advice · holiday fitness · holidays · meditation · self care

Making Space: Day 8

If today finds you feeling tense, especially if that tension is related to being overwhelmed, you can help relax your mind and your body by getting moving.

You can take Martha’s December 8, 2020 advice and ‘Stretch, stretch, stretch. She had some great suggestions in her post so check those out and, as a bonus, here are some stretches I like from Doctor Jo.

If stretching isn’t appealing right now, you could give this video from Dr. Bri a whirl. She’s a pelvic health specialist and in the description of this video she reminds us that mental tension can result in muscular tension – even in the muscles of pelvic floor.

It might seem odd to worry about the tension levels ‘down there’ when your brain is in a whirl but I guarantee that if you are focused on releasing that kind of tension, your brain will be distracted from your to do list for a while.

A ‘Quick Stress Relief Workout’ of Low-Impact Cardio Intervals from the Dr. Bri’s Vibrant Pelvic Health YouTube channel. Still image is two photos of Dr. Bri – one on either side of text indicating the video’s title. In both shots she is wearing a dark tank top and red leggings and she has her hair pulled back from her face. In the photo on the left she has her hands clasped in front of her and is moving toward the left, lifting her left leg a little. In the photo on the right she is facing the right and lifting her right leg a little.

If you aren’t up for Dr. Bri’s video today, maybe this tension releasing meditation will be helpful to you instead.

A video from Caren Baginski entitled ‘Release Tension in Body and Mind.’ The still image is of a dandelion gone to seed and many of the seeds are blowing away into the sky. The colour of the sky suggests that it is sunset.

If you are so tense and overwhelmed that neither stretching, movement, nor meditation feels like the right thing to do right now, consider making a paper or digital list of all the tasks and ideas that are swirling in your head right now. Just the action of getting all of that info out of your head will probably help. And once you can see it in front of you, you will probably realize that you are asking way too much of yourself – you are only human (I assume!) and you only have so much time and energy.

I know that when there are so many important things to be done and it feels like you are the only one who can/will do them, it is easy to get stuck in ‘just push through’ mode but I’d really love to see you take a close look at that list and see what you can ditch, what you can scale back, and what you can hand off to others. Maybe some people will be cranky with you about that but I’d rather have you have to deal with a few cranky people than for you to arrive at the end of the year worn out, tired, and sad with no energy to enjoy yourself.

Besides, often people are using crankiness or disappointment as a way to guilt you into doing stuff the way they want things done or, worse, into doing things that they just don’t want to do. You don’t owe cranky/disappointed people every last ounce of your energy – although I totally understand the times when it takes less energy to just do the thing than it does to deal with their crankiness.

There’s no judgement from me – you do what makes the most sense to you and gives you the most mental space as you move through the month.

Just know that you have the option to say no to cranky peoples’ requests.

And, whatever you choose, please be as kind to yourself as you can in the process. ⭐💚

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.

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.

fitness · habits · health · holiday fitness · holidays · meditation · rest

Making Space 2022: Day 4

Here we are on Sunday, December 4 and I think it’s an excellent time to plan for a rest.

Martha’s advice on December 4, 2020 was to Take a Nap and I am 100% behind that. Even if it is not possible for you to actually sleep in the daytime, planning a short rest period – sitting still, listening to restful music, taking deliberate slow breaths can make a huge difference in your well-being.

If you’d like some audio company for your rest, check out this episode of Dacher Keltner’s The Science of Happiness podcast featuring Tricia Hersey, AKA the Nap Bishop, from the Nap Ministry.

(Note: There’s a great quote from the Nap Bishop in Martha’s post, be sure to have a look.)

By the way, there are some guidelines for taking naps that you might want to have a look at – after all you don’t want your daytime rest to affect your nighttime sleep.

And now that you have been reminded about the hows and whys of resting, I have one more thing to ask you.

Can you plan short daily rest periods?

And/or could you plan ‘time off’ throughout this busy month? Even a few planned hours of deliberate relaxation scattered throughout the month can make a huge difference in how you and your brain feel about everything else on your list.

Seeing as we’re keeping today low-key, here are some relaxing stretches from Doctor Jo:

A video from the Ask Doctor Jo YouTube channel entitled Relieve Stress &Anxiety with Relaxing Stretches. The still image features Doctor Jo lying on her back on a blue mat and a pillow. She is bringing her left leg toward her chest and her right leg is bent while her right foot rests on the floor. She is smiling and she’s wearing grey pants, a green shirt, and light blue socks with whimsical patterns on them.

And next up, we have some yoga nidra – a wonderful way to get some deep rest without actually falling asleep (although, I often do.) This is a short video but if you like the practice there are plenty of longer ones available on YouTube.

A 5 Minute Yoga Nidra video from Ally Boothroyd’s channel. The still image features a person with a beard and chin length hair, wearing a light coloured shirt and dark pants, lying on their back on a yoga mat. They are in Shavasana, corpse pose. Text at the top of the image reads ‘5 Minute Yoga Nidra Rapid Deep Rest Reset.’

I hope the links and videos in this post help you find a little extra rest today but, no matter what you do or don’t do today, please be kind to yourself about how things proceed.

You are doing the best you can with the resources you have.

Be good 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.

holiday fitness · holidays · meditation · yoga

Making Space 2022: Day 1

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.

On December 1, 2020, Martha reminded us that we are always enough (a position that I whole-heartedly endorse) and that things don’t need to be perfect to be good. Please go check out that post for an excellent reminder of how it is ok (and encouraged!) for you to show up just as you are.

On that theme, I’m wondering if you know about Jennifer Louden’s Conditions of Enoughness? I find them an excellent tool for keeping my self-expectations in line with my actual capacity but, like most useful things, they take a bit of practice. If you feel like you are always scrambling or if you have a nagging feeling that you are falling short, the advice at the link above could be just the thing you need to give yourself a break.

If movement is something you need right now, perhaps this short series of stretches will help.

Ok, so most of us are already up for the day but feel free to lie down again for a few minutes and do these stretches with Joelle. Description: A video called Morning Stretch in Bed from the Yoga with Joelle YouTube channel. The still image shows a person with long dark hair lying on their back at the foot of a double bed using their clasped hands to draw their right knee towards their body while their left leg is extended.

If meditation is more your speed, give this a try.

A short meditation from the Great Meditations YouTube channel. The still image shows a cartoon drawing of person with long brown hair with a peaceful expression sitting cross-legged on a fluffy cloud against a blue background.

Whatever you try or whatever you do, I hope you can be kind to yourself in the process.

PS – If you are already feeling overwhelmed by the thought of the month ahead, you might find this old article of mine helpful. December is like a messy closet, here’s how to get it back on track. I’m not actually too concerned with you be ‘on track’ but I do want you to have peace of mind and I hope the suggestions in that piece can help you move in that direction.

fitness

Days When You Have no Bones

Recently I have had a few tough swims where I felt like I had no bones. It was a feeling of complete complete exhaustion and uncertainty about whether I could make it to the end of the lane, let alone the end of the workout.

I don’t recall where that expression first arose. I’m pretty sure it was used by my son on days when he was being goofy. I know I used it to describe his ability to fall and never get injured; he never stopped moving! Maybe that was the connection I made with my own tiredness, trying to keep up with him.

Then I found an old note to myself about Noodles, an internet sensation last year. Noodles was then a 14 1/2 year old pug who would get his picture on TikTok each day. His pal Jonathan Graziano would help him up each morning. If he stayed up, it was a bones day. If he slumped back down into his comfy bed, it was a no bones day.

Elderly pug on a beige dog bed, with a man in a dark shirt behind him, hands in the air as if cheering.

What is a no bones day? “Bones Day” means you wake up feeling great, ready to take charge of the day and live your best life. A “No Bones Day” is a day for self care, taking a nap or playing it safe. The concept is similar to that of having enough spoons.

Ironically, there are numerous journals based on Noodles, so you can track appointments, water intake, or whatever. I want to laugh about them, and yet…

My fist instinct is to try and figure out how to get things done on no bones days: dancing around the bedroom to lively music, or taking a walk while working on my Duolingo German course.

I want to be more like Noodles. As the description from the children’s book about him says: Noodles isn’t sick or sad. Today, all he needs are extra snuggles and belly rubs. Jonathan soon learns that not every day can be a Bones Day, and sometimes a No Bones Day is exactly what you need to get through the week.

I don’t often have the luxury of napping, but I can work on getting to bed earlier. And like I did on Monday, I can get out of the water even though I haven’t pushed myself as hard or far as possible. Sometimes a swim can just be for fun – a wet belly rub, if you will.

White woman in a blue bathing cap and goggles, with water, trees and blue sky in the background

Diane Harper lives and swims in Ottawa.

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.