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Just Stress

Just Stress

A while back I took a meditation class. As is the case for many gatherings, people tend to drift in at slightly different times — some a little early, some right on time, and some a little late. As we were waiting for our later arrivals, we began to talk. 

When one of the attendees was asked how she was doing, she responded frankly. She was experiencing a lot of stress, but was thankful it was just stress. As you can imagine, this provoked some inquiry. The stressed attendee clarified that she was making some big life transitions. But she was able to experience some relief because the stress came and went in waves. She compared this to the anxiety she was used to.  With anxiety, her stress was consistently with her — from the moment she woke up to the moment she went to bed.

This wise lady drew on her past hardships to give her strength and courage during her present ones. 

This a time when many of us are currently experiencing hardships. Once we’ve survived a hardship, it’s tempting to move the memory to the back of our brains. However, there may be a better way. Maybe — just maybe — taking some time to reflect on times you overcame some past hardships can help you overcome the ones your currently dealing with. 

You may also find hope and strength by facing and actively working to overcome some of your current struggles. If you’re struggling with your health and wellness, don’t be afraid to reach out to a health coach or fitness professional. They may be able to help. 

Thanks for reading. I hope you have a safe and healthy month.

Why are we standing in a longer line?

Why are we standing in a longer line?

This may sound weird, but I would sometimes stand in the longer line in a particular grocery store. I did this so that I could spend a couple of moments in the company of a cashier who exuded positivity. I’m fairly confident that I wasn’t the only one who did this, because he seemed to be busier than the other cashiers.  

This cashier’s name-tag read Tommy Light*. I don’t know if that was his real name or not, but it was certainly fitting. His warmth and good-natured attitude radiated around him. I first came across Tommy Light during a difficult time in my life, but I always felt uplifted after an interaction with him. 

We humans are social creatures. To feel our best, we need human interaction — some more than others. Since COVID-19 hit, most of us have been “socially distancing.” Socially distancing may have kept us safer, but it has come at a cost for some of us — feeling more isolated than ever before. 

One of the wonderful things about the health and wellness field is that it can be very social. I’m not advocating that you throw caution to the wind, but some kind of real human interaction (with proper precautions) may help you feel better. This could be a live-streaming personal training session, an in-person personal training session with proper precautions, a live-streaming group exercise class, or a health coaching call. 

Just as many shoppers were willing to spend more time at the grocery store to have a positive interaction with another human being, I think you may find it beneficial to have a more meaningful coaching or training experience with a fellow human. 

Thanks for reading. I hope you have a safe and healthy month.

*Names were changed in this story.

I don’t know

I don’t know

Anyone who has worked with a young child has probably been asked many questions. Some are easy to answer; What’s your favorite color?” Some are more complex; “Where does the rain come from?” Then there are some questions that are so complicated they don’t have clear cut answers. 

It’s sometimes hard to tell a child, who expects you — the adult — to have all the answers, that you just don’t know. It can be tempting to deflect the question rather than see that disappointed look in their eyes when you can’t produce an answer. However, it’s important for children to realize that we are still figuring some things out. There are still opportunities to learn and grow—even when we’re adults.

As we all  hear over and over again, these are unprecedented times. I will be the first to admit that I don’t know how these unprecedented times have affected you, my dear reader. Maybe you are struggling to maintain the healthy habits you developed before COVID-19 or maybe during COVID-19 you decided it was time to make your health a priority. If either of those resonate with you, it might be time to ask for some help. A health coach or fitness professional likely won’t have all the answers, because bodies are complicated. However, they may be able to help to guide and support you along your journey to a healthier body.

Enough

Enough

A while back a new student approached me at the end of a yoga class I taught and said with a smile — “I don’t care what you say about yourself, you’re alright.” At the time, I was fortunate enough to have had lots of training, teaching experience, and positive student feedback, so the comment didn’t resonate with me. However, had I heard that comment when I was just beginning to teach yoga and fitness, I probably would have had a different reaction.   

I began to wonder how many of us tell ourselves negative stories about ourselves. How many of us think that we are not alright or good enough? That we aren’t able to get a healthier body and don’t deserve to have one? These stories — these untrue stories — hold us back. They make us want to quit our fitness and wellness journeys before they have even started.   

If you’ve been hearing some of these negative stories on repeat, I encourage you to seek help from a health coach or other professional. They may be able to help you reframe your stories so that you can get on the right track and stay on the right track. 

Thanks for reading. I hope you have a safe and healthy month.

Everybody is on their own path

Everybody is on their own path

We are all unique. Your values, past experiences, and current circumstances cause you to experience the pandemic in one way, and someone who has different values, past experiences, and current circumstances will experience the pandemic in a different way. However, I think we can all agree that COVID-19 has had an impact on the way we — each and every one of us — live our lives. 

Since we are different, we may need support in different ways. If you think you could benefit from working with a health coach, personal trainer, or yoga instructor, please feel free to reach out to me or someone else in the field. Even though we may be different, we don’t have to cope with this experience this alone.

Thanks for reading. I hope you have a safe and healthy month. 

Quantity vs. Quality

Quantity vs. Quality

Getting to live and work with people from all over the country — and even the  world — was one of the great things about being an outdoor educator. Interacting with people from so many different backgrounds helped me see different perspectives and taught me many important life lessons. One of these lessons was the difference between quality and quantity. 

While I had learned this lesson and applied it to various aspects of my life, it wasn’t until a fellow teacher bought a chunk of cheese that I realized that this philosophy also applies to food. I learned about this cheese on the way back from the grocery store. Since we lived in a remote location, every weekend we carpooled to a nearby town for groceries. On the way home from one such excursion, my fellow teacher announced that she was able to find some good cheese. When none of us seemed impressed, she plucked it out of the grocery bag resting on her lap and showed it to us. One of of my fellow teachers caught a glimpse of the price and almost choked on the water he was drinking. We weren’t making much, and investing so much money in a small block of cheese seemed ridiculous when you could get a couple of huge blocks for the same price. 

She didn’t think spending money on high-quality cheese was ridiculous at all. She explained that because this cheese was so good, she didn’t use nearly as much. Therefore, the price didn’t really matter. Most of us were skeptical at first, but as the week wore on we did indeed notice that she was using the cheese sparingly. One night when we were all in the kitchen making our own separate meals, one of my fellow teachers asked if she was even able to taste the cheese on her food. She smiled and offered us each a small bite of what she had prepared. It was delicious and flavorful. It would’ve taken heaps of the cheese I purchased to get a similar effect.

Both quantity and quality are important, but often we often neglect quality in favor of quantity. Anyone who has gotten an overuse injury from repeatedly exercising with poor form, had a restless night’s sleep, or dug through a stuffed closet in an attempt to find something decent to wear knows that more isn’t always better. Sometimes more is just more. Prioritizing quality over quantity can do more than enhance the flavor of a dish — it can enhance your health. If you’re not sure where to start, I encourage you to seek guidance from a health coach or other qualified health professional. 

Thanks for reading. I hope you have a safe and healthy week.

Just Show Up

Just Show Up

This has been a challenging week, and I’m not exactly sure what I should write. Still, I made a commitment to myself and you— my dear reader— that each week I would post something that would hopefully motivate you to live a healthier life.    

Becoming healthier is a journey. It involves committing to healthy habits. Creating these healthy habits isn’t easy, and sometimes — like when life gets difficult — it’s tempting to let these habits go. But it’s important to find ways to honor your commitment.

When things get crazy, it is even more critical to still show up and do what you can do. Maybe that means you put on your workout gear and work out for 5 minutes. You may find that after 5 minutes of exercise, you find the energy and motivation to complete another 25 minutes. Maybe you don’t even complete the five minutes because the food’s cooking quicker than you thought it would, but you still put on your workout clothes and did what you could. That’s good too — you showed up. Maybe you could keep your workout clothes on and do some exercise after dinner? 

This blog is my way of showing up for you. With a pandemic in our midst, it is more important than ever to make a commitment to creating and maintaining healthy habits. If you need help, please reach out to me or another health coach or fitness professional. 

Thanks for reading. I hope you have a safe and healthy week.  

Stressed Out about COVID-19

Stressed Out about COVID-19

Recently, I was talking to someone who is considered “high risk” for dying from COVID-19 if they catch it. I was relieved to hear that while they were taking precautions to protect their health, they weren’t abnormally stressed. They calmly explained that excessive fear about the virus would increase their chances of catching it. Science actually backs this up. According to the American Psychological Association, stress weakens your immune system. 

I realize that these past couple weeks have been a challenging time for many. When we’re constantly bombarded with bad news, it’s hard not to get stressed. That’s why it is so important to take time to consciously de-stress. Many people find practicing yoga, meditating, and being in, or looking at nature to be relaxing. However, there is no “right way” to relax. There may be other activities you find calming such as painting, playing an instrument, petting a beloved pet, knitting, spending time with your grandchild, etc. 

If you haven’t been able to relax recently, I encourage you to dedicate some time and do something you find relaxing. If you’re not sure where to begin, I encourage you to experiment with activities that have helped you in the past or activities that sound appealing to you. Of course, you don’t have to take this journey alone. A health coach may be able to help you select a relaxation technique that works for you and provide support as you make that relaxation technique a habit.

Lonely

Lonely

There’s a saying in economics, “There ain’t no such thing as a free lunch,” and the effort to curtail the spread of COVID-19 is no exception. I think we can all agree that the mandates in use to flatten the curve have repercussions. During this challenging time, many of us are bearing some kind of burden—some more than others.  

One of these repercussions is loneliness. It sounds obvious, but maybe it needs to be said more simply — social distancing is isolating. Whether you are living alone or living with family, it is likely that your face-to-face interactions have either dwindled drastically or become practically non-existent. Those few interactions outside of the home that remain, such as seeing others at the grocery store, are strained at best, as everyone tries to follow the social distancing procedures.

If you’re feeling lonely, please know that you aren’t alone. Many people are wading through the same difficult feelings you are. I encourage you to reach out to others with the tools that are still available to you whether it’s a phone call, text message,  FaceTime, Zoom, Skype, etc. 

I also encourage you to exercise because research shows that exercise can help improve your mood. If you are new to exercise or are unsure how to exercise within the confines of your home, I encourage you to reach out to a virtual trainer or coach. Not only will you gain the benefit of connecting with someone, they can also help you safely develop or adapt a workout to your specific needs.

Thanks for reading. I hope you have a safe and health week.  

The Power of Breath

The Power of Breath

Breathing is so powerful. Taking a moment to focus on your breath can make many hardships easier to manage.  

As a child, I understood the importance of being able to breathe well because I suffered from asthma. Sometimes I could hardly breathe and needed the assistance of an inhaler to be able to take a deep breath. Thankfully, my condition improved. Unfortunately, with my inhaler and the threat of another attack gone, I no longer respected and appreciated my ability to breathe. In fact, I often forgot that I was even breathing. It wasn’t until I began practicing yoga that I paid attention to my breath again. 

However, you don’t have to suffer from a respiratory disease or practice yoga to bring your awareness to your breath. All you have to do is take a moment to check in—to notice your breath. 

While this sounds simple, often it isn’t. If you would like some help with this, don’t be afraid to reach out to a meditation coach, yoga instructor, or other qualified professional. There are some different techniques and tools they can show you that may help.

Thanks for reading. I hope you have a safe and healthy week.