A Pep Talk For A Season of Hard

Sometimes, life gets busy and I get so wrapped up in work that I literally forget what day it is. I forget that a life worth living is one rich in relationships, people, and connection. Sometimes theres nothing that reminds us of this more than a frantic phone call, a friend in crisis, a health scare, or even a death.

Most of us live each day as though everything is fine and that things will always stay the same as they have for our entire lives. And then one day, one moment truly changes things. We revert back to the basics, usually starting with calming our breath. We ask the questions per protocol, we run through the steps in our head, and if we’re lucky, we have someone who is much more level headed around during these moments that feel like snap shots of a movie or someone else’s life. Surely, not ours.

We ask ourselves how we got here. Was it a freak accident? Something I didn’t take seriously until it hit rock bottom? Why me? Why was this problem supposed to fall into MY life timeline? I do everything right. I’m a good person. I don’t deserve this.

How I calm my mind

What happens once the novelty wears off? Once things calm down? Well, then you’re alone with your thoughts… sometimes an even scarier environment. Personally I turn to Oprah and her supersoul sessions. I re-read super attractor by gabby Bernstein, I sit in silence, and I give gratitude for those close to me who reach out and check on me. Something that I don’t actually do, which has been extremely helpful, is listen to what other people have to say about the situation. Generally, people are kind and gentle when you’re struggling. Sometimes people are forward and opinionated, but taking a step back to ask their intention vs taking what they say to heart is the key- because the intention is usually good, even if the delivery comes across the wrong way.

Typically, people respond to situations in the way that they’d want support should they be in your shoes. Having a self worth and a truth that is unshakeable is the key foundation to not letting opinions sway you one way or another.

Remind yourself, gently, that this is a season. Things happen, and in the middle of it, it feels like chaos. Like your heart is in your throat every 5 seconds and you’re just trying to catch your breath. A logical decision would be the best case scenario, but many people just don’t operate on a logical decision making level because the brain is a powerful thing- I wish I had the answer for that one. But bottom line, this isn’t going to last. And thinking negative won’t get you to the end any faster or more productively. To the part where everything is okay and the clouds part and you feel a sort of lightness in your body.

The weight of your problems is only as heavy as you decide it should be.Let me say that again for the people in the back- you can deal with some heavy…stuff… and carry on about your day still looking for the good. You can deal with problems and trauma and hurt and anger and still be a good person in the process by not projecting it onto a person. But instead in a form of expression- why do you think I write so much?

Helpful tips to keep composure during stress

Finding an outlet of expression means dealing with hard things in a healthy way, which is a hell of a good place to start. Take some time to remove yourself out of the situation- literally leave your location if those 4 walls are triggers. You’re not running away from your problems, you’re being the bigger person by taking time to sort out your thoughts in a rational way vs staying in a toxic environment, even if it’s momentarily or situation dependent. You will come back refreshed and ready to make decision in a healthy light.

Books: The Untethered Soul by Michael Singer, What I know for sure by Oprah Winfrey, and Super Attracter by Gabby Bernstein.

Comedy: The Big Bang Theory, Sebastian Maniscalco

Moving my body: a walk, activating my core, or anything that gets fresh oxygen to my brain

Eating well: I try to eat foods low in glycemic index and carbs to avoid blood sugar spikes. When I eat junk food while not feeling my best mentally or physically, I am useless. I’m negative, crabby, cant think clear, and nothing good ever comes of this.

Bottom line

The key to getting through hard times or seasons of change is to know that it will not last. Get into survival mode and make decisions from your gut not your head, eat well, make sure your joints are stretched and mobile, get an outlet to express yourself in, and keep clear focus on the fact that once this is over, things will calm and down and go back to a new normal. Things WILL work out- write it down in your journal if you need a visual reminder!

An Important Lesson from COVID-19

This week has felt like I’ve been carrying an extra 80 lbs on my chest… how about you?

This world wide slowing-down to save the health of our friends and family has been a bit of a culture shock. In response to that, I’ve been doing my best to keep things light all week on my social media to help bring some peace to those struggling.

But something in me also feels a bit conflicted. Now that I’m in survival mode making sure my finances and food supply is prepared, I feel a deeper type of empathy. For those who have lost people close to them, those who have gotten a life threatening diagnosis, who’ve survived through house fires, soldiers who suffer from a multitude of mental disorders, miscarriages, and a million others that they too, didn’t ask for. 

It puts things in perspective in my own life- my family is healthy, my bills are paid, and I’m safe in my environment… why do I so often take these things for granted during times of normalcy? And right now more than ever, I crave normalcy. We complain often about daily struggles, such as the wrong coffee order or a construction detour, but are those things actually a big deal? It’s not until we’re confined to four walls for an unforeseen amount of time that the answer becomes clear.

My hope for you during this time is that you take note of the small things you’ve accidentally taken for granted. Make no mistake, there is no judgement for those of you reading- we are ALL equally guilty of this. Notice the humans in your daily environment. Notice the gift of connection free from distraction that we currently have the chance of embracing. Notice the board games and past times that we usually “don’t have time for” because we’d rather be productive.

Most of all, notice that time passes very fast and in order to make a life worth living, we need to prioritize rest and quality time as much as hustle. If you’re gracious for this break from work, that means you’re burning the candle at both ends. It’s a small silver lining that so many of us are recharging during this unscheduled break, but we need to collectively do better when it comes to prioritizing rest.

I’d like to commend those of you who are taking up a new hobby or skill, but it shouldn’t take a worldwide pandemic to kick that childhood dream into action. As adults, its equally as important that we make time to play just as children do. Do you think you could squeeze in 1 hour of playing the piano or learning Italian during your regular work week? Yeah, probably. Do you think you could find 1 hour before the kids wake up for you to read or workout in your living room? I’m more than sure of it. 

You see, this break is a mind game that gives us no excuse not to pursue what we want, but it shouldn’t take this circumstance to get you to schedule time to play. The world needs more people who practice creative expression. It fulfills you and helps you to present your best foot forward, both to your work and  family. Both your work and family deserve the best version of yourself. In many cases, the decision you need to do to achieve that comes not from putting your foot harder on the gas, but from removing it completely.

May we never take a day of work, quality time with family, enough money to pay our bills, a trip to the gym, a morning out to brunch, a walk on the beach, a birthday party, or single piece of toilet paper for granted.

Xoxo Maria 

My Favorite Healthy Meals

Disclaimer: *This can be a controversial topic and many people, whether they know it or not, may not have the healthiest relationship with it. If you feel like the thought of your next meal is consuming your life, the way that you eat doesn’t make you feel good, or you have any negative feelings or repercussions surrounding this topic, I’m going to request that you seek professional medical advice. This isn’t an area I’mm trained in nor have authority to prescribe or advise, so do me and yourself a favor and make that a priority.*

Different types of eating

Pescatarian- doesn’t eat meat, only eats fish
Vegetarian- no meat or fish (sometimes egg – which I do eat)
Vegan- no meat, fish, or dairy
Plant based- operates mostly off of plant resources

Migraines: my story

My activity level over those years varied, and beginning of 2019 was about 1-2x per week moderately intense. Then randomly, right after I moved into my apartment last June, I noticed 1, 2, 6, now it’s been 8 months since I’ve gotten a true migraine.

Why I avoid fast food

Be careful where you eat- fast food is highly processed and full of harmful chemicals. Limit your consumption for the longevity of your brain and body!

Keep it simple, include the rainbow of colors and food groups, and everything in moderation. It’s super simple and a foul-proof plan to follow. One of my favorite resources on this topic is Kelly Leveque of “Be Well By Belly.”

Typical breakfast, lunch, dinner, and dessert options that I love.

CLE Juice Box:  gluten free, vegan, and naturally sweet. My favorite local pit stop! Also Inca Bar and Cafe which I forgot to mention in this episode.

Eating well serves your body, mind, skin, energy levels, and happiness levels in all honesty.

Good nutrition resources (NOT diet culture)

Book: Genius Food

Kelly leveque “Be Well By Kelly” and “Body Love” by Cameron Diaz

Heinens, Fresh Thyme, and Trader Joe’s grocery stores are my favorite- usually I just do Marc’s or Giant

Restaurants in CLE- Cle juice box on the east side, west side: The Root Cafe, Cleveland Vegan, Townhall, Fahrenheit, and the flying fig are my favorites

How To Stay Motivated

The magic question…

Naturally, I was born a little more driven than the average bear. I was taught to work hard as a child and placed value in self achievement.

It takes the same energy to procrastinate that it does to put your head down and do the work. Did you know that?

It happens though, that naturally I’m not filled with an excessive amount of joy and drive for practicing good habits.

Let’s use an example of exercising because this is super common and happens to us all from time to time:

First, I check my schedule. Have I been super busy with work or personal obligations lately? Have I been running on exhaustion and wearing my body out? If yes- I take a day or two off.

Then, I check my nutrition. Have I been eating enough vitamins and minerals lately? There are a few meals I can 100% fall back on with all the micronutrients to make me feel full again.

Finally, I examine my sleep. Have I been getting enough?

If all of those things are doing fairly well and I cant pinpoint a reason for feeling this way, I get my feet moving before my brain talks me out of it!

When you’re feeling unmotivated,  dedicate a small chunk of time to said activity. I follow this rule with writing, exercising, cleaning, and other mundane tasks.

Forcing too much time and energy on an activity when you dont feel motivated to do it can ruin your relationship with the activity or hobby and take alonnnng time to get back to a healthy place.

Also, like everything else, I tie an intention to every activity.

When you’re truly in touch with your intuition, you’ll know when it’s time to call it a rest day. It’s most important to know when to push yourself out of your comfort zone (more often than not) and know when to be gentle with yourself. I’ve been on both ends of the spectrum and have found the middle to be the hardest, yet the most rewarding. Getting to know yourself inside and out will help minimize fatigue, burn out, exhaustion, and all of the feelings in between.

Don’t forget to subscribe and leave a review if you took value away from this episode. 🙂

How To Set A Daily Intention

If I had a dollar for every time I saw the headline “Set Your Intention,” but didn’t actually tell you how, I’d be rich enough to never work another day in my life…

I’ve dedicated an entire episode to it as this topic is a FAQ in my community!

If I had to guess, you probably stare at that blank box every morning and feel overwhelmed. You write phrases like “get to bed early” or “get the stuff done that needs to get done.” In reality, those things only *sometimes)* get done, so you write it the next day and the next day and then you get frustrated and maybe even give up.

I want to lay some ground work before we unpack intention setting:

A goal is what you plan to achieve. Examples are a college degree, a position at a job, opening your own business, having kids, a certain financial status, etc.

An intention is who you are and how you want to live your life. Examples are to be more calm in traffic, more patient at work, or a healthy eater. They’re more character traits, if you will.

An intention is how you want to be and how you would like the world to perceive you. A personal intention for me is to be a hard worker. I don’t have to tell people that’s who I am because it speaks for itself in the quality of my well-being and in my work.

A way that I check in with myself while setting intentions (usually quarterly works best every 3 months), is I envision the ideal version of myself 5 years from now (which is hard at times).

I imagine what traits someone would need to be able to do intention that goal requires, does that make sense? Begin with the personal achievement (the goal). Then, decide what kind of traits the person will need to achieve them (the intention)

In my One Ray Journals, the intention setting box can be used for intention. Or if you struggle with that right away, you can also use it for a to do list.

Examples of intention (some include goals tied to mindfulness):

To take a deep breath when last minute changes arise

Don’t judge don’t compare – contributed from a customer

Stick to my habit plan today

View my priorities and responsibilities of “I get to” instead of “I have to”

I will do one small thing outside of my comfort zone today.

Pay attention to a world beyond my phone.

Fill my plate rich in produce today.

Reach out to someone I’ve been thinking about lately

Put my best foot forward at work today

Let my life path naturally unfold

Meditate for 5 minutes on my lunch hour

Answer my top 4 emails today

Tie up the loose end of this project than relax with my family

Not get so angry in traffic today

Clean my home and declutter what I no longer need to create space

Go for a walk outside when I get home from work

Schedule a lunch date with a family member or friend

Who and where would I be if I didnt have this fear of self doubt or unworth?

Don’t forget to subscribe and write a review of what you think! It’s much appreciated. 🙂

Healthy Habits From Home

I know you’re struggling finding the motivation to practice wellness during this season. So, I’m excited to share with you how possible it actually is to practice healthy habits from home!

Take a personality test (Enneagram) to figure out how best you learn, grow, and love to figure out who you are as a person. I’m a type 3: High Achiever.

Tip #1: Get mentally in the zone before you actually begin the workout. While its preferable, you don’t actually *need* the gym as much as you think you do to get something done. I use music and my clothes as external motivational tools to get me started.

“50% of something is better than 100% of nothing.” Not working out from home because you think you’ll half a$$ it? An excuse, I hate to break it to you.

Tip #2: Your home should be a calming environment, not a stressor. If you have kids and chaos at the house, find somewhere behind 4 walls, alone, to find your grounding.

Tip #3: Tweak the way you think about the food in your cabinets. Buy food at the grocery stores that’s natural and wholesome to help you stay focused. Eat food that helps you feel energized and full of life!

Also, pack your meal in a lunchbox when working from home. Resist the urge to wait until the last minute because you’ll be home. Keep yourself structured to walk over to the table to eat vs giving into the urge to work through lunch.

Tip #4: Organize your home, yo! A decluttered environment helps the brain to feel at peace with room to grow and formulate new ideas. There is power in cleaning and reorganizing the physical space you exist in.

Tip #5: Stop trying to calculate your “chance” of achieving your goals. Instead, spend the precious time doing the thing you’re avoiding because that’s the work you need to do to achieve it.

A Pep Talk To Worry Less

The coolest part about my job is I can write from anywhere. currently I’m sitting in one of my favorite cafes called Inca Tea, typing on my phone (which I normally hate) with a phone battery of 22%… Game on. 

The quality of my day depends on how strong my morning cup of coffee is. Right now I’m drinking a pour over with oat milk- hellllllo happiness! This past year I’ve made it a goal to not run myself rampant and take a little more time to sit back, doing what I enjoy. 

Time to do things I enjoy means cherishing a drive to drop off journals to a few life / health coaches who live in beautiful areas by me with hills and farms and gorgeous homes, as well as dropping them off when they sell out at a small bookstore called Fireside Book Shop in Chagrin Falls- which is like a charming fairytale storybook town. It means spending time chatting with people who tell me their life story while purchasing one of my journals. it means sitting in cute healthy cafes that make me feel inspired. it means staying awhile when I go home and chat with my parents. it means enjoying a good book without feeling rushed to do something productive. it also means creating things when it feels good and getting into the more technical sides when it feels good- a balance of both. 

What if you saw 10 years into the future that you, in fact, WERE strong enough to achieve every hope and dream you have for yourself? If you could see that everything you want is going to happen as a result of you doing the right work and meeting the right people? Would you relax a little into the confidence of your being? Would you spend more time doing things you enjoyed with the confidence that it’s all going to work out? 

Honestly right now, I want you to picture yourself reaching your goals in the next 10 years (or being the ideal version of yourself, your relationship, your home, your career). What would you do differently?

I encourage you to live as though it will happen. Make up your mind that the work you put in over the next few years is going to manifest into the version of you that is meant to work out. There’s no point in wondering if it will or not because chances are, when you try your best and show up and practice your art you WILL get better by default. I’m happy to reassure you that it’s going to be super hard and grueling at times, but those are only seasons. Those types of scenarios come and go and, in the end, things always work out. Small detours and challenges in your life have continued to push you further here. 

Why rush the process when, and this is my own personal belief, things happen at the right time and in the right way when they’re supposed to? Remember that the universe, God, spirit IS looking out for you. And if that’s hard to recognize, I suggest you start reading books that confirm that belief. I’m not trying to sway your opinion because I think I’m right, but it’s a hell of a lot easier to get through the day with this mindset, sleep well at night, and the more I sink into this mindset, the more positive things happen to and for me with less work and struggle and effort on my part. 

We waste so much time stressing and worrying about things that *usually* don’t end up happening or being as bad as we anticipate them to be. When my dog passed away, I was trying to process what was happening. The weeks leading to her passing we’re getting worse and worse. I decided I just wasn’t going to let worry or fear prevent me from present to enjoy every moment with her. I was well aware of the fact that she was going to pass either way whether I worried or not. Even though I tried to bargain with God and thought of every case scenario where maybe she was an alien and didn’t have to pass, I know crazy right- so might as well enjoy the last few memories I had with her. and you know what?

When she did pass, sure it was tough to say goodbye, but I had no regrets. Nothing to wish I did or didn’t do. No “I should have or what it’s” just a chapter closing and looking at the situation for what it was and not for what my emotions were projecting onto it. Every so often I hear a song, have a dream, or completely blank on in the fact that it happened, but it was a lifesaver to have this mindset. I want that for you when hard things happen. I want that for you when you don’t feel like you can go on any longer. When you struggle to find the meaning in the chaos or pain of what’s on your plate. 

So, my goals for 2020: Take more time to slow down and let inspiration flow, and remember that worrying doesn’t make the outcome different, it only steals the joy from the moment. 

We don’t have a super long amount of time left here, and honestly it’d be such a waste to the higher power that you were created from to waste it. You don’t have to be productive 24/7 but you DO have to include more things that bring you joy into your life.

Welcome To The One Ray Podcast!

For those listening for the first time, I’d like to introduce who I am and what I do! I’m a wellness blogger who helps women achieve their health goals and enjoy the journey. I share through through 3 different venues- social media/blog/podcast, motivational public speaking, & guided wellness journals

My mission: is to provide women (and a few good men) a weekly dose of wellness tools + motivation. Also, to improve your self confidence through a solid foundation of taking the best possible care of yourself!

The three main topics this podcast will cover is motivational pep talks, healthy habit building tools, and *true* self care. I’ll share tips on how to use my journal and through personal experience, stories, and recommendations.

It will mostly be solo episodes because my favorite podcasts are the ones where the hosts talk about their own habits and thoughts. 

Now, for the love letter in the beginning of One Ray to each of my customers…

A little background info on my journey.

I’m new here so make sure to subscribe and write a review to spread the word!

What It *Actually* Takes To Achieve A Goal

So last week, we discussed goal setting for the beginner. This week, we’re talking action plan to get those feet up and moving toward reaching it!

It’s just not enough to want something. To set a goal, make a plan, and then leave it on paper and never look at it again. This is the step most people miss- they mean well in their approach, but can’t get past that resistance to change their thoughts to action. Listen carefully what I’m about to tell you… this, my friend, is how people do great things in the world. This is the single most important- yes, having a solid target and plan are important- the single most important step because a plan without action is meaningless.

This is also the hardest part. This is where most of us grow tired, bored, defeated when we aren’t successful the first or hundredth time. Have you ever heard of the ten thousand hour rule? If not, it states that a person must put in at LEAST 10,000 hours to be a master; and with that, I think mastery is something that requires ongoing and continuous self awareness and growth. I’m going to break some tough news to you- you’re probably going to suck and fall short working toward your goal most of the time. 

A personal example is that I’m currently taking self defense classes from a professional ju-jitsu fighter. I’ve never fought in my life and fighting isn’t something that comes naturally. The entire hour I spend with him every week I can’t stop thinking about how bad I am. Sure I practice and have gotten the basics down, but it’s really hard for me feeling new and unconfident as the techniques take awhile to learn. Do I put in less effort because I suck? No. Do I still take it serious? Of course because that’s how I get better. 

You come to me every week for motivation, yes? Ok, well here’s your cold splash in the face for this week- shut your mouth, quit complaining, stop telling people what you’re going to do, and actually do it. You wrote down the step you need to do to achieve that goal last week, now if you want to be respected in your craft, do it. This isn’t a sugar coated “You’ve got to have XYZ requirement, certification, knowledge, experience, or confidence” to do the thing. This is a show up even when you’re sick, when you’re emotionally off, when you’re tired. 

4 years ago in physical therapy assistant school, I had a sinus infection that lasted for a month. Migraines, dizziness, puking, stuffy nose, everyday for 31 days in December. I missed the opportunity to meet my favorite band, Timeflies, something I very much so regret. Sure I was uncomfortably sick, but that was a once in a lifetime experience. I also dragged myself to school everyday of that horrible illness because I would have gotten kicked out of school had I not. I’m aware that many of you reading this may be thinking “Take a break when you need to” and to some extent, I agree. But at the same time, I want you to learn from my regret and stay hungry for it. Success in any area (health, career, personal, etc.) isn’t for the faint of heart and doesn’t given out last place trophies. It’s incredibly possible to reach high for a goal and not lose yourself in the process. This is something I literally practice everyday. This is something that comes from meditation and knowing yourself really powerfully well. 

I need you to stop watching people on the internet making success look easy. I need you to unfollow the bloggers who look glamorous at every hour of the day, motivational speakers who blow smoke, and athletes who make it rain in the club every weekend in their off season. That’s 10% of the story- they don’t show the other 90%, which is the hard work that sucks.

You wanted motivation to make you excited to get started? Well… here it is- success in any goal looks like you doing the work that you don’t actually want to do. In the same time you spend complaining about not having what you want, you could have put in the energy needed to accomplish the hard work to getting there.

3 Tips For Successful Goal Setting

I’m going to keep this simple- goal setting is an important way to continue building and reaching for a stronger, better version of YOU. Yes, you need a plan, we don’t just naturally continue to progress and improve throughout our lives unless we’re aiming at a solid target. Things may change along the way, but generally those who set goals and work to achieve them feel happier and more fulfilled in the habits and motions of their day. There’s many different ways to do this, but I realize I’m speaking to those new at this or who need a fresh perspective, so we’re starting from the basics. Do me a favor and please don’t overthink this part. It’s so easy to get technical, but I want you to resist the urge to be perfect and just try your best. 🙂

1. Start with the categories in which you want to reach toward something. A few that I use: health (physical and mental are two different categories), professional, relationship, personal, and adventure. If you’re in school or planning a wedding, most certainly include those, as well!

2. Develop the 1-3 goals for each category. Be careful not to bite off more than you can chew, it’s better to focus deeply on just a few goals than just to throw a bunch out there and half-a$$ the effort.

3. Develop a solid plan of a few bullet points of what you can do to work toward it. For example, under mental health, I’m putting together a list of books I want to read:

  • Category: Mental Health
    • Goal: Books I want to read in 2020
      • Action Plan:
      • The War of Art – Jan
      • 10% Happier – Feb
      • The Founders Dilemma – March
      • Blink – April
      • The One Thing – May
      • The Power of Now – June

I’m keeping it at six for now until I hear of other books I want to add to the list, but my goal is the read 1 book per month at minimum. I love to read as it activates the parts of my brain that create ideas and inspiration! This is the most simple, basic version of goal setting. A lot of people like to set a time limit, but I’m iffy on that. I know there will be months that are busier than others and I won’t have a ton of time to read, so if I read 10 I’ll be just as happy as if I read 12. The point is the effort is there, and I can’t predict how many yes’s I’ll get on the career front so the goal setting for that is different than what I do have control over (like health: moving my body to sweat 5x every week). Things happen, people get sick, work gets busy, but point is to set the goal so that when you feel off or stressed from life getting hectic, you fall back into the practices that you set in January to continue on the path to your goal!

That’s all for now. Try not to stress yourself over it, but I encourage you to set aside some time today or this week to really and honestly look at your life now and where you want to be, and practice the “category, goal, action plan” to get there.