I set an intention with a “theme” for each New Year. I believe this sets a strong, powerful intention for a desired outcome and allows you to stay consistent in taking action towards a year congruent with that theme. 2012 (“The Year of Self Love”) and 2013 (“The Year of Yes”) have been favorites so far.
What’s my theme for 2017?
In the middle of 2016, I was sidelined with a serious foot injury that took me out of my life. Up until that point I was happy running around San Francisco doing as much as possible all at the same time. But this? This was a big large stop sign. It forced me to sit, feel, deal, and re-evaluate things. The only way out was through. I had a choice: shut it out and wallow in self pity, or open up and receive it.
I chose to open.
When you can’t go out, you go within. The journey has been everything (#allthefeels) and despite all the not so fun parts, I feel more alive than ever before. It has been one of the most transformative times of my life.
I’ve been thinking a lot about healing. Each one of us has trauma to heal, loss to mourn, hurts to forgive, or pain to let go of. Sometimes our pain manifests in the physical self and other times it takes form in ways that are not so obvious. As hard as it’s been, I am so grateful my foot pressed pause on my life and asked me to look at how I was moving through it. I needed to slow down, to work on myself, to heal past hurts that prevented me from being my best.
Moving into 2017 the journey continues. I am not in a rush, healing takes time (and I’m pretty sure it’s something that is never really done). Taking the time to generously nourish the body, mind, and spirit is one incredibly hard yet rewarding process. But the cool part? You FEEL results. From all of your efforts, you experience lightness, freedom, and expansiveness in your life and heart.
The process begins with one simple move: opening to what is. The photo above is how I feel going into 2017, empowered from my results and open to receive whatever the Universe has for me next. I believe life gives us great challenges to remind us that we’re alive (what a gift!) and that there is pleasure, and joy, and beauty, and so much room to expand into. And that yes, this journey, this life, is worth it.
All we have to do is open up to what is. The rest will take care of itself.
What is your theme for 2017? Have you ever focused on healing your mind, body, spirit? What do you do to heal? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.
Thank you for being a part of my journey – here’s to a year full of healing.
I know it’s supposed to be the “most wonderful time of year”, but I’m just going to be real with you. They can be hard for me. And hard for others too.
Sure on Facebook, everyone’s holidays look perfect. Shiny things and families smiling. But that’s just social media for you. Everything looks like a good time when you scroll online. Let’s be real. No one’s life is perfect like a Christmas card and sometimes a smile signals great strength despite life’s obstacles.
The holidays can trigger sadness, anxiety, stress, and depression for a lot of people (eight out of 10 Americans according to theAmerican Psychological Association). I’m one of them. As a recovering perfectionistic people pleaser, the holidays often challenge me to stay well mentally. Over the years I’ve learned how to better work with the season and created self-care strategies to help me stay grounded, positive, and present (which I go into deeper detail in my book). But that doesn’t mean the holidays are a walk in the park.
For me, it helps to identify and be mindful of triggers to seasonal sadness so that I can better move through the holidays in health. Some “holiday blues” triggers include:
Financial Stress. Not enough money, fear of not having enough money, guilt around spending money, or feeling like you can’t afford to celebrate or give the gifts you want to give.
Too Much To Do. The added stress of events, shopping, and planning when you’re already overworked and tired can feel overwhelming. We try to fit everything into an already tight schedule which can be exhausting. When my plate is too full it makes me feel frazzled and burnt out. I feel defeated when I feel like I “can’t keep up with it all” or “half-ass” on commitments I want to be there for.
Loneliness and Grief. Missing those we love, reminiscing on past memories, or facing deep emotional feelings. Tis the season.
Interpersonal Relationships. There’s no such thing as the perfect family or relationship. The holiday’s can serve up a lot of psychological or emotional stress in dealing with complicated family/friend relationships.
Divorce/Breakup. If you’re newly divorced, the holidays may remind you of happier times and accentuate your grief. It’s especially difficult for children of divorce who have to balance seeing two sets of parents. The stress is multiplied for married children who have three or even four sets of parents to visit.
High Expectations. Expectations of a magical holiday season can create physical and mental stress. High expectations of a happy family gathering can end in disappointment. We put pressure on ourselves to make the holiday “perfect” and when it doesnt turn out the way we expect it to, we feel let down or sad.
People Pleasing. Trying to be there for everyone and everything – can make you feel guilty and like you’re not doing enough.
Holiday Travel. Having to deal with airports, traffic, hotels, and getting from point A to point B during the busiest season for travel can be exhausting. Not to mention dealing with jetlag and maintaining your health while on the road.
SAD. Many people experience the blues during gloomy weather due to decreased sunlight, called Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). I am absolutely one of those people! Summer is my favorite holiday 🙂
Do any of the above factors make you feel stressed, burnt out, sad, sick, or depressed? Well let me tell you, you are not alone. I’m right there with you. But you can make the holidays easier on yourself by following the below tips for success.
Here are a few ways I’ve learned to handle holiday stress triggers and manage the season without losing my marbles:
Set reasonable expectations and let go of perfection. Don’t try to do too much or match some ideal of the “perfect” holiday.If you’re comparing your holidays to some abstract greeting card ideal, they’ll always come up short. Strive to keep expectations in balance and drop the need for perfect. The best moments happen when you stop to enjoy them and real is so much better than perfect.
Commit to self care. Whatever it takes, take care of yourself. When you are traveling make time for exercise. Commit to getting enough sleep as much as possible. Make time for rest and for yourself. Remember the old airplane order: You put your oxygen mask on first before you can take care of everyone else.
Don’t overbook! Leave space. It’s tempting to fill in every waking minute of the season with events. Don’t do this to yourself. Leave space. Not feeling overbooked and having space will significantly reduce your stress.
Practice healthy drinking habits. Alcohol is a depressant and can exacerbate feelings of stress and sadness. Too much alcohol can also interfere with healthy sleep and interrupt natural sleep cycles. Not to mention, getting too drunk at your family event might not help you improve relationships. If you accidentally overdo it, read my “holiday hangover cure” here.
Move Your Body to Move Your Mood. While the physical benefits of exercise are great, I exercise to keep my mind in good shape (especially during the holidays). Exercise is one of the best ways to reduce depression and anxiety, decrease overall levels of tension, elevate and stabilize mood, improve sleep, and improve self-esteem. Even five minutes of aerobic exercise can stimulate anti-anxiety effects. Endorphins really are the best natural happy drug in the world and even a short daily walk can have a big impact. If it’s too cold in your area to enjoy a walk or run, check out a fun group fitness class or pressplay on my youtube videos for effective, no-equipment needed home workouts. There are also dozens of smartphone apps that can also guide you through a workout and I include my favorites in my book.
Nourish Yourself. There’s nothing that spells mental meltdown faster than going too long without a real meal (sorry, cheese and crackers at the holiday party do not count as a balanced diet). Make sure to get a solid breakfast, eat all the healthy vegetables you can, and commit to quality nutrition during this time. For me this means eating light, eating clean, and eating often. Keeping myself well fueled with real food helps me maintain my energy levels and keep stress at bay. I have snacks on hand and prepare healthy dishes to bring to events so that I know I’ll have options. Real food = happier mood and staying well fueled = keeping your cool.
Kick sugar to the curb. Processed white sugar is known to contribute to depression and can exacerbate the holiday blues. Plus sugar is toxic and causes stress on the body (no one likes a sugar hangover). When you begin to notice how what you eat affects how you feel, it becomes easier to make smarter choices with sugar. Being mindful of your sugar intake during the holidays can significantly help manage anxiety and boost your mood.
Budget your bucks and get creative with gifts. Overspending during the holidays can lead to continued stress down the road. Set spending limits and stick to them. Or get creative and give gifts that you can’t buy in a store (experiences, memories, homemade crafts, etc).
Limit Social Media. Even though you know that most people only post their happiest moments on social media, it’s easy to lose perspective and get a serious case of FOMO (fear of missing out). Comparison is the thief of joy and you can’t compare yourself to others’ highlight reels of their lives. Limit your consumption of Facebook, instagram, snapchat, and instead reach out to your close friends via phone or text message when you feel like connecting with people. You’ll get more satisfaction from spending real, face time with people rather than scrolling down a feed of tons of people you haven’t seen in years.
Create time for yourself during family gatherings. This one is huge for me. I love people and get a lot of energy from social events, but if I don’t have mini breaks, I lose my sh*t. Take a walk outside, find a quiet corner in the house, or make a quick trip to the store to gather your thoughts and relax.
Reframe Your Holiday. If you feel isolated, it’s important to remember you’re still in charge of your life. The way to bring more abundance into your life is to give first. Find opportunities to volunteer. Meet people. Attend events. Instead of feeling left out of others’ holiday plans, think of the break as free time to do whatever you wants — even if that means spending the day at home making vision boards or watching movies.
Eliminate stress by pre-planning. Plan any shopping, errands, and cooking in advance. Setting a schedule and making priorities will prevent too much from piling up at the last minute.
Set Aside Differences. Christmas dinner at Aunt Maud’s house doesn’t have to be the annual free-for-all or tension-filled affair as in past years. Make a pact with yourself to accept family members and loved ones for who they are without any expectations. Hopefully, they will do the same for you. But if they don’t and someone tries to pick a fight, just smile and wish them a Merry Christmas. This is not the time to air grievances, although it might be a good time to walk away.If there is someone you haven’t spoken to in a while, send them a holiday card. You don’t have to say anything other than “thinking of you and wishing you well.” It will make both of you feel better.
Talk to someone. If you are feeling down during this time of year,seek support. It’s totally OK to ask for help and talk to someone. Infact, if you are struggling with anxiety, sadness, depression, or your mind, talking to someone may feel like a huge breath of fresh air. Lean on a friend or family member you trust, or seek out a mental health professional.You can try an online service like Reflect, an incredible online talk therapy resource.
It took me a few years to personalize healthy lifestyle habits that help me manage seasonal stress and feel my best. So if you are struggling this year, take some solace in the fact that no one’s life is perfect and you are not alone. It can be the most bittersweet, highly charged time of year (even though that’s the part that we don’t talk about). But I’m positive that this can be your best holiday yet if you are open to changing some of your old traditions that bring you down and trying new holiday habits that can lift you up.
I’m excited to share a resource with you today that I think could make a big difference for you if you want more freedom and badassery in your life. If you find yourself getting in your own way, are longing to break free of what’s holding you back, and want to step up your game in every area of your life, you need to check this out.
Too many people settle for mediocrity, become victims of their circumstances, and simply complain about the way things are. I don’t think that’s you, though. I think you are someone who sees the value in investing in yourself, training your mind, and taking responsibility for your life and the world around you.
That is why I said yes to participating as a guest expert in my friend and colleague, Sandra Possing’s, virtual training, Unleash Your Inner Badass.
Sandra has rounded up a group of personal development and entrepreneurship experts – coaches, speakers, authors, and business mentors – to share their personal stories along with practical tips and tools you can use to accelerate your success.
If you want to:
start letting go of what’s holding you back
learn to be more unapologetically you
start building a new, more badass, reality for yourself
I have so much respect for Sandra Possing. She is a one of a kind woman, a coach who walks her talk and lives a bad ass life! Our interview was so much fun and I cant wait to re-inspire my spirit watching all of the other videos in this series. I am truly honored to be a part of this free online resource and inspire others in living with confidence, courage, and strength. Can’t wait to see you online and watch you continue to unleash your inner badass.
Today is the only day you can begin to make a difference in your life. And pursuing your dreams is what life is all about. So don’t be irresponsible. Don’t wait until ‘someday.’ Make today the first day of the rest of your new life. I want to share with you my story about how I got to where I am today and how I published a book on living life my way.
When I was in High school and wanted to start teaching group fitness they all told me I was too young.
I got certified and started teaching. Step and hi-lo aerobics. I was a choreography queen.
When I went to college and wanted to major in Dance they all told me that I’d never go anywhere with that.
I got my B.A. in Dance and Communications and had an amazing time doing it.
When I moved to San Francisco to pursue Fitness full time they all told me it was a terrible idea. The city is too expensive. You cant survive with fitness as a career.
I worked in fitness and lived in San Francisco for 4 years.
When I went back to school to earn my Health and Wellness coach certification they all told me it was a waste of money. “You cant make a living as a life coach Caroline”.
I earned my certification and it launched me in a powerful new direction.
When I wanted to change paths from fitness to a Health and Wellness business they all told me I was crazy. “You’ll never be taken seriously. Why not just stay in fitness? Plenty of work for you.”
I created a business in-line with my strengths and personal passions full of purpose that I love. It allows for me to live according to my own definition of success and use my unique talents to be of service in making a positive impact.
When I wanted to write a book they all told me it was too hard, too expensive, and a waste of time. “No one even reads books anymore Caroline”.
I started writing. Then I couldn’t stop. Now the book is a real, physical product as of October 18th. I am a published author and seeing that dream come true feels amazing.
Look, I’m not saying that if you want to be the next Beyoncé it will happen overnight. But I am saying theres a lot of power that comes from claiming what you want, believing in yourself, and going for it. Whether a goal is possible or impossible for you depends more on what you do about it than on any other factor. Certainly there will be obstacles that stand in your way. And you can choose to use these obstacles as excuses for giving up – many people do. But the truth is, if you have the courage to begin, you have the courage to succeed. You just need to find the strength and willpower to keep going. Success is achieved and maintained by those who try and keep trying.
There will always be people who tell you that you can’t. You just need to make sure YOU are not one of them.
As our friend Steve Jobs says:
“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma, which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice, heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”
Please my friends, I urge you, go for your dreams. If you can’t stop thinking about it, don’t stop working for it. A life lived in pursuit of meaningful goals is infinitely better than a life spent not.
Believe in yourself. Find the courage to go for what you want. START. Take it one day at a time. You can do it if you think you can do it.
I am here to support you in making it happen. I want to watch you accomplish your dreams.
All that being said, you are invited to join me in celebrating a life of going for your dreams at the launch day of my first book, Balanced Body Breakthrough, October 18th, 2016 at EQUINOX Sports Club from 6-8pm.The party is free and open to the public. It’s an open house full of healthy food, wellness products, new and old friends. An evening of celebration, community, health, and wellness. You have been an important part of my journey and hold a special place in my heart. I hope you can make it to celebrate!
Here’s to you my friend, making your dreams happen.
“Listen to the mustn’ts, child. Listen to the don’ts. Listen to the shouldn’ts, the impossibles, the won’ts. Listen to the never haves, then listen close to me … Anything can happen, child. Anything can be.” ~ Shel Silverstein, Where The Sidewalk Ends
Did you like this post? Please SHARE this with your friends onFacebook, twitter, or email. Everyone deserves to be healthy and live a life they love.
Some people don’t like birthdays. They worry about getting older or whatever it may be. Me? Im the opposite. I see celebrating a birthday as a success. Like, “Look! You’ve made it to another year! Congrats!”. Life is hard. The fact that I’ve lived to 31 is something to celebrate.
This has been a year of massive emotional progress and self-mastery on a whole new level. I am a completely different person than I was this time last year, and I still have such a long way to go. It’s been quite the year. Here are a few things I’ve learned:
Eat as many vegetables as possible. Color your diet. Watch the sugar. But really…. watch the sugar!
Health and happiness trump money and success.
Plan for the future but don’t live in it.
Slow down. Look around. Enjoy the moments. There is no rush.
Be a student of life. Never, ever, ever stop learning.
Happiness isn’t found in reaching any goal or achievement. It is found in the present moment. It is found where you are right now.
Love people. Enjoy the sunsets. Watch the fireworks. Swim in the ocean. Laugh until you cry. Eat the chocolate. Do all the little things that bring you joy. Savor it (every second of it).
You have enough time for everything that matters in your life.
If you don’t risk anything, you risk everything.
Stop spending your time trying to explain yourself to people who are committed to misunderstanding you.
Be yourself and be true to yourself. If you cannot put your heart in it, take yourself out of it.
If you want to do it then you should. Life isn’t going to wait for you. Do it now.
Life can be really really hard and shitty at times.You’ll be handed things you think you can’t handle and challenges that stretch you in every way possible. You can either let it destroy you or let it strengthen you. Choose to transcend and grow. Allow your struggles to bring more meaning to every moment in your life.
Your face will change. Your body will change. The only kind of beauty that endures is the kind that lives in your heart.
Stepping onto a brand new path is difficult, but not more difficult than remaining in a situation that no longer fits, or no longer exists.
Judge less, love more. Everyone you meet has a story. Encourage others and be kind. It’s a really easy way to make the world a better place.
Work hard. Rest well. Learn to disconnect. Engage in self-care. In the marathon of life, the key is learning to be mindful & pace yourself.
Be the type of person you want to meet and be around. Seek to be a person of value not just success. You were born with the ability to change someone’s life. Don’t ever waste it. Be kind. Be present. Be someone who makes a difference
Everything in life is temporary. Life changes every second and so can you.
Mental and spiritual fitness is THE essential ingredient to your health and happiness. Stress will kill you (literally). Take as much care of your mind as you do your body. Health really comes from the inside out.
It costs nothing to be positive and it changes things for the better.
You cannot control everything that happens in life, but you can control how you respond. In your response is your greatest power.
Accept yourself for all that you are. And never stop challenging yourself to be all that you can be.
Personal growth is an ongoing process and it is never “finished”. I am proud of myself for the changes I’ve made and the challenges I’ve overcome this year. It hasn’t all been rainbows and unicorns, there have been tears, internal tantrums, anxiety, and sadness. But it’s all helped make me into who I am today. I am proud of myself for the woman I am and believe in the woman I aspire to be.
I wouldn’t want to exist in a world where I am not being challenged, not growing, not becoming stronger and more self-aware. I know that every moment I push myself to grow is making me a better person, and giving me the ability and self-belief to traverse other, more difficult situations in the future. I believe that if we can gain self-mastery, while treating ourselves with love, compassion, and forgiveness, there is nothing we cannot achieve.
Here’s to another great year of learning, growing, loving, and living. Thank you for being a part of my journey and a part of my heart. My life wouldn’t be the same without you in it.
Did you like this post? Please SHARE this with your friends onFacebook, twitter, or email. Everyone deserves to be healthy and live a life they love.
Holding on to something heavy that’s been weighing you down? Try this 3 minute meditation to let go and feel lighter.
“Some people believe holding on and hanging in there are signs of great strength. However, there are times when it takes much more strength to know when to let go and then do it.”
One of the hardest lessons in life is letting go – whether it’s guilt, anger, love or loss. Change is never easy, we fight to hold on and fight to let go. But letting go is oftentimes the healthiest path forward. It clears out toxic thoughts from the past and paves the way to make the most positive use of the present.
Letting go is a part of life and recently my life has involved a lot of it. The loss of a loved one, the decision to change career obligations, an injury that challenged me in every way…. There’s just a lot of letting go in my world right now. And as hard as it can be at times, it’s created space for other things in my life. I’ve learned that letting go is a constant process of learning to accept change, allowing yourself to refocus, and choosing to emotionally free yourself from the past to make way for the present.
Lately I’ve been using the Insight Timer app to guide me through daily meditations. It’s been a helpful tool with endless resources to discover and a supportive online community of meditators. The other evening I discovered a meditation called, “She Let Go”. It moved me deeply and I thought to share it with you.
Want to let go of something with me today? Join me in the below meditation. You can choose to read the words to yourself or find a comfortable seat, close your eyes, take a deep breath, and press play on the guided meditation video recording I’ve made for you below.
“She Let Go” a Poem by Rev. Safire Rose.
“She let go. Without a thought or a word, she let go.
She let go of the fear. She let go of the judgments. She let go of the confluence of opinions swarming around her head. She let go of the committee of indecision within her. She let go of all the ‘right’ reasons. Wholly and completely, without hesitation or worry, she just let go.
She didn’t ask anyone for advice. She didn’t read a book on how to let go. She didn’t search the scriptures. She just let go. She let go of all of the memories that held her back. She let go of all of the anxiety that kept her from moving forward. She let go of the planning and all of the calculations about how to do it just right.
She didn’t promise to let go. She didn’t journal about it. She didn’t write the projected date in her Day-Timer. She made no public announcement and put no ad in the paper. She didn’t check the weather report or read her daily horoscope. She just let go.
She didn’t analyze whether she should let go. She didn’t call her friends to discuss the matter. She didn’t do a five-step Spiritual Mind Treatment. She didn’t call the prayer line. She didn’t utter one word. She just let go.
No one was around when it happened. There was no applause or congratulations. No one thanked her or praised her. No one noticed a thing. Like a leaf falling from a tree, she just let go.
There was no effort. There was no struggle. It wasn’t good and it wasn’t bad. It was what it was, and it is just that.
In the space of letting go, she let it all be. A small smile came over her face. A light breeze blew through her. And the sun and the moon shone forevermore.”
To let go is to be thankful for the experiences that made you laugh, made you cry, and helped you learn and grow. It’s the acceptance of everything you have, everything you once had, and the possibilities that lie ahead. It’s all about finding the strength to embrace life’s changes, to trust your intuition, to learn as you go, to realize that every experience has value, and to continue taking positive steps forward.
Whatever is weighing you down, know that you have the strength and the power to let it go. Emotions, fears, hurt, pain, regret, stress…. what ever it is, just let it go. That is just your 40,000 year-old brain doing what it does. It’s time for you to take over and choose to LET IT GO.
What are you holding on to that’s holding you back? What are you ready to let go of? What’s the first step you need to take to let it go? Share your thoughts with me by leaving a comment below.
Here for you through all of life’s challenges and changes. Stay strong, be brave, and keep shining my friends.
Is your life feeling hard right now? Read these words and important reminders.
I wrote this article to send strength and faith out into the universe. I hope that wherever this finds you it gives you light and a reminds you to stay positive, stay strong, and keep your head up.
Here are a few things to remember when life gets really hard:
Everything in life is temporary. Every time it rains, it stops raining. Every time you get hurt, you heal. Your mind might tell you that this will last forever. It won’t. Nothing lasts forever. After darkness there is always light and this too shall pass.
You are strong enough to rise above this.Life is tough, but you are tougher. No matter how much it hurts, hold your head up and keep going. You were given this challenge because you are strong enough to handle it. Use each setback, each disappointment as a cue to push on ahead with more determination than ever before. Believe in yourself and all that you are. Know that there is something inside you that is greater than any obstacle.
“You may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated. In fact, it may be necessary to encounter the defeats, so you can know who you are, what you can rise from, how you can still come out of it.” ― Maya Angelou
Where you are right now is a necessary step. You are not what you have done, you are what you have overcome. Your struggles are part of your path.No pain comes without a purpose. Pain is part of growing and living a stronger, more meaningful life. This is important to remember when you’re having a rough day, a bad month, or a crappy year. When you feel like quitting, remember that sometimes things have to go very wrong before they can go right. Sometimes you have to go through the worst, to get to your best.
You can’t have happiness without sadness. Its important to understand that you cant know real joy without real sadness. Life’s ups require life’s downs. When you are able to let go and be at peace with the reality of these ups and downs is when you are able to find more meaning from any challenge.
“Challenges are what make life interesting and overcoming them is what makes life meaningful.” – Joshua J. Marine
Its OK to not be OK all the time. It’s ok to cry. It’s ok to have meltdowns. It’s ok to not have it all together. It’s OK and actually, it’s important. If you just “shove it under the rug” and ignore hurt, pain, or upset it stays with you and negatively effects your life. Allow yourself to feel. Give yourself space to be sad. Don’t be afraid to fall apart for a little while. You have to FEEL it to HEAL it. Because when you do that, the situation will open into an opportunity for you to heal from it, grow from it, and rebuild yourself into a stronger person because of it.
“Don’t forget you’re human. It’s okay to have a meltdown, just don’t unpack and live there. Cry it out and then refocus on where you are headed.”
Being kind to yourself is the best medicine. When it feels like everything is going wrong, show yourself some extra TLC. Simple pleasures and self-love can help alleviate suffering, whether it’s watching a comedy, using your favorite tea cup, being in nature, hanging with animals, listening to your favorite album, or taking a mini retreat to your favorite place. Whatever works for you. Show yourself a little extra kindness, care, and love when life gets hard.
Sometimes not getting what you want is sometimes a wonderful stroke of luck. It forces you to reevaluate things, opening new doors to opportunities and information you would have otherwise overlooked.
Don’t stop Believing. Just because life didn’t go as planned doesn’t mean you’ll never be happy again. Sometimes you have to go through difficulties, breakups, rejections and painful wounds, in order to gradually discover these powerful truths: 1) Life is not exactly how you thought it was. 2) The loss of one wonderful pleasure is not necessarily the loss of true, long-term happiness and well-being. Life rarely turns out exactly the way you want it to, but you always have an opportunity to make it great.
No matter what, today is a priceless gift and its up to you to make the best of it. There is always, always, always, something to be grateful for. Strength comes when you have so much to cry and complain about, but you prefer to smile and appreciate your life instead.
“Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass, it’s about learning how to dance in the rain.” – Vivian Greene
You are not alone. We’ve all faced loss, fear, heartbreak, and sadness. So many of us are fighting the same exact battle alongside you. We are all in this together. Letting others in when you’re having a hard time helps. Let yourself lean on your loved ones and open up to them. No, they won’t always be able to pull you out of the challenge you’re in, but they will be able to give you some light and love on your way through.
Be positive, patient and persistent. Learn to trust the journey even when you don’t understand it. The strongest people aren’t the people who always win, but the people who don’t give up when they lose.
The dots will connect. We’re not going to always understand why everything happens in our lives. There are things that break us, challenge us, and test our limits. There are things that are not removed and situations that take a long time to change. You have to trust that it is what’s best for you. Accept what is, let go of what was, and have faith in what will be. As Steve Jobs so famously said, “You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future.” Trust that your dots will connect. Have faith in yourself and in the future.
The best thing you can do is choose to be positive and keep going. You can’t control everything that happens to you; you can only control the way you respond to what happens. Your response is your power over whatever challenge you may face. So “Keep Calm and Carry On”. Smiling doesn’t always mean you’re happy with everything. Sometimes it just means you’re strong and smart enough to accept it and make the best of it.
If you can breathe, you can make it through anything. When fear, anxiety, worry, or stress sets in, stop yourself and take a minute to regroup. Don’t get too far ahead of yourself worrying about what might happen next. You don’t have any control over that. But you DO have the present moment. Take a DEEP breath and stay committed to being right here, right now. Just take it one day at a time and keep breathing. You’ll make it.
Those are some reminders I’ve used to help myself through challenges and tough times. What is one reminder that helps you stay strong when life gets really hard? Let me know your words of encouragement in the comments below.
At the end of the day, I hope that whatever you might be going through you know that:
1. You will get through it
2. You will be stronger for it
3. You will find more greatness out of life because of it.
I’m sending you positive energy and love my friends.
“Aloha from Maui Caroline! I just want to thank you so much for your positive attitude. You have helped me get through such a rough time. Since Sept. my Father was in and out of hospital sick and passed away March 28th. Meanwhile I had broke my foot and had surgery in Jan. I was on crutches for 2 months and just got out of my boot this past Monday. Your ‘hurt foot’ workout videos got me through it without going crazy from not being able to exercise. I’m an avid runner and spinner so it took everything for me to not go crazy. I start PT on Monday and looking forward to getting my life back. Thanks again for ALL your positiveness from the bottom of my heart.” – Lauren, Maui, Hawaii
“Hi Caroline, My name is Bob Mayer, and I live in northern Wisconsin. I’ve never so much as commented on a YouTube video before, but I needed to go out of my way to thank you for providing the broken foot workouts on YouTube. I’m a triathlete, half-marathon runner, cross country skier, basketball player, and (aspiring) weightlifter. So, having a broken foot really upends my lifestyle. I’m appreciative that folks like you are willing to put some time into people like me that have a frustrating injury. Again, thanks! Keep up the good work. Best, Bob” – Bob Mayer, Wisconsin
“Hi, Caroline! I just wanted to say thank you, really! I sprained my ankle for the first time in life, 5 months ago and it was horrible! It happened after training and I was so depressed about it and felt so helpless not able to move for almost 2 weeks and then having pain and not training at all. I was so happy to find your channel on YouTube and your videos have been so helpful ! Thank you for your advices, positive energy and help in such hard time. You rock! Keep on your great work! Looking forward to more videos from you! Have a great summer, Trisha” Trisha, Denmark
“Caroline, I just want to thank you SO much not only for your YouTube workouts for a broken foot, but for your AWESOME attitude and positive energy!! I have really been lifted up by your validation and empowering dialogue. Seriously, it is a hard thing to recover from an injury and have my usual cardio addiction at a standstill. Your workouts were my turning point from feeling completely depressed and victimized by my injury–to feeling optimistic and empowered that there IS something I can do to stay fit and positive. Your quote, “The only disability is a bad attitude” is like my new life motto!! I can’t tell you how much I needed that! And I can tell I’m healing faster with working out too. Thank you so much for your amazing work!! It’s making a huge difference for me!! ” Elsie Madison, California
I’ve dealt with my fair share of injuries. Each one has brought it’s own lessons and opportunities to strengthen my internal fitness. Injuries are part of being human and part of the experience of having a body. Sometimes you get sick, tired, hurt, or face physical challenges that are not in your control. It’s life and it happens. But it doesn’t make getting hurt any easier. If you are working through an injury right now, I am here to offer you some comfort and support.
Wellness is so much more than physical. It’s mental, it’s spiritual, it’s taking care of yourself as a whole. Keeping your mind + spirit in good shape will help you recover from your injury and return to good health. And I am here to help you take care of yourself inside and out.
Here are some healing thoughts to help you recover from injury and stay positive through the process.
How To Stay Positive When Recovering From An Injury.
Acknowledge and radically accept the injury. It is not what you wanted. It is not what you asked for. It sucks but here it is and you must be the one to prioritize and deal with it. Resistance in the healing process is not good. Acceptance helps release resistance. Accept that there are some things you cannot control about the healing process, like how long it may take. But also recognize that there are many things you can control, like how you react to it (moment by moment), how consistent you are with your rehab and treatment, the energy of people you keep around you while you are healing (this is a big one, keep the Negative Nancy’s away!), the alternative activities you do with your time while you are healing, and so on.
Be non-judgmental but honest with yourself about how it got to this point. Ask yourself, “What was my body trying to tell me?” and “Did I listen to its first signals? Or wait until it got to the point where the only way my body could get my attention was to take me out of the game for a bit?” This will help you learn how to better listen to your body. It will help you understand your body’s signals and messages to possibly prevent an injury from occurring again. However, sometimes sh*t happens and you break your foot without notice. Acknowledge that too and move on.
Affirm Your Body’s Ability to Recover and Empower Your Mind To Help you Heal. If you believe your body isn’t healing and talk about how you are not getting better, you are affirming the negative and NOT helping the recovery process. You must empower your mind to help heal your body. It’s kind of like preparing to run a race or deliver an important presentation at work. Close your eyes, visualize the outcome you want, and affirm to yourself that your body WILL heal and WILL recover back to full health. Empower your mind to think positively about recovery and help your body heal.
You are going to have good days and you are going to have bad days. And it’s important to know: thats OK. Throughout the recovery process you will have days where it’s easy to deal and manage healing. You may also have days where you feel frustrated, upset, impatient, angry, all sorts of emotions. It’s important to know that its totally normal to feel those feelings and to have positive strategies on hand for coping with them when they happen. Don’t isolate yourself or hurt yourself doing something self-destructive (like using drugs/alcohol/food to numb emotions or pushing your injury too far in a workout session that you re-hurt yourself.). Reach out to friends, family, loved ones. Do something to help release the feelings and restore your spirit in a healthy way. Which leads me to my next suggestion…
Cheer Yourself UP. Life is short. Injured or not, there is SO much to enjoy about it. Count your blessings instead of adding up your troubles. Choose to see the good in everything and make the best of the situation. Put on your favorite music. Sing out loud. Shake your booty. Watch funny movies. Surround yourself with friends. Plan your next vacation. Write thank you notes to those who made a difference in your life. Write a note of encouragement to yourself. Find ways to cheer yourself up. Your body will feel the positive energy and it will make you feel better.
Do what you CAN do. Don’t stew over what you can’t do. Do what you CAN do. If you have a hurt foot, work on your push-ups. If you hurt your wrist, practice your body weight squats. Work on the physical therapy exercises prescribed to you through your doctor. Do all your “homework” exercises and follow the doctors orders. Be the best patient there ever was, the kind doctors love to work with. You’ll heal faster and it will make you feel better to be proactive and positive about the recovery process.
Visualize it. Affirm it. Talk about it. Yes, realistically you are injured but that is no excuse to rehash the past every day with every ache or pain, or with every person that asks how you are doing. If some asks how you are doing say to them “Thanks for asking and I’m healing up.” or “On my way to coming back stronger and better.”
Most of you know, I am a big believer in positive affirmations (in fact, there’s a whole chapter in my book on them!). I recommend repeating one or two healing affirmations throughout the day. This will keep your mind in good shape. My favorite healing affirmations are “My body now restores itself to its natural state of perfect health” and “Every day in every way I am getting healthier and stronger”.
Be kind to yourself. The healing process is all about the art of allowing. Allowing releases resistance and therefore releases tension in the body that is needed for healing, as opposed to the resistance creating tension that inhibits healing. Being angry with our body is like being angry at a kid for having broken leg. What is done is done and now what is needed is support and kindness towards yourself. Also, allow others to take care of you and trust their care. This can be difficult for Type-A-control-freak-independent types (again I say this in the most endearing sense, you all know I love you) but maybe that is a part of the lesson. Many high achieving individuals struggle with asking or receiving help. Be kind to yourself and allow others to help support your needs. This in itself can be very empowering because we are all in this together. There is no person on earth that does not need someone for something in their life, we are all interdependent.
Accept this moment and this injury in this time and space. Try to see your injury isolated to this time and space in your life. Just because something is happening now does not mean it will happen again, especially if we learn from it. What you resist only stays with you longer and when you fight something, you only make it stronger. Flow with reality, not against it. Choose to accept what is, be positive and proactive, let go of the need to control every little detail, and embrace peace in the process. Remember: what you resist persists, what you embrace dissolves. Practice letting go and trusting your body. Which leads me to my last suggestion…
Trust yourself and trust your body. Time to heal allows you to focus on yourself. Sometimes we think that because we train and workout we are paying attention to ourselves when really we may be distracting from life or other issues. An injury allows you to learn more about you. It provides and opportunity to learn how to be more self compassionate. It also provides time to reflect on things that may need to change in your life. Healing through an injury allows you to make space in your life FOR YOU. Guess what, your life is not going anywhere and if you use this time to take care of yourself and heal correctly you’ll probably come back stronger, wiser, and better than before. I’ve seen it happen time and time again. However, it is up to you to prioritize yourself and take good care of YOU during this time.
While I could go on and on about coping with various psychological and emotional aspects of an injury, I truly believe that each individual faces their own unique healing process. If you need additional support moving positively forward to health through this time, I offer phone wellness coaching. You can set up an appointment by emailing: email@example.com
I hope this offers you some comfort and support through this difficult time. It is important that you recognize that you can choose how you react to your situation. Remember, “If you change the way you see things, the things you see change.” Injury and pain in life are opportunities to grow and sometimes change directions in life. Be open to what this time in your life is reflecting back to you. Take it one day, one breath at a time.
On Mother’s Day, you might give your mom a book or a thoughtful card. You might call to tell her you love her. You might take a moment to reminisce about your fondest memories together.
But one of the greatest gifts you can give your mother is recognition. Whether it takes a few words or a few hours, acknowledging your mother’s hard work is music to her ears.
Today I’d like to take the time to acknowledge my Mom for being a positive, powerful influence in my life. Here are a few of the valuable lessons she has taught me on living well and being a happy person inside and out:
Lessons On Living A Positive Life I learned from my Mom:
Move your body. My mom taught me that taking care of your body is crucial to being the happiest person you can be. If you don’t have your physical energy in good shape, then your mental energy (your focus), your emotional energy (your feelings), and your spiritual energy (your purpose) will all be negatively affected. Sure exercise keeps your weight in check and you feeling confident in your favorite pair of jeans. But exercise actually has the power to make you a happier person. Moving your body creates chemical responses in the brain, which lead to both temporary and long term mental health benefits. It releases dopamine (“happy chemicals”) in your brain, eases stress, increases energy, combats insomnia, and does wonders for your confidence. Taking good care of your body can and will keep your heart happy, help you maintain a healthy weight, and bring you a positive outlook on life.
Eat An Inspiring Diet. To eat is a necessity but to eat intelligently is an art. My mom brought us up to eat a colorful diet filled with whole foods and variety. She would shop at the farmer’s market, garden, and cooks real, delicious food. There was always room for indulgences (she is famous for her chocolate chip cookies) and she was an excellent role model for an “eat to live not live to eat” mentality. Growing up dinner time was a family event and we often cooked something with the fresh ingredients from our backyard fruit and vegetable garden. Because we are what we eat, we can literally transform our minds into happier ones by eating an inspiring diet. She raised me to learn that when you eat good foods you feel good too, and happiness comes from being well- fueled.
Help Others. My mother worked full time as a pediatric nurse but even when she was off the clock she was always lending a hand to others. She taught me that happiness is attained by giving it away without expectation and those who help others are eventually helped. As far as physical health benefits, performing an act of kindness releases serotonin in your brain. Serotonin is a substance that has tremendous health benefits, including making us feel more blissful. Selflessly helping someone is a powerful way to feel good inside. The happiest people you will ever meet will be those who lose themselves in the joy and challenge of helping others.
Learn to forgive. My mom’s typical response to a negative or upsetting event is forgiveness. She’ll would something like, “It’s ok. I’m going to let it go and move forward.” This is an excellent way to handle conflict because harboring feelings of hatred or resentment is horrible for your well-being. That’s because your mind doesn’t know the difference between past and present emotion. When you ‘hate’ someone, and you’re continuously thinking about it, those negative emotions are eating away at your immune system. You put yourself in a state of hate and it stays with you throughout your day. In contrast, showing forgiveness is a form of compassion and love, which is a much happier state of living your life. My mom showed me that forgiveness is a constant attitude of choosing happiness over hurt – acceptance over resistance. And that forgiveness creates a space to let go and love more.
Live in gratitude. When you appreciate what you have, what you have appreciates in value. Being grateful for the goodness that is already evident in your life will bring you a deeper sense of happiness. My mother lived in a state of gratitude and was constantly affirming the things she was grateful for. Studies have shown practicing gratitude can center you, help you live in the moment, enhance your relationships, help you overcome hurdles, improve your health, and motivate you to reach your goals. Feeling grateful for what you have can produce the good feelings that keep you moving towards the happy life you want. Click here to learn more on how to practice gratitude in your life.
Live by the Golden Rule. My mother raised us by this rule: “…thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.” or “treat others the way you want to be treated”. It’s known as the “Golden Rule” or ethic of reciprocity. Mom was right again: the rule of treating others as you would want to be treated in their place will ultimately lead to your own happiness. Think about it: let’s say you apply the Golden Rule in all of your interactions with other people, and you help your neighbors, you treat your family with kindness, you go the extra mile for your co-workers, you help a stranger in need. Now, those actions will undoubtedly be good for the people you help and are kind to and people will treat you better. But, beyond that, you will find a growing satisfaction in yourself, a belief in yourself, a knowledge that you are a good person and a trust in yourself. Of course, there are exceptions and logic arguments with the Golden Rule and if taken to extremes it falls apart. I’m not concerned about that stuff. The truth is, on a day-to-day basis, living by the Golden Rule will make those around you happier, will make you a better person, and will make the community you live in a better place.
Savor life’s joys. My mom taught me that the best things in life are free. There is absolute joy and wonder to be had in the simplest of moments. Watching the sunset over the horizon or spending time with a family member making jam in the summer (triple berry anyone?). Deep happiness cannot exist without slowing down to enjoy the joy. It’s easy in a world of wild stimuli and omnipresent movement to forget to embrace life’s enjoyable experiences. When we neglect to appreciate, we rob the moment of its magic. It’s the simple things in life that can be the most rewarding if we remember to fully experience them. Make it a point to regularly celebrate all of the little things in life and you will be a happier person inside and out.
My mom taught me that all of the lessons above are habits and thoughts we can choose to bring more happiness into our lives. That’s the thing about living a positive, happy life: it is a conscious choice. It’s not always an easy choice and creating healthy habits may challenge you at times. But doing so will allow you to break free from the mold and truly live more of life – to experience it and enjoy it to the fullest, instead of settling for a mere existence.
To my mother who taught me how and showed me the way: Thank you. I love you. I will celebrate the momentous mother that you are today and always.
Have you ever found yourself ruminating and overanalyzing what someone said to you hours after a conversation? Or worried that when a friend doesn’t text you back that they are upset with you? Perhaps you feel hurt by your co-workers actions and feel like they are “out to get you” in the office. Or maybe someone says something which you take as an insult or you assume a person doesn’t like you if they walk past without saying hello.
Why is it so hard not to take things personally? We are human and we all struggle with this from time to time. It’s easy to feel unloved and unwanted when people aren’t able to communicate and connect with you in the way you expect. And it’s so hard not to internalize that disconnection as a reflection on your worth. But the truth is, the way other people behave and function is not about you. In one of my favorite books, “The Four Agreements”, author Don Miguel Ruiz writes,
“Don’t take anything personally. Nothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is a projection of their own reality, their own dream. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won’t be the victim of needless suffering.” ~ Don Miguel Ruiz
This concept seems easy on paper, but it can be hard to put to practice in our lives. When it comes down to it, you’re in control of how you interpret things. Think of how much happier you’d be with a new perspective. Here are some suggestions on how to shift your mindset and adjust your interactions so you can live in peace.
How to Not Take Things Personally.
Realize: It’s just not all about you. Other’s interactions and way of being is a reflection of them and it’s nothing personal. If someone is being unkind to you, remember that they’re probably behaving this way because of something that’s happened to them in the past or present; which has nothing to do with you. They might be having a bad day, going through a rough period, or it might just be their personality. Everyone has their own issues they are working through. Once you realize that the world isn’t all about you, you will be happier.
Wait to respond. Controlling your response in any given situation allows you to reflect on what’s happening and calmly communicate with the person that might be getting under your skin. Before reacting to another’s actions or saying something you might regret, STOP. Pause and take a deep breath. Resist the urge to act immediately through a difficult emotion. Instead, create space to develop an appropriate response and then act with intention.
In difficult conversations, use Nonviolent Communication. Nonviolent communication is also known as Compassionate Communication or Collaborative Communication. It was invented by Marshall Rosenberg in the 1960s and focuses on self-empathy, empathy, and honest self-expression. It’s a four-step process based on (1) observation, (2) feeling, (3) need, (4) request. When I went to wellness coaching school, we studied Nonviolent communication as a technique to have difficult conversations.
For example: “Dan, when I (1) see dishes in the sink, I (2) feel irritated because I’m needing (3) the kitchen that we share in common to be clean. (4) Could you please do your dishes?” You’re not taking the fact that he hasn’t done the dishes, personally; you’re communicating how you feel without being irrational or demeaning. You can learn more at The Centre for Nonviolent Communication.
Have Empathy. Put yourself in the other person’s shoes by trying to understand what the other person might be feeling/thinking/trying to convey to you and what his or her circumstances are that may influence their behavior.
Seek clarification before jumping to conclusions. Instead of making an assumption, first ask the other person for more information and give them the benefit of the doubt. It’s too easy to assign motives to others. You think they say something a certain way and before you know it you’re getting mad at them before you even speak to them. A better option is to give them the benefit of the doubt. If they do something that confuses you, ask them about it without judgment.
Be okay with being vulnerable and expressing when someone’s actions hurt you. Allowing ourselves to be vulnerable by expressing our feelings can help resolve conflicts. My friends know, when there’s a disagreement or mis-understanding, I want to talk it out right away. I believe it’s far better to be uncomfortable being vulnerable and have a difficult conversation than to live with upset in your heart.
Take comments or criticism in a constructive way. If you are criticised, ask yourself if there’s any truth to it, and what you can learn. Even if it wasn’t said in a nice way, you can still learn something. Take the lessons and choose to see the positives in every experience.
Dont dwell on it. Every moment we spend dwelling over the past, even minutes ago, we lose precious time Now. Obsessing over what happened and holding on to anger, resentment, or hurt only causes pain in your life. Learn what you can from the situation and then let it go. I know it can be hard to do, especially if you feel upset and hurt. But it’s very important you don’t obsess over past pain and problems. For these things have the power to poison your heart, your mind, your body, and your life.
Realise that you can’t please everyone. No matter who you are or what you do, there will always be people who dislike or criticise you. You can’t change other people and all you can do is be yourself. At the end of the day, “Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.” Don’t change so people will like you. Be yourself and the right people will love the real you.
Distance Yourself from Toxic People. Sometimes it’s extra challenging not to take things personally because you are around toxic people. If you know someone who insists on destructively dictating the emotional atmosphere, then be clear: they are toxic. If you are suffering because of their attitude, you’ve tried the steps above, and it doesn’t seem to help or they don’t seem to care one bit, then ask yourself, “Do I need this person in my life?” When you delete toxic people from your environment it becomes a lot easier to breathe. If the circumstances warrant it, leave these people behind and move on when you must. Be strong and know when enough is enough! Letting go of toxic people doesn’t mean you hate them, or that you wish them harm; it simply means you care about your own well-being. Don’t let toxic people rent space in your head. Raise the rent and get them out of there.
Make sure you have plenty of time for Self Care. Think about how you feel when you haven’t slept, had enough quality nutrition, or haven’t had enough time for yourself. Cranky, moody, and easily upset, right? If you don’t make enough time to care about yourself, you will be more sensitive to taking the words and actions of others personally. But if you give yourself the consistent self-care and love you deserve, you will feel strong and grounded within yourself and other people’s actions and words won’t get to you as much.
Learn to love yourself. Realise that your self-worth depends on you. It does not depend on what others say about you. We take things personally when we care too much about what others think. Instead, give that validation to yourself, so you don’t have to rely on other people to make you feel worthy of love and care. It’s natural to want to feel accepted and loved, but don’t give your power away to other people. When you don’t feel confident in yourself, you will always seek that feeling from other people, but it will never totally satisfy you. Stop relying on others to fuel your self-esteem and love yourself. The love and attention from others should just serve as an added bonus to what you already have cultivated within.
Can you imagine how many problems could be avoided or solved by practicing this concept and following the steps above? It does require awareness, effort, persistence, and time to stop taking things personally, especially when it’s something you are used to doing. It’s well worth the effort. You will find that your self-esteem and overall quality of life will improve when you stop taking things personally. Commit yourself to self-awareness so you can monitor the times that you’re reading too much into a situation. Practice the suggestions above so you can resolve conflicts externally or internally with calm. Little by little you’ll see a change in your perspective that will positively impact your relationships, especially the one with yourself.
It all boils down to a choice. A choice we sometimes forget we have, but one that can either strengthen us or weaken us. Next time an opportunity arises to take something personally, which will you choose, fear or love? The reality is: the world is impersonal and people do annoying, painful, unimaginable things every single day. That doesn’t mean you have to let that get under your skin.The more you focus on things that make you feel good personally, the less you will take things personally, and the more you will enjoy life.
Writing is one of my personal passions and I loved writing this piece. I hope it helps you in your life, let me know your thoughts in the comment section below and thanks for sharing this article. If you don’t like it, I promise I won’t take it personally 😉