Finding ways To Thrive

thrive

Thrive Your Way

Looking for ways to thrive and not just get by.

Since I started this new position I have lived to just get by.

This was a drastic change from putting most of my focus on how to be healthy through nutrition, exercise, and mentally.

All of a sudden, I was faced with the average day of my clients.

Working their butts off to make sure they performed well at their jobs and taking care of their families.

The energy needed, and even the idea of taking care of myself seems like a bit too much.

Even though I know doing that will make everything else soo much easier.

A Little Here, A Nudge There

I have been starting to nudge myself into doing things I know are a bit better for me.

Adding in a little mediation again. Trying to calm my mind to help with sleep and energy.

My nutrition needs to step it up a little more.

It seems to be a challenge just to get the grocery shopping in!

Then once the groceries are in the house, taking the time to make something to eat is a different challenge.

I do pretty well with breakfast, as long as I have the ingredients.

Lunch is still a struggle, unless I have left-overs.

Dinner is a hit or a miss altogether.

Tonight it was “breakfast for dinner”.

Which I do like, a lot.

The desire to do more to make things change faster is real.

It is important to keep in mind that change feels a lot more taxing than coasting along on your current habits.

So keeping it simple can help keep things going.

I am not as concerned about “changing” as I am about finding a way to thrive in my current life.

Find a way to have more energy for doing the things I enjoy and being with the people I care for.

What makes you feel as if you are thriving in your life right now?

Do a little training for a bit of energy boost. Cheers!!

Diving into Emotions to Chill Out.

diving-Christopher Michel from San Francisco, USA [CC BY 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Diving in, to Chill Out

Can diving into emotions help you to chill out?

Listening to a meditation audio today I was struck by the advice to dive into negative emotions, in order to chill out.

The idea being that the longer you avoid them, the longer they stay with you.

Which makes perfect sense.

If you have ever been around someone who gives you the silent treatment, you know nothing changes until they bury it deep, or finally talk.

When they talk it is more a conclusion than seeking to find common ground, or a joint resolution.

Can you really move on and put an emotional situation out of your mind if you bury it, or “decide” how it’s going to be?

Moving On

When faced with emotions that do not feel good, how does sitting with it and experiencing it make it better?

In someways it seems like wallowing in it.

If it is factual news that triggers emotions then I understand trying to get past why it makes you feel the way it does.

A fact can not be changed, and preventing someone from reacting a certain way is unpredictably impossible.

News is news. They aren’t good or bad, they are just news.

How we choose to take those news is our own choice.

Of course, being told horrible health news usually results in some distressing emotions.

But is recognizing them and experiencing them instead of running away by keeping busy, or making sure you have purpose, any better?

When my mom was in the hospital, I coped by being the caretaker of both my parents.

I cannot say that I sat with the fear of the unknown.

It was always there. Not really holding my hand, more like clinging to my leg.

I am sure life will offer up other opportunities to try something different.

Do you find diving into your emotions a solution that works for you?

Training can be an escape, or it can be a connection. It all depends on perspective…

Micromanaging Sleep, Oh My

sleep micromanaging

Micromanaging Your Zzzzz

Micromanaging anything can be stressful and time consuming.

Since I am all about getting a good night sleep, I pay attention to articles that pop up in my newsfeed and have to do with sleep.

Hoping there is new insight in how to improve falling and staying asleep.

Last week I noticed a trend about micromanaging sleep.

As someone who has a hard time falling asleep, I consider any time I sleep a win.

Reading an article that states that just because you fall asleep quickly does not mean you are getting quality sleep is a bit of a head scratcher.

Another article I saw today was along the same lines. Not all sleep is quality sleep.

Getting into the details of feeling sleepy, even though you slept through the night.

What is Up?

Both of these articles lead you to a discussion about sleep dysfunctions, like sleep apnea.

Sleep apnea, if you don’t recall is where you have a difficult time breathing while you are asleep. In those cases, your sleep is not very restful.

Sleep apnea typically has to main sources; How you are physically put together, or from being overweight.

I remember first seeing a machine to help you get enough air while sleeping. It was included in the movie “Sleepless in Seattle”.

Meg Ryan’s character had a boyfriend with all kinds of hereditary ailments that he could not help, one of them was allergies.

He looked like a relatively fit guy so as a result, I thought people with severe allergies needed to use a machine to get enough oxygen while sleeping.

Since that movie came out, obesity has become part of even more people’s lives.

Sleep apnea machines have become more common.

I think helping people get better sleep by raising awareness of sleep apnea is the main motive behind these articles.

Unexpected Side Effect

There are unexpected side effects of articles like this. People, like myself, who suffer from anxiety may wind up fretting a little more.

One of the articles did mention anxiety, and they suggested meditation to help deal with the anxiety and sleep.

This backs up other articles and studies I have seen stating that meditation can improve sleep, when anxiety is getting in the way.

Understanding the intent of an article can help decide how much to apply to your own life.

If in doubt, look for more information. If possible, try to find a study to review and help you understand.

Have you read articles that go too far into the weeds, so the forest gets lost for the trees?

How do you back up again so you can see the trees?

Get in a little training and set yourself up for a better night of sleep. Cheers!!

New Work

Thinking about new work...

When you’re thinking about changing your career and start trying to find new work, things tend to get stressful.

Managing Stress

I used to think I was pretty good at managing stress.

In some ways, I am.

And in some ways, the past year has proven that I was quite wrong.

Thankfully, stress comes in many forms and I can handle most of them well.

Family related stress is a piece of cake to manage (I have a wonderful helper).

Emotional stress is pretty easy to resolve (same thing applies about the helper).

Workload related stress; No sweat!

The type of stress that really gets to me seems to be uncertainty about “the means to my lifestyle”.

I’m not saying I can’t handle “living on the edge”, financially (We can).

It’s just that “living on the edge” elevates my subconscious priorities to a level that far exceeds any other priority I think I may have…

Health, fitness, relationships, workload and pretty much everything other than making sure my “means to a lifestyle” is intact, it becomes irrelevant.

For the past 6 months, I’ve been playing with how to fix this.

The obvious choice would be to find a new job.

I realized something about finding a new job

For me, that’s likely to be with a company where the American version of “work/life balance” is considered a curse-word.

I want a “regular job” that I think I will enjoy. (For me, that means returning to the Tech Industry, probably in Product Management).

I really enjoy solving business problems and if I find something that I enjoy, it won’t feel like work.

The past 6 or so years has helped me define what work/life balance actually translates to (for me).

I believe it’s highly individualized and depends on things like;

  • What you grew up with;
  • How you view life in general;
  • What you think of as important;
  • Etc.

For me, I need to work for someone who understands the value of “freedom with responsibility”.

Trust, but verify…

US President R. Reagan (paraphrased)

Micromanagement and I are a lot like oil and water.

We simply will not mix for long.

A new job means finding a management team who wtll trus the people they hire.

I prefer the “you’re an adult and you applied for this job, so we presume you’re actually here to get your work done” attitude.

It’s an approach I’ve used successfully whenever I’ve managed teams.

There’s also research to back up that employees who feel trusted tend to perform a whole lot better.

Not only are they more productive, they also speak up when things are starting to go sideways.

Most companies, whether they realize it or not, benefit from that.

(Just ask Facebook, Google or any other company that have been in the spotlight recently…)

Finding a place that matches my values will significantly reduce my stress levels.

A workplace where health and fitness is a core value and not something they offer lip service to because it lowers their health insurance premiums.

To me, that’s what work/life balance is truly about.

A company that matches your core values, across the board. One that is as supportive of you and your goals as they are of their own.

Something to think about as you train today, perhaps? Cheers!

Count Your Wins, Note Your Losses

count

Count Your Wins

Taking a count of your wins and noting your losses is one way to gain perspective.

Looking back on the past 3 months, 6 months, or year and asking a few big questions can help.

Questions like;

What have I been consistently doing that is helping me meet my goals?

Or

What have I been consistently doing that is hindering me from reaching my goals?

These are key questions that will show you both sides of your current situation.

The insight you gain can help you make an adjustments you want to make.

Recognizing Losses

Recognizing losses does not have to be a negative exercise.

It may reveal something positive.

Maybe you stopped swinging by Starbucks after work and feel better for it.

Perhaps you were able to replace what you got out of visiting Starbucks with something else.

If it gave you an afternoon pick me up, what does this for you now?

You still might mourn not having a late-in-the-day caffeine kick, but that short run around the block gives you a burst of needed energy instead.

Once again seeing what is working and what is not.

Spend a little time this week thinking about, and possibly writing down, a status report.

Then decide whether your priorities are being met, or if you want to make a change or two.

As you train today, consider why something works for you. Cheers!!

Baby it’s Freaking Cold Outside

Freaking Cold

What do you do when it gets Freaking cold? 

Good clothing helps, a lot. So does training indoors.

Indoors does not always help. When we ran a brick and mortar gym, we did not have the best heating.

In order to warm up, clients needed to get moving and keep moving.

Then bundle up afterwards.

I find that I burn more calories in the winter, trying to stay warm. 

If I add purposeful movement there is real bang for my buck.

Running Caution

The only caution we ever give is to be careful below 20 degrees. 

Training outside below 20 degrees for anyone who has difficulty breathing, well it can cause problems.

Indoor training, or making it a lighter day, can be a better choice in those situations.

Doing some sprint drills inside, or even an intense HIIT session can support your efforts. Especially if those efforts have to do with running.

Save the longer runs for days when the temperature is above 20 degrees. 

Living in Colorado has its benefits. One of them is that it may get cold, but the cold does not stay around long.

We have a couple of days of chilly weather, and then it warms up again.

Not great for headaches kicked off by sudden temp changes, but great for training.

Git’er Done

I do not mind training between 50 and 32 degrees F. It is easy to dress for and not so easy to get overheated.

Breathing does not get challenging because the air is not too cold coming in to your lunges.

If feels like you get an extra boost, because it is not pleasant to wander in, so moving with speed is a benefit.

It is also slightly more work for your body to stay warm. As I mentioned, more energy is burned just trying to keep your core heated correctly.

Colder months do not mean no outdoor time.

It just means you want to be mindful of what the temp is and what type of activity you are doing.

Get out there and enjoy the benefits of the colder months.

What is your favorite temperature to train in?

Indoors or out, have fun training today. Cheers!!

Start Again, Again, and Again.

again-Markus Spiske markusspiske [CC0], via Wikimedia Commons

Again, Time to Begin

Is it time to start again?

I read an article today that was pushing the idea of starting resolutions again every Monday, instead of once a year.

The idea of sectioning time and goals into smaller chunks definitely spoke to me.

But instead of once a week, I agree more with the idea of cleaning the slate.

Meaning, if you had a junk food meal, or skipped a training session, you clean the slate and start again at you next meal or opportunity for movement.

To me this seems more powerful, then thinking “well I really went off the rails at Wednesdays dinner, but I can start again next Monday”.

I think the Monday resolution approach promotes thinking “I can keep messing up and making bad decisions for the rest of this week”.

Weekly Goals

One way I have been successful with weekly goals, or resolutions, is to decide something like “I will train three times this weekl.

Then you have a goal that you know will point you in the direction you want to go in. At the same time, it will not restrict you from doing more activities.

I also like “eat a vegetable every day”, or “2 vegetable servings at each meal”, depending on where you are at.

Then it gives you a goal to shoot for and if you do not make the goal, a place to look at why.

If you were not in control of your food that week because you were away from home, how did that impact your goal and what could you do different next time.

If you did not get in three days of training, why was that the case? Is there something different you can do to prepare for weeks like those?

Wiggle Room

Accepting upfront that there will be times when eating healthy and training regularly is more challenging is important.

It will give you the wiggle room to start again, without the cripling guilt.

Having a desire to take care of yourself, for you and others can be a great motivator.

Sometimes priorities shift and what was once extremely important becomes less so.

Making adjustments and letting go of how it used to be will give you room to move forward with how it is.

Take some time to look at your priorities and see how health and fitness fit in. What might work now?

Training today can help make things clearer. Cheers!!

Before and After Feast Movement.

feast-Anthony92931 [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], from Wikimedia Commons

Feast And Movement

A little bit of movement before and after a feast can help with digestion and lethargy.

For my family, today is a day of feasting. 

It starts at five and ends around seven (pm).

I already went for a longer walk today to get my circulation going and to give me a mental boost.

Movement helps me feel connected to life.

Heading into family time, it is nice to feel alive and vital.

Our body likes to move to keep our systems functioning well.

I have noticed on days when I do not walk, I have swelling in my legs.

It does not matter if I spend the day sitting, standing, or doing both.

If I do not get out and move, it appears that fluid settles in my lower half.

Old or What?

I have not really explored why this is. It it an age related new thing, or changes in diet..?

What I have noticed is that getting out for a walk, or run, helps.

The lymphatic and circulation systems need movement to work optimally.

So I am guessing it is an age thing and a shift in body composition towards less muscle.

Feast Day

On a day of feasting, having a system working at its best sounds like a good plan.

Helping with digesting a heavy meal, and possibly alcoholic beverages, alleviating the feeling of over-fullness.

Taking a little walk with loved ones between feasting and festivities can be a nice addition to a day that includes a lot of sitting.

On those days, the one who gets to move the most is the one making the meal.

If there are kids around, consider playing a game that includes all ages. 

“Simon Says” is a good one. As is “Follow the Leader”.

Both work as long as inclusion is your main focus.

Have fun, enjoy your day, and train just a little. Cheers!!

Decompression Pfffffft

decompression

Decompression Leaks Out

After a long fall, a little decompression is taking place over an extended holiday weekend.

Part of this decompression has been shifting my thoughts from work, work, work to holiday festivities.

Family visits, food, and preparation.

It has been a nice shift in focus and a great way to decompress.

Not that my mind does not wander to a random work thought or two, but I feel like I do not have to think about work.

Missing Something?

A lot of my off time is spent wondering if I missed something during work.

This fear and a drive for perfection have made it way too easy to work extended hours.

Tiredness has lead to mistakes which creates even more work.

Shifting to thinking about Holiday meals is a nice break.

Thomas and I will be having a holiday breakfast on our own, after having spent the evening before with family.

We like to make this “day after” a long relaxing day.

Hang out in our pj’s, eat a leisurely breakfast/lunch/dinner in one.

Small little bites throughout the day.

Completely getting rid of any pressure.

It’s just what is needed.

Having a pressure free celebration is rare and wonderful.

Obligation

Obligation does not have to be “bad” word.

It can be filled with joy.

Each year we are obliged to spend sometime with family to celebrate.

I enjoy this time with them. The tradition is nice and predictable.

This is nice when life has been about adapting, adapting, adapting.

A little bit of knowing what comes next allows room to breathe.

Granted, for others knowing what comes next, could cause a high amount of stress and a desire to run.

I feel grateful that is not my experience with my family.

What do the holidays do for you? Is it a time of welcome traditions, or is it a time of high tension?

Either way prepare your day with a little training session. Cheers!!