Did > Did Not

I’ve had a hard time keeping up with posting though all the holiday hooplah this month and I’ve also hard a hard time keeping up with my challenge. I just reread my posts from this month and realized that all of them pretty much say the same thing: “Whoops, I missed the mark this week. At least there’s always next week!”. But then the next week brought the same story.

I could beat myself up for this but I don’t believe in that. Negative self talk never makes anything better. Plus, even though I never checked off every single item on my self-care to-do list on any given week, I’m actually feeling pretty good right now, so the few things I managed to get around to must have paid off.

So instead of focusing on what I didn’t do, here’s what I did do this month:

  • I recommitted to my meditation practice and have integrated it back into my life.
  • I made time for yoga, even when I only had 20 minutes to practice, and was reminded that sometimes that’s all you need.
  • I did an awesome job abstaining from sweet-eating and saved myself a bunch of empty calories/instaregret.
  • I finished all my shopping a week before Christmas—for the first time ever—saving me a bunch of last minute stress (although my family just got their gifts in the mail today, which is a total bummer. Thanks USPS)
  • I moved and unpacked a whole house worth of belongings 2 weeks before Christmas and still managed to get a tree, do my holiday decorating, and send out cards to friends and family.
  • I actually ended up having a really nice Christmas. It was my first year away from my family for the holidays so there were certainly sad moments, but overall I managed to have a really nice day at home with Dan and Fanne in our beautiful new apartment. We slept in, we cooked, we baked, we ate, we exchanged gifts, and we relaxed. Perfect, right?

Maybe I hard a hard time fitting in those 2 cardio workouts a week, and maybe there were a few times when I went to bed without meditating, or times when using my credit card was the only option, but I feel ok right now, and holiday burnout never made it’s way to these parts. That’s some sort of success, right?

And it’s only the 28th too, there’s still a few days left before the new year to do a little self-care catch up before I’m off to my next challenge—which is going to be really fun btw 😉

My favorite Christmas tradition: Watching It's a Wonderful life on xmas eve

My favorite Christmas tradition: Watching It’s a Wonderful life on Christmas Eve

 

From Sweating to Surviving: November’s Wrap-Up and December’s Lent

It’s that time again folks, time to wrap up one challenge and move on to the next. Before I reveal December’s lent, here’s a quick wrap-up of November’s Sweat Once A Day challenge.

Overall it was really fun and surprisingly not that difficult to keep up with. I ended up trying a few new workouts, I kept up with my yoga practice, and I definitely logged more physical activity than I would have if I wasn’t pushing myself to, so I consider it a win for that reason alone. Here’s my final tally for the whole month:

  • 10 yoga practices
  • 5 swalks
  • 2 runs
  • 5 Pure Barre classes
  • 1 kickboxing class
  • 1 Real Ryder class
  • 1 Barre-dio class
  • 1 Hampton Inn fitness center session (elliptical and free weights)
  • 1 dune climb at Sleeping Bear Dunes

That makes 27 workouts, and since I was sick for the first few days, I’m going to go ahead and give myself a gold star. Not bad Dzenawagis, not bad…but alas, it’s December now and time to move on so I’ll get right to it and introduce this month’s challenge: the Holiday Survival Guide, Part 2.

Remember last December when I gave myself a set of self-care guidelines to follow to make it through the holiday season unscathed? Well, it worked so well that I’ve decided to do it again, changing a few little things from last year’s list.

The basic gist of it is this: it goes without saying that as wonderful as the holiday season is, the stress of keeping up with it often drives you to abandon your regular healthy habits in favor of overworking, overdoing it, and overindulging. Sound familiar? But while you can’t control how hectic everything around you is, what you can control is how you respond to it, which really boils down to creating and committing to a self-care practice designed to help keep you physically, mentally, and financially healthy.

This year happens to be extra crazy for me too, because in addition to the regular stress of working retail during the holidays and preparing for Christmas in general, this month I also have to contend with moving, a trip back home to the east coast—which includes flying Fanne back home in an airplane with us, oh boy…and turning 30 (which I’m 100% in denial about). So yeah, there’s a lot going on, and to help me make it through to the other side somewhat resembling a sane version of myself, this is what I’m committing to in the month of December:

  1. I will practice yoga (asana) 3 times a week.
  2. I will meditate every day.
  3. I will practice yoga nidra or another yogic relaxation technique 2 times a week.
  4. I will do some sort of cardio workout 2 times a week.
  5. I will abstain from eating all sweets (candy, cookies, cupcakes—basically any type of dessert), but allow myself exceptions for my birthday (because eating an entire birthday cake will definitely make me feel better about entering the next age bracket) and Christmas (because it would just be mean not to, right?).
  6. My credit card will not come out once. Everything I buy and do will be paid for with real money.
  7. I will have all my holiday shopping done by December 18th, a full week before Christmas (if I can pull this one off it’ll definitely be a first).

Does it sound like a lot? It is. But it’s the kind of work that’s worth doing, and the kind of work that pays off, I promise.

Anyone care to join me? If you made your own holiday survival guide, what would it look like? I’ll be blogging about this challenge over on the lululemon blog this month too and inviting their community to jump on board as well—join us! 

August’s Lent: The “No Lent” Lent

When I started brainstorming ideas for August’s challenge, there were a lot of variables to consider. Besides it being Summer and just generally busier than most times of year, I have 2 pretty big things going on this month that I wasn’t sure how to work around lent-wise:

  1. I’m traveling for a week to Vancouver, Seattle, and Portland—partially for work, partially for fun. I was chosen to attend lululemon’s annual Leadership Conference in Vancouver and was able to extend my trip for a few days to visit some friends and family in the Pacific Northwest. I literally cannot wait, which luckily I don’t really have to because I leave a week from today, woohoo!
  2. We’re moving to Ann Arbor, Michigan at the end of the month (this is where my boyfriend’s family lives for anyone wondering why Michigan), and as we all know, moving (especially to a different state) can be all-consuming—not to mention a pretty big deal for a girl who’s never lived outside of the Northeast. Anyone have any words of encouragement on navigating this transition for me? I’m happily accepting submissions.

So yeah, since this month has a considerable amount of traveling, packing, goodbye-rounds-making, loose-end-tying, and long-distance driving, I wasn’t sure what I’d be able to commit to for a challenge—especially with this case of lazy summer brain haze I’ve got going on…

I went back and forth with a number of ideas before reminding myself that the whole point of this blog in the first place is to take on challenges that will improve my life in some way—not just to do them for the sake of doing them. Before the start of each month it’s always important to ask myself: What do I need right now? What would be the best thing for me? 

And honestly right now…it’s a break.

A month to enjoy myself and my homestate before things get a little hectic and unstable for a while. A month to make beach dates with friends, visit my family, be fully present for my trip out to the Pacific Northwest, thoroughly prepare for my move, and to center before my balance is tested. I’ve got a lot going on right now, and I honestly don’t think I have the room to add something to the mix. I mentally can’t afford something else to be accountable for. I need to just be and to get through this month stress free (or as close to it as possible).

So I hope you don’t think it’s a cop out, but this month my challenge is to have no challenge: the “no lent” lent. To take care of myself in preparation for a big life change, and to focus my efforts on soaking up these last few weeks of New England summer. 

Don’t worry though, I’ll still be writing—it just won’t be as specific to one topic as it’s traditionally been. And I’ve got September and October’s challenges all lined up so rest assured that lent is totally on for the fall.