Rise Up & Shine Podcast

Two women from different stages of life come together to talk about the struggles we all face. Out of the darkest moments of our lives we have found our way out and into peace, joy and a fulfilled life. Now, we have embarked on a journey to share our stories with you. Real, raw, and faith-filled conversation about our trials and triumphs. Bringing hope, insight and weekly tips that, you too, can rise up and let your light shine bright.

Podcasts

Episode #73

Are you often exhausted, overwhelmed or frustrated? Chances are you may be functioning on autopilot. What if you decided to live with more intention in your life? Like in your relationships, your parenting, your career, your health or even your day to day? You actually have more power to create what you desire in those areas than you might imagine. Today we talk about practical ways to live with more intention so you can take back your life!



Ashley
This is Episode 73. How To Live With Intention. You're listening to the rise up and shine podcast with Claudine and Ashley as an empty nester and a mom with young kids, we have both shared very similar and very real struggles. From chaos to coaches, we now help other women live an authentic and meaningful life. So tune in weekly for girl talk and tips on how you too can rise up and let your light shine bright. This is the rise up and shine podcast.
Hi, everyone, we are back for another episode today live in person with Claudine and again. I'm so thrilled. Aren't you thrilled to see me?

Claudine
I am thrilled, two episodes in a row.

Ashley
I know. It's so exciting. So today we want to focus on a topic that we all do. I'm gonna dare to say we all do this. We overthink. Do you overthink listeners out there, do you? Well, we do. And we most people do.

Claudine
We do. Definitely.

Ashley
I know I'm an over thinker. I'm a recovering over thinker. I actually saw someone wearing a sweatshirt I said, Hold on a minute, while I overthink this. I'm like.

Claudine
Oh, that's so funny. That's a good one. Well, you know, overthinking is when we think about something too long or too much. And I know you and I use the word ruminating. So we and it's not just thinking about something like I've been thinking about our new house a lot. But it's got a purpose. I'm like trying to decorate every room in my head so that when we actually move in, it'll be done in a week. But this is overthinking that's typically more negative that causes worry or depression or stress. So that's what we're talking to be. That's what we're talking about today, the overthinking that is not healthy. And as you and I both known as we teach, our thoughts are powerful, and they create our reality. So if we overthink on some negative things, we are going to get some unhealthy thought patterns. And that's why we're talking about overthinking.

Ashley
Yeah, because basically, overthinking, rumination is just a habit. That's all it is. It's something you said we've done it over and over repetitively. And it has become a habit in our life. And so what do we need to do with a habit? You know, to stop a bad habit, we can replace it with a new habit create a new one? Yeah. And we'll get into that more a little bit later in the episode. But there's a lot of reasons why we do it. For one, it's rooted in fear, right? It's rooted in fear a lot. Yeah, but your worries will What? Or the shoulds? I know I do that all the time. Well, I should.

Claudine
I should have could have.

Ashley
I should have I could have I you know, why didn't I and we're so hard on ourselves. Past experiences can impact how much we overthink, you know, right? There's thinking about something and there's overthink about something. It becomes obsessive to a point, you know, and you ruminate and rumination. Again, it's just you're constantly, that's all you're focusing on. You can't think about anything else. But one thing to keep in mind is that we when we identify as our thoughts, then that's where we really get stuck. Because we think, well, we are our thoughts, right? what we're thinking must be true, right? So then we label ourselves we identify as those, those thoughts that we're ruminating about, which causes our life circumstances, our situation or our state of being right. And so it's really important to identify, I am not my thoughts, our thoughts are just meaning to what we are giving to a situation. Now another reason why we overthink it and I have so much experience in this is past traumas. Hmm. So yeah, so much of our life and how we act, our our behaviors, our emotions are tied to things that have happened in the past. And that can be stuck in our past even subconsciously, right, right. 95% of our brain is subconscious. So we can really be stuck in the past that could be causing a lot of overthinking. And again, for myself, where this was very prevalent in my life was I had trauma in my early childhood. And I knew this just you know, going through Kaiser and doing a trauma class and seeing a therapist. And my therapist even said, Well, I think you have ADD. I'm like Oh what? And it just like was a light bulb that turned on Really? And she also said OCD and I thought no, I'm not OCD. She's like, well, OCD can also be obsessive thoughts. And oh my gosh, again, light bulb like a million lightbulbs went on for that one because I'm like, Yes, I do that I cannot be alone, like in silence because my mind does not shut off. Like right, granted, we're constantly thinking, yeah, we have what about 70,000 thoughts a day. So our mind is constantly going but I can hyper focus on something and obsess like obsessive Lee, I've done this so many times where I've gotten panic attacks. I've almost was going paranoid in certain situations with certain people in my life that I mean, to such an extreme where I had to in order to quiet down those thoughts in my head. I would have to have the TV on or music. So yeah, silence that because you know, when you're stuck in that you're gonna drive yourself crazy, and I did. I drove myself insane.

Claudine
Well, I have no trauma that I have any conscious memory of in my childhood and yes, yet this was still a problem for me as well, in Psychology Today says that any form of negative rumination or negative overthinking will stimulate a release of destructive neurotransmitters. So it's kind of this vicious cycle that we you and I talk about regularly, but our thoughts generate our emotions which, you know, activate our behavior. So if we don't get, we don't get control of our thoughts. We're in big trouble, right? And it's like you said, We worry so much about the future, or we go over situations in our past and we think of the could have would have should have right, and then we get stuck. So it's not so much thinking about a situation, but it's getting stuck in that situation. And then that can lead to sleeplessness, it can increase depression, and increase our stress levels. So that's why we want to get a handle on overthinking. And I have a really silly example of overthinking that you and I were talking about earlier, so many, many years ago, about two decades ago, 20 years ago, my husband and I were starting to worship in a new church, a sister church in a different city. And I remember, I wait. And I remember that we had gotten there early, and I went to the restroom and had inadvertently tapped my rather short dress not too short, but short, you know, for I certainly wouldn't be wearing it now in my 50s. But I had tucked it in up behind me. So here I was coming down the stairs to get to my seat. And my dress was tucked all the way up in you know, my panties. So not a good look. And certainly not the impression you want to give when you're attending a new service. So needless. Needless to say, I was overthinking this for weeks and weeks to come. Now luckily that a woman and older woman came running up to me and caught me before I went too far down the stairs and helped me straighten myself up before I made a complete fool of myself. But I'll tell you because of my insecurity. And because at that time, I cared so much about what people thought. I ruminated over this. I mean, it was so negative, it created so much fear and anxiety, like how can I ever go back there again, and how many men saw me in this way, which of course, now looking back, I was in my 30s, I had a really cute slender figure. So who cares? Trying to be the modest Christian woman, I did want to be covered up. But, you know, it was something that I ruminated over and really allowed it to create a lot of stress and discomfort, and I got very insecure about what people would think about me. And so what I ended up having to do over time, because it was really it, you know, these overthinking thoughts can really destroy your peace and your happiness, right? Because you're fixated on the negative. And so luckily, I was able to just change my focus and just started focusing on the gratitude I had for this woman that came and rescued me from you know, completely making a fool of myself had I made it all the way down the stairs, because I was at the very tippy top, this was a weird setting where the front was at the bottom of the stairs. So you'd go downstairs to get to your seats, which you know, not a great view from behind. So I just focused on that. And to this day, 20 years later, she and I are still really good friends, but I felt very protected by her and felt like, you know, she had my back literally shed my backside, literally. And so when I start focusing on that, and then of course, I wasn't going to never go to church again because of that or changed churches. Hey, honey, we can't go back. Because, you know,

Ashley
Which how many of us do that.

Claudine
Right? We do. And my husband's not like that. He's like, a no, you're gonna get over it quickly. So but you know, it is our thoughts can really create havoc, and that is why we're talking about this today. And we don't want any of us to get stuck in those negative habits and those negative emotions, right, right. And we can even do overthinking in our relationships. I was talking to someone the other day, you know, someone says something and you're like, why did they say that word? What's the meaning of that word? And you think about it over and over and over? Well, did they mean this? Did they mean that like you overthink it, and you're attributing meaning to something that probably has no meaning whatsoever. The person's like I just said, you know, dog? I don't know. I mean, cat. I said dog. I don't know what to tell you. So, anyway,

Ashley
Yeah. So I was thinking as you're talking, my husband and I, we've had these conversations like there's things that he can really focus on and overthink. And I don't write I'm just like, why even waste my time on that? But then there's also things that I do you know, that I constantly think about, he's like, Just don't let it bother you. Right. Very Personal to each of them. Right? So we're driving down the road, my husband sees a bunch of trash on the ground or, you know, on the side of the road or a couch, let's say, he'll think, gosh, it's so horrible that people just dump their trash. And I'll say, Well, how do you know, they dumped it on purpose? What if it was fell out, you never know, give him the benefit of the doubt. And, you know, he'll kind of think about that. And, and I'll just like, I just don't want to waste my time about it. But usually, it's like, with people, for the most part, if it has to do with people, I tend to kind of let it go, cuz I try to give him the benefit of the doubt. Unless it's like something really in my face, which has happened in the past. But for me, as a lot of situations, you know, is right, it can be situational, where I just focus on a lot, you know, and that, as you said, destroyed my joy and my peace and yeah, you know, any positive vibe going on? positive vibes? Yes, I even got my kids saying that now. But I was also thinking that, how many times do we just have this misconception that we can't control our thoughts? We can't control I mean, really think about we have so many 1000s and 1000s of thoughts a day? How can we possibly control them? Well, obviously, you can control all of them. Now, unfortunately, we cannot. But we can be more intentional and become aware of our thinking patterns. And I think that is a great place to start. Yes, the thinking patterns, right? Because a lot of the thoughts that cause us grief in our life are a pattern, we do it often we do it for a long time we focus on it. And it causes us to feel these emotions, we don't feel good, we feel frustrated, or we feel discouraged. Or we can feel anxiety and depression. And as we mentioned, anxiety comes from fear and worrying about the what ifs yes or no. And you're really cause ourselves so much anxiety that we can get panic attacks. Yep. And which I have had those. I mean, we could end up in the hospital from panic attacks. It's not fun. It's uncomfortable.

Claudine
It's not good vibe.

Ashley
No, it's not good vibes. That's right. And also depression. Another one I have experienced on multiple occasions. It's focusing and obsessing about the negative self shaming. You know, that negative voice in our head being so cruel to ourselves? You know, I'm just saying horrible things, playing the victim. You know, I say, I mean, we can easily victimize ourselves, you know, based on somebody else's behavior or a situation and think, well, they're doing it to me on purpose, or Yeah, you know, really wishing things were different. I know, for a long time I spent I wish my marriage looked different. Marriage didn't turn out the way I want it to. But a lot of it I was creating those emotional feelings. Because I was so focused and overthinking, you know, something my husband said or didn't say. Something that he did or didn't do. Really, we just sit and focus on it. And I again, with my past trauma and experiences, it became so obsessive, that I got myself into counseling at a point because I'm like this is I don't know what's going on here. Something needs to give like some price change here. I knew there was something within me that I needed to bring to the conscious level to work through to better, you know, my life situations and myself too.

Claudine
The power of our thoughts. We can't say it over and over and over again. And that's the power of our thoughts. So Ashley, let's talk about some practicals. Because I know we both have some things that have helped us overcome overthinking. We are overthinking overcomers. So for me, one of the first ones is to live in the present because like you were sharing, when we overthink about the future that can lead to worry and anxiety and panic attacks. And when we overthink about past the past events or past things in our life, it can lead to depression, it's the could have the should have that leads to shame, to guilt into depression. So neither of those are healthy. So what's healthy is to live in the present. And I love that Jesus said in Luke 17, don't go back Remember Lot's wife. And we remember what happened to Lot's wife. She looked back and then she was frozen forever as a pillar of salt. She was the epitome of being stuck. She could move no more, right? But live in the present, just keep our eyes in the present. And that is so much easier said than done. Even for me like, and I do think about each day is a new day, right? And this is the day the Lord has made, Be glad and rejoice in it. And if I keep looking backwards at all my mistakes or all my failures or how I wish things were different. I'm stuck and it's depressing. And if I look forward, like even for me for the next couple months, we really don't have anywhere to live. We're just kind of Couch Surfing or as I've chosen to share. I'm just traveling. We're We're just travelers on this road called life. It just mentally helps me. But we're just living in the present. So we don't know. Like, we don't know when our house can be ready. Exactly. And if I live too much in the future, I'm gonna get anxious, it could create a lot of anxiety. So I'm not overthinking. I'm just living in the present today, I'm here with you doing my laundry, Which reminds me, I need to go change my load. When we're done with this, doing my laundry.

Ashley
See you're being present. There you go.

Claudine
Recording a podcast. That's right.

Ashley
Being present can be very challenging. It is something that sounds so simple, but it's just not easy. It's so powerful to just really train your mind. To be right here right now. Because only this is real time.

Claudine
Just just today, you know. Tomorrow has enough troubles of its own.

Ashley
Tomorrow has enough troubles of its own. So just fill it up with today's troubles.

Claudine
That's right. Another one that's really helped me is just even acknowledging your emotions. And you talked about this a little bit, but just acknowledging How do I feel when I overthink these thoughts? When I start ruminating? What am I feeling and acknowledge it like for me, and I share this all the time, I it's taken me a long time to get in touch with my emotions, or even be able to name them. Now I'm getting much better at it. I could say, Oh, I'm billing like yesterday, I was actually feeling very anxious, which is not a typical struggle for me. And I couldn't even figure out what it was I think I had all these bills to pay. And we're obviously living out of a suitcase. I don't have a desk. I'm just kind of it's just challenging. And I started getting anxious. But as soon as I got back to a notebook, with pen and paper, it just helped so much. But I had to acknowledge I am feeling anxious right now. And it is okay. It is okay. Do I have any thoughts that are making it? So? No. But then I said, Do I want to continue feeling this way? No, I don't. So what do I need to do? So for me, it was just getting out pen and paper. But I had to acknowledge that I was even feeling and another one which I've kind of brought up is rewrite your story like my, you know, dress story, I had to rewrite that it wasn't the most embarrassing thing that ever happened to me It sure it mean it was but I could rewrite the story and say this was an opportunity for a woman to show her care and concern for me. And we ended up developing a great relationships. Now I look back and then I said, Thank God, I know that she cared enough to say something she didn't know me. I mean, it literally was one of our first time there. But she cared enough. And I just focused on that. So I rewrote the story about how a great friendship evolved. And we could look back and laugh at it. Instead of it was the most humiliating thing that ever happened. And how could I ever show my face again? I just rewrote the story.

Ashley
With my trauma. That's where the obsession would come 20 years, 25 years down the road, I would still feel anxious going to church every time like it's going to happen and obsessed. Check my clothes every time. I'm not going to go to the bathroom while I'm in public. That's where we could take it to the extreme.

Claudine
When you can be sure that I was far more cautious when that day for it every time I left the lady's room. That is for sure. I did learn to go Oh, let me take a quick look around. Make sure. But rewrite the story instead of looking at the negative in the past or worrying about the future? What if some What if it's great, what if it's better than you ever imagined? I've had to really retrain my brain. Because my go to is the negative? I'm a half glass empty kind of gal. A lot of us do that. Yeah. So I've had to rehydrate, retrain my brain like what if it's better than I ever imagined? What if things turn out even better than I could have hoped for? And that's not my natural default system. But in retraining my brain, it's becoming more natural. It's becoming more habitual to think the positive than the negative, but it's taken time and it takes work.

Ashley
Well, and our brain wants to keep us safe, it wants to make sure that never happens to you again, so it's gonna do everything in his power to No, no, no, we're not gonna do that. Nope, nope.

Claudine
Don't wear dresses, don't go to church.


Ashley
Exactly. And that's where I would have gone. I would have been like, Okay, I'm not gonna do this. I'm not gonna do that. But it's true. I mean, our brain is wired to protect us. That's right. survival is for keeping us safe, comfortable. It doesn't want us to experience those things again, like that's dangerous.

Claudine
Very dangerous. Yeah.

Ashley
So so as you said, just trying to reframe it and focus on what is something good that came out of it rather than the negative because regardless of what you think about you reinforce those fashions on you know, just staying fixated on whatever you're thinking about. So if you're going to think about negative situations or the negative or the quote unquote bad experience, then you're going to constantly relive that Yeah, body your body is constantly going to be you know, flooded with those hormones or you know, those emotions are going to rush through your body. Yeah. As if you're reliving the experience because your brain doesn't know the difference. It doesn't right know the past, you know, future to present. It doesn't know that and so but as long as you fixate, you're going to reinforce so why not try to think the best right thing? Yeah, best. And we've heard that and we've even had it told us well, what's the worst that can happen? But for me, I didn't like that. I know, I've shared this previously, I didn't like being asked, well, what's the worst that can happen? Good intention. Right. And yeah, at times we talk ourselves through that.

Claudine
Now that could trigger more overthinking.

Ashley
It triggered me because even something like and I shared this before, like with my past and my codependency people pleasing nature, that someone even just telling me No, is very triggering. I mean, the rejection? Yeah, I feel is just so harsh on my body, and my emotional well being. But I've had to learn, okay. I the idea of it, what's the worst that can happen? Okay, how can I take that and reframe it? I'll say, Well, what is the best that can happen? And so just rephrasing that, that sentence really helps because it did not trigger my body from my past, projection issues. And it helps me to think basically, to the same goal of what I wanted to create or experience. And I just, I just had to flip it a little bit. And sometimes that's all it takes, you know, it could be a word, it could be something that can trigger you. And let's just switch that you know, switch it.

Claudine
That's great. Yeah. And I think it's so true what you said, I mean, we have to focus on the positive we really do. And there is good that can come out of any situation, even if, if we've been mistreated in our past or abused. If anything, we've learned how not to treat people. And that's why I say when things I look back on my past and things I've been very hurtful, I think, well, at least I had that experience to teach me how not to treat people because clearly that person didn't. And so I've tried to look really hard for the good boundaries and boundaries, right? It's boundaries. Yes, it's taught me boundaries. So there is good that can come out of every situation, but we really do have to train our brains to look for it. And then to keep repeating it. Like if we keep focusing on the positive, like you say, we keep repeating that, then that's how our bodies are going to feel we're going to feel better emotionally. And then our neural pathways are going to strengthen and develop there and it'll just become easier and easier.

Ashley
And that's creating a new habit. That's replacing that overthinking habit to this, maybe even overthink about the positive. And that's going to reward great benefits, right? You're going to feel much better. You know, you're not going to feel perfect, obviously. Or, you know, there's, you'll still go through ups and downs.

Claudine
Usually not the problem overthinking the positive, right. We don't struggle with that. Let's do an episode on overthinking the positive.

Ashley
It's like well, just stop thinking that stop thinking that. I was told that many times when I have the obsessive thought, my brain is not gonna be like, Okay, stop thinking?

Claudine
Yeah, it doesn't work, you can't stop thinking.

Ashley
It doesn't. And what happened was, my coping was music or TV on because I can listen to something else. But all it was doing was ignoring the brain. I wasn't processing anything. I wasn't working through anything. I wasn't allowing myself to feel I was numbing out right. And that's not healthy that kept me stuck in that situation. So creating a new habit, let's replace it with things that are going to serve you thoughts that are going to help you help better your life help you to feel better, you know, the situation what is the best that can happen? Or give people the benefit of the doubt or boundaries or Okay, I mean, you name it. And I want to add one thing also to that way is X-ing out perfection. That is one thing that can cause us to overthink is that we feel like we have to do it perfectly. We're being perfect. And just accepting that nobody is perfect. And even if something fails, or it doesn't go the way that I want that we can always try something different. It's just a part of life. And that's okay. Yeah, you know, but having to strive for perfection is something that can keep us stuck in this negative overthinking pattern. And we will stay stuck at our life because we're not going to want to, you know, challenge ourselves or step out to do something new or that can quote unquote, feel scary, right? Our brain doesn't want to do those things. Perfection is not, you know, let's just take that out of the equation.

Claudine
Yes, so many good things. So that is overthinking. So don't overthink this podcast too much. Right? Don't overthink it, listen to it, acknowledge it, process it and then move on.

Ashley
And subscribe and share with friends.

Claudine
Great. Yeah, please subscribe, please leave a review. That'd be helpful for us. And we'll leave you with Proverbs 23:7 as a man or woman thinketh so she is so remember your thoughts are creating your reality and they're generating your emotions. So if you were feeling stuck, or unhappy or worried or depressed, start with your thoughts. Until next time.

Ashley
So the next one is keep routine. Now this is one of the first things that go out the window right you know, I know for myself over the last year is especially with the kids school seems to every day is different. And from week to week, it's are they in school longer what's going on and, and my brain is having a really hard time trying to keep track of everything. As much as I can, at least my morning routine I know that I can control to be consistent. And so keeping routine is one of the best things you can do for yourself, your mind, your mental health. And that was even I remember watching that on the news. They were asking, in the beginning of this pandemic, well, what can people do, you know, to help with this? And that was one of the first things they said as much as you can control keep to a routine and there's so much power in that for yourself. And then the last one is just moving body, you know, moving your body, making sure you're making wise choices. And I don't always like to say healthy choices, because sometimes I'm like, Oh, that's no fun. That's kind of boring. But wise choices. make wise choices. What am I going to eat? What am I going snack on? Maybe I shouldn't snack right now. Maybe I'm really not hungry. Maybe I need a glass of water. Maybe you just go on a walk, you know, something like that. But moving your body is something that is just it gives you that peace you something you can do outside. It helps you even just to be in nature and be with God for a little bit. I like to listen to my worship music while I'm walking around or praying or listening to podcasts. But if you can be in a consistent habit of moving and I know one thing that was challenging for me is I was exercising like five days a week. Yeah. And then I feel like I can't really keep up with that. That was almost unrealistic. So then I went to nothing. But and then I have to ask myself, Well, why can I just go on a walk? It doesn't have to be I need to do this exercise or nothing at all. Well, I can go on a 10-15 minute walk. You know, I could Yeah, that I can squeeze into my day. Maybe not an hour workout. But I can squeeze in in 10 to 15 minute walk. So just keeping in those patterns will be super, super helpful with dealing with big change, big life change.

Claudine
Yeah. And I love this quote, it says Change is hard at first messy in the middle and gorgeous at the end. And that's what I'm hoping for. I'm in the, I think I'm in the messy middle right now. We're in the changing of homes and right cities and children moving out of state. So I'm kind of in the messy middle, but I'm counting on the gorgeous end. So until next time listeners thanks for stopping by and we'll catch you the next time. Take care.

Ashley
Alright everyone, thank you for joining in on our conversation here on the Rise Up and Shine podcast. If you haven’t already, please take a second to hit that subscribe so you’ll never miss an episode and while you’re at it, share this episode with a friend who you know it can bless today. If you wanna visit us as well on our websites, you can catch Claudine over at claudinesweeney.com and Ashley at mindoverchaos.com our links are at the description. We also have some free resources there for you as well. So remember ladies, no matter what you are facing in life, it is never too late to rise up and shine and live your best life.

Episode #72

Facing change can be scary and uncomfortable. Many times we default to our coping defenses in order to avoid feeling the uncomfortable feelings or we try to avoid change altogether. In today's episode, we share tips that will help you navigate through when you face big changes that life brings with confidence.



Ashley
This is Episode 72. Facing Big Life Changes. You're listening to the rise up and shine podcast with Claudine and Ashley as an empty nester and a mom with young kids, we have both shared very similar and very real struggles. From chaos to coaches, we now help other women live an authentic and meaningful life. So tune in weekly for girl talk and tips on how you too can rise up and let your light shine bright. This is the rise up and shine podcast.
Welcome back everyone. Today we are going to talk about a topic that is very helpful for us to get back up on our feet, when we feel like life has kind of kicked us off, you know, off our feet and we stumbled and we feel stuck or we feel overwhelmed. Whatever have you. But today we're going to be talking about setbacks, growth opportunities. Now what I mean by this is it really is a mindset thing and Claudine and I talk a lot about our mindset on this podcast, right Claudine?
Hi everybody, welcome back. So I am super ecstatic today because I actually get to see Claudine face to face in person and look her in the eye and tell her how happy I am. She's back back in town.

Claudine
You get to look me in both eyes. They're both here.

Ashley
Yeah in three dimension. And I, sure our listeners are aware that you have been in Southern California, your house closed yesterday?

Claudine
Yes.

Ashley
So how does it feel?

Claudine
It feels amazing. It's been a very busy, very stressful few weeks. But it felt so good to wake up this morning in Northern California. But today we're talking about a topic that is clearly near and dear to my heart. But I know it affects all of us. It's just part of life. And we're talking about big life changes today. So we all go through it, I've just gone through a major one. moving back and forth from Northern California to Southern California in the last year. We've also our children are moving to different states. So that's a big change. Like we're used to seeing them every day and our grandchildren. And now they're moving, we're not going to see them as much. Lots and lots of change in that is part of life, right? We have changes, good changes, and not so good changes. And so today we're going to talk about the practicals to help us persevere and do well and take care of our minds, our bodies and our souls while we're going through big life changes.

Ashley
Yes, because unfortunately, they are inevitable.

Claudine
Yes.

Ashley
I mean, I say unfortunately, but we also big changes does not have to be a negative experience or a very stressful it can also be a happy time, right? I mean, we could think of getting married. I remember after getting married and planning everything. And then once we had the big day, and then we got to the honeymoon. And then then I came back and I'm like, Well, now what? You spend so much time over the year for me planning some things so special, such a big event. And then it's like, well, now what that was a big part of my life for the last 12 months. Now what do I do with myself?

Claudine
With all that free time.

Ashley
Right? But big change is inevitable. It happens to us all and sometimes we just don't know how to navigate through it. Sometimes we know just push through or we have our own set ways of getting through stressful times or when we face a big change in life. So today we're going to talk about this. We're gonna focus on this because as Claudine said she is experiencing it all right now, coming back to Northern California. Her family moving out of town, her best friend's moving out of town out of state actually buying a new house selling their old home, you know where your children got? were mostly grew up in right?


Claudine
Our family home. Yeah, both our grandbabies were born. Yeah. Not on the property. But while they were living there.

Ashley
Which you got to spend so much time with over the last year. Yeah. So a lot of big changes. So that's why we wanted to focus on that today. Because we've all we've all been there in certain ways you know.

Claudine
This episode is just for me, that's what you're trying to tell me. You're here to help me.

Ashley
You have very great wisdom to share with us today.

Claudine
And I need all the help I can get. Well, the interesting thing is that the brain does not seen change differently. So good change or not so good change, our brain can't distinguish between the two. And so good changes, like you said, Ashley, like marriage or a baby having a baby is a big change or a new job that's changed. And the not so good changes can be a job loss. Certainly in the last year, a lot of people have lost their job or had job changes.

Ashley
Or switching to virtual school. I've talked about that enough have I?

Claudine
Yeah. It's been difficult for you Ashley? Has that been a change? Yeah, absolutely, though, a change in our schedule, a divorce, a death moving, which I'm going through right now. Those are all changes, but the brain can't distinguish between the good or the bad. It just it says, oh, warning, warning, warning something is different because the brain loves the old familiar patterns. And our brain is challenged when we're facing unfamiliarity, or uncertainty. And that causes a stress it causes a lot of physical and emotional effects of stress and mental anguish, right? Yeah. lots lots to talk about.

Ashley
Yeah, Claudine do you even think about when you travel to the grocery store, you know, somewhere that's a familiar place. But we tend to take the same route every time. And we can actually help improve our memory and our mental function. If we take different routes, just by that tiny little challenge. I've looked this up, because I've like, how do I improve my memory? Have you ever done that Google? How can I improve my memory?

Claudine
No. Maybe I should. I'm quite a bit older than you are. Maybe I shouldn't be googling that.

Ashley
But a lot of its, you know, the stress that we endure our memory just doesn't function very well. So but a lot of it is simple little changes that challenges your brain, it could be brushing your teeth with the opposite hand eating with the opposite hand, you know, you go to the grocery store, or school or work take a different route. But we don't always want to do that. Because our brain does like the familiarity. Yeah. And it takes less brain power. It's just, it's easier. And we like what's easy and comfortable. And you don't have to think about it, right?

Claudine
Yeah, the brain absolutely loves to save time and energy. It's highly efficient, energy efficient. And it loves familiarity.

Ashley
It's, you know, energy efficient. I like that I was just thinking mine's solar powered.

Claudine
We were just sitting in the sun for a while. So maybe we're running off- I do, I do feel that's where that energy is coming. We're solar powered. So when your body identifies something as a stress, like change, it triggers the fight or flight response. And that can release adrenaline, and it prepares the body to have strength to protect us in the face of danger. And so that's the thing with all these changes, it feels like danger to our primitive brain, we can process it know that it's not, but yet the primitive brain is fighting and saying, protect, protect, save, save, save yourself. And we can feel this stress when the sympathetic nervous system is activated, which is what big life changes will do.

Ashley
Well, and here's a little example, that was real for my family yesterday. So the kids were back in school after spring break, and we change things up a little to have the kids ride home from school on their bikes, right. And so I thought, well, this is the first day we're doing this, I will meet them at the school when it's dismissal time, and I will run but alongside them home, and one of my children, I'm going to keep it anonymous, one of my favorite, they had a challenging time and was upset the whole ride home is a little less than a mile. And was really, it was challenging for this child. And so they didn't want to do it. And they, you know, kept saying I can't, I can't I can't part of it felt like their backpack was heavy, which it was, but I believe that they could really do it if they push through. And I later had asked, Do you think if you would tell yourself, I can do it, I can do it that you would have made it home? Yes, I'm like, Okay, so then that tells me the backpack wasn't too heavy, that you really believe you can do it. So let's try to get.

Claudine
The thoughts were heavy.

Ashley
Thoughts were heavy, which happens to us. But this is what we do when something is new, when it's different. When it feels hard and uncomfortable, which all changes then our brain is like, no, we're not going to do this. We don't want to have this. It's just too much work too much mental power. It's scary. There's uncertainty. I just want to avoid it, or I'm just, you know, going to numb out I'm going to cope, I'm gonna, you know, deal with it, then our behavior follows suit. So this child complained the entire way home, that was fun. But we do that we can cope, we can, you know, just whatever behavior we typically go to that is our neural pathway, right that we've been conditioned, yeah, handle stress, we tend to do the same things, we have that old pattern. So the point is that when we deal with a stress, our brain will resist it. And that's why a lot of times, we just go with what our brain tells us. So it's really hard. I don't want to do it. Yeah, it's uncomfortable, which change is uncomfortable, right? To have this big transition in your life.

Claudine
And it still won't be comfortable for the next two months as we wait for our new home. We're couchsurfing. We're traveling. We're doing a little bit of this and a little bit of that for the next two months, but we've really tried to reframe it, to change our perspective on it and say, well, we're just going to travel for two months. So that's the way we've changed. goes into look at it, so that we feel less stressed. Because who doesn't like to travel? Right? We both love to travel. So that's the way we're telling ourselves that it's all going to be okay. We've chosen to think of it as a two month long vacation. Although, you know, we both will still work and get things accomplished, because we still need to make a living. But fortunately, yeah, right to pay for the travel, right. But that's the way we've chosen to look at otherwise, it could be really depressing, to be honest. I mean, there are moments where I'm like, Oh, my gosh, two more months out of living out of a suitcase, which is basically what we've done for a year. But I'm just like, no, we're traveling, we're gonna go see family and friends. And we are back in Northern California for some time. So right, and I'll share more of the practicals that help with change, but definitely changing our thoughts. I mean, that's a great example, the way we choose to look at things is gonna affect our emotions, and those emotions are gonna affect our behavior. So really it does start with our thoughts.

Ashley
Well, Claudine, I want to share real quick, this great demonstration you did for our workshop last year. Remember, when you had a volunteer come up with they had their arms straight out? Yeah, no other side but a straight pointing straight out. And you would encourage them to think of something that saddened them or angered them. And then when you would push gently down on their arm, it felt there's a lot of give. Like they were, you were able to very gently push their arm down as they their body, their muscles were kind of weakened, then you encourage them to think of an empowering thought. something positive. And there, it was very difficult for you to push their eye down. Same pressure but because what their mind was thinking their body changed as like, Oh, I can do this, you know, they felt more empowered, and how how we can take that into our day to day life, to really help us get through challenges. Yeah, because I think the biggest question to ask our listeners is when you're faced with a challenge, any sort of challenge, what meaning do you give to it? What do you think about challenge about the specific situation? Maybe it's a person involved? Or just change? in general? Most of us don't like change? No, you know, we hear that we don't like change. We like to stick to what's familiar. But because that's what our brain wants, you know, maybe sometimes we have this inner conflict, because we actually kind of do want something different, or Oh, we really want to go for this goal, or, oh, gosh, I would really want to live into this house. And I think, my husband and I are not like we're planning on moving. But we have wrestled with that idea over the last few years. And he still looks at a different town that's nearby. And I, you know, anytime he might show me a house, even now, when it comes up, I get the alerts on my email. It kind of triggers me. I don't want to move. I don't want to move. Because I'm so comfortable here. There was a point where I was ready. But now I feel like no, I feel very comfortable.

Claudine
Well, it's been a year, it's been a year, I've been saying that it has been a year. So more than ever, I think we're craving comfort and familiarity, because last year has been so unfamiliar and so uncomfortable.

Ashley
I can't handle any more stress. Anything's that's quote unquote dangerous.

Claudine
No, I mean, and that's part of the decision we made to buy a new house new construction, because the houses we're looking at needed an incredible amount of renovation for the the area we were looking at, the only thing that we could afford would need, you know, an enormous amount of like tearing down walls and.

Ashley
Which in the past you want, you want to do that

Claudine
We've done it and have wanted to do it but after this year. I'm like, I just need simple, I need done. Like, I do need comfort, I'm choosing comfort, that's what I'm gonna choose. But there's many ways that we, we have practicals, so let us start sharing some of the practicals. But I love one thing you said I want to bring up because I do believe this is your word of it. Yeah. You know, we say this a lot to each other. And you've been saying to your children, but I can do hard things. There's something about us that I mean, who wants to do hard things, right? We don't choose to do hard things, mostly like in my in my nature. I'm not like, I can't wait today to do something really challenging and hard. No, I mean, I want to be comfortable. I want things to be easy. But you and I have been in the habit of this last year to saying I can do hard things. We can do hard things. So when hard things pop up. I'm like I can do this. I am capable doing this. And certainly as a Christian woman, we know that any hard thing that we are choosing or accepting to do, we're not doing it alone. And I love that scripture. It says I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength, so I know where my strength comes from. Even these next few months, I know I'm not doing it on my own power. I know I have a power far greater than me to depend on to infuse me with the strength I need to do these hard things. But the truth is, we can all do hard things. We are capable. We are built to do hard things and God in His mercy and holiness, he decided to give us the ability even to calm our nervous system when things are going hard. He's given us the parasympathetic nervous system Say that three times faster. But he's given that to be able to calm our nervous system so that we don't constantly feel all this adrenaline and anxiety and stress. There are coping mechanisms that are healthy and godly. Okay, so overeating chocolate and sugar, although it feels so good ships and ships, watches TV and watching binge watching Netflix. Can I say that? If I said that too many times on our podcast? Do you guys all know what my coping mechanism is? Anyway, so let's share. So let me share some of mine since I'm in the midst of it, and then I can't wait to hear yours. But one of my practicals is to really slow down just really practice some self care because I can feel it. I've certainly felt it in this last week or two last few weeks actually, because we moved my daughter and her husband and her two kids, we moved them to Idaho. So that was a process. Then we came back that we packed up our house and then even yesterday, we were helping our son pack up his tiny house and fit everything into a car which of course it did not fit. So then that created some more challenges of trying to figure out how we're going to do this. So which we did, but slow down just take the time even if it's five or 10 minutes to go outside. sit in the sun as you and I did this morning. Listen to the birds we for some reason we had an enormous amount of birds that are property this year more than ever like to the point that we were all commenting on it like where are all these birds coming from? Interesting. We even did have a woodpecker. Yeah, probably cross the street. It was so cool. My first my grandson neighborhood. One morning we heard it okay. And he says it's so cute. He's like, Woodpecker Woodpecker. I like you. That's a woodpecker. Anyway, slow down, take a few minutes to sit in the sun take a few minutes to just still your mind. Even though you've got a lot going on. We certainly we surely had a lot going on the last few weeks. I just took a few minutes every day just to sit in the sun just to calm my mind just to think of things I was grateful for we walked the property, we walked the house several times, and just gave thanks for all the wonderful memories we had there. All the blessings we had there. And that was just really helpful. Another one which comes into this is the breathing activates the parasympathetic nervous system. So breathe deeply. I can forget to breathe. I know you and I've talked about this before. But when I get stressed, I stopped breathing deeply. And I start shallow breathing. And then I'll even catch myself. I'm like, right, yeah, breathe. I find myself holding my breath, which I do when I'm stressful. And then my shoulders and my chest hurt. So I have to remind myself to breathe. I mean, I'm breathing enough to live clearly, because I'm still here, but my breathing is not healthy. And so when we slow down and breathe deeply and slowly, especially focusing on the exhale really exhaling. It calms the whole system down and that helps our heart rate, yes, lowers our heart rate helps. What else does it do? It deactivates the stress centers. There's many, many good things about breathing deeply.

Claudine
So another practical for me is familiarity. So I keep certain things familiar. Even though there's all this change. I've kept my schedule to a certain degree familiar in that. When I wake up in the morning, I spend some time reading my Bible or reading something empowering, some kind of spiritual soul refreshment. So I do that still every morning and time of prayer and gratitude. And then what I found, which was interesting, as I was preparing for this, I'm like, Oh, I instinctually do this is what I've noticed is that I go to bed every night, I watch my little iPad, my little Netflix shows or whatever. I watched for an hour and I fall asleep to it, which I know is really unhealthy. But hey, I've had a stressful year. So this is what I do. But what I've noticed is I've picked shows I've already watched before. Yeah, so I think it's the familiarity that I already know the characters and I know the storylines, although because I usually fall asleep. I almost never complete a show entirely because I have the timer and I fall asleep in it. But just watching shows that I've already watched, there's a familiarity about that and that has really helped me in times have changed. And then my last one is really fixing my eyes on the goal. I think even with all this change in moving and the kids and everything, I keep my eyes fixed on the goal, which for us now at this point is the new house. So I just I'm like I know the next few months are going to be difficult, but I just keep my eyes fixed on that. And it reminds me of that scripture in Hebrews what says, We fix our eyes on Jesus. And his said for the joy set before him, he endured the cross scorning its shame. And I think that sometimes, if we fix our eyes on the end goal, it helps us get through those tough times, because we know where we're going right? In this world, my goal is the new house. But spiritually, my goal is heaven. And sometimes I just need to. And sometimes I just need to keep my eyes fixed on the greater goal, which is heaven. Sometimes a new house is enough or vacation. That can be enough. Of course, we're going back to Mexico for 12 days, again, familiarity and a true vacation. that's helping us we're like, well, we got to live somewhere. We might as well stay there for 12 days, but there's familiarity there as well, but we fix our eyes on the goal. And that helps certainly for me get through those difficult times and through times of upheaval and change.

Ashley
Okay, so yeah, I'm going to share my practicals. Now, slow down, like you said breathe, that's a big one to slow down. Because what happens is our mind can be racing, just unfiltered, raw, even subconscious thoughts. You know, yeah, slowing down just being still is really important. I like to just sit in the backyard for a little bit and just be you know, just be and not worry about things. Just like you said, listen to the birds, watch. We have geese that goes in the water, you know, behind our house, just relax. The next one is leaning into our emotions. Because I know for myself, and most of us do this is we cope, we try to just numb ourselves out because we don't want to feel the uncomfortable feeling. We don't want to feel the sadness or the frustration or the stress, you know? So we try to do the quick fix. And that coping is it's basically a quick fix, so we can feel better for a little bit. And I know I got into really bad habits recently. It was just drinking too much coffee. That was like my snack, right? Or I'd snack on goldfish or cheese. It's and I felt like it's just little tiny amount. But I was not filling my body with good stuff. Yeah. So I recently decided I'm going to try and eat clean. I'm going to try and go gluten free, somewhat dairy free, but I need to get more greens and vegetables because I'm not getting any vegetables in my body. And that contributes to not feeling well. Adding more physical stress on bodies. So that's a big one. Just letting yourself feel those emotions. Don't deny them. Don't ignore them. Don't push them away. You have to feel him because they will come and go. And this is something recently I'm sharing with my son too. And we talked about we started listening to a kid's podcast. And it was like feelings come and feelings go and we both talked about we're going to use that we're going to use it all the time because it's okay to feel your feeling. But just know that they're not going to stay forever they will go they will come and they will go.

Claudine
Eight seconds. I think right? We've talked about that.

Ashley
90 seconds-ish. But that is if we just sit and feel it and allow us what happens is our thoughts keep reinforcing what's frustrating us or causing us to be sad. So we keep feeling that emotion over and over hence depression, your anxiety, fear, shame. we reinforce it by constantly focusing on it so we have to be very careful like what you said fix our eyes on Jesus fix our eyes even on things that are positive things that you're looking forward to like, vacation, and you know, reframe those thoughts in our mind. The next one is just trusting in God. This was a big one and I found this scripture that I want to share because we all want more peace in our life, right? Yeah. Especially when you're going through something.

Claudine
Especially through big changes, peace.

Ashley
Right? And Claudine I've said it before, I think I've said it to you that you have been a great model for me and how you trust God because you have this is not the first time you experience hardships with your home. Right or selling the home or just you know in your Life. Moves, you know, you've moved multiple times. So you have been there, but you have always had just trusting God and trusting in God. And there's so much power to that. And in Isaiah 26, verse three, it says, You will keep in perfect peace, those whose minds are steadfast because they trust in you. And I've really liked that, because my mind will go to all the worry, the fear things I'm irritated about. And so it keeps reinforcing those emotions, then I cope. And then I just don't feel good, right? So trusting in God being still, those are so important. So I like to just lean into Jesus during those stressful times and make better choices that will serve me, then that's going to make me feel more shame. And like, oh, man, I shouldn't have eaten that or I shouldn't have had a cup of coffee or why or watch TV for nine straight hours.

Claudine
Eight straight hours is okay, right? Well, you know, I love that too. Because as we continue to build our trust in God and continue to think more positive thoughts, or fix our brains and our minds on Jesus or positive things, we're actually transforming our neural pathways, and then that becomes the default mode of thinking becomes easier and easier. So yeah, I have moved, I think this isn't move 28 or 29. Honestly, I've lost count, I'm probably gonna have to sit with paper and pencil. It's a lot. But I've done it so many times. And I've told myself, I can do it, I can pack and I can unpack. I've done it so many times, it's become my default halfway like moving. It's not a big deal for me. There are many other things like friendships, relationships, all that certainly that's still stressful, but the actual moving part is not a challenge for me, because I've done it so many times, and whatever our thoughts continue to think about that is going to become the default line of thinking. So great, great points.

Ashley
So the next one is keep routine. Now this is one of the first things that go out the window right you know, I know for myself over the last year is especially with the kids school seems to every day is different. And from week to week, it's are they in school longer what's going on and, and my brain is having a really hard time trying to keep track of everything. As much as I can, at least my morning routine I know that I can control to be consistent. And so keeping routine is one of the best things you can do for yourself, your mind, your mental health. And that was even I remember watching that on the news. They were asking, in the beginning of this pandemic, well, what can people do, you know, to help with this? And that was one of the first things they said as much as you can control keep to a routine and there's so much power in that for yourself. And then the last one is just moving body, you know, moving your body, making sure you're making wise choices. And I don't always like to say healthy choices, because sometimes I'm like, Oh, that's no fun. That's kind of boring. But wise choices. make wise choices. What am I going to eat? What am I going snack on? Maybe I shouldn't snack right now. Maybe I'm really not hungry. Maybe I need a glass of water. Maybe you just go on a walk, you know, something like that. But moving your body is something that is just it gives you that peace you something you can do outside. It helps you even just to be in nature and be with God for a little bit. I like to listen to my worship music while I'm walking around or praying or listening to podcasts. But if you can be in a consistent habit of moving and I know one thing that was challenging for me is I was exercising like five days a week. Yeah. And then I feel like I can't really keep up with that. That was almost unrealistic. So then I went to nothing. But and then I have to ask myself, Well, why can I just go on a walk? It doesn't have to be I need to do this exercise or nothing at all. Well, I can go on a 10-15 minute walk. You know, I could Yeah, that I can squeeze into my day. Maybe not an hour workout. But I can squeeze in in 10 to 15 minute walk. So just keeping in those patterns will be super, super helpful with dealing with big change, big life change.

Claudine
Yeah. And I love this quote, it says Change is hard at first messy in the middle and gorgeous at the end. And that's what I'm hoping for. I'm in the I think I'm in the messy middle right now. We're in the changing of homes and right cities and children moving out of state. So I'm kind of in the messy middle, but I'm counting on the gorgeous end. So until next time listeners thanks for stopping by and we'll catch you the next time. Take care.

Ashley
Alright everyone, thank you for joining in on our conversation here on the Rise Up and Shine podcast. If you haven’t already, please take a second to hit that subscribe so you’ll never miss an episode and while you’re at it, share this episode with a friend who you know it can bless today. If you wanna visit us as well on our websites, you can catch Claudine over at claudinesweeney.com and Ashley at mindoverchaos.com our links are at the description. We also have some free resources there for you as well. So remember ladies, no matter what you are facing in life, it is never too late to rise up and shine and live your best life.

Episode #71

Have you ever felt like life was going smoothly then something happens that stops you dead in your tracks or knocks you off course for a bit? Whether it was in your health, in your career, or maybe in your relationships. Truth is, we all experience what can feel like a setback and it's what we do with it that really matters. In today's episode we share practical tips for overcoming setbacks and using it as a perfect opportunity to continue growing and learning.



Ashley
This is Episode 71. Overcoming Setbacks. You're listening to the rise up and shine podcast with Claudine and Ashley as an empty nester and a mom with young kids, we have both shared very similar and very real struggles. From chaos to coaches, we now help other women live an authentic and meaningful life. So tune in weekly for girl talk and tips on how you too can rise up and let your light shine bright. This is the rise up and shine podcast.
Welcome back everyone. Today we are going to talk about a topic that is very helpful for us to get back up on our feet, when we feel like life has kind of kicked us off, you know, off our feet and we stumbled and we feel stuck or we feel overwhelmed. whatever have you. But today we're going to be talking about setbacks, growth opportunities. Now what I mean by this is it really is a mindset thing and Claudine and I talk a lot about our mindset on this podcast, right Claudine?

Claudine
That's right we do.

Ashley
Very much it's so important. So setback or growth opportunities, and really is the way we look at it. It's our perspective. And so today, we really want to dive a little bit deeper, because I think many, many, many of us out there are feeling like this whole pandemic has just created a whole setback in our lives. Many people were really going after their goals, whether that's business goals, or personal goals, health goals. They may have been on track for promotions at their job. Some people have lost their jobs. And you know, there's a lot of things that have happened. I know in my personal situation, I was growing a coaching business, and then lo and behold, I became a homeschool mom. So wait, wait a minute, God, I thought I was supposed to be on this track. Now, so Claudine and I have first handily experienced what we call quote, unquote, setbacks. But what we want to share today and really focus on today is, you know, really changing our thought about it and really seeing it as a growth opportunity. Because that's really going to help us because some things, you know, happen in life that we can't control. And we just want to keep going. We want to keep going.

Claudine
Yeah, 2020 we could name that the setback year, right? I think some people move forward, but many, many, many, if not most of us. We were set back, whether it was in our finances, our goals, our dreams, our travel opportunities, I know even relationships, a lot of relationships. The cracks were exposed, maybe the cracks were already there, of course, but they were exposed in all this together time and we've seen some big relationships end in 2020. So there have been a lot of setbacks and you know, setbacks are all through the Bible, right? I mean, the Israelites had a 40 year setback.

Ashley
Yeah.

Claudine
Really I mean wasn't that like a four day journey that took 40 years. So and then of course Job I mean, when I was preparing for this, I thought you know who epitomizes the setback he had it in every area right family lost his family, his finances, right his finances to hit his he lost all his livestock his his way of living and in his livelihood, his health, right. A lot of people have suffered health this year clearly with the Coronavirus. there been a lot of health issues. We've had setbacks in the way we attend churches and worship together and hugging and all of those things, a lot of setbacks this year, but they were in the Bible, they've experienced setbacks. And like you said, Ashley, I think it really is about mindset. And if we have the proper mindset, and the proper attitude, we can grow forward, right, we can grow forward and learn from it and make something new and really come out emerge victorious on the other side.

Ashley
Right, you know, one of my clients that I've been talking with, we've talked a lot about this, we focus and I will rephrase that, you know, he will say setback, setback setback No, it's not a setback. Let's think of it as a growth opportunity. There's always something to learn. And even for me personally and for any moms out there, I felt like this last year, I was a setback for me as a mom in regards to how I am as a mom and how the energy I give off to my kids, you know, with doing the homeschool and especially having one fighting me tooth and nail to you know to do school has gotten me very frustrated. And so in my emotional life, and my mental life, I will say I felt was a setback. I'm like, gosh, I had all this growth as a mom. I was so patient with them. I learned. You know, I grew so much in that area. And then it just felt like it all went out the window. You know, once we started doing virtual school, I thought, oh, gosh, I got to learn it all over again. But really we don't, you know, really, it's just our brains kind of go back to what's familiar, right. And I mean, we, we've paved those neural pathways. And we mentioned that a lot here on this podcast, that we've just conditioned our brain to respond a certain way. And so it's simple to get back on track the way we want to go. Because especially when you have the tools, right Claudine, and so knowing that we have the tools, it takes certain things it takes, acknowledging the situation, and just really looking at it head on and being having more grace with ourselves, I think also is very important, you know, being trying to ourselves, not shaming ourselves. And when we do focus on setback ashes is such a setback. It's such a negative way of thinking, that might feel true, but it's going to keep us discouraged and frustrated and stuck and stressed out and overwhelmed. And I mean, really the list can go on and on. I've experienced it all.

Claudine
Yes. You are not alone.
Ashley
No, absolutely not.

Claudine
Well, it's interesting. It's interesting that you brought this up because I read a great book recently called mindset, interestingly enough by Carol Dweck, a researcher at Stanford, and she talks about the two different mindsets that most people most people fall into. And the first one is a fixed mindset, where people believe that their qualities are fixed, and therefore they can't change. So when they experience a setback, it really feels like failure. And it could lead to all those emotions that you talked about. I mean, it's really hard to feel motivated, inspired. When you feel like a failure, right? And there's so many things in our lives, we have goals that we're going through, whether it's just having a great marriage, or great parenting relationship with our children, or a great career. All these things are goals, they're things we want, and a lot of it is in our control, but a lot of it isn't. And if we have a fixed mindset, those temporary setbacks, those little step backwards, or sometimes as in 2020, those lots of step backwards, right? Sometimes I feel like it's two step forwards and three steps back. 2020 for me felt like two steps forward, and 20 steps back, right. I'm like, Oh, my gosh, am I ever gonna get back forward where I was. But anyway, a fixed mindset can lead to those negative feelings, that feeling of being stuck and depressed and uninspired, unmotivated? The other mindset is a growth mindset. So I love that you're using that term growth opportunity. So growth mindset, when we have that mindset, we believe that we can learn that we can learn skills or become intelligent, and whatever area that we're looking to grow in and that those setbacks, quote, quote, those things that aren't going quite our way. Or just like you said, their growth opportunities, the ability to learn something new, the ability to thrive on challenge and not see failure, as you know, a stopping point, but a springboard for growth. And so that's huge. So out of these two mindsets, that's where our thoughts and our emotions and our actions are going to spring from so it's really important to have that, you know, have that knowledge and know Okay, we can grow this isn't this didn't go the way I hoped. But what can I grow from? What can I learn?

Ashley
Mm hmm. Yeah. And really quick, I wanted to define what a setback is. Also, it just means delayed or hindered, right. So whatever path you were going on, may have taken a little yields, right. And that's okay, that's gonna happen in life. But I think what we as humans tend to do is we think of it Oh, my gosh, is the end of the world, you know, and because it throws us in this loop of, Oh, my gosh, now what I do, you know, because we were on such a trajectory, whatever that may be. And then especially with the pandemic hit, I mean, 2020 hit, let's just face it. It's not just the pandemic, it's all the other stuff that came in 2020 that people had to deal with. But it we take it, as, you know, almost like a black or white situation. My husband, I say that a lot like you really think black and white don't see it was like, I don't think so I really prefer to think in color. But maybe I don't maybe I am a black and white person, like it's an all or nothing, then you know, and so, that can happen to so many of us when we feel that step back when something like that happens and stops us in our tracks. And we don't know what to do. We just haven't necessarily learned skills and the tools of what to do. You know. And so, today in this episode, that's exactly what we want to give our listeners because these are things that we use to get us moving forward. Because even though we're coaches, it's the same thing. We still have to constantly use these things to remind ourselves and kind of pick ourselves back up and help pick each other. You know, I mean, you and I, we have a great friendship and we've tried to help pick each other back up When we know we're stuck in a situation.

Claudine
Absolutely, absolutely. And it's and before we share the practicals, I'd love to share some of the emotions that some of our listeners could feel when they experience a setback. Yeah, when they're going forward towards something. And then like I said, two steps forward three steps back, one of the first ones I know that I've struggled with is shock, like, what is going on here? Like, how did this happen? I don't understand. shock is usually one of the first ones I feel because when I am going forward, I usually have a plan. Remember, I love to plan.

Ashley
This did not go according to plan.

Claudine
This did not go according to plan. I am shocked, I do not understand what is going on here. The next one, for me can be anger. Like why did this happen to me? Like, how could this happen to me? I planned I did everything right. You know, there's different kinds of things that that could really be frustrating and anger could come up.

Ashley
And we can blame, you can blame a person we can blame ourselves, we can blame God.

Claudine
Absolutely. Another one is fear. Like what's going to happen next, like I had this all thought through or, you know, people have lost their jobs, a lot of people lost their jobs last year, a lot of fear, like what is going to happen next and amen for the stimulus checks, but I don't think 1500 1600 14 whatever they were, through the last year was enough to make up for people who've lost their jobs, their livelihood. So it could be a lot of fear. And then grief. You know, we don't talk a lot about grief. We don't talk enough about it. But there's losses, we experienced losses every day, right? Or every week or every month, we experience life. And we we experience loss in our lifetime. And when we have setbacks, sometimes we can focus on the loss of the situation instead of the growth opportunity. So all those emotions.
Ashley
I loved what you just said. We say that again?

Claudine
What did I say?

Ashley
You said when we experience a setback, we can focus on.

Claudine
The loss.

Ashley
The loss.

Claudine
That is the growth opportunity.

Ashley
Oh, yeah, that is so true. And that's what keeps us stuck. And we don't like being in that place. But we just don't always know what to do. But it is it's, you know, as you said, grief, we don't talk about it enough. And sometimes we refer to grief as losing a loved one to death, that there's so many more griefs is that the right word?

Claudine
Yeah, losses, there's so many more losses to grieve.

Ashley
There are so many more losses to grieve, aside from death, you know, some may be experienced with divorce, some may be experienced just that even that loss in connection with friends. Some people, you know, physical connection is so important, like the hugging, you know, not being in close proximity and just feeling the energy in the room or being with friends, like especially for extroverts, right, I mean, you feed off the energy of your friends when you go out. And when you don't get that that's a loss, that loss of free time. That was the big one I experienced, you know, I mean, having kind of trying to build this coaching business, and then now I got to homeschool. And, you know, yes, the teachers are also teaching them. But when you have a child who really needs a lot of help, then you also become the co-teacher and have to at least keep them on task. So there is a loss of time there, you know, loss of my I felt like it was a loss of my goals. Really. And it just totally threw us off track, you know, and they had like their schedule just got shuffled around. And yeah, so I just wanted to hit that point, because that was really good.

Claudine
Yeah, well, good. I'm glad you got something out of it. I barely remember what I talked about. Poor husband, he's like, Don't you remember? And I'm like, No, no, I don't remember that.

Ashley
Well, and Claudine, you personally too are experiencing that. Yes. With the selling of your house and your daughter to another state. And you know, you have a lot of change going on right now that can very much feel like a setback because you have these goals in your business. That kind of take a little hiatus for you know, momentarily.

Claudine
Yeah, I feel like this whole last year with the house sale. That was definitely a setback. We had several offers that didn't pan out that fell through. So we thought here we're going to be closing and we're going to be moving forward and then the deals fell apart. And now we're finally getting ready to close here in another week or so and it looks pretty solid. Our kids, yes, they've just transitioned to moving to Idaho, one of one my oldest and her family. And then my oldest son is going to Colorado and the other two will stay where they're at. And even for us, I mean, it took so long to sell this property and we literally have been living out of a suitcase for the better part of the year and even the other night, we had our last family dinner together at the house and just really celebrating all the memories that we had. And just the great times the great parties, the great moments as a family that we had in this home. And so we were making dinner and we had four forks. I know this is silly. It's silly in the scheme of thing, but I'm like, I do not even have enough forks to feed my family. So our son went over and got plastic forks, which was, you know, an easy fix. But it has felt like a big setback this year, because it's been, we've been in limbo for quite quite a while. But yet now being kind of on this side of it, and just really having a mentality of Okay, I know that these were my plans, but God planned something bigger. And I do think it requires some faith to when we have setbacks to go, Well, God is doing something even bigger. Here's something I can't imagine. And really, I've shared this I don't know if I've shared on the podcast, but that those extra few months with our granddaughter have been such a blessing because their first six months she was colicky, and honestly, I was having a really hard time bonding with her. And God extended that time for us to be there with her until she was happy and joyful. And now I feel super bonded to her. So as they move out of state, I have that connection with her I think would have been really hard to develop, if I only saw her a few times a year. So I see the goodness that has come back from the setback, I see the spirit of spiritual relationship that my oldest son has just really blossomed, really gone after his relationship with God. And we've got to enjoy that we've got to have all these great conversations with him deep, spiritual loving conversations with him that again, had this house sold four months ago, we wouldn't have experienced. So a lot of times things that we look at setbacks, God uses him as comebacks, right? Come back.

Ashley
There's another good one Claudine, bumper sticker,

Claudine
Thank you could be a setback or a comeback, the way you look at it, right. And for us, we've to see our son come back to see our relationship, like come to fruition with our granddaughter, you know, God uses our setbacks to his glory if we allow him to.

Ashley
Right. And I it really takes that perspective shift, right? I mean, to think of the bigger picture, God works all things out for the good, doesn't say all these things are good. You know, we're gonna go through hardship and trouble. But we have to focus on the bigger picture, you know, and it's so hard to do when you're feeling frustrated and discouraged and disappointed and depressed and anxious. Even, you know, so it's really hard to see that bigger picture. But it's so rewarding when you can essentially train your brain to start thinking more of that way. Because it is it's practice, you know, it's not, it is certainly an easy task. It's something simple, but it does take work. Yeah, that was great.

Claudine
Yeah, and all these things don't necessarily feel good, they work for the good, but they don't necessarily all feel good. And we have to remember that I think for me, and I shared this before, as a young Christian, I thought, Oh, my life is just gonna be, you know, springing through the meadow, I'm just gonna hop and skip through the middle of life. And obviously, that didn't last very long. And very quickly, I realized, Oh, wait, I still face all the trials and all the challenges that are here in this world. But now I'm not doing it alone. Right? I have that bigger picture, like you talked about. I know there's a bigger picture. I know that intellectually. Even when my heart hurts, even when my heart feels these frustrations and griefs and anger and fear all those things. I know that there's a bigger picture. And I know in the end, it's all going to be for the good, but it sure doesn't feel like it sometimes, which is why we're sharing why we're talking about it. And I know we've got some great practicals to share. So Ashley, what you share with our listeners, some of the practicals we have that help us overcome and work through setbacks?

Ashley
Yes, well, I came up with the four A's. The first one is acknowledge and acknowledge how you feel about the situation, yourself, and acknowledge your thoughts, and really become aware of what you're thinking about the situation because those are huge. And as you said, you know, they're not fun, you know, we try to strive for happiness 100% of the time, and spoiler alert, life's not happy 100% of the time. Yet so for some reason, we think that's bad. That's bad. We should not feel these negative feelings. But we've said it before all feelings are God given all emotions are God given and we need to experience the whole spectrum of emotions, you know, but really to acknowledge that hey, this is the situation. It is what it is, this is what happens it you know, it's just what happened, but really listen to your body and understand what you're feeling. That's the emotions, right? The emotions are energy flowing through our body. And that's right tuned to what you are feeling about because what many of us did, it may still be doing? Or especially in the beginning, oh my gosh, I mean, we coped like no other really. And we probably still are. Now it just became such a habit after a year, you know, and just so engrained just cope to get through the day. And we all do it different. It's Netflix, it's alcohol, it's coffee, it's sleep, it's, you know, relationships, whatever, if we all.

Claudine
I wish exercise had been my coping mechanism, that would have been a great coping mechanism.

Ashley
Those are the people who go on and exercise for hours.

Claudine
I'm gonna go run for an hour.

Ashley
Escape life. It's a metaphor.

Claudine
Not my coping mechanism. You know, and I love, I love that you brought up acknowledge our feelings. I do think for a long time, especially as a Christian woman, I felt like I couldn't. And if I did express a negative emotion, then my faith was challenged, like, well, you just need to have faith or, you know, and that happened to job. We see Job being open and expressing his thoughts and his feelings being really authentic and vulnerable, and his friends questioning him. No, it's like, hey, it's you. It's your fault. What did you do, right? And so I think as Christian women, we have to be able to express our thoughts and feelings. They don't define us. They are just temporary, vibrational things that come and go in our thoughts. We have the power, we have the ability to choose our thoughts. transformed by the renewal of our minds, we have that power that God has given us. And it's so important to acknowledge where we're really at Great, great, first practical.

Ashley
And you said right there renewal of the mind renew, that's a verb, that's an action, we have to take action to renew our what we're thinking, and that's why we're talking about mindset. And when we talked about mindset, and you know, shifting our perspective and having a growth mindset, it does not mean do not feel negative feelings, not at all right? We do have to acknowledge our feelings, we do have to understand and really listen to your body. We feel our emotions in different places of our body, depending on what emotion it is, right? When I literally when I drove up in the driveway, because I dropped my kids off at school. Do you remember what that's like, Oh, my gosh, after a year, I dropped him off there at school right now for three hours. I don't know what to do with myself. But when I drove up in the driveway, I all this worry started popping up in my head. And I would I wasn't even really aware of it yet. Because I was so excited. I was like, Oh my gosh, I get three hours to myself. But when I pulled up in the driveway, my body started tensing. And I felt in my body first. And then I paid attention to what I was thinking. So that's what happens. We talked about our thoughts and feelings. But if you pay attention to what your body is doing, and where you're feeling those vibrations, like my muscles just tensed. And where I typically feel stress is my neck and shoulders, which many of us do. And so I realized, Oh, my gosh, I'm stressed out what am I stressed out about? And then you just start asking yourself questions, right? What's stressing me out what's new, right now that could be triggering me. And it was dropping the kids off. And now I'm starting to worry, I would say could it be okay? Well, my children cry for me and they need help, and then their teachers gonna ignore them, and then they're gonna be so discouraged. No, no, that's not going to happen. You know, I mean, my mind goes there, but it's not it's a made up story. That's right. It's a lot we make up these stories that cause us to feel so many of these emotions. So let's move on to the next because we can talk about our thoughts and feelings all the live long day. So yes, second one, accept this one is challenging because when we are triggered or when we are feeling more stressed, we tend to tighten up and try to control more. And this can be so unconscious. We don't realize we're trying to do that, you know, but it is like a defense mechanism is like oh my gosh, I got to pick up the pieces and fix fix fix and I got it. You know, many of us do this. But really what is it helpful is in a journal on a piece of paper, write it down. What about the situation you can control and what you can't control. It is so huge, so powerful to get it out of your head. And actually, you know, divided paper and a half it's so simple. What can I control? What can I you know, what can't I control and you'll see that oh my gosh, I am trying to control A B and C. I am trying to control my children still getting all A's in school, but I'm not acknowledging the situation. You know, I am having the same expectations. For a very different situation. And so what happens is we try to keep life as normal as possible, you know, for good intention. But it does a disservice. Because now, you know, we're just, we're not going with the flow. And we're not rolling with, you know, rolling with the punches. I'm full of all kinds of cliches today.

Claudine
Well, it's so important to accept it too. I think for me, again, the in my earlier years, certainly my 20s failure was really difficult for me. And I had a really hard time accepting it, I definitely had a very fixed mindset, I felt like a failure. I felt like that was that my life was over. I can't, I won't amount to anything. I'm terrible mom, terrible wife, anytime anything happened, that wasn't good and positive, it was really hard for me to accept it. And that's, I think the beauty of growing older and aging and, you know, gaining wisdom through aging, which is awesome, is he learned to accept a lot more like, Okay, this is where I'm at today, this is what happened, it's okay. I can accept this and still move forward in your right. It's when we resist, when we don't want to accept when we push back, we cannot grow, we can't, and we will stay stuck. And we will stay frustrated. We have to accept whatever it is, like you said, What is in our control? And what is out of our control. So many things are out of our control this whole last year, if anything had taught us all is how much is out of our control. I mean, really, like we were all our whole lives were changed all at once. And it wasn't in our control. Right. We didn't make this happen. It just happened. And then we had to accept it and move forward.

Ashley
Mm hmm. Yeah, absolutely. So the third one is adjust. Adjust. So we have to adjust with the situation, right? Because as I mentioned, with accepting, we try to keep doing the normal things. And that's what happened with me last year, I was kept. Well, this isn't really that much different. You know, life's not really that much different. And I wasn't really acknowledging nor accepting that no, this is a big change. This is a big change. It was almost like I refuse to accept that this was a big change. No, no, I got it. I got I could do it. It's fine. Well, we'll get through. It's gonna be all right. No, no, of course,

Claudine
I was the ones telling you and everyone else, oh, this will last for about two weeks. And then I was like, well, maybe two months. You know, I'm like, Okay, here we are a year later.

Ashley
Not two years, please, please. No, not two years. Adjusting to the changes, you know, right. I mean, lots of things changed for us. So trying something new, you know, I mean, just when I feel like I got a schedule down for the kids and I may that be cleaning school, you know, our podcast, like, Oh, my work, all that stuff, fitting it all in when I get a good schedule, then it changes again. Like now I have three different shapes, you know, schedules on my refrigerator that I have to keep track of, and I don't know where I'm gonna put myself in there. So really being able to adjust Okay, something changed. Let's try something new. We have to rearrange our schedule perhaps or let's Google some new tips on you know how to best time management, listen to our last episode on daily planning, that is an excellent resource. But we have to shift, you know, how we do things as well don't just try to keep going like everything is normal. We just got to move things around. And that's okay. It's okay to try something different.

Claudine
Yeah. And that definitely goes in with a growth mindset because we when we have to make adjustments, that means change, right? We're adjusting something we're making a change. And it may be in an area that we're not accustomed to. I mean, I think about all the all the setbacks people in their relationships, I mean, if you suddenly find yourself divorced, that's a huge setback. Now you have to adjust adjust to single living, adjust your budget, your spending plan, adjust all kinds of things. If you've lost a job, you have to adjust again your income and how that's going to come in and adjust your time now instead of spending 40 hours a week working you may be spending 40 hours a week searching for a new job. So many setbacks, relationships, jobs, plans goals us for our business I mean right now I'm on the road. And so you know, we're trying to record and you of course have your lovely office I'm looking at you and I'm in a small closet. I'm in a small dark closet. This is my recording studio.

Ashley
It's kinda ironic, you're in the dark and I'm in the light.

Claudine
I know. Let's not get any spiritual from that. But I'm in a very small very dark closet trying to find an area where you know we can record without a lot of background noise. So here I am adjusting to the situation. So, you know, that's so important that we get creative that we have this mindset that I'm going to make it happen, because we certainly, and we've talked about it before, we certainly could have said, we're in the pandemic, we're not in the same city, let's just bag this podcast. But we both adjusted and we've gotten creative you with your time, you know, working around your kids school schedule, and me with getting creative how and where I do it, whether I'm on the road or back down in LA, or if I'm in the northern California area, then I'll come over, but it's been quite an adjustment. But here we are, you know, a year later still going, and I've seen quite a few stop.

Ashley
Yeah, and my children are in school, and they were my dog sitter. And so now if you happen to hear some noise in the background, a dog chewing his bone, so that way he's entertained. While we're recording, so, and then a little adjustment, alright, so the last A assert, assert yourself, keep going, you know, keep fighting for what you want. keep striving keep you know, all those encouraging words, keep going, just don't give up. Don't get discouraged. And that's what happens to many of us. We feel disappointed. We had these expectations that you know, did not get met. We feel very frustrated. We just sometimes wallow in our frustration, right. It's just I, you know, I guess I wait, and then we do the if, then mentality, right? Well if this change, then I'll do it. Or when, you know, when then will, you know. The when then if then the when then. But really just asserting yourself, like don't give up on yourself, you know, things happen, things change, we have to adjust. Feel the feels right? Yeah, keep going. You know, just because maybe you like, for instance, I stopped running last year because and I had a goal to run a half marathon at the end of the year. And I'm kind of grateful, you know, that things went down the way they did, because kind of let me off the hook there. But I stopped running because of the kid's school, I didn't know how to fit it in. I mean, I felt like they needed me all the time. And really what I learned is they didn't, we kind of fell into this groove of mom was always available so they can shout for me whenever they need something. But yet, when I finally made the decision, I can go on a run and leave them home, you know, I can leave the house for a half an hour, I'm sure it'll be fine. And then they were they were fine. But in my head, I did not think they would be fine. Granted they are old enough. I can, you know, go out on a run in the neighborhood for half an hour. But there is a lot to be said about that. There's a lot of adjusting, but just have your goals, you know, reprint them out, I started having my goals, thinking about my goals again. And now having three hours to myself. Two days a week. Well, a total of six hours to myself two days a week. I'm I already have a list of things I'm going to do in that time for myself for my goals for my dreams. And yes, it took a big hiatus last year. You know, that was very much felt like a setback. But I'm going to take what lessons I learned in that period of time, and then it doesn't go wasted. And I think when we really focus on our mindset and using it as a growth opportunity, then it doesn't feel like I wasted a whole year doing nothing. You know it maybe it felt like that. But there are lessons to be learned. There are areas to grow in from that perspective, you know, from that. So that is something really important to take in and be like, Okay, this, you know, like, my passion for even writing a book is still there, like seeing the future of, you know, the future timeline of when the kids are going back to school, that passion I had inside my heart, like burning about, gosh, I've really just want to sit down and write a book just came back again, you know, because I my dreams were basically reemerging. And that prompting my heart. And you know, one thing that was so cool, God hears it to God know what's on your heart. And interestingly enough, when I started dreaming about writing a book again, this week, yesterday, someone sent me a super encouraging message saying that I should pursue my writing. It's like, out of nowhere. So not someone I keep in contact with on a regular basis. But she thought of me. And she sent a message she like, obeyed God's prompting to send me a message of encouragement. I thought, Oh my gosh, God, like that was exactly something that I could use and hear in the moment to like to kind of solidify this as something to do just go for it. You know what I mean? So I just want to share that With encouragement, whatever your goals are, whatever you had, it's never too late. You may have stopped for a little bit. It's okay. You know, just get right back to it. If that's something you really want to pursue, it's okay.

Claudine
That's right. And you know the secret to writing a book Ashley's to go away for a week to a mountain cabin by yourself. That's the secret not I'll be more than happy to go with you if you need that.

Ashley
No. We'll call it an accountability partner,
Claudine
That's right. I'll be your accountability partner when you want to write your book, but I think I'm gonna comment on assert because I love that that that's one of our practical tips for dealing with setbacks. assert means to state or declare positively. And I love that to just keep declaring positively our goals or the direction of our dreams. You know, we're here because we want to live our best lives. I do believe that that brings glory to God when we live our best lives, right? When we manage our emotions, when we manage our mindset, and really go after living life to the full and I think to asserting that God has for us like even when we have setbacks like you said I can I can blame like why why me and why God why God right? I can question God, but assert that his plans are for me. Just remember declare positively that God is for me and like you said that he works all things through the good, it may not feel good. And those things may not be good. But in the end, it all works for the good. So, listeners I hope you've enjoyed listening to setbacks versus growth opportunity. Let's just all continue to grow forward no matter what, and live this great life to the full.

Ashley
Alright everyone, thank you for joining in on our conversation here on the Rise Up and Shine podcast. If you haven’t already, please take a second to hit that subscribe so you’ll never miss an episode and while you’re at it, share this episode with a friend who you know it can bless today. If you wanna visit us as well on our websites, you can catch Claudine over at claudinesweeney.com and Ashley at mindoverchaos.com our links are at the description. We also have some free resources there for you as well. So remember ladies, no matter what you are facing in life, it is never too late to rise up and shine and live your best life.

Episode #70

Jesus said, "I have come so that they may have life and have it to the full." Do you feel like your life is full? Full of peace, joy and love? Or maybe more like stress, fatigue, frustration or sadness. This upcoming Sunday we get to celebrate the gift of life and freedom Jesus died and resurrected for. But the question is do you feel like you are really experiencing this gift to its fullest? In today's episode, we share practical steps you can take to increase the peace, joy and love Jesus offers in your very own life so you can experience your life to the full that He gives!



Ashley
This is Episode 70. We Are A New Creation. You're listening to the rise up and shine podcast with Claudine and Ashley as an empty nester and a mom with young kids, we have both shared very similar and very real struggles. From chaos to coaches, we now help other women live an authentic and meaningful life. So tune in weekly for girl talk and tips on how you too can rise up and let your light shine bright. This is the rise up and shine podcast.
Hello everyone. And welcome back to the rise up and shine podcast. I want to start off with a very special verse in the Bible that is very dear to us. And it's going to set the tone for this episode and our topic today. And it is in second Corinthians chapter five verse 17 says, therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come. The old has gone. The new is here. And today in celebration of upcoming Easter, we wanted to talk about being a new creation because of the resurrection of Jesus. We have this very incredible gift that we are a new creation, but because of his death, his burial, his resurrection, and we want to talk about what even practically that looks like in our own lives because Claudine and I both know we have done a lot of work in our lives and we have really transformed ourselves, really taking this verse to heart and even deeper in our own personal lives. And we wanted to share a little bit about that today with you listeners. And we also wanted to talk about some practicals that you can use in your day-to-day life to help you feel live, be your new creation and taking this gift to your life and just living it to the full yeah.

Claudine
Ashley, there's so much to this. There's so many layers. I remember, you know, I've been a Christian for almost 30 years or just 30 years, I guess. And there was such a transformation right at the beginning, right? There was so many things that I was doing that I turned away from right. Then I knew these are not honoring God. These are not Christ. Like I need to change from this. And so at the very beginning there was this big transformation, you know, no more was I saying curse words no more. Was I, uh, drinking to the point of being drunk? There are so many things that I changed, right? When I made the decision to follow Jesus and it was a radical transformation radical. And then as the decades went and as we share often here, there came a point for me about 10 years ago where I needed to transform again. And so we're talking about so many of the practicals and the principles that help us transform no matter what stage rat, if we're just learning about God, we're learning just about Jesus and celebrating the resurrection and the new life that he gives us through him. Or if we have been a Christian for quite a long time, and we're still looking to make some transformation, maybe in our marriages, maybe I've been a Christian A. Long time, but we really want to make a new change in our marriage or with our finances. Maybe we want to make a new change with our financial wellbeing? That's the word there's so many ways we continue to transform. It's a never ending journey. The Christian life, as we become more and more, um, conformed to the likeness of Christ. And so it's exciting to talk about this because it is Easter and it is a time of celebration, a time of newness, you know, I'm down in Southern California still. And today we are walking on our property and there was all these little tiny, tiny yellow flowers in our grass. And I'm sure they're weeds. I don't know what they are. They shouldn't be in our lawn, but they were really pretty, they were little tiny and it just felt so springy today. And it was just a beautiful day. Weather-wise the sun was shining, crisp blue skies. And I was just like, it's just so much newness and I love it.

Ashley
Yeah. Claudine when I was 15 is when I decided to make Jesus Lord in my life. And I personally didn't feel like there was a huge transformation because I was always the good kid doing the right thing, doing what I ought to do. So I really noticed as I grew up and had more responsibilities, got married, had children, um, a house to take care of and you know, more relationships, friendships and all that. It, it, I really saw, Oh my gosh, my need for Jesus was it felt that much greater because now life was just that much more complex. And I had so much to balance and juggle and I didn't know practically how to do that. I wasn't equipped for that. And so I really saw how I was not living that life to the full, you know, in those points, in those stages of my life. And earlier, you know, when I was a teen, it was like, Oh, everything's great. And you know, and just happy go lucky. And you know, that was the attitude I carried. I was very positive and saw the good in everybody and did, did good, did the right thing and followed the rules. Right. And so, but really, as I got older, I, I really struggled. I really, really struggled. And so this, um, I remember coming out of my last bout of depression several years ago. And I remember when Easter came, I felt this, um, sense of gratitude. I mean, I've always had good the gratitude, but it was to a different degree this time because of the challenges that I was going through and the transformation I was going through, I just really understood the depth of the love that God had for us, you know, to have his son die on the cross and go through that abuse and insults in that horrible time and then raising for our benefit. You know, I mean, putting all of our sin on him and being able to raise up again. And so we have the opportunity to raise up to a new creation as well, you know, in Jesus. And it was just so spectacular because it was a deeper understanding and a deeper gratitude, as I mentioned for that. And for Easter, you know, I mean, Easter is just Easter just is so much more significant to me with what I've learned. And even these practicals we're going to share, you know, it's, there's so much that so many gifts that we have the ability to access when we do this work right when we do the work and we can really be that new creation.

Claudine
Yeah. Well, and I love what you shared. You alluded to John 10, 10, you know, that scripture, it says the thief has come to steal and destroy, but I, Jesus have come to give him life to the full. And I've shared that before I came to a point in my life about 10 years ago where my life was full, all right. But full of all the wrong things, full of depression and debt and disease and despair. And I knew there was a point where I knew Jesus did not come for this. This is not what he came for. This is not what he died for. He didn't live or die for me to have this kind of live life. And I don't believe that any of us were put on this earth to merely exist, right. Where you were meant to thrive, we're meant to fulfill our purpose. We're meant to become more. We're meant to be in relationship with God and to really live these full lives full of glory, to glorify him, you know, and in essence how we live our lives, who he is. And so for me, it was a radical change. The principles were there, the principles were in the scriptures and it was learning the practicals about how to make that work. And that's what we'll be sharing today, but it's so true. Like we have the opportunity to live the lives of our dreams. We really do. God is our partner in this life. I mean, he's our Lord, but he also does just sitting on the couch. Like I don't sit there and wait for him to make my life happen. For me, he's like get up and do something with it, right? Like the good store, do something with your life, have a marriage that glorifies me and that what you dream of have children that you have relationships with great relationships, the way you dream of it, let's do it together. And I love that. And when I figured that out 10 years ago, it was revolutionary for me and my life has completely transformed. So it's really exciting. And Easter is a great time to celebrate that renewal, both the spiritual renewal and the physical, mental, emotional renewal that came for me much, much later.

Ashley
Oh gosh. Yeah. Yeah. I remember sitting by the poolside, um, with my family and I was just thinking, gosh, like by outward appearance, I have the quote unquote dream life, right. I'm married to a wonderful husband. I mean, we've had our challenges, but we're, you know, healthy. We have two healthy children, healthy, happy kids. Um, you know, I mean, I was able to stay home with the kids, be a stay at home. Mom. My husband has a great job. So, uh, but I remember just sitting there, you know, the sun was out shiny, nice and hot summertime. My favorite, but I just was like, gosh, I'm so unhappy. What, there is more and I was just racking. My brain, Jesus came so we could have life and have it to the full, but I'm not feeling that so missing, like what is going on? I don't understand why it's there. I just couldn't figure out how to feel it, how to grab it, how to, you know, access it and going through these scriptures that we're going to share also in just these practicals, it was such a huge transformation. And I got to this point, like I get it now. It was all over the Bible. I mean, God said it over and over and over what H what to do so we can have this freedom so we can have this peace, you know, and I want to break it down clotting to two different parts that we can focus on. The first one is the fruits of the spirit, right? When Jesus died and resurrected and he ascended to heaven, he brought us the gift of the Holy spirit. And then the other one I wanted to focus on was the mind of Christ. And so the fruits of the spirit, this is in Galatians five 22, three 23. It's love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control. How many times have I not felt like I have self-control.

Claudine
And how many times have I not felt that I had peace?

Ashley
Oh, yes. You're right. So, I mean, really, if we think about this, uh, am I feeling those things? Do I really feel that right now in my life with what's going on? And that's a great question to ask ourselves, am I feeling these things? Am I being patient? Am I feeling love? Am I even expressing love? Am I filled with joy? Do I feel peace? Especially during the pandemic and you know, Claudine, I know you're dealing with a lot of stuff with your home and trying to stay at your home and you know, myself with having the kids here doing school and starting to be able to trickle into school now in person, which is great. But especially when you go through hard times, are we still filled with peace? So our goodness kindness, there is a lot of lack of kindness going on in the world right now. And it is just devastating, right? Yeah. Gentleness. And that I took, even with my own children, am I speaking and loving them and behaving in a way that shows the gentleness. And really when you think about it, these are all characteristics of God. You know, our job is to reflect God's character. And so are we really feeling these things, the self control, a lot of that goes into coping as well. When we go through hard times or this pandemic that has been hard for probably all of us. I can't say all of us, my husband actually said it. It's been great for him. His life didn't really change much. Not too much for him. Exactly. Most of us, normal people. It was a huge challenge for us to deal with this law for the past year. But self-control, I was drinking more coffee or drinking more wine or eating more chips or watching too much TV or, you know, a lot of that stuff just to kind of relax, you know, quote unquote relaxed. But really I was just coping and trying to ignore all my uncomfortable feelings about the situation and trying to just kind of feel good, but what happens is we just feel good in the moment briefly, but long-term, we don't, we don't feel good. We're not feeling all these things. The fruits of the spirit. Yeah. That's all I have right now.

Claudine
That's such a great point. I mean, our lives are transformed by the Holy spirit and by the gifts of the spirit. And one of the reasons you and I do this show is because we had both been Christians for awhile. And all of a sudden we both hit walls and God was asking us to go deeper, deeper in our faith, deeper into our belief system. And you talked about having the mind of Christ. And we realized there was a lot in our minds that was not of Christ. And that's where the work had to begin. Right? There were belief systems, there were limiting beliefs and negative thinking, stinking thinking that we both had, um, unbeknownst, because it becomes so ingrained. It becomes our default way of thinking. And those Robbins said that love joy and peace that we want to feel that we should be feeling. And I know when I hit the why I had to dig really deep and figure out what is going on, how did I get here after being a Christian for 20 years? Why am I hitting a wall? Why am I not feeling any of these things? And I was sharing this with a client recently, we were talking and I was sharing my story and just how it was so difficult at the time I was surrounded by a lot of well-meaning women. But the answers were like, are you praying? Just have faith. And those weren't practicals like, yes, those were great points. Absolutely. We need to be praying. Absolutely. We need to have faith. But meanwhile, I felt like it was drowning in my life and those comments did not help me. In fact, they made me feel worse. I was like, okay, now I'm not even doing this, right. I'm not even being a Christian correctly, apparently because you know, they're giving me the most basic answers and they must think I'm not doing that. After 20 years, I was like, believe me, I'm doing all these things. And I have faith in God, but my life right now has fallen apart. I don’t know how to get up. I have fallen and I can't get up. And that is a really sad place to be as a Christian to be so depressed or anxious, or really struggling when Jesus came to give us so, so much to give this these great lives. Not that there'll be problem free. There will be problems in life, maybe trials and challenges, but we should be able to overcome them. And I didn't have the practicals. And I didn't realize that so much of my thinking and my belief system was already ingrained and programmed in me that I wasn't even aware of. And we talk about awareness all the time. Um, but I didn't even realize that. And so as a Christian, really, again, having the mind of Christ, you know, we talk all the time about Romans 12, two be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Our minds are renewed. The more and more we read his words, that's what renews my mind and really identifying those things that are set against that. Which for me was plenty in there. There was so much, we talk about all the time, you know, the, the inner voice, the inner critic, constantly speaking in our year that we're not good enough or will never be enough, or, you know, all those things that most of us women struggle with. So there's a lot there and just having the mind of Christ.

Ashley
Right. And, you know, as you mentioned, our belief system, a lot of our belief systems keep us from experiencing the freedom in Christ. Right. You know, because it's not that it's not there. It's just, we keep ourselves stuck, you know, because we are focused too much on either these limiting beliefs or labels, even that were told to us, or that we tell ourselves because we're really hard on ourselves. Um, but we keep ourselves just, um, like sub-par, you know, we just, we keep ourselves down and keep ourselves back because of the things we've recite in our heads, but there is freedom. God doesn't want us sitting around beating ourselves up emotionally, you know, and saying all these horrible things. Like, he definitely wouldn't say that to anybody else, you know, but somehow we feel like it's acceptable to say it to ourselves for why it makes absolutely no sense, but we do. And we have been so ingrained, you know, our brains have just been conditioned to think that way, because we've done it for so long. And that's why sometimes it can feel impossible to even change that, you know? And, and you think about the word repentance. Sometimes that could be a really strong, scary a word, Oh my gosh, you have to repent because sometimes things feel good or we like it. Well, I don't want to give that up. I don't want to give up watching TV all day long. You, I don't want to give up snacking on my chips, but the belief behind it, or the reasons why we're doing those things is really what we need to address. Those things are really just symptoms, right? Of a deeper heart issue that's going on. And if we want to experience the fruits of the spirit and this freedom and this life to the full, these are things that we're going to have to kind of, you know, throw off of ourselves and really work on and do the hard work and be diligent and intentional. Because I mean, one of the things, even more recently, I was having a harder time with my self control. I thought I just had no self control. And it's like, no, I'm behaving that way because I'm telling myself I have no self control. So if I keep telling myself, then of course I'm limiting myself. Right? And I talk like this with my kids all the time and I build them up and encourage them. But for myself, sometimes I go back to those old patterns, those old habits, and we do that all the time. And so we have to remember that we it's there, the freedom, the fruits of the spirit, that life to the full is right there. We just have to do our part to be able to access it and feel it, and God will just make it flow overflow even.

Claudine
Yeah, it's so true. It, in so much that we believe is from our childhoods, maybe a parent or a teacher sibling, or a friend told us something. And now 20, 30, 40 years later, we still have that tape playing in our minds. And for me, that aha moment 10 years ago was wait, God said, I'm a new creation. I can be transformed by the renewing of my mind. Jesus came to give me life to the full. So whatever I learned between zero and 10 can be undone. And we talked about it a little bit, um, a week or two going about having a fixed mindset. A lot of times we think that we think, well, I was born this way, or this is just the way I am. And so our mindset is fixed and that's the power that God gives us, that we have the ability, the power to change, change our mindset, change our emotions, change our behavior and be transformed and really live lives to the full anything we want. We can have, we have to work for it. And it's difficult to change, right? It's super uncomfortable. Our brains don't like change. They like comfort. They like ease. Um, they like safety and change can be difficult. I mean, it's scary. It's scary getting out there and having changed. My husband and I were just talking, you know, we're getting ready to transition back up Northern California full time. But a lot of things have changed. We're going to be living in a completely different area. A lot of our close friends have moved over the last few years where like, this is going to be really different. We're not just slipping back into what we had a year ago. Pandemic it's really different. And for the first time I usually do really well with change. Usually it's really easy for me. And for the first time I started going, Oh, this is going to be hard.

Claudine
Like I'm getting older and things are getting harder. It's not, you know, when you're in your thirties, Ashley, like you things you're a lot easier. But I was like, Oh my gosh, I'm gonna have to find a new grocery store. And then you post office and then you everything. And, um, it was the first time that I had a thought like, Oh, this is going to be hard. Like, we've moved so many times. I never look at it. We moved to Tommy across the country. I'm like, Oh, this will be a piece of cake. I'm just going back. But I'm going to be like 20 minutes from where I was living. I'm like, Oh, this change is hard. Right. But it's not as hard when we lean on God. And we have him in his word, it's much harder when we try to do it on our own. But with him, all things are possible, right?

Ashley
Yeah. And when we focus on, this is hard, this is hard. This is hard. It, it does just keep us stuck. Right. I remember having a conversation with you and you helped coach me. You know, you're saying that you are overwhelmed a lot. You do you think that you're just reinforcing that to your brain? And so your brain is like, okay, we're, I'm overwhelmed. And then that's what happens, you know, by natural consequence, my behavior just acts overwhelmed and I'm like, I'm just going to watch TV, or I'm going to take a nap or I'm going to, and of course those aren't necessarily bad things. That's not what we're saying, but we do see, we can see something as being hard and fixate on that so much, because it is uncomfortable because we have to push ourselves because maybe we don't feel like we can do it, you know? And so then we just keep ourselves held back and really, we just need to shift that focus. So repent means, you know, from the Greek, the word is metanoia and it just means change your mind. Right? The, it doesn't have to be this big, scary thing. Oh my gosh, I'm giving up this and I'm giving up that. And it's just changed your mind, you know, change your mind because what happens is then your heart will change and you will feel better and you'll feel more joy. And your fear, you'll fear. You'll feel more peace. You know, you'll be more gentle and your behavior is going to follow suit too. You're going to start making better choices that serve you and the people around you. It's just like this natural order of things. And God said it all over the Bible. And I think when I was going through my personal transformation, it just was like, Oh, all these scriptures popped up that I had known and memorized. I'm like, Oh, so I'm learning all the scientific aspect of it. And now this scripture pops up and Oh That's exactly what God was telling me to do all this time.

Claudine
And that's what we both do in our practices with our clients is we help align the PRA the practicals with baseballs to help align the science with the, the scripture and the principles have always been there. We're tying the practicals and the science to it so people can make lasting changes. Right. And that's, what's so powerful because you know, you read these and some people might naturally understand them. I'm a little slow, like I needed memorize. And I'm like, I want this transformed life, but I don't know how to renew my mind. How do I do that? You know, and again, obviously reading the Bible is certainly part of it, but that alone didn't help me uncover those limiting belief systems that were holding me back. You know, I didn't know how to change my mindset. And that's where coaching came in. So handy. Once I had a coach, I was like, Oh, now I understand the practicals became very evident to me. And now I practice the practicals, right?

Claudine
Claudine that's a perfect segue into our practicals. So let's share with our listeners now are you're welcome. Thank you. Um, so let's share with our listener, our listeners, these four practicals, the first one, we say it over and over awareness. And if you listen to one of the previous episodes, I also like to say discovery because it's less intimidating, right? Awareness. Sometimes it can feel scary because we don't always want to become aware. And we really have to be honest with ourselves, you know, but basically just understand and discover your thoughts and discover how you feel in your heart, your emotions, and watch yourself and try and pick up on these patterns of behavior you have, or these thought patterns that you have when certain situations might happen. Right? So a lot of times what we do is we blame our circumstances. Circumstances are completely neutral. They happen, they happen to everybody. Everybody responds different, right? That's why we can prove they're neutral. The weather is what it is. The kids are doing virtual school. It is what it is, right. There's a lot of things out of our control, but we really have to focus on what are my thoughts about it. And, and we don't stop to do that a lot of times because we just go, go, go, and we try to just push through. Or sometimes we even just try to numb out and completely avoid, um, but really paying attention in discovering, okay, I'm really, these are my thoughts surrounding this particular situation. And this is how I'm feeling. These are the emotions. And it's so powerful to even label the emotions, be very specific. There's primary, secondary emotions. There's a whole lot of emotions. So even if you want a full, detailed list, you can Google that as well. But giving a name to the emotion that you're feeling is really powerful. And then watching your patterns, right. Your behaviors. Okay. When a happens, I feel B and then I go do see, Oh, okay. So when this happens, then, you know, and just really discover and without judging yourself, being kind to yourself, if there's anything, just please be kind to yourself, but really discovering and becoming aware. And the second thing is to challenge your limiting beliefs. Because by this time, hopefully you're going to be aware of what your beliefs are and what you think about yourself or other people or relationships, situations, you name it, but challenge them. It's okay to challenge them. What if that isn't true. I always thought I was lazy. What if I'm not lazy? What if I was lazy? Because someone told me I was lazy. So then I started telling myself I was lazy. Right. And how simple, well, maybe I'm not lazy and we can really rise up and we can push ourselves and challenge ourselves to be greater, you know, and do greater things. We don't have to be stuck by those labels.

Claudine
That's a great one.

Ashley
The other ones, especially that we recite to ourselves a lot. And you mentioned one of them is too hard, right? This is hard. Or we say, I can't a lot. We say that often or another one could be I'm lazy. And like I said earlier, I have no self control. Well, that's not true. I'm telling myself it is, but there's a lot of those things. So those are some examples that you can start really paying attention to those patterns.

Claudine
Yeah. It's great to challenge those limiting negative beliefs, because maybe we were told when we're younger and it came from someone who knows what their perspective was, who even their motivation for saying that. I think I had, I think one of my parents told me I was lazy when I was little, but I think they wanted me to clean my room and I go like cleaning my room in the moment. So they're like, you're just lazy. I don't know. I don't even remember it. But I remember feeling labeled that, that I remember feeling labeled that way as well. And I remember in high school, I kind of flipped the other way. And then I was an over achiever, you know, then I had to Excel in everything, sports academics, which, um, that strive for perfection. We've talked about that before, where you just burn yourself out because you can't do it all. And I was trying to do way too much and do it all perfectly, which is not possible. And so I think I want it to be so detached from that label of laziness that I swung the other way in a really unhealthy way.

Ashley
Yeah. And then you could feel your worth comes from your achievements. Right. And then you feel like, Oh, this level of success, I need to achieve this. So I have value right now. And a lot of times, yeah, yeah.

Claudine
I might be in the hospital with exhaustion, but I am not lazy.
Ashley
It's so true. If we really kind of think about our past a little bit and how our home environment was or school environment, different things we experienced, we can, we can connect those dots. We can say, Oh, so I do this. Whether you are a workaholic or whether you're a people pleaser or, you know, whatever it may be. I am this because I think these situations happened. And so probably I might underdeveloped brain formulated these conclusions and okay, well then I need to do this. Like, like you, you know, you excelled to a point where it was unhealthy, you know, that's like, that's where you're getting your validation because you wanted the complete opposite. Right. But even that's just as detrimental to you as just telling yourself you're lazy and acting lazy.

Claudine
And that’s exactly the point. We have to challenge those beliefs and really the only way to challenge them, just hold them up against the scriptures. You know, look okay. Someone may have told me this when I was young, but what are the scripture says? And that's part of our minds.

Ashley
Right. And I was thinking as well for myself. And I know many of us do that, do this is that we victimize ourselves. You know, this happened to me. And there are some legitimate situations that do happen to you by someone else's very poor choices or something that said to you. But I, and I like what you just said is comparing those beliefs up to the scriptures, which is our standard. You know, I mean, God, doesn't say those things about us. He doesn't tell us we're lazy. He doesn't tell that, you know, tell us that we're dumb or he doesn't tell us that we're ugly or unworthy or, you know, not valuable. And you know, he doesn't tell us these things. And so we, that's why challenging those beliefs are so crucial because there, and I'll just flat out and say it, there lies, right? The thief comes to steal, kill and destroy though. That's what he's trying to do to us, destroy us, destroy our self-esteem destroy our wellbeing, destroy our relationship with God and our families, our family look at the world right now, chaos ensues. There is anger, violence. I mean, people just hating each other for no good reason. And there's complete lack of peace out there. And it is so, um, just so poignant to see, I mean, this point, you know, I mean, we don't have to, we don't have to live in that. We don't have to be that, you know, um, so challenging our beliefs is, so is one of the most crucial steps to be able to rise up and shine and feel that life to the full, be living that life to the full and being all you were created to be, you know, so Claudine, the third one we're going to share is changing your mind, right? This is, we kind of talked a little about this. Repentance is changing your mind metanoia. And like you said, in Romans 12 two, be transformed by the renewing of your mind. And the scientific aspect of it is you're rewiring of your brain. And God has just designed us so brilliantly. And I am so thankful for neuroplasticity, how we can undo a lot of these conditions that we developed, you know, that we bought into these limiting beliefs or our certain patterns of behaving and coping and thinking. Um, we don't have to stay there. We can change that. You know, we can change our mind. We can change our life. We can change our trajec trajectory in life. We can change our relationships. I mean, my, I say this all the time, my marriage changed when I changed and it wasn't like that. I was the problem and taking all of the responsibility. It's not like that. It was that I changed my perspective. I changed the way I saw my husband, the things I believed about our relationship and it completely changed. And then I was just in a much better head space that when we argued, I didn't take it so personal. And I wasn't going falling into that codependency trap or the people pleasing or the nagging him. Are you mad at me? Are you okay? Is everything okay? Did I do something wrong? Like really? I was like, wow, that was interesting. But I didn't have to do that stuff anymore because it's like, okay, well I feel good. And you know how I approached it or my attitude. And I'm just going to pray and just give it up to God, because what we tend to do a lot of times is the other person is our enemy. You know, the other person is not our enemy. The enemy is the enemy. Right. But he is so crafty and turning us against each other. And so really understanding how we can change our minds, how we can have a new perspective, uh, you know, even that just is a new creation the way we think yes. Is a new creation. And so also how we talked about how God says it very plainly to us, right. And Philippians four eight. I just love this verse because it's very practical. This is probably one of the most practical scriptures that I have read. And it says, finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever, right? Whatever is pure, whatever is lovely. Whatever is admirable. If anything is excellent or praiseworthy, think about such things, think about such things, right. And then whatever you have learned or received or heard from me or seed in me put into practice and the God of peace will be with you please.

Claudine
Well, you know, that's our, that's one of our theme scriptures with our coaching practices, for sure. It's one of the mainstream practicals. It certainly would help me transform my life when I started challenging those thoughts and comparing them, holding up, up to the Bible and the standard. And is this true? And why my thoughts, I realized this is not true. Is it noble? No, this is definitely not noble. Is it trustworthy? Nope. Not trustworthy in once I started challenging my mind, my mindset and the things that I believed it was transformative. It really was. And again, holding it to the scriptures, like, what does God say about me? You know, what does the one who is perfect? Who, the one who is good, who is merciful and sovereign and Holy, what does he say about me? What does he want for me? What does he say I can do and have with this life? That's what I started choosing to believe.

So Ashley, there's so much here. We've covered a lot. You know, we're looking at Easter here, celebrating the resurrection of Jesus. Who's given us, eternity, the opportunity to spend eternity in heaven with God to have these new transformed lives, both spiritually. And of course, physically, emotionally, mentally, while we're here on earth to really have lives to the fall, to be able to really rise up and shine. That's our hope for every listener that she or he could rise up in shine in their lives and really bring glory to God. And so my challenge is choose one thing you'd like to transform, you know, think if it's your marriage, your finances, your relationship with your children, anything choose one thing you'd really love to transform and go after it, believe, use the practicals believe, pray, meditate, and really make this a season of transformation


Ashley
And I know we've talked about Romans 12 two, and I want to read the message version as we close out here today, it says, so here's what I want you to do. God, helping you take your everyday ordinary life, your sleeping, eating, going to work and walking around life and place it before God, as an offering, embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don't become so well adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking instead, fix your attention on God. You'll be changed from the inside out.

Claudine
Right? So listeners, we're so grateful you joined us today and we wish you a very blessed Easter and an amazing transformative life till next time.

Ashley
Alright everyone, thank you for joining in on our conversation here on the Rise Up and Shine podcast. If you haven’t already, please take a second to hit that subscribe so you’ll never miss an episode and while you’re at it, share this episode with a friend who you know it can bless today. If you wanna visit us as well on our websites, you can catch Claudine over at claudinesweeney.com and Ashley at mindoverchaos.com our links are at the description. We also have some free resources there for you as well. So remember ladies, no matter what you are facing in life, it is never too late to rise up and shine and live your best life.

Episode #69

Hello, beautiful and amazing women! In honor of Women's History Month, join us for a chat as we talk about what it is to be a woman. We share our personal stories from our own journey, who are the women that have inspired us and how womanhood goes way beyond our roles but deep down to our God-given core. Cheers to all the women out there. This is for you!



Ashley
This is Episode 69. Let’s Talk About Womanhood. You're listening to the rise up and shine podcast with Claudine and Ashley as an empty nester and a mom with young kids, we have both shared very similar and very real struggles. From chaos to coaches, we now help other women live an authentic and meaningful life. So tune in weekly for girl talk and tips on how you too can rise up and let your light shine bright. This is the rise up and shine podcast.

Claudine
I am woman hear me roar.

Ashley
Anything you could do, I could do better.

Claudine
We are mothers, daughters, sisters, friends, grannies, CEOs, secretaries, nurses, doctors, teachers, you name it. We are women. And today we are talking about the power of women. Few days ago was International Women's Day. And we thought, what better time to talk about this subject, especially since Ashley and I are both women?

Ashley
Yeah, you've been a woman a lot longer than I have, share your wisdom.

Claudine
Just a couple decades. But you know, it is an interesting topic. And speaking of that I have I have a few years on you. And just seeing the role of women in our culture in our society has certainly changed since I was let's say, 10 years old, in the last four plus decades, it's really changed and things are so much more open. And even to think that before 1920, we didn't have a right to vote. It's such a strange concept, because you and I have both had that ability in that freedom to do so since we were 18. But Ashley, tell me a little bit about what you see, as your role as a woman.

Ashley
So the older I have gotten, you know, I'm about a little over a year, until I hit 40. I'm gonna give my age out here. But I have really learned a lot about the role of being a woman, and especially as I got married, had children and the kids are getting older, is something that I've really had to reflect on a lot, because I feel like I'm kind of figuring it all out, you know, I feel like I'm just kind of figuring out my role, my identity, and one thing I really came to the realization of was that my role in life doesn't necessarily dictate my identity. They're two separate things. So I, I struggled a lot when my kids were younger. And you know, because you put yourself aside, that's what most of us women, do. We, if not all we put ourselves aside, to serve others to meet others needs to, you know, whatever, whatever role you're in, you tend to nurture and care for others. And especially, you know, I was codependent as well. And so I completely put myself to the side, I didn't care for myself the way I should have done and it, I really wrestled with the difference between my role and my identity, I thought the role I was in was my identity. And it's been a lot of healing and discovery, awareness to recognize that no, this is my role I'm in right now. It does not dictate my identity, my identity is in Christ, my identity is completely separate. The role is I just happened to be wife, I happen to be Mom, I happen to be daughter, sister, friend, those are my roles. But my identity was completely different. So really going on this discovery of, you know, the woman I want to be and growing into the woman I really want to be, you know, who God called me to be who God created me to be who he's waiting for me to be that woman that I have to go through this discovery period, to see what does that look like? And it does not necessarily take my role, you know, again, wife, Mom, that dictates that identity. So I had to kind of step out of that for a little bit to really get to the nitty gritty good parts of who I am as a woman.

Claudine
Hmm, that is just absolutely fascinating. I've never really looked at it that way. You know, it's so interesting for me because as I pondered on this subject before we were getting together, I thought about my childhood and again, I've got a few decades on you. So as a young child or teen it was in the 70s. It was a time when women were just coming into their own, but yet I was raised with very traditional roles. You know, mom stayed at home mom cooked. Mom was a teacher, so she did have a job, but she was on our schedule, and then everything else revolved around us and that was her role, but I really saw traditional roles being lived out. That's really what I saw. But the odd thing is that when I was 11, my parents sent me to a private girls school out in Los Angeles that was so different it really whether it was subliminally or directly said, I don't remember But I remember coming out of there after six years realizing I'm not going to be the secretary of the organization, I'm going to be the president, I'm not going to be the nurse, I'm going to be the doctor. And so I have these two very different, almost conflicting views of womanhood. Like, from my school years, I learned to value that I could achieve anything that I could do anything I wanted, that I could have any job I wanted, that I could send to whatever heights I wanted. But then in my own home life, I really learned that I would be the primary caretaker nurture of my family. And so it's just really interesting, growing up with two very differing views of women's role or even identity. Like you said, it can be very confusing because most of us say I'm a mom, or I'm a friend or I'm a daughter, of course, I've got the best role, which is granny and you don't, yet but that's the best role. And I love identifying with that one, because there really is no greater joy. Everything they say is absolutely true about being a grandparent.


Ashley
Oh yeah, you get to spoil them, but then you get to return them.

Claudine
I know that's wonderful. But honestly, we try really hard not to spoil our grandchildren, because we're trying to honor her daughter. But it's really hard. Like we were at the store the other day, and he really wanted a toy. And it took everything in me. I told my daughter, I'm like, it's so hard not to buy him something. He's so cute. And she's like, Well, you didn't buy us stuff when we cried for a toy or like, yeah, you're right. Okay. But, um, anyway, so it's just very interesting how far we've been able to go in while we're talking about this subject, I think about all the women that have had a great impact in my life, like, I wouldn't be the woman I am. If it weren't for these amazing women in my life. First of all, of course, my mom, who really was such a gentle kind spirit. So I learned so much from her. And she would always tell me you can do or be anything you want, if you work hard enough. So like she never limited me. And I learned from her to be quiet and gentle. Of course, sometimes being quiet. It's not great. But that's a whole nother topic. But I think I learned from her the beauty of gentleness. And so I'm really grateful that I had a mom like I did you know, and then I have two daughters, who are both adults now that are my constant inspiration. I'm just so inspired by both of them. There's such strong, confident, courageous women, I mean, ones in her 30s and ones in her late 20s. And I just look at them in awe. And I it's not because of me, but it's despite me that they became amazing women. I'm not gonna take the credit here, but they're amazing. And they truly inspire me. And you'll get that joy to Ashley when Nicola grows, and she's an adult, and you're just gonna stand there in awe, like, How did this happen? This is amazing. She's amazing. So.

Ashley
I already feel that.

Claudine
Yes, of course you do. Of course you do. But there's something when they're adults, and they're on their own. And they're like making it on their own. You know, good for you. You can do it. So and of course, countless sisters and friends and spiritual mentors that have helped me learn how to be a godly wife because I surely did not know how to be one when I was first married. And we were on the verge of divorce, and luckily learned how to apply the scriptures to our marriage. But I had godly women that had been through the battle before me, that had fought the fight and came out on the other side, and were able and willing to teach me to sit with me and teach me and help me correct things in my behavior, that we're just not going to help me have a long lasting marriage. And so I'm so grateful to those women. So so many women in our lives.


Ashley
Yeah, well, there's a reason why we need each other you know, I mean, we we really understand each other and we can help pull each other up, especially those who are in a different stage of life. That's why I really appreciate our relationship Claudine, because you have really helped mentor me and how to be a godly loving patient wife to my husband, and how to understand him better even and also I think one of the big things you've taught me is when to let go you know what things really just let go this Don't fight that I've tried to fight that it doesn't work. Let God play it out. Let him work it out. And that has really helped and I keep that in that little nugget you gave me in the back of my mind through a lot of situations I think okay, this is something that God will have to work out I do not need to just sit and worry about it or try and fight my husband on it whatever you know, I God will work it out. So it I really appreciate you being a couple decades ahead of me in life and just being able to spur me on and help give me reassurance as well as a younger wife and mom. And another one definitely for me as my mom as well. She Oh my gosh, really is one of my heroes, especially as a mom. And she is kind of a longer story, but just I'll share briefly, my middle brother, I'm the youngest, I have two older brothers. And with my mom and dad, I also have a couple half siblings as well who grew up with my dad, but my middle brother full brother had health issues. And when he was seven, he needed a kidney transplant. And so my mom gave him a kidney. And he was in and out of the hospital with him, I believe, since he was one year old. So naturally, we spent a lot of time with my grandparents. But she was just always there always caring for him. Even after the transplant, I remember I mean, you know, twice a day medications, she would have to inject shots in him just so his body didn't reject the kidney. So she, not just with him, obviously, but with us just really displayed such a sacrificial love for her children. That made an amazing impact on me, as a mom, you know, because I just, I just saw that example that she laid out for me. And it helps give me the confidence to do motherhood. You know, because I saw her being so sacrificial, and constantly caring for us. And, you know, she worked a few jobs, to help support us financially, before she remarried. And so she, she really worked hard to make sure we were taken care of, and that we didn't feel too much of the burden of, you know, being from divorced parents and having to take care of us financially. So it it just really, she really showed so much sacrifice, that really made an impact on me. And I think that's why I you know, with my own children, I would do anything like I just, I would let them eat before I ate. Usually that happens. Or, like, in our case, kind of funny story. But if my if there weren't enough meatballs with the spaghetti dinner, I would surely happily give up my meatballs for my children, so they can have more like, you know, just those that are silly, but, but it's really true, you know, and just seeing the hard stuff that she had to go through. really helped give me strength that I can do hard things to. And so and even now, gosh, I mean, I'm constantly talking to her about, you know, motherhood. I tell I remember telling her. I don't remember you ever getting angry at us? I don't remember you yelling. I'm like, I really struggle with that. Sometimes I yell at my children, and I hate it. I tried to stop. And I'm like, I don't remember you doing that. And of course, she kind of jokes. She's like, Oh, I'm sure I did. You just don't remember that. Yeah, that gives me hope then. So hopefully my children won't remember that side of me.

Claudine
Well, so far, we've learned that women are tough and sacrificial, right? And I was reading an article on women CEOs. And one of the things that said why women make great CEOs is they're tough because they've had to overcome a lot. You know, women have had to develop a thick skin, especially in the business world. But they're also flexible. I mean, we can be we have to be really flexible. Especially if you're raising children, small children. I mean, you know, your time is not your own. And apparently neither are your meatballs. They're not your own either.

Ashley
Oh my makeup's not my own my clothes are not my own.

Claudine
Yeah, wait till she's a teenager. And you're like, Where's my blue sweater? Oh, I wore it my left it in Jane's. Like, oh my gosh, don't go.

Ashley
I did that to my mother all the time. Oh, yeah. And she would ome in and find it on the floor. Sorry. Oh, but you know what's really funny, too, if she would buy shirts, or she would buy clothes without trying it on. So she would leave them in our closet have the tag on it, because she wasn't sure if she wanted to keep it or return it and I would borrow it. Wear it with the tag on. At least I left the tag on in case you wanted to return it.

Claudine
Oh my goodness. That's so funny. We're creative, right? Women are creative. That's true. My husband and I were watching a show last week and I don't even know what it was. Oh, I think it was This Is Us. But anyway, they were giving birth that was the episode where they were all giving birth. And my husband was like, I just cannot believe you did that. And I said yes, I did that three times. Thank you very much. So we are tough. I mean, our bodies are built to birth other human beings which is amazing. That's a gift that we have which in the very moment of it. Sometimes the pain doesn't feel very gifty by It surely is one of the greatest gifts that I know you and I both been blessed to have his two birth children. Of course, my fourth is adopted and no different feelings there, I always joke that he was the planned one and the easy birth. Someone else did it for me.

Ashley
That's great.


Claudine
Not to scare any women out there if you haven't birth children yet, but there you have it.

Ashley
Very true. You know, one thing that I really loved, just in my learning about womanhood, again, especially it really just kind of I got faced with it, you know, when becoming a mom. But is that how the roles of men and women are not meant to compete, but complete. And so that was just something that really resonated with me that like we are all created in God's image. And so men and women together, complete the whole package, right, the wholeness of God. And so I just love that. Because sometimes we can feel like we need to compete with each other, or, and that could be even enrolls in a job. And sometimes at home and our own family, you know, like, well, who gets the final say, I had a conversation with a friend, and who was sharing, you know, in their marriage, it's kind of like, well, who has the better argument? Some people might say, well, the woman just needs to submit to the man, or, you know, it's different for every family. And I thought that was really interesting, because that was something they agree upon that their partners and whoever kind of has the either greater need, or the more information to kind of back their point, that they'll respect each other's, you know, decision, say, Okay, well, we'll do that, you know, and it doesn't necessarily have to be the man all the time, the man of the house. So it's really interesting, because sometimes we feel like we can compete. But we're supposed to celebrate the differences and that we both bring things to the table of value, you know, very valuable perspectives and personalities and gifts that we have made to complete, you know, the situation. So I really find that encouraging, because I'll be honest, sometimes I have kind of wrestled with the men versus the women thing. And a lot of it is because I have two older brothers who I love dearly, I have a son of a wonderful husband, I don't feel like well, I need to be superior over them. And sometimes I see even you see some little girls running around with T shirts that say women rule the world or girls rule the world, right? And I'm like, gosh, that kind of hurts my heart. Because what about my son? Like, you know, can't we all get together? Are we all together in this? And so I think that's where the understanding of roles versus the identity was really important.

Claudine
That is important. Yes, yes.

Ashley
Okay.

Claudine
Yeah, I was gonna say it's funny, you're talking about roles, because my husband I have in our marriage, we do different roles within our family that are not traditional. Like he took the kids to all their doctor's appointments. Typically moms do that, right? He would clip their toenails or their fingernails when they were babies, because that terrified me. He would take him to the park to play because again, playground equipment terrifies me. So that's why we actually took our grandson to the beach last week, and there was playground equipment on the sand. And I just, I felt all those feelings flood back from 20-25 years ago, and my kids were little and I realized I still don't like playground equipment. It just really stresses me out. But anyway.

Ashley
That is very fascinating. I never I never knew that about you.

Claudine
Totally stresses me out. I think it's because when I was little I watched Kramer versus Kramer and the little boy fell off the playground equipment had to go the hospital. I don't know I was young when I saw that. I may be remembering the details wrong. But playground equipment scares me with little children. So.

Ashley
They are from the devil.

Claudine
I don't think so. But anyway, but then on the other hand, I do all our finances, even for our business. I do all the payroll and the profit and losses I do anything regarding our finances, pretty much I handle, I obviously review everything with him and I don't make any decisions without his input. It's funny that we both took on different roles that would traditionally be placed, you know, under the woman or the man or the wife or the husband. But like he said, We agreed upon it. It was something we had discussed. And we said, You know what, I'm better at this. You're better at this, this stresses me out. This stresses me out. So and we've had this beautiful arrangement where we play to our strengths. Power Trip, you know, cause overseeing the money is you share often on the podcast your husband does. But it can be a power trip, you know, if you control the purse strings, it can be very much so. And sometimes I mean, he does have to ask me sometimes like, Can I spend data on this? And I'm like, Yeah, but use this account. So he, he's very respectful but I don't use it as a power trip, it's just, I'm the one that knows what's in every account. So.

Ashley
You're guilted with that ability.

Claudine
I'm gifted with that ability, although as I age, it's getting harder and harder to juggle. But anyway, it's it is a balance. But I know for myself, ever since I was young, I was just always grateful to be a girl and then a woman, I never felt undervalued. And for that I'm really grateful to my mom, my teachers, I had some amazing teachers in school and obviously going to a private girls school where women were elevated and educated and encouraged and inspired to reach for great heights in their life. And, you know, I feel like I always had every opportunity available to meet whether it's true or not, I always believe that and so it's I've never felt held back because of my gender. And for that I'm grateful. But then I also have the beauty of not having the you know, all the responsibilities. I mean, I look at my husband, and I think God, he's a Christian, because he has God is his strength. But I really wouldn't want to have that role. Like he's been our provider. He's been our leader, many things he is and done a great job at it. But I think that would stress me out too. I like being the support. I like being the right hand, it doesn't diminish my value or my identity in any way. But I have just always been grateful for my role. My identity.

Ashley
Well, and exactly, you know, depending on what you want to do in life, depending on you know, like when thinking about my 10 year old daughter, well, what do you want to do when you grow up? You know, I mean, we always ask kids, what do you want to be when you grow up, and there's such dreamers, and they can, they can do anything they put their mind to, and they work hard for and that is right for them. And that they're gifted it, you know, they have skills and abilities and gifts and talents. And, you know, we want to foster that and thinking about, you know, raising a daughter, we want her to be strong, we want her to be confident, we want her to be respectful, and considerate, and God fearing, and you know, God loving and right, love others and, you know, just outwardly focused and all these different things. And but that comes from God, you know, we could encourage that. It doesn't come, we don't get those things. As you know, our listeners have learned anything from this podcast. Happiness does not necessarily come from success, it does not right from the nice house, or the nice car or the living the quote, unquote, dream life. That's not where it comes from, you know, it's within, and it's being authentic, and it's being who you are called to be, and who God made you to be. And so that's the identity. I think if there's anything I would want young girls to learn, it's know who you are, the younger you can figure that out, the better. I mean, granted, it's ever evolving. But one thing that I did not do is I wasn't secure. And I didn't really know who I was in my identity before I got married and had children. So I struggled. Because then that's why I kind of joke why I had to kind of figure out, you know, what is womanhood? Who am I? What's, what's my identity, and the sooner you can start focusing on that you can feel that strength and that confidence and know who you are, and know what roles God will call you to that you are made to fill. You know, maybe you're not meant to be the stay at home mom, maybe you are going to be the CEO maybe you know, that's, that's variable that's depending on you. And God, you know, the dreams that you have and what God is calling you to where it's a great fit for you but who you are, and your core is your identity. And that is where that power and that strength come from, you know, and then really when you're secure in that you can do amazing things.

Claudine
Yeah, you know, so true. It's funny, you brought that up, because when I was in my 20s, I had two of my children early in my 20s. And I remember when we start going to church, I had an amazing mentor. Her name was Marshall Lam. And I really wrestled with wanting to work and have a corporate job and just move up the ladder. I just felt like staying home and doing dishes and doing laundry was just not what I wanted to do with my life. And I felt like that's what motherhood was. I had a very, very distinct version of motherhood, my in my 20s, of course, was still young and pretty selfish. And I remember having a talk with her. And she really inspired me that women that choose to stay home, of course, it is a choice. And some women don't have that choice. But I at the time did have that choice to do that came with some financial sacrifices. But we did make the decision that one of us would stay home to be with our children as best as possible. But she really taught me the value of setting the temperature for the home, and really how we could move things just from being home, we could really move things forward with our children, with our husbands with our ministries. And it was a great lesson to learn early on, it really changed my view of staying home and being a stay at home mom, which I was for many, many years, I still work part time all the time. But I elevated the way I saw mom staying home. I know for so many women. That's what they dream to do. And they're not able to do in some women really want a job. And you know, they have to wrestle between do I stay home and be a good mom, you know, or go have a job and have less time, probably to a certain extent, it probably would have been better for me in my early years to have a job because I was just overwhelmed for years, just overwhelmed mothering, especially when I had four of them. It was just over my head. But anyway, we made it through and they still love me and I love them. So that's good. But it's amazing to have these women that have just impacted and helped me change my views on things to have a more spiritual or godly perspective, or just find that gratitude and find my identity that being home and doing dishes and laundry wasn't a lesser than and again, that went against everything I learned I felt less than by staying home. and ended up of course, I made that decision. And then through the years that went by, we felt so blessed and so grateful. And my oldest daughter who has two children has made the decision to be a stay home mom and forego you know, a career and outside of the home because being a mom is the greatest career there is. But there are financial sacrifices to that. But I'm so proud of her because she and her husband have made that decision together. And she really gets it like she gets it with these little ones which I didn't get into. I was much much older. She already gets it. And so I'm so grateful for that. That whatever role you have if you're a career woman or stay home, Mom, it's valuable. Either way, it's valuable.

Ashley
Oh, absolutely.


Claudine
All right, ladies. Well, I hope you've enjoyed us discussing our roles and our views on women and just really relishing in the fact that as women, we are strong. We are courageous. We're overcomers we are nurturers, we are creative. We are all things amazing. And a little quote here so we remember to pass it on but it says Behind every successful woman is a tribe of other successful women who have her back. So listeners We are here for you. We hope you feel we have your back in some way and that you got a little nugget of encouragement today. Until next time.

Ashley
Alright everyone, thank you for joining in on our conversation here on the Rise Up and Shine podcast. If you haven’t already, please take a second to hit that subscribe so you’ll never miss an episode and while you’re at it, share this episode with a friend who you know it can bless today. If you wanna visit us as well on our websites, you can catch Claudine over at claudinesweeney.com and Ashley at mindoverchaos.com our links are at the description. We also have some free resources there for you as well. So remember ladies, no matter what you are facing in life, it is never too late to rise up and shine and live your best life.

Episode #68

Daily planning is one of those vital tasks that can truly contribute to our peace of mind. Whether you are a planner by nature or more of a free spirit, planning has been proven to lower stress and increase productivity. In today's episode, we share our practical tips for maximizing your time, boosting your productivity and beat that overwhelm!



Ashley
This is Episode 68. Daily Planning. You're listening to the rise up and shine podcast with Claudine and Ashley as an empty nester and a mom with young kids, we have both shared very similar and very real struggles. From chaos to coaches, we now help other women live an authentic and meaningful life. So tune in weekly for girl talk and tips on how you too can rise up and let your light shine bright. This is the rise up and shine podcast.
Hello, everyone. Welcome back. So today is going to be an awesome episode. I am actually personally very excited about this one, because I am a free spirit and for those who are free spirit, this is for you. But also if you are one who thrives and loves routine and structure, this is also for you. So the best part about this episode is that is for every type of woman out there because Claudine and I are exact opposites. When it comes to this specific category and topic it is planning, specifically daily planning we want to tackle because with everything that we're going through with this pandemic, and Claudine and I are in very different boats right now she is an empty nester. And she is packing up to move her household and you know, in a new transition of her life, and she is working. Me On the other hand, I stay home with my children for the past 10 years, and they are doing school virtually 100% still, and I'm waiting for that to turn soon. But they are home and being a stay at home mom from that perspective as well and how we could best

How we can best prepare for our day. Because for all of us different types of women, the main thing I mean, a huge thing that we want to minimize is stress, right stress overwhelm burnout. And one thing that has been so crucial for me that I have learned is planning. And again, like I said, I'm the free spirit and I was very anti structure. You tell me you should plan and have some structure and I run the other way. So but this has been such a crucial tool for me to have less stress and anxiety in my life. Especially I think I learned so much more to the degree you know, with having the kids doing school from home, because then it kind of rocked my world again and shook everything up. So we really wanted to tackle daily planning today because we know it is such a great tool to help each and every one of you women out there to better prepare for your day and to really minimize the stress the overwhelm. So you can rise up and feel your best and be your best and go to bed at night and sleep restfully. Right. Claudine? I have a nice restful sleep. Right? Because a lot of times we're stuck, you know, I mean, we feel gosh there's so much to do and so little time. So we have very practical tools today for you to help you do that.

Claudine
Yes, we do. And it's funny because we really are opposites in this. And you know, it's funny, I think of myself as a free spirit too.

Ashley
You do?

Claudine
I do. I do. Maybe as I've gotten older, and I adore spontaneity, writing it is carefully planned.

Ashley
What does that even mean? I don't know.

Claudine
I like to be spontaneous. Well, and for me going back that right now I am an empty nester. And so I do have an abundance of time. And really when we say that the truth of it is we all have the exact same amount of time, right? I don't have more time than you. But I have less needs pressing on me. I don't have little wins at my feet that I need to be that I need to launder their clothes and I need to do their schoolwork take to school take activity. So more that time is dedicated to me to my pursuits and my goals. But when I my children were little when I had four little ones. Planning was the thing that helped me survive. I couldn't have made it. I mean, I would have been the mom that would have lost a child. I would have been the mom that forgot a kid. I didn't plan I would have that mom like wait there's only five of us at the dinner table. Where's number six? Where did I leave number six, I left him somewhere.

Ashley
Retrace your steps.

Claudine
I know. Right. So I think I had to learn how to daily plan early on just for my sanity. And to make sure that I took care of all my children and didn't lose one. So but in all honesty, to I was working part time, had four children and was super busy with volunteer work in the community and church in the community. So I was trained early on by some mentors, how to plan my week and my day, and that helped with stress. And that's the reason we're doing this today. I mean, it It really helps reduce stress and overwhelm and chaos like you talked about in frustration. Like I just cannot stand wasting time. Unless it's planned. Like I liked planned empty time where I can waste my time on my, you know, my doing like I just want to read or I just want to sit and look at the birds outside or I just want to daydream for an hour. But I don't like doing tasks over and over again and wasting time. Like I don't like going to the store three times. Because I forgot something right? That That to me is a waste of time. So I learned early on, it's been really great. But it's funny you share because the pandemic I am an empty nester now and because of the pandemic we've had, for the most part, most of us are staying at home. And so now I've had all this time with nowhere to go. And so what's happened I spent a few months where I got super unproductive like, weeks would go by and like I like seriously haven't done a thing like weeks are just going by I'm like, Well, I haven't seen anyone I haven't done a thing and you go on social media and people are redecorating their entire homes writing books. You know, they're conquering the world. And I'm like, I haven't I didn't do anything. Just sitting here watching Netflix, so I had to get back on it. Get back on planning. So Ashley, tell me a few things that have been helpful for you during this and daily planning with small children.

Ashley
Oh, gosh, Claudine. Yeah. So like I said, anything with planning, my husband's very much a planner, you know, I mean, you say the word budget, and my body's like, No, I don't even want to talk about it. And you know, funny thing, you helped me with this. And we've talked about it briefly on a previous episode about talking about saying, instead of budget, a spending plan, that's fine, I kid you not the other day, I asked him, I said, he brought it up, you know, we need to go over the budget. I said, Do me a favor, say let's talk about our spending plan. And my body did not react, it was very interesting, I did not get triggered because we've had previous, you know, challenges with that. But the word plan it is I have learned over the years with having young children and you know, life gets more complicated, you have more responsibilities, how valuable planning is, and that's what I wanted to bring up what you you actually touched on, you didn't want to waste time, time is very valuable to you. I never really felt time was very valuable to me, until I had less of it. Now what I mean by less of it again, you said we all have the same 24 hours in a day. But I have a lot that's filling the time, right. And so the trick is to be creative. With the time that we have, there are certain things that are fixed, right? I've learned this with going over our quote unquote spending plan, right, there's certain categories that are fixed, and that do not change. Like, for example, the kids school, that is the same time every single day, right? There are also other categories that are variable. So we have to count for those. And when we put those into our plan for the day, it just makes the world simpler. You know? And so if you really take a take a honest look at do you value time do you value the time that you have? Because that is going to help us with our planning, right? So if we say well, I really value exercise, or I really value meal planning, or I really value, whatever it is ABC, those are the things that you are going to work harder at and putting in your schedule. Because someone like me, and there's many of you out there, who are you have all these things, and they feel all equally important, you know, they all feel the same level of importance. What do I do first, and that's where overwhelm comes and stress and fatigue and sleepless nights, because then you're like, I have no idea. So coming to time management and coming to really valuing the things that are important to you. And putting those things down on paper is so crucial to help limit and limit the stress. You know.


Claudine
Yeah. Well, and we've talked about planning for the year and we've talked about goals. We've done episodes on that today, we're talking specifically about daily planning, and it kind of ties into the others and kind of what you talked about when we have to decide what to prioritize what do we value most. And I know for me, early on again, like I said, when I got training by some mentors, you know it was my relationship with God first on my spirituality. So when I took out my weekly or daily calendar, and I usually do it by the week, but then break it down for the days. I knew that all my church activities went in first and then it was my family. So then date night went in on the calendar, and then special times with each kid and their activities and school, those all went on a calendar. And then after that it became business and others the other things that were important either ministry things or hobbies or whatever else came after that. So every day we have a variety of things to do. I tend to grocery shop once a week, when I'm really efficient. I only grocery shop once a week, because I also have an eating plan. No, I love it. I've been eating plan. And I have a menu plan. And I have a shopping plan. I plan it all out, which is really great. Because when I go to the grocery store, people were shocked. But when my kids were little, I would go grocery shopping Monday morning, I would go to two grocery shops because I used to do this couponing. And they were across the street from each other. And I would be in and out in an hour and 15 minutes I'd leave my house and be back home. In 15 minutes.

Ashley
You brought your children with you?

Claudine
No, no, no, no.

Ashley
Okay, I was gonna say fifteen is with your children at two grocery stores. What?

Claudine
No, no, no. Remember, remember when your kids used to be?


Ashley
I was thinking. Yeah, I forgot about that. Once upon a time. Yes.

Claudine
No. I think went grocery shopping with my kids a few times in life. And I was like, Yeah, no, this isn't going to work out for me. I'm an in and out kind of gal. I know what I want. I just go and get it. I don't want to lollygag I don't want to look at I'm not there to have I'm not window shopping at the grocery store to get what I need for the week. So yeah, so I'm in and out. And I don't again, that's part of that time wasting thing. I would rather if I have extra time, I really would rather read or just sit and Daydream and ponder.

Ashley
Yes, do something you really want to do. And that's the reason why we're bringing this episode to our listeners because there is so much on our plates, and it can fit into our day. And it's really important to find like we said the things that we value and where you can fit it in. And really one of those things is meet time. I remember talking with a friend another couple and they said this to me they actually schedule in their calendar, like time for themselves. I mean, personal if not couple times, they do that too. But also individual time. I was literally flabbergasted. You could do that. Like that's not selfish and meet codependent. Right. And that's okay. You can schedule yourself into your calendar. Oh, yeah, you have to and these guys have, you know, they don't have kids yet. So I thought that was brilliant. Because I do. I have two young kids, I really need to plan in the meantime, because I cannot be my best. You know, I cannot be the version of mom that I really want to be for my children. If I am not taking that as a priority. And that had to be something that I valued. You know that mean time and so then you do you really have to pay attention to what are all the things on my to do list. And right. What time slot? Do I fit him in? So I can be less stressed and less overwhelmed and not so tired so I can show up better for my family.

Claudine
Yeah, absolutely. Well, in planning again, it's such a stress reliever. And another thing is when things are planned out, we don't get stuck with this decision fatigue by oh my gosh, what do I have to do today? Or it for me My head was so like, it was like a jumble like a little cloud, swirling clouds in my brain. But when it's all planned and put on paper, and that's part of the practicals but for me writing it on paper, then I don't have to struggle with decision fatigue.


Ashley
Decision fatigue. Okay, so you put a name to what I was thinking, because I do I when I have all these things swirling around in my head, and I feel like I'm forced to make a decision. I instantly feel tired physically. Oh, I did not know there's an actual name to that. Because.

Claudine
This is a true thing. I didn't make this up. This is a real thing.

Ashley
That explains it. But it really what you said Claudine. Writing things down out of our head onto paper, put pen to paper, it is so freeing because we can feel so cluttered in our brain. And that's essentially you think, you know, you go around and you declutter a room or declutter your closet, you feel great, right? You've got rid of a lot of stuff that you don't need. It just takes up all this empty space. And that's what happens in our own heads. When we have all this stuff to do and we're not planning and we're not writing it down on paper. It stays stuck in there and we can't prioritize and partially like knowing for myself, I get so stuck in the emotional part of my brain because it's not a strength of mine to be structured and plan. It just doesn't come naturally to me. So I freak out. So I get so stressed out over And then that prefrontal cortex shuts down as like, Oh, yeah, no, no, we can't even focus and my memory is horrible. And I plead horrible. And I'm more irritable, because I'm stressed. So I will even might be, like I said, My husband is very good at this. So I will, sometimes I get to a point where I just, I can't do it myself. And I need a little extra support. And I say, Hey, I have all this stuff going on in my head, I'm literally stuck, mentally stuck, I need help just getting it out on paper and filling in my weekly calendar, because I'm just not able to do it right now. I'm just not focused. And that's okay. It's nothing to feel ashamed about. It's getting a little extra support. And then it was just gosh, it's so simple. And really, I learned how to do it. But I was just stuck in that emotional part. Like, I'm just so overwhelmed. I can't even think properly, right. So I needed that little boost.

Claudine
Well, it's a vicious cycle, because we don't take the time to plan and write it down. And then emotionally, we get feeling overwhelmed and stuck and stressed. And then we start thinking, I'm overwhelmed. I'm stressed, I'm tired, I can't do anything, which leads to more feelings of that, then we we have the inaction. I mean, who wants to take action when they're feeling tired, stressed and overwhelmed. My biggest action when I'm feeling that way is turning on the TV and meeting something serious. Yeah, that's where I go to when I'm in that place where I'm so tired and stressed and overwhelmed. I just want to turn on the TV.
Ashley
Zone out.

Claudine
Neither of them are healthy choices, right? I mean, that's not the way to live my best life. It's not the way to rise up and shine. But it's my go to when I haven't planned. But even last week, I had to write down. So what I do is, at night, I write on little scraps of paper. It's funny at night, all these things come into my head right before bed that I need to get done that day. And so I had a little scrap of paper, and I wish I had it well, not that anybody could see it. But I literally had things like wash hair, then I had things like my daughter who lives on the same property, I needed a three hole punch, I need to borrow it, I cannot find mine anywhere. We started packing. And so it's somewhere but I can't find it. So I put three hole punch and nail polish remover, I need to get those things from her. I'd been wanting to get the nail polish remover for a week. But until I wrote it down, it did not happen. Right? Like I knew it. I knew I need to go borrow her nail polish remover, but I never wrote it down. But the day I wrote it down, it happened. I got it. And so there's something to be said about writing it down. Then in the morning, I just got up, I have my quiet time because that's my first thing I do every day with my daily planning is I have time alone quiet time to read and pray and just gather my thoughts and that sets my whole day in a great place. Those mornings I missed that I'm pretty frazzled. And I just started checking on my list. But I even have to I'm at the point where I have to write down like texts and calls texts. Call this like, I don't know if it's pandemic fatigue. If it's decision fatigue, it's all over moving fatigue. It's just life fatigue right now. Maybe it's my over 50 brain I don't know. But if I don't write it down, it's not happening pretty much. Or Siri doesn't remind me. It's not happening.

Ashley
I haven't reached 40 yet and I have to do the same thing.

Claudine
Okay, good. I'm glad.

Ashley
I actually do multiple, like multiple

Claudine
I know it's true. Another practical for me that's really helped. So writing down things is my first practical write it down whether it's on a scrap of paper or some kind of weekly daily planner I know we both have different resources for that that we use that have been really helpful. The other practical for me is chunking like activities together in the day. Like I try to run all my errands at once. I try to do them once or twice a week like if I know I have to go pick up something at Home Depot which has been our go to place lately then I'll try to see whatever else I need and pick it up you know that same day in that same driving side chunk like activities together I try to batch cook I haven't done a lot of that here but usually I do I'll cook a bunch of stuff for meals

Ashley
I've been doing that especially for lunches.

Claudine
So helpful. So that's my second one is chunking like activity together even like I'll spend an hour or so come in and make four calls and then set timers you know I'm not making calls where I want to just have long lengthy Tell me about your whole life, you know calls but there's certain people I want to just call catch up with and just make it brief. I have an hour I have three or four calls. If someone doesn't answer. I get a little more time but everything kind of has this plan like where it fits in in my day and it just helps so much really does. And like I mentioned, this would be my third practical but really using a timer or using the time really assigning a time to each task and be generous with yourself. Like don't give yourself 15 minutes to go do something that, you know, on a good day would take 30 minutes, like I overestimate that way I get if I if you know, one of the kids, I don't have kids right now. But if my well technically I do two of them live on the property and to my grandchildren. So technically I do. And they do come in, sometimes unexpectedly. But that gives me a little extra time a buffer zone, so to speak. So. So my practicals are write it down, chunk like activities together and make sure that you assign each task a specific timeframe. What about you, Ashley, what's been helpful for you in daily planning?

Ashley
Well, before we move on to my practicals, I have a question for you Claudine.

Claudine
Sure.
Ashley
It's a little quandary for me. So you said you over estimate time yet? I remember you mentioning on an episode in the past about your driving time. And your husband would ask you so how far away from me? Are you from home? Oh, well, I'm just I'm 20 minutes. And

Claudine
All right. Well, we're not supposed to point the finger.

Ashley
I thought that was so great.

Claudine
I did. Apparently I didn't used to overestimate how long it would take. And it would get me in trouble. So I've learned I've learned to add a buffer zone of 10 to 15 minutes.

Ashley
Excellent you have a buffer zone. Okay, so even travel time, like when you go to the store, visiting a friend how get stuff in? Oh, that seriously? Yeah, I couldn't let that go. That was just cracking me up in my head. So I had to say it out loud. Yeah, that was one thing. My husband really helped me out when I said I had all this stuff in my head. And I needed him to help, you know, kind of put it into slots, time slots. That was really helpful. How long does it take you to do this task? Yes. So then I know, okay, well, it's gonna take from let's say, 10 to 10:45. And then maybe from 11 to 12, I have another thing I can fit in. And there's 15. Right, I can sit down and rest my feet, you know? That was very, very helpful. Okay, so I, my number one get up early. As difficult as it is. Getting up early has been the most rewarding thing when it came to my planning, you know, for the day, my daily planning it, I tell you, it has helped so many areas of my life, especially being a stay at home mom, because I would, what I when I would get up pretty much when the kids woke up. I was constantly running behind it felt and irritable. I just felt like I couldn't keep up with the day and I couldn't keep up with all I had to do. And again, you're not going to get any more time of the day. Unfortunately, you know, we all have the same 24 hours. I wish half of that I was asleep. But mine is you know, the eight to nine hours asleep, you get some six, my husband sleeps about five to six hours a night, unfortunately. But you we all have the same amount of time in the day and just waking up early has helped my marriage because with our schedule, you know, he comes home, we hang out with the kids, when your kids get older, they're going to bed about the same time you go to bed. So with my wife and I we don't have any time really in the day for us to just have a good conversation to see each other to connect. So that has been a thing that has really helped and I am not a morning person. Let me tell you don't let that be an excuse. If you feel like Gosh, I'm not a morning person. It's I started this with waking up one day, one day in the morning, I would wake up, you know with him and we would have that time and I saw the benefits that I increased Okay, two days a week, I'm gonna wake up with him again. And then it became every day and I fell off that you know, with the pandemic and everything. I was like, okay, there's no way I I'm so overwhelmed. I'm so tired that kids are home, everything's a mess. I'm just so out of sorts. I was waking up when the kids were waking up. And again, it was like Okay, I know this isn't beneficial. So I did I started waking up with him again and I didn't have to incur you know, incrementally increase because I I valued that so much it right it's beneficial. So I just, I knew I just need to make the decision to get up early again and it has been fantastic. I had some quiet time I get to wake up before I have to be on you know I have to be on and try to you know, do my best for the family. So that is a huge one. I want to drive home.

Claudine
That is huge. And one of the points you made is that you valued time with your husband. And that's when you could fit it in. And that's such a big part of planning our days is really figuring out being specific about what it is we value. And how do we want to place those in our days. It's so true, we have to first know what we value. Yeah, once we know what we value, then we can put it in the day where it belongs.

Ashley
Absolutely. When I mentioned this, in a previous episode, I realized that when I didn't have that connection with him in the morning, I would go about my day feeling insecure in our marriage, because yeah, the way our dynamics kind of were and I, you know, very codependent and the people pleaser, I would just feel if we didn't have that connection in the morning, is something wrong? Are we okay? And in the back of my mind, I'm worrying about our marriage all day long when everything's great, you know, but I write things. Okay. And that would add to the fatigue, that that even the stress just because I have that worry. And so that completely eliminated that worry. And that relationship. Huge, so valuable. So and the other. Oh, did you?

Claudine
I was just gonna say Ashley. So when do you grocery shop? We were talking about that earlier, and you're making fun of me. So I want to know, when do you grocery shop? Where do you put that on your daily planning?

Ashley
Well, I am so grateful for delivery, that is a fantastic thing. So somebody introduced me to the magical world of instacart. I highly recommend it. instacart is fantastic. Now we did have a membership. And then someone a little bit wiser than me said, Well, you know, a lot of it is Costco. Costco has their own delivery. So they use instacart. But you don't have to pay the membership. So okay, money. So I cancelled the membership, because we had paid for the year, I cancelled it, when the time came, I just go to Costco, you know, plug in my little membership number and then make my order and then they bring it and it's also nice, because you don't tend to overspend when you go into the store. Because you're like me, you know, I kind of peruse, oh, we can have a little this. I just keep grabbing things, putting it in my cart out and walking. But you save, you know, you really save and the time, and especially with the kids being home, how am I going to be able to leave to the store, I don't want to take them to the store with me like it's a three hour deal after lunch. And if they're grumpy, and we have to go the bathroom two times that, you know, it's like, No, no, let's just eliminate that factor. And I'm not going to go at nighttime. So the delivery has been fantastic.

Claudine
That's great. So that that takes that right out of daily planning for you. You just have to go with a computer for 30 minutes log on. And so.

Ashley
Pretty much and then there's been times where I have to run to target or another store. And yes, I don't usually plan that because I go when I have the free time. So um, but along with.

Claudine
But would have free time if you planned it. You'd have a lot of free time if you planned it. It's crazy. I'm like not kidding. But there's more free time when you plan it.

Ashley
Well what I've been doing. If the kids are doing okay, on school, and I know they have about a half an hour, 45 minutes until lunch or their recess or something. I'll just tell him, I gotta go pick a few things up from Target. Okay, I'll be back. I'll leave you on school. I'm gonna go run to the store because it's just down the street. And I'm going to be right back.

Claudine
Yeah, well, your kids are of an age where you can leave them home. My daughter's kids, my grandkids are three and one so that would not work for her.

Ashley
No you definitely have to plan all that in. So waking up early is huge. And then my practicals especially for those who are home is a lot what you said meal planning, you know, or your eating plan that is huge. What I do also in the morning is I make sure I write down what is for dinner. Because this has been an area that causes so much anxiety for me and stress must be the decision fatigue that you mentioned. But figuring out what is for dinner that causes me so much anx it I mean, It baffles me sometimes why I don't even know why. But it really does cause a lot of stress. And so in the morning when I'm going through my day, or you know what's coming up for the day, I make sure this is going to be for dinner so I don't have to think about it later. And it's not in the back of my mind. Because then also if it's something that you know I had this plan, make sure you have the ingredients. Have you ever done that? Have you ever got to make dinner? It's 4:35 o'clock and you don't have all the ingredients?

Claudine
No, because I plan my meals for the week. So no, I don't know.

Ashley
Oh yeah. Claudine. No, you never. Well, I've done that a lot.

No, let's go to the neighbor's house. Do you have some milk? You have chicken broth? I need a cup of chicken broth.

Claudine
And a chicken


Ashley
Yeah, yeah. You know, but could you just give me a meal that would be great. We're really struggling.

Claudine
You know, it's so funny because Now that it's just the two of us at the house for dinner. A lot of times, like, I don't think about dinner at least I haven't this past year. It's been such a different year for all of us. But sometimes we just look at each other. And we're like, what's for dinner tonight? I don't know. What do you feel like? I don't know, what do we have? I don't know. And we just kind of go in there and forage and we just end up. Whatever's in the refrigerator. We just eat. It could be a couple of pieces of cheese. A leftover chicken. I mean, it's so funny when it's just the two of you. But I honestly I couldn't do that when my kids were young. I mean.

Ashley
Yeah. I mean, if it was up to me if it's what do you feel like dinner? I feel like not eating dinner. So cereal it is!

Claudine
Yeah. No, yeah, that didn't work. There was always a meal. But yeah, meal planning and, and for dinner, it's so funny. Because my generation, I can look at your generation and go, gosh, she pays a Pinterest. Like, if you need a recipe, like I would have to make dinner, I had to lug out the cookbooks, like these big old cookbooks and figure it out.

Ashley
You know, I feel like that would be easier. Actually, I have been thinking for a while and I just should just do it. But I have been thinking about printing out the recipes, because then you have a book to go to that, you know, your family likes, because that's another thing. And that really, I do know why it causes a lot of anxiety for me, because it's a performance thing. It is, you know, the perfectionist, I got to make a dinner that everybody loves, and they're just gonna be in, you know, wowed by it. So that can cause a lot of stress. Right? But yeah, if I you know, when you open up print Pinterest, you have a bazillion recipes, and you have to go through and then read through and you know, jump to a recipe, okay? No, I don't have those. Okay, let's look at this recipe, okay, don't have those. So really, that is one thing that will help if you can make a little binder and just recipes that you have used that your family likes, print them out, you know, here you have 20 recipes, just pick one, you know, it's gonna go up, you know, over well for your children and your husband, hopefully,
Claudine
There you go. Thinking about planning and longer term planning. The other thing I forgot to mention, which is really helpful, and this is kind of tying into it. But it's I plan the night before. Like if if it's on my day tomorrow to go to write a chapter on my book, let's say, then I get my computer and all my resource material set up. If I know I'm going to go walking, I put all my my exercise clothes and my shoes next to the bed. So even getting set to have a day that successful is getting the stuff out the night before. I know we've done that with our kids, when they were little we would put their clothes out the night before because then they wouldn't fight and argue about what they were going to wear in the morning. And I too, I'm not a morning person. And so mornings trying to get my little kids ready for school was brutal. But I figured things out. It's like if you put it out the night before you deal with it the night before, then you're just ready to go in the morning. But that's been really helpful for me too, is making sure my day goes as efficiently as possible, is that I get everything set the night before that I might need or clear off my desk or put my book on my nightstand or get my computer set up. Those have been really helpful for me too.

Ashley
Well, good for you. I'm not there yet, but good for you. Yes okay so. There are a few things that I like to call non negotiables. That should definitely be a part of the planning process for your day. Because what I really wrestled with is feeling like things are well, it's optional. You know, maybe I really don't need to do that today. Maybe I could do that once a week. Or maybe I could, you know, and the examples of those are self care. Right? Me time is exercise. That is a huge one. And it's also relationships, like how you were saying reaching out to people keeping connected with friends, family, also affirmations, you know, I've really had to do more self after affirmations to help me be in a better mental place, you know, going about my day. And part of that is reading, you know, reading the Bible praying, listening to worship music, and having a better mindset to start the day. Because if you like I mentioned, that's part of why I like to wake up early because I can get my mind in the right space, to have a better day to be prepared for when the kids come down to be prepared for school because I was you know, waking up about the time that kids would you know, especially in the fall time this school year, but the thing running through my head was I don't want to do school. I don't want to do school. Yeah, there we go again. Here we go. And so that was what I kept reciting to myself, but it was I woke up early, I could recite more healthier, helpful things in my mind. So I can be prepared so I can be more positive. And you know, to go about my day, and then ironically, and really scientifically and spiritually speaking, it actually happens, believe it or not, yeah, that's one thing. I'm trying to teach the children, when you have a positive outlook, things are going to go better for you and you will be more productive, you'll be more productive, because you're not so tired. You're not so distracted or frustrated, you know, in fighting through mentally and emotionally that you can get more done throughout the day.


Claudine
Well I think planning is so empowering, because then it kind of gives the power back to us of how do I want my life to look like what do I want my life to be? And it's the day by day steps we take that get us there. So that's why for me planning is so empowering. I'm not just drifting through life, although technically I have been for a few months here in this last year, I have been drifting, I'm drifting. But I caught myself and said, No, you know, I don't want to district through this year, two years, or however long this thing's gonna last. And, you know, as a Christian woman, we're often held to the standard of the Proverbs 31 woman and you read through all the things she was doing, she was finding woolen spinning it and bringing food to her family and shopping and preparing breakfast and planning the day's work, she plan the day's work. Now she planned it for her servants, but she was still planning the day's work. So it's there. She was, in real estate, she inspected fields and bottom and planted a vineyard and her lamp burned late at night. And I'm telling you, this was a woman who knew how to plan her day. And it doesn't say so there. But we know we're going to plan some me time in there, because otherwise we burn out. And I've been on that side of it. So it is really important. I mean, we do want to live lives that glorify God, we do want to live lives that are full that are, you know, we do want to live lives that are to the fullest, like Jesus came to give us we don't want to just drift, we don't want to survive, we want to thrive, right? So daily planning is such a big part of this. And it really reduces so much stress and so much chaos and overwhelm.

Ashley
Right, and I'm going to share my last practical, okay, um, things that need to be done and things that you would like to be done, when being right to write down as well on the list. things that need to be done, that could be deadlines you have for work or your children's school. Yeah, it could be moving right, as you're experiencing right now, it can be a lot of those, you know, like taxes, all that stuff, anything that really has a deadline. And the other thing is things that you want to do. So I think what can cause I know for me personally, what has caused a lot of shame and discouragement for me is that I have things that I would like to do. And I'm not prepared, or I'm not doing a great job in my planning. So I don't get to touch any of the things that I want to do. Because I'm struggling to try and juggle all the things I have to do. Right. So that is the one of the beauties of being able to plan daily, get up early, get your plan going and write things down, put them in your time slots. So that way you can bring in some of those things that you want to do. And part of those are the non negotiables. Right? That could be exercise that could be going out to coffee with a friend, it could be writing a book, it can be you know, if you want to blog, whatever you want to do, you know, even our podcast, brand things that you want to do. Make sure that you get to put those things in your day as well. You know, your me time those things are so important. But being able to write down things I need to do. And even for myself that are things, some of those things on that list are things that are important to my husband, like I've had to make sure I valued put value on the things that were his needs. And that was one thing that caused some rift in our relationship because he felt like I didn't value certain things that he valued. And so it would be last on my list or I wouldn't even get to. So that is something that I had to bring up my list. Put a little more value on Okay, Yang loving to my husband is going to meet this need for him. And this is this needs to be at one of the top of the list. So that is something to keep in mind as well. Right?

Claudine
Yes, absolutely. Well, that we could talk about daily planning and weekly planning and yearly planning for hours on end. And it really takes a lot of self discipline to plan but as Aristotle said, through self discipline comes freedom. So here's to freedom, my friends. Until next time.

Ashley
Alright everyone, thank you for joining in on our conversation here on the Rise Up and Shine podcast. If you haven’t already, please take a second to hit that subscribe so you’ll never miss an episode and while you’re at it, share this episode with a friend who you know it can bless today. If you wanna visit us as well on our websites, you can catch Claudine over at claudinesweeney.com and Ashley at mindoverchaos.com our links are at the description. We also have some free resources there for you as well. So remember ladies, no matter what you are facing in life, it is never too late to rise up and shine and live your best life.

Episode #67

Have you ever felt pushed away, unwanted, or maybe even phased out? If so, you have experienced a very common feeling of rejection. Rejection keeps us stuck and unhappy. In today's episode, we share our own personal struggles with rejection, as well as, tips on how to overcome the feeling so you can move on in confidence and joy.



Ashley
This is Episode 67. When You Feel Rejected. You're listening to the rise up and shine podcast with Claudine and Ashley as an empty nester and a mom with young kids, we have both shared very similar and very real struggles. From chaos to coaches, we now help other women live an authentic and meaningful life. So tune in weekly for girl talk and tips on how you too can rise up and let your light shine bright. This is the rise up and shine podcast.

Claudine
Welcome back, everybody. Today we're talking about something that we've all experienced. My question for you today is Have you ever felt pushed away? Unwanted? Unvalued? Because if you have, you have probably experienced rejection. It's something that every single one of us on this planet have experienced. And rejection can create shame, sadness, and grief. So today we're going to talk about rejection, just the negative damage that it does and practical ways, and practical ways to heal from rejection. So Ashley, tell me, have you ever been rejected?

Ashley
Oh, yes, I have in many different areas of my life Very much so. And you?

Claudine
Yes. I mean, I remember as a small child not being picked for sports. Because I was kind of small and clumsy, I would trip over myself, it was things as simple as that rejection can take all forms, it can be something simple, although as a child, not being chosen for a team does not feel simple at the time, it's huge. Obviously, I've been in relationships that have ended where I was not the one ending it. So that was a romantic rejection. I've applied for jobs that I didn't get. So that was an employment rejection. And over the years, I've had friendships that have moved away, or we've just lost touch. And there can be that friendship, rejection. So rejection takes all kinds of forms. And again, some of them are small, and some of them are major. And, you know, our brains are wired for survival. So when we feel rejected, it's like a death sentence. Because our brains needed to develop that when we were in hunting, hunting and gathering . If we weren't part of the tribe, it was basically a death sentence. If we rejected from our group, then we've had a very poor chance of survival. So it's ingrained. It's wired in our primitive brains to survive. So to not feel rejected, and yet, it's something we go through all the time. So that's why we wanted to talk about it today.

Ashley
Yeah, absolutely. Exactly what you said, there's so many different facets that rejection hits, you know, I mean, a job romantic relationship, friendships. There, even divorce, I kind of felt some rejection with my parents going through divorce. And even though there's this underlying beliefs that we may form, and we'll get into this a little bit deeper further into this episode. It's not necessarily the case. But that's what our child brain will come to the conclusion of, we'll assume that well, it must be because of this. I remember when my parents got divorced. I was, I think, around seven years old, I can't even remember, but I'm pretty sure I was around seven. I didn't really talk to my mom about it. And you know, us kids lived with my mom, and would see our dad on weekends. And I didn't talk to my mom about it until I think, seventh or eighth grade. And I actually asked her, was it my fault that you guys got divorced? And I think a lot of kids feel that when they go through a situation like that with their parents, they take the blame. It must have been something I did. And I thought, gosh, how many years I held on to that, before I had the courage to ask my mom about what happened. What happened? Why did you guys get divorced? And so that is one big example. You know, where I felt because in my head, for those years, I filled in the blanks, it must be my fault, I must have done something wrong. I was rejected, right? And so and we do that, if we don't voice these things, the situations we go through where we experienced this type of rejection, we're going to create the belief, you know, we're going to kind of fill in those gaps and try and our brain will try to rationalize what happened and make sense of it all. Yet, when you're a kid, you're doing that with your underdeveloped brain with your emotional brain, right? Because our thinking brain our prefrontal cortex isn't fully developed yet. So it really takes a toll in adulthood.

Claudine
Well, rejection creates so much damage I mean, like you're sharing it, those beliefs can attack our self esteem. We don't feel valued, we don't feel worthy because especially At a young age, we're not able to process that we're not able to think it through and go, Wow, that person must have been having a really bad day, or maybe my skill set for this job are not equally matched, but they are for another great job. They don't think that way. It can attack our emotional well being. I read some studies that show that when you are feeling rejected, your IQ actually drops which I thought, well, that's interesting. So it affects us mentally, spiritually, emotionally. and physically. I know, we both research some of the ways that rejection links to physical pain.

Ashley
There was a study from University of Michigan, the MRI, and they found that rejection actually can actually activates the parts of your brain where you feel pain, physical pain. And so it really shows how, why when we feel rejected, it hurts like it, it feels like your heart hurts, right? Because right? It actually activates that part. And so your body is thinking, oh, we're feeling pain, just as if I cut my finger. Well rejection, you're feeling pain, you know. And so it's really interesting, that that's why really think about it. It's a huge reason why we don't step out of our comfort zone, in certain areas of our life, or create new goals. Like we get scared to dream, we get scared to have goals, we get scared to initiate and a friendship or we get scared to go after a love interest or Crusher, you know, we get scared. And we're held back by fear so much, because it's so painful, right? It can feel just even the fear of the potential of being rejected is so strong that it just keeps us stuck in life. And we don't want to live there, right? It's comfortable, it's safe. But we're not really happy. And we're not really at our true core, you know, our authentic self, and rightly enjoying life to the full, which we really desire deep down.

Claudine
Yeah, yeah, it's hard to rise up and shine when you're living in fear. And isolation. Like you said, that fear of rejection can lead to isolation, where we then struggle with loneliness, because we're removing ourselves from the potential of rejection. So then we're lonely, which in and of itself is painful, a different kind of pain, but it's painful, or we keep going out there. But we have social anxiety. I know a lot of people struggle with that. That's not my struggle. I think I become a people person over the years. But with the fear of rejection, people can get anxious in social situations.

Ashley
Oh, I'm one of those people.

Claudine
Are you?

Ashley
You knew this about me.

Claudine
No, because I always see you one on one.

Ashley
Yeah, that's true. People scare me, people are scary. Because when you experience certain things in your life, especially childhood and growing up, and, you know, I got so stuck in my head, and I would just play these stories in my head and, and the fear and the insecurity I would have, I would just come, I would avoid, you know, crowds, I would avoid people. I've even told my kids before, I said, even when I go to church, every Sunday, every Sunday for 23 years, I still get really nervous as if it's brand new, and I still feel fear. And I have to push myself because I have to remind myself, I've been here so many times, it's not new, it's, you know, like, I now find someone, I'm gonna go look for this person, and I'm going to go look for that person. So I kind of give myself this task. Right. But I do I can still it's just so ingrained and conditioned within me that that comes up. But I try not to let it keep you back. Right, right. Do I just not go to church? No, I would feel so bummed out. I don't want to withdraw and be lonely. I love to be around people. It's just something I recognize about myself. Interesting.

Claudine
That's a great point. You know, the other ways that rejection can damage us is when we experienced repetition. We experienced the pain over and over by thinking about the rejection. And like you said, that study shows that we experience it in our brain as physical pain. So every time we rethink about the point of rejection, the time we felt rejected, we're re experiencing that pain over and over. And another one which you kind of talked about is the distorted thinking we tell ourselves stories, right? Like we make this rejection. It almost it's like, oh, it must have been my fault. I'm a terrible person. We never I mean, I don't I don't think gosh, it could have been so and so could have been having a really bad day or they're just not a great Place in life. And this has happened to me a few times where I felt very rejected in friendships. And then years later, I was finding out that person was going through like one of the hardest time in their lives and what I experienced as rejection, was them going through something really difficult and just pulling back. That was the way they coped. It had nothing to do with me, like nothing like zero, but yet I was so self centered, not centering self, like we talked about the other day, the healthy one. But I kept thinking, it must be something about me and we start to question our identity. And we internalize rejection as who we are. And it creates shame. Like, this is who I am. I'm not worthy. It must be me. And that's, that's not good.

Ashley
Oh, yeah. Claudine, just what you were saying, I went through that same conversation last week with somebody where I was feeling very triggered in my friendships with people. And I was feeling I kind of coined this new term, you know, FOMO, right. fear of missing out, I call it FOLO a fear of being left out. That's more where it resonates with me. And but it goes to that belief. I'm purposely being left out, I must have done something wrong. And I did. It was probably the third or fourth time where I got triggered, you know, social media, you see something on social media. And then I'm like, and it was finally it was a bigger thing that really, it felt so personal. And so I texted my friend, what did I do? What did I do wrong?

Claudine
Right. That's how we respond when we feel rejected.

Ashley
So much. But being able to talk through it was helpful, because here I was getting triggered. And then it's, you know, all this emotion is backed by this emotion, but being able to actually talk through and rationalize and get both sides of the story. And, you know, then you understand what happened. It wasn't necessarily a personal rejection. I put that belief on, on the relationship and on myself. So I was telling myself, I was rejected, they don't want me I'm not worthy. I'm you know, and we do this all the time. But it's not true. I mean, there may be a time where they really just hate your guts, and they want nothing to do with you. Most of the time. That's probably not the case, right? Most of the time. But it feels that way. It really feels like oh my gosh, it just hits that shame. You know, organ, it almost is so strong. Like it's it's so right. Again, right to shame organ and within you. And you just think what did I do and it, it, but a lot of it is so distorted, like you said, This distorted belief, and you won't be able to heal and move forward if you just sit and wallow in it. Right? It's just Well, I guess this is who I am. I guess people don't want to be my friend or I guess, you know, I'm not made for this job. And when we say those things to ourselves, it really damages us really so much. So,

Claudine
So damaging, you know, and it's funny, as I was reading different things for this, I realized too, there's so many scriptures about rejection. And in Isaiah 53:3, it talks about Jesus and said he was despised and rejected a man of sorrows acquainted with deepest grief. And I think about that, I think here's someone who's perfect, who live life as perfectly as possible on this planet. And yet He was despised and rejected and had nothing to do with who he was. It had everything to do with the people who did the rejecting and despising. And that helps me. I mean, that's helped me through rejection, really working through like, yes, there might be partly it could be me. But it also is very reflecting of the person doing the rejection, especially when it's done in an unhealthy way where it's done through ghosting, or ostracizing pushing out of a group, or done ambiguously. Where it's vague and confusing, where someone's not really telling you like their words may be saying, Oh, no, no, you know, you're with us, or I love you or you're my friend, or we want to give you this job, but the actions are showing something very different. So that's very ambiguous. And so there's a lot. So it just really helpful for me, that was what helped me realize it might not all be me, if Jesus himself was despised and rejected, it's probably going to happen to me too. And it's all through the Scriptures. We we can read about rejection in there that they suffered and struggled through it. It's part of the human experience, we're going to be rejected. So Ashley, let's talk about some of the ways we can heal from rejection.

Ashley
Yeah, so one thing I would highly recommend is I like to call it discovery. It's basically awareness right? Just have this period of discovery and recognize where you may be feeling rejected. What type of relationships do you feel rejected, I'll give a brief example. I even felt rejected in my marriage. And I felt like my husband would be friendlier. In the way he spoke to our children versus to me. And with me, I would feel like it's more businesslike. And that's just a normal thing that tends to happen when you've been married for so long. But I would take so personal and feel like he's completely rejecting me. And I would play, he doesn't want me he doesn't love me, he loves the kids more than me, you know, I mean, I would play all these things in my head. And it took me time to discover that's what I was saying to myself, a lot of it is unconscious to a lot of it are completely unaware of what's going on. But we can bring it to the conscious level, and recognize and discover where I'm feeling that in my relationships, or in a job, perhaps, or whatever area of your life, it could even be within your own family, but recognizing and just having this period of discovery, you know, with curiosity, not judging yourself not being rarsh with yourself, not criticizing yourself, and how come I'm doing that I'm the, I mean, in a conversation I recently had with my friend, I was like, I was just being so stupid. But there is truth to that, because it like the relationship I wanted to have with this friend. I was the one that was pulling back because of my own belief system. Right and they're like what's going on, and I want to be there for you, but then I'm feeling pulled back. And it created this whole inaccurate story in my head. And then it caused us to have this relationship where we're not as close as we both desire to be. But having a period of discovery is crucial. And again, with curiosity and not judgment, be kind to yourself, ladies, please. Yes, kind to yourself. And along with the discovery period, recognizing those beliefs, as we touched on the belief system that you have formed. So a lot of times it tends to be a pattern, you know, so if you recognize where you have felt rejected, even in your whole past, you know, your upbringing, different experiences, you might remember to adulthood, where are places you have felt rejected? And start kind of asking yourself, Well, why did I feel that? What was I thinking about? Like, what what do I, how do I feel about myself in those situations, and as you go through, you know, that your days and your weeks and everything, you're gonna realize that you're gonna find that belief system that you've kind of formed? You know, that plays a huge role in all these different areas of feeling rejected.

Claudine
So it's so true, Ashley. And that's what we help our clients with is just really addressing those limiting beliefs, those thoughts that need to be transformed, that are in our minds to make new again, so that we can have lives that we desire.

Ashley
Yeah. And you know, really quick, I'll share what I noticed, with this discovery period, where my belief was, is that I'm not good enough. And I know most of us can read, you know, that resonates with us, because I feel that in so many areas of our life, I'm not good enough. And we repeat that stuff to ourselves. So I recognize as I was growing up with my parents divorce or different things, I also had a breakup as a teen and different types of situations I went through, I would play that in my head while I'm not good enough, therefore, I'm not worthy to be your girlfriend or your daughter or, and, you know, it wasn't necessarily true. Some things there might be a truth to it, but it's not like my dad would ever say, Oh, yeah, I didn't want you to be my daughter. That was something I formed my head. Yeah, no. And so realizing throughout life and throughout the experiences that you go through, you will find a very common belief that you have formed that you hold on to for your survival. You think when you really discover you'll notice, gosh, why do I say that to myself? Why am I so harsh yourself? It really is because your brain is trying to keep you safe and comfortable. It does not want to feel that pain of rejection. And so it served its purpose. But let's work through it. Let's move forward so you can be who you really want to be.

Claudine
Yeah, those are great, great practicals. I know one that helps for me is feeling the fields. That's what you always say. Feeling the fields. But don't fixate. So acknowledge it, because rejection can bring about embarrassment, anger, humiliation, confusion, shame, all these things we've talked about. So allow those feelings acknowledge them, like you said, discover what you're really feeling for me, I spent so many years not even knowing what I felt. So just discovering, oh, I'm angry right now. Or Oh, I'm hurt or I feel humiliated. Those things were really powerful for me to start to be able to feel my feelings and name them. But then don't fixated on don't fixate on them. Last week, I was reading an article, it said that emotions actually travel to our body in about eight seconds, I thought, wow, the emotion itself, just the pure emotion, it's eight seconds. The problem is we keep thinking about the thing that produces the pain or the anger, the hurt of humiliation, and so then we keep re triggering, re triggering and triggering. So feel the feelings, spend those eight seconds or a little bit more. But don't fixate, don't keep ruminating on those thoughts that are producing those feelings.

Another one that's really helpful is feel reborn, feel remorse, over regret. So regret is I should have should have should have should have. You know, and we've talked about that before, what happens when we have these should have or all those things, it's not good. It's not healthy remorse, on the other hand, is looking at our responsibility to what's happened, the ability to respond, and what we can control. So for you even sharing your experience with your friend, knowing that you are pushing away, like now you can, you can take responsibility for the fact I pulled back. Like I was not helping in my friendship, because I pulled back you can control that. There are other things we can't control. But there are things we can control. And lastly, for me, I've had to really lean into God's grace and and really, like I shared earlier knowing that Jesus knows how I feel he's been there and he did it. And he didn't retaliate. He didn't act out in anger, I'm sure he felt pain and hurt and all those things. But he also understood the human condition. And he also understood that it was other people's response to him. That was the cause not him himself as he was perfect. Right, even though I know I'm not perfect, and so far from it. I know that Jesus understands my pain, and I know that God's grace is sufficient for me, even when I do do something that causes me to be rejected, because sometimes we do do things. I mean, we can have friends that we've just treated unfairly, or unkindly. I mean, I don't personally like to be friends with people that are mean to me. Yeah. No, like, it's not my go to boundaries, there's boundaries, it's okay. It's not like go to, you know, Hmm, let's see, who do I want to call it a the person who is mean to me or the person who builds me up and I think I'm gonna go for, you know, be. What's behind door number two? But those have been really helpful for me. And, you know, learning to that rejection doesn't easily respond to reason. Like right now, we're talking a lot about all these reasonable ways to deal with rejection. But, you know, our brain doesn't necessarily respond to that quickly because it is a pain like you said, like physical pain, like if you get a cut, it hurts. You don't just say well, it was just the knife went a little too deep and now I'm bleeding. I mean, you know, you're still gonna feel the pain right? No, I'm bleeding this hurts like even a little paper cut, it hurts. So you can't reason it away. But we can use these tools and these practicals to heal and not let it rob us of our identity and our confidence, our self esteem and our peace ultimately, our joy and peace in our hearts.

Ashley
Oh, absolutely. And especially when it comes to rejection, we really have to be careful and protect our hearts. Because if you think about it, we can feel so justified in blaming other people or not forgiving for a situation or you know, what have you feeling resentment, bitterness, we can feel so justified in those for if we feel like we've been treated unfairly. But even a lot of times it's the belief behind it. The belief behind the situation, yeah, that makes us feel these feelings like anger or frustration or pain, or hurt and rejection and all those things. And as I said, even just the small example with my husband, I, he wasn't rejecting me by just being super friendly for the kids. He just had in his mind, when I come home from work, I want to be extra giving to the kids, like, you know, because he's tired. He's coming off a long day. And I had to really pay attention that I'm just creating this whole belief. That's not true. And yet, so I would feel really hurt and insecure, and you know, all these different things. But I had to stop and realize, do I want to feel this way? No, I don't want to feel this way. Can I talk with him and share how I'm feeling and work through it and get his side his perspective, because a lot of times, we get stuck in just feeling so rejected. And we withdraw, because we're stuck in our own perspective. And this conversation I had with this friend last week, I said, I want to get your perspective on our relationship, because this is what I'm feeling. And I want to know where you're coming from, because I know there is responsibility on my part as well, you know, and where I need to grow. And but a lot of times, all the time it takes we need to process through what we're feeling. Discover what those beliefs are. So we can be more clear headed and open minded to hearing the other person's perspective and be able to change things and be humble and being able to recognize, hey, I need to grow in this area. Okay, it's not a blame thing. It's just something that happened. But I needed to grow in a certain area as well. Like you said, I need to, you know, I have a what's your quote? Respond what?

Claudine
Response ability.

Ashley
Oh, yeah. I have an ability to respond to the situation. And that's my choice, right? I get to control to respond. You have situations like that. And that's what we want to drive home. And I'm going to say one more thing. That's really helpful. As Claudine mentioned, it takes time because our brains are so conditioned, with this pain of rejection that we do hold ourselves back, we can self sabotage our relationships, we, you know, there's so many things that happen because of this intense fear of rejection. But it takes time, allow yourself to just discover, you know, your thoughts, your feelings, sit with your feelings. But also, one thing that's really helped is I like to call talk down your brain. Because when you're really discovering these thoughts going on in your belief systems, rather than, you know, criticize yourself and be harsh and feel shame about these beliefs that you formed, be come at it with a perspective like, this is my adult brain now talking to my child brain, hey, it's okay. This is a different situation. I know, we believed this for a while it's not true. It does allow the rationale and the logic to come in. Now that you have the fully formed brain. So I like to think I'm kind of having this inner conversation within my brain, you know, my adult self to my child's self, like it's okay. Like, you know, you don't have to think that anymore. And what do you how do you want your relationships to be? Or how do you want your marriage to be? Or what, you know, what do you want, okay, let's go after it. Let's, you know, let's do it, you can do it and start saying, even affirmations to yourself, know, and be able to get through those crazy belief systems that we've built to be able to step out of our comfort zone, and go for that life that we really want take that life, you know, in our graphs, and that we really want and rise up and shine and feel good and be who you are made to be.

Claudine
Right. Right. Those are some great points. One of the things you talked about Ashley, which was really good, and really helpful is just that explicit communication, where there were specifics given I think that helps so much to deal with rejection when you're able to have those conversations that give you the specifics. And I think about the scripture that says speak the truth in love and just think where we'd all be if we put this into practice, like, right, you know, I would love our friendship or, you know, this friendship has run its course or I don't see marrying. Well, I know my daughter. There was a point many years ago where she started dating a young man that she had liked for a very long time. And he finally asked her to be his girlfriend. And then after seven weeks, she broke up with him. And we're like, What is going on? She's like, Why don't see marrying him. So I don't want to date him anymore. And it was very interesting. But anyway, she was very clear like it was specific for her like, and she spoke it to him very clearly and specifically I'm not sure how he responded. But anyway, she was young, I think she was still a teen. But it was it was spoken clearly. And specifically, I think even for jobs, a lot of times we get these rejection letters, thank you for your interest, we've gone with another candidate, and you're left like, well, what was missing? Was it my skills, right? And my personality was it...

Ashley
What what did I do wrong?

Claudine
Right? where it could have just been, had nothing to do with that it just could have been like, this person knows, and this person knows whatever else. And that's what they needed. So just that explicit communication, where it's specific, and we need to do that, too, if we are trying to build relationships that are healthy, be very explicit. So that is a great example of what you did in your friendship. And I think I'll leave us with this. I'll leave us with this scripture in Deuteronomy 31:6. This is to remind us all that, although we may be rejected on this earth, there is someone who will never leave us and it says, Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified. For the Lord your God goes with you. He will never leave you nor forsake you. That's powerful. We may face a lot of rejection, but there is one that stands at our side that will never leave us and never forsake us. Until next time, amen.

Ashley
That was great. Claudine. That was great. This is such a great topic because we all experience it. And I think I want to drive home one last point, as we say goodbye to our listeners, that when you experience rejection, it is not a knock on yourself worth, you know, and I mean, you're any less of a person, it does not mean that you're unworthy of love, nothing like that. But that's where we have we do have to fight those thoughts. that's those are thoughts that come up, you know, that we, like I said, talk down your brain rationalized. No, no, that's not true. So just remember that we want to send you off with that. So thank you, everybody, for tuning in. Today with us. We hope you take something and can that it really resonates with you and that you'll be able to rise up and shine over rejection and live life to the fullest. We'll catch you next time.
Alright everyone, thank you for joining in on our conversation here on the Rise Up and Shine podcast. If you haven’t already, please take a second to hit that subscribe so you’ll never miss an episode and while you’re at it, share this episode with a friend who you know it can bless today. If you wanna visit us as well on our websites, you can catch Claudine over at claudinesweeney.com and Ashley at mindoverchaos.com our links are at the description. We also have some free resources there for you as well. So remember ladies, no matter what you are facing in life, it is never too late to rise up and shine and live your best life.

Episode #66

"I can't do that. That's too hard. I failed at that last time. Why bother?" Many, if not most of us, have said one or more of these during our lifetime. And there's a good chance it has been played on repeat in your head and resulted in what's called learned helplessness. In today's episode, we break down what learned helplessness is, share our personal stories and offer practical ways to reduce the helplessness so you can rise up and live your best life!



Ashley
This is Episode 66. Learned Helplessness. You're listening to the rise up and shine podcast with Claudine and Ashley as an empty nester and a mom with young kids, we have both shared very similar and very real struggles. From chaos to coaches, we now help other women live an authentic and meaningful life. So tune in weekly for girl talk and tips on how you too can rise up and let your light shine bright. This is the rise up and shine podcast.

Claudine
Welcome back listeners. Today we're talking about a topic that I know firsthand. So let me ask you have you ever felt like you were helpless in a situation felt like you had no control, and you couldn't make the changes that you want. And you don't even try you lack motivation? Well, I spent years in the state many, many years. And today we're talking about learned helplessness. So learned helplessness is after enduring, stressful situation or a traumatic event, you can learn that you are helpless in that situation, and in all situations, and then you no longer try to change it even when change is possible. And I cannot tell you how many years I spent in this state where I just felt helpless. I was just a victim, a victim of my circumstance, a victim of other people. And I couldn't change anything. So I just was stuck for many, many years. And of course, that led to depression. And it was very confusing, because spiritually, I felt like, of course, I can make changes. But honestly, my brain had been trained that I couldn't. So it was very conflicting, I had very conflicting beliefs that fought each other. And so it just left me in this stuck, unmotivated state. And several years ago, when I started learning all these new things and start coaching, I radically changed my beliefs that I absolutely can control a lot of things. I can't control everything, but I can certainly bring about change in my life. So that's what we're talking about today. learned helplessness.

Ashley
Yes, so something just popped up into my mind as you're speaking, how, cuz I've done this too. I was thinking that the wording stuck in assumption, we basically get stuck in all these assumptions, right? These limiting beliefs, these beliefs that we've conditioned our brain to believe, right, that feel true. And we get stuck there. And so we think, well, we can't grow, or we can't overcome this, or we'll never reach this in our life will never end. How many times have we heard around us? Or maybe we've also said it I mean, there's common ones. Right, right. I'm not meant to find love. We hear sometimes we even say this about other people. Oh, they're stuck in their ways. I'm not meant to have close friends, or people always leave me. Or I can't handle this is mine. I can't handle as much as other people can. That's that's the one that actually my husband was talking to me about this week. He's in our conversation. He kept pointing out when I would say I can't. And I thought, Oh, my gosh, I didn't even realize I'm saying that.


Claudine
Yeah, learned helplessness being an example. That's it. That's it. I can't.

Ashley
And one of the ones you mentioned is that I can't make dinner while I'm talking with somebody at the same time. I think I said that to you. Did I say it when you your husband came over for dinner? I'm like, I can't focus on dinner and focus on you at the same time. But it goes back to that. I can't. Is that really true? Well, it feels true. Because that's, you know what I've been doing? Yeah, but I believe it's my belief. I'm sure if I change that and said I can, then I would actually be able to do it. But what a simple little thing to show our example, right? Of learned helplessness.

Claudine
Yeah. And we all I think to a certain degree, we all do it. I mean, like, you know, you gave some great examples. There's others with weight loss, you know, I can't lose weight. I've tried everything under the sun. I think a lot of women struggle with this. relationships. You mentioned that. Yeah, that's for other people, but not me. I can't find dry. You know, that's not for me. And there's so many ways that we do this to ourselves. And it's true. It's just a training of our brain, that we've trained our brain, we've learned how to be helpless. It can start with people, it's children. You know, I can't do math. How many people say that? I'm just not good at math? Well, maybe one math class was difficult, but you probably use math every single day. You know how to count apples and oranges and a dozen eggs and you know, there's all kinds of ways that we use math every day, but it's that learned helplessness that keeps us from seeking opportunities for relief or change. It's what keeps us stuck. So that's what we're talking about today because it is important. People like I shared people that struggle with this, you have a higher rate of depression, elevated stress levels and less motivation to take care, their physical health. So it really affects our whole lives. It's really hard to rise up and shine and live this life to the full that we all want to live. If we have this learned helplessness mentality.

Ashley
Right. Have you ever been around somebody who just has such a positive, vibrant, easygoing energy about them? And you think, gosh, I could never be like that. I wish I could be like that. Like, they're just, you know, totally different. And that's not me. That's not me. And I think about that, because I have a specific person, I'm thinking in my head, who's a neighbor. And it's like, gosh, I would love to be just like her. She just she, I really admire her. But then we think what, because I can't do that, or I, you know, and I immediately back it up with why I'm not this, and I'm not that and I can't, and I can't, you know, I mean, wow, how easy that can happen. And fortunately, you know, I, you and I both have become aware of these limiting beliefs. Because I've done this work, right, we've learned what our limiting beliefs are. And so we can see it in varying situations and circumstances. And a lot of times, it's a pattern, it's very similar beliefs that keep popping up. And I like what you said to is a huge point is our childhood. So especially as I was going through counseling, and the trauma course, and going through my whole I like I call it transformation. I mean, yeah, it's just amazing transformation. I learned about the traumas of our childhood and what it does on our brains, right. So as a child, when we go through, and it could be a big trauma, it can be a smaller trauma, it could be whether you have PTSD, or CPTSD, which is complex post. Yeah. Not postpartum depression, complex PTSD. But also, if any experience, we've all experienced some sort of trauma in our life, right? Whether it's someone saying something mean, at school to us, or whatever, whatever we dealt with as a child, our underdeveloped brain comes to these conclusions, right? Our prefrontal cortex isn't fully developed at that time, so we don't properly use logic and reason and draw appropriate conclusions yet. So with our child brain, we come to a conclusion and form this belief in our childhood that carries us into adulthood. And we get stuck. That's where we get stuck, we are still functioning from those beliefs that are still the underdeveloped brain. Right? And so the awareness is so crucial, because when we are aware that we're saying these things to ourselves in our head, or we're believing these things, and we can realize, Oh, that's not really true. I kind of came to that conclusion as a child, because that's what I believed in the moment. And my brain just had to find a reason. Our brains just have to make sense of something. Yeah. And so when it does that, it just, it follows us, right. And so depending on things that you've experienced in your life, and I did, I had a lot of trauma growing up. Yeah, so so many of my beliefs. Now I fall into that, that's why I say, Well, I can't handle as much as other people, or even the friendships like, I don't know how to do friendship. I can say that, like, people don't, people are gonna leave me, I tend to run that one through my head. Well, people are just gonna leave me. So I'm just gonna stay at arm's length. And, you know, this is the safe zone right here. So I don't feel that pain. Right. And so we get stuck in those things. Right. And those beliefs.

Claudine
Yep. And that's exactly what learned helplessness is and how you can, as you were speaking, reminded me of that scripture in First Corinthians 13, where it says, When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child, but when I became an adult, I put away childish things. And that's part of,

Ashley
That's good.

Claudine
Yeah. And that's part of our work that we do with our clients is really helping people move past beliefs and mostly the limiting ones that they learned in their childhood, either through their primary caregivers, or through experiences or situations that no longer serve, right. A lot of things we believe, because when we were little it, that's how we thought, like you said, Our undeveloped prefrontal cortex. That's how it made meaning of the situation. But now that we're adults, we have the ability to choose our thoughts. And I love Romans 12, to where it says, be transformed from the inside out by renewing your mind. And that's what we get to do. As adults. We get to choose what we're going to think about we get to choose what we're going to focus on and we get to be transformed. our whole lives get to be transformed. And as you were talking to it reminded me of you know, there's the learned helplessness But one of the doctors that helped do the study on this, wrote a book called learn optimism by Dr. Martin Seligman. And he's a pioneer in this work. And I think I have yet to read this book. But I'm looking forward to reading it now that we're talking about this subject. But just as we've learned how to be helpless, we can learn how to be optimistic, which is like you're talking about your neighbor, that's so optimistic and happy go lucky. That's not me, in my nature, that's what I say, and my nature, I'm a half glass empty kind of gal, right? It's like, there's only half a cup of water, it's missing half a cup, right? The world and my circumstance, and I've had to train my brain through all the work that we do, and all the studying and books I've read how to train my brain to be optimistic, to see things differently, to think differently. And that's helped transform my life. So when we talk about that, we know that unlearning this, these associations that we have in our minds and deconditioning, because it really is a conditioned response, right? That's what learned helplessness is, is we've been in a situation and it worked out a certain way. And maybe it happened a second time. So now it's conditioned response, well, this happens. So I just respond this way, or I don't respond at all, I just become inactive. Because what's the point? Right, and so deconditioning, our responses takes a little bit of practice. And that's what we're going to talk about today, ways that we can learn how to not be helpless ways we can learn to be optimistic, and to take back the control that we do have. I mean, God is a creative, powerful God, and He made us in His image, we have the power to create in our lives, we have the power to take response ability to the circumstances in our lives, we're not just hapless victims, just puppets, that fate is just happening to you. But there is cause and effect. And that was huge for me to realizing that, you know, a lot of the effects that I've experienced in my life are caused by some of my actions or inactions or my beliefs or my responses. And that's why I have the circumstance I have. It's not like, I just got up, you know, I got on the wrong side of the the receiving line and didn't get all the good stuff that other people got so. Powerful.

Ashley
Yeah. You know, when you're talking about conditioning, the conditioning that we've gone through, when we go through experiences, it's the understanding the why, while the Why is for survival, right? I mean, our most primitive basis is for survival. That's what the fight flight freeze, is for. It's for our survival. And so as I mentioned earlier, when we formed these beliefs, it was because our brain had to kind of rationalize with the little rationale we had right at the time. But it was to keep us safe or to understand, and you know, what was going? It was to keep us safe and sur-, you know, survival. And it. So one thing that's actually helpful that I want to mention, as we do work on deconditioning those beliefs is, one thing you can do is thank your younger self, for protecting you. For the time being, we don't have to feel ashamed that Oh, my gosh, like, I grew up with these beliefs. And I can't believe that I'm treating myself this way. I can't believe I thought that or, you know, don't shame yourself, just for the time being your child self, this is the way that it protected you, you know, for whatever you were going through, and you think your your younger self will thank you for protecting me with the information you had at the time you were trying to do your best for me, you know, and just accept that. But also recognize that we can always learn and grow, you know, we don't have to be stuck, like, hey, this worked for me for a while. Now I'm ready to move on and try something else, you know, I'm ready to move on and move forward. And a lot of times this can happen because we get stuck in the past, right? We write about that we get. We're still kind of keeping ourselves in the past, when we're holding on to these limiting beliefs. And the real power comes again, with the awareness because a lot of these beliefs like even over the last weekend, my husband pointing out every time I say I can't, I can't Yeah, so many times it's subconscious, so many times we don't even know. And if I wasn't having this conversation with him, or sometimes even journaling, I would not come to that conclusion and that awareness and realize, Wow, I didn't realize I was doing this. I didn't realize these words coming out of my head. It was so automatic. I, who have learned a lot of this stuff, right and teach this stuff, I was still unaware of what I was saying, Yeah, or what I was thinking. I mean, there's so much to dig into. But just remembering that, hey, it serves you for a while. But now let's move on and try something else that's going to better serve you in your adulthood. And the direction that you want to go.

Claudine
Exactly. And there are different ways to do that. But it's interesting, you pointed out that subconsciously, you say, I can't, I can't all the time. But that's, that's what happens is we get these grooves built in our brains, right? Our neural pathways are formed. And then it becomes automatic. It's like habitual, you know, it's just because we've set it so often now. That's right. Oh, to default mode of thinking. And that's what so much of our work is it's helping people develop new neural pathways develop new thoughts, new beliefs that serve them, rather than write them back. So one of the ways that that helps understand learn helplessness is understanding our explanatory style. Which is how we explain the events in our lives. And there's three different ways according to the story, there's personalization, whether we view things in our life is internal or external. There's pervasive whether we view it as global or local as in this always happens to me in every area of my life, or it just happens in this specific area of my life. And then permanent is the circumstance is it all the time, or just transitory like it's happened, this bad situations happen, but it's gonna pass. And the way we look at things, the way we view the circumstances in our life, will determine whether we have this learned helplessness or whether we can stay optimistic about it. So I remember several years ago, when the real estate market crashed my husband and I basically, basically both lost our jobs. And then a bunch of financial problems ensued. And I remember thinking at the time, oh, my goodness, we're always going to be broke, this is always going to be like this. And at the same time, one of our children was going through a difficult time. So then it felt like it was in every part of my life, like, we're just never going to make it we're never going to succeed. It's always it's everywhere. And so those are some of the key words you have to look for. If If you start thinking it's always or never, or every part of my life, you know, then you probably have some learned helplessness going on. You have some thoughts in your mind that are explaining the events in your life, not in a healthy way and In a way that serve you. Another way, is creating an optimistic viewpoint. And we don't have a whole lot of time on this episode to delve into that. But I do have a resource, we both have resources on our website for that. So check it out, it's called the ABC method. And it will help train your brain to have an optimistic viewpoint about the circumstances in your life. And sometimes that's all we need is just a resource, something to help train our thinking and look at things in a new way. And lastly, a third thing is goal setting that can really help overcome learned helplessness. Because when we achieve goals, when we set small, realistic goals and achieve them, then we realize we're not helpless after all, that we actually do have some control, and it increases our desire, our motivation to reach certain things in our lives. So there are ways to overcome helplessness. But it is not easy. It's simple, but not easy. And it does take work.

Ashley
Right? You know, something else I'm going to add is labels, like being careful of how we label ourselves because we can use and I mentioned several times, some of my own thoughts is like I am, or I can't write. And so we tend to label I am lazy, I am just a lazy person. I said that to myself for a long time. And my siblings would say that to me, and I realized I was probably depressed. That explains why I felt lazy, like, okay, there's a reason for this. But we label ourselves and we will function in life based on that label. So we can limit ourselves to Well, since I told myself I'm lazy, then I'm just going to act lazy, that's my behavior, even unconsciously, right? Well, that's like, basically as high up as I'm gonna, you know, like the expectation I'm gonna live up to that expectation. And so when we fill ourselves with, well, I can't do this, and we're never going to do that. And this, you know, those absolutes? Well, you are going to read that, you know, we've learned from experience we've learned from researching and setting this out and talking with clients. That does happen. When you say those things it is that's what you're gonna get. Right? So it's very important to change that narrative in your head and be very careful of those labels. Hey, what do I label myself as? How do I you know, like, as Case in point, my husband mentioned, you say, you can't talk while cooking dinner? Oh, I labeled myself that. And so I feel like I can't it feels true. When we have conditioned ourselves, it feels so true. And that's why it's so hard to overcome it. Because we don't feel like it's possible. Like, well, this is who I am. And it's just I've learned to accept it yet. No, you don't have to. Is that really what you want? Do you want to live in that state? Is that who you want to be? Is that rising up and shining and being your best self? Probably not. And so it keeps us at this powerless level? We believe that we are completely powerless, and especially I fall into that victim mentality as well, like, well, things just happened to me. Right? You know, granted, there is a certain amount of that that does sometimes life just happens. But I have I've learned in the past. And this came with awareness that I do live that way I and things fall into place to prove that to be true. Right. So people always leave me that was that was one of them. People, people leave me people have moved people have I can't control that I can't control right? A friend moves. Right that that is what it is. Doesn't mean we're not friends anymore. How come I couldn't keep in contact? Right? I took it as they left me. And so all ties cut, right? And Ouch, that hurt. So I'm going to retreat into my little shell. For self preservation. That's right. As we talked about before, but being very careful. And so one thing that is really powerful, we need to empower ourselves more, right? And I have this conversation with my children all the time, especially one who will remain nameless, is very similar to me in our own heads. We have very limiting beliefs in our own heads, right we have this issue with self esteem we don't think very well of ourselves. We are very negative and feel a lot of shame and so we can do that we can well I'm this and I can't do that and I'll never but we just have to change that dialogue. Well I can I am focus on the things like you mentioned the optimism, right focus on what we can do focus on what we are and as we mentioned before, our value in our last episode, right we talk about our value we align with God because God tells us the truth. Yeah. that's what that's what was really freeing that I want to drive home for our listeners. God is truthful. So we focus on those true things of how and God has said all over in the Bible of how he feels about us. Those are the things we need to be playing in our head. I am a child of God, I am.

Claudine
I got one. What is it, I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. I mean, I can write all things, not some things, all things through Christ who strengthens me, that was a huge one for me to overcome my learned helplessness. There were things I wanted in my life. I mean, my goal is to be debt free. You know, my husband and I, we desired to be debt free. As we're approaching our later years in life, we want the freedom that that brings and not tied down with a lot of debt or a high mortgage. And, you know, I had to overcome that learned helplessness that I'll always be broke, or, you know, we don't have success in finances. So this is the way it'll always be, we had to start thinking out of the box. And one of the things we decided to do was sell our home, our family home down in Southern California, which, if you've been listening at all, you know, has been quite the saga. But you know, I had to, we had to think outside the box to get this deal done. Because there were some obstacles, a guest house on the property that was permitted, but not real property, it was just too much to go into detail here, we had to get really creative to overcome it. And there were times where it's so hard, we both just wanted to give up right? Like, oh, hard, let's just sell it for pennies on the dollar. But the truth of it is, then we wouldn't be able to be debt free, when we wouldn't be able to buy our next house, house and have a manageable mortgage. So we need to think outside of the box, we need to lean on the strength that God gives, right. And as Christians, we know, we have the power of the Holy Spirit's work working in us and through us. And so I could have just said, We both could have just said, This is too hard. Let's just give up because it would have been easier and just take, you know, much less money. But we had to climb out of ourselves climb out of this room, especially me not so much my husband, but really look for the opportunities to overcome and remind myself I can do hard things, right? Because I know you you shared you thought you were lazy. Well, I was like, I'm just kind of wimpy I can't do. That's kind of was one of my beliefs, like, hard things are just too hard for me. That's for other people. They're overcomers. I'm like, I just want to kind of glide through life simply and easily/

Ashley
And be comfortable.

Claudine
Right? My primitive brain is constantly striving to keep me comfortable and safe. And now I realized I can do hard things in I can recognize this is going to be hard. And I tell myself, so what you can do hard things. And then I just do it, it's much easier. You know, the minute we believe it, the minute we have that thought I can do hard things, and we can do it. I can do all things, I can do hard things, I can do all things. And I can do this, and we're gonna do this. And then the feelings change. And there's this motivation, then there's this feelings of self worth. And I love what you brought up earlier about even just self compassion that for a time when we didn't do it, maybe when we were younger, have compassion, because that got us through today. I can look back and go, Wow, I spent 40 plus years thinking these thoughts. I mean, where would I be today? If I hadn't. But the truth of it is. I got to where I am because I survived. And I'm just so grateful that I learned it when I did, which really is about to take decades after you. So what I'm here now, yeah, and that's the point. And now I can rise up and shine and live life to the full and be present is my best self. So we can do hard things and we can do all things.

Ashley
Absolutely. And you know, I was thinking, I say that to myself a lot. I could do hard things. Because when we say this is too hard. Then again, we're limiting ourselves because that's a belief we have Well, it's too hard to I can't do it. And doing virtual school with the children at home. I see this so much. I'm sure many of us who are in the same situation, see this a lot. And you're constantly like trying to encourage our kids. You can do it. You can do hard things. I know it's tough. I know this is different. You know, we're trying to be their champion, right. One thing I've been working on with my clients, as well as myself is having our adult self talk, and rationalize help bring that logic and rationalize with our child's self, right like that inner child. So it helps with having kind of those two roles in our own heads going on. It brings, it eliminates the shame factor, and it just helps us like we mentioned earlier, well, thank you to my child's self for protecting me and helping me through these years. And now and just bring the rationale to it. Right. So for example, one of the things I've been working through is, in my friendships, right, as I mentioned, one of the things that I can repeatedly say to myself is, well, people just leave, you know, people leave. And my husband actually said it really well. I expect people to fall out of my life. I thought wow, the way you said, that just really triggered. me. I'm like, that is that was brilliant. Like, that's exactly like he articulated what I felt, I expect that people are gonna fall out of my life. So I live at arm's length. Right? So what happens now, that was a belief that I formed from growing up, right through my experiences, and having a lot of people leave, I had a grandmother who passed away when I was very young, my mom had a lot of challenges with my brother, my older brother, who had a lot of health issues. So they were in and out of the hospital together, which is why we would spend a lot of time with my grandparents. So she had to be away for a while my parents went through a divorce. I've had friends that have moved, I've had friends who we just lost contact, or, you know, just weren't friends anymore. So there's a lot of that type of stuff going on. So here comes adulthood. And my brain says, Well, people just leave or as my husband so eloquently put it, people fall out of my life. And so that was a belief that was like an absolute, that's just what happens. That's what I expect. So it limited me in my friendships with my relationships with people, right. And so my adult self now needs to use rationale, that prefrontal cortex that now is fully developed, and to help my inner child self understand that situations, right, because what happens is when we have that belief that going through every situation, they're different circumstances, but that belief is the same through all those circumstances, right. And so we have to tell ourselves, in this situation, this is what's happening. They're not abandoning me, they're not rejecting me, they're just moving. Right? So that's a example of our child, our adult self rationalizing, and really sharing with our inner child, right, that the true circumstances No, they are not rejecting, you know, they're not abandon you that this is just something that happens in life, right. So. So it really helps being able to do that. Because since we're so much in our head, anyways, it's very important for us to bring in that rationale, because a lot of the beliefs that we have formed that we have conditioned our brains to believe, aren't accurate, right? You know, they're not necessarily accurate, or they may have been true with one circumstance when you were seven. But Come, let's say 38. It's not true in this circumstance, it might feel like it's the same situation, but it's not. And so that's where our adult self, I mean, it's just brilliant how God has created our brains, right to be able to do this. And that's, that helps bring the awareness and it helps us to be able to change those, those beliefs, and really focus on what we can do really focus on what we are and who we are in God's eyes.

Claudine
Right? Well, and as much as we learned helplessness, we can learn optimism, and God has equipped us to do just that. So I hope there have been some practicals today that have helped you and as always, send in any requests for topics or any comments, we'd love to hear from you. And don't forget to subscribe if you haven't already, and we have lots of resources on our website, so please check in there. Until next time,

Ashley
Alright everyone, thank you for joining in on our conversation here on the Rise Up and Shine podcast. If you haven’t already, please take a second to hit that subscribe so you’ll never miss an episode and while you’re at it, share this episode with a friend who you know it can bless today. If you wanna visit us as well on our websites, you can catch Claudine over at claudinesweeney.com and Ashley at mindoverchaos.com our links are at the description. We also have some free resources there for you as well. So remember ladies, no matter what you are facing in life, it is never too late to rise up and shine and live your best life.

Episode #65

Sometimes we can feel in complete disarray, right ladies? Our minds have trouble focusing or remembering, we just can't seem to get a handle on our emotions and we may be reaching for that wine, bag of chips, TV remote or phone more often these days just to cope. In today's episode, we talk about practical ways to get back to a centered self when our life seems out of sorts and finish the day feeling proud of yourself for showing up the way you want to.



Ashley
This is Episode 65. Centering Self. You're listening to the rise up and shine podcast with Claudine and Ashley as an empty nester and a mom with young kids, we have both shared very similar and very real struggles. From chaos to coaches, we now help other women live an authentic and meaningful life. So tune in weekly for girl talk and tips on how you too can rise up and let your light shine bright. This is the rise up and shine podcast.
Welcome back everyone here is Claudine and Ashley, today we are going to be talking about centering ourself. Now especially coming off of last week's episode, we wanted to follow up with this topic, because this is a great tool to help us kind of feel more in control when we feel out of control. You know, when there's so much going on a lot of worry, a lot of anxiety, we talked a lot about our mental health. And so being able to learn specific skills and strategies to be able to center ourselves, to help us in our day to day, especially when we're feeling overwhelmed, bogged down, stressed out, you name it.

Claudine
Scattered?

Ashley
Absolutely. What can we do to center ourselves? This is a goal that we all tend to have for ourselves, but many times we just don't know what to do. We don't know, how do I do that? How do I just calm the crazy in my head. I know, I've felt that many, many times feeling like I just can't quiet down, that the rumination and those thoughts going on in my head, kind of feeling out of control with our emotions, you know, a lot of different things. But today, we really wanted to focus on centering self, because this is going to help every single one of us to when those moments do come those stressful times when we do feel out of control emotionally. And even in our own minds. You know, these tools, these practicals are so crucial and are just so powerful, to help us to be able to recenter ourselves to a place of calm and stillness where we want to be.

Claudine
Yeah. And it's good to make sure we differentiate between centering self and self centered because I know so many listeners may be thinking, well, that's not very Christian to be self centered, right, which is when everything revolves around you. And that's not what we're talking about today.
Today, we're talking about, practicals, like you said, when we're feeling off center, which includes all those emotions in that chaos and self criticism and procrastination. So we're going to look at tools and tips to help ourselves get centered within ourselves, but not be self centered, which is, you know, like thinking only about ourselves, right? But there is a time and place where we do need to get centered. It's kind of focusing on what we value returning to that, and not all the voices and demands outside of us because there can be so many, especially as a young mom, like yourself, or even myself, in the midst of lots of change, moving, helping my children move grandchildren, all that there's so many forces outside of myself that demand attention, and it can get very chaotic and I can do all kinds of things. But when I get back to the center of myself, and what I value, it's truly important. It helps bring the calm.

Ashley
Yeah, Claudine, I really loved how you worded that, I mean, bringing ourselves back to what we value, because that's the thing that really gets out of our heads. You know, I mean, we're not focused, we took our focus off of what we truly value. And it's like we're left scrambling, we're left scrambling to try and keep things together. But really, it can come down to a simple thing as we took our focus off of what we truly value and what is truly important. And it's hard with the hustle and bustle of the everyday you know, I mean, I know that even one very simple thing when I don't wake up early and give myself that quiet one hour to myself to just start the day and to start it off right and quiet, to myself.

Claudine
Did you say quiet again.

Ashley
Queit again is the biggest thing right I value my quiet time. But if we don't do that, and I learned for myself I don't feel like I can keep up the whole day. If I don't have that time, if I wake up when the kids wake up, I've learned over and over Gosh, I'm just scrambling, and I'm not focused, and I can't keep up. And I'm, I feel behind I feel behind, especially with having younger kids still, and a house to take care of. And so even that one simple little thing can really help with starting off the day, feeling like we're ahead of it, you know, kind of ahead of the game, rather than just always trying to catch up all day long. And then you go to sleep, and then you wake up and you do it all over again. Yeah. And that's where that chaos can come. That's where we can feel that chaotic. sense of, like, that's where we can really feel the chaos in our own heads. Like we're trying to keep things in control. Yet in our head, we could just feel so out of control. Yeah. And then a lot of times what we do, we might cope. Right, we might cope with things. And then that, in turn makes things even worse, because we it gives us that short feel good, you know, feeling for the moment. But then, overall, we're not getting our things done or feeling rundown more, and we're just not, we're not putting the focus on the things that are really important.


Claudine
Right, right. Yeah, when we're out of center, we don't trust ourselves. It's like we can't connect with those things that we truly value in our true feelings. I mean, I think for myself, sometimes I can get so caught up in what other people think, or what other people expect from me. And it doesn't mean that we aren't going to meet other people's needs. Because certainly as moms, that's one of our greatest things. And we both value that obviously, we want to be the kind of moms that take good care of our children. Right? That's something of value. Right? And be great wives, and hopefully, you know, do that as well. So there are outside needs. But when we get pulled and pushed in directions that don't align with what we truly value. That's where, for me the chaos and the disconnect happens.

Ashley
Yeah, absolutely.

Claudine
So Ashley, let's talk about some practicals. For me, I kind of did an ABC thing, it was kind of funny, I started thinking things that helped. And it kind of ended up in an ABC thing. But I know there's many other things that don't fit into a simple formula.
But I'll start off with so for me, it's an awareness, I can tell when I'm off centered, when I start feeling really scattered when I feel overwhelmed. And then when I feel completely unmotivated, like I just get stuck, right. It's that stuck feeling like I don't know what to do next, or there's so many things I need to do that sometimes I just pick something entirely different. They're not on the needs, like you know, yeah. It's like, Oh, I have to finish watching this show that I started out. It's just the coping. coping, right, right, because that's easy. I don't have to engage my brain. I could just go okay. But then what it leaves is it leaves more self criticism right after that. It's like, Oh, I should have done a, b and c. Instead, I went and did M which has no value whatsoever to what I'm trying to accomplish. Is it just an awareness like, Okay, this is where I'm at right now. I'm not centered, I'm off center, I'm off balance. I'm not feeling calm and peace. So just the awareness, we talked about that a lot.
A second, a practice that really helps is just stopping and breathing, breathing, just taking a few deep breaths, it doesn't have to be half an hour, but just a minute or two of stopping, slowing down and breathing deep, deeply, can really help. It shuts down the anxiety part of our automatic nervous system, and just calms us both physically, emotionally, mentally, and then one.


Ashley
Right, breathing slows down our heart rate. That's what happens when we start feeling really chaotic, our brain is on, you know, hyper vigilant, and it's on that fight or flight mentality yet. And so, you know, you're constantly getting that that flush of adrenaline and cortisol and your heart rate goes up, right? Because we're just frantic.

Claudine
Fight, flight or freeze. I think I tend to be in the freeze.

Ashley
Yes. Sometimes I do. I go back and forth between the flee and the freeze, I realize. And that actually kind of goes into the breathing because sometimes with anxiety, we can catch ourselves holding our breath, not even thinking about it. Completely unintentional, but it's I'll feel light headed all of a sudden, and it's, I'll remember, oh my gosh, I'm not even really breathing. I'm catching my breath a lot and writing and just did not even realize. But that is one of those things that is just so instinctual that our brain does because we're under so much stress, or we're overwhelmed or feeling anxious. Yeah. And there's a lot of great breathing techniques that you can look up as well. That really help. One of my favorites. I'm drinking gonna share briefly one of my favorite is nostril breathing. And you use your pinky and your thumb. And you take turns rotating, you know, with your thumb, you plug up a nostril, with your pinky, you kind of close off a nostril, right? So basically, as you breathe in and out, you're rotating and look that up, it is so incredibly powerful. That is the one strategy that has actually really helped me calm my body and my brain to calm and breathe, right, you know, breathe well and slow down that, that flood of that flood of hormones and my heart rate, that's the one that's proven, but there's so many out there, you know, to look up, so highly recommend that.

Claudine
That's a great one. I haven't practiced that one. So I do a 4-5-6 breathing, that's really helped me and I have a resource for that on my website. But it's so powerful, these breathing exercises to help us just be still and get centered. It's powerful, powerful work.

Ashley
Very much so.

Claudine
Another one for me is C, choose your focus, which again, there's one, we can only focus on really one thing at a time, truly focus. And right now I'm focusing on an ant crawling all over my computer. Getting off centered here, but let me deal with the ant. Okay. I Oh, I dealt with the ant. Sorry ant. Yeah. Anyway, so choosing our focus, and this really comes back to what we value. So we have to figure out first what we truly value, and then we have the ability to concentrate. Without deep concentration, our mind will be our master rather than our servant. And you and I talk a lot about that, you know, our minds, we have the power to control our thoughts, we have the power to captivate our thoughts and to think about things that are true and noble and right. And those are the things are going to help us get where we want to be. And so it really is about choosing on what we're going to focus on. It's powerful. And then right.

Ashley
Go ahead. Okay.

Claudine
Then my last one is, uh, don't, don't be don't ruminate or let negativity rule, right. And we do that so often. I think as women, we can ruminate over situations over circumstance of things we've said on things that have been said to us. And we just go on and on and on in our head. And we let negativity rule and then we are completely off centered, because we can't right? Because that's in the past when we're thinking about negative things, or we're ruminating, it's already in the past, and then we're staying there. So therefore, we're no longer present. Because we're in the past thinking about something negative or something we wished we could change. So don't the D for me is don't ruminate or let negativity roll.

Ashley
Claudine that's great. Exactly that that is most of it. Right? What is going on in our heads? Because again, as we talk about a lot is our emotions are a by product of what we're thinking about. And what is that our focus, right, what are we focusing on? And that has been a huge one for me, and that I help my clients with is where is your focus? What are you choosing to focus on? And it is sometimes it feels like we're not in control of our thoughts. But that's because we haven't trained our brain to be in control of our thoughts. I mean, it never even occurred to many of us, right, especially before we learned all this stuff, right? We were going through life, having no idea that wow, I can really control what I'm thinking and yes, you actually can and you feel your emotion will follow suit suit with whatever you're focusing on. And it could be we focus on other people, other people's needs, which is not necessarily a bad thing, but it can become to the extreme, especially for some of us, codependent types. It could be deadlines, we could be so focused on deadlines, which again, is not a bad thing, but it can control us to a point where it can be unhealthy. Again, the what ifs you mentioned that a lot of the what if this happens or what if that and what if, you know really our circumstances we really can allow our circumstances to take hold of our life and basically dictate our thoughts and our emotions. Again, the negative self talk like you said, right? The rumination, I am Queen of ruminating. Very much so I can create all kinds of stories in my head and negative talk. And you know, and we've mentioned before the things that you say to yourself, would you say to your best friend, would you say to your child, would you say to your parent, would you say to you know what, like, why do we say these things to ourselves? But we wouldn't say it out loud to somebody else. Well stop saying it to you. You know that was something that really helped me, wow, I can, I can stop saying these to myself, right. And I can stop saying these to myself. And again, it takes that conscious effort to choose what we're going to focus on. And I wanted to read the Scripture, Claudine, that is in my life, and I want to share with our listeners, and we know the Scripture, but everything that I've learned, and you've learned, and what we talked about here on the podcast is scriptural, right? I mean, there's so much science that backs scripture. Yeah. And this one was extremely powerful, because it really brought the practical aspect, it just, it made it make much more sense, you know, in a practical way, because a lot of times we could read something you're like, Oh, that's so nice. And it sounds so poetic, but right, it actually means like, actually do this. This is quite powerful.
So Philippians 4:8, and we know that's when I'm going to actually read the New Living Translation it says, and now do your brothers and sisters one final thing, fix your thoughts. There you go. Fix your thoughts. That implies you have the power and the control over your thoughts on what is true, honorable right pure, lovely, admirable think about the thing about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.
Keep putting into practice, all you learned and received for me. So that again tells us that we have that power right now need to make that conscious choice to practice these things in our minds. And everything you heard from me and saw me doing, then the God of peace will be with you. And that's really centering ourselves, right to feel that sense of peace, right, and to align ourselves with what truly matters. And as Christian women, God is the center, right, right is the center and where our values come from, and our perspective should be coming from. And that's what we want to strive for. We want to strive to have that control over our thoughts, and to focus on those things. Because then you're going to feel the product of that, right, you're going to feel at peace, you're going to feel centered, you're going to feel a sense of calm. And those are the things that are so important. And they these practicals is we're sharing these are the things you do you know, to reach this state of a centered self. I think, you know, when life just get so crazy, and we all tend to do it. We all do well for a little while. And then we kind of fall off the wagon a while and then we get back on. But doing these things and being conscious and intentional. It's just so powerful, you know, and you're just gonna feel so much better.

Claudine
Yeah. Yeah, I'm glad you pointed that out. Ashley because it's Christian women. You know, Christ is our center, right? I mean, that's the value we hold dear is really it. it for me. And I know for you, it shapes everything else we do. And everything that we believe in is right coming from that Christ centeredness. So even though we're talking about centering ourselves, if that's our core value, to center our lives on Christ, it influences everything else. And I mean, it takes for granted. I think that, you know, every morning I start off with a time of reading and prayer, and that helps center my thoughts, like you're talking a lot about thoughts and that we have control. Well, that's what I choose to center my thoughts on every morning, which then I induced to center myself for the rest of the day. And we didn't put that in as a practice because I think most of us practice that. But for those that don't, it's a great opportunity to spend those early morning minutes. You know, that alone time, that quiet time talking about to really pray to really meditate on God's word, and let that speak to us. That brings all the peace and calm that I could ever want. It's those mornings when I'm too rushed or don't get up in time, and try to get off on my day on my own strength that usually I get way off centered real quick. Easy, simple and seems obvious. But we need constant reminders. I know I do.

Ashley
Mm hmm. Oh, absolutely. That's why alarms are great. Right, setting little alarms on your phone. Oh, Ding ding. Yeah. So Claudine, that also goes into that quiet time in the morning, to wake up before everybody. And actually recently, my husband and I were just feeling disconnected again. And so I decided, well, I got to wake up early again, with you like maybe twice a week before work. So we can just have that interaction have that positive interaction before he heads off to work. And we start our day, because I realized when I don't, when I don't have that time with him in the morning, I feel insecure in our relationship throughout the day, because I've been so ingrained in my brain that I've been programmed or conditioned, whatever term you prefer to use. But to think that there's, you know, we're so disconnected. And is he upset about something or, you know, I can get in that head, I just get in my head and just ruminate on these things. And nothing even happened. Nothing happened. Just the fact that we had no interaction in the morning, my brain instantly thinks something's wrong, something's wrong. Isn't that crazy? But that was my codependency all these years in our marriage. And so I'm still training my brain. No, everything's fine. But we realized, because we just went on a weekend away together without the kiddos, can you believe it? So we actually talked about that. I said, Yeah, I know, for myself, when I don't have that time with you in the morning, I instantly think something's wrong. And that, like not even consciously, it's just, that's just what pops up. And I had that feeling of disconnect from him. Yeah, he upset at me about something or it's so silly, but it's actually it is real, it actually happens. And so same thing, if we don't start our mornings, off, quiet, praying, processing, you know, through what we have to do for the day, or even how we're feeling how am I feeling as a mom? How am I feeling as a woman like, how's my heart doing? My heart doing what you know, and actually be aware, as you mentioned, that is so key to be able to just accomplish this sense of centering, you know, that calm, place of peace that we want to be.
And I also wanted to share one more scripture that was actually right before Philippians 4:8 and the message version, this is what happens to so many of us why we feel this lack of peace, and why we feel like we can be out of control in our minds and in our hearts, and just kind of being run by our emotions is a worry, you know, we can get so worried about things right, especially as a mom, you know, I mean, all of us worry about things for sure. But just for me personally, I know it did not. Like when I became a mom that just went over the top like I had so much more worry, you know, yes. Now I'm responsible for these little like, my husband can, he's fine, he can take care of himself. But now I have these children I need to care for. But this scripture, the message version just was it. It kind of opened the eyes of my heart, like I just had such a deeper understanding of why I get myself to this place of anxiety. And this is exactly you know, it's worrying. And so this scripture has really helped because so many times we try to control things. And right, we can't, there's so much that we can't control. We can't control our children. I mean, let's just face it, we just can't control our children. We can't control their husband, we can't control their crazy drivers on the road. Right? You know, but in our mind is like we want to control.
So in Philippians, four, six through seven, again, this is the message. It says don't fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray, pray, let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers. letting God know your concerns, like let God know everything you're feeling. We don't have to have this filter. When we're talking to God, you know, sometime right? Like we have to come to God and we have to be all put together and our words have to you know, articulate well and know I mean, just cry out to God let him know everything, all your concerns, all your worries, and before you know it a sense of God's wholeness. Everything coming together for good will come and settle you down. Like Hello. Yeah. Let's talk about centering ourselves settle you down. Right. It's wonderful. What happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life and that goes again to what are we choosing to focus on. So our focus, we need to fix those thoughts. And not on the negative to try to reshape, you know, be positive or not focus too much on other people's opinions don't ruminate, as we said, don't, you know, get don't go down that rabbit hole of the what ifs, right, or, you know, the what ifs is a very dangerous road. And of course, there are times where we do need to be prepared, right? We need to be ready prepared for things, but most of the time, we worry just to worry. Yeah. And it, it doesn't help us one bit.

Claudine
Well the ruminating is looking backwards, right? The negative self talk is looking backwards. And the worry is looking forward. So even when we're doing that we're not present, right? We're not present. Where God wants us to be in the present. And it's so true. I mean, I pray all throughout the day. I mean, sometimes it's just 10 second, oh my gosh, I really need help here. Or what was I thinking? Help me remember, I mean, constant prayer, like, not worried about how it sounds. It's just when you get deep into that relationship, you just show up like, right, we don't put on pretenses when we get together in our sweats or whatever, you know, we just come as we are right. I feel like prayer we come as we are. But even when you were sharing about your marriage, you know that story that's it shows what you value that you value connection with that person and that so right and so when you get centered on that, like, Hey, I value this, I want to focus on this, then you can come up with practical because we do have to find ways to help get centered and help you reach those goals to keep us there. Keep us in that calm state keep us not overwhelmed, not procrastinating. I mean, that's I tend to get there. I tend to get overwhelmed. I freeze. I procrastinate. Right, yeah. And it starts a vicious cycle. Great stuff. I need to practice some of this today.


Ashley
Oh, is an everyday thing right? Just to be intentional. And exactly what you said Claudine being present. I mean, it is so hard for us to be present. We're so stuck in the past, or we're so focused on the future. And I'm not talking about future goals and dreams those are great, awesome. Have at it. However, the worry exactly the worry. And that's where that rumination, again, can happen as well, we can just focus and create these stories. And I've done this, I know many of us do this. When we are maybe we need to deal with a conflict with somebody or we need to have an honest conversation with someone, we could play the story on our head of how the conversation is going to go as if it's happening in real time. Right? Right. I mean, we can play is okay, I'm gonna say this, but then they're gonna say that, and then I'm gonna say this and then, and then the conversation is not gonna go the way I want. So many times I have talked myself out of dealing with a situation or even sharing my feelings on a situation with a friend or with my spouse or my family. I have talked myself out of it, because I said, I played the story. I played the entire conversation, both sides in my head came to the conclusion of how the conversation is going to end. And they'd be like, Oh, it's not even worth it.

Claudine
Right? Oh, my gosh,

Ashley
I just won't even bring it up. I actually did that last week. And then I had to come up with reasons because my husband asked me about it. So did you have that conversation? No. And then I came up with reasons why. And I justified why I didn't. But did it go away? No, it's still in my head, I really need to have that talk. I really need to have that talk. It's still bugging me. And it's it's not allowing me to be centered and present. Because now I'm worried, again, about this conversation that I should have had that I talked myself out of. Because of the stories we create in our head. So being present is so important. Because we I mean, this is real time. This is where we live, we don't live in the future. We don't live in the past, we need to live in the future. And a lot of that takes being still right you still and know that God is God. like God take control of things. There's so many things that we are not in control of. Yet we have this false sense that we are in control of it and it's just not the case. And so I'm going to go through a few things as well. claudin that great practicals that I've used. You already talked about breathing. Breathing is phenomenal. That is a basic but it's so crucial and your physical self is really going to thank you for it. You know you can be focused on your breathing that is being present. You know that is really taking initiative to be present in the moment. Another thing is being out on nature going on walks, I try to go on a walk every day. And when I do, it just, it helps my brain Calm down, it helps my mind just not ruminate. And actually, it helps me process my thoughts. I'm not saying don't allow yourself to be in your head, but process in a way that's healthy and helpful and not ruminate on the negative, you know, and also the journaling that helps, right, we've tried many times about journaling, that could be making a list. So one of the things I've done is I make a list, I divide the paper in half, you know, one side, I write what I can control. The other side, I write what I cannot control. And putting that down on paper out of your head is so powerful because it gives you perspective. And then it gives you things Hey, what I can't control. That's my prayer list. Right? That's what I can pray about in the morning. You just give it up to God. And another term that we've heard that I know you have a different term is a brain dump, right? That and you call it a thought download whatever you want to call it, just get those thoughts out of your head and put it down on paper. It is extremely powerful. And wake up early to already talked about that. Right. That is huge. getting adequate sleep. Exercise is really important and exercises moving your body just helps. It helps with the breathing it I know for me even personally, it has helped me with anxiety. It's calmed, my anxiety and I can breathe. Well, I can breathe. Like I said, Sometimes I catch my breath. I can breathe properly, and it does. When you exercise you are focusing on your breathing. That's right. I think about exercise. Water. Again, we talked about water a lot and our relationships, right? If you feel disconnected, then just reach out, reach out to a friend. You know what I do I wake up in the mornings like this is five 5:30 in the morning, ladies, it is not like okay, six 6:30.

Claudine
That's what I call the middle of the night, I call that the middle of the night.

Ashley
It is 5 o clock in the morning. But it goes back to Okay, I recognize I became aware when I don't have this interaction with my husband in the morning. I feel so disconnected. And think about even with God right how easily we can be disconnected with God if we don't have that touch with you in the morning. Yeah, and or a friend. Right now we can feel very disconnected and insecure in our friendships perhaps because we are kind of forced to be disconnected, we can't really go out and we're starting to a little bit more I think we feel it's a little bit safer. And we're cautious and everything but make sure you know just don't get in your head and feel insecure in your relationships. Just reach out, send a text, make a phone call, you know just have that touch with your your friends. And then simple things like music. I like to listen to music that helps me feel empowered, or even like meditation, music just helps kind of calm my brain down. And I recognize and if our listeners really recognize when you start feeling that sense of anxiety or worry or feeling out of control, then I know okay, I might need to switch to meditation music I need to slow down my brain. Yeah, I don't need to hype up my brain and listen to Megadeth or Metallica. Candles, good sense, right? Like diffusers, those kinds of things. Those things are something that's like a nice little enjoyment to have around the house and you just kind of feel good a little bit. It just helps kind of bring you down a little and kind of helps calm. So those are some of the things that I wanted to share that have been extremely helpful. And really the nature the walks is another great one because it gives you time just of silence. It gives you time to be out in nature. And there's just a connection with nature that my husband and I took our kids camping. And I remember I was really deep in anxiety at the time. And when we went out and we hiked in about two miles camps for a night. I kid you not I couldn't think of any one thing that was making me anxious when I out there. Yeah, my brain was so calm and so at peace just looking out over the lake. I just I couldn't even think about what was I still worried about. It was it was magical. I never want to leave.

Claudine
I love the getting out in nature because we can really multitask there. We can be walking in nature. We can be praying, we could mean you know, working on our thoughts. We can do so many things all at once, right being still stilling our mind. So it's a great one. It's something I need to start. You know, I almost went walking this morning and I thought oh, it's just a little chilly. I mean, it was probably 52 I'm sure there's people in other places. They're like, wow, 52 It's so warm. But for me

Ashley
That's what we do. Right, Claudine and we come up with a reason not to. So many reasons.

Claudine
Right. And I really need to start that for many reasons. But even that centering practice every morning just to be in nature to walk, to pray, to center my thoughts, and get a focus on what I want to accomplish for the day. So you can ask me about that later this week asked me how my walk is going, but. Well, that was a great episode on centering self on learning ways to practice to overcome anxiety and overwhelm and just feeling off kilter, which we all do. Well, we wish all our listeners a centered day, may you find what you value and focus on that. Until next time.

Ashley
Alright everyone, thank you for joining in on our conversation here on the Rise Up and Shine podcast. If you haven’t already, please take a second to hit that subscribe so you’ll never miss an episode and while you’re at it, share this episode with a friend who you know it can bless today. If you wanna visit us as well on our websites, you can catch Claudine over at claudinesweeney.com and Ashley at mindoverchaos.com our links are at the description. We also have some free resources there for you as well. So remember ladies, no matter what you are facing in life, it is never too late to rise up and shine and live your best life.