Tag Archives: postaday2011

Getting To The “Liking Your Workout” Stage

In the past I have been lackadaisical at best when it comes to working out.  I know that working out will reduce my stress and anxiety while also helping to lessen the symptoms that I get from my OCD/Bipolar.  I have always wanted to love running and yoga.  I want to be that person that does yoga and feels zen, instead of leaving the mat with shaking, jello legs and sore arms.  I want to be the person that goes for an hour jog and gets so lost in the rhythm that my run turns into two hours before I realize it.  Instead I run for less than a minute and my lungs are screaming for me to stop, everything in jiggling around and I feel like I might pass out.  But every time I start doing it and then stop in frustration and laziness, I find that it pulls me back with a strong call.

Now I am working out again committed to continuing.  I am not loving it yet, but I will get there.

How To Move From Forcing Yourself To Loving It

People eventually get to the point where they love their workouts.  When you look around, you find people who love to run so much that they run marathon lengths when they go out for their daily run.  You will find people who dream all week of their weekend bike rides.  There are people who can’t wait to get up to do yoga and meditation.  It takes time to get to that point.  Anytime you go from couch potato to working out, there are going to be parts of it that suck.  Humans are creatures of habit and to start a workout routine means stepping out of your comfort zone.  It also means taking the time to make a new habit and sticking with it and staying focused and motivated.  Although it is easy to put this in writing, it can seem hard in practice.  But if you get moving and stick with it you might just fall in love with something that is great for you!

Have hope though, there are several ways to get and stay moving.

  1. Think about your fitness goals.  What is the main reason that you want to get in shape or start working out.  Is it to lose weight, run a marathon, set a good example for your family, boost your health etc.?  Write down your goal.
  2. Think about how awesome your life will be once you reach your goal.  Think about it in detail.  Visualize exactly what benefit you will see in your life when you reach your goal.
  3. Write down 3-5 mini steps that you can take to reach your goal.
  4. Start Moving.
  5. When you are really struggling to keep moving or do a workout during that day, look back at your goals and spend a few minutes picturing your life as you visualize it when you reach your goal.

For me personally, I have set a large goal of being able to run a half marathon in November.  Currently I can’t run more than a minute at a time because I get so winded!  I am using interval training (running/walking combo) and trying to just build up to a 5K right now as that is my first mini goal.  I just read a book titled, Born To Run by Christopher McDougall and I would kill to run as easily as the characters in this book.  As embarrassed as I am to admit it, I get through my 30 minute run/walk routine by picturing myself running through the forest as well as the Tarahumara Tribe in Mexico.  Some days I even picture myself as a gazelle running gracefully through the woods.  That makes the workout more bearable although the visualization is not far from laughable!

If you don’t give yourself the time to get through the suck-tastic-ness of the beginning phases of working out, you might not ever know how much you COULD love it.

Letting Resentment And Frustration Go

Let me start by saying that I currently have a pretty great life.  I get to stay home and be with my children and Gary all day long.  I get to work on learning, reading and blogging most anytime that I want.  I am truly fortunate.  However, no matter how great our life is, it seems that sometimes frustration and resentment pop up unexpectedly.  It has been my goal for a while now to reduce the occurrence and duration of these times.

Today I had a chance to practice.  I have a list a mile long of things I would like to do.  I have several books that I am reading, I have several webinars to watch, I have a coaching call that I missed and want to listen to the recording, my laundry pile is starting to become overwhelming, and nearly every bed in the house got peed on last night and now sheets need washed.  It is overwhelming.  As I was folding clothes that have sat clean and unfolded for a week, I caught myself grumbling to myself about all this work I have to do.

Catching Ourselves When We Are Frustrated

This is the hardest part when trying to change our habit of slipping into frustration and resentment.  It is easy to grumble and complain in your head about things going on around you and not even know it. It is like complaining can be on auto pilot.  When you are having a negative conversation in your head it amplifies the stress of whatever situation you are currently going through.

So learning to catch yourself is the first step.  We cannot change that which we are unaware exists.  Monitor your self talk when you are stressed or doing things you wish you were not doing.

You’ve Caught Your Negative Self Talk.  Now What?
Congrats! You’ve actually caught yourself being negative. But now that you have caught yourself being negative or complaining, how do you correct your attitude?

  1. Reframing-The dictionary defines reframing as:  To look at, present, or think of (beliefs, ideas, relationships etc.) in new or different way.  It is both very easy and very hard.  It’s easy to use reframing to help reduce and eliminate negative self talk but hard to remember to do it.  You just find a new way to look at the situation.  For example, I was grumbling while doing laundry today and I thought to myself that I could be homeless and not have laundry to do.  I could be walking miles to get water from a well for my family to use that day.  Things like this will make it easy to stop the negative self talk.  This leads easily into my next step.
  2. Gratitude-After I reframe the situation that I am currently grumbling about, I already feel better about my situation.  The next step that I take to completely change my attitude is to find three things at that very moment that I am grateful for.  This morning I was grateful for the health of my family, the fact I got 6 hours of sleep last night (with only one interruption), and that it was beautiful outside.

Doing both of the steps at the point that you catch yourself grumbling once again that your boss or family doesn’t appreciate all you do, the car broke down, it’s raining, your sick etc., will help you remain more positive through the day.

And isn’t life to short to stay negative anyway?

How To Fill Your Child’s Cup-A Playful Challenge

I have the hardest time playing. I want to have one of those families that laugh and play together. I want to feel okay being silly and at the same time, have a major problem with this. Most parents find it easy to be silly when they have babies and I certainly didn’t have a problem being goofy with my oldest, Jade, when she was young. Toddlers think you are amazing and super funny. You don’t have to do much to entertain them when they are little. As they get older, their play gets more involved and before you know it they want you to play with Barbie dolls or some other form of role-playing. I cannot for the life of me make myself do pretend Barbie dialog with Jade. I end up feeling stupid and like it is forced. I cringe just thinking about it. I need to learn to lighten up and be a fun mom. I don’t want to be too serious. I want my children to remember me laughing and playing, not scolding and nagging. I want there to be fond memories of their childhood.

Enter My Challenge
I will be reading Playful Parenting by Lawrence Cohen and implementing the ideas as I go through it. It is a book that has been recommended to me by many of my Attachment Parenting friends. As new discoveries are made, I will share them here! I am really excited about this challenge, and would love for some people to join me.

Cool Analogy On Children’s Emotional Needs
This book likens children’s emotional needs to a cup and states that children have a strong emotional need for connection. When this cup is emptied by anger, stress, hunger or upsets, children act in different ways to try to get their cup filled up. Some will get antsy and rush around the room begging for attention to fill their cups. Some will lock up and make it hard for their cup to be filled.

For children with a secure attachment to their primary caregivers, their cup always seems to stay full and need occasional refilling.  These children can also find refilling easily with connections with their friends or other activities that they enjoy.  For children with an insecure attachment they seem to have a cup that stays empty and needs more constant refilling from the primary caregiver.  These children can appear a little more clingy or withdrawn than children with a secure attachment.  These children may try to withdraw from the cups of other children by force or fighting and may act out in inappropriate ways to get their cup filled and this is where the phrase, “Bad attention is better than no attention at all”, comes from.  Connecting with our children in many ways can ensure that they keep a full cup and that their attachment remains secure. Connecting with children on their level is very important.

How To Fill A Baby’s Cup

  • Peek A Boo
  • Copy Cat-Copy your baby’s noises/gurgles.
  • Infant Massage
  • Gentle Baby Yoga Stretches
  • Kissing
  • Cuddling
  • Baby Wearing

So How Can We Fill A Young Child’s Cup

  • Start by figuring out what your child really likes and offer to do that with them.  The more you do with them, the more you will get to know your child.
  • Watch a TV program sitting next to them.
  • Be lavish with your hugs.  As stated on The Happiness Project, hugs held for at least 6 seconds increase the flow of mood-boosting hormones.
  • Make up silly rhymes.
  • Color with your children.
  • Read with your children.
  • Play Tag.
  • Volunteer-helps to build a connection and gives them a lesson in giving.
  • Go for a family walk.

There are many things that can be done to fill up your children’s cups.  It can be hard to take the first step if you are not in the habit of playing with your child.

The key is to just take the first step.  Once you take the first step, no matter how hard that first step is, just take it and it will get the ball rolling.  As much as I feel uncomfortable playing with my oldest daughter, yesterday, I decided to color with her when she asked me.  At first I felt very awkward.  Before it was over though, I learned about some things she hated at school and we ended up doing silly rhymes.  Before she went to bed she told me how thankful she was that I played with her.

It was totally worth it.  I didn’t do as good today, but each day is part of this journey!

The Health And Mental Benefits Of Walking

“All truly great thoughts are conceived by walking.”-Friedrich Nietzsche

“People usually consider walking on water or in thin air a miracle. But I think the real miracle is not to walk either on water or in thin air, but to walk on earth. Every day we are engaged in a miracle which we don’t even recognize: a blue sky, white clouds, green leaves, the black, curious eyes of a child — our own two eyes. All is a miracle.”-Thich Nhat Hahn

“Peace is every step.”-Thich Nhat Hahn

I came across these quotes over the weekend and it reminded me about my earlier post about slowing down and being present while walking and running errands with my family.

I truly believe that at every point in your journey the information you need most will present itself.  And if you ignore the information it will keep presenting itself over and over again until you get it.  Sometimes I trip over the information over and over again and still don’t get it.  It can take me a while to learn what I am supposed to learn.  Perhaps we need to learn the lessons that are presented to us before we can move on to other life lessons.  I have heard that things that remain undone serve as distractions when we try to move on.

At this point in my journey, I keep being presented information on the benefits of fitness in the form of walking.  I keeping seeing reminders of it everywhere.  Something tells me that getting moving and sustaining that movement is my next step. I think that walking particularly grabs my attention because it has been mentioned in quotes from many famous people.  It is a form of exercise that not only benefits the body but the mind.

Physical Benefits Of Walking

  • Reduces risk of disease
  • Reduced stress
  • Increased energy
  • Increased stamina
  • Better mood
  • Better memory
  • Weight loss

There are many days that I don’t see what is around me because I am too busy rushing around lost in the endless chatter of my to-do lists.  Walking can also bring about a mental clarity as well.  Just the simple task of walking mindfully and with focus can bring amazing calmness to your mind.  It allows you to see and notice the beauty around you.  Once your mind is clear, you might often be surprised to find that questions you have been struggling with suddenly have answers or that you might suddenly see solutions to problems that have been driving you crazy.

How To Find Clarity Using Walking

  • Start by walking at a slow pace.
  • Focus on the feeling of your feet softly hitting the ground with each step.
  • Focus on the sensations through your legs and body while you walk.
  • Bring your attention to your breathing as you walk.  Take full and deep breaths.  Imagine these breaths travelling through your body.
  • After walking for a while and once you feel centered, bring your focused attention to your surroundings.  Enjoying that which is beautiful around you.
  • You can pick up your walking pace once you are centered.
  • Try to remain centered while walking.  If you realize that your mind or focus has wandered, bring your attention back to the sensations of walking and your breath and slow back down.

So if you know that walking will help you with your physical shape and also benefit you mentally, why is it that I and so many other people struggle to get or stay moving?

I, like many other people, will start a new task with gusto and then over the coming months will slowly peter out as my enthusiasm fades.  It isn’t hard to get started, it is hard to keep going.  Personally, I get so down on myself when I start something and then don’t finish it.  So I guess that instead of potentially letting myself down, I just don’t get started.  Whenever I try to push myself, I come up with little excuses.  I can’t because of this or that.  I don’t have time.  Well today for myself personally, I have spent at least 2-3 hours sitting in front of the television with my computer in my lap not really accomplishing anything.  Realistically I know that I could find 30 minutes in a day to take a walk.  We can find time for the things we want to do.

So I guess it is time for me personally to begin moving.  With all of the benefits all rolled up into walking, how could I not?  Besides, if I keep delaying the learning/mastering of this lesson, it will keep presenting itself until I decide to put my attention on it.  Research shows that it takes 21 days to make a new habit.

Do you have 21 days you can devote to creating or changing a habit?  What lesson do you need to learn currently?  Maybe your current lesson isn’t about walking or fitness; what information has been popping up over and over again begging for your attention?  What could this say about the lesson you might need to currently place your focus on?

We Don’t Need No Stinkin’ Sposies!

Jade has been watching me cloth diaper her younger sister since she was born.  At school they were talking about recycling and she came home and told me that we needed to recycle.  I pointed out that while we do not separate our trash into recyclable items and take it into town, I do a lot of reusing.  She thought for a moment and said, “Like Roz’s diapers?”  Correct!

So a few months later Jade and I were watching TV and a disposable diaper commercial came one.  The commercial showed a husband and wife going through a store setting up their baby registry with one of those scanners.  After they had scanned a few things, they got to the diaper section.  The commercial showed them scanning the diapers hundreds of times to show how many diapers you need after the baby comes.  While watching this, Jade said, “You don’t need disposables, they are lying.  All you really need is cloth diapers.”

At the moment it made me smile that she was listening.  But then it gave me pause.

Do you ever wonder if you are making an impression on your children?  Do you ever wonder if they hear a word you are saying?  Do you think they are not watching you?

Let me assure you they are watching and paying attention more than you realize!

Are there things that you wish they wouldn’t see?  What are those things?  How are you going to start  changing what they see?  Mindfulness is a good place to start!  Being mindful of the fact that they are always watching is the perfect place to start.

This weekend let’s bring attention to the habits and tendencies of ours that we do not want to see our children copy.  Let’s notice the things we do that we do not want to pass on.  As we notice that we are doing something we wouldn’t want our children to copy or emulate, let’s bring our attention back to our breath and get centered.  Most times, just bringing our attention back to our breathing is enough to allow us to change our behavior.

Reminder On Why I Should Not Drink Caffeine…

When you wake up do you stumble to the pot of coffee?  Do you stagger to the refrigerator to grab a Coke?  Do you drink caffeine to get through your day?

80% of the population use caffeine on a regular basis.

I used to be part of the 80%.  I used to drink a lot of caffeine in the form of Diet Coke.  When I went out with my friends, I continued the caffeine love and had Vodka and Red Bull.  I constantly was buying Rooster Boosters during the day as that was my favorite energy drink.  I loved the way that caffeine made me feel.  I felt like I was on top of the world and could go anywhere and do anything.  I felt like I was the best and the brightest and could do no wrong.   I never realized that it wasn’t good for me until I had my massage instructor tell me that caffeine was a drug and if I couldn’t handle myself on it, then I shouldn’t take it.  He also made sure to point out that he thought I had some mental illnesses working behind the scenes and I specifically shouldn’t use caffeine.  At the time I was angry and thought he was stupid (this was before I decided to admit that I potentially did have some problems).  Looking back now, his comments took a while to sink in, but they were the catalyst toward me realizing that I did need some help!

Later down the road, I had a wonderful therapist, Lynn Wonders.  During our sessions, she, too mentioned that I probably should avoid caffeine.  Again, I wasn’t ready to hear it.  After all, I needed my caffeine to live my life.  It was very much a part of who I was.  I would drink several Diet Cokes in the morning and then go get my afternoon energy drink with my best friend at work.  I love the feeling caffeine gave me.

When I got pregnant last year, I gave up my beloved caffeine.  My midwife, would frown at me every time I mentioned having some.  I traded to Sprite.  I did that at 3 months pregnant.  When she got here, I intended to go back to drinking caffeine and I did so…until I learned that she is super sensitive to my caffeine intake and gets very fussy.  So I still have not been drinking caffeine for the most part.  I really think she has been saving me from myself.

Yesterday, I was super thirsty and didn’t want water.  I didn’t have any Gatorade (my new love since my daughter was born), so I grabbed a leftover coke from the fridge and drank it.  It was delicious.  Flash forward to a couple of hours later.  My mind is running 100 miles per hour and I can’t get anything blog-wise accomplished because I cannot focus on one thing at a time.  Also, it hasn’t been mentioned in this blog before, but I also have OCD.  My OCD manifests itself as compulsive skin picking.  Embarrassing to admit in writing and this is the first time I have admitted it.  So anywho, after my mind slows down and it is almost time for bed, I realize I have rubbed a large raw spot near my elbow.

It is then that it hits me and maybe I am slow or thick in the skull that I didn’t get it before.  All the advice to quit caffeine in my past.  Caffeine makes me more tense and anxious.  It doesn’t just give me energy.  Caffeine can make someone bipolar manic and over wound up.  Caffeine can also make someone with OCD more compulsive.  Caffeine also can make anger worse.  This is why I am supposed to leave this stuff alone.  In my journey for mindfulness, this is a very important realization.

If you have OCD, Bipolar or deal with anger, do you find that caffeine makes it worse?  Maybe, like myself you haven’t noticed a link but I challenge you to investigate any connection between caffeine and a worsening of your symptoms.  You might be surprised at what you find.

Next I have to look at sugar as I have been warned to get away from that too…but I just can’t fathom that right now!

Walking Slowly-AKA Meditative Walking

Let me begin by stating that I walk quickly.  I always walk quickly.  Usually when I walk, it is with purpose and my only focus while I walk is getting to where I need to go so I can do what needs to be done next.  In fact, when my oldest was little, I sometimes forgot that their little legs are so little that they take like four steps to our one.  You would see me rushing along and dragging a little one behind me.  Once I remembered, I would always slow down, but it always made me feel unproductive at a slower pace.

Since that time, I have learned about walking meditation by reading Thich Nhat Hahn’s works.  This weekend, my mother came into town.  She normally is a fast, no-nonsense walker like myself.  She recently had foot surgery and she has to move slower than usual.  We did some shopping while she was here and I would find myself rushing along and she would have to remind me that I needed to wait up.

Shopping with my mother over the weekend, forced me to think about my habit of always rushing around.  I miss the journey in my constant drive to get there.  When I noticed that I got ahead of my mother, I had to force myself to slow down.  I focused on the feeling of my feet hitting the ground, the feeling of my muscles contracting and relaxing, my breath going in and out (realizing that it was very shallow), the scenery around me, and the sound of our conversation and the conversations of the people around me.  I was truly there with my mother and two daughters.  Looking back now at the memory of that time over the weekend, the memory seems clearer than I am used to.  Usually when I look back a couple of days, I see just certain images and the rest is a blur.  I suspect that comes from me rushing around everywhere.  When you slow down you can take in more around you.

I am not perfect, and I caught my mother having to remind me more times than not to slow down.  But the whole experience got me to thinking about all the times, I relentlessly made those little feet scurry to keep up with me when my oldest was younger.  I intend to try to do better, by mindfully walking from place to place instead of hurrying everywhere. Lets see how much of our lives we can actually be present for by paying attention to where we are in the moment.

Will you practice mindful walking with me?  It doesn’t take much.  Just notice the sensation of your breath as you walk.  Notice the sensations in your body.  Notice the people around you.  Be present and in the here and now.  Let go of the thoughts about the past and future.

We can be more present for our families!