R = O, or Event + Response = Outcome. We can only control our response to a situation/event. It’s our perception that drives our response. So we need to re-frame our thinking – find the good in a bad situation, use positive self-talk, avoid the blame game and shift your focus going forward. Always try and have a plan B – this will help you feel in control.
Improve your time management and have realistic expectations. Understand accept that we can’t do it all. Let go of some things. It’s ok if I do the dishes tomorrow. Whew! Something else that really struck me…she said to live in the present. You can visit the past, but don’t live there. You can only control what’s going on now. Makes total sense. To add to that, you can learn from your past and that will help your responses.
- Take time outs.
- Meditate , do some deep breathing exercises, or other relaxation exercises
- Watch your diet and caffeine intake (ok, she said to eliminate… but I just don’t comprehend that)
- Sleep (very important!)
- Have a sense of humor!
She also had two fantastic analogies: 1) If a cup is full, it doesn’t matter how much more liquid will make it overflow. A simple drop can make it overflow. So reduce the size of your cup. 2) Imagine a plate. The more stuff that gets put on your plate can push something off that you really like/want. So every so often, clear your plate and you choose what goes on it and where they belong.
I took this session to learn more about eating organic. A friend of mine who is in the midst of fighting breast cancer educated me on nutrition. To help her fight the cancer, she is eating more organic and avoiding soy. And no, I don’t just mean soy sauce or edamame. Have you read labels lately? Goodness, soy is in everything! Apparently, it’s a cheap emulsifier. But the problem I believe (and I know very little here) is that contains a natural chemical that mimics estrogen. And in my friends’ case, that’s not good. And the nutritionist from the women’s conference also suggested watching your soy intake. She mentioned that there is a lot of genetic altering going on and a lot of pesticides are used in the development of this cheap product.
All in all, we need to read labels. Avoid processed foods – eat whole (not a lot of ingredients). Eat often. Try to eat lean meat (chicken or turkey), and/or free range. Fish should be wild caught, cold water. Organic milk would be better than non, but try rice milk or coconut milk.
- Eat whole grain instead of whole wheat. Apparently whole wheat is processed.
- Steel cut is preferred over rolled oats.
- Wild rice over quick cook rice
- Quick food over fast food. Quick food can be almonds or fruit.
And Mrs. Mohler warned…it requires a lot more preparation. Perhaps we prep our food ahead of time. On the weekends, make an “extra” dish and freeze for later! Or prepare a weeks worth of lunch meat on Sunday night. Actually might make us better with our time management during the week!
So, my plan of action???
If I eat better, and re-think my stress, I will be better off. I say this as I just downed some cola – which, by the way, is cement cleaner. It appears, I have a lot of work to do.
What do you do to stay balanced? What has worked for you, and what hasn’t?