Are You Living With Purpose And Nourishing Your Soul?

Are you feeling out of touch with yourself as we reach the end of 2021? As you care for those around you are you lacking self-care? As we close out the year, I implore you to do some soul-searching and figure out what is holding you back from feeling like your best self.

To do this… let’s do a bit of digging.

First, we need to figure out our core-values.

In the book Black Sheep: Unleash the Extraordinary, Awe-Inspiring, Undiscovered You, author Brant Menswar talks about find your Core Values to define your Black Sheep – aka, your 100% authentic you.

He goes on to say that our core values are what drives our purpose – rather, our why .

We often question why we are here on this earth. We usually find ourselves searching for the answers of our purpose within this universe. I question this often. I wonder how can I do better… not only for myself, but for my family? How can I do better and feel fulfilled with the time that I have each waking hour?

By defining my core values using Menswar’s book, I realized a lot of things about myself and began to shift my daily actions. And, so too, did I see a real shift in my life.

Prior to this, I would repeat the same day-to-day tasks… while expecting different outcomes toward my goals and not attempting to make any changes… (the supposed definition of Insanity!).

But when I really looked into the values of my soul, I could break down my decision making in a more clear way. I’ve started to analyze my areas of struggle and have seen how they feed my core values.. I could then ask myself, were my decisions emotionally-driven… for a want or desire? Did they feed my core values?

My personal core values are as follows…

  • Family
  • Movement
  • Nourishment
  • Learning
  • Self-Love

My core values are things that fire up my soul. I see them as my soul values. They are the very being of my existence.

As I’ve grown into adulthood, these values have been buried under the surface. I cared so much about pleasing other people and I wasn’t listening to my soul’s needs. Yes, I do like helping others and going out of my way for others. But, I forgot that in order to take care of others, I need to take care of myself first.

These days, I have been punching through the distractions of life (and digital and social saturation) to bring these values above the surface and to live each day with purpose.

Living with purpose and bringing forth my core values, my soul values, is how I choose to nourish my soul. The way I engage with these values might look different every day. And some days, I may be down in the dumps and whining about how hard life can be… and sometimes, it’s hard to climb out of that hole… But when I start to remember my soul values… I remind myself that if I am going to live each day with purpose, I can’t do so buried in my sadness.

Yes. Emotions are important. They tell us a story about ourselves. And it is ok to feel down. I don’t wish to tell anyone how to feel. But it sure is grand to use those failures and experiences to learn and grow. 

Here are some ways I engage with my soul values:

Family Soul 

  1. Family Dinners
    • One thing we aim for, even when schedules are busy, is to make sure we have dinner together as a family. Sure, the percentage of this happening throughout the year fluctuates – but I can proudly say we meet this goal at least 60-70 percent of each week. When we have dinner together, we ask our kids about their day, what they enjoyed, what wasn’t so great about their day, and something they learned. Sometimes the answers might “I don’t know”… and that’s ok. We won’t stop asking! We want our kids to know that even when we might be busy or look unengaged, we want to hear from them. Understand where they’re at in life. And time around the dinner table is a perfect time to participate in this activity.
  2. Bedtime Stories
    • Since the birth of each of my children, just about every single night before bed, we read. My kids love to read and my husband and I love to read with them. It is incredible watching my daughter learn how to read. She has progressed so much this year and it overjoys me that she has a love of books. Not books on a phone or tablet. She loves to hold her books, read the words, look at the pictures and talk about the story. 
    • Our son gets hung up on the same story for a while before he likes to change it up. And I love this about him. He gets passionate with consistency. I can see his mind grow as he engages more and more as we read together. 
  3. Neighborhood Strolls
    • This is more of a warm-weather thing… but if this pandemic has taught us anything, it is a reminder to slow down and to breathe in the fresh air and move. During the spring, summer and fall, we take many walks around the neighborhood as a family. It teaches our kids to be active and healthy… we get to look at the trees, flowers, and blue sky.
    • We got to teach our kids to ride their bikes this year and see the excitement on their faces as they zoom down the street. I craved these walks/rides each day! And maybe in the winter we can get outside for a few minutes of cool, snowy walks. 
  4. Friday Night Movies:
    • My husband started a weekend tradition with our daughter when she was about 3 years old. Every Friday night, they cuddle on the couch and watch movies until they pass out. At first, it was mostly a daddy-daughter thing… but now, the whole family gets in on the action. We make snacks and pick out movies that make us laugh or cry. It’s something the kids look forward to each week and is a great way to start our weekend together and unwind. We do our best not to miss movie nights and hope they continue until they are mature and in their teens (wishful thinking, I know!). 

Movement Soul

As a prenatal and postpartum fitness specialist and a group fitness instructor, I am fortunate that I get to move daily. When I don’t have clients to train or classes to teach, I get to practice movement and work to get stronger and more flexible. Movement is my therapy… and I can sense my frustrations on the days that I don’t get a solid moment of movement… be it cardio, strength, flexibility, or just simple breath work. Here are some ways I move to nurture my movement soul:

  1. Bodypump: 
    • I teach bodypump 3-4 times per week in a group fitness setting. This lights me up! I get up early! And, while waking early for a 6 a.m. class is challenging, I look forward to these classes. I take in the smiles and energy from each participant and output it right back to them… I feel energized and empowered after leaving the gym each morning – which sets me up for a great start to the day. 
  2. Training clients: 
    • I am so fortunate for each client that I come across. As I train with my clients, each and every one of them teaches me something about myself and how different situations and lifestyles affect our health, well-being, and our emotions. I have had clients in the past bring tears to my eyes after a solid session. They would tell me how they feel better in their bodies and confidence in their movement. I would see them feeling empowered, and getting stronger.
    • Each session reminds me of WHY I chose to do what I do. Especially for my pregnant moms – We grow life… and any session that involves movement is going to nourish the life growing inside you and set them up with a strong foundation for the future. 
  3. Yoga:
    • When life is feeling a bit stressful… or my body feels a bit overworked… I remind myself to take some time for some gentle yoga, mobility, stretching, and focused breath work. I always leave these sessions with so much gratitude toward life and the knowledge I have gained through fitness over the years. 
  4. Running:
    • I am in no way an expert or a lover of running. However, there are those days when I crave a good run… and I just go… I used to hate running because it didn’t feel good… but now, I understand the mechanics of my body more than ever before… I have trained myself to focus my breath and core mechanics as I run… and now I feel incredible at the end of each run.  Running is a sort of therapy for me. It allows me to clear my head, train my lungs, feel light and strong all at the same time. It boosts my endorphins. No need for feel good drugs here… running is my drug on the days that I crave it!
  5. Kickboxing:
    • Kickboxing was my first love in the early days of my fitness journey. I walked into a “Les Mills Bodycombat” class when I was a young teen… and it set me ablaze! At the time, I never saw myself as a fitness instructor… but, when I was going through some tough times and figuring out my path… it dawned on me! I needed to become an instructor so that I could learn everything about kickboxing! It made me feel tough, strong, and empowered… and it will always hold a special place in my heart!
  6. Playing With My Kids:
    • To see the smiles on my kid’s faces and hear the belly laughs when they are “horseback riding” on mommy around the living room… it just melts my heart. Even on those nights when I am just ready for them to go upstairs to bed… If I’m requested to “play horsy”… I have a hard time saying “no”!! Or, when the music gets turned on and it’s a song you just can’t sit still while listening… we bust out in a dance party and fill the house with laughter… Those are the memories I will hold onto for life. Or playing tag in the back yard… or kicking around a soccer ball… or learning how to swing a bat. Or simply, just tickling each other until we are gasping for air!
    • Sometimes, I have a hard time and say “I have to go do the dishes” or “the house needs to be vacuumed” and so on… I try to consciously remind myself that they won’t be this little for much longer… and try to take in these requests when I can. I’ll admit… it’s not as often as I’d like too.. Life doesn’t stop just cause your kids want to play… So I like to remind myself that playing with my kids checks off lots of my soul boxes… the family soul, daily movement soul, learning soul, and so on! 

Nourishment Soul

I’ll keep this one brief and in relation to food. Each meal or snack of the day… I ask myself, what is this food going to do for my body? Is it an empty calorie that’s going to give me a quick satisfaction from sugar and carbs? Or is it going to go to work for me and give me energy, motivation, strength, and satiate my hunger? Is it going to improve my immune function and mood? You get the idea.

Check out some of my favorite nourishing foods that are great for pregnancy, postpartum, preconception, or just an all around good snack to fuel any moment of your life. 

Learning Soul

Brain fog, “mom brain”, and societal demands can get in the way of this one.

I had a hard time believing that I could learn new things and retain new information as an adult… I had to push through this thought HARD. When I decided to change career paths in my 30s I thought, how the heck am I going to do this? I can barely remember what I ate yesterday! However, I just kept on pushing… and still am.

One way I do this is by reading daily and challenging myself as often as I can.

Over the summer during a business mentorship, a mentor of mine – James Goodlatte, the founder of Fit For Birth, reminded me of a quote I have heard from others in the past… but never really took in. “Fail fast”. If I want to grow, I need to fail.. and learn from it.

I was scared of this concept for a while… but, I told myself… if this is going to work… If I am going to start and sustain a business… I need to go ALL in. And fail. And fail again. And let me tell you, once I started doing this, the wheels started to turn in my mind.

I started learning things about myself and knowledge I had learned in the past started to come back to life. I gained confidence in myself – something I have struggled with my whole life. I started to value myself and my purpose MORE. But mostly… I want to SHOW my children that they should NEVER stop learning.

This concept is one to nourish a mind, body and soul. This concept, that we never stop learning, is one of the most important things I can teach to my kids. And I know they won’t quite get it yet… but I intend to bring this concept to the forefront as often as I can so that one day, when they are older and, perhaps, frustrated with life… this concept will click and they’ll aim high for what they desire!

Self-Love Soul

We have one body. One life. One soul. One mind… So why not love yourself? Do some things for YOU that are going to make you happy. This is another concept I have struggled with in the past. I used to be the person who would rather “put someone else’s oxygen mask on before my own”… And after years and years of being that person. I finally, truly realized… that I cannot help others if I don’t help myself first.

And to help myself, I realized, I need to LOVE myself. I cannot be there for those that need me if I am not taking care of myself. I used to burn myself out time and time again trying to please everyone around me. I have started to slowly start saying NO to others and YES to myself. And I have to say, it feels really good.

Time is so precious… and each “YES” you are giving to other people to help them out is more time you are taking away from yourself. And sure, sometimes it does feel good to help other people – If you are helping people in a way that also serves you, then by all means, say yes. But be sure to take the time to evaluate how that YES is also going to give you the love and care and respect you deserve for yourself. 

So go ahead, mama. Nourish your soul. Find the little things that will serve you and help you live with purpose. Determine your Core Values. Your soul values. Don’t be afraid to say YES to yourself.

Seek help when you need to seek it. Talk to someone. Move your body. Learn something new. Hydrate your mind, body, and soul. Fuel your mind, body, and soul. Nourish your mind, body, and soul. Do some soul-searching. Take a few extra minutes in the shower… Feel the water run down your feet and connect you to the earth. Take the dance lessons of life you’ve been wanting to take. Walk out your thoughts. Feel connected to the ones you love around you.

Figure out your core values. Live with purpose. Nourish Your Soul.

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