Managing stress and anxiety in a chaotic world

Many of our difficulties originate with stress and anxiety. Packed schedules, competition in the workplace and social circles, pressures to be perfect, and lack of self-care (e.g., sleep, exercise, healthy eating) all play a part in high stress and anxiety levels.

Those who know me well know that I can suffer pretty severe anxiety. Anything that requires numbers – I will need someone to talk me down out of my anxious state. And nothing makes me more anxious than being late – I become light headed and nauseous. The mind is powerful!

Stress is described as “the psycho-physiological responses of the individual to any influence which disturbs homeostasis.” What does this mean? Physical, mental, and emotional changes to your body’s normal balance. These changes depend on a given individual’s tolerance to stress. What might cause a great deal of stress to me may not elicit the same response in you. And vice versa. Stress can be the result of environmental factors, although illness and nutrition can also play a role. An individual’s reaction to stress can involve aggression and anger or inversely, inhibition, regression, and fear (Moran, 2004).

Anxiety involves a feeling of fear or a perception of threat and it may or may not be specific to a particular situation. Possible symptoms are nausea, loss of composure, reduced motor coordination, and aggression (Moran, 2004). The intensity of anxiety can be directly related to the amount of associated stress and more often than not depends on the individual’s perception.

The following tips can help you while learning to manage stress and anxiety.

  1. Be informed. Ask questions and know your expectations, roles, and responsibilities.
  2. Use imagery. Imagine yourself performing the tasks – flawlessly and with ease.
  3. Maintain a strong social support system. Having strong social support can help you cope with the stress, whether by having someone practice scripts with you – for example before a big presentation – or  by watching a movie to distract you for a time.
  4. Practice physical and mental relaxation. Release tension and clear the mind. Progressive muscle relaxation and guided imagery are two forms of self-care. Treat yourself to a massage. Learn self-massage or tapping!
  5. Communicate. Let friends, family members, and colleagues know how you are feeling and what you are thinking.
  6. Get plenty of sleep. Inadequate rest can lead to fatigue and poor judgment.
  7. Drink plenty of water. Everything suffers – physically, mentally, and emotionally – when the body is not properly hydrated.
  8. Maintain a positive attitude. And practice self-talk. People with positive attitudes tend to approach problems with more hopeful and optimistic views.
  9. Maintain realistic expectations and goals. Having unrealistic expectations can lead to unnecessary pressure and stres.
  10. Celebrate. Recognize goals and milestones that you have achieved!

The bottomline

Everyone of us faces periods of stress and anxiety. Some of us have more serious experiences, but often times we can manage daily situations by implementing one or a few of the above tips.

What tips do you have for managing stress and anxiety?

References

Koslowsky, M. (1998). Modeling the stress-strain relationship in work settings. New York: Routledge.

Moran, A. P. (2004). Sport and exercise psychology: A critical introduction. New York: Routledge.

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Let your challenges lead to growth

I’d be lying if I said that this last year has been anything but hard. It’s funny how looking back on times that I felt were hard – were nothing in comparison. While in this year, I have grown a great deal and learned the value of me, I stumbled, bruised, and scarred along the way.

With each stumble, it has been difficult to remember my strengths and endearing qualities.

With each bruise, thoughts, “Is pursuing your dream really fruitful?”

With each scar, a memory to go along.

Stumbles

I stepped away from a position in management – and this did not fair well. It is not that I do not attend to direction, it is that my superiors should be more educated and experienced than I am – whether it be in fitness, nutrition, business, or management. And I do not do well with micro-management.

I gained nearly 15 pounds – ignoring my self-care. I refocused and the weight came off.

Income – in 2012, I fell below the poverty line. Humbling!

Bruises

I had bruises from walking into furniture. I had bruises from dumbbells, kettlebells, and barbells.

I had bruises on my heart – from haters and opponents who liked to poke and prod.

The good news, bruises are temporary and they all healed on their good time.

Scars

I am left with scars – physical and mental.

The scars on my knuckles – from taking my anger out on the heavy bag without taking the time to adequately wrap them.

The scar to my heart – losing my best friend and mentor.

The scars to my mind – thoughts of failure and disappointment.

The bottomline

I wouldn’t change any of it. It cultivated me into the woman I am today…and amazing things are happening! I look back at each challenge – and I can see how each and everyone of them led me to grow.

How have your challenges led to growth?

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Learning the value of – ME

I am feeling gratitude. I am feeling blessed.

These last few years been rough – but good. I had to throw my plan out the window – the career I was working  for was crumbling under my feet and I had to spread my wings to fly. I took myself across the country to experience the East Coast. I left everything familiar behind. I sold and stored my belongings – packing my life into my car. This experience was priceless.

I met one of my best friends – without her I would be lost.

I met a colleague, with whom I have endless conversations about the demise of our industry and our passions and visions for ourselves. He has been an indispensable resource.

I drove from Wisconsin to New York. Then From New York to Texas. Then Texas to Minnesota. In search of something that I did not know. I ultimately found it in Wisconsin.

Recently, during a discussion with my colleague – who is currently in Ohio, it occurred to me that I was in search of my value. MY value. I had to drive quite a ways, but I found it.

The things I learned

There are countless things that I learned. But there are several that have been ‘life-changing.’ I love how I can look back on my difficult times and see how they are blessings. I can remember dealing with knee pain and surgeries, thinking: why, why, WHY? But today, I am a much better trainer and coach because of that experience. I am much more invested in injury prevention, knowing the struggles of the aftermath. I wouldn’t exchange the years of pain for anything! But, what did my cross-country journey teach me?

I learned how to build and maintain relationships.

I learned to be confident in what I know.

I learned who my true friends are – some of this was very painful.

I learned how to let go.

I learned to enjoy downtime – something that otherwise had made me anxious.

I learned to be slow to talk (ok, so I am still working on this one).

I learned to stand up for what I believe in – this was moreso solidified.

I learned what my dietary needs were – and that I had fine-tuned my body far better than I had realized.

I learned that you can call yourself an expert, and very few will no whether you are or not.

I learned that the people in Texas really ARE the friendliest people you will ever meet.

I learned that I have a strong Wisconsin accent – although most of those telling me this had never met a true midwesterner – so they may be in for a shocker someday.

I learned how to say when enough is enough.

I learned MY VALUE.

The bottomline

I was called back to my home state. The former clients who have been displaced. I could not turn my back to the plethora of opportunities: writing, training, coaching, business development, corporate wellness, and MORE!

What is my value? I cannot quite put it into words. But I know that I offer something that very few do. When asked who my local competition is, I can confidently say: NO ONE. No one else does what I do, how I do it.

And that feels good.

There will be haters

This is one of the most challenging aspects of adopting and retaining a healthy lifestyle: Nay-sayers. Sabotogers. Haters. Insulters. The filterless.

Remember: This is your journey and no one else’s. No one knows what you know about you, has been through what you have, or has to do what you do. We are each our own. haters

More often than not, those who are negative are in the midst of their own struggle – and the negativity towards you actually has absolutely nothing to do with you!

Shouldn’t we want others to succeed?

Yes, we should. But we have cultivated an egocentric and selfish society. Women – particularly – often want to ‘one-up’ each other. Many individuals have the need to be better than those around them – and anything that threatens this perception elicits default behaviors – or defense mechanisms. Yes, putting others down can be and IS a defense mechanism.

Some of your friends and family will want you to continue to overeat, eat poorly, or skip exercise – because then they will feel better about there own unhealthy behaviors. There is comfort in numbers!

Other individuals simply do not understand. Some have been blessed with genetics that do not allow them to put on an extra 20 pounds. Some have always lived active, healthy lives and continue to do so without hiccups. DO NOT let their lack of understanding tear you down. Their comments can make you feel like your concerns are insignificant – ignore them. And know, that more than likely these particular individuals mean no harm – they just do not know any different.

Remove negative, increase positive

It can be difficult, but sometimes you must cut the negative out of your life. At times, this may mean separating yourself from family members or long-time friends. It might mean quitting a job. It may mean moving. Sounds like it could get financially stressful! I would be lying if I said that it will not be. But what is best for you in the long term? And how does this compare to the expense of treating depression, diabetes, heart disease, etc? Surround yourself with the individuals who will be supportive and positive and your journey will be much more pleasurable!

In other situations, you must ignore the negative. This takes practice – and is incredibly difficult. For example, I have had many sabotagers trying to coherce me into eating foods that were unhealthy. I learned to ignore them. I learned to walk away. Practice saying: Thanks, but no thanks.

Above all, the most important positive voice is your own! Your positive voice can be the best defense against the nay-sayers and sabotagers. When you hear negativity or criticism, you immediately know different with thoughts such as, “I am strong.” “I am on the right track.” “I am taking care of my heart, body, and mind.”

The bottomline

I do not have anything impressive or extraordinary to share on the topic. I just know, that I face negativity from those around me on a daily basis – and I know that you do too!

I know that sometimes the negativity is my misperception of things said – or not said. Knowing this, I can disregard the ‘negative’ and move on.

And yes, YOUR positivity is 10x stronger and more powerful than the negativity of others.

How do YOU manage haters, nay-sayers, or sabotagers?

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Challenge: Strengthen your ‘no’ muscle

Many of us have difficulty saying no. I for one, have GREAT difficulty saying no.

We have difficulty setting relational boundaries – unable to say no to friends and often overcommiting ourselves or doing things we do not want to do..

We have difficulty maintaining work boundaries – unable to say no to our boss’s every request, working long hours and bringing work home.

We have difficulty with food boundaries – unable to say no to food that seem to stare us in the face daily or not knowing when to stop.

Read on to learn how I strengthened my no muscle.

Long-term potentiation

As with anything, saying no can become easier with practice. And the more you do it, the easier it becomes. It is like a muscle, use it and it will become stronger. There is an abundant amount of research out there supporting the notion. We call it willpower. Scientists call it long-term potentiation (LTP).

When you practice saying no, you can strengthen the nerve cell connections in the brain – when the connections are strengthened they are potentiated (Amen, 2010). Practicing over time strengthens these circuits and builds what we know as willpower. LTP occurs whenever these circuits are strengthened and practiced and the associated behaviors become almost automatic (Amen, 2010).

My ‘crazy’ experiment

I tested the LTP theory years ago. I had always felt like I had no willpower – prone to binge drinking and eating. I had begun working with a trainer and saw the weight loss benefits. Wanting to see what results I could truly obtain, I quickly modified my diet – strictly following the guidelines that I provide in my meal and snack creation post. At the time, I was having difficulty with giving up my beloved Snickers candy bars. Having read about LTP and that it is possible to increase willpower. I thought I would test it out.

I took a “Fun Size” Snickers bar to work and placed in in front of my computer monitor. At the time, I worked in publishing and sat in front of the computer for 8-10 hours a day. My goal: I will not eat the Snickers today. I sat there all day with the Snickers in front of me. I practiced saying no. Some might argue this was desensitization (it may have been). I wanted to, but I did not eat it!

I set the same goal for the next day.

And the next.

I would tell myself, I did not eat it yesterday and I do not need to eat it today.

This went on for months. More than a year. Eventually the Snickers bar was so old that it wasn’t appealing (although I am sure it has an absurd shelf life) and I threw it away. I had built willpower and the ability to say no.

It was not easy

This brief summary omits the days of stressful deadlines, when I almost ate that bar. I didn’t mention the emotional days, when I wanted the candy bar, but said no. It doesn’t mention my colleagues – who all thought I was crazy – who were nay-sayers and bullied me to eat it.

The challenge

What do you need to say no to?

For me, it was Snickers. At other times, it has been saying no to clients who want to train with me during periods that I am generally unavailable. There was also a time when I needed to learn to say no to alcohol.

I challenge you to think about what you need to say no to. Starting today, you will practice. It starts with 1 day. Then 1 day becomes 2. And if I can do it — so can you.

So tell us, to what are you going to practice saying NO?

References

Amen, D. G. (2010). Change Your Brain, Change Your Body. Three Rivers Press: New York.

Attacking life as an obstacles course

Last week, some friends, strangers, and I completed an obstacle course workout at TNT Fitness. Amazing! Looking at the obstacles from a distance was a bit daunting. My heart raced. I was concerned that my knee, hip, and shoulder would inhibit my ability to successfully complete some of the obstacles. I worried that I was not strong enough to conquer the obstacles ahead.

photo (37)

Strong – there is no other choice

I did not feel strong enough for the obstacles laid out before me. I did not feel equipped.

As usual, I put my game face on and I prepared for the obstacles. Do not think, just DO IT!

Those who know me personally, know that I overthink. I was thinking about the hip that was sore. I was thinking about the calluses that I had recently ripped off my palms. I had to center myself and stop thinking. When I find this space of not thinking is when I find my strong. photo (38)

Not traversing the wall was not a choice. Not flipping the tire was not an option. Skipping or avoiding obstacles was not an option. Digging deep and being strong was the only choice. And we worked as a team to help others get up and over – sometimes lending a helping hand and often cheering and encouraging one another. My strength came not only from digging deep within myself, but also from trusting others.

“Mini Mt. Everest” was a mental challenge for me. I was afraid that I could not do it. My friend Mo went first – and he stood at the top waiting for me to come. I was confident that if I did not make it, he could reach for my arm and help to pull me up and over. The best part, this gave me the confidence to do it.

With my physical strength, I managed to overcome that obstacle alone. But I drew my confidence and mental strength from others.

Translating this strength onto life’s obstacles

My life has changed pretty significantly these last few weeks – in positive ways. But there have been numerous obstacles. One after the other. And there will continue to be one after another.

Just like last week’s obstacle course workout, not attacking those obstacles is not an option.

I have a vision for my life – my personal and professional endeavors. I have a rough timeline for where I would like to see myself in 5 or 10 years. There are education and experiences I desire to obtain. But God and friends have a different plan and timeline for me. The vision, the same, but put on fast forward.

I do not feel strong enough. I do not feel equipped. These are the same thoughts I experienced prior to the obstacle course workout.

The bottomline

Life is an obstacle course – and I need to learn to treat it like the one that I recently conquered. I conquer fears one at a time, and I suppose obstacles in life are to be overcome in much the same manner.

Much like the obstacle course workout, I have friends who are reaching out to grab my hand – ensuring that I do not fall or hit my face. The faith others have in me today, helps me to build my confidence and push forward with determination. The obstacles are inevitable, but I know that the hands are there to grab onto.

I am ready to attack this life as the obstacle course that it is!

Are you with me?

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The week before a half marathon (or marathon)

I am three days away from my third half marathon. The first one, I trained diligently. The second, I barely trained and essentially ignored nutritional training, with the excuse of being too stressed. I was disappointed in my results, and have set forth to smash both race times. This year, I have trained, making my runs a priority (and even lightening my leg strength days a tad). My nutrition and hydration have been adapted to the change in demands I have been placing on my body.

I do not feel ready.

I will be running 13.1 miles on Sunday and I am freaking out. The good news? This is perfectly normal.

The taper

For those who do not know about training for an endurance run, any solid training plan will require reduced mileage in the weeks prior to a race. After spending 8-20 weeks of progressively increasing mileage, you begin to cut miles. This allows your body to recover and recoup for the big race.

It does not do a whole lot of favors for the mind.

I have not been running far enough.

The weather

Many of my friends (aka Fit Chix with Quick Stix) are running the full marathon this weekend. In our conversations, it is obvious that many of us are experiencing weakened confidence. We are all unsure. The weather has changed drastically in the last few weeks here in the Midwest – from snow less than two weeks ago to 80 degrees and sunny today. Most of our training was completed in 0-60 degree weather. Feeling the exhaustion of the HOTTER – but much shorter – runs, has left many of us insecure and pessimistic. I am sitting here, bloated from my attempt to hydrate, and I am worried.

What if I overheat?

I am praying for 60 degrees and rain on race day. I do not like heat. I would prefer to use water stations to hydrate, rather than to use them to pour over my head and cool off. Sure, I could stop at each station and do both – but that would slow me down and I am on a time crunch.

Mind over matter

Endurance events require a great deal of mental strength. The physical training is easy – in comparison. The hard part of training? The days and hours leading up to a long run, “Ok, I am going to go out and run 10 miles….” Anticipatory thoughts do not necessarily require us to believe that we can do it – they require us to want to.

You have to WANT to.

Many individuals joke that all marathoners are crazy. Crazy is a word many individuals use to describe determined, dedicated, motivated, and ambitious individuals. Do marathoners maintain or obtain a unique mental state and mind set? Yes, marathoners are mental athletes (by the way, ALL true athletes are mental athletes). You find a way to clear your mind of everything else and you simply run.

Vicarious experience

At this stage, my confidence must be drawn from vicarious experience. I have successfully completely two half marathons. I am in better physical condition and am running faster than I have for either of them – I KNOW I can do this. Several weeks ago I ran a strong 11 miles and had energy to spare – I KNOW I can do this.

I know, therefore I can.

The hardest part for me, along with the taper, is the overall resting. I am done lifting until after the race. I am determined to meet my challenging goal and I need to ensure I am rested. Just as my Sunday long run took a toll on my April 1 assessment workout, I do not want my workouts to impact my long run. THE long run.

The bottomline

The final week(s) prior to any endurance race is difficult. It can be a challenge to keep your head in the game, not allowing your confidence to waiver.

Mentally – I KNOW I can. Physically – I KNOW I can. Therefore, I CAN.

Let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. ~Hebrews 12:1

Why is it so hard to accept appreciation?

Every gym has it. The group of young men – they do more standing and talking than lifting. I do not judge them – I do my thing and they do their thing. But I have no desire to interact with them. Earlier this week, I was drawn into a conversation of form and technique. I might have upset them. Alright, I probably DID upset them. But I impressed myself with how eloquently I expressed myself – and the clarity with which I offered guidance and direction.

While my feedback was not exactly accepted with open arms – you can never expect telling a man to lower his weights to be accepted – I walked away from this situation feeling incredibly confident in my knowledge and abilities. This scenario is one of many that reinforces that I am pursuing my purpose.

I also walked away from this situation feeling great gratitude…

Eucharisto

Eucharisto, the Greek word meaning “to give thanks.” In recent years, I have given great focus to expressing my love and gratitude. I have given focus to eucharisto. I left this gym encounter with a strong desire on my heart for eucharisto. I owe a great deal to my friend and mentor – he inspired and encouraged me. He empowered and taught. He was a major influence in my decisions to do what was needed to become who I am today.

I left the gym and called him immediately – intending to leave a message because he never answers his phone. He answered. Intending to keep my call short and sweet I said, ” I just want to thank you for helping me to be smart.” He refused to accept my gratitude – defending that I am smart on my own, with the passion, desire, ambition, and intellect to learn and apply what I needed to in order to do my job and do it well.

Suddenly, the wheels were turned, and it was my turn to empower him, my mentor. I gave him a speech. The short of it being that yes, I may have the natural born intellect and drive, but he empowered and he taught. Most importantly, he believed in me. He listened. He replied, “Thank you for listening to me when I spoke and for making the effort to learn.” (Notice, he still did not accept my gratitude.)

I closed with another giving of thanks, informing him that whether he accepted it or not, he had a significant influence on who I am today. For this I will be FOREVER grateful.

Accepting eucharisto

Why do we have such difficulty accepting eucharisto, thanks, gratitude? I know that I struggle with this acceptance. When clients thank me (for doing my job) I often deflect, “Thank yourself, you put the work in.”

As a culture, we are disturbingly hard on ourselves. We rarely accept positive thoughts, compliments, or appreciation. This is a cultural disaster! Years ago I learned how to accept a compliment with a “thank you” in response. Unfortunately, this became an automatic response and I never learned to believe the compliments that were given to me!

Step one – Be aware

Like any attempt at change, the first step to accepting appreciation is awareness. We need to be aware of when others are expressing gratitude or appreciation. We need to learn to be aware of eucharisto.

Do you think that this step is too simple and perhaps silly?

Can you tell me the last time someone expressed gratitude do you?

Or the last time that you expressed gratitude towards someone else?

We often let appreciative comments and interactions go in one ear and out the other. We do not cherish them. Do we hear them? Do we let them sink into our hearts?

Are you aware?

Step two – Believe

Just as simple as step one, step to is to BELIEVE. Believe the appreciation. Gratitude. Eucharisto. Simple, but not easy. Write them over and over until you believe them. Keep a gratitude journal. Keep notecards in your purse. Write appreciative notes to yourself and to others. Leave messages in the car, kitchen, and bathroom. Let appreciation shine and you are sure to being to believe.

Step three – Shine

Express eucharisto and let it shine! Give thanks for the little things. The more you give thanks, the more you see it, the more you can accept it.

I was raised in an environment in which appreciation did not exist. You did what you did – because it was expected of you. There was no thanks for something that you were simply supposed to do! And you did what you were supposed to do in order to avoid the possible consequences. This makes both providing and accepting appreciation a challenge that I have worked long and hard to overcome.

The bottomline

Similar to make of my posts, there is no easy answer. Why is it so hard to accept appreciation?

I could pretend to have the answers, but I do not. I am a work in progress. I am TERRIBLE at accepting appreciation. I prefer to remain humble – and have not quite fully learned that you can be humble and accepting of appreciation. I realize that I influence individuals daily – and for that many show great appreciation. But I deflect – in my mind, others are far more powerful and influential!

The power of a compliment

You never know what a compliment might do!

I will keep this short. I received two powerful compliments in the last two days – during a time of heightened insecurity and self doubt. The first – a compliment from a coworker about how amazing my arms look. The second – a compliment from an older, physically fit gentleman at the gym where I teach and train. He mentioned to the gym owner and staff while pointing at me – “You don’t see a lot of women who can do the full straight leg raises like she was doing. It’s very impressive!

I replied, “Thank you, I train hard and appreciate the compliment.” He said a little more about it, but I was too busy thinking positive thoughts to hear him!

I have been known to be significantly self conscious about my appearance. There was a period when I received a lot of comments like, “Oh, you workout?” Really, I do not look like I workout? That frustrated me – I worked out so hard and yet it was unnoticeable. I was told that only the naive and ignorant would look at me and not know that I workout. But – it has happened a lot!

I have this issue when it comes to my torso. Despite the fact that I can physically perform exercises that most women cannot – I feel that my physical appearance does not display this. How come I do not have washboard abs – like some women I know who are not able to do half of what I can. I sometimes allow myself to become defeated by my physical display of imperfection.

So with this man’s comment – he noticed something that I had felt was unnoticed and unnoticeable. He showed me an error in my thinking.  He validated all of my hard work! And all he had to do was verbalize a compliment – something many people may have thought but never thought to say. And now….all I want to do is go to the gym and do more hanging leg raises.

How can you compliment others today?

Super Woman is not real!

I know a lot of women whom I have never seen in the same room as Super Woman. Okay, so I have never seen Super Woman (she’s not real), but that is besides the point. What I have noticed is that these women put too much pressure on themselves. I admit, I am likely one of these women – and this is probably why we are such great friends and have such immense love for one another. But lately, I have been hearing a lot of negativity, hurt, and pain. Having self expectations are good up until the point when they becoming self harming.

For some women I know, I would attribute some of the negativity to physical and emotional burnout. Others, physical overtraining and burnout. You know who you are and yes I am writing to you! I hear: 

I am a bad mom!

I am a bad friend!

I do not have time for me! or anything!

I do not workout enough! or I did not run far enough! or I do not run often enough!

And what I am hearing are all of the things that she did not do and I am hearing nothing about all of the things that she DID do!

There are no Super Women

Super Woman was a comic book hero – she is not real. There are no real Super Women – hiding capes. You may sometimes feel like the world, your family, and your friends are asking you to be Super Woman, but they are not. More often than not – everyone would appreciate seeing that you are human. So breathe. Take time to enjoy the day. And do not put so much pressure on yourself to be everything to everyone all of the time.

It is okay to miss a workout – No one ever died from an acute lack of exercise. However, individuals have died as the result of excessive exercise. Use that as food for thought.

Teenage children –– will ‘hate’ you regardless. Do not worry about bending over backwards to be the ‘best’ mother in their eyes.

Maintain boundaries – Most women I know need to practice using the response, “NO!” This is easier said than done. However, the more we say it, the easier it becomes. And ultimately, we will gain more respect from others when doing so.

Social support – More than anything, we need support. Spouses, running pals, mentors, mental health professionals, book clubs – wherever you may get it. We all need someone to simply listen at times – not necessarily provide feedback or advice. Have a safe social support system in your back pocket.

Some of my closest friends are the women I run with. We became amazingly close after a 200-mile relay adventure in 2011. Each year the group grows – and our support grows. While I hate running, I love my Fit Chix with Quick Stix! At times, I believe that each one of these woman are Super Woman – business owners, cancer survivor, mothers, coaches, educators, chefs, bakers, crafters, shoppers, chauffeurs, singers, stupid human tricksters, etc. But I know better — Super Woman is not real.

The bottomline

I initially thought this post would be about ways to avoid burnout. But we know how – we have heard it all a million times. The hard part is applying it. So my final thought is simply this – be kind to yourself. And remember all the things that you have done and do and focus less on what you have not done.

I wish that I had something super enlightening to share with you, but I do not. But to all my ‘Super Woman’ out there – you inspire me daily!