I was reading an article the other day about how heart disease is on the rise in women. This comes as no surprise as women of today juggle such a wide range of responsibilities – careers, families, finances, continuing education - that they tend to allow their health and well-being take a back seat. They function on fumes, and at the end of the day, they feel tired, unfulfilled and out of balance.
About 7 months ago, I learned first-hand how the pressures of life take a toll. I was working full-time, teaching classes at a local college in the evening, finishing my master’s degree, launching my business and juggling the responsibilities of being a wife and mother. I didn’t know whether I was coming or going. My friends and family told me they admired my drive and were proud of all that I had accomplished. I too was proud of all that I was “handling” and on the outside, I appeared to be “managing” it all very well. However, on the inside was another story. This is not uncommon for a woman to fly through the day like Wonder Woman, impressing all with her supernatural abilities, yet feel as if they are tired and empty on the inside. I hear this scenario all the time from the women I coach. I was no exception to this; I was not immune because of my training or skills.
Everything hit me one afternoon while I was shopping for some summer clothes for work at a local shopping center. I picked up a few items, in a size 10 and headed to the dressing room. I tried on one item after another. Nothing fit! I had gained weight and didn’t even know what size I was anymore, other than a “too big” size. I wanted to cry. Then I looked in the mirror. I stood there half naked and just took a long hard look at myself. I didn’t like what I saw. I looked tired and I realized I was tired. I needed a haircut and fresh color. My skin was pale and dull. My clothes had gotten tight and well, I just looked frumpy! How did this happen? Seriously, I have worked so hard, I am a strong woman, determined, educated, driven and I had become so involved in so many things, I lost ME.
I woke up that day. I realized I was on a downward spiral and I needed to make some serious changes – for ME. I realized it was time for me to be a little selfish, because I knew if I didn’t take care of ME, I eventually wouldn’t be any good to anyone else. This was the beginning of my “ME” Revolution.
What is a revolution? One definition of a revolution is “a sudden, radical or complete change.” Have you ever felt like that is exactly what you needed? Most women would love to have a “complete” makeover; it makes them feel attractive and refreshed. What about a ME makeover? Working as a life coach I knew the process and I got to work. I knew my first step was to take some time and do some soul searching and brainstorming. I needed to dig deep and find my roots again to find what would nourish me and make me grow, blossom flourish and mature. I began to list everything that I was thankful for, what my goals were, my dreams, and my vision of how I wanted my life to be. I wanted a clear picture I could focus on daily so I could work on removing anything that created any negative energy or hindered my personal growth.
I took my list that I brainstormed began to prioritize what I had written. This included responsibilities and goals I wanted to accomplish. For example, I wanted to develop a healthy eating plan and lose 50 lbs. Once I had everything in order, I began “goal chunking.”
Goal chunking is a process of taking larger goals and chunking them down into small, more attainable goals. For my weight loss, my final goal is 50lbs, but if I don’t see those results quickly I will get discouraged, so I chunk it down to 2 lbs a week. Each week I meet my goal I have a feeling of accomplishment that motivates me to continue. I do this when I exercise. I get bored when I do long stints on the elliptical. So I make small goals throughout my workout. For example, the first three minutes I will warm up; the next 5 I will put the machine at full incline at a level 5 intensity, and so on. When I chunk it down and meet each goal, the 45 minutes I set out to do flies by and I have accomplished my cardio workout for the day!
Many women have a hard time doing things for themselves. We have been bred as nurturers and caregivers of others. However, doing things for yourself, such as exercise, participating in a favorite hobby, a more fulfilling job, etc, we will find will create a much happier and peaceful individual, and positive energy will flows freely from within us. Accomplishing our personal goals also boosts our confidence and self-efficacy. In my personal situation, with the lifestyle changes I was making, I noticed my mood was more positive, I had more energy, sharper mental clarity and I was able to cope better at work and at home when issues did arise.
A “ME” Revolution is a life change and something you have to stay in tune with to keep an appropriate balance. This means constantly reassessing your schedule, knowing the signals of exhaustion or overwhelm, and knowing what steps to take when our bodies signal overload.
For example, when I am tired or overwhelmed my body becomes anxious, nervous and irritable. When I sense these feelings and emotions, I know I need to take a step back and assess what is going on. I may just go to bed earlier and get rest, maybe I will take a long walk, or I will decided I need to remove or delegate a responsibility that is nagging at me because I don’t have time to fulfill it, or sometimes just visit a friend and have an hour of laughter. It is OK to admit you can’t handle it all!
Here are some tips to get you started in your “Me” Revolution.
1. Take a couple hours – or even a quiet lunch hour and assess your schedule. You may even have to keep a log for a week to see where your time is going. However, assess it and see where your energy is spent.

2. Determine what responsibilities or jobs you can alleviate or delegate and DO IT! You will breathe a sigh of relief when you do. And remember – it is ok to let these things go.

3. Make a list of personal goals, desires or dreams you have for yourself. These may be a more fulfilling job, obtaining a degree, a new car, a nicer home, lose weight, exercise, write book, spend more time with your children, spend more time with your spouse – whatever they may be, they are your goal – not the goals or desires of others – strictly yours. You OWN your passion.

4. Make a vision board – this is so much fun. I call this shopping on an unlimited budget. I cut pictures of the office I want, the car I want, maybe a photo of a woman who exudes health and wellness or tranquility, maybe it is a trip somewhere I’ve have always wanted to go – let your imagination go as if you had unlimited income. Keep this board or photos handy where you can look at them daily. It will help motivate you, and keep you in a positive flow of attraction. It is so exciting when one of your visions becomes a reality.

5. Make a daily list of what you want to get done and prioritize from the most important to least important and check it off as you go throughout the day. When I do this, even just marking off the little things makes me feel as if I have accomplished something in my day. It also keeps me focused and more organized so I am not wandering aimlessly wasting time. Days like this leave me feeling unsuccessful and frustrated. *When you prioritize – it is ok to put one of your desires first in line. Remember, the key is to take care of you first.

6. Evaluate your diet and exercise. I know, I know, we hear about this all the time, but it is essential to maintaining energy throughout the day, mental clarity, a positive mood, not to mention the benefits of glowing skin and a strong healthy body. It will also reduce your risks for heart disease, cancer, and help reduce blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
I work daily on keeping balance in my life through constant focus on organization, reassessment of my schedule, priorities and goals; I have learned my limitations and the signals from my body when I am on overload. Part of keeping a balance is to understand who you are, where you are going and how you are going to get there. Remember you are the creator of your experience. You are a work in progress and you call the shots! Where will your “ME” Revolution take you?

Author's Bio: 

Stephanie A. Armstrong is and professional mediator and life coach and the owner of ACRWorks (Alternative Conflict Resolution Works) in Ashland, Kentucky. She holds her Bachelors of Science in Paralegal Studies and a Masters of Science in Conflict Management. She has been assisting individuals with disputes and life challenges for over 20 years. To contact Stephanie, you may email her at stephanie@acrworks.com