Ringing in a new you

‘Twas the season of cookies and eggnog, rum and champagne, sleeping late and long, staying up until tomorrow, and eating whatever whenever however with whomever. It was the season of mirth and good cheer and fun and family and friends and appetizers and chocolate and shortbread and brunch. It was the season of merry and plenty. And now it’s the season of SHUT IT DOWN.

There are commercials about it, about stopping the over-indulgences and getting ‘back on track’. They remind you that you’re still awesome, but hey, stop being so crazy and start getting back in line.

There are deals (OH THE DEALS) of 20, 30, 40, 50% off gym memberships, gym equipment, bootcamp classes and find-your-abs-under-your-keg plans.

There are the great sell-offs and purchases of people’s abandoned treadmills and stationary bicycles and weighted-yoga balls and workout clothes. Wanna make a buck? Sell your dusty workout stuff. Wanna get in shape for cheap? Buy other people’s dusty workout stuff.

And everywhere you turn are people helping you make the resolutions that will set your year on FIRE and give you a bikini body in three easy moves in just five minutes every day.

It’s exhausting. And it’s unrealistic.

Can you get a skinnier, toner, more fit you? ABSOLUTELY. You can. You will if you set your mind and body to it. You will if you make a plan that’s reasonable and realistic and if you really want to.

But can you do it the way you’re being sold it? Probably not. Because they’re not selling you change. They’re selling you a NEW YOU. They’re selling you a promise that they have no intention of helping you achieve. It’s mean. And it’s a vicious cycle that happens every year.

For me, 2014 was the year I solidified my love of running and of exercising. It was the year I really started writing again. It was the year I fought alongside my man for my marriage. It was the year we really got into the groove of being a family of five. It was the year we took control of our spiritual health and made a huge change to where and how we worship. And it was the year of rediscovering bits of me that I had lost in the fog of pregnancy, newborn schedules, breastfeeding and depression. It was a year. And now that I’m facing another year, I wonder what I’d like for 2015. What will it look like? What will we accomplish? What will I accomplish?

Instead of resolving to do a bunch of things (2014 was not the year of being able to magically create more time), I thought I would make a list of things I’d like to stop. Things I’d like to knock-off, cut-out, and generally quit. It seems strange, since statistically this is generally what happens on January 10, the day of quitting all your New Year’s resolutions, but for me, I’d like to get a jump-start on jumping ship.

1. Quit talking trash about myself. I eat a cookie, I eat five cookies, I eat the rest of the cookies and not only does my stomach hate me, my brain is a royal jerk about it. It berates me and tells me in no uncertain terms that I suck, that I’m a failure, and that I’ll never be thin and pretty and lovely because ALL THE COOKIES. In truth? I shouldn’t eat so many cookies, but I shouldn’t be a jackass about it either. It happened. It’s over. It’s time to remember the good things I did do and move on.

Voice in your head

2. Quit wishing away the day. I’m not saying I should stop and smell every damn rose, but I should stop wishing for nap time and Ben time and bedtime and then alone time. I should start enjoying the time I’m in. I have the energy and space and now the emotional and mental capacity to do it, and I’d like to stop living in my depression-era head space. I’d rather live here because I can. I fought long and hard to enjoy this moment. Now I need to stop wasting it.

Living for the weekend

3. Quit glorifying the busy. Oh, I’m a real winner at this one. I can tell you, in great detail, exactly how busy I am. But in reality, I’m as busy as I MAKE ME. No one else. Me. I am busy chasing children, sure, but am I chasing them effectively, efficiently, in the best way for them and me? Probably not. So, I’m gonna stop being a martyr of the schedule and start being the freaking empress.

being-busy-quotes-6

4. Quit coming up with new excuses. I feel like I’m stocked up for excuses on why I can’t/don’t want to/aren’t able to write my book. There is no reason why I need new and inventive ones for the roster. The old ones don’t hold water and work just fine for being weak and ridiculous.

Just Do It

5. Quit avoiding running. I stopped running when I started having weaning depression because from where I sat on my comfortable couch inside my warm house in my bare feet and pyjamas it was SO HARD. And then dear friends Heather and Bethany asked me what they could do to help me get back to being happy-brain me and I said, I need to run. Bethany instantly said, Tomorrow? And we did. I went. I ran. And when I got back I was blissed out on the high of it. I love running. It is in me now. And I need to stop abandoning it just because my brain forgets how awesome it is. I will be running until I am physically unable. Period. Enough trying to run away from running. Toni, Bethany, and another good friend Andrea and I will be doing a half-marathon in May just to solidify my commitment to quitting running avoidance. It should do the trick.

oprah-winfrey running

What are you going to quit this year? And what will you ultimately give yourself in the process?

~ Julia

Uphill mantras

Confession: I’m struggling lately.

Struggling to find and keep balance.

Struggling to be happy for no reason.

Struggling to maintain my peace.

Struggling to stay fulfilled.

A sometimes seemingly uphill battle that I just can’t win – the constant pull of my attention in too many directions with just not enough actual time provided in the 24 hours ahead of me. Sometimes the struggle is so real that my heart starts to race, my temperature spikes and I feel like I may not catch my breath as I think about the ‘To Dos’ that keep mounting, the increasing number of people I feel like I am letting down and all of the things I am forgetting or not getting to.

I find myself easily flustered, easily riled up and too quick to stress.

After noticing this behaviour in me, and being bothered by it, I had to wonder: what am I not doing that I normally would to de-stress and gain my balance?

It seems to me that forgetting my mother’s signature parting sentiment of “remember who you are” would be a good place to begin. I keep forgetting that I have faced adversity before and I have come out the other side fairly well equipped with a couple new lessons and the bragging rights that I have survived 100% of the not so desirable situations I have faced.

Mufasa stole it from mama for sure...

Mufasa stole it from mama for sure…

I may have changed in some way or another, but the survival record is the thing to note.

The difference in how easy these situations are to face however, is in the active belief that I ultimately have nothing to worry about, as God has got me and more importantly, God has got this. The worry wouldn’t be as pressing if I remembered this when feeling myself ready to boil over. If I know one thing, it is that all I can do is my very best, whatever the situation may be, and if that is not enough, then it is out of my control. Accepting that is half the battle.

I recognize that taking time for me has taken a bit of a back burner to almost everything else going on right now – cardinal rule of survival, broken. How can you take care of other people if you aren’t taking care of yourself? I don’t mean this in the fact that my hair could use a trim, my piglets a pedicure and my aching back a nice, relaxing massage.

Finally sneaking in some time for me this past Saturday morning.

Finally sneaking in some time for me this past Saturday morning.

I mean I have not actively taken time to go for my runs, or take in a hike, or workout with my sisters or girlfriends. It burns me because I KNOW the ability to handle stress improves with an increase in endorphins on the regular. I know this firsthand as the benefits of exercise having carried me through some pretty intense and high pressure times in the past few years. Stupidly, it has been one of the first things I have cut out of my schedule. Even worse is I tell people this is a key to overall health and increased energy all the time – so hypocritical! (Side note to my #TLT ladies – seriously, let’s get back to it on the regular!) I also am missing out on my quality time boosting my energy alone, where it’s more than just a workout and it is often to work something out with the pace of my feet, rhythm of my breathing, and beat of my music as the only things I consciously have to focus on.

The key kicker from my careful analysis to my inability to keep perspective in this chaos has to be my failure of a diet.

While I wish I just meant what types of foods I have been eating, I also have been inconsistent in timing between meals, failing my daily goal for water intake, drinking entirely too much coffee, forgetting that I need to eat breakfast, eating far too close to bedtime…breaking all of the rules really. When my diet is off, my energy is lacking, my sleep pattern is impacted and I find stress unmanageable.

I have to remember that saying “no” is always acceptable and sometimes absolutely necessary, that this present day challenge will not matter in 5 years from now in the grand scheme of things, that all relationships have ebbs, flows and are most importantly fluid, and that there is always room for improvement in every situation, but it has to come in small steps.

It usually never will...

It usually never will…

I’m hoping this post serves as a public, virtual way of giving my head a shake and getting myself back to my centre. It really is almost worse once you know better to revert back to old habits and old patterns.

Here’s to moving on up this hill a little further and attempting to tackle it with a little more balance.

~ Toni