health

Hold on, have hope! Tips to navigate life's rollercoasters.

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Rather than New Year’s Resolutions, I themed 2017 my year of freedom; 2018 of peace and joy.

Like most things in life, you plant a seed and eagerly, rather impatiently, wait for it to take root and grow. While we may be in our last 30 days of 2018, I’m (finally) seeing the fruit of these intentional themes. Hallelujah!

While I feasted and played card games in my aunt and uncle’s cabin on Donner Lake over the Thanksgiving weekend, it dawned on me that 3 years ago I was in a very different -  a very dark, lonely -   place.

REWIND:

  • In 2015 I spent Thanksgiving alone, housesitting for my sister and eating Vixen Kitchen’s paleo Chai & I ice cream for dinner.

  • I had no desire to be around family.

  • I felt like a failure.

  • I felt unworthy, unloved, and alone.

  • I didn’t want to see people happy; families together and putting in the effort to spend the holidays side by side.

. . .

  • My marriage was over.

  • I had moved two states away from my “home” for the last 16 years and had been living with different family members for two months, bouncing my daughters here and there as we found some stability.

  • I didn’t have a job (I had been raising our daughters and freelancing off and on for the last 4 years).

  • I didn’t have a home to call our own.

  • I had just spent half of my savings on marriage counseling (that didn’t work) and moving out of state to set clearly defined boundaries.

. . .  .

Talk about rock bottom.


I haven’t shared my marriage and divorce before because I didn’t think anyone would care. Perhaps no one will. However, I’ve felt a pull on my heart for months to share my story. Maybe it will resonate with one person, offering a glimmer of light and truth - of companionship. If so, I’ve done my job.

With a topic like this, I’m not sure where to begin…

 

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We joked that if we had a band this would be our cover art. 

This day back in April 2009, and all it encapsulated, was the beginning of something epic, or so we thought.

But, our first year of marriage was difficult. The highs were high, but the lows were miserable. We were ridden with selfishness, naivety and conflict.

In conflict, I retreat. I need space to walk and think or journal or a night to sleep on it. That didn’t go down so well, and if memory serves me right, I may never have explained to him my way to process. Instead, I was questioned, pushed too far out of my comfort zone - which pushed me farther away - and utterly frustrated, resorting to anger because I couldn’t understand or articulate my feelings well enough to be heard or known.

Sometimes we need to be pushed a little to see that our way isn’t the only way. However, there needs to be patience, grace, love, and communication in doing so. That didn’t exist. Only the feeling that he was right, and I was always so wrong, my feelings wouldn’t be validated because other people had it worse than me.

And so, this vicious cycle continued.

My parents who divorced when I was 10 were not examples of a good marriage, offering zero guidance when it came to conflict resolution. Since it was never modeled to me, unfortunately my marriage became the battle ground to figure it out. Yet at the time, I didn’t realize it. Nor did I give myself the space and grace to settle in and accept myself as a new wife trying to navigate marriage; letting go of the ideal of the happy all of the time, white picket fence married life image I had in my mind.

I figured there was something wrong with me. While I shared the good, the bad, and the ugly, I still held on closely to my hidden fears of thinking I wasn’t good enough, or worthy enough to be loved.

Despite showing the ugliness, my unrelenting, high walls kept me from exposing my heart and letting go of any pain and limiting beliefs from childhood as well as previous hurtful relationships. I thought if I didn’t measure up, he would leave. I thought if I wasn’t perfect (though we both knew we were both far from it) he would abandon me.

If I’m truly honest, I thought he could fill a part of my heart that ached with emptiness. Though a Christian who knows better, I thought he could save me and make me whole.

These unspoken, juvenile expectations kept me from uniquely showing up. And in turn pushed him away. Exactly what I was trying to prevent, I manifested the outcome by my actions and behavior.

Now, he wasn’t a saint either, but I’ll tell the story from my POV.

Many nights I went for long drives or sat in our car to escape the noise.

On a couple of occasions, I got myself a hotel room because I needed to get away. Our pseudo one-bedroom apartment didn’t provide the space I needed to retreat. yes, I’m an introvert and my introvert need for alone time was not met in that first city apartment of ours. Also, a friend I greatly respected told me of all the nights she got a hotel room for herself and how it saved her marriage.

I thought it could do the same for ours.

I hate to even admit this, but at times I would pack my bags, ready to leave and never look back because I didn’t know what else to do.

I felt so stuck. So small. Unheard and unloved.

Here I was, next to a man who was adored at work, passionately throwing himself into his job, leaving me at home alone or on the sidelines, soaking in his fans praises but ignoring mine.

I wanted to be in the ring with him. Doing life with him. Not an afterthought.

Fast forward to the day we were leaving for our one-year anniversary trip to South Africa. A trip I was so looking forward to as it had been 5 years since I had last stepped foot on that fine, bewitching soil. I had it planned to a T - with a safari, a coastal drive, wine, my beloved babies at Kwethu Children’s Village (an orphanage I had volunteered at 5 years prior), and an adventure we’d take together – one we’d tell our children about some day.

Of course, I have no clue what we were fighting about now, but hours before our flight, we had an intense fight, culminating in me watching a stack of our plates thrown to floor, smashing into a hundred little, jagged pieces.

Anger seethed in both of us.

To be honest, I can’t believe our friends even drove us to the airport in that state.

But again, we continued to push it under the rug, hoping it would sort itself out if we ignored it.

Sidenote: we went on our South African trip and had an amazing adventure, minus the time I thought he was going to get killed by a lion, or the time I pictured us getting murdered in the backseat of a car in Jo’berg, or our car getting broken into and my bag being stolen in Cape Town. Despite a all of that, it really is a beautiful country and If you need travel tips, I have them!

However, we returned and life continued as it had.

Our next big fight, shortly after returning (and going back to school to study nutrition) was when my beloved goldfish Pinto and his fish bowl were thrown on the floor, vanishing forever. I watched again in horror as another thousand little pieces of glass and water covered our floor.

A mere hour later, I took a pregnancy test and found out I was pregnant.

It was time to clean up our shit.

Easier said than done!

Having a baby doesn’t make ANYTHING easier. Emotions, expectations, fatigue, uncertainty, you name it, are heightened. In fact, more is left to ambiguity as you stumble through those first months simply trying to survive and keep this little person alive.

Amidst quitting my job to stay home with our Charlie Bear, taking a break from school, and navigating this new life I had as a mom + wife, I also had my eye on someone who, based on intuition, was no good to have in OUR life.

I met her awhile back and upon meeting her, I felt I had to keep her close. There was something about her that rubbed me the wrong way and I didn’t care for her presence in my husband’s life.

Always listen to your intuition!

However, my lack of trust for her didn’t really matter. She had finagled her way into our life and my husband was beyond pleased with it. Especially when they decided to have a relationship.

I don’t need to get into the details of how that went down. Your imagination of trying to rationally talk with someone who believes they were placed on the planet to be with your husband will suffice…..

If this happens to be where you are now, know that while hindsight is 20/20 and in the midst of things you want to think the best of your spouse by giving them the benefit of the doubt with excuses  - stress, fatigue, finances, etc – you have to face up to the truth.

Sit down and ask!

Be brave, be bold, prepare for an answer you may not like, yet know that you are still worthy. You may have had a piece of the unraveling of the relationship, but that doesn’t mean you are less than. Their actions are on them. Own yours, yes, but don’t carry the burden of their poor choices as well.

Chin up!

Take comfort in this from Ecclesiastes 3:1-8:

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens:

 a time to be born and a time to die,
    a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal,
    a time to tear down and a time to build,
a time to weep and a time to laugh,
    a time to mourn and a time to dance,
a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
    a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
a time to search and a time to give up,
    a time to keep and a time to throw away,
a time to tear and a time to mend,
    a time to be silent and a time to speak,
a time to love and a time to hate,
    a time for war and a time for peace.

Or if you’re an ’80’s child like me listen to this on repeat!

So…..

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Why am I writing this now?

I know someone needs to hear that there is still hope.

This minute, this day, this month, may not be what you expected in your life, but it’s not over. There is hope to be had; dreams to dream, goals to crush, laughter to be relished in, and love to be shared.

You aren’t alone.

Life - for everyone -is messy, good, bad, happy, sad, hard and easy. See Ecclesiastes above!

Seasons come, and seasons go. Like the leaves that fall in winter, they bloom again in the Spring with the light of the sun. You will get through this and be a better person for it - if you choose to be!

It’s up to you to look for the good. To make a choice to not give up. To make the choice to show up. No one cares more about you and your dreams than you. Let go of what your parents told you, let go of the limits your teachers put on you, let go of the ideals you cling to, and show up as your weird, badass self. Shine, my dear!

You, yes you, are more powerful and wonderful than you allow yourself to be. Lean into that power!

For me, my current goals are still a few miles off, but with each day I show up, the closer I get to achieving them. Once achieved, there will be more goals to set. One foot in front of the other, dear friend!

The process continues and so must you. You must be brave enough to keep putting one foot forward, even if the world if pitch black and cold. Believe in yourself and that ache for more in your heart.

 

What else have I learned?

I was a month shy of turning 28 when I got married. Now edging closer to 38, I look back and see that scared, young girl, unwilling to stand up and speak her voice. Too scared to risk sharing her heart.

I look back and see myself trying to have at it alone, despite having this person next to be who was in it with me.

Today, I know my worth. Today, I know my voice. Today I’m clearer on what I will and will not allow in my life.

It’s ok to take care of yourself. It’s not selfish! Especially this time of year, amidst the enchanting carols and twinkling lights, a lot of people are stressed with the financial burden, the chaos of activities, the family obligations, etc.


Here are some tips on how to say sane this (holiday) season:

  1. Remember you can’t be perfect.

  2. Take time out to 1) have a bath (or go to the spa), 2) have lunch with a friend, 3) sleep in, 4) eat the damn chocolate or drink 2 glasses of wine, 5) exercise – whether that’s at a gym or a walk, and 6) say “No!” to the activities that won’t bring you joy.

  3. Slow down. Have a dance party with your kids or by yourself. Crank up the music. Watch a movie and don’t do anything else. Schedule down time.

  4. Avoid the crowds. Shop online or locally.

  5. Get into the real holiday spirit. Visit an ice skating rink, visit Santa, make gingerbread cookies, build a gingerbread house, catch a holiday play

  6. Get crafty if that’s your thing!

  7. Spend time with family or friends that make you smile! You’re the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with – choose your friends well! Happiness and joy is contagious, let their joy rub off on you. Just don’t be the Debby downer in the group ; )

  8. Give! Be kind; give a hug; give a compliment; smile; donate; buy coffee for the person in line behind you.

  9. Practice gratitude.

 

 

The top 10 ways to benefit from connecting IRL.

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The heat of the sun on your back.

The fresh air in your lungs.

The impeccable views and sounds of nature and life buzzing around.

Whether I’m out in the great outdoors on an inspiring hike, dipping my toes in the sea, on a run into town (typically pushing a stroller with over-sized children in it), or even simply sitting on the outside patio at my local coffee shop, there is something about getting out of the house and feeling the energy around you.

However, all to often I’m a homebody.

Sure, there’s the laundry to do, the dishes to wash, the floors to clean, the piles of school artwork to recycle, the side hustle to grind through, yet sifting through those I find excuses for not wanting to put on real clothes and leave the house.

There is a time and place for comfort, yet we need to create the space to get out and connect, both with nature and with other human beings!

In a recent newsletter (you can sign-up on my website) I sent to my health coaching clients, I discussed the four pillars of health:

  • Sleep

  • Nutrition

  • Exercise

  • Connection

Today I want to focus on connection.

We so often dismiss it as a necessary element in our overall health; much like sleep, we’re fooled by the illusion that we don’t need it to thrive.

Numerous studies have shown that a lack of social connection is a greater detriment to health than obesity, smoking and high blood pressure.

Time and time again, it’s been proven that social connection improves physical health and mental and emotional well-being. When a strong social connection is maintained, we:

  • increased chance of longevity by 50%

  • strengthen our immune system

  • recover from disease faster

Brene Brown, has said, “A deep sense of love and belonging is an irresistible need of all people. We are biologically, cognitively, physically, and spiritually wired to love, to be loved, and to belong. When those needs are not met, we don't function as we were meant to. We break. We fall apart. We numb. We ache. We hurt others. We get sick.”

Regardless of what where you fall within the spectrum of introvert or extrovert, we are made to connect. We are social creatures by nature.

Shiny objects tend to lure us, deceiving us into believing the fancy cars, the money, the power, the big homes and lavish vacations will fulfill us. While those objects aren’t inherently bad, we need to be conscious of how we’re using them to make us feel. This also tends to flesh itself out in the way we treat our body – whether we binge on food or starve ourselves or put up silly boundaries around the “good” and “bad” foods we eat, even over exercising to make an amends for one thing or another. In the end, all of this will disappoint us.

All along we’ve been looking for meaningful connections - relationships.

It is a fundamental human need to belong, to be accepted, and loved.

You are not too sensitive or too much to want these things. They are good, natural desires!

In fact, people who feel more connected to others have lower levels of anxiety and depression, higher self-esteemgreater empathy, are more trusting and cooperative and, therefore, others are more open to trusting and cooperating with them.

Those are all wonderful benefits of being connected! No one should ever dismiss the power of a hug, a phone call, a date, or even a simple touch, let alone these desires.

They are good, healthy feelings.

Being present and making time for those you care about is not hard, rather putting the effort in to create the time and space can be difficult in today’s culture of finding pride in our busy-ness and independence.

Some practical tips to connect:

  1. say hello or smile at a stranger

  2. Go to local farmers market and talk to the vendors. I’ve heard the best stories from our smoked salmon vendor. As an ex-Marine World whale trainer, he has a bounty of stories to share of the tricks the whales would play on the trainers. You don’t have to spend countless hours with these people, but a weekly hello and five minute conversation reaps massive connection rewards. You feel known AND you’ve learned a thing or two.

  3. Make time with a friend (spontaneous, last minute calls are fine!) to go for a 20-minute walk or have a quick dinner.

  4. Call someone you haven’t talked to in a while.

  5. Turn your phone off and talk to your family after dinner.

  6. Read a book with your kids or spouse.

  7. Go for a hike and eavesdrop on the conversations – both those nature provides as well as the other hikers!

  8. Invite your neighbors over for a seasonal treat.

  9. Grab a coworker and buy them an afternoon drink.

  10. Make small talk with anyone helping you – the cashier at the grocery store or at the coffee shop, your waitress, your kid’s teacher, the person in line behind you, etc.

These are just a few to get you started. How do you like to connect?

P.S. Don’t Google “ideas how to connect.” The only options it offers are troubleshooting tips to connect to the internet. That’s not what we’re going for here!

BLACK FRIDAY - what's your game?

First and foremost, I think Black Friday is silly... and genius, as long as you’re smart about it.

After a day of thanksgiving, gratitude, family, friends, consumption of some of the best things, including delicious food, we completely do a 180 and spend copious amounts of money we don’t necessarily have to spend. Yes, there are some fantastic deals, but you don’t need to consume just because everyone else is doing it. But be true to you, that’s all I ask! If you plan on perusing some deals, I’ll hook you up below – and no need to leave your pj’s and house.

I’m not sure where you live, but it’s sunny and mild here. I’m planning to head out for a run around the Lafayette reservoir here shortly, after I drink my bone broth. My belly is not happy with me today, despite eating clean yesterday. Yep, I still got issues to sort through myself! How will you embrace the day? I hope it involves getting outside in nature, spending more time with people you love, and of course enjoying those leftovers. And perhaps some shopping!

So like I said, and rather contradictory of my first thoughts, if you are going to imbibe in the weekend spending events, here are my top recommendations. NOW is truly the time to try out those brands you’ve been eyeing! Not to mention support many of which are small businesses, including myself!

 

SKINCARE

Beautycounter

The Deals for Friday (stay tuned for deals throughout the weekend!):

How to: simply click any link in this post or HERE to shop!

Gift ideas:

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FATCO

The Deal for Friday: Enjoy 25% off of everything

How to: simply click HERE to shop!

Gift ideas:

  • Calming Body Butta (love using this lotion on my daughters after a bath)
  • Baby Butta (clean and unscented for the precious babes in your family )
  • Stank Stop (looking for a safe and effective deodorant, this is it!)
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FOOD

Kasandrinos Olive Oil

The Deal: 25%-off your order!

  • How to: Simply click HERE to shop and use code “bf25” at checkout. On SATURDAY, use code “sb25” and on MONDAY use code “cm25”

This is the best olive oil you can find and they're an awesome GREEK family, of course ; )

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EatingEvolved

The Deal: One free pouch of Strawberry Coconut Cups with purchase

How to: Simply click above and use my code: erinhtmt

 

Foursigmatic Mushroom Coffee and Elixirs

The Deal: 15%-50% off of the top products

How to: simply click here or one of the links below

Gift ideas:

 

Footwear

Plae

Not affiliated whatsoever but love these shoes for my girls!

The deal: Select styles 40-60% off

How to: click here.

 

Health

Health coaching with me!

The deal: 20% off my health coaching services

If you’re looking to confront some of your health issues – need to clean up your diet, address allergies, tackle a meal plan, try a 21-day sugar detox. I’ve got you covered!

How to: Email me at erinsholland@gmail.com or fill out the form on my website!

Where do you want to go? How much do you want to risk?

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Change is hard and typically uncomfortable. Despite really, really wanting a particular outcome, the process can be overwhelming. So we cling to what we know, our habits, even if they're preventing us to reach our goals. It's "safe."

Do you feel that?

Let's talk nutrition for a minute.

What's holding you back from getting off of your meds, or incorporating more veggies into your meals, or losing some weight, or nixing the late night binges? Where are you stuck?

There are a lot of quick tricks and programs, shakes, and fad diets. Are you confused and simply want to throw your hands up in disgust and confusion?

While there may be some unique aspects of your lifestyle we would need to address, with some basic and honest assessment, we can work together to get you on a path toward health.

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We don’t need to have superhero powers, but we do need to be the superhero’s of our own lives.

You ARE in more control than you think! Have you forgotten that? I’m here to remind you that you’re not alone in this process, it’s possible to change, and there are people (like me) that would love to walk alongside you!

I began this post thinking I would go in one direction, but hey, the beauty of being the author is that you can change course. And so can you.

I’m not going to dish out all of the reasons the 21-Day Sugar Detox may be good for you. I’m not going to spout off that you’ll more than likely need at least 30 days to get in a good groove. I won’t berate the point that it’s going to take some mindset, and some weekly prep. You may also want to cheat on Day 11. That’s human nature. Reality. And to some degree you most likely know that; that may be why you don’t start.

That’s the beauty of having the accountability of a coach. You have someone to lean on, to reach out to, to vent to. I won’t coddle you and enable the nonsense, but I will lead you. No judgement, only compassion as your cheerleader, wanting to see you succeed.

I know, you probably have a thing, a party, a birthday, a wedding, a trip. Right?! So committing to 21-30 days is rather iffy. But it’s all choices. What will you choose today?

But how? 

Let’s look at your goals, based on the structure of your day: when and what you eat, how much sleep you’re getting, your stress levels, your fears, your exercise. Give me the information and I’ll do all of the heavy lifting to produce a plan. While it will be up to you to follow, like i said before, I will be your cheerleader, and I’m here to change what doesn’t work.

Decide what to be

Based on the heading (can you name that tune?!) of this post and the following line from The Avett Brothers song, "Head full of fear/road full of promise," I’m all about the music these days. However, I thought this song lyric was relevant to close with:


DECIDE WHAT TO BE AND GO BE IT

 - Avett Bros

But in all seriousness, I'd love to help you pinpoint the sticky spots and provide you with tools to create new habits. If you have any gentle nudging to make a change, let's talk it out! 

 

P.S. All of my nutrition clients get extra special goodies from me. But you’ll have to sign-up to find out what they are.

Also, if you want a sneak peek into the food you’ll eat, which is not sad at all, check out my IG as well as the 21-Day Sugar Detox guidebook

Cheers to new beginnings!