We throw off the lie of perfection and cling to our identity in God as we strive to be whole, healthy, and fit. Our goal is wholeness, not perfection.

Posts tagged ‘balance’

12 Days of Christmas: Day 7 – Create Margin

7th day

…my blogger friends gave to me: The permission to Breathe

Do you ever feel overwhelmed by life?  Whatever your work/family situation is, do you ever feel like you’re juggling too many activities/responsibilities/roles?  And let’s face it, although technology can simplify our lives, it usually reminds us via social media that we can be doing so much more, or at the very least do what we’re already doing with a lot more style.

So today, we give you permission to just breathe.  What’s that you say?  You don’t have the time to stop and breathe?  Or your living space is so cluttered that you can’t find a place to sit down long enough to enjoy breathing?  Well, here are some resources that may help you find the time and physical space to do just that.

Corie Clark’s “The Simplicity Project” is aptly named.  Her approach to simplifying our over-complicated lives is exactly that – simple.  She doesn’t try to push a multi-step program .  Nor does she just focus on the physical decluttering that our lives need.  She addresses the need to tend to our spiritual health, physical health, physical spaces, finances, and time management.  Her approach to simplifying is not only doable, but grace infused, which makes it more likely for recovering perfectionists to complete the project.

Simplicity Project

While “The Simplicity Project” touches on learning how to say yes and no wisely, Lysa TerKeurst’s “The Best Yes” really gets to the heart of the matter – people pleasing.  Too many “Oh, snap!” moments in the book to get into here.  If you can relate to any of the quotes from the front of her book {I dread saying yes but feel powerless to say no.  I hope there’s more to life than my to-do list.  I’m a little overwhelmed and a lot worn out.  I’m drowning int he regrets of too many commitments.}, grab a copy.

Best Yes

This last book, “Finding Spiritual Whitespace” by Bonnie Gray, comes highly recommended from a God friend.  Since it’s on the “Read in 2015” list, you can read her write-up of it here.

Whitespace

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12 Days of Christasmas: Day 5 – Eat Well

5th day

…my blogger friends gave to me: The permission to Eat

There are countless voices vying for our attention, saying “eat this, not that” and their advice is constantly changing.  Instead of adding to the noise, we’ll keep it sweet and simple: Eat more God food than man food.  That is all.  You’re welcome.

keep it simple

No, really.  Don’t get caught up in all the hype – the rules and regulations regarding nutrition.  Eat when you’re hungry.  Stop before you get too full.  Eat food for fuel, not as a reward or punishment.  Enjoy the food you eat.  Eat slowly enough so you can taste what you’re eating. Eat more fresh food than processed food.  Listen to your body and eat food that brings you health and life, not the stuff that steals it.

What is one change you want to make to your diet in the new year?  I want to eat out less and prepare more meals at home.

12 Days of Christmas: Day 3 – Rest

3rd Day

…my blogger friends gave to me: The permission to Rest

No book or blog recommendations or photos needed for this one.  Rest looks and feels different for each person.  Over the years, rest has looked very different for me.  Walking while jamming out to music.  Shop therapy at Loose Lucy’s (feels like a lifetime ago now).  Reading magazines while drinking hot tea at Barnes and Noble.  Napping when my oldest son used to nap in the house (now it’s only the car).  Morning quiet time in the kitchen spending time in God’s word and watching the sun rise.  Vegging out on the couch watching back to back episodes of my favorite television series.  I am currently back to napping when the twins do.

You know what rest looks for you right now in this current season.  So do it.  For your own well being, and the well being of those you love, take time out of your crazy busy schedule and rest.  Pencil it in if you have to.

I don’t think you need convincing that resting is good for you.  But, like me, you may not always believe it’s a worthwhile endeavor.  The world around us is vying for our attention, lying to us “If you just get this one more thing accomplished…” – you fill in the promise.  The biggest lie I fall for is “…you’ll be all caught up”.  As a teacher, a mother, and a wife I’ve come to suspect that there’s no such thing as “all caught up”.  There’s always more to do.  Even the hamster on the wheel takes a break from time to time, right?  So, as 2014 winds down, and before we gear up for 2015, let’s give each other permission to rest.

Full disclosure: The 3rd Day of Christmas was yesterday. I took a two hour nap and went to bed at a decent hour rather than stress over hitting the publish button on time.

Amateur Juggler (October 4th)

I need to take care of myself.  What does it look like to you to take care of yourself?  There’s basic hygiene, water, nutrition – you know, the basics.  I’m just wondering how other full time working moms take care of themselves.  I remember doing it when my son was a toddler up until the time I got pregnant with the twins.  I did it with the help of having a membership to the Y, and then being a group fitness instructor.  So that kept me accountable because if I didn’t show up to class then class didn’t happen.  But now that I have twins and I’m back at work, I don’t really know what it looks like to take care of myself during this season.

I know sleep is a huge priority (as I yawn).  I know that spending time with God is a priority, but it seems like it’s something I don’t ever get around to, not how I used to, not how I’d like to.  I haven’t worked out in a really long time and I can feel my body craving all the good chemicals I get from working out.  I know I need to go out on a date with my husband.  It feels like it’s been forever since we went somewhere that wasn’t church or with family.

I know there are things I can do to take care of myself, I just don’t see how to juggle it all.  I’m missing margin in my day.  I need white space.  I need…how do you clear things off of your calendar and to-do list when all of the stuff has to be done?  I have a friend of mine at work who used to joke with me “Reina, all you need to do is get yourself a wife.”  All I know is I feel overwhelmed and spent.  So if you’ve got tips or suggestions on how to refocus energy and time, I’d love to hear them.

#NoFilter – Part 2

So I decided to take this self-presented challenge for the month of October (clearly failed didn’t meet that goal so I’m trying it for November).  I’m going to start writing unedited.  I’m not going to take the time to bold sections that seem important that stand out for some reason.  Quite honestly I don’t know why I started the practice of bolding  words.  I’m a little bit anal retentive a little obsessive compulsive.  So I just kept it up because the idea that there wouldn’t be consistency from one post to the next kind of gave me a nervous tick.

I’m just going to be writing and not really worrying about coming off as clever or witty.  I mean, don’t get me wrong, if people find humor or some wit within the words I string together, that’s cool.  That’s awesome.  That’s great.  But it’s not going to be my intent or my focus for the month of October (November).  I’m just going to write.  I just feel really overwhelmed right now (not writing during October did not help this feeling go away) and I feel worn.  It reminds me of the song by Tenth Avenue North.  I already liked the song, but then when Mike Donehey explained that it was written because of – or not because of, but in response to – something his wife shared with him when they had a newborn.  Which was she was just worn out.  Late nights with the baby and all the things that having a newborn brings.  And I can relate to that right now.

Although I am overwhelmed and feel worn out, I also feel burdened with a lot of things I want to put on paper, or rather, onto my computer screen.  Just a lot of ideas, and feelings, and thoughts.  And again, I’m not going to be concerned about an audience.  I don’t even really think I have an audience.  Maybe some really loving friends and loyal…yuck, I hate the word followers.  But anyways, there are maybe a few people who read this.  And thank you for reading.  I appreciate seeing that it’s been read, commented on, or liked.  But I’m going to be a little selfish here and just write for myself.  And if people can relate, that’s awesome. That’s great.

Right now I can’t concern myself with an audience or how it’s received, because then I start second guessing myself and I start editing while I’m writing rather than just putting down the words.  I start focusing on the reception of the words rather than the words themselves.  And what I write loses a little bit of its authenticity.

So that’s my self-imposed and self-accepted challenge for the month of October (I had all sorts of reasons to not start writing again in October).  I don’t know if anyone else, any other bloggers, or Instagrammers, or Facebook posters can relate to feeling burdened with the concern of how their words or pictures are received.  Focusing on the presentation rather than just sharing without filtering, without constantly editing.  So, if you’re up for the challenge, I’d be happy to have some company.

side note – On October 4th I recorded three different blog entries using an app on my phone.  I thought that if I spoke the words and then transcribed them it would help with trying to edit while writing.  I like the practice and I think I’m going to stick with it for the rest of 2014.  Crazy how that isn’t a very long time.

Gratitude Gained From a Twin Pregnancy

These are things that I took for granted (I think we all do) before carrying twins for 37 weeks and 1 day.  I had similar experiences with my first (singleton) pregnancy, but twins brought on my appreciation earlier.  I am listing these in no particular order.  No “Top 5” or “Top 10” list.  Who would want to read something titled “The Top 7” anyway?

Breathing

At first it was only difficult to breathe when I was sitting at my desk at work.  It turns out that when I thought the boys were going from Downward Dog to Child’s Pose at the same time, I was actually experiencing contractions.  I just figured they were really into synchronized yoga.  These contractions were most intense when I was at work, so I had to alternate between sitting down and standing – not doing either for more than 10 minutes at a time.  Then it came to the point where lying on my back, unless my upper body was elevated, became excruciatingly uncomfortable.  And trying to breathe during the last two weeks was just a joke.

Sleeping

I didn’t sleep much during the last trimester with our son back in 2007.  Carrying twins brought on sleepless nights much earlier.  Initially it was from having to use the restroom multiple times throughout the night.  Later it was from discomfort and pain.  The only upshot is that I didn’t feel sleep deprived the first few weeks of the boys’ lives – my body simply didn’t know any better.

Eating

Heartburn took all the joy out of eating.  Well, not all of it.  All things cow tasted yummy. I’m not a red meat eater, but the protein requirements for carrying multiples is crazy high and my body constantly craved it. Unfortunately, regardless of what I ate I had horrible heartburn.  Tums, which worked during my first pregnancy, were no match for heartburn brought on by carrying twins.  My OB said it was like bringing a slingshot to a gun fight.  So he suggested I try Zantac, and if that didn’t work I’d have to get a bazooka (can’t remember which prescription antacid).

Driving

First it was the difficulty breathing while sitting issue.  Then my belly forced me to move my seat back.  For the average woman that’s not a big deal.  But I’m 5’1″ and need to sit as close to the pedals as possible.  While I was on bed rest I had to be driven to my OB appointments.  Being chauffeured around town sounds much more glamorous than it actually is.  Especially when your chauffeur doesn’t drive the way you do.  By the time I drove myself it had been a month since I had been able to.  I was so excited.  I felt like the parking attendants who took Mr. Frye’s car for a joyride in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.

Getting Dressed 

It’s the little things in life that I truly started to appreciate around the five month mark.  Putting on my clothes – especially undergarments and shoes – made me feel like I was the main act in a Cirque de Sole production.  What little sense of balance I had left was tested every time I had to change clothes.  And I’d never been so grateful for having a set of stairs in my house, as they were the perfect assistant for putting on my socks and shoes.

Bathing

Think “Getting Dressed” but in a wet and cramped environment.  Joy.

Moving

I was very disappointed when I was told that teaching dance fitness classes three to five times a week was out of the question.  Something about increased blood volume from carrying twins.  I figured I would still be able to teach PiYo Strength (now PiYo Live) well into the pregnancy since it’s low impact.  But I underestimated how exhausted I was going to be, and waking up early enough to teach 5:30 classes just wasn’t gonna happen.  I taught my last fitness class in early August.

The next time I moved with the intent to exercise was in October, at a REFIT Revolution instructor training.  In those two short months I went from being able to move freely to not so much. As a group fitness instructor I’ve offered many different modifications but at only twelve weeks pregnant, I needed more than I had ever offered my class participants.  I gained a new appreciation for participants who need modifications and I’m a better instructor for it.

Fast forward another two months to the last time I exercised before giving birth in March.  It was in December using a REFIT Revolution DVD.  I took modifying to a whole new level. For most of the routines all I could do was “side step touch”, but the music was upbeat (as always), so it was a great workout for my soul.

By the time I was put on bed rest in February, it was a struggle to get off the couch and walk to the restroom.  I reminisced about the day when all I could do was “side step touch”.  Joni Mitchell’s Big Yellow Taxi song comes to mind.  Now, 21 weeks postpartum, I am slowly returning to being fit, and I don’t take my progress for granted.  No matter how small or slow it may be.

 

So what about you?  Have you experienced something that helped you appreciate the little things?

Quick PiYo Home Workout Review: Week 1

Why a quick review you ask?  Because I spent THREE days writing out a thoughtful review of week one and subsequently lost it.  I’m not feelin’ a whole lot of love for WordPress right now.  ***Update: WP angels helped me find my drafts through their Live Chat feature*** But I digress…

Alignment: The Fundamentals (42 minute workout time) focuses on proper form.  I almost skipped it since I am a PiYo Live (formerly known as PiYo Strength) instructor.  Glad I didn’t skip it though, because there were moves I haven’t seen yet and therefore needed to learn and others I needed to practice.  If you’re new to Pilates, Yoga, recovering from an injury (or in my case, pregnancy) I recommend you do Alignment for a few days before moving on to the actual workouts.

Define: Lower Body (21 minute workout time) focuses on the lower body but incorporates enough upper body strengthening that you’ll be wondering why your arms hurt if it’s a lower body workout.  There are LOTS of lunges in this workout, but my thighs are already tightening up, so I guess I should be happy about that.  My core is in desperate need of strengthening, so I have a love hate relationship with the Warrior Three pose in this workout.  Here’s a clean pic I found:

Warrior Three

I am not yet able to bring my leg up that high, but Chalene Johnson keeps reminding us throughout the workouts that PiYo is all about improving.  Which is awesome because on Tuesday I needed to use a chair to balance but by Friday I was able to do it sans chair.

Define: Upper Body (19 minute workout time) incorporates a ridiculous number of tricep push-ups.  I never thought I’d be so happy to do ab work as I was the first time I did this workout, because it’s the only relief we’re given between all the push-ups.  This workout does not have a warm-up, so I used the warm-up in the Lower Body workout and switched back over to Upper Body.  The challenging move in this workout is the Kick Through.  I’m able to do it when we’re just putting weight on the outside hip, but not when the leg kicks through and out.  Chalene makes it look easy:

PiYo Kick Through

Sweat (37 minute workout time) is aptly named.  It is flows like a PiYo Live class, except it does not include a cool down with static stretching.  I felt fairly confident going into this workout, after having completed the Define sections.  I figured that if there was only one challenging move in each of those workouts then I’d be good to go.  Wrong.  This workout brought its own challenges – THREE of them.  The Lower Body section of this workout incorporates a lot of balancing moves.  The most challenging for me being the Runner’s Balance.  It looks like this, but you’re hinged forward, balancing on the support leg in more of a squat and the foot of the raised leg is pushes back.

Runners Balance

The next challenging move were the sumo squats.  My ligaments and joints don’t play well together since having the twins, so I had to continuously adjust my stance in order to put as little pressure as possible on my right knee.  I modified a lot when it came to the sumo squat section, especially the burpees.  I skipped them entirely and chose instead to modify with Michele Park.  I plan on writing Michele a love letter soon, because her modifications have gotten me through this first week of PiYo.

The last, and most difficult, move for me is complicated to explain and I can’t find a picture of it anywhere.  So, I’ll do my best to describe it and then update this post at a later time with a picture of me attempting it.  Here’s the sequence of the move: Plank –> Right knee to right elbow –> Extend right leg straight out.


Tips for the PiYo Home Workout – Week 1

1) Take a PiYo Live class if you can OR…

2) Find a Fit Club that is going to showcase a PiYo workout from the DVD set

3) Modify, modify, modify

4) Challenge yourself when you’re ready

5) Remember that Define: Upper Body does NOT have a warm-up so use the one from Lower Body


Disclosure: I am an Independent Team Beachbody Coach.  What’s that mean?  I’m a Beachbody customer who likes some of the programs enough to share my experience with other people.  By doing so I help them on their journey to better health.  And occasionally I get a “Thank you” check from Beachbody for doing it.

 

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