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!

Training Plan Tuesday #13 – February 2020

It is warm out here…..I mean really warm for February! Yesterday, at the track, it was almost 70F! I think that a mild winter has helped me to be more on top of my training than I ever have before. However, I’ve also being trying to be mindful in my consistency and that means that I skipped a total of 8 days of exercise last month. I am now 5 days behind on my training plan that was revamped to include all of the workouts I had skipped last fall. REALLY, I’m still doing workouts from the beginning of January, so you choose…..5 days or 5 weeks behind, I’m still behind! Continue reading “Training Plan Tuesday #13 – February 2020”

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?

Yoga is Fun by Thomas Hill – Guest Post

Not all parts of yoga are for everyone. But some of my favorite students are male students and athletes and when I can get one that’s both it’s even better! This student was a challenge in more ways than one. His background and mine were very different and I think he was coaxed into taking this class by a group of friends. He was also a joy to have in class each day as he lightened the somewhat serious mood of teaching yoga from time to time.

I have thoroughly enjoyed this yoga class.  I set a goal at the beginning of the semester to be able to easily touch my toes and still for some reason cannot do it.  However, I have learned a lot about yoga and about my body during this class.  Practicing yoga throughout the semester helped me push my body to the limit and see how much I could do.  I learned that there are some poses in yoga I can do with ease and some are a little bit more difficult.  It was fun to learn something new and a little about where the practice of yoga came from. 

 

The dreaded crow pose!

The thing I enjoyed the most was the strength and balance poses.  I liked how they pushed my body to another level and I could feel the muscles burning.  I think crow pose is interesting and I had fun attempting that one.  One thing I did not like doing was meditating.  I’ve never really been a fan of that kind of stuff and it’s hard for me to just sit there and breathe for long periods of time without getting sidetracked.  All in all, I really enjoyed this class.  Thank you for making yoga fun.

 

Have a yoga story you’d like to share?

Contact me to do a Guest Post of your own.

A Peaceful Place in the Mind by Melissa – Guest Post

Students come in to my class from all different walks of life. Today I will start a new yoga class, not at CFCC. I will meet 30 new faces with stories I’ve yet to hear. Each student brings something different to the yoga experience and each student is touched in a different way by yoga. Thankfully most of them are positive and yoga brings them relief from back pain, a mental break, or even lifts a little of their grief.

Previous to this semester, I had only ever taken a few yoga classes, mostly just basic classes through the YMCA near where I worked. To be completely honest, I had always thought of yoga as a sort of soft exercise and somehow not as worthy of my time as more obviously physically-intensive practices such as Pilates, cardio, or lifting. Three years ago this week, I went through an immense emotional trauma when my boyfriend of eight months passed away suddenly and without much explanation. To say the least, the loss and the lack of closure messed me up, and I had trouble finding peace in my thoughts when I was by myself. After several months of therapy and dabbling with occasional yoga classes at the YMCA, I felt soothed. Despite the fact that the instructor mostly just guided us through the poses and didn’t really teach us much about breathing, the best part about these classes was the rest that it gave my mind to just focus on moving my body and nothing else, to simply relax in the nothingness when we spent the last few minutes of class in a relaxation pose.

Since moving to Wilmington, I have felt that I have been caught in an endless cycle of a full course load at school, a 35-hour work week, and trying to find sleep in between. I didn’t have the time to devote to exercise and I certainly didn’t have the money to join a yoga studio, so I just gave up on working out. Stuck in what seemed to be an endless cycle of stress and mounting cynicism and frustration, I decided that this semester I should take yoga and get back to that quiet place in my mind that I loved so much when I was healing. What surprised me the most about this class was what I learned about how to breathe in different ways and how the breath is supposed to properly line up with your physical movements during your yoga poses.

I had hoped to come to some sort of self-revelation this semester, but I found it more difficult than ever to free my mind of the stress and frustration and quiet the noise. When discussing the Eight-Limb path and focusing on not having violent thoughts towards others or to oneself, I had to be introspective and I realized that my mind was an angrier place than it used to be. I am still working through this part of my yoga practice, and I think an important part of freeing myself of these dark frustrations will be distancing myself from as many people who are sources of negativity as possible. Physically, I have loved learning the restorative poses and different ways to stretch my back out, I feel that these movements will continue to be useful when my body is feeling the strain from waitressing and bartending in the coming months.

I hope that I will have the time and the money to join some sort of yoga practice in the near future, mostly because I like the structure of someone leading me through the poses. Because of this class, however, I feel more confident in practicing the poses specific to my body’s immediate needs and the breathing and meditation techniques that will help me find that peaceful place in my mind once again.

 

Have a yoga story you’d like to share?

Contact me to do a Guest Post of your own.

Wellness Wednesday #9 – Stages of Change

Some things never change and some things around us always seem to be changing. For example: I have always been a feminist. I played basketball in a co-ed summer league as a pre-teen and constantly competed against the boys to show them that girls were just as good. As a teenager I sported my Rosie the Riveter t-shirt with pride and discounted any guy who referred to me as a “chick” (I’m not a little yellow fluffy bird). Yet, I grow older and the world around me seems to change and I with it.

Two weeks ago I wrote about the three phases of creating Health Habits. This week I’m delving more into Behavior Change to talk about the Transtheoretical Model of Behavior Change (TTM). Why is this important to Wellness? Learning the stages of change may help you understand a few more things about why you are or are not making changes that you set out to make. Continue reading “Wellness Wednesday #9 – Stages of Change”

Perseverance – Guest Post

Last Fall Wilmington suffered the effects of a slow moving hurricane – Florence. My students were displaced and kept out of school for over a month. They lost weeks of instructional time and had to push through all of the same knowledge in a shortened semester. They were amazing troopers through it all and we were able to put our yoga into practice in so many applicable ways….

 

My personal journey into yoga was a little less successful than I intended. After the hurricane and multiple tragedies in my personal life I was unable to focus as much as I wanted to on my practice. I did successfully develop a knowledge of basic poses and the benefits they have on the body. So I am happy to say I did achieve the main goal I had when signing up for the Fall yoga class. When looking back at the beginning of the semester I assumed this class would be easy in the physical performance half. Now since we have reached the end of the class I have found that correctly practicing poses is much more difficult than it appears. Many different aspects of my practice have improved from the beginning, such as my posture, balance, and breathing. I have learned when it comes to yoga the little details make all the difference, things such as foot placement, continuously breathing, and raising my chest when curving my back, are all things that help that can help prevent injuries. I also learned that there are a few poses that I am unable to perform due to my back, knee, and ankle injuries, but there are also many poses that improve them. This knowledge is good for me in the long run, I am hoping to further physical improvement. I feel as if I grew mentally from this class when we reviewed the Yamas and the Niyamas. I feel as if for the most part I follow the Yamas, but the Niyamas are the ones I struggle with, mainly in the discipline and the surrendering areas. I have found myself now continuously using disciplines in my life, in addition to an attempt at more acceptance, thus surrendering my own opinions to accept others. I feel as if I have grown a fair amount since challenging myself with theses Niyamas.

I highly enjoyed the class, it was unfortunate how we were unable to fully attend due to weather disturbances, but for the time we did receive it was a fun time and was quite informational. I only wish that the class happened more than once a week. I do plan to continue my practice, not only have I signed up for yoga II, but I also plan to find regular yoga classes at my gym to get into more of a routine. I want to incorporate my yoga practice into my life by attending a class at least twice a week. This will not only add to the stretching portion of my workouts, but also will improve my flexibility and balance, both of which are constant restriction on my physical abilities. I intend to move forward and use my practice to improve my back pain, it  is a battle I have been facing my whole life, and with yoga I now have another weapon to use against it. I am thankful for my growth, and the knowledge I gained from this class, I cannot wait to continue my journey.

Have a yoga story you’d like to share?

Contact me to do a Guest Post of your own.