fitness · mindfulness · new year's resolutions

Kim and Mina’s year of living… poetry

Ah, the “new year”. Time to brow-beat yourself into saying you will do a bunch of things that do not really appeal but that you have a vague sense are “good for you”, insofar as the media has said so. Count down the days until the “new routine” begins to fall apart because… well, because it’s not what you really want or need at this moment, right?

Moira Rose says: ABSOLUTELY NOT.

Resolutions, “new you”s, all that stuff: it’s absolute BS, friends. It’s clickbait; it’s a way to sell you stuff. (Under capitalist patriarchy, it’s almost ALWAYS about selling stuff, esp to women and others taught repeatedly from birth that they are not sufficient in themselves. RESIST THIS. It’s also good for the planet to resist.)

If you want to make a change for you, AMAZING. If you think things are actually moving along about as well as they can possibly move, for now – stay in motion, friends. Stay in motion.

But, if you’ve got a bit of an itch: why not try something completely different, just because, well, it can be a lot of fun to shake things up and see what shakes down as a result?

This was our accidental decision, way back in January 2021. Mina is a big fan of the Word of the Year (#WotY); Kim is a fan of taking down the Christmas tree on 1 January, vacuuming, and then pretending like nothing ever happened. But last January, we got to talking about ways to mark the passing of the seasons, of time, and about how to stimulate ourselves in ways we knew we wanted to be stimulated.

We’re both writers, but both of us do lots of other stuff besides, stuff which often gets in the way of pen-to-paper. So we decided we’d send each other poems – every two weeks, on a Sunday, for the whole year. The poems could be long or short, they could be planned and fussed over or banged out on deadline because OOPS-nearly-forgot. The only thing they needed to be was our own, a snapshot of a moment, maybe, or the capture of a memory. Anything we wanted to express, anything we wanted to share, on that particular Sunday.

To mark the end of our year of writing poems to one another, we’ve decided to share our favourites – one of our own, and one of the other’s – plus a few thoughts on what the challenge meant for each of us.

KIM

My overarching memory of this challenge will be of haikus. I love the form (5 syllables, 7 syllables, 5 syllables – that’s it); I admire its capacity to capture one image, one tiny slice of the lives we’re living, arrested in stillness like a photograph. The haiku is also a handy container to have on hand for all those Sundays that get away from you, when it’s getting late and you realize that there’s a message from Mina in your inbox but you’ve forgotten to write your poem AGAIN.

This nifty orange haiku reads “Haikus are easy. / But sometimes they don’t make sense. / Refrigerator.” Kim did not write this orange haiku; she only WISHES she had written this orange haiku.

At the same time, though, the gift of this poetry exchange is contained, for me, in the promise of the haiku: to stop (even if only briefly), just breathe, then look at the world for a minute, maybe smile at what you see. To look, twice: to see a thing more deeply than a passing glance can offer. Most of my own haikus were composed in my head on my bicycle; as I was swooping through curves or punching a climb, I’d note and observe and begin to put smells, sounds, and passing glances together. It made the rush or the climb or the slog or whatever so very much, briefly, richer.

Many of Mina’s poems share a similar love of the earth and its blessings, alongside fear for its imminent destruction. Writing from the position of ultra-runner, mountain biker, and committed meditator she’d often reflect on the gatherings of a day outdoors. Sometimes, though, she’d ground herself in the lesson of the haiku: simply stop, stand still, look around, and take careful note – as in this, my favourite of her non-haiku pieces:

The reckonings through observance that Mina and I both practiced in our poetry also allowed me to reflect a good deal on my own strength this year, something that’s increasingly precious to me as I move through some major life changes. This year I realized I am in perimenopause: all the signs are turning up, not least of which are body composition changes that I struggle, at times, to accept. I’m getting older, even though the woman in the mirror is still a girl to me.

This year was also a tough one for my relationship, and not long ago, despite our love for one another, my partner and I decided to part. This was doubly painful for me because I’m a 47-year-old heterosexual woman living in a patriarchy. I ask myself, at my lowest: how many more chances might I have?

It can be very hard simultaneously to feel one’s strength and to hold on to one’s vulnerability – but being both strong and vulnerable is what it means to be human, to accept our responsibilities and our limits, too. This poem of mine, also from March, reminds me of this important paradox.

One of Kim’s poems, also from March 2021.

MINA

I want to write ditto. Everything that Kim said. And … I was soliciting ideas for my annual challenge last January, when I realized that so many of my challenges were about self-denial and discipline (don’t shop from Amazon, don’t buy any clothes, don’t drink diet coke etc…). I wanted a challenge to flourish for 2021. There was already enough pandemic deprivation going around. We came up with this poetry challenge. I had no inkling of how attached I’d become to the practice. Even when I forgot and dashed something off in 10 minutes, I was filled with pleasure. There was no grade, just the act of sharing and reminding each other of our creative impulse. Lovely.

Kim mentioned that she wrote a lot of her poems on the bike. I wrote many of mine in the liminal space between sleep and waking, also on runs and a few times during meditations. The haiku form was particularly beguiling. I offer one of mine here from 14 November 2021, that feels particularly aligned with our mission at this blog:

a surge of vitality/a race toward grace/how much longer will I be?

I hate having to choose favourites of anything, so the idea of one definitive, throw-down, hands down poem of Kim’s that I loved from our year was impossible. And easy. Because there were many. So, I chose one of hers that speaks to our mission here, too and takes a different form:

Kim’s fridge magnet poem from 6 February 2021

We’re still writing poems to each other, it turns out! We both so miss the challenge that sometimes, in the darkness of early 2022, we shoot poetry texts at one another across the expanse between us (aka, most of New York State and part of Lake Ontario). Here’s a final haiku from us, a summing up of our year in moments, snaps, and syllables:

The gift of poem/graceful challenge to create/2021

How about you, readers? What mindfulness or beauty-based hopes, dreams, or challenges are you cooking up for this coming year? Let us know!

meditation · mindfulness

Does Meditation Even Work?

I considered different titles for this piece: If I Didn’t Meditate, Would I Be a Monster? Why Even Meditate If I Still Stress Out? I Give Up on Meditation.

But I don’t give up, even as I wonder, why not?  

As many of you know, I’ve been on a meditation streak for some time now. And, an exciting moment happened recently. I did NOT notice the day I passed three years straight in my streak. I meditated. Like it was any other day. Then, ten days later, I suddenly thought, “Wait a minute, did I pass my three-year anniversary of this streak??”

The reason I missed it is this: The first time I saw my mother after the start of the pandemic was in late August. I hadn’t seen her for 19 months. The last day of our visit was my 1000th day of meditation. Since then, I am reminded each day of how long it has been since I last saw my mother. I send out a wish that that day count will not get anywhere near the 500+ of our last interval.

Is it okay if I take a moment here of celebration for three years straight of meditating every-every day?

And, I had one of the worst finish-starts to a year in memory. I got news on December 21st that a yearlong training program I’m in was going to continue with an in-person weekend the first week of January. The email explained all the reasons for pushing back against strict pandemic regulations in Quebec, which only got stricter as the next couple of weeks evolved. And the email said that the majority of the email recipients had been consulted. Not me. I was not in that majority. Plus, I was special needs, given that I was crossing an international border to attend, and all the added risks that entails. I was not worthy of consultation. My opinion did not matter. I slipped into the vortex, a downward spiral of increasing stress.

Stormy sea, by Roan Lavery on Unsplash

Yes, indeed, I fueled that spiral all by myself as I contemplated all the pandemic risks. I deployed all my tools to self-arrest, including meditation. While I could alleviate some of the stress, there was a core nugget that kept moving into darker and darker corners of my psyche. My always-borderline-fragile sense of belonging had been threatened and nothing grounded me or lifted me or offered me ease.

I sat on my meditation cushion and observed my erratic heartbeat fail to settle. I sat on my meditation cushion and watched my staccato breath struggle for smooth passage. I sat on my meditation cushion and felt enraged and heavy and sad.

I kept sitting. Day after day.

No remission of stress. In fact, I managed to work myself up enough that it spilled out all over my partner and set fire to the closing-opening of the years. Then came the news on Monday morning, January 3, that the in-person weekend would be delayed a month. I should-have-could-have been relieved. Instead, I was angry at myself all over again. How could I have allowed myself to stress out about something that simply resolved itself (more or less and with zero elegance)?

More sitting.

Which brings me back to the other possible titles for this piece. If I hadn’t been meditating during these past weeks, would I have been out-of-control monstrous? Would I have lit my angry fire earlier and kept it burning on a higher setting? Is the goal of meditation to never stress out? Or is it to notice that I am stressing out, instead of spending my energy in denial and/or blaming someone else for my stress? Why don’t I give up?

Because. I value the information I glean from the particular discipline of daily observation. I can’t make all my stress go away. I can’t make myself into an angel of patience, which I’m not. I can notice more. That noticing, in and of itself, offers me relief. The sliver of ease may be barely visible to the naked eye, but my nervous system is grateful for the scintilla of extra space. This is not good marketing language for a meditation-is-the-answer-to-everything sales pitch. Meditation is not the answer to everything. It is one tool in what is ideally an ever evolving and updating kit.  

Last year Kim (of this blog) and I challenged each other to write a poem every two weeks (there’s a post coming later today about that). As I was looking through them, I came across this haiku that captures why I continue to meditate:

And if I lived true/ open curiosity / no judgment or fear?

The promise of meditation is that you will notice more. That’s it. That’s enough.     

habits · mindfulness · motivation · self care

Go Team! January 4: Consistency Beats Perfection

This is one of those lessons that I have to learn over and over…which, if you are being optimistic, is a kind of consistency, right?

I have spent way too much time trying to get things right immediately.

I wanted to choose the perfect meditation. The ideal workout. The most effective writing routine.

You get the idea.

I didn’t want to waste time. I wanted good (guaranteed) results. I wanted to know I was on the right track.

You know how this story ends.

I would pick my perfect meditation/ideal workout/effective routine and do it for a few days. Then life would get in the way and I didn’t have time for the whole meditation. Or I would have a bit of muscle pain and not be able to do the full workout. Or I would have to write something other than the project I had carefully planned.

I would not able to follow my perfect plan.

So, logically, I would do nothing.

After all, if it wasn’t going to be perfect, what was the point?

I’d just be wasting my time and effort, wouldn’t I?

When I type it all out like that, it seems ridiculous. How did I ever trick myself into believing that? I know better!

The thing is, I was never consciously walking through that process. Those thoughts were seeping in around the edges of my brain, just enough to steer me away from working out/meditating/writing.

I only clued in when I started paying closer attention to that whole train of thought and stopped it in its tracks.

I’m not perfect. I have no idea what the perfect workout/meditation/writing session will be for me on any given day.

BUT I do know that change comes from consistent efforts. Even small efforts bring change over time.

An occasional perfect session is good in the moment but doesn’t help me much overall.

A string of imperfect sessions, though? Those will make a huge difference.

Trying for perfect sessions is discouraging. And if you happen to miss one, it will be that much harder to get back to them.

But if you are aiming for relatively consistent imperfect sessions, you have all sorts of wiggle room for scaling your session to meet your capacity on a given day. And you can restart over and over, imperfectly.

I went through several iterations of the title for this post because I say things like that to myself all the time. “Done beats perfect.” “Consistent beats perfect.” “Imperfect is stronger than perfect.” and I settled on “Consistency beats perfection” because it sounded best in the moment.

Whichever version you like best, I hope you can embody the idea as you work on your habits today.

And here’s today’s gold star to celebrate our imperfect efforts towards the habits we are trying to build.

Be kind to yourselves out there, Team.

A glass ornament shaped like a gold-star is resting on a wooden table top.
A glass ornament shaped like a gold-star is resting on a wooden table top. The surface of the ornament is crackled to give a weathered effect.

For the second year in a row, I’ll be posting a Go Team! message every day in January to encourage us as we build new habits or maintain existing ones. It’s cumbersome to try to include every possibility in every sentence so please assume that I am offering you kindness, understanding, and encouragement for your efforts right now. You matter, your needs matter, and your efforts count, no matter where you are applying them. You are doing the best you can, with the resources you have, in all kinds of difficult situations and I wish you ease. ⭐💚 PS – Some of the posts for this year may be similar to posts from last year but I think we can roll with it.

fitness · goals · habits · mindfulness · motivation · self care

Go Team! January 3: Pick A Time

One of the trickiest things about adding something new to our lives (or about continuing a habit when other parts of our lives have changed) is actually fitting it into our schedule.

We can have a clear plan and all the good intentions in the world but we still need actual time to exercise, or meditate, or stretch, or whatever we have chosen to explore right now.

And if we don’t consciously choose a time for that new habit, it will probably get pushed down our to do list until we are scrambling to fit it in before we let ourselves go to bed or we end up putting it off until “tomorrow.”

I know this happens because I do it ALL THE TIME. My ADHD brain thinks time will expand to let me fit everything I want to do into a day. It NEVER works. I apparently do not have control over the flow of time after all.

So, if this happens to you, too, I invite you to take a few minutes today to consider WHEN you will work on your new habit.

Do you need to be in a specific location? Do you need particular equipment? Will you need to shower/sleep afterwards? Is it too noisy to do at night or early in the morning? Do you have caregiving responsibilities that you need to work around? When do you PREFER to do your practice and is it possible to do it then?

I know we would all like to assume that we will just automatically do the things we want/need to do in a day but the truth is that we need to make room for them.

And while you’re trying to figure out your timing, please ignore the nonsense advice that says “If you *really* wanted it, you’d make it happen.” because that’s garbage. Your desire to include this new habit in your life is only one factor in the equation and reality is much more complicated than that. Please do NOT let advice like that add to your pile of guilt-related shoulds. (In fact, burn that pile of shoulds at your first opportunity.)

If you discover that you don’t actually have time in your schedule for your planned habit right now, it’s ok to make a note in your calendar to reconsider it later. (I like to put things like that in my calendar so I don’t forget to return to them.)

And it’s also okay to scale down your habit so you can fit them in at the moment. For example, if you can’t figure out how to fit 10 minutes of meditation into your days right now, maybe you can start by taking three deep breaths while the kettle boils for your tea. Or you can do 5 squats while you text a friend.

Every little bit counts and your efforts will help you feel a bit better, even if you have to go slowly.

And, speaking of your efforts, here’s your gold star for today.

I’m proud of your hard work.

A star-shaped ornament covered in gold covered sequins hanging from a yellow pushpin on an orange wall.
One of my year-round gold stars that I keep hanging next to the wall calendar in my kitchen. Image description: A star-shaped ornament covered in gold covered sequins hanging from a yellow pushpin on an orange wall.

For the second year in a row, I’ll be posting a Go Team! message every day in January to encourage us as we build new habits or maintain existing ones. It’s cumbersome to try to include every possibility in every sentence so please assume that I am offering you kindness, understanding, and encouragement for your efforts right now. You matter, your needs matter, and your efforts count, no matter where you are applying them. You are doing the best you can, with the resources you have, in all kinds of difficult situations and I wish you ease. ⭐💚 PS – Some of the posts for this year may be similar to posts from last year but I think we can roll with it.

fitness · habits · Happy New Year! · mindfulness · motivation · self care

Go Team! January 1: New Year, Same You! Yay!

Hello Team!

Welcome to January and welcome to my 2022 series of encouragement posts.

Even though the changing of the year is a fairly arbitrary thing, January 1 is as good a day as any to take a step toward something you want. And I am going to be here all month to encourage you to be kind to yourself as you figure out the steps you want to take to build your fitness, wellness, or mindfulness habits.

If you are making changes in this area of your life, please feel free to join me and to collect your gold stars for your efforts all month. We are all in this together, whether we are just starting out or if we have long established practices and habits. Making changes can be challenging (and non-linear) and it’s good to remind yourself that you aren’t alone in facing those challenges.

Now that I’ve explained myself, onto today’s topic:

As you may have guessed by the title of this post, I am not a fan of the ‘New You!’ narrative that pops up all over the place this time of year.

I may be overthinking* it but the ‘new you’ thing gives me a bad feeling.

Obviously, if you find the phrase inspiring, forge ahead. But, to me, the idea that you need to become a new person in order to add enjoyable things to your life, or to subtracting things that no longer serve you, is a bit weird. It feels like there is something wrong with the current you.

SPOILER: THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH THE CURRENT YOU.

And I don’t want you to start this new year with the feeling that you are some how less than, that you are a project, or that you need fixing. None of that is true.

You, just like all of us, are doing the best you can with the resources you have. If you want things to be different, if you need more time, space, fitness, energy, mindfulness, or whatever, I want you to be able to make changes that let you have those things but I don’t want you to think that you need to be a different person in order to have them.

With slow and steady effort, and a lot of self-compassion, you can change your routines, your systems, and the necessary parts of your schedule, and reshape your days so they serve you better.

Making those changes may alter your self-perception, add layers of confidence and skill, and may bring different aspects of your personality to the forefront, but I like to think of all of that as an expansion of your current self rather than becoming a new person.

And when you think of those changes in terms of expansion, it means every little thing about the process counts. Every time you try, it matters, even if those attempts don’t pan out. You can celebrate your efforts in every direction.

Whether you jumped into your January plans or if you are in your pajamas getting your mind wrapped around what you might do this month, I’m proud of you.

There are a lot of thoughts, small steps, and stages in making changes, no matter how committed we are to them, and when we learn to celebrate all of those thoughts, steps, and stages, we are encouraged to try, to try again, and to keep going.

Here is your gold star for your efforts today.

A person’s hand holding a slithery star ornament into a patch of sunlight on a green wall.
Our first Go Team! Gold star for 2022. Image description: My left hand holding a glittery gold star ornament into a patch of sunlight between two stripes of shadow with a light green wall in the background. The star is intended as a tree-topper for a small tree so it has a coiled stand as a base.

*Overthinking *is* one of my superpowers so I may as well lean into it, hey?

Dancing · fitness · fun · holiday fitness · holidays · meditation · mindfulness · motivation

Making Space: Day 31

Welcome to Day 31!

I hope today finds you with the space you need to take good care of yourself.

And I hope that you can recognize your own efforts to make that space, even if you didn’t always succeed.

You matter, your needs matter and your efforts matter.

And here’s a gold star for those efforts:

A large gold 3D paper star hanging on a white door.
Image description: This is the largest gold star I own. It’s a foldable 3D paper ornament and it is covered with sparkly gold spirals. In this photo, I have hung it on a white door.

Now, onto our movement and meditation for making space. (As always, feel free to do these or to do your own thing.)

One of my favourite ways to get moving is to join my friend Elaine Dunphy in either an ageless grace or a Nia dance class. Since I can’t bring all of you to one of her classes (what with Covid restrictions and the laws of physics and all), I asked her to create a short video for today’s post.

Here’s Elaine, in full positivity and joy, with a New Year’s Eve message and a short and fun movement practice for you to try as you create a little space for yourself today.

My friend Elaine Dunphy with a New Year’s message and a short movement practice for us today. I posted this on my own YouTube channel – the only other video on there is my husband doing the ice bucket challenge, so obviously I am not a prolific YouTuber. The still image shows Elaine in her dance studio. She has very short salt-and-pepper hair and she is smiling and holding her right hand up, palm towers the camera with her fingers held widely apart.

And as for a meditation, I am offering two today.

The first one is for people with a lot of space in their day, the second is for people with just a sliver of time for themselves.

A ten minute meditation from the Great Meditations YouTube channel. The still image is a cartoon drawing of a person in yellow sitting in a classic meditation pose – legs crossed, backs of hands resting on knees, palms upward. The words ‘Clear Your Mind guided meditation’ are on the left side of the image.

And if you just have a minute, here’s a meditation for you.

A mini-meditation from the Headspace YouTube channel. Still image shows blue squiggles against a yellow background with the words ‘Health Mind’ written in purple on the upper left side.

I hope that these posts have helped you find space for yourself during the month of December when time seems to telescope, dragging on or collapsing without any relationship to the clock or to the calendar.

As we move into 2022, may you have the space you need in your mind, in your heart, in your days, in your schedules, and in the places where you spend your time.

See you tomorrow for my first Go Team! post.

fitness · habits · holiday fitness · holidays · meditation · mindfulness · motivation

Making Space: Day 30

This is our second last day of Making Space before I switch over into Go Team posts but, just so you know, the encouragement level will stay the same. 💚

I hope that you can find space and ease today and that you have some peace in your heart and mind.

We don’t have to earn our rest.

We don’t have to finish everything first.

Rest is part of our daily cycle, no matter what the ‘push through it’ advocates would have you believe.

Sure, there are occasional times when pushing through is the answer but those times are the exception, not the rule.

It’s ok, in fact, it is advisable, to listen to the signals from your body and mind and take a break as soon as you can.

Maybe your current obligations mean that you can’t take a long break but even a few moments here and there will help.

Please don’t think that I am pressuring you to put more things on your to do list, that is definitely not my goal here. Ideally, we’ll learn to build breaks into all of our projects rather than making them a project in themselves.

And I am definitely not telling you that this is easy or that you *should* already be doing this. Our lives are full and we are often under a lot of pressure to be everything to everyone.

My hope with these posts was that they could help you recognize that your breathing room matters, that making space for yourself is valid, that small breaks are good for you, too.

It was never about chastising you (or me) for the challenges involved.

So, once again, I celebrate your efforts to make space for yourself in your life, even if dropping your shoulders away from your ears for a moment is all the extra space you can make today.

⭐️ <- for your efforts to make space today

And now, on to the totally optional videos:

Today’s movement video was really energizing and completely warmed me up on this chilly morning. There are some jumping movements in this one but you can easily modify them as needed (I did!)

A short energizing workout from the 117 Wellness YouTube Channel. Still image shows the instructor in outdoor clothes and hat standing with their knees slightly bent and their hands in ‘prayer’ position in front of their chest. They are at the edge of a body of water and a dock is visible on one side and there are mountains in the background. Text reading ‘Energize Your Body In 6 Minutes’ is superimposed on the right side of the image.

I first clicked this meditation because I liked the title , then I noticed that it was from Calgary Public Library (yay for libraries!) which was a bonus, but the icing on the cake was when the meditation leader introduce themselves as Christine. A video from a library that recommends a pause and a speaker that shares my name? I am in!

A short meditation video from the Calgary Public Library YouTube Channel. The still image shows a person with long hair and glasses in a black turtleneck sweater and jeans sitting cross-legged with their hands resting on a stack of books on their right knee. The right side of the image is a blue semi-circle with the title of the video ‘The Power of a Pause 6 Minute Meditation with Christine Francoeur’ in white text.

fitness · holidays · meditation · mindfulness · motivation · self care

Making Space: Day 29

As we amble along together through the in-between, let’s remind each other that December 31 is a date, not an absolute deadline for everything.

Sure, for some of us, there are some legal things that may have to be finished up over the next few days but for most of us, there is no need to push to finish AllOfTheThings.

It’s ok to find as much space as we can to reflect, to dream, to rest or to have fun.

And however and whenever you make that space for yourself is the perfect way to do it.

Only you know what you need to do to feel like yourself and I wish you the time, space, and energy to do it.

And with this gold star, I celebrate your efforts to find that time, space, and energy – ⭐️

Our videos today are a 5 minute movement break from the Recreation Department at the University of British Columbia and a relaxation meditation from Great Meditations.

Whether or not you do these videos, I wish you ease today and always.

A 5 minute Movement break from the UBC REC YouYube channel. Still image shows the instructor in a blue shirt with her arms in a C-shape with the text ‘5 minute movement break’ next to her in black.
A 5 minute relaxation meditation video from The Great Meditations YouTube channel. Still image shows a cartoon image of a smiling person with long hair who has their eyes closed. The background is overlapping muted shades of blue and grey.

fitness · holidays · meditation · mindfulness · motivation · yoga

Making Space: Day 28

Today is a good day to make space to rest.

No matter what you were doing/celebrating/enduring/avoiding/ this month, it is almost over and so is this year.

Obviously, things don’t magically change with the end of a specific period of time but that ending can help us to shift our thinking a little bit. It gives us something for our brain to use as a pivot point.

So even though there are a lot of things we don’t have control over, we can choose to think about many things in different ways and we can choose to be kind to ourselves about the challenges we have faced (and the ones we are facing)

Making space to rest can help with that.

When we have restful moments, we can reflect, we can get ourselves out of the automatic momentum of doing and see how we might want to approach things differently.

And, of course, rest is just good in itself.

You don’t have to earn your rest.

You don’t have to have worked hard to ‘deserve’ it.

It is not selfish to rest.

Rest is part of the cycle of living and I hope you can make some space for it today and every day.

Perhaps your current life commitments don’t allow for a lot of rest, but I hope you can find or make small spaces for it here and there.

And, please, don’t fall into the trap that my pre-ADHD-meds-self used to fall into. Don’t think that you have to finish everything first so you can take a long rest because short ones won’t be ‘worth it.’ Wearing yourself out makes things worse, short rests are helpful, and pushing through tiredness over and over is disheartening.

Here’s your gold star for your efforts to make space and to find rest today, whatever that space and rest might entail – ⭐️

Wishing you ease and self-kindness today and every day.

Here’s Adriene with a short yoga break.:

A Take 5 yoga video from Yoga with Adriene. Still image shows Adriene standing on a grey yoga mat. She is wearing exercise clothes and her upper body is turned toward the camera with her left arm extended behind her and her right arm extended in front of her. Her dog Benji is sleeping next to the mat.

And here’s a short guided meditation. It says it is for intense anxiety but I wasn’t experiencing intense anxiety when I did it. I don’t know if it works for that but it was a lovely practice for someone seeking a little extra ease.

A short meditation from the Mindful Peace YouTube channel. Still image shows abstract flowing shapes, some black and some blue against a white background. Text on the image reads ‘Intense Anxiety Breathing Meditation/Mental Reset.’
fitness · habits · holiday fitness · holidays · meditation · mindfulness · motivation · self care

Making Space: Day 27

Part 1: Have you read Diane’s post from earlier today? I love how she has found her own way of making space for herself right now and her plans for making space for herself in the new year.

Diane is sharing a great example of how soemone can create space for themselves on their own terms. She assessed what she needed and what she had available and she found a way to match the two.

Making doesn’t have to be about doing videos or measuring up to anyone else’s standards, it’s about making room in your own life to do the things that soothe you, that fuel your energy, or that give you peace of mind. Diane is doing what she can, with the resources she has, to make the space that she needs in her life.

Go Diane! ⭐️

Part 2: I have been light-heartedly chatting about making space for 27 days now, I know that while making space for myself is a matter of conscious choice/breaking a mental habit for me, that is not the case for everyone.

I recognize that we all have varying capacities/privileges that would allow us to choose how we can make space for ourselves. Perhaps you can’t just decide to do a video or soak in the tub or go outside for a while, but I hope that these posts can help you seek a little breathing room.

Even if the only ‘space’ you have is while you are waiting at the bus stop or in line at the store, I hope you can take a few breaths and allow yourself to pause your planning brain.

I wish I had the power to stop time so you could have the space to find ease. I wish I could wave a wand and make everything less worrying for you.

But since I am sadly lacking in magic powers, all I can offer is the reminder that your needs are valid. The desire for a break, for breathing room, for a little space for yourself is not selfish. It is not something you have to earn by wearing yourself out first.

Offering suggestions for videos seems kind of trite after acknowledging that not everyone has the capacity or privilege to do them but these posts were never about the videos themselves, really.

The videos are there to provide easy access to two kinds of space-making but these posts are truly here to remind you that your needs matter – even when you aren’t always getting those needs met.

If you can’t make space right now, that doesn’t mean that you aren’t trying hard enough. It probably means that there are too many competing priorities in your life and you have to put yourself and your needs last. I don’t mean for these posts to add to your to do list or to your stress.

I hope that you will have the capacity/ability/privilege to shift things and give yourself space but if you can’t right now, I hope that changes soon. I hope that your few deep breaths here and there can sustain you until you can have the space you need.

And here are some gold stars for your efforts to make space, your efforts to keep going, and your efforts to keep the rest of your life on the rails.

A string of gold star-shaped lights sits on a white surface.
Image description: a string of gold star-shaped lights sits on a white surface.

Here are our videos for today, a cardio warm-up (I especially liked the ones where you reached back overhead) and an anxiety-reducing breathing exercise that has a fun visual. The breathing exercise video has an explanation at the beginning so if you want to jump right to the practice, fast forward to about 2 minutes in.

A five minute full body warm-up from the Fitness by Anouline YouTube channel. Still image shows the Instructor in exercise clothes standing in front of a wall, there are plants to one side.
A breathing exercise video from the Headfulness-Luke Horton YouTube channel. Still image features a cartoon drawing of a light blue whale against a darker blue background and yellow letters that read “Deep Breathing Exercise = 2x The Anxiety Relief?”

I wish you ease and rest today, even if you have to find it a few seconds at a time for right now.