You DESERVE to feel better!

As women, we all want to FEEL good, and deserve to feel good. 

I frequent various locker rooms at gyms or lobbies of yoga studios and I often here things such as, "I need a shift." Or "I need a reset." Women will say something like, "I feel off or not like myself anymore." I can hear the simplest desires to "just lose a few pounds" Or "I just told my husband I need to eat healthier." What is this all about? You could say this is something coming from a sense of how we "should look" but I'm convinced these comments are all at the core of the same problem: we ALL want to FEEL GOOD. And when we are out of balance, including not eating the right foods, sleeping, drinking too much or exercising too much or the wrong balance for us, we don't feel well. This shows up for us often in weight, energy, hormones, exhaustion and more. 

However, at the core of it all we know we can be shinier and the best version of ourselves and thus we talk about it with our friends. So many of us want to change or want to feel better, but why are so many of us struggling? I believe it is at the heart of why I practice and teach yoga. I believe that once we get out of balance or deal with a life transition, what worked before might not be working again and might not be the best. We ALL need a little support and guidance and that is where I would LOVE to come in and support you. 

cloud-143152_1920.jpg

My Personal Experience - Why I want and know I can feel better

My story has many layers, many experiences of ups and downs. I will attempt to keep it short and sweet. As a kid, I struggled with various health issues such as yeast infections as early as two-years old and eczema by fifth grade and psoriasis by middle school. I was a bigger kid and developed early. I was one of the biggest girls in sixth grade and felt very different. However, once I started to hear about the "fat-free" approach of dieting I was sold. In eighth grade I started being more active physically and controlling my total intake of fat. Looking back I know this was definitely the start of my disordered-eating patterns. It didn't take long and I lost 20+ pounds, ending middle school a bit more active.

Fast forward to high school, I had a great time being involved with volleyball, track, choir and church groups. It was an amazing time, but I continued to struggle a bit with yeast infections and on and off body-image issues. Following high school I was off to college and my active participation in volleyball and track and school helped me stay busy and connected.

I always operated under the truth that if I didn't work out I wasn't okay. Thus, that was a huge focus of my days. I would wake up early and sacrifice sleep just so that I would get my workouts in. I also was mindful of my choices of eating because I knew it all mattered. And luckily, at this time in my life, making healthier choices actually meant feeling better. The pressure I put on myself got to be a too much by the end of my senior year and the food issues came up pretty strong. My dear friend brought it up to me, suggesting that I get help. 

I am thankful for that day; after graduating college I went to the Eating Disorder Institute. I gained knew knowledge of food and how it can be balanced and free when you make your own rules. You can have dessert and be okay. You can eat various foods, including fat, and be okay! 

One incredible discovery on this journey was taking two months off from working out. My eyeballs fell out of my head when my nutritionist encouraged this experiment. I thought "f that" when she first brought it up. However, the trust I had with her was enough to give it a try. It helped that I was swamped with my student teaching, leaving me with less time to workout. What happened was crazy; I actually was stable and even lost a couple pounds. I am sure I lost a bit of muscle, but the most amazing part of it all was my physical activity changed dramatically and I ate the SAME amount of food that I was when I was swimming for 75-minutes or running 9 miles. It was fascinating. Obviously, if I continued this over time, the amount of food I would require to maintain my weight could decrease. But, it was PROOF to me that taking a day or two or even a week off when sick/tired is necessary. The bonus: I was still OKAY at the end of those days. Laura, if you are out there reading this, thank you for the gift you gave me that still lives in me. 

Life was fairly stable in my young 20's after this treatment. I still battled with my psoriasis and reminders some days that eating was okay and taking days off was okay. But in the grand scheme of things, life was good. I was in a successful job, falling more and more in love with my now husband of twelve years and living a very simple and blessed life. 

Motherhood was the next chapter in my life. I had my first baby seven and a half years ago and my second baby four years ago. Lucky for my babies I gave them lots of love and attention, not letting them cry much, rocking them a ton and nursing a lot. My poor sweet girl (7.5) was a very fussy and challenging baby. Not lucky for me, sleep was a memory. When I went back to work it got even worse.

About a year after having my first baby the digestive issues started. Over the past seven years I have been battling my gut health. I am pretty sure the trigger for the turnaround of my micro-biome (gut health) was the intense prescription I took for my mastitis. Unfortunately I had it pretty bad and I didn't see any alternative. It only took a couple months for me to notice something wasn't right with my stomach. I have had countless appointments with doctors, nutritionists, acupuncturist, more doctors, etc. I then got Giardia when my son was a year old. After taking the anti-parasitic my eating disorder flared up, partly because I had lost so much weight I was afraid to eat. And partly because I think my gut was destroyed by the anti-parasitic. My post-partum depression/anxiety kicked up in a big way during this time as well. I was actually doing fairly good prior so I often wonder if the gut change had a huge impact on my mind. The symptoms showed up for me in my eating disorder. I was also trying to follow a very restricted diet to heal my gut and food sensitivities. 

I rose above from that tough time through the support of my friends and family and amazing professionals. However, I continue to struggle with knowing what foods make me feel good. This stress is real. To the point where, this summer I took the plunge and tested for SIBO (small intestinal bacterial overgrowth). The results came back with a positive result for both methane and hydrogen. Apparently I have a pretty bad case of it.  I am on day 25 of my healing protocol and this morning I told my daughter, "I want to give up." My daughter exclaimed, "mom, why would you want to do that?" I think it is mainly because I still don't feel awesome. The biggest challenge is the continued bloating and the crazy cravings for food. 

You know those moments when people say they try something and the first couple weeks are hard, but the they felt amazing!?? Well, that is where it stops for me. When will I feel amazing? What am I missing? I think for me it is patience but there is much more and darn it, I know I can get to the other side. I just know. 

So what do I do now? Knowing what I know, my micro-biome is not working yet. We are trying to get it back to where it needs and when it isn't there, I am not able to "listen to my body." I must trust the process. I must start to get MORE REST. I must start to follow the yoga practice that will begin to nourish me. I must drink more water. And I have to simplify and say no to a lot. I am depleted and not only is my gut health challenged, my hormones have been off because of all it. The first priority is the healing of the SIBO, but at the same time I can work on my mental health to get strong and get through this hard part of my life. I know I will not give up and will keep going. It is critical to my health and getting to the other side of actually feeling good. 

I will see my healing as a journey of honoring exactly where I am at, asking for the support I need, and doing everything I can to get myself in balance. I know my days might look a little different some of the time, but small changes might make all the difference.

I am not alone in my challenge of NOT feeling good, and that is where YOU come in

First of all, YOU matter. Your journey matters. Your feelings, experiences, desires, and truth ALL matter. You are doing an awesome job each day showing up as best as you can. But, I know something more. I know that you DESERVE to feel better. I know that for me, I cannot do this healing journey and simply living & loving alone. I know my journey of challenge is here to get stronger, but more important to be a charge of change for women. 

I know that YOU can feel better. I know that incorporating small changes can make a BIG difference. It ALL matters and I want to support YOU. 

I also know that I am not alone and cannot do this alone. And I know that my journey of challenge is here to share and support other women to be heard, helped and eventually to thrive. It is my heart's desire to help women feel better! Sometimes it feels overwhelming, and I totally get that. But taking action with little changes and helping get YOU in balance is the KEY to feeling better. 

Be Curious - ALL things matter. 

I know that it is ALL the things that matter. It isn't a simple equation, but it ALL Matters matters.

  • What we eat
  • How we breathe
  • How we rest
  • What exercise we do (right now)
  • What products we use on our body and in our home to clean?
  • How we deal with a headache or a sore throat (advil or something more natural)?
  • How often do we look at our phone?
  • What do you do for your mental mind to quiet intellect and increase inner guide?
  • What are we doing to stay in balance?
  • Do you have a strong practice of gratitude?
  • Are you able and safe to speak your truth?
  • Are you connected and supported?
  • Are you allowed to feel and go through the process of letting go, feeling, and being heard?
  • Do you have the right professional support? I am talking any care that will help you in balance...hormones, physical body, etc. 

I truly believe it is impossible to move forward if we are not supported as a WHOLE person. From my own perspective, I am tired of staying quiet until I shout to the world, "I am healed!" This is not reality and honestly, we are every changing human beings. 

Thus, I believe in all of my heart that you CAN feel better if you get curious. I also believe that if it is critical for us all to understand that what worked for us ten years ago might NOT be what we NEED right now. We are every changing and we must understand that we will feel the best when we are in balance. 

Questions to ask yourself

  • Do you beat yourself up when you skip a workout?
  • Do you feel challenged to actually "listen to your body?" 
  • Do you feel overwhelmed or lost as to getting on your path?  
  • Do you feel like everyone else has it figured out but you?
  • Do you find your internal dialogue is mostly critical and dismissive?
  • Are you feeling stuck?
  • Do you want peace and harmony between you and you?
  • Do you avoid going to a yoga class because you are a beginner?
  • Do you doubt your inner guide and ability to trust your instincts?
  • Do you need clarity in your life?
  • Do you want to feel better?
  • Do you need a little support to help you build inner-confidence and self love?
  • Do you have a gratitude practice?
  • Do you know how to shift your energy when you are feeling stuck.

If any of these are YES, I have something for you!

Private Wellness Sessions

I offer private wellness sessions that help you to tap into what you need to get back in balance and start listening to what you need. My approach is simple, I help you bring in a sense of curiosity and love as you look at small changes you can make to your life to feel better. I will help you create a personal "practice" for you that helps you make shifts to FEELING better. It IS possible and you do NOT have to do it alone. (Note: often times the "practice" for you doesn't even include any yoga poses. It truly is up to YOU and what works best for you. I call this "living your yoga.")

Thus, my approach to your own well-being and feeling amazing comes from within. No Rules for you or anyone! There is not one way to feel good and there is not one way to live and thrive. However, there are many choices that add up that will serve YOU the best. And my friends, this isn't the same formula for you as it is for me. The BEST thing that I can do to support you is to uncover that badass within that knows you can do anything when you are in balance and alignment. When you connect to this knowledge you have the power to create the life you want. The attitude you start each day with and the ability to show up for you in little and big ways adds up. 

Additionally, I offer workshops that go deeper into tapping into the self-love that is already there, connecting to your inner guide and "knowing" and cleaning up your life to help you have the best shot at thriving.

Finally, I know that my own healing journey has taken various professionals to help support me depending on my challenge (whether it be hormones, eating-disorder issues, and gut-health). I LOVE to provide you with amazing resources that will help support YOU on your journey. You are worth it and I am here for YOU!!

Does this resonate with you? If it does I would LOVE to work with you.

If you are curious let's talk. I offer a free 15-minute consult to see if what I have to offer is something that would work well for you. I can do it either virtually or in person, depending on your schedule, location and availability. Schedule it now by emailing me at noruleswellness@gmail.com or go to the contact me page. 

You DESERVE to feel better and you do NOT need to do it alone. 

In so much love and gratitude,

Kristin

Monday Check-in: Breathing - Nov. 7, 2016

How am I? 

I am in a rut and I am better than I've ever been! Why? Because despite having a tough week and not feeling the best, I know I have support, tools such as yoga, meditation, gratitude and more to get back up. I consider last week's challenging moments a paper cut. Why was this last week harder than some? I had some tougher moments emotionally this week but it wasn't a whole day; each time it was just a moment. What a gift. Also, based on how I feel, I am reminded that what I'm doing right now for self-care is not the right balance. I am not sleeping enough or eating the right foods or doing a consistent and solid yoga practice. And I know that needs to change. However, I also know that the hardest part is starting. I'm learning a lot right now in my yoga training (online Vinyasa Krama training with Rod Stryker). And in that training he talks about the Law of Continuity. It essentially means like attracts like and thus, we tend to keep doing what keeps us out of balance because it feels good. Sometimes doing the same thing, even if it makes us feel crappy, makes us feel better than making a change. Wow, can I resonate with that because that is exactly where I am. I know what I need to do, but there is a lot of resistance to doing it. I think we all can relate to this in some way. Think of the months where you have a consistent workout schedule. Then life happens and you get out of your rhythm and getting back to the schedule that made you feel good is so much harder.

Below I have quickly broke down a bit of what my rut seems to consist and what I know I need more of. Also, you can read about how last week's Queen Allowina did. And don't forget to think about you. Maybe reading this will get you thinking about what is going on with you because I know reflection can always help me have better weeks, days or moments. 

My rut: 

  • Not sleeping enough 
  • Drinking too much caffeine
  • Being hard in myself, and I mean really hard 
  • My mind is spinning and I am not stopping it (oh I want to write a whole post on this one)
  • Perhaps trying to do too much at once? But I feel the fire, so I will just keep it going with grace and a planner/spreadsheet. 
  • Not as patience or as kind as I know i can be, especially to kiddos 
  • More anger 
  • Food stuff crept in a bit, but knowing my triggers it is again, just a moment and I can move forward and grow!

What do I need? 

  • More sleep
  • More meditation that allows some a.m. practices on the days I am not teaching early
  • More water. I was with my daughter on Thursday and Friday and she drank a lot of water. I thought I would give it a try and I feel a ton better. More days like that!
  • More being and less thinking. That's right. More BEing! One of my amazing teachers would always remind us that we are "human beings, not human doings!" Dang, I need someone to say that to me every day!
  • Continue to give myself grace at the rate I am building my business. It takes time to create something great right?

How did allowing go? 
Last week my theme of the week was to be Queen Allowina! I wanted to embrace the mess of life and allow various feelings, the mess of the house, and simply not being perfect into my week. So how did it go? 

Queen Allowina's reflection of last week:

I was so surprised (and not surprised) that I resisted the heck out of allowing. It was the most painful attempt at trying to be laid back. In all honestly, it showed up the most in my parenting. For some reason the kids were a handful last week and into the weekend. For a good part of the week I thought their behavior and the parenting frustrations were me not being patient until I saw the kids get the best of my husband (he rarely gets frustrated with the kids). Phew, it wasn't just me. As the week progressed I found myself resisting allowing the mess and allowing the crazy morning routines and being behind on what feels like everything. For most of the week I was sure as a mom I have no clue what I am doing; but don't we all have parenting moments when we wonder what the...? 

Last week I found myself having an angry and impatient tone of voice with the kids, and even raising my voice when I they would continue to not listen! The positive: I realize it is important to not allow unkind behavior, but at the same point I realize I must only allow the lessons to come from the place of love. So Sunday, on the way to swimming lessons with both kids, we went over our four rules:

1. Listen to mom and dad the first time
2. Kindness (kind words and actions such as hitting, biting etc.)
3. No name calling (believe it or not I am the worst at this). For example I joke around that I am "mean mommy." After the intense parenting morning (for both my hubby and I) we were going over the rules in the car and my three-year old son says to me "mean mommy is name calling!" Hot damn he was so right. How did I miss that one?
4. No back talk

A big thanks to my friend for helping me create these rules because when I think I might lose it as a mom and feel so lost and unsure of what next I go back to these. And it helps me to realize that these aren't Kid's Rules, but Family Rules. I must be kind in my guiding and parenting, even if they are acting like a-holes.  

As far as allowing others to feel, well I realize this will be an ongoing opportunity because I quickly take on the feelings of others and have it negatively impact my moments. But I know I am solely in charge of my own emotions and others have the right to feel. Thus, Queen Allowina will continue. 

Finally, I allowed my Thursday post to just get posted when I finally can edit and add pictures. It was done on Wednesday and that my friends, is the kind of week I had as far as all-hands-on-dec with the kiddos. Oh well, it is just a blog post. I allow right?. :) :) 

What next?

I am going to keep it simple this week. I am going to commit to my daily practice, water, sleep and grace when it comes to the to-do’s, both work and home. The list is long and the passion is deep, but I am only one person and my best this week will be enough. I realized in being more aware last week that my anger is stemmed by never feeling like I can get enough done or be enough for people or sleep the right amount, etc. etc.

What I know I can control and do Now is breathe. I often joke around that I am the yoga teacher that doesn't breathe. Unfortunately, it isn't a joke. I don't breathe very well most of the days (again, another opportunity for more writing on this gem). This week my focus to support me is "I will breathe!" I will breathe in and out as calmly and deeply as I can. I know how I feel after a yoga practice with intentional breathing. Why don’t I do this in my everyday life? Last week taking a drop essential oil (I have been loving the Gratitude oil) and cupping my hands to smell and breathe helped calm my body and drop into the present moment. The breath is our foundation for life and greatly connected to the quality of the mind. Why not start today? 

What are your plans for this week?

As always, take a moment to think about last week. What felt good and what would you like more of? Is there something you are doing a lot of that is actually keeping you out of balance? Do you need an extra yoga class or some extra sleep? How can you stay grounded and calm in the week we are approaching with Tuesday’s election and I could imagine a busy life and mind? Schedule something in for you if you can. And lastly, are you breathing? Breathe with my please. And tell me how it's going; I would love to hear!

Life is such a gift and feel so very grateful to have the time to reflect, share and grow.

Thank you so much for reading and more importantly, thank you so much for being YOU! Have a beautiful week. 

Peace and love to y'all!

Kristin

The quality of our breath expresses our inner feelings.
— TKV Desikachar

Top 5 tips to Thrive in November

IMG_7511.jpg

It is hard not to think about the month of November that quickly snuck up on me. It is definitely getting darker and colder (though in Minnesota we have been having some warmer days). This is the month that I struggle a lot because of the lack of light (in Minnesota is is typically the cloudiest month), the pressure to get everything done and stay on top of life (mostly self-inflicted). It is almost this “oh crap” mentality that I forgot to do a lot in the summer and I must catch up and prepare for winter and do normal-life stuff, and get ready for that Turkey Holiday! Oh, and then it naturally happens I find less outdoor activity. I know I can get my butt outside more, but it takes a lot more intention to get outside. Am I right? I know when I am the most connected is when I am in nature or when connecting with humans; when I am outside I see the incredible beauty of life right before my eyes and can feel the fresh air on my body and in my lungs. I feel alive and blessed. And when I look into the eyes of a friend and can see love and can hear them share a part of their story with me, I feel complete. We all want to be supported, loved and heard. I am always honored to be a part of that with others. and if I get to do both be in nature and be with a friend, well, that is bliss! 

As I reflect I cannot help but ask you: what are you going to do this November to support you? Can you look back at previous Novembers and see what might be your struggles and what you love about the month? With the extra dark and cold it is truly a time to look within and perhaps sleep more, cook more and rest more. This seems hard to do with so much going on and even longer to-do lists. But maybe, just maybe you can find various ways to slow down, just a bit. For me I know that getting eight hours in my bed is going to be critical. I am starting November in the tank in the sleep department and likely my hormones still remain a bit out of balance. Because of this it is even more critical for me to make sleep a priority (I feel like a broken record). In my attempt to keep it simple I want to share my top five tips for thriving in November. My hope is that this list resonates with you. Maybe you will want to use this list or tweak it to make it your own. Either way, having an intention and a target to shoot for can help ground you this fall and busy month! I know I can feel better this November than previous years if I keep perspective and these five things in mind. 

Top 5 Tips to Thrive in November!

  1. Gratitude. I want to dedicate the entire month to gratitude. Gratitude is a game changer. This seems like the no-brainer word for November when Thanksgiving is coming and the holiday is all about giving thanks. However, when you LIVE your gratitude you not only say what you are grateful for but you FEEL it in your bones. Why are you grateful? Can you start a gratitude journal? Do you want to send gratitude cards to people before they might expect it? Or maybe you are struggling with something in your life that is hard and perhaps finding small reasons of gratitude will keep you going!

    I have recent example how gratitude was the only thing that got my head out of my rear end. It was last Sunday and I felt in a funk, but decided to put my swim suit and head to swimming lessons with my daughter. Why not take care of myself right and swim next to her? When we arrived my intention to lap swim quickly changed when the lanes were busy! The lanes have been open for the last couple months and my excitement to take care of me quickly shifted--I felt angry and sad (and I wasn't in the mood to share a lane). I felt really sad, tears and all. And we are simply talking about 25-minutes of swimming. How big of a deal could it be? After class I decided to shower at the same time as my daughter so at least I would be clean and ready for the day. While I was showering I still felt sad and angry. Then I thought about my little girl and how aware she was of my feelings, and that I am here to teach her that I can make my day what I want to make of it. As I showered I started listing off all of the things I was grateful for because of this particular situation. I got to nine things and it was actually very uplifted and much happier after doing this exercise of listing and feeling the gratitude. It shifted my energy and I was able to be that example to my daughter I so desired. I highly recommend weaving gratitude in wherever you can. And I mean everywhere!!
     
  2. Self-Care. Regardless of how busy you are or how many things you need to do or buy or whatever fills your cup this month, self-care is critical. I know that when I don’t take care of me first I am angry and my head is NOT on straight. I ask you this question in my attempt to help you get on top of it. How can you take care of you every single day? Obviously I know some days you might get a long walk in or to the gym and others it might only be 20 minutes. However, every day is so important. For example, for me, even two missed days of meditation impacts my emotional self and that is a must for me. However, I get so tired at night I am trying to find a new schedule that we help anchor me and fill my cup this month.
     
  3. Slow down and be present. Tip, the quickest way to do this is by using the breath! Oh this seems so obvious; and if I were reading this I might be SO annoyed. But stick with me for a moment. I am simply asking you if there is something you might be able to tweak so that you can be even more present? Maybe it is simply a part of the day. For example, maybe you put your phone away after dinner or you have a time to journal each Sunday night. Or maybe it is something as simple as taking five breaths before dinner. Whatever helps you to stay present is a win. Play around with it.

    Yesterday I was so tired and feeling pulled for time and energy (my daughter was home from school) prior to teaching a yoga class and I was mentally was freaking out. I went on a 10-minute walk with my daughter and everything started to slow down for me. I noticed the pretty trees (barely), but more importantly I noticed the ability of this young soul to be present and curious, stopping often. As we walked a little further I thought to myself—I can do this too. So I tried to notice things around be and realized I couldn't. The emotions inside were too strong for me at that moment. So I paused again and tried to check in. You would think I should be really good at this as a yoga teacher and someone that supports and teaches wellness. Let me tell you that is not the case; I am a work in progress. But after about three tough minutes of my attempt to check in I could sense tightness in my throat (the fifth chakra) and a lot of tension in my first, second and third chakra. Essentially, there was a lot going on in my navel center. For me this moment was an aha-moment of the power of pausing and learning about what truly is happening. And sometimes, for me on this particular day, it has to start within because you can see the greatness around you. I went home and put the Gratitude Oil in my palms and then slowly took breaths. And after just two minutes of breathing I felt a huge shift. A lot changed for me in that moment. What will it be for you? Can you keep this awareness this month? Breathe. Breathe in. Breathe out! Repeat

  4. Say YES! Say yes to you! In previous months I have attempted to live out “No-vember!” My theory: to say “no” to as much as you can. Free up your calendar with the intention to find more self-care for you. It seems as though this didn’t work and left me feeling not so positive about November. So This November I instead encourage you to Say YES! Say yes to whatever it is that feels good in your schedule or for you. Do you need to cancel because you are under the weather? Do you need an extra yoga class and tea with a friend because connection is low and your kiddos (or hubby/wife) are driving you crazy? Do you need to go to bed early? Just say yes! Whatever it is that you want, go and get it! Yes, yes, yes!!!! Isn’t that fun?
     
  5. Embrace Imperfection. Bottom line, life isn’t perfect. It never will be. It is messy for you and the neighbor and the sister and brother. There will be easier weeks, days and months and harder ones. But when we know that perfect isn’t what we are going for in life, then the mess seems less important. This awareness can help you shift your focus to what truly is important. And maybe, just maybe you will be able to go to bed with a mess or allow yourself to indulge in groceries delivered to your door. Why not? Embrace and love up the mess much as you can. I know it isn’t easy (this week has proven that for me), but I will keep on trying!

I wish for you an amazing November filled with rest, connection, and thanks! You are amazing and you deserve to feel good on this journey. Please share your favorite tips to stay feeling awesome in November. I would LOVE to hear!

In love, light and gratitude!

Kristin 

Like the air you breathe, abundance in all things is available to you. Your life will simply be as good as you allow it to be.
— Abraham-Hicks

p.s. I am definitely “allowing” this week by posting late and simply realizing that I will never be perfect, but I must keep showing up (even if I haven’t showered) or I forgot (again) to email or text you back. Sending LOVE to y’all!

Take Care of You First - Different Each Day

Take care of you first! Self care and taking care of you first each and every day is something I often encourage my friends, family and my students in my yoga and barre classes to make a priority. This choice to take care of you first is a sign of self-love—you know that deep down love where you actually recognize how flipping amazing you are? This awareness and self loves empowers you to rest more, take a run, sit your butt down to meditate, take a bath and more. I also find that this choice helps me be a better wife, mom, friend and simply have more positivity, joy and faith in my life. For me it is truly a ripple impact in my life.

So how does 'taking care of you first' look? Different. That's right. I know you are thinking obviously, we are all different. Yes, we are all different, but my point is each day for you is different. I am encouraging you to honor that your days ebb and flow and again, the message to listen to what you want to do versus what you think you should do is critical. I will also add that this gets a bit tricky when you have multiple priorities and things tugging at your time, but like I always say to my kids, “I am only one person!” And you too, are just one person. Thus, it is okay to say no to things so you can say yes to others and it is okay to embrace that your list might be behind for a while, especially if you are on a new project, in a new job, moving, have kids, and more.

I would like to share a story from this weekend that illustrates how 'taking care of you' can be different on any given day. Here is what I wrote at the end of last Saturday: 

Saturday, June 4—9:45 p.m.

Today I chose that taking care of me was actually not doing anything for me but to be present in each moment—to embrace my discomfort of not enough movement or sleep and to lean in to my sweet life, especially the blessings of my little kiddos. I planned to swim for 10 minutes for me after their swim lessons and hand off to the hubby, but the locker room situation did not allow. I planned to lock myself in my room at nap time to do my yoga practice and rest because I am so tried. However, my daughter sat right next to me after lunch and looked at me with her bright blue eyes and said, "mom, can I whisper something to you?" Always trying to teach a lesson, I paused her and said it would be rude to whisper in front of her little brother and I asked her to write it down. You can see below that the note was a simple request—"mom, can I make a recipe with you?"

Translate - "can i cook with you at nap time? answer: _____" My response was "maybe." And then you can see her desire to make "chocolate balls!" 

Translate - "can i cook with you at nap time? answer: _____" My response was "maybe." And then you can see her desire to make "chocolate balls!" 

This was her saying, mom, I want to spend some time with you when…you aren't prepping dinner or for a class or you aren't on your phone or doing one more thing. Her message to me hit me loud and clear: Be. Present. With. Me. Mom. Yet, hanging over my head was a commitment to ME. I deserve a break! I have to get my practice in. If I'm going to do this journey called life and honor my needs I am going to have to say no. And then I thought to myself, maybe, just maybe saying yes is exactly what I need to be doing.

I feel the words stronger each day from those older who always utter(ed), "enjoy every minute, it goes fast," while toting the kids around. I used to be angry at those words and now I see the wisdom from them. Those women and men that, with passion, reminded me how important being in the moment was as a parent. I am now clear that they knew deep in their hearts that they were there once too. You know what I am talking about or at least have heard what I am talking about: sleep deprivation at its best, not a second for a shower or a conversation with anyone, and how about a new outfit or any time for your brain or body to rest, never feeling like you could catch up, and God knows getting ahead was for your neighbor. And in all the energy it takes to parent they remember how hard it was and how those moments of playing and present moments slip quickly away each year your kid grows. I now feel their hearts speaking to me as I reflect upon the happenings of today.

What is left of our version of "chocolate balls"

What is left of our version of "chocolate balls"

So today I decided to listen to my heart and what I needed today. And that was to slow down and make that choice a mama does to be with my daughter. I could have used some "me time" but looking back on my day today my decision to be present and feel gratitude for my kids and our health and their smiles and their wise and passionate eyes—WAS me taking care of me. I will never get today back and although I could have used that swim or the yoga or the walk I planned at 7:30 and got dressed for, instead I listened. My son was hysterical for mama at bedtime. Why? Because it is almost always me (because I am lucky) while my hubby cleans up. And I missed Thursday and Friday bedtime and both were also school days. He missed his mommy. And so I paused, felt, and said, sweet son, you are heard!

Just maybe me listening to my kids and their requests some of the days and some of the moments will wash out any of my shitty-mommy moments. I'm talking about the moments you take out your crappy day or internal struggles and subtly project them onto your kid(s). Those days and moments have been too many for me. I have struggled these last couple years and the kids (and my hubby) have had to deal with hormonal and emotional mommy/wife. I know this is not so easy on everyone and I know we all deserve better! 

So today I took care of me by trying my best to kick ass as a mom and a wife. Did I swear in front of them a couple times, maybe, but it was accidental. I feel extra firey lately. I know this is related to hormones, not enough sleep and a lack of quality yoga practices, specifically my mediations. When I fall asleep doing my mediations I do not tap into that inner peace that I feel when I have been dedicated. My mind becomes much more active, my fears louder and my patience; well, it's usually shit. That is how I know I must find a way to practice earlier, even on the days I am teaching at 6 or 7 am. I will figure it out. We are in transition and my self work is still going strong: I am listening more, supported greatly, changing my energy as fast as I can when I feel negative or am hard on myself or in old patterns. These are all huge wins for me. And what I can also say is that I am challenged right now as I work through this deep change—changes to thrive instead of suffer physically and mentally (and yes, this is subtle). And Rod Stryker in his Four Desires book says the hardest practice of yoga is change. So my friends, instead of being angry I didn’t get to have “me time,” I instead I loved through today by doing what my heart (and the heart of my kids) needed.

These little moments in my mind are wins. Again it comes back to living your life each day and honoring how life shakes it up for you. If we get SO wrapped up in the rules and the expectations/plans we set forth for ourselves can we actually listen and take the right action? And are we really taking care of ourselves first? Also, what happens when we miss what we planned to do? There is a good chance we spend a lot of energy and time beating ourselves up because yet again, we missed the mark. Self-criticism is not the goal of self-care or time for you. When moments that push you away from your version of “me time” happen, maybe you can think about them differently. Perhaps you needed to do something more important deep in your heart.

As I wrote this I couldn’t help but think of a quote Brené Brown references in her book, The Power of Vulnerability, that I would like to leave you with. It is from a book written by Lynne Twist’s book on scarcity, The Soul of Money: Reclaiming the Wealth of Our Inner Resources. You can also find the longer quote on Brene Brown’s blog post from 2008.

“For me, and for many of us, our first waking thought of the day is “I didn’t get enough sleep.” The next one is “I don’t have enough time.” Whether true or not, that thought of not enough occurs to us automatically before we even think to question or examine it. We spend most of the hours and the days of our lives hearing, explaining, complaining, or worrying about what we don’t have enough of. We don’t have enough exercise. We don’t have enough work. We don’t have enough profits. We don’t have enough power. We don’t have enough wilderness. We don’t have enough weekends. Of course, we don’t have enough money – ever.”

Well said; we are SO hard on ourselves! There truly are only 24 hours in each day and A LOT in our lives. Just today I challenge you think about your self-care or "me time" differently—because maybe you deserve a day off or a bath or rest versus a run. The more you allow freedom of what "taking care of you" looks like the more you will be free and empowered to keep making awesome choices for you that make you feel amazing! Try it for just one day or maybe even week—I know I will be doing it with you!

In love, light and gratitude,

Kristin