Three Things to Remember When You’ve Lost Motivation

As someone who now takes my life journey and spiritual growth very seriously, there is nothing I hate more than feeling like I’ve backtracked because I’ve taken time off.

Two weeks ago I went to see Lana Del Rey in concert at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville. It was such an amazing night that I honestly still have not fully recovered from yet! However, being away from home for a few days definitely got me off-track in regards to working out, doing yoga and meditating, which was expected while out of town, but after I got home I had a bit of a hangover feeling from missing being on my trip. This equated to having no motivation whatsoever to get back into my normal routine, so for a few days after I got back home I was extremely lazy. Ever been there?!

Fortunately after a few days of being home I said ‘enough is enough’ and started doing my daily workouts, yoga practice and mediation again, and felt tremendously better. I even started a new job and this helped me too because I’ve been worried about money, so all seemed to be going extremely well! Until Friday afternoon, that is.

About halfway through my workday, I remember taking a sip of water and my throat hurt really bad. The pain came on out of nowhere. A few minutes later my head started hurting, my throat was getting worse, and I felt so fatigued. Not to mention, I had to teach a class of third graders for another three hours. I felt terrible. I called off work for my tutoring job that afternoon and went home and laid in bed all night. I knew I was sick and was going to be all weekend.

Thus, in rolled the negative thoughts and I started to feel sorry for myself. I thought, “Why does this have to happen to me now? Just as soon as I start getting in the swing of things, I have to get sick. Now I’m losing out on money from tutoring and I’m getting behind on my workouts again. I can never catch a break.” I was feeling frustrated and pitiful to say the least.

I’ll admit, I’m a little bit of a baby when I’m sick. I’m also an all-or-nothing person. These two ARE NOT a good combination for motivation! So my mentality when I’m sick is, “If I can’t workout or do yoga because I’m sick, I guess I can’t meditate either!” Makes total sense, right? So here I am, five days later, starting to feel better physically, but now I’ve got all this guilt I’m carrying around for getting behind. I want so badly to do better, to be better, and I hate when I feel like I’ve begun to slip backwards.

Fortunately, now I have the privilege of knowing that holding onto this guilt is not going to somehow atone me, or make up for the days I’ve lost. If anything, it only adds to the sickness I’ve experienced. Therefore, I am choosing to see this situation differently, and I am choosing to let the guilt go.

Maybe you are here today. For some reason you don’t feel like you’ve been giving your best effort lately and you feel like shit because of it. But the thought of starting again sounds so dreadful or overwhelming. Trust me I get it. I’ve stopped and started too many times to count now, and it’s hard! But I will tell you one thing- if you have that desire to do something, that desire alone is enough to keep you going.

So push through the excuses. This goes for any goal you have. It’s hard to get out of our comfort zones and begin again, whether it’s been a few days or a few years! But there is something I want to share with you if you find yourself in this place today, in hopes to bring a little extra motivation:

  1. Now is always better than later. If you start now, you’re one day closer than you would be otherwise. Think how grateful you’ll feel tomorrow. There is no better feeling than accomplishing something you needed to and didn’t think you had it in you to do. The first time gets that momentum you need going. Just begin! Each day is always easier than the one before.
  2.  Your goals and desires are worth the effort. It does take effort to accomplish something great, but it doesn‘t have to be difficult. The only thing that ever makes it difficult is our thoughts about it. So if you’ve already decided that you want ________, then trust that anything you have to do to get _________ is worth it. Meaning, you won’t resist the things that you normally would by complaining or dreading them. Ask for grace to do these things and I promise you will receive it!
  3. You deserve it. You deserve happiness. You deserve to be healthy. You deserve to live a life you enjoy. Don’t let your mind’s excuses hold you back any longer! Accept your desires and go after them with everything in you!

Below I have written a prayer for days where you might feel less than motivated and/or if your to-do list feels endless and overwhelming. You can say it out loud or in your head, whatever works best for you. I hope it helps!

And please let me know what you tell yourself when you need some motivation! I’m always looking for new mantras to add to my prayers and meditations 🙂

God/Universe/Higher Power,

Help me to only focus on this day and this day only.

Give me the strength to do what I need to do to get to where I want to be.

Show me how to not let tomorrow’s tasks overwhelm me today.

Lead me in the way you wish me to go, and help me do and say the things I need to.

Allow me to see the beauty in this day instead of just seeing it as a means to an end.

Show me how to access your grace and peace and let them guide me through every moment.

I trust that you have my back and are with me always.

Amen.

 

 

Healing is a Process

Living with an anxiety disorder is challenging on the easier days and downright terrifying on the more difficult days.

Unfortunately, I know this from firsthand experience. Until recently, I lived with an anxiety disorder that manifested itself with intense physical sensations. I experienced all sorts of scary feelings in my body; panic attacks, upset stomach, shaking, derealization, headaches, weakness, dry mouth, hot flashes and dizziness were just some of the many things I would feel on a day-to-day basis.

These feelings typically came about when I was out in public, like being in a big crowd, or somewhere that it wasn’t easy to escape without being noticed (sitting in class, eating in a restaurant) or in places with a lot of stimulation going on. Loud noises and bright lights really bothered me. There was even a time period where I could not bear to go into grocery stores because of the loud noises and fluorescent lighting. I know it sounds crazy, but it was that bad. It came on fast and intense, and left me feeling terrified to leave the house for fear of what might happen.

Many times I backed out of doing things because I believed I physically couldn’t. I thought surely I was going to faint, throw up, go crazy or die. My body felt weak all the time. Anxiety made me depressed. I isolated myself and so I lost a lot of friends and missed out on many of the typical college experiences because my anxiety always arose while I was out. The craziest part was that all of these symptoms seemed to appear out of nowhere.

I used to have lots of friends, I went out to parties and drank frequently, and never had any issues feeling this way. I would’ve thought someone who couldn’t handle sitting in class or at a restaurant for two hours was a crazy person. So when this became my life so suddenly, I was sure something was wrong. I thought I was really sick. It couldn’t just all be ‘in my mind’.

I went to the doctor (even though that gave me extreme anxiety too) and was told that I was totally fine and healthy. Then I got really depressed because I didn’t feel ‘fine or healthy’ one bit. I wanted an immediate cure to my problem and I wasn’t getting one. I started to think, “So this is going to be my life? I’m going to be isolated from the rest of the world forever? I’ll never have fun or be happy again?” I started to believe that I would be doomed to a life of confinement in my house for all of eternity. I couldn’t understand why this was happening to me. It wasn’t fair. I was a prisoner in my own mind and I couldn’t escape.

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Looking back now, five years later from when it all began, I can see that it was never random. In all actuality, the anxiety disorder I developed should have been expected. The only thing that surprises me now is that it didn’t manifest itself sooner.

My entire life I may not have suffered from a panic disorder, but I always lived anxiously. I had social anxiety growing up, and I always cared way too much about what other people thought about me… I obsessively worried about family, friends, money, school, boys, fitting in, you name it, I worried about it! I listened to negativity and drama from those around me and let it affect me, and I spoke negatively about myself and others. I did nothing to care for my mental health. I did not love myself, and I didn’t do anything I was passionate about. I didn’t have goals or dreams I believed I would accomplish. I didn’t feed myself healthy thoughts or practice self-care, ever. I always played the victim. It was always someone or something else’s fault that I didn’t have a better life. I had done nothing but feed my mind negative, self-sabotaging thoughts my entire life, so, it was no wonder I developed such intense anxiety at the age of 21!

What I didn’t know then that I do now is that your thoughts create your life. The thoughts you think have a DIRECT effect on your health. Your mind, body and soul are all connected and the well-being of one greatly impacts the well-being of the other two.

Think of it this way: Our mind is like a giant computer system and negative thoughts are like bad viruses that get in and infect it. One person says or does something that hurts you, or you listen to/partake in drama, negativity or gossip, then your mind processes it, internalizes it, and keeps it, like a file downloaded on your computer. We usually forget about the negative thought itself, but its’ effects are still there looming in our subconscious for years to come.

And the more we think negatively, gossip, or put ourselves down, the more used to negativity our mind becomes, and because our minds find so much comfort in familiarity, the cycle continues. Thus, the virus just keep getting bigger and bigger, you begin to internalize these thoughts as truth, and then when your mind becomes too full of them, they start to spread to other parts of your body.

Many times, your physical illnesses and pains are literally your mind crying out to you for help! It’s telling you something is not okay in here! The worried thoughts weren’t enough warning for you, so your mind has to get your attention another way. However, typically by the time you realize what’s going on, why your body is acting so strange, it’s too late. You can’t just stop it. You know it’s anxiety, you know it’s ‘all in your head’, but you can’t control the way your body feels. You’re in too deep.

This is what I would call rock bottom. The place where you feel you have no control over your life. You feel trapped in your own mind. In this place, you are always afraid. You never know how you are going to feel, or when the anxiety is going to arise. Life is draining, and it often feels hopeless. I know because I’ve been there.

But even though you can’t escape it, no matter how badly you want to or try to, there is some good news. You will get through it.

Believe me when I say I really believed I would never feel normal again. I begged and pleaded and cried to God to take it away, but he never did. I didn’t understand. I felt like he had abandoned me. I wasn’t hearing anything from him, no guidance toward a way out. I was angry with him for a long time.

As much as I wanted to, I knew couldn’t stay in the house forever; it just wasn’t an option for me. I had to force myself to do things like go back to school and work, otherwise I couldn’t survive. But after time and time again of forcing myself to go through class or work and sit through the anxiety, even though I was terrified, shaking, feeling like I was going to vomit, I couldn’t focus and my mind was screaming “Stop, leave, run, don’t go! Stay home where it’s safe!”, after sitting through all of those feelings countless times yet still surviving, I started to realize that anxiety couldn’t kill me. Then I began to see that it couldn’t really hurt me either. If I could just ride the feelings out, they would eventually dissipate. And after four years of feeling like I was going to faint or throw up or go crazy every time I was in a social situation, I began to figure that if it was ever going to happen, surely it would have by now, yet it never had. When I thought about it that way, that my worst fears literally never came to fruition not one single time, I began to call anxiety’s bluff.

Hitting rock bottom was actually a huge blessing in disguise. I had nowhere to go but up. My old life wasn’t coming back, so I had to recreate a whole new life, a whole new me. I was alone most of the time because I had isolated myself from people due to the anxiety. I had nothing else to do, so I started reading and found the love I had for it as a child again. I also studied anxiety and I learned all about it, which was very informative and helpful, but to be completely honest, nothing really changed until I began learning how to love myself and the power behind it. I quit trying to learn ways to stop the anxiety, and instead began retraining my mind toward positive thinking and self-love. Doing this was the catalyst that absolutely changed my life. Believing I am enough, that I can create my life and literally do anything I want to as long as I believe I can and put the effort in, has truly changed everything. It’s incredibly simple, yet incredibly powerful.

But as the title of this post suggests, this change did not happen overnight. It took time, and lots of it. It took hours of reading and self-reflection and forgiving myself. It wasn’t a linear progression, either. Some days I’d feel on top of the world, like I’d finally beaten my demons once and for all, and then something would happen and I’d have a few off days where I felt like I took 100 steps backward. But the key to my change was that I kept pushing forward despite the setbacks. I’m still working on it. I continuously have to replace negative thoughts that come to my mind every single day. I’ve learned that no matter how small or insignificant one negative thought may seem, I must replace it with love and truth so I don’t risk poisoning my mind again.

I will warn you: the anxiety will fight to stay. Our minds long for routine and familiarity, because it’s easy and comfortable. When you try to change your thinking, your mind won’t like it because it hasn’t been wired to think that way. My mind wasn’t used to love and positive thinking, so it felt forced and fake at first. But I kept doing it. I kept practicing it even when it felt phony. I spent time alone with myself, something I used to be afraid to do, and over time I began to enjoy it, then I began to need it. I started listening to inspirational podcasts. I found new people to look up to, people who lived lives similar to the one I wanted. I created a vision board. I started this blog and began writing a book. I began saying yes to things that got me out of my comfort zone. I started praising myself everyday and I’ve never felt better.

My anxiety doesn’t have much room to roam anymore. I’m too busy being productive to worry about most things. I am becoming so filled with love and light that there is nowhere for the negativity to stay. It tries to creep back in every now and then, the only difference is that now I see anxiety exactly for what it is, and therefore it can no longer control me. Anytime I sense anxiety within me now, I immediately capture it and throw it away.

I began to realize that this whole time my anxiety was just the result of my unhealthy mind trying to find some sort of outlet for the negativity. My body was only doing it to try and help me, so I forgave myself. Once I internalized this, I began the process of healing. It wasn’t quick. It wasn’t easy. It’s still ongoing, and I get the feeling that it will be for the rest of my life. But I wouldn’t trade it for the world now. Why? Because I am finally myself. It stripped me of absolutely everything I had, this false outer persona I used to put on for the rest of the world, and forced me to be more me than I have ever been before.

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So I want to ask you today, if God isn’t taking something away, could it be for a reason? Is he trying to teach you something? I know that for me personally, I always strayed away from God really easily until my anxiety started getting bad. Anxiety always helped me stay close to him because I knew I couldn’t make it through the day without his divine help. Because of anxiety, our relationship is so much deeper than it was before. I also know that I wouldn’t be doing the things I’m doing now and living a fulfilling life that I love if it weren’t for anxiety taking my old life away and leaving me to start a completely new one from scratch, which ended up being the one I’ve always wanted. And last but certainly not least, because I’ve come so far from where I once was when I began experiencing such bad anxiety, I know without a doubt that I am capable of just about anything! Right now I’m living a life and doing things that I didn’t think were possible just two to three years ago! It truly amazes me every time I think about it.

So if you are in a bad place today, I just want you to know healing is a process. It’s a journey. It’s terrifying at times and amazing at others. You’ll want to give up. But then you’ll do something you never thought you could and you won’t believe how far you’ve come. It takes time, but it is so incredibly worth it.

I challenge you today to start seeing your toughest battles as blessings in disguise. Ask yourself, what can I learn from this? How can I grow and be a better person because of this? If you need someone to talk to or help getting started on your healing journey, don’t hesitate to reach out. As always, please feel free to leave a comment or share this post if it resonated with you!

I leave you with some words of encouragement, and also my all-time favorite bible verse.

Because of the extravagance of those revelations, and so I wouldn’t get a big head, I was given the gift of a handicap to keep me in constant touch with my limitations. Satan’s angel did his best to get me down; what he did in fact was push me to my knees. No danger then of walking around high and mighty! At first I didn’t think of it as a gift, and begged God to remove it. Three times I did that, and then he told me, “My grace is enough; it’s all you need. My strength comes into its’ own in your weakness.” Once I heard that, I was glad to let it happen. I quit focusing on the handicap and began appreciating the gift. It was a case of Christ’s strength moving in on my weakness. Now I take limitations in stride, and with good cheer, these limitations that cut me down to size — abuse, accidents, opposition, bad breaks. I just let Christ take over! And so the weaker I get, the stronger I become.

-2 Corinthians 12:7 MSG

 

Choosing an Attitude of Gratitude: 10 Things I’m Grateful For 

In today’s world, due to the presence of social media being so widespread, it’s very easy to get caught up in comparing our lives to those of others, or wanting things that we don’t have. This leaves many of us never feeling fully satisfied. I’ll admit, if I’m not careful, I have the tendency to fall into this trap of always wanting more, and comparing my life to the lives of those who I believe are happier or more successful than me, and then allowing this to negatively affect my mood. 

Thankfully, I’ve finally realized how unhealthy this is. I already have so much to be grateful for, and when I do nothing but complain about what I don’t have, I’m basically telling God all the wonderful things He has provided me with aren’t enough. That His love for me is not enough. I don’t want to do this anymore, because I love Him and the life He’s given me!

Luckily, there’s an easy fix for this, and that is choosing to have a grateful attitude. Everytime I practice expressing gratitude, my mood is instantly lifted, my stress vanishes, and I am reminded how good my God is. I also remember how He’s always provided for me in the past, and when this happens, the stress of feeling like I’m lacking something is gone because I know He is sure to provide for me in the future.

So today, I’m going to go a little deeper with my gratitude practice by sharing with you 10 things I’m grateful for!

1. Coffee 


First on my gratitude list is coffee, or basically anything with a few shots of espresso in it. Whenever I lose motivation to complete an important task on my to-do list, bribing myself with some Starbucks is almost always enough motivation to do the trick for me. Plus, it also helps my brain focus better on the task at hand. I honestly don’t know what I would do without my daily dose of caffeine!


2. Bubble Baths 

Call me crazy, but if they weren’t so time-consuming, I would literally take a bubble bath everyday! There’s nothing quite like the relaxation I get from turning down the lights, lighting a few candles, listening to music or reading a good book, and putting in a scented bubble bath or bath bomb. To me, it’s the perfect way to unwind and end my day. 

P.s. I really want that pink tub!


3. Books


I love reading so much this one could be put on the list twice. I’ve had a deep love of reading for as long as I can remember. There’s just something about the feeling that a good book invokes in me. When I find a book I love it truly feels as if I’m escaping into another world, and I find it very hard to get back out. One of my favorite things ever is reading a good novel on a rainy day in bed. Those days are much needed, and I’m so thankful whenever I get one!


4. Music


If given the choice of music or TV, I would choose music, hands-down, every time. Music is such an escape and stress-reliever for me. I love music that I can really resonate with, that allows me to create a story in my mind whenever I to listen it. I find the music I love is very personal to me, and I often have a hard time sharing my playlists with others because of this. I love so many artists, but my absolute favorite in the entire world is Lana Del Rey. She’s the best! Her music takes me to another world.


5. Long Scenic Drives


Whenever I am overwhelmed and need some time to recharge, I go on a long drive out in nature.  Really just wherever I can go to look at pretty scenery; preferably somewhere with lots of trees! Even if it’s only for an hour or so, just escaping for a little while is like medicine for my soul whenever I’m feeling stressed.


6. Impractical Jokers (TV Show)


Oh my gosh. Have you ever seen this show? Now I understand this kind of humor isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but I find it absolutely hilarious. It’s about four friends who challenge one another to do crazy/ embarrassing things in public. It’s a competition-based show, and if one of the guys doesn’t do the given embarrassing task asked of them, they lose and then have to be punished in an even more humiliating way. It sounds dumb (it kind of is) but I laugh so much throughout the show that my stomach hurts, so I don’t even care! I guess you could say it’s my guilty pleasure. Every time I watch this show I’m instantly put in a good mood and for that I’m so grateful!


7. Family


Being both an introvert and an infj personality type, I often find it hard to connect with new people. Which is why I am so grateful for my family, and also why if you are my close friend, you are basically considered family to me. They know I’m a person who needs lots of space and time to recharge, and they happily give it to me.  But at the same time, they are always there if I ever need anything. I know I can be a complicated person and difficult to understand at times, which is why I’m so thankful that they just accept me as I am. Unfortunately, it took me too many years to learn to truly appreciate my family, but now I am so extremely grateful for all the sacrifices they have made for me and I want to do whatever I can to return the favor!

8. Summertime


There’s just no other time of the year that’s as wonderful to me as summer. I live for the days sitting poolside, going on spontaneous adventures, and just chilling in my backyard reading and writing. The days are longer and the nights are warmer, and I feel a certain freedom in the summer that I don’t feel any other time of the year. Simply put, everything’s sweeter in the summertime. 

9. Children


I may be a little biased studying to be a teacher and all, but I am so grateful for kids. I have none of my own yet, but I’ve spent several years working in schools, daycares, after-school programs and babysitting, and have learned some priceless lessons during my experiences. I admire children’s wild imaginations, as well as their ability to believe and have faith without first seeing proof. I  appreciate their ability to see the fun and beauty in life, how they remember what’s most important, and how they don’t take life too seriously. They are simply themselves, honest and not afraid to love. I used to be a child like this, but somewhere along the way, like most people, I lost my inner child. I traded her in for a miserable adult. Now that I’ve gone back to my childhood roots, I am so happy and life seems full of possibility. I know as an adult I have responsibilities, and I make sure to take care of them all, but after working with children so much the past few years I have once again become more free-spirited and relaxed. I’ve started to show more love to those I care about. I take time to do what I love, and I enjoy the small moments. There’s truly so much we can learn from kids if we’ll just take the time to pay attention.


10. My Body

And last but certainly not least, I’m grateful for my body and its’ capabilities. The fact that I can walk, talk, hear, see, smell, run, dance, work, and even breathe is truly a gift that I take for granted everyday. When I sit and think about people who can’t do one or more of these things and how much it would affect my life if I lost any of these abilities, I feel ashamed of myself for complaining about other things. When I look at it from this perspective, all my complaints seem so trivial. Because I had an anxiety disorder, for a very long time I only saw my body and mind as sick and weak, and I hated my body for feeling the way it did. Now I realize how strong I actually was to push through that difficult time period in my life, and I’m so blessed because that’s really the only major health issue I’ve ever had. My only regret in life has been waiting so long to get my mind and body healthy, and not making both my mental and physical health a priority earlier on in life. My body, and yours, literally work so hard to heal and protect us. Our bodies love us tremendously. I’m so eternally grateful for this body and life that I’ve been given. I just want to do everything I can to show I love it back.

So that’s my gratitude list! What’s on yours? I’d love to know what puts you in a good mood and learn about the things you’re grateful for! As always, feel free to share my blog with others, or comment below if this post resonated with you! Thanks! 💕