Trying to manage a crazy #bossbabe life can be chaotic. I get it. Trust me, I do. As most of you know, I’m not your typical fitness blogger. On top of writing two books and hustling on Life in Spandex, I work a full-time managerial job. Add on errands and maintaining a social life, my schedule is far from relaxed.
However, I always strive to put my health first. There’s a long-time saying, “health is wealth,” and it’s so true. I can let my schedule get the best of me at times. Just this past week I tweaked my neck in a workout. I wasn’t doing anything crazy, just a simple side plank. Right before it happened, my mind started to wander into self-doubt, fear, and impatience about a few things currently happening in my life. I became wrapped up in my thoughts and before I knew it my neck tensed up and completely spasmed. Still battling knee issues, this was the last straw. I realized that something needed to change.
I kept asking myself, what am I doing wrong? I was wracking my brain wondering if I had been over-training. My form is good, my routine is well-balanced, and I’m not exercising more than one-hour or so five to six times per week with one to two total rest days. Other than these minor injuries, I hadn’t had any other over-training symptoms like irritability, insomnia, chronic fatigue, etc. But sometimes mistakes can’t be calculated. Sometimes the cause is something far less concrete – our state-of-mind.
Injuries are never fun. But they feel even worse when you’re a fitness influencer. I questioned myself as a fitness blogger and author. Can you blame me? I could easily stay silent. But, hey, none of us are perfect! And it’s not like I have a track record for being all that private anymore. This hiccup is the perfect opportunity to talk to you about what I’m learning along the way.
Maybe you’re going through something similar – stress, self-doubt, or physical injury. These are all indications that it’s time to make some life refinements. It’s hard to know where to start when you don’t have total control over the outcome. Even as a certified personal trainer, for a couple of days I felt completely stumped, like I had no idea what my body wanted or needed. It was an uncomfortable. Here I am, helping other women when I felt unable to help myself. But after a few days of self-care, experimentation, and reflection, I started to gain clarity by doing these five things.
Whether you’re considering a career change, going through an injury, heartbroken from a break up, or navigating any other transitional part of life, these five tips will help you center your mind and reset your body.
Disclaimer: I’m not certified therapist (like I am a certified personal trainer and nutrition coach). So my knowledge in mental health is limited to my own experiences and the words of wise people around me, like my father, who is a doctor :).
- Check in on your 3 P’s.
My dad told me this week that successful people have three things – peace, perseverance, and patience. Most people are natural at all three. Thank goodness, because life would be boring without learning opportunities! (Slight sarcasm). Checking in with your three P’s includes finding acceptance and gratitude for your life as it currently is, finding resilience during hardships, and realizing that most things in life don’t change overnight.
2. Get outside.
There’s nothing more centering than being in nature. Go outside for a walk, hike, or bike ride. I used to love running outside (before I injured my knees a few months ago). However, forcing myself to do something less intense has given me a whole new perspective on leisurely exercise. Keep your workout separate from this practice so you can concentrate on being a part of the world around you. Listen to the breeze in the trees and sounds of birds or busy streets, smile at a stranger, feel the ground beneath your feet or tires, and notice the color of the vegetation and the sky. These will all send messages to your brain that everything is okay.
3. More is not always better.
I’m sure you’ve heard the saying, “No pain no gain.” Or how about “Train insane or remain the same.” These quotes have never served me well for long-term success. Intense training is not a bad thing, when done correctly. But, if you’re going for intensity during almost every workout and giving yourself minimal rest days, you may find yourself reaching burn out.
The same concept applies for your life. You want to do it all because you’re a #bossbabe, yeah?! Rushing from one thing to the next, constantly pushing yourself to check off the next to-do, and never taking a second to wind down is an easy way to completely stress yourself out. Stress may seem like something you can manage. You may be so used to be strung out you don’t even notice it. Hey, you may even feed off of it at this point. But the damage stress can do on our bodies can be as severe as obesity, hypertension, high cholesterol, and other chronic illness.
I’m not telling you to throw your dreams out the window, to quit your job, or to let your kids run wild, but understanding that your mind and body has limits is vital to long-term health. Set aside even three increments of ten minutes per day to do the two next steps can help you continue crushing goals without disrupting your well-being.
4. Be alone.
Hate being alone? You need this advice more than anyone else. Take time to be with yourself (and no not a date night with your phone and tv). Unplug and find time to practice being comfortable without someone else. So much of life angst comes from not fully accepting or feeling comfortable with who we are. Loving yourself isn’t easy. It takes practice. That’s why we have to make the time!
5. Sit still.
This goes hand-in-hand with number four. Getting outside for a walk is a great way to clear your mind, but acceptance and growth takes stillness. When I walked by the ocean this week, I challenged myself to meditate in a public setting. I sat on a bench looking over the harbor. When I would hear people’s feet shuffle past me, I used the heaviness of their presence to guide me through my meditation rather than distract me from it. I don’t think I could have done this without feeling self conscious eight months ago.
Since January, I have been irregularly practicing guided meditations on Headspace and love the sense of gratitude and serenity I get from a session. It’s really helped me understand the value in sitting still and watching my thoughts pass through my mind. Yes, I said “watching.” In meditation, you don’t control your mind, rather you let it think the way it wants to, noticing how you feel, but not judging it. You can try a 30-day free trial of Headspace or you can even start practicing on your own. Find a comfortable place to sit, close your eyes, and just start counting your breaths, inhale 1, exhale, 2, inhale 3, and so on until you reach ten. Then, start over. If your mind wanders, simply bring yourself back into your practice and start counting again.
Do you find you push yourself too much physically or mentally? What are some challenges you’ve faced being too determined or goal oriented? How do you take time for yourself? Tell me in the comment box below!
Health and happiness,