On being the EXACT OPPOSITE of a yogi

…I wanted so badly to have some witty suggestion for what the opposite of a yogi would be, but very little cleverness is happening in the headspace-area today, folks. (So let’s write a blog post! Yikes. I’m sorry in advance.)

Yesterday, I looked at my coworker and said, “Can I say something really terrible? I’m thinking of taking tomorrow off. Do you think that’s okay?” To which he responded, “OH MY GOD THAT’S THE WORST THING EVER HOW COULD YOU. And also, that’s totally not terrible and yes – yes, you should take tomorrow off.” He’s a good egg, that one.

Anyway, alas, I could not take today off, but I did compromise: I have a couple of appointments planned, so I decided to just work from home and not bother with the whole “getting dressed and going to the office thing.” I’m working but taking it slow. I even went to a yoga class this morning. I think that’s a fair trade-off.

I am absolutely terrible at prioritizing my health, y’all, but then – that’s why I started this blog, really. It helps me to remember that this is a journey, and it’s nice to have somewhere to document that. I’m not a stay-at-home-mom, I don’t come from money, I have lots of bills and obligations and stress. I don’t eat entirely organic, I’m pretty fond of sugar (it’s the devil, I know – I get it), and let’s be real – I’m a wheezy mess when I run, and after a year of ill health, even the simplest yoga poses HURT. Like a bad word, people. Like a BAD WORD. I often feel like I don’t know where I fit into this shiny blogosphere that can seem very saturated with Whole 30 challenges and Lululemon. (Both of those things are great, by the way. But I’m a hot mess and broke – neither of them are happening for this gal anytime soon.)

And so it’s not easy to keep trying. It’s not easy to remember that no one’s perfect (regardless of what their blog or Instagram looks like), that it IS a journey, that any new habit needs work and time and patience with yourself. That practice is important. That I’m not always going to be great at something right out of the gate. That whatever I’m going to do, however much I love it most of the time, I’m definitely, really going to HATE that very same thing some of the time. It’s hard to remember that I’m ABSOLUTELY going to have pizza and ice cream and cheese, and I’m going to love it, and that’s no reason to feel shame. Because hi – those things are freakin’ wonderful.

Don't let perfect be the enemy of good

That yoga class this morning was great. I was able to get into poses I couldn’t even have dreamt of two weeks ago. And maybe next week, I’ll struggle again. But that’s okay, too. What’s not okay is giving up when I know in my heart that the payout will be worth it. Whenever it comes, it’ll be worth it.

So I guess I’ll stick with my smoothies (seriously, NutriBullet? Marry me.) and my yoga and my barre classes, and I’ll (maybe) learn to love (or at least deal with) every creak and groan and face-palm moment.

There’ll be a lot of them. I’m kind of a klutz.

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Getting a bikini body. (Maybe.)

So I hit reboot on this blog after a year-long battle with illness. I’ve had some lady problems, I’ve had some belly problems, and I’ve had a whole lot of stress problems.

I’m no stranger to chronic stress. I come from a warm, loving bunch of neurotics (sorry Mom and Dad), so I’d pretty confidently put my estimate at around 20+ years of being a Grade-A headcase. It’s had its ups and downs, for sure, but it’s never been more of a bummer than within the past six years, when I decided to start working in the nonprofit sector with urban youth. This work can be tough, and it’s become very clear that a) you really need coping strategies in life, and b) I have no coping strategies in life. GOOD TIMES.

Even now, on the other side of (most of) it, I’m still struggling with prioritizing my own health and happiness. And that’s important. (I’m also useless to the kids I work with if I’m burnt out and sick all the time. Right? Right.)

I was hanging out on Instagram one day recently (like you do), and I stumbled across Kayla Itsines’ feed. She’s a tiny, adorable youngin’ (aka: Not Past 30), so I was fully prepared to glance quickly and then move on. What caught my attention, though, was the sheer number of girls (women!) who seemed to be getting real results from her program. And these weren’t glossy, engineered testimonials – they were regular ladies posting all kinds of regular photos on their own Instagram accounts.

KaylaItsinesIG

(You can see more on Kayla’s website.)

I cautiously clicked “follow” and figured I’d wait and see. And fast forward a few weeks, guys, because I’m sold.

The Bikini Body Guide program asks you to devote 28 minutes, three times per week, to its sessions. Each session consists of two circuits that you’ll repeat twice, each for 7 minutes. While it’s still too early for my own “transformation,” I’m feeling better already, after just a week. I’ll be honest and tell you that I’m not even doing the workouts entirely faithfully yet; an unfortunate effect of last year’s Unpleasant Stuff is that my body is incredibly stiff and tense, and while I’d been attending barre and pilates classes somewhat regularly before the holiday, I am still super out-of-shape and huffing and puffing all over the place. The greatest thing about doing your “research” via IG and social media is that you have access to real, honest reviews, and the experiences of people at every level – so I knew that there were women out there just doing the best they could, and they were still seeing results. Everytime I’ve done these workouts, I’ve told myself to just get through what I can – and pushing myself through even the truncated version is making a world of difference already.

I don’t know if I’ll end up with a “bikini body” at the end of this, but I’ll keep y’all posted. I know it’ll keep making me feel stronger and help manage that unhealthy stress, either way, and I think that’s absolutely its biggest value.

In re-reading this, I’m realizing that it totally sounds like an advertisement. …It’s not. I’m so not that smooth. I really did just happen upon Kayla on Instagram and like the look of her program. For what’s it worth, I don’t think it’s perfect, and I’m currently one sore and aching human. So. Your mileage may vary, I’m not a doctor, blah blah blah. Check it out for yourself – that’s the beauty of social media!

In which I get honest about the trickiest of tricksters

Guys, it is the middle of my work day. I’m sitting at home, working from home – because I can do that, you see – and I am so distracted and so bummed out. My body is aching, my head is pounding and I can’t shake a way-more-than-vague sense that I am just doing life all wrong.

…Not where I expected that first paragraph to end up, if I’m being honest with you.

And I guess I am being honest, huh? WORD VOMIT, ACTIVATE.

Depression is the weirdest thing, isn’t it? There are so many incredibly varying manifestations of it, so many different ways to experience it. I’ll never stop being totally blown away by this feeling of knowing that it’s here, knowing what it’s doing – and not being able to control it. How utterly bizarre to know that the reason my body aches, the reason I was just lying there in bed this morning, the reason I’m not in the mood to hang out with friends is this one thing – this one thing that tricks me into believing I’m someone else.

I don’t know who that “someone else” is, but Lord knows I don’t feel like me.

You’d think if I knew all of this, if I can feel it coming on and understand the effects, that I could just shake it off. I can’t shake it off. You can’t shake it off.

I want you to think of the longest string of expletives that you possibly can. Are you doing that? Awesome. Now attribute those words to me. Right here.

(Just make sure you’re saying them all angry-tired.)