by Valerie Jones | Featured Contributor
How do you feel?
Stressed out. Overwhelmed. Burnt out. Anxiety. Fear. Crazy busy. Depressed. Worried. Broke. Overweight. Lackluster. Sad. Sleepless. Tired. Lethargic. Freaking fed up. Lonely.
Can you relate to any of these states of being?
What do you want to feel like?
Awesome. Unstoppable. A force to be reckoned with. Joyful. Wealthy. Successful. Happy. Healthy. Fabulous. Strong. Powerful. Loved. Loving. Creative. Content. Peaceful. Grateful.
We all want to feel this way, right?
So why is it often so elusive?
Why do we allow stress to take over, take us out, take us away from the present?
If you live in the past, and can’t stop obsessing about the things that have happened to you that have screwed you, then you most likely experience depression and sadness.
If you live in the future, and can’t stop worrying about what if, then you most likely experience anxiety and fear.
All we have is the present. The now. This very moment, right here. That’s all you’ve got, and it’s your place of power.
The present is where the magic happens. It’s the sweet spot of life, where we get to choose. And if we are constantly being taken out of the present, we lose our power and create – you guessed it – stress.
If you’re a woman entrepreneur, you probably deal with a certain amount of stress on a daily basis. Studies show that overall, women are more stressed than men. A recent study on women in more than 21 countries showed that women are definitely feeling the pressure – between 44 and 87 percent of women studied reported being chronically stressed out. The primary cause of stress in countries with the highest number of women under pressure? Having to juggle traditional roles and responsibilities along with a career.
This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Many women are willing to accept more stress in order to lead fuller lives. We have more opportunities than ever before, and that means we can take on more. As we create our own businesses, rise the corporate ladder, and increase our influence, we are also working on our relationships, raising children, and taking care of the household.
Stress is a by product of living a fuller life. It comes with the territory.
Or does it have to?
We all talk about stress management. Some of us are good at it, and some of us aren’t
As women, we tend to be caretakers and nurturers by nature. Which means it’s easy for us to put our own needs on the back burner in order to meet the needs of our kids, our partner, our boss, our co-workers….almost anyone gets their needs met before ours.
I used to be this way. I was a classic people pleaser, and I felt like it was my job to make everyone else happy first. I put other’s needs before my own, and I took on the responsibility of making sure everyone around me was okay.
This works for a while. There’s a payoff here: feeling important.
There’s a certain validation that comes from feeling needed.
However after awhile, the good feelings wear off. We start resenting those around us who are getting their needs met, while we walk around dissatisfied, miserable and empty.
Know what that’s called?
I became a classic martyr. Being responsible for other’s happiness at the sake of my own, and then resenting them for it.
I finally got fed up with the misery of being a martyr and hopped off the cycle.
I still struggle from time to time, and find myself back in the old patterns of people pleasing. But now that I’m aware of it, it’s much easier to catch myself doing it and reign it in.
Cuz guess what? We are not responsible for anyone but ourselves.
Sure, if you have young kids, you are responsible for them. For their well being and safety.
But you are not responsible for anyone else’s happiness. Or choices.
You are responsible for you.
And part of that responsibility is managing your stress.
Want to be successful? Take care of your needs first.
Want to be a good mom? Make self care a priority.
Want a great relationship? Do what makes you happy and you will have more to give to your partner.
This is the key to success, ladies. Martyrdom and people pleasing will keep you broke and miserable. If you really want to be a force to be reckoned with, you will make taking care of yourself a top priority. And by taking care of yourself, I mean taking care of ALL of yourself. Mental, physical and emotional.
These are the three pillars of self care that create a balanced and strong woman. It’s like the three legs of a stool: if one leg is wobbly, the whole stool is compromised. All three legs must be strong in order for the stool to be sturdy.
If you want a strong, healthy and happy life, pay attention to all three areas.
This one is all about mindset. What is your mindset throughout the day? Do you think negative, critical thoughts about yourself? Are you constantly berating yourself for not measuring up? Do you stew over your mistakes, beat yourself up for not being thin enough, rich enough or pretty enough? Do you focus on all your problems? If so, your mindset is not healthy. This is a huge part of managing stress.
You create your reality. You are responsible for your world. Therefore, your thoughts will create your world.
It is imperative that you rule your thoughts, instead of allowing your thoughts to rule you.
The best thing you can do for your mental well being is to create new pathways in your brain, thought patterns that focus on what you want to create.
Want more money? Start thinking as if you already have it.
Want to be happier? Choose to think that you already are happy.
Want to find a great guy? Picture him as if he already exists.
Spend some time every morning to meditate on what you want. Feel in to it and experience it like it’s already happening. This creates new pathways in your brain that will change how you think. And how you think is….like, everything!
This one’s easy, right? Exercise. Eat right.
So why are so many of you not doing it? It’s not about a lack of information. It’s about a lack of motivation.
Here’s something I’ve come to realize. When I place external rules on myself, it never works. If I decide to create a strict workout regime, and grit my teeth every time I go to the gym, it’s not going to last. If I plan a diet that is based on depriving myself of everything I love to eat, all I’m going to think about is when I can freaking end the diet and go back to eating all the yummy stuff I love! And then the weight comes right back on.
Taking care of your physical health, your body, is all about self love.
If you love your body, you will want to care for it. Nurture it. Provide it with everything it needs to thrive. This is not about deprivation. It’s about abundant health. It’s about living in partnership with your body, not fighting against it.
Have a conversation with your body. Go on, right now. Take a moment, close your eyes, and check in. Say hi. Ask how it’s doing. Ask what it needs today, what it wants to do today. What kind of movement feels right? What kind of foods is it asking for? Listen. Really listen to your body and what it’s saying. Your body holds all the wisdom you need to know how to care for it.
This might seem strange at first, but trust me, it works! If you have a conversation with your body every day, and honor what it is saying to you, and give it what it’s asking for, you will fall in love with your body. And love means caring for it and giving it what it needs, not abusing it, neglecting it or demanding things of it that ultimately will hurt.
Love your body!
I talk about this one a lot. Emotional health is so often neglected, because so many people are afraid to feel. We have been taught in our society that feelings are only okay if they are positive. So we push the hurt, the pain, deep inside, and bury it. And walk around every day, carrying the weight of all that buried pain. Talk about stress! This is a huge factor in our stress levels. The more unresolved emotion you carry around, the more stressed you will be.
It requires a huge amount of energy to carry stuck emotions in our bodies. I did this for years, thinking that it was the better solution. Just ignore it! And I ended up sick, stressed and exhausted.
Your body is made up of energy. Your emotions are energy. If you are not allowing your emotions to be felt and moved through your body, then you have a lot of stuck energy inside of you.
The solution is very simple.
Acknowledge your feelings. Welcome them, and don’t make them wrong. Feel them. Feel it for as long as you need to. It might be five minutes, or five hours. Just be with the feeling.
Then, let it pass through you. Once you’ve felt it, it can move on and leave your body.
This frees up so much energy! You will feel lighter, freer, happier. You will have more room in your heart for love, peace, joy, happiness. It will rush in and fill the space that is now available in your heart.
So there you have it. The triple threat of an abundant life.
Take care of the three pillars of your well being and you will find that you can have everything you want in your life. You will be happier, make more money, have great relationships, and you will love yourself like you didn’t imagine was possible.
Commit to yourself, and you will truly be unstoppable.
Valerie Jones is a Life & Transition Coach. She is passionate about helping women create the lives they’ve always wanted – not the lives they think they ‘should’ be living, but a genuine, authentic life that is a full expression of their birthright. She brings humor, compassion and wisdom to her coaching and to her writing, and creates a safe space for others to express their truth. She is also a corporate coach, working with the United Nations and eBay. She lives in British Columbia, Canada, and has three amazing children who are bridging into adulthood, which is a whole new ball game as a parent. Valerie loves good red wine and traveling whenever and wherever the opportunity arises.