The times I (almost) cried last week

To say this past month has been challenging is an understatement.  But somehow, I’ve made it through with (a little bit of) grace and dignity, and I haven’t alienated any of my dear friends and family members who’ve had to calm me down during the storm of my emotions.

  1. I cried when he didn’t nap.  My son is 2 years and 8 months and strong-willed as any 2 year old.  It was moving day – I had to be at work early that morning, go help move after work and before picking up the little one from preschool.  We made the long trek down to my mother’s house, where we find refuge and a little bit of normalcy during the chaos of moving.  I chatted with him the whole way to make sure he didn’t car nap on me, because after a week of packing up all our belongings, taking care of a 2 year old, and working the early shift – I needed a nap too.  I daydreamed of co-napping in my Mom’s guest bedroom as we talked about Paw Patrol during the 40 minute drive.  Then – he wouldn’t nap!  He was tired – that was clear.  But every time his eyes drooped he would rub them so hard he’d force himself awake again.  To save his bedtime and a bit of our nighttime sanity, I had to drive him around on the interstate for an hour to get some nap out of him.  Of course, I didn’t nap.  I cried – I cried almost the whole freakin’ drive.  Tired, ugly tears.  Just cried.
  2. I (almost) cried when everyone wanted something from me.  Again, high stress – high anxiety.  And while I am eternally grateful for my mother coming over to our new home to distract our little one while we unpacked, it did create another person asking me where things are.  When the 2 year old is crying for Mommy, my mother is asking where the tissue is (because of course it’s winter so the 2 year old has a perpetual cold), and my husband asking me where boxes go and why our dishwasher won’t work – I broke down.  I didn’t cry – it was an almost cry.  But the anxiety was crazy bad.  This is why I’ll probably be a 1 kid mom forever – too many people asking me questions overwhelms my brain and I go a little coocoo.
  3. I cried after leaving the chiropractor’s office.  I’ve been nursing a bad right hip for 9 months now.  It started with a hip flexor tear and it never really became fully pain free after it healed.  But I found ways – stretching, foam rolling and icing, to minimize the pain and with a few modifications I was able to maintain my daily workout with very little problems/pain.  Then the left hip flexor gave out on me, and I knew something was off and I needed to get help.  At the recommendation of a friend, I went to a new chiropractor/PT.  He did X-rays, found my pelvis is way off balance (no freakin’ joke!) and told me 3 months without exercise.  3 days without exercise is difficult for me.  It’s my stress management tool.  I’ve tried so many things (meditation, yoga, reading, writing, etc.) and nothing helps my stress and anxiety like a good old fashioned sweat sesh.  So I called my husband and cried on the phone as I left his office.  Yes, I need to heal.  Yes, I need to care for my aching body.  But yes, I will find a way to workout that does not impede my healing.  (Like today’s bicep curls and tricep kick backs routine.)
  4. I (almost) cried after a little girl who is old enough to know the difference – asked if I was a boy or a girl.  I get it – no makeup, hair pulled back in a pony tail – and yeah, I’m not exactly sporting DD’s over here, and yeah, she’s a toddler.  But without working out, eating like crap since Thanksgiving, and my stress showing up as acne all over my face – my confidence is way down.  While I was polite to the mother who I know just felt awful, and my brain knows it’s just a toddler being a toddler, it bugged me.

So what am I doing about all this?  Well, everything stems from a lot of stress on my little mind.  So, I’m trying to find ways to ease this.  One is tightening the diet.  Usually if I exercise, I want to eat right.  But if I don’t, I don’t focus on the diet so much (silly, right?).  So even though it’s the holidays, tightening up the diet is very much needed.  So working on meal plans, healthy snacking, nutritious dinners – that is a focus of mine.  Also moving as I can – whether it’s doing a bit of upper body work, taking a walk, stretching or maybe even a bit of pilates and yoga as the hip begins to heal – I need to move in some manner.  It may not beat the workout I am used to, or even really enjoy, but it’s needed.  And finally, writing.  I need to let the words I keep bottled up inside me out.  So whether I share them with the world here or hide them away for no one to see, I need to write.

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Days I fall apart

It’s been hard lately.  A LOT has been going on – and most of it has been stressful.  And it has taken it’s toll on me.

I try my best to stay strong and not show that I’m hurting.  I don’t know why I hide my feelings so much.  My guess is I don’t want to look weak – and I don’t want to scare people away.  We’ve all had a Debbie Downer in our life before – and I don’t want to be her.  I don’t want to be the person everyone avoids.  I want to be happy, strong and put together – even though that’s the farthest from what I feel right now.

So the past few weeks, there have been times when my emotions got the best of me.  As much as I’ve tried to put them in a tiny box far, far away from the surface – they find there way out.

One day I decided to take my son to the playground.  We got in the car – drove there – and he immediately had a meltdown and wanted to go home.  I don’t know why.  He’s 2 – so he probably doesn’t know why either.  But I so wanted to be out of the house that I didn’t read his mood and figure out that a trip to the playground was probably not the best idea.  So we immediately went back into the car and drove home in rush hour traffic.  I cried and cried and cried the whole time.  My emotions could no longer be contained.  I was trying so hard to stay busy and not feel – that when my son had his breakdown it made me slow down and feel my own emotions.  I had stopped crying by the time we got home.  It felt good – but not enough.

Then there was the day when my son was suppose to go to summer camp (which he LOVES) but instead woke up with a tummy bug (the bottom kind).  So instead of running a few errands to get ready for upcoming Fathers Day, and then coming home to relax – I spent my day changing disgusting diapers and doing laundry.  As I hoped into the shower after he went down for his nap, all I wanted to do was sit in the tub and cry and cry and cry.  I didn’t.  I don’t know why.  I guess I had pushed my feelings back just enough not to.

Why is it that we are afraid to say help, I’m sad, I’m scared, I’m having difficulty coping, I’m alone.  Why must we try to live our lives as if they are constantly on social media – happy and perfect?  Why must we try to be super heros – taking on all tasks without the blink of an eye – nothing bothers us – we can do it all?  Because we can’t.  We are not superheros.  We are people.  Humans.  With feelings.  With limits.  With boundaries.

And why is that the only way I can verbalize this is in secret Facebook groups where no one I actually know is a member – or on a completely anonymous blog post?  Why does this have to be such a secret?  WE ALL STRUGGLE.  WE ALL BREAK DOWN.  AND WE ALL DUST OURSELVES OFF AND BECOME OUR HAPPY SELVES AGAIN.

Is this what happened to the recent stars – Kate Spade, Anthony Bourdain?  Could they not tell their truths because of the image it would provoke?  And they felt the only way out was to leave this Earth?

I don’t want that to happen to anyone.  Ever.  But it happens so much.  It happens too much.

We need to stop the glorification of superheros.  We need to realize that being human means having ups and downs, good times and bad, and being there for each other for all the moments.

Reasons to practice yoga

When people ask me why I do yoga, the answer is never a simple one word.  It’s not about flexibility, which is what brings most people into a yoga studio for the first time (including me).  It’s so much more than that.  It’s the mental clarity and strength that I receive from practicing yoga that always keeps me coming back to my mat.

Yoga teaches you to quiet your mind, to listen to your thoughts (and not judge them), to accept your feelings as they truly are, to truly be you.  And this is not something easily done in today’s society.  We see images of who we “should” be all over the place – television, movies, magazines, social media.  Picture perfect people in picture perfect settings.  That’s not life.  Life is messy and raw.  Life is full of ups and downs that constantly challenge you.  Life is far from picture perfect.  But we feel as though it should be – and we are failing if it is not.

Yoga teaches you that you are not a failure at any time and that what and where you are in that present moment is exactly where you should be.  You do not need to change a thought or feeling.  You do not need to be able to touch your toes, have enough strength to perform an arm balance, or lose 10 pounds.  You are exactly where you should be.

The journey to accept that fact is an ongoing process.  As humans, we always strive for more.  And having a goal to work towards is not a bad thing, as long as you are ok with the present moment status.  You do not have to meet that goal today, tomorrow, or even this year.  The goal will be met when the time is right and when you are ready.

That’s what yoga teaches me.  That while I wish I were more flexible or stronger in my practice, I am exactly where I should be at this time.  That it’s not only acceptable, but beautiful, that my practice and my being are not perfect.

It’s easy to forget this.  It’s easy to get caught up with life and away from the mat for a while.  And then the “shoulds” come back.  I “should” practice more.  I “should” be able to go deeper into a pose than I am.  I “should” not have taken so much time off.  Then I step back on the mat, and after class the “should”’s go away.  It’s like magic.  Every time I go to a yoga class, I learn something new.  I find a new level of clarity.  The learning never ends in yoga, and where ever you are in your yoga journey is always the perfect place to be!

 

A Balance Exercise to easily fit into your daily routine

I’m learning a lot from my chiropractor.  Not only does he tell corny “Dad” jokes that I haven’t heard in a while, but he also teaches me new things.  The best thing I’ve learned from him so far is the easiest balance exercise to fit into a daily routine.

You ready for it?

Stand on one leg while brushing your teeth!

Keep your knee bent (never lock out legs) and your hands off the counter as much as possible.  It’s pretty crazy – when you switch from your left teeth to your right (or vice versa), it really is an extra balance challenge!  Plus you already brush your teeth twice a day (I hope) so you are not adding anything extra into your routine – but gaining lots of benefits.

Balance exercises help you:

  • become more body aware (you know where your body/limbs are in space), so you decrease the chance for falls and injuries
  • improve coordination by causing muscles and muscles groups to work together to balance.
  • improve the stability of your joints – especially your ankles, knees and hips!
  • improve your reaction time – when your balance is tested, your body has to learn to react fast to upright yourself.

If you are new to balance exercises, start out slow and use a progression:

  1. Hold on to a wall or steady piece of furniture with both hands.
  2. Hold on with one hand.
  3. Use only a few to one finger to hold.
  4. Lift both hands slightly away from the wall or furniture so they can grab on as needed.
  5. Move to trying it while brushing your teeth.  You may need to hold on with one hand or a few fingers, and that’s ok.  Work your way up!  You are improving your balance and doing a great job!!

I’ve been doing this daily for a week now and have really noticed a difference in how quickly my muscles fire and react when my balance is tested.

Lesson from a chiropractor

I wrote the other day about trying to be more true to myself, and not shy away from any potential conflict my true desires might create.

Well, today I was put in my place by the person I least expected that to happen from – my chiropractor.

I like my chiropractor – he’s skilled, friendly, a bit sarcastic and most importantly, is helping my hip heal.  But he’s always been more of a joker.  Teasing me about wearing my UNC sweatshirt the weekend after they lost in the NCAA tournament.  Telling me bad jokes about parenting.  Things like that.

Today, he said in his normal, casual voice – “Look, I know you are a busy Mom, but you got to take care of yourself.”  He took the example of the shoes I was wearing.  They are old (way too old for me to admit how long I’ve had them), worn and give me no support.  I only wear them when running errands – I have nice, new exercise shoes.  But he was like, look, you need to support yourself no matter what you are doing.  Wow.  He was talking about my body and footwear choice, but it hit me where I needed to hear it.

Yep, I put everybody first.  That’s how I was raised as a good southern girl.  And I like the way I was raised – and am not saying that it is a bad thing to want to care for others.  But you shouldn’t neglect yourself.  And he’s right – I do.

I do things for myself while my son is at preschool, like exercise, and feel like I’ve done my self care.  And while that is self care, I would never, ever go to an exercise class while my son is not at preschool – I would never “burden” my husband with having to care for him.  That’s just silly and needs to stop.  My husband is fully capable of caring for him.  And I am perfectly capable of taking care of myself.

 

How to Be Me

I’ve been struggling with this for a while.  With some aspects, I’m all me.  I’m stubborn to a fault with some things and will not change for anybody or anything.  But other things, I tend to hide, fade away, not show my true feelings.  Usually those things come at the expense of rocking a boat I do not want to rock.

I have found myself holding back a lot lately – not making my voice heard, and not doing what I want.  There are reasons, which I won’t go into here, but mainly it’s to keep the peace.  Whether or not me doing what I want or making my voice heard will break the peace is unknown – but it’s a possibility, so that’s what scares me from doing so.

But lately, I’ve been bored, sad and scared.  And that’s no way to live my life.

I’m bored with my normal routine.  I don’t see or interact with a lot of people during the day, except for my young son.  I do work, but I work from home so all my correspondence is pretty much via email.  And my daily routine, while efficient and typically flies by, does not excite me or bring me joy.

I’m sad because of all this.  I crave friendship – companionship – understanding, and I don’t get that during my day to day life.  I want to be challenge – both physically and mentally.  Right now with my injury, physical challenge is not to be had.  But mentally even that’s a bit dulled down.  I’m alone and bored, and that makes me sad.

And I’m scared.  Scared to step out of my comfort zone.  Scared to “rock the boat” and have to face the consequences.  Scared to fail.  Scared to upset someone.  Scared that my life will be this sad and boring for the rest of my life.

I feel like I need a personal coach sometimes – someone to tell me to get up, get going and stop sulking.  Someone to say – do this now.  It’s the right time.  Live your life.  Be happy.  Find joy.  Forget about your fears.  Do what you want to do.  See that vision you have for yourself – go out and make it happen.

I’m trying to be that for myself now.  Among the responsibilities and so forth, of course.  But trying to think of ways I can be joyful and do what I want – make my visions a reality.  It’s hard to think this way without bringing up fears.  It’s hard to set those aside and unleash the dream wagon.  But it’s time.  If not now, when?

And now that I’ve covered many clichés in this post, I’m off to try to think of a vision, and make it happen!

5 Tips for Surviving Injury Boredom

When you are an athlete or an avid exerciser, an injury is devastating.  Not only do you worry about losing strength, endurance and skill, but your whole schedule and routine is thrown for a loop.  What are you going to do now?

I injured my hip flexor a few weeks ago.  At first I thought it had just cramped up on me and I needed to work through it – so I did, without any issues, for 3 days.  Then day 4 came, and I don’t know if it was the speed skaters, the jump squats or the sprints that did me in, but boy oh boy did that create a very real hip injury.  It hurt to walk the next day.  So I quickly called the sports medicine clinic and made an appointment.  I was hoping a few treatments and I’d be good.  Here I am entering week 3 and I’m still not back to my normal routine.

So yes, I worry about all the progress I’ve made and now lost.  I worry about starting again at the gym.  I worry about being out of shape.

And I’m not really sure what to do with the extra time I have.  Most people would love having extra time – and me included, but not when it comes at the expensive of my workout.

So I go to the sports clinic twice a week for treatments.  And on days I don’t go there – I go to the gym and do upper body only machines – no I’m not allowed to do anything but that.  I try to challenge myself with heavy weights, or lots of repetitions with lighter weights, but it’s definitely not the same as my Burn Boot Camp workouts that I truly love.   I also do my obligatory 5 minutes of hip stretching every morning and night.  Yawn.  I’m bored.

So here’s a few things I’ve come up with to help me beat my injury-recovery boredom:

  1. Cook ahead of time.  I usually spend my weekends making waffles, pancakes, muffins, veggie nuggets, etc. for my son.  I bake and freeze whatever is needed.  So instead of going to the gym while the young one is learning and playing away at preschool, I go ahead and bake/freeze.
  2. Take care of myself in different ways.  For me, I love to read.  I usually have about 30 minutes at night that I can read – and I make the most of that time.  So I’ve been reading a lot more during the day.  It’s fantastic!
  3. Clean out.  I hate the amount of junk that’s in my house now.  I’m pretty sure it’s quadrupled since I’ve had my son.  So I’ve been cleaning out stuff.  Some for donation, some for selling, some are just trash.  But it feels good to have empty drawers and shelves in the house again (that I’m sure will be promptly filled up next week when my son turns 2).
  4. Run errands without a child.  It’s rare that I get a trip to the grocery store or Target without a toddler.  And it’s glorious to be able to take my time, browse a little, read a few nutrition labels, without a kid squirming and making his “I’m frustrated” noise.
  5. Keep your goals in mind – but look at them from a different perspective.  I love to workout – the exercise part of health has always come easy for me.  But the nutrition – well, I also love chocolate and burgers, so that’s the harder part.  And while I have in no way revamped my diet during these 2 weeks, I have noticed changes that need to be made and am working to improve upon them.  I’m eating more protein sources for snacks instead of crackers.  I’m cutting back on the amount of caffeine I’m consuming and drinking more water.  I’m making egg white sandwiches and oatmeal more of a breakfast routine than eating some of the waffles I prepared for my son.  (I have yet to kick the pb&j for lunch habit though.   I’m all about that lately.)

The important thing to do when recovering from an injury is to focus on what you can do, not on what you can’t.  Have a lower body injury?  Focus on gaining strength in your upper body.  It’s all in the way you view things!

Book Review: The Rules of Magic by Alice Hoffman

I bought this book for a book club in December, but just now got around to reading it.  It is a haunting tale of 3 siblings born into a family of witches in the 1960s.  They discover they have special powers at a young age, despite their parent’s trying to hide it from them.

The siblings, 2 girls: Franny and Jet, and 1 boy: Vincent, learn of a family curse while visiting their aunt one summer.  Terrible things will happen if they fall in love.  The siblings try to stay away from love, but it somehow finds them.  The curse is strong, and many sad and troubling events occur.  Do they give in to the curse or fight it?  That’s the internal struggle of all three.

I enjoyed this book, though it took me a bit to get into it.  The beginning was full of magic and potions, which isn’t exactly my cup of tea.  But as the book progressed, and the siblings aged, the story of the battle with love and the curse was breathtaking.  It kept me going back for more.  It was dark, sad and at times very depressing.  I found myself routing for the siblings to overcome the curse and find love and happiness.  The ending, while it can be seen as happy, was still true to the story in it’s darker theme.

The author does a great job of tying the curse into a real life lesson.  Terrible things happen – that’s a fact of life.  Is it because of a curse – or is it just part of life?

I would recommend this book.  I enjoyed it more than I thought it would.  If you are a fan of magic and don’t need a traditional happy ending, this is definitely a good choice for you.  If you are looking for something different to read, this is also a great choice.

Fear & Sadness

I’m hesitant to put this out there but I feel the need to write about it.  I’ll try to steer away from specifics as to not hurt feelings and make a mess.  Because that’s not the intention.  The intention is self healing.

There are people in my life I’ve always had a bad relationship with, and they are people that I must have a relationship with.  The how’s and whys of how it got bad are not needed – but it’s not healthy in any kind of way.

Lately the words that have been said by certain people have gotten harsher, bolder and just plain mean and hurtful.  And while I’m one of the parties being hurt, I also feel stuck in the middle.  How can I keep having a relationship with someone who consistently says mean things about me?  I haven’t found an answer to that.  And that brings about a lot of fear and sadness.

I’m scared.  I’m scared this is just going to ruin my beautiful little family.  I have so many blessings and an intense love for my little family.  And the anxiety and anger this unhealthy relationship brings about threatens the happiness of my little family.  And I’m scared for the beautiful visions of the future I have for my family.  Will they happen?  I hope so – but I feel it’s not certain.  And that scares me.

I’m scared because I’ve tried.  Whether people realize it or not – I have tried a lot and I have tried very, very hard.  I’ve done everything someone else has suggested to me, and it doesn’t help – ignoring it, seeing it from the other person’s point of view, even counseling.  Nothing has helped.

I’m not the type of person who deals with negativity well.  And I can’t ignore it when it’s in my face.  I have accepted this flaw about myself.  I can’t make something that is personal, not personal.  That’s not my nature.

I’m sad.  I’m sad that I can’t make this work.  I feel like I’m less of a person since I can’t seem to handle the stress of this bad relationship.  Even though I know I’ve tried, I still feel like a failure because I can’t ignore it.  The problem is not going away – I just have to find a way to deal with it.  And it hurts me too much for me to do that.  And that makes me sad.

And I’m sad that this is happening.  It doesn’t make sense to me.  Of course, none of us really think it makes sense for someone to mistreat us.  But I just don’t get it.  I mean, I do understand the root issue of it, because, as I’ve said before, I did put myself in the other persons shoes.  But the root issue is not something to mistreat me over – and frankly it’s not even about me.  Though I doubt the other person has thought deep enough to realize it’s not personally about me – so they make it personal.  It’s just sad that this is happening because there is no need, no use, no true reason for it.  Things could be happy for ALL of us, but one person decided that it can’t be.  That’s not fair.  And my life may be torn apart because of it.  And that makes me sad.

Core Exercise Routine

Last week I tweaked a hip flexor/adductor.  I’m not really sure which one, but it was pretty tight on me last week.  Luckily I could stretch it out a bit and all was fine.  Until Friday – oh Friday.  Athletic Conditioning day really made that tendon angry.  So now I’m a bit hobbled and oh so missing my workouts.

While I can go to 2 workouts this week that are upper body – the rest involve too much hip action so I’m at home trying to figure out my own hip-friendly routine.  Luckily a lot of core work is fairly hip friendly and I’m able to do a good bit of it at home.  And since I love working abs – that makes some of the frustration of not being able to go to the gym every day less.

Here’s an at home Ab Workout I did this week.  There are a few links below for some of the exercises in case you are not familiar with my vernacular.

ab exercises

Hope you have fun!

I’m off to the chiropractor to figure out what is causing my hip pain.  Fingers crossed for me!!

Supermans: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cc6UVRS7PW4
Side Plank Dips: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LgaYt4Hi6-g
Side Crunches: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TVfzmxQYTdA
Forearm plank toe taps: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wtgjQYcL1NI