I met Stephanie at an online International Coaching Federation (ICF) event put on by Dr. Martha Eddy. Yes, even during Covid, I was able to network and connect with a like-minded coach. I knew we must have something in common to both be interested in Dr. Eddy’s mind-body work, but then I discovered that she was also from West Hartford—my home town—and just transitioning into being a full time coach. We both believe that our clients are all artists at heart. Now that I have been coaching seventeen years, I love encouraging other coaches to find their way. Stephanie’s niche was particularly interesting to me because she also believes in the power of getting her clients to embrace the body, mind, and spirit to live unapologetically to their fullest. I loved her word “unapologetically” because this is something I work on with military spouses who are trying to do it all. So, I asked Stephanie to come on my podcast and talk a little bit more about how we can all find our flow. You can listen to the podcast here and you can learn more about Stephanie’s coaching practice at www.stephanie-simpson.com. Although I sometimes have a hard time knowing where to refer military spouses when I’m too booked, I feel comfortable referring military spouses to Stephanie because she understands how to manage coping with an undercurrent of stress. I will share a little bit about what we discussed and why I think it’s so relevant with all that is happening in the world right now.
So many clients have shared that they are struggling with tapping into their creative side. They are having a hard time focusing with so much going on in the world. Many of us are home-schooling and making changes. I hired a nutritionist and personal trainer in the spring and just went to make her a referral when she shared that she had to take a job in finance. I was sad for her, but knew she was the type of person to adapt and I see her getting back into fitness and entrepreneurship someday.
Stephanie and I discussed fear and how powerful it can be, but more importantly, how to use fear to motivate us. She went from helping actors and actresses manage stage fright to helping anyone step into the unknown, show up, and be themselves. In the podcast, Stephanie shared, “I always tell my performing clients, creative artists, with butterflies in their stomach that it’s a good thing our body is doing because that means that you care about the thing that you’re doing.” This helped me realize that when I am stepping out onto a military spouse stage, the butterflies I get mean I love my audience and want to do my best to serve; I believe this will ease the fear flutters. When do you get butterflies in your stomach in your professional life? Can you reframe the fear as exciting steps forward?
I explained to Stephanie that military spouse life includes a lot of big stressors such as deployments along with the undercurrent of stress due to keeping the home fires burning, managing life as a “single parent,” and coping with multiple moves. I asked Stephanie for her suggestions. She said, “I call those daily hassles!” and explained that what makes these daily hassles tough is that we don’t get the same support we get when we are going through a bigger stress.
She went on to explain that managing daily hassles is equally important because stress can lead to poor health, headaches, back pain, and more. She share a lot of tips in her 21 Day Stress Management Workbook. I am giving away one workbook to a military spouse who leaves an authentic review of the podcast The Military Spouse Show and e-mails me at firstname.lastname@example.org to let me know to enter them in the giveaway. Workbooks are usually $50.00, but email me and I can give you a 50% coupon code if you would like to purchase one. The workbook might be a great activity for a family readiness or military spouse group to do together. Each day has a different stress relieving exercise such as sharing gratitudes or just taking ten minutes to color; I loved it. I can see how doing the exercises with a small group might be even more fun and add some support and accountability.
One of my big takeaways from chatting with Stephanie was that we aren’t striving for “no stress” because a little stress is a good thing. She explained that its about finding that sweet spot, like when she had to train for a marathon and make her workouts just a little bit of a push so that she’d improve her ability without getting burned out. I love when you lose yourself during a tennis game, a work project that’s so fun that you didn’t realized hours passed, or when dinner is planned out but easy. I love balance, harmony, and giving a little of myself in a lot of areas, but I do not like reaching burn out. It takes time to know what burnout looks like for you. Think about defining what that “sweet spot” might look like in your personal and professional life. I like when my home life, workouts, and professional projects challenge me but aren’t so hard that I may give up. Defining what that looks like is often half the battle of achieving a life where we are living in flow.
Another great takeaway was Stephanie’s big reminder to celebrate ourselves. I usually get to the end of my day and think about what I haven’t done. Stephanie suggested I have a little self compassion and find something to celebrate! She said, “it can be anything like maybe the kids zoomed in at the right time for class! That is a win, right? No win’s too small.” So now I am looking for “small wins” instead of beating myself up, and it feels really good.
I saw a great meme that said, “Sitting in the car outside your house can be self care.” This might have sounded funny to me a few decades ago, but as a working mother it really rang true. Self-care doesn’t have to be extravagant. Sometimes self-care is just taking a moment to be present and breathe more. During a pandemic, we need these ideas. It’s not realistic to run off to the spa while our entire family is on lockdown, so we need to be creative. If I am feeling stressed. I get up early before anyone is up and listen to book on audible or do a puzzle. Sometimes twenty minutes is all we need to recharge and set the stage for a more productive day.
Stephanie encourages us not to beat ourselves up when our self care routine is disrupted. Missing yoga shouldn’t count as a stressor. We need to be willing to miss that 8:00am yoga, shrug it off, and take a long walk instead. Saying self sabotaging things like, “Oh my gosh, I didn’t meditate!” sounds so silly, but many of us do it. It’s okay to watch a funny movie or catch up on the phone with a friend; there is no one size fits all way to destress. Maybe it is playing Christmas music? If you have a destressing idea you’d like to share with the military spouse community, feel free to leave a suggestion in the comments below.