Self Care Sunday – Wish I knew

Purification fire art

I’ve been reflecting upon lessons about self care I’ve learned along in recent years. If only I knew what I know now when I was younger perhaps I would have saved myself anxiety, worry, illness and stress.

One of the hardest lessons I’ve had to learn about self care is this that my body needs more rest than I’ve been willing to give it in the past. I also had to accept that my body is not able to do what it used to do or what other people’s bodies are capable of doing. I have to stop comparing my abilities limits with the past and with other people.

I don’t have a strong constitution. I never have. My mind has always been willing and able. My spirit has always been willing and able. But, my body… well, I’ve often pushed my body beyond its limits to keep pace with the inclinations of my mind and spirit. This hasn’t always worked out so well for me. I typically pushed myself and went 100mph only to crash without seeing the wall I was about to crash into. I’ve gotten better at pulling myself back, stopping myself from pushing and just surrendering to what my body needs instead of what my mind it trying to pressure it into doing but it frustrates me. It frustrates me to have a willing mind and spirit and weak body. It’s a lesson is patience and self acceptance. It is also perhaps a challenge for me to offer my body as much unconditional love as I offer others.

I worked a lot this week. It was a good week. I accomplished A LOT but it was challenging too. I came home exhausted each night and by 4:00pm on Friday afternoon, I was toast. I was home in my pajamas with a gluten free pizza by 5:00pm. By 7:30pm I couldn’t keep my eyes open and I was in bed at 8:00pm. Part of the problem this week was that Fall Season is typically when I am more susceptible to migraines. Sun glare, weather changes, windy and rainy days seem to trigger more headaches for me in the Fall. I had a small headache most of the week that I was able to manage and move through but it was making me tired. It pushed through it all week so I didn’t miss work but I think it prompted an episode of Tachycardia while I was at work on Thursday. At first I wasn’t sure what was happening then I checked my heart rate from my Apple Watch. It was definitely a Tachycardia rhythm. My congenital arrhythmia has been stable for long time so I was a bit freaked out. It’s been so long since I had an episode that I don’t even carry rescue medicine with me anymore. I closed my eyes and focused on my breath for a few minutes. I then went and got Coconut Water front the vending machine. Coconut Water is high in Potassium; Potassium is my natural rescue medicine because it lowers the heart rate. It hasn’t happened again.

As weird as it sounds, I felt like I was having a psychic headache. I’ve gotten those kind of headaches in the past when people I love have been stressed or in trouble. The night my niece was arrested I had a monster psychic headache and knew before my sister called something bad had happened. So far I haven’t gotten any phone calls or received any bad news, that doesn’t mean something hasn’t happened. It just means someone hasn’t told me. Hopefully, the Tachycardia was just hormonal and the headache was just sinuses.

My mind wanted to go out and enjoy life on a Sunny Saturday afternoon. I instead slowed down. I spent the day by letting my body come to a full and complete stop – REST! My body and mind were tired and just needed to be warm and comfy under a blanket with books and movies for the day. Everything I WANTED to go do could wait. Learning to stop myself is a huge act of surrender for me. It’s also an act of self acceptance. To finally love myself enough and accept myself enough to respect my body’s limits and no longer push it is a big deal for me. The loving kindness I am showing my body by acquiescing to this basic need for rest is one of the most important self care lessons I’ve learned in recent years. In this situation, self care is passive rather than active. I am NOT “doing” instead of “doing”.

Career-wise this week has been interesting and felt almost like a roller coaster that I didn’t know I was going to be on :-). There are only eight weeks left in my temporary assignment and it’s that time when everyone is asking what I am doing next. I was dodging people left and right to avoid conversations this week. Lol 😂 I just didn’t feel ready to have that conversation. I’m still exploring options but I was cornered twice this week by managers 😂 I decided it was best to be honest about my feelings. Here’s the truth – Ideally, I would like to stay in my current role if they are able to make that happen in some way. Otherwise, I am looking for another opportunity to learn, grow and use all of my talents and skills in, hopefully, a more strategic role which hopefully includes doing outreach work. However, I am also extremely interested in Cyber related topics and we are doing research in that area. That would be an area of interest for me too so they asked if I was open to another temporary assignment. I am open to it but I am not sure that is even possible since I’ve already been gone a year.

All of these conversations brought me to basic questions I had to ask myself. “What do I want? What is the best choice for me to make for my holistic wellness in this situation?” Self care in this area means this choice needs to be about my holistic wellness. It’s not just about money or title. It’s about what do I enjoy doing. It’s about what area could I continue to grow or learn something new. It’s about where could I do the most good. I don’t want to be stuck in a cubicle doing desk work. I’ve had taste of something more and I like it😊The interesting thing is I am not stressed about this because my faith is rock solid that everything will work out for my highest good. I am also happy that folks are talking to me about options and I’ve been able to be honest and express myself.

I got a big surprise at work this week and it was good news. A prize competition I proposed earlier this year has been stuck in legal for months. Well, I found out one of my Directors has been pushing them on it without me knowing. On Thursday, they gave me the go ahead as long as I get approval from the highest level of leadership in the company. Lol 🙂 My response was, “oh, is that all?” Then my Program’s Sponsor offered to have that conversation for me because she likes the innovation and creativity I’ve shown. I wrote her a briefing with talking points. She will use those to pitch to her boss. Since we cleared the legal hurdle, approval would delegate authority to us to run multiple competitions – if we are successful 🙂 I honestly thought this project was dead and I just moved on. It means a lot that I received so much support even when I thought it was dead.

I need to rant on one topic….lol 🙂 I live on the beach on the 7th floor of an old building that was converted from a hotel. It has a brick exterior wall. The bricks are splitting which is causing a water leak in my oceanfront window when it rains and is causing major water damage to dry wall and carpet. I am starting to worry about mold and air quality. I now have pots lining my front window while the owner and property management figure out what to do about it. It’s coming down to who is responsible to pay. The exterior wall is the condo association responsibility while interior is the landlord’s responsibility. I found out the condo association was supposed to fix the exterior wall a few years ago but they never did it. This would mean they would also be responsible for replacing the dry wall, carpet. Each week this continues I get more concerned about mold, air quality and if the dry wall is going to fall. My landlord asked me to hang in there with her. If she doesn’t hear from them this week, she’s getting an attorney. She promised to replaced the carpeting, not raise my rent and put me up in a hotel while the repairs are done if I promise to stay. The reality is we no longer have a lease. It’s month to month. If I found another place and wanted to move, I could. I am hoping this gets resolved in the coming week because I really do not feel like moving.

This situation with the condo has me wondering if it’s time to move or maybe even time to buy a place. Here’s the thing — I like high-rise living. It’s perfect for my situation. I like the safety of it. No one can come to my front door without going past security. I’ve had a stalker in the past so I like having security standing between and someone getting to my front door. I also like the social aspect. I know a lot of people here now so I’m not isolated. If I do move, I would want to move to another high-rise. I started to open my awareness and start looking but I’m not 100% I will pursue it if everything works out with the repairs. I really don’t know what is the best thing for me to do in this situation. I don’t know what is best for my holistic wellness as far as the apartment goes. For now, I am praying angels, guides and ascended masters to intuitively direct me to the right choice with the apartment as well as with the job.

As you can see self care for me is a work in progress. I am continually learning how to stop, slow myself down and recognize when I need to pull back. I am also trusting I will intuitively know what to do next in my career and what to do about the apartment and moving. In the meantime, I am keeping my eyes open to all opportunities. I am ready, willing and open to letting to. I am willing to take advantage of the right opportunities when they show up. Once you are out of the comfort zone, keep moving 🙂

Comfort zone

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Self Care Sunday – How do you define success?

Art

On this Self Care Sunday I want to discuss Career. Career is the one of the four areas of life that Integrative Nutrition Health Coaches call “Primary Food”. Career satisfaction can affect your overall happiness and it also can affect your health and relationships. It’s important to step back and evaluate career satisfaction from time to time. If you are manager, I would recommend encouraging your employees to do this too.

For me, it’s so easy for me to get caught up in constant movement. As a “do-er”, I check my boxes off and claim my productivity by accomplishments and goals achieved. In a recent professional experience, things didn’t work out quiet the way I thought they were going to. I was not going to be able to achieve the goal I had set for myself which was causing me some anxiety and making me doubt myself a bit. Being trapped in my own definition of success was undermining my enthusiasm for the work I am doing and I was starting to feel a bit deflated.

I traveled to DC to give a briefing to senior leadership on Tuesday morning. In the briefing, I discussed my honest assessment of the program I am working on and its future if it remains supported the way it stands today. As I spoke, I was careful to be confident while also be truthful about my observations of the challenges and opportunities.

As I spoke, the conversation and energy in the room shifted and became supportive even nurturing. That’s when we realized that my definition of success was different from senior leadership’s definition of success. Leadership already viewed me and my Program as successful while I was still trying to prove to myself I could be successful. Let me say that again… Leadership already viewed me and my Program as successful while I was still trying to prove to myself I could be successful. My leadership explained to me that I already accomplished more than they originally thought was possible. WOW! That hit me hard. Right as I sat there in front of them I felt the magnitude of that reality hit me. I was pushing forward so hard that I never stopped for one minute in the last nine months to really see what I accomplished or to be proud of myself. They made me stop in that 45 minute meeting. It was a powerful moment for me. It was a powerful moment in my career💙

One of the Directors pulled me into her office for a chat about career opportunities. She wants me think about what I want because there are few different type of opportunities that could be open to me. She said I’ve proven myself capable and comfortable in “high profile” roles. She wanted to know if I would be satisfied going back to something less “sexy” after this 😊 It’s an interesting question for me. The truth is I am comfortable in this type of high visibility role. I am good with stakeholder engagement, up and down the chain. I present well and handle myself well. My biggest challenge this year was my own body. The constant health issues have been frustrating and the current issue with my stomach still isn’t resolved. I told her about my current issue and that I needed to see a specialist because of a suspicious stomach biopsy. She reassured me. She told me I shouldn’t let that be my deciding factor because my health issues obviously didn’t interfere with my work performance this year. She also told me accommodations could always be made for me. Yes, it may be easier for me to go back to a desk job that has more predictability, maturity and less of an ask from me but will it be enough for me after this???? My intuition says no…😊 But, I am keeping an open mind because I think it will depend on the opportunity and if it has room for growth and diversification. I also don’t want to work in chaos again. So work environment is important to me now too. For now, I am going let go and trust that everything is always working out for my highest good. I am going to trust God and my intuition to direct me to the right choice. As opportunities present themselves I will ask myself, “Does this honor who I am?”

I also met with new GM who is now an advisor to my program. Wow! What a difference chatting with someone with fresh eyes and fresh perspective can have! Having to walk her through my whole program reenergized me. It reminded me why I was passionate about this. It reminded why I wanted to do this in the first place. Her thoughtful questions and insights helped me find an unexplored path forward. I just met her that morning and already she helped me get unstuck. She suggested I look for something I can leave as a legacy, something tangible that people can say, “Linda did this”. I laughed and said, “Being the first and standing up the program isn’t enough?” 😂😂 She laughed but said she was thinking something more like a brochure or even a webinar that folks could use after I’ve moved on…. The budget will not allow for my current role to be a full time position. However, the role will continue as a temporary assignment after I move on to something new. She encouraged me to remember that I was first. I was the trail blazer. I have been the vision setter. I need to leave a legacy as well as start thinking about a transition plan. I came home full of things to think about as well a fresh new perspective and a new to do list. As I flew home looking out of window at the spectacular clouds, I was pensive. I was thinking about the events of the day and what I accomplished this year and what I learned about myself along the way. It’s been a great year professionally and great work experience.

I learned this week it’s important for folks to agree on what success looks like. While we had conversations about the goals of the program, their view of success was actually more achievable than my own. I learned this week the value of talking to people face to face when you have an important message to relay to them. If I presented my briefing over the phone, they would not have felt my energy or passion. The conversations that took place that day never would have happened. They would have missed the subtle nuances of my facial expressions and body language. This is good advice in any situation. If you have something important to say to someone, say it in person. The message may not be received in the way you are intending through phone, text or email. I learned this week talking to someone with fresh eyes or perspective can reenergize you. It can help you see things you may have missed. I learned this week to be open to constructive guidance and accept support when it is offered. Most importantly, I learned this week to always speak from my heart with confidence, authenticity and honesty even when I am briefing the big cheese in the organization😊

I write about self awareness a lot on this blog. I write about it so much because I truly believe self awareness is the key to growth and development. I think it’s especially important to practice self awareness in our careers. I admire leaders who encourage self awareness. How can you grow if you refuse to see yourself as you are instead of how you perceive yourself to be? How can you grow if leave no room for inner reflection and self knowledge? How can you be empathetic and sensitive to the needs of others including your employees if you can’t even acknowledge your own needs and desires? It’s with this new self awareness I will be moving into the future and evaluating upcoming career opportunities.

Do you celebrate your career accomplishments? Do you honor who you are while making career decisions? What legacy will you be leaving to the folks who will step into your shoes? Do you encourage your employees to leave a legacy? When you talk to employees, do you ask thoughtful questions and give helpful insights? Do you help them define success in their careers or projects? And is your definition of success in alignment with the folks around you? Do you practice self awareness as a leader or in your life?

I chose “Blackbird” by the Beatles for this post. It was written by Paul McCartney during the Civil Rights movement after seeing a black women arrested for sitting on a bench in a “white” section of a park in the United States. As a highly sensitive, empathic feeler, the current political climate is causing me a bit of anxiety.  I worry about our Democracy and the inflammatory rhetoric used by leaders against the Press and to stoke right extremists.  And now, a “USA Today” Op-Ed full of outright lies that many will believe on the surface without questioning. He’s gaslighting our nation.  I urge people to fact check politicians.  Even worse are the rich GOPers who only care about the economy and their own economic interests; turning a blind eye to everything else because life is good for them. I’ve been pulling away from people who lack a social conscience and put money & power over people. If you recall, fair haired white people were living good lives and turning blind eyes while 600K Jews were executed. I do not think our President is a horrible human being but I do think he lacks social consciousness.  Money and power are his Gods and rulers.  He’s willing to exploit the right extremist groups to win and aligns himself with Dictators.  The Senate and/or House needs to be a different party to separate and diffuse his power as well as bring accountability & transparency back in DC. November 6th is my sister, Sandy’s, birthday. I am hoping her spirit brings us luck and change. Stop the #trumpcult 🌊#votethemout 🌊💙

(C) 2018 Highest Good Holistic Health Coaching, LLC – All Rights Reserved

DISCLAIMER: Poetry, views, thoughts,and opinions expressed on this blog belong solely to the author and Highest Good Holistic Health Coaching, LLC

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