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Now is the time to get unapologetically selfish!

Now is the time to get unapologetically selfish!

Now is the time to get unapologetically selfish!

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Woman in bath being unapologetically selfish

We’re told self care is important. That we need to look after ourselves before other people. But we’re also told that being selfish is bad. 

I recently took the opportunity to be unapologetically selfish and it was just what I needed. 

The burnout habit

Early in the morning, I’m rushing through the grocery store between dropping off my daughter at school and coaching my first client of the day. Looking around, I see I’m not the only one in a hurry. 

My nanny is sick. My husband is abroad. I wonder why the others are rushing. I smile at them with empathy. 

How do we end up like headless chickens running around as if we were on fire? 

It starts with saying yes to unwanted tasks and activities a bit too often. Then we keep pushing through and adapting to the “harder, better, faster, stronger culture”, and eventually we burn out. 

Time for doing nothing

As I sat in the car on my way to Poland a few weeks ago, I felt like I had fallen into that burnout habit of go-go-go. My body was aching, and I was tired.

The idea for our family holiday was to hike in the mountains. Not because we all love hiking, but because ‘that’s what you do when you are on holiday in the mountains’. To be honest, I like looking at the breathtaking views more than doing the actual hike.

When I woke up the first morning I looked through the window in our little house and had a beautiful view right there.

This time my whole body screamed, ‘I will stay here today!’

Katarina Stoltz with her feet up in a hammock being unapologetically selfish in Poland

And I did. I decided to be unapologetically selfish and silence all the ‘shoulds’, and the ‘it’s not appropriates’ and all the other guilt-inducing bullshit.

This was going to be my day of being lazy and doing nothing.

Effective energy management strategies

Being selfish is mean”, a client told me once. Many of us grew up hearing something similar.

What about you? What do you feel when you hear these words?

Selfish.

Rest.

Lazy.

Resistant? Judgmental? A secret longing?

During my years as superwoman, I froze every time I heard any of those words. Grrrr. Anything but lazy! I’m strong and not the type who needs a lot of sleep and rest!

When was the last time you rested without feeling guilty?

Scientists have shown the value of taking what they call “microbreaks” throughout the workday.

These short breaks – five minutes or less – are effective energy management strategies and can be as simple as stretching, gazing out the window, snacking or having a five-minute mindful check-in with yourself.

I know, who has time for that when we have deadlines to meet and emails to reply to, right?

In fact, when we take time out to relax, we’re more engaged and productive – even more effective at our work tasks.

It’s short, but a microbreak can be golden if you do it regularly.

I know from my own experience that when I stopped using manicures and hairdresser appointments as the ONLY form of self-care, that’s when I felt the difference in my energy levels.

I started caring for my emotional and physical body EVERY DAY.

Okay, so if you are like me and have that tendency to fall into that burnout habit of go-go-go and the “if you can’t do it right, I do it” attitude, then you know what to do now, microbreaks!

Do you feel like you need a reminder every week to rest?

The prompts in my guided journal Time To Thrive help you identify what’s draining you so that you have more time for rest and for doing what lights you up!

My Time To Thrive journal

Users of my ‘Time To Thrive’ journal are telling me:

‘I finally got better at focusing on ONE thing at a time’

‘I feel so much more energised’

‘I’ve started to be more honest and self-compassionate. This journal is truly life-changing!’

Do you want to test it out for yourself and see if it helps you become a bit more unapologetically selfish? Do you want more time for microbreaks and some more fun?! Then grab a copy of my guided journal!

If you know someone who would benefit from being more selfish and self-compassionate to prevent burnout, share this journal.

Love,

 

 

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Hello, I’m Katarina Stoltz, a life coach and psychotherapist helping international professionals prioritise their well-being so they can achieve fulfillment without burning out.

Welcome to the 'Time To Thrive' blog, where I share real-life stories and offer valuable and practical tips for how to prevent burnout, expand your self awareness and start living your vision.

I don’t offer ‘quick fix’ solutions, but my tips are straightforward and easy to follow. You’re in the right place if you’re looking for some thought-provoking articles and honest life stories.

I’m happy you’re here!

How to survive and thrive as an entrepreneur

How to survive and thrive as an entrepreneur

How to survive and thrive as an entrepreneur

Published on
Katarina Stoltz Coaching and Therapy smiling demonstrating her thriving as an entrepreneur

With no colleagues around or boss telling us what to do, being self-employed can feel lonely at times, and it can be hard to stay motivated. But it doesn’t have to be that way!

Today I will share my own experience of thriving as an entrepreneur and give you some helpful ideas to be happier and more productive in your own business. 

Co-working with a business buddy

The ride took longer than normal due to construction, but I wasn’t in a hurry. I enjoyed the silence, and that I didn’t have to multitask. I just needed to keep my hands on the wheel and look straight ahead.

When I arrived at Coconat, a ‘workation’ space just outside Berlin, my friend was already there. She met me at the entrance, her whole face smiling, and I knew we had a couple of fun, productive days ahead of us.

Kim is my business buddy. But not only that, we also bake Christmas cookies together and take our kids to amusement parks. We became friends during the lockdown when life as an entrepreneur, wife and mother was more challenging than normal.

In Zoom calls we gave one another feedback and held each other accountable. And our businesses survived the lockdown. But beyond that, we both expanded in ways we didn’t think possible in such uncertain times.

It was my third time at Coconat. A few years ago I went to write my thesis, and in the midst of the pandemic I went to brainstorm ideas on how to rebrand my business. This time I just needed some proper get-shit-done kinds of days. You know all that business and life admin which you never have time to do!?

I hear a lot of my entrepreneurial friends and clients complain that being self-employed can be lonely, and that it’s hard to get things done when no boss is waiting for an assignment to be handed in.

It’s easy to get distracted with social media when nobody is watching. (What irony, I just googled a word and got sucked into LinkedIn!) Working from home also adds the challenge of mixing up work and household duties (let’s just put on the laundry now so I have that done…)

Tips to help you survive and thrive as an entrepreneur

I have noticed that what helps me the most to stay focused and have fun as an entrepreneur is to get out of the house! I need to be in the practice for my regular in-person clients, and in a quiet place for the clients I meet online, but all the admin, creative brainstorming and writing – I can do those things from anywhere!

Here’s a shortlist of tips that have helped me survive and thrive as an entrepreneur:

  • Find a business buddy. The person doesn’t need to be doing what you are doing, the only criteria is to find someone who also is self-employed and has more or less the same size business as you.
  • Block out time for future planning. Get together with your business buddy and share your business vision for the coming year. Map out important steps together that you can hold each other accountable for. (I recommend doing this twice a year. I do it in June and December.)
  • Become a member of an online network to get business support. Find a suitable membership depending on which stage of business you’re in. This is a place where you can ask all the relevant questions related to your business.
  • Join or create a mastermind. Find a group of like-minded entrepreneurs to meet with monthly. Bring your current business challenges, and get invaluable ideas from your business peers on how to resolve them. Mine meets online, as my peer group is based in the UK.
  • Prioritise your mental health. Make sure to always block time in your calendar for self-care. If you don’t care for yourself, you can’t show up for your clients and your business will suffer. On my list of non-negotiables is going on a retreat once a year. The year before the pandemic started, I created my own retreat in Thailand.

Katarina Stoltz Coaching and Therapy relaxing in pool Thailand demonstrating how she thrives while being an entrepreneur

  • Set boundaries! With no strict time schedule to follow, it’s easy to work in the evenings and on weekends. It will quickly burn you out if you’re not careful.
  • Stop comparing yourself with other entrepreneurs! It’s easy to look at what others are doing and lose track of your own progress. The only thing that matters is where you were half a year ago and where you are now.
  • Get help before you need it. This was advice I got from my business mentor that helped me pivot my business during the lockdown. I hired my first virtual assistant, designer and SEO manager before I really needed them. Now they are an important part of my business development.
  • Have fun! We didn’t leave the corporate world to work even harder and have more stress! We left to create a healthier work environment and have a bit more fun, didn’t we?! So make sure that you enjoy being your own boss, and celebrate your progress along the way!

Katarina Stoltz Coaching and Therapy smiling with a drink in hand surviving and thriving as an entrepreneur

Your next step

What is the first step you could take today to make sure your entrepreneurial life will be less lonely and more fun? 

This shortlist is something I needed when I first started as an entrepreneur. I didn’t have any business buddies back then and had no idea how to find a business mentor or any kind of community. 

Part of my bigger vision is to inspire as many people as possible to let go of the notion that we need to figure things out alone – from dealing with emotional baggage to starting and maintaining a business. 

Doing things alone doesn’t make you stronger or more powerful! 

Doing things alone just makes you feel isolated and exhausted. 

I have learned that sharing my ups and downs in life with friends and business buddies, makes me feel more connected, energised and fulfilled. And as a result – my business is thriving!

If you’re looking for a simple way to boost your energy right now, download my free guided journal TIME TO THRIVE here

Love,

 

 

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Hello, I’m Katarina Stoltz, a life coach and psychotherapist helping international professionals prioritise their well-being so they can achieve fulfillment without burning out.

Welcome to the 'Time To Thrive' blog, where I share real-life stories and offer valuable and practical tips for how to prevent burnout, expand your self awareness and start living your vision.

I don’t offer ‘quick fix’ solutions, but my tips are straightforward and easy to follow. You’re in the right place if you’re looking for some thought-provoking articles and honest life stories.

I’m happy you’re here!

3 Steps to Reduce Stress Right Now

3 Steps to Reduce Stress Right Now

3 Steps to Reduce Stress Right Now

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Katarina Stoltz Life Coaching and Psychotherapy with feet up at sunset on the beach representing feeling less stressed

When we don’t express our emotions we become stressed. We bottle up strong feelings and avoid confronting people. To reduce stress, we need to express our emotions and set boundaries.

Today I will share a personal story from my trip to the U.S. and give you an insight how to strengthen your emotional competence so you can reduce stress in your life. (Read to the end to grab my free gift!)

The Perfect Evening

The sun was setting at Pismo Beach, on California’s Central Coast, as Rihanna’s “Umbrella” blasted from the speakers. Tourists hung out by the food trucks enjoying tacos and beautiful views. Some watched the surfers, others were mesmerised by the sunset.

Pelicans flew over our heads as we sat at the table waiting for our food. ‘This is the perfect evening’, I thought to myself.

My 10-year-old daughter, having had her fill of road trip fast food, finally ordered a salad. I took off my sandals, leaned my bare feet against the wooden fence, and took a sip of cold white wine (served in a plastic cup, but oh well, I decided not to be annoyed by that). 

Katarina Stoltz Life Coaching and Psychotherapy with a glass of wine on the beach

You know that perfect moment when you’re with the people you love and you don’t want to change a thing? Pure bliss. 

In the last week, my daughter had gone from an impatient, “I want my food NOW!” kind of kid, to someone who calmly read her chapter book while we waited for our food to arrive. 

But after 45 minutes l began to wonder if they had forgotten about us, then quickly reminded myself that we were not in a hurry. Rushing from one place to another is something I know too well from my daily life. I could feel how much my body and soul really needed the break from the busyness.

An Unexpected Question

I took another sip of my wine, then all of a sudden came an unexpected question: ‘Mum, are you going to drink alcohol again tonight’? 

My jaw dropped. 

The first thought that went through my head was ‘you can’t decide whether I will have a glass of wine or not’! It was my teenage self speaking, not wanting someone else telling me what to do! 

Luckily the thought stayed only a thought. Though I had to fight some mind gremlins before I answered: ‘It sounds like you don’t want me to drink wine tonight’. 

‘It makes me scared’, my daughter answered with a serious look on her face, then continued reading her book. 

There I was in that perfect moment, completely chilled out, enjoying the sunset with a plastic cup of California Chardonnay, and my kid doesn’t want me to drink ONE glass of wine! 

Hmmm.  

A bit puzzled, I started to check in with my emotions.  

Memories came back from when I was a kid surrounded by my parents’ friends jamming and having drinks in our basement. Yes, I remember how unpleasant it was when the adults’ personalities suddenly changed. But did I say anything?? No, of course not! 

Back then, I don’t think I would have been able to put into words how I was feeling anyway. I just dwelled within that uncomfortable feeling of loneliness. 

I decided not to finish the wine. Instead, I looked out over the bay and felt a strong sensation of joy.  

‘Joy’? you might ask. Yes, I actually felt joyful. I felt deep gratitude for my daughter’s ability to express her emotions. 

She dares to confront me. 

She knows I will listen. 

She won’t always get what she wants, as such is life, and it’s good that way. BUT she knows that her opinion matters. She hasn’t given up before trying. 

She knows that even though she is still a child, she has the right to ask adults to stop doing things she doesn’t like. 

She matters. 

I matter. And now that I know that (after four years in therapy!), I don’t answer from my rebellious teenage self anymore—at least most of the time…  

This time, the answer comes from my adult self: ‘I understand,’ I said to my daughter. ‘I was a bit different last night after daddy and I had a glass of wine. I get it.’ 

Oh life… the beauty of personal growth!

Boundaries Matter

Sitting on that dock, I remembered a book I had read recently, When the Body Says No, by Dr. Gabor Maté. The book shook me to the core of my being.

 Katarina Stoltz Coaching and Therapy holding a copy of When the Body Says No by Gabor Mator

I believe it’s the most important book one can read if you take your health seriously. ‘It could save your life’, Peter Levine writes on the cover. 

One line that stuck with me: ‘In important areas of their lives, almost none of my patients with serious disease had ever learned to say no.’

When we welcome the expression of a ‘no‘, either from our child or partner or anyone else, we make them feel that they matter. Their boundary matters! 

How to Build Emotional Competence

So what can we do if we didn’t learn to say no as a child?  

What can we do if we didn’t learn that what we needed mattered?

We need to build emotional competence such as:  

  • the ability to express our emotions.
  • the capacity to feel our emotions.
  • the facility to distinguish between psychological reactions that are pertinent to the present situation and those that represent residue from the past.

Stress occurs in the absence of these three points. 

A lot of clients come to me because they feel stressed and want to learn how to express their emotions. To be able to express our emotions, we first need to be able to identify them.  

And then learn to feel them. 

In order to feel our emotions, we need to slow down and stop living as if we are on fire!

“Should I just sit there and feel”?? many of my clients ask. Well, ideally, yes. But just sitting there and feeling is not that easy. So I have created something else to do instead—a different way to help you identify your emotions.

Download My Guided Journal

My one-month guided journal TIME TO THRIVE, will help you track what causes you stress and make you feel energised again!

‘Thanks a lot for creating this amazing journal! The journal helped me to recognize the thought patterns that drain me, and helped me identify what I’m avoiding in life. By reflecting on my life every week, I started to develop more honesty with myself, more gratitude in life, and more awareness about my values. I used to be very critical of myself, but writing one thing that I can give myself credit for every week helped me develop more compassion for myself, which is something I have been trying to achieve for a long time. Thank you for creating such a helpful tool. It’s truly life-changing!’

Mohammed, Manager, Spotify 

Sometimes it can feel a bit overwhelming knowing how much work we need to do to stay healthy and energised. I get that. You’d rather watch another Netflix show or hang out with your family or friends.

But I promise you, the award is HUGE. And all you need to do is take the first step.  

Get started today by downloading my FREE journal! I’m offering this valuable guided journal for free to anyone who is ready to commit to their personal growth. 

Love,

 

 

 

Share this:

Hello, I’m Katarina Stoltz, a life coach and psychotherapist helping international professionals prioritise their well-being so they can achieve fulfillment without burning out.

Welcome to the 'Time To Thrive' blog, where I share real-life stories and offer valuable and practical tips for how to prevent burnout, expand your self awareness and start living your vision.

I don’t offer ‘quick fix’ solutions, but my tips are straightforward and easy to follow. You’re in the right place if you’re looking for some thought-provoking articles and honest life stories.

I’m happy you’re here!

How to find meaning in your life

How to find meaning in your life

How to find meaning in your life

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3 happy woman in warm clothes representing finding meaning in life

I was strolling down Kastanienallee, one of the trendy shopping streets in the former East Berlin, with my bestie visiting from Sweden.

Life is finally back to normal’, I thought to myself. But is it really back to what it used to be? No, not really. We socialise, travel and everything is open again, but life is different than what it used to be.

I have more real conversations.

I forgive and move on faster.

I look the people I care about in the eyes and ask: ‘How are you?

I interact with life on a deeper level.

I’m more honest and say, ‘I don’t enjoy camping’ and let my husband go alone with our daughter on a camping trip.

I have noticed I’m more grateful and I compromise less.

How do you experience ‘the new normal’? What has changed in your life?

My bestie and I walked into a random shop and the first thing I saw was a bag that said: ‘Think less, dance more’. If there had been music playing I would have started dancing immediately!

After some cheerful small talk with the shop owner, we headed towards our favourite ice cream place. I left feeling like something amazing had happened, and I laughed to myself when I realised it was just a normal interaction with a stranger!

What actually gives life meaning is the willingness to live it’. – The Untethered Soul, Michael A. Singer.

I hear so many people talking about finding their purpose and I always think about Elisabeth Gilbert’s talk about how much anxiety this search can lead to.

There is nothing wrong with trying to find your purpose, but for me, today, I find it far more valuable to ask myself ‘what gives life meaning right now?

Sometimes it’s just sitting at my favourite restaurant having lunch on my own in the sun.

Sometimes it’s calling a friend and sharing how we actually are doing.

Sometimes it’s reading (for the 10th time;) another poem my daughter wrote for me.

My bestie and I ended the day on my terrace. It was one of those unforgettable evenings, so warm we could stay outside as long as we wanted. We had a glass of wine and talked about the pain and the joy we had experienced since we last met.

Close to midnight I took out a photo album from a trip to Guatemala we had taken together in 2001. I hadn’t seen those pictures in a long time.

As we looked through them I noticed two things: one part of me was proud that I had embarked on this adventure, but I also felt sad.

I felt sad for the 20-something girl who was so lost and deep down unhappy. In my search for love and fulfilment, I was always looking outside of myself for a new adventure or relationship.

For a long time I felt incredibly lost. I was constantly looking for love and appreciation from the outside, never feeling satisfied.

Reading The Untethered Soul, I realise how much meaning my life has now. There is nothing I need to find, as I have what I need right here in front of me. If I’m just willing to live my life.

And just like the message on the bag in the shop, when I think less and dance more I feel like I’m living my life in every cell of my body.

What helps you to think less? I would love to hear from you. Please share in the comments.

Love,

 

 

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Hello, I’m Katarina Stoltz, a life coach and psychotherapist helping international professionals prioritise their well-being so they can achieve fulfillment without burning out.

Welcome to the 'Time To Thrive' blog, where I share real-life stories and offer valuable and practical tips for how to prevent burnout, expand your self awareness and start living your vision.

I don’t offer ‘quick fix’ solutions, but my tips are straightforward and easy to follow. You’re in the right place if you’re looking for some thought-provoking articles and honest life stories.

I’m happy you’re here!

STOP people pleasing by setting healthy boundaries

STOP people pleasing by setting healthy boundaries

STOP people pleasing by setting healthy boundaries

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Image of woman with hand in stop gesture to demonstrate how to set healthy boundaries with Katarina Stoltz

I started to jot down all the things people said to me in the past when I set my boundaries—when I stood up for myself or for my daughter:

“You’re rude”

“You’re cold”

“You’re not respectful”

“You’re not empathetic”

“Psycho”

The list goes on…

No wonder it’s so damn hard for us to set boundaries! Who wants to be called all those things?

What are you called when you set boundaries?

Or maybe you’re only met with silence.

That’s the passive aggressive version of saying the same.

Setting boundaries is the area I worked on the most in my own personal development journey, and the area that many of my clients need support with.

I love talking and reading about boundaries!

Currently I’m reading Gabor Maté’s book When the Body Says No. He writes about how people with indistinct personal boundaries live with a lot of stress:

The blurring of psychological boundaries during childhood becomes a significant source of future physiological stress in the adult’.

Boundaries are learned in our formative years, and those of us who were raised by adults with poor boundaries have had to learn boundaries later—the hard way.

It usually starts just like that—the body says NO. We get headaches, belly aches and back pain. The body does what the mind can’t express.

Most people don’t like to hear a ‘no, I disagree’, ‘no, I don’t feel like coming, no, I can’t do that right now. So, we keep on people pleasing and swallowing all the ‘nos’.

We all want to be liked, right? So of course we do anything for people to like us.

What is it that’s so uncomfortable about other people setting boundaries?

What I have learned to be true is: We’re triggered by the things we’re not allowing ourselves. When someone else sets boundaries, we’re reminded of how badly we want to stand up for ourselves and others—but can’t!

When that child called me a “psycho”, she might have been upset about something she was not able to do herself, or maybe there was a lack of support in her close surroundings.

When that adult called me “not empathetic” she might have been angry for not being able to stand up for herself in the same way.

How other people treat you is a reflection of THEM. How you react is a reflection of YOU.

Two weeks ago, Gabor Maté was in Berlin to talk about the film that was made about him: The Wisdom of Trauma. During the Q&A afterwards, he advised:

Be as interested in your emotional reaction, as in the people who caused it’.

We can’t change others, but we have the power to change our reactions.

We have the power to unlearn our people pleasing behaviour.

We need to keep on saying NO, and stand up for ourselves. We need to do this for our mental and physical health. We need to do this for our children, family and friends.

Are you with me?

I’d love to hear what you are called when you set boundaries. Let me know in the comments.

Love,

 

 

Share this:

Hello, I’m Katarina Stoltz, a life coach and psychotherapist helping international professionals prioritise their well-being so they can achieve fulfillment without burning out.

Welcome to the 'Time To Thrive' blog, where I share real-life stories and offer valuable and practical tips for how to prevent burnout, expand your self awareness and start living your vision.

I don’t offer ‘quick fix’ solutions, but my tips are straightforward and easy to follow. You’re in the right place if you’re looking for some thought-provoking articles and honest life stories.

I’m happy you’re here!