Creating Peace on Demand! Using Meditation to Enhance Your Self-Care


Javier Snchez Mingorance / Getty Images

Click here to Listen to Episode 41 of the Welcome To Your Life! Midlife Made Easier Podcast

I have been rallying the self-care flag since April.  Like no other time in our lives, we need to focus on our well-being, or we will be swallowed by doubt and overwhelm.  So, for August, I will continue to share a new tip that will enhance your self-care and bring you some peace.  Midlife is not always the most secure time of our lives, but if we are intentional about taking care of our needs, it can be more comfortable.

So, what if you could create peace in your day on demand.  I know it sounds a little woo woo, but with a little bit of planning, you can make it happen using meditation. “Meditation provides you with that quality “me time” that’s so key to refiling your cup at the end of the day. It’s not only me time in terms of being alone and being away from others but being away from your day to day thoughts.”

     According to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, “meditation is a mind and body practice that has a long history of use for increasing calmness and physical relaxation, improving psychological balance, coping with illness, and enhancing overall health and well-being.” You can create your own meditation by sitting in a quiet place, using a memory that helps you feel more confident, happy, or brings you peace.  Focus on memory and breath.    You can also use a meditation app like Headspace or Calm.

Meditation is something you can do whenever you feel stressed or overwhelmed.   As with anything, meditation takes practice, so do not be upset if you cannot settle down on your first couple of tries.  Acknowledge the thoughts you are having and keep practicing. Do not worry about being perfect; be intentional on spending this time with yourself.

With Peace and Love,

Renee

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Five Tips on Finding a Gym You’ll Love and Use This Year!

I know it’s the middle of January, but, Happy New Year, my sister, I know that 2020 is going to be a fantastic year for us, as we grow spiritually, heal emotionally, and get physically fit.  Like millions of midlife women across the land, you have probably decided that it is time for you to revisit the idea of regular exercise.  I don’t have to tell you the benefits of regular exercise especially for women over 40, but my momma/coaching instincts are kicking in, and I want to make sure that you understand that putting in the physical work now could save you from not just weight gain but brittle bones, compromised immune systems, loss of energy, Type 2 Diabetes and heart disease.

But, how do you find a gym that you will love enough to use three times per week after the excitement of the New Year has subsided.  You know, there are so many weight loss programs, new and exciting exercise equipment like the Peloton bike, but the hard truth is that as a country we are more out of shape today than any time in our history.

My own quest for the perfect gym in 2019 had me feeling like Goldilocks.  The first gym was close to home but didn’t have the classes I loved or a pool.  The second gym had classes and a pool, but the yoga classes were more like physical fitness classes instead of the quiet meditative qualities I love in yoga, plus I wanted a gym that offered more fun networking events.  That led me to my third gym, it had the classes I love, a pool, and fun networking events.  But again, the yoga classes felt like I was in a middle school gym class.  So, you guessed it, I joined a yoga studio.   By the end of 2019, I had four fitness memberships.  Thankfully, they have all ended.  But I want to make sure you don’t make the same mistakes.

Here five tips that will help you find a gym that you will love or at least one that you will visit as much in July as you will in January:

  1. First, pick a gym that is close to home.  That way, whether you rock your workout at 5 a.m. or 5 p.m.  You will not have to drive more than 15-20 minutes out of your way to workout.  So, check out the gyms in your local area. Make sure that it has ample parking, and ample lighting, if you are going before the sun, comes out.  You don’t want to give yourself any reasons for not actually parking your car and walking into the building.
  2. Check your budget:  It’s always exciting to start something new, even a new workout routine, the pull of getting our bodies ready for the beach are undeniable.  But, make sure that the monthly fees fit in your household budget.  Read the contract and check for additional cancellation fees.  Nothing puts a damper in your motivation to workout than worrying about how you are going to pay the monthly fees.  Also, if your gyms fees are being automatically withdrawn, check your bank statement to make sure that you are only being charged the amount on your contract.
  3. Pick a gym that has activities you love:   If you just want to work out on the treadmill, the bike, or elliptical and lift weights, a gym like Planet Fitness could be all that you need.   I enjoyed my membership at Planet Fitness, they have enough machines and weight equipment that even during peak times you could probably get in an out within an hour.  But I also needed my weekly yoga fix, so I then had to join a yoga studio.  My advice is to look for a gym that has everything you need for a complete fitness routine.   If you enjoy aerobics or yoga classes, then look for a gym that has a regular line up of those classes.  Visit a couple of classes to get a feel for the instructor, and then choose the class you love, make a commitment to yourself to attend that class every week.  Put it on your schedule, lock it in, make it a non-negotiable use of your time.
  4. Partner with an accountability partner: most gyms have personal trainers who will help you to get back into the groove after a long fitness hiatus, but they will also act as your accountability partner, helping you get the most out of your visit each week.  Some personal trainers will even give you a call if you miss a week.  You can also grab a friend and pinkie swear to help keep each other motivated and engaged throughout the year. 
  5. Check out the culture: Every gym, like every workplace, has its own culture.  Find one that is right for you.  To do so, ask yourself the following questions, do you want a gym where you can work out and attend social activities?  Do you want a gym that is oriented more towards accommodating the needs of families? Do you want that is oriented more towards adults and children persona non grata?  

The bottom line is that you need to find a gym that is close to home, affordable, has the equipment and classes you need for a complete fitness routine.  You will need an accountability partner to help keep you going to the gym when your motivation starts to disappear, and you want to make sure that the culture of the gym is one that fits your personality and your needs at this time in your life.

There are 168 hours in a week.  We owe it to ourselves to take 150 minutes a week to get our minds and bodies in tip-top shape.  Let’s face it, you may not always enjoy working out, but exercising regularly will help you enjoy your life and increase your gratitude level.   I promise!

Meditation For The Fearful Spirit




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Today’s meditation is called Meditation for the fearful spirit.

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 Our scriptures are

 Matthew 28:20 “And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

Deuteronomy 31:6 “I will never leave you, nor forsake you”

It’s very easy to lose our confidence and become fearful of midlife.  As we age, we are wondering if we can still perform at the level we are used to physically and mentally. 

It doesn’t help that society is not always as welcoming or celebratory of women as they get older.  This all-levels mindful meditation will help us to remind ourselves that we are strong, vibrant, alive, and worthy.  In moments of self-doubts and self-pity, we need to remember that there is a high power that reminds us that we are not alone.

To begin:

Find your comfortable seat.

Sitting: If you are sitting in a chair, relax shoulders down, hands are resting gently on your lap palms up, feel the weight of your bottom in the chair and let it act as your anchor.  The belly is soft, and your feet are planted firmly into the earth.

On the floor:

If you are seated on the floor, sit with legs crossed, if you have problems with sitting with head over heart, heart over the pelvis, it might be helpful to sit on a pillow.  This will help you to erect your spine, relax your shoulders down, and allow your bottom to ground down in the earth.  The belly is soft, and your hands are on top of the thighs palms up. 

Leg variation:

If you find sitting on the floor cross-legged uncomfortable, try sitting with both legs straight out in front of you in staff pose both feet flexed. Or, cross one leg and extend the other leg straight out foot flexed (this will help you to balance)

Beginning with the breath:

Let’s take 3 breaths to quiet the mind and calm our spirits

  1. Inhale through the nose exhale through the nose
  2. Inhale through the nose exhale through the nose

On the third breath

  • Inhale through the nose (hold for three counts at the top) then exhale through the nose

Repeat out loud 4x’s

Lo, I will be with you always even until the end of the age

I will never leave you nor forsake you

Making sure that you relax the shoulders down and softening the muscles of your face.

Then repeat quietly to yourself 4x’s

Lo, I will be with you always even until the end of the age

I will never leave you nor forsake you

Ending as we began with the breath

  • Inhale through the nose exhale through the nose
  • Inhale through the nose exhale through the nose

On the third breath

  • Inhale through the nose (hold for three counts at the top) then exhale through the nose

Now, just sit quietly for a moment and find peace in the calm that surrounds you.

Wishing you Peace and Love

Renee


Download my free guide:  The Courageous Woman’s Guide to Beating the Midlife Slump: Ten Strategies to help you Boost Your Self-Confidence, Self-Care, and Self-Love

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If You Want To Win-Stop Breaking Promises To Yourself!

Stop Breaking Promises to Yourself

A promise is “a declaration that something will or will not be done,

given, etc., by one:” Dictionary.com

     I know that you have identified your New Year’s resolution.  You have written them in your journal and dreamt of the day when you can cross them off as complete.  Maybe you have decided to lose weight, get a new job, stop smoking, or finally fire that lame friend who takes more than she gives.  Maybe you have decided once and for all to make peace with growing older.  Not in a sad fatalistic way, but in an empowered life came at me hard, and I conquered it kind of way.

But I want to help you do something that will make the resolutions you have made much easier to accomplish.  Not to damper your resolve, but 95% of New Year’s resolutions just don’t happen.  I do not have any scientific proof now, but I think it might be because 95 % of us fail at this one very important thing, we fail to keep the promises we make to ourselves.   I don’t really care what the promise is, only that it was important for you to take the time, at that particular time in your life to make it, something happened that day to cue the creation of this promise, so it must be important.

I bet that you feel bad when you promise to meet a deadline for someone else but missed it because life got in the way.  But we write ourselves off and what is important to us all the time. Every time you break a promise that you made to yourself, you’re telling yourself that you are not important.  To get to the next level in life, that must end.

We are sacred beings, and the promises that we make to ourselves are sacred.  Keeping just one promise could change your entire life.  If you want 2020 to have a different outcome, then you must make yourself a priority.

I want you to understand that losing weight is only part of it, the real work begins in your mind, and if you are willing to take that journey, then you will succeed where the other 95% have failed.

How we show up for ourselves powers our dreams, determines how well we show up for others, helps us to complete our purpose, and create our legacy. 

A woman with too many broken promises in her life is a bitter woman. 

This is a good lesson at any age, but especially for women in midlife. Too many midlife women, have died too soon with their dreams still inside of them, let that not be our story.  There comes a time in life when we can’t blame life anymore when we have to look at our mistakes and deal with the real reason why.   

To fulfill a promise, you must have a plan, you can’t just declare it and hope it comes true.

Your homework is to write down three steps you need to take to complete the plan and fulfill the promise.

You are worthy of peace, love, success, and joy, but you must fight for it, and I know that you can do it!

Peace!

Renee

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Stop Being A Midlife Wallflower! Four Ways to Face Your Fears Today

I was listening to a podcast recently; the host encouraged everyone to find their movement. Find something that you are willing to get loud about, willing to stick your neck out about, a movement that is so profound in your life that you are ready to face your fears to be an advocate for the people who need your voice. I realized at that moment that I wanted to speak out for women in midlife just like me, who feel that society, their families, and their co-workers are trying to keep them silent.

Yes, its 2019, and women are more vocal about what they want, and many are not afraid to get it, but for some of us, aging has forced us to slink back into the background of our lives. Guess what, losing that 10 or 20 extra pounds will not give you the lasting self-confidence boost you seek. That is just the icing on the cake. The real work happens much deeper than the soft roll around your middle.

While most of us are not facing the same threats our ancestors did, we still face risks in our day-to-day lives that cause us stress. What are we so afraid of currently in our lives? Quite a lot, as it turns out.

We have become midlife wallflowers who still dream of accomplishing big things in our lives but are afraid that what we have to say will not matter to anyone except us.

It doesn’t help that we are questioning our identity and trying to find a way to fit into the lives we have created when everything in our psyche is crying out for something more. We are trying to create a new level of self-confidence to get us through each day, while facing our mortality, and having to deal with the patronizing comments from millennials in our office who are surprised that we are up on the latest apps or social media outlets. Yes, Ryan, I have a Snapchat account.

Let me tell you something sister to sister; it is time for us to face our fears once and for all. As a proud and lifelong introvert, I faced my fear the moment I decided to write this blog, record my podcast, and publish videos online for the whole world to see. I had the audacity to speak my opinion and gently push other midlife women to do the same. Who was I to study for a new career at my age?  Someone, a former close friend, told me that my ship had sailed and that I should be thinking of retirement and scheduling more time with my grandsons? I love them dearly. But there are some things that nana must do, and I am sure that they will love and respect me even more, when they see the results. Ladies, it’s time to put our fears into perspective.

Facing our fears doesn’t have to be scary. Luckily, you have within you the power to overcome your fears and embrace the happiness you deserve, right here, right now.

But how you may ask? Let’s look.

When we were children and feared that something was lurking under the bed, our parents would shine a light into the darkness. Once they did, it revealed the truth – there were no monsters. Once we shine the light of truth on what scares us, we often discover our fears to be unfounded.

So, let’s shine a light of truth on some beliefs that may be holding you hostage to your fears.

It’s human nature to worry. But did you know that research has determined that 85% of what you worry about never actually happens?  Let that sink in for a moment – most of your fears never come true.

But wait! That still leaves 15% of the time when things don’t work out! You are right, AND that same research reveals that, when misfortune did occur, people found they usually handled the situation better than expected. Not only that, they learned something valuable from their ‘ trouble,’ often even feeling as though the fear was worse than the actual situation.

Let’s take a moment to recap: we all experience fear, most of our fears will never materialize, and, if they do, chances are it won’t be as bad as we imagine. We will handle it better while learning something useful along the way. Sounds like a win-win proposition, doesn’t it?

Four Ways To Ditch The Wallflower Mentality and Overcome Your Fears

Being fearless is not about the absence of fear. Being courageous is facing the things in life that scare you, despite the sweaty palms and racing heartbeat. Being fearless is realizing that what you want is more important than any fear you have of achieving it.  But being fearless does not need to involve life or death situations. Fearless is falling in love again after being brokenhearted. Fearless is leaving a successful career for an uncertain opportunity. Fearless is standing by someone who’s disappointed you in the past. Fearless is falling and getting back up again (and again).

“I’ve been absolutely terrified every minute of my life—and I’ve never let it keep me from doing a single thing I wanted to do.” Georgia O’Keeffe

Ready to get started on the path to a more fearless you? Then check out these tips to give you the upper hand in facing off against your fears:

1. Own your fear. Psychologist Carl Jung said, “What you resist not only persists, but will grow in size.” So, it goes with fear, as well; resisting fear expands it. Fearlessness comes from embracing your vulnerability, not by avoiding it. Say your fear out loud, write it in your journal, put it on a vision board.  Then write down three ways that you are going to conquer it, there is something powerful about saying what scares us out loud.  It immediately redistributes the power.  Reducing the hold, the fear has over us and giving us more power to push forward. Isn’t it time you stopped running and faced your imaginary monsters?

2. Reshape your fear. You are smart, and that can be a problem. Are you a habitual ‘catastrophizer,’ always assuming the worst will happen?  I myself was once a glass half-empty kind of girl.  Having an active imagination can fuel our concerns instead of suppressing them. Our brains often overestimate our fears while underestimating our ability to manage them. The next time you’re feeling afraid, instead of imagining the worst outcome, ask yourself what’s the BEST thing that can happen, and use your imagination to explore that scenario.

3. Take a risk. Playing it safe often feels like a low-risk proposition, but what if the opposite is true? What if playing it safe is a high-risk approach? When asked what they regret most, people on their deathbeds usually lament the risks they never took, not the ones they tackled.

4. Build your courage muscle. If you have ever started a new exercise habit, you know that building muscle requires starting slow and working your way up. Developing courage is like building a muscle. Show up, start slow, practice your form, and do the repetitions. Your fearless ‘muscles’ may be sore at first. Still, once fearlessness becomes a habit for ‘the small stuff’ you encounter, taking more courageous steps for the more significant challenges becomes easier too. You do not need to climb Mt. Everest to conquer your fear of heights. But facing your fears head-on is the sure way of overcoming what’s holding you back.

When it comes right down to it, we may not be able to control the good or bad things that happen to us, but we do have control over two critical things; our mindset and our responses to our circumstances.  Think of a fear you are facing (or avoiding) right now. Ask yourself, what would your life look like if you decided to face that fear? What would it feel like if you showed courage – even a little bit? The courage to take a risk. The courage to be your true self. The courage to love others. The courage to love yourself.

When you decide to take the initiative to confront your fears, you will discover that the universe is in your corner. Will it be easy? No. Will you face obstacles? Yes. Will you make mistakes? Yes.  But remember, your dreams are not meant to collect dust on a shelf or, more heartbreakingly, to take with you to your grave.

Do not be a midlife wallflower.  It is time to join the party.  The good news is you have what it takes to break through your fears right inside of you. You are courageous, creative, and the bearer of much goodness. Sometimes when we dare to dream great dreams; we must do it afraid. Just remember, regardless of your age, you are never too old to accomplish something new.  I am right here cheering you on and if you need it giving you a loving kick in the rump.

Talk soon,

Renee

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What is Prediabetes? Three Lifestyle Changes You Can Implement Now to Help You Fight Back!

What is prediabetes? How can you delay or prevent a Type 2 Diabetes diagnosis? I must admit that I had no idea there was such a thing as prediabetes, also called borderline diabetes. Until that fateful day in my doctor’s office when she informed me that I was prediabetic. I thought this was going to be a routine checkup and blood draw, but it proved to be otherwise. I was devastated. First, because I had always thought of myself as a healthy person who took pride in the way I treated my body. Secondly, because I saw firsthand the devastating results of having Type 2 Diabetes first by watching mom’s daily battles with the disease, and then losing a beautiful neighbor who passed away due to complications from the disease. I knew what laid ahead in my future if I didn’t get my prediabetes under control which could include daily insulin injections.

Today’s post is for informational purposes only; it is not a substitute for you seeing a medical professional and getting a complete checkup.

In today’s post, I want to break down for you precisely what is prediabetes and provide you with three pretty easy lifestyle changes you can make to protect yourself from a Type 2 Diabetes diagnosis. These are the same lifestyle changes I made to get healthier, and I still practice all three of them today. According to the CDC, 100 million people in the US are prediabetic or Type 2 Diabetic.  “Diabetes could become the new epidemic of the 21st century, if we continue living a sedentary lifestyle and partaking of poor diets 50 percent of Americans could be prediabetic or Type 2 Diabetic by the year 2020,” Dr. Sanjay Gupta The sad thing is that this disease can be prevented or controlled by making simple lifestyle changes.

To give you a complete picture of the disease, let’s breakdown the different types of diabetes:

Today we are talking about prediabetes. If you are prediabetic, that means that your blood sugar or glucose levels is higher than normal but not high enough to be considered diabetic. A prediabetic person has trouble processing enough insulin to control blood sugar after eating. To diagnosis you, your doctor will perform one of these three blood tests.

Fasting plasma glucose test: If your doctor selects this test, you are asked to refrain from eating and drinking for eight hours before taking the test. If normal, your blood sugar will register less than 100; you are considered in the prediabetic range if your blood sugar is 100-125 and diabetic if your blood sugar is 126 or higher.

Hemoglobin A1C or Average Blood Sugar Test: This test will provide your doctor with a history of your blood sugar levels over the past three months. Your doctor can use this test to determine if you are prediabetic or if you have diabetes. Also, if you have diabetes, this test will help to determine if your diabetes is under control. If your test results show a blood sugar level of 5.6% or less, you are in the normal range. If prediabetic, your blood sugar will be 5.7% to 6.4%, and if you have diabetes, your blood sugar will measure 6.5% and above. This test may be repeated if you have another condition such as anemia or liver disease.

Oral Glucose Test: This test has two parts. First, you will take the fasting glucose test, and then you will be given a sugary solution after a two-hour waiting period your blood will be drawn. Normal results will show a blood sugar level of less than 140 after the second test. If you are prediabetic, your blood sugar level will range between 140-199 after the second test. If you have diabetes, your blood sugar will be 200 or higher after the second test.

While getting a prediabetic diagnosis can be scary, research has shown that by implementing these three lifestyle changes, controlling your weight, exercising regularly, and improving your nutrition, you could delay or prevent the onset of Type 2 Diabetes. So, let’s look at each one of these tools. 

Controlling your Weight:  The CDC research study found that when prediabetics reduced their weight by as little as 5% to 7%, they were able to delay or prevent the onset of Type 2 Diabetes. Don’t try something drastic like going on a liquid diet or telling yourself you will never eat a cupcake again, those tactics don’t work, and you could end up regaining more weight than you lost. Start by keeping a food journal and making one small change a week. For instance, if you have a large coke or coffee every morning, start with 16 ounces of lemon water and medium coffee or Coke. When you are ready, increase to 24 ounces of lemon water and a small coffee. The lemon water will promote hydration, it’s a good source of vitamin C, it supports weight loss and improves your skin. Reducing your Coke or coffee size will help you to cut calories without that feeling that you are missing something.

Incorporate Exercise into Your Daily Life: Your exercise plan does not have to be daunting, take it from someone who always overdid it and ended up sore and disillusioned. You can start with just 30 minutes of heart-pumping activity, try cycling, swimming, running, or a brisk walk after dinner. If you are currently sedentary, please see your doctor before starting a new exercise program.

Get Your Nutrition in Check:

When planning your meals include lean protein, non-starchy vegetables like asparagus, broccoli, or steam cabbage and carrots. Consider cooking more at home and take leftovers for lunch. If you cook at home, you will know exactly how the meal was prepared and all the ingredients that went into it.

Prediabetes can be controlled by making simple lifestyle changes that include weight control, exercise, and eating more nutritious whole foods. If you need help making these changes reach out to me, I completed the Prediabetes certification program Prevent T2 created by the CDC. I can tell you this program is fantastic if you would like more information to shoot me an email at info@reneereid.net The important thing is that you decide to make the change today. This decision is not something you can put off until next Monday.

Please share this post with a family or friend who could use this information; there is nothing more powerful than women helping women.

Missed an episode of the Welcome To Your Life Podcast: You can catch up on all the episodes here.

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If you are looking for a group of women who understand what its like to struggle through hot flashes, self-doubt, hormonal surges, and hard to lose belly fat.  Join the Courageous Women’s Network our free Facebook group, in this group you will receive love, support, and a little kick in the pants when you needed.  Plus, you’ll get outstanding training from me that will help you cut out the guesswork and get to your wellness goals.

REQUEST TO JOIN TODAY https://buff.ly/2AKoTIB