absolute no

The 50% Rule: Are You Running on Empty?

By | Goddess Wisdom, Wisdom Blog | 4 Comments

Fuel Gauge IllustrationLast week was my birthday week (41!) and I found myself stressed, sad, and sleep-deprived. Too much work and taking care of my sick man and sick dog and too little self-care.

And I went where I tend to go when I get stressed: within. I retreated, withdrew, tried to pretend that everything was fine. It wasn't. I didn't communicate with my man about my distress like I should have. I didn't let him know how upset I was that I spent my birthday working and taking care of him and his sick dog. That despite the fact that birthdays are a big deal to me, the only gift I received on my birthday was flowers from my student assistant; nothing from him. Most importantly, I forgot to take care of me.

By Friday morning, I was in a bad state. Emotionally depleted and physically exhausted, I turned once again to my best friend and peer coach, Kami. As usual, she called me on my shit in a loving way and told me just what I needed to hear to get myself out of the doldrums.

“What do you do when you fall below 50%?” She reminded me.

“You do whatever it takes to get yourself back above 50%,” I responded from rote memory. Damn it! I hate when she's right!

So what is the 50% rule? I've heard it described a few different ways, but the idea is this:

  • Each morning, start off your day by checking your energy tank. Simply ask yourself: “Where is my energy level today?” Lately I’ve been adding a second question: “Where am I emotionally right now?” as I’ve noticed a difference between my emotional and physical energy levels.
  • Ask yourself, “What do I need today to raise my energy level?” Again – lately I’ve been asking this twice – once for physical energy levels and once for emotional.
  • Do whatever your heart tells you to do to raise your energy level(s) or make a plan to do it later that day.
  • If either level is below 50%, stop. Don’t do anything else that day until you’ve done something to get your energy level back above 50%.
  • If your tank is running low, keep periodically re-checking throughout the day to see where you’re at and what you need.
  • Then go do it!

Now, obviously I wouldn’t be giving you this advice if I hadn’t learned the hard way from not taking it myself. Over the past couple of months, I let myself get so depleted that my body went into perimenopause.

I had my hormone levels checked a couple of weeks ago and got the results back today. They weren’t entirely what I expected given my perimenopausal symptoms. Yes, I am currently in perimenopause, but my doctor doesn’t think it’s permanent. He says that based on my testosterone, DHEA, and cortisol levels, my blood work shows I have been burning my candle at both ends and am about to break if I don’t change things. His advice? Meditate, journal, do more yoga, and have a little more fun. In other words, I need to get my stress under control and my hormones – and body – will come back into balance. So once again my ability to heal my body is all up to me – or in this case, my stress levels.

So what’s the plan? How do you get yourself consistently back above 50%?

  • Consult your checklist – Stacey Martino once suggested that you start by making a list of all the things you love to do that boost your mood and energy level. That way when you fall below 50% – and may be in no mood to figure out what you need to do to get back above it – you can just look at your list and have at it.
  • Check in with your body – in its infinite wisdom, it always knows what it needs
  • Check in frequently with your energy tank – I’m doing that exercise several times a day. I drew a heart on my hand in purple ink so whenever I see it that will serve as a reminder to check in.
  • Get some sleep – I rarely meet women that get enough sleep, especially when they’re below 50%. In fact, lack of sleep is often a contributor to that below 50% state.
  • Go back to the basics with your self-care – consult your absolute yes and absolute no lists, read tips for self-care, and most of all tune in to yourself and take care of you – whatever it takes. You’re worth it!

 

What do you do to get above 50%?

 

 

 

 

 

Beauty Marks and Battle Scars

By | Body Love, Wisdom Blog | 6 Comments

“All of these lines across my face tell you the story of who I am. So many stories of where I've been and how I got to where I am.” – Brandi Carlile

 

battle scarsA few weeks ago I shared with you about my struggle with infertility. Though I have moved past it in many ways, the scars on my belly are a constant reminder of my 8 surgeries – 6 for ‘treatment' of the endometriosis that caused my infertility.

When I look in the mirror at my belly, I see scars marring my otherwise unmarked skin. Flaws on nature's design.

But a simple conversation with my boyfriend led me to a powerful reminder: My scars tell my story but they don't define who I am.

Like the lines upon my face, my scars are more battle scars than defects. They symbolize my strength, my perseverance, and my ultimate triumph over my endometriosis. They represent not a loss of the ability to bear a child, but the gift of getting my menstrual cycles back after entering menopause for 9 years at the age of 26, the gift of my feminine nature, and the incredibly powerful ability of my body to heal itself. So maybe I should consider them beauty marks instead of battle scars.

Most importantly, my scars remind me to take care of myself, something I have been neglecting lately.

And this realization led me back to one of my ‘bibles’ of women’s wisdom: Sara Avant Stover ‘s The Way of the Happy Woman. In it, she encourages all women to make an Absolute Yes list and an Absolute No list. On your Absolute Yes list you should put everything that makes you a stronger, better person. Things you truly don’t want to live without. The Absolute No list contains things that weaken, irritate, and lead you away from who you know you really are.

 

For example, my Absolute Yes list is:

  • Sleep at least 8 hours a night
  • Eat nourishing, home-cooked food every day
  • Daily yoga practice
  • Daily meditation – morning and night
  • Go outside every day
  • Exercise (or do some sort of movement) every day
  • Read for pleasure every day
  • Get a massage at least twice a month
  • Unplug at 6pm every night
  • Take at least one whole day off each week to play and have fun
  • Daily gratitude practice

 

My Absolute No list says:

  • No checking email until after 8am
  • Minimize eating out as I can make more nourishing foods at home
  • No squelching my feelings
  • No putting other things in front of my me time
  • No checking email more than a few times a day or zoning out on my iPad or internet for more than 30 min at a time
  • No eating when I’m anxious or upset

 

I made this list almost two years ago. My life was very different back then, yet my Absolute Yeses and Nos really haven’t changed that much. I still struggle with items on both lists, but I think having them visible helps keep them in the forefront. Time to print them out and hang them up! Or better yet, let my scars serve as a reminder that I am worth honoring my Absolute Yes and Absolute No lists. That when I don’t, I only end up creating more ‘scars.’ And while I strive to wear my scars proudly, I’d prefer not to have experienced the pain that caused my scars in the first place. You see, my scars are but leftover reminders of past Cosmic 2x4s the Universe felt I needed to receive to learn whatever lesson that ignoring my Absolute Yeses and Nos caused. Valuable lessons learned.

 

What stories do your scars tell? And how are they connected to ignoring your Absolute Yes and Absolute No lists?