Tag Archives: motivation

Stress Relief

As I am writing this on September 11th, I am entering a couple very busy weeks. As an introvert, some of the most stressful times are those when I am spending every waking hour with people. Add to that a lack of routine, and I can be quite discombobulated.

So what can I do to combat this stress? Here are a few things that I have found to help me stay a little more sane.

1. Get proper rest. This can be hard, especially as my schedule changes. As I transitioned from evening work hours to day work hours, I had few nights in a row of sub-optimum sleep. I know that there are people who live on fewer hours of sleep than I do, but I know that if I am going to perform my best, sleep cannot be skimped on.

2. Remain on a good (little d) diet. This is not something I’ve ever really tried before. Previously when I entered stressful seasons of the year, I used it as an excuse to become even more excess in all the junk I craved. By keeping on my healthy diet, it has helped me not to feel entirely off kilter. Helps to stay regular in the bathroom, too.

3. Find the fun. Right now part of the stress is that I’m preparing to play a team game at work. While it can be easy to think of the game as fun (and it is!), the pressure to study as much as you can and perform well can be great, especially as this pressure is mostly internal. I’m continually reminding myself that this is fun and to enjoy it.

Even when my primary task is not preparing for a game, I want to do what I can to find the fun and the purpose in what I’m doing, and remind myself of it.

Ronnica at Fern Falls4. Find a vacation. This time last year I went on a 3-day weekend in Estes Park, and I loved it. I had hoped to do it again this year, but my budget (of time and money) doesn’t have that much room. However, I did take a full day to hike in Rocky Mountain National Park a hike that I have been wanting to do for over a year. That was just the “vacation” I needed before I dived back in to these busy weeks.

5. Give myself permission to let go. In order to focus my mental energy on the task at hand, I’ve had to stop some things temporarily, like extra reading. I can’t do it all, and I need  to constantly reevaluate what is important to me at this time and focus on those things.

6. Keep things in perspective. Ultimately, a game is just a game. While I am stressed, I have taken on this stress because I really love it. Others are in stressful situations due to circumstances outside of their control. This too is temporary, so I want to enjoy the good parts while I can.

Motivation for Losing Weight

I mentioned a couple of weeks ago that I’ve been motivated lately to work daily towards my newly-defined life goals. One of these over-arching goals is “to honor my body as the temple of the Holy Spirit.” The big area where I was not doing that is with my weight, particularly with what I ate.

Next week I’ll be sharing how I’m losing weight on a budget, but I want to spend time this week talking about my motivations first. While this is not and will not be a weight loss blog, I very much believe that being a good steward covers using our bodies properly.

In March of this year, I weighed 252 pounds. At 5’3″, a healthy weight would be under 140 pounds, so I was 112 pounds overweight.

Taken in January, I'll consider this my before pic.
Taken in January, I’ll consider this my before pic.

How did I get here?

Weight is something that I have struggled with–or should have, when I wasn’t resigned to it–my whole adult life. In college thanks to a Dr Pepper habit and “free” access to every form or fast food or junk food I could want, I gained the stereotypical freshman 15…and a sophomore 15, junior 15 and senior 15. When I left college, I continued to gain weight.

I’m very thankful that I’ve always been encouraged to have a positive body image by my family and friends, but I’ve abused that to enable my overeating habits. I felt little motivation to forego the immediate satisfaction of a bowl of chocolate chip ice cream for a smaller waist, let alone long-term health.

Where am I now?

Since March, I have lost 22 pounds, most of that in the last month. I’ve been here before. There have been several periods of time that I have made better choices and worked backwards, losing up to 20 pounds at a time. But something would happen, or I’d get busy, and that weight would sneak back on.

Motivation for the long term

Anyone who has struggled with weight understands that it is truly a struggle. Currently, the burden seems light, but I know that it will not always be so. In order to keep going down the narrow path, I will need to keep reminding myself of my motivations to walk this way:

1. To honor my body as the temple of the Holy Spirit (from 1 Corinthians 6:19). First Corinthians 9:27 has been a huge motivator for me in this as well: “but I discipline my body and make it my slave, so that, after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified.” I cannot worship the idol of food (comfort) and God.

2. To have the energy and flexibility to do the things I need and want to do. Ten years ago I suffered a lower back injury (slipped disc) that has plagued me since. While I’ll never have full movement, the less excess weight I carry decreases the likelihood of complications from this back injury.

Bad knees also run in my family. If I do not take care of my weight now, I will have pain and mobility issues.

3. To be a good witness to others. If I truly believe that God is better than anything else, why do I so often reach for that piece of junk food?

These are all things that I have spelled out in the life plan I read regularly. Reading it regularly helps me to remember the why behind what I know that I need to do.

Next week, I’ll talk about what I have been doing to get healthy without spending outside my budget.

First Year of Striving Stewardess: Ronnica’s Favorite Posts

single candle cakeAs of November 1st, this blog is a year old.

Over that year, Amanda and I have worked to find our voices in this platform and the right rhythm for posting. I’ve enjoyed having this outlet to discuss the things that I’ve learned and publicly challenge myself.

In the past year, there were a few posts that were closer to my heart than others. To reflect on this time, I want to share these post with you.

My favorite post this past year was “How I Paid Off $10,678.28 in 10 Months.” In spite it’s slightly click-baity title, it represents my biggest accomplishment over the last year. Now that I’ve been debt-free for six months, it’s easy to forget the weight that debt carries. Now that I’m on the other side, I’m determined never to get back there again.

Another post I wrote on the subject is the post I enjoyed the most writing: “Sacrifice What?” I always love “what if?” type stories and I loved getting to write my own story about what would have happened if I had continued along the same financial course I was on previously. The story was a good reminder to myself that the sacrifice is worth it.

The final post that I’ll discuss today is a more recent post, “Why it Matters.” I wrote this post for myself as much as for anyone else: I need to be reminded why I make the choices I make. Remembering the “why” keeps me motivated to make the decisions I want to long-term.

Thursday Amanda will share her favorite posts. Thanks for sharing this past year with us!

Photo by Sophie

Current Challenges

Do you prefer to hear good news first, or bad news?

Personally, I prefer to get the bad news first, and then top things off with a hefty dose of optimism.  So, although things have actually been pretty awesome in our household lately, I thought I’d give our readers an update on all things Amanda and stewardship, beginning this week with the challenges, and finishing up with the blessings next week.

Challenge #1:  Cutting costs

I think it is safe to assume that most people would consider good stewardship of their financial resources to be a priority.  It is also safe to assume that when there is one parent staying at home with family, saving money is pretty vital to ensuring that parent can continue to stay at home.

Peanut needing braces was an unexpected expense, but the positive results made it more than worth it!

Since staying at home with our kids is one of the biggest priorities for us as a family, that has meant more cost cutting measures being implemented lately.  Peanut had some medical tests earlier this year (he is fine–these were more FYI for the doctors than anything), and required braces, so that added up to some medical expense.  Other expenses have also necessitated cutting costs a bit more than expected.

The biggest way I have addressed this challenge is by looking at where our budget is the most flexible.  Since I have the most control over the grocery aspect, I have refocused my efforts on saving money in this arena…and have been doing a pretty great job of it, if I do say so myself!

Challenge #2:  Prioritizing Time

Pretty sure this is a continual struggle for most of us.  I’m happy to report, though, that my social media time has dropped quite a bit in recent months (shocking!), mostly due to the fact that I have more activities to create time for.

Challenge #3:  Practicing a Healthy Lifestyle

34928_845134431829_288270_nIt’s no secret I value cooking healthy, tasty meals for my family.  It’s a little less well-known that I loathe exercising.  I am always ready for an excuse to not be more active–it requires time, requires energy, etc.  I know it is time for an attitude adjustment, but that’s easier said than done, apparently.

I am toying with the idea of signing up for a 5K or something similar to help in the motivation department.  This has worked well for me in the past, but I am not keen on parting with the money required for a registration fee.  As such, I am also trying to embrace different forms of physical activity–not just the run-of-the-mill walking or running.  Maybe I will take a cue from Ronnica and try hiking!

What are some challenges you are facing in your stewardship journey?

Why it Matters

It’s really easy in my day-to-day life–and on this blog–to get caught up in all the things that I want to do. I can easily focus my mind on budgeting or gardening and spend lots of time making things from scratch or finding ways to do without.

But I think it’s important to remember what drives these interests. After all, it’s very easy to lose sight of what really matters and why I started to make these life choices in the first place.

Motivation can be different from person to person. The following are my two primary motivations for living green financially and environmentally:

1. My life is not about me. As a follower of Christ, I believe that my life is not my own (1 Corinthians 6:19). Though I frequently fail, I want to make God the center of attention in all that I do.

How this motivates me to live green is that I honor God when I honor his creation, not using more than I need. By using my money wisely, I also have money to give back.

The recent smoke/haze from fires hundreds of miles away was a reminder of how we are all connected.
The recent smoke/haze from fires hundreds of miles away was a reminder of how we are all connected.

2. I should put others above myself. This is a hard one. While it’s not easy to put God first, at least it’s easy to see why he deserves it. But in my self-importance and arrogance, I often don’t believe that I should put others above myself.

But all I have to do is remember what Christ did for me when I didn’t deserve it, to change my attitude around.

This motivates me to make green decisions because the less resources I use, the more are left for other people: both now and in the future. By not buying as many goods produced in polluting factories where under-paid workers work in poor conditions, I’m loving others.

That’s it: those are the two things that I hope are the motivation behind everything that I do and everything I share on this blog.