giving, health

Feeling Good

I’m feeling good today. The best I’ve been in a while. I’m firing on all cylinders and nobody is generally up my ass. Not sure how long this peaceful state will last but I’ll take it for even five to ten minutes.

Since I was feeling good today I thought I would write a post about being thankful since Thanksgiving is approaching. 

First and foremost I am thankful for my health. My general ability to rise each day and move freely without mobility restrictions.

I am then thankful for my family and friends. Without them I wouldn’t have the support I need to carry the heavy load I do each week. Each person is placed in my life for a reason not a season.

I am thankful for opportunities. The opportunity to serve others. The opportunity to inspire and motivate those around me.

The list goes on and on. Take some time to yourself and reflect on what and who you are thankful for this holiday. Drop a note, make a call, drop by for a visit and let your circle know how valued they are. This is free but many won’t do it.

Be thankful this year for something or someone. If you’re not thankful make a donation. Somebody will benefit and be thankful for you!

healthy hacks

Same But Different

I was on a podcast kick for a while. Then, as it happens with many things, I got burnt out on it. Many of them started to get repetitive. Still, I do a lot of driving and sometimes music doesn’t cut it. If there isn’t anyone to talk to, a podcast is worth a try.

I thought I would try to freshen up my podcast listening library. I’ve been thinking a lot about mental health lately…my own mental health as well as the mental health of my friends, my students, my family, even society at large. So Gretchen Rubin’s Happier Podcast seemed worth a shot by name alone.

I don’t know about you, but my attention span is shorter these days than it used to be…or at least it feels that way. Maybe it’s covid fatigue. Who knows. So short little tips are much more useful to me than long drawn-out explanations.

The happiness tip / healthy hack she gave at the beginning of the podcast was to do something familiar in a new way. Novelty amuses the human brain. We like to do new things. So doing something we already enjoy and adding a twist can light up the happiness spots in our brain. The hosts mention doing familiar activities at different times of day or with different people (or alone.) So go on a hike in the afternoon instead of the morning. Or go to a restaurant by yourself instead of with family. Change it up.

This seems both more challenging and more necessary during the pandemic. So many of us are very closed in, even locked down, to routines and schedules. I feel the doldrums of routines at work and even at home to some extent. For me, it might be riding my bike outside in the afternoon instead of the stationary bike at the gym in the early morning. Maybe have a hot drink in the afternoon instead of just the morning. A different scent of candle of lotion? Extra walk in the evening? Breakfast for dinner? Who knows. Take a new trail. I’ve often heard that changing up our routines can keep our brains nimble. Maybe this is a related perk.

What are some things you can do that are the same but different? What happiness hacks do you use in these challenging times? Share in the comments.

challenges

0 to 100

It all started with a Facebook post.

Just a handful of nut jobs jumped in. Then 200 plus. Now it’s at almost 500 people.

500 people willing to do burpees for 100 days! Starting with 1 on day one and adding another each day. That’s over 5,000 burpees in total. If only 400 people complete the task then it’s over 2,000,000 burpees in 100 days.

That’s pretty nuts if you ask me but I’m doing it anyway and so are a couple of my gal pals. We shall see how we fare. For now I will just journal my happenings as they unfold. Maybe I will finish maybe I won’t.

Day one = done

Day two – easy peasy

Day three – omg there are 32 burpees in my workout so I decided to knock out three before. That didn’t seem to bad so I did four more. That put me one day ahead. Then at night I did five more for one more day in case I slacked on the weekend.

Little by little I’ll chip away. I’ll go ahead now while numbers are low and build as the days progress. Good news is I didn’t die yet.

Update. I’ve been taking a bite out of my burpees when I have a few extra minutes. I’m surprising myself because I really don’t like burpees. Mine are sloppy and they are just not fun. I think that’s why I decided to do this extra work.

8-10-10-12-7-7-6. That adds up quickly. Now I can knock off a big day in the future without my mind struggling with the daunting task of x burpees in a day. Partitioning my work the way it works for me. Bite-size chunks. Strategy wins in my mind. Today I knocked off day 30, day 6, day 14 and day 10. I obviously kept tallies of my smaller numbers that allowed for rest and decided how to record on the calendar.

I could have chosen day 60 because that all adds up to 60 but I opted for variety to make me feel like I accomplished more. Such a mind hack for me! I’ll update again soon as do how I am doing.

dare to be different

Growth

This year I grew a lot. I physically grew a lot when I added that extra Corona cooped-up-all-day poundage. I grew emotionally when I battled the loss of many loved ones in isolation amidst a pandemic. I grew socially by deepening my connections with those around me. It was a growth year for me overall.

Growth doesn’t have to always do with money or wealth to define success. Growth happens in many stages of your life when you are most vulnerable. It’s the sweet spot of vulnerability that allows for the biggest growth to happen in my mind.

An area I challenged myself to grow this year was unlikely. Many shook their head in wonder, disbelief or just a bit of a why attitude. That’s okay. Let others wonder and watch while I grow. While I grow in many ways.

As my mindset shifts so do my priorities. As kids age, time frees up, and exploration begins. The mature adult in me gets to try to conquer new things that may have been out of reach with kids in tow or otherwise.

My future is bright for many reasons but one area I’m most excited about is growth. Look for future posts on growing from nothing to something. From something to big things. I am for sure a visionary. Hope you stay tuned for my growing tales.

It’s also a good sidebar note – when you grow others may notice. It may ignite a spark in them to level up. It could be your child. Your coworker. Your friend. Anyone observing from a distance. Growth can be infectious.

challenges

Turning 50

A group of my fitness friends and I are building our engines. In addition to CrossFit and extra cardio, this crazy group of ladies throws in challenges here and there just to keep it fun and interesting.

Chick 1 got the honor of throwing October’s challenge at us. And it was a doozy.

“Pick a day. Any day. Hop on the bike erg and ride for as long as you can without breaking. Also for socktober you need to wear crazy socks while doing it and document your duration here with video or photo proof. Ready set go!”

Of course being my PhD self I had to ask questions. Is this for time or distance or both? (Honestly, did it really matter?)

I wanted a marathon distance at least. Had to find a day when I could get to the bike erg at the gym for at least two hours, just to be safe. Finally, a night when I had a 7:00 pm meeting not too far from the gym. I get out of work around 4, so that should be just enough.

Preparation: Pack my bike shorts for extra padding. This would be an endurance challenge for my mind, my legs, and for other body parts, too! (If you’ve spent much time on a bike, you know what I mean.) Take Tylenol a couple of hours before. And stop drinking water at noon or so, to be sure my bladder doesn’t shorten my ride! Checked the gym schedule to be sure the bike wasn’t in the workout – whew!

I raced to the gym on the appointed day. I packed things to read, things to do, my AirPods, and so on. Walked in and thankfully the bikes were empty. I was there before any afternoon classes so I got setup, got my tunes going, went to the bathroom one last time, and off I went.

I just went steady most of the first hour. Saw the 4:30 class come and go. I did some video editing one-handed for my daughter’s college recruiting. Read some old articles on my phone. Just kept pedaling. When the second hour started I couldn’t really focus on anything else anymore. My brain just couldn’t do it. So it became just pedal pedal pedal. 42,195 meters – just gotta keep pedaling!

I did take a photos at milestones, like 20 miles. This was to keep things interesting because honestly, riding on the erg for long periods bores me. I’d rather ride my road bike and go places. I also started to worry that the monitor battery would crap out and I’d be stuck with no proof.

After nearly two hours, I hit the marathon distance. And as I had hoped, I still had a little time and I still had life in my legs. So I did what a crazy person does, I kept going. It’s less than 8,000 meters to 50k. Why not try?

I pushed when there really wasn’t much push in my muscles. I just hunkered down and kept going. Watching the number click, click, click over. Praying the monitor kept working! Watching the minutes tick, tick, tick by. Hoping I’d get done in time!

Finally, I got to the last 500 meters. I was going to do it! Video in hand, I taped the monitor so I could see it click over to 50,000. I was going to take selfies and celebrate next to that big number. 300…200…100…and…ready for my close up…but instead….

Apparently no one is crazy enough to bike 50,000 meters, because after 49,999 the monitor starts back over at 1. 1!

I burst out laughing.

What else can I do but laugh? Sure, I didn’t get my photo opp. That doesn’t change the crazy effort or what I know I completed. Just means it’s time for something new.

Sometimes you work your butt off to get to a goal, then get there only to find out someone moved your cheese. Or that goal wasn’t that big of a deal anyway. Or actually, there’s another goal over the horizon. Victory party sure, but keep it short lived. Start over. Get racing. It’s a never-ending process of challenge and improvement. Maybe this is what turning 50 will be like, too. You get there and look around just to say, what’s next? Every finish line is really a start line.

So I waddled off the erg, packed my things and got to my meeting. Chick 1 gave me groovy Nerds socks as my challenge prize. Bring on November. New goals, new challenges and a great group of friends to conquer them with.