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five changes I've made recently that have helped me grow

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Happy Friday y’all! I’ve shared a few snippets about this on my stories over the last few weeks but…in case you missed it. I’ve made a few small changes in my everyday life (and mindset) over the last month that have made a huge difference in my overall mental + spiritual health. I shared at the beginning of 2020 that my mantra for this year was “if it doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t change you.” There were a few areas in my life that I felt like were out of balance…but I didn’t want to do anything to change it. I didn’t want to challenge myself.

Long story short…I’ve ended up making a few small changes that have been super helpful. So I wanted to share them with y’all today in case you feel like you’re in a rut or could use some improvement in your mental / physical / spiritual health right now!

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Change #1: Caffeine

I know, I know. You read about caffeine intake everywhere and how much it can effect our bodies. I honestly think every body is different & handles caffeine differently. For me – I have anxiety and sleep issues and after doing lots of research I finally accepted…maybe caffeine isn’t helping those issues. I still have one cup of coffee a day…but this is significantly less than what I used to have haha. Previously, I would wake up in the morning and drink a Spark before my workout, around 6am. Then I would workout and shower, and make a cup of coffee after that (around 9am). And THEN…if i was really tired, I’d sometimes make another cup around noon ish. That’s a lot of caffeine.

Now I typically just have one cup of coffee a day. And sometimes I will treat myself to an iced almond milk matcha latte as my second dose of caffeine for the day but the caffeine in this is significantly less than coffee. Baby steps y’all haha.

ANYWAY. Since I made this change, I noticed my energy levels were actually more even throughout the day. Before I would get really amped up from the caffeine for a few hours and then crash. Now, my energy and focus kind of stays level throughout the day. I still have sleep issues but they’ve definitely gotten better since decreasing my caffeine intake!

I’m KIND OF tempted to try going without caffeine completely – just drinking decaf – because I have a few friends who have said getting off caffeine helped tremendously with sleep and/or anxiety. So…I’ll let y’all know if I end up going for that haha.

If you’ve cut out caffeine…what has your experience been like?

Change #2: How I’m moving my body

You guys know how much I love working out and how passionate I am about living an active lifestyle! I am a runner, and genuinely enjoy working out and challenging my body. Prior to COVID, I primarily did cardio workouts – spin class, running, orange theory…and then COVID happened and I started to get more into weight training (thanks to the Madeline Moves app!). But regardless…when it comes to exercise I really like high intensity, push your body type of workouts. Like 5 or 6 days a week of that. I’ve never been one to get into yoga or more low impact type workouts. Until a few weeks ago!

I could probably write an entire blog post on this but I’ll try and keep it pretty short for now haha. I’m realizing that working out or fitness or health does not have to look like always and only doing high intensity workouts. Being healthy and active does not require a 45 minute to an hour sweat sesh 5 or 6 days a week. I am learning that sometimes, depending on seasons of life or times of the month or days of the week…maybe ‘working out’ can look like a morning walk, or yoga class. Maybe one morning it does mean a peloton ride or HIIT class. But it doesn’t have to be all one thing or the other. Basically…I’ve been challenging myself to become more flexible in my view on what “working out” or “being active” can look like.

For the past week or two, I’ve majorly scaled back on my workouts. Instead of going for a run, I’ll wake up around 6 and go for a walk and listen to a podcast after I spend time in the Word. I’m not at all thinking about how far I’m going to go or what my pace is. I’m just moving my body, enjoying being outdoors, and either talking to God or listening to a podcast that encourages my heart. And this type of movement has been SO good for me. I’m not gonna lie – it’s been challenging for sure (because like I said – my tendency is to always do workouts that are pushing my body to the max). But, these morning walks have been such a sweet time with me and the Lord – talking to Him and hearing Him speak. And in a weird way I feel like it’s also showing gratitude to my body – like saying “hey, I like you. and you are enough exactly how you are without having to do intense exercise 5 days a week”. It’s helped me learn that who I am is so much more and so much deeper than how my body performs in a workout.

Don’t get me wrong – I still love doing strength training workouts and running and peloton rides! And I will definitely continue doing those! But for the past few weeks I’ve just been challenging my mind and body to broaden my idea of what ‘working out’ or ‘fitness’ can look like!

That might sound so dumb or crazy to some of you guys haha. But this process of widening my view of ‘movement’ and ‘health’ and ‘working out’ has been therapeutic for me in so many different ways. Again, thinking about doing a whole blog post on this because it’s been so helpful for me.

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Change #3: Oils

Don’t worry – I’m not about to start selling you guys Young Living (yet lol you never know. they’ve been v helpful for me BUT not the point or why I’m sharing haha). Recently Michael and I started diffusing some young living essential oils at night when we go to bed and they’ve been really helpful with my sleep issues! We used these same essential oils when I first got pregnant with Shiloh (because I had to get off any sleeping medication) and for whatever reason…just got out of the habit of using them. Now that we are back in the habit, I LOVE it. They are like a part of my night time routine, and again, have helped me sleep so much better! My favorite combination is lavender and peace and calm!

Change #4: Time with Jesus is a non-negotiable

If you’ve been following me for a while, you know I’ve typically been pretty consistent with ‘quiet times’ for pretty much my whole life. But, I will sometimes get in funks where I’m not waking up early enough to spend time with Jesus, drink my coffee, and get a workout in before Shiloh wakes up. So I was getting in a bad habit of just skipping the time with Jesus part, going straight to the workout. I’d tell myself “I can have my quiet time later today” and it would rarely happen.

I’m learning that for me…time with Jesus in the morning is everything. Starting my day off by filling my mind with truth, being reminded of WHO God is and who I am because of Him…determines the thoughts I have that day and essentially, how I live my life. I can’t go a day without it. I need His truth pouring int my heart every. single. day.

So now if I happen to sleep in…I will spend time with Jesus and maybe skip my workout that day (or work out later in the day). But regardless…before my day starts, before Shiloh wakes up…I have to spend at least 15 minutes (hopefully longer) alone with Jesus and this practice has been pretty life changing for me lately! When you start your day filled up on TRUTH, you are able to fight the lies that the enemy or the world throws at you that day, and stand securely in your identity in Christ!

Change #5: Taking initiative

This is an area I am definitely growing in but I’ve been making an effort recently to be the friend who initiates instead of waiting on someone else to reach out to me. I know friendships are so hard to navigate right now with COVID. But for me it looks like – sending a text to a girlfriend and letting her know I’m praying for her or sending her a scripture that has been encouraging me. Or, reaching out to a friend and asking if she’d want to go on a walk and catch up, or sit outside at a coffee shop and connect (if your state is allowing that right now)! This season of COVID has felt / can feel so isolating and as an introvert…it’s way too easy to use it as an excuse to isolate. But relationships and community are still so important – probably now more than ever! Instead of waiting for a friend to reach out to you, pick up your phone and text someone and ask how you can be praying.

This discipline of taking initiative in my friendships and working towards community has been so life-giving for me. It’s encouraged my walk with the Lord by connecting with other believers, helped me not be so focused on myself, and also helped me to fight sin by confessing outloud to people and asking for prayer! I’m telling y’all: relationships are powerful and so necessary.

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Okay wow, this ended up being like a novel of a blog post haha. I feel like I could write an entire blog post about almost every single one of these topics lol. So, let me know if there is any specific one you’d be interested in hearing more about and I’d be happy to expand on the topic!

follow along @laurenkaysims

Hope y’all have a wonderful weekend!

xo Lauren

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