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Email: contact@ejcounselingatl@gmail.com

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Shift Happens

Every 90 days, I take a health and fitness assessment. It is part of the fitness plan at the gym where I work out. The assessment shows me how I have been showing up and relating to life in numerous ways. It also provides healthy feedback on how I can make shifts in the 90 days before the next assessment. I have taken this assessment for about 4 years now. Sometimes, I have a challenging time accepting the feedback. It is not always comfortable being told about yourself and I have been angry, in denial, and not accepting of the feedback in the past. This time around, however, I had a completely different response. As I moved through the assessment, I knew exactly what feedback would be waiting for me at the end, and I was more than willing to accept it. I even laughed at the end of the and felt inspired and empowered to make some shifts in order to have a different result at the next assessment and ultimately in life. 

 

One of those shifts was being more mindful about how I spend my time and what habits I perform on a regular basis. This looked like working out more, shifting my internal conversations about things, as well as really focusing on my self-care. On a deeper level, the feedback I received from the assessment told me that I have the tools I need, however, I am standing in my own way in using those tools. The question became: Why am I standing in my own way? Why am I blocking my greatness? The answer to this question, on some level is, I do not feel worthy to be my best self at all times. Say what? Me? Not worthy? Yes, girl. Yes.As much as I try to deny it, the feedback from the assessment is cold, hard, facts. So if I really want to honor myself at the highest level, I have to let go of any thoughts, fears, environments, people, and conversations that align with the narrative of being unworthy. 

 

How do I do this? In my heart of hearts I am a scientist (a social scientist) but a scientist nonetheless. I decided to use the next 90 days and experiment with what my life would look life if I got out of my own way and allowed my self worth to be 100%. What would I do? What would I let go of? Who would I let go of? How would I feel? Who would I become? 

 

Since the assessment is a physical assessment, I decided to start there. I was already working out twice per week. One time on my own and another time with my husband who is also my trainer. The workouts I completed on my own varied in intensity and I often did not push myself the way I needed to. I would show up to the gym, mess around for about an hour and leave thinking “well hey, at least I showed up.” I was cheating myself. This time around, I added an extra day of working out without my trainer and promised myself I would push myself. No more playing around. This looked like working with heavier weights, or completing more reps. I even invited my trainer to the gym so he could show me how to use equipment and machines that I was unfamiliar with.  I also decided to start training for a half-marathon (13 miles). This is interesting because I am an avid runner and have been since I moved to Atlanta almost 11 years ago. The running portion of the half marathon is not intimidating to me. Honoring my commitment to the training schedule will be where the challenge might arise. I have to be extremely mindful of my time management. Historically, I have had a very rigid relationship to time. I have often felt like there is not enough time or overestimating how much time I need to complete tasks. Also, my schedule is already pretty tight as is. In addition to private practice and seeing clients on Monday and Thursday nights and Saturdays, I also work full time at a non-profit mental health agency. Sticking to the run and work out schedule is tremendously important to being able to complete the half marathon in a powerful way. I am excited to see the shifts in my body as well as experience how my relationship to time shifts. 

 

Although the assessment is physical, essentially, it shows you how you are relating to life mentally and emotionally. There are 4 quarters. The first quarter is body composition and shows how you are relating to life emotionally, how much excess weight you are carrying can be directly tied to how much emotional weight you carry. Are you letting things go or are they taking residence in your body? The second quarter is anaerobic and shows how you relate to short-term stress. The third quarter is aerobic and shows how you relate to long-term stress. The fourth quarter is flexibility and shows how open you are to life and its circumstance. 

 

As far as my mental health, I experience anxiety from time to time and sometimes I have challenges with managing my emotions. This looks like having anxiety attacks where I have challenges with breathing. They only occur about 3 times per year and they do not last long, however, I am actively working on managing them and getting to the point where I do not experience them at all. When it comes to my emotional health, I describe myself as a passionate person and I do not like to feel that I cannot express myself in all environments. My passion sometimes switches into anger and I find myself yelling and cursing. Again, this does not happen often, however, I would like to gain more control over this as well. Since the assessment, I have been meditating for 15min each day for the last 39 days. What has been powerful for me is the fact that I have effortlessly found the time to do this, which is a big deal when thinking about my relationship to time that I mentioned before. 90% of the time, I wake up earlier to make sure I have time to meditate before I leave the house. 

 

Meditating each day has greatly influenced the way I express my emotions and manage my anxiety symptoms. When I feel my anxiety rising or when I feel emotionally overwhelmed, I take deep, calming breaths, and allow myself to connect with the same mind state that I experience while I am meditating. I encourage all of you to practice calm, mindfulness, meditation, breathing exercises in the moments when you are peaceful so when you are triggered or upset, those calming responses will be more automatic. Another piece of feedback that was illuminated from the assessment was that I have a tendency to do everything by myself. When I need help, I do not readily ask for it. I would rather attempt an activity (or multiple activities) by myself and ask for help at the last minute, when I knew from the start I would need help. A funny example of this is that I hired an assistant in January who is amazing and is constantly asking me if I need help. I always tell her that I do not and that everything is fine. However, I find myself needing help with things and not asking.  Why did I hire her if I am not going to use her?! So the task for me in this area is to release the reigns and allow her to help me more. I also have a habit of withdrawing from those in my life who hold me accountable to my growth and to my shit (for lack of a better term.) I am part of an accountability group that meets weekly and it’s amazing. However, I have not taken the extra steps to spend one on one time with those who I know who are interested in my growth and healing and who will call me out on my shit. The task for this is to lean into that feedback and spend more time with those people. 

 

The last 30+ days have been filled with major shifts (working out more, letting go of foods that no longer serve my health goals, training for a half marathon, meditating more, utilizing my assistant, and leaning into the feedback). I am already feeling different. I feel lighter, more energetic, sexier, and I feel like I am honoring my true self. It’s evident that I am interested in living a more fulfilling, abundant and bold life. This is how I plan to do it. Just wanted to let you in a little, this is what I have been up to.

 

Love, peace, light

Erica

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