(Originally posted on Exposure Magazine September 22, 2017).
Energy Vampires…yes, it’s exactly what it sounds like. Those special people who drain every ounce of energy from you because they demand so much encouragement, coaxing, and time. We all have them in our lives. Sadly, sometimes we are even related to or married to them. It doesn’t mean the relationship is doomed, but it will definitely require some major reconstruction.
First, you must identify them. You will know who they are because when you are done spending time with them, you will be exhausted. The mental energy required is simply too much. A body can only be drained so far before a recharge has to occur. If you are unable to recharge, you might find yourself snapping at others. Your “nice” is all used up. Most likely the Energy Vampires, EV’s, have many victims. They prey on those who are compassionate, want to help, and are generally kind people. Reality is that if you are unable to detach from the vampire and regroup, you may attach yourself to someone else and suck them dry. It’s a bit like the flu. It can be contagious, and that never generates a great outcome. It often happens in a close environment in a workplace. If boundaries aren’t drawn you can become the next victim. Do a self-check and make sure you aren’t the vampire first! Boundaries will be the answer to combatting Energy Vampires in the workplace and in your personal relationships. In the work place you can create “save me alliances”. This is a response to being cornered by an EV. A co-worker get a look or a signal from you and know you require assistance. The signal can be a code word, cough, phone call, etc. It is not a way of avoiding the situation, but working together to reduce the carnage and reduction in productivity. I once worked where there were two offices side by side, and any time that an EV walked in, they got 5 minutes. After that, the person in the next office would call them and tell them they needed their help. This was a strategy implemented after the EV stood there for 2-3 hours a couple of different times. Truly a plan was needed. Know who the energy vampires are in your life and have a plan in place for saving yourself. They are often lovely people that simply do not even understand what they cause. Knowing who they are and what your plan is to deal with them will save you a lot of grief. Draw the boundaries and protect yourself- no garlic needed!
(Originally published in Exposure Magazine Sept 15, 2017).
When was your last vacation from life? Are you resting, relaxing, restoring and rejuvenating? Life barrels by us a hundred miles per minute. Have you considered how important it is to take time to rest and restore, to decompress and re-energize your spirit? How long has it been since you have taken a vacation and invested some time in simply doing nothing? Housework will still be waiting, all the projects will still be there. People severely underestimate the need for rejuvenation by relaxation. Read a book for pleasure while sitting poolside or at the beach. Hike a mountain and sit by a stream and read the Bible or whatever fills your spirit up. Travel to some place you have never been and meet some new people. This doesn’t need to be a two week excursion, even two days is great. Expose yourself to new people, new experiences, and new surroundings to keep yourself happy and centered. Take the “me” time you need to continue to be the most amazing you that you are capable of. Your health and wellness depends on it. Your ability to be in service to others depends on it. In fact, I would go so far as to say your ability to be truly successful depends on it! Go with your special someone or go alone- just go! Reconnect with you and rediscover what is important to you. Sleep well and rest often. Happiness and fulfillment are very difficult to obtain if you are always tired and cranky. It leaks out onto everything and everyone. No sense being the crabby Patty/Pat everyone avoids. Get away from everyday life, rest up, relax, restore and rejuvenate because you are worth it!
I should clarify, I don’t mean you actually have a problem in your head. I am referring to what happens when you have “stinking thinking”, and it rolls out over everything in your life. Your mindset manifests in your entire body. Your attitude will be the cement that holds all the faulty thoughts and excuses together. There are some cliché sayings about (blank) my life. The negative words that get filled in grate on my last nerve because they reflect an unhealthy mindset. When you contaminate your thinking to a point where everything in your life references a negative circumstance, it is like you send a beacon for more negative circumstances to occur. You are calling it to you like a magnet. STOP! Clean up the space between your ears. Your brain continues to work on whatever you give it to work on. If you are focused on negativity, it continues to create and sustain that because your brain is a great worker. Unfortunately, it can’t decide on its own whether it is good or bad for you. Your brain controls every single aspect of your body. It tells your lungs to breathe, it keeps your blood circulating, and it also works to continue to keep flowing whatever good ideas or bad thoughts you choose to ruminate on. I am known to say “You only have control over two things: Your thoughts and your actions. Make good choices.”. What you think about determines your actions. More widely known is “What you think about you bring about“ (Earl Nightingale). For many people, the thoughts are simply excuses. These excuses determine the action or inaction. Some examples of how people differ in how they think about this sound like, “I can’t exercise because I have ____.” Or, “I exercise because I have _________, and exercise will improve my health.” This is a choice. You can insert any kind of ailment or impediment you want. One person will use it to make an excuse why they can’t, and the next person will use it for why they should. Insert a few things relevant for you into the sentence above, such as being 50 pounds overweight, blind, high blood pressure, diabetes, no legs, etc. Still don’t think you can do it? Look at Erik Weihenmayer as an example. As a blind man, he has climbed Mt. Everest and kayaked the entire Grand Canyon. He refuses to allow his blindness to be a reason why he cannot do something. He allows it to propel him to do ALL the things people can’t even imagine him doing or even wanting to do. He carefully controls the thoughts he entertains and aligns his actions to meet the greatness he sees and cultivates in his mind. He controls his mindset. Your greatest asset to a healthy life is keeping the space between your ears free of excuses, stinking thinking, and self-loathing, and fill it with positive, beautiful strong thoughts and images of you conquering every challenge that comes before you. Control your thoughts and actions because you can!
(Originally published in the September 1st Exposure Magazine).
Connect, Collaborate and Create!
Life would be so much more awesome if we all strolled through our life with this thought process; connect, create, and collaborate. Somewhere along the line, we seem to have transitioned into a society of people who take. Many spend the better part of their lives working only to receive from others, draining the givers. I am a giver, and some days this can be painful and tiring. Here is a stark reality- together we can create, grow, and have so much more! We all have innate goodness and greatness within. Connect to someone elses greatness, and WOW! The world becomes a better, more civilized, and incredible place. Ask yourself as we start a new month, what place do you serve in this world? Are you a taker? Do you drain those around you, or do you see how you can connect with people, collaborate, and create something even better! I have been blessed to see unbelievable forms of connection and collaboration this week. In particular, I have seen some incredible results created through the efforts of people bringing their best selves together in connection to serve other during #Hurricane Harvey. A new friend I made this week said our most important resource is the HUMAN resource! She is so right. This is why people gather in churches on Sunday, in Bible studies, in book clubs, Boy/Girl Scouts, sports teams, etc. We are better together- we will always be better together. Gather the best of yourself and collaborate with another and create something amazing! It’s what we were designed for! If you answered that you are usually taking from another, then rise up and find a way to give from the greatness with you! Partner with someone and create unity while serving others. Your heart will be full and you will have filled someone else up. That’s when you know that the saying, “It’s better to give than to receive,” isn’t just a cliché.
There truly are two kinds of people. Actor vs. Reactor. Do you
know which one you are? I am certain of this now that I have
shared a premium nutritional supplement for the last 3.5 years.
While listening to a video by Mel Robbins (The Author of the 5
Second Rule) , I discovered this is a real thing! It’s actually brain
science. Imagine that! We are one of two kinds of people in life. 1.
The people who believe they control their life- and 2. The people
who believe Life just happens. Simply said, the Actors and
Reactors…lol Which are you? It is a great question to ask yourself!
A check up from the neck up! I generally run across 2 types of
people- the ones who control their life and health through diet,
exercise, and mindset, and the others who simply wait until they
are faced with a massive life altering health challenge and
PANIC!!! The Reactors start scrambling, looking for diets, quick
fixes, try to exercise for an hour a day when they have sat on the
couch for the last 8 years… Zero sustainability for what they are
doing! Fear is generally not a great long-term motivator. Mel
Robbins teaches how to become that person of action, retraining
the brain to lean towards action and controlling your life rather
than reacting to it! I love this! Why not live your life so loud
people need to cover their ears and shield their eyes because you
shine so bright and your happy is so loud!!! Live in Action mode,
BE a PRO-active person instead of a reactive person- Smash out
your goals and create the life you want to live- the life you
DESERVE to live- The life God perfectly designed you for! Check up
from the neck up…which person are you?
You know that feeling you have when you see that a celebrity or actor who you enjoyed watching on television as a kid has passed away? Even though you don’t know them personally, you still feel a sense of loss. Today, I invite you to take a few minutes to sit back and make a list of people who need to know you care about them. One of those people for me is my dad. He is 86 years young and one of the kindest, most loving, calm, and patient men I have ever known. He has had many health challenges along the way, and has truly been a champion through all of them. He hasn’t loved being the poster child for ailments, but he hasn’t spent too much time feeling sorry for himself either. He has been cherishing the gift he has been given because he KNOWS life isn’t a guarantee. When it’s our time to go- it just is. I encourage you all to live life fully, engaging every day with positive people. The way most people roll through life is like a tumbleweed, reacting to whatever comes their way, and bumping along and into things instead of creating the life they deserve. Create your best life by staying connected to those who bring out the best in you. Distance yourself from the people who pull you down or don’t leave you filled with joy. Spend part of your day in gratitude for the people God has chosen to place in your life. Be thankful for them and share that gratitude directly with them. Today I say thank you to my Dad, Paul, for being that bright light in which to follow. He has always been a wonderful role model! May you all be blessed with such fabulous people to follow and keep close to you. Use your power of discernment to make sure those people who are close to you need to have a role in your life. Stay connected closely with people who fill your joy tank, the ones who affirm for you that life IS a gift, not a guarantee.
Who doesn’t love a great massage? If you think massage is the same everywhere, it’s just not true. There are many kinds of massage; Swedish, deep tissue, hot stone, aromatherapy, and others. Massage is a very valuable health asset. Massage increases blood flow, stimulates the nervous system, helps rid the body of toxins and is plain old relaxing for most people. Massage can also help lower blood pressure and cholesterol. Are you aware that there are many mobile massage therapists who come to your home, set up the massage table and let you slide like jello off the table afterward and head off to bed if you like? My husband and I love the option of this type of massage. In speaking with Karen Horath, LMT and owner of Because You Matter Mobile Massage, based in Springfield IL, there are many benefits to mobile massage aside from the massage. Karen shared that climate is essential for people’s comfort and finds that the home is where people are already comfortable, because they are more relaxed in their personal surroundings. She loves the flexibility of this type of massage as opposed to being in a brick and mortar setting. She also does massage at a local salon two days out of the week for those who prefer that setting. However, her passion lies in the mobile massage end of her business. She was motivated to pursue this type of business model for a very personal reason. Her husband is legally blind, and therefore would be unable to drive himself to a massage appointment. She thought about him and others who weren’t able to transport themselves. She saw a problem and a way to solve it. She also does events such as employee appreciation days, provide massage service at local hotels for guests, and has even do chair massages at a party. One of her favorite things is when she sees her clients roll off the table, relaxed, and knowing they won’t have to worry about the stress of getting into traffic or feeling too sleepy to drive. Mobile massage is a growing trend as we become busier in our daily lives and work long hours. Treat yourself to this amazing healthy option for relaxation and health benefit. If you are lucky like me, you can have one at home with your cat sitting on your feet. Karen just smiles and keeps on working her magic…
Many people stress over trying to figure out how they can “fit” exercise in to become more fit. Being fit and creating a healthy body isn’t about time. It’s all about mindset and commitment. We were made to thrive, not just survive. If you don’t commit the time, you may find that down the road the time you do have here on earth is spent enduring ailments and simply existing. The first step is to dispense with the thought(mindset) that you need to spend an hour every day. This is not true at all! Staying fit and becoming healthy is really accomplished in smaller increments, consistently. Walking daily at a semi brisk pace will strengthen your heart and reduce blood pressure. Walking can even improve mood, balance, and coordination, according to the Mayo Clinic. It’s kind of like eating an elephant one bite at a time. Start small in your planning. Maybe it’s 5 minutes of walking each day. Seriously, you could walk and eat a piece of fruit at breakfast or lunch time. Talk to a different friend each day for 10 minutes while you walk. You will catch up with them and they will be happy to hear from you and will contribute to you becoming a healthier you. If you are a social exerciser, find people who will commit to walking with you each day! STOP making it hard. Most of all, STOP making excuses. Don’t allow yourself to fall in to the category of people who find themselves with a health challenge they can no longer avoid or correct! Why wait until you can’t correct something? Let us be proactive in this quest. Be that person who says- yes I want to watch “XYZ” show but I haven’t walked my 10-30 mins for today yet so I need to do that first. That’s mindset and also why we have DVR’s! Hence- there is your commitment: we can all walk for exercise. Yes, we can even lift weights sitting on the couch or at our desk at work. We can ALL make excuses also. Life is all about choices- good and bad. Invest that 30 minutes a day to design a healthier body today. We simply want to make sure that what we do today creates the life we WANT to live tomorrow!
(Originally in the July 28, 2017 Exposure Magazine.)
Have you ever heard this quote? Friends for a reason, friends for a season, and friends for a lifetime. I have been pondering this quote this week as several of my friends and I have been discussing the different types of friendships we have had over the years. And how to our dismay, some we thought would be for a lifetime turned out to be simply for a season. I find it interesting that being so close to the relationship we sometimes can’t discern what the nature of the relationship will be. I believe even those who are there only for a reason or season can still impact you for the rest of your life with the lessons you can learn. Even though the person doesn’t remain, the lesson does. Often these are the painful ones. But you can choose to use your pain to power your purpose. Interestingly, I think sometimes, this will lead you to a lifetime friend because of shared experiences. I have been through some severe bumps in the road the past few years however, God has blessed me with some of the most impactful, courageous, most inspiring people I have ever met as a result. Had my pain not pushed me to choose a different course, I would not have been connected in the time and space to these individuals. I thank Almighty God and my Creator for being smarter than I am, knowing whom I should be surrounding myself with and gently nudging me in that direction. I hope you will spend a few minutes in quiet and assess who are the people closest to you and why. Who fills you up emotionally and why. Consider what kind of friend you are as well. We sometimes get what we give. If you feel empty, maybe you need to look at who’s cup you have been filling? Are you pouring into others or draining someone else? You need balance. This is the exact reason there are three kinds of friends. Some people just need to go because they are only drainers. Listen to your gut and your intuition. That’s God speaking His wisdom in your ear. We just need to listen. Surround yourself with like-minded people and step into your greatness with ALL of your friends!
(Originally in the July 21, 2017 Exposure Magazine.)
It’s that time of year, and the zucchini are abundant! HOORAY! There are many benefits to zucchini, such as weight loss (low calorie, high volume), manganese for healthy heart function, vitamin C, and fiber. It is a fabulous fruit/vegetable to add to your diet. Usually seen as a vegetable, zucchini is actually classified as a fruit. Regardless of what you classify it as, consider adding it to your healthy eating! There is a tremendous amount of beta carotene in the skins so unless it’s the size of your arm, leave the skin on! And don’t throw those giant zucchinis away- stuff them! You can find many recipes on Pinterest, including Zucchini boats, zucchini fries (my favorite) and even stuffed like enchiladas. I enjoy using my spiralizing vegetable cutter and making zoodles instead of starchy noodles. All this zucchini talk makes me think of Dr Seuss’s Green eggs and Ham poem. Except for me, it’s more like;
I like Zucchini, I do, I do,
So I say, how about you?
I would eat them made into a lasagna boat,
I would eat them stuffed with cheese from a goat.
I will eat them in a restaurant, and at home,
I eat them wherever I roam.
They are so good, so good, you see,
And they are so good for me!
I will eat them on a plate,
I will eat them at night, very late.
I will eat them as part of my healthy diet,
The calories are so low, no cause for a riot.
And I will eat them at my house,
And I will eat them with butter I can douse.
I will eat them here and there,
SAY, I will eat them anywhere!
I even eat zucchini with my fam,
Thank you, thank you,
Sherri I am.
Perhaps not as amusing as Dr Seuss, but none the less- Eat up your zucchini! Go ahead and sauté it, bake it, grill it or fill it- just eat it for your health!
These are my older blog posts, which originally appeared in my Exposure Magazine Column, "Healthy Living."