Zombie Yoga/Some Thoughts On Hope

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When I was in grad school I remember learning about a study on the role that hope has in counseling. When a group of people was studied as they approached and began the counseling process, there was an increase in overall mood just from making the counseling appointment. That is before counseling actually began- it started with getting the appointment on the books. And hope that the appointment would yield some sort of positive change.

Not everyone feels that way. Lots of people dislike counseling or “don’t believe in it” (I hear that a lot), and making that appointment signifies rock bottom. Or a spouse who is forcing them to go.

But for those who buy into the idea, part of their positive change can start with hope as they make their first appointment.

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I thought about this today as I headed out for ACAC (a local gym I belong to). After I wrote a couple of days ago about motivation (or lack thereof) I pretty quickly felt an upswing in hopefulness. Maybe I won’t always feel so stuck. Maybe I will reconnect with my body and treat it well again. Maybe maybe maybe…there’s hope!

There’s also something great about hearing from other people in the same boat. Or people who have hopped out of the boat into another one- one of 10-milers, and exercise classes they enjoy, and more mindfulness around their eating. There’s hope for me in those words.

So I dumped my four kids into the KidZone with every other parent in Charlottesville, on this rainy spring break day. And I rolled into a yoga class (late- but doesn’t yoga mean they have to peacefully accept my lateness?). I had never done this class and it was one of those “notice your breathing for an hour” classes. I felt my forearms lead into my elbows for 20 minutes, then stood up with the rest of the class and turned my head back and forth while whispering “lalalala” for another 10 minutes. We all stared a little blankly (mindfully?) into the distance, slack jawed, moving our heads slowly, and it dawned on me that we looked like yoga for zombies. Lalalala…left. Lalalala…right. Notice your shoulders, spreading like wings. Lalalala… Release your jaw… Lalalala…

I don’t anticipate taking that class again, but after a few weeks of poor sleep and poor eating and feeling at odds with my body, it was nice to check back in with myself. And there’s hope in getting to the gym, even to whisper lalalala for just under an hour. Hope in writing it out and hearing words back to have patience and rest and try something new.

Here’s to hope!

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(I have a long and somewhat complicated relationship with exercise and food (don’t we all?), and you are welcome to read more about it here).

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Let’s Talk Motivation

2015/04/img_2125.jpgdoing arm fart noises

I am in the middle of texting with my friend Keely, who is on day 8 of Whole30. She said she feels good (“damn good”), and I am a little jealous of that feeling.

Not jealous enough to do another Whole30, but maybe jealous enough to clear the junk out of our house and go sugar-free for a while. I feel the effects of Easter sugarfest and am ready to recalibrate my eating a little bit. And exercise- gah. Exercise. Exercise would feel great- and does feel great- but I just can’t rally for it.

Before anyone graciously reminds me that I have four kids and no time- that’s just not true. I have 20 minutes a day to jump around my living room or do leg lifts or something. I just choose not to. I mentally write off the 20 minute opportunity to exercise because if I can’t commit to doing it every day, 20 minutes here and there seems like a waste of a clean sports bra. And I cannot commit to doing it every day. Because…I’m not motivated enough. See that repetitive loop?

2015/04/pict0537.jpgbefore the start of his race, at some ungodly early hour.

My husband stays on track with his exercise by signing up for races. He has another ultramarathon coming up in a few weeks, and that gets him out the door to run. He cranks out 17 or 21 mile training runs with a friend, knowing the race is getting closer. He has figured out that he does better by committing to a race and by training with someone else. Two motivators, to keep himself on track.

2015/04/pict0539.jpgthere are people who started the 50K the evening before so they could run all night and rejoin this crew to DO IT ALL OVER AGAIN. i mean…

I haven’t exactly figured my motivators out yet. I did Whole30, and learned a lot from that. I did a dietbet at the beginning of the year. That was helpful because it motivated me to track my food, which is always enlightening. (I like tracking things to learn more about myself). I was recently gifted a FitBit, which I love for the aforementioned tracking– but I am not competitive enough to make sure I get my recommended 10,000 steps a day. My husband always encourages me to sign up for a race, but my last experience didn’t exactly leave me feeling triumphant and ready for more.

So I hear about Keely… and see my husband trot out his 21 mile training runs… and sort of have this third-person curiosity about what will (finally) get me moving and help me focus well on my eating CONSISTENTLY. Not in little spurts- but over the long haul.

2015/04/pict0572.jpgabout 8 miles to go. i think this was the one where he had pretty much lost all the skin on the back of his heels at this point, coming up the mountain.

I suppose it is just like anything else. Good stretches and hard stretches. Lots of motivation and no motivation. Seasons.

I am curious- if anyone wants to chime in, I would love to know what motivates you and keeps you working toward good health. Does it feel like fits and starts for other people (like it often does for me)? For the more consistent exercisers out there- how did that even happen? I’m sort of in awe of people who just…exercise. Consistently. Just like that.

2015/04/pict0587.jpgdonesies

Just Checking In

I’m not feeling witty or funny, but I do want to write. So.

Four kids. It is a lot of kids, all at once. The highs are high, the lows are quite low. Sometimes when I see all of them together it is just a heart explosion of perfection and loveliness. These kids. I can’t believe they are mine and that they are so awesome.

I mean:

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So much love, the poor baby needed rescuing.

Other times- like every single time I am trying to get us out the door- I am thisclose to harming someone. Words are spoken that shall not be repeated. It gets ugly.

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I am thankful we’ve had some really beautiful days lately. I think the postpartum hormones are doing their hormonal number on me. I started feeling down’ish last week. Sort of a flat, apathetic blahness that I can feel coming on. It’s a plane I hear circling and sometimes it lands for maybe an hour or even a whole afternoon or so. Then it sort of picks up and moves on. I was talking to my friend Caroline about it and she remarked that the good thing is that you know that it will likely move on. That’s the nature of postpartum hormones, for me at least. They come and go. So- I am thankful for the sunny days. They help move that plane along again.

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I have a mental checklist I tick through, when I feel flat:

Sunshine (if possible)
Movement
Eat something good for me (I am killing brussel sprouts these days)
Take vitamins (I don’t know that these do a darn thing, except help me feel like I’m taking care of myself)
Drink water
Be with someone other than just my kids (I met my friend Megan at Sam’s Club one day. That counts. It made a world of difference.)

It’s a weird thing to feel so enraptured with my kids and my husband and my life one minute and like someone rolled over me with a steamroller and left a flattened version of myself, the next.

Ahhhh, hormones. You lovely beasts.

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Cuter than a bag o’ kittens, as they say.*

(*No one actually says that.)