I Found Out What the Light at the End of the Tunnel Is! Read for Answer. Hint: It’s YOU!

“Sometimes when you’re in a dark place you think you’ve been buried, when actually you’ve been planted.”

Good morning!!!!!

(Said over-emphatically because it’s 8:10AM and I’m crazy tired right now💤).

I think I owe an explanation to my readers as I have been straight-up AWOL for like the past week, and my poor blog has been as empty as a King Size Kit-Kat 🍫 wrapper in my house after about 11:30PM. No lie, that’s when I get my sweet cravings. Is that weird?

Last week, oh, last week. It was such a great week! Let me run you through the list of all the things that went down the last two, count them, TWO WEEKS, and you’ll understand why I’ve been missing.

  • My sister’s birthday 🎁(May 3rd)
  • My other sister’s birthday 🎁(May 7th)
  • My birthday 🎁(May 12th)
  • Getting my workouts in! 
  • Cinco de Mayo 🌮 and The Derby 🐎 had the bar poppin’ and me working extra.
  • My first gray hair I dyed that bitch out my head.
  • Mother’s Day (May 13th) 🎀
  • Getting together to celebrate all of the Birthday’s and Mother’s Day where there were three bottles of champagne . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . consumed (no apologies) 🍾🍾🍾
  • Went to New York 🌃 with J.
  • Went to Philadelphia 🏙 with my friend Lauren.
  • Meal Prep – takes forever, so worth it.
  • Phone meeting with my Beachbody Coach about COACHING! 💪🏼💪🏼💪🏼
  • J almost broke his foot. 🏥
  • Celebrated my sisters recent engagement! 💍✨
  • Girls night with all my ladies! 👯‍♀️👯‍♀️
  • I officially announced my volunteer trip to Africa. 🌍
  • I dropped my GoFundMe Campaign Click here to read and share!!

and

  • I experienced my first self-doubt and depression symptoms since I’ve started my journey.. 🙎🏼‍♀️🤷🏼‍♀️

There you have it, folks. The craziest two weeks in the books for me! So, for today’s blog, and if you follow my Facebook or Instagram then you got a spoiler for this a few days ago, I want to hone in on that last bullet point – because it is soimportant. Today’s topic is:

Challenging depression, habits associated with it, and channeling your positive energy to take control and CHANGE  your mindset while you are at an emotional low. 

Since I started my Journey 🗺 , I have felt nothing but overwhelming support and positivity from EVERYONE. You guys have no idea how much inspiration, motivation, and accountability that support has given to me. While all of that is so lovely 💕, I still have a critic. I still have a doubter. I still have an enemy. To make it worse, this person is someone that I love. Someone that I respect. Someone that I put my faith into. Someone that I trust.

It’s me. 👆🏼

I am my critic. I am my doubter. I have the ability to be my worst enemy 👹.

In my opinion, one of the most difficult aspects of depression, or imbalanced Serotonin levels, or the “not happy”, whatever you choose, is the sensation of drowning 🌊 that overcomes your being when you are having an episode. I know a lot (if not all) of you can relate exactly to what feeling I am referring. You do not have to struggle with chronic depression to know this feeling. 🙅🏼‍♀️

Imagine that you are a robot 🤖 . Not an R2D2. I’m talking, Judd Law in A.I. or (a hopefully morally improved version of) Futurama’s Bender. You are fully capable, fully knowledgeable, and fully aware of your state as an emotional being. One day, someone sneaks behind you, switches you to autopilot, and you start to transform from who you were to someone that you don’t even recognize. You feel every change as you transition modes. It feels as if the knowledge start to leach out of your brain 🧠 . A cold sensation runs through your warm limbs, numbing them, as you seemingly lose control of your own movements. You start shake, pace, sit down, stand up and you don’t know why. It hits your chest and your heart ♥️ burns cold ❄️ making you feel scared, alone, and lost. You cry because you feel empty and you know that’s not right. Just before the transition is complete and your sense of awareness disappears, that person flips the switch to pause 🖐🏼. You are now stuck. Knowing who you were, who you can be, but not being able to feel, think, or even move the way you want to. You have become someone that you don’t like and you have no idea how to change; and that makes you sink even lower👇🏼. You feel as if are suffocating in the wreckage from the deconstruction of your being. You feel as if you are drowning in the wake of your own instability. 🧟‍♀️🧟‍♂️

That is what it feels like, for me and for many, when I am sinking into a depression. Shitty, right?!

Shitty, but realistic. Sure, it’s the gruesome truth and it may be nasty to read about; but the more that we avoid coming to terms with the reality of our emotional lows, the less chance we have at overcoming them. You have to know your enemy to defeat it.

When you have this drowning sensation coming on, it is so easy to let it take control of your thoughts and actions. You want to crawl into bed 🛏 , or the just lay on the floor, cry 😭 , and you will probably have some sort of panic attack in the process.  However, this is the most crucial time to maintain control. You have to work to pull yourself out of a slump! It won’t come naturally 🍃 , at least for a while; and it won’t come easily. You deserve everything that this world 🌎 has to offer, but that doesn’t mean that you don’t have to fight for it.

I know this is hard! And I am here for you. Without further ado, here are some of my personal tips, tried and true by yours truly, for pulling yourself back into reality when you feel yourself slipping into a dark place:

  1. Step One: Acknowledge your safety. Your body will first panic 🚨 before you slip into that typical “catatonic” state that most people associate with depression. The no talking 🗣, no smiling 😁, no thinking 💭 state. That panic mode is usually happening when you are uncontrollably crying, and it’s your body fighting because it feels unsafe. This requires no physical action to fix! You can think your way out! Practice reminding yourself that you are not in danger. Your words will automatically calm you down and allow you to think more clearly. Plus they take your mind away from what’s upsetting you. 2 birds, 1 stone. Try asking yourself these questions: Are you being chased? No. Are you being threatened? No. Are you in physical danger? No. Do you have access to air? Yes. Are you bleeding? No. I know, I know. Obviously the answers to these questions are all no-brainers (hopefully you aren’t being chased and can breathe) but your BODY is in fight or flight mode and it doesn’t act within the realm of reason. I promise, you will calm down.
  2. Step Two: Self care! Self care. Self care. SELF CARE. I would bet all of the money in the world that at least 50% of the cause of depression is a lack of self-care. Not drinking enough water 💧 ? Not getting enough sleep 😴 (7-8 hours)? Not eating 🍽 enough? Eating too much junk food 🍕🍔🍟? Not getting regular exercise 🏋🏼‍♀️? All of these have been catalysts for my depressive episodes. My advice: the minute you recognize that you are in the midst of an emotional low, the first time you realize you’ve been lashing out at your boyfriend over nothing, the first time you realize you’ve been complaining too much about your job, the first plans you cancel so you can lay in bed and you feel ashamed, drop everything and figure out what you haven’t been doing for your body 🧐. I guarantee it’s something. Your body will always tell you when something is off, you need to listen to it. Diet is always my biggest downfall.. Force yourself OUT of your bed, go to the grocery store, and make yourself a nice, healthy meal.
  3. Step Three: Avoid drugs and alcohol. Alcohol 🍺 is poison that you put in your body. Yes I am a bartender. Yes I drink it. Yes I MORE THAN enjoy a glass of scotch 🥃 or a beer 🍻 after those super long days. And yes I do have a ton of fun when I’m out drinking with my girls ☠️! Everything in moderation guys. You can have it all, but listen to what your body is telling you and know when to take a break. Are you feeling sad all the time? Are you feeling alone? Have some sober fun, and stop drinking for a while. ❌
  4. Step Four: Clean up your environment. Have you ever heard the phrase, “You are a product of your environment”? Well, that’s not what I’m going to tell you. You are a product of what you allow yourself to accomplish and to feel. However, it definitely can’t hurt to spruce up your surroundings when you’re feeling down. Not only will it pull you out of bed and get you moving around which will naturally make you feel better, but when you take something that was dirty and make it nicer, you might start to find that you can do the same for yourself 🧖🏼‍♀️! If you are prone to depression, pay attention to little details in your home such as light 💡 and color 🎨 choices. Dark rooms and dark colors are both motivators for a bad mood 😒 that’s waiting to spiral out of control!
  5. Step Five: Channel your positive energy! I am a firm believer in energies ✨. What you put out into the world is what you are going to get back, very similar to the energy you put toward yourself. If you keep having these negative thoughts, if you keep reminding yourself of your flaws, that you aren’t good enough, that there is something wrong with you because you’re feeling this way and it’s not normal, then the world is going to serve you as if these things are true. Don’t be afraid to ask for what you need from yourself and from the world around you! What do you have to lose? If you’re not sure how to do this, practice yoga 🧘🏼‍♀️🧘🏼‍♂️or meditation. Read some personal development books 📚. These mediums can teach you how to channel the positive energy that exists within you and use it to find your happiness 🤗.
  6. Step Six: Get outside. 🌲🌿🌻⛅️Are you feeling like you’ve lost yourself? Go back to your roots, I’m confident you’ll find solace there. Step out into the sunlight ☀️ . You don’t need to be an outdoorsy person to not be depressed, that’s not what I’m saying. Throw on a bathing suit 👙 and lay out in the sun. Read a book on your front porch. Go for a hike ⛰ . Take photographs at a local park. Go for a drive 🚗 with the windows down. Collect nature items for an art project🌷🌹🌿. Get in the fresh air. Get in the sunlight. Listen to the trees and the birds! You will find some clarity.
  7. Step Seven: Share your situation. You are no doubt feeling completely alone if you are feeling depressed or panicked. That’s normal, and also an easy thing to fix. Sometimes you can’t fix yourself, and THAT’S OK! Reach out to your family 🤝, reach out to your friends. Journal. Read personal development blogs of strangers and leave a comment. They will want to help you! Let the people that care about you, whether they know you or not, know that you are in a bad place. They will encourage you. If you just aren’t comfortable talking about your feelings, then write everything you’ve got down in a journal! The only one who’s reading it is you – and you’d be surprised how much you admit on paper that you have been hiding from yourself!

Alrighty team! That’s what I’ve got for you today. Pay attention to what your body is telling you, and you can work through any problem! I know that my avenue is fitness, but whatever way YOU choose, you are the light at the end of your tunnel 💋. Feeling alone or confused? Send me a message! Let me help you be the happiest you!

Good luck on your journey to happiness!

Time to do some Beachbody COACH work!

Day 1:80 I’m not sore.. Check back tmrw.

Good evening! (I exclaim while the sun, though slowly slinking toward the horizon, SHINES THROUGH MY WINDOWS!!!!!!)! I’m super stoked that it’s still light outside at 7pm, if you can’t tell.

Ugh. Man. Jeeze. Wow.

It finally is starting to feel like Spring around here – maybe even Summer! Madame Winter has had zero interest in taking a chill pill and getting some rest, that cold asshole. Sure, she’s great when she first shows up, providing a little change of scenery and welcoming some good old Holiday spirit; but come on! Snow…. in the end of April…. dis bitch has got to go. And gone I believe she has, with soaring temps of 75 degrees today and 84 tomorrow I think we’re offish in the warm, shiny clear.

Without further ado, and without a more perfect sunshine-y day to start, welcome to the beginning of my 80 Day Obsession fitness journey!

For those of you who don’t have any idea of what 80 Day Obsession is, or fitness, it is a super wonderful program that was created by my worst enemy and absolute idol Autumn Calabrese (creator of crazy famous fitness challenge 21 Day Fix). 80 Day Obsession is a nutrition and fitness program for dummies, much like myself, intended to build muscle, burn fat, get lean, and to encourage its audience to live a healthier lifestyle, full throttle. Every day there is a workout ranging from 40 minutes to an hour, and every workout is different!!!! Hallelujah, because doing the same Pilates moves on the floor of our bedroom has been actually slowly killing me. That was not an exaggeration.

Straight dying.

Autumn provides exact timed nutrition with different variations for different schedules (I love this because bartending has my schedule all over the place) and a calendar of all 80 days filled with the workouts, how to prepare/recharge each rest day, and reminders to watch her motivational tubeage. [On demand mini-series].

What I hope to do for you, through a daily log of how my 80 day journey is going, is motivate you to start living a healthier lifestyle too! Whether it’s by joining this specific program or just by taking some of my tips for lifestyle changes and improving small parts of yourself. Working out has always been one of the best ways to increase my serotonin levels (my happy meter), but my lack of motivation from depression has always impeded on that. So! I’m gonna push through, for me, and start making some of these positive steps toward happiness I keep blabbing about.

When I joined the Beachbody program about 6 months ago (and made a half-assed attempt to complete the 21 Day Fix Challenge) I was designated a “coach”: essentially someone who participates in the program and helps to MOTIVATE you and to DIRECT you when you’re trying to f*cking meal prep and you feel like an idiot. My coach’s name is Alicia Mers and she is delightful. Seriously. I’m speaking about the most real, motivational, cool, creative, nice, twin-mom boss that has ever lived. I felt bad when I didn’t complete the 21 Day Fix. My coach has a hundred “me’s”. My failure doesn’t affect her in the end. She won’t know, but she worked really hard to get where she is today regarding her own fitness, and even if she ultimately doesn’t really care, I felt like I let her down. Yuck. That statement sucks. To get to some real therapist shiz with you – I didn’t let her down. I let myself down, and I mirrored that emotion onto her so I could see it and perceive it. I thought of that myself! Pretty deep, right? I can totally do this whole self-improvement thing.

With Alicia by my cyber-communication side, and literally the entire program laid out for me like a French art model, I committed to 80 days of straight dedicated fitness.

Day 1

I woke up at 9’o clock this morning – early for a bartender, trust me – and was ready to go. First of all, I cut my coffee intake to half of a cup of black coffee. I’m not psyched to admit this, but despite it’s utter amazingness, I think coffee makes me feel crappy the rest of the day. This whole thing is about making myself happier though, not miserable, so I didn’t cut it out completely. Vices are necessary.

The rest of my schedule is as follows (mind you, I prepped all of my meals for the week yesterday):

9:30AM: Eat breakfast. Chili sweet potato hash with sautéed red peppers, orange peppers, onions, spinach, and Autumn Calabrese’s homemade turkey sausage. YUM. Seriously guys, I would eat this for breakfast every day regardless of the nutrition.

10:00AM: Drank my “go-juice”! This is a pre-workout performance energize supplement created by the Beachbody team. I got so much energy from one scoop of this stuff, I almost couldn’t believe it. Lemony energy, yes please.

10:30AM – 11:30AM was workout hour. Dun. Dun. Dun. Today’s workout was Total Body Core. Two sets of the workout routine, 15 reps for each position. It kicked. my. out-of-shape butt. We did push-ups, we did harder other push-ups, we did bicep curls, triceps curls, side plank crunches, squats. You name it, I did it this morning.

What I have to unfortunately say about day one is that it was hard. I didn’t complete 15 reps for each move, I didn’t do all of my push-ups on my hands and toes, and I certainly didn’t finish all of my bear crawls. You’ll know what those little buggers are if you join the program! The old Emma would have focused on what I didn’t do and shamed myself for not being the super-fit trainer that I saw on my computer screen. The new me, she’s proud of what she did today. I may not have done all my reps, but I used my heaviest weights. I may not have done all my push-ups on my hands and toes, but I plan to try harder next time. I might not have finished my bear-crawls but I did effing BEAR CRAWLS today. That’s way more than I did yesterday! I guess what I’m getting at guys, is focusing on what you have done and what you can do, rather than what you haven’t done and what you don’t think you can, is monumental for a positive mentality. I felt proud of myself today. WIN!

12:00PM: I drank my performance recover. This is another supplement from the Beachbody Performance line designed to speed up muscle recovery, improve muscle strength, and fight exercise-related muscle soreness.  I blended mine (orange flavor) with a half banana and water. It tastes like an orange cream smoothie y’all. ORANGE CREAM.

Of course I accidentally spilled the whole thing on my patio table when I sat in the sunshine to log my workout, but I cleaned that sucker up, made a new one, put a cap on it this time, and drank the crap out of it. So good.

12:30PM: Post-workout meal time. Grilled lemon-garlic chicken, parmesan parsley couscous, and roasted balsamic Brussel sprouts. All awesome things. See how much I get to eat every day? This program is about providing your body the right nutrients, not about starving it.

3:00PM: Shakeology time! Shakeology is amaze-balls guys. Holy shirt. It’s a protein shake packed with superfoods, antioxidants, enzymes, probiotics, vitamins etc… You name it and it’s amazing for you, Shakeology has it. It’s considered a protein by itself in the portion-fix world, but I added some extra love to mine! Todays recipe was ……

Chocolate Cherry:

  • 1 packet chocolate Shakeology
  • 1 purple container frozen cherries
  • 1/2 T. cashew butter
  • 1 Tsp. cacao nibs
  • 1/4 C. coconut milk
  • ice
  • 1 C. water
  • Blend and enjoy!

6:00PM: Now time for a little snack.. seriously more food and this wasn’t even my last meal of the day!! I had some low-moisture mozzarella cheese, cherry tomatoes, fresh basil, and pine nuts in some olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Nothing wrong with ANY of that.

8:00PM (Which is now): I can finally say that I got through my first day of 80 Day Obsession without a hitch – aka NO CHEATS! It was tough, but I turned down an offer to go out tonight. In this program, drinking is mostly a no-no. So I am home safe and sound from temptation for the evening. Dinner was amazing. J and I enjoy fishing as a hobby as it’s pretty much the only activity we have time to do together, so I blackened up some fresh Yellowtail Snapper we just caught in the Florida Keys and served it with some pureed cauliflower “mash”!

If anyone has any interest in my 80 Day Obsession recipes or meal plan tips feel free to send me a message on my “Get In Touch With Me” tab!!! I love to share!

Well folks, that pretty much sums it up. One day of the Obsession in a nutshell! Of course I spent off minutes logging my workout, cleaning my workout station, planning my timed nutrition around my work schedule for the rest of the week, and recording my recipes for future use. Health and fitness is a lifestyle. It doesn’t stop after the workout does. In order to succeed, you truly do need to be OBSESSED with your change. As a little bonus – it gives me something to look forward to, and I feel so accomplished.

Now I’m going to binge-watch some Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. Probably the funniest show ever created ever, whilst having a glorious cup of Green Tea. Then it’s whipping up some Performance Recharge (reduces muscle breakdown, promotes lean muscle growth, and promotes muscle recovery all while you catch your z’s!)

Now just for Beachbody to hire me after all this free promotion……..

I’d love to hear some comments about your workout and nutrition routines, or just something that you did today to make yourself proud!

Sweet dreams y’all,

Check back tomorrow when I’m feeling the day-after burn!