fun · holiday fitness · holidays · motivation · self care

Making Space 2022: Day 7

When I saw that Martha’s post for 2020 was a reminder that laughing is good for you, I decided to wander YouTube in search of a laughter-related workout and meditation.

And I had a GREAT time watching Laughter Yoga videos and listening to fun meditations. I have included a delightfully irreverent body scan meditation below but if you need more funny meditations, search for ‘cursing meditation’ and you’ll find something fun.

Meanwhile, when you first look at the videos below the *idea* of laughing on purpose (without even something to laugh at, per se)might feel a bit strange at first but the ACTION of laughing is helpful in itself so it’s definitely worth trying.

If these videos aren’t a good way for you to create space for yourself in your day, please choose something else that makes you happy. These posts aren’t about making you do the thing I suggest, they are a reminder that you are worth making space for. So, take up that space in whatever way works for you.

Oh, and be kind to yourself about the whole thing, too.

Pretty please.

A 5 Minute Laughter Yoga Workout from Celeste Greene. The still image features Celeste, a person with short hair wearing an orange shirt, smiling and waving at the camera.
This video Funny Laughter Yoga Session is from the ‘wellness & laughter’ YouTube channel. The still image features a person in a light-coloured sweater with chin-length brown hair smiling and pointing the index finger on each hand toward the ceiling.
This Laughing Yoga video is from the Yogi Ramesh Pandey YouTube channel and the still image features a person in a long shiny gold robe and dark brown beads standing in a garden setting.
The title of this video is ‘The Most Hilarious Guided Meditation and the still image shows a short haired person with gold earrings and a black shirt smiling at the camera, text blocks next to their head read ‘Funniest Meditation Ever! 300k+ Views!’

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.

advice · habits · health · holiday fitness · holidays · meditation · self care

Making Space 2022: Day 6

Back on December 6, 2020, Martha was advising us to Get some fresh air and she was downright inspiring with the list of fun things she did outdoors on a unseasonably warm day.

That, in turn, reminded me of one of my posts from the fall of 2021 when I got into the habit of catching up with friends while out for a walk.

And THAT made me think of one of the reasons that this time of year can get so overwhelming. Most of us have lots of things that we want/must do but we don’t necessarily have company while we do them.

I find it less stressful to run errands if I bring a friend along for company (Hi, Mary! Thank you!) and I like to have a ‘body-double’ for tedious tasks of any kind. If I can’t have in-person company, then I often do check-ins with a friend online (Hi Trudy, Michelle, Kevin W, Janet, and Martha – all at different times! Thank you!)

Hanging out with a friend in-person or virtually really helps me stay on track and makes even a tedious task kind of fun.

Maybe you’ll find that the same thing works for you?

If you can’t partner up with someone for your current tasks, maybe a different form of virtual company might help.

You could try one of the many body-doubling/coworking online options: ADHD Actually Body Doubling Sessions, bodydoubling.com, and this article about the app FLOWN.

Or you want a way to frame your worktime, have some background noise, and be able to see someone else working away, you could check out the huge variety of ‘Keeping you company while you do stuff’ videos on YouTube. Here is a big list of suggestions:

Color and Chill With Me (Christina Lorre’ – this one starts with a fun and chatty intro but at around 10m 30s settles into colouring) Color with Me (Art Jalons – this one is quite short but fun), Color with me (Gea – this one plays soft music starting a few minutes in)

Read with me (shin – 45 mins with piano and rain sounds), Read with me (Kate – 30 mins, no music but there are bird sounds in the background), Read with me (Morgan – 1 hour with music)

Study with me (cafe.studyy – 66 minutes, soft music), Study with me (beetles in the sunshine – 1 hour, 39mins – rain sounds, no music), Study with me (Merve – 10 hours(!) – background noise but no music)

Clean with me (Lynn White – 17 minutes, music), Clean with me (Kris Hui – 25 mins, conversation), How to clean when you don’t want to (Aleisha Jay – 11 mins, friendly encouragement at the beginning, cleaning company after that)

Work with me [Vicky Zhao BEEAMP] – 75 minutes, music and typing noises – this video is using the pomodoro method of alternating 25 minute work sessions and short breaks), Work with me (Alexis AKA MissTrenchcoat – 3 hours with ambient music), Work/Study with me (Hara Studies – 2 hours, coffee shop background noise)

Mostly, I want you to be able to do the things you need to do in the most enjoyable way possible. If that includes in-person company or some sort of virtual company, so be it.

And, of course, I always recommend creating extra space for yourself in your day by including some movement and/or some meditation (videos below.) But if none of this works for you today, just take good care and be kind to yourself.

Your efforts matter and you are doing the best you can with the resources you have. ⭐

A 10 minute walking workout for seniors, beginning exercisers from the yes2next YouTube channel. Still image features two women in exercise clothing mid-step with their left legs forward and their right arms forward/left arms back. They are both smiling. The left hand side of the image has a purple background and white text listing the name of the video.
This 5 minute ‘meditation for busy people’ from Kendra Fried features a still image of a pond surrounded by trees. The trees and sky are reflected in the calm water.

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 · Dancing · fitness · fun · holiday fitness · holidays · meditation · self care

Making Space 2022: Day 5

December 5th seems like a great time to prioritize fun.

Or, at least, to make fun ONE of your priorities.

Have a look at your to do list for today and see if there are any fun things you can do sooner rather than later. Maybe you love writing cards or baking cookies or shredding old files or making schedules or whatever you find fun but you put those things at the end of your list because you feel like you have to get everything else out of the way before you do the fun stuff.

To hell with that: DO THE FUN STUFF FIRST.

If you are worried about getting carried away with fun stuff and never getting around to the less-fun stuff (this is a worry for those of us who are neurodivergent) then modify my advice above to:

DO SOME FUN STUFF FIRST. Set a timer or some sort of other limit so you get to have your fun and do the other things on your list.

Just, please, please, pretty please, don’t think that you need to EARN your fun. You can put fun first, you can mix it in the middle, YOU get to decide where fun belongs on your schedule.

Martha is also pro-fun – you tell when you read her 2020 Move with Music post that she will back me up on my have-more-fun position here.

So, it the spirit of that, here’s a fun dance video to try.

Not only do I love this song, I love the instructor’s energy, I love how much fun the other people in the video are having and I love that there are some hikers and their dog wandering down the path at the back part way through the song.

Whether you get up and dance, dance in your chair, or just nod your head or wiggle your fingers in time to the music, I think you’ll find this fun.

A dance video from Caleb Marshall AKA The Fitness Marshall entitled “Love Shack – EASY LOW IMPACT CARDIO | Caleb Marshall | Dance Workout” The still image is of Caleb and two back-up dancers, all with one arm extended overhead and one arm stretched out behind them, standing in a field. There is a red highlight outlining each of them. There is a trail extending up a hill on the right side of the image and there are trees behind them. White text on the lower part of the image reads ‘Love Shack Easy To Follow Low Impact’ and there is a rainbow filter behind the text.

Next up, our meditation for today is about feeling energized. They get into a bit of colour visualization that I am sure is related to chakras but if that’s not your thing, you can just do the breathing and build up your energy in black and white. 😉

A Great Meditations meditation video called ‘Feeling Full of Energy A Five Minute Meditation’ The still image is a cartoon-style drawing of a person’s head and shoulders. They have long black hair and gold earrings and their eyes are closed. The background colour is light orange with a mandala in various shades of yellow and orange drawn in the centre behind the person.

Whether you are able to prioritize your fun, do the dance video, do the meditation, do something of your own invention, or just take a few moments to breathe, I wish you ease today.

Please be kind to yourself. 💚⭐

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.

accessibility · disability · diversity · equality · holiday fitness · holidays · inclusiveness · meditation · self care

Making Space 2022: Day 3

This post has a lot of different things crammed into it, kind of like an average December day. I tried to make them into a somewhat coherent whole but I’m not sure it worked. Let’s roll with it anyway.

On Day 3 of her 2020 Wellness Calendar, Martha telling us to Remember to Eat. This is another one of the basic that we often let slide during this busy month. We don’t feel like we have time to sit down for a proper meal so we just grab a snack and the next thing we’re cranky and running on empty. While I get that this kind of thing will happen from time to time, please do what you can to prepare in advance. That might look like making a plan about when you will take downtime for meals or it might look like planning for something quick to eat while you are on the run.

Speaking of all the busyness of the month ahead, one of the ways I’d like you to create space for yourself today is by ditching something from your to do list.

I know that sounds like heresy when there is SoVeryMuch to do but that’s exactly why it is a good idea.

Have a look at your to do list -whether that is on paper, on a screen, or in your head and turn your attention either to the list of stuff that you will do ‘if I have time’ or to anything on your list that you are absolutely dreading.

I would like you to ditch (or at least change) one of those things.

Yes, decide right now that you are not going to do it.

If it is something on your ‘if I have time’ list, then you will be able to create a little extra quiet in your brain. You will have one less thing that can float up to fill any downtime you are trying to create for yourself. And you will feel better about not doing it if it is a decision instead of a lack of time.

If it is something that you are dreading but that you really feel needs to be done, I’m wondering if you might be able to pass it on to someone else. Could there be someone in your life who would happily take that on – maybe not exactly in the same way you do but that’s fine too. Perhaps there’s someone you can pay to do it. Maybe you can trade disagreeable tasks with someone else. Or, maybe the task itself can be changed, reduced, or reshaped to make it less dreadful.

And, I realize that in one of the paragraphs above I told you to add something to your to do list (plan for your meals) and then immediately afterwards I told you to ditch something from your list. I stand by that apparent contradiction.

Adding things to your to do list that increase your well-being and your ability to take good care of yourself are more likely to reduce your stress than increase it. Taking good care of yourself increases your capacity to enjoy the rest of the preparations that you choose to include in your month and to keep the things you *must* do in perspective.

When I prepared last year’s Making Space posts I tried to include videos of people with a range of body types and abilities. I was moderately successful but I am determined to improve things for this year.

Since today is the International Day of Persons with Disabilities I wanted to be sure to be open about my intention to be inclusive and to invite anyone who reads this to share any videos that they find useful. I don’t always know what search terms to use and I may be missing excellent videos because my vocabulary is limited.

These Making Space posts are not exactly the forum for an in-depth discussion of these issues but since I have your attention, I wanted you to know that the theme for this year’s International Day of Persons with Disabilities is “Transformative solutions for inclusive development: the role of innovation in fuelling an accessible and equitable world.”

I don’t think that my posts here are at all part of that sort of broad change but hopefully I can at least raise some awareness about today and give some of my readers something to think about.

I’ll be the first to admit that I know very little about disability activism but some things things I do know are 1) every person on earth has the right to live with dignity 2) change depends on listening to those with lived experience 3) any practice, policy, or accommodation that increases accessibility, diversity, and inclusion is a good thing for everyone who makes use of the service/visits the building/ participates in the activity – an inclusive world is a better world 4) inclusive practices are not about catering to anyone or providing special treatment, they are about creating a more just world.

And I think we can all be part of that change by seeking more just and equitable practices in our organizations, workplaces, and daily lives.

Okay, back to the stated purpose of the Making Space 2022 posts: short workouts and meditations to help create space for yourself on your to do list!

A video entitled ‘7 Minute – No Equipment Workout – Ella’s Wheelchair Workout- Video 40’ from Ella Beaumont, she is wearing a orange tank top, has her hair pulled back in a ponytail and she is in her wheelchair in her living room. Behind her is a couch lined with multi-coloured pillows and a bookshelf filled with books and knick-knacks.

If you’re not feeling up to a workout today, perhaps this meditation from Headspace might be just the thing.

A video from the Headspace YouTube channel called ‘Feeling Overwhelmed? Try This Quick Meditation.’ The still image shows an orange rectangle in the upper left corner that encloses the word ‘Meditation:’ in white and blue text below that reads ‘Feeling Overwhelmed SOS’ on the right side of the screen is a cartoon image of an orange bucket that is overflowing with drops of blue liquid falling from the side into a blue puddle below.

However you choose to take good care of yourself today, I wish you ease in the process.

Please practice self-kindness.

advice · holiday fitness · holidays · meditation · season transitions · self care · yoga

Making Space 2022: Day 2

No matter what you have ahead of you this month, things probably feel like they are about to ramp up but they haven’t quite gotten hectic yet. That makes this an excellent time to put a few things in place for future you.

In 2020, Martha was reminding us that staying hydrated makes a huge difference in how we feel. And when we’re busy, we want to make sure to do anything we can think of that will tip the balance towards us feeling a bit better.

So, with that in mind, what else might keep us feeling a bit better?

What other small things can you do for your future self? You know, the one who might be a bit more frazzled that you are now.

Are there tasks that tend to build up over the month that you can do a little bit at time starting now??

Is there something that you often run out when things get busy but that you could pick up now? Like scotch tape, sugar, or soap – to name just a few things I have had to dash out and get at inconvenient times.

Can you block off some downtime later in the month? This could come in handy when you are invited to something that you don’t really have the capacity for, you can tell them that you are already booked that night!

Speaking of small things you can do for your future self, here are two videos of neck stretches that can really reduce the tension you carry in that area. Reducing that tightness could be just the right way to prevent a future headache.

Whatever you choose to do today, I wish you ease. I hope you can find your own way to keep stress at a minimum and be kind to yourself in the process..

A Yoga with Adriene ‘silent’ video called Yoga for Daily Neck Relief. This video has only music and no verbal cues. The still image is a black and white photo of Adriene with her hair pulled back in a lace band and low ponytail. She is looking to her right.

I enjoy the video above but since Adriene isn’t giving verbal cues, it might not be useful for everyone. Sooo, I have included the video below (another favourite of mine), that includes clear verbal cues.

A video from Mark Wildman called ‘A 3 Minute Neck Drill That Will Change Your Life’ – I’m not sure if it is life changing but it sure is helpful! The still image is two photos of Wildman sitting on a set of steps in a gym. In the first he is extending his neck forward so his face is closest to the camera. In the second he is pulling his chin backwards to extend the muscles in the back of his neck. He has his hands laid over one another on his chest.



Sidenote: As I mention in this 2018 post called Cause and Effect, Effect and Cause I have realized that while anxiety and stress can cause me to have a tight neck, the opposite is also true. If my neck is tight for some physical reason, my brain goes into overdrive because it assumes I am anxious. And, of course, with enough poking around, my brain will always find something to be anxious about. That anxiety makes my neck tighter…you get the picture. If that happens to you, too, these videos might be extra useful.

Not up to neck stretches today? Maybe this grounding meditation is more your speed.

A video called ‘Managing Anxious Thoughts And Stress with Mindfulness’ from the Headspace YouTube Channel. The still image has an orange background and a smiling yellow blob with its eyes closed is on the right hand side. On the left is text reading ‘Lost in Thought? Try Grounding.’

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.

advice · self care

Some Fabulous Little Reminders from Dr. Julie

I just started reading psychologist Dr. Julie Smith‘s book Why Has Nobody Told me this before? Everyday Tools for Life’s Ups and Downs and I’m really enjoying it. I’m not finished yet, so I can’t do a full review but I do really like her style. The book is full of low-key but helpful reminders that we can build our capacity to deal with most of our everyday challenges and that we can develop the tools to work with our emotions instead of trying to fight them.

Just FYI: She is very clear about the fact that while there are lots of cases in which people need long-term therapy there are also many people who just need access to tools and guidance to help them manage their own mental health and that she is addressing the latter group.

Anyway, as I was telling people about this book recently I was surprised to discover that many people have never heard of Dr. Julie. If you’re one of those people, here are a few of her YouTube shorts that are a pretty good introduction to her kind and encouraging approach. You can find more on her channel.

Enjoy!

(I’ll post a review once I’m finished the book!)

A video from Dr. Julie Smith entitled ‘This is really important.’ In the still image, Dr. Julie is seated at a wooden table and there is a pyramid of playing cards stacked in front of her.
A video from Dr. Julie Smith entitled ‘This 60 Mindset Trick Will Change Your Life’ and in the still image she is sitting a table with a coffee cup and book in front of her and there are shelves behind her.
A video from Dr. Julie Smith entitled ‘Stop Waiting To Feel Confident! Watch This. In the still she is sitting at a table and there are white shelves behind her.
fitness · self care

World Kindness Day 2022

Welcome to World Kindness Day 2022!

As you probably know from my previous posts, especially these ones about World Kindness Day 2021 (about kindness to others) and World Kindness Day 2020 (about self-kindness), I am a kindness cheerleader.

I just want people to be kinder to themselves and each other. I want society as a whole to be kinder to its individual members. I want governments to be kinder to their citizens. I just want more kindness in the world.

Like Brooke Jones, VP for the Random Acts of Kindness Foundation says in her blog post, I want us all to Make Kindness The Norm.

(For some reason, I can’t insert a caption under the image below. The image is from the Random Acts of Kindness Foundation and here is the image description: A red heart and text reading ‘Believe there is good in the world’ with a weathered wooden background. most of the text is black but some of the letters are white so an alternate message of ‘Be the Good’ can also be read. At the bottom of the image is text reading ‘Random Acts of Kindness Foundation’ )

A red heart and text reading 'Believe there is good in the world' with a weathered wooden background. most of the text is black but some of the letters are white so an alternate message of 'Be the Good' can also be read. At the bottom of the image is text reading 'Random Acts of Kindness Foundation'

I know I am not alone in my cheerleading mission and in my belief that kindness matters but I also know that there are a lot of terrible things going on in the world. It’s hard to maintain hope and it’s hard to feel that your small, day-to-day kindnesses matter.

That’s why I was so happy to find this video by John Green a few weeks ago because he does a terrific job of summing up a lot of things that I haven’t been able to express succinctly. He’s not talking about kindness directly, he’s arguing for meaning and against nihilism, but his conclusions apply to kindness, too. I especially like his point about how the big picture may be a challenging one but that we don’t live in the big picture, we live in the day-to-day. And in the day-to-day, all of those little connections (or, one could say, kindnesses 😉 ) matter.

I can add a caption here so I will – This is a video from the Vlog Brothers YouTube channel. It’s entitled ‘Against Nihilism’ and the still image features John Green, a white middle aged man with a beard and glasses sitting in his home office. He is facing the camera and he has an intense expression on his face which reflects his passion for the subject.

So, even if there are a lot of terrible things going on in the world, it’s still worth it to be kind, to seek kindness, and to encourage kindness. It okay to do it because it helps you feel good, because it helps the people you are kind to feel good, or because it just seems like the right thing to do.

(Hmm, I can’t add a caption to the photo below either but it is another photo from the Random Acts of Kindness Foundation. This image shows a small child with brown skin and curly hair sitting in a white chair. They’re wearing enormous glasses and smiling big enough that their eyes have closed to make room for their grin. They’re wearing yellow pants, suspenders and a blue shirt that reads ‘I’ve got nothing but love for you.’ The text to their left reads ‘The world is full of kind people…If you can’t find one, be one.)

And since being kind, as the video below suggests, is supposed to help reduce stress and bring you ease, there’s no reason not to keep trying it.

Again, I can add a caption to this video even though I couldn’t add one to the images. Anyway, this is an animated YouTube video from the Random Acts of Kindness Foundation entitled ‘The Science of Kindness’ and the still image shows a person with light brown skin with their long hair up in a bun on top of their head. They are wearing white pants and a grey long sleeved shirt and their hands are behind their back. They have a speech balloon with a heart in it above their head.

I’ve got lots of links in my previous World Kindness Day posts about how to be kind to yourself and others so I’ll just include two more links here:

The Random Acts of Kindness Foundation has a downloadable calendar for teachers or for anyone who wants to add more kindness to their days on a regular basis.

And since I don’t know how much time or energy you have today, I’m just going to link to my results from a YouTube search for Kindness Meditation so, if you are inclined to meditate, you can have an easy way to find one to try today.

And, my friends, as always, be kind to yourself about the whole thing – life, the universe, and everything – if you aren’t up to putting kindness out into the world today then turn that kindness inward and give yourself a break. You are doing the best you can with the resources you have. 💚

advice · fitness · illness · rest · self care

A short post about not very much

I’m writing this on Monday night.

I’ve spent the day feeling under the weather (and appropriately it has been very VERY rainy) and trying to sort my to do list into:

– things that I feel up to doing today

-things that must be done today (by me or by someone else)

-things that can most definitely wait

-other stuff

Resting, very low-key yoga, and an online meeting made the cut…a lot of other things did not.

I can’t, however, tell you how I decided which was which. (It’s not a secret, I just have no idea!)

How do you decide how much rest you need when you don’t feel well?

How do you decide what stays on your to do list and what you can let slide?

PS – Here’s a useful reminder I drew a few years ago. You don’t even need to feel sick to take it to heart.

A photo of a small square card on a patio railing. The card has been painted yellow and has dark blue lines extending outward from the centre to create the impression of a top-down view of a flower. ​Blue text on the drawing reads “you don’t have to be and do all of the things. Choose the ones that feel right, the ones you know are yours. (That’s enough)”
Image description: a small square card on a patio railing. The card has been painted yellow and has dark blue lines extending outward from the centre to create the impression of a top-down view of a flower. Blue text on the drawing reads “you don’t have to be and do all of the things. Choose the ones that feel right, the ones you know are yours. (That’s enough)”

fitness · Seasonal sadness · self care · training

Checking in one month after knee replacement: Sam is gearing up for a winter of rehab

They tell you that recovery from total knee replacement is a long haul of physio and rehab.

I’m here to say it’s just dawning on me how true that is. It’s not that I didn’t believe it before. I did. But now I’m feeling it too. That knowledge is real in a way that it wasn’t before.

There were big gains in weeks one, two, and three. Not so much this week. This week I might have overdone it. Too many tiny walks? Too much mobility work? Possibly going to a Tafelmusik concert in Toronto might have been too much. But the music was beautiful and I had a lovely visit with my daughter so that was all good.

Handel’s London, Experience the energy of baroque London, a lively metropolis where musical influences intersect.

I had hoped to report that I could turn the pedals over on my bike my now, but I can’t, yet. And yes, I know there are no fixed timelines for these things and that people regain mobility as different rates. Still, in my head it seemed reasonable to be back on the trainer in a month and I’m not there yet. I mean, I’m there, but I’m not making full rotations of the pedals just yet.

Weirdly, I am so close when I do it backwards. Weirdly backwards everything is easier. I’ve been doing walking backwards without crutches drills for physio and I don’t limp walking backwards.

Why is pedaling backwards easier? Here is one explanation:

“Pedaling backwards after knee surgery is often easier because of the hamstring activation. When you pedal an exercise bike forward the quadriceps is likely more active and the hamstring is likely less active. By pedaling backward after knee replacement surgery your hamstring is pulling the lower leg back which often improves knee flexion.”

YouTube video about starting on a recumbent bike after knee replacement

The other hard thing is simply pain. I’m surprised that a month out things still hurt this much. I take pain relief medication regularly, not the narcotic stuff–the narcotic pain meds ended more than a week ago. But I’m still waking at night with pain some of the time and by end of the day things hurt a lot.

It’s also fall of course, not my favorite season, and I’ve been brainstorming ways of coping given that my options are somewhat limited this year. My friend Todd is similarly scheming and I’m enjoying reading about his plans even if I’m jealous that they include running.

What am I up to that’s positive?

🍁Well, I’m seeing more of friends and family. I’m out and about more than I was.

🍁Today I get to start driving again. Cars aren’t my favorite things but it will be nice to be independently mobile.

🍁I’ve joined a new gym that has aquafit classes and I’m looking forward to that over the winter. Aquafit isn’t my favorite thing but it’s a thing my healing knee can do once the incision heals fully . And I do love being in the water.

🍁This week the blog’s Catherine Womack comes to visit. She’s giving a talk at Guelph’s Philosophy department called “Epidemiology Food Fight: a fat feminist takes on values in nutrition science.” That’s October 6th, 430 pm.

🍁I’ve dug out my light alarm clock.

🍁I’m very happy to be planning my return to work. I miss the university. I love fall semester even though I’m not a fan of fall overall.

🍁I’m thinking I might start my November gratitude practise early this year and make it a fall thing, beginning October 1. Gratitude is good in its own right and it makes me feel better. Right now I’m thankful that I got to have knee replacement surgery and that I have lots of support through the healing process.

Bright red and orange leaves

covid19 · fitness · self care · yoga

Tracy goes back to hot yoga

Image description: Ohm symbol commonly associated with yoga.

Long time blog readers will know that I absolutely adore hot yoga. I cannot explain why yoga in a hot room feels so much more satisfying to me than yoga at room temperature, but it does. And so it was a huge sacrifice when I felt the need mid-pandemic to take a stand and leave the hot yoga studio that I’ve been a dedicated member of for over a decade. At the time, I felt that they were making decisions concerning COVID that put their yoga community at risk and violated legal requirements that had been put in place based on recommendations from Ontario’s science table. I wrote about my decision here.

Well I’m happy to say that after more than ten months, I am back at hot yoga at the same studio. I don’t regret taking the position I did last October. Back in October I said, “I don’t know if I’ll go back or if they’ll have me back.” But now I feel that one of the things I’ve learned over the course of the pandemic is that I value relationships that I have built over time and I do not take them for granted. I may have disagreed, even strongly disagreed, with the official position of the yoga studio. But I am not willing to let their position on a temporary situation have permanent consequences for my well-being. To do so would have been a case of cutting off my nose to spite my face.

I have been feeling the itch to go back for some time now. So when I got a notice that they were offering a deal on ten-class passes, I purchased a couple. My goal is to incorporate it back into my life slowly, starting with a class a week. Last week when I went to my first class since October I consciously chose to go with one my favourite instructor. I got there early enough to take up my preferred spot near, but not right in, the hot front corner, and lie in savasana for a few minutes before we started. It was a yang-yin class, which meant it was only vigorous for half an hour, then completely and deliciously stretchy and slow for a half an hour. It felt so right to be back in the hot studio.

I know many of us had to switch up our routines during the pandemic, and some of those routines are permanently altered. But I’ve talked to lots of people who have been extremely eager to get back to their gyms and yoga studios and what have you.

Did you experience any big interruptions or changes in your fitness routines over the past couple of years? Have you gone back to anything that was put on hiatus? If you have, I’d love to hear in the comments about how it felt to go back.