Sunday, April 23, 2017

It's all a matter of spoons

A month or two back one of my clients who has a rare autoimmune disease gave me a handout on Spoon Theory. Anyone who suffers with chronic illness is probably very familiar with this theory. It’s a simple analogy that equates spoons to energy reserves. Every daily activity requires a certain number of spoons. On tough days with the illness sometimes you have to make choices about what gets done because you simply don’t have the energy to do it all.

I immediately grabbed hold of this analogy because I think it has application for everyone.
I know I am extremely privileged because of my health and able-bodiedness. Therefore, I would never want to seem like I’m trivializing the plight of those who are differently abled than I. As a burnout and compassion fatigue preventionist, however, I think we can all be mindful and better stewards of our energy.

Do this for me. Spend some time today making a list of everything that requires your spoons this week. It’s not just tasks. Your relationships and even some of your self-care practices require spoons as well. Then, at the beginning and end of each day assess your spoon reserve? Maybe you’re blessed with physical health like me and you don’t have the added challenge of managing chronic pain or illness. Be thankful for that. That doesn’t mean you can’t learn something valuable from Spoon Theory. As the saying goes, success in life is more often about managing your energy than it is managing your time. It’s all a matter of spoons.


Monday, April 10, 2017

That time I got my sexy back



OMG, I am still thinking about how much fun I had over the weekend. It was a beautiful sunny Sunday and rather than just doing my boring routine to prep for the week, I took a day trip. I met a few friends in a neighboring town to attend a dance class with a well-known choreographer. Her brand is known for empowering women and improving their confidence through dance. The whole afternoon was way out of my comfort zone, but I loved every minute.

The first thing that made it awesome was someone else teaching. As a fitness instructor, I’m used to leading. Sometimes it’s nice to follow someone else’s lead. Secondly, I liked challenging myself to do a style that’s extremely different than what I usually do. I guess some might consider Zumba sexy, but the floor work we did in this class was several levels up. Whereas the sexiness of Zumba sneaks up on you, the sexiness of this class was entirely in your face. But what made it safe and non-threatening was the fact that each woman there was on her own journey. We were challenged from the beginning to not focus on what significant other we might perform for later. We were told not to compare ourselves to the woman next to us. We were instructed from the jump to connect entirely to ourselves in the mirror and move in our own unique way.

So, for a little over two hours (the class ran over a bit), I was able to get lost. I was loosed from the male gaze (and the female gaze for that matter). I was loosed from the rules of decorum or what’s “appropriate.” I could just flirt, move, and have fun. It was so freeing.

Don’t get me wrong. I was still probably one of the most conservative attendees present. I won’t act like I wasn’t in my head at times. But I will say that it was so beautiful and liberating to explore my sassy, sensual side with a room full of other women who were doing the same. There aren’t many safe places to just relax and be free. I’m so grateful to that choreographer for creating a space for me.

What about you? Are there parts of your personality you’ve been wanting to explore? Maybe it’s not your sensuality. Maybe it’s your spirituality or your creativity. Maybe it’s your spontaneity. Maybe it’s a part of you that’s been dormant for whatever reason and it’s time to get reacquainted. I challenge you this week to make room for this part of you. Let her out and give her room to breathe. What if embracing all that you are is the very key to allowing someone else to do the same?


Sunday, April 2, 2017

Time for a reset


The realization came from navel-gazing- literal navel gazing. I was inspecting my stomach and wondering how someone so active and otherwise fit could be so "endowed" in the midsection. Stress? Probably part of it. PMS? I’m sure. But then I recalled the extra 250 calories I consume each time I treat myself to a Starbucks grande vanilla latte. Oh and then there's the red wine too, but let’s not go there.

The second observation was my blah mood. Thankfully, I think I’ve turned a corner and the persistent, low grade sadness for no reason doesn’t plague me as much anymore. But I was feeling down this weekend. I didn’t end up having any plans. I found things to do to get out of the house, but without company to enjoy them with it wasn’t quite the same. In my boredom, I found myself passively and compulsively scrolling on social media. That, of course, only led to comparison and loneliness. I could’ve and probably should’ve gone to my church’s Saturday night service. I wasn’t up for it though. Sometimes church is just one more place to feel lonely and disconnected. I just wasn’t up for faking a smile, making pleasantries during the greet-your-neighbor portion, and then leaving to go home by myself. Instead, I stayed home, started a new series on Netflix, and took in more needless calories.

Then, here it was, another #SundayFunday, and all I had to look forward to was laundry, meal prep, and hair washing. I decided that didn’t work for me. I still had to do all that stuff, of course. But I needed more. I needed to reset. I’ve never been one to diet or to get jazzed about a new workout plan. I can see why people are excited by those things though. They give you structure and accountability. They give you daily action points and help you measure progress. In a world where things are vague, it’s nice to have something concrete.

What exactly is my reset you might ask? Well, there are a lot of moving parts. Suffice it to say, my focus for the next 30 days is more of what I need and less of what I don’t. I hope to improve the way I nourish myself physically, relationally, and spiritually. Maybe this will be a deeply transformative experience. Maybe it’ll just be a subtle but necessary realignment. Either way, I know it’ll be good. What about you? It’s the second quarter of the year. Are you in need of a reset?