As I look on the past decade, 10 years ago, in 2010, I’ve learned many life lessons. In 2010, I was a new mom of a special developmentally delayed boy (officially diagnosed with intellectual disability). We got married and was trying to be all the things we thought we should be, but was painfully aware we had no clue what we were doing.
The days of him not not crawling, not walking and not talking turned into weeks and even months of anticipation and wondering if I was doing something wrong. The criticisms from family and friends struck like a knife and led me down to a dark hall of depression, anxiety and self doubt.
Those were some of the most lonely days of my life. I used food and alcohol to numb the pain – only temporarily.
I put on a smile for everyone, but there were many nights I cried myself to sleep, after putting my son to bed.
If I could go back, I would give that new mom a hug and assure she was doing everything perfectly (we all are doing the best we can, with what we’ve got) and to trust her gut no matter what.
Some of the lessons I’ve learned in this decade, while transforming my health, my relationships and my lifestyle.
- Habits Matter
After having my son, I allowed my life be overcome with doctors appointments, therapy sessions and I ran my life on his schedule. Naturally, I became overweight, exhausted and hated everything in my closet. Anything you want to change in your life, anything that isn’t working and anything that is working – all come back to the habits we have in place. When I started on my weight loss journey in 2014, my coach had me look at my habits and how I could improve. Whether you want better health, more money or a cleaner house, it comes down to the habits you have in place or you don’t.
- Inner Talk is Powerful
Our success greatly relies on our self belief and the inner talk we give ourselves. As I learned to navigate this inner chatter from “I can’t do that” to “I will learn or I got this”, I found my power. Whether you are a new mom, starting a new workout routine or wondering if you can homeschool, this applies. The next time you set a goal or try something new, take inventory of the little voice inside and replace anything negative with empowering words and mantras.
- You are Stronger than you Think
You know the saying, you never know how strong something is until you put it in hot water. A true warrior shows just how strong they are when the going gets tough. As a special needs mom and advocate, I’ve had to stand in battles I never imagined. I’ve had to stand up to doctors, teachers, principals and I’ve also been called names, insulted on my parenting style and learned to take it all. Never underestimate the strength of a mother, fighting for her child.
- Love Wins
As things get hard, you hit rock bottom, you find yourself scraping yourself off the floor. Many times you want to cry, scream and give up but if you can anchor into love, you can get through anything. To love yourself is to love others, with compassion and giving grace. Keep in mind, everyone is doing the best they can with what they have. When you know better, you can do better.
- We All Need Each Other
It’s a lonely journey, as we muddle through life, motherhood, marriage and relationships. Things get muddy, cloudy and messy, but if we can find the strength to bind together, we can do more, be more and come out stronger. We need a tribe, we need human connection and we need vulnerability to know we are all in this together. Join the free facebook group here.
- Fear, Jealousy, Bitterness and Resentment are normal but unnecessary.
Fear is necessary to keep us safe. It exists and is there for the ride. But you don’t have to let it steer the car. Jealousy, bitterness and resentment also normal but the faster you can acknowledge it, release it and kick it out, the more peace and joy you will find. Forgiveness has been one my biggest lessons of this decade. We don’t forgive for the other person, it doesn’t excuse their behaviors, but it does free you from it hardening your heart.
- Follow Your Heart and Listen to Your Gut
It’s easy to get caught up in all the to-dos, checking the boxes, dotting your I’s. But if it doesn’t feel good, doesn’t light your fire, it is not for you. Listening to my inner knowing – even when everyone advised me differently – has always been the right thing and steered me closer to what is right for me.
- We Are All Unique
As you realize your own gifts, quirks and experiences, you will soon realize there is no one like you. Competition, jealousy and resentment cannot exist once you recognize you are so unique – no one can copy you – and you shouldn’t copy anyone else either. Speak your truth because only you can do it and say it like you can – and someone needs to hear it, exactly the way ONLY you can say it.
- Everyone is On Their Own Journey
Know everyone is on their own journey, in their own time and they will heal in their own way. We all experience things differently. Two people can go through the exact same experience and will perceive it differently. Not everyone will do it like you do, as fast or as slow as you. That is ok. Keep being a light so they know where to turn when they are looking for the right path.
- Try, Try Again
Get knocked down seven times, stand up eight. Things won’t be perfect and things won’t end up the way you envisioned. Keep going, keep trying and don’t let yourself get defeated.
This is my list of life lessons, things I’ve gone through and things I’ve grown through. I hope you are inspired and use this as inspiration to create your own list as you look back on the years.
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After my second daughter was born, I needed a nap before my kids did by 10:30-11:00am during the day. I was ready for a nap and I felt like coffee was my lifeline. I felt like I could just have an IV hooked up to coffee because that’s how low energy I was, and caffeine dependent I had become. These are some of my go to sources for natural energy.
If you do find yourself going through an energy slum, whether it’s all day long or maybe it’s just a certain part of the day, certain things that you can do to give yourself that energy zap, so you can have more focus and energy for the rest of your day.
Get some sun
Have you ever noticed in the summer time, or on your day off, on the weekend when you’re outside, you just have this natural energy and you don’t even need any caffeine. That’s because the sun; it gives us so much energy. If you are sitting at your desk and you’re feeling low energy, take a hop outside or take a walk. Taking a break from your regular routine, standing up from your desk and getting some vitamin D can do wonders.
Go For A Walk
There’s something about energy, the way it flows through our body, just by standing up and taking a walk around the office. It breaks up your routine, gets the energy in your body moving and will improve circulation. Add a daily walk at the beginning or end of your day to see long-term improvements to your energy.
Sit up nice and tall, make sure your back is straight, posture is good, and take a deep breath in. This is a natural stress reliever. If you can do this two to three times, just deep breath in and let it out.
I love using essential oils to increase my energy and mood. Click here to get $10 off
Drink More Water
If you don’t get enough water and you’re dehydrated that can feel like you’re really tired. It also can make you feel hungry. Drinking water and making sure you’re staying hydrated throughout the day can help increase your energy and keep your energy up throughout the day.
High Vibe Friends
Keep high energy friends around you, and whether it’s throughout the day or throughout the week and you’re going to feed off of their energy. This is why I love being in community because when I was a work at home mom, I just had kids around all day. I didn’t really have any adult conversation. If you are an empath and take on other people’s emotions, this is especially important. We feed off of each other’s energy, moods and attitudes. Keep your positive and high energy friends closer than the others. If you feel someone really sucking your energy, limit your time with them.
Drink Green Tea
One of the first things I did to increase my energy was swap out my coffee drinks for green tea. This is the tea I drink daily. Keep it at your desk, sip on it either first thing in the morning or throughout the day. Not only will it boost your energy, it will also boost your metabolism and promotes weight loss. WIN WIN
Stock Up On Protein
If you are low energy, it’s possible that you’re not eating enough food, or you’re going long periods of time without food. And so, having a quick protein meal or snack can help keep your blood sugar level was more sustainable, more stable, and it can bring up your energy really quick. When I work with new clients, for weight loss or energy, the first thing I look at is what they are eating and how much.
It’s great to just have some kind of protein snacks on hand. If you work in an office like I used to, having a little stash in your desk, some nuts, some peanut butter, some string cheese or some turkey. If you have a little mini refrigerator that you have access to, that can be really good, too.
Right now, one of my favorite protein snacks is this High Protein Iced Coffee. Comes in 2 flavors and and it is less than $3 a cup.
Need more ideas on more protein snacks
Adding a new baby to the mix last year, really shook things up in my business. I struggled doing any work that wasn’t done from my phone. I struggled with finding the time with live videos or taking photos – real life of a mom of 3. I made it work.
But I’ve really felt the need to simplify – either less work and easier systems or bringing on more support, so I can still get things done.
But I still love to work. I love creating content. I love focused time with little to no distractions.
And I’ve always loved social time and in person meetings.
In the fall, we purchased a physical location, in Louisville, Ohio – which started as a place to sell energy teas and meal replacement shakes. Check out my podcast feature on Fit Life Creation all about it.
After some reworking and getting new ideas on what we want life to look like and feel like, I am moving my entire work here.
West Side Nutrition
is now my entire office. I get time to plan, check emails, connecting and meeting clients, do podcast interviews and anything else I need quiet time for. And the best part is at home I get to focus on being a wife, mom and the house more.
As a former workaholic, I love having the two be more separated. More on that later.
We still have on the go nutrition, energizing teas, iced coffee and complete meal shakes to help with focus and productivity! But now, I get my own office time and more quiet.
What could you get done with 1-2 hours of focus time, with no interruptions? Do you have a dedicated space you can get work done?
Do you struggle with work life balance? Free download here on getting focused
So much has happened in the past few months. But before we get to that, you must have some background story of how we got here.
My oldest was born early, at 33 weeks, and has a condition called Childhood Apraxia of Speech. “Apraxia is a motor speech disorder that makes it hard for children to speak. It can take a lot of work to learn to say sounds and words better” from American Speech Language Association.
He’s now nine years old and has come a long way, but our journey is far from over. CAS is a motor planning disorder where he has difficulty not only in speech, but also can affect gross motor and fine motor skills.
Gage at 18 months
- He said his first word at 18 months.
- He took his first step at 22 months.
- He was finally potty trained at age 4.
At age one, our pediatrician noticed he wasn’t talking or making much noise and referred us to our early intervention services, Help Me Grow. Early intervention is a statewide system that provides coordinated services to parents of infants and toddlers with disabilities. Check your state for something similar.
After several evaluations, we began working with EI and Stark County MRDD, in our home. We continued working with them until the maximum age of three, from there they refer to the public school system.
At three, he was put on an IEP (individual education plan), with our local school system. At that time, public school seemed like the best choice – where they would provide services of speech and occupational, and eventually physical therapies.
He loved school and we were happy with the progress he was making.
In the first grade, I started to recognize some signs of him struggling to read. He was transposing his numbers, he was really having difficulty reading and writing and started to dislike his bedtime stories (we had been doing since he was 6 months old). Despite my many attempts to talk to the school, it seemed like my concerns were dismissed. At the end of first grade, I emailed my concerns to the elementary principal, stating I wasn’t sure that he was ready for 2nd grade. She replied back that that was the schools job to determine and I was not to worry.
Our first parent-teacher conference, last year was very concerning. He was, now, in the third grade; yet, he was only reading at a kindergarten and first grade level. Despite being on an IEP, his teacher insisted he MUST pass the Ohio standarized tests or else he would repeat the 3rd grade.
I’ve never missed a single IEP meeting and I still had no clue how to help my little guy. After 8 years, several speech therapists, working with the school and a trip to Akron Children’s Neurology department, I was frustrated and had zero diagnosis.
I found an outside agency that would evaluate him, for dyslexia and any other learning disabilities and possibly give me some better answers as to how I can help him. After several evaluations, from him, and getting input from both his parents and several teachers that were familiar with him, we did get a diagnosis of intellectual disability. He tested with a lower IQ than most. The psychologist that did the testing explained that it’s going to take him longer to master certain things, than most kids, which is why he believed he was late talking, walking, potty training, and everything in between.
Since he takes longer to process information, the psychologist also stated he would need an average of two years to master the same information that most kids learn in one. He gave us some recommendations on how we could better accommodate Gage in the home and how the school could better accommodate him in the classroom.
- He would need to have instructions broken down into bite size pieces. (He does have an early intervention specialist and small group time for this)
- He would need a lot of visual manipulatives to help him master reading, writing and math.
- It is recommended he be in a smaller classroom, made up of his peers.
- Gage needs to feel like he is making progress and not feel like he is behind everyone else.
- He should not be held to the same standard as the rest of the class – ie. required to pass the standarized testing.
Check back for details on what’s next for Gage and our family
Do you ever feel like time just gets away from you and things tend to suck up all your time, you never actually find time for yourself? So many of us women are so busy keeping everyone else busy, we forget what it is we are actually working toward and can get lost along the way. Summer is the perfect time to hit pause, reflect on what you want and find your way back to bliss.
For me, summer is for fun, freedom and doing nothing and feeling great about it! Doing nothing can be more of a challenge for some of us.
Here are some of the things that should be on your must-do list, this summer, to find that sweet spot of reaching your goals and having fun doing it.
1. Start your morning off with connection: Before the hustle and bustle of your day starts, take time, in the morning, to set your intention for the day, connect with how you most want to feel and visualize your perfect day. Just a few minutes, in the morning, can set the entire tone of the day. Sit down with your morning coffee or tea, put pen to paper and write to your heart’s content. Most of us live in a fast-paced and digital world, but don’t underestimate how writing out your thoughts on paper can affect your entire being.
2. Reflect on your own beauty: These days, everyone is trying to keep up with everyone else. Instead, how about reflecting on how awesome you are – things that no one can take from you. Write down a list of 10 things that are awesome about you, things no one else can duplicate, because they are at the core of you. To take this a step further, try doing mirror work. In the morning, before checking email or social media, look at yourself in the mirror and read off that list, while looking at yourself. When was the last time you told yourself how insanely brilliant you are? Just a warning: this will feel uncomfortable at first.
3. Get outdoors: There is nothing like nature and the sunshine to brighten up your day. There is something about nature that helps ground us and get centered. If you are feeling stressed at work or at home, take a few minutes to get outside, go for a walk or spend a day at the beach. Try walking in the grass or sand in your bare feet and notice how Mother Earth is supporting you.
4. Awaken your plate with color: If you are feeling blah, lighten up your mood and your diet with fresh fruits or vegetables. Start your day with a green smoothie or power up your afternoon with a salad with fresh vegetables and herbs. The more colors you have on your plate, the more antioxidants you are likely to consume. Eat the rainbow, as they say, it can even help knock out depression.
5. Have fun with your workout: Working out is great, but what is even better is if you are having fun. It has been proven if you find something you love, you are more likely to stick with it. If you love adventure, find a hike or waterfall in your area. If you are a social butterfly, enlist a friend to go with you. If you are more into dance, try power yoga or ballet barre, for more fluid movements.
6. Schedule time with family or friends: Wintertime can be a time of solitude, for many. Rev up your mood and your social life with some solid girl time, with close friends or family. Spending time with others has been proven to lessen or prevent depression. Pick up the phone, meet up at the spa or a local coffee shop and share your summer plans, a few belly laughs and maybe even a good cry.
7. Get away in silence: As much as we need to be around others, it is also good to get away and have time for yourself. Having quiet time is the best way to reflect on what it is you really want. Take an afternoon, a weekend or a solo vacation for some much needed time. If you are going with someone, make sure to schedule some downtime, alone. Take a walk alone, take a journal or take yourself to dinner. If you cannot get away, due to other commitments, make sure to unplug from social media one time a week.
Ready for more? I put together my ultimate guide to self-care for you. In this guide, you will discover the power that lies within you, that can bring you back to balance and bliss, get the guide HERE. These are the sacred practices that brought me out of depression and burnout to finding myself again and what it truly means to be happy – not just putting on a happy face.
Do you find it hard to work out because of your tight schedule or crazy chores as a mom? Let’s discuss how you can multitask by taking something you’re already doing and building something you should be doing, like your workouts or drinking more water and how can you build it in and merge those together.
Women, especially those who work full-time jobs, don’t have enough time in the day to do all they really wish to do and they always end up choosing between working out and eating healthy.
When that happens, you will end up feeling resentful over time because everyone else is being taken care of except you. This is when you have to become resourceful and think of how you can do something for yourself, while you are still doing something for someone else.
For instance, I scheduled a call with a team member some time ago, and I thought well, why not just take a walk while we’re chatting and that was how I got my workout in while we were on a call. So for you, it could be having a gym time with a friend, so as you’re still connecting with your friends, you’re still getting your workout in at the same time.
Sometimes, not everything can get done and you may need to cut some stuff out. Other times, there is just a better way.
Things I often ask myself –
- How can this be easier?
- Is there a better way to get this done?
- Is there someone else that can help me?
Are you feeling burnt out by all the things you need to do for work, family, the house? Do you secretly wish you could let something go?
Not long ago, that is how I felt. I worked all day and had no energy in the evenings for my son and didn’t even feel like making dinner. I loved working, but what was the cost? I was giving my best hours to someone else and barely made enough to pay the babysitter.
In this masterclass, I am teaching you how you can work from home, get paid for your brilliance and find more balance in your life.