My first week as a full-time entrepreneur is behind me, and I’ve loved every moment of it. As much as I do miss my group lesson students, I’m savoring the opened up schedule. I can start my mornings by focusing on what I really want and need to do – planning and developing new ideas for my business, putting together fun lessons, drafting individualized learning plans, meditate, even get in some sports. There’s a renewed feeling of enthusiasm. I’ve always loved teaching English, but now I’m flying even higher.
I plan to reach out to companies around me to see if there would be opportunities to teach English as a second language there. We do live in the heart of the tourist attractions, high quality hotels and the administrative center buildings of the province of Quebec. I’ve also been doing some French to English translations. I love that. I love languages, and the challenge to convey a specific message from one medium to another.
I’m ready to open up the page to a new week. I’m eager to see where life will take me. I’m open to opportunities and humble to learning. I keep doing my yoga work. The mat is where I train my body and mind.
I love new beginnings. Of course they can happen at any time but the dawn of a new year feels sweet, every time. Maybe also because here in the Northern hemisphere that is when we all need a boost. Parties have been partied, and winter is now really kicking in. Luckily we have the chance to focus on new goals. Focus is what keeps us going. I’ve seen that so many times in my job as an English as a second language teacher. Clients that have a clear goal, and who regularly re-evaluate it, reach the best results, and also stay the longest.
My goals for 2018 are divided into three categories: work, sports and internal growth. This January is a landmark for me as for the first time in my career, I am going full time entrepreneur. My English teaching business Susa English has been growing steadily since I launched it in 2012. I’ve developed my own method. I have a 10-level study program. My clients learn in environments that suit them the best – be it the classroom but also the cafe, park, taking a walk or visiting the nearby stores. We learn hands-on and everyday vocabulary. My future goals for Susa English are to find a couple more clients and also some more translaing jobs. I greatly enjoy translating (from French to English), or revising (English) text. That gives me a sweet change from teaching.
My second goal is around sports and body image. I’ve had my share of weight shifts within my 43 years. I’ve been too high as well as too low. It’s been a process to find the real, good-for-me weight after all that. I feel that I’m there now. I’ve maintained my current weight without too much effort for a long period. I have energy to do all that I want. I still feel slim and light.
My sports goals are: enjoying the Canadian winter by cross-country skiing and skating. Both of these can be done within a 5-10 minute walk from my place. I have also planned snowshoeing with a friend. I want to continue using my stepper. It’s a great back up when the temperature drops too low outside. Sometimes I get up and head straight to the stepper to get my workout in before breakfast. I plan to continue with my zumba and yoga teaching. I lead a Quebec City fitness community online and the class is connected to that.
I keep enjoying my regalar yoga lessons with Boho Beautiful. I just adore her style. I will also get something new and exciting this year – a ballet barre and a mirror. I can’t wait to reignite the ballerina spark in me. Pointe shoes here I come! I danced ballet from the age of nine thru 22. I got a ballet teacher’s training. It has always remained my love.
My third goal is finding growth and peace within. I’ve struggled with anxiety and panic attacks recently. I’m not enchanted to tell you about them here, yet I’ve never believed in hiding things. Mental challenges aren’t people’s choice, nor do they mean that someone is weird or antisocial. I’m a very bubbly, life-loving person when you meet me. I have a big heart and I feel life strongly. I care. I really want to listen to others. I want to be that one person who brings you a ray of sunshine when you most need it. I’m in the process of learning to deal with anxiety when it takes over me. I need to gather positive evidence on the moments when I acted calmly and enjoyed life without fear. I’m rebuilding my internal me. I’m using two books to accompany me on this journey. I plan to share them later with you.
What about your goals? I’d love to hear from you. Or any other subjects that you’d enjoy reading?
Luckily we were able to visit Dallas yesterday because today both Sebastien and I are sick and confined into staying in bed at our Airbnb. Obviously, this is a tough moment on this trip.
Dallas is quite visitor friendly. A lot of the sites turn around the shooting of President Kennedy.
Here you see the landmark, the Dallas Tower.
Cute Christmas decorations were visible all thru the city. We strolled in the freezing city, after which we warmed up at a Starbucks at one of the classy tower buildings.
The Dealey Plaza close to where John F. Kennedy was shot at the end of his presidential parade. The spot is still marked with an X on the ground.
I found lots of books on Jackie Kennedy and other first ladies’ style in the Kennedy shooting The Sixth Floor Museum bookstore. My cropped, fur lined gloves weren’t a bad idea in the freezing cold Dallas December weather.
The Giant Eyeball is an interesting sculpture in the heart of Dallas.
Now we are at our Airbnb hoping to get better really soon. It has been a fun trip yet shadowed by me being sick almost all the way. I have tried to be courageous about it. I have tried to accept things as they come. I have tried to learn a useful lesson on patience and trust. Now I can only trust the medicine to clear up my ears and sinuses enough to be allowed to fly back home on Saturday.
I’ve had to deal with some health issues recently. That has woken me up to the importance of self care. The key is in finding out what works specifically for you. What is the right balance of work and play at this particular point in your life? What once was good may very well have changed. You have to keep tuned into your inner voice. The more you learn to listen to it, the clearer it gets.
My self care essentials are walks out in parks and the city streets. At this time of the year the darkness makes every bit of light decorations shine magically. Just looking at them transports me away from everyday work seriousness. My essentials also include a liquid pleasure called coffee. I feel uplifted as I make my way to my trusted coffee shop and chat with my baristas. Buying nearly one coffee a day sure adds up in the end. But self care is an investment.
My third self care element is yoga, Pilates and ballet. I have a mat on which I play in my activity room. I observe my current state and then engage in an activity that meets my need the best. Sometimes calming yoga, other times boosting and physically challenging training. Next to the yoga mat, I have a stair climber. Whisking away on it at the end of a busy work day often feels good. Going out for runs is another tempting possibility. My energy level ultimately makes the decision.
I encourage you to stay connected with your inner self. Ask yourself what it is that you need today to feel the best. Make a list if that helps in keeping track and not forgetting when you need gentle self care the most.
My Facebook group Happy Place – Fitness Community in English in Quebec City is well on its way. There are 30 members now and we are getting to know each other. I started the group after joining another group earlier in the summer, created by Mary Ann and located in Seattle. I wanted to have something local. A chance to get together from time to time in real life.
The anchor of my group is the workout class that I am teaching on Saturdays. This year it will be a mix of zumba and power yoga. We will be doing half an hour of each. There will also be some other cutting-edge fitness techniques thrown in like Pilates and Barre in the course of the year. I’m excited about sharing my fitness knowhow. I used to teach aerobics and work as a personal trainer at a gym so this is in a way going back to my old love.
Creating a group like this can give the founder and the participants a great boost. You make connections with likeminded people and they can pull you higher. We are all on this journey together. No one has the ultimate answers, nor is everyone the same. We have to figure out what exercise routines and eating habits fit our unique bodies and lifestyles. Learning from other’s experiences can provide precious inspiration.
I recently got asked how I figured out a way to body love. I used to pick on myself. I didn’t like the way I looked. There were favorite body parts, like my abs, that I especially focused on. I was constantly trying to loose weight. I wanted to maintain a weight lower than what was commonly recommended for my height. Then one day came a moment when I did some serious soul-searching. I wrote down my true values. None of them turned around bodily measurements. I also recognized that when I was in contact with others, I never paid attention on their weight. I wanted to see them as they really were, a person with interesting things inside. So, I figured that I needed to apply my core values to my life as well.
I decided to stop the fight between my weight loss wanting mind and the actual needs of my living body. Trying to maintain a lower than normal weight led me to controlled and inflexible behavior. Keeping things where they naturally aren’t supposed to be is hard work. Some people spend their lives fighting with the scale, deciding that they’ll never go over a certain number, come what may. But in the meantime they are limiting how much they really experience this life. There were times when I’d stay at home just because I didn’t want to eat more and thus didn’t have the needed energy to go out and enjoy other’s company. Or maybe I’d go but only be a shadow of myself because I was exhausted. These are rather extreme examples but you get the picture.
I decided to allow myself the amount of energy, nutritious food, that it needed to fully function. Slowly I incorporated all foods back into my life. I had forbidden foods like nuts, chips, pizza or chocolate from myself. I now go by the 80-20 principle. I try to eat 80% clean, just because I know it makes me feel my best, and 20% indulgence. I’ll have that chocolate chip cookie if I want to. I do physical activity every day. I do it because it helps me to feel good in my body and also boosts my mood. I know that I have to be mindful of maintaining my happy spark alive. I also know that I have to be proactive. I take myself out for a walk or do some yoga before I feel too sad.
I have recently focused more on health magazines and social media in comparison to the fashion magazines that I used to read. I still like fashion and read the glossies I subscribe to, but I pay attention on not getting any negative body vibes from them. If my day’s good and I’m feeling great in my skin, then there’s no problem in looking at a young girl with a very thin (and probably photo shopped) frame. But if I’m already feeling self critical so then maybe that day I need to entertain myself with other things.
I continue to look for articles, social media influencers and messages that support my quest for body love. I’ve found a group on Facebook where women support each other’s sports and health goals. That has been a very positive experience. That is why I was inspired to start my own Happy Place fitness community here in Quebec City.
So, what’s the secret to body love and peace within? Deciding to want it more than anything else and then doing all you can to get it. There’s beauty in putting yourself out there and giving encouragement to others. That’s why I wrote this post.