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How Not To Deal

I don’t know that there is much more I can say about myself over the past few days other than the absolute fact that I have been a little bit of a disaster. In all fairness, I do have quite a few stressful/emotional situations occurring simultaneously but I can’t say that I’m doing the best job handling everything.

I have come to the realization that when I have stressful things going on, I tend to blow other things WAY out of proportion. Things that ย are minor issues have no business being blown out of proportion. And that isn’t something that makes me proud. While I appreciate that it’s an area where I can grow and learn, I hate that I do it…especially when it hurts people I care about.

I walked in to teach my Sunday morning yoga class today and proceeded to sit down on the floor in front of 40 students blurt all of this out to them. I always try to have some sort of message/reading/inspirational thought for my Sunday morning class but today I simply needed to get some things off my chest and also share with them that we are all human. And all flawed…sometimes more than we wish.

After class one of the regular yogis at the studio came up to me and said, “You said during class that you wanted to sing along (when a certain song I love was playing), at least you didn’t want to scream.” Her comment made my morning and changed my perspective.ย Sometimes the only thing that I can do when things seem so big and so heavy is focus on the moment and the day at hand. So here are some of the things that have allowed me to breathe over the past few days.

Making breakfast for my family. Overnight french toast at my grandmother’s request. (That is ground cinnamon and not pepper!)

Sitting down and eating breakfast with my family.

Sullie. We spent 30 minutes spooning on the floor Saturday morning. Love this dog.

Grilled cheese and tomato soup with my grandmother after a five mile run. It was one of those completely therapeutic “run it out” kind of runs.

New Sweet Almond soap that I picked up from Whole Foods when I was grocery shopping today. It smells amazing. I love how the smallest thing like new lotion or soap can make your shower experience so much better.

Lunch at Whole Foods after I taught class with two of my favorite people.

The giant stack of magazines that my grandmother sent me home with.

A mango orange smoothie from Starbucks after taking a hot class this afternoon. Never mind that I had to blast the heat in my car while I was drinking it. Bonus, it was a free rewards drink!

One last thing…it’s taco night. ๐Ÿ™‚

How do you deal with stress? And what’s making you happy right now?ย 

{ 47 comments… add one }
  • Lee November 25, 2012, 6:46 pm

    I do that too. When I’m stressed about one thing, life’s little annoyances become big deals and just add to my stress. Thanks for the reminder to focus on the good.

  • She Rocks Fitness November 25, 2012, 6:52 pm

    A long run with no music and no expectations is always my “go to” to de-stress. It’s always hard to get out the door, but I never regret that run. I hope that your day with cooking and family has helped you feel better before the week ahead. Enjoy the rest of your night! ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Jen November 26, 2012, 4:23 pm

      running is such good therapy for me too. i need to practice the no music thing so that i can zone out and enjoy quiet and still.

  • Fran November 25, 2012, 6:59 pm

    Friday I said the Serenity Prayer about 10 times. Really stressful day.

    • Jen November 26, 2012, 4:24 pm

      this made me smile. i need to tape it to my fridge, car dash, desk, forehead.

  • Julie November 25, 2012, 7:00 pm

    I’ve had a lot of changes lately & yoga has been so helpful in keeping me centered & grounded. Even if it’s not a great practice every single time, it’s always an hour where I’m not thinking about whatever it is that’s stressing me out. Oh & Chipotle burrito bowls can cure most anything ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Jen November 26, 2012, 4:28 pm

      julie – my practice does the same things for me…as do chipotle burrito bowls ๐Ÿ˜‰

  • Clara November 25, 2012, 7:02 pm

    I’ve always been one to take my emotions out on other people when I’m going through a rough period. I can easily do it to my family since I’m so used to being completely myself around them, but then I feel terrible because they’re of course the people I care about the most. I can only imagine the hurt and challenges you’re going through right now Jen, but I definitely think you’re on track with focusing on the little things (as much as you can!), and also just allowing yourself to feel what you’re feeling and be as gentle as you as a person. And not that you need a reminder, but yeah, nothing beats sweating it out with exercise- I’m right there with you! Have a good week. xx

    • Jen November 26, 2012, 4:29 pm

      clara – thank you so much for the comment. allowing myself to feel, hurt, grieve is painful but necessary.

  • Alice November 25, 2012, 7:05 pm

    Dealing with stress… yoga, running, swimming, cooking… all things that may look like avoidance to an outsider, but are actually things that allow me to move stress to the back of my brain for a while… it’s not that I stop “working on” the issue(s), just that I’m working on them from a different part of my brain!

    Making me happy right now: My dog. I took him to the park this morning, and watching him chase after the ball was amazing. He looked so happy… I swear he was smiling!

    • Jen November 26, 2012, 4:30 pm

      alice – i love that perspective on dealing and letting it step out of the spotlight so you can get some clarity around it.

      i don’t know what i would do without sullie. dogs are such amazing companions.

  • Pamela November 25, 2012, 7:06 pm

    I’m sorry you are so stressed out. It sounds like you need to be super gentle with yourself now and cut yourself a big break. You had a hell of a year!! I was a total mess this summer and I get super anxious and don’t sleep which makes me more of a mess. Make self-care your biggest priority. Sending you comfort!! Xoxo

    • Jen November 26, 2012, 4:32 pm

      pamela – thank you for saying that. the being gentle with myself statement has really stuck with me since i read it yesterday. i am definitely dealing with some anxiety and the side effects of it and it does not feel great. i hope things are turning around for you.

  • Hannah November 25, 2012, 7:11 pm

    I just wanted to tell you that your posts have been really inspiring to me and getting me through a really tough time. In the beginning of September, my boyfriend of 10 years died after being thrown off a sail boat. We lived together and now suddenly my whole life is changing as I have to live with a room mate so I am moving; I have to actually go out and force myself to do things with people rather than relying on the person I live with. I have just been getting through it, trying to be busy but now in the midst of packing up all our things, throwing things out, packing things for storage and being by myself, I burst out crying and realized i had not really cried fully and with my whole body since the funeral, yes i have cried a little but not with everything , and it was out of pure sadness and desperation, being unsure of what is to come. reading your posts and seeing someone else struggle and getting through it, and your opening up about breaking down and getting back up has been a nice change of pace, because many people do not open up about it. keep it up. you are inspiring to me.

    • Jen November 26, 2012, 4:34 pm

      hannah – thank you so much for sharing. your comment brought tears to my eyes when i read it in the middle of the grocery store.

      i can imagine the way that you must be feeling and my heart hurts for you. sometimes the only thing we can do is get through one minute, one hour, one day at a time.

      i am going to e-mail you.

  • erin November 25, 2012, 7:17 pm

    you are a rock star. life can be stressful, but you are an inspiration. love hearing about your thanksgiving!

    • Jen November 26, 2012, 4:34 pm

      thank you for the encouraging words erin!

  • LeAnne November 25, 2012, 7:30 pm

    Sometimes just going outside and breathing in the fresh air. Walk, run, bike ride, or just standing still for a moment in the outdoors always makes me feel better.

    • Jen November 26, 2012, 4:35 pm

      fresh air is such good medicine for me. it was 75 degrees in georgia the day after thanksgiving and i spent hours just soaking up the sunshine, walking with the dogs and breathing.

  • Carrie @ Fitness and Frozen Grapes November 25, 2012, 7:31 pm

    Hope you’re feeling better and less stressed, Jen. When I’m overwhelmed, I exercise–running, swimming, biking, anything that will get my blood flowing and my heart pumping seems to help. Sometimes, I’ll call my mom or take a hot shower.

    • Jen November 26, 2012, 4:36 pm

      moms and hot showers…i’m convinced it’s the cure for many things. i can’t tell you how many times growing up that my mom told me to “take a shower, you’ll feel better.”

  • Amelia November 25, 2012, 7:38 pm

    Seriously all of these same thoughts/ emotions go through my head, especially lately. This past year and through a good portion of 2013 are going to be a great stress for me, I fear. I feel especially horrible after I jump down someone’s throat or blow something small out of proportion. It happened a few times for me this past holiday weekend. This week marks the next 4 stressful weeks of my life thus far. I’m struggling to find the strength to deal with simple stuff. I need to breathe and take a good friend up on her offer to drag me to my first yoga class. I hate to admit that I had a cherry/bourbon/amaretto drink (I made up just now) to help calm my nerves. Never a good sign, right?

    Love the stack of magazines. Zoning out on the stairmaster for 30 minutes with my pile this morning was awesome. The latest Southern Living has pepped me up for Christmas and helped me forget reality for a little while.

    • Jen November 26, 2012, 4:37 pm

      amelia – i’m sorry to hear that this year has been a challenge for you as well. we can only hope that we will emerge on the other side stronger and wiser.

      and trust me, i’ve had my fair share of glasses of wine to help deal. i loved the latest southern living too. so many good recipes.

  • meghan@strugglemuffins November 25, 2012, 8:00 pm

    Perspective can be so powerful …for the better or for the worse. I can relate to needing an awesome cathartic run to really move through some stuff and I’d also agree that major perspective-shifting moments happen when I’m teaching/ practicing yoga. Total game changer. Glad your day turned around.

    • Jen November 26, 2012, 4:38 pm

      yes, i consider teaching and practicing a major gift to have in my life right now.

  • Paige @ The Balancing Act November 25, 2012, 8:08 pm

    Like a lot of other commenters have said, I usually use exercise as my outlet for stress; however, some injuries and health problems over the past few months have elevated my stress levels while simultaneously forcing me to drastically scale back on my workout routine. Thus, I’ve had to search hard for other ways to deal with my emotions. I’ve found music, cooking, blogging, and quality time with friends and family to be very therapeutic. It’s also been very helpful to know that others are going through similar struggles, so as always, thanks for your honesty, Jen!

    • Jen November 26, 2012, 4:39 pm

      paige – it would be difficult for me to find another outlet for my emotions as well but i’m so happy to hear that you have been able to redirect. you are most certainly not alone.

  • Shay @ Whine Less, Breathe More November 25, 2012, 10:53 pm

    Moving back home to the Midwest has been stressful, but I have been spending time outside as much as possible. Fresh air always makes it better. And being close to my family, seeing them on a regular basis? It’s good for my soul.

    • Jen November 26, 2012, 4:40 pm

      shay – it is a blessing to have family close by when you need them. i was pretty upset earlier this year when my parents moved a plane flight away rather than a drive. it just feels different.

  • lindsay November 26, 2012, 6:50 am

    Oh yes, i do the same! Over analyze and make it a bigger deal than it is. But you are right, it’s a lesson learned. I have learned that the simplest things ground me too. LIke cuddles with the dog and a simple meal with a friend and/or family.

    We are on of the same Jen.


    • Jen November 26, 2012, 4:45 pm

      lindsay – thanks so much for the encouraging words. dog cuddles are the best.

  • Katherine November 26, 2012, 7:25 am

    Wow, this post is really timely with something I’m going through. I’d say I read Scripture and try and reach out. When I’m hurting, there is always someone else who’s hurting worse. But, ultimately God is the only one who brings peace.


  • Sierra @ Posh Meets Pavement November 26, 2012, 7:59 am

    Hannah’s comment about is amazing… just know that sharing the tough times is not the easiest to write, but can have a profound impact on other people.

    The above is a great reminder of how to appreciate the little thing to help you get through the big things.

    • Jen November 26, 2012, 4:46 pm

      hannah’s comment brought me to tears. it is so true that it’s hard to open up and share struggles but i always find that someone can relate and it helps us all to share and talk.

  • Anya November 26, 2012, 11:04 am


    I’m sorry that you’re going through a stressful period. Thank you for sharing though. I’m going through a period of feeling overwhelmed and stressed and can also often times react to the slightest things like they are the end of the world. Realizing that others have their own ups and downs and that they may also be trying to get through a difficult period can really help me get out of my own head and my own worries. Thank you for giving me some perspective. I love your blog btw and wish you the best.

    In the words of Winston Churchill, “If you’re going through hell, keep going.”

    • Jen November 26, 2012, 4:47 pm

      anya – thanks so much for your comment. sometimes you really do just have to get out of your own head and realize that you are not alone in your struggles.

      love the churchill quote.

  • Addy @ Six-Kick Switch November 26, 2012, 12:27 pm

    Jen, I hope you got some R&R this weekend and can store it up for the week ahead – sounds like some tough times you’re dealing with! My thoughts are with you! Like many who’ve commented here, I think the best remedy for stress is to get moving. Shake it off!

    And I always try to remember that no one ever got anything done just by worrying over it. You just have to get busy and do the best you can with what you got!

    • Jen November 26, 2012, 4:48 pm

      hey addy – luckily work stresses have died down and i have a relatively calm week. if only the personal stuff would do the same.

      i love your encouragement about getting busy and doing what you can with what you have. thank you for that.

  • Meaghan November 26, 2012, 7:56 pm

    Long time reader, first time commenter. I have been reading your blog for quite a long time and you are by far my favorite “healthy living blogger.” I have to say that while I have always loved your blog and have been inspired by your workouts and balanced approach to eating (as well as the pictures of Sullie – I am a sucker for big cuddly dogs!), the openness with which you have been writing about your personal life and struggles lately has really resonated with me. I guess what I am trying to say is that I’m sorry things have been so hard for you lately but your writing and resiliency during this tough period of time is inspirational for me and for many others too, I’m sure. A lot of bloggers out there focus only on the “perfect” parts of their lives and it can make readers feel inferior; your blog makes you seem relatable and like quite the lovely person. Hang in there and know that there are a lot of readers out there rooting for you.

    • Jen November 26, 2012, 8:38 pm

      hi meaghan – thank you so much for reading my blog for so long and for taking the time to comment tonight. i am really happy to hear from you. i focused for a long time on trying to make things look perfect. then i realized that was impossible. if i didn’t share that i was struggling on my blog i would feel completely inauthentic and i’m not even sure that i could continue to blog because of the burden of trying to appear that i have things together. life is full of ups and downs and i’m so grateful that i have been able to help others see that and open them up to sharing.

  • Katy November 26, 2012, 9:31 pm

    Jen –

    I am so sorry you are going through this. I’ve been struggling with anxiety for the better part of my life and there are a few things that always help me.

    1) make sure you eat right, exercise and get good sleep. A lot of anxiety is chemical so doing those things right helps! And you get yourself into a routine which always helps too.

    2) don’t fight it. When you feel anxious, let yourself feel it. Just admit that you are probably going to feel crappy for a little while and that’s just it….sometimes that helps you to relax because you aren’t spending the energy to fight it.

    And last — what’s your favorite old TV show? Saved by the bell? Boy meets world? Find an old episode online and watch it. It helps you to zone out, see something familiar and just relax for a little!!

    Thinking of you ๐Ÿ™‚ xoxo

  • ashley November 26, 2012, 11:56 pm

    I am the queen of over analyzing and as a result, I can take the smallest of worries and turn it into a complex mountain of stress. Or as Brad says, I’m a snowballer. The past 2 years have been filled with so much disappointment and I’ve had more come-aparts than I care to admit. But after realizing that everyone on the planet has a battle of their own, I’m gradually accepting what’s happening (or not happening in my case) and the fact that it’s completely out of my hands at this point. I’ve given up on the blame game and I’ve let go of the guilt and in turn, I’ve found a lot more time to enjoy the things that make me happy. The anxiety can still be overwhelming but counting to 10, cuddling with the dogs and pausing for prayer are keeping me sane. And I love Katy’s advice about watching an old favorite TV show. Zoning out to Who’s the Boss or Golden Girls is a great help on bad days – immersing in something familiar is excellent therapy. Hang in there!

    Prayers and hugs! ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Samantha @ The More I Run November 27, 2012, 11:48 am

    When I’m stressed or burdened I run to Jesus.

  • Shayla November 27, 2012, 1:01 pm

    Jen, thank you so much for posting this….I really love seeing/reading the “real” side of a blogger instead of all the “rainbows and sunshine” pretty perfect posts that are around us everywhere….in fact, just go on Facebook and it’s inundated with “perfect” pictures and posts. I’m 18 weeks pregnant and going through some VERY very heavy stuff…my husband and I are going through a rough patch (due to some very personal reasons) during what’s supposed to be the happiest moments of our lives. I’ve never been through so many ups and downs in my entire life and to hear that other people are having their own struggles and how to deal with them gives me some hope and encouragement to look at the good in my life and to just focus on the present…it gets too overwhelming when I think about the future b/c it’s all out of my control…I can only live day by day to get through this and stay strong and positive for the baby. Anyway, my point is, thank you for expressing what you’re going through lately….us struggling with our own issues appreciate your honesty and it’s nice to know we’re not alone in this….and boy would I give anything to have a glass of wine right now, lol!!

  • willa November 27, 2012, 5:00 pm

    Thank you again and again for your blog. I too am having a wonky 2012 and your posts have been so comforting, encouraging, centering, and humorous(the best medicine). Over the past several weeks, I found the clarity I needed to make a change in my life and I can attest that making hard decisions does not look or feel pretty. But at the end of the day, if I’m miserable it is up to me to make a better choice for my life. Onward and upward, with grace. Sending thoughts of appreciation your way…you never know how you’re going to positively affect someone’s life.

  • amy November 29, 2012, 1:22 pm

    Wow. I stumbled upon your blog today when I was looking into Flywheel Charlotte. This particular post caught my attention. And when I started reading the comments, I had such mixed emotions. The comments for sure comforted me, b/c I, like most others, have struggled with a couple of blows over the past 5 years. It also saddened me that there are so many of us out there, stressed, anxious, and downright depressed. After a divorce, years of being alone, finding someone again, and then losing him in a terrible breakup, I became depressed, gained 30 pounds, lost all self esteem, and eventually checked out (now that’s a run-on sentence!). I’m back now, thank God, because I have 3 AMAZING kids that need me. As previously commented – sometimes we just need to give ourselves a break. Don’t suppress – be sad, be mad, be anxious. Find friends – positive friends, run, reach out, play with the dog, talk, and ABSOLUTELY drink wine! I hope the best for you, and I’m here to tell you from experience that whatever’s got ya down now, will eventually pass. I will certainly continue to read your blog. Hugs.

    • Jen November 29, 2012, 3:29 pm

      amy – thank you for taking a minute to check out my blog and for commenting. i just wanted to say life is full of ups and downs but for some reason i feel like this year has been so full of challenges and struggles for so many people. my heart hurts for everyone that has to endure these things and pray that we all come out stronger on the other end. i am so sorry to hear about what you’ve been through over the past years. i can’t even imagine what that must be like for you, especially with three children. please let me know if there is anything that i can do to support you/answer any questions you may have about different fitness options in charlotte. i love to connect with readers and it’s extra rewarding when they’re local. sending you positive energy!

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