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”
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!