A Downtown Chicago Fitness & Lifestyle Session with Samantha Iyoha | Jennifer Pierce Photography

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I'M JENNIFER! A COUPLES & FAMILY PHOTOGRAPHER IN ORLANDO, FLORIDA WITH A LOVE FOR ALL THINGS DISNEY!

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A Downtown Chicago Fitness & Lifestyle Session with Samantha Iyoha

What do joy, fitness, this amazing woman Samantha Iyoha, and pizza have in common? Well, it may seem silly, but in the short two days we were in Chicago, all of them inspired me to make a big change, but first, let me share how amazing Sam’s session was!

I have had the privilege of knowing Sam for about a year and a half now, and she has been an absolute light and inspiration in my life. When I met her, she was pursuing her online coaching career while also putting in a crazy busy work week in corporate America. This girl was waking up incredibly early and putting in insane hours to make sure she could pursue this dream of going full time, and just recently, she did! I am so excited for her and her awesome journey! She has already made so many lives better and fills people up with so much encouragement and joy, I can’t wait to see how she keeps inspiring others.

Here are some of my favorites from our time in Chicago! Sam should seriously be a model for all fitness companies out there! She makes working out look like a perfect excuse for a cute outfit 🙂

 

 

 

So back to the joy, fitness, and pizza. What do these have to do with this session? Well, to put it simply, I reconnected with all of these after spending time with Sam while in Chicago. See, after a year that was absolutely crazy beyond belief, putting myself last, and saying yes to way to many commitments and not saying yes to enough things that take care of myself, I found myself being completely exhausted. I didn’t realize just how big of a toll it was taking on me until recently. I thought I could do it all and just keep pushing myself, but I finally my body couldn’t take it anymore.

Right before this trip to Chicago, I had just come off of some of the absolute worst back pain that I’ve ever experienced. It made no sense to me because I didn’t hurt myself, fall, pick up something in a really foolish way, or anything that I could pinpoint. I didn’t know what was happening and it kept coming and going for about two months, but in early May, it had me completely down for the count. I finally realized that big changes needed to be made to feel better and stop being over committed.

Finding Joy

So what does all of this have to do with this session? Well, seeing Sam again reminded me of what was missing in my life. Joy. While I thought that all of the many things I was filling my schedule with would bring me happiness because I was helping others, and while I absolutely love serving others, I wasn’t serving myself, at all, and as a result, I wasn’t able to be my best self for anyone. This is something I used to have a really good handle on but somewhere in the midst of the past two years, I let myself believe the lie that taking time for myself was somehow selfish. Spending an afternoon with Sam reminded me just how important it is to take care of yourself so you can take care of those around you. She has a joy about her that is contagious and it almost smacked me in the face that this is what I was missing in my life and what I desperately wanted to get back!

Alright, so how does pizza work into this now? Well, beside the obvious that we were in Chicago so we had to have pizza, I also realized that because I wasn’t making the best eating choices lately, something like pizza didn’t seem as exciting to me as it used to because I had allowed myself too many unhealthy choices throughout the months. It is amazing how much better a “cheat” tastes when you actually have been eating well and not eating a lot of junk in the first place! Basically, if I’m going to eat pizza, especially in Chicago, I better be actually enjoying it, not feeling guilty about it!

So if you need a little encouragement finding joy again, ask yourself if you are doing anything to take care of yourself. If you are struggling to answer that, then perhaps it is time to say no to something that is draining you, so you can say yes to something that fills you up. Maybe it’s a morning walk, or a yoga class, or 20 minutes to have a cup of coffee and read. Whatever it looks like for you, go ahead and give yourself permission to do it so you can be your best self for you and those around you.

 

  1. Jackie Daniels says:

    Sam I am so proud of you pursuing your dream. You are a true inspiration!

  2. Tauri says:

    Beautiful work as always, Jennifer!!

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I'm a couples & family photographer based in Orlando, Florida with a love for all things Disney!

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