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The Emergency Snack

The Emergency Snack

I used to have trouble regulating my blood sugar. After one very frightening incident, I resolved to have food on me at all times – and I do mean all times. I even took an emergency snack with me to local restaurant outings in case the food wasn’t served fast enough. Depending on the situation, I would bring more or less food. 

The day I took a two-hour flight was no different. Because I had eaten right before my trip, was planning on eating right after, and knew that I would be offered a snack on the flight, I took a protein bar and some carrot sticks just in case.

On the flight I found myself sitting in the window seat next to a cute little girl with short dark brown hair and her mother. As soon as the plane starts to take off, the girl starts complaining that she was hungry. I heard her mother tell her that the flight attendant would offer her a snack soon, but the girl protested that she couldn’t wait.

Of course, I knew what it felt like to not to be able to wait. When my blood sugar began to drop, I needed to eat something right away.

Without hesitation I offered the more filling half of my emergency snack to the young girl–the protein bar. Her mother thanked me as the girl ripped open the wrapper, took a huge bite, and then promptly spit it out. She said it was gross.

My heart fell as I began to realize the enormity of my mistake. She obviously hadn’t needed the bar, but what if I did? Would carrot sticks be enough? Thankfully, I didn’t need the bar either.

I know my story isn’t unique. One of the reasons I’m so passionate about helping caretakers is I find we sometimes take care of others at our own expense. If this story resonates with you, it may be time to invest in yourself so that you can more effectively help others.      

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

Small Changes, Big Difference

Small Changes, Big Difference

If you listened to the top 40’s in 2007, you are definitely familiar with the song Bleeding Love by Leona Lewis. It was a very popular song, and it seemed like they were playing that song everywhere: grocery stores, restaurants, drug stores – you name it. In the song, she says numerous times that she is “bleeding love.”

I must have heard that song a hundred times before my coworker said it sounded like she was singing that she was “bleeding blood.” I thought that was interesting. I’d never heard blood instead of love – until she said that. Then it was hard not to hear blood. With that simple word change the song went from being a hopeless romantic ballad to something much darker.

Just like one small tweak in the song’s lyrics changed the meaning of the song, a small tweak in an exercise can have a big impact. As a personal trainer, I’ve been asked what the “right way” to do an exercise is. The truth is, it’s a little more complicated than a right way and a wrong way. Of course, using improper form can lead to injury and some exercises are not advisable for certain people. However, there are usually many different “right ways” depending on what your intention is. Small changes in the exercise can change what the exercise does.

If you aren’t getting the results you want from your exercise program, you may want to seek the help of a fitness professional. They may be able to show you small adjustments that can make a big difference.

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

The Commonality Between Health Journeys and Raindrops

The Commonality Between Health Journeys and Raindrops

Because we have been experiencing some rain lately, I’ve found myself watching the raindrops accumulate on my window. While I’ve witnessed this happen many times, this time I saw it in a new light.

It was as if these raindrops were on a journey with the eventual goal of making their way to the bottom of the window. I watched as the raindrops splattered all over the window. Sometimes, with a little time, they were able to start their journey on their own. Many times, it took another raindrop joining forces with them to start moving.  

It reminded me a lot of our health journeys. We all start in different places. Some of us start out at the top of the window and have a long journey filled with many obstacles, while some of us have a shorter one. Regardless of the distance, sometimes we get stuck. Some of us are able to devour information on health, and then implement what we’ve learned. Many times, we don’t have the time or energy to devout to learning the tolls and skills we need. Alternatively, we may have an idea of what to do – but aren’t able to implement it on our own. Instead, we benefit from more assistance- a personal trainer, health coach, or other fitness professional to guide us.

If you’re stuck, and would like some assistance, I encourage you to seek some guidance. While of course I’d love to help you, if you don’t live in the Greenville area and aren’t comfortable working virtually, I hope you find someone in your neighborhood to assist you.

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

Good Action Bad Timing

Good Action Bad Timing

I remember waiting for my ride to pick me up from Kindergarten. My best friend’s mother would pick me up, and I could hang out at their house for several hours until my mother got off work. Because my best friend attended a different school, sometimes they were a couple of minutes late. I didn’t mind. I found a nice rock in the shade outside my classroom that allowed me to see the street. I’d patiently wait there until I’d hear my best friend call my name as she pulled open the blue minivan’s door. Then I’d run over to the van and jump in.     

One day I waited for what seemed like a long time. I looked around and realized I couldn’t see any kids milling around or any cars pulling up to the school. Just as I was starting to worry, another friend came up to me skillfully bouncing a big red ball with her right hand. “What ya doing?” she asked. I explained that I was waiting for my ride.

“You can wait later” she said. “It’s recess. Come play with us.” I remember the relief flooding my body. Suddenly it made sense that everyone had disappeared. They had all run to the playground without me realizing it. I joined her and some of my other friends in a game of four square. 

Just like there was a time for me to play and a time for me to wait for my ride, there is a time to take care of others and a time to take care of yourself. Both actions are needed. If you’ve been noticing that you’re always caring for others, it’s time to take care for yourself too.

As a fellow caretaker, I know that caring for ourselves is often harder than caring for others. If you don’t know where to begin or what do in order to have more good days, I encourage you reach out to myself or another qualified health professional.

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

Relax!?

Relax!?

Have you ever had a hard time unwinding from your day? Unfortunately, this is not uncommon for us caretakers. As a caretaker, it’s hard to power-down and relax because our actions have weight. While caretaking roles vary (from nurses to teachers to grandparents to veterinarians), all of them involve responsibility.

One day was especially difficult for me. At home, hours after leaving work, I found myself still emotionally clocked in to work. At the time I was working with an organization that helped families develop healthy lifestyles. It was a very rewarding job, but it was also very challenging. On this particular day, we were short-staffed. Plus, the kiddos we were working with were so excited about that day’s activities, it was hard to teach them the corresponding lesson. After work I wanted to relax, but my mind had other ideas. I couldn’t stop thinking about my day. The more stubbornly I told myself to stop thinking, the faster my mind seemed to churn.  

I decided to take a yoga class in hopes that it would clear my head.  My yoga teacher said something at the beginning of class that really resonated with me. “No amount of thinking can stop you from thinking.” After hearing this, I stopped the internal war in my head. As the rest of the class moved from pose to pose, I rested in child’s pose and allowed myself a couple minutes to fully reflect on my day without distraction or judgement. What strategies had we tried that seemed to work well in that situation? What strategies could we try in the future if that situation ever happened again? Once I allowed myself to gain the insight I needed, I was able to relax, rejoin the class, and become present.

Taking time to both reflect and relax is particularly important for caretakers, because it allows us to perform our tasks better. Refreshed and prepared, we can solve problems better and help more. If you’re having trouble relaxing on your own, I encourage you to seek some support. Maybe you, like me, will find a yoga instructor’s guidance helpful. Maybe yoga isn’t your thing, and you may benefit from working with a health coach or personal trainer instead. There are many other relaxation tools and strategies that a fitness professional could share with you.

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

Paused or Stopped?

Paused or Stopped?

Have you ever taken a moment to pause in the midst of a difficult situation? Pausing can be powerful. It can help you gain perspective so you can handle a situation in a more effective and calm manner.

If you’re like me, pausing doesn’t come naturally. It’s easy to continue on without rest or allow a pause to become a full stop. Pausing is skill that can be developed and nurtured. With the new year just beginning, this is a great time to develop your internal pause skills.

Therefore, I encourage you to take a moment to pause and honestly reflect on want you want to cultivate in your life this year. Below are some questions you may want to consider.  

In the midst of the craziness of the past year have you let some important pauses become stops? Can you move and go about activities of everyday life with ease? Do you have a fitness routine? Are you still doing it? If you do, is the routine missing something? Would you benefit from support from a professional who can guide you to a balanced fitness routine and help you make it a habit? Are you eating meals that nourish your body so that you feel good and energized throughout the day? Could you maybe use some support and guidance to make healthier choices?

Maybe pausing to answer these questions has helped you realize that you need some guidance. If that’s the case for you, I encourage you to reach out to a personal trainer, health coach, or other health professional.

Thanks for reading. Happy New Year! I hope you have a safe and healthy month.   

I think you can…I think you can

I think you can…I think you can

A while ago I worked with a student who was convinced that they couldn’t do something. This student told me that I was asking them to do the impossible. Because they were so convinced that they were going to fail, they didn’t even want to try.

It’s hard to hear such negative and defeatist talk from someone — especially someone so young. I always praised their efforts. I told them I didn’t care if they won or lost. I just wanted them to try their best. I pointed out their progress over time and told them that if they continued to work hard, they would continue to get better. Despite having many of these conversations, it didn’t seem like I was getting though. Then one day that student excitedly yelled over to me that they had just completed the task with flying colors.

Just like this student, many of us have tasks that we wish we could accomplish but seem impossible to us. The task may be impossible, but we don’t know until we try – and try – and try again. Growth and progress take time. If you’re feeling discouraged, don’t hesitate to get a coach who has studied the task you’re trying to complete. They may be able to see things more objectively so they can guide and encourage you down the road to success. With a good strategy, some determination, and a lot of hard work, you too might be able to complete your task with flying colors.

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

Do the Work

Do the Work

I was lucky to take my yoga teacher training class with many talented and interesting people — including a former circus acrobat. According to her, becoming a circus acrobat is extremely competitive. Whenever she was passed up for a position, she didn’t get discouraged because she knew the person who was chosen had trained more. This perspective provided her with the motivation to do more work. Most of us do not have the dedication, motivation, physical capability, or desire to perform acrobatic feats high up in the air in front of a paid audience. However, many of us do have other physical aspirations. 

You may want to do something completely new like a yoga pose featured on a website or it may be something you can no longer do with ease like getting up and down from the floor, carrying a heavy object, or being able to conquer several flights of stairs. I think most of us can see the logic in training for something that you were never able to complete. 

What is harder to understand is that training can also help you regain the abilities you may have lost. Because you probably don’t remember it—I certainly don’t—it’s easy to forget that the ability to perform activities of daily life took training to achieve in the first place. As a a toddler, we all had to “train” in order to develop balance, coordination, strength, and stamina. Training as an adult may help you to regain these skills.

If you’re ready to do the work, and are looking for some guidance, don’t be afraid to reach out to a health or wellness professional. Maybe they can help you get on the right track and provide the accountability you need to stay the course and do the work. 

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

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.