Tag Archives: balance

Sister perspectives: what rest does.

I’ve rustled up my sis Jess from her blog retirement for this post and I am so glad she wanted to write this with me  as it is a topic that is near to our hearts but also one we both wrestle with more often than we probably care to admit.

Rest.  We talk about doing it, we do it sometimes, but do we *really* do it fully and believe in why we are doing it? Not always.

As we have both been hit with illness the past couple of weeks, we noticed some major realizations and observations and we share that here, openly, honestly, and fully.

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My perspective:

I believe in rest, and in rest days. I completely do. But I also wrestle with rest days when I feel good, strong, and interested in being active on said rest day. Sometimes I bend that rest day a little, as a result, and almost entirely because I absolutely adore my workouts – my chosen workouts – barre (n9ne) classes and running, primarily, and there are days where it is truly hard to temper that excitement and passion. And I’m not talking miles and miles and miles and doubled up classes (taken). I’m talking a quick (extra) run or a Sunday afternoon class (a rare treat, especially if my sister is teaching!). And Jess and I are really good at tempering each other’s workouts and being that reality check for each other – do you want to run, or do you feel like you have to run. If the latter, don’t even bother. Do you hurt everywhere? Fail. No workout. Nope, don’t even attempt it.  But that doesn’t mean the mental mind games don’t stay behind, even if I’ve agreed to keep that rest day and honor it fully. *That* is what I wrestle with most, far more than stillness.

But illness is a funny thing, isn’t it? Suddenly, you are flat on your back, can barely keep you eyes open, and everything hurts in a hurts so bad way and all you can fathom is recovery and feeling normal again. Nowhere near workout ready.

And as those days pass, where you rest, rest, rest, sleep, sleep, and more sleep, a funny thing happens. You realize what rest does. It renews you, mind, body and soul. It resets you. And it reinvigorates you. And when you come out on the other side of illness, you appreciate your body’s abilities and you learn that it shouldn’t be taken for granted and you shouldn’t do more, more, more, even if your body feels good, because that’s harder and not smarter.

Let’s face it, for example, one really strong run, no matter what distance, pays off far more than a few ‘meh’ runs where you feel like your body doesn’t want to move because your legs are tight, sore, or overworked. One – it’s not nearly as enjoyable as that ‘happy’ and strong run, and two – you aren’t doing yourself any favors in your strength or endurance. What are you accomplishing? Checking a box. That’s it. I’d much rather have one really strong run than three crappy runs. Quality, not quantity.

This is what rest does, and what rest has taught me (especially as I sit here teetering on a cold brewing, but determined not to succumb so soon after the FLU last week!). It is about honoring the rest day, honoring your body’s abilities by resting, renewing and restoring. As I like to say, one day, you won’t turn into a pumpkin. Quite possibly, the reverse. Your body becomes more efficient, more able to recover and well, happier. And who doesn’t want that?!

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Jess’s perspective:

So I’ve been a non-blogger now for almost a year and this is one of the first times that I found myself itching to write. You see, I was down for the count with this funky laryngitis thing that had me sidelined for a week. From everything. The day job – done from my home. In solitude. My beloved barre classes? I had to sub them out. Pained me. My ‘me’ workouts. Gone. I had a lot of time to think. And question.

…how could I possibly be sick after two weeks off from work *and* a quick surprise getaway to Healdsburg (aka ‘my mecca’) with my husband over the holidays? I was uber relaxed. Not worn out in the slightest.

…why was I sick? Besides the obvious – duh I picked up some icky germs somewhere along the way – but truly why. Why now?

And the more I sat and thought about it, sipping on cup after cup of tea with honey (swapping in the occasional hot toddy thanks to a certain Tony, aka Sarena’s husband!) – it struck me.

I hadn’t been valuing rest as much as I proclaimed to value it. My sis and I had this pact at the end of the year, it went something like this:

Stop embracing go-go-go-how-much-can-I-fit-into-my-day mentality and return to the smarter, not harder mentality. A mentality that, admittedly, neither of us had been embracing as much as we’d care to admit. 

Yet, as soon as I got back from wine country, I was ready to go balls to the wall again. Um hi, where did that pact go that we so smartly made right before the new year???

Yup, out the window.

And bam – laryngitis swooped in. Down.for.the.count.

My, my, God has *quite* the sense of humor, I do believe.

As the days went by, and the rest, rest, rest, mentality settled in, I started to really SEE, for the first time, the true value of rest. Every second I spent cuddled under a blanket, not running around doing a million things, not working out or teaching or any of that, not doing much of anything…except for rest…and it amazed me to see my body respond.

I actually wasn’t feeling nearly as sick as I sounded (or didn’t sound, haha), and I think that’s because I rested. My body was working hard to avoid a full-blown case of bronchitis or something far worse and I allowed the rest to seep in.

And I sat there laughing at myself after awhile. Thinking about all those mornings where I sat in a funk, mad at my rest day, not wanting to take the rest, feeling like a superhero and wanting to do it all, be it all. Silly, short-sighted thoughts to say the least.

So now, I sit here recovered and rested and ready to REALLY do what I say and say what I mean.

Embrace rest.

Seems simple. But clearly, I wasn’t really doing that before, nor was I even admitting that to myself. So I was taught (well WE were taught (how ironic that we both got sick nearly at the same exact time…) a very important lesson this past week, whether I (we) wanted that lesson or not, a certain Someone wanted to show me (us) the way.

Nailed it 2013 (and what to nail in 2014)

I loved this idea for a post that Christine wrote and thought I would do my own little take on it, partially as a look back at the year, but also reflecting on areas ‘to nail’ in 2014. Not so much goals, but moreso in the quest of my ‘perfectly imperfect’ journey.

What I’ve nailed in 2013?

Let’s see, I think I’ve done a pretty good job with these, but you’ll notice some of them show up in the ‘what to nail’ list below, and hey, that’s okay. Some of these are ongoing and reminders to me constantly.

  1. Nixing the numbers fixation. I struggled with this a LOT in 2012 and the early part of 2013. From weight, to miles, to food, to everything. I felt compelled to quantify everything, when really, who cares? Who am I competing against but myself, and even then, why is it a competition? It’s not, so cut the sh*t and just live.
  2. Learning to let go. This is a work in progress, but I do feel like I’ve made some big strides here. This really ties in to number one, above, too, because part of my numbers fixation is all about control and *not* letting go. And I am trying to apply this to all areas of my life, including my marriage, because I never want to fall into the trap of constantly nagging, complaining, nitpicking over seriously non-issues, when there is a man that loves me for me, that would do anything for me, that lets E-V-E-R-Y-thing roll off his back and yet, I sit there, uptight and nudgy half the time. That’s ridiculous and not even worth it. So I am learning. And trying to step back, breathe, and then react.
  3. Balancing the ‘me’ workouts with those I teach at barre n9ne. I think every instructor or trainer must face this at one point or another, how to balance their own ‘me’ workouts with those they teach. At first, I tried to keep my usual barre/running routine *and* my classes (which could range anywhere from 6-9 classes a week), but that quickly became a ‘HARDER, not SMARTER’ routine and I was getting nowhere. So I stopped taking classes and just taught them, and ran. And that didn’t feel quite right either, because the first time I took a class in a month, I felt AMAZING after and I realized how much I missed TAKING classes, not just teaching them. So I found my balance in taking a couple of classes a week – less if I taught more, more if I taught less, as schedule allowed – and I think it has not only made me stronger and feel more fit, it has made me a better instructor. I can weave in new combinations of moves I observe other instructors do while I take their class, I realize how certain moves stacked with others tire the body (in a good way) and think about new ideas for my own class structures, and it just lets my mind roam and feel the workout in a way that I don’t feel when I am teaching, and making sure clients are in proper form etc.
  4. Prioritizing.  This has been HUGE for me. I was feeling so rush-rush-rush and busy all.the.time until I started saying no. Until I started prioritizing and putting my time where it mattered most, not spread so thin that I barely enjoyed any of it. I am definitely keeping this one on the list for 2014 and beyond, because prioritizing is truly the simplest way to happiness.
  5. Marrying M. I file this under ‘nailed it’ because, six months ago today, I married the man I was meant to be with, and with each day that passes, I realize more I love about M, more qualities that I adore about him, and more I want to explore and learn together in our marriage. And in the literal sense, I married M in the most perfect way for us than I could have ever imagined. Quietly. Small. In a place that we love, Healdsburg. What more could we have asked for? Bliss.

What to nail in 2014…

  1. Letting go. This is one I have just started to ‘feel’ happening, the change towards letting go and not being so damn particular about things, and I am excited to see it continue to take shape in 2014. It’s been worth it to step back, to release control, especially in my marriage with M, to give that to him more, since he is so laid back and easy about life, the ‘control’ tends to shift to me, and I don’t always think that is best, because it just feeds into my type A-ness and not the good qualities of being type A. And it allows me to sit back and slow down more, when I let go, observe and BE.
  2. Not taking others’ actions so personally. This one has reared its ugly head in the last oh, six months or so, and it’s driving me crazy. There are a few instances of things that have happened in my life that I took SO damn personally and stepping back, they truly had nothing to do with me, as a friend, employee, person. Yet I allowed it to attack my psyche, to bring me down, to draw out the cattiness and some resentment. And those are  ugly qualities. No more. I draw the line here.
  3. Allowing imperfection (more). Dirty dishes, being late (oh this one drives me crazy, but once in awhile, is being say, 5 mins late, for example, the worst thing and reason to get all bent over? uhh no.), changing plans or course of action. Letting these things happen. Letting go, per #1 as above 😉
  4. Stop the comparison trap for good. I really DID nix this one almost entirely this year – tying into the numbers fixation issue I mentioned above, but once in awhile, it still comes back. And it again brings about ugly traits, jealousy, bitterness, frustration. And I am NOT that person. So I vow to rid myself of this need to compare, compare, compare. This isn’t a competition or a race. Compare to nobody, not even yourself.
  5. Slowing down. I have LOVED the slowdown challenge and getting into The In-Between, I just drink up the words and want to sear them into memory forever. There is just so much you see, learn and experience when you slow down, strip away the complications, and keep it simple. It’s truly amazing.

So, there you have it…some things I’ve nailed in 2013 and more I plan to nail in 2014, along with living with intention, of course. What I found most interesting in putting this list together, is how many of them tie together so well, and the themes that rise out of these – simplicity, balance, and embracing. I’d say that’s the only way to live, don’t you?

On compromise and allowing for imperfection

In my quest to continue my journey to letting go and giving way to better balance, I have started to notice some signs that I may just be coming around.

By way of compromise.

I am the queen of anti-compromise. I am all for *other* people compromising, but when it comes to compromise myself, I fully admit I am kinda bad at it. (my sister Jess is likely nodding her head right now…stop nodding so hard, I know, I know!)

Some of these signs of compromise are smaller, some of them are bigger, but they are all signs that maybe, just maybe I am capable of compromise and letting go of the need for perfection and my ‘particular (aka type A like whoa…) ways.

For example…

My numbers fixation. I used to stress about how many workouts I did – my ‘me’ workouts compared to those I teach. Now? I have gotten into a good cadence of balancing those ‘me’ workouts with how many classes I teach in a week. If I teach more, I pare back, if I teach less or equivelant to my ‘norm,’ I go by feel. If I feel good, I’ll try and hit that fourth run of the week, if I am tired,  I may not. Or maybe I’ll – gasp – cut a run short. Something I NEVER would have done a year ago. I’d think about that number too much. Now I have not a clue how far I run usually, unless I know the route already (and I never usually look at the mileage on the treadmill, but go by length of time, if anything). To me, this is  huge progress. Smarter, not harder, ‘phase two’ – my evolving workouts just work for me, I have never felt better, I feel fit, I feel worked, but I don’t feel exhausted, *too* sore (in a bad way, just a good hurts-so-good way) or running on fumes. I feel like I’ve hit the balance I need, and the ‘happy place’ in my mind too. It’s not a constant battle anymore. Compromise does a body good.

Another way? I have eased up – somewhat – on my neat freak attitude. Just a little (‘cmon, this takes time, people, this is a deep seated one!). I actually – gasp – LEFT a dish in the sink overnight soaking and didn’t feel the urge to wash it. As a matter of fact, I completely forgot about it, because I was too engrossed in watching ‘Sideways’ with M (though that movie is somewhat depressing, all of the wine humor and scenery gets me every time), with a cup of tea, curled up on the couch. *That* is much more important than a dirty dish, no? Compromise makes for a less stressy mind, and home.

I’ve also tried to slow down – continually – in my quest to enjoy more each day, and stop stealing my own joy, rushing through the mundane or day to day moments, and tried to enjoy every day, not just weekends, not just when I am with M, or my sisters, or my friends. This one also takes work and concerted effort, but I think the more I focus on it, the more aware and in tune with the ‘in-between’ moments as Jeff Goins would say, I will be. Compromise – choosing battles and calming down – has made me happier day to day.

So, I guess you could say I am feeling pretty peaceful right now, I am allowing for compromise, and imperfection, and simply, just changing my way of thinking just a little, and it’s going a long way.

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Confessions: a perfectly-imperfect riff.

Recently, Christine (who I adore and am so glad I just met!!) wrote a fun post called ‘confessions‘ and I loved it and thought it would make for a great post myself. So, here goes, my riff on ‘confessions’ – perfectly-imperfect.

  1. For as much as I preach on about numbers not mattering and it’s all in how you feel, I confess that sometimes they do ‘count,’ especially when you see the number (on the scale, accidentally!) and are floored by how…good it is. And how proud you feel. And how much you want to hate how proud you felt at JUST A NUMBER. But float on cloud 9 all day as a result.
  2. …but that same number can still turn me into a tailspin of ‘what if’s’ – what if it wasn’t right, what if she read it wrong, what if, what if, what if. there I go, stealing my own joy again.
  3. As often as I crave veggies galore (and kabocha, specifically), I probably crave chocolate – and wine – equally as much, if not more.
  4. For as much as I love running, I hate running. Just a titch. (but I really do love it. No, really. LOL)
  5. I can’t go to bed with dirty dishes in the sink. Or anywhere, for that matter. Yet, I *can* leave a dishwasher full of clean dishes for 24 hours and wash every dish by hand because I hate emptying the dishwasher and was waiting for M to do it 😉
  6. As much as I love social media, I kinda hate it too. Is that weird? I’m rarely on Twitter (getting back to it a little bit), but am all over instagram and snapchat, like whoa.
  7. As hard as I’m working at squashing the comparison-itis bug, I still do it. More often than I’d like to admit, but I have gotten better, much better.
  8. I think I run faster than I did last winter, outside. I have no gauge to that, however, except how I feel, since I don’t, never have, and never will, run with a Garmin (see #1. numbers!).
  9. I am a terrible bullshit artist. If I am caught on a call with a question and it was that very moment I decided to zone out into Facebook-land, thinking my ‘part’ of the call was done, bam, question for moi. I don’t try to fake a real reason, because that’s far more obvious than owning up. Yes?
  10. I have zero attention span these days when it comes to TV. Unless it is Chopped or some other Food Network show, I can’t be bothered. I’d rather just sit on the couch, next to M, and zone out to whatever he’s watching. I used to be a DvR QUEEN and watch tons of shows. Now? notsomuch. Does that make me old? or weird? or both?
  11. bonus confession – for as much as I *think* I’m doing awesome in the ‘letting go’ and giving up control thing, I seriously suck at it. I can do it for, say, a day, but then I’m back to my type A, uber particular ways. Gosh, this is a hard one to break.

So, there ya have it, my perfectly-imperfect confessions. Care to share any? 😉

 

A day of silver linings.

Yesterday was full of silver linings and I would be remiss if I did not share them…in an effort to steer away from stealing my own joy, here is my attempt at capturing that joy *back* and seeing the big things disguised in the little things.

Silver linings…

…when you last minute have to go to NYC for all of oh, 12 hours, airport-to-airport, and a chance meeting with a ‘blend’ comes to fruition.

getting a chance to FINALLY meet Christine yesterday was amazing. I was so touched that she pretty much MADE our meeting happen, on short notice, and battling through quite the cold day to see me at the hotel I was at in midtown NYC.  In talking about life, her yoga training (yay!), barre n9ne, the holidays, work, and everything in between, it was just what I needed to get through a trying trip.

…when all else fails at getting you to get past the fact that this trip on principle was the stupidest idea ever, you actually have a better than expected trip to NYC.

and an EARLIER flight! That never happens! I was able to finagle my way on to a flight FOUR hours before my intended flight, getting me home basically at the time my other flight would have taken off.

…as much as you don’t want to admit that going on this trip might be a saving grace in the employment department, in a time where the future is uncertain, putting the effort in was – begrudgingly – worth it.

This meeting with the CEO was important, I just didn’t want to go, on sheer principle that it was for less than an HOUR. But it went well, it gave me a chance to talk to him more 1:1 and there are far worse – and farther – places I could have been sent. A 45 min flight is not the end of the world.

…and finally, when you get home, and there is a smiling face greeting you at the door, as M came home early that day, unexpectedly, dinner made, errands run (for me!).

It was all I needed and all I wanted after saying goodbye to him that morning at 5:30 am. That, and my head hitting the pillow at 8:45 pm. Yup, I went to bed *that* early and felt like a million bucks this morning, giddily off to teach my 6 am class that I so badly missed the morning prior 😉

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Sometimes, an exercise in silver linings is all it takes to turn a situation around, turn a negative into a positive, and bottom line, shake the negative out of your brain and realize that really, life is not so bad, now is it? One long a$$ day to NYC will be long forgotten by the weekend, and in the name of experience and life opportunities, it was worth doing. And let’s be honest, I have a job, that is a huge silver lining in itself, now isn’t it? I am feeling sheepishly grateful today, and glad to put my negativity over yesterday behind me.

Your turn…think about a situation recently and how you turned it around, I bet you’ll find some silver linings that made it all worthwhile.