What The Hell Do I Know About Coping With Stress?

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Not one of us is immune to the daily stress of life. Especially the stress that comes along with your chosen profession. In fact, according to  What To Do When Your Job Is Seriously Stressing You Out, more than a third of all American workers experience chronic workplace stress. I’ll be the first to admit that finding the right balance both personally and professionally has been quite the daunting task as of late. The challenge we face spending eight hours (if you’re lucky) at the “office” dealing with the stress can become a never-ending cycle.We try our best to keep our bosses happy by doing our jobs to the best of our ability, then come 5 o’clock we rush home to cook dinner, play with the dog and prepare for work the next day. If you happen to be one of the lucky ones, you have a job that you love and those eight hours (again, if you’re lucky) don’t actually feel like work. However, if you’re like most people, you are looking at your watch counting the seconds until it’s time to clock out and make a run for it. I’ve been on both sides of the spectrum.

But what happens when you’re stuck in a job that sends your blood pressure through the roof on a daily basis? You struggle to meet deadlines, make your boss happy, keep up to date on your email correspondence and then deal with managing your home and personal life? Not to mention attempting to have a social life! That’s where I have been the past few months. I’ve struggled with feeling like I am slowly sinking.  Keeping my head afloat, not only professionally but personally, came close to being too much to handle.

Life got to the point where it was becoming increasingly difficult to smile and act as if everything was great, when in fact things could not have been more to the contrary. So I made a decision. As I wrote in The Importance of Editing Your Life, I sat down and thought about all the things in my life that I felt no longer served me. No longer brought a smile to my face and no longer was an asset but rather a liability. The first to go was people. I had to remove certain people who were not moving in the same direction that I’ve been moving in. It’s not personal, it’s just that I decided to choose me because again, as I said before, “If I am not okay, how can I be of service to anyone else?” My thought process on the matter is “if you are not enriching my life, then you have to go.”

The second item on my list to go was my job. Yes! No need to get your eyes checked! You read that right. I decided to leave my job. This one was a very difficult decision to make. My rationale on the matter is, if I cannot take my own advice, then what the hell is the point of writing here in hopes of inspiring people? I’d be blowing smoke up your ass by talking the talk and not actually walking the walk. I’ll be honest and admit that I second guessed this decision a little bit, but at this point I have made peace with it. As my time winds down, I am actually filling more and more with excitement and looking forward to the next chapter in my already colorful life.

You see, for the past nine years, I’ve worked at a company that I loved and enjoyed with everything in me. It was perfect! It felt like home! It was home! Then why am I leaving you ask?  I’ll go into more detail later, but suffice it to say, sometimes people who are not the right fit are hired to be your boss and their lack of managerial and people skills can cause your professional life to be a complete nightmare. Sprinkle in their jealous and envious spirit as well as their insecurity when they stand next to you, and POOF there you go!! Most people would grin and bear it, but I am definitely NOT most people. I’ve been taught to stand up for myself. To never allow anyone to treat me any kind of way and as my mother would say “it’s just a paycheck”.

mom

Mom

I get that trait from her. My mother stood tall and strong for what she believed in. She was never one to back down from a fight nor allow anyone (boss included) to treat her disrespectfully. She put her foot down and taught me to do the same. And in truth, if this was back in the day, I wouldn’t have thought twice to drag that dude by the throat up and down Sunset Blvd… however, I digress. Back to my point, in keeping faithful in editing my life ruthlessly and frequently, I am now entering into a chapter where I am walking away from the unnecessary stress. I am choosing to apply my new school of thought to the next chapter in my life because let’s face it, it would be pointless to walk into another situation dealing with the same nonsense. That’s definitely NOT happening.

How do you cope with the stress in your life? If you happen to be editing your life, what is the first thing to go? Feel free to leave a comment below to keep the conversation going.

PS: Parlay

-AndrewPhillipK

 

What The Hell Do I Know About Nutrition?

With my 34th birthday quickly approaching in the next few weeks,  I’ve been working my ass off with my talented but tough trainer Coach G. For the past two months we’ve been focusing on finding the right nutritional balance for me as well as fine tuning our workouts for maximum results.

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Because AndrewPhillipK.Com is a place where I intend on being completely honest with my readers, I’d be lying if I didn’t admit to you that nutrition has been quite the up hill battle for me. It’s been a lifelong struggle actually. I don’t know about you, but as I mentioned before in  Fitness Forensics w/ Coach G,  the mere thought of food seemingly result in my waist expanding. If you couple that hereditary issue with an insane work schedule that at times can be all over the place, it’s no wonder more than 65 percent of American adults are overweight or obese.

Being overweight and fighting obesity, sadly, is a major issue we face in this country. However, on the bright side, if you are not dead you CAN make a change. All it takes is making the decision to change your lifestyle. No it’s not a choice that comes easily and yes it also requires a hell of a lot of self-examination. But the good news here is that it CAN be done. I made that decision about halfway through 2016 and I can’t begin to explain  how much the trajectory of my life has changed. And continues to change.

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Besides the nutritional hurdles, I sometimes refer to as “food noise”, I’ve struggled with, I find that one of the major roadblocks I face in the quest for optimum health, are the same challenges that most of us adults in this country face: Finding the time in our busy schedules to eat right, exercise, meditate, pray and do whatever else is required of us to keep our body, and more importantly, our minds healthy. It has been increasingly difficult, in the last few weeks especially, to prioritize and dedicate my time to the betterment of my well-being. I’m exhausted just thinking about it! And I don’t even want to imagine if I had children to care for on top of everything else. I don’t know how some of you all do it but I tip my hat to all of you with kids that still manage to make it work! Send some of those good vibes my way! #PleaseAndThankYou

Back to my point, since I injured my foot a few weeks back, G and I have had to overcome the challenge of tailor-making our workouts to a) prevent further injury and b) keep the momentum rolling in achieving the goals I set from the beginning. We decided to make mobility, flexibility and injury prevention the focal points of our workouts. Meanwhile I’ve had to have a laser like focus on my eating habits, which, if you are like me, can be a complete and utter disaster when you are stressed out, depressed or just plain tired as hell.  There have been some good days and some bad, however, for the most part I’ve been pretty good about sticking to my goal of making better choices in the food department.

The key for me is remaining consistent in the health conscious choices when grocery shopping. For example, I’ve replaced ground beef with 93% fat-free ground turkey.  In fact, I made some bomb AF Turkey Chili (with an amazing side of rice – Thank you very much Antoin) the other night. I’ll throw that recipe up for you soon!

For those of us that need that extra push or to be pointed in the right direction when it comes to food, I thought I’d share a little gem with you for the next time you hit the grocery store. It is true that a few slight alterations to your diet can be just what you need to start seeing a change in your physique, which then leads to the motivation you need to continue on with the change in your lifestyle. Which is what it’s all about.

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As Q1 for 2017 comes to a close, there is still time to get your ass on the ball ladies and gentlemen! I promise all it takes is baby steps! You can start by replacing a few items of junk food in your kitchen cabinet with something from the list below. You don’t have to go overboard because let’s not forget rent is due today!

grocery-list

 

The Importance of Editing Your Life

The past few years have been a rollercoaster for me. I have had some great highlights and some serious low points. We all have them! It’s life! As 2017 began to usher itself in, I made the conscious decision to no longer allow anything in my life that would not benefit me or serve my greater purpose. I explained to friends, family and colleagues that I was making a change for the better. I was finally making a wholehearted decision and that decision was to choose ME. I began to distance myself from people in my life that I no longer needed. People that added no value nor enhanced my existence. That, I determined was step one.

I would no longer entertain or engage in the bullshit. I sat down and thought of a plan (You see, I am not only gifted in the art of writing, I have also been gifted with the talent of formulating a plan. It is one of my strong suits) to get me from where I was in 2016 to the direction I am determined to head in 2017. That included changing my number and relocating. That was step two. I was hellbent on bringing in the new year with tunnel vision in tow and the determination to create a new life for myself.

What I had come to learn towards the close of 2016, with the help of my life coach (I know! SO LA!), was that if I am not okay and I am not able to operate at full capacity, how then can I be of service to anyone else? How can I be a good and productive boss, a good friend, son, brother or even a good lover? It’s impossible!

Recently, I have been bombarded by Steve Harvey’s new book entitled “Jump”, which basically states that if you want to soar in life you have to be willing to jump off the cliff. You have to JUMP! While I have always been indifferent to Mr. Harvey, this message of his resonated with me. Loudly!

Midway through the first quarter of 2017, I began to take little steps towards my jump with the first being the birth of this blog/website. I have always had a passion for writing and I’ve always been quite good (damn good!), however, I never thought I’d actually put my writing out there to be consumed by anyone. I was fearful of negative feedback, lack of good content and most of all being boring. But true to form, I decided to say “fuck it” and here we are!  My first jump!

As I continued to examine my life and myself, I made a mental list of things that needed to go.  In order for me to be better and operate with a full tank, each person, place and thing on my list needed to be removed.

I spent most of  the month of January ruminating over one of the major decisions I’d have to make in my life. This decision would be a scary one but it had to be done. You see, this particular decision would have serious ramifications and if the decision turned out to be a bad one, it could prove detrimental. Nonetheless, I made the decision to choose me above all else. I would practice what I preach.

I am holding steadfastly to the fact that if it no longer serves me, enhances my well-being or brings me closer to my purpose in life, then it MUST go.

I’ll expound more on that major decision later.

But I will leave you with this for now, if it DOES NOT serve you in whatever capacity you need, it MUST go! That goes for any person, place or thing!

As my good friend Duran would say: “Anybody can get it!

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That’s What Friends Are For…

My mother had this saying when I was growing up: “Show me your friends and I’ll tell you who you are.” At the time I was quite unaware of the amount of wisdom that saying possessed, and of course being young and a know-it-all, I laughed and shrugged it off (although not to her face because she would have smacked the hell out of me).

Now all these years later it turns out my old lady was actually right, as mothers usually are. Not until recently have I made it a point to employ that same pearl of wisdom as a compass of sorts when navigating through this thing called friendship.

Friend

frend/

noun
  1. a person whom one knows and with whom one has a bond of mutual affection, typically exclusive of sexual or family relations.
    Synonyms – confidante, soul mate and companion.

I have found the word “friend” to be a term so many of us have used incredibly loosely throughout our lives. We don’t really understand the true essence of the word nor do we comprehend the weight we place on someone when we hand over the title to them. Most people gladly accept it without fully comprehending the role they are about to play in our lives.

For some people, the word friend seemingly rolls off the tongue without much effort. People tend to use it casually and throw the word it at anyone they have a good laugh and a couple drinks with. When in truth, some of us will never know what it’s like to have an actual true friend. They will never come to know the true value of the word. I know! Sad right?!

I’d be a liar if I wasn’t forthright about the fact that I too am guilty of using that term casually at various points throughout my life. It took me a very long time to realize that I was foolishly and prematurely handing out the title of friend. I would hand it over before a person had actually earned the right to wear the friendship badge. It’s one of those life lessons that, if you’re lucky enough to learn early, will save you from an enormous amount of pain, suffering and feelings of disappointment and betrayal. Being betrayed by someone you consider a friend can be one of the hardest heartbreaks to get over.  It can take years to to heal from the devastating blow of betrayal and learning to trust people again is no easy feat.

I have been lucky enough to have a select few people that I can call actual true friends.They embody the word in every capacity. They personify it and they make it look easy. I know that if I needed either of them they would be there for me no matter the circumstance.

They can expect the same in return from me.

One such person that I am lucky to call friend, it just so happens, celebrated her birthday a few days ago. I am forever grateful to have survived the past twenty years with her by my side and our friendship intact. When you find someone who proves their loyalty, love and friendship, you keep them for life!

February 3rd is the birthday of one of my oldest and dearest friends. Simone and I go all they way back to middle school. We were together in the same 7th grade classes at James Madison Middle School to be exact. I remember passing notes to her in Ms. Tillman’s Social Studies class to make the time go by faster because we were bored out of our minds. I have never been into formal schooling and Ms. Tillman didn’t help!

I laugh thinking back at Simone shaking her head and laughing whenever I was kicked out of class for my behavior, which happened quite frequently let’s be honest. I still recall sneaking into prom and her having to hide me when the school administrators came around to the area we were congregating in with our other friends. No, I was not allowed to attend my prom because of my behavior in school (long story we won’t get into today) but true to form, my ride-or-die chick had my back.

Somehow we have developed the skill to talk one another off the ledge whenever all hell is on the verge of breaking loose, which used to happen often. Not many people possess the ability to reel me in when I’m about to unleash, but she remains one of the few chosen ones to this day.

One of the things I love and appreciate most about our friendship, however, is that in the last twenty years we have perfected the art of saving each other.  We went from late night rides to burst out car windows with crowbars (allegedly) to becoming intelligent and mature adults (somewhat).

It still makes me laugh recalling her look of complete and utter horror at my shitty-of-a-first apartment in East Hollywood when I first moved to LA. That was nearly a decade ago. The memory of coming home from work to her scrubbing the walls of that god forsaken place, which had to be about 100 degrees in there, still warms my heart to this day and I still appreciate it and I smile. That’s a memory that’s engraved in my mind and I will never forget it.

That’s a friend!

So as she celebrates another year of life, I celebrate with her. Not even the distance of 2,600 miles between us matter because at this moment, in my heart, we are standing in my mother’s driveway, leaning on her neon yellow Mustang and singing “Aint No Mountain High Enough” and laughing.

Happy Birthday Simone!

I love you

-AndrewPhillipK

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Simone and I