Change is exciting
Change is fun
Change is hard
Change is a challenge
Life changes all the time, sometimes in small ways and sometimes in ways that shake the very foundation of the world you have created for yourself. It can be fun and scary, or exciting and hard, but what it is NOT is up to you.
Change challenges all of us and you can choose to overcome that challenge or it can overcome you
Change is happening in a big way in my life and at AMP Fitness. I will be leaving my teaching career to work full time at the best training facility in Boston. I have spent the better part of a decade in early education and invested hours and money into being the best teacher that I could be. I learned from some of the best teachers and reflected and worked hard each day to meet students where they were at.
Why walk away from my hard work and career?
Well the short answer is… Why not?!
As with any big change in my life I weighed options, pros and cons and to make a long story short….I was READY. I was ready to make the leap, follow a path that I had dreamed of and take on the challenge of change. I had this carrier change in the bag!
That was in January…
As I approached June and the end of the school year things stated to shift. My emotions were out of control, my sleep patterns were wacky, I let my healthy food intake fall to pieces. I had almost forgotten all about my excitement and happiness and preparations that brought me to my changing point in the first place!
I had let the idea of change stress me out. It had started to tear me down before I even left my job! I knew how to deal with stress. I have a tool box of skills that I reach for when my mind and emotions get away from me. Where was my tool box!? Why wasn’t I using it?!
Truth be told, everyone has skills and a stress tool box, we just need to remember to access and utilize these tools. I want to share my toolbox in hopes that maybe it will be useful and help to remind others of the skills that they posses in challenging times.
Realize your stress white flags!
When I am stressed out there are certain things that I tend to do. I crave comfort foods, I clean like a maniac, I cry…a lot, and I can’t sleep. You wont be able to know when to use your tool box if you can’t recognize when your body is surrendering and waving the white flag.
You can’t solve a problem without first realizing there is one
I am a creature of habit. I admit it! I enjoy getting up at the same time everyday, taking the same walk with my dog, drinking my coffee the same way and driving the same way to work. My job as a teacher was so hectic at times that my routine was what grounded me and started my day off right.
The thought of that routine being disrupted and changed made my head spin. This is when I started to clean…everything…. Like cleaning under furniture, washing window screens and base boards and brushing my dogs teeth till they sparkled clean.
If I felt things where out of my control and spinning I would take a moment to focus on one thing the I COULD control. Coming home to a clean apartment was something I could consistently count on and who doesn’t like coming home and having everything ALREADY CLEAN! ?
If you feel like you are losing control, focus on something positive that you CAN control that brings you a sense of calming comfort.
Creating some consistency in your daily routine can help center you when life is gets a little wacky
Heard this one before? That's because it works! When stress rears it’s ugly head, you can feel it in tight muscles in your back and shoulders. There has been more than one time where I laid on my back in the middle of the classroom and taken big breaths, in and out slow and controlled, dropping and relaxing my shoulders, filling my belly with air and releasing the tension. My students would even join me at times.
I was recently enjoying a night out with a friend of mine and she was telling me about going to her yoga class when she was stressed. She told me, “It’s nice to just have someone to just tell me to breathe” The instructor would walk around adjusting and remind people to breathe. Sometimes you just need a friendly reminder!
Put away all electronics; turn off the TV and music. Send the kids out to play or have someone watch them while you escape into silence. Silence can be uncomfortable, unsettling but that is when you hear your own thoughts best. Sometimes your mind is yelling at you about something, but you haven’t been able to hear it or tune into your thoughts.
Take a walk in the woods, run, walk or lay down on the floor where you can be completely alone with yourself.
I keep many journals, but my favorite one is my Oh Sh*t journal. When life hits a fork in the road I pull out this bad boy. I write about pros and cons, what has been bothering me or sometimes just let my mind go and write whatever pops into my head in a free flow writing experience. I will sometimes come back to reread what I wrote another day or sometimes things will pop off that page that I didn’t even realize I was thinking.
Have you ever been so stressed or emotionally wrecked that you can’t think straight and have no one to talk to. Try using a journal to just write it all down, let your mind go and write exactly what pops into your head. Releasing the thoughts will help clear your mind and coming back to what you wrote another day might open your eyes to something that you didn’t realize was there.
Fuel your Body for success
I enjoy cleaning; I do NOT always enjoy cooking. When I am stressed I enjoy cooking even less. I get lazy with my food prep for the week and go out to buy lunches more.
This is where routine and habit can either fall to pieces or it can keep you on track. If stress is beating down your door, keeping the habit of good, whole foods in your diet will help you stay on your game. Food that lacks the nutrition you need will slow you down and make you feel even crummier that you already do.
Make sure that your food prep is NOT the stressor.
- Make a meal plan ahead of time so you can blow through the grocery store like a BOSS.
- Split the cooking jobs between you and a your sig-o or a roommate, you grill the meat they prep salads. You both get to reap the benefits of the health meals, but without doing all the work yourself. WIN WIN.
- Talk to others about food! You get new yummy ideas for meals! I work with a lovely teacher who is vegan (I am not), her meals are always BOMB! Her boyfriend is also not vegan but together they cook meals so they can then add meat or no meat to MEET both of their needs. Plus her vegan mac and cheese is AMAZEBALLS.
Movement for the WIN
As a teacher, coach, mother to a pup and a body movement enthusiast I was on my feet for roughly 12-14 hours a day. I don’t sit at a desk, I move, a lot. If you have a job that isn’t so active, prioritize time to MOVE. Walk on your lunch breaks, walk the dog instead of letting them run in the yard. Work with a professional to help get you moving pain free. There are so many benefits to getting your body to move, stress and tension release, vitamin D, fresh air, weight loss, help with hip and back pain , fun, socializing, alone time, exploring, adventures,… I could go on for awhile…
Remember Change is a Challenge that you can handle. Just reach into that handy-dandy toolbox when it starts to get stressful!
A special thanks to the wonderful people in my life that helped me realize my potential and eased my fears in these past 6 months. You may not have even realized that you have helped me, but something you said or did touched me and made me grateful to have you in my life. Thank you to these wonderful humans and more!
*My husband and wingman, my parents, Christopher and Sarah Johnstone, Sarah Davidson, Brittany Koehler, Megan Duffy, Kimberly Mills, Mary Truslow, Randi Morse, Molly, Jenny, Jess, Harold Gibbons, Kelsey Naro, Meriel Bernal, Alicia Kelly, Mark Fisher, Michael Keeler, Eric Temple, Mel and Eric Smolin, Dan John, Jason Pak and Lauren Perreault, Pat Fabrizio, Peter Dupuis, Dr. Robert, Stacey Schaedler, Robert Hoffman, Pat Koch, and all the amazing AMP superheroes*