I ran a 3-mile track run smack in the middle of a ridiculously hectic and scorching hot day. The whole run I thought, “If I didn’t have this half-marathon to train for, would I be running right now?” My answer was no. I really love running, but in favor of my training, I had to forgo a yoga class and a swim this week. I also had a super crunchy week since it was short to begin with. Top that with harp lessons, girls night, YL, and friend’s birthday party gone awry (the incident involved a car, a broken paddle, a ferry-boat, and super sunburned husband). Not to mention, I accidentally ate something dairy related and paid the consequences for two days.
You don’t have to run 13 miles to be healthy
Because my time is precious, I typically pick a small variety of blissful fun throughout the week that proportionately balances mental, physical, and spiritual health. This usually means exactly what my week entailed, minus the crunch factor and the sweaty stress run. This is because I do not believe that picking a sport will make you healthier, happier, or more hard-core. In fact, as you might have figured out:
- Limiting your diet will make you want what you can’t have
- Making a training plan will make you not want to train
And yet those are the first two things everyone does when they decide to get healthy: They say they want to eat better and exercise. This winds up being counter-intuitive to the actual bigger picture of health. I believe that the priority should be: I want to be healthy and happy. Then the rest will follow. If the priority is: I want to run a marathon, or lose 40 pounds, you could potentially loose the big picture of why you want to accomplish those goals in the first place.
The Roseto Effect: Happy & Healthy
Case in point: The Roseto Effect. Many books have talked about this small town in Pennsylvania that appears to be the healthiest place on earth. The town is virtually free of disease, boasts longevity, and people are ridiculously happy and content with life despite the fact that they smoke and work at the local quarry. Where does the fountain of youth lie? Community. Psychologists spent years researching the town trying to find the secrets to their health. Community was the puzzle piece that made it all work. People simply spent time together!
So I brought this back to my own life this week. I’m going to run this half-marathon, but I’m not going to lose sight of why I’m doing it: because I want to travel to Vancouver with my sister, brother-in-law, and husband (and I’m slightly obsessed with Lululemon). Ahhh yeah, that’s going to be a blast!
By the end of my stress run- I decided to devote the rest of the weekend to community. We hung out with friends, gossiped with the neighbors, and helped out with local chores. I weeded the yard, cleaned the house, purged our abode of all unnecessary items, did a few Goodwill runs, and brought us back to simple. A clean house, a well made dinner, a bottle of wine, and a husband who enjoys a hard day’s work just as I do. We are so blessed to have a life like this!!
Training: Oh! By the way- I did time my mile: 8:30. Better than I thought! I also ran 3-miles in 32:14. Not too shabby! And of course I did yoga: Made it to one blissful sesh with Susan this week. Gotta love her! How are you guys doing with your training?Read More
Ahhh I love so much when reoccurring themes pop up in my life. I popped onto my computer last night to find that two of my favorite blogs were on the same topic- and its one I needed desperately to hear. If I told you to simply BE GRATEFUL, you probably wouldn’t give it a second thought. Absent-mindedly you’d think, yeah I know. That’s what I thought too!
Listening is new to me right now. I’ve heard the same things over and over again without absorbing them. It’s like when you read a full-page of your book only to realize you didn’t actually comprehend it. That’s what I’ve been doing with gratefulness. Earlier in the week I listened to a podcast about it, considered buying a book about it at Barnes and Noble, in fact, all the time I think about how grateful I am for my life! Yet it wasn’t until last night that it all clicked into place. I simply needed perspective.
Smile with your Heart- a blog by an adventurous nurse with awesome zeal, posted an incredibly blunt article chronicling the emotions behind her recent trip to Haiti. Having seen true hope in the face of despair, she no longer has it in herself to feel sorry for a man who is impatient with airport security. YET- how many times have I been that airport security man? (ok woman, but you get my drift). How many times have I near about cried because my hot chocolate fell off my car as I pulled out of my driveway? How many times have I felt upset or troubled because a food product was manufactured alongside gluten (which I’m allergic to)? Talk about first world problems! (LITERALLY!).
Now this morning, I find that my awesome friend and co-Young Life leader wrote a post about being grateful while writing an excruciating term paper! Talk about hammering the point in!! (I GOT IT!! Thanks for the message!). Did you ever see the movie Bruce Almighty? I’ve always related to the moment when he is crying out for a sign and a truck full of signs pulls in front of him. He still doesn’t get it. Yep that’s me! Once again it all comes back to listening. It’s time to crack my ears open and stop being the one to chatter. Apparently big things are in the works here. I’m all ears!!
So how to be more grateful? Appreciate what I have, which is A LOT! I love my job, which is actually not very common. My husband travels quite a bit, which affords me time for all my Young Lifers. I used clean water in my tea this morning, which many countries don’t even have access to. I put a shirt on this morning that I haven’t even worn before while many people only have one (if that). I brushed my teeth this morning with fluoride hardly realizing that without that my teeth would have rotted out before the age of 18. There are so many large and itty-bitty things that I am thankful for, and remembering all of those things can make a HUGE difference! Afterall, some of the most desolate and poverty ridden countries are full of some of the most grateful and hopeful people on earth. Who am I to not feel the same way despite having so much?
It’s a beautiful life, and I plan on living and loving every second of it!Read More
I’ve been thinking a lot about balance in my life lately. As you know by now, I’m always inspired by Mireille Guiliano (author of French Women Don’t Get Fat) and mostly because she achieves balance in life. She finds balance with her work, with exercise, with pampering herself or drinking wine, and because of this, she is living life to the fullest and experiencing a happy and healthy life! Which is what this blog is all about!! So I’ve come back to this feeling, to explore what it means in my life. For one thing, in exercise.
I’ve been on this train of working myself to the bone for a few weeks, hitting burnout, then looking for another outlet. While physical fitness is super important and can even extend your life expectancy by a number of years (it’s true! Google it!) its important to find what works for your body. Mireille doesn’t EVER go to a gym, yet she frequently walks up the many, MANY flights of stairs to her NY condo, and has adopted a lifestyle where walking everywhere is her main mode of transportation. There are also many people who have one activity that they actively pursue such as running, kayaking, rowing, cycling, or even CrossFit. What I am finding for myself is that I enjoy varied activities. I’m not trying to be the strongest person or the fastest person, I’m just trying to be super healthy and happy! Sometimes a run is super fun for me, but if it is a rainy day- forget about it- Yoga is the only way to go. I also enjoy outdoor sports including hiking, kayaking and trying new things such as kite-boarding. So while fitness will always be apart of my life, it should never be a stressor, it should be fun, and varied and interesting! This is what I am finding works for me.
It’s easy for me to get stressed since my job is very sedentary and I feel the need to counteract my sitting- but I follow Mireille’s tips including drinking lots and lots of water (many walks to the bathroom and the water cooler!) and have even made some of my own:
- Nixing the dishwasher. I had to do this since my new house didn’t come with one, but I love it!! Now instead of unloading and loading, hand-washing dishes has become apart of my day. It is very meditative for my mind as well as keeps my body moving. Plus it makes me feel apart of the Amish lifestyle where cleaning isn’t a necessity but another enjoyable portion of the day.
- Cooking. As soon as I get home from work (but after any sort of exercise) I spend a good time cooking in the kitchen while drinking a glass of wine. Another meditative activity!
- Banishing the TV to a lesser used room. We don’t have a TV but we do have a large computer screen that we use for watching movies. In our new house we put it in the office instead of our main living area. Now we will go for a run together or spend some time gardening before enjoying a long dinner together.