Handling Stress As An Entrepreneur with Kelsey FlanaganMay 13, 2020
With everything going on in the world, there’s a lot of stress, and sometimes it's difficult to deal with it and we turn to things like Reese's eggs - at least I do, anybody else?
BUT, my friend Kelsey Flanagan, who is a mindset and life coach, is going to help you with some tips and tricks to create a healthy mindset with food. She specifically helps women break through the limiting beliefs around food, their body in order to live a confident and happy life!
Becoming aware of what's causing emotional eating
It starts with becoming aware because we know that emotionally eating food is just a symptom of something bigger that is actually going on.
I was into health and fitness for the longest time and it involved a lot of, this eat this, eat that, don't eat this, don’t eat that, drink more water, eat less and everything will work out. And I realized that that's not the case.
It's more than just food. Lack of proper nutrition is actually a symptom of a bigger problem.
I had thyroid issues for the longest time and I didn't have a cycle for four and a half years. My body was incredibly stressed out and I knew there had to be another reason I was feeling so run down. What was the reason I was binge eating, and then restricting. Why am I going up and down on all these diets, doing this exercise, over-exercising and not recovering properly? What am I running from, what am I doing this to myself?
Once I sat down and really got clear on what I needed, I knew I was lacking self-care. I knew I needed to take care of myself and work on my mindset. No matter how much I change my body, no matter how much I exercise, no matter how good I look on the outside, it was the stuff on the inside that needed work.
We have to take care of the internal and the outer will take care of itself. For so long I was focused on changing my appearance, making sure I was eating perfect, setting food rules, and going on these diets until I realized it's actually the inside that I need to work on.
What should people think about when it comes to like taking care of themselves and their mindset so that they gain more control of food nutrition?
The symptom is the food - so you’re binging on junk food, thinking about food all day, constantly eating and just filling these voids with food.
Maybe the reason is boredom or sadness. Whatever the emotion is, we're feeding it with food. That's all we know, and that is okay.
How to start being more aware is to first and foremost acknowledge that you’re doing this. You’re reaching for food or you’re always in the kitchen searching for more food when you’re bored for example.
So you need to figure out, what is the thing BEFORE the thing. How is the food affecting everything else. Ask you’re self, am I just eating stress? Or is there something else that can give you that reward?
Acknowledge why you’re eating. Acknowledge the habit.
And then understand what reward you’re trying to get out of it. A lot of people right now are stressed and overwhelmed or worried or anxious and we’re going to food.
So really ask yourself, what am I trying to heal or what emotion am I seeking through the food? We need to gain awareness of what feelings and emotions food bringing us or we're covering up with food. Right now people are wanting to be comforted or wanting to feel satisfied and food can satisfy those feelings of comfort and happiness.
But we need to understand that the only thing we can change right now is the habit. Go into it understanding and knowing that you want to feel comfort. Now from that empowering place of understanding and trying to explore what else gives you comfort, that's where you can really create that change.
We want to adjust your habit while still seeking that reward which makes you feel really, really good.
Some examples of alternatives would be to go for a walk, doing a mindful movement like yoga, or maybe calling somebody to chat. It's acknowledging what do I need that will make me feel good today?
What are some other like recommendations that you have to that can be used in place of food when you want to feel safe and comforted?
Ask yourself: what is the reward or what is the feeling that I'm always seeking?
For example comfort. A lot of us are craving comfort right now. So write down the word comfort on a piece of paper and write down things that are comforting for you. It's literally this simple but we don't take the time to do this and discover what is comforting for us.
You don't have to take food off the table so to speak, because when we do that, we feel restricted and we just want to go for food. Allow food to still be there. So for me comfort is making a warm meal or making something that is comforting that does actually nourish my body. Another thing that's really comforting is laying on my couch with my dogs all over me with a big blanket - it’s the very deffintiion of comfort because it just feels good.
If you’re an outdoor girl, get outside in nature because there’s nothing like a little vitamin D medicine. It doesn't feel comforting right away but I promise you those endorphins, that oxytocin, those happy hormones, they're going to be pumping like no tomorrow so when you come back in the house, you’re noting going to be thinking about food anymore. You’ve taken care of the feeling before the food.
Once you have this list of 3 or 4 things, which may change over time, put this list somewhere you’ll see it often. If you don’t, you’ll forget and you'll fall back into your old programming.
Keep it visible, because the need to go back to food is going to be there. Don't beat yourself up over it. Just look at that list, and remind yourself that there are other things that feel just as comforting that you can try.
What are some tips for managing stress when it comes to the uncertainty of your livelihood and your income?
Especially at this point in time, many business owners are faced with uncertainty when it comes to the fate of their business.
We know that stress is really just a choice because it’s how we respond to what is happening. We can look at stress management more as self-management. So that allows us to be proactive versus reactive. Shit is always going to happen to us - and this is pretty unfortunate. But we know that life does have a sense of uncertainty all the time.
So if you’re always being proactive and always asking yourself what would feel good for me today, you’re essentially filling up your cup first, in order to show up for your clients, be with your family or feel connected to your community.
The stress is will be there and the only thing we can manage and control is ourselves. It goes back to acknowledging what you need first. Because when your cup is full, you’re going to respond to everything in a much calmer, more peaceful way.
We’re often waiting for things to happen to us and sit in victim mode and say, all these things happened to me and these are my circumstances. But how long are you going to play in that story? It’s time to break past those limiting beliefs, create a new meaning to that story and empower yourself from that.
Victim mentality is essentially just taking away your power, so how are you going to show up and start creating new meaning? Once we can break past those limiting beliefs, that's where you can get into action. If we keep trying to get into action from scarcity, or fear, or lack or “I can't do it” or “I'm not going to be good at that” you need to ask yourself if you’re gonna keep living that story or are you going to get over that?
And it's up to you to figure that out. No coach or mentor can help you do that unless you say, I want to rewrite this. I want to take back my power from food, or my old stories or my limiting beliefs. You can. It’s up to you.
Do you have any tips for mums who may be feeling a bit of guilt for putting her needs above everybody else’s?
If you don't take care of yourself, how are you gonna take care of your little ones? We think it's selfish, but it’s actually selfless. If you take care of you a little bit more, think about how much extra juice you’re gonna have to give to them. Instead, you’re putting them first constantly so when you lay down at night, you're exhausted, you're overwhelmed and you're tired. And then you get up the next day, put on your superwomen cape and do it all again.
What if you did the opposite? What would be the benefit of taking care of yourself? There are hardly any negative benefits to that. Your kids might feel more loved because you have more energy. They're gonna feel safer because you’re not lashing out or getting testy because you have more patience.
So you’re a mom, your natural instinct is to care for everyone else. But what if you take care of you and as a byproduct that actually helped you take care of everyone else even better.
You can begin to say, hey, I'm gonna take care of you but I'm gonna take care of me too so I can do it for longer, I can do it better and I can do it from a much more loving place.
You don't want to have resentment towards them.
With the beginning of 2020, definitely being a rough one, what is your best advice to help equip ourselves to make the second half of 2020 just like the best it could be?
I wish I had the magic answer and I wish I had the playbook. But I don't, so I want to encourage you to write your playbook. Ask yourself this question, as often as you want hourly, daily, weekly, monthly:
What would feel good for me today?
Once you come back to you and fill your needs up, everything else is going to get better.
We have to first acknowledge we have needs and then ask where in your life are you maybe lacking some things?
If we continue to do this regularly, by the end of 2020, we realize that we are actually the best version of ourselves. You will be able to look around yourself and see that your business is doing better, your family life is more connected, you have a more connected community, and more love for yourself.
You know that all the external things can get taken away from us very quickly and at the end of the day, we still have us so we need to take care of ourselves.
By January 2021, if you do that often you'll thank yourself.