balance, Teddie Aspen

Floating Away

Today I floated in the water at the lake on a boat. Social distancing safely while getting some water therapy as I called it. The calmness of this environment took away all the worries of the world even if for just a few hours.

The sound of the gentle waves hitting the boat were relaxing. A slight rocking motion to compliment the uneasy feeling of life right now was somewhat comforting. A few sound effects from the geese in the area while the radio plays softly in background was a good distraction as well.

It wasn’t super hot rather it was about 70 degrees with a gentle breeze. I had enough time to read a little of a book, rest my eyes, write a little and feel the warmth of the sun on my body. The vitamin D was much needed and so was the change of scenery.

Pollen count was very high where I was but it didn’t seem to bother me in the middle of the water. I got to see a crane at one point and saw a few jumping fish. Might not seem like a big deal but it added to the ambience.

My little puppy Teddie had her first trip on the water. I think she is going to like the boat as much as me this summer. She has the cutest little life jacket but it’s in blue. No cute pink or print was available so she isn’t really stylin’ but she is cute no matter what.

Sometimes we can take things in life for granted but in the midst of this corona virus I can safely say I’m thankful so many things. The sounds that may have seemed annoying before are probably the ones I miss the most right now.

The phone ringing off the hook. The kids screaming at the park. The laughter along with the tears. The competitive sounds at the gym. The giggle of my girls at a coffee date. So much to miss but for now I’m focused on what I have in front of me. A little more time. A little more quiet.

Hope you enjoyed my virtual water therapy with me. It may not be a perfect reflection but maybe it will offer some peaceful thoughts where you are especially if you are cooped up. A little sunshine can help anyone if they let their mind drift into a peaceful place.

 

awareness, balance

Boredom Rings at Odd Times

2:40 am and the house is super quiet. Not a creature is stirring, but I seem bored.

My mind is racing but on much of nothing. What am I going to do tomorrow? Nothing big? What can I do? Nothing big? What should I do? Nothing really?

I doubt I am alone but what are others worried about? Food, shelter, essentials and how to support themselves. Maybe that what’s keeping me awake.

An acquaintance in the restaurant industry that is a server. His livelihood relies upon customers, tips and his restaurant being in operation. None of those things are available currently. This impacts his ability to pay his rent, buy food and basically survive. I am worried for him.

The two young adults learning to navigate early adulthood living on their own. Living paycheck to paycheck. Having no cushion for next week let alone a month. Both hourly workers in an industry cutoff by the corona virus. How will their mental health fare during this time? Will they springboard and value the importance of saving for a rainy day?

My friend’s family owns a restaurant. My friend is a hair dresser. My friend is a mechanic. My friend owns a gym. They all have families, budgets, bills, and employees. They have to make hard decisions to survive. Some are in states with mandatory shutdowns of their business. Business is always risky but nobody forecasted the world halting like it did recently. How will this impact these friends in the short term and the long term?

Those caring for elderly. The heightened scare for their health due to underlying problems. The isolation. Will this solidarity kill them? Will they give up on their own because it’s just too much to cope with at their age?

I think I worry about the mental health of many connected to me. The stress, the anxiety, the unknown all hinges on fear. When fear is constant on the news, on the internet, in the government, on the radio, in the desolate streets one needs to have coping skills. And I’m not just talking about phone a friend because you need multiple options for coping and navigating these unchartered and turbulent times. One friend can’t solve or take on that burden themselves.

You may need to call a doctor. You mean need to reach out to a phone hotline. You may need to research stress relievers for your type of triggers. You might need to take up a hobby like cooking. It’s also critical to include exercise. Sometimes exercise can be overlooked in this type of crisis, but exercise can be a form a stress relief and add mental clarity.

I am working out at home daily. Inside or outside depending on the weather. Different movements than usual and maybe more bite-sized packets of workouts than long hard workouts. Mostly depends on the day and what I have to knock out.

I can’t forget to mention two friends in two different parts of country suffering from cancer. Both mid-stream in treatment. Extensive treatment that absolutely requires isolation. They live in fear of not only their cancer but now the virus lurking around them. Their risk is so much higher. Their stress has to be maxed. Their family full of endless worry. My heart bleeds for these folks.

My friends on the front lines. The nurses, doctors, x-ray tech, respiratory therapists, occupational therapists, and others involved in care giving in the present. They are all handling their duties so well, full of pride and boundless energy. I am full of gratitude to those of you I know near and far. Keep working hard.

I guess when I started this blog I noted I was bored. In reality I am probably just worried. Troubled mind thinking of others. Clearly I can’t cure the virus or solve the problems of all the folks above. I can however offer hope, kindness and positive vibes to those I interact with.

I will find little ways to brighten people’s day around me. Even if brief it’s my contribution. My efforts that I can control. Today their are many things out of my control but I choose my attitude. I choose my efforts. I can make an impact. Small maybe but if I motivate one person I did something.

Even if we are on lockdown we can all offer hope to others. I guess I should have named this post hope not boredom. Signing off to sleep a little more now that my mind is at peace. What a wonderful method of relaxation, writing. That’s a little tidbit for you. Grab a journal and write your thoughts down while you navigate this challenging time. Writing is therapeutic from my perspective.

perspective

Flip Flopping Frustrations

This morning my frustrations were mounting.  The workouts I decided on weren’t what I expected.  My home gym equipment kept failing or falling over.  I wasn’t sweating enough.  The scale was up.  My morning reading time didn’t settle my mind as it usually does.  Another day of staring at a computer screen (aka working from home) was about to begin. Anger, irritation, all of it piling up, no end in sight.

Woe is me.

I had a come to Jesus with myself and told myself to quit griping.  Yes, a lot of the pandemic pandemonium sucks but we are making it work.  I told myself to make a list of my frustrations then flip them into reasons to be grateful.  Some remind me to be grateful for what I have now, others remind me to be grateful for what I used to have and will hopefully return to.  Here it is:

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It’s in the notebook I’ve set aside to chronicle this crazy time. I’ve read in several places that journaling, while always important, is especially valuable now, for mental health as well as historical reasons.  We are living history. I know I will add more pages of frustration as this time wears on.  I’ll keep reading it and reminding myself to flip my frustrations into appreciation.

Spring break begins today.  What would have been sweet relief and possibly getting out of town is not a shelter-in-place order that will last two weeks.  Our one week off of school will be followed by at least three more of learning from home.  I will spend time preparing my mind for these challenges this week.  I’ll also devote some time to gratitude to friends, family, and those who are serving on the front lines of this crisis.  And hopefully get out into the sunshine and nature often with those who are closest to me.

When you start to get stuck or go down the path of anxiety, see if you can flip your thinking.  Focus on gratitude and what you can control. What switch can you flip today?

challenges, dare to be different

5 Words Fast

Find 5 words quick that sum up your identity. Do the exercise quickly. If you are not done yet, you took too long.

Now that you have five words, drop 2. I bet that was hard.

Drop another word off the list. I bet that was harder.

Now you reached the crossroad! You have two words left. You must drop one more word. What did you choose? Is it accurate?

This a great activity for a family, a work group, a group of lifetime friends, or just your spouse.

I did this within a business setting for a work activity. It was interesting. My word was experience. I liked my outcome. My life experience defines me. These same experiences shape me. This activity was a good one and this why I am sharing.

I did this with my daughter who is a teen. It was confirmation of how she views herself in that awkward life time. I did the exercise with a few others and the outcomes were eye opening for some and predictable for others.

No matter what the outcome, I encourage you to try this exercise on yourself. Pass it on to somebody new. You may learn something cool about yourself and others.

Embrace the awkward and go for it. 5 words. Just five words. Now remind yourself on a calendar for one year from now. See if your five words change.

When you are cooped up for a while and the board games get boring try this activity to shake it up. You can also change the five words to five things you can’t live without given the state we live in currently. Be flexible and remember to revisit this exercise in a year. It will be great to see how your mind may shift in time.

Good luck!

balance

When Life is Subject to Change Without Notice

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Competing in next week’s big game.

Carefree time on the 3-day weekend.

A long planned-for (paid for!) international adventure.

Taking in the beauty of the first farmer’s markets of the season.

All things to look forward to.  Now, all on hold.

When the Coronavirus started to rapidly unfold in America last week, I said to a new friend “it feels like everything now has an asterisk next to it.  Everything is to be announced, subject to change without notice.”  I didn’t know what that meant then, a few short days ago.  So much happens each day.

Not only are the things we have to look forward to either canceled, postponed, or up in the air, even the basic routines of life are disrupted.  Will I go to work next week, and if so where and for how long?  My daughter is unexpectedly doing school online for a while. How will that go? You’d think she would be thrilled, but she groaned when I told her.  She said she will miss school, even with the ridiculously early wakeups and late nights getting home from practice.  She loves her teams and her friends and being with people.

That’s really it. We look forward to people. Experiencing and sharing life with them.

Now it’s all social distancing. Abundance of caution. Flatten the curve. A curve ball I wasn’t anticipating.

I’ll admit, the uncertainty has gotten me glum or a little anxious at times.  Even though I’m sometimes overwhelmed by my typically busy life, I love what I do.  I’ve started to reflect and appreciate the joyfully-packed life I get to lead most of the time. And I know it will return.

At the moment, I am living in the present more so than I have in a while.  The calendar is suddenly much emptier than it was.  The urgency of a lot of things is gone. It’s very strange, living in the time of to be announced.

As for healthy hacks? What helps me today is focusing on what I can control.  Exercise. Nutrition. Cleaning. Routines. Basics. Patience.  Taking some time to get outside to appreciate the signs of spring that are popping up (see the pics!) Nature has a rhythm that continues and comforts in times of upheaval. Keeping the amount of news and social media I consume at a reasonable level.  I have had a rocky time with several of these already, but I’m trying.

I choose focused over frantic. Present over pessimistic.  Peaceful over panicked.

Choose daily.

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awareness

22 WOD to End Veteran Suicide

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The facts are stark and grim.

Approximately 22 veterans die by suicide each day.  The Official WOD to End Veteran Suicide aims to bring awareness to this issue through fitness and fundraising.

I had seen this event advertised for two years.  But, it always fell during the CrossFit Open which seemed to swallow up mine and my gym community’s attention.  With the Open’s move to the fall months, this year was the year to take the dare and lead the event at my home gym.  This was a challenge for me on multiple levels.

I’ll talk about the logistics in a later post, but for now I just want to honor the event itself, those who participated, and what I learned about the issue behind the event.

Suicide has a personal meaning to me.  My grandmother died by suicide when I was young. Adding insult to memory, I was made to feel shame over and disgust for what she did. I will share that story at some point down the road, but just for that reason, bringing suicide into the light and open conversation has become more important to me in my adult life.

The veteran connection is not as direct for me.  I have immense respect for the military, their families, and the sacrifices they make for my freedom and liberty.  I don’t pretend to know what they go through, but I try to keep learning how to be more aware, ask questions, and listen.

Organizing this event brought me learning I could not have predicted.  It turns out that multiple people in our gym community are veterans themselves who have struggled with PTSD and lost friends and family to suicide.  Opening up conversations about this enabled a new level of connection and empathy in me.

Perhaps the most profound moments of the morning were when, in line with the rules of the workout, we stopped every 22 minutes for 22 seconds of silence, to remember those who have died by suicide. After a morning of logistics, setup, money collection, answering questions, I finally got to do the workout myself. When the moment of silence came, I was overcome with emotion.

I am not a good “off the cuff” speaker. I knew I wanted to say a little something, so I shared this before the workout began. I hope this, along with some photos, gives you a sense of the event. I encourage you to dare to step forward and add your voices and your effort to the causes that matter to you this year.

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Murph, DT, Chad. Names many of us know. The famous hero WODS of CrossFit. Some of the hardest most intense workouts we do in the CrossFit Community.

Today we are here for different names and different heroes. Heroes named Cook, White, Ambrose, Love and many more. These names are all veterans, friends and family of those here today, who have died by suicide. Their stories may be less famous. Their wounds may be less visible. But those wounds are just as real and their loss is just as honorable and deeply felt.

As you go through the movements, many have names underneath them. The names of those friends and family. So think of them as we put for our sweat and effort and resources and attention to their wounds, their suffering, their heroism, and ultimately, to contribute to changing the lives of veterans after they return home. Your efforts today support Operation Ward 57 through their hope and courage programs…these provide service dogs and hotline support to veterans. I know many of us are familiar with the healing that comes with faithful canine companions and a listening ear at the time we need it most.

Our last movement, the sprints, has no name…it is for the many who suffer in silence. Who are still fighting. Who are still running even though they are exhausted, in pain, may feel they have very little left. We dig deep and keep going. So today isn’t for rounds or for reps or for time. Today’s efforts are simply for them.

working women

Road Trip Woes

This month has been a whirlwind of sorts. Had to travel for work. Had to travel as a coach. Had to travel for personal events. This translated into lots of miles in the car and days away from routine and comfort.

Adding mileage to the car was the easy part of the trip. The challenge was having to find a way to get my exercise miles in for my fitness goals. I had to make friends or enemies with the hotel gyms over and over again. I had to make do with the options I had.

First trip leg was monsoon-like weather conditions. Heavy rains cause accidents and delayed arrivals. Leg two was just long and boring. Nothing exciting to report except arriving where the weather was much warmer. Hoping for a good night’s sleep in hotel #1.

Life on the road whether for business or pleasure always makes routines challenging. From getting to the gym, eating healthy and sleeping well you have to be persistent and self-disciplined. Nobody makes the time and effort but you. Trust me when I say this.

Hotel 1 had a gym that was a few buildings away as it was a shared campus setting with a couple of hotel brands. This was not the end of the world but it made me less likely to work out because of the distance I had to go. Excuse #1 on the trip.

Next challenge was group meals. Those who want to dine out, get dessert and and and. I’m going to have to put in some serious work when I return to make up for my travel diet. Meal prep, healthy snacks and access to my fridge and kitchen make a big difference. This is definitely a crappy element of travel.

Before I’m on to leg 2, I must admit I’m a fitness freak. A freak of sorts passionate about all things that equate to a healthy lifestyle. This trip was further confirmation for me personally. I was active, but my intensity level was diminished. My constantly varied fitness regimen was more limited to walking. Walk slow in a group or walk slow carrying a load. Either way my Apple Watch wasn’t dinging up the active points as easily.

Let’s add in stress. Environmental stress. Travel stress. Poop stress which is defined as the inability to consistently regulate one’s bowel movements compliments of poor eating choices when on the road. I would say this makes travel just blah, which is an irony I found in the form of a sign of bathroom stall at one of my business meetings…..wait for it:

Was somebody trying to tell me something? It’s interesting that I was writing this post mid-trip and boom this was front and center in the restroom. I guess that’s why I’m opting to share this wisdom with you. I mean who doesn’t like a good poop story anyway? 

And then the fire alarm at the hotel at 3 am sort of added a wrinkle into the trip. It’s hard to fall back to sleep after the extremely loud alarm is piercing your ears for many minutes. It could have been a real fire and a lot worse but the sound of crying kids above and below you in a hotel at that hour is not fun from the backlash of the alarm. Again it could have been much worse but it was still aggravating.

On the road again and guess what? Rain! It’s raining again. Not just a sprinkle, the monsoon-like raining that is a pain to drive in. Extra stationary time in the car, how fun?

Another hotel in the books. A little work. A little less play. On to another stretch of roadway that is pretty desolate. Miles and miles of nothing. Driving this stretch of road is similar to watching paint dry. Doesn’t that sound like fun?

A brief pit stop to see my puppy and relieve my dog sitter then back on the road again. Wasn’t I just on this stretch of road? Why yes I was. Same route, different destination. Add in a new playlist to spice up the road trip. Karaoke party of one here I come!

And who would have guessed? More rain. A lot more rain making road travel that much more of a pain in the rear. Back in the saddle I go for a few weeks until my next trip which is by plane in a few short weeks. Time to get back on my routine. My fitness and eating healthy routine. No excuses!

Thanks for being a passenger on my road trip to what seemed like nowhere. But I did go somewhere. And I have lots of memories some which I shared and some which I didn’t. I guess that’s the beauty of being a storyteller. I choose what I tell and don’t tell.