How I went from stressed, burned out, and out-of-shape mom of four to believing anything was possible for my health and life.
Before the all the healthy systems. Before the podcast and the wellness business. Before I knew how to set boundaries, take a deep breath, and really enjoy my family and my life. There was a stressed-out, “yes” mom.
A go-to, people pleaser.
A girl who was operating from scarcity; who felt like her worth depended on doing and constantly giving – which left her drained, frazzled, and with a perpetual empty emotional bucket.
My 4th baby was 4 months old when my husband deployed to Afghanistan for 8 months. My oldest was 6 ½ years old.
At first, I buckled up. I’m tough. I’ve got this, I thought.
But things fell apart…
I wanted to run away from my stress, anxiety, and loneliness so I ate ALL the chocolate, shopped for shoes online and watched too many episodes of Modern Family to manage my emotions.
I felt like a pressure pot. The tiniest little things would set me off. I yelled at my kids. And not just ‘little’ yells, but crazy… I scared myself.
My son’s Mother’s Day card that year went like this (see pics below):
“Happy Mother’s DAY!… My Mom looks like this… She likes to eat kale… I do lots of work for her… The End.”
But wait a minute… “Hey Thomas,” I asked, “Why do my eyes look all squinty like that?” (Check the middle picture.)
“Because that is what you look like when you’re yelling.”
I felt like this innocent, matter-of-fact statement about summed up my year. :/
There wasn’t anything I could do, I thought.
Everything will get better when he gets home, I thought.
Don’t get me wrong, it was great to have my husband finally come home.
But I had created behavior patterns of anger, anxiety, and bad habits that were still a part of me that weren’t going to, POOF! disappear.
I started to realize I was the problem. And I knew if I didn’t get help, I would be miserable with myself and my relationships with the people I loved most. So I reached out for help – which was huge for me.
The first question Samatha-the-Therapist asked me was, “What are you doing for yourself?”
My thought: “Wait!… What?!… ‘Good’ moms don’t slow down. Do they!?… What does that even look like?…”
She changed my life. While working with her, she got me to start thinking differently. Mainly, that it was vital for my mental and emotional health to take some time for myself – guilt-free!
Nine months later, we moved to Germany. And right before we moved, I got a strong impression to homeschool my kids. What?!? I know. That’s another story, for another day.
Germany was beautiful and there were a lot of great things about living there. But it was also really hard.
There were few Americans in the area. We were outsiders. And we homeschooled (which is illegal for Germans). And we’re near-vegan and ‘Mormon.’ (In the land of schnitzel and schnapps.)
We were So. Weird.
Gloomy, anxious, isolated, overwhelmed and inadequate.
It took me about 18 months before I was only crying once a week.
The weather in Germany was gray from mid-October to about the beginning of May. I didn’t realize I was susceptible to Seasonal Affective Disorder (seasonal depression) until my first winter there.
I felt so far from normal and ALL I wanted to do was stay in bed all day.
Fortunately, I reached out again.
This time to a homeschooling mentor, Angie. She was my Godsend. Angie the Angel. The first question she asked me was, “What are you doing for yourself?”
*Noticing a pattern here!?*
She’s one of the reasons I believe in coaching so much:
- Coaches help us see our potential and believe in us when we can’t.
- They help us work on our whole selves.
- Good coaches help us move forward by giving us tools to find our own solutions.
- Coaching shaves decades of heartache and hardship off your life.
- … They help us get unstuck!
While working with her, I knew I needed something to help me get through the gloomy winter. So I signed up for a Half-Ironman triathlon in Mallorca, Spain in May. (Because that is the thought process of logical human beings, right?!)
I had 10 months to train and get my buns from zero to 70.3.
This half-ironman event changed my life. I realize it at the time, but I had to change what I thought was possible for me.
My training wasn’t perfect, but I finished about 80% of my workouts, I was eating super well and I made it through the winter with no effects from the depression and anxiety that had plagued my life the previous two winters!
Through my actions I started to create new identities and beliefs about myself: strong, vibrant, capable, healthy, fit, empowered, determined, productive, intentional…
When I crossed the finish line I realized I could do anything! This is true for you, too!
Anything truly is possible!
One of the things I hear sometimes that makes me chuckle inside is, “It’s easier for you…” I don’t think it is easier for anyone. And that’s the point. That’s where growth happens.
We make our greatest discoveries when we are challenged.
I was proud of myself for completing the triathlon, but I was more excited that I had overcome my own demons of depression and anxiety, overwhelm, self-pity, and fatigue.
The feeling of empowerment that came from knowing I had a CHOICE! – that I could create a positive, healthy, vibrant outcome – blew my own mind!
This was the start! It’s not about homeschooling or triathlons (unless those are you goals, but I’m guessing they aren’t).
It’s about overcoming our own thoughts patterns and negative beleifs to live a life that inspires US. One that gets us excited to get out of bed every day.
That, my friend, is what’s possible for you!
I am here to show you a different way so you can start to spiral up and unlock your dormant, untapped potential to reach your dreams too!
Believing in YOU!
Are you ready to take your health to the next level?
Wow! If you’re still with me, I think you’re amazing!
You might want to know a little more than just the story. If you’re interested in more of the professional background, here it is:
I have worked for two decades in the health and fitness space – starting out as a personal trainer in 2001 through the American Council on Exercise after graduating from college with a degree in human biology. I am currently certified as a trainer, group fitness instructor, health coach and yoga teacher. I have also taught live and virtual plant-based nutrition classes since 2007.
The life coaching piece came later after my own journey (described above) and I had others ask me, “But HOW are you getting it all done?” This was a pattern I was noticing – not only in myself, but for other women. I absolutely geek out on the psychology of change because it answers the How-to-Really-Get-it-Done Question – it truly is the ‘secret sauce’ of a lasting transformation!