Permission Granted

Image

 

My dear friends, I know I have been silent as of late. My routine has been a whirl of activity with not a lot of breathing room. I’ve been awesome at fitting workouts in, but not awesome at doing things that make me function and not lose my sanity. I get teased a lot for being like the neurotic character Monica, on FRIENDS, and I’ve been proving way too many people right lately. Yeah, I know!

Yes, my daily workouts are great motivators. There’s nothing like eight 3-minute rounds to make me feel like I can tackle anything the world throws at me.  Budget due? Bring it. Big project to get done in zero time? Whatever, I got this. People who are emotional unstable and spontaneously break down on you? Puh-lease, give me something hard.

 One thing has been missing.  There’s an absence of something beloved and precious, and I always need a reminder of it, so I thought you might too.

 Rest. Relax. Take a day off. Here is your permission slip to do no workout today and have a glass of wine while doing something that makes you that sparkling creature who is taking the time to read this.  I don’t use this time of respite as an excuse or a reward for good behavior, but rather in support of my firm belief that it is vital for sustaining life.  Scheduling it in as you do a workout or a staff meeting helps make it a priority for me.  Your body (and fiancé) will thank you.

 I think the rest day gets a bad rap.  People feel lazy (ok, I feel lazy—maybe others don’t struggle with this) and think about what they could be doing instead.  However, when I’ve found myself feeling just a little burned out on life, one 24-hour period where I can focus on doing things that make me happy and feel fulfilled is the perfect form of medicine.

 M, my constant force of stability, love, and understanding reminded me of how important this can be.  We were talking about one of those heavy-hitter uncomfortable life issues and he innocently said, “You know I want to marry you because I like to actually see you, right?” His comment made in jest really hit home for me.

 I’m not blaming all of this on my workout schedule. A lot of it has to do with my work schedule and that I tend to bring a few hours of work home pretty much every night. Staying fit and being on top of my game in the office is a huge priority, but so is being a happy and stable human. 

I think that having a healthy lifestyle is crucial for my personal happiness. I also think of equal importance is being emotionally healthy and having time to rest and regroup, without scheduling another activity. Parents are probably thinking, “Yeah, a day to rest and regroup would be nice—I’ll consider it in 18 years.” I, on the other hand, am lucky enough to be childless at the moment and need to remember to stop and smell the roses once in a while…or maybe peonies because they’re my favorite. It is Spring, after all.  

 

Cheers!

Advertisements

Success!

yoga stretch

Guys! Guess what! I’m so happy! I had a major breakthrough this morning! I have learned it–the secret to my yoga enjoyment. It’s counterintuitive for me, but hey, that’s life.

I need my sessions to be longer. That’s it.  I was doing a short 15-minute morning routine, thinking it would be best to start slow. No, no my friends. Just do it, right Tony? I actually found that the longer session did not make my mind go crazy, but rather allowed me to relax and focus as I continued.

Other benefit–I was able to stretch just a wee bit deeper. It was very exciting!!! I can honestly say I’m very much looking forward to tomorrow morning. Who knew?

On that note, I think I need a celebratory glass of wine…

Cheers!

You’re Overcookin’ My Grits, Coach

we become

True confession time. I didn’t get up and do yoga today. I slept in. My alarm went off and M rolled over and said, “Babe, aren’t you going to do yoga?” I scowled at him as though he made a most ridiculous suggestion, rolled over, and grunted no as I reset my alarm 45 minutes later.

You know what? I think I was much more tired than if I would have just gotten up and done it. The extra sleep was so not worth it! I could kick myself!

Here’s the thing—I think yoga is hard. I really, really do.  It does challenge my strength, but the activities I love and look forward to do that. I’m used to pushing myself when it comes to strengthening my body. I love that challenge and the feeling of sore muscles repairing themselves.

There are two things that kill me with yoga. The first is that I am super inflexible. You know how giraffes are kind of awkward when they try to bend? I feel such kinship with them.  I’m 5’11” (and a half). My toes are really far away….

Even after a hard workout where my muscles got all nice and warm and pliable, I am just not flexible. Because of my lack of ability in this area, I’m having a hard time enjoying it. I feel like a new girl all over again, after I have worked so hard to achieve a higher level of fitness.

The second is my mind’s inability to focus with its multi-tasking default setting, which I’ve gone over before.  Why do I have to think about twelve things at once? I won’t belabor that point because I really haven’t had any major breakthroughs to share.

What this whole new routine reminds me of is the familiar feeling of utter frustration and contempt from when I first started working out. Every activity felt like a huge undertaking. A mile was climbing Everest—there is no way you’re making me go that far! Pushing that prowler was like taking on a semi truck.  Don’t even get me started on a pushup—are you trying to get me to hold the world on my shoulders? I was heaving after jogging for one minute. ONE MINUTE! And the word “jogging” is very generous for the relatively quick walk I was doing. Why was everything so hard???

Previously, I discussed the need to work harder and push yourself if you want to see results. How your body trains itself to tolerate strenuous activity is truly incredible. I’m trying to remind myself that this won’t be so hard soon.  I remember this epiphany I had while I was working out one day with Jackson, my fabulous and wonderful former trainer.

The activity isn’t getting any easier; I’m just getting better. I am able to tolerate it more. Jogging for a minute is the same level of difficulty as it was a year ago, the only difference is me. I’m different. There is very real, very tangible proof of progress.

One of the greatest exercises I did was after I’d lost about 50 lbs.  Jackson had me do the stairs with a 50-pound vest on.  It was a challenge that made me realize just how far I had come.  My body had become so much lighter and more efficient. I totally recommend doing an exercise like that no matter how much progress you have made just so you can really feel what you’ve achieved.

Keeping this in mind as I aim to improve my struggles with flexibility and strength of mind through yoga is a source of inspiration for me.  These feelings are familiar.  I will get stronger. Everything is hard at first. Discipline, baby! Well, I’m working on it…

Cheers!

Monkey Mind

Image

 

 

I’ve been inspired!! A new challenge is on the horizon! Are you with me??

Allow me to elaborate.

It all started with a mandatory health assessment done through my job. I put a link there as a shameless plug because I truly love everything about working there and the incredible work we do. Get onboard! Ok, that’s not what this blog is about, but there you go.

In order to maintain the current cost of health insurance, all must undergo a health screening and take steps toward a healthier lifestyle. I think this is great and believe that more businesses should hop on this bandwagon. As I’m a proud health nut as of late, this was actually an exciting day for me. Minus the finger prick—why does that hurt so much?

I was formerly not used to passing a health test with flying colors, but I am proud of how everything turned out. Numbers were great…all except my flexibility. I’m in the tenth percentile. As I’ve always been a crazy academic perfectionist/overachiever, the tenth percentile is clearly unacceptable. How was I going to solve this? Touch my toes daily? Boring. Boo. There is no punching. Or grunting and heaving out of sheer badassery in the name of one more rep!!!

A Quiet Strength

I know I’ve said I’ve tried some great yoga workouts before, and I have. They were all like “Yoga Fat Burn,” and “Super Duper Power Yoga,” with the aspect of yoga for strength training highlighted.

I’ve been to a few classes too, but I’ve never been able to really, truly commit to the practice. Why? Because I get bored. Because I’m loud and rambunctious and this quiet time of meditation is just not my cup of tea. Because really, I’m more of a coffee drinker, in the car, on the way to work after staying up too late finishing projects.

This simple quest to increase physical flexibility has led me to a greater question. Perhaps I need to be focusing on also increasing my mental flexibility. Why is it that I cannot handle 30-60 minutes of silent meditation—which, just to be straight with you, means prayer to me.

 Remember how I said I’m a sucker for a trend? Well, in 2008 I read Eat Pray Love. You probably have too. I absolutely loved it, and a passage from it came to mind as I was thinking about this.

Like most humanoids, I am burdened with what the Buddhists call the ‘monkey mind’– the thoughts that swing from limb to limb, stopping only to scratch themselves, spit, and howl. From the distant past to the unknowable future, my mind swings wildly through time, touching on dozens of ideas a minute, unharnessed and undisciplined.

After much pondering, I am inspired to achieve something a little deeper and more significant than my inability to reach a higher percentile on the flexibility for my health insurance. Worthy of a cause as that is 😉  What greater inspiration for better fitness than to develop myself more on a personal level?

I am going to start each morning with yoga. I am determined to quiet my mind. I am not just going to count down the seconds until I can stop holding this downward dog.

Hayley Hobson, I also wanted to give you a shout out because you’re a true inspiration as well.  Check out her blog if you want to be inspired to test your strength. Though, if I could make a suggestion: Can you blog about how you got your great hair?? Seriously girl, it’s amazing.

So here it goes. I’m excited about the physical benefits of strengthening my muscles, but more than that I’m curious to see if I can actually keep my mind quiet.

I might hate it. At least I know I can hit it hard in the afternoon.

Stay tuned, folks.

Cheers!