Anxiety

Every Day You Have A Choice

At the end of October, an amazing person, friend, mother, wife and aunt left this world. I would have said her light went out but her light hasn’t gone anywhere and that is exactly why I decided to write this post.

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When I stop to think about the kind of person I want to be and the impression I want to leave on those who I encounter in life, I have a handful of women I look to as role models. Each of them have certain attributes I would love to have within myself. Don’t worry, I do realize that I cannot just combine the best traits of my role models and become some kind of super woman. No one is perfect and I am certainly not. I can, however, learn things from each of them and try to apply those lessons to my own life.

The biggest lesson I have learned from my Aunt Julie, and was so eloquently shared by my cousins at her memorial service, was that each day you have a choice: you can choose to have a good day or a bad day.

While we cannot control our circumstances, as she could not control her cancer, we can control our attitude and she fought with a smile on her face and kindness to those around her. I heard countless stories of how she befriended the nurses in the hospital, went to spinning class within a day after chemotherapy and was a loving human being to everyone around her. The nearly one-thousand people who attended her service are a testimony to the lives that she touched with her incredibly bright light.

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As someone who has battled anxiety and depression for most of my life, choosing to have a good day is hard. If I’m having a bad day, I want to have my bad day. I want to wallow in it and show my pain to others. The past year or so I’ve been trying so hard to be positive instead of negative. To choose my attitude.

However, I have not tried more than I have these past few days back at work. I wallowed last week in my grief and how heartbroken I felt for her husband and children. But on Monday, I decided that I would have a good day no matter how bad I felt when I woke up. I chose to be positive, joyful and kind to others. To say I’m a work in progress is an understatement but trying is certainly better than nothing.

Julie said something to me once I will never forget and will always make me laugh: “Life is too short for uncomfortable underwear.” While sound advice in and of itself, I think it’s metaphorical as well. If something was wrong, Julie didn’t complain - she did what she could to fix it and moved forward with a smile on her face. She knew that life is too precious to let things keep you down.

Every day we all have a choice to have a good day or a bad day. What are you going to choose today? Because I’m going to choose to look at every positive aspect of my day instead of complaining. I’m going to choose to be happy and kind to others no matter what. Lastly, I’m going to choose to be grateful because gratitude leads to happiness, not the other way around.


On a separate note - two of Julie’s daughters ran the NYC Marathon to raise money for Cholangiocarcinoma, which is a rare, and unfortunately fairly underfunded, form of liver & bile duct cancer that my Aunt Julie fought for over two years. To donate to their fundraising efforts, click here. Every gift makes a difference to both their fundraising and the support that they feel from our community.

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The Art of Ditching The Plan

Aug 21, 2017


I'm a planner. I like to know what's going to happen, I like to be in control of what's going on, and I like to have an exit strategy if I end up not wanting to be there anymore.

It's Sunday afternoon and I've just gotten home after leaving my apartment at 7:00 am. Yesterday. I'm covered in dirt, I have grease marks all over me, I haven't showered in days, I'm a little sunburnt and I'm pretty sure I smell enough not to be allowed anywhere a respectable human being should go. My weekend did not go as planned, but I have a feeling you know where I'm going with this...

I had the BEST TIME.

Because I have one of my biggest events for work on Monday (today for the purposes of this post), I've barely been home and I haven't slept well from stress. Yes, I have done everything I could do and now we'll just have to see how it goes but, nevertheless, I worry. I figured I would need a relaxing weekend. I'd planned to spend a few hours with my friend Julie who is visiting CO with her family, have a quiet Saturday night doing meal prep and laundry, then going to church and the driving range on Sunday.

I got up early Saturday morning, drove to the airport to pick up Julie and we had a great morning. We went to brunch at Maddie's, I showed her around where I work, we walked around Wash Park and even went through an open house in a cute neighborhood (I SO WANT THAT HOUSE! Only $1.3 million! ;) ).

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When I went to drop her off to get her rental car, there was quite a snafu and they had nothing for her. Actually, none of the rental places we called had any cars available. I told her not to worry and that I'd drive her to pick up her friend from the airport and take them both to Boulder where Julie's family would come down from the mountains where they were staying and pick them both up. Sure, it was a dent in my "plan," but I wasn't going to leave them stranded and I really didn't mind - I love Julie!

Well, once we were leaving the airport, Julie asked if I just wanted to come up to the lodge with them, hang out and stay the night. My anxiety immediately said to me: "No! That will completely mess up your plan! You probably won't sleep well. You'll be tired tomorrow, you'll get back home too late for church, blah, blah, blah."

You know what I did? I told that voice to shove it. After much practice, I've learned to tell that voice that it's wrong. That spending time with people I love (and I LOVE her family) will be much more fun, refreshing and memorable than a night at home with Netflix. So I said yes. With literally the clothes on my back, I headed up for an evening in the mountains.

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Yes, I hadn't showered and had to wear a mishmash of other people's clothes to dinner and the put my same Saturday outfit back on for Sunday, but no one cared. Yes, I had nothing with me but my phone and water bottle, but I didn't care. Even in the morning, when I hoped to get back home with plenty of time to go through my Sunday "routine," I said screw it and I stayed. I went on a walk, I had breakfast, I sat around and chatted, I went and rented bikes and rode through a gorgeous mountain pass.

I had conversations. I met new people. I got to see the beautiful mountains. Most importantly, I felt welcomed, loved and appreciated.

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You've heard it before, but I'll say it again: life is best outside of your comfort zone. It's less scary stay at home and do the things you know you like to do. It's easy to read a book, watch a movie, go for a walk around your neighborhood, or even see the same person you see every week. But when I'm actually around other people, when I give up the plan and I do things that I don't normally do or can't control, that's when I feel the most fulfilled, the most alive, most in-the-moment, and the most like myself.

Dear rental car companies, thank you for being rude yesterday. Love, Katie.

How To Move Through A Bad Body Image Moment

Aug 1, 2017

I heard this quote a while back and it really struck a chord with me:

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Can you love the part of you that hates your body? - Samantha Skelly

We are constantly bombarded with the concept of loving your body, but what if that's something you struggle with? Actually, the majority of women struggle with this concept because we live in a world where a certain body type is considered beautiful and anyone else is less than.

Whether you struggle every day or most days you feel pretty good about yourself, we all have those moments. We see a photo of us that's unflattering, our jeans are too tight, or we catch a bad angle in the mirror. I actually had some friends back in college saying they avoided looking at their bodies in the mirror because they just didn't want to see themselves. Does that make you sad? Because it makes me sad!

We all have those moments, but how do we get past them?

First, stop.

Stop thinking and take a deep breath.

Now take another.

And another.

Calming your heart rate is essential because that's what sends you into a panic. Know that the thoughts running through your head probably aren't true. The way your body looks probably won't keep you from doing anything you want to do in your life, as long as you don't let your thoughts and fears hold you back.

What next?

Find something else to do to channel that energy.

Go for a run.

Journal.

Do a boxing or HIIT workout.

Read your bible.

Walk around the block.

Choose something to the negative energy out that's good for you. It's so easy to turn to a familiar but unhealthy coping mechanism to make yourself feel better in the moment, like binge eating or drinking, because it will only make you feel worse in the end.

Once you've calmed down, pull out your rational mind. Your body does not define you. People don't love you because of your body, they love you for you. When you think about women you admire, do you think about their bodies? Probably not.

You're okay. You're going to be okay. In fact, you're pretty awesome.

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Breathe through those moments until they pass, because if you're focusing on accepting, liking and loving yourself then you will feel better when you let your rational brain take back over from those negative thoughts.

Now that you've figured out how to breathe through those moments, let's work on experiencing them less and less.

First of all, it's important to know that they probably won't ever go away. Unless you truly love every inch of your body (Samantha from Sex and The City comes to mind ;) ), you're going to have those moments every once in a while. The key is to learn how to move through them, rather than trying to make them never happen, which only ends up in you feeling bad that you can't love yourself the way you are. No one needs that shame! Understand that you're human, you're going to be affected by what you see and hear and you can't get rid of years of conditioning in just a few months.

Jumping from hating or disliking how your body looks to loving how your body looks is a big leap and can become too overwhelming or feel impossible. Start with accepting your body. That's all - just accept that this is how you look and know that we were all made differently. This might not change how you feel but just focus on acceptance.

Important interjection: Yes, you can want to change your body through nutrition and exercise, but you should still learn to accept and like yourself as you are now or you'll never love yourself at another size. It's all about being confident in who you are!

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Once you've mastered accepting your body, move on to liking your body. Think about all the things you love about yourself. Think about how you have a healthy body that has done so much for you. Think about those moments where you felt amazing and just sit in those emotions and positive thoughts about yourself.

Even when you love your body, you'll still have those moments. Those moments of seeing yourself in a negative light and feeling panicked that you have to change or you won't be accepted. When that moment happens, stop and breathe. Use your tools. Journal out your feelings, breathe, do some yoga, go on a walk. In a difficult moment, these might be the last things you want to do but do them anyway. Anything is better than panicking and using a negative coping mechanism.

Sooner or later, you're going to have more positive moments than negative ones. Those moments when you're feeling amazing, dancing with your friends or catching yourself in the mirror and thinking, "you are totes adorbs today." Okay, maybe you don't use those words, but you get me, right?

Remember, start with acceptance and most importantly,

give yourself some grace.

You're doing just fine.

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