Balancing work and motherhood during quarantine

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Photo by Anastasia Shuraeva on Pexels.com

Is it EASIER or HARDER to prioritize self-care and down time right now during the COVID-19 quarantine?
I asked this question earlier this week as for an overwhelming response (over 100 women to be exact)
The results are in…
It’s a mixed bag.
For some, it’s been WAY easier
While others feel a little more like they are drowning in work, homeschooling, and all the housework.
 Working from home is a SKILL you develop over time. And even if you’ve developed that skill, trying to manage home schooling on top of that is a whole new hard.
 If you have found it to be harder to take care of yourself in this season of life, ONE major reason is that you’re likely still trying to live your life as normal—doing business as usual.
But this isn’t normal, and it certainly isn’t business as usual.
The thing I noticed in talking to some of these different women is, the ones who have been thriving in this time have adjusted their sails and have adapted to the changing tides day by day..embracing the uncertain.
The ones who have been on the struggle bus, haven’t.
There is a very good chance we will never actually go back to the old normal. This is potentially scary for some and exciting for others. The funny thing is, a lot of us weren’t all that happy with ‘normal’ when it was life as usual.
But now that it’s been taken away from us, we crave that old normal…because it is familiar and it was comfortable even if it was anything but.
In this new crazy season of life, figure out what you CAN do with what you’ve got. And start dreaming up the new normal for your life you want to create.
You can either keep trying to do things the way you did before quarantine
OR
You can adjust your sails to the changing winds.
One is going to lead to stress, anxiety, and massive frustration
The other leads to a lot less stress, anxiety, and frustration which will allow you to come out of quarantine stronger, healthier, and happier.

Why the world needs you to be yourself: how living up to others expectations is holding you back

Listen up, sister: The world needs you to be FULLY yourself. Not some watered down version of yourself or a knock off of someone else.

In today’s show, we are talking about why the world needs you to be yourself + how living up to others expectations is holding you back.

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From early ages as women, we are conditioned by subtle and overt messages from our families, the media, and the world around us telling us who we should be, what we should look like, and how we should live our lives. These messages are holding you back.

We weren’t created to live like anyone else or try to live up to others’ expectations. We were each beautifully and wonderfully made. With unique gifts, talents, dreams, and ambitions. There is a special purpose you were meant to fulfill. But we will never reach our potential if we let feelings of unworthiness, guilt, and shame dictate how we show up in the world around us.

We will never be the wives, moms, women we were created to be as long as we are chasing some one else’s idea of what that looks like. Believe it or not, the quirky, weird, and embarrassing things about you are exactly what you should be leaning into and sharing with the world around you. Sister, you are already loved, cherished, and more valuable than you could ever know. You don’t have to earn that by how you look or what you achieve.

If you are exhausted from working your butt off to earn others’ approval or praise, this episode is for you.

Welcome to The Strong[HER] Way, a place where you can be who you were created to be, so that you can do what only you were created to do. I’m so glad you’re here!

If you love what you hear today, please leave a review and share with your tribe <3

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Why body comparison is a waste of your time

4 out of 5 women are unhappy with the way they look in some way. 75% have or currently engage in disordered eating behaviors.

In the sororities I’ve spoken at that stat is more like 💯. When I ask by show of hands who had at least one thing they wanted to change about their body every.single.hand goes up.

As we begin to unpack the idea of body dissatisfaction and how it impacts our self esteem and confidence one theme keeps coming up: Comparison.

The trouble with comparison is we are usually comparing oranges to apples.

Often we are comparing our natural, unfiltered bodies to airbrushed and filtered images. There’s no way our imperfect and flawed bodies could ever compete and win against images that have been retouched and doctored up to give the false illusion that perfection exists.

Looking at what you don’t have or who you’re not is a recipe for disaster. And comparing yourself to others will only ever leave you feeling empty and not good enough.

Especially when you’re comparing yourself to airbrushed and filtered images.

The irony is we think if we were:
Shorter
Taller
Thicker
Thinner
Lighter
Darker

We’d be able to be content with ourselves.

But even at 9% body fat I was still comparing and still not feeling good enough.

I’m so much more confident in this body now than I ever was at 111 pounds and shredded.

You can be confident right now without ever shedding a pound. But that work has to start inside.

It truly is a state of mind. Be kind to yourself and treat your body with love. It’s the only one you’ve got 🖤

What makes you feel confident today?

Embrace your imperfections and hold onto what gives you confidence. Ditch the pressure to conform to an unachievable idea of what your body should look like. ✌🏼

 

What to do when you feel stuck in your fitness journey

What to do when you feel stuck in your fitness journey

In January, I’ll be celebrating my 13th birthday–no, not my actual birthday, but the birth of my health journey. It’s so crazy to think I’ve been on this journey in some form for the last 13 years. I remember all the times I had tried to get into a healthy routine before it finally stuck.

Probably not unlike you, I would try to overhaul everything at once. Totally changing my diet, promising to go to the gym everyday, cutting out soda, all the treats…

 I remember feeling like no  matter what I tried or how hard I tried, I would never be able to make a healthy lifestyle stick. It always felt like short term progress. Two steps forward and three back.

I was exhausted from trying so many different things and always failing. 

I thought there was something wrong with me.

 It seemed like so many others had been able to figure out how to make their healthy lifestyle stick, so why couldn’t I?

 Besides feeling like a total failure because I wasn’t making progress on my health goals, I also was in the middle of  planning a wedding and working full time, so I didn’t really have that much time to devote to exercise. Plus, I didn’t even like going  to the gym because I had no clue what I was doing. 

At the time I was pretty lazy–meaning I wanted to do the very least to get the most bang for my buck. I tried all the quick fixes, three day detoxes, cookie diets {insert laughter}. I was desperate and didn’t want to change my life too much. Just wanted the weight loss, and the magic life it seemed to promise.

There was one year when things finally clicked. It was actually the year we were getting married. My hubby-to-be joined a New Year Fitness Challenge at work. While he was more interested in winning the prize at work for winning the challenge, I saw this as an opportunity to try one.more.time.

We started running.  If you would have told me 15 years ago that running would have been what got me started on my journey toward a healthier, more active lifestyle, I would have laughed in your face.

Turns out I needed a little challenge and a whole lot of accountability to get and  stay going.

I didn’t really have a goal at the time, other than lose weight and not to die.

We laced our shoes up, and set out to run one whole mile without stopping. 

But we didn’t start by trying to run the mile out on the first run. 

Instead it was run to the first light pole, walk to the next.

After that became easy, it was run to 2 light poles, then walk for one. And so on.

Slowly over time I was able to run more than I had to walk.

While I did eventually make it to my goal of running one whole mile straight, there were inevitably some bruises and bumps along the way. 

Not too far into this new running thing, I got a running injury. Turns out not just any shoe will do for running. Lesson learned 😉 

After getting some better gear, a little rest, and some insoles, I was ready to rock again.

Not only did I run my first mile without stopping (on purpose), I kept going. 

I started going further and further. 

I actually ended up enjoying running so much, that I entered some different local races to see if I could beat my previous time. This became something I did for myself. It felt good. I enjoyed working hard to beat my previous time. I was in competition with myself. And it felt really darn good.

After years of trying I finally make being active a part of my daily routine.

I went from never being able to stick with an exercise routine for longer than a few days to consistently getting some form of movement into most my days for the last 13 years.

I was no longer the girl who couldn’t keep her promises to herself, but I had become the woman who keeps her word to herself. 

Starting small (one light pole to the next) is what helped me develop the culture of winning and it is what will help you too. What is the one light pole you can get to today? Remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day.

There is no need to try to change everything at once. Start small. Like stupid small. 

Think about the smallest improvement you could make today toward living the life you were created to live. Then do that over and over and over. 

Once that is habit, then you can start making some other small changes. You might even be surprised that other habits just start “clicking” along the way. 

They all stack up in the long run to either create massive wins. 

The beautiful thing about habits is once they have developed, you don’t have to really commit any more time or energy doing them as they have just become part of your normal routine.

I get it, time is limited in our fast paced lives these days. And for most of the women I talk to, it is one of the major reasons they have put themselves on the back burner in their lives. If that’s you, I have something for you…

Get access to my 3 Step guide that will help you get more of your time back without feeling like you’ve just added one more thing to your plate.

You deserve a little TLC too. Sign up below!

Budget your time with this simple how to

Budget your time with this simple how to

 In our modern day, fast-paced lives it seems like rest has become a bit of a bad word…synonymous with lazy. If we aren’t filling every last moment with something to do, then are we even doing anything? Even with the best intentions, we often find our schedules bursting at the seams. This is where learning how to budget your time is a must if you want to live your life on purpose…your purpose.

In case you needed some permission to take a breather, here it is: it’s ok to rest.

In fact, it is absolutely critical that you do. You have lots of important things you’re doing in your everyday life, and it requires you to be the best version of yourself for that day. Whatever assignments you’ve been given in this season of life, they need you to be on your A-game.

I used to be so guilty of filling every last moment with something to do. My Google calendar looked like a paint by numbers gone wrong. If I got done with work or a project early, I’d immediately start in on something else even if it wasn’t on my calendar for that day.

 My brain never got a break. I felt exhausted, short fused, and like I wasn’t getting where I wanted to go any faster. You will never feel like you have enough time or got enough done. That is just a fact I’ve come to recognize and continue to wrestle with daily. 

 As women today we face so much external pressure  to be good at all the things we see others doing well, and when we can’t we often find ourselves feeling shame around not being good enough.

So what is your metric? How do you know when you’ve done enough? 

When you’re working on the things that matter most to you, that’s when. Whenever when we fill our agendas with things that don’t really matter to us, we are too exhausted to do the things we’d rather be doing. 

The “AHA!”  moment came a couple years ago, when I had overextended myself with projects and committees that were important..to someone else, but they were things I thought I should be doing if I wanted to be a good mom. It occurred to me I was trying to be someone else’s version of me. 

Instead of leaving my calendar to chance, I had to start telling my time where to go. I to start putting MY priorities on the calendar. Rather than trying to fill every last minute with something to do, I started leaving white space in my calendar. Which meant I also had to get good at saying “no, thank you” to the things that weren’t a heck yes for me. 

One thing to remember is: YOU own your time.

Which means YOU must tell it where to go just like you do your money (if you’ve got a budget set up, you know what I’m talking about).

If you’re not planning ahead of time *how* and *what* you want to spend your time doing, you’ll be answering to everyone else’s requests all day long.

So, set yourself up to win with this scheduling strategy—
1. Carve out some time this week to plan ahead (for me, Sundays work best)
2. Pencil in your appointments and fixed commitments
3. Pencil in YOUR free time. This is time you don’t have to do anything. Side note, even though I enjoy moving my body, it still feels like a must so that I can be healthy. So for me, that would not go into the free time category.

4. Pencil in the other things.

When you take charge of your schedule like this, you fill your calendar with YOUR priorities, instead of letting other people fill it with theirs. It’s amazing what that sense of ownership over your time will do for you in so many different areas.

If you’re working around others and their schedules, it’s good to know that perhaps not everyone will be on board at first. That is ok. Work together to find a solution that works for everyone. And be prepared for some difficult conversations if your family has a hard time with you setting boundaries around your time. 

When you set boundaries around your time and honor those boundaries, you find you have more time to have fun, to do something nice for yourself, be more present, and ultimately more engaged in your most prized relationships. 

 You go from feeling wiped out and resentful to feeling a sense of calm you may have never known before. When you create peace around your time,  naturally it will  lead to peace in other areas of your life too. In fact, you may find some of those pesky behaviors around food might start dwindling. Now that’s what I call a win 😉

xo,

Alisha

P.S. To get your hands on other strategies and insight, sign up for the wait list to join the Mindful Eating Project. Spoiler alert, it’s not just about the food…