fitness · martial arts

Christine and the regularly-scheduled Tuesdays

No one in my house is going back to school.

The weather is pretty much the same as last week.

My work doesn’t change much from season to season.

So, the only sign that fall is starting is that Taekwondo started up again on Tuesday night.

I thought it would be interesting (to me at least) to write a little bit about how I felt before class and a little bit about how I felt after and see how they matched up.

Here’s what I had to say beforehand:

My dobok is ready.

A white martial arts uniform laid out flat with a martial arts black belt laid on top of it.
I do have dobok pants, they just looked strange when I laid them out flat so I took the photo without them. Image description: my dobok top – a long white shirt with black trim and two logos on the upper left – laid flat with my black belt laid on top of it.

And I’m ready…ish.

My brain is ready to go but even though I practiced a bit over the summer my body will probably be a bit rusty.

Luckily, after over 13 years of training, I know that the key to getting back into the swing of things is to just work through the rustiness until my muscles remember what to do.

Basically, they just need to be reminded of the things they already know.

Fortunately, being in my dobok and lined up with the other students in our training space will give my muscles the nudge they need to do what I have trained them to do.

And it’s such a great feeling when everything ‘clicks’ again.


And here are my thoughts afterwards:

Oh, it’s so good to be back!

It was great to see everyone again and it feels strange to realize that two months have passed. (Sure, two months is not all that long but I’m used to seeing my TKD friends weekly.)

And it was wonderful to work our way slowly through the patterns, gently reminding our muscles that they know these movements, they know what comes next.

I felt competent and focused and purposeful, step by step, movement by movement, reminding myself of the skills I have built over all these years of training.

And while it has only been two months since I stood in that space practicing on that way, that’s enough time for your conscious mind to lose track of the details of those feelings.

It felt really good to revisit those details.

And moving slowly through those patterns on the first day felt like we were warming up for the year of training ahead. Slow deliberate movement, reinforcing skills, getting ourselves ready for what comes next.

And, like I predicted, it was a great feeling when things ‘clicked’ again.

Look how happy I looked after class!

A woman in a martial arts uniform laughing
Not my most flattering look but my friend Kevin made me laugh when he took this one and it matches the spirit of our class last night. Image description – Me in my white dobok with my hair pulled back by a green cloth band. I’m wearing glasses and I’m laughing with my eyes all scrunched up. I look kind of sweaty but that’s to be expected at a martial arts class.


Working from home? I need your advice

What a month it has been for me! I have had some changes in my personal life, and my post this month is seeking some advice about staying active. Here’s the story.

About 6 months ago I started a new job as a university administrator. I had been teaching post-secondary courses by contract for some time and wanted more work stability. My new role was also contract, but promised to open up permanent opportunities within the institution. By February I had identified a couple of potential job options, but in the midst of this new job search, I rather unexpectedly came upon an option in insurance, a field I used to work in.

It’s not what I thought I was looking for, but as of two weeks ago, I am happily an insurance adjuster again. I’m also working from home full time, and that is totally throwing me for a loop. Gone is my morning climb up five flights of stairs at the university. Also gone is a lot of my human interaction, and the approximately 5,000 steps that were a part of my experience across campus.

For the first 2.5 years of the COVID pandemic I taught from home, but working a fulltime desk job from home is an entirely different experience. I am realizing that unless I consciously plan for activity, I may be very sedentary, not something my hips or any other part of me needs.

Image of a middle aged white woman and younger white young man standing in front of the CN tower, lit up green at night.
After a long and tiring day – a very comfortable one because I was loosened up from yoga!

Happily, I am able to keep attending the weekly yoga class at my former workplace, because I am maintaining a very part-time role with them (read about it here: This month’s newness – yoga). I have been back to yoga every week since I started my new job and OHMYGOSH after being stiff from too little movement, the yoga has been a dream!  I have found that a single weekly class is making me so much more comfortable. I’m also thrilled that I made it back to the pool for deep water aquafit and even though it has been 6 months I felt great.

This is making it clear to me that I need to develop an activity schedule, something I don’t really love. As I write this I’m in Toronto watching the Toronto Maple Leafs trounce my Carolina Hurricanes. I spent the day walking the city with my teenage son, and although tired I feel great. I am already walking my dog every day, but I clearly need something more defined.

I am curious – if you work from home, or otherwise have a very inactive job, how do you deal with it? I have tried a little morning yoga, but as a newbie it’s daunting. I would love suggestions on keeping limber and healthy!

ADHD · fitness · goals · habits · meditation · mindfulness · planning · self care · walking

It Turns Out That March *Is* Real!

Remember last month when I knew February was real but, as far as I was concerned, March might be fictional?

Good news: March is real!

Note: I am reserving judgment on April though. Who knows what might come after March? Could be anything, really. It’s the very distant future, extremely Not Now.

Before we dive into super-real, and definitely happening right now, March, let’s roll back to the very distant and hazy past and see how the ancient month of February went. (ADHD time is a bizarre and fluid thing, no?)

My plan for the month was to extend my walks a little, to follow my meditation program, and to do at least one hip mobility exercise before bed. 


I didn’t extend every walk but I extended as many as I could. We had some especially erratic weather in February – lots of snow storms, some warm(ish) temperatures and some ridiculously cold temperatures. The pathways and sidewalks and streets have varied from clear and easily-traveled to hellish landscapes of lumpy ice and deep patches of softer snow. Between temperatures that were too cold for the dog’s safety and terrain that was too uneven for my safety, it was tricky to be consistent with longer walks. But, that being said, when things were safe for me and for Khalee, we added a little extra time to our adventures.

A light-haired dog in a red sweater with white hearts on it stands on a snowy path.
Khalee on one of the better days for walking in February. Image description: Khalee, a light haired dog in a red sweater with white hearts on it, is wearing a harness and leash and standing on a snowy path. The image is a sort of top down view and Khalee is standing sideways and looking back past me as I take the photo.


I managed to meditate fairly regularly but I didn’t follow the program of daily meditation I had planned. BUT because my plan was short-term, it felt easier to keep course-correcting towards meditating daily and, as a result, I meditated more often than I have in the past. Also, I became more aware of when stress was making me breathe shallowly and took conscious, slow, ribcage-expanding breaths to help myself feel better. Those breaths aren’t meditation per se but it is a mindful style of breathing so I’m counting them as part of my meditation practice overall. 

Hip Mobility

The hip mobility exercises are where I really shone in February. I didn’t use a tracker but since I stacked the exercises into my bedtime routine I was able to do them at least 20/28 evenings. I found a big difference in my hips and lower back as a result.

a GIF of cartoon character Daffy Duck standing in a spotlight doing hip circles.
Imagine me kind of doing this but I am brushing my teeth and reading an ebook at the same time. ADHD who? Image description: a GIF of cartoon character Daffy Duck standing in a spotlight doing hip circles. His eyes are mostly closed and it looks like he may be whistling. He’s probably trying to look sexy but he mostly looks odd.

So, as I think back on the ancient history of February 2023 I am comfortable with declaring it a success. And I think I owe that success to two things: 1) only planning one month at a time 2) reflective journaling.

A Short Reflection on Reflective Fitness Journaling in February

My plan in February was to write in my fitness journal each Sunday. 

I wrote in it for the first two Sundays but then I had two busy Sundays in a row. Logically, I should have moved my journaling plan to a different day but I didn’t. 


Because the first two weeks were so helpful, I was in reflective mode even though I didn’t always write things in my journal. So, I was still getting some of the benefits even with a less structured version of the practice. 

And being in reflective mode really helped me to be kinder to myself about how I approached my other practices and it guided me to spend a little extra time figuring out how to fit movement and meditation into my daily or weekly schedule. 

My conclusion? Even imperfect reflection practices are extremely beneficial. 

March Plans

So, obviously I am going to keep up my reflective journaling plans but I am going to aim for 4 written reflections – one each Monday. 

I’m keeping my evening hip mobility exercise but I am going to add in a shoulder mobility exercise every morning when I take my meds (or at least when I get my reminder to take my meds.)

I already get at least 20 minutes of movement every day but for (the rest of) March, I’m going to aim to do that movement before noon each day. Might be yoga, might be a walk with Khalee, might be strength training, but the goal is to have it happen earlier in the day. 

And I’m going to keep working on that daily meditation practice – even if it is ‘just’ that mindful breathing I described above. 

Let’s see how this unfolds as we March on!

A GIF of members of a marching band doing a hopping kick move instead of conventional marching.
No one said marching had to be dull, right? Image description; A GIF of a person person in a marching band uniform, holding a baton by their side, is moving across a field by hopping on one leg while kicking the other leg out in front of them. When they reach the centre, two other people in uniform are waiting there doing a similar movement on one spot. The stands in the distance are full of spectators.
competition · fitness · fun · goals · soccer · team sports

Checking in with the Chill Soccer League (Part 4)

We are midway through the season of a new +40 rec soccer league that over 100 women joined because they wanted less aggressive play. As I’ve reported in previous posts, there was an expectation that play would be less rough, but a series of decisions and limitations made it unclear (to me) what mechanisms would actually make that happen.

Has the league met expectations and achieved its goals? I asked the team captains their thoughts in a Facebook group chat they share.

Yes, Less Aggressive Play

Of the eight team captains who were polled, all agreed that the league was either a little or a lot less aggressive than other rec leagues they have played in (Poll 1):

Poll 1 of team captains

According to most team leaders, what has been different from other leagues is the higher frequency of penalty calls (Poll 2).

Some team captains also said they perceived more efforts of teams to be friendly. One or two captains said their teams talk with each other and the opposing teams about aggressive play.

Poll 2 of team captains

I think that team members talking before or during the game about their expectations (rather than just complaining after the game) shows goodwill and is more likely to improve league morale. Because aggressiveness is subjective, it can only help to have a more shared understanding of what aggressive play looks and feels like for each team.

A few captains added in the chat that their teams felt the league was fun. One captain said,

I think it’s going well, not as crazy aggressive as the other groups and no pressure we are just having fun and being active :)

Interestingly, no one said their own teams admit when they have been too aggressive. I didn’t ask whether it is because they genuinely don’t feel or notice when their play is too rough, or if it’s just not a good strategy for games.

Concerns and Reflections

Apparently rough play has not been fully eliminated: over the last few months, folks have brought forward concerns about a few aggressive players.

As league organizer, Cindy usually addresses concerns with team captains, who in turn speak with their own players. So, the process for dealing with the perception of over-aggressive play seems non-confrontational and a shared responsibility. As Cindy said, “Everyone is contributing to its success. It shows great community!”

While I expected Cindy to deal with these league issues kindly, I did not expect that over half of the captains would say “the refs also call out play that our team does not consider aggressive.” In other words, some feel that refs are making too many calls on aggressive play in this “chill” league.

Why might this be a concern for some teams? It can be difficult to avoid accidental contact on an indoor field. As well, some would say that defending space and moving into the opponent’s space is a normal part of soccer. And, every time a play gets stopped for a penalty, it’s less time to play soccer.

This idea that refs are calling aggression that players don’t agree to made me reflect on my own assumptions. A “rec league” suggests it will be social and fun, but for some women fun means competitive play. Have I been assuming that the only way to have a chill and fun league is to reduce aggression to the point of low or no contact?

I have noted in past posts that aggression is in part in the eye of the beholder. Those with less experience may see those with more soccer experience as aggressive, but the reverse can be true as well. At least the refs seem to be calling roughness due to unchecked skill and roughness due to lack of control.

ReDefining a League

This new rec league was organized by the criteria of age and intolerance for aggressive play, but there may be other ways to ensure safety but also give players what they want to have fun. One captain suggested to me that, instead of aggression level, league divisions could be based on experience or skill level. A beginner league for adult women of all ages could teach about safe play and what is appropriate contact. In such a league, frequent stops for penalties and game explanations might be more welcome.

At the same time, an adult beginner league begs the question of when someone is and no longer is a “beginner.” Sometimes experienced soccer players recruit their friends, and of course they want to play together despite skill level differences. (I’ve gotten better mostly by playing with friends more skilled than me.) It’s tough to make everyone happy.

If the “chill” league continues in another season, the norm for play might stay at low- or no-contact. In this case, how the game is played might need to change—and teams who plan to register in this league will have to be ready for that.

The beauty of sports is that they are what we make of them. According to most team captains, right now most members of this “chill” league seem relatively happy with the game that they have made together.


Kudos to Those Who Fit in Fitness While Travelling

I’m talking here about travelling for work, when you are on a tight schedule, and probably struggling with different time zones. Throw in security challenges too, depending on where you are going.

Sam has written about her ways of fitting in fitness while travelling for work here, and Cate has written extensively about her adventurous bike travels through Bulgaria and Vietnam.

It has been a while since I have travelled for work, and last week’s trip was the first since I started blogging here. Naturally, it meant I had to think about how I would fit in fitness activities. If nothing else, it helped me cope with the anxiety of travelling for the first time in over three years.

Rule number 1: don’t cram so much into your day that you can’t take advantage of the facilities available to you. I flew to Ouagadougou from Ottawa on a Saturday morning. With delayed flights and a five hour time difference. I got to my hotel room at around midnight on Sunday. I was picked up for my first meeting at 7:15 the next morning. We went all day, had a work dinner, had a similar early morning followed by a long flight to Cotonou, arriving at the hotel at around midnight again. Three days later, I flew back to Ottawa. On my second-last night, I did make it to the pool for a short swim.

Bright blue swimming pool with a patio, hotel and night sky in the background.

Rule number 2: Take advantage of incidental opportunities to move. In Cotonou, I walked with a colleague to a restaurant for dinner one night, and another evening we walked to the beach to see the sunset. We could have been better about walking at the airports. There was time, but hauling our bags around just to look at shops was not appealing.

A woman in a black dress is standing on a beach facing away from the camera. She is taking a picture of the water and setting sun.

Rule number 3: Zoom and YouTube are wonderful things. I did manage to take my two Zoom ballet classes, but at a cost: with the time zone differences, one was at 11:00 pm and the other was at midnight. YouTube yoga or other classes would have been great too.

An iPad sits on a coffee table in a hotel room with an orange chair and curtains. The screen shows my dance teacher wearing black, standing in the ballet studio.

Rule number 4: if you can’t exercise, or just don’t feel like it, don’t sweat it. You may have a supercharged schedule, or be completely jet lagged. You may be required to travel everywhere by car for security reasons. You may just feel like reading a book. It’s all good. Enjoy what down time you can find.

After all, you are there for work, and your first priority is to make sure you are in the best shape (for you) to deliver on your work commitments. For me that means walking to explore when I can, and swimming when it’s an option. But it also means getting enough sleep and leaving myself time to prepare for meetings and keep up on emails from the office.

Overall, I was happy with how I managed my first big trip in a very long time. I was able to claim several activities in my 223 workouts in 2023 challenge. I didn’t get sick. I definitely didn’t get enough sleep though, and that is something I need to work on when I travel next.

Are you travelling again for work? Are you managing to incorporate movement into your days, along with everything else? If so, congratulations! I am impressed because it is hard work.

Diane Harper is a public servant from Ottawa.


Sport love: thinking about the romance of movement

I don’t know about you, dear readers, but I’m just now realizing that Valentine’s Day is nearly upon us. As of this writing it’s a mere 23 days away (22 as you read these words). You may be wondering:

Exactly what is your point here?

Well, once I’ve waded through the New Years’ Challenge mania, my fancy turns to sweeter goals and pastimes. Yes, I’m talking about rekindling feelings that may have dimmed, but not gone out entirely. Feelings for:

  • Swimming
  • weight training
  • in-person yoga classes
  • dance-y style exercise classes

A couple of years ago, I wrote a post, To all the sports I’ve loved before. I was waxing nostalgic for a few sports I’d dabbled in but never committed to. Would I ever revisit them? Never say never, but I’m unlikely to start fencing or doing Brazilian Jiu Jitsu at this point in my physical activity trajectory. Scuba is something I hope to try again, given the right conditions (warm blue water with very pretty fish of many colors nearby).

However, the list above reflects a desire to get out of my rut of doing some yoga at home, some other movement classes on youtube and walking as primary exercise. I’ve not been feeling very motivated or energetic, and novelty always provides a bit of a kickstart. What I need is something to get my attention focused, my heart racing, my pulse quickening. I need a new exercise love. Or loves.

I can do all of these things if I go ahead and join that gym I’ve been talking about for awhile now. Yes, I’ve been dragging my feet. But getting out of the house and into the locker room may be just what the doctor ordered.

Well, maybe not tomorrow, but certainly this week, I'm going to check out the place and will join if it's not terrible. Okay?
Well, maybe not tomorrow, but certainly this week, I’m going to check out the place and will join if it’s not terrible. Okay?

i’ll report back later this week on progress.

Readers, what do you do when you’re yearning for a little something-extra, something-novel in your movement regimen? Do you try out some new activity? Or is a change of venue the solution to your exercise ennui? I welcome any suggestions.

advice · fitness · goals · habits · motivation · new year's resolutions · planning · self care

Go Team 2023! Decide on Something Small

Before I begin today, I’d like to remind you that you do NOT have to make changes, start resolutions, or make new year plans. If you feel drawn towards those kinds of things, that’s cool. If you hate those kinds of things, that’s cool, too.

And, if you are a resolutions type of person with your plans for the year all set up and you’re working away at them – go you! We all need to find a way that works for us and keeps us feeling good about ourselves as we move forward. In your case, today’s post might be good to have in your metaphorical back pocket in case you need it one day.

Meanwhile, I’m over here with no actual plans yet, just a vague sense of wanting to improve my overall well-being through movement and rest this year.

I know that will take some planning and some up-front work and experimentation but I need to do some thinking and writing and research to figure out the details.

And I’m ok with that. In fact, as I noted in a recent post, I am in Planuary not January right now.

If you are also in Planuary, or just if you are still deciding what you want to do, or if you know what you want to do but are still getting in gear to do it, I’d like to invite you to decide something small.

By that, I mean to pick a little something that is at least somewhat related to a direction you may want to move in. (That might be the vaguest sentence I have ever written. Bahahaha!)

This isn’t about deciding on Step 1. It isn’t about keeping yourself busy. This is a way of anchoring the space you created yesterday.

So, for example, I know that I want to strengthen my core this year. And I know that any exercises for my core will help. I also know that I will need to get specific at some point or I won’t actually follow though.

But I don’t have a plan or strategy *yet.* Right now, I just have a sense that this is a direction I want to move towards.

So, yesterday, I decided that since on most days I can exercise in the evening, I would create mental space in my evening routine for exercise.

And since I don’t have a plan in place, anything would do for now.

So, I picked 5 core exercises I like and did 5 reps of each one.

It was a manageable amount. It had defined parameters (i.e. it was clear when I was done.) And it felt like I did something useful for my eventual plan.

I didn’t have to overdo it. I didn’t have to create a huge framework for future fitness. I could just decide on something small that would move me in the right direction.

And it is something I can keep doing while I decide what ELSE I want to do.

And I’d like to invite you to give this a try.

Whatever you are mulling over right now, decide on a small version to try. See how it feels, physically and mentally.

If it felt good – stick with it while you figure out what’s next. If it was too tiring or if it felt bad – adjust things for next time.

Note: Judging from my personal past experience, there’s a decent chance that your ‘something small’ will only seem small in comparison to your envisioned future result. When you try it, you may find that your ‘something small’ was actually fairly big. If that’s the case, don’t despair – just go smaller.

And, of course, please be kind to yourself in the process. Making plans, making changes, and trying new things can all be challenging, tricky, stressful processes. If you find these things hard, try to give yourself time to adjust and to recover – you need what you need and trying to ‘tough it out’ may just make things harder. Sure, we all need to persevere and push through sometimes but we can’t stay in that mode all the time.

Here’s your gold star for your efforts today whether you are working your plan, working on a plan, or working towards considering working on a plan.

A drawing of a gold star on a blue background
Image description – a cartoonish drawing of a happy face gold star with big eyes and blue eyelids. The background of the image is overlapping blue lines and the corners are blue blobs.

Re-positioning my team sports positions

As I have discussed in some of my other FIFI posts, learning to play sports in mid-life means slowly and awkwardly developing new skills as an adult. It also means managing my expectations because I lack some of the durable motor memory skills that other players may have already developed during their childhood play.

However, I’ve been thinking about how some “durable” learning from my own childhood sport, baseball, perhaps has not been entirely beneficial for me as an adult player today.

When I started to play softball at 9 years old, my coaches put me straight into right field for the season. I remember standing way, way outfield, watching the tiny players running around infield, and looking up at the sun shining down on me from the sky.

In following seasons I improved my catching and throwing skills. I was moved to other positions infield (eventually to pitcher). From this experience I took that infield position was where the power and glory was. Right field was where you put players with little skill or game know-how. You couldn’t mess up the game too much from way out there.

After changing up my playing positions in my two rec team sports over the past few months, I noticed that I have brought this childhood assumption—my “right fielder thinking”—that novices should play certain positions.

Now in my third year of curling, I tried skipping during a few “fun” nights. I have an interest in game strategy, but I realized I couldn’t easily adapt when rocks were thrown in ways I wasn’t expecting. I also tried playing the second position, thinking that because I was a better player than when I started I would contribute more. But without the rhythms I had established for myself in the lead position, as second I had the worst game in my 2.5 years!

In soccer, we’ve been short some players as the Christmas holiday season approaches, so I’ve tried playing midfield and striker. I still don’t have consistently strong cardio or ball-handling skills: I watch my own feet like a novice ballroom dancer. But overall, I have had more success shifting positions. It turns out I like running to get open and try to receive a ball rather than wait for opposing players to come to me, as I would in a defence position. My impatience helps me to want to find solutions to problems.

Playing in these new positions has allowed me to watch players in my old positions. In soccer, I see some defenders not as novices but as tough players and strong kickers. In curling, my skip tells me that while the least seasoned player is often put in the lead position, that position is critical for starting the ends, reading the ice, and calling the weights. I am slowly getting better at those key skills with practice.

New positions have brought into relief the errors of my old right-fielder thinking that tells me certain positions are my only option. That logic falls down in many ways. Hank Aaron, Babe Ruth, and Roberto Clemente were all right fielders, and they were some of the best players in the game ever!

Another small but clear memory surfaces of 9 year-old me standing in own home field outfield. I remember how, when a ball did come, I was the only outfielder who had to make the catch with the sun directly in my eyes. I still managed the catch once in awhile, and that was something.

fitness · holiday fitness · holidays · self care

Making Space 2022: Day 22

While I’m sure there are people who are sailing through December with ease and orderliness, I write these posts for the rest of us. The people who are trying to have a grip on the end of the year/the holiday season/Thursday but with varying success.

And for those of us who are kind of puttering along, doing what we can with what we have, I think that things like self-kindness, adjusted expectations, and making space make all the difference in how we feel about our days.

Martha had some great advice on this topic back in 2020 with her reminder to ‘Stuff the turkey, not yourself’ The title sounds like the post is all about food but really reminding us that excess anything can be stressful and overwhelming. And she suggests a few boundaries to set to protect ourselves from that excess.

(I particularly appreciated the reminder to considered not doing multiple events in one day – I often forget how hard that is on my brain until it is too late to change my plans.)

When I write birthday greetings for people I often wish for them to have ‘plenty of time to spend as you choose and plenty of energy to enjoy it fully’ and I think that makes a good wish for right now as well.

Having the energy to enjoy ourselves depends on many things, of course, but choosing our boundaries wisely is definitely one of them.

What choices can you make right now to help protect your energy and your enjoyment for the days ahead?

Sending you ease, self-kindness, and energy to create firm boundaries.

Here are your videos for today:

A walking workout with a warm-up from Denise Austin:

A video from the Today Show YouTube channel entitled ‘Try This 5 Minute Walking Workout To Get You Moving.’ The still image shows 5 people in everything from business clothing to workout gear exercising on a TV studio set with wooden floors and blue walls. They are all standing with their feet wide apart and their arms outstretched (to various degrees) to the sides.

And here’s a short meditation about boundaries.

A video from the YouTube channel for the National Center for Health, Physical Activity, and Disability. The video is entitled ‘ Mini Meditation Monday, Week 9: Boundaries’ and the still image is of an exterior wall. The top of the wall is covered in greyish plaster and at the bottom the brick has been exposed, presumably by wear. White text reading ‘Mindful: A Meditation Series’ is in the bottom right corner.

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.

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

Making Space 2022: Day 21

In the Northern Hemisphere, December 21 is the Winter Solstice – the 24 hour period with the least daylight in the year. After today, things start to get a little brighter day by day.

It’s kind of like when you know the most challenging part of something is almost over and there is some ease ahead. At this point, you have to keep putting one metaphorical foot in front of the other and you will get through.

One December 21, 2020, Martha was inviting us to Embrace the Light – not only to be hopeful about the fact that there will soon be more hours of sunlight but to look for other sources of light in your life to help lift your spirits.

That’s some really great advice from Martha. Not only can we take action to bring more literal light – candles, lamps, strings of coloured lights or whathaveyou – we can also look for things that lighten our spirits – friends, family, treasured memories, enjoyable pastimes- and make them part of our days.

So, if you can, try to create some space around those ideas today: What brings light into your life? How can you stay connected to those things, those people, those activities, throughout the year?

However you decide to embrace light today, I wish you ease and peace of mind.

I hope you can be kind to yourself as you move through your day.

May you have the space and the light that you need.

A photo of the sun rising over a distant hill on a winter morning. In the foreground are the silhouettes of large evergreen trees and in the middle ground are streets lined with houses and other buildings.
My sister Denise likes to greet the sun on the winter solstice. This is her photo from December 2021. Image description: A photo of the sun rising over a distant hill on a winter morning. In the foreground are the silhouettes of large evergreen trees and in the middle ground are streets lined with houses and other buildings. There is a light dusting of snow here and there throughout the photo.

Some people who practice yoga regularly like to greet changes in season (such as the solstice) by doing 108 sun salutations. If you are more casual with your yoga practice, 108 might be a bit much for you but perhaps you might enjoy welcoming the light’s return by doing a shorter version of the practice. I have found two videos you might like, a 10 minute practice from Yoga with Adriene and a chair yoga practice from Donna Freeman.

For our meditation today, I have three things for you to choose from. The first is a slow, breath-focused practice, and the other two are opportunities for reflection rather than guided meditations.

A 10 Minute Sun Salutation Practice video from Yoga with Adriene. The still image shows a blue panel on the left with white text reading ’30 Days of Yoga’, on the right, Adriene is doing a low lunge on a pink yoga mat that is resting on a brown wooden floor.
A video from the Donna Freeman YouTube channel entitled ‘Chair Yoga Sun Salutations: Two Ways.’ The still image shows the instructor facing to the left while sitting on a kitchen chair in a home studio space that features a large painting of a daisy hanging on the back wall. The instructor is at the edge of the chair with their legs extended in front of them (touching the floor), and their arms extended overhead and forwards. Their upper body is leaned forward slightly.

A Winter Solstice Guided Meditation 2022 from Jenna Goldman’s YouTube channel. The still image is divided horizontally with a black and white photo at the top that shows darkness between two outcroppings of light-coloured rock. The bottom image is of the sun in the distance rising over water.
In this video from the Royal Saskatchewan Museum, Joely BigEagle-Kequahtooway from the Buffalo People Arts Institute explains what the Winter Solstice means to her. The still image, shows the speaker (with a museum exhibit behind her) speaking animatedly with her hands, palm upwards, in front of her. She has long brown hair with some grey in it and she has glasses. She is wearing a red shirt, a pink scarf, and a necklace and earrings made with traditional materials.
This video from the Canadian Mental Health Association is entitled ‘Holiday Story Time: Mouse Celebrates The Winter Solstice’ and the still image features the story title in the foreground and a background of evergreen branches, twinkle lights, and a small red star.

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.