"When you see yourself clearly, with eyes full of love and acceptance, you hold space for others to meet you at your highest self"
This quote has been on my heart today. I know I'm all about self love, women empowerment and positive self talk. I've created a business around it because women need a constant reminder (daily) that it's okay to love themselves. And that means loving yourself when you're in the best shape of your life, when your 10 lbs heavier, when you workout, when you don't workout....always. Through this pregnancy I have had to lean on lot's of different people and get this friendly reminder from them on more than one occasion.
I found this quote today when I was fed up of talking negatively to my body. I was working out and going through the typical "poor me I can't do anything" talk when I decided enough was enough. I saw it, it hit a soft spot on my heart and now it's on repeat on my mind. Showing up for myself, means I allow others to show up for themselves. If I can love my body, 6 months pregnant, and completely different than it was half a year ago, than I show others it's okay to do the same.
As women, it is easy for us to get in this crappy, negative cycle of being mean to ourselves and most of the time we don't even realize it. I think sometimes we find comfort in it. We think it makes us feel better. But in reality, that's all B.S.
So here's my reminder, your reminder, and just a reminder for all women in general. I don't care where you are right now on your wellness journey. I don't care if you've skipped a month of workouts, I don't care if you've gained weight, I don't care if you're not where you want to be yet. Love and accept your body right where it is today. Know that you're human and allow yourself to be that. But also give yourself the opportunity see what an amazing human being you are. Give yourself permission to be frustrated and upset at times. But also allow yourself permission to be thankful for where you are in this life and all the good you bring in to it.
I've noticed lately I've been pretty tough on myself and my body (hello i'm growing a human!). I see it in a lot of others around me too. So, today, I want you to do something really nice for your body as a thank you. Book a massage, go get your nails done, get cozy and read a book. Do something just for you. I booked a nail appointment for myself and plan on having some cozy book reading time tonight after my class.
Keep working hard on your wellness journey ladies. You are right where you need to be!
It has been a long while since I sat down and took the time to blog. It is one of my absolute favorite things to do, and when I make the time, is one of the best ways I can communicate. These last six months have been a roller coaster of crazy and surprisingly I've loved (just about) every minute of this crazy ride. In May my husband and I found out we were expecting our first baby. Pregnancy has been an insane ride that I don't think I could have ever prepared myself for. The first three months were full of sickness (all day) and feeling like I got my butt kicked day in and day out. The body changes, the emotional roller coasters and the food aversions, made me swear up and down we were only having one kid the rest of our lives. We are at the stage now where my energy is back, the baby is kicking like crazy and every night I get to lay down and watch my belly get pushed around by the little guy in there. I'm sure by month 8 I'll be back to insisting on letting Jackson be an only child, but for now, i'm going to enjoy every second of it.
I've been thinking a lot about the studio and where I want it to go, especially when Jackson makes his appearance and our lives get turned upside down (in the best way possible). I've had so many thoughts and ideas in the past year and they have all seemed too big for me to conquer, which is exactly how I got inspired to write this post. Before I opened iamwell, I was doing personal training around Redding. I would rent gyms out, go to parks, use our garage, whatever I had to do at the time to help people in the only way that I knew how. I remember on a road trip my (now husband) and I talked for 3 hours about my dreams of this studio. I couldn't quite explain what I wanted it to be, but I knew it was more than fitness. My heart was pulled towards helping women love themselves. I wanted self care, encouragement, wellness, love and a whole 'lotta support in this studio. I didn't know what that meant or how it would be done but two years ago we decided why the heck not and pulled the trigger on opening iamwell. I wasn't ready, I had no idea how to run a business and I had to put a lot of free hours of work in (and when I say a lot, I mean a lot), but here we are coming up on our two year anniversary of business and it's the best decision I ever made.
About a year ago I thought becoming a Registered Dietitian would be a great addition to the studio. I began school for it and during my first class every single part of me kept saying no. I was forcing it. It wasn't right in my heart but on paper it seemed to make sense. Needless to say I dropped the class two weeks later and didn't look back. I was trying to make something work just because it made sense in the business world but not one part of it aligned with what my gut was telling me. About two months ago I started a graduate program to become a Marriage and Family Therapist and I cannot explain how right it feels. It makes zero sense starting a graduate program while 6 months pregnant. It makes zero sense cutting my studio time in half so I can go sit in a classroom and it makes absolutely zero sense to do this when I have no idea how it is going to blend with the studio. All I know is that it's right. I am excited to go sit in a class room for 5 hours and talk about helping people. I'm excited when I get to tell my husband everything we're learning. For the most part, I'm just excited because I know it's right. I have some really huge ideas for iamwell and what I want it to turn into in the next five years and although I can't explain it, I know we're on the right path.
If I've learned anything at all, it's to listen to your gut and than go do the damn thing. For so long I thought I had to wait until I was ready. What I've learned though, is 99% of the time we are never going to feel ready to do that big scary thing that doesn't make a whole lot of sense but just feels really right. So why don't we just take the baby steps (or big giant leaps) and make. it. happen? My challenge for you is to start dreaming. Grab a cup of tea, get out your journal and start writing about the biggest, scariest dream you have. Tomorrow, I want you to do something that is going to help you get there (make sure it's something that you can feel in your heart). Remember, if you're scared and not sure if you're ready to take the leap, chances are, it's time to make it happen!
Happy Monday Ladies!
In this blog I want to be completely real with you, transparent and raw. Do you ever just lose your passion? I'm blaming a big chunk of this on being pregnant and the other chunk on being a human. I have been so passionate about empowering women, inspiring and teaching ladies that it's okay to love themselves and take care of themselves for years. For the last few months, blame it on hormones, lack of sleep or growing a human, I've just lost my 'zing' (is that a word?). I got in this cycle of not wanting to teach class, not wanting to get real when I write my blogs and not wanting to be responsible for 'leading the way' when it comes to self love. In all honesty, I've felt a bit like a slug who just wants to sleep and cry (sorry Niko!). I started just going through the motions and soon my passion turned into a job that I just had to get through every day.
Needless to say, I've been questioning a lot of what i'm doing. Asking why do I do this if all I do is teach a class and go home? Trying to figure out where in the world my passion went and what the hell happened in the last few months (oh yeah, I got knocked up) . So all emotions aside I took some time to just be. I decided I wasn't going to fight it, I wasn't going to try and change my whole outlook on life, I was just going to feel confused, unmotivated and (the worst feeling in world for me) uncomfortable.
As i sat in my emotions and just allowed myself to feel what I was feeling I started to get a fire lit under my butt. I started brainstorming new ideas and concepts and most importantly remembering why this place is so important. I've also realized while I was having my pity party, that this studio isn't just mine anymore and it's no longer up to me to inspire people. Every day I see clients leading the way and encouraging one another, letting friends cry on their shoulders, sharing jokes and inspiring each other not to give up. I see our instructors doing way more than just teaching classes, I see them being friends, therapist and life coaches, helping all of us, every step of the way. We've created this community that helps pick each other up when the other is down. I think we've all had our fair amount of time crying inside these four walls and being comforted my strangers who have become family (and if you haven't just wait, your time will come).
Whether you haven't worked out in months, you have felt unmotivated or slacking in the self love department, I just want to remind you its okay. As humans we are far from perfect and if you never felt a little unmotivated or uninspired, I would probably be worried about you. Sometimes the best thing you can do is just be and let your friends and family lead the way.
I don't have 5 simple steps to give you today or a recipe to rock your world. Today is just a reminder to love yourself, no matter what season you're in. Trust your body and be gentle with yourself. Know that no matter what you're going through you have a studio full of women who are ready to back you up and sometimes just let you cry it out.
Have a great day today ladies.
I'm thankful for all of you!
Not too long ago stress and anxiety were things I experienced on a daily basis. I began to realize just how much it was hindering my health and well being when I started to lose energy, feel bloated, have my skin breakout and also be a complete wreck 95% of the time. Eventually I got to a point where I realized enough was enough and made some simple , but helpful, changes in my life. I realized that I, indeed, could NOT do it all and cut my class load in half by hiring out new instructors. I scheduled my days so I wasn't aimlessly working for 14 hours without accomplishing anything. I made a point to get up early in the morning and move my body in some way, shape or form and also started doing things that weren't work related. All of these tips helped me in finding balance between being a business owner, wife and expectant mamma. Apply one or some and you'll be well on your way to a healthier life. Remember the key here is not perfection, it's consistency.
1. Say No and Ask For Help.
If you are always volunteering to work extra hours,babysit, carpool, fill in, etc..be okay with saying no sometimes. Also, realize that although you are superwomen, it is more than okay to ask for help. Sometimes you just need a day, afternoon or evening off. It's normal, it's healthy and in return it refuels you so you're able to help others.
2. Have A Plan.
Create a plan for yourself. The evening before go through your calendar and look at what your have for the next day. Write 3 things that need your attention and need to get done. Anything extra is just an added bonus. Remember- you want to feel accomplished. Creating a list of 30 things and knowing you wont get them all done sets you up for failure. Divide your To-Do's throughout the week. Each night take some time to plan out your next day.
3. Start your day with movement and a nourishing breakfast.
Every morning get your day started with movement. It could be a walk, yoga, stretching, whatever sounds appealing to you. If it's not part of your daily routine already be prepared to make it happen even if you don't feel like it for the first few days. It will soon become a habit and a healthy way to begin your day. Be sure to set yourself up with a nourishing breakfast to fuel your body and give it the energy that it needs.
4.Do things that make you happy- every day.
Instead of working all week and living for the weekend, add in things to your schedule that bring you joy every.single.day. It could be a coffee date with a friend, reading a good book or a nice date out with the hubby. There is no reason Monday should have to be dreaded. Create a life you enjoy and look forward to, any day of the week.
Hope you try out some of these tricks. What do you daily to help deal with your stress and anxiety?
I read this great quote today "You can have courage or you can have comfort but you can't have both". How true is that? I grew up most of my life staying close to my comfort zone because it was easy. I would stay away from anything that left me feeling uncomfortable. What that resulted in was me being unhappy and a constant feeling of being stuck. Since opening iamwell and stepping away from a 'normal' job I have constantly felt uncomfortable. I have pushed myself far outside of my comfort zone and strive to everyday. This is where growth and change happens. This is where goals and dreams are created and achieved.
I'm the type of person that likes to pretend like I can predict the future. I want control in everything. List making is my jam and I feel comfortable if I know exactly whats going on and what the outcome will be. How boring is that? This new season i'm in has been one of letting go and having faith and it has been absolutely wonderful. For the first time since opening the studio I've taken two vacations where others are in charge and I am completely unplugged. I've gotten away from the structure I thought a successful business needed and leaned more into my intuition and passion. For the first time in my life I feel like I have very little control.....and I kinda like it. As a result the studio is full, the teachers are thriving and my passion for the business is right back where it use to be.
Today I want you to lean into your courage. Step out of your comfort zone and take a risk. It might be something as small and switching up your evening routine tonight or it might be something huge like creating your own business. Step outside your comfort zone and watch the magic happen for you. It's all about vibes, good energy and having a little faith.
I'm a huge believer that life is what you make it. You can have two different people put through the same situation and one will think it's the worst thing that ever happened to them while the other think it's a blessing that changed their life. Growing up I played a lot of sports and by the time I got to high school and college, we talked a lot about visualization. Taking time before the game to close your eyes and picture yourself making the winning save, scoring the perfect goal or blocking the shot. As I've grown older and have become more balanced internally I've really learned how the power of visualization, manifesting your dreams and The Law of Attraction can and should be applied to life.
If you haven't read The Success Principles by Jack Canfield I encourage you to go get it now! It is one book I will keep forever and read multiple times. This book is huge on manifesting your dreams, creating the life you want and getting out of your comfort zone. I'm huge in asking for signs. I ask God, the Universe, The higher power, whatever you think of, to show me a sign if I should be doing "blank". I've asked to see countless things and without a doubt they always pop up. Most recently I asked to see the numbers 1 around me if what i'm doing it right. Months ago I was playing with new ideas, new visions and new things for the business and life in general. I asked to see 1's if what i'm doing is on the right path. It has been months and it's been to the point where it's freaking me out so much I had to google what it meant! I'm seeing 111 EVERYWHERE. I wake up at 1:11 in the a.m. I checked my emails this morning and there were 111. I would talk to someone on the phone for 1:11 seconds. The list goes on. So I googled the meaning of 111 and it basically means now is the time to make shit happen. Manifest your goals, dream big, visualize and believe.
Which brings me back to that amazing book I was telling you about. I'm in the section that is all about manifesting your goals and making it happen. I was writing out my goals for the studio (which happened to be bringing in new people to be able to help them) and as i'm writing it someone calls saying they need my help and asking how to sign up. I've been visualizing how I want things to happen and bam, they happen.
I remember a softball game I played in high school. We were down by 1 with a runner of 2nd and 3rd. Last inning, two outs and I was up to bat. I was so happy I got to hit because I knew I was going to hit the damn ball and my teammates we're going to be able to make it home. I was confident, there was no doubt in my mind, and I 100% believed in my ability. And it happened. We won the game. If I would have been doubting myself, nervous and scared. It's very likely I would have struck out or popped up to lose. We need to start believing that we can make anything happen (and fully believe it without a doubt in our mind).
So, what I want you to do today is begin to manifest your goals. First I want you to choose one big goal that you have for yourself and decide when you want to make it happen. Mine is to double my clients (double the people I can help and reach) by January 11. Next write out what it's going to take to accomplish that goal. What things are you going to need to do? Next I want you to write out all your limiting beliefs and road blocks that may come up. For me, my limiting beliefs are, I'm a new business- growing slow is good, I'm pregnant, I'm not good at marketing, this is out of my comfort zone. Throw those limiting beliefs in the trash because they do not exist anymore. Write you goal out on a piece of paper and look at it at least 3 times a day. Start to act as if you've already reached your goal. Have that confidence. Have that belief in yourself.
The Law of Attraction states that: What you think about, talk about, believe strongly about and feel intensely about, you will bring about. So start thinking about how you want your life to be like and go make it happen.Visualize, journal, do whatever you need to do to believe it. If you think I've lost my marbles, give it a try for yourself and see what happens. Let me know how it goes.
Paleo, Low Carb, High Fat, Macro Tracking, Calorie Counting. Growing up I tried all of these things in order to get to a number that I thought I would be happy at. It didn't work for me. I didn't understand how some people could follow something so well and get such great results when I had problems following something for more than a week. I'm not sure what happened or when my mind shifted, but eventually I couldn't fathom going on another diet. I was defeated before I even began. So with that in mind, I decided I was going to stop dieting and just live. At this point I couldn't remember the last time I wasn't on a diet. So of course, I had no idea of what normal was. What is a normal serving size? Do normal people eat dessert every night? Is it normal for me to eat 3 slices of pizza instead of 1?
It was a learning curve and not something that happened over night. There were plenty of tears and me questioning what normal really was. I had no connection between my mind and body whatsoever because for so long I just went off of what was "good" and what was "bad".
I dove into researching. But this time I wasn't researching calories or fat content in food. I was researching self care. How to make my body healthy instead of skinny. What foods would help me thrive instead of which foods were low in calories (and high in chemicals). I started to view my body as something I honored instead of something I wanted to change. I slowly started to create this relationship with my body that I never had before. It was more like we were a team instead of always pushing against each other. On more than one occasion I had to prove to myself that I wouldn't gain 5 lbs if I indulged. I had to prove to myself that if I didn't weigh myself for a week, everything would still be right in the world. And very slowly I got rid of my scale. I started to go off of how I felt opposed to how much I weighed. I began to understand that if I took care of my body it was going to take care of me.
I've been diet free for about 2 years now. When I start feeling off or feel like i'm not thriving, I go back to basics. Self Care. I worry less about food and more about stress management. I take a look at my self care routine and my self talk. I look and see if I'm taking time for myself and respecting my body. It always gets me back on the right path and feeling like myself again.
Something interesting happened to me the other day. As I said, I don't weigh myself, but the other day I was at the doctor and stepped on the scale. It was 145. At first I didn't think anything of it, it's just a number after all. And than it hit me. When I was going through my dieting, I weighed in the upper 180's. My DREAM was to get to 145. Every diet I started was for the sole purpose of getting to that number. It never happened. Being diet free has helped me thrive, fee better than I knew possible and coincidentally, got me to that weight without me even knowing it. Now that number holds no value to me, but the way that I honor myself, trust my body and nourish my mind, does. When we stop focusing on the number or diet and shift our focus to our well being and self care, life will change.
I hope you take some time today to honor yourself and listen to what your body wants. You are worth it.
Here's a thought that didn't make sense to me for a long time; The relationship I have with myself, effects the relationships I have with others. Let that sink in for a second. Growing up I wasn't a huge fan of myself (I think most women feel that way). I was always looking for a diet so I could change the way I looked. I was constantly thinking negative things about myself every time I looked in the mirror. These might be the obvious tasks we do as humans that promote our self hate and self destructive behavior, but what about the other things?
If you ask me what the most important things are in my life I would list them off easily. My husband, family, faith, my business, my health and being overall happy. I can do without fancy shmancy cars and a big house, I just want to be surrounded by the people I love. As a women, I have a tendency to want to care for others. It's not a bad thing, I think we should embrace those nurturing tendencies we have and use them to fill up everyone's cup around us. But, and this is a big but, we need to fill up our own cup first. Until it's overflowing. And continue to fill it up for the rest of our lives.
So back to my thought from the beginning. The relationship I have with myself, effects the relationships I have with others. I was somewhat blindsided by this not too long ago. I know all about positive self talk. I understand nourishing your body with whole foods. What got me was understanding that my work(something I love to do and could do non stop) could also be something negative for me if I didn't approach it correctly. Most women can relate this to just about anything. Maybe it's your kids. Your kids are more than likely your whole world. You would do absolutely anything for them and give and give and give. And you know what? That's perfectly fine, as long as you are also giving and giving and giving to yourself.
My business became my baby. All I wanted to do was give to it. My self care (without me even realizing it) got put on the back burner. I stopped working out because I taught so many classes a week I didn't think I needed it. My personal development became creating content for classes. My journaling became writing blog post two days a week. I wasn't taking care of me and in return my relationship with myself began to suck and my business began to just kinda float. My negative self talk came creeping back, my self doubts and insecurities were surrounding me and for the life of me I couldn't figure it out.
It is imperative that we put ourselves at the top of our list because it allows us to do all of things we're passionate about. My relationship with my husband is the most important thing in my life. But here's the deal, when I don't take time for myself I turn into a cranky wife. When I don't take care of myself my business becomes forced and I go on auto pilot. When I don't take care of myself I lose my value therefor my other relationships begin to suck.
So, here's what I did to get out of my funk. I took some great advice from, well, me. I sat and thought to myself, what am I telling my clients, and what am I not doing? Here's what I came up with.
1. I bought myself a month at a yoga studio, guilt free.
This is a big one for me because well, I love my studio. I love being there, and the energy and all the happiness that is created in there. But there's something to be said about going somewhere and being the client and not the boss. I'm going 2-3x a week and it's finally helping me feel like myself again.
2. I've let things go just a bit. Again, my studio is my baby. Would you let some stranger be in charge of your kid while you're gone? It's not that easy! So for the past couple months i've had some amazing women interning with me and teaching them the iamwell ways. Not only is it exciting for me to see how stoked they are to begin teaching, but it's a sigh of relief when I can go on vacation and trust whats happening in the studio. It allows me to let go a little bit and work on filling my cup up.
3. I began to trust myself. Up until a couple weeks ago I was spending hours every day prepping my classes (classes that i've been teaching for years). That's a lot of wasted time. I've become more flexible and trusting my instincts when it comes to what clients needs. I give myself 15-20 minutes to go over a class outline and than trust my instincts from there.
4. I've put myself first, most of the time. I am of course still working on this one, but I do make promises to myself I try to keep. When it comes to scheduling clients in I will schedule them so i'm sure I have sometime to get my own self care in. When I'm making a schedule I might have to re arrange a couple classes so I'm not teaching 6 days a week. Small tweaks like this remind me of my value and in return help me value my relationships more.
I know this post was based around my current experience and my business. We're not all business owners but I think it's easy to replace business with kids, husband, family, etc... Put yourself at the top of your list. If you can't care for yourself, you can't care for others.
I hope you all are having a great week and are being kind to yourselves!
Stress and anxiety go hand in hand and is something that we all experience at one time or another. Owning a business has put me smack dab in the center of anxiety filled experiences but it has also allowed me to learn how to deal with it in a positive way.
When it comes down to it, most anxiety stems from chronic stress. Short term, acute stress is actually a great thing for our bodies to experience. It's the fight or flight response we naturally have. It lets us know to run when we see danger. It keeps us protected. Chronic stress is long term and continuous. It can be from a stressful job, a negative relationship or anything else in your life that causes you to constantly worry.
My first and foremost suggestion is to take a look at your stress levels. What is something that drains you and leaves you constantly stressed out? What can you do to adjust it? Changing careers might not be in the cards but the way we approach our life stressors might be just the thing we need to adjust. Here are some of the ways I personally have learned to take charge of my stress and anxiety.
1. Have a normal workout routine.
Being active is a great way to make you feel great and reduce stress. I recommend this to anyone. Working out use to be my go to stress relieving activity. Now that i'm teaching so many classes during the week I don't always have the energy to do the same types of workouts I use to enjoy (high intense, long runs, etc). Find something that works for you and fits into your lifestyle. My workout routine is not necessarily in the gym anymore. I teach during the week and outside of that I Iove hiking, kayaking, yoga and walking. For the average person who doesn't teach 12x a week, I suggest shooting for at least 30 minutes a day and get a good mix of strength straining, stretching and cardio vascular workouts. Find things you enjoy doing and schedule them into your day.
2. Yoga and/or meditate.
This has drastically helped me deal with stress and anxiety. Meditations can be different for different people. I like to follow along with a guided meditation anywhere from 10-30 minutes. I usually lay on my back with my legs up a wall. I try to do this daily and typically do it mid afternoon when my stress begins to kick in. I also like to add in a few yoga flows with it. That helps me connect my mind and body and bring me back to a calm state of mind.
3. Nourish your body.
Hydrate and eat foods that help energize the body. Stick to whole, real foods and work towards creating balanced meals. When we take care of our bodies, our bodies will take care of us.
4. Get enough Z's.
Get your sleep! I need at least 8 hours for me to function properly and be productive throughout the day. Have a relaxing bedtime routine. I try to limit my cell phone use, I get my diffuser going and enjoy a comforting cup of tea.
5. When all else fails.
When anxiety hits and I can't get out of the moment I like to do this little activity.
Think of 5 things you can see
Think of 4 things you can hear
Think of 3 things you can touch
Think of 2 things you can smell
Think of 1 thing you can taste
This helps calm the brain down and bring you back into reality.
Your action item this week is to find one activity you can do daily to help reduce stress. Let me know how it goes!
My name is Hanna Kuyper and my mission for iamwell comes directly from my past experiences. Read more