How A Bad Week Didn’t Change My Life


I was on the phone, catching up with my friend Carrie Pages when she asked “So how IS everything?  How is life?”  I felt an internal sigh, followed by an external sigh as I thought of the past week: Frustrated clients, forgetting to pack enough food, mental blocks, sore muscles, emotional kid, politics, sick pets, messy house, conflicting deadlines, bad weather… Where should I begin?

Carrie is one of those people who can hold the space for an epic vent session and for a moment, I considered letting it all out.  But as I went down the list, I realized that although everything seemed to be happening at once, I was hanging in – more than hanging in, actually.  And while I did rattle off some of the things that were happening (y’know, since she asked…)  I finished it up by saying “But I’m not gonna let a bad week change my whole life!”  We both laughed and said, “that’s one to write down!”

Inspired by the “reframe” with Carrie this week, I’m sharing some of my strategies for coping with external stressors and keeping my focus on the flow.  Bad weeks are often not as bad as they seem and with a little perspective, we can often change a catastrophe into a celebration.  Read on to receive some of the tools that served me well this week”


Frustrated clients

I work primarily with an older population who, at times becomes enraptured with “fixing” things.  Whether it’s a knee, a hip or a waistline, I’ve got to be on my toes with coping strategies to help them zoom out to what’s working instead on focusing on what’s not.  This week, one of my clients was fixated on working “abs.”  With a 1/2 inch thick file of conditions, “abs” tend to be the last thing on my list.  However, instead of getting frustrated and fighting agendas, I chose to ask her: “What is it that you want to feel in your body – the quality? When you leave, how will you know if we reached that goal?”  Turns out, she was concerned about posture – standing taller.  She didn’t want to be a “stooped-over-old-lady” I asked her if she was willing to let me use some of my tools to help her feel taller and promised we would integrate some “abs.”  She agreed and we did a postural revolution of length that involved as many plank-type variations as my brain could come up with.  Mission accomplished and we both ended the session smiling.  The Lesson? Gaining clarity about your client’s motivations can help you better use your tools.


The food issue

I’ve recently begun to implement practices that should help affect the health of my guts and it’s changing everything.  Suddenly, I’m ravenous. I’m eating a lot more which means that I’m doing everything a lot more – exercising, using the bathroom, sleeping.  My system is ramped up and I’m not mad about it, however, I recognized that I wasn’t acknowledging the time that adjustments take to become a part of my routine.   My mind was beginning to have old, familiar obsessive thoughts.  “Maybe I can exercise twice a day!”  “Maybe I’ll cut out sugar! And caffeine! And dairy!”  For me, these thoughts are dangerous.  I have definitely dabbled in disordered eating, especially in my dancing days and am aware of the crash that comes after the mania of major diet changes.  I sat down with myself and a favorite mantra “I am growing at a beautiful pace.”  No need to push it. Stick with where I am and look for opportunities to move forward.  I reaffirmed my commitment to healing, not dieting and packed some extra yummy snacks to help me throughout the week.  It was supportive and affirming.  And who am I kidding – I’ll never give up caffeine.  The Lesson? Slow down, tiger.  Change takes time and patience helps.


doing all the things

Cranky boys and dogs lead me to frustration.  So often, when work is going really well, the household begins to quiver.  My mindset can dive headfirst into the dialogue: “How can I be doing so well in my business and have my house falling apart? Why can’t everything be good at the same time??”  I can hear all of you with older kids giggling as I type this.  What I realized is that I needed to surrender.  To stop trying to make everything good and to just let it be what it was.  I stopped trying to teach my son how to be more empathetic this week and practiced patience as he’s transitioning into year 5 of his tiny life.  I stopped trying to save my dog’s life from cancer and let him eat some hot dogs.  I stopped trying to Marie Kondo my house and just sat down to chill out for a second.  I listened to some podcasts and took a lot of baths.  I ordered birthday favors on Amazon and gave over a lot of the party responsibilities to my husband.  I called my mom and told her I was stressed out and needed some help this weekend.   I let myself ride the wave of good things at work and reminded myself to look for the good at home amidst the mess.  Jaxon, my son is becoming such a kind and funny kid.  Horatio my dog has had a wonderful life and is full of affection for us all.  Josh, my husband is willing to help me out.  I am supported.  All is well.  The Lesson? Forcing life into a picture perfect version is not sustainable nor realistic.  When I meet my family where they are, we can work together to weather any storm.


I may be a Pilates pro and hold a leadership voice in certain forums, but I’m also a real person with a messy life – probably just like you! When I take the time to pause and determine the experience I wish to have at that moment, it serves me exponentially.  I hope that sharing some of these strategies helps you and your messy life too.  I’d love to hear your thoughts about the above.  Comment below!


Much Love,



Comments (4)

Patricia Oehrlein

Love this calm advice. I’m in the midst of selling our house, my husbands partnership and my pilates biz. Talk about mess ugh. Our home after a Herculean effort has achieved some level of staged appearance. I have each room in almost a picture perfect state to show. So much cleaning and packing has me doing things like donate a box of all my very favorite clothing while keeping a box of clothes clearly meant for donation, and completely forgetting appointments – big surprise when your 6am student shows up and your still in your PJs. Uh oh! Anyhoo. Yesterday we showed the house to the sweetest family with three little girls. They ran into each of the bedrooms claiming aloud -this is going to be mine and this one is for me. The parents were with my husband going over heating and ac (boring) so I remained with the little girls who were just delightful even as they trashed my HGTV dream home and tried to ride my goldendoodle like a pony. Perched on a 2nd floor window seat the 9 yr old said -“ this is my favorite spot I can see the entire world here” I realized it was always my favorite spot too. To read meditate or just do nothing. I couldn’t remember the last time I sat there. I promised myself I would do just that every day till the house is not ours any longer. Stress just robs us of all the small joys in life. It’s a sneaky thief and it sometimes takes a silly little 9 yr old or maybe a funky lil 5yr old to make us realize it. Enjoy the moments Jenna !!!

Oh, what to say…… this post is so relatable. You’re so good at this. Reading this at a time when I feel this incredible momentum with work and beginning to feel abundant and that progress is happening and then I look at the other side of the bridge and I see chaos.

It’s so funny because a school teacher the other day said something to me which made me pause. He said “on Facebook your posts looks so picture perfect and put together and today when I saw you so frazzled trying to get the kids out of the car at drop off it was like…….” he followed this with silence and a smirk. And I laughed and said “yes, just like every other parent I get frustrated, sometimes yell at my kids, and look like I don’t have my shit together!… called the real life of parenthood” and then we both smiled realizing that yes….this is REAL life. It’s not cloud fluff and I am not Martha Stewart! “Insert unrealistic expectations of myself here.” Sigh…….

I’m getting better and giving myself grace. I’m getting better at being patient. I’m getting better at focusing on the good, being grateful, and knowing when to take a time out.

And even if I did wake up to dog crap all over my brand new area rug, missed my morning walk with friends because of it and sent a 7 year old to his room for a melt down over lost screen time……(insert swear word here) I still have all bucket full of good to embrace and think about.

Hugs and love coming your way.

Jenna, thank you for this! It’s so reassuring to know that someone I respect so much in the industry is living a “real” life, just like me. I, too, work with a fair amount of senior clients and have heard the same types of things from them. I love your strategies for focusing and redirecting. 🙂

And very unfortunately, my doggie Chico is also suffering from cancer. 🙁 (This post is almost eerie in how relatable it is to me! My children are older, though, and I promise, no mommy giggles here lol.) Sometimes it’s extra nice to know that others are experiencing the same sorts of struggles… especially high profile others like yourself.

So extra extra thanks for today’s post. It’s much appreciated. <3

Yes and Amen to all of this.
I, too, regularly speak with Carrie, and she is a master at bringing things into perspective.
We recently moved to a new house, and my desire to nest and create an HGTV, Joanna Gaines-worthy home in 48-hours has sent me into anxiety hell—because I also have a business that takes up half my energy, and a kid that needs me for transportation and emotional support. And a husband. And an aging parent.
Did I mention the clients who look to me to fix them? It can feel like the perfect storm for overwhelm and burnout. On my way in to work last week, I thought “I’m so tired of solving problems, especially other people’s”, and that afternoon my mom said she was counting on me to help her make a decision about something regarding her house. I wanted to scream. But I didn’t.
I probably need to take a day, or three.
As Pilates professionals, I think we’ve been oversold on the notion of passion driving our practice, as if that’s all it takes, that we discount the other very real aspects of our lives that also require passion, love, and devotion. My family comes first, and Pilates can wait, any day. I strive to show up and serve my clients on professional level and consistent basis, but it’s just me in my studio, and I’m not a machine. It is NOT all about them all the time.
Maybe someone needed to get that other than me.
Also very curious about your new eating plan. My gut could use an overhaul, too.

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