Stretching: Is it worth the time?

We’ve all heard how important stretching is. It’s been preached about forever and a day. I remember high school gym teachers would run us through some static stretches and that was a loooong time ago! 😉

All joking aside, stretching truly IS all that it’s cracked up to be and yet not everyone does it.

Why? It seems that many people feel it’s not as important as the all powerful ‘workout’ and it is just a waste of valuable time when there is so much to do in a day. Or maybe, it’s viewed as a practice for people who like to do yoga and or need to relax?

Maybe. While these can definitely seem true, it’s still critical to our goals to stretch but not in the way we’ve learned a million years ago in high school! (disclaimer: if you are in high school today and reading this, you might still be doing static stretching as my son has said and he’s in high school today)

 

Anywho (this word cracks me up because it makes absolutely NO sense and yet so many people use it), let’s talk about adding in some dynamic stretching into your program to see how valuable this is to your training. Maybe you don’t know what this is? Totally okay, because I’m here to help 😉

Dynamic stretching is exactly what the name implies. You are actually moving and involving the muscles for the stretch to take place. Static stretching is where you hold a stretch and breath for a given amount of time. (yes, kind of like yoga but not really). Dynamic stretching is perfect for both athletes and weight lifters alike, because it not only stretches the muscles but also helps incorporate a warm-up at the same time due to the movement that is involved. Two for one! No more thinking it’s a time waster (which it isn’t). 😉

 

So let’s clarify why it’s important to incorporate dynamic stretches and how they can help our performance. This way of stretching and moving tells our body that something is coming in terms of a workload being placed upon our bodies and we are better able to prepare for the challenges. It helps get our blood pumping, raises our core temperature and helps to eliminate and reduce muscle stiffness that we may experience. The muscles get flooded with blood and oxygen to help them perform at a higher level in sports and a workout plan. It helps our muscle fibers and connective tissue to become more flexible and improve our overall range of motion.

Not only these, but dynamic stretching also increases our power. A very important aspect to an athlete who needs to utilize explosive movements in their game, or a powerlifter who needs to exert explosive forces against a weight in order to perform and complete an exercise or lift.

I’ve been incorporating this type of warm-up in my clients’ workouts; both online and in person. It’s important to correlate the stretching movements with the workload that will be done. It would be a waste of our valuable time if we focused on upper body stretches only when our training that day involves running and lower body movements. My son played football last year in high school and told me how they warmed up with dynamic stretches. For these athletes, it’s important to incorporate both upper and lower body in their dynamic stretches. Here are some excellent benefits to adding dynamic stretches into your routine:

  • it increases flexibility
  • it increases our range of motion
  • in increases blood flow and body temperature
  • it increases our power output capabilities
  • it helps increase our endurance
  • it improves neuromuscular activation
  • it helps to improve our balance
  • it improves our coordination
  • it decreases our risk of injury

All winning benefits in my book! 😉

So now that you know what it is and why it’s important, let’s talk about how you can add it into your routine. I’ll give you a 3-step process to follow for best results in your next workout:

  1. Warm-up first for about 5 minutes on a machine or you can go for a walk, jog or even light cycling.
  2. Incorporate some dynamic moves based on the work you are getting ready to perform.
  3. Start your workout.

Easy! Now, what the heck are some dynamic moves anyway, right? (thought you’d never ask!) Here is a great video that shows both upper and lower body dynamic stretches. It also gets you warmed up, as you’ll see!

Let’s get started! Need some help with your training and goals? Let’s see if we can work together on some goal setting and success. Just fill in this application and I’ll be in touch shortly!

Stretching: Is it worth the time?

We’ve all heard how important stretching is. It’s been preached about forever and a day. I remember high school gym teachers would run us through some static stretches and that was a loooong time ago! 😉

All joking aside, stretching truly IS all that it’s cracked up to be and yet not everyone does it.

Why? It seems that many people feel it’s not as important as the all powerful ‘workout’ and it is just a waste of valuable time when there is so much to do in a day. Or maybe, it’s viewed as a practice for people who like to do yoga and or need to relax?

Maybe. While these can definitely seem true, it’s still critical to our goals to stretch but not in the way we’ve learned a million years ago in high school! (disclaimer: if you are in high school today and reading this, you might still be doing static stretching as my son has said and he’s in high school today)

 

Anywho (this word cracks me up because it makes absolutely NO sense and yet so many people use it), let’s talk about adding in some dynamic stretching into your program to see how valuable this is to your training. Maybe you don’t know what this is? Totally okay, because I’m here to help 😉

Dynamic stretching is exactly what the name implies. You are actually moving and involving the muscles for the stretch to take place. Static stretching is where you hold a stretch and breath for a given amount of time. (yes, kind of like yoga but not really). Dynamic stretching is perfect for both athletes and weight lifters alike, because it not only stretches the muscles but also helps incorporate a warm-up at the same time due to the movement that is involved. Two for one! No more thinking it’s a time waster (which it isn’t). 😉

 

So let’s clarify why it’s important to incorporate dynamic stretches and how they can help our performance. This way of stretching and moving tells our body that something is coming in terms of a workload being placed upon our bodies and we are better able to prepare for the challenges. It helps get our blood pumping, raises our core temperature and helps to eliminate and reduce muscle stiffness that we may experience. The muscles get flooded with blood and oxygen to help them perform at a higher level in sports and a workout plan. It helps our muscle fibers and connective tissue to become more flexible and improve our overall range of motion.

Not only these, but dynamic stretching also increases our power. A very important aspect to an athlete who needs to utilize explosive movements in their game, or a powerlifter who needs to exert explosive forces against a weight in order to perform and complete an exercise or lift.

I’ve been incorporating this type of warm-up in my clients’ workouts; both online and in person. It’s important to correlate the stretching movements with the workload that will be done. It would be a waste of our valuable time if we focused on upper body stretches only when our training that day involves running and lower body movements. My son played football last year in high school and told me how they warmed up with dynamic stretches. For these athletes, it’s important to incorporate both upper and lower body in their dynamic stretches. Here are some excellent benefits to adding dynamic stretches into your routine:

  • it increases flexibility
  • it increases our range of motion
  • in increases blood flow and body temperature
  • it increases our power output capabilities
  • it helps increase our endurance
  • it improves neuromuscular activation
  • it helps to improve our balance
  • it improves our coordination
  • it decreases our risk of injury

All winning benefits in my book! 😉

So now that you know what it is and why it’s important, let’s talk about how you can add it into your routine. I’ll give you a 3-step process to follow for best results in your next workout:

  1. Warm-up first for about 5 minutes on a machine or you can go for a walk, jog or even light cycling.
  2. Incorporate some dynamic moves based on the work you are getting ready to perform.
  3. Start your workout.

Easy! Now, what the heck are some dynamic moves anyway, right? (thought you’d never ask!) Here is a great video that shows both upper and lower body dynamic stretches. It also gets you warmed up, as you’ll see!

Let’s get started! Need some help with your training and goals? Let’s see if we can work together on some goal setting and success. Just fill in this application and I’ll be in touch shortly!

The UN-Diet Plan

So here we are on another Monday and facing a new month ahead.

Holiday season looms and many people start to shudder at the thought of finding a new DIET….

“When will it end?”, you might wonder at times.  “Why can’t I just finally stop needing to lose weight and get fit again and again?”

I’ve been asked so many times from clients and friends about the newest, fad diets and what I think about them. Let me simplify and just tell you that I think all diets are crap. They are created to deprive us and make us feel bad about ourselves.

Why? So that we finally stop following that said diet and gain the weight back again (because we didn’t really learn anything of value except that we suck and can’t lose weight) only to have to find another diet plan as soon as we hit rock bottom or need to get into better shape for an event.

Can we just ban them for good? I finally did and I want to empower you, my dear friend, to do the same. (If you already have then high five to you but please pass this along to someone who might still be stuck in diet hell)

It took me years to finally learn what areas were holding me back and un-learn what I needed to change in order to finally succeed and enjoy my life. I didn’t want to eat broccoli and chicken breast for the rest of my days. I didn’t want to cut out carbs. I didn’t want to live on salads. I didn’t want to NOT have fun when I wanted. (I may sound like a 2-year old throwing a tantrum but honestly, don’t you feel like that when you’re told YOU CAN’T HAVE THAT?? we now understand 2 year olds better!)

I’d love to give you a guideline to start today. Since we are taught to be “good” or “bad” in any given moment or following a plan of what we “can” and “cannot” eat (which is ludicrous to think long term but we need to take baby steps first) I am sharing my 7 Day Slim Down plan, Exercise Plan and Grocery List with you. But let me explain what this plan actually is and what it is not.

  1. It is NOT a diet. It is a blueprint of how to start implementing real foods into your life again. Most of us learn to cut out as much foods as possible. So we wake up each morning and skip breakfast (because who’s really hungry in the morning anyway, right?) then we end up scarfing down some unhealthy foods before lunch because we are so hungry. This continues throughout the day as we go through our feelings of guilt from eating what we shouldn’t have eaten and then starving ourselves some more because we ate too much of what’s not good for us.
  2. It IS a blueprint (as mentioned above) and by noticing there are 3 meals every day and 2 snacks in between 2 of those meals is your starting point. You can either choose to follow the foods written out for reference if you don’t like coming up with your own; or you can use the grocery list of foods and swap out items that you actually enjoy and/or have on hand. I’ve never liked following a meal plan written out for the masses either but it’s a helpful tool to learn from and adjust as needed for our own lives and likes.
  3. It will help with drinking more water (which most of us don’t get enough of) because being dehydrated makes us think we are ‘hungry’ and if we just stick to our water intake we won’t have as many hunger pangs throughout the day. Start drinking water early in your day and glug it! I wake up and immediately (no, don’t go do ANYTHING else until this is done!) drink 1/2 to 1 full liter of water on an empty stomach. We wake up dehydrated already and what’s the first thing most of us pour down our throats? Coffee…which just dehydrates us more. Now, I love coffee and would never dream of telling anyone to stop drinking it because I won’t either…but I will first get my water in and then enjoy my coffee! 😉
  4. This forces you to eat foods that are from nature. We are so used to buying convenience foods because we tell ourselves we are “too busy” to eat healthy but I call B.S. on this too. It takes less time than you think and saves you tons of money in the long run to buy whole foods and cook them up yourself. Trust me, I haaaate spending extra time on anything but if I can get a healthy meal cooked and still smile to enjoy it; then anyone can! I am not a natural ‘foodie’ and don’t enjoy taking my time when cooking but there are so many quick and easy recipes online that we are out of excuses.
  5. This plan also comes with a simple ‘at home’ fitness program. You don’t have to follow the workouts but commit to at least taking a daily walk for 15-20 minutes and timing yourself so that you see when you’re able to walk faster and/or add more time to your walkabouts. If you choose to give the workouts a try and are hesitant because you don’t know if you’re able to finish them – just do at least 10 minutes and if you don’t feel like continuing after 10 minutes is up, then stop. Easy peasy. Let’s stop making things so difficult that it stops us before we start.

I know you can do this. It’s only 7 days, after all and you can start any day of the week that you desire. What I challenge you to do is to stick to the full 7 days. No, they don’t have to be perfect and if you make mistakes along the way or fall of track…don’t stop. That’s the old patterns of diets. Instead, try to just stay on track with every day. Finish each day to the best of your ability and write it down in a notebook. Was it hard to eat the foods? Did you get some activity in? How did you feel throughout the day as opposed to the week before? Etc…

I’d love to know if you give it a go. Just drop me an email today: kathyprofitness@gmail.com

The Do’s & Don’ts of Ab Training for Women

Yesterday, I attending a mini quarterly fitness training for my group exercise education and credentials. I absolutely love taking these trainings because I am able to see new techniques and get new ideas from the master trainers as well as the fellow trainees.

It was an interesting thing though. I took 2, hour long master classes and they were hard core, but I was still able to do more once they were done. This, of course, due to the fact that I’ve been an avid exerciser for umpteen years and my body can just do more than when I began.

But then, I took a HIIT cycle class which is sweetly referred to as “Sprint”. Sounds harmless enough, right?

WRONG!! It was 30 minutes of freaking HELL on stationary wheels!!! 😦

One. Thirty. Minute. Class.

My body wouldn’t stop shaking. I was worn out and had to find my breath and focus throughout the workout. This is HIIT. This is AWESOMENESS!!!!!!

Why am I sharing this when today’s topic is clearly related to ab training? Because, my dear, you ALREADY have amazing abs! You just have some gorgeous fat covering your awesome abs. So what do we do to expose those gorgeous midsections? I’m here to help!

Before we get to some focused ab exercises to follow – and to avoid; let’s share why HIIT Training is the secret to amazing abs. 

  • Don’t have time to spend on working out; either at home or the gym? No problem with HIIT! It’s the ideal workout for busy schedules. You can squeeze in a quick workout just before you jump into the shower in the morning, or during your lunch break or even after you get the kids to bed at night. Seriously, there are NO excuses with time when it comes to HIIT workouts. Research has shown that you can achieve more progress in just 15 minutes of HIIT workouts (done 3X a week) than jogging on the treadmill for an hour. (boring!)  Want more good research info? According to a study presented in 2011 at the American College of Sports Medicine Annual Meeting, just 2 weeks of high intensity intervals improves your aerobic capacity as much as 6-8 weeks of endurance training. Whaaaat?????
  • You’ll not only have better results during your HIIT workout, you’ll also be burning more calories after your workout for 24-48 hours! This is commonly referred to as “EPOC”; or exercise post oxygen consumption. (you had me at burning more calories at rest, right?)
  • You’ll build a healthier heart! Let’s be honest, most of us aren’t used to pushing into the anaerobic (or “without oxygen”) zone. This is pretty much how you feel when you can’t breathe and you feel like your heart is trying to jump out of your chest. But when we are consistent and do our very best every sweat session, we receive extreme results. One study done in 2006 found that after 8 weeks of doing HIIT workouts, the subjects could bicycle twice as long as they could before the study, while maintaining the same pace. See? Heart = Happy! ❤
  • It’s also pretty awesome because you don’t even need equipment to get these results! You can choose running, biking, jump roping, and rowing when doing HIIT workouts but the greatest thing is that you don’t need any equipment to get it done! High knees, fast feet, or anything plyometric like jumping lunges work just as well to get your heart rate up. Fast. In fact, some equipment, like dumbbells can make HIIT less effective because of the fact that you aren’t focusing primarily on getting the heart rate up…you tend to split that with the weight training aspect.
  • Weight and fat loss “secret”! Anyone who has been on a diet knows that it’s hard to not lose muscle mass along with fat. While steady state cardio seems to encourage muscle loss, studies show that both weight training and HIIT workouts allow dieters to preserve their hard-earned muscles while ensuring most of the weight lost comes from fat stores. Win/win!
  • Your metabolism becomes more efficient at rest (what we talked about above). In addition to increased fat burning and more muscle preserved, HIIT stimulates production of your human growth hormone (HGH) by up to 450 percent during the 24 hours after you finish your workout. This is great news since HGH is not only responsible for increased caloric burn but also slows down the aging process, making you younger both inside and out!
  • Get sexier leg definition and strength! The largest muscle group in your body is seriously taxed during HIIT training and the effects are to be proud of! Who doesn’t want lean, sexier legs as you’re losing body fat all over and shedding those extra pounds?
  • You can do it anywhere so no more excuses on where to workout anymore either. You can workout at home, the gym, outside, in a lobby, in your hallway…anywhere!!! Since it’s such a simple concept—go at maximum effort for a short period of time followed by a recovery period and repeat—you can adapt it to whatever time and space constraints you have.
  • Beat the boredom workout blues! I don’t know if you’re like me but I HAAATE to be bored!! If I feel bored in my workouts, my mind starts to wander and guess what happens to the intensity of my workout? It suffers because my mind is thinking of things other than what I’m doing at the moment and this seriously messes with our results! Solution? HIIT workouts! This is not a workout you can do while reading a magazine or chatting with your friend. Because it’s so short, you will be working hard the whole time. The trade-off is this format offers seasoned exercisers a new challenge and new exercisers a quick way to see results. You may be in pain, you may be sucking wind, but you definitely won’t be bored!

Now back to our main topic; AB workout do’s and don’ts! 

If you’re like most women, we tend to wish for abs and want for abs so badly that we hope that our random sit-ups, crunches and plank challenges will do the trick. But let me share how you can get better results and stay away from moves that will actually make you look thicker around the middle! (no good!) Following these tips (as well as adding HIIT training to your routines) will help you get those rock hard abs – or at least tighter abs if you prefer. Bikini and tank top season is always just around the corner!

Ab exercises you should NEVER do! 

I’ll go out on a limb and guess that although you want tighter, leaner abs, you also don’t want a thicker waist.

Am I right? I knew it!! 😀

Then you’ll definitely want to stay away from weighted side bends.

Stay away from these!

 

The problem with this exercise is that it directly targets the oblique muscles with large amounts of resistance. The reason this is a “negative” exercise for lean abs, let’s talk about how the abs and obliques function. The obliques are two different muscle groups that originate from the lateral (aka: side) part of your lower ribs and insert into the front portion of your iliac crest. The obliques wrap around your sides and help you turn and bend your torso which helps your spine stability.

 

Normally, the obliques are visible only when you start getting rid of body fat layers. But when you target these muscles with extra resistance (such as dumbbells and weights) it makes them look bigger. This is because the obliques are positioned along the sides of your torso, and the effect is to actually thicken your waist. I don’t think this was your focus if you’ve done this move before, right?

It’s important to mention that the weighted side bend isn’t a bad exercise; in fact, many people like it because it strengthens your core, and some lifters actually want to increase the size of their waist. But if you’re looking for that hourglass figure, you’re better off skipping this move on ab day.

Exercises to help tighten your midsection

  • Add resistance to your main ab muscles (such as the rectus abdominis or “six pack muscles”) themselves. You can also still target your obliques (in fact, you’ll want to hit all the areas) but eliminate the added weight in this area and stick to higher reps instead. Want to start with some great moves today?  Here are some of the best to get started with:

 

1. Lying Leg Raise                                             

2. Decline sit ups with twist (no weights) 

 

3. Hanging Leg Raise                                       

 

 

4. Stir the Pot                                                       

 

How Often Should You Work Your Abs?

If you regularly do compound movements like lunges, squats, and deadlifts, you’re most of the way there. These exercises involve a lot of core work and stabilization so you’re getting a good ab workout without doing any specific “ab /core” exercises. But if you’re looking for better (and faster results), consider adding a HIIT workout 1-2 times per week and 1-2 of these ab moves above about 2-3 days per week. Perform 3-5 sets of each exercise for at least 10-20 reps per move. Rest 30-60 seconds between sets.

There’s no reason that you need to spend a full day on “core work” this way. If you start now by working these tips into your regular program (and avoiding those side bends), you’ll have a more toned core and your body will be summer ready all year long!

Let me know if you have any questions or comments and I’d love to get you into a transformation challenge if you’re up to it! Shoot me an email and let’s chat! www.kathyprofitness@gmail.com 

The Myths About Low Carb Diets

Whenever I ask someone what they are following for weight loss, a common response is, “I’m doing a low carb diet.”

This idea has floated around since the Atkins diet phase and has seemed to settle into most people’s minds as ‘the way to lose weight’. Most people assume that carbs are “fattening”.  Let’s see if you’ve heard some of these comments before:

  • Carbs spike your blood sugar and insulin, which pours on the body fat.
  • Carbs, especially grains and sugar, cause inflammation.
  • Carbs are not essential to your diet, like proteins and healthy fats are.

These seem pretty logical and simple, right? Well, honestly, no. It seems as simple as “good” versus “bad” but let’s break it down a little more focused.

  • Do carbs increase insulin levels? Yes
  • Does increased insulin after meals cause weight gain? No, insulin is actually a hormone that helps keep you full so the idea that by itself it leads to fat gain doesn’t make much sense.
  • Are carbs inflammatory? That depends. If we are talking about processed corn syrup then probably so; but if we’re talking about whole grains then the answer would be different.
  • Can low carb eating help people lose weight? Of course it can! Because it’s less in carbs? Any type of meal plan that you are eliminating calories (here, it’s a whole nutrient), you will definitely drop weight.
  • Can eating an appropriate amount of carbs help you to look and feel good? Most definitely, YES!

Now, let’s talk a bit about how not eating carbs can work against us.

If you’re using the idea of eliminating or cutting out carbs as a weight loss strategy alone, it will work well for some people. Like I said above, when you are reducing your daily amount of calories due to cutting back in any way, you will definitely lose weight. It just goes back to “less calories in equals a calorie deficit which then leads to weight loss”.

But let’s talk about the downside of cutting out carbs; most of us need some level of carbohydrates to function at our best over the long run. That initial weight gain you may enjoy can later be met with some highly negative consequences later. This applies especially to those who workout. I know if I cut my carb intake too much, I’m met with the crazy feelings of what we’ve coined, ‘hangry’. This reduction also can lead to: decreased thyroid output, increased cortisol output (aka; stress hormone), decreased testosterone, impaired moods and cognitive function, muscle breakdown and problems with our immune functions.

I’m not sure that some temporary weight loss is worth all the long term effects, what do you think?

Let’s summarize this into more simple results:

  • You eat less carbs and your metabolism might slow down but your stress hormones go up. (this is not a good swap!)
  • You eat less carbs and your muscle building hormones go down. (again, not good for long term toned bodies!)
  • You eat less carbs and you feel grouchy, spaced out, sluggish, cranky and maybe even sick. (seriously???)
  • You eat less carbs and don’t even lose that much weight in the long run and may even be met with worse results over time.

Need I say more? If you would like to learn more helpful information to get you better results over time, join the Fit & Toned Academy that’s coming end of September and get a month FREE!

————————————————————————-

Get signed up right HERE 👉🏻👉🏻
https://form.jotform.us/72384230484153

We open the academy this month!!!

🙋 I’m so excited to start our own online fitness community and am inviting to try the first 30 days for FREE!

The Fit & Toned Academy includes….

🏃‍♀️Complete workouts and exercise programs to follow

🎬 LIVE workouts to join

📽 Recorded workouts to follow for all levels and preferences

🍏 Meal plans and recipes

🏋 Workouts for the gym, home or great outdoors

📝 Grocery & Food lists to access

👩‍💻 Learn up-to-date fitness and health information

💪🏻 and more to come!!

What are you waiting for?

Just click the link above and sign up today!!!!


*information gathered and found at Precision Nutrition 

Dealing with Anxiety and Panic

When you deal with anxiety and panic, it seems like you are being taken over by your body and brain. It may feel like you have no control over what is happening and that is a terrible feeling.

I’ve dealt with panic since I was 19 years old. At that time, information on this topic was limited and my doctor threw his hands up and said he didn’t know what was wrong with me. I was send to the hospital to take an EKG and they put me on heart medication.

That didn’t help. It became worse yet.

I felt alone, misunderstood, embarrassed, weak and confused. What was wrong with me? Why was I unable to breathe at times and how did this start? Was I having a heart attack? Was I dying? I ended up in the emergency room many times and left more confused every time. Nobody had answers for me. It was a mystery.

I searched high and low for my own answers. I came upon Lucinda Bassett’s cassette tape program that dealt with the same issues I was experiencing.

Finally! Someone had answers and a way to understand what to do in the midst of an attack. I didn’t want to be a victim anymore and completed her program, feeling more in tune with what was happening and why I was suffering these issues.

But that alone, didn’t help me recover completely. It was at that time I had my third child and family issues were at an all time high. My body was fueled with stress, hormones and depression. I was a mess.

I can’t tell you for sure what helped me start to see the light at the end of the tunnel, but I had epiphanies and found information that gave me new hope and a new freedom. Funny that at this time, I finally went to a therapist and poured my heart out. I thought he might act like all the doctors that I had seen over the years, but he looked at me with a different expression.

What was it? I hadn’t seen it before. It seemed like compassion. Why had nobody ever treated me like this was a real problem? I realized that over the many years that I suffered, I was met with complete lack of care and understanding. It made me feel more alone than ever and only exacerbated the anxieties and disarray. With this look of care and understanding and compassion….I instantly felt my mind and my body relax.

He then said something to me I will never forget for the rest of my days. I actually get emotional each time I remember that moment because it was a break in my struggles. He said to me,

You are a strong woman to have dealt with what you’ve gone through.” 

That was it. I felt like a wave of healing powers had entered my body. This was amazing!!

Now I’m not saying that it was as easy as his understanding look and words that helped me through the worst of it, but it was definitely the first chapter. And that, after almost 15 years of not knowing and fears of the unknowns, was a miracle to me!

He prescribed me medication and some simple steps to begin the process of healing. This, my friend, is what I am sharing with you today in hopes it gives you a first step and some hope of a way out. Don’t lose hope, please. There is always hope and there is always someone who cares that you are going through this.

I learned that those of us who suffer from anxiety and depression are; above average in intelligence, highly creative, have amazing imaginations and are detail oriented and analytical. The downside of these are that we over analyze, over stress, over intellectualize, imagine the worst case scenarios in every situation concerning our fears, and create thought mazes we cannot get out of.

Knowing this alone, is a major step in clarity and understanding what we are dealing with instead of fear of not knowing and thinking like a victim. The steps below are critical to your daily habits at the start. As you read above, we are over thinkers and over achievers and this only compounds our stresses and anxieties. The first phase is to get laser beam focused on what needs to be done now…and let the rest go. You will have time to get back to those when you are feeling “well” again.

  1. Create a daily list of no more than 5-10 things that must be done that day. Nothing more, less is optimal.
  2. Do things every day in order of importance. Don’t worry about perfection; consistency and moving forward is where your focus should be in this phase.
  3. Do things with focus and a reason, instead of just haphazardly and mindlessly. Put your phones down, stop scrolling the internet and take time to BE.
  4. Think before you take any action.
  5. Move slowly and calm down every time you feel your body and/or mind racing. You are not in a race.
  6. Practice writing down your feelings and thoughts for at least a week or two. Notice the patterns and issues that start to create stress in your body.
  7. Find a way to deal with rising tension in your body as you start to take notice. When we move slower, we are then able to see what is happening before it becomes a full blown attack. Find a safe hideaway and just notice your breath. Don’t try to analyze how to breathe or what you think is happening in your body..just know you are going to be okay (because you truly are!) and watch your breath as you slow it down and allow it to move in and out like the ocean waves on the shore.
  8. Read or listen to audio books on topics that relate to the mindset. Read, “What to say when you talk to yourself”, “Think Better, Live Better”, “The Power of Habit”, Eliminating Stress, Finding Inner Peace”, As a Man Thinketh”, “Life was Never Meant to be a Struggle” and “How to Be Happy”. There are countless books and audiobooks on this topic and I suggest you keep learning and growing with new information every single week, month and year. (I read at least 10 minutes every day and take action on what I read immediately. It truly starts to change the way we think and how we react).
  9. Find a therapist to work through issues that are out of your control. Many of us have deep, dark experiences, painful pasts and areas of stress that are out of our control. Find a professional to help you work through some major huddles and you’ll notice that you gain more confidence in knowledge of your mental and emotional battles.
  10. Become your biggest cheerleader. It may sound cheesy, but you’ll have to create a mantra that helps you out of negative mindsets. I am known to say to myself (and I’ve said this to my clients and my classes all the time), “You’re OKAY!” I say this repeatedly when I am feeling like negativity and anxiety are seeping in. I relax my shoulders, smile to myself and focus on my breath. Reminding ourselves that we can only control what we think in the moment, the rest is truly out of our control and deciding we are going to be “OK” with this fact.

These steps are meant as a starting point. You may find another way altogether that helps you move forward but as I mentioned before, you are not alone and you definitely matter so start with the areas you can manage today and add another as you feel ready to. Don’t wait for panic to take over again before you take action…start now and make sure to let me know how you feel or if you have questions about the information above.

 

Next up: we will learn how to breathe like we were meant to breathe…do you EVEN breathe right??