I took a VERY long hiatus from blogging. Life became downright crazy for me and something had to give—so blogging took the back burner which afforded me the opportunity to focus on other areas of my life that desperately needed attention. I’ve had some dark days lately. Days that felt like no matter what I did or how hard I tried, progress seemed impossible; in many ways I felt like my legs had been cut from beneath me. It became evident that I did not have the time or energy to do all that I would typically accomplish. I needed to be still.
For some during seasons of high stress it can be easy to delve into the tasks at hand, as they provide a distraction from feeling overwhelmed or out of control. For others, doing even the most medial task feels like conquering a mountain because there is so much to process and work though. Either scenario is an extreme that does not allow for optimal healing and processing. There are days when we need to slow down, feel what we are feeling, process those feelings and work through them and then there are days when we need to acknowledge the feelings, but keep moving forward. It truly is a balance.
If you are struggling to figure out how to walk through stressful situations in your life try asking yourself: “What is best for me today; is it best to be still; is it best for me to get up and do something; what do I really need today?” Being mindful of what you need will help you get there.
Most people are aware that social support is crucial to life and that having people in your life who care can make a world of difference.
Researchers have shown that one key indicator of people in relationships that are fulfilling is vulnerability. One particular study done by the University of Houston showed that relationships in which individuals expressed their care for each other created a greater sense of relationship satisfaction.
Bottom line: Relationships are built on mutual appreciation, and there is no better way to show that appreciation than to tell someone how much you care (Lackovic-Grgin and Dekovic 1996).
Challenge today: share with others how important they are to you.
5 Elements of Listening Deeply
Actively Listen – don’t worry about your reply
Observe – what’s happening
Consider – needs and feelings
Respond – when appropriate with words and actions
Slow Down – you don’t have to solve the problem, most people just want you to listen and say it is going to be okay
Today I was reminded that there are times when we have to call our own BS. I have had countless conversations with clients about using the BS detector to help keep them honest. I am not talking about yelling BS out loud, although that could be necessary at times. We all have moments where we have thought “that thought didn’t just happen”, “don’t feel that way” or “just ignore that feeling”. The reality is, when we ‘ignore’ feelings and thoughts they don’t just magically go away; they hide out and then they come back…kind of like the monster under your bed as a kid. You could tell yourself the monster wasn’t there over and over again, but until you checked or screamed for a parent to come check, you were consumed with the monster.
So sometimes you have to say “bull s*#@” —this IS what I am feeling or this IS what I am thinking, so what do I need to do about it??? Soaking it up, really paying attention to it and then taking care of it is the only way to change that particular response. For example, if you think “I am fat today” and you know that this could very easily become an unhealthy line of thinking, then just ignoring that thought will only invite more thoughts. Instead you can provide evidence for or against the thought (how is this true, or how is this not true), provide an alternative or balanced (rational) thought (just because I didn’t work out today doesn’t make me fat) and utilize a coping skill (bubble bath, journal, listen to music, or go for a run). This gives yourself the opportunity to gain some control over the thought and ultimately gives you the reality check that we all need from time to time.
What BS do you need to start calling on yourself? I always loved that card game….
As we approach the holiday season it is easy to fall prey to the “oh come on, it’s Christmastime,” “One cookie never killed anyone,” “Don’t you want to try my homemade banana bread?” It is incredibly hard when family and friends take your positive food choice as a personal rejection. When the polite “No thank you,” does not seem to quiet the groaning, how do you maintain appropriate compassion while maintaining a healthy boundary that you’ve set for yourself?
Oftentimes, that banana bread was not JUST a baked good, but an expression of love and so a person may feel hurt when you decide to make a choice not to indulge. Rejection never feels good. It hurts. Just think about it.
Affirming their feelings and acknowledge that your choice may in fact “hurt” their feelings, apologizing for any hurt feelings and continuing to politely decline is the best tactic. It may sound a little cheeseball but a little word love goes a long way with people! It is okay if someone feels whatever they are feeling (it is a feeling), that doesn’t mean that you have to cave in to their demand because their thoughts and feelings are different from yours.
So a conversation could go a little something like this:
Mom: Sweetie, aren’t you going to have some of my banana bread? It was always your favorite.
You: No thank you mom.
Mom: (Sad look on her face) Oh, okay. Are you sure? It is Christmas. A little indulgence never hurt anyone.
You: Mom, I can tell that you are disappointed. I am so sorry to disappoint you, I love you very much and I am happy to spend this time of year with you. I enjoy so many things about this season.
I admit I am really bad at creating random dialogue….I will stick to my day job and not pursue a career as a screenwriter. Stick to what you feel is best, even when it may seem like the unpopular choice!
It is not always necessary to skip a WOD when you are feeling under the weather, but knowing when to rest and when to WOD can be a bit tricky. Here is something to consider when you are wanting to get in a WOD. What are your symptoms?
Give it a try (above your neck):
Scratchy throat only
Get some rest (below your neck):
Sore muscles (fatigue)
A couple of other things you might want to consider would be your level of hydration and nutrition. If you haven’t been properly nourished for several days, jumping straight into working out may cause more stress on your body than doing you any actual good. Really we get back to this idea of “listening to your body”. There might be times when you give it a try (decide to WOD) and then realize that working out is a bad idea. For exammple, I had a stomach bug over the weekend and thought I would give working out a go this morning. Not too long after getting started I was feeling incredibly fatigued and decided it was best to throw in the towel. There are not black and white rules for all of this…clearly Michael Jordan proved in 1997 that you can do great things athletically even when you have the flu, BUT we will consider this an exception to the rule!
I have been out of commission for the last few days. There are times in our lives when we need to take a step back, gain perspective, grieve loss and figure out how to move forward. Given this circumstance I am reminded that even in the midst of struggle or loss we can find peace and joy. Our inner attitude does not have to reflect our outer circumstance. We have a choice.
Sometimes when we think of our health and well being we need to break it down into something simple. Today let’s talk about healthy deficits and excesses.
Deficits – NOT ENOUGH—pretty simple, huh? What are key functional, behavioral or even mental habits that are missing from your lifestyle?? Are you getting enough protein, water, exercise, rest, sleep? Maybe there is not enough positive. So ask yourself this question: what are things that are clearly missing that I could focus on to improve my overall health?
Excesses- TOO MUCH—this could be too much of a good thing or too much of a bad thing. What are some components of your lifestyle that are hindering you from making progress?? How much alcohol are you drinking, caffeine, sugar, how much time do you spend worrying each day?? How full is your schedule? Do you have down time each day to re-charge? Ask yourself to identify the excess!
Now go and change all these things and life will be perfect! Okay, okay…that is terrible advice. Pick one thing you feel greatly impacts your life at this moment and set a goal around making a positive change. Add more of the not enough or cut down the too much! Now go make a healthy choice today!
Anytime we are exercising and pushing our bodies, there will be some kind of “pain” – muscles tight, burning, fatigue and even failure. But how do you tell the difference between good pain that’s the result of a great workout vs. pain that could be signaling an injury? Those who have participated in sports their whole lives probably have a general understanding that most workouts don’t “feel good” and you just have to push through the suck. If you are new to the world of working out or haven’t in a long time, it is important to understand and know the difference. “Listening to your body” may make you think that you should never move off the couch and even for an experienced athlete it may not always be clear what your body is telling you.
Soreness or pain is a normal response to muscle exertion and often occurs after working out at high intensities. Muscle soreness is a typically a generalized pain that is felt in areas of your body. Just because your muscles may be tender to touch or it feels cruddy moving (like sitting on the toilet after a bazillion squats) does not mean that there is an injury—this could just be a result of working that particular group of muscles.
The general “burn” or pain that is common while exercising is typically symmetrical. For instance, if you are doing a bazillion (it is my word for the day) lunges then you should feel the burn in both (right and left) quads, hamstrings and glutes! If you are experiencing pain on only one side of your body, then you may need to take a closer look at what is going on, or at least ask your coach for an opinion.
Most of the time you are going to feel the burn in your muscles however, if you ever feel like something is happening in a joint or bone, then you should take a look at what is going on in that particular area. If you all of the sudden have limited range of motion that is not due to muscle fatigue and you are experiencing pain, then absolutely stop what you are doing, talk to your coach and modify the workout as needed. Swelling is definitely something to note (and I’m not talking about muscle pump), if you notice swelling (especially when accompanied with pain) then stop and ask your coach for assistance.
Huffing and puffing?? Yep, that is just part of it! Obviously if you have certain conditions (like asthma) that could affect this ability, take precaution as needed. Seriously, if you are working hard then it is going to be difficult to breathe!
There are so many phrases out there like “No pain, no gain” or “pain is weakness leaving the body” and as long as we understand the definition of “pain” in these particular sayings, then absolutely they ring true. Push through the pain and get to work!
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The word deprivation has a terrible connotation…well and denotation for that matter. When do you ever hear that word and think of something positive? Sleep deprivation, emotional deprivation, sensory deprivation, deprivation of liberty…..none of these things are positive. In fact, one could accurately label them as not only negative but even harmful. Why then is it any surprise at all that when someone goes on a diet and they start listing off the “no-no’s”, then they feel deprived and eventually fall off the bandwagon?? If deprivation is bad and I am feeling deprived, then the logical thought would be I need to stop doing whatever it is I am doing. To me, especially as a therapist, it would make perfect sense for someone to eventually give up on anything if their mentality or perspective is that they are feeling deprived. No one likes to feel deprived—it is pretty uncomfortable.
So if a diet is merely deprivation of all things that taste good and look good, then failure is an inevitable path. Clearly I have conjured up much scientific evidence to support my opinions here today….are you liking all my links to outside resources?? Ha! Seriously, back to the meat here….if diets = deprivation then diets are stupid. Diets are stupid. Don’t diet, just make healthy choices!
If we are wanting to be successful in our healthy eating endeavors then we need to keep our perspective or “filter” in check. Instead of looking at food or beverages as Yes or No, start using filters like “what is best for me today”, “which will make me feel better” or “what does my body need” — Not only are these filters more positive in general, you are increasing your own self-awareness with regard to your food intake. If I look at a cookie and think “No, you can’t have that cookie.” then the rebellious side of me would want the cookie even more….but if I look at a cookie and think “does my body need this?”, then I can easily answer that question (No) and move on. We have to find a system of filters that work best, to help us reach our unique goals as individuals. If you are running around, eating clean and constantly wishing that you could swing through your favorite fast food joint and munch down on a burger and french fries then you may need to change your filter. Don’t let your feelings of “deprivation” be the thing that keeps you from consistently making healthy choices. Changing your filter, changes your habits, which can change your life!