Why we need connections to thrive

 

“I define connection as the energy that exists between people when they feel seen, heard, and valued; when they can give and receive without judgment; and when they derive sustenance and strength from the relationship.” ~ Brené Brown

I love this definition of connections by Brene Brown. The essence of connections is based on the value that they bring to our lives.  Not just how many friends or relatives do you have. Not just how many people know you. Who do you value in life? How do you add value to their lives?

As we go into this Thanksgiving weekend, it is a good time to reflect on the people in our lives.

How can I show my gratitude to those important connections in my life?

What am I doing to sustain those connections?

Am I accepting of my friends and family, just as they are?

A good week to reflect on our valuable connections and how we can support each other with positive energy and strength.

Contact Coach Gwen for more tools.   Schedule a coaching call

Your first strategy coaching call is free.

 

Work Life Balance made Simple

How to make work life balance simple:

  • Everything is not equally important. Do fewer things and do them well.
  • Decide what your values are — and which ones take precedence.
  • Do the things that get results.
  • Focus on the things only you can do.
  • Do the important things, which must be done now.

Work life balance can be simple over time. It won’t be resolved tomorrow but you can get much, much better at this with practice.

Five Key concepts that make work life balance simple:

  1. Learn to say no.

Say no to requests that are not your highest-level priority. Ask your self: am I being helpful or I am doing someone else’s work for them? Is this the best use of my time right now?

You can do anything once you stop trying to do everything.

When you say yes to one request, stop to think what you are saying no to at the same time. You can only spend your time on one thing at a time.

  1. Plan ahead.

Planning out your schedule makes sure the important things get done. Setting up a list for each day, helps you stay on track.

Schedule the important things on your calendar. If getting to your daughters soccer game is important, put that on the schedule.

Schedule some time for yourself as if it was an important meeting.

When you plan ahead for your high value activities, they happen. If you neglect to plan you end up dealing with what ever comes at you in a random fashion.

That feels like a lack of control and is exhausting to react rather than take action.

 

  1. Bundle chores or errands.

Check your patterns; be mindful of how you spend your time and the choices you make on a daily/ weekly basis. How many trips to you make to the grocery store?

When you have a plan for meals you can reduce time spent at the store and preparing meals. Plan ahead for errands and take once a week to do them.

Return phone calls in a batch at work. Save low priority tasks for when you need a mental break.

 

  1. Manage work time

Start each day with the high priority list. Plan ahead on what time you will leave work each day. Cut back on distractions by closing your door or asking questions when you are interrupted. Asking questions can save everyone time. Ask about time, priority and who else is involved before you take on another project.

What is the deadline for this? What do you need from me right now? If someone brings you a problem or needs help: ask first: What solutions do you have in mind? Or ask what have you tried first? Refer back to # 1. Learn to say no.

 

  1. Enjoy weekends and vacation time.

When you are home, really be home. Keep work out of your personal time.

Unplug from work emails, phone calls or texts. Don’t feel like you have to spend every spare moment on chores or tasks. Set up personal rest time doing something fun and enjoyable, even if it seems wasteful. It is not. Time for self-care is critical to enjoying your life and reducing stress.

My final few thoughts are about letting go of expectations and being perfect.

Give up on perfection. Good enough is good enough for many tasks. Other people can do things instead of you doing everything. You just have to let them.

Gaining a work life balance is a process. Reflecting on what is important to you is the first step to making changes that last. Feeling unbalanced? Contact Gwen for a grounding coaching session.

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Essential Healthy Habits for Health and Wellness

Everyone knows know that if you took action on one essential healthy habit, everything else in your life would be a little bit easier. Here is a list of possible habits for you to choose from:

 

Getting a full nights sleep

Starting off the day with a meaningful activity

Planning time for the week ahead

Quiet time for thought and meditation

Physical exercise

Daily practice of gratitude

Inspirational or personal development

Setting boundaries on your time with other people

Leaving all work tasks and thoughts at work

Self care as a daily activity

Healthy food that nourishes your body

Family or fun time

Social time with friends

Simplify your to do list

Delegate more tasks

Reflect and learn from mistakes

Setting your intentions for each day

Let go of those things you cannot control

 

If living a long healthy life is your goal: follow these essential healthy habits to longevity

  1. Maintain a healthy body weight between 18.5-29.5 BMI
  2. Get at least 7 hours a sleep every night
  3. Do moderate exercise 150 min a week or 75 min of intense exercise weekly
  4. No Alcohol or only in moderation 1-2 drink/day with no binge drinking
  5. Not smoking

 

As you might think some of these essential health habits are linked together. Regular exercise helps with weight management and promotes better sleeping habits. Just as smoking or regular drinking of alcohol can be a hindrance to intense exercise workouts. The study that looked at habits for longevity did not consider stress, which I consider a key factor that derails many goals in creating a healthy lifestyle.

My challenge to you is to pick 1-3 of these essential core habits and practice them on a daily basis for 2 full weeks. You select the habit, define what it means to you and keep the actual time small. If you write out a list of 3 things each day you are grateful for: it only takes a minute. That means this is a habit that is easy to do.

Physical exercise can vary between a 10-minute walk , 3 minutes of stretching, or focused deep breathing.

My list has get a full nights sleep, exercise daily and creating a morning routine that is focused on setting intentions for the day, reflection and tackling the most important things first. Why? Because when I do those healthy habits my days flow smoothly and I feel energized and enthusiastic about my days accomplishments.

Need help? Contact Coach Gwen to set up a system that makes your day easier.

Click for a 30 min complimentary coaching call

Compassion Fatigue Are you at Risk?

If you find yourself emotionally and physically exhausted, easily irritated and blaming others for problems on a daily basis: you could be suffering from compassion fatigue.

There are many resources for how to recognize, prevent and treat compassion fatigue. I would like to focus on the coaching approach to dealing with this chronic and debilitating condition. Coaching is unique in starting with examining your personal operating beliefs.   Your beliefs drive your actions on a daily basis. Reflection and examining your beliefs is the key to changing your actions. If you believe that putting the needs of others first is important, then your actions will reflect that belief. If you believe that you are totally responsible for healing an injured animal than you will take on all of the pain and disappointment if that animal fails to thrive. If you believe that you must be perfect with every task at work, than you will consider any misstep a personal failure.

A strong identification with weak, suffering, helpless animals or people contribute to higher levels of compassion fatigue. Caring to much and taking on all the emotional blame for any outcome is part of a belief that you need to care more than any one else in order to help others.

So the reason that many people are attracted to a caring, helping profession is also the reason they are at higher risk for compassion fatigue.

Check your self against these common symptoms:

  • Emotional exhaustion
  • Reduced sense of personal accomplishment or meaning in work
  • Poor habits of self-care
  • Excessive blaming
  • Isolations for others
  • Physical exhaustion and chronic fatigue
  • Compulsive behaviors such as overeating, overspending or binge TV watching
  • Substance abuse to mask feelings
  • Pent up emotions
  • Difficulty concentrating or making basic decisions

How does Spiral Coaching help with compassion fatigue?

Coaching is based on self-learning, self-compassion and reflection to make adjustments in your normal patterns that support a healthier, happier you. Resilient people practice self-care, exercise regularly, eat healthy and have strong support systems. Do You?  Practicing self compassion is a way to recharge your emotional batteries. Using a journal with a coach gives you a guide for faster results

.Sign up for your free on line journal

How would you rate your stress level today? Do you have signs of compassion fatigue?

What are you willing to do about improving your life right now?

What beliefs drive your actions? Do those beliefs support a healthy lifestyle?

These are basic coaching questions that start the process of moving in a direction of creating positive changes for you.

If you don’t like where you are, you must be willing to take action before your life will change.

Take a step forward today. Contact Coach Gwen Veterinarian Services – go to your page

Click to schedule a 30 min complimentary coach call

How to lower Stress / High Blood Pressure Naturally

 

Learning to take a deep breath will lower stress and manage high blood pressure naturally. There are a few surprising things you can do that help with both stress and high blood pressure.

Stress increases your fight or flight reaction in a crisis. This is a helpful response in an emergency. The problem is living in that highly reactive state is harmful to both your physical and emotional self. Studies show that blood pressure is and stress are related. Stress can effectively raise blood pressure and managing stress with breathing can lower blood pressure. This relationship is dynamic with many other factors. What we do know is that learning to use relaxation techniques like deep breathing help both high blood pressure and stress. How can you get out of that stressful reactive state naturally?

Simply taking a deep breath is a good way to start. A focus on breathing is at the core of various relaxation techniques.

10 ways to lower your blood pressure naturally

  • Learn breathing exercises- Deep slow breathing is the oldest and best-known technique to decrease stress.

Taking 4 deep breaths in through your nose and out for a count of 5 is a method you can do at work without any special equipment. If you have the time, than imagine yourself in a relaxing place while you focus on deep breathing for 1-3 min.
Power Walk- 30- 60 minutes a day can help bring down your blood pressure numbers. Walk outside when you can, fresh air and sunshine add to the fun

Play with your pet – Playing with or petting an animal can increase levels of the stress-reducing hormone oxytocin and decrease production of the stress hormone cortisol.

Music is effective for relaxation and stress

  • Music can have a profound effect on both the emotions and the body. … Upbeat music can make you feel more optimistic and positive about life. A slower tempo can quiet your mind and relax your muscles, making you feel soothed while releasing the stress of the day.
  • Reduce salt intake- The AHA recommends limiting your sodium intake to 1,500 milligrams (mg) per day. That’s a little over half a teaspoon. 
To decrease sodium in your diet, don’t add salt to your food. One teaspoon of table salt has 2,300 mg of sodium! Use herbs and spices to add flavor food.
  • Eat a healthy diet with lots of vegetables, fruits and fiber. Eliminating foods that are high in saturated fats, such as processed foods, full-fat dairy products, and fatty meats It helps to cut back on desserts and sweetened beverages, such as soda and fruit drinks.
  • Lose the extra weight. Pay attention to your food intake, increase your activity level. All calories are not the same. Contact Gwen about the Transitions Lifestyle program.
  • Manage your stress- look at the root causes of your stress triggers
  • Get full nights sleep- Sleep allows our energy level to replenish and physical body to rest. Follow a pattern to set yourself up for sleep by avoiding technology and visual stimulation 30 minutes before your normal bedtime.

Need a free app to help the habit of deep breathing? Try Breath2Relax

Read more about exercise that helps click below:

AHA guidelines for exercise that lowers blood pressure

Contact Coach Gwen Schedule a time to talk

 

The Habit of Completion will simplify your Life

 

The Habit of Completion

Who feels good about checking off something on your list? It seems like a small satisfaction to know you have completed a task. Yet those some acts of completion help motivate us to keep moving forward with goals, projects or just the steps of everyday life. What stops us from completing projects?

Time. Lack of time is what everyone says prevents them from getting things done. I would disagree. I have found with my clients that when drilling down how they spend time, there are things they could stop doing, give away or spend less time on. This change would then gain some valuable time for personal projects.

I challenge you to reflect on how you spend your time and look for areas that you can make a change. Consider how these three steps might help you develop a habit of completion.

 

Step One: Learn How to Say No

Practice saying no to demands on your time and energy. Only say yes to things that make the best use of your time and bring you energy.

 

Step Two: Get Rid of Clutter

Start with a small area and create a clutter free zone- on your desk and in your home. Use this area to work on projects or planning where you are not distracted by other items that might claim your attention. Clean out closets of items you do not use or do not fit and find them a home with someone else who could use these items.

 

Step Three: Chunk it Down

Take any project that is too big or overwhelming and break it down into steps. Decide what five actions you could take to start on the big project and do those. Pick a time period between 20-40 minutes and just commit to spending that amount of time on the project every week or every day.

 

The habit of completion can be improved when you focus on small steps along the way. Give yourself credit for each step, so you avoid that feeling of overwhelm that prevents you from even starting on a new project.

I am planning on spending the last few days of this year cleaning out files, clearing up loose ends and clearing out the clutter that allows me a fresh start to 2017. Need help? I won’t physically come to your office or home, but I can give you some practical ideas on how and where to start your new habits for 2017.

Make Happiness Top Priority

 

thumb_img_0793_1024What would change in your life if you decided make happiness your top priority?

Edwin Edebiri, thinks that happiness needs to be our default position and has declared himself the Chief Happiness Officer. Listen to his Ted- ex talk here. Happiness as a Default Position
He speaks to a core belief that happiness is a state you deserve to enjoy and everyone can find happiness. I agree that happiness is a state of mind that improves when you pay attention to what does make you happy. What I like about his talk is the idea that self-compassion or the ability to forgive your self is a key component to happiness.
I pulled a few ideas that appealed to me from his talk.

How to make Happiness your priority in life
1. Decide to be happy
2. Smile more and learn to laugh at yourself
3. Create a gratitude list, include what makes you happy
4. Create a list of all the things that make you unhappy and seek solutions
5. Eliminate some things that that contribute to unhappiness
6. Be active and make healthy choices for self care
7. Create a dream list and take actions towards your dreams
8. Play
Is it really that easy to become happier?

There is research that supports that idea of happiness linked to attitude and your focus on need satisfying goals. Remember that these are goals that nourish and support you, not just achievement goals.
Goals that nourish you can be long-term projects that you work on over time. Happiness comes from taking good care of your self in small ways.

What makes me happy?
I have small things that make me happy: hearing a bird sing, riding my bike instead of driving to the store, connecting with people on a summer walk, swimming and a quiet start to the day drinking tea. Consider the small things that you find pleasure in. What does make you feel good? It can be an activity or something you view or appreciate. When you pause at the end of every day and create a gratitude list, it gives you a reason to be happy. In hectic times the only thing we really can control is our attitude.

Look at the ideas above and find what fits your needs. Try one or two of them and see what happens.  Really it can be that easy to enjoy happy moments.
Need some other ways to check your happiness level? Schedule a call with Coach Gwen

Responsibility- Is this Mine?

When did I first learn that I was responsible?  Some where in the lesson of responsibility – I twisted up what I was responsible for. I took on the belief that I was responsible for all others first, that I was responsible for other people. That I was responsible for happiness, feelings, outcomes, being perfect, doing it all.

That other people’s feelings and needs came before mine. I used to think that doing things for others was important and I was not important.  Now I reject that belief and have let go of my idea of being responsible for the entire universe.  Are you really in charge of the universe today? Only when I ask myself that out loud does it sound silly.

Responsibility is a habit that is difficult to sort out at times. I am at heart a responsible person. It is the order of my belief that has changed. I cannot be helpful, compassionate or caring when I am overwhelmed or carrying the weight of all responsibility around with me. What happens if you pick up every task or problem that you see? How many of these problems or rocks can you carry and still keep moving without impacting your own health?

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On good days, I will gently hand you back the responsibility you attempt to pass over to me. On bad days, I will say yes to anything asked of me, and then get angry or upset when I realize I have taken on too much responsibility again. When I carry around things for other people, there is no space in my life for me. I am important. I need to be responsible to me before you.  Another lesson to be learned.

When I do forget and slip back into that outdated idea of what is mine, I am able to remind myself by asking better questions.  Is this really mine? Pause. Say no before yes. Who does this belong to? Why would you ask me that? Is this mine?

I am responsible.

I am responsible for my own happiness.

I am responsible for self -care, honoring my feelings, being kind to myself.

I believe that self- care is critical to self- development and growth.

I am responsible for me.

The Emotional Roller Coaster

The Emotional Roller Coaster- Cancer

What are your options when you know your emotions are running your life and you really need to find a center balance point to be there for your loved one?

How do you be the support person when your friend is upset and having difficulty dealing with loss or grief ?

I wish I could give you the right formula that would help you every time.

I can only share what I learned about accepting my emotions without letting them take over my life.

I now view my emotions as waves. Emotional waves can be large or small, expected or unexpected. You can learn to swim with your emotions by accepting them as just your feelings of the moment.

I hate crying, yet I have cried more the last 30 days than the last 30 years. I hate not having the answers, yet there are some questions that have no answers. I like having a plan and knowing what will happen next. Cancer of a loved one does not give you that option. Making plans is a waste of time and energy. Living on an emotional roller coaster is exhausting and unsustainable. So what do you do?

Most of us have tried two things, ignore your emotions or stuff them away to deal with some day. Some day never comes, so that is the same as ignoring them.

Ignoring emotions allow them to build up to a crisis where you are likely to explode over trivial things. Learning to accept and work with your emotions will allow you to accept them as an experience instead of a stress trigger.
Here are three ideas that have helped me stay steady and calm.

First: Accept the fact that you have emotions and they will show up unexpectedly.

Second: Recognize your feelings and acknowledge them. I do that my naming them.

Third: Ask yourself “what do I need right now?” as a way to focus on actions that support you in time of chaos.

Self-care will take many forms. I thrived on reading, exercising and focusing on small daily routines that brought me comfort. Judith Oeloffs’ book Emotional Freedom was useful for my handling this sudden change in my life. She describes emotional freedom as a chance to become better. “ To make this a reality, you must begin to see each event of your life, uplifting or hurtful, earthshaking or mundane as a chance to grow stronger, smarter, more light-bearing. “ My definition has been simpler. Emotional freedom means to flex your emotional muscles on a regular basis until you accept them as part of you. Do your current strategies work for handling emotions? Reach out and start stretching those emotional muscles by connecting with other people, a trusted friend, a coach.

 

How to Save Time

take your seat

 

Would you like to have an extra hour in every day? How would it feel to have plenty of time every day? We all have the same amount of time. We all get to decide how we spend it every day. In reading articles about time management: I found two main areas of focus. One was how to create systems and shortcuts to be more efficient with your time on daily tasks. The second idea was to make deliberate choices on how you spend your time in a way that reflects on what is important to you.

I think the easy logical path is to plan ahead, creates systems, get rid of clutter and make specific to do lists to manage your time. This is frequently the first choice for traditional time management. Best ideas for this area include:

Plan your weekly menus. You will save time and money at the grocery store. This helps you avoid extra trips to the store and you have healthy snacks and lunch stuff ready to go every day.

Cook in batches. Make enough food for leftovers and to freeze for another week.

This gives you an easy healthy option for a busy day.

Get rid of clutter. It is easier to focus when your physical area is clear. No clutter makes it easy to find things, you spend less time searching, moving piles around or repeatedly sorting through things.

 

 

The other time management choice is to stop and examine how you are spending your time.

Here are some questions to help you clarify where you want to spend your time.

  • Are you spending your time on high value activity?
  • Do you find joy in your daily routine?
  • Are there things you want to stop doing or get rid of?
  • Are there areas that that you want to spend more time in?

Annie Dillard wrote, “How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives.” The choice is yours. You can learn to catch yourself before things catch and entangle you. Try to apply mindfulness — intentional and nonjudgmental consideration — to everything you do, say, and think, before you blindly react.

Instead of keeping an ongoing list of things we should do or need to do. Stop and reflect on what things you want to do that enrich your life and nourish you. Turn your to do list into a “what matters most list”.

Need more ideas on your specific needs around time?

Schedule a call with Coach Gwen

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