Radical Acceptance: Can you do it?

No matter how healthy or wise or successful you become, you will never be immune to crappy things happening. You will get cut-off on the highway, have to deal with an inept co-worker, cope with illness, deal with grief, and have bad days. This is life. When you sign up for the good, you also have to deal with the less desirable. And in our lifetime, we will probably still see horror in the world. Maybe you have even experienced some of that horror personally.

Here is the deal: We have to accept this as is for right now. If you have experienced something in the past, there is no way possible that we can erase that. We also cannot solve the world problems over night. And there are times when dealing with a toxic relationship will feel as big as a world problem. It is when we are able to accept it as is, that we can actually move past it. We do not fall victim to it. We do not get wrapped up in the ‘why’ behind it. We say, “This is the problem at hand, and this is how we deal with it.”

I utilize the word radical┬ábecause for many acceptance is such a struggle and with deep struggles we have to take drastic measures. We have to dive right in and get the work done with urgency. If we don’t then we can get so caught up in all of the negative emotions that drown us. But when we can put the emotions, thoughts, and worries aside, we can see that the situation is more manageable.

You might hate your job, wish to be in a relationship, wish to be out of a relationship, buried in debt, or faced with any of life’s struggles, However, you will not be able to change your position if you are unable to accept where you are, check in with yourself (remember the trust we talked about) and then make the best decision for you.

101 Healthy Tools for Coping with Stress

Stress, disappointment, and negative emotions are inevitable. Sometimes coping is easy; other times it is more difficult. However, it is our job to cope. Our energy effects others, and it is our responsibility to monitor that energy.
Here are 101 ways to Cope:
  1. Bake cookies
  2. Eat two and give the rest away
  3. Go to a bookstore, read travel books, and fantasize of a faraway vacation
  4. Take a walk
  5. Call a friend that you enjoy talking to but haven’t heard from in awhile
  6. Breathe deeply
  7. Flirt with someone that deserves your attention
  8. Plan something, real or imaginary: a new career, a room in your dream home, your future children’s names
  9. Clean a room or closet in your house
  10. Volunteer your time
  11. Watch the sun rise
  12. Take a moment to smell your coffee before brewing and sipping
  13. Read something entertaining in a comfortable space: outside, a comfy chair, in bed
  14. Watch your favorite comedy
  15. Listen to upbeat music, preferably disco
  16. Write a stream of consciousness
  17. Find something that you are good at and that you enjoy doing. Become better at it.
  18. Play with pets: yours, a friend’s, or a shelter
  19. Look at old pictures, letters, or memorabilia
  20. Exercise mindfully
  21. Go on a date
  22. Shop. Buy something that you feel great in, whether it’s earrings, a stunning dress, or a great pair of yoga pants
  23. Enjoy a good glass of wine
  24. Get a makeover
  25. Play a game with friends
  26. Kiss
  27. Open the windows during a rainstorm
  28. Go to your favorite concert
  29. Surround yourself in snuggly material: your favorite sweats, a down blanket, fuzzy socks
  30. Start a blog
  31. Get a massage. Do it yourself or splurge. Massage your scalp with eucalyptus shampoo, or your feet with lavender creme
  32. Create something artistic
  33. Hit balls at a batting cage
  34. Get dressed up
  35. Drink herbal tea
  36. Try progressive muscle relaxation
  37. Run as hard as you can, even if for only for 30 seconds
  38. Take a scorchingly hot shower
  39. Meditate or pray
  40. Work in a garden
  41. Attend a community event
  42. Drink hot chocolate
  43. Watch videos of laughing babies on Youtube
  44. Take an ice bath
  45. Run as long as you can, even if at a slow jog
  46. Learn something new: a recipe, foreign language, how to knit
  47. Ask yourself how you feel; respond with advice that you would give your best friend
  48. Eat ice cream
  49. Go to a driving range
  50. Make love
  51. Go to a play or performance show
  52. Eat something decadent, slowly. Enjoy each bite.
  53. Do something unexpectedly nice for someone else
  54. Change a room in your home: Paint the walls, rearrange the furniture, refurbish a piece of furniture
  55. Scream loudly in a secluded space
  56. Take a dance class
  57. Go swimming
  58. Find something that makes you feel sexy: music, high heels, lipstick, lingerie
  59. Tell yourself that in this very moment you have everything that you need
  60. Give yourself permission to do something indulgent
  61. Forgive someone
  62. Appreciate something with age and history
  63. Explore new territory
  64. Go to an amusement park
  65. Stretch your body
  66. Sit at an outdoor cafe
  67. Do something that you never thought that you would
  68. Attend a marathon race as a spectator
  69. Hold a baby
  70. Initiate a girls’ night
  71. Sit in the warmth of the sun
  72. Join a group: AA, a book club, a rec league
  73. Consult with a health professional
  74. Read something inspirational
  75. Work on a puzzle
  76. Play like a child
  77. Go for a drive
  78. Attend a cultural event
  79. Gaze at the stars
  80. Remind yourself that you have gotten through worse before
  81. Sit next to a natural body of water: a stream, the ocean, a waterfall; listen mindfully
  82. Work towards a health goal like weight loss, a faster run time, or doing the splits
  83. Sit quietly with your eyes closed. Create a space in your mind that is peaceful and safe. Go there.
  84. Make a list of long and short term goals
  85. Take the first step towards your goals
  86. Pay off debt
  87. Find a non-profit or charity organization with a cause that you are passionate about; get involved
  88. Give your full attention to someone else
  89. Take a quiet bubble bath
  90. Make peace with your stress by finding gratitude for it
  91. Go fishing
  92. Go to a museum
  93. Visit new sites on the internet
  94. Put clean sheets on your bed
  95. Enjoy the smell of fresh cut grass
  96. Yoga
  97. Go on vacation or plan a staycation
  98. Sing your heart out
  99. Buy fresh flowers or a new plant for your home
  100. Go out to dinner
  101. Allow yourself to let go

He’s Not Perfect. You Aren’t Either

More real wellness, like this, to be shared in this month’s Wellness Challenge.


Testimonials of a Wellness Coach

I am so grateful to be able to do what I do. It has taken me several years to get to be at this place in my career and I couldn’t be more thrilled. I always knew that the essential tools and lessons that I was learning through education, experience, and introspection were missing somewhere in life lessons 101.

Here are a few amazing testimonials and feedback that I have received from individual and group wellness coaching in the last couple of weeks.

“I have lost 11 lbs in 5 weeks. This is unreal. Thank you so much.” ~L.S, 32

“I am going to bed every night before 10:30. It was hard at first but now I am sleeping and rested. I haven’t felt this way in years.” ~ J.L, 39

“I stopped my psychotropic meds. I just don’t need them now and I feel great.” ~G*

“This is why everyone needs a coach. Women need to hear that it is ok to stop beating themselves up!” ~H.T, 35

“It is hard to balance your weight loss goals with your goals to go out and meet people, but I am doing it!” ~L.S, 32

“I have started eating breakfast or having a smoothie and am seeing changes in my mood, energy level, and weight.” ~A.B, 28

“Powered through a 4 mile run. It was a challenge but I finished.” ~E.H, 26

*Not recommended without consulting a physician

The Value of a Dollar

This morning I reviewed my workout schedule and expenses. Monday, Wednesday, Friday 6 am workouts at the gym ($29/month), Saturday Real Ryder at Heat with Brandon ($12/class), Sunday morning hot yoga at Open Door ($12/class). This brings my monthly budget (not including apparel, shoes, or music) to $125. Is that a lot? When Chuck reads this, it will probably be a dinner discussion one night over the next week.

Why is money the number one cause of conflict in all relationships? I know it isn’t because my fiance doesn’t want me to be healthy and fit. Yet, time and time again, we hear it, see it, and experience it. We have to renegotiate and rationalize why we spend the dollars we do. Money isn’t the number one cause of divorce because of materialism, although that can be a serious side effect. It is a stressor, because it quantifies our conflict in values.

When we disagree about how money is spent, it is because we are disagreeing about what is significant in our lives. Everything we purchase, we place a specific value on. Some people may not be able to fathom $125/ month for fitness but may spend $3/ day on coffee or cigarettes. Women may not understand a man’s infatuation with TV’s: a couple grand for the Tv that the man will want to upgrade in 3 years, $100/month for cable, then a few more dollars here or there for netflix, apple TV, or the NFL Sunday Ticket. Even the thought of all of this is angering me. The man may then be in complete bewilderment at a women’s cost for upkeep: $50/month for mani/pedi, $125 every 2-3 months for hair, then shoe and bag habits… This sounds like a deleted scene from The Breakup.

Reflecting on ourselves and our values is necessary maintenance. It is important that we keep our money tied to our current values and not past habits. There may be things in our lives that may add coolness value or fun value but that kind of value fades quickly (and with age). It is important that when you discuss finances with your significant other that you are able to represent how your expenditures bring your lives value.

Fitness, organic food, and wellness initiatives will all add significant value to your life through increased energy, confidence, and strength. And maybe new shoes and daily Starbucks will as well, but their shelf-life is much shorter. Is $125 a lot for fitness? I will cut corners somewhere else.

Rules of Engagement

Conflict in a relationship is the most commonly misunderstood component. Many people come in with dialectics that fighting is a part of every relationship or that they are looking for someone in which to never conflict. Yeah right. Let’s get a little clarification on a couple of words before we proceed. For the sake of this blog we will refer to a conflict when speaking of a disagreement, conflict of interest, or a trying time in the relationship. We will refer to fighting as that nasty thing couples will do when self-respect of yourself and the relationship is lost.

Fighting is what will poison your relationship. Conflict is healthy, normal, and somewhat essential. Fighting can leave us beaten, broken down, and exhausted. Conflict resolution enables us to use teamwork and can fuel the relationship. Depending on the intensity of the fight, fighting can also be abusive which will break your morale and self-esteem.

Here are my Rules of Engagement for Couples:

1) No screaming, yelling, swearing or name calling. As soon as one of the former begins, then all bets are off. You are no longer being heard and your partner went straight to defensive mode. As much as we like to think that we can take this back, we can’t. Think about how the presentation of your words will effect your partner after you have made up.

2) Use “I” statements. This is therapy 101. We stay away from “you did this” or “you made me feel this,” and even the sneaky undercut version of “I feel this way when YOU do that.” Try to stick with how you are feeling.

3) When using tactic number 2, it is common for people to direct back to the other person when describing the situation. Stick to the facts. Drop any assumptions you may have about what the other person was thinking, feeling, or their intentions.

4) Don’t be afraid to compromise or say that you are sorry, but only if you truly are and will correct your mistakes in the future.

5) Pick and choose your battles. Listen to yourself when you are approaching your limits so that it doesn’t end in a volcanic eruption. Remember that people can and do impact our emotions, but we get the final say on how and when we want to respond.

You know that you have successfully gotten through a conflict when you have felt heard and you feel closer to your partner afterwards, knowing that you have worked through a trying time together.