ADHD · fitness · habits · planning · self care

February is real but March might be fictional: Christine’s experiments with fitness planning continue

I confess. 

Despite my best intentions, I never quite got a grip on Planuary. 

At the end of December, I really thought that I would be able to take my time throughout January and slowly build a plan for my year.  Alas, life got in the way and I ended up taking January pretty much day by day.

That was ok, especially since it was the only possible way for me to proceed at that point. 

Basically, I spent January puttering along in all areas of my life.

A black and white GIF of two penguins moving slowly along.​
A black and white GIF of two penguins moving slowly along.

On the well-being side of things, I did yoga when it felt right, meditated when it felt right, took walks, did some stretches, and, last week, I did some rowing.  Those things were all pretty good and I am happy about trusting myself to do what I needed to do on any given day but it did feel a bit aimless. 

I’m not judging myself there, aimless worked for me this month but, of course, being aimless didn’t give me the cumulative-work-toward-a-goal feeling that I was looking for.

I really wanted January to feel like I was solving a puzzle, like I was figuring out what I wanted to do and creating a plan for doing it.  Instead, metaphorically, I gathered a bunch of jigsaw puzzle pieces, sorted a few of them and then went on to a logic puzzle before dropping that in favour of a riddle. All of those are good things, all of them are useful and enjoyable, but they didn’t come to any sort of satisfactory conclusion.

So, here I am at the end of January without a plan for the rest of my year. 

And I know that I still can’t wrap my brain around ‘things I want to do in 2023.’

I also know that I don’t want to just keep wandering aimlessly.

So, I’m picking a middle ground and looking at February as a self-contained unit in which I can work on things that will add up throughout that month but that may not extend into March and may not even be part of a bigger project.

Sidenote: In my current approach, March doesn’t even exist yet so I can’t possibly plan fitness things to do in a possibly fictional month.

A month is really tangible for my ADHD brain, I can see how things might play out in that period of time and, barring a catastrophe, I usually have a good sense of what is coming up for me in the next month. A year, on the other hand, feels like forever and like no time, all at once and my brain gets lost in the simultaneous limits and possibilities.

A GIF of Garfield, an orange cartoon cat with black triangular markings, pulls pages off a day by day calendar that is in a stack attached to the wall. Every day is a Monday, despite the changing dates.
A GIF of Garfield, an orange cartoon cat with black triangular markings, pulls pages off a day by day calendar that is in a stack attached to the wall. Every day is a Monday, despite the changing dates.

So, while I usually have a good sense of things I want to have in my life in ‘the future’, I struggle to scale things and plan them out over a year. I end up either creating a plan that is too rigid or too flexible and I end up spending waaaaaaay too much time recalibrating.

(In retrospect, I guess I have always thought that this issue was one of imprecise planning (hence the Planuary plan) but now I’m wondering how much time-perception factors in.)

So, instead of thinking of something I want from this year and then breaking that down into monthly pieces, I am approaching this year from the opposite direction.

I’m going to choose some appealing activities to work on during February and I’ll keep track of how much I do and how I feel about them.

Once March feels a little less fictional (I mean, assuming it ever does 😉 ), I’ll see if I want to keep going with those activities or if I want to move on to something else.

Right now, my thinking is going a bit like this,  “I want to meditate regularly so, for February, I’m going to follow the program in the journal I got for Christmas.”  “I want to go on longer walks so, for February, I am going to take a slightly longer route.” “I want more hip flexibility so, for February, I am going to do a hip exercise before bed.”

I’m not trying to work up to a certain level. I’m not trying to accumulate a certain number of steps, a certain number of meditation minutes or days, I’m not trying to be able to measure up to a certain level of hip-flexibility. I am not considering this the groundwork for doing the next stage of anything. 

I am taking February as a self-contained, measurable, tangible period of time in which to try some specific things. I don’t have to wonder about the next steps. I don’t have to think about how those things fit into the greater context of my year.  I just have to focus on February and trust that what I need in March will become apparent as time goes on. 

Again, assuming that March actually becomes real at some point. 😉

ADHD · advice · fitness · goals · habits · motivation · self care

Go Team 2023! Choose for your own peace of mind

Today is a bit of an off day for me.

I had a few complicated things to do and I’m not feeling particularly well and I just kind of want to climb under a blanket and take a nap.

I had a reasonable amount of things on my to do list today but now it is mid-afternoon and I can take things in two possible directions.

1) I can forge ahead with my to do list as-is and just hope for the best.

2) I can get strategic and decide which tasks to work on and how much time/energy I am going to put into them.

Perhaps you’ve had success with option 1 but almost every time I’ve tried it I have ended up feel frustrated and dissatisfied and VERY conscious of the tasks left undone.

And I have usually had to spend a fair bit of time coaxing myself out of feeling badly about the whole thing.

However, anytime I have paused and made a conscious choice about which tasks to work on and how long to spend on them, I have more peace of mind right from the start.

My tasks feel more accessible, more possible. My efforts make sense to me, they feel more direct. I end up being able to focus on what I *can* do with the resources I have instead of having an constant low-key dread that I won’t get stuff done.

What does this have to do with your habit-building tasks?

Well, I have found that I feel much the same when the tasks ahead of me are related to my habits as when they are related to my work.

If I am holding those tasks in my head on an off-kilter/busy day with the idea that I will get to them ‘as soon as possible’ and that I will do them completely as planned, I end up feeling stressed about them. They take up way more room in my head than they need to and I end up feeling like I am falling short.

BUT

If my day is going a bit sideways and I stop to make a choice about what I will or will not do, I feel better about the whole thing.

Instead of going into overdrive, mentally and physically, and wearing myself down, I focus and choose my next steps.

And making those choices gives me peace of mind.

I’m no longer fitting in a 20 minute walk ‘if I can’ – I’m choosing to take a 10 minute walk because I am certain I have time for that.

I’m no longer ‘hoping to meditate before bed’, I’m choosing to stop anything else I’m doing at 10pm so I have time to meditate.

Or, I’m no longer planning to row ‘when I finish everything else’ (a phrase that could extend my day far more than I want to), I’m choosing not to row at all today because I had to shift my priorities or because I don’t feel well.

Alternatively, I may be choosing to row or walk or meditate for a longer period of time or in a more challenging way and choosing *not* to do something else.

So, Team, based on this extended example from how my brain works, how do you feel about choosing the parameters for your habit-building tasks today?

Will making a conscious choice bring you peace of mind?

Or are you just as happy to carry on with your to do list and see what happens?

Please choose whichever feels kindest to you.

And here’s a gold star for your efforts today, no matter how many choices are involved.

*Nothing serious just some minor symptoms related to having a tooth pulled a few days ago.

PS – I know that some of these thought patterns have ADHD-related origins, at least in my brain, but I understand that at least some neurotypical people also think this way sometimes. Either way, I think making conscious choices on a hard day is good for your brain and helps you feel more in charge of things.

A drawing of a shiny gold star against a background of green spirals and green dots.​
A drawing of a shiny gold star against a background of green spirals and green dots.
ADHD · Rowing

Row, Row, Row My Machine…

Gently in the basement. Merrily, merrily, merrily…something that rhymes with basement.

In one of my recent Go Team! posts ‘Make some tweaks‘ I said that I was planning to move my rowing machine up to the living room because my mid-decluttering basement was too distracting. However, soon after I posted it, I realized that there was a more direct way to fix the problem – I shifted the stuff from directly in front of the machine so I didn’t have to see it while I rowed.

A GIF of someone ‘cleaning’ their room by tossing their stuff to one side and then pulling a curtain with an image of a perfectly tidy room ​across in front of the messy pile.
Yeah, kind of like this. Image description: A GIF of someone ‘cleaning’ their room by tossing their stuff to one side and then pulling a curtain with an image of a perfectly tidy room across in front of the messy pile.

It instantly helped.

In fact, as soon as I move the stuff, I hopped on the machine and rowed for a few minutes.

That in itself was a victory and I added to that triumph by deciding to sign up for my free trial of Apple Fitness + that I have been getting reminders of for months.

I watched my first video and rowed along on Monday morning and I LOVED it.

a GIF of cartoon character Bart Simpson single-handedly trying to row a rowboat in a lake. He is only using the oar on one side of the boat while the other oar trails in the water so the boat is just turning in a circle.​
My rowing also didn’t result in a lot of forward movement but I was having a lot more fun than Bart is having here. Image description: a GIF of cartoon character Bart Simpson single-handedly trying to row a rowboat in a lake. He is only using the oar on one side of the boat while the other oar trails in the water so the boat is just turning in a circle.

The instructions were clear, the leader was enthusiastic but not overbearing, and I could easily see (and match) the pace of the rowers in the video, and I felt encouraged to work a little harder than I probably would have on my own.

It gave me a lot of the benefits of being in a group class without actually having to be in a group class – I felt like I had company, the structure was clear and once I had decided on a workout, I didn’t have any more decisions to make during the session. (Unless I had decided not to finish it, of course!)

Of course, I could get a lot of those same things from YouTube videos but going to an exercise-specific app and choosing from a single category felt a lot different than going to YouTube and searching past – and getting distracted by – all kinds of other interesting things to find a video to exercise with.

a GIF of a comic from Slothilda.com - a creature (a sloth perhaps?) wearing a large pink bow and glasses is sitting at a table writing in a notebook while a corgi hops around behind her saying ‘Love me.’ over and over.
All the other videos on YouTube when I am trying to pick a workout video. Image description: a GIF of a comic from Slothilda.com – a creature (a sloth perhaps?) wearing a large pink bow and glasses is sitting at a table writing in a notebook while a corgi hops around behind her saying ‘Love me.’ over and over.

Anything that removes obstacles and reduces my distractions on the way to exercising is a good thing.

And the video itself felt different, even though it was a pre-recorded thing made for a mass audience, it felt much more like a Zoom class or something else that I could join/be part of than just something I was watching and doing on my own. I don’t know what about the video made it feel like that but I liked it.

Yes, I know that I have done this exactly once and I may or may not continue to enjoy it but the fact that my first experience with the program was overwhelmingly positive means I feel drawn to try it again.

And that is definitely a good thing.

And I’m awarding myself a gold star for my efforts.

Feel free to award yourself this gold star for your efforts today, too.

a drawing of a happy-faced​ gold star outlined in green surrounded by green and gold dots.
Image description: a drawing of a happy-faced gold star outlined in green surrounded by green and gold dots.

ADHD · fitness · goals · habits · motivation · self care

Go Team 2023! Do It Your Way

I’m going to borrow from my writing coaching practice again today.

When people want to get started/get back into writing they often look for ways to do it ‘right’ – the right time of day, the right way, the right number of words.

And while I tend to fall into that trap a lot of the time myself (Thanks, ADHD brain. Sigh.) I have also found this quote that helps me escape that trap.

The only way to write is well and how you do it is your own damn business.

A.J. Liebling

I know that the idea of writing ‘well’ adds its own kind of pressure so I remind myself (and my students) that the ‘well’ part comes in later drafts. Before we can get to the part where our writing is good, we have to do the part where we write something, anything, at all.

The same is true for any fitness or well-being habits that you want to develop.

It’s easy to fall into the trap of trying to do it perfectly, of trying to find the perfect plan, of beating ourselves out (and up) in the name of doing things ‘right.’

But if you are trying to get into the habit of exercising or meditating or journaling or stretching, you don’t have to follow a precise method. You can choose to do things that you like and that you feel like you will be able and willing to do regularly.

Sure, you can look for information and advice to help you make decisions about what to do but, just like with writing, the way you do it is your own damn business.

You can have a very specific plan with specific milestones or you can have a variety of activities that you cycle through according to your inclinations on a specific day. Or you can do some sort of combination of the two.

You can do what works for you because no matter which you choose…

If you repeatedly move the muscles you want to strengthen, body is going to respond.

If you repeatedly do a meditation practice, your brain will respond.

I mean, obviously, you will get different results from different approaches and different types of efforts.

And, you’ll want to be sure that you match your expectations to your efforts.

Someone who does yoga for 30 mins every day is probably going to be bendier than someone who does yoga for 10 mins each weekend. That doesn’t mean it is wrong or pointless to do 10 mins of yoga on the weekend, it means that you have to adjust your expectations of how bendy you will get as a result.

(In a writing context, matching your expectations to your efforts looks like recognizing that daily writing gets you to a word count faster than once-a-week writing. However, you may only have 5 minutes a week to spare so why not spend it writing? Moving slowly is still moving. 💚)

But, once you have made sure your expectations match your efforts, you are free to do what you want to do. (You can do what you want to do even if you haven’t matched things up but you may end up being hard on yourself about the results and I want you to be kind to yourself as much as possible.)

If you want to build a base level of fitness, a foundational habit of meditation, a solid practice of self-care, doing it your own way is a great way to get started and build momentum.

You don’t have to do it perfectly, you don’t have to follow anyone’s plan, again, how you do it is your own damn business.

So, Team, while you are working in the way you want to work, please be kind to yourself, do what you can with the time and resources you have, and celebrate every single success.

Here are your stars for today’s efforts:

A small painting of three gold stars against a purple background with black lines through it.
Image description: a small painting of three gold stars against a purple background with thin black lines through it. I painted the edges of the painting brown with black wavy lines so it looks a bit like a wooden frame.
ADHD · advice · fitness · goals · habits · motivation

Go Team 2023! Set Some Limits

Thanks to some combination of ADHD and personality, I often have trouble getting started on things. Whether it is starting a project in the first place or starting my work on it for the day, I find it really challenging to begin – no matter how much I want to do the thing.

This executive function ‘task initiation’ problem gets even more tangly if the thing I am trying to do feels important (to me or to someone else), if it involves many steps, or if the task is not clear.

Starting new habits often involves all of those things and the only way I have found to counter my inertia is by setting a limit – in time, task, or effort.

So, I agree that I am going to do just one task, or to work on the project for 10 minutes, or I am going to go gently.

And that can usually* help me find a way to get started.

If you are having trouble getting started with any habits you want to plan or develop, maybe setting a limit will help you, too.

Note: I’m NOT suggesting that having trouble getting started automatically means that you have ADHD/executive function issues. But, hey, you might as well borrow a technique from someone who has a lot of practice with the problem.

If you are having trouble getting started with your habit-related task for today – try setting a time limit or choosing a version of the task that feels accessible to you today.

If you are having trouble making a plan at all, try choosing a time limit and low-key task for this aspect of the plan. For example, you could say something like ‘I can’t set a plan for the whole month, that’s too big. I’m going to do 1 minute of meditation each day for the next 3 days and then reevaluate.‘

If you have repeatedly had trouble getting started, with your plan or with your habit tasks, the problem is not you – it’s a mismatch between your plan and your capacity. I’ll get into that in tomorrow’s post but in the meantime, please be kind to yourself about the whole thing.

And, of course, I have a gold star to offer you for your efforts today – no matter what they are.

Good luck out there!

*Not always, unfortunately, sometimes ADHD wins. I just have to be kind to myself about that and try again another time.

A small painting of a gold star with​ gold dots radiating out from it in all directions
A small painting of a gold star with gold dots radiating out from it in all directions
ADHD · advice · fitness · planning · self care · Tools · trackers

Reflective Fitness Journaling – figuring out what I want to know

I’m trying to figure out what to include in a fitness journal.

I love the idea of recording my plans and ideas and then writing my reflections on my practices but I know better than to try to put all of that onto a blank page.

If I have an open-ended journal, I will feel like I have to write AllOfTheThings AllOfTheTime and I will start avoiding journaling.

 Image description; A GIF of ​cartoon character Lisa Simpson exclaiming that writing is the hardest thing ever.
This is ironic, of course, because writing is one of the things that comes to me most easily…except when I start trying to do too much at once. Image description; A GIF of cartoon character Lisa Simpson exclaiming that writing is the hardest thing ever.

I looked for a fitness journal I could buy – thinking that a structured set of questions would be like ‘containers’ for my thoughts – but mostly I found fitness trackers.

Keeping track of the details may be part of my journaling but what I am really interested in is recording and reflecting on my physical and emotional experiences.

So, I am taking a DIY approach – choosing a set of 3-5 fitness-related questions to put on an index card that I will use as a bookmark in a regular journal.

I figure that if I have a set of questions ready it will not only help to structure my thoughts but I can also just number the answers in my journal and not create any obstacles for myself by having to rewrite the questions each time I journal.

I’ve found lots of suggested questions online (see links below) and I am mulling those over – not looking for perfect questions, just seeing what feels interesting to me.

But, speaking of interesting, I’d be interested to know what *you* think would make a good reflective question for a fitness journal.

What do find useful to consider about your fitness practices?

What do you wish you had made note of when you started something new?

What kinds of feelings or experiences do you think I should reflect on?

A GIF of Moira Rose from the TV show Schitt’s​ Creek dressed in black with a huge elaborate necklace and wearing heavy black eyeliner and dark red lipstick. She is asking “What?! I’m simply asking questions.”
Image description: A GIF of Moira Rose from the TV show Schitt’s Creek dressed in black with a huge elaborate necklace and wearing heavy black eyeliner and dark red lipstick. She is asking “What?! I’m simply asking questions.”

If you’re interested, here are some of the articles I found online. (I think Sam suggested the first one in a previous Facebook post.)

Why an end of the week fitness journaling practice can help you stay motivated.

Wellness Through Words: Health And Fitness Journal Prompts

Inspiration For Your Journal

51 Prompts For Good Health and Wellness

ADHD · fitness · planning · self care

Christine’s December Theme

Apparently all of my posts this month have been on the theme of self-care.

I had realized that was (deliberately) the case for my daily posts for the ‘Making Space 2022’ series but it was only when I started this post that I realized that my regular Tuesday posts had been all about self-care, too.

In retrospect, it’s ridiculously obvious but until I started writing this post, I thought that my regular Tuesday posts were all over the place this month. In fact, I started by calling this post ‘Bits and Pieces’ and I was going to write about how I felt like I was too focused on small issues lately and not getting into any big picture stuff. Brains are so weird, aren’t they?

a photo of a bag of sugar tucked into a corduroy bag resting on a white desk.
What does this have to do with self-care? Nothing and everything. What you are looking at is a snuggle sack that I made for my nephew’s guinea pig. When my sister and I talked about the needed size, I used a bag of sugar as reference point. She said ‘If you made a snuggle sack for a bag of sugar, it wouldn’t be the wrong size.’ Obviously that required me to send her this photo of a very snuggly bag of sugar. How is this self-care? I got to do something I enjoyed and I got to laugh with my sister about it at the same time. Image description: the top of a bag of sugar is visible inside a grey corduroy sack (that is lined with blue flannel) and the sack itself is sitting on a white desktop under a lamp.

I started the month by talking about the challenges of resting, then I was thinking about how I wanted to focus on some low-key core work to give myself some structure (literally and metaphorically), and then I was dealing with back pain.

Then today, I woke up with a lot of pain and tension in my hands and I thought I would write about that…after I did some stretches. (This video helped a lot, by the way.)

A Wrist, Hand, & Finger Stretch Routine video from Adarsh Williams. The still image shows the instructor wearing a blue tshirt and standing up in a white-painted room. They have their arms extended in front of them and they are using their left hand to assist a stretch in their right wrist. The title of the video is written in black text overlaying the right side of the image.

So, I was thinking of all of those things as separate – resting, core work, back pain, and wrist/hand stretches – but they are all connected. For starters, they are all happening to me – so that’s one connection. They all have to do with me trying to manage the details of my life in a way that supports me instead of making me work harder. And they are all about underlying, foundational things that would be helpful for me to take a closer look at.

I take plenty of downtime on a regular basis but I could probably put some structures in place to make it easier for me to get more complete rest – mentally and physically. If I established a higher level of basic core fitness, it would support my efforts in other areas. If I strengthened my back and paid closer attention to *how* I move, I could avoid some types of back pain. And if I did more hand and wrist stretches on a regular basis, I would probably have more flexibility and less stiffness overall.

Sidenote re: my wrists and hands – I didn’t injure myself or anything. I am pretty sure my wrist/hand/forearm stiffness today was related to spending the last few days rolling cookies, wrapping gifts, and carrying packages – basically using my hands in unusual ways and employing different muscles.

I think I am pretty good at mental self-care and decent at physical self-care but there is definitely room for improvement in both areas. I would like to move myself toward more proactive and preventative care, especially physically.

Most of the time, I can organize things to take good care of my emotional health and my mental well-being but I have such a hard time assessing my physical capacity that it is hard for me to judge what to do now to make things easier on myself in the future.

In fact, just like I was doing with my December posts – I keep seeing my days and my activities and my actions as separate things when they are all very much connected and they all depend on me taking good care of myself moment to moment and overall.

a photo of moss, dried grass, brown leaves, and tree roots covered in a light dusting of snow.
Last week, when on a walk, I took this photo for my future self. Something about this light dusting of snow on the moss made me feel relaxed and happy so when I look back at it, I will remember how lovely my walk was AND how lovely it felt to look at that moss. Image description: a photo of a light dusting of snow on moss on tree roots. Snow-covered dried leaves and grass covered in snow can also be seen between the tree roots.

Sooooo, what am I going to do about all of these realizations?

Well, I don’t want to let my brain away with sorting everything into separate boxes any more because that is not helping very much.

I guess, I need to ask myself questions like these and figure out my next steps:

What kinds of things help me feel better/help me to take good care of myself?

How do I integrate those physical/emotional/mental self-care practices so I can be proactive about my current and future health?

What habits and systems do I need to develop to make those practices a straightforward part of my daily rhythm?

What help/advice/support do I need to make that happen?

And, most importantly for this ADHD brain – how do I work on this without trying to do it all at once and getting overwhelmed?

I don’t have answers for these questions right now but I will be returning to these themes throughout my regular posts and in my ‘Go Team’ posts in January.

How do you do with your self-care?

Do you tend to see things in ‘bits and pieces’ like I do or do you remember that it is the same you doing all of the things?

PS – As an update on the core work – I followed the video every day until my back started acting up. After that, I still did some core work but I found that that specific video irritated my back so I did other back-friendly exercises daily and tried to ‘engage’ my core when doing other routine tasks as well.

ADHD · holiday fitness · holidays · meditation · self care

Making Space 2022: Day 13

Today, the chatty part is relatively short so I am keeping it above the videos.

I’m chilly and feeling a bit off-kilter today so I absolutely LOVED Martha’s 2020 advice to Have a cuddle – i.e. to seek comfort and to find ways soothe yourself when you are feeling frazzled.

I know some people who have a little basket of soothing things that they keep handy for when they feel overwhelmed. Those baskets include things like warm socks, soft blankets, fidget toys, candy, one-player tabletop games, jigsaw puzzles, crossword puzzles, candles (scented or non-scented), hand lotion/lip gloss, images they like, stuffed toys, a journal and pen, a favourite book…you get the idea.

You don’t need to create a giant basket of stuff, all you need is a few go-to items or techniques to help you to feel a bit more grounded, a little bit more connected to the here-and-now. And you don’t need to set aside a lot of time either – just a few minutes of low-key self-soothing can help you feel a lot better.

For example, as I discovered earlier this year, I can find calm and peace of mind by listening to cello music and I can improve my focus for work by listening to music designed to help people with ADHD.

Whether you seek a cuddle, make a collection of soothing things, listen to music, or try some more structured ways to calm yourself like these ideas for grounding or the 5-4-3-2-1 coping technique for anxiety, I hope you can help yourself to feel at ease and at home in your body today. 💚⭐

Sidenote: It might be a good idea to also practice these techniques when you aren’t in distress so you can more easily use them when you feel off-kilter. Keeping a list of things (on your phone or in a notebook) to try when you feel a bit off might also be helpful. You don’t want to have to think of these things in the moment!

Anyway, with the chatty part out of the way, here are the videos for today.

I really enjoyed these drills for improved cognition today. I don’t know if my cognition improved but I sure laughed at how tricky I found it to keep track of the arm movements when moving my feet forward in a heel dig.

A video from the Silver Sneakers YouTube channel entitled Quick Drills for Improved Cognition. The left side of the still image shows the video title against a blue background and the right side of the image shows the instructor standing on a carpeted floor. They are wearing black shorts, a blue tank top, and blue and orange sneakers. Their hair is pulled back in a ponytail and they are smiling while they demonstrate crossing their arms in front of their chest (their forearms look almost like equal signs here.)

And I really liked how there were physical practices included in this meditation and that she suggests that those actions can be used at other times to generate the same effect.

A 7 Minute Guided Meditation for Anxiety from the Create and Crochet YouTube channel. The left side of the still image shows a green field with flowers lit by the sun and the right side shows text reading ‘7 Minute Guided Meditation for Anxiety’ in green text on a green background.

About Making Space 2022

About Making Space 2022

In December 2020, Fit is a Feminist Issue blogger Martha created a tradition – a series of reminder posts to take good care of ourselves during this last month of the year when it is far too easy to get swept up in your to do list, no matter what you are celebrating or not celebrating. Last year, it was my turn and after an introductory Go Team post called Give Yourself Some Space, I created a series of reminders called ‘Making Space‘ that offered a suggested short exercise video and a suggested meditation in case you needed an easy way to find space for yourself in your schedule.

For 2022, I’ll be doing the same thing but I’ll also be including a link to Martha’s post from the same date in 2020 and I’ll offer a few extra ideas for relaxation, creativity, and self-kindness here and there.

These posts are not about insisting that you do more, more, more during this busy season. Instead, I want to encourage you to remember that there IS a *YOU* who is doing all of the things and you are worth taking good care of.

Perhaps the things I suggest aren’t what you need in the moment. That’s totally ok. Perhaps you can use something else to create some space, something that will help you feel more relaxed or more in charge of your day.

ADHD · challenge · habits · holiday fitness · motivation

Christine’s ‘Core’ Idea For The Next Three Weeks

I’ve been writing daily ‘Making Space 2022‘ posts since December started so I’ve been trying out bits and pieces of all kinds of exercise videos.

(Given that I am still at post-Covid fatigue levels, I haven’t done all parts of all videos. After all, I need enough energy in a given day to walk Khalee, to do my other daily activities, and to write the post, so choices must be made.)

I’ve enjoyed the variety but I have been finding myself wanting a little more consistency – something specific to do each day, whether or not I do that day’s video.

I’m feeling drawn to the idea of doing a set of exercises every day and feeling like I am building towards something specific.

And since a lot of my challenges with other activities seem to be related to a need for more core strength, I was already planning to make core exercises the focus of my exercise plans for the next year or so.

Starting now means I can really let myself take things slowly (even my ADHD brain recognizes that this is *not* the time of year to add anything big to my life), I can start building a strong foundation (both physically and habit-wise) without having to make too many plans right now, and when I pick a specific time for those exercises, I will be adding a little extra structure to my days so time won’t race along as much as it usually does this time of year.

But, knowing this time of year, and taking into account the fact that I am still dealing with fatigue, I am keeping the bar fairly low.

The first set of leg raises in the video below are my marker for what ‘counts. Once I have done those, I can say I am done for the day. However, if I feel up to it, I can keep going but anything beyond that first set is ‘above and beyond.’

A 5-MIN Standing Abs and Core Strengthening Workout from the Coach Sofia YouTube channel. Still image shows the video title on the left side and the instructor on the right. Coach Sofia is wearing blue leggings and a white tank top and has their right leg raised so their knee is at hip level and they have their left arm raised overhead.

I recognize that under normal conditions, these exercises might be a bit on the easy side for me.

Right now, however, I want to conserve my energy and I really want to focus on building the habit, on starting slow, and these exercises (which can provide more or less of a challenge, depending how I go about them) seem like the perfect way to do that.

How are you feeling about your fitness routines for the rest of the year?

Are you sticking with what you’ve got? Taking a break? Switching things up a little?

ADHD · fitness · holiday fitness · holidays · meditation · self care · yoga

Making Space 2022: Day 11

So, we are 11 days into December…how are you doing with all of the things?

This is probably a good time to take an extra few minutes to yourself and figure out if things are unfolding as you had hoped.

Is there anything you meant to do so far that really needs to get done soon?

Is there anything on your list that you can decide not to do?

Do you want to change your priorities for the next few weeks?

Have you managed to find some space for yourself one way or another over the past 11 days? Maybe not every day but hopefully most days?

Remember, this is about YOU finding space in a way that works for YOU.

You don’t have to do the videos I share. You don’t have to meditate.

I just want you to find a way to be kind to yourself this month (and always!)

I have more to say on reassessing below but for those of you who might want to jump right to the videos, here they are:

A video from Dianne Bondy’s Yoga channel entitled 10-Minute Mindful Movement Snack. The title of the video is in white text against a blue background on the left side of the still image. The right side of the image is Dianne Bondy in a blue tank top and blue leggings, sitting cross-legged on a yoga mat with her left arm stretched overhead and slightly to the right as she leans her upper body to the right side supported by her right hand on the mat.
A video from RosalieYoga channel entitled 7 Minute Yoga Nidra Energy Boost. The title of the video is on the right side of the still image and on the left side a woman in purple leggings and purple tank top is sitting back on her heels with her arms raised slightly so she can place her hands together in front of her face with the tips of her thumbs touching the space between her eyebrows.

The Chatty Part

I jumped to a conclusion.

I’ve been accessing Martha’s 2020 posts from her summary post of the whole Wellness Calendar series and I have to admit, I bristled at the name of today’s post as it was presented in the summary. Delay gratification? I don’t want to advise people who are trying to find space for themselves in their days to WAIT for anything – I want to encourage them to carve out time for self-care as soon as possible.

I mean, obviously delaying gratification can be a useful skill in many contexts but I don’t want to talk about it in this one.

However, my initial bristling quickly became a lesson in actually *reading* things and not jumping to conclusions.

Martha’s post is NOT about delaying your own gratification.

I really should have known better. Even if Martha had been writing about that, it would have been relevant and helpful and I could have built on what she had said, even if I took it in a different direction.

However, Martha wrote exactly the kind of post that I would have wanted her to.

Her post is about delaying other people’s gratification. It’s about not being ‘on call’ for other people’s schedules or whims. It’s about setting your own priorities and responding to other people’s priorities at a time that makes sense in your schedule.

I can definitely get behind that.

So, go read Martha’s post and then jump back here for my additions.

Welcome back!

So, I hope Martha has convinced you to set your own priorities and to take charge of your time (even if you can only take charge of 5 minutes segments right now.)

But, if you are like me, you might have trouble setting priorities – especially this time of year when everything feels like it either must be done RIGHT NOW or that it can’t be done yet but it will be required in a busy flurry of activity later.

To help myself prioritize, I’ve made a list of questions to ask myself about my to do list at any given time and I thought they might be helpful for you, too.

Sometimes, I put these questions in a chart with my to list along the left side and the questions across the top so I have a visual indication of my priorities. Other times, I write each task on index cards and sort them or I just put a symbol next to them in my original list. Basically, I find a way to add the information to the tasks in a way that lets me compare the information.

So, here are the questions:

  1. Does this task have a deadline?
  2. Is this task taking up a lot of brainspace?
  3. Is this task part of a sequence of tasks? (e.g. – I have to buy eggs before I can make cookies)
  4. Does this task need to be done soon or could it wait? (this is different than a deadline. I have tasks on my list that I would like to get done sooner rather than later but realistically, they can wait if need be.)
  5. Is this something *I* am choosing to do/have to do or is it someone else’s request?
  6. Is this task fun?
  7. Can I get this done in just a few minutes and get it out of the way?

Once I have added this contextual information to the list, I have a better sense of what to do next.

If I have tasks with urgent deadlines, I can choose times to work on them as soon as possible. If something is taking up a lot of mental space, I can try to get that done right away so my brain feels better. If a task is part of a sequence, I can pick which one to start with. If a task can wait, I can make it a low priority. If it is a request from someone else (but not part of my assigned tasks at work) I can decide where it goes in my priorities and let them know when (or if) I will get to it. If the task is fun, I can choose to work on it during breaks from other tasks, I can choose to do it during non-work hours, or I can make it a priority on days that I have trouble getting started. And, if I determine that an important task can be done in just a few minutes (I use a timer!) I will pick the soonest possible time and plan to do that task then so I can get it out of the way.

And, of course, having all of this information presented together lets me prioritize any tasks that are in multiple categories – so, for example, a fun task that takes up a lot of brainspace and has a deadline will get done before someone else’s task that is third in a sequence of tasks.

Now, I’m not saying that I can do this once for my list and be done with it. Other people’s priorities creep up on me all of the time (and sometimes it is not worth the internal emotional cost of turning them down.) And, since challenges with prioritizing is one of the ways that my ADHD shows up, I can’t always stick with my plans.

However, I do find this useful and I hope you do, too.

You may need to use different questions or a different system for choosing but taking the time to think about how your tasks match your priorities (or your values or your expectations) can help you to feel more in charge of your list overall.

I wish you ease today and always.

Please be kind to yourself about this and about anything else you have going on today. 💚⭐

About Making Space 2022

About Making Space 2022

In December 2020, Fit is a Feminist Issue blogger Martha created a tradition – a series of reminder posts to take good care of ourselves during this last month of the year when it is far too easy to get swept up in your to do list, no matter what you are celebrating or not celebrating. Last year, it was my turn and after an introductory Go Team post called Give Yourself Some Space, I created a series of reminders called ‘Making Space‘ that offered a suggested short exercise video and a suggested meditation in case you needed an easy way to find space for yourself in your schedule.

For 2022, I’ll be doing the same thing but I’ll also be including a link to Martha’s post from the same date in 2020 and I’ll offer a few extra ideas for relaxation, creativity, and self-kindness here and there.

These posts are not about insisting that you do more, more, more during this busy season. Instead, I want to encourage you to remember that there IS a *YOU* who is doing all of the things and you are worth taking good care of.

Perhaps the things I suggest aren’t what you need in the moment. That’s totally ok. Perhaps you can use something else to create some space, something that will help you feel more relaxed or more in charge of your day.