A Ways To Go

This is not a health and wellness post. It’s more about my how I’m feeling in my current situation which I’m hoping someone will relate to and why I’m posting it.

I came to the hard realization that my entire first family is dead. I don’t mean my parents. I mean the family I chose to leave the nest with for the first time and to create my own home with. This family consisted of my long time boyfriend at the time, Jay, and our 2 cats, Gizmo and Gadget.

8 years ago I lost Jay to a brain aneurysm that ruptured. He was 25 years old. 6 years ago I lost Gizmo to severe kidney failure. He was 4 years old. And on Monday, I lost Gadget to complications from cancer. She was 9 years old.

We all go through tragedy, loss, pain, and grief. We all have our own challenges to face and our own battles to fight. But it doesn’t make them any less difficult does it. Knowing others are in pain doesn’t make me feel better to know that I’m not alone in my feelings of grief. It actually makes me more sorrowful because I’m an empathetic person who absorbs the feelings of others.

Seeing others in pain makes me wish I could take it away because I know what pain is like. I know what it’s like when something hurts so badly your heart hurts and your soul is shifted. But no one can take that pain away. Time maybe. But she’s not aways kind either.

Don’t get me wrong, I certainly still have family and friends and a new family consisting of a fiancé and a to be step daughter. I’m surrounded by so much love and support. But that doesn’t make that fact that my first family is dead any less true or any less of a painful realization.

That life I chose to begin has ended, it is dead, not by my choice but by circumstance. I refuse to believe that everything happens for a reason because loved ones being taken from us too soon is not for any reason at all. It just is what it is.

The death of my cat Gadget, brings an end to the last decade of my life. It has closed that chapter of my life for good. But maybe, to the bitter point of things happening for a reason, that had to happen so that I could finally move on to a new chapter of my life. Forcing me onward and forcing me to let go of the things I hold on to that cause me pain.

Not that the last chapter of my life will ever be erased. It’s just forever frozen in time. I’ll never get that part of my life back. I’ll never get back who I was then. But I can look at that person and I can see how she’s grown. I don’t always like her now but she’s still got a ways to go.

Change never did come easy to me. Time has drug me kicking and screaming into the future all the while I have been refusing all change and denying all truth. Time never was to blame though. Time doesn’t take anything away it actually gives so much. It provides opportunity. Opportunity to grow, heal, live, enjoy, love. It’s me that been wasting it. So who is to blame but myself.

– CS Squirrel


Trust the Process

I keep seeing, hearing, being told “trust the process.” To be honest I don’t know that I trust the process. Sometimes I want to scream at the universe and ask why it has such a shitty sense of humor. I can’t deny though that this week’s message from the universe has been to trust the process. Literally everyday I see it in a meme, hear it in a podcast, get told it from a friend. The universe is screaming this message at me.

2019 has been a serious struggle for me. I’ve been dealing with so many difficult things from family, career, pet, to my own internal battles. I thought 2019 was going to be my best year ever, my year of change and transformation! Well, I’m not sure it’s my best year ever but it certainly is a year of transformation.

I feel the pressure from my circumstances and then when I think I can’t take anymore, a new pressure hits. Some days I sit and ask myself is this shit real? How is all of this even happening?! Well girlfriend, it’s happening, this shit is real, you are sitting in your shit and you are miserable. But you know what? That’s ok! Sometimes we have to sit in this uncomfortable state to learn, grow, and transform. And that’s what I’m doing.

By no means is it pretty. It’s a mess, it’s a struggle, it’s me huffing and puffing around and complaining. But I am changing. I am getting stronger. I’m finding ways to deal with things that are healthier than I ever have before.

I can’t say that I trust the process, I’d say I’m skeptical of the process, constantly asking it questions, wondering if it knows what it’s doing. But I have kind of a controlling personality so it makes sense that I would do that. Maybe that’s the point though, to let a little bit of control go so the process can do its thing.

– CS Squirrel (aka Caitlin)

P.S. – I’ve chosen my writers handle as you can see above! I’m pretty excited about that! Lol


Ice Cubes Are A Little Messy When They Melt

I have been really struggling lately. It’s like my good brain and bad brain are battling. The last few weeks I’ve been working really hard to make sure I’m doing the things I need to do for me. I’ve been journaling, meditating, exercising, eating better, drinking all the water, reading. All. The. Things. I’ve been checking off a list of these things daily to make sure I’m doing most of them on most days. Majority wins, perfection is not real. This is really great right? If you read that you’re likely thinking wow shes doing really well, that’s awesome.

Here’s what you’re missing though. Every day I’ve been releasing this negative ass energy from somewhere deep through attitude about work and people in general.

I’ve become a bit nasty and it just dawned on me this week. It’s like a mini reality smack to the face really and it hit hard. I have been doing all of these things trying to do the right stuff that I need to do, yet the nastiest bits of attitude just keep popping out, especially in places they hadnt before. I got really upset about this last night. Did some arguing, yelling and screaming, and of course crying. It felt really good to get those negative emotions out, but it also made me have to sit and face this. I’m facing it now as I write this in the middle of my workout.

Typically in the past I’d be consumed by this negative energy and beat myself up for feeling like this when I’m doing all this positive stuff. I’d tell myself its obviously not working because of this negative outburst so why even bother? As I shift my mindset I’m learning to ask my self truthfully why am I bothering? I’m bothering because I KNOW that this is right. This is what I have to do. I know the positive energy I feel and radiate comes from doing these things. I know that releasing that negativity is just a part of the this process. That negative energy needs to get out and go somewhere. While I may not be very good at getting it out constructively yet, I’m getting it out. It’s not sitting inside and stewing and building and feeding my bad brain.

I read my current favorite analogy in a book called Atomic Habits by James Clear recently. It went a little something like this:

You can put an ice cube on a desk in a room that’s 25° and it wont melt. You can heat the room slowly by 1° to 26° and it wont melt, to 27° and it wont melt, to 28° and it wont melt, all the way to 31° and it STILL wont freaking melt. One more degree though, the same slow incremental change you’ve been doing, to 32° and poof, it’s a whole new world. The ice starts to melt.

This spoke so much to me. If you’re still with me you know that at 29° I typically call it quits when really all that needs to be done is a just a little more consistency! I think my mini negative outbursts and the negative break of last night may have been my way of heating up my internal ice cube. Now, its finally starting to melt. I feel a little better today. I have some side effects from the break last night, but that’s normal. Ice cubes are a little messy when they melt. I think my good brain and my bad brain maybe had to battle it out a bit to keep turning up the heat so the melting could finally begin. I think it’s going to be okay.

xo

Nikki


“Just Keep Swimming” ~ Dory, Finding Nemo

February starts TOMORROW! Can you believe it? We are already a whole month into this new year, 1 of 12 down and only 11 to go! I’m not sure about you, but January felt like it last approximately 3 years for me. I feel like this is partly because halfway into the month I let most of myself go for about 10 days… oops.

This is not a post about me letting myself go for nearly two weeks though. Complaining and re-hashing old crap only leads to the same old negative icky feelings resurfacing. Who the heck wants that?! No one!

Today I’m here to tell you that even when you fall off track, feel uninspired, lack motivation, or whatever else you have to keep going. You have to keep moving. Newton’s Law of Motion says it best: essentially, a body at rest stays at rest; a body in motion stays in motion. I truly feel like this principal applies not only to physical movement, but also habits…my favorite things 😍😁

So, I mentioned I let some of myself go earlier this month. I basically stopped exercising, stopped journaling, and ate a little more unhealthy foods than I strive to typically eat. Here’s the thing though, I still kept up with some of my other habits. I still did my 5 minute journal every morning, I still tracked my stuff, I still got my clothes out and lunches ready for the next day before bed most days. I still tried to find some time to read here and there.

I truly believe that me keeping up with some of my habits is what has made it easier for me to transition back to keeping up with most of my habits. This last week I’ve been reading, journaling, exercising, tracking, stretching, meditating, all the things most of the days! I really feel like if I hadn’t put some effort into keeping going and just let everything fall by the wayside my 10 days would have turned into 10 weeks of miserably spiraling down and out.

They say when the going gets tough, the tough get going. I’m here to tell you that you are tough. You can and you will keep going if you chose to do so. Even when its hard find one or two things you can do each and every day to help the momentum you’ve built from halting to a dead stop. You can manage making your bed every day, or taking an extra moment before you leave the house to tell yourself it’s going to be okay or it’s going to be good day. You have time find a simple reason to smile for a second. You can take a few deep breaths. Take that 2 minutes every day for yourself. You owe it to yourself to have 2 freaking minutes to do something for you that will allow you to keep swimming.


Progress…NOT Perfection

We are 2/3 of the way into our first month of this new year! We want to take this opportunity to tell you all we are proud of you, you are slaying the game, you are doing it, whatever it is to you.

Let me be the first to tell you I’ve started off so strong! I have been exercising and eating healthy and kicking the crap out of this new year. Until I wasn’t. It’s usually around the 3 week mark that my spark fades and I start slipping into old habits. I’ll bet these old habits I’m talking about may sound a little familiar to you too. Typically it starts when I need to rest a little extra. I will take a little break and then stop making the time to exercise. That is usually the first warning sign, for me at least. Then, I stop meal prepping and start ordering out, I am careless with my snacks, and gosh you know I am hitting that snooze button and now I’m avoiding that treadmill as if it’s the plague!

Here’s the thing though, previously this would happen and I would just roll with it. I would cascade so deep into a dark winter depression. I would succumb to all the negativity swirling through my head and start believing all those old familiar stories my “bad brain” would tell me, all those stories that I am working really hard to re-write.

I bet you’ll notice I said previously back there, or maybe you didn’t. That’s right, PREVIOUSLY! Nowadays, I notice when I start slipping because I’ve been practicing being mindful with my attitude and actions. Nowadays, I evaluate the circumstances that are causing me to slip and react accordingly. Regardless of whatever the cause may be though I am practicing giving myself some dang grace. I’m learning to treat me the way I would treat you if you came to me and said you were struggling to show up for yourself. I really feel like this is something we all need to practice a little more.

If there is a legitimate reason behind me not showing up as strong as I hope then alright, that is okay. I will arrange my schedule and attitude so that I can do what I can with what I’ve got. For example, maybe I got sick so exercising has been put on hold. That’s okay, I just need to make sure to get plenty of rest and eat clean to stay balance and track. When one thing must be put on hold its important to keep the other habits going strong so you don’t lose your mindset or momentum.

On the flip side! Let’s say I’ve noticed myself feeling a little blah and lacking some drive, this is what usually happens. I’ve probably been feeling a little blah and not really pushing myself to exercise or sticking with my little daily habits like journaling. Maybe I’m getting a little lax with prepping food and cooking. I’m being more mindful, so I am noticing this happen. Since I’m noticing this I’m able to confront it. I can sit myself down and have a little reality check pep talk. I can make a plan to slowly get back into my better habits so I don’t overwhelm myself trying to do it all at once or make up for lost time. Easing back into my intentions will help me get my spark ignited again.

I may not be able to keep my spark lit at all times, but is anyone really?? I really believe that a key component to everlasting change is a progress, not perfection mindset. Through my practice I have been able to learn my triggers and warning signs and how to look out for them. I have been able to understand how to treat myself better and with more love and respect. Had I been striving for perfection constantly I’ll bet I would be way worse than where I started. I’d be so unhappy and have no confidence that I could grow and evolve. Practicing little improvements and progress has allowed me to set goals and see I can reach them. It has given me confidence in myself. Working for progress allows me to look back and reflect at how much progress I’ve actually made too! I can see what works and what doesn’t work for me personally. Most importantly, I can share it all with you!

Comment below and share some of your victories and your progress! Let us know if you want some guidance in practicing progress over perfection, we are here for you! We want to know how you work for progress instead of perfection!

Check out our Facebook page here and join our group to learn more and get in on our conversation 😊


Gratitude at Christmas and Beyond

During the hustle and bustle of Christmas time, we all go about buying presents and driving like psychos, hoping to get that great sale we saw, needing desperately to buy that expensive thing for that person we love, making sure we don’t leave anyone out of our gift giving, we trample pregnant women at Walmart and we rush rush rush. We all take so much for granted, forgetting what Christmas and the holidays are all about. The thought of family and love and togetherness are with us for but a moment and then forgotten again with the new year.

We go about living our lives with it’s day to day duties and many misfortunes and we forget what a gift we have been given. The gift of life and of family and of friends and most of all the gift of love, all types of love.

For without love the world would be a dark and lonely place. Love gives us hope for tomorrow and hope for the future. It makes the misfortunes we come across less of a burden to face. If we could only keep this thought of gratefulness with us all year round we might get a little more out of life, we might face our struggles with more ease, we might appreciate those around us who love us a little more, and we might see the world with new eyes.

It seems so unfair to live with such ungratefulness when there are others who were taken from life too soon who don’t get to experience life’s gifts any longer. To live with graciousness and love even in the darkest of times is to honor those who won’t get the chance to live again.

So not just at Christmas time, but all the time…I’m grateful for everyone in my life, past and present. It’s all of you, family and friends, that have shaped who I am, kept me strong, helped me while I was down, laughed with me when I was happy and made memories that will last a lifetime.

I’m going to try to keep this gratitude with me year round. We all should. I know we can all do a little better.


Looking Back To Move Forward

Nikki and I write a lot about health and wellness, how to be successful, planning, recipes and so on but I want to share a different blog with you today.  We have dark days too and I think it’s important to share all of our feelings, even the not so warm and fuzzy ones.  I want you to know that we are coming from a real place.  Here it goes…

There are many days where I sit in my own self-hatred.  Today is one of those days.  Whenever I reflect on my past, this feeling shows up, rearing its ugly head, ready to destroy any self-worth I may have recently mustered up the courage to find.  This negative self-talk is so crippling.  It can really put a wrench in any plans for success if those thoughts are allowed to live in the mind.

At one time in my life I thought I could take on the world, do anything, be anything.  But as I got older and experienced loss, failure, and grief, and as I made mistakes and bad decisions, that voice of optimism and courage was slowly drowned out by a voice of regret and hate.

At the beginning of 2018, I decided I had had enough.  I was over these feelings and that this would be my year of healing.  But in order to heal, I needed to wake up.  It’s as if I spent the last few years asleep, hiding in a dream from the worst parts of myself that I was too afraid to confront.  When I finally woke up, I had to face those parts of myself all at once and it’s been a damn mess.  I also spent a lot of time drinking this year to drown out my feelings, trying to force myself to go back to sleep but now that I’m awake I can’t hide from myself anymore.

While I did do some healing this year, it was also full of some hard realizations about myself and a lot of negative self-talk throughout the process.  I spent a lot of time analyzing my mistakes, who I am, and why I am.  I needed to analyze my mistakes because I needed to know what I was doing wrong in order to decide what I need to do differently to succeed.  In an effort to help myself, I read a lot about being kind to yourself, self-care, and how to replace negative self-talk with positive thoughts.  I really struggled with that this year as I tried to dig deep into what the hell I’m supposed to do here on this Earth.

While I haven’t really figured that out yet and though the past few years have been a bumpy road of denial and self-destruction, I feel like 2019 will be my year of positive change.  It’s time to accept who I am and that I’ve made mistakes but to move forward with the knowledge that I now have because I’ve learned from those mistakes.  I think combating negative self-talk will always be a struggle for me but I’m confident that acknowledging I do it, is part of dealing with it and trying to overcome it.

Caitlin


Compassion Starts Inside

Have you ever noticed that we are usually so much harder on ourselves than the people we care for and love? Let’s do a little experiment, shall we?

Step 1 • Think back to the last time your best friend reached out to you because they were feeling down or having a tough time. Try to recall details that may have hinted to you how distressed this person really felt. Try to really call this scenario to mind and re-live it.

Step 2 • Keep thinking and recall the way you spoke to this person and responded to their hard time. Think about the tone you had and the specific words that you said.

I bet that you were very kind and understanding towards your friend. Maybe you helped quell their fears or calm their nerves. You may have reassured them that everything is going to be okay, even if it doesn’t quite feel like it right now. Now, let’s dig a little deeper.

Step 3 • Think back to the last time that you were feeling down or struggling. Try to call to mind the unpleasant and uncomfortable ick that uad you feeling so down in as much detail as you can.

Step outside your mind for a moment, seperate yourself from this exercise for this step.

Step 4 • Take a physical inventory of your body. Are you tense? Maybr you are clenching your jaw, or your shoulders are up to your ears!

Step 5 • Take a mental inventory. Are you getting a little edgy? Maybe you’re feeling overwhelmed or anxious. Maybe you’re a little irritatable or upset.

Step 6 • Compare these feelings you’re noticing to some of the indications of distress that your friend had portrayed when they confided in you because they were upset. I’ll bet they are probably pretty similar.

Let’s keep digging even deeper. Pop back into recalling the last time that you were distressed.

Step 7 • Think back to how you spoke to yourself. Maybe you were harsh and judgemental. Maybe you distracted yoursel. Maybe you were angry and frustrated.

Step 8 • Let’s go back and do some more comparing. I bet the way you spoke to and treated yourself was not even close to the way you had treated your friend back in Step 2.

Now, if you didn’t before I bet you see what I mean by how we are sometimes way harder on ourselves than we are on our loved ones.

If you are struggling right now try giving yourself the same grace you’d give to one of your best friends if they were going through a tough time. Change your inner dialogue to match that which you’d tell your friend.

We think one of the most effective ways to start this shift is to first recognize how you are actually talking to yourself. Be mindful when you’re upset. Our inner dialogues have become so routine over years that we don’t even realize what we are saying to ourselves or how our body holds tension.

We challenge you to take a few days and be truly mindful of how you talk to yourself. After a few days check in with yourself and even here the same way we did through our experiment above. Acknowledge how you’re talking to yourself. Challenge your inner dialogue with grace and compassion.

Check in with us here, let us know what you’ve discovered!