Pushing through those reps this morning was a killer. Doing leg day is the toughest workout of all and is hard to get through. It’s a mental challenge to have to keep telling yourself you can do it! I felt like quitting many times this morning (so HARD!), but pushed through it.
I remind myself that the reason I am pushing myself so hard today is that as a result, I will be stronger tomorrow! This same concept applies to many areas of life as well! Work those mental and physical muscles and they will all get stronger over time ???. Day #61 of 91 of my current challenge complete! ✅
After 3 nights in a row without proper sleep, I am beginning to wonder how I am going to function if this continues.
Not sure why my brain doesn’t seem to want to go to sleep, perhaps it is part of my abuse recovery… I am on what I am calling my “emotional fitness journey” especially intensive over the last month. It has been a challenging path to take and honestly, some days, I feel like quitting the journey and just going back to my “tough” self that never had any problems.
Sleep is one of those things that is important for brain function and we don’t realize just how much. Yesterday, at clinic, by half way through the shift, my thinking felt slowed, cloudy, eyes were burning, ears were ringing and felt some serious fatigue. Ate a few mint chocolate squares to liven me up, which seemed to work for a few minutes, then subsequently I felt worse instead of better. Challenging to get through the last part of the shift this way!
I did some research on sleep recently and founds some interesting facts about what the brain does while we are sleeping! There were 5 that I found most interesting!
Firstly, while we are sleeping, our brain helps to process complex data, to aid with decision making when we are awake! Its amazing how much our brain processes while unconscious!
Secondly, While we are sleeping, the brain creates and consolidates memories. For this reason, sleep is VERY important for learning and retaining information. Also, having good sleep PRIOR to learning, prepares the brain better for initial formation of memory. Hmm, maybe pulling those all-nighters to study for exams and write papers were not such a good idea!
Thirdly, sleep helps to boost our ability to have creative connections. In an unconcious state, the mind can make surprising creative connections that it won’t make while awake! Have you ever waken up in the morning after a good sleep with new “aha” moments?
Fourthly, a very important function of sleep is for the brain to do a little housekeeping. This process allows the brain to flush out toxic materials that build up while we are awake! Apparently, without enough sleep, these toxins can build up and lead to cognitive diseases.
Fifth, while sleeping, our brain learns and remembers the process of how to perform physical tasks. These things could include dance moves, new golf swing techniques, running form, etc. During REM sleep, our body transfers these to a longer term memory area, so that they become more permanent in our minds.
Given the significant processes that occur during sleep, its no wonder my brain didn’t want to work properly after no sleep. I have learned that no amount of caffeine, chocolate or sugar in the day will fix that! In fact, having these substances, can affect the quality of your sleep the upcoming night again!
With all of the research, and looking at just how important sleep is, I have come up with 5 ways to improve my sleep:
Minimize caffeine intake (chocolate, coffee, iced tea, other drinks and more). Caffeine can take up to 18 hours to completely clear from the body, so even the morning coffee can interfere with sleep quality! (this issue can get worse at we get older too!)
Avoid bright screens/computer for at least an hour prior to sleep. Bright light can interfere with our natural melatonin and sleep cycles! Also, what we are reading on those screens may be too stimulating instead of relaxing!
Meditate or think deeply about things that are stressing me or bothering me prior to going to bed and write them down on a piece of paper beside the bed and give myself permission “not to worry about them until tomorrow”.
There I was in front of the opened fridge, searching for peace.
It had been the kind of long, frustrating day no commute could erase. Maybe it was the two patients I’d seen whose troubling stories broke my heart. Maybe their struggles with depression and emotional trauma had hit a little too close to home. Now, an unstoppable string of painful memories threaded its way through my mind.
“I thought I dealt with this already. Why am I rehashing this again?” I sighed and closed the fridge.
Nothing in there would fix this ache in my heart. And it certainly wouldn’t stop the rerun of disturbing images through my mind. I’d have to deal another way. Without snapping at people. Without rolling my eyes and sighing at them. Without withdrawing or stuffing my face.
It’s crazy, isn’t it, how things that happened decades ago can trigger negative behavior in the present. Even stuff we’ve dealt with. Forgiven. Accepted and learned from. Or thought we had.
Many coaches say that forgiveness (and, I’d add, dealing with trauma) is like peeling an onion: it has a lot of layers, and each one makes you cry. I’ve certainly found this to be true as I worked through each painful layer of my past.
The weird thing was that I couldn’t force it. I couldn’t hurry up and heal, or race to the next level. Each layer of healing seemed to come when I was ready, and it would always surprise me when it came.
Like this week. I never saw it coming. But suddenly something like a patient’s suffering can stir up a mess of memories I didn’t realize I still needed healing from.
When that happens, my behavior can get weird. I can suddenly find myself in the fridge, or any other number of bad habits I once had, to help me deal with the pain. Overeating (some kind of carb with peanut butter and jam), staring at TV, grumping at my family, and ignoring my friends.
Has that ever happened to you? Has something triggered old painful memories and sent you headlong back into rotten old habits you thought you’d kicked?
It’s not a bad thing.
I mean, we definitely need to find a way to avoid those negative behaviours. But here’s the thing. Once we become aware of what is triggering our behaviour – once we realize the connection between our past experiences and our current behaviour – we can short-circuit the effects of those old wounds.
We don’t have to continue to be hurt by our past.
We don’t have to let past pain hurt our present.
Practically, what this looks like for me (once I recognize what’s triggering my behaviour) is to close that fridge door and walk in the opposite direction of that loaf of bread. I’ll try to find a quiet place to sit down and let the memories come. I will, once again, (again!!) decide to forgive and let it go, just as I had before. Then I’ll fix my mind back on the present – on my current goals – and choose a behaviour that fits with that.
Instead of going to the fridge to feed my feelings, I resolutely choose to engage with my daughter and grandson. We’ll play a game, talk, go outside for a walk, read a book or sit and play with toys – whatever it takes to engage in healthy activities.
We can break free from our past, from hurt. But it takes some self-awareness and the willingness to choose a new path, one scary, difficult layer at a time.
How to you shake free from past hurts when they come knocking?
It’s a terrible feeling to live under someone’s thumb. Or be physically or emotionally abused. It’s worse when it continues and there’s nothing you can do about it. Every year the injustice continued, I burned hotter with rage.
I vowed that when I grew up, I would never be a victim. More than that, I would not let others be victims either. I would fight for others, even rescuing them if I could – just the way I wished someone had rescued me. It wasn’t easy. The temptation to feel sorry for myself was definitely there. But the rage was bigger than my sadness, and drove me to action.
Thus a lifelong advocate was born. I lived to help others – in the school yard, among my friends, and even down to choosing my profession as a nurse.
I’ve also known a different kind of powerlessness – the feeling of having no control over my body. Despite having loved fitness and physical activity since childhood – and even despite my training as a fitness leader! – my body began to change. My knees hurt. Chronic pain plagued my lower back. Weight added itself to my face and waistline every year without my permission. I was so exhausted sometimes I could barely get through the day.
I remember looking in the mirror and thinking, “Is this what being forty is about? Is this just how it is?” What was happening to me?
I thought I had no choice but to submit to whatever was happening in my body. After all, I was getting older, so I may as well get used to it, or so I was told.
After a while though, I realized what I was really doing. I was simply going along with what was happening, just as my female role model had submitted to all those years ago. I was talking and living like a victim.
That’s the day I renewed my vow to take my power back. I would not be a victim anymore, even of myself, even of my own body.
I remembered something important that day: we need to be advocates for ourselves. It’s an empowering thought, especially for someone who has been victimized and suffered abuse.
It’s strange how abuse tends to repeat and filter down– the abused often become abusers. But we don’t have to. We can thrive. For me, thriving starts with advocating – both for others and for myself.
I took charge of my fitness that year. After signing up for the P90X Beachbody program, it promptly kicked my ass. I couldn’t do more than a few jumping jacks or two knee push-ups before falling apart. My knees and back couldn’t take it.
But I would not be a victim, even of that.
In my determination, I recruited physiotherapy help to get me through the program. I modified, I pushed, and damn-well made it through to the other side. The result?
I got my power back, baby.
I got fitter and leaner and now have some awesome before-and-after photos for starters. The whole experienced Changed. My. Life. I dove in headlong and became a coach as another way to advocate for people.
But there was so much more to it than even that.
It wasn’t just my physical strength and mobility that improved. Not only did weight come off and energy increase. I found a new strength – the power of advocating for myself – the power of refusing to be a victim, even of myself. And that’s the key to thriving, no matter where we come from.
Some situations in life suck…but we can choose how to frame it and how to feel about it. Ultimately, sh*t that we go through makes us stronger! It may not feel like it while you are in it, but you will later!
This morning, I chose to rise early and do a total body lifting routine to pump up my physical power which leaks over into emotional and spiritual power! My determination is on FIRE this morning as a result of the stress I went through yesterday so I plan to put it to good use today!!
The old saying…”the wounded deer leaps higher..” rings true today!???
All too often, people put issues, stressful situations, and other general life stuff ahead of their own health and wellness. This may seem like the right thing to do at the time, but it truly isn’t. If we make ourselves #1 and healthy, then we are much better able to effectively help others and to cope better ourselves and to be happy despite all the crap going on!!
Think of it this way… Don’t you appreciate it when one of your valued friends or family members takes the time to properly look after their health? We ultimately want our loved ones to be as healthy and happy as long as possible… So looking after ourselves is the first step towards this!!
I’m sure that we’ve all been there at some point… Having a family member or somebody we really love and care about, not look after their health and in fact develop serious illness or early death as a result. It is just not good. Don’t be one of those people yourself!! Your peeps love you and they want you to be around and healthy for a long time yet so get to work on it now!
I have seen my children go through the serious pain of losing someone they loved dearly more than once. This loss and pain was largely due to lack of self care, stress, substance abuse, smoking, bad eating habits…it’s VERY painful to watch people we love abuse their bodies and to develop disease and early mortality as a result. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to be one of those people who causes stress and pain to their loved ones by living an unhealthy life! NO way!!
Once I made the decision to put good health and looking after myself at the top of my priority list every single day, my life completely changed. When my health and wellness was put at the top of the priority list every single week… I truly became a better person to myself and for everyone around me.
Being a healthier and fit me, who looks after herself and is happy as a result… has made me into a better grandmother, mother, coworker, friend, family member, and so much more!! Besides, isn’t being around happy people so much more enjoyable?
HEY!! A new season is here, and a new month is just around the corner… What are you going to do to starting now to put your health at the top of the priority list??
If every morning could feel this way… It would be awesome 🙂
The baby woke up happy, my spinach and egg omelet cooked perfectly, my coffee got made, my lunch got packed, and everything done in a relatively relaxed manner, and even got out of the door on time today 🙂
It is always nice to have a great smiling start to the day! When you start with happy and positive… It tends to carry you in that manner (and attract the same thing back to you) through the day, which is awesome 🙂
Smiling has been shown to increase happy chemicals and positive feelings on the inside. Not only this, but the people around you will generally be more positive if you are… It truly does rub off on others and makes for an even better day for you! ??
So, take a few moments to really SMILE to yourself and to others today! ?