Do you look back at the end of each year and wonder, in astonishment, at all that you were able to do? I’m one of those people. Each year, I look back at all that I did and soak in the gratitude that comes with knowing that I was able to have the experiences.
2015 has been a year filled with many positives, but also the year where I’ve felt most stressed out. There were many adjustments, travel opportunities, being new to homeschooling my oldest two kids, and, of course, the daily responsibilities of being a mom to three plus an exchange student. I found it difficult to wear all these different hats at the same time and stay sane.
Today, I’m excited to have partnered with Aetna to assess my stress. This assessment will lead me to make the kind of mindful changes I want to see made in my life. For me, stress comes in the form of an internal pressure that I put on myself, to be better, to do better, and to perform better.
If you saw my calendar, you would probably have a panic attack – I do almost every morning! This is the time of the day is when I’m most stressed; mostly because I’m thinking about everything I have to do and how there are not enough hours in the day to get everything done. I try to calm myself down with my morning coffee and tell myself everything will work out, but sometimes the stress outweighs the calm.
So what did I do in 2015? Well, I feel like I’ve travelled the entire globe at this point. I visited Spain with some of my kids, vacationed in Hawaii, did a book signing and an appearance on the TODAY Show in New York City, and travelled all over the country for different conferences and work meetings. Phew, I’m exhausted just thinking about it. Leaving the house for work (or fun) requires a lot of lists and preparation for someone else to care for my kids.
On top of all that, we took in an exchange student Jaime from Spain and transitioned two of our kids to homeschooling. This switch has put a lot of pressure on me as I am responsible for their education and filling their daytime schedule with activities.
This last summer, I released my second cookbook and wrote my third cookbook. Writing a cookbook is a slow process, one that needs to be broken down into achievable tasks to get it done. It also takes up a lot of free time in the evenings, and most weekends.
To say the least, it stresses me out to simply write out everything I’ve done in 2015. I’m proud of everything I’ve accomplished, but I know that I need to spend more time being mindful of my personal needs and the time I spend with my family. I want to live a healthier life that is focused on other health aspects besides healthy eating and exercising. I want to focus on lowering my stress because it can have damaging effects on health, and reducing stress can boost wellbeing.
I don’t think the 5 minutes of quiet I spend in the morning waiting for my coffee to steep in the French press is enough to calm me down amidst all this daily chaos. One of my goals for 2016 is to make better use of my time by focusing on one thing at a time and putting work aside when I spend time with my husband and kids. By allocating my time wisely, I can get my work responsibilities done faster, so they’re out of my mind when it’s family time!
I know I’ll have even more tasks to do next year, but it’s the way I choose to handle them that will determine how stressed I feel. I want to take some time each day to do something that I enjoy, like going for a swim, working out, or reading a book, when I don’t have to think about anything else but what I’m doing.
2015 may have been a “hectic” year, but I’m determined to make 2016 a “mindful” year!
This post was sponsored by Aetna, who believes health is about the body and the mind. Stress can affect emotional and physical health, and reducing stress can boost wellbeing. As part of their #Mindful30 challenge, the views and opinions expressed in my posts on the topic of mindfulness are my own, not Aetna’s. To learn more about mindfulness, visit aetnamindfulness.com.