This week I am going to share with you a few of my favorite quotes. Enjoy :)
You can be right or you can be relational. -Author Unknown
We pay for healthcare either way. Either we pay for healthy food or we pay for doctor’s visits/healthcare because we are sick. -Jaime McLaughlin
What you do everyday matters more than what you do once in a while. -Gretchen Rubin
I can do anything I want, but I can’t do everything I want. -Gretchen Rubin
If you are not in the arena also getting your ass kicked, I am not interested in your feedback.
More is caught than taught -Rachel Cruze
If you’re not changing it, you’re choosing it. -Kendra Henderson
Be strong. Take Courage, Don’t be intimidated. Don’t give them a second thought because God, your God, is striding ahead of you. He’s right there with you. He won’t let you down; he won’t leave you. -Deuteronomy 31:6
No one can make you feel inferior without your consent. -Eleanor Roosevelt
Don’t prove it to them. Prove it to you. -Natalie Hodson
Hope you enjoyed and are inspired. Have a great week!
I don’t know about you but in the last few years I have seen a trend of people being more vulnerable with others, or at least they seem to be. People share the raw, unfiltered selfies, messes in their homes and struggles. It helps others connect with them and makes them seem more real. There are so many gifts of true vulnerability but before we can talk about that, we need to discuss fake vulnerability.
While there are definitely people that are generally more vulnerable as a way to be real, authentic and genuine for their own wellbeing, there are also people that use “vulnerability” as a way to fake connection. Why fake connection? Most often, it is to manipulate others or it is about their shame due to trauma around being seen.
Let’s unpack both of those. First, there are people who fake vulnerability so that others are vulnerable and then that vulnerability can be used against them. With influencers, they sometimes fake that connection as a way to relate so you buy their products. For friends or peers, they make fake authenticity in order to get you to be vulnerable, only to use that against you or make themselves feel better about their lives.
While I started with that, it is important to note that not everyone is malicious in their vulnerability. Some people desperately want to connect but don’t know how so they mimic the vulnerability they see in others in an attempt to connect. Others were taught it is not okay to be vulnerable so they censor the vulnerability and only share in ways that appear vulnerable but aren’t really emotionally connected for them. Yet others try to be vulnerable but are so disconnected from themselves they don’t even know what their true, raw self is.
So, how can we distinguish true vulnerability in ourselves and others versus fake vulnerability? First, trust your gut. If something seems off, note that. That doesn’t mean blindly trust your gut but it does mean notice that feeling of something being off and look for clues that support or contradict that feeling.
If we are sharing our vulnerability in order to connect and honor ourselves, that is one thing. However, if we are sharing our vulnerability to gain a certain response from others, that is manipulation.
Now, let’s shift gears a little bit.
What are the gifts of true vulnerability? Brene Brown once said “There is no intimacy without vulnerability”. When we are able to be vulnerable with people, we are able to be seen for who we really are which is a way to honor our true self. We are able to connect with others in deep ways that cannot be fabricated.
While there are many misconceptions about vulnerability being weakness, vulnerability is actually one of the most courageous and brave things someone can do. To expose your true self and not know how it will be perceived or if it will be accepted takes courage. But, it also opens doors for true connection.
Yes, I realize that I said the same thing two different ways just now but I wanted to make sure that you got the point, that vulnerability breeds authentic connection.
Now, in this post I don’t have the space to go over when to be vulnerable, who to be vulnerable with and how much is too vulnerable so be mindful of those things (or talk to your therapist about it if you have one) because some vulnerability can be more harmful than helpful but the helpful vulnerability is something worth working on.
Now, go out and seek safe opportunities to be vulnerable while also being mindful of what true vulnerability looks like.
What Is Your Stress Score?
Let’s start with a quiz (or maybe two). If you have not already, click here to take the Holmes-Rahe Life Stress Inventory and here to take the Percieved Stress Questionnaire.
Now that you have possibly stressed yourself by taking the assessments, let’s talk about what the results mean. Let’s start with the Holmes-Rahe Life Stress Inventory. Once you add up the total of all of the life events that have happened to you in the last year, if you score was less than 150, great job because you are not likely to have a stress-induced health breakdown in the near future. If you scored 150-300 points, watch out because you have a 50% chance of having a stress-induced health breakdown in the next two years. I don’t know about you but that percentage is a little two high for my comfort. Now, let’s say you score above a 300. Watch out! You better start making some serious changes because your odds of having a stress-induced health problem is now at 80%!
Regardless of your score, take a deep breath. Knowing what the problem is, is the first step to change.
Now, let’s look at the Perceived Stress Questionnaire. It can be a little tricky to get your score so be sure to read the directions. Once you have your number, it is pretty easy to understand. The higher your scores, the higher your likelihood to have difficulty quitting smoking, the higher likelihood of getting sick and the greater chances of developing depressive symptoms.
How many of you are surprised by your results? For me, I was surprised that my Holmes-Rahe scores were fairly low but my Perceived Stress Questionnaire was much higher. And honestly, it does make sense because while my external stressors may be low, my perception of the stressors has a big impact (which is why reframing thoughts is so important!).
If all of your scores are fairly low, great job, keep it up! If your scores are moderate, this is a red flag that if you don’t do something, you will likely score higher in the future. If your scores are high, take a deep breath and give yourself a reality check that you cannot sustain this any longer.
So, what can you do to minimize stress? Let’s talk about a few things. First, you need to identify your stressors and set boundaries around what you need in those areas. If you need help with that, I have a ton of blog posts about that so be sure to look at the archived posts.
Next, practice self-care. This doesn’t have to be spa days or vacations (though it can). Self-care looks like things that recharge you but also things that support a healthy life like going to the doctor or seeing a therapist. If you struggle with self-care, read this post.
Fuel your body well! There are so many studies that link mental health and physical health with nutrition. When you fuel your body well, you feel well. You have more energy for tackling the stressors in your life and you are more confident because your brain is getting all of the nutrients you need to thrive.
Another way to minimize stress is to move your body daily. Whether that is going for a walk or taking a fitness class, the chemicals that are released in your body when you exercise have been proven to lower blood pressure, stress levels and provide more energy. Now, with this, know that every body is different and what works for one person may not work for another. For instance, I know a lot of people who love high intensity workouts. Because I have adrenal fatigue that I am working through, high intensity workouts actually cost me more than it helps me. However, yoga or a walk do my body so well where for others it may not have as big of an impact. Find what works for you and don’t assume just because something works for someone else that it will for you.
The last stress management technique that I am going to share is organization. I know, for some of you the thought of organization stresses you out but hear me out. When you are organized with your schedule, you know what to expect with your days, you make time for what is important, you don’t forget things and you generally have a better handle on life. For me, I have a planner that is in my office that I write all appointments on so I know the main things in the week and am able to plan errands and meals around those events. This also looks like an organized environment, organized meals, etc. There is so much research that shows that the more chaotic your external environment, the more stressed you are.
So, I realize none of these stress management techniques are new, earth shattering information. But, there is a reason you see me posting about these things in blogs and social media posts. BECAUSE THEY WORK! Am I perfect at them? No, but I am actively working on them because I know they will serve me well.
You know what you need to do to manage your stress so go do it and remember, you are worth it!
So, I know the title sounds a bit stuffy. Perhaps I am not the most creative with my titles but at least it gives you an idea of what the post is about. I see so many people struggle with their home life when they don’t have to. Maybe they feel resentful because they carry the main burden of household chores or the parenting. Some are overwhelmed with the laundry or meal prep. Still others are drowning in the chaos and clutter of their everyday life.
What if I told you it doesn’t have to be that way? What if you can enjoy your home, your kids and your life? Unfortunately, I don’t have a magic pill to give you but with some (or maybe a lot) of hard work, you can have the home life you desire and the work will pay off.
For those of you that follow me on social media, you saw that a few weeks ago we did a 14 day challenge for decreasing stress and increasing peace. If you did not see that, I encourage you to go back and look at that because there are some great tips on decluttering and identifying external triggers. Gretchen Rubin actually wrote a whole book on the topic called “Outer Order, Inner Calm” that has some great bite size tips on decluttering. But alas, that is just one step. The more order and the less clutter, the less to clean.
That may look like setting boundaries with yourself around decluttering regularly, if you buy something for the home then you get rid of one thing for the home or something along those lines. It may be that you set boundaries with yourself that when you do laundry, you complete it from start to finish instead of having a pile of clean laundry on the couch. Or, when the dishwasher is clean you unload it right away instead of waiting a few days and allowing more dishes to pile up. Best of all, that could look like distributing household responsibilities so it isn’t all on you.
Because a lot of my followers are stay at home or work from home moms, I want to pause and address something. Just because you are not working outside of the home does not mean you are a slave to everyone in your house. Sure, you may have more responsibilities in the home but it doesn’t mean that you do everything. Your kids still need to learn how to do laundry and run the dishwasher or else when they move out, they will be ill-equipped to handle life. They need to know how to cook meals, clean bathrooms and operate a vacuum. Handling all of that for them regularly is actually doing them a disservice. Now, that doesn’t mean if they are in finals week that you don’t help them with their responsibilities or if they are sick or sometimes just to be nice but, it isn’t the expectation.
If you are not ready to start with big changes, maybe you let your kids know that you are no longer going to clean up their plates after dinner and now it is time for them to rinse their dishes and load them in the dishwasher. Maybe you set boundaries in your house that when someone cooks, the other person cleans up. You can start small and still get some results that you desperately need.
Maybe for you it isn’t the chores, the responsibilities or the to-list. Perhaps it is the atmosphere of your home that you want to change. Maybe you are used to lots of yelling, name calling, disrespect and general upheaval. Then set some boundaries around that. That may look like “I will not engage in yelling, if it continues I will go into another room” or “In this house, eye rolling will not be tolerated. If it continues, ______ will happen”. But again, only set the action step if you are willing to back it up with completing the action. Remember, we show other people how to treat us by the boundaries we set and the behaviors we allow.
What are some areas in your home where you are struggling? Set some boundaries today!
I don’t know about you but every fall I get excited for the new season. When I was in school, I would get excited about the new school supplies, new teachers and new routines. Even as an adult, I view this time of year similar to New Years. A fresh start where I can create new routines, rituals and habits (along with kicking a few bad habits). I love getting organized for the new season and being re-energized to tackle areas where I have been slacking or not prioritizing in ways I would like to.
Gretchen Rubin talks a lot in her books about the power and value of times like this to help us gain the motivation to change. What are some areas where you want a reset or some habits you want to change? For me, I have allowed a bit too much technology for my kids this summer. It kind of became the default in between activities and I really want to change that so instead the default is playing with their toys, each other, using their brain to create Lego masterpieces or Magna-Tile towers.
For myself, I want to get back into meal planning and snack planning. I have gotten into the habit of picking something up for the kids and I while we are out and about. And while that has been convenient, it has also been a hit on our budget and our health. So, I need to change that.
Personally, I am ecstatic about this new change. For the first time since having kids, I will have designated weekly time that is for me without the need for babysitters or family watching them. While my oldest is in kindergarten, my two younger ones will be in preschool 3 days a week for 3 hours a day. In all honesty, if you include the commute and pick up/drop off time, I really only have about 2 hours each of those days but let me tell you, I am so excited about that. I have it scheduled where Tuesdays I work on business stuff and seeing an occasional client, Thursdays I grade papers and assignments (I am a graduate school professor for those who didn’t know) and Wednesdays I am dedicating all to me and self-care. Two uninterrupted, dedicated hours for me each week. I am elated right now just thinking about it. Not having to find someone to watch the kids while I get my nails done or have a doctor’s appointment. Being able to watch a TV show without interruptions or eat a meal without sharing.
There are also a lot of routines I want to continue and reinforce such as my quiet time, reading to my kids daily and finding ways to connect with them throughout the day. I want to be more intentional about pouring into my marriage and this is the perfect time to set new goals and routines to foster that relationship such as sending an encouraging text each day or planning a monthly date night.
Just writing this is making me want to stop what I am doing and create Pinterest boards, checklists and goals. So….off I go but before I do, I want to know, what are some changes you want to make with the new season upon us?
Jocelyn is a Licensed Professional Counselor and course creator who desires to help clients heal and grow into who God created them to be.