The Word “DOWN”

I searched my old posts for the word “DOWN” today and found a fair amount for the past few years. Why? Because (although not currently formally diagnosed) I suffer from depression from time to time. It’s something I sought treatment for once in my life. Treatment that was offered didn’t work for me. It was a combination of medications and therapy. I found neither to be helpful. I’ve found exercise to be helpful and journaling to be helpful, but both are sometimes just patches on a gaping whole in my heart. Today the patch isn’t holding. Today I am down.

I decided to get on here and write instead of continuing to lay in bed and feel depressed. I can feel depressed and hopeless while not laying in bed. I also feel sad, scared, and angry. The anger is usually what motivates me to start moving. And then when I think about being angry and how it hurts to feel angry, I get sad again. And then I start crying and trying to figure out what would help. Time. That’s about it. I just need time to move from this state of being to the next state of being.

I read an interesting article on NBCNews.com the other day:

How Being Angry Can (Sometimes) Be Good for You

but I’m not interested in being angry right now. I want to feel good and good seems a million miles away, but getting out of bed is one of the first steps in the right direction. Writing here is my second step. This tells me a little more about how to be me:

I take little steps.

This was really evident in the way that I approached running awhile back. I wanted to get more consistent and faster, so I started running the shortest course I had and added on a little at a time. I need to remember that it’s not big steps that motivate me, it’s little ones.  And

I’m a marathoner.

When I work on a project, like myself or work, I take a long time to do it. Everything in life takes me time. And sometimes that means I have to step away from the work in order to better assess if I’m headed in the right direction. Today I needed to get in bed and just be for a minute….I needed to get away from life for a minute to reassess…and then start back up again. Even this far into writing and I’m already feeling a little more “normal”. Finally,

Sometimes I just can’t decide who I am.

When thinking about the promotion vs. prevention focused personalities I’d say I’m pretty much a split down the middle. Promotion focused individuals are looking for achievement; something I’m always seeking….to feel like I’ve finished something and done it successfully. Prevention focused people are seeking to avoid consequences like loss and punishment; this is also me. I am a health and fitness professional partly because I want to avoid the health problems that have been prevalent in my family members. I budget because I’m afraid of being in debt. I had a speeding ticket and am now terrified of getting another. Yet, I’m always looking for gains. Sometimes….I’m just not one or the other.

More of what I’ve learned about myself today is that it’s okay to be me, even when me is not who I want to be.

Please share a few of your thoughts and join me tomorrow as I finish exploring this portion of Rubin’s book.

Breaking Down

I’m getting ready to leave on a trip this weekend, but before my Happiness Project post FINALLY goes up tomorrow, I wanted to write a short post about why I haven’t been writing posts. A couple of weeks ago I wrote about my car accident. That was the start of my break down…..

Since May 2nd I’ve had a hard time running on my own, exercising other than running on my own, meditating, working, and in general….living. Last weekend I was supposed to attend the Roots of Love Yoga Festival and got in my car to drive up there only to have to turn back around. While stopped at a stop light a large truck came to a screeching stop behind me and almost rear-ended me. When I rear-ended the other car the girl in the passenger seat had said that she had rear-ended someone 5 days earlier. Since that time I have been waiting for my “pay back”.

I came home and cried.

I am set to go out this weekend for work and my family is coming with me to help me make the drive. Driving for me is still a challenge, but I never expected the accident to effect my life in so many ways. I find myself less focused right now and more tentative. I broke down during a run with my friend the other day…..actually twice now. I am usually the one pushing her and I found myself being the one falling back and needing breaks.

I don’t know if it’s emotional or physical, but I do know that I am 11 days past when I was supposed to update my Happiness Project and I am not feeling stronger in any way due to these lapses. I do know that this is nothing new for me and will be something that I address in the course of this project. I’m just ready to feel normal again and I have some strategies in place for that.nOne thing in particular (and I have a full post coming on that) is to play into my tendency of being an Obliger.

For now……it’s just one day at a time, one foot in front of the other, and breathe!

Coming Down

It’s been awhile since I’ve written on the blog….a little over a week. On Monday I had every intention of posting about how wonderful it was to have taken my last dose of Prednisone, but the truth is that this week has been a little of ups and downs. In my health journal I have seen my first smile on Tuesday when I went for a run with a friend and didn’t have to take the meds, but also my first frown because Wednesday I was so fatigued and couldn’t get off the couch to go exercise.

I am pretty okay with the neutral face days because that means that I’m still getting life done. I had another smile on Thursday while getting to experience Goddess Yoga as taught by a former student of mine. Things are looking up, but coming down from the Prednisone has meant that I’m more tired, my mind has slowed down, and I’m adjusting to the old eating patterns again.

And today? Today gets another smile! Today I am in Rochester, New York at one of my favorite workshop sites (Rochester Athletic Club for Women) teaching the NETA Pilates Specialty Certification. I love this place because the women are amazing, the facility is super clean, and the host, Nikki, is fabulous! I would work for her if I lived in this area.

I’m also getting the opportunity to eat at one of my favorite restaurants….Root 31. Today I had their Mediterranean Flatbread for lunch and it was so good that I ate it before I could snag a photo for you. For dinner I had to indulge in my go to Beets and Sweets salad. At first I thought it was a little smaller than last year, but it still hit the spot after my 4 mile walk on the treadmill. I wanted to run, but seriously….the treadmill is so close to the ceiling at this hotel that I was afraid of going through the roof!

Now I’m just prepping for another great day of Pilates training, one last meal at Root 31, my trip home, and a better week ahead. Check in with me on Monday for a full recap of my weekend away plus the start of a new Meditation series (think How to Meditate); Wednesday we’ll be breathing together in a different way; and Saturday I’m back doing another race for RTE.

How is your health holding up?

What is on your agenda for the week ahead?

What was the best part of your weekend?

TOLT #25 – I got knocked down…..

My last post was over a month ago. In the last six weeks I have suffered two bouts of sickness and a little bit of a breakdown. I somewhat anticipated this as I knew that I was over scheduled and that I wasn’t dealing with it well. So, on this Think Out Loud Thursday, I’m jumping feet first back into the game and GETTING BACK UP AGAIN! So, instead of lingering in the past, here’s my look ahead to the rest of 2015!

TOP THINGS TO LOOK FORWARD TO IN 2015

1.Halloween!

Our most recent bonfire from chili cookout night. My sister’s boyfriend and my brother in law were trying to burn down our new patio shelter with this one.

My kiddos are psyched for Halloween this year and probably mostly for the candy, but I don’t care. They both came up with their own ideas for costumes: Ike will be a bat…not Batman…he doesn’t like superheros. Eli wants to be a pirate like Mickey Mouse is dressed as on a window decal in his room. On top of the adorable little monsters I will have at my house, we are also going to be camping out in our backyard with our friends, having a bonfire, and doing S’mores. What could make for a better Halloween than that? Well, I get to work a race that morning with my new friend Gina for RTE. If you’re near Havelock, come and join us for the run!

 

 

2.Battleship 5K

The inMotion walking group at New Balance is coming to an end soon. It will be nice to have those nights back to my family, but I will miss the ladies that I’ve been training. Our big event that we’ve been working toward is the Battleship 5K and I’m looking forward to seeing how well they do that early Sunday morning. Come out and walk with us!

3.Mother/Child Day

Ike’s preschool does a special day for the moms and the kids one Thursday afternoon. It’s coming up soon and I cannot wait! School has always been a favorite of mine….so much so that I still hope someday to go back and get my PhD. But that’s not the point. The point is that he enjoys school so much and this will be a day that he and I can celebrate that together!

4.NETA Travel

I haven’t been out to a workshop in awhile and I’m starting to miss it. I have a workshop each of the next two months lined up and one with travel actually booked. Plus, I get to teach something that I’ve never taught before! I will miss the boys and my hubby while I’m away (I always do), but I always miss presenting when I’m not doing it. I have taken a backseat on writing for the time being, so getting out and working for NETA again is something I’m really looking forward to!

5.Fall Races

I have at least one more race I’m working for RTE this fall. Working the races has kept me motivated to keep running myself. I’ve been off for awhile now due to illness, but the thought that others are out there pushing through as the temps drop and the rain falls makes me want to do it even more. I still have to tell you all about my new running shoes and how amazing they are! They even kept me from hurting through an entire day of walking at the NC Zoo!

6.Thanksgiving

I’m going home for Thanksgiving again this year! Be sure to check in with me that week as

Can’t wait to see this sign!

I’m traveling with the boys….solo! It will be our first cross country trek alone and we’re driving the whole way. I miss my mom, my brothers, my nephews, my aunts and uncles, and especially my two grandmothers. It’s a blessing that I still have them and that the boys have two great grandmothers still in their lives. I wish we could spend more time with them, but living far away we really treasure the time we do get with them!

7.Christmas

This year we have Ike’s first Christmas Concert! If that’s not enough to look forward to, we’ve also get to host Christmas at our house for a second year in a row. I can’t wait to see what our tree looks like and the meal we come up with and the way the boys look when they awake to see what Santa has brought them! Most of all I am looking forward to having family over and close to celebrate this special time of year. Christmas means a lot of different things to a lot of different people. For me, it’s more so a reflection than Thanksgiving because it’s the end of the year. It’s a time to look back and be joyous for all you’ve made it through and all you have to love and look forward to in the future.

My blog has changed a lot over the last two years and will continue to do so, I’m sure, as I continue to write. This year I am trying to see myself as stronger and I think that the fact that I chose to write a list of things I’m looking forward to means that I have a mindset that is more strongly rooted in the positive. My yoga has been an integral part of my development this year. I hope to write more to you in the near future about what my students have taught me this semester and the amazing way that yoga has impacted each of their lives…..there may even be a few guest bloggers.

Please keep reading as I hope to continue to share with you this yoga life.

What are you looking forward to in 2015?

TOLT #20 – Let Down by the Ice Cream Truck

My oldest son has been working on a reading program that I mentioned here and has been doing really well. We (read my husband) promised him that he could get an ice cream from the ice cream truck when he’d finished 10 lessons, which was a totally unnecessary reward for two reasons. First, there are 100 lessons, so 10 is nothing in the long scheme of things. Second, he loves the reading program, so I feel like that should have been reward enough. Then again, I’m totally intrinsically motivated and love that happy feeling of accomplishment and want my children and everyone else to feel that too.

Either way, the 10th lesson was completed yesterday and what do you think happened? The ice cream truck didn’t show! So, instead of having a very cute little photo op of my son’s first encounter with the ice cream truck for you today, I decided to dump some random photos I’ve been meaning to write about. Enjoy! And Thank You to Amanda for hosting another edition of

1.

Is anyone else psyched that Jellies are back?! Found these babies at Rack Room Shoes in Myrtle Beach.

2.

 

A beautiful trail hike followed by a beautiful moment with my hubby. Our trip to Lake Norman State Park just outside of Statesville.

3.

Also on that trip I found the most beautiful set of what I use as kitchen cloths at TJ Maxx. Perfect for looking wonderful while cleaning off your children’s sticky fingers after a meal. They’re also the colors that I hope to put into the title back splash when we get around to redoing the kitchen.

4.

A bowl full of brown rice Krispies and flax seeds…topped off with Almond Breeze. Yum! Thanks Sarrah for the amazing amount of flax you have provided me for the next two years. Hopefully I will eat it all!

5.

And Hardee’s….I do not frequent your establishments, but could you please teach your employees to spell? El Diabld is not a type of Thickburger that anyone wants to eat.
Have you been let down by the Ice Cream Man before?
What random photos do you have lurking on your cell phone?
Would you please fund my kitchen renovation?

Tone It Up Tuesday #2 – Stand Up, Sit Down, Fight, Fight, Fight!

It’s football season and my alma mater isn’t doing so well (2-5), but that doesn’t mean that I can’t get in the football season spirit….right? Well, it might be fall where you live, but it was 80F again here today. I miss the years where October meant jeans and sweaters, hot cocoa in the morning, and football games where a giant turkey leg and a funnel cake were mandatory to keep you from freezing to death and losing 20lbs from shivering.

But, alas, those days are gone for now and instead we are at Tone It Up Tuesday! If you’re not much of a planking person, then last week’s move might not have been for you. But, if you like football, or Catholic church, this week’s move might be right up your alley! I went basic again this week with another body weight exercise. I like to work with body weight exercises not because I’m a fan of Jane Fonda (actually a little too young to have been in her fan club), but because I don’t believe in weighting an exercise that you can’t perform correctly without weight. So this week we will be looking at the SQUAT! 

Please don’t let the squat scare you off! I know my posts can be kind of lengthy, but I’m going to give you a few quick reasons why the squat is a good….nare I say GRRRREAT exercise to add to your repertoire. Okay Tony the Tiger….you may ask….why is the squat so wonderful? Well, have you ever sat down? Have you ever had to get back up from sitting down? Then you squatted! It’s a functional exercise and as we age it becomes more and more important to do functional training. The squat can be done in so many different ways and is amazing at practicing that motion that we already do about a billion times a day. Squats require NO EQUIPMENT, so you can do them ANYWHERE and EVERYWHERE!

Let’s start with some squat basics….

Hip Width Apart
Find that bony point on the front of your hips….dig down…I know it’s there. That is your ASIS or anterior superior illiac spine. Nice right? Yeah, that’s your HIP BONE and measures how wide your hips actually are. You know that friend of yours (not naming any names) who always stands with such a wide stance? Unless he/she is pregnant with triplets, their hips are not that wide and you need to tell them to reel it in some. Okay, so now we found our hip bones…place your heels directly underneath them. I don’t care what kind of luggage you may have outside of those bones, but this is hip width apart for YOU….enjoy it for a moment…..you’re entering anatomical position and your body was meant to be here.

 Booty Down, Head Up
When you actually get to the squatting motion (talking about that in a moment), you want to make sure that your rear end goes down and back and your head and chest stay up…..kind of like they would when you actually try to sit into a chair (or get out of one). That’s why this exercise is great to be practiced with a chair that is pushed up against a wall or is heavy enough (and doesn’t have wheels) not to be moved by your body weight falling into it.

Knee Troubles
As you start to lower down we need to keep some focus on the knees. Remember that they are now hip width apart…and should stay that way. We don’t want to bow our knees out like we’re mounting a horse, nor do we want them pressed together like you’re doing the potty dance. The knees also need to stay over the heels and behind the toes. If you have knee problems and still attempt a squat (not recommended), you will exacerbate this condition by allowing that knee to go forward of the toe. If you don’t yet have a knee problem and your knees travel in front of your toes…expect one to develop. Keeping your body weight resting firmly in your heels will help keep the knees from traveling. You could also place a small sand filled medicine ball or Pilates ball between the knees to keep them from moving all around like one of those toys that you push the base and the animal falls over.

I couldn’t find a pic where they had fallen over….but these guys look ready to squat with us!

Now that we’ve got basic alignment covered, let’s just talk squat. You can practice the squat in four different ways:

Isometrically – This is a fancy way of saying do a wall sit and hold the squat position. It’s a great place to start because you can do a few little wall sits and get the same effect on newly broken in muscles as if you did a million of the next exercise. Plus, it takes up less time and we all know time is a lie we tell ourselves to get out of doing things like wall sits. (See yesterday’s post on Satya)

Dynamically with Body Weight – Dynamic exercises just involve movement…..so do a squat. Squat to your chair, squat with a ball behind you, squat in the middle of the room, squat with a partner….squat, squat, squat.

Dynamically with Load – If you’re really great a squatting and need more resistance you can start to squat with a load. The Smith Machine is the mode I would choose because you’re locked into the rack and that provides a little safety. You should also ALWAYS have a partner spotting you and if you take one of my workshops on Personal Training through NETA I will show you my secret squat spotting technique.

Plyometrically or with any kind of Challenge – Ever heard of squat jumps? Yeah, that’s a more advanced squat. Squats on balance discs, foam rollers, BOSUs, etc are all an added challenge. Single leg squats and all other variations that throw off your balance, coordination, or require you to produce force or speed while doing a squat should be reserved for when you’re pretty well trained and have the right instruction.

A few final thoughts on squats….
Squats are great for toning your legs and butt, but also engage your core and pelvic floor and we all know I’m all about the core and pelvic floor.
Squats are used in almost every form of exercise in some way/shape/form. In yoga we do them in Chair pose, Sunflowers, Moonflowers, Garland pose, and probably some others I’m not thinking of at the moment.
Squats help pregnant women prepare for giving birth and are one of the most natural positions for delivering children (think gravity people).
They are super functional and may save your life someday and even a baby can do it!

 

What’s your favorite type of squat?
Favorite place to squat?
Bad squat experience?
Excuse for not doing squats?

 

And Then March Happened

Sixteen days ago I was Thinking Out Loud about how excited I was to be on Spring Break and getting time to recover from bronchitis and get back to life as usual. But, we all know how that has turned out. So, now I am sitting here on a Saturday evening prepping for my first week of teaching online and my second week of homeschooling. We are all healthy and somewhat happy at our house, but mostly just thankful.

Choosing Peace Instead of Panic

I saw an interview the other day with a minister in Italy who is American. She and her husband and their two children are in the lock down there. She said something really profound, that they’re “…choosing peace over panic…”. I loved that saying so much that I have been using it as a personal mantra this week. I have not panicked when:

  • I learned that I would be teaching online for the WHOLE rest of the semester
  • I realized that my kids may not go back to school this school year
  • I gave up on the hope of completing my half marathon this spring
  • Technology fails have happened
  • We made a beautiful dinner and then the kids only ate half of it
  • All of the toilet paper disappeared from stores
  • The school science experiment called for heavy whipping cream and all I could find was half and half
  • I heard my neighbor outside on the phone which seemed like she’s talking to a doctor…..

Adjusting to Temporary Normal

I am thankful that my kids and I are adjusting to this temporary normal quite well. We have talked about what is going on, why it’s not time to panic, why we are staying home and how we don’t know what comes next. We’ve talked about what everyone needs and created a way to communicate that is factual but not scary. Emphasizing the reality and severity of the situation, but not over dramatizing it.

Our temporary normal means that right now we can go out in our backyard and play, we can video chat with our family, we can watch a little more tv, we can cook more food and bake more things because we’re home more. Our temporary normal means that the kids don’t have to go to the grocery store any more and that we have more time in our day because we’re not traveling around town. Our temporary normal means no play dates and no baseball practices and no trivia nites out. Our temporary normal is just that….temporary.

Maintaining a Schedule

One of the things I’ve learned over the years is that schedule is key. It’s key for me completing my work, maintaining my fitness, and when I keep a blog writing schedule, it’s key to that success as well. So, even though it’s only been a week so far, we’re maintaining bed time and get up time. We start homeschooling at 815am and take snack and lunch and recess and finish school around 3pm. We’re making up “specials” work. And this coming week, when my students “come back to class”, I will be holding a Zoom meeting for each course section at regular class time to start to create some kind of consistency for them.

A tiny Bit of Anger

I have to admit that things aren’t all unicorns and rainbows over here. Life is real and I have a little bit of anger about this situation. The things I’m angriest about are those who are judging others. I have written about this topic before (see here). I just can’t stand people who can’t respect other people’s choices.

Two areas that have irked me are people who are upset with others who are wearing masks. While I believe that the masks should be reserved for those who need it and especially medical personnel, I can’t stop you from wearing your mask. I don’t know who you are or what your situation is. I am not judging you and I won’t; but I am sure as hell judging those who “can’t stand you wearing your mask”. UGH!

The second area that has rubbed me the wrong way is people demanding free things. Look, it is WONDERFUL (in my opinion) that the utility companies have canceled disconnections and that internet providers are offering connections for students who need it to maintain school, but people…..these people need to get paid sometime too. I get it. We’re all under a lot of stress right now. Some of you may not have income at this time, some of you are suffering from anxiety of all sorts. I hear you, I see you, I feel you. However, that’s no reason to deserve something for nothing.

I guess this area hits hard for me because my brother works for a utility company. He is still out there doing his job with the mask, gloves, and hand sanitizer that his company gave him to protect himself. Does he not deserve a pay check too? So, when your disconnection happens in a few more months when all of this lifts and you can’t pay your bill because you didn’t work, I AM SORRY and I hope that there is a way for you to find the assistance that you need to get back on your feet. However, I don’t think that the utility companies shouldn’t charge during this time. They need to pay their employees who went in to work and came into your homes and provided you with the service that you needed to make it through this time…..however long it may be.

YOGA

In all of this YOGA keeps floating into my mind…..

Yoga means to yoke, join, or unite. It’s what we all need right now; to come together while staying apart.

Check out this Coping Calendar from Action for Happiness:

Colorful calendar from Action for Happiness with daily tips for how to cope with this public health crisis

One of the first things it suggests is to make a plan for how to stay calm and connected. So, here’s my plan:

  • Keep going as I am while following all of the guidance and rules out there right now
  • Keep active and start retraining for my half marathon which may not happen in 2020 depending on how things turn out
  • Keep in contact with my friends and family via text and video chats and phone calls at least once a week
  • Try to get back to this blog because someday it will serve as a record for how we all came through this…..together

I sincerely hope that you and all of yours are safe and well during this time of uncertainty. Keep checking back in as I hope to have more videos of yoga practice, fitness in the home, and ideas for keeping ourselves together throughout all of this!

Namaste

TOLT #? – Bronchitis, Allergies, and Other Crap

Amidst all of the coronavirus hub-bub I’ve gone and gotten sick to the point that it has wiped me out of EVERYTHING! If you life in the south you know all about how allergies are a thing almost all year round….well, things are blooming and I’ve got them kicked up. But it’s not just allergies that have me down.

Nope!

My students are coming to school sick and sharing their germs with me. Magically my kiddos have escaped the bugs this year (mostly because I am keeping them at arms length from me at the time being), but I have not. I have been on and off sick now for almost two weeks and now officially have bronchitis.

On top of that, I’ve had two….count them TWO UTIs in the past month from all of the AMAZING running I was doing up until the point I got sick.

 

All that being said….I just wanted to check in on this wet and miserable Thursday to say I am now on

So that means time for me to recuperate and catch up on life and blogging.

What’s on your mind today?

Have you been sick and/or worried about a pandemic?

Check back next week for some real posts!

Heavy Lifting

I just finished lifting packages that said “Unassisted lift can result in injury”. It’s pouring down rain and they were delivered while I was out getting my kids from school. When I got back they were just sitting there, in front of the garage, soaking up the rain. I knew they needed to get inside the garage, but we don’t have a garage door like other garages. We have barn doors that we built and that have to be manually unlocked and then unlatched and then latched and locked shut again. It would have taken more time to open and close the doors than to work around them.

So, why am I telling you this very detailed story about moving packages?

Well, today I had planned to do a track run and then swim. I am about 5 days behind in my training; which means that I’m actually about a month behind in my training. Hence all of the two-a-days. I got up, did what I needed to do to get out of the house. Dropped the kids at school and ran two errands. After being almost an hour behind I ran a third errand. Then, I looked at my schedule for the day and it was basically blank. I just had a few easy computer things to do…..no serious commitments.

And then I thought about how my legs ached and it was kind of chilly and gloomy out. It wasn’t raining right then, but it had been and more was coming. I thought about a lot of things…..

I thought about how I haven’t spent much time with friends lately, not even talking because I’m not in a sharing mood.

I thought about how my relationship is going through a rough patch and I feel like everything I do to calm it doesn’t work but everything I do to fight for things makes it worse as well.

I thought about how upset I am with my sister and how our relationship is bad right now too.

I thought about how helpless I feel to change my current situation and how helpless I feel to help my family through some tough times they’re having.

I thought about my grandmother who is currently in the hospital with CHF far away in Iowa.

I admitted out loud, to myself, that I AM DOWN.

And then, I got in my car, ran one more errand and went home. I skipped working out today because I can. I did my computer work and then got some water, crawled under a blanket on the couch, and watched a little HULU. I took a me day, not to be sad and wallow, but to take care of myself. Today was not my day for working out, but tomorrow will be…..or so I thought.

And then the boxes arrived…..in the rain.

I tell you this story because I have one main goal behind this blog: Honesty. I am a fitness professional who sometimes struggles to exercise. I am not perfect and it doesn’t always come easily for me. And because I can be honest about this struggle, hopefully you too can be honest about the days when you struggle. And when we can be honest, we can also be compassionate. Today I took all of my heavy heart and let it sit and rest. I treated myself well and honestly recognized that today was not a good day to push any more than what I had.

A lot of bloggers I read write about the spoons…..about running out of them by the time they get dressed. I didn’t run out of spoons today. I still had enough left to lift those boxes and drag them into the garage through the rain that was pouring inside and out. I have enough left to parent my children and to be an active participant in my life. I am strong and not just physically.

Tomorrow will be another day and I will be out there running the streets with a smile on my face as wide as it will reach. But, for now, I’m going to go and dry off and get back to my snugly blanket + two kids.

 

What do you do when it’s a heavy lifting day for you?

How much honesty and compassion have you given yourself today?