Ok, so we all know that life isn’t always smooth and the majority of us at some point have said “when it rains it pours”. It isn’t strange that while searching for a living kidney donor for my mom, mentally preparing for her transplant, organizing life post transplant, planning my wedding, being the maid of honor and helping plan my best friends wedding, working full time, keeping up multiple part time gigs, starting my own business, amping up my social media presence, prepping for a huge fitness competition….should I keep going?!? Well, of course in the midst of all that, I would have a freak accident landing me on the operating table; followed by a few months laid up on the couch. Life isn’t always smooth, and it really never goes “as planned.” I’d be lying if I said that I’m always strong and I can handle anything. I can’t, I’m human (trust me, ask my husband Mike, he’ll tell you the truth)! Honestly, it’s not about being strong, it’s not about the end result…it’s all the stuff in the middle that counts.
Yes, I’m fully aware that the calendar year starts in January; however, being a teacher, my brain is trained to think in “school years.” That being said, this has been one of the most challenges years yet. I’m sure it’s a combination of getting older, having more responsibilities, setting larger goals, wanting more out of life, coupled with a slew of unexpected, uncontrollable circumstances happening all at once. Yeah, life! Doesn’t it sound like I’m talking about YOU and your life right now? Okay, so it’s normal to live amongst chaos and feel overwhelmed. What I’ve learned over the past few years and truly make an effort to practice is that it’s not about what is happening”to us”, but how we REACT to those things that can make or break us. Becoming more aware of this is just the beginning.
Just last week before my mom and aunt Nancy went in for transplant surgery I needed a moment to myself. I went for a jog to clear my mind (yes I’m up to jogging now thanks to Excel Physical Therapy in Oakland, NJ!!!) When I was walking back down the street in our development I noticed this “speed bumps ahead” sign. A sign that has been in the same spot for the last 2.5 years we lived here. A sign that I pass everyday, a sign that I have driven and walked by hundreds of times, a sign that is there to warn me and remind me to slow down, but I often disregard that very sign. I don’t know why, but this time that silly green sign stuck out!
It got me thinking….when we drive we have to pass over speed bumps, sometimes even speed humps. We encounter potholes of varying shapes, sizes, and depths. We are often forced to swerve, we sometimes accidentally hit bumps that make us say “oh sh*t”, and sometimes we may even pass over some bumps that we barely notice or pay any attention to. We drive through rain, sleet, hail, snow, hot days, construction zones, traffic, you name it. Whether you’re a passenger or driver, you can’t really control the road and weather conditions; however, you can control how you react to them. You can get mad, beat yourself up, cut off another driver, yell and curse at others on the road, blow straight through the potholes, build up feelings of stress/anxiety, slow down, speed up, blow a red light, decide to take a different route, leave earlier to avoid traffic, etc. The point is, you have a choice. So, where am I going with this?
In life we encounter road blocks, speed bumps, pot holes, construction, and detours as well. These conditions may appear as things like relationships, loss, bearing children, moving, illness, death, depression, domestic violence, disorders, sudden change, divorce…the list goes on. When a bump in the road arises, we get to decide how we want to react. Let me say that again, we get to decide…we choose how we react. So, will you power through, quit, take a break, ask for help, pave your own path? There are so many options and there is no right answer, just what’s right for you. That silly green sign and the long bumpy road I’ve been traveling down inspired me to share some tips with all of you on how I deal with speed bumps :0)
Here are 13 tools I use to navigate this journey we call life:
- Surrounding myself with loving and supportive people
- Asking for help (and not being afraid to)
- Delegating smaller tasks- reduce feelings of overwhelm and stress
- Making sure I have “me time” whether it’s taking a walk, reading a book, watching a movie, or just sitting
- Filling my head with positivity through podcasts*, motivating music, and meditations
- Leaving notes (love my post-its), creating vision boards, and posting pictures all around me as a constant reminder of my goals, my why, and how truly great my life is
- Practicing gratitude- recognizing all the wonderful things/people I have to be grateful for
- Sweating daily- moving my body, lifting weights, dancing, yoga, just moving
- Eat healthy foods that fuel my body, give me energy, and make me feel alive (stress for many people like me brings cravings of comfort food, sweets, salty things, and junk…but those foods make me feel like junk!)
- Embracing fear- trusting the process by believing in myself and the decisions I make
- Taking action- decide how you I want to navigate the current road block and then just doing it
- Stop looking at failure as a reason to quit, but seeing it as a lesson and learning from it
- Stopping to breathe
Just even writing this blog has helped me refresh my mind and remind myself that I am only in control on my reactions (so thank you for allowing me a safe place to vent). Life isn’t always smooth, but the bumps in the road help build our character, they help teach us lessons, the remind us of what is important, they may uncomfortable for the time being, but those bumps are there for a reason. So yeah, “speed bumps ahead”….. BRING IT!!!
*Some of my favorite mindset podcasts right now:
Earn your Happy by Lori Harder
The School of Greatness by Lewis Howes
Your Kick Ass Life by Andrea Owen
Sexyfit by Slata Sushchik
Confidence on the go by Trish Blackwell