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Posts Tagged ‘burnout’


losing love handles

It has been 2 weeks since I started seriously working on a healthier me. I am happy to report I have lost 4 pounds. I am also happy to report that I have lost almost 3 inches, mainly from my love handles and hips (my hips are the biggest part of me, thanks to my heredity!)

Sidetracked by snow and ice

I did great with recording everything I ate for the first week, but the second week we had a snowstorm which turned into ice. Hubby went to work late and got home early every day, my older kids were hanging out here since they couldn’t drive all around, which means I had to cook meals they would eat too. I think I could’ve lost another pound or 2 this past week if not for that, but I digress.

I have actually increased my exercise, other than a few days last week (which caused me to get stiff and achy in my back again!)  I am doing what is called High Intensity Interval Training. High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) is about mixing high intensity bursts of exercise with moderate intensity recovery periods. It’s brutal but has incredible advantages. It’s the quickest way to get in fit, lose fat and build stamina.

High Intensity Interval Training

When we do aerobic or cardio exercise, we were always taught to stay within 60-80% of our target heart rate. When you utilize HIIT, you work at the lower heart rate for a specific period and then you do a short, high intensity burst, pushing your heart rate to close to its max.

I use a treadmill for now. When the weather gets nicer, I will go outside some, but for now, I like to be able to control the workout with the treadmill.

treadmill High intensity training intervals

I can tell a HUGE difference in my stamina. I can walk up a flight of stairs without huffing and puffing, and 2 weeks ago, we went to a local mountain for a hike. While I didn’t do fantastic, I could tell my body was in better shape than it had been. I am looking forward to climbing to the top of our little mountain very soon!

There is lots of info on HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) online. I am going to show you how someone who was horribly out of shape put this to work.

A workout for an overweight, out-of-shape 40 something woman

A few notes- 30 minute workout, base speed is determined by you, mine has increased as I have gotten in better shape, I usually drag out the last slowdown and cooldown a few minutes. And this workout can be for anybody, lol*

*I am not a doctor or medically licensed individual. Please check with your doctor before beginning an exercise program!

Interval timer Intensity Speed Incline
1- warmup 0-4 min 4 base speed 0
1st hill 4-6 min 6 base speed 6
slowdown 6-8 4 base speed 0
1st speed burst 8-10 6 base +.4 0
slowdown 10-12 4 base speed 0
2nd hill 12-14 9 base speed 8
slowdown 14-16 4 base speed 0
2nd speed burst 16-18 9 base speed +.8 0
slowdown 18-20 4 base speed 0
3rd hill 20-22 9 base speed 8
slowdown 22-24 4 base speed 0
3rd speed burst 24-26 9 base speed +.8 8
slowdown 26-28 4 base speed 0
cool down 28-30 3 base speed -.2 0

This is basically 2 minute intervals of lower intensity and higher intensity. The better shape you are or move into, the higher the levels will need to go. I am actually in the process of moving my intervals to 3 minutes on, 1 minute slowdown, but not quite at it yet, more like 2.5 minutes high intensity and 1.5 slowdown. Download a printable copy of HIIT workout.

What progress can you expect?

FYI- when I began walking on the treadmill for 15 minutes a day in November, my base speed was 2.5. I could not do 2 minutes at an 8 incline. My base speed is currently 2.8, my max speed is 3.5. It is not quite a jog, but almost there! I also do one interval on elevation 6, the other 2 on elevation 8. I like to hike, so speed is not my only goal. I need to be able to climb hills, so using the elevation on the treadmill really helps with this.

For someone who is an athlete, this may not look like much, but it has made a huge difference to me. Whenever I exercised before, I never really felt a difference or saw something I could measure, but by using the HIIT and monitoring my heart rate (I just use what is on my treadmill, although I would like a fancy, schmancy one!) Because I can see the difference, I am motivated to stick with it, unlike ever before.

I believe that by continuing at this rate, I will be able to reach my goal of losing a total of 25 pounds by April!

My Journey to Balance

While working on the body, I am also working on my emotional and mental health over at my other blog. If you feel overwhelmed with your life, I encourage you to come on over and participate! It’s FREE!

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I have been overweight for years. I weigh more (just a little!) than I did when I delivered my youngest daughter (she’ll be 18 in April). I have weighed even more than I do now, but lost weight over the past 2 years due to stress. And that is really odd, because I am a stress eater normally. I can throw down some carbs when I am stressed/depressed!

I went through an extremely stressful past 2 years, with a job that worked me 80+ hours a week and I literally did not have time to eat. Or exercise. Or do anything healthy. I lost a total of 25 pounds over those 2 years. (oh, part of it wasn’t the job, part of the stress was my hubby having a brain aneurysm 2 years ago.) My life has changed quite a bit over the past 4 months. I had a nervous breakdown and went on medical leave.

Since I have much more time on my hands, and because I am trying to take care of myself overall, body and soul, I thought it would be good to try to learn to eat healthy and begin exercising. Since I have been at home I have put back on about 10 pounds and I don’t want to gain even more.

However, I will say, that this is NOT truly about weight loss. If I even stayed the same size as I am now, but were healthy and strong, I’d be okay with that. I thought I would join up with a challenge though, to help me keep motivated! A girl likes to have friends encouraging her on, right? So I am joing the Sisterhood of the Shrinking Jeans challenge!

So, what are my goals?

-To exercise for a minumum of 15 minutes at least 5 out of 7 days a week- I have a treadmill and do speed and hill intervals
-To do a yoga/pilate routine at least 5 days a week (20 minute routine from Amazon)
-To go to bed by 11 pm each night
-To track my food intake by using Sparkpeople.com, EVERYTHING I EAT!

What is the weight goal? I’d like to lose 28 pounds by April 1st. Since this challenge goes through February 28th, I’d say I’d like to lose 18 pounds by then. But like I said, this is about feeling healthier and stronger. That is why I am also incorporating the yoga and pilates, for strength and flexibilty.

I FEEL old. My joints ache. I want to be YOUNG when I am 60, but at 45, I FEEL old!

My Journey to Balance

While working on the body, I am also working on my emotional and mental health over at my other blog. If you feel overwhelmed with your life, I encourage you to come on over and participate! It’s FREE!

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After having such a rough first half of the year, including a mental meltdown in front of my boss, I had to take a major step back from my life. I had to learn to listen to my body and take care of myself. I had to learn to speak out for myself.

Steps for recovering from burnout:

– Went to my doctor and tried some different medications.

– Started seeing a counselor each week. I began to learn that how I interpreted the expectations placed on me created real physical stress for me.

– I cutoff all ties from my job, no phone, no email.

– I stayed at home most of the time. I learned that I could not go to the store on my own without a panic attack.

– I spent a lot of time reading, writing, praying, sleeping.

– My husband would take me out of the house several evenings a week to keep me from being too housebound.

– He actually sent me off to Savannah, GA for a week. He drove me down there and got me settled in. I had a little apartment, time to read, rest, and walk on the beach.

– Once I returned, I actually started cleaning my house again, and doing laundry. I even began cooking again.

You see, I had been working so much for the past 2 years, I didn’t even know what a schedule for real people looked like. I learned the flow of eating regular meals, taking a shower, housework, rest, spending time with family, all things I really did not do much of for the previous 2 years.

What matters most

I began to remember the important things in life. Time to think, time to spend with my husband, time to dream, time to relax, time to spend with friends and family. Time to volunteer for those less fortunate.

I realized that there was more to life than money, than recognition. That if I didn’t have my health, my faith, or my family, what good was anything else I had? I learned that I had to devote time to developing who *I* was as a person.

I learned to search my soul for what my passion was, what I was meant to do in my life. I have realized that the passion I had in my job to help others with their lives was very important to me and that I wanted to use that further. And I realized that I loved to write!

Learned my limits

I also have learned that I have limits. I actually think I thought that I was invincible. I like to tease that I finally learned that there is a God, and it isn’t me! I think He is much better at it than I am, lol!

I do best if I am not around large groups for long periods of time. I need a balance of time alone versus time with others. As much as I thought I was a people person, I have learned that I love to be around groups for a short time, but then I have to be alone to recharge.

Even though this year was one of the toughest in my life, I am grateful for the lessons I have learned about life and about myself. I hope that I will live a lot longer because of it and that I will be healthier and happier!

I encourage you to take a look at your life this past year.

What didn’t work?

What did work?

Have you learned some important lessons?

As we move into 2011, I am conducting an 8 week Journey to Balance here on my blog. It is free to participate, just be sure to subscribe! If you know someone else who would benefit, be sure to share by clicking below!

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The look at what worked for Christmas and what didn’t was very helpful for me so I thought I would try the same approach for looking over this past year. The year 2010 was a pretty tough one for me!

What didn’t go so well this year-

My year started out with me working in corporate America. I had come through a very stressful Christmas season dealing with some family drama (a mentally handicapped brother, and another brother and his family, long story). I had spent Thanksgiving week in the hospital as I thought I was having a heart attack.

In my job, as a sales manager, I was responsible for the “sales quota” for my district. Being in recession, and a very slow 1st quarter, it was difficult to accomplish what was being asked from me. I increased the number of hours I was working, upwards of 80 hours a week. I could not turn off my work, it was always there with me. My boss even realized how tough it was on us and scheduled a retreat at the end of May. It was nice to get away, but we STILL had to get the work done.

I started writing my personal blog in May, Ramblings of a Woman. It was a way for me to vent, but it was also a way for me to learn about the blogging world and how it all works. It was a huge learning curve at first, so much to know! I realized, though, that I love to write and connect with my readers!

In June, I served on jury duty for the first time. It was a very interesting experience. I can’t say I would want to do it again, but it truly opened my eyes to my community.

Winding up tighter and tighter

All the while, my stress level was compounding. I always felt like I was climbing out of my skin and got to the point where I had to have a glass of wine every night just to be able to sit still. I talked to my doctor about how I was feeling (I was already on some meds for depression and anxiety). He suggested I wait until after my upcoming vacation and see how I felt.

Vacation was good, although it took me too long to unwind. When I returned home, my stress was all still right there. One of my last straws was my boss’s boss stating in a broadcast message that to be able to accomplish the company’s objectives, we were to put forth effort 24/7. It was the next week that I had to prepare and present a mid-year review to my boss.

The meltdown

I could not concentrate on the reports. I could not wrap my brain around what I was supposed to be presenting. I could not find info I needed. My mental capacity was decreasing daily. I could hardly talk to my staff, and only left the house for absolutely mandatory meetings. Everything else I did by email.

When I met with my boss for my review, I fell apart. Into tears. Could not make it through, could not intelligently present my data. I left and immediately called my doctor. I believe I would have checked myself into a hospital if I had known where to go at that point.

My doctor immediately pulled me from work and put me on medical leave. He added and changed some medications. And I had to try to explain to everyone what happened to Superwoman. The one who had it all together.

Wearing the mask

You see, nobody knew I was suffering. Nobody at work, nobody at church, not my friends, and not even my family knew just how bad it was. I think my husband was getting a clue, but I did so well at pushing on, pressing forward, that people were shocked when I dropped off the face of the earth.

***And I want to reach out here to you, my reader. I know that there are some of you out there who feel this same way right now. You are overwhelmed and drowning and yet you won’t cry out for help. Since I didn’t ask for help sooner, I had to completely step away from my life. You may or may not need to do that, but the sooner you ask for help, the better.

Find someone you can talk to ~~ Be very blunt with them ~~ Tell them what you need help with~~ Make some changes for your sake and the sake of those around you!

While this post ends on a heavy note, be sure to read the next one! I will be talking about what went right this year, and what I learned from what went wrong.

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I have recently gone through quite a bit of change and turmoil in my life. I basically had a mental meltdown back in July. (I don’t like saying ‘nervous breakdown’ and it is not a true medical term anyway!)  I had gotten to a point where nothing in my life was working. I had pushed myself to the MAX in so many different areas, physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually, in my relationships and in my career. My body finally had enough and said NO MORE!

My Life at a Standstill

depressed in a boxI had to take a medical leave from my job. I could barely leave the house, much less go to work. I couldn’t even go to Walmart by myself!  I reduced other responsibilities I had. Luckily my kids are mostly grown, so they can take care of themselves most of the time!  I stopped just about anything and everything I was doing. Pruned it away.

Rotten thinking

I had to start working on my mind as well. I had some pretty messed up ways of looking at things.

Things like…

  • I have to do all that is expected of me
  • I have to do it if I want it done right
  • My way is the best way and therefore the only way
  • I have to keep up a front that I am ok
  • I had to look the part of the professional role model all the time

Notice that these thoughts are all based on the big “I”. As I started pruning these things away with the help of my psychologist, my hubby and much prayer, I realized that alot of these thoughts were based in…

PRIDE

And, although I like to joke about this, I have had to REALLY learn that there is a God, and it isn’t ME.

I am NOT all powerful.

I CANNOT do everything.

I AM NOT Superwoman.

So, I am pruning out these thoughts… although I do find it is an everyday struggle!

STUFF!

Now that I am beginning to feel better, (more on that in a minute) I am also starting to prune away in my physical surroundings. I had surrounded myself with a lot of STUFF. I think that lots of stuff is another way of hiding. I am tired of hiding behind ANYTHING, so I am pruning away my belongings. Getting rid of the extra, the stuff that doesn’t add joy or value. 

Want growth? Gotta prune!

Now, I am no gardener, but I can tell you this, pruning is necessary for growth. If vines and trees and bushes are not pruned properly, they can never grow to their full potential.

In the Bible, in John 15, Jesus is portrayed as the gardener. As the Gardener, he examines each and every branch and twig in our vines to see if they are healthy or not. We also need to take this role in our lives.

Examine your life. Ask these questions

  • Am I fruitful in this area?
  • Or am I just spinning my wheels?
  • If I rid myself of “this”, could I better use my time over “here” instead?

Prune, or be pruned!

And, personally, as a Christian, I believe that if we do not make these adjustments to our vines on our own, the Gardener will bring or allow things into our lives to do the pruning for us. That, is what I feel happened in my life. I had let many things get out of control, I had weeds and vines all intertwined and had allowed quite a mess!

But I think that the Gardener was sitting back and saying, “I have SO much more for you. There is such great potential for you, but you cannot see it with all this overgrowth.” And so PRUNING was required. I had no choice at this point. I was at the end  of myself, and so the pruning began.overgrown vines

Cutting away those things that were unhealthy for my mind, soul and spirit. Clearing away the brush so I could see the open sky waiting for me. Chopping out completely the limbs that were diseased.

Was it painful? Absolutely.

Was it humbling? You better believe it. You see, before, I had quite a plant growing. I mean, I had vines going every direction, and it looked liked there was growth and life there, and then it was all cut away.

Now, however, I have hope. I know that the Gardener only wants the best for me. And instead of that mess I had, with his pruning, and my new growth with his guidance, I can grow into something more like this, with beauty, and the opportunity to see and do so much more than I could have before.

flowering vines

Am I there yet? Nope. I’ve got a lot of growing to do. I’ve gotta make sure I am doing the right things for the right reasons. I have make sure my thoughts don’t get skewed again. I need to add the right things to my life for the right reasons. For now, this is how I see myself.

sproutSee that little shoot growing from the cut stump? That is me. Rising up from my pruned state, green leaves reaching toward the sky in anticipation of what is to come!

Have you ever been through the “pruning process”? What are some things that were pruned away?

 

My goal is to help as many people as possible with these issues we all deal with! Be sure to subscribe via email or RSS so you don’t miss any posts! If you know of someone who would benefit from the info in this post and in my blog and you would like to share with them, please click on the appropriate link below!
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And where are you going?

road travelledAs we look back behind us, at our life, we can see the path that we have been down.

We see where we’ve been… what we’ve done.

We see the good times… and the not-so-good.

We are proud of the good choices we made… and would like to forget some of the poor ones.

We see where others we met and interacted with along the way have given us much joy… or brought us much grief.

Many times we would like to go back and change where our path took us

To avoid some of the negatives and the pain.

To end up in a different place than where we are.

These things are not possible.

All we can do with the past, positive or negative, is to embrace it, learn from it, and (this part many people don’t realize!)…

decide which way we want to go from here

Are we content with where our current path is leading? Or do we want to end up somewhere totally different?

The choice is yours. You get to decide what direction your life takes. You can make course adjustments. Did you know that pilots (and the autopilot) are constantly having to make minor course corrections? Being off by 1 degree can make a huge difference in where you end up. By the same token, making adjustments of 1 degree can totally alter your journey.
road less travelled

It doesn’t necessarily take a MAJOR life decision or change to get different results!

I met a wonderful lady this weekend, Laurie Smithwick, co-founder of Kirtsy.com who made a statement that inspired this post. She said…

“We are creating our future by deciding where to step.”

Awesome! You get to decide which direction you take your next step. A little to the right? A little to the left?

But, what about…

I know that we all have been dealt some tough stuff. There are some things out of your control. However, there are a lot of things YOU do have the ability to control, and you need to learn what those things are.

  1. Your thoughts
  2. Your Attitude
  3. How you take care of yourself (eat right, drink water, exercise)
  4. How you manage your time (saying No, turning off TV or PC, choosing family time over outside obligations)
  5. Learn to live in the moment

Even if you are at a place in your life where a lot of your time is committed to things that ARE important to you (children, family, career) determine even those small things that can make a shift toward the direction you want to head.

this way that way signFor example-

  1. Drink water instead of soda
  2. Go to bed instead of watching ‘just one more show’
  3. Take a 10 minute walk rather than vegging out. If you still want to veg when you return, go for it!
  4. Read a book on a subject you want to know more about, even if it is just 15 minutes on your lunch break
  5. Research that business idea floating in your head and start creating a plan, even if it is a 5 or 10 year plan
  6. Get a new haircut/style that better reflects you
  7. Go through your wardrobe and do your best to wear only the clothes that you feel good in, that make you feel confident
  8. Spend some time in reflection determining who “you” really are, and where you want your path to eventually lead.

What are some of the little (or BIG) changes you have made to point yourself in the direction you want to be going?

I will be expanding on some of these ideas over the next couple of weeks. Be sure to subscribe HERE so you don’t miss out on any of my posts!

If you know of someone who would benefit from the info in this post and in my blog and you would like to share with them, please click on the appropriate link below!
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Being Busy Steals Your Life Away

busy womanMost of America and many other developed nations feel that being busy is a badge of honor

We think gives us our worth.

 

I think the opposite.

I think that being busy can keep us from being who we TRULY are.

I think it gets in the way of doing the things that are the MOST important to us.

I think that WE use being busy as a way to protect ourselves from stepping out of our comfort zone into what we feel deep inside we ought to be doing — and I am not talking about all the nagging ‘shoulds’ that come from outside, but those things which we know we are ‘called’ to do.

Doing Good, or Doing the Best?

We’ve all heard the quote, “The good is the enemy of the best”. I am not saying that many of the things you are doing aren’t good things. They may even be GREAT things, but, they may not be the BEST THING for YOU at this point in your life. When busyness gets a hold of us, we become bound by our ‘shoulds’ and we cannot be at peace in our lives.
work life balance sign

So how can you be sure you are doing the right things?

Christ wants us to have life and have it abundantly. He wants us to have what is best for US. We must be in tune with Him and with our hearts to avoid this empty busyness.

Below is a list adapted from Leo Babauta’s Zen Habits. Included are links to many of his helpful tips to accomplish these things.

10 Ways to Stop being So Busy

  1. Make a list of your top 4-5 important things. What’s most important to you? What do you value most? What 4-5 things do you most want to do in your life? Simplifying starts with these priorities, as you are trying to make room in your life so you have more time for these things.  
  2. Evaluate your commitments. Look at everything you’ve got going on in your life. Everything, from work to home to civic to kids’ activities to hobbies to side businesses to other projects. Think about which of these really gives you value, which ones you love doing. Which of these are in line with the 4-5 most important things you listed above? Drop those that aren’t in line with those things. Article here.  
  3. family organizer cozi

  4. Evaluate your time. How do you spend your day? What things do you do, from the time you wake up to the time you go to sleep? Make a list, and evaluate whether they’re in line with your priorities. If not, eliminate the things that aren’t, and focus on what’s important. Redesign your day.  
  5. Simplify work tasks. Our work day is made up of an endless list of work tasks. If you simply try to knock off all the tasks on your to-do list, you’ll never get everything done, and worse yet, you’ll never get the important stuff done. Focus on the essential tasks and eliminate the rest. Read more.  
  6. Simplify home tasks. In that vein, think about all the stuff you do at home. Sometimes our home task list is just as long as our work list. And we’ll never get that done either. So focus on the most important, and try to find ways to eliminate the other tasks (automate, eliminate, delegate, or hire help).not to do
  7. Learn to say no. This is actually one of the key habits for those trying to simplify their lives. If you can’t say no, you will take on too much. Article here on how to say NO.  
  8. Limit your communications. Our lives these days are filled with a vast flow of communications: email, IM, cell phones, paper mail, Skype, Twitter, forums, and more. It can take up your whole day if you let it. Instead, put a limit on your communications: only do email at certain times of the day, for a certain number of minutes (I recommend twice a day, but do what works for you). Only do IM once a day, for a limited amount of time. Limit phone calls to certain times too. Same with any other communications. Set a schedule and stick to it.  
  9. Limit your media consumption. This tip won’t be for everyone, so if media consumption is important to you, please skip it (as with any of the other tips). However, I believe that the media in our lives — TV, radio, Internet, magazines, etc. — can come to dominate our lives. Don’t let it. Simplify your life and your information consumption by limiting it. Try a media fast.  
  10. Purge your stuff. If you can devote a weekend to purging the stuff you don’t want, it feels seriously terrific. Get boxes and trash bags for the stuff you want to donate or toss. Here’s my guide on decluttering. Here’s a post on starting small.
  11. Do what you love. Once you’ve freed up some time, be sure to spend that extra time doing things you love. Go back to your list of 4-5 important things. Do those, and nothing else. Read more.

Woman WritingIt will take time to implement these steps. They cannot be accomplished in a week, or even a month. I encourage you, however, if you find that you are not at peace with your level of busyness, that you go through this list, examine your heart, spend some time in meditation, and create an action plan for creating change in your life.

What are some things that you would like to change or possibly do away with in your life? Are there some things you would actually like to add?

 My goal is to help as many people as possible with these issues we all deal with! Be sure to subscribe via email or RSS so you don’t miss any posts! If you know of someone who would benefit from the info in this post and in my blog and you would like to share with them, please click on the appropriate link below!
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