Rip off the mask, tear down the walls. Show the world my beautiful, vulnerable self!

Posts tagged ‘healthy eating’

Best Laid Plans Work Best With Balance

Letting My Inner Child Call the Shots Occasionally has been the week that wasn’t in so many ways. Plans went awry, electronics coughed up junk, and even my body repeatedly told me, in the unique vernacular of a toddler: “I don’t wanna!”.

In the past, I’d have been ranting and raving, struggling to catch up, filling my hours with half-assed efforts, and feeling lousy about everything I did. I don’t know if it’s age, experience, or finally acquiring a modicum of patience, but I take a less frantic approach to days and weeks that seem to take on a mind of their own.

In all fairness, I’m also better prepared for them since I have at least 2, and often 3 weeks of blog posts in the queue, and am usually ahead of schedule on projects for my clients. Maybe it’s simply holdouts from my days of working in an office where interruptions were the norm, and having something new and urgent tossed in my lap was commonplace. I learned to leave space in my schedule for the unexpected, and it’s a habit I see no reason to break, especially now that I work for myself.

Self-Care is More About Allowing Than Doing

Many people these days are talking about self-care. Suggestions are offered on busy business owners should make time to keep their own engine primed, so to speak. The ideas cover the gamut from physical activity, to healthy eating, to taking breaks.

If you ask me, the best thing you can do is listen to your body. If it’s hungry, feed it; preferably something healthy and nutritious, but if it occasionally asks for a treat, by all means be willing to break your dietary restrictions temporarily to indulge it.

When you feel stiff or out of sorts, get up and move. I’ve recently rediscovered how much a simple, 20-minute walk in the morning can re-set your day and your metabolism. Even if you do nothing more than get up from your desk to visit the bathroom or fix a meal for the rest of the day, that 20 minutes of movement and fresh air get your day off on the right foot (pun intended).

Above all, if you feel tired, or out of sorts, don’t allow guilt to creep in and spoil the nap, meditation, or down time in front of the TV. You work hard, and you take care of yourself physically. Your mind needs breaks too.

Finding Our Level of Peak Performance

Science has proven that we are far more effective and efficient when we’re operating at the top of our game. That means sufficient rest, exercise, and nutrition. But Corporate America counters those arguments, telling us to get the job done no matter what. As a result, you have offices full of people who are functioning at 10% or less because they can’t seem to shake the latest cold or virus.

If they could stay home and get over it completely without harassment from employer and co-workers, everyone in the place would stay healthier. Think about what circulates in those office air conditioners. You wouldn’t eat food with crap like that in it. Why do you willingly breathe the air?

Yes, I’m frustrated I didn’t get as much done this week as I’d planned, nor get to the gym my usual 3 times. But I did walk every day but one, and got what must have been much-needed rest, even if I didn’t realize it at the time. As I no longer keep a lot of junk food in the house, I couldn’t eat badly if I’d tried. My idea of cheating on my diet these days is Trader Joe’s dark chocolate, Yasso 100-calorie yogurt bars, and Harvest lentil bean snacks.

Did you know it’s harder to happily binge on healthier snacks? I didn’t either until I sat with a bag of lentil snacks, ate a few, and put the bag away—because I’d satisfied the craving! The truth is, you set your mind to “healthier” and your body follows. When you overwork, eat crap, and otherwise tell your bod you don’t care, it craves love and attention in the form of things we mistakenly define as comfort food. In other words, grease, sugar, salt, and carbs.

Using Setbacks as a Reminder to Take a Step Back

Unfortunately, you get stuck in a self-perpetuating downward spiral in which health suffers, and you accomplish less with more effort. Tell me something. Who does that on purpose?

I’ve learned when life offers setbacks, regardless of the source, the best thing to do is take a step back, relax, and give myself permission to get nothing accomplished if that’s what it takes to let the situation pass peacefully. Recognize I truly do have things under control and that there’s no meter running on the amount of stuff I’m supposed to get done in a given amount of time.

Even if there was, my normal work habits put me ahead of the game anyway. I suspect yours do too, but you may have gotten stuck in a self-destructive loop of overachieving. It may be as simple as working smarter, not harder, a lesson that took me a long time to master.

Working Smarter, Not Harder

Here are a few things I’ve put in place in the last few years which give me down time whenever I need it:

  • For clients I bill monthly, as soon as the work is done, I create the invoice and set up the email with delayed delivery. (Most email programs can do this).
  • Give myself more time than I know I need to complete a project to allow for delays both human and electronic.
  • Use the scheduling option on my blog and website to write my copy in advance.
  • Set up sharing on my website and blog to automatically publish to social media.
  • Pre-schedule a month’s worth of posts on sites other than my own.
  • Put all projects on Trello with due dates so I know exactly when things need to be completed.
  • Check Trello daily.
  • Put all regular daily activities on Google calendar with reminders.

Many of these might seem to you like no-brainers, but think of the stress you avoid when you don’t miss appointments; when you see what you have coming up, and how long you have to meet the deadline; when you see white space on your calendar you can use to accommodate the unexpected.

Leaving Space to Let Go

This week, I “lost” the better part of 2 days. I didn’t write any blog posts, or get work for clients done, or make progress on my marketing. Instead, I had time to take the breaks I needed, look honestly at what I’d done this week, and recognize it was more than I thought, and give some attention to my daughter when she needed to vent. All without stress or guilt!

I no longer beat myself up when plans go awry. Instead, I congratulate myself for having the space in my schedule to ride out the waves which bring production to a temporary standstill. In other words, I’ve found my balance.

Need Some Help Creating Space?

Are you feeling overwhelmed with too many things you have to do and not enough time? Did you know you don’t have to do it all? Would you like to take a task or two off your plate? Maybe it’s content creation, or perhaps it’s getting your books in order and creating a budget. If this sounds familiar and you’re ready to streamline your life and give your business and life space to grow and thrive, CONTACT ME and let’s talk!

Finding Gratitude in Everything

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I am grateful for the pace I set myself. It varies with energy level, mood, and circumstances, and is rarely stress-driven any more.
  2. I am grateful for my life outside the regular world.
  3. I am grateful for choices I made which, on the surface may still seem ill-advised, but which have given me a far better quality of life.
  4. I am grateful for options. Each day can be the same as the one before, but it can also be quite different. Either way, it’s my choice.
  5. I am grateful for abundance; love, friendship, opportunities, inspiration, motivation, projects, energy, choices, fresh air, sunshine, kitty love, family, peace, health, harmony, freedom, philanthropy, and prosperity.

Love and Light


About the Author

Sheri Conaway is a writer, blogger, ghostwriter, and an advocate for cats, and mental health. Sheri believes in the Laws of Attraction, but only if you are a participant rather than just an observer. Her mission is to Make Vulnerable Beautiful and help entrepreneurs touch the souls of their readers and clients so they can increase their impact and their income. If you’d like to have her write for you, please visit her Hire Me page for more information. You can also find her on Facebook Sheri Levenstein-Conaway Author or in her new group, Putting Your Whole Heart Forward

Cooking Thoughts

The Tomatoes Are Here!

The day finally came when my beloved heirloom tomatoes graced the Underwood Family Farms stand. As usual, I carefully chose the biggest and best, the most solid and the most colorful for my first bowl of gazpacho for 2016.gazpacho tomatoes 2016

Yesterday, I turned those tomatoes along with a variety of other vegetables into that delicious, oh-so-healthy bowl of goodness I’ll happily eat for the next week or so.

Music to Soothe, Inspire and Invoke Brutally Honest Reflection

As I typically do, I used my iPad to listen to a Pandora station which is reminiscent of my younger days. The music of Blood, Sweat and Tears, Chicago, Crosby, Stills and Nash, Seals and Crofts and of course, Simon and Garfunkle filled the kitchen as I chopped, sang, and occasionally danced. The three hours it took me to chop all of the veggies by hand (I chose not to use the Ninja to pulverize the onions, garlic and herbs today) gave me the usual latitude to think and allow thoughts to wander randomly in and out of my mind.

I happened to be listening more intently when Sounds of Silence came on. Thus it was that the words “…people talking without speaking” got my attention and gave me pause. How often, these days do we talk without speaking? Either we’re texting, or instant messaging or emailing. We’re having conversations without saying a word. Though the song was written in the ’60’s, it’s even more meaningful today.

How many times, while running errands has my daughter called me and rattled on about whatever is on her mind, not stopping to give me a chance to speak, and if she does, not hearing what I’m saying anyway. Meanwhile, I’m multi-tasking and not hearing much of what she’s saying either. Both of us might as well be talking to a wall too much of the time. Our phone calls are only rarely true conversations.

Realizing How Far I’ve Come, and How Far I Have to Go

As is often the case when I make gazpacho or any of the recipes which originally came from my mom, my thoughts drifted to her. These days, unlike while she was alive, those thoughts are loving rather than annoyed. I remember the good things she gave me and the incredible experiences she shared rather than all of the arguments and the times she made me crazy. I feel compassion for her and what she became. Such are the products of my years of soul-searching and endless writing. I’ve come to know and appreciate the woman far more in death than I ever did in life.

That makes me sad in so many ways, not the least of which is my lack of relationship with my daughter Jenni and her daughter, Serenity who will be 7 in less than a month. Although I honor Jenni’s decision to keep her distance from me and am glad I kept her from using Sera as a pawn to get her way, there is a place in my heart that’s a little bit broken as a result. There’s also a part of me that resents the woman who took my place in that little girl’s life, even while I appreciate the fact that Sera has someone who, if not a real grandmother, acts like one.

An Emotional Maelstrom

Reading back on this, I’m somewhat amazed at the gamut of emotions raised by the simple act of making a bowl of cold vegetable soup, yet cooking for me is both cathartic and a time to let my mind wander where it will. I’ve never really had reason to put a filter on my thoughts. Cooking, writing and even cleaning are simply places I go when I want to work things out or simply let go of whatever is bringing me down.

Some people garden, but I’ve found I don’t have the patience or perseverance to follow all the steps to a successful crop. Either I forget to water, or let the weeds run rampant, or simply let the produce die on the vine. We all have things we’ll stick with until it’s done. For me, gardening just isn’t one of them.

With a big bowl of soup in my refrigerator and even a bit of reorganization in the process, I’m left with a passel of mixed emotions. Gratitude, of course, for the lessons, the recipe and the inclination to make the soup. Regret for not taking the time to see what my mom hid just below the surface, and for the granddaughter I may never really know. Disappointment in myself for allowing conversations with my daughter Heather to become more talking at than talking to. And resolve to fix the things I can, accept the ones I can’t and let go of the negative emotions they engender.

There Will Always Be Gratitude

On that note, I’ll share today’s gratitudes:

  1. I’m grateful to have a gigantic bowl of homemade gazpacho in my refrigerator.
  2. I’m grateful for the self-love making a healthy batch of soup gives me.
  3. I’m grateful for the time I spend considering how I’m feeling and determining whether I can fix what makes me feel that way or just learn to accept and release it.
  4. I’m grateful for friends, new and old who impact my life every day. In the long run, they help me to become a better person.
  5. I’m grateful for abundance; love, friendship, healthy food, healthy habits, my kitties’ devotion (waking up to one purring and licking my cheek while another lays across me, pushing his face into my hand and rattling my rib cage with his purr is the best morning ritual I know), sharing, caring, peace, harmony, healthy, philanthropy and prosperity.

Blessed Be

I invite you to visit my Facebook pages, Sheri Levenstein-Conaway Author and HLWT Accounting. Please also drop by my website, and check out my Hire Me Page. I’ve created these pages as a means of positive affirmation and would be very grateful if you’d “like” them or leave a comment! Thank you!

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