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May 4, 2021

Living Congruently

By Paden Hughes

I have a confession to make.

Last fall, it took a health scare and my body breaking down to wake me up to the reality that all the stress from navigating the pandemic as a “non-essential” entrepreneur, with two kids under four, was TOO MUCH for my body.

2020 was the year that I obsessed about helping everyone else keep their wellness at the forefront, and I ironically shelved my personal wellbeing.

I justified it because there were more important things to do. That was real for me.

I was under a LOT of pressure to save the business, keep employees employed, stay positive for everyone around me and be a good wife and mom to two kiddos (one of which didn’t sleep).

I know you get it, too.

All of us felt the pressure and the urgency. We all had daily fires to put out.

I could have easily chalked it up as a crappy year for my health.

But when you run a fitness facility where literally 350+ members found a way through their own chaos to own their fitness and make good on their values…. it’s hard to push it down as “circumstance.”

But that’s what I did. Until my body said, “Slow the hell down.”

Let me paint a picture.

Our bodies are deeply wise. They hold the generational trauma of our ancestry. They hold our childhood stresses as well as all the stress and hurt we carry in our bodies as an adult. It fills up and symptoms of your body crying out for relief start to show up at the least convenient times.

I’ve always just known that my body will literally break down under prolonged stress or after being shelved as a “low priority.” I get hives, headaches, ulcers, and the kind of symptoms you mutter to your doctor because you’re totally mortified.

At 2pm, at my desk, in November 2020, I realized I’d been blankly staring at my computer screen for over 30 minutes. Weird. No memory at all of what I was even supposed to be doing. I tried to muster energy to push through, but felt like I had nothing. I pretended to work until 3pm.

Then, on the drive home I almost had to pull over because I could barely keep my eyes open. I was literally zapped of all energy. I got home and collapsed on the kitchen floor.

I remember trying to hold it together for my kids… but I couldn’t get off the floor. So I tried to make it a game… but no matter what I dressed it up to look like to save face with my kids… I was still just looking up at the ceiling.

Hard to make THAT a fun activity.  My little kiddos were looking at me like “what is going on with mom?”

Something seemed really wrong with me.

I was staring at the kitchen ceiling thinking, “I have three hours until Michael comes home and I don’t know what to do with myself.” I was completely brought to my knees by this. I was truly afraid that I didn’t have the energy I still needed to get through the pandemic.

And it was this uncomfortable moment where I was faced with the reality that there is NOTHING more important than your health and vitality. It was not lost on me how hypocritical it felt for me to acknowledge this as a fitness business owner.

Prior to this, I would say that I valued health. I valued fitness. I valued balance. I value alignment and I hate, hate, hate, hate being considered a hypocrite.

But there I was, literally on the floor of my kitchen looking up at the ceiling, totally freaking out because I had shot my adrenals. There’s a lot more to this story, including a soul adventure to Sedona, Arizona, and almost getting an auto-immune disease that I created from all of my stress, et cetera. I’ll spare you the saga for now.

But what I will say is I was faced with the reality that I needed to slow down. I needed to prioritize my body. I needed to prioritize my wellbeing, and that has transformed a lot of things in my life. And so as uncomfortable as it is to write this newsletter this month and own this hypocrisy…. I am doing so because I want to share my takeaway about being congruent in our lives, with what we say we care about.

I was reminded about something I used to tell my business consulting clients years ago…. “If you ever want to know how you can determine what somebody values, there are two obvious places to look.”

Two ways to gauge whether somebody actually values the things that they say they value.

1. The first is in their calendar and what they make time for, and

2. Second is where they spend their money.

Time and Money.

We might all agree that these are the two resources that we are the most protective about and we want to be the most conscientious about how we spend.

As I’ve spent the last 6 months putting my health back into my FOCUS, both time and money have been reallocated to help me stabilize. For me, the answer came from spending two hours EACH day, doing whatever I wanted to do to restore my soul, feel a sense of freedom, meditate, and of course workout.

It’s been game changing for me.

I’ve recently reconnected to the wisdom of slowing down, as to not burn out.

My question to you is, what do you value, based on calendar and income or how you spend money? If somebody were to look at the last month in your life, would they see health finding its way onto your calendar? Do you make time for that? Is it something that you hope that you can make time for? Is it something you rely on the conditions being perfect before you can do it? Or are you somebody that goes in and makes time and blocks it off in your calendar?

And then what about spending money? Of course, you can go on hikes which are free. But there is something about putting money behind a practice so that you SHOW UP for it. That’s where fitness memberships or wellness practices start to show up.

So what does all this look like for you?

If you’re one of those 350+ people who CRUSHED the pandemic and doubled down on your self care, you are my hero. You inspire me every day and I’m so thankful for you.

But if you are more like me, burning yourself out and hoping you can get through a challenging season, ignoring your health and wellness…. consider this a gentle nudge that you deserve to be prioritized. That living congruently with your values is an act of self love. And you can’t serve all the wonderful people and causes you were put on earth to help when you’re stuck lying down on the kitchen floor, staring up at the ceiling, scared for your health.

So if it’s time to start prioritizing your wellbeing and you are looking for a partner to help you do that, you know what I’m about to say: Come check out Gymnazo. We’re running some pretty cool promotions.

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