Spring Forward Stress-Free

Like January 1st, the spring is a great time to re-evaluate, rejuvenate and try again to prioritize the things that really matter.

It may also be time to check in on how much we are stressing or worrying about a certain nagging detail and nip it in the bud (pun intended).

For me, I’ve been a little too focused on my health and being unforgiving about my injured back that keeps me from feeling my best. I’m ready to use the spring to get out into the warm weather for some refreshing jaunts and light jogs and keep guilt out of it.

We can only do what we can, but it starts with some attention to detail. And often, forgiveness.

So now I’m curious about what that is for YOU.

Would you mind taking this short survey to share your thoughts? It takes less than a minute, and then you can go back to prepping the garden and getting out the summer clothes.

Many thanks:)

 

Take a short survey to share your biggest challenge to overcome this spring

What 35 REALLY Feels Like (and how to deal)…

Today is my birthday!

I’m 35, I keep repeating in my head, waiting for a shift, a boom, a bolt of lightening as maturity and endless wisdom kick in. But so far? Nothin.

I don’t quite know how I feel yet. I don’t know if I’m totally freaking out or if I’m really as cool as I say I am about being officially in my mid-thirties.

One thing that always haunts me is the phrase, Age is just a number. I’ve never really understood the whole reassuring aspect of it. Age is a number, yes, but how long can I go saying I’m in my thirties but feeling like I’m still eighteen? Eventually, shouldn’t I feel like a grown-up?

It reminds me of when the news tells me it’s going to be 10 degrees but feels like 15. The next day it could be 10 degrees again but feel like 8. There could be a whole week of 10-degree weather where not one day actually feels like 10 degrees, so we lose our baseline and start to forget what 10 degrees is actually like!

Okay, I’ll fess up, these digressions and rantings are all just a facade – a cover up because I don’t know how old I feel and I don’t know how I feel about it. Man, birthdays have a ways of making us oddly contemplative, don’t they? I guess I’ll just leave it alone until I’m sure.

Any time I start to go on these tangents I know I’m just procrastinating or distracting myself from a mess of feelings that I need to untangle. To do this (you can steal this technique too for when you catch yourself avoiding the BIG questions) is to start with what small things you know for sure.

For me, what I do know today is that I am truly grateful for all of my family and friends that came out and celebrated with me last night (and the impromptu animal balloon-making contest that topped it all off). The best part of the night for me though was when I looked around the room and totally blissed out at seeing all of my favourite people in one place.

I also know that I’m humbled, grateful and extremely privileged to have lived thirty-five years. In that time I’ve been surrounded by love, enjoyed endless opportunity and I’ve been blessed with good health and well-being; I’m a pretty lucky duck and I know it.

Some may say that this technique helps you go back to basics but I’m seeing now that I don’t see any of these things as basic at all. Love, health, family and friends are perhaps good fundamentals of a great life, but they’re not basic. Their fully enlightening, supercharged presence in our lives is a supreme and ethereal gift.

Talk about birthday reflection…Woah.

And on that note..time for cake!… (and more avoidance until the real impact kicks in…)

 

If you’ve got  some reflecting you  need to do, we should chat in a FREE consultation session. I’ve done my  fair share of reflection and gotten off-track, so I’ve developed proven ways to help  anyone get down with their bad (and good) self.  My one to  one coaching is about how in our thirties especially we are learning  to identify our true feelings and emotions and only  taking  action that speaks to our personal value system (AKA, the stuff people are talking  about when they say, “Just be yourself!… as if it’s so easy!)

Get in touch at support@ashewoodward.com

Or find more info at ashewoodward.com/coaching

What Kind of ‘December Person’ Are You?

I don’t need to tell you that this is a stressful time of year – crowded malls, Christmas music on loop, and getting in the last morsels of the year before we start all over again.

But beyond the shopping, headaches and travel, there might also be another source of anxiety on your mind…depending on what kind of person you are.

Maybe you’ve noticed it too, but it seems that depending on how ambitious you are or how serious you are about your goals, at this time of year, everyone falls mainly into two categories at the beginning of December:

  • Person 1 will focus on the holidays and family but also use this busy time as an excuse for why she has let her dreams and goals shift to the back burner. She just doesn’t have the time.
  • Person 2 isn’t slowing down. This kind of person aims to get it all in and not only achieve most of what’s on his resolution list, but also may push himself so far that he “doesn’t have the time” to find the perfect gifts. By January 1st he has many of his goals achieved and is ready to amp up his performance in 2017.

You may be thinking that you really wish you could be like Person 2, but you may want to think twice.

Sure, Person 1 seems to be making excuses, giving up and giving in. This could inevitably stall momentum at a great time of year for doing business. If you have a product or service, this is the best time to advertise your stuff as gift ideas or as ways to start off the new year just right. And even if you don’t work for yourself or in sales, you could always do just a tad more than the guy beside you so you grab the boss’s attention at the holiday party for promotion considerations ASAP for next year.

But, this is also supposed to be the time of year for reflection and connection. To push past or rush the holiday season like Person 2, would be to miss the whole point of our cleverly designed yearly cycle. We (well, our ancestors), designed our year to have a beginning and an end, with certain celebrations strategically placed because we crave ups and downs, endings and beginnings.

To rush past the ending would be a waste of the whole year. It’d be like watching the new Gilmore Girls series and just stopping at “summer”! [Note: No spoilers, but seriously, get past “Summer” because Rory has a big moment in “Fall”].

Person 2, however, does have the right idea in some ways – using December to achieve what you promised yourself last January – that’s part of having integrity and loving yourself.

But there needs to be balance. I don’t usually use this vague word but here I think we get it. Our two portraits are extremes but very present this time of year. It’s our job to see which qualities we have in ourselves and make a point of taking a page out of both books.

It’s also integral to success in the future that we take the time now to reflect on what’s been achieved up to this point. Regroup. Celebrate. Acknowledge your support system. And use the reflection (not the stress and the pushing yourself to the limits all month long) to inspire your January 2017.

Let me say that again: use the reflection on 2016 as the fuel to your fire in 2017. Rushing to complete your goals now is possible, but not essential to your success next year. You’ll be more successful if you can acknowledge what you learned in the past year and be grateful for your wins, as well as the people around you.

Sure, there may be some other sub-categories of these two types: I for one can be more like a crazy Person 2 on steroids because not only do I try to overachieve in my career and goals, but I also try to find the perfect gifts thanks to my A-type personality. This usually causes a bit of overwhelm at this time of year.

So a couple years ago, when I noticed this cray-cray behaviour in myself, I committed to having my shopping done before December 1st. I’ve fallen only a little short this year with two people left on my list, but that’s what the Internet is for. The rest of the time I’ll be focusing on my goals, reflecting and celebrating with “special” eggnogg.

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Like all things, it’s about finding a balance and knowing your priorities. It’s sometimes very hard to do it all and get it all in BUT do try these 5 main tips for a more enjoyable and successful holiday season:

  1. Don’t blame the holidays or your relatives for your unwillingness to find time. It’s like I always say, ‘Beyoncé has the same amount of hours in the day as everyone else.’
  2. Buy gifts online to save time. I have some recommendations if you’re curious. Click Here.
  3. Buy thoughtful gifts to thank all the people around you that enrich your life and keep you going.
  4. Reflect on 2016 and use the positives to light you up for the upcoming year.
  5. Draw up your priorities for 2017 based on what you think you were lacking this year. Don’t beat yourself up, just promise yourself to get ‘er done next year.

And don’t worry! I’ve still left plenty of time for new clients this month so you don’t have to go it alone. December is a great time to get started – we can reflect together and plan out your success for the new year together with a solid and strong 2017 success strategy.

Never hesitate to get in touch! Email me your questions at support@ashewoodward.com and find out more at ashewoodward.com.

And for added inspiration when creating your 2017 goals, be sure to have this guide handy!

Download your FREE copy of The Thirtysomething’s Guide to Successful Goal-making

goalmaking

What Your Aching Back and Aching Banking Account Have in Common: 4 Big Tips to Heal Your Money Chakra

In the world of chakras and energy healing there’s a theory that pain in the body reflects certain chakras that are out of balance. It may sounds like a lot of woo-woo mumbo jumbo, but I have first-hand experience of this in action!

In addition to a regular quiet meditation practice, I also rely heavily on exercise as a way to meditate as well because it has a similar power to clear my monkey brain and keep stress in check.

When I jog or lift weights, I zone out just enough to focus only on my body and my breathing. My work and problems don’t come with me; there’s really no place for them when my heart rate is up, sweat is tickling down my temples and I’m focused on keeping a pace.

Especially when I’m outside getting hot and sweaty, getting my legs heated up, I know I’m charging up my root chakra. And, just in case you’re not familiar with what the heck that means, here’s a little woo-woo summary:

The root chakra or 1st chakra is called Muladhara and it’s located at the base of the spine. It connects us to our base needs and it rules the lower back, legs and feet.

You might notice the word, mula in there, and I can’t be sure of this, but this might be where the slang term for money came from. Technically mula means root in Sanskrit. But for me, it’s convenient for remembering the Sanskrit name because this is the chakra that’s responsible for your finances and your relationship with money.

But for the past few months, something else has had my attention during my morning-run meditation – my back. In November of last year I started to notice a lot of pain in my lower back when I bent over to brush my teeth or grab anything from the fridge – basically anything at a 90 degree angle has been complete agony.

Thinking that I’m pretty athletic and awesome, I thought I could probably just stretch more or do more yoga to fix it. Nine months later, after taking my yoga routine up a few notches and stretching to my limits, I still can’t lift a jar of pickles out of the fridge for a tuna sandwich.

And, interestingly, it was around November that a number of ‘surprise’ financial issues came up and really shook my money and abundance mindset.

Finally, last week, I gave in and saw a professional – my chiropractor, who also has a penchant for Eastern medicine and philosophies as well. According to Dr. Peter,I have compacted my lower back area and that means “No running.”

“Like, at all?”

“Nope. None,” said Dr. Peter.

I thought I might cry.

“Can I rollerblade?”

He thought for a second.

“Yes.”

So, with my spirits slightly dampened last weekend, I went rollerblading along the beach boardwalk here in Toronto for the first time in ages. It was a perfect day for it and a lot of people were out taking advantage of the beautiful day.

When I was finished I sat on a bench to take my skates off just as a family was walking by. The two kids were marvelling at one of the impressive beach houses on the corner. It’s a four-story marvel with chic glass balconies at each level. Plus, when you look al the way up to the fourth level, you can see just enough of the great roof-top patio with a barbecue.

“I love that house mom. I wish I lived there,” said the little girl.

“Yes, me too,” said the mom. “But y’know, that person probably has to work all the time to afford it.”

Boom. I heard the mic drop and I actually felt a small spasm in my back.

Now maybe I’ve been too focused on my own money issues lately, but in a flash I saw that little girl’s relationship to money become one of struggle instead of ease and fun.

I saw that girl jogging on the beach in her twenties, longing for a beautiful beach house but knowing she could never work that hard. I saw her struggle with back problems, knee injuries and foot fungus and never see the connection.

I wanted to scream, “How dare you!” at the mother, but I’m not crazy, and I don’t pretend to know anything about raising kids. But I do know that our upbringing and the way our parents look at money can really affect our own mindset.

Yet, there’s still a chance that the little girl won’t take that on. She might learn about chakras just in time. Hopefully she’ll even find Dr. Peter – my miracle worker who, as he’s working his magic, is also simultaneously restoring my faith in my ability to attract money and abundance.

In other words, it’s working already and I’m now kicking myself for waiting this long to give it my attention.

The moral of the story is something I hope you can take on board. If you’re having issues with your finances or you’d like to increase the flow of money into your life, look at your root chakra. If it feels okay, that’s awesome, but you can still do more to fire it up! Who doesn’t want more abundance, right?

Here are just 3 ways to fire up your money centre and increase abundance but you can get the full list of 10 ways HERE.

  1. Hip circles. Easily done and a good way to shake it all out after being in your                          office chair all day.
  2. Kegels. Yep, not just for new moms anymore. A strong pelvis means a fortress for your dolla-dolla bills!
  3. Dance – like really dirty dance- and shake those hips! Thrust the pelvis! Remember that Elvis made millions by doing this.
  4. Connect to the ultimate root – the earth. Get your bare feet in the grass or in the sand. Your feet have a ton of nerves that can pull root energy from the earth. Read more about how this works from a previous ARTICLE.

Give these tips a try AND check out the FULL TOP 10 LIST HERE and let me know how it goes on the Facebook page!

And for more information on how to make more money and have a more balanced life in the crazy world of our 30s, get in touch at support@ashewoodward.com and check out ashewoodward.com.

picture from yogiapproved.com

What’s Really Up With 2-Day Hangovers (And How You Can Really Avoid Them)

Twenty-somethings may not believe it but if you’re in your thirties or past, you know what I mean when I say, “Beware the 2-day hangover.”

It’s summer time and that means lots of parties, fun, laughs, drinks and, of course, hangovers.

My first two-day hangover was my thirty-first birthday party. I thought I had avoided the legendary tales when my thirtieth came and went and I had bounced back pretty well. But alas, 31, and I was two days recovering from a night of drinking that wasn’t even anything to write home about.

If you happen to be one of the lucky ones, let me draw you a picture: The first day is the feeling we all know – massive headache and cravings for greasy food. Maybe a little vomiting again, if it all didn’t come up overnight. Then, the whole rest of the day feels off and you’re just a little more than a bit nauseated even by the evening. You regret everything.

And then the next day. You still feel off somehow and there’s a dull headache in the background. You still don’t have you’re regular appetite back, maybe you haven’t caught up on the sleep you missed, and memories of two nights ago start to emerge and, even more, you regret everything.

But what’s really going on here? Why are our thirty-year-old bodies not as able to bounce back from a crazy all-nighter as our twenty-something counterparts?

Well, for one, we may not be as avid drinkers as we once were. Aside from maybe that week-long, all-inclusive beach vacay once a year, when was the last time you drank to the ultimate edge of consciousness for more than two days in a row? When was the last time you celebrated spring break all week and forgot your name? Hopefully not recently, for the sake of your (ahem) aging body.

And, as you may have noticed (as I certainly have), a lot begins to change in our bodies once we turn thirty. In our thirties, our metabolism begins to slow down, which keeps the alcohol in our systems for a longer time. More specifically, the enzymes in our system that help metabolize alcohol, specifically alcohol dehydrogenase, are in shorter supply. Basically, our biology is against us and all we can do it be a little more patient.

Also, thanks to this slower metabolism, we tend to have a higher body fat percentage as we get older. Women in general have a higher body fat percentage which is why women generally tend to get tipsy from less alcohol. Our body fat percentage, not to be confused with our weight, also plays a role in how quickly we get drunk overall and how quickly it leaves our systems the next day.

Lastly, in our thirties we’re less likely to have the luxury of nursing our hangovers in our parents’ dark basement all day. We have more responsibilities like jobs, spouses and kids that need our attention. When we’re required to get up and be a grown-up no matter how we feel, sometimes our bodies simply don’t have a chance to recover.

So if you’re not quite in your thirties yet or you’ve just joined the club and haven’t yet had the pleasure, I’m sorry to be the bearer of bad news that this is a coming attraction.

On the bright side you now know more about what’s happening to your body and you can try to make better judgement calls about the alcohol you consume this summer.

The biggest positive here is that there are ways to reduce the hangover time:  Stay hydrated in general, not just on party night, but always. This combats alcohol’s dehydrating abilities and can also help to reduce your body fat percentage overall.

So drink up this summer, thirtysomeones, (water too).

Cheers!

Have questions about how to be at your best in your thirties? Get in touch for a chat about how personal coaching can help. Find out more at ashewoodward.com.

Some information for this article was reviewed at the following websites:

Women’s Health Online

The Wall Street Journal

After 30 Physiology: What Everyone is Really Saying About Your Mom/Dad Bod

In your teens or twenties, did you ever think about what life would be like when you turned 30? Did it seem old? Did you ever make a list of things you wanted to accomplish before you got there?

You wouldn’t be alone.

It seems that every day I meet someone who can tell me about their, ‘Before 30 Bucket List,’ or they can describe exactly what they used to think their thirties would look like – old and boring more often than not (*sigh).

But why 30? How did 30 become the deadline and cutoff?

I like to say that it’s for two reasons, really. First, society really looks at twenty-somethings as youthful. I usually hate the ‘blame society’ argument but this time we know it’s true since we see them as the standard for beauty everywhere. These days it’s even exacerbated by Millennials, who are projected to establish what’s cutting edge for the next several decades.

Thirty-somethings are used as the standard for settling down. If you’ve ever seen a chick flick, we’re the stage when anyone who is still single, must be clumsy, frazzled and working her butt off to remedy that.

What’s more is that outside of J-Lo’s filmography, like in TV commercials for example, we’re portrayed as being busy-bodies who are establishing families and solidifying careers – nothing too glamorous either.

All over TV and film, women are commonly said to lose sexual appeal after 30. And the rub is that if you don’t find Mr.Right before 30, it’s less likely that you’ll ever find love and be able to live out your destiny.

Athletes over 30 are often singled out and remarks are commonly made in reference to their worth since they’re no longer in their prime.

Mini-skirts are apparently a no-no.

Kids are mandatory and the questions about if you are having them soon or not become fair game.

As angry as we could be at the media for this portrayal, doctors and scientists are also against us, supporting these sociological findings by adding that more not so glamorous stuff that is happening to us physiologically after 30: We’re told to expect a decrease in muscle mass, lower fertility, and a slower metabolism – sure signs that after 30 it’s literally downhill.

But just as our bodies begin to betray us, we begin to feel more comfortable in our aging skin and get a lot closer to who we are and who we want to be. So we may be losing the outer battle but the inner growth is incredible and can be extremely rewarding.

So much for having it all, you say?

Not so fast.

Just because the media, society, our bodies, our doctors, and science are against us, doesn’t mean we’re going to give up…

…does it?

That’s the underlying message we may often miss in those cheesy chick flicks – the girl has everything against her but she doesn’t give up and she ends up getting it all.

Adversity makes us tougher by giving us something to fight against. And while we may lose the battle on aging, there’s still room to wage war on perceptions that over 30 means over the hill.

I don’t know about you, but I’m okay with Mother Nature’s brand of aging. I only get a little prickly when the media or anyone else tries to do it for her.

Wanna do your part to dispel the myth?

Don’t make 30 a cutoff for when your life stopped being cool and fun!

Take care and respect your one and only body – mom/dad bod and all.

Do your best not to sigh when you tell someone your age…

You may be sick of hearing the phrase, Own it but it’s really the best we’ve got. Plus, it’s likely to stick since in our thirties, our confidence can really soar if we let it.

Get in touch if you’re ready to let your confidence soar and lead you to great success!support@ashewoodward.com and ashewoodward.com for more information.

The 6 Habits of Happy Thirtysomethings

The media loves to paint a portrait of the frazzled thirtysomething rushing to work, taking care of the kids and having time for a dwindling social life.  The reality is, well, not far off at times. But there are a lot of us finding peace in our thirties and learning to really find out what’s important and how we can have a happy life.  Here are a few of those secrets revealed by those who have embraced their 30s and are adulting in style.

They care about their health

Exercise energizes us and shakes up those happy hormones such as endorphins. Proper nutrition gives us enough of the nutrients and vitamins that help us to de-stress, keep a stable mood, and have enough energy to play when we get home from work.  Plus, prioritizing both exercise and nutrition is not only a way to fight aging and stress, it’s also how we honour ourselves.  Self-love goes a long way any time you’re up against the pressures you find in your thirties.  Get your sweat on and remember s’all good.

They don’t compare themselves to others

It’s so tempting to look at more successful, younger people and criticize ourselves about not measuring up.  It seems to be a natural thing that we do and the only consolation is the saying, “We all run our own race.” But happy thirtysomethings know where they’ve been and appreciate where they are because of the great experiences they’ve had.  When the feelings of jealously or self-deprecation come up, they are able to quickly remind themselves of all they’ve accomplished and how everything was delicately woven together to bring them all the gifts they’ve been given in life. 

A lot of this is often due to a regular gratitude practice or purposeful mindfulness throughout the day. It also comes from regularly taking stalk throughout the year and analyzing accomplishments and new goals to set.  And when all else fails, they tattoo the expression on their wrist. (Sorry, GenX- hipster joke).

They take risks

Anyone who says they’re stuck is more likely being indecisive. When we look at our options, we need to feel the fear but act anyway. This is the risk.  Risk can be one of the scariest notions for thirtysomethings because, often, we have a lot to lose. 

But, we also have a lot to gain. 

Happy thirtysomethings know that a little risk goes a long way. They know that there’s still time to work things out if it goes wrong.  They’ve come to a place where a little risk could mean more, not less or lack, for their family. 

It also doesn’t hurt that Nike introduced a new slogan in 1988, making thirtysomethings now the ‘Just Do It generation.’

They really listen to music

In a Huffington Post article on the habits of Supremely Happy People, “They value a good mixtape,” made the list for a very good reason. In a three-month study, researchers from the Group Health Research Institute discovered decreased symptoms of anxiety, comparable to those who had ten hour-long massages.  My guess is that these people were really listening and not just zoning out on their commute. 

So throw on the headphones and put on your jam.  It may even be time to dig out the memory box and find some of the songs that transport you back to high school or university, just to add to the appreciation for who you were, who you are now, and how far you’ve come.

They have a plan (to not seek approval)

There’s nothing more spirit-crushing than having a plan or an idea and having it stomped on.  No wait – What’s actually crappy about that is when you actually care what anyone else thinks about your idea. 

Consider this from Jen Sincero’s book, You Are A Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life:

Would you be offended if someone kept making

fun of how short you were if you were six feet tall?

We’re not affected by things that we don’t buy into ourselves.  So the trick is to know your path, have faith in it and you’ll have the confidence to go forward no matter what anyone says.  If you aren’t sure of your idea or yourself then you’re leaving yourself vulnerable, and leaving room for naysayers and doubt to creep in.  Stay strong and you’ll be impervious.

Luckily, in our thirties we start to get a lot more sure of ourselves and more comfortable in our skin, so this whole step begins to get a lot easier as time goes on.

They care about the company they keep

Thanks to many great speakers, it’s pretty much common knowledge that we are all a sum of the 5 people we hang around with most – this even goes for the salary we make!  In other words, take a look at the 5 people you hang around most and what they earn, the success of their relationships, the level of their health and happiness, and you might realize you’re looking into a real-life mirror. 

If you don’t like what you see, you may have to expand your circle of friends.  This doesn’t mean you have to say goodbye to people you love, but if you want to know how wealthier people live, you need to check out what they do differently.  If your health is suffering, it could be because your current group likes to hang at the pub too much.  Another group might be at the juice bar instead and can teach you a thing or two about healthy Friday night fun.

I’d love to hear how you’re looking for or how you’ve found happiness in your thirties. Please comment here or on Facebook.

And if you’re having a tough time finding happiness and peace in your thirties, let’s talk.  Get in touch for a FREE strategy session at support@ashewoodward.com.  Find out more HERE