A little known, but fun fact about me is that I started my career working in the Federal Prison system here in Canada. My weekly visit rotation included all male institutions with security levels from maximum down to minimum (they had their own little grocery store). Needless to say it was an interesting way to get my feet wet in the world of dietetics.

And at the end of the day, the inmates complaints weren’t really that different from the ones that my clients share with me on a daily basis. They were:

  • Feeling sluggish and unmotivated
  • Feeling tired and dragging themselves through the day on coffee
  • Feeling overwhelmed with life
  • Out of shape and often out of breath
  • Anxious, and
  • Lacking confidence

Working with me and implementing super, simple strategies (that’s pretty much all they’d be able to implement), they were able to:

  • feel better
  • get active
  • lose weight
  • get energy
  • control their anxiety, and
  • feel back in control of their health.

So perhaps at this point you’re wondering why I’m sharing my experience with the prison system? (I know that, I would be) but here’s where I need to get honest and a bit vulnerable with you.

For the past year, I’ve felt a bit like I’ve been living in a prison in many ways. My husband has been off work due to stress and anxiety and part of his illness, resulted in him not being able to take care of all 3 of our children at the same time. If you’ve got kids  you’ll know that it can get a bit loud and emotional at times (especially when they’re 2, 4 and 6). Unfortunately, we don’t have a lot of family close by to help us out.

I continued to work full-time at my 9-5, run the household, manage all kids and activities and run my online business too and I’ve had less than a handful of nights off parent duty in over a year.

I’ve survived but this ongoing stress has resulted in me feeling many of those same things that my clients in the prison felt.

Tired, overwhelmed, unmotivated, anxious and lacking confidence. It’s hard to live with someone suffering from anxiety and depression and not pick up on their energy.

This has resulted in me really focusing on my own mindset, energy and self -care. Which means waking up early (4:30 – 5am) to:

  • Plan my day with intention by journaling as if all the things I’m working towards have already happened
  • Do my 5 minute energy routine (I’ll be sharing more about this shortly)
  • List 3 things that I’m grateful for as soon as I wake up and right before I go to sleep
  • Prepping my snacks for the day as I pack lunches (so my energy stays consistent)
  • Meal planning for the day (again for that amazing energy boost)
  • Tracking my water intake
  • Going to bed early in order to wake early and have that alone time to focus on me

It’s an ongoing process and quite challenging to continuously improve oneself when you’re living with someone who’s not able to share the same focus and mindset that you have. But focusing on my mindset, energy and self-care in this way has meant that I am able to continue to show up as the best mom for my kids and the best health coach for my clients and that’s what really keeps me going!

I started out in the prison system

On a positive note, my husband starts his slow reintegration back to work this week and that my busy, mommapreneur friend is a reason for celebration. At our house that means, eating with the “Let’s Celebrate You” bowl! It was an idea that I implemented when my oldest child turned 3. We went to the local pottery store and painted our very own bowl. It’s a way to put the focus on a family member whose been a big helper, celebrating a birthday or a challenge win over the day. We don’t always use this bowl but when it comes out, everyone knows that someone is being recognized for being a helper and making a difference!

So I’m starting my week in a mode of celebration! How are you starting your week?

Be Energized! Cathy Richards RD

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