Fit Body & Fit Mind

I have good news and a reality check. Let me tell you a story, and you can see if you can find the good news! If you are lucky, your body was naturally fit in your younger years. For example, you could eat whatever you wanted without gaining any weight, for example, and you were naturally fit, even if you did not work out a lot.

If you are anything like me, now that you are older, you are putting on weight much more easily, and to stay physically in shape takes time and dedication. Again, if you are lucky, you love healthy food, which can give you an advantage with regards to healthy eating habits. Me, I love crunchy vegetables and any kind of fruit. So now that we are older, we come to realize how important healthy nutrition and exercise are in maintaining a healthy body.

The same principles – although less visible – apply to our mental health and fitness. The mental challenges of more mature humans are versatile, but there might be a midlife crisis, overwhelm with the responsibilities of life, and possibly some first signs of an aging body. To put up with those challenges and maintain a healthy disposition, one needs to exercise the mind just like the body.

It is quite possible to remain mentally fit, just like it is to remain physically fit. Consistency is the key. If you want to know more about that, please contact me or read up on my mental fitness program.

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Note from my canine sidekick: “I help a lot with Manuela’s mental and my physical fitness! I make her run a lot, and she says I always bring a smile to her face. Can you guess why?”

Photo: Danica’s cool ear fluff, 13.1.2023

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Manuela Zeitlhofer | Mental Fitness & Nature Coach

Canine Assisted Coaching Anyone?

Today I would like you to meet our dog Danica. Danica is an English Shepherd, and she is 6 months old. She has been with us since September, and she is in training to become a Service Dog, assisting me in my coaching. What Danica (along with so many of her fellow canines) brings into the world is her playful, gentle nature, and her ability to live in the moment, while never wasting time with grudges.

Danica loves to play with her Frisbee and with sticks of all kinds.

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Danica’s question for you: When was the last time you petted a dog?

Danica and her Frisbee (12.1.2023)

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Manuela Zeitlhofer | Mental Fitness & Nature Coach

Playing to our strengths

Playing to your strength means doing what you are able to do well, rather than doing other things.

An example: A friend’s son was assessed for ADHD. In the process, it was found that he is simply a kid who needs more physical exercise than he was getting in school and at home. It was not easy, but the school and the parents found ways for him to get more play time outside and more time when he is unplugged from any technical devices.

This story led me to think about people in general:

Are we living our lives playing to our strengths or are we just playing along with the structures we find ourselves in?
How can we create the lives that make it possible for us to use our strengths and flourish?

This is of course only part of the picture. As professionals, we have to be realistic: It is not always possible to use our strengths (or is it?), to embrace our weaknesses (have you heard the term “own your weaknesses”?), and to know your growth areas. As a person working with other people, you can also play to their strengths (how exciting!), and of course, we are well advised to stretch to form new strengths, and develop an authentic, informed, and confident awareness around the whole topic. In summary: To be who we are!

In my Nature Connected Living Quest you will discover and work in a very comprehensive way with your strengths.

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Manuela Zeitlhofer | Mental Fitness & Nature Coach

(Photo by Dustin Humes, Unsplash 2022)

Article inspired by: https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbescoachescouncil/2020/01/10/play-to-your-strengths-13-even-better-ways-to-improve-your-leadership-skills/?sh=6ca7d03b6f79

Unique Animals

We have been enjoying the very unique personalities of several domestic ducks. It all began with a few barnyard-mix ducklings in 2021. In 2022, two Magpie-Cayuga ducklings followed. A number of them were males, so we found them loving new homes where they have been enjoying their own flocks of duck-ladies.

At the end of this summer, we had one female (Sunny) and one male (Magnum) left. For the second time in her life, Sunny was in the process of laying eggs, and for the second time in my life, I was collecting those eggs. Sunny did not want to accept the fate I had chosen for her – that is, not to have ducklings in late fall. I kept reminding her that it is much more sensible to raise her young when summer was approaching, and not when winter is around the corner. She paid no heed. Instead, she faithfully stuck to her nest which was well padded with her own down feathers, and the straw I had provided. She also rounded up a number of rocks that were roughly the size of her eggs, and she sat on them. One day, I was gone for a few hours, and the ducks were in their fenced in area as usual. When I came back, Sunny was nowhere to be found. My heart sank, when I remembered to check inside the duck coop. Sure enough, she was there, sitting on her nest. That was when I decided to give one egg back to her so she could follow her calling. It was September 21.

Sunny then was sitting on her nest for more than 23 hours in every 24-hour period. Magnum was sitting next to her nest for the same times. I left food and water in their duck coop. Once a day, I saw them going outside to frolic in their splash-pool for a bit and forage for insects in the grass.

Last Saturday, October 15, when I tucked them in for the night, I had a chance to inspect the egg, and I saw a tiny hole. Quickly, I put the egg back in the nest and spent a fearful night. Would the duckling be able to hatch? The next morning, when I walked into the duck-coop, I was greeted by a still wet duckling. By the time I had my camera ready, Sunny had covered up her little hatchling, and she was hissing at me preventively. My offering of cooked peas was graciously accepted.

On day two, the duckling – we named it Rocksie – was sitting next to Sunny, and we were allowed to hold it briefly, before giving it back to its mother, where it disappeared under the warm feathers.

I keep thinking what a miracle it is that we have been witnessing.

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Question: Where have you last experienced the magic of nature?

Sunny, Rocksie and Magnum (October 17, 2022)

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Manuela Zeitlhofer | Mental Fitness and Nature Coach

Judgement is Disconnecting

Judging others, circumstances, or oneself is stripping an event of its embeddedness into the system it occurred in.

– Manuela Zeitlhofer (2022)

(photo by Eskay Lim, Unsplash, 2022)

Have you ever noticed yourself judging others, circumstances and yourself (!) with a very sharp and self-righteous mind? And has it ever happened, that – in comparable situations – you found yourself full of compassion, or curiosity over the mistakes and wrongdoings of others and yourself?

If you can relate to both, you might sense that…

…judgement comes from within, because ever external circumstance can lead you to either be judgemental or compassionate. (Some contributing factors might be the self-care you treat yourself with, and how full your reservoir of self-love is.)

…there are factors inside of you that sabotage you, your goals, your goodness (called “Saboteurs” or “Inner Critics”), as well as factors that bring out the best in you (called “Sage”).

…every problem, every circumstance, everything you might get agitated or upset about can lead to an opportunity, a gift even.

This topic lends itself so beautifully to coaching! If you are curious, please comment, or send me a note.

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Manuela Zeitlhofer | Authenticity & Mental Fitness Coach

The Magic of Persistence

Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan ‘Press On!’ has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race.

― Calvin Coolidge

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Many times our inner critics keep us from achieving our fullest potential. Imagine what you could do if you were not concerned about failure, but if you saw every failure as a teachable moment that can only advance you toward your goals?

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Manuela Zeitlhofer | Authenticity & Mental Fitness Coach