Transformation – Part 2: A New Life

Sedruola Maruska | Personal Development Coach

In Transformation Part 1 I shared my trauma, here, in part 2 I share more of the journey. The new life that emerged after I went home to heal

After three months of healing at home with my family, I slowly begin feeling the urge to take my life back. I’ve not only spent time mourning my baby but also a relationship, doomed from the beginning, but still a painful chapter in my life.

Feeling stronger and more ready, I begin working, connecting more with friends and moving beyond my loss. A new life comes into play as I make new friends and connect with old ones. Within a year I quit my job as a corporate trainer in Massachusetts and move to NYC, my hometown, and begin living my dream life.

As I look back I can see one problem, I’m living ‘safe‘. The fire I had within to forge new paths and live new adventures isn’t there.

New York City

In 2000 I start working at an investment bank in their presentation center. It’s a group of young artists making their way in NYC and sharing big dreams, while doing what it takes to pay the bills. Being in that environment fed me emotionally and creatively. Something I didn’t realize until much later.

Being Smart is Sexy – Resist & Persist

That’s where I meet the most amazing man. Of course, at the time I didn’t know how amazing he was since I kept dodging his advances. I’m sure it was self-sabotage. A way to keep myself occupied with emotionally unavailable men, so I don’t have to get hurt. But it gets old. I’m older than most of the friends I’ve made in NYC and it feels like everyone’s leaving me behind.

So again I make a few promises to myself:

  • I will go out with any man, whatever his race/ethnicity, that asks (within reason)
  • I will find and buy a home of my own
  • It’s time to be more adventurous, a new life is bubbling forth

No sooner had I made those promises, my friend and co-worker, that amazing man I told you about earlier, asks me out, again. This time, instead of saying an insincere yes, I mean it. He’s a white guy from middle America, he’s clearly only curious, not serious, but he’s a friend, he’s nice and I promised myself to give the bold a chance.

In every decision we make there’s a glimmer of hope. There’s the possibility that it will light the fire within and change our lives.

Transformation - Part 2: A New Life

Los Angeles

We go on our first date, have an amazing time and continue to see each other through the spring and summer of 2001. We get engaged in the spring of 2002 and married in January of 2003. Life is good, things are going well, but there’s a nagging inside that there’s more to be done. More that I can do. More I need to do! But the easiest options, the safest options are my default.

It’s now been ten years since my loss. I’m 37 I’m an Executive Assistant, loving my job and enjoying being married. We’re living in California, a place I never thought I’d get to, but here we are and life is good.

Our internal lights flicker at various times along our journey. If they stay lit, is up to us.

I get wind that the Executive Assistants are getting industry raises, but I haven’t gotten one yet. So, mustering my courage, I go into my boss’ office and request a raise. There’s a flicker. I get the raise, a huge raise and a boost to our lifestyle and my confidence.

Then I get pregnant. I know what can happen. Do old fears creep up? I’m not sure. We’re excited but cautious because it’s taken us two years to get to this point. So, when I go into pre-term labor at 20 weeks, and my doctor puts me on bed rest I’m again committed to lay for as long as it takes.

It’s Free Money, Grab It

Flashes of ten years earlier come to the forefront. This time I’m doing it “right.” Safe and safety mode kick in and after 3.5 months our baby’s born. He’s healthy and I’m again going with safe choices. We leave L.A. and move home with my parents because my husband’s finished school and the L.A. air quality isn’t good for his health. I retreat to doing it “right”.

Default Mode

As I look back I realize that I’d set myself to default mode.

Default mode is when you’re going along with what’s easy, the basic programming or factory installed basics of a situation.

When I was a real estate agent I’d see lots of houses. The ones that couldn’t be priced very high were the ones that were in ‘default mode’, meaning they had builder’s choice decor. They weren’t updated or improved on in any way.

If we look at our lives we can see how we move along in default. We, especially as women, don’t want to rock the boat. We fall back on old beliefs, practices or ways that allow us to fit into our environment. That’s what I was doing.

Instead of boldly forging my way forward, I operated in the easiest mode available, fell back on outdated software and shrunk so I wouldn’t be too big for the life and space I was living.

How are you living in default? What are some things you’re putting off, ignoring or missing because they’re too “hard?”


Morning Routine, Calm Day

Sedruola Maruska | Personal Development Coach

About two years ago I grabbed a small booklet by Lewis Howes called “The Millionaire Morning.” I grabbed it because it was half the cost of a regular book and I was developing some interest in the power of mornings.

For a long time I considered myself a night owl. I thought my best work, and my most focused time was in the evening. Then I had a forced stop, reset and assess situation. What I found was, my best time was the morning. So, my interest in the booklet.

Mornings can be hectic and rushed especially especially if you’re responsible for getting others, like kids or aging parents ready for the day and out the door on time. Because of that, you may start your day feeling frazzled, cranky, and overwhelmed which isn’t good for anyone. I know!

You expire on. . .

Which is why a morning ritual is so important. Imagine if you woke, went through a ritual, then got into your day, the difference it would make. If you’re calmer, more grounded and relaxed, you’ll approach your day differently and help those involved in your morning feel more relaxed too.

A simple morning ritual that you perform each day will change your world. Let me explain what I mean and how a good morning routine can set the tone of your day.

What’s a Morning Routine?

A morning routine is a series of actions you take every morning to help set the tone for your day.

It’s self-care that lets you begin each day feeling energized, relaxed, and purposeful. Morning routines are as personal and unique as each of us. They usually involve calming or reviving actions like writing in a journal, meditating, exercising, or creating to-do lists.

Whatever your morning routine is, make sure it helps you feel prepared for – and in charge of – your day.

Your day doesn't have to be the hurry scurry mess it is right now. Here are suggestions for starting a morning routine to change your day, week and life!

Benefits of a Morning Routine

Once I started a morning routine I gained a lot of great things from my new practice. Having a morning routine allowed me to positively set the tone for my entire day. So can you.

Sleep

You’ll gain a sense of purpose and empowerment because you’re making proactive decisions about how to get things started and the activities you choose can help with a more positive mindset.

Taking time for yourself on a regular basis, especially at the beginning of the day, will also help improve your outlook and your coping skills. The sense of calm and control you get through exercising your morning routine will carry over into your day, keeping your mood high as you run into obstacles and in dealing with others. If you add things like a healthy breakfast and exercise to your new routine, you’ll face the day more energized and ready to go.

Morning Routine Suggestions

We’re all different, which means we have things that are important to us as individuals. Your morning routine needs to consist of activities you choose that’ll benefit you the most. Consider activities that nourish your soul and are meaningful to you.

Here are some suggestions to help get you thinking:

  • Journaling or morning pages is writing about your thoughts and feelings and can be healing
  • Exercise or go for a leisurely stroll. How hard you workout doesn’t matter. It’s moving your body that creates energy. Taking your movement outside can add calm and perspective
  • Start the night before, by writing down a tentative to-do list and schedule for the next day. This helps release tension of uncertainty by giving you a framework for the coming day

You can take these suggestions and add a few of your own, or start from scratch. The important things is to add whatever resonates with your spirit. Plan for about a half hour, more or less depending on your lifestyle.

The key to reaping morning routine benefits is to make it a regular event. Staying consistent and adjusting it as you go so it’s always what you need. Start getting your morning routine down, and you’ll see your days, weeks and months transform for the better.


Are you indulging in premeditated stress?

Sedruola Maruska | Personal Development Coach

You’re driving. A car on the right looks like it’s about to cut you off. . . .

You’re in line at an amusement park. A woman and her child look like they’re about to jump the line to join the rest of their family. . . .

You heard your friend say something rude about you. . . .

I’ll bet you started thinking about what you’d say or do in each of these situations didn’t you?

If you were wondering what “premeditated stress” is, that’s it. Anticipating a situation and deciding in your mind how and why you’ll respond in a certain way. Most of the time, it’s a negative response that creates stress in your body without the actual event happening.

Calm the F*ck Down: An Irreverent Adult Coloring Book

If you’re honest with yourself and us, you’ll say yes, you’ve indulged in premeditated stress. We all have because it’s a way of protecting ourselves from being taken advantage of, being hurt, abused, or manipulated.

Stress is a killer

But why create unnecessary stress? Stress is worst for your body than eating badly. Why? Because the hormone, Cortisol, it creates in your body was only meant to be in response to “fight or flight”. Once a threat was over, the levels would go back to a normal low ‘healthy’ level.

Stress is like being in a sustained ‘fight or flight’ situation that keeps the cortisol levels high. High cortisol levels are associated with lower immune function and bone density, increased weight gain, blood pressure, cholesterol, heart disease, depression and lower life expectancy.

That means, the conversation you have in your mind about being cut off is actually killing you slowly. Because every time you indulge in that premeditated stress conversation, you’re elevating your cortisol level and keeping your body in a state of readiness to ‘fight or flight’.

Premeditated Stress relief

There are hundreds of reasons to be and stay stressed in our society today. Between family, work, bills, aging, world events, and so much more, it’s no wonder there are increasing cases of mental illness, cancer, depression, heart disease and so on.

So, in an effort to help relieve some of the stress, here are a few ideas to help curb premeditated stress syndrome so we can let go and start enjoying our days more.

Breathe deeply – Whenever you feel something begin to creep up on you and take your joy. Stop, breathe ten deep breaths then move on. I know it sounds ancient, but it really does work to just breathe deeply. It allows your body to know that you’re not in a state of stress and relax. Helping you think clearer.

Exercise – Yeah, I’m like you, this is not my favorite thing either. But, moving your body helps you expend the energy needed to relieve stress. Don’t think of it as trying to lose weight or as a mandatory thing. Think of it as a release from the stress of life. Exercise as often as you need without regard for the benefits beyond just relieving stress. You may find you like it. . .

Beach Body Madness. . . Do you have it?

Change perspective – When you’re looking at a situation, instead of only seeing your perspective, try to see things from the other side. Doing that will slow down your reaction, help you think of other possibilities for a given situation and calm your stress. This isn’t going to work for every situation (if not try the first to suggestions) but, you’d be surprised how quickly you can calm yourself if you shift your perspective.

Conclusion

Those are suggestions to help you in the immediate, but there are a ton of other things you can do to prevent premeditated stress getting the best of you.

You may be the best at your diet and exercise routine, but if you’re always in a state of stress, you’re doing more damage to your whole system than you realize. So, don’t indulge, release. Your body will thank you.