5 annoying answers + 1 useful one

Hey—it’s me, and I’m back from vacation! And of course, the first question I have to answer is, “What did you do on your summer vacation?”

Well, I spent it with family and friends and did a little traveling, a little sleeping in, a little eating out (only on patios with plenty of distance between tables). A lot of the month was spent trying to fit in as much time as possible with two grown kids, both of whom were possibly home for an extended time for the last time as one headed to college and one to grad school.

It was wonderful to hug family of blood and family of choice after long, pandemic-induced separations and to travel to Chicago (where both kids were born) and Vermont (where I grew up) again. Although I now think of Chicago as a nice place to visit—one I wouldn’t want to live in again—and Vermont as a great place to visit … and one I’m considering moving back to! Maybe after my son gets a year of college under his belt without Mom living too nearby?

annoying answer #1

As my kids headed off to their respective schools and I became an empty nester for real, I was thinking back to the process of applying to and selecting a school.

“But how will I know I’ve made the right choice?” was a common refrain during that time.

I think one of the most annoying things adults say to high school juniors and seniors at this stage is, “You’ll just know—you’ll walk onto campus, and you’ll know you belong there.”

My eldest would dispute this, as she had the opposite happen: none of the campuses we visited immediately gave her that feeling of knowing, but at least two of them gave her a visceral, “Nope. This place is NOT for me.” (She still landed in the perfect place for her.)

My youngest, sadly, didn’t get the chance to visit the schools he applied to because of the pandemic, and he’s decided to go with the one school he’s seen on unofficial visits prior to applying there.

annoying answer #2

When people learn my husband is from China, they almost always ask, “So where’s the best place to get Chinese food in Ann Arbor?”

Sorry, folks, that would be my house, and no—it’s not open to the public.

annoying answer #3

When people learn I’m a health coach, the first question is usually, “So what’s the best way to eat?”

Sorry, people, there is no one answer that fits everyone—only one that suits you.

it’s the food

Irrespective of how many animal products you choose to include, what your ideal macro percentages are, etc.—there are a few principles that experts can agree on. The best way involves eating only when you’re physically hungry and focuses on

  • Whole foods
  • Cooked from scratch
  • Eaten in moderate portions
  • With mindfulness + gratitude

it’s more than the food

Being healthy might start with these principles of nutrition—and it’s also about way more than the food.

In Integrative Nutrition®, the foods we put in our mouths are called secondary—that’s because they are often not as important as our primary foods: everything else in our lives that nourishes us—or doesn’t. (Think: career, relationships, physical activity, sleep, time in nature, etc.)

Our primary food nutrition plays a big role in our relationship with our secondary foods. Think about it:

  • If you hate your career, your boss is a jerk, your coworkers are idiots, you’re much more likely to be the one to be eating Ben & Jerry’s from the container in front of the open freezer door.
  • If you love your work, your boss is a gem, and your coworkers delightful, you’re much more likely to have a better relationship with your pantry.

Those of you who have worked with a health or life coach probably started by doing an assessment that is a variation on a circle of life exercise. You know, you do the exercise, and your version doesn’t look anything like a circle at the end?

I like to call it the amoeba of life: it’s not a circle, and it may never be! Instead, it’s a slightly amorphous shape that is constantly shifting: you may be rocking your career—and your family life is suffering; you may be carving out time to work out—and your spiritual practice has fallen away.

Three months from now, you may be in a completely different place—and it’s highly likely it still won’t look like a perfect circle, perfectly in balance. I don’t like the word balance, so let’s go with disharmony: if there is disharmony in your primary foods, you’re much more likely to have a dysfunctional relationship with your secondary foods.

annoying answer #4

What’s the solution for all this imbalance/disharmony? No matter where you turn, I’ll bet the first answer you get is, “Self care.

Let’s get real: what’s the first word or expression that comes to mind when you hear the words “self care?” It can be an activity or a reaction. Don’t edit yourself, whether your gut reaction is “ahhhhh” or “what’s that?” or “who’s got time for that?”

“Self care” has got to be one of the most overused words in the coaching world just now, right up there with “resonate.”

what’s the problem with self care?

Self care can be tinged with guilt: it can feel selfish–and as women, we tend to put self care last in line. We’ve backburnered it for so long, it’s slid off the stove entirely!

Self care can become one more list of to-dos, and goddess knows, even without self-care tasks added in, that to-do list is never to-done.

You’re probably starting to think that the only way out of this overwhelm involves the witness protection program—a plane ticket, a wad of cash, and a change of identity—because how else are you going to get any time for you?

Well, given the state of the federal government just now, don’t hold your breath about qualifying for that program—you’re on your own!

Here’s the way I think about it: self care is what Cosmo tells you to do; soul care is what the Cosmos invites you to do—whether it’s in the realm of food, physical activity, relationships, career, spiritual practice….

annoying answer #5

“But how do I know what the Cosmos is inviting me to do in order to get healthy?”

Unfortunately, that’s something you must figure out for yourself.

a more useful answer

Fortunately, I can show you a process you can go through to figure out the Cosmos’s invitation—and because I’m a big fan of acronyms and of food, the process is—aptly—called EAT™! Honestly, does it get any better than that?!? We’ll dive into the process over the next three weeks on the blog and on my podcast.

make the connection

Are you a manager who is concerned about the health of your team? Have you personally been considering how to reclaim your health after 18+ months of the pandemic? I provide a variety of employee wellness programs as well as 1:1 and group coaching for individuals. Learn more about my offerings under “work with me” or contact me for more information.