A Magical Life: Health, Wealth, and Weight Loss

Living/Succeeding with Chronic Illness, Raising a Healthy Family, Self Talk, Habits, and Embracing Your Emotions with Leann Stickel

February 14, 2024 Leann Stickel Season 1 Episode 244
A Magical Life: Health, Wealth, and Weight Loss
Living/Succeeding with Chronic Illness, Raising a Healthy Family, Self Talk, Habits, and Embracing Your Emotions with Leann Stickel
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Show Notes Transcript

Leann Stickel is a certified life coach specializing in chronic illness whose mission is to help her clients get unstuck by finding the joy in everyday life again. She likens difficult times in life to dry, crumby cake - she helps you find the "frosting" in the little things that make life sweeter.

In this episode, we'll talk about stress relief, managing your life with a chronic illness, affirmations, and how her coaching is different from the rest.

You can connect with Leann on her website: https://www.leannstickel.com/
On Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/iamleannstickel/
And in her free Facebook group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/notdefinedbychronicillness

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Connect with Magic:
A Magical Life Podcast on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/amagicallifepodcast/
On Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/wholisticnaturalhealth/
Online: https://wholisticnaturalhealth.com.au
A Subito Media production

Magic Barclay:

Welcome back to a magical life. I'm your host, Magic Barclay. Today, Leanne Stickle joins us. Now, Leanne is not our regular kind of guest. In fact, some people might call her super woman. She is a mom of four teenagers. She has been diagnosed with MS at the age of 29. She's now a life coach and speaker helping women live with chronic illness. Welcome

Leanne Stickel:

Leanne. Oh, wow. Thank you so much. What a nice introduction.

Magic Barclay:

Well, you know, as a single mom with chronic illness myself, I think we have to be super women,

Leanne Stickel:

don't we? Yeah, you know, I always say that I take calls in the order they're received, because there's only one of me, right? And I can only do so much. So, I feel like I'm at everyone's beck and call, including My own health. So that feels like another child, right?

Magic Barclay:

Definitely. It's such a big part of our lives. Now, let's talk about this mom of four teenagers. That's enough to keep anyone

Leanne Stickel:

busy. It is. It is. And I. Can't say that it is the easiest season. there are easy parts, right? People can make a sandwich. a couple of them can drive and that part's exciting. A couple have jobs, they pay their phone bill, right? But a lot of worries and concerns and, and things they're thinking about their future and I'm trying to help them and support them. And so, yeah, it's, it's a big deal. It's a big job for sure.

Magic Barclay:

And living with chronic illness. Having your diagnosis of MS, I'm sure there must be times when you just go, look, do you know what, just getting out of bed and walking in a straight line's a bit challenging. I kind of don't need anything else. Absolutely.

Leanne Stickel:

And, you know, I was diagnosed almost 13 years ago. And so my kiddos have grown up in this world and they understand they are kids that really do have a lot of empathy because of growing up in this space. And so I am fortunate that if I need to rest, I rest, if I need to pause, and if I need to ask for help, I can do that. Often they're the ones that help, but I have grandparents that live nearby. And so I do have support, which I'm thankful for. I know a lot

Magic Barclay:

of my clients kind of get their diagnosis and then feel like they're going to fall into some big black hole, you know, like, how do I move forward with it, a diagnosis or a label? How do I move forward with my prognosis? How can I prioritize? Those calls that are coming in, you said you deal with the first one up. So how do you coach people around, when you need to prioritize things and when you need to say no.

Leanne Stickel:

Right. So I, first I want to talk about the black hole that you talk about, because that is such a real thing. And I, when I was diagnosed, it was such a shock to me that I really went into a period of mourning. And I encourage people to. accept that season and know that it is part of it. And when I talk about mourning, I wake up positive and I wake up optimistic and I feel like I am genetically that way. my late grandfather was the same way, but in that season I would lay in bed and tears would roll down my face at night. And of course I was still. taking care of little kids and trying to live. Um, but I was sad. I was sad that this was my story and it really consumed me for a while. And I always share that part of my story because I feel like it really did test that skill of positivity because. That was a season of heavy lifting. That was hard to keep moving forward. And you're right. I mean, a black hole is the perfect analogy. I felt like I had fallen into that and not even just, of course I was sad for myself. I was sad for my family. I was sad for the financial burden. I was sad that it was chronic and never ending, right? Like all those feelings I'm sure you can relate to. And I, I struggled, I struggled. And that was. A hard season for me. And I always say that a pity party is not fun to host. It's not fun to attend. Um, but I was, I was kind of having a pity party and, you know, when you're diagnosed with something new and hard and complicated, there's a lot of learning. There's a lot of learning and I felt like to be a good advocate for myself. I needed to learn everything I could and ask educated questions and goodness, there was just so much ahead of me. So to get to your question, like, how do you prioritize? How do you say no? I quickly learned that stress and fatigue were. crazy important for me to manage. Okay. So if things were going to impact either one of those, if they were going to make my life more stressed out, if it was going to wear me out, tire me out, then boom, that was top of the list that took priority. It just had to. And so. When I noticed that if my stress was under control, if I felt more rested or had time to pause, my symptoms were quieter. And so I would say definitely within the first year, I learned to really focus on those two things. And it was kind of a test for me when I would face a day or a new invitation or opportunity, right? Okay. Is this going to wear me out? Is this going to stress me out? Is this the right choice for me? So that, that always helped me. And I encourage my clients to start there looking at their stress and fatigue and managing those pieces.

Magic Barclay:

And that leads us into our first question, Leanne, what can your expertise do to accelerate health? Not just the physical, but also the emotional and spiritual health that we know. In that black hole of chronic illness, we often feel may have

Leanne Stickel:

left us. Yeah. Well, thank you for this question. So I number one can say I get it. I know where you're coming from. And to me that, that light bulb moment of when I realized that that mattered and that I needed to show up for people because there had been others that had shown up for me. And those people that supported me that were also living with MS became invaluable. To me, because they did get it and I could share my struggles with them and they would validate them. So that's where I start with my clients is I get it. That's normal. I have clients regularly that will say to me, okay, Leanne, this is going to sound crazy. And then they'll tell me something that they're dealing with. And I tell them that doesn't sound crazy. I understand. So the first step is to. Know that you're not alone and that there is someone in your corner. And then the next step is to start understanding what we can control and what we can't control. So I soon realized that when we have a chronic illness, there's so much outside of our control. So many things that we don't have any power to change. And so When I'm working with a client, what I encourage them to do and what we start working on is learning what we can put on a shelf. Things that are out of our control. Maybe we've done as much research as we can. We're at a good place. It's still there on the shelf. We can pull it off if we need to, but we can also set it there and we can make peace with that. And then we can focus on parts of our life that we can control a little bit. And we do have a say in, and that is. So exciting because That's a space that we can make progress in.

Magic Barclay:

So Leanne, we talk about wealth here as well, and you know, people think of that as just the financial wealth, but it can also be personal and emotional wealth. And I know from my own journey, that personal and emotional wealth was what. Got me through in chronic illness. So what are your top three tips to creating any kind of

Leanne Stickel:

wealth? Okay. So I always love to talk about the foundational habits that I feel like really do help with your emotional health and my three, the foundation, the three habits that I believe make up the foundation are movement, water, and gratitude. And. Those three things to me is where we really need to start and movement is just that it's just movement. It's not, it doesn't have to be crazy hard, crazy long. It doesn't have to break a sweat. It's just where we are at, what we can do. And it's honoring what's possible for us today and making the most of today. Right. And the second thing is. water, making sure that we are checking the boxes and we're drinking our water. It sounds so basic and it is basic, but if it's not something that we have figured out, then it's going to bug us. You know, we're going to be annoyed at ourselves. We're going to put it on our to do list. It's going to nag at us, which. Doesn't help our emotional health. And then the third thing is gratitude. It has to be a practice. It has to be part of our life. It has to be a certain time of every day, a journal writing, say it in a mirror, say it on our way to work, whatever that looks like, but just so that every day. Every day we pause and notice things in our life that we're thankful for. And I think that's the beginning. I really do. I feel like that's the foundation and that is such a good place for people to start. And I mean, the emotional piece that comes as a result of getting those check marks is just amazing. I

Magic Barclay:

love that. So when things seem dark, how can you kind of look ahead and go? Right. Today's a bad day, but tomorrow can be so much better. Like, how do you take that moment to go, or I need to maybe stay in bed a bit longer today, or I need to, you know, pace myself or just be kind and gentle with myself because tomorrow's a new day.

Leanne Stickel:

Yeah, I love this. And I feel like I really had such great mentors that were also living with chronic illness that made rest okay. And I consistently use the hashtag rest is best. Because there's just no way to overestimate the value of rest. So I'm constantly encouraging people to pause, to honor the struggle, to understand what their body is trying to do and that it's trying to be healthy. It wants to be, even though we have an autoimmune condition that. means our immune system is confused. Like we have to do everything in our power to help it. Right. And rest is one of those things that we can do. So that's, that's the first thing. And the first mindset that I want people to get over is to understand that resting really is self care. Self care isn't always just doing your nails or going to lunch with a friend. It is. Taking a nap. It's staying in bed. It's pausing doing something that is very low energy. That is self care. The other thing that I want to say is that I encourage all of my clients. And this is something that I teach that when we have a day that we feel like we can't move and we can't fit in any fitness, nothing extra that we We, number one, don't beat ourselves up and we notice our self talk and what we're saying to ourselves. And what I teach is that we say, well, that's not like me. That's not like me because I'm a person that values fitness. I'm a person that values movement. And so even in the day that we're not able, we're still affirming a truth that we know serves us about ourselves.

Magic Barclay:

That is excellent. Thank you for that one. And our final standard question is around weight. So many people are on a weight loss journey. Sometimes when we get chronic illness, our weight can balloon or it can severely drop. Have you battled your weight? If so, how did you win the battle? And what can you offer the listeners who Maybe their weight is out of their control because of what their body's going through.

Leanne Stickel:

Yeah. So, so the first part of your question, is that I have not had a huge weight battle until the last couple of years. And I developed Graves disease, which was a side effect of the MS treatment that I chose. And we knew that a thyroid issue was a. possible risk, but, we're of course hoping that I would avoid that hiccup and I did not. And so we know that the thyroid is a small organ that can give us big problems. And so I honestly am in the middle of dealing with that, but I feel like my mindset is what is helping me win the battle of. My weight or the perception I have of myself, the number is less important than Oh, the fact that I drink all my water and the fact that I have a colorful diet and the fact that I try and move as much as I can, that it's, I know this is not the answer that people want to hear, or it's not, but I just, I just keep. Doing the best I can, and I'm content with that, and I know that this is a season, and there may be a season where I am doing a little better, and maybe my thyroid medicine is working a little better, and I'll be able to do a little more. So. I have a really healthy mental view on seasons that we go through and that our body goes through. And I'm just so proud of what my body is able to do considering what it's been through. So I really spend the majority of my time when I have a client that is wanting to change their weight. Um, I, we focus on mindset. And being healthy in that space, as well as just minor changes in their lifestyle that really have a big impact. but I also encourage people to see a nutritionist, right? And to also find people in those spaces that they feel like they need the most help, that have more expertise than myself.

Magic Barclay:

So there are standard questions, Leanne. Now, I want to delve into your coaching. What do you do? How do you help people and what distinctions are made around coaching people with chronic illness?

Leanne Stickel:

So let me start with that last question first, because I love it. And the distinction is that. Number one, I understand. I understand what you're facing, how you feel. I felt the same way. And we are going to go at your pace. And the expectation is that there is no expectation. We know that life has thrown us curve balls, things that we didn't plan for, things that we wish were not part of our story. Right? Like that's, that's part of it. And that, that's what makes this different is that I come into it with so much grace for my clients and encouraging them to have grace with themselves, But coaching starts with taking a step back and many people maybe have that response, but I find it to be so powerful to help my clients step back from their life and look at. The big picture, and I want to say right now, and I may say it again and again, every single person that I have worked with so far is doing better than they think they are when they come to me. So let me say that again. When they come to me, they think that they are doing worse than they actually are. And when we take a step back, we assess the big picture, their whole life, all the parts, we start realizing, wow, You're amazing. You're showing up over here in such a big way. That makes sense to me why this space on this other side of the picture frame is hard. Maybe it's getting neglected and maybe you don't want that to be, but how, so we can change that. Right. And so it to me is just heartwarming to help these people realize what they're doing well. And so we start there and then we identify. What is the biggest thing that we could change that would have the biggest impact and what is that one thing? Because we've got to narrow it down to one project, one thing that we are going to make a change that is going to impact. And what happens is I find that it impacts that specific area. Let's say emotional health or relationships. Say we know that we need to work in that space. Then what happens is that when I took that relationship from a three to a five on a scale of one to 10, now all of a sudden my emotional health went from a four to a six because that's so connected. Right. And so now I've got healthy relationship. I'm connecting with friends better. Wow. Now my emotionally, I feel a lot better. So the domino effect of progress and improvement is just so beautiful.

Magic Barclay:

So when someone comes to you and says, okay, You know, my life was going along great and now this has happened, be it MS or any autoimmune or really any kind of really big change in life. What are the steps that you take to get people into some sort of routine or normality, despite what's going on?

Leanne Stickel:

Yeah. Okay. That, that is, I love this question. So the first thing is to prioritize What matters the most if going to volleyball games at night for your daughter is the most important than not cleaning at one o'clock p. m. When you could be napping, that's the decision. That's the trade off, right? And so the first step is to prioritize what, is important now that you're dealing with a chronic illness and you know that a chronic illness can be a part time, a full time job. You know, it just depends on how it's treating us. If we're in a relapse, what it looks like. Right. And we know there are as many stories as there are patients. They're just unique situations and symptoms. And while we do have. things in common and we can understand what the other one is going through, honestly, so many, such a wide variety of symptoms. And even specifically in MS patients, because a lot of people that I've worked with do have MS and it's incredible. How some are dealing with immobility and some are training for a half marathon. So I say that to just point out that they are all living with a chronic illness and dealing with something that they don't love. But the place that we have to start is understanding what's most important to them, because I want. I want them to realize that they can control some parts of their day and of their week and like still get the joy, right. And enjoy the things that they love and not feel like their chronic illness has taken over all the good stuff.

Magic Barclay:

Thanks for sharing that with us now. Is there something we haven't covered that you feel the listeners need to hear?

Leanne Stickel:

So I really, really, really, really love to talk about being positive. We hear about it and we maybe kind of think, Oh, so annoying. And there's people that being positive, it seems easier for them. And I think I'm one of those lucky people, but I like to share with people that I feel like it's a gift, like the gift of music. Is for some people that maybe we even know, and they can sit down at the piano and they just play so beautifully and we think, Oh my goodness, I could never do that. And that's probably true. I know I could never be a gifted musician, but I took 13 years of piano lessons, and I enjoyed them, and I enjoy playing the piano, and I will never be amazing. I just won't, and that's okay. The same is true about being positive. It is a gift that I have, and I've realized in the last few years, in 2017, I had a relapse and I had to go on a aggressive treatment. And in that experience, I had these. Light bulb moments about being positive and I realized that it really is a skill and I, I really narrowed down some tools to help people to be more positive and will they ever be gifted or have it come super easy to them like the musician that sits down at the piano? Maybe not, but it's still worth it. It's worth it to learn and to practice and to get better at because it makes a difference. It makes a difference in how we view ourselves, our family, our life, our days, our chronic illness. And I mean, goodness, there's even research that has shown that if we believe a drug works, there's a better chance that it's going to work, which is crazy, right? But I would hate to miss out. And so that's what I really want to share today is hope, hope for everybody listening that if you feel like. You were born pessimistic or that you have a rain cloud over your head. There's hope for people to learn, to learn some tools and they can be a little more positive and it will totally serve them the same way. I feel like it really has helped me in the last 13 years.

Magic Barclay:

You also have a Facebook community. Can you tell us about that?

Leanne Stickel:

Yes, yes, yes. I love my Facebook community. It's called not defined by chronic illness, and it's just like what it sounds like. We don't have to be defined by our chronic illness. It is a part of my story, but it's not the whole story. And I created this community because I wanted a space to talk about progress. And being positive and share experiences, but spend less time in a negative space. I know that there is a need to share our struggles and I'm thankful for groups that where they do that and they make space for that. But in my Facebook community, we talk about perspective and frosting and that you'll learn my frosting theory. We didn't touch on, but. Basically, it is what it sounds like life can be like dry crummy cake, but when we pause and notice all the things that make our day sweeter, it's like adding frosting to that cake and we know that that frosting really can make the difference in a cake that didn't turn out great. So I feel like being thankful for those things that make our day sweeter. Has such an impact on our perception of our life and that that's worth it. So we spent time in that Facebook community talking about that too.

Magic Barclay:

Thank you. Now, before I let you go, Leanne, we love freebies here. What can you offer the listeners and where can

Leanne Stickel:

they find it? Yeah. So on my website, leannestickle. com, there's a couple of freebies. One is my five favorite morning affirmations. I believe so strongly in the power of affirmations. I always chuckle at the people that don't believe in affirmations because they're believing. an affirmation. They're saying something about themselves. We all say things and it may be positive or negative. and so I feel like we should be in charge of that. So there's that free printable. There's also a habit tracker. I encourage people to try and maybe add one good habit and write down a couple that they already have figured out. And to give themselves check marks is. Very encouraging and it's printable and it's one week at a time because I really want them to throw it out because it doesn't matter what happened last week. And every week is a new week and we can focus on success in little chunks. So those are a couple that I can think of off the top of my head.

Magic Barclay:

Thank you very much, Leanne. It's been an absolute pleasure chatting with you today. So thank you for your time.

Leanne Stickel:

Oh, this was lovely. I enjoyed myself so much.

Magic Barclay:

And listeners, thank you so much for your time. Please remember if you're dealing with chronic illness, it does not define you. It is a label. It is a diagnosis. It is not who you are. listeners, for now, go forth and create your magical life.