Let’s face it… there is a lot of really good reasons to tune in to news right now. Staying current on the latest developments with the COVID-19 pandemic, learning more about the protests and unrest in your area, as well as the election primaries. However, is there such a thing as media overload? The simple answer to this is YES.
I remember as a child my parents would get their news once a day – usually the 5pm local broadcast with the occasional addition of reading of the local newspaper. My grandparents imbibed the local news a couple of times the day and the occasional watching of the national morning shows that offered more entertainment than actual substance.
Also, our televisions stopped broadcasting anything other than the latest and greatest infomercial after the 11 pm news broadcast or (showing my age here) went off the air completely following the daily playing of the national anthem with the obligatory still photo of the American flag.
Long gone are the days where we watch and take in current events on a set schedule. We get immediate notifications on our smartphones when a news update is released. We can sign up to be notified when a specific name or topic is trending. We have news channels that devote their entire 24 hours a day to the news.
If we so desire we could literally sit and watch news ALL DAY LONG.
In light of our global pandemic and the ongoing protests for racial equality, it may even feel like it is your duty to remain plugged into the 24/7 news cycle.
However, the constant intake of news and media is hard on us both emotionally and psychologically. It’s important to stay informed and make thoughtful life decisions based upon that information.
However, it is important to protect your own psyche as well.
Here are some signs that a break from media might be warranted:
You find yourself unable to think of anything other than news stories
Reading or watching news articles causes you increased anxiety or depression that does not resolve with concentrated effort
You find that much of your time is spent reading or watching news with little breaks and you focus on little else.
If you find that you are experiencing some of the above warning signs I suggest you try a few of the following:
Set specific times in which you will read or watch news stories. Perhaps even set a timer to ensure that you are utilizing healthy boundaries.
Turn off news alerts on your smartphone so you are not frequently distracted by the latest influx of information.
Engage in light hearted activities – read a book, connect with a friend, watch a funny show or movie. This allows our brains to mentally hit reset and rebalance after we have had intake of news information.
Ensure that you receive your news from reputable sources to avoid confusion or psychological upset when it is not warranted. Avoid getting your news information from social media and instead go directly to news sources to ensure that your information is accurate and informed.
I know this is a vital time to make sure you are aware and up to date on the things that are going on in your world. However, approaching information gathering with your best interest in mind ensures that you are able to absorb the information and take action appropriately in a way that is healthy for everyone.
Does anybody remember that scene from Meet The Parents where Jack (the overprotective father figure who is employed by an Intelligence Agency) looks at Greg (the daughter’s love interest) and talks about the “Circle of Trust”?
Jack says, “I keep nothing from you, you keep nothing from me…and round and round we go”. Well, today I want to talk to you about who should be in your inner circle.
Here are some tips I think are important to keep in mind when looking for an inner circle:
Your circle should include people who are willing to be brutally honest and constructively critical.
I think that this is the MOST IMPORTANT characteristic of those in your inner circle. If your inner circle is full of people who will not be honest with you then your circle isn’t helpful. However, if those people cannot provide their criticisms in a way that is constructive or productive then their words will just be hurtful and likely destroy any forward momentum.
Your circle should be people who can celebrate you.
Your circle must include people who are willing to be with you in the lows but also able to celebrate with you during the highs, even if they may not be experiencing a high in their life at the same time (this is critical and DIFFICULT). If this steps on your toes perhaps this is an area that you may want to consider working on as well.
Your circle should include reciprocal relationships.
Think of this in terms of a two-way street. I am there for you and you are there for me (very similar to what Jack is talking about in the quote at the beginning of this article).
Ideally, you would be in the inner circle of those who also find themselves in your circle. Having and utilizing an inner circle requires a high level of vulnerability. Vulnerability works best when it is reciprocated.
Surround yourself with people whose opinions you value and trust.
Your circle should include people you will listen to because let’s be honest when it comes to hearing truths we are not always the most receptive listeners. Hearing truths we don’t like can be brutal, but necessary for growth.
If you only allow people into your circle of trust whose advice you can easily ignore it may lead to you potentially doing things that you may later regret and could have been avoided.
At the end of the day, despite the importance of a circle of trust, you have to own your decisions and make choices that you can stand behind. You are truly an expert on you. However, having a circle of trust can make some of the things in this life just a bit easier to bear.
First of all, we have been asked to transition our ENTIRE lives in the span of a day or two. We all used to have responsibilities in our day that took us out of our home. Now many of us work from home, shop from home, teach our children from home. We have non-existent social lives.
There are exceptions, of course, with our front line workers who haven’t had the option to be at home during this time. I salute you all as you have had to figure out how to manage all those little people at home and still go and face this big, bad nasty pandemic face to face. These MAJOR transitions in our life were made without our input and, I don’t know about you guys but usually, I like being in the driver’s seat for life decisions.
Secondly, I want to direct you to the handy pyramid below. Many people have heard of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs as it is often taught in basic psychology courses.
If you haven’t, allow me to give you the basic run down...
The pyramid breaks down what we need to be successful humans. The needs lowest on the triangle are considered the most vital for basic survival and each level builds on the other. The lowest level of the triangle is physiological needs – those would be our water, air, food shelter, etc. The second level is our safety needs – that includes our security, employment, resources, health, etc.
During this time our two lowest levels of need are in serious jeopardy! Perhaps you have lost your job right now and unemployment hasn’t kicked in yet. Your bottom two levels have been seriously impacted.
Perhaps you are a person in an at-risk health category so your concerns for your personal safety are warranted.
Disruptions to the supply chain along with overwhelming demand have made “essential” items more difficult to get – particularly items we need in order to prevent infection (ahem..hand sanitizer, Lysol wipes, and bleach on anyone else’s ongoing grocery lists).
We are tired because we are trying to ensure that our most basic needs are being met. For many of us those basic needs haven’t been an issue for us in a LONG time or even EVER.
That is a reason to be exhausted.
Finally, let’s have a serious conversation about anxiety. All of these threats to our basic needs, along with the challenge of trying to adapt and adjust can lead the most well-adjusted person to have some amount of anxiety. We are nervous that even being near our loved ones will put them in jeopardy. We are trying to make decisions when we don’t have all the information to make informed decisions.
So, when you feel tired find a way to rest. Be intentional in your rest. Take time to reset and refocus. Take time to be grateful and seek intentional ways to add in gratitude and positivity because it isn’t always easy to see the light and bright things right now. Most importantly, extend yourself grace and know that this will pass but grace will make the journey a bit easier.
The Hubster and I have been committed to 80 Day Obsession and one of the keys to the program is the nutrition. It made me so aware of how much I had begun to let my meal prep game slack. I hear so many people say that meals are their downfall on the health and wellness journey. Since they say abs are made in the kitchen it is essential that our eating be on track with what we are doing in the gym to make sure we get optimal results.
Without further ado… Amanda’s top 10 tools for meal prepping a snap!
1. Meal Prep Containers: Having containers that will allow you to portion out your meals and make your fridge or freezer a hub for healthy eating is essential. Here is a link to some of my favorites! http://amzn.to/2C1DSx6
2. Instant Pot: You may or may not be familiar with this handy dandy electric pressure cooker. It has absolutely revolutionized my meals and meal prep. I often double recipes and make enough for at least two dinners or a couple of lunches. Frozen chicken breasts in 15minutes? YES PLEASE!!! http://amzn.to/2qaXH3J
3. Smart Crock Pot: This is not your average crock pot. This has a timer you set and once it has completed the allotted time it automatically switches over to low. When you are working an 8+ hour day it feels nice to come home to completely dried out crock pot meals! http://amzn.to/2EpwSvk
4. Portion Fix Containers: These are the portion fix containers that you use with many Beachbody programs (like 21 Day Fix, Hammer & Chisel, Body Beast, 80 Day Obsession and more). I love them because they are perfectly portioned and are a great on the go container because each doesn’t just measure but has a lid too!!https://amandatpaul.com/portionfix
5. Deep Freeze: This might be a little bit of an extravagant item on my top 10 list. However, if you want to be able to buy proteins or veggies in bulk when they are on sale or you want to do freezer batch cooking this is an essential tool. I purchased a small rectangle chest freezer and find it fits everything we need to feed more than our little family and a bushel of corn on the cob that I put up every summer. http://fave.co/2C2EqCY
6. Mason Jars: The belle of many of a DIY project these containers are perfect sizes for overnight oats, yogurt parfaits, salads and anything you want to have completely sealed and not leak! http://amzn.to/2EmJROz
7. Food Storage Containers: This may seem silly to have more containers but sometimes I don’t have time or space to divvy everything up into individual portions and prefer to put my prepped items in the fridge and portion out as I go! http://amzn.to/2CvDms4
8. Sheet Pans: Another option that may seem like something you would have in the regular kitchen. I am not talking about a normal sheet ban. I am talking about the big mamma jamma because I want to roast all these veggies or cook this entire bag of chicken all at once!!!! http://amzn.to/2Cv7PXk
9. Baggies: I love baggies as they are quick and easy and are disposable. There are portion size ones that have markings on the sides which are great is you don’t want to have to dirty up a measuring cup for your veggies and hummus. http://amzn.to/2Cpskah
10. Meal Plan Printables: I love having a cute printable to plan out my meals and snacks for the week (by the way, creating that plan is totally on the list of posts to go out to everyone this week! Here are a few of my faves….
This nutrition plan is a sneak peek into the timed nutrition concept that will be launching with 80 Day Obsession in January 2018! If you haven’t heard of what 80 Day Obsession can do for you hit me up and let’s talk about this total body transformation program that pairs an innovative timed nutrition plan with daily workouts designed to completely transform your body (THE RESULTS OF THE TEST GROUP ARE IN AND ARE MIND BLOWING).
A Little Obsessed is a week-long program inside Beachbody on Demand that introduces some of the same concepts that will be built upon in 80 Day Obsession and gives you 5 days of rocking ab, glute, core, arm and total body work! But, back to the nutrition plan…
People have been freaking out about how to set up their nutrition for A Little Obsessed. So, I thought I would share how I plan out my workout block as well as the rest of my day! Check it out!!