Tag Archive for happiness

On Output and How it Relates to Stress in Your Life

Hi friends,

I’d like to talk a little bit about output. It has been a hot topic in my life lately,

and it dawned on me that it may be something others experience as well.

When talking about health and fitness (as I do quite often here), I often talk about workouts, eating healthy, getting enough sleep, etc.

Of course, those are very important.

But mental health is also important. And workouts + what you’re eating are only a small piece of how you feel each day.

The Culprit

We all have “stuff”. I actually had a great conversation with my coach, Erik, about this today. He said “Life-stressors are a constant from adulthood to grave. You either control stress or stress controls you.”

He’s absolutely right.

And for the last year or so, I’ve let stress control me.

Work stress,

family stress,

relationship stress,

personal stress,

it’s all stress. And I’ve let it control me.

It’s been the reason (read: excuse) for all of my personal and professional goals that have gone awry.

That isn’t because the stress did it. It’s because I LET the stress do it. And possibly that I allowed TOO MUCH stress into my life, without getting rid of some of it along the way.

From the exterior, I have a really awesome life. And from the interior, maybe I should be able to recognize that more.

Here’s what it looks like from the outside:

  • I wear workout clothes all day every day (yep, even to work)
  • I have a cute, hilarious puppy
  • I’m in a solid relationship
  • I have an apartment in LA just a few miles from the beach
  • I work from home most of the time, and when I do “go to work” it’s usually on my own clock
  • I work out every day
  • I eat well
  • I make good money
  • I have a wonderful family that I get to see fairly often

Seems like a pretty badass life right?

But nobody sees what goes on in my head.

Here’s what it looks like from my point of view:

  • I work 1 full time job, and 4 part time jobs (yup, 4)
  • I’m constantly pulled in 5 different directions (see above)
  • On top of that, I have a relationship and dog to spend time with (which I LOVE, but fitting it in can be tricky at times)
  • I have my own personal goals in regards to workouts and my physical appearance
  • I have professional goals in terms of this blog and other business ventures
  • When I fail or don’t live up to what I set for any of the above, I feel pressure and guilt
  • Pressure, pressure, guilt, pressure, guilt.

And where does that leave me? Well to sum it up, I feel like a boiled chicken breast. Bland, soft, empty of all flavor.

I only have so much output, and I continue tapping out the supply day in and day out. I can’t get through the line of people waiting outside my door, so to speak. So eventually, I shut the door. And the week ends.

By the weekend, I just want to relax. I just want to shut everything off. I still see the line (aka the constant problem solving and “work” that goes on in my head), but I’ve got permission to ignore it, because it is the weekend.

By Sunday? I start to meltdown. Because Sunday means Monday is tomorrow.

And that means the 23849023 responsibilities I have are going to be waiting in line again. They won’t go away, they just wait in line until I get to them. The longer they wait, the louder and more rambunctious they get. Some of this loudness is caused by me, and the self-pressure I put on myself. Some of it is actually from those around me asking when, when, when. Do this, do this, do this.

And then I wonder why I’m burned out.

Can you relate?

Starting the Solution

My doctor made a very good point to me as well. She said “you can’t steal energy”. I asked her what she meant, and she said “if you drink a coffee, take a supplement, or drink an energy drink, you’re only stealing that energy from later in the day. You’re not gaining energy”. She is right. And since I tend to think about things a lot, I related this to my daily life.

To my output.

I only have 24 hours in a day.

I should sleep for at least 8 of those

Workout for 1 of them

Be with family for at least 2 of them

This leaves me with 13 hours.

13 hours to:

  • get work done from 4 part time jobs and 1 full time job.
  • Drive to and from some of these part time jobs
  • Eat
  • Smell the damn roses
  • Feed Oscar, take him outside, take him to the park so he can run.
  • work on my personal and professional goals
  • do something for FUN

I’m essentially trying to “steal output” and I can see clearly now why it’s not working.

I can’t add 2 hours (or 6 or 8 for that matter) into my day. I will only be stealing them from another part of the day.

And so I must make choices.

Where is my output best used?

What type of output do I most enjoy?

How much of it should be spent on each of these activities?

And so I start to create my Venn diagram:

-what makes me happy

-what am I good at

-what makes me $$$

good-to-great

And over the next few weeks, I will start to fill in this Venn diagram.

Because life is too short to be exhausted and mentally stressed.

And while stress will only rule it if you let it, sometimes change is necessary to stop it in it’s tracks.

This is where I’m stepping in.

Question of the Day

  1. When life gets tough, what do you do? How do you handle your stress?
  2. Have you ever felt that your output level was higher than your body/brain could handle?

 

Long one, but worth the read I think…

Hola!! Yes, i’m alive!!

Hope everyone had a great new years! I had a pretty good time, but have spent the day trying to catch up on sleep. I got to bed around 330 am, and woke up at 830 this morning. I took a nap for a few hours this afternoon though. I have been l-azy today and it feels so good. I don’t typically just do nothing all day. Great way to bring in the new year right? 😉

Everybody is making sure that “today is the start of something new”, but the new year for me is just a time to reflect and decide what I want for the upcoming year. I have goals for 2010, but not really “resolutions.” I made a year long plan this morning. I broke up the year into mostly 10 week increments of what I am going to focus on. It looks to be a pretty good year.

Workouts this week

This week was a really great week for my workouts.

Monday, my hamstrings and back got dominated. My hammies were sore up until yesterday.  I also did running intervals on the treadmill and incline walking to work up a good sweat.

Tuesday, i almost threw up from boxing. It was the first time in a long time that I actually felt like I might puke from the workouts. We sparred and did 2 minute rounds with no breaks. We alternated between  2 minutes of quickness and then 2 minutes of hard AND quickness. I think the fact that one of the people I was sparring seemed to like to circle the entire two minutes may have been a huge reason why I wanted to puke(from being dizzy) but the workout was hard as hell. Afterwards, I gave my biceps and triceps a run for their money. I ellipticyclecized for 20-30 minutes afterwards as well.

Wednesday, I put my shoulders through a good one. Shoulders are one area that I struggle to get sore. I work them really hard, but only a handful of times do I feel it the day or two after. This was one of those times. I believe it was the blue band shoulder presses that did it. Those always get me. For cardio, I did running intervals on the treadmill and some elliptical.

Thursday was boxing again. A conditioning day. It was a really tough one, though. Myself and one other person have been the only ones there the past week, and he refers to us as the “freaks” and doesn’t really let us rest. He always says “i consider it a good day when i make michelle and lizzy sweat.” The hardest combo of the day was: 7 crosses, move, move twice through (i think in technical boxing terms the moves are ducks..i really don’t know haha) 5 up downs, bear crawl to the wall, 10 jump squats, and bear crawl back. 5 sets of that really got me.

When I got to the gym after boxing and realized I had to do legs, i was SOOO not in the mood for it. I did it anyways and ended up getting a good workout, but mentally it was one of the hardest workouts. i was seriously NOT wanting to do it. I did low box squats superset with squat jumps, DB walking lunges with 2o lb DB’s superset with jumping lunges, Smith machine tempo squats super set with box jumps and finally single leg leg presses.

Friday is today and I am resting. Tomorrow is boot camp and Sunday is probably another bleacher workout(depending what time my friends go) otherwise a nice long run is in order. I spent today with my dad and eating wasn’t exactly stellar. I kinda planned it like this though, because after today I’m realy going to stay true to myself and work on (finally) getting rid of this excess fat i’m carrying. I don’t feel comfortable even in clothes right now. I’m not bitching about it anymore though, i know what i need to do, i’m just not doing it. Last weigh in was at 146. 21 pounds up from contest weight. 130 is a really good weight for me. I look really good at 130, but am not insanely lean. I have also put on a little muscle im pretty sure, so 133 might be a better weight to maintain before a contest lean out. I have to see. Whether it’s mental or not, i seem to get my a-game going every january. i’m not sure what it is, but it’s when i start to get really serious and i lose weight every year between january and april.

don’t get me wrong, these last few weeks i have been eating really well. I can see minor differences, but christmas day and today(new years day) haven’t been great eating-wise. Now that there are no more excuses holidays, i’ll step it up.

In other news….

I have to reflect on the year, just for my own sake. This blog is public, but sometimes i just like to use it to get things out because i have to say it is really cool to be able to look back to march of last year and see what i was doing. That’s probably my favorite thing about blogging. So here are some up and downs of my year.

-I ran a 1/2 marathon in January(i like being able to say i ran from one city to another. :))

-I started eating clean and losing weight in January, and was seeing results each month. even more so, i realized how good i felt while eating clean.

-I turned 21 and went to Vegas with friends. SUCH  a blast.

-I wakeboarded almost every week for 3 months straight. Talk about spoiled 🙂

-I learned how to jump on a wakeboard, but still haven’t cleared the wake. I get about half way across. You better believe that is a 2010 goal!

-in april, i found out my little brother was a drug addict, and took him to detox twice and rehab. he’s still not sober, and it’s a struggle every day. he was one of my best friends and now i don’t really speak to him.

-i emotionally separated myself (as best i could)from my mom, for my own sake. i don’t regret it. i still love her, but in a distant way.

-more positives! i competed in my first competition and took 2nd place!! it was by FAR the greatest day of my life. I almost dropped out in the weeks leading up to it. i didn’t feel lean enough, i didn’t think i could do it, i was SCARED. i remember waking up the morning of the competition. my skin was black, my hair was a mess, and i looked in the mirror at my body. I have never had a prouder moment than that in my life. I was 100% happy with my physique that day, and my confidence definitely carried me to a 2nd place prize at the show. i’ve never been so proud of myself, felt more in control of myself, felt like my hard work REALLY paid off. I wish i could sell that feeling in a pill, because it was absolutely EXHILARATING. I know that I can do really well in this industry if i work for it, but there is NOTHING like a first competition. Everything is SOOO unknown, there are no expectations, and you literally have NO IDEA what you got yourself into. I smile just thinking about that day.

-i got to do my first photo shoot with a professional photographer. Along with other progress pictures along the way, i now know i had a serious case of body dismorphia(probably still do…) because I felt fat in many of the pictures. I look at them now and think i was completely nuts. i looked good in them. oh well 🙂

-i started letting what everyone else thought get to me. after my 2nd competition, i let myself go as far as healthy eating. my trainer and one of my posing coaches told me i needed to put on muscle and that i would have to put on some fat to do that. i think i took that a little too much to heart, and also didn’t go with MY gut instinct. Like i said, i was HAPPY with my physique…so why did I let other people tell me what I should look like? Lesson learned. I know myself best. Yes, other people’s advice is good, but i need to listen to myself a little bit more.

-more family shifts, more feeling sorry for myself and letting it get in the way of my own goals.

-i became even more independent than ever. i’ve always been really independent, but even more so now. if i want something, there is nobody else in the world that can get it for me. i knew that before, but didn’t realize just how much i would have to rely on myself in certain times.

-this year i also found my “inner hippie.” I began using more natural products, and eating only natural products.(these last few months, my clean eating hit the fan, and i don’t even know who that girl was. I learned a lot about myself from it though and am starting to feel like myself again. mentaly, at least. the physical part will come.) I began finding nature as a  healer. Hiking is one of the best therapies i’ve ever found. I don’t have problems when i’m standing on top of a mountain looking out at the city. this is why i make sure to hike at least once a week.

-i was brought up jewish, but ever since my bat mitzvah, had pretty much considered myself as someone without a religion. This year, i found that the Kabbalah appealed to me. Not everything about it, but basically I believe in God, i believe in karma, and i believe in being positive and keeping negativity out of my life. If you surround yourself with positivity, positive things will happen. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, that is just mine.

To wrap it up, this year had some of the BEST times of my life along with literally the WORST. It sounds weird, but i appreciate bad things. If bad things didn’t happen, i wouldn’t be so thankful for the good things. The good things wouldn’t feel so euphoric. So instead of cursing the bad things in your life, be thankful for them. They will show you just how great it feels to have good things in your life. You also learn things about yourself in the bad times. I don’t think i would have ever competed if i hadn’t gone through what i did in 2008. that year was not very kind to me, but i turned it around in 2009 and for at least the first half of the year, was probably the happiest ive been in my life. Good things do not just fall into your lap, though. You have to work for them. Happiness is not a gift, it is a reward. Happiness is also not a destination. It is a journey. Part of happiness, means having bad things happen to you. Look at the downsides of things as tests and challenges. You have the opportunity to grow when things don’t go your way. If you hit a roadblock in your journey, it is a sign to step things up and push harder. No obstacle is too big, unless you think it is. If you believe in yourself, you would be AMAZED at what you are capable of. One year ago, competing was a thought in my mind. I always tell people that training has changed my life. They think I am just a meat head for saying that, but here’s the thing:

Fitness and weight loss are two things that you CAN NOT have someone else do for you. You can hire people to do almost anything for you and take credit for it. No matter how many trainers, nutritionists, or dieticians you hire, YOU STILL HAVE TO DO THE WORK. Training shows you your true character. You can’t get stronger by sitting around doing nothing. You can’t get in better shape by paying a trainer to write your workouts. You actually have to do them, and that is why when you see results, you KNOW that you have done this ON YOUR OWN. There is nobody else that can take credit for that. The self-fulfillment you get from breaking through barriers and becoming what you never thought possible is simply amazing. It is a feeling that I can’t even describe, but it has made me appreciate life in such a different way. I no longer sweat the small stuff, and I completely appreciate the little things in life.

I’ve rambled long enough, but I have grown a LOT in a year. I absolutely love my life. Sure, there are things i would like to change and there are things that get me down, and for good reason, but whatever hand your dealt with is what you have to deal with. So you can either feel sorry for yourself, or you can work with what you have and make it the BEST ever.

Here’s to makin 2010 everything I want it to be!

What is the biggest lesson you have learned about yourself while going through a hard time this year?