advice · cardio · fitness · habits · health · holiday fitness · holidays · meditation · motivation · self care · yoga

Making Space 2022: Day 31

Here we are at the last day of 2022, the last day of December, the last day of my Making Space posts.

I hope that you have found these posts useful and that you have found your own ways to make space for yourselves in your days this month. I also hope that you have found (or are starting to find) ways to continue making space for yourselves in the days that follow.

And speaking of the days that follow – tomorrow, I start a series of ‘Go Team!’ posts that encourage you to be kind to yourself as you figure out the habits, systems, and practices you want to take on in the year ahead.

But before we get to that, I have one more thing to say about creating space for your future self and it goes like this:

New Year’s Day may be a symbolic time to start but you can add new ideas, habits and practices to your life at ANY TIME.

And, you can create your own symbolism or meaning around the time that you choose.

For example, even though I like the symbolism of starting new practices in a new year, I had a bit of sideways December so I couldn’t give a lot of thought to things I wanted to do in 2023.

Instead of putting pressure on myself to find time to focus on that, I decided to let December be what it was and that I would figure out what 2023 would look like once it arrived.

Or, to put it another way, I’m choosing to have Planuary instead of January.

By labelling next month as Planuary, I have given it a shape. I’m not going in without a plan and hoping things will just happen – that would never work for my ADHD brain. Instead, I’m planning to spend January figuring out what my plans could be.

And I’m inviting you to create space for your future self by doing something similar.

If you WANT to start something new sometime soon, you don’t have to come roaring out of the gate tomorrow. You can decide on your own terms and your own timeline when and how you want to get started.

You can plan to plan in Planuary.

You can write one thing on an index card and do that until you get bored with it.

You can make a giant list and a big chart and have a grand time with it (as long as you aren’t going to be mean to yourself if you have to change your plan – I can’t get behind that)

You can choose to just keep doing what you have been doing all along but add in the plan to be kinder to yourself in the process (THAT I can full endorse.)

Basically, I want to encourage you to give yourself the space to do things in your own way on your own schedule.

Your tomorrow-self doesn’t need to have it all figured out and doesn’t have to have the perfect plan.

Please be kind to yourself as you make space for future you to develop, expand, and think up cool and fun things to do.

NOTE:Have you ever seen DSri Seah’s Groundhog Day Resolutions monthly personal review system? It’s a cool way that they developed to check in with their resolutions and projects all year long. I love how they worked out a system that works for them without getting caught up in when things *should* be done during the year.

Here are our final videos for the Making Space series. At first I was looking for new year/end of year themed videos but there was such a variation in tone from video to video that I didn’t want to choose something that would be irksome. So, instead, I chose videos for calm and for energy/feeling good – I figured those could be most helpful.

I also chose a yoga video AND a cardio video so you could decide if you wanted to see the year out in a low-key way or in a burst of movement.

Whether you do these videos or do your own thing, I wish you ease, energy and lots of space for yourself as 2022 becomes 2023.

See you tomorrow for our first Go Team! post for 2023.

A video from the Yoga with Kassandra YouTube channel entitled ‘10 Min Morning Yoga for Calm. The still image features the instructor in light brown exercise clothing standing with her legs wide apart and her upper body folds forward toward the camera so she can touch her mat with the palms of her hands and her ponytail has flopped forward towards her mat. Text reading ‘10 Min Morning Yoga’ is overlaid on the upper left side of the image.
A PopSugar Fitness 10 Minute Feel-Good Cardio Workout with Deja Riley. The still image features the instructor standing in a white-walled studio with her arms in the air in a joyful sort of celebratory gesture (that is probably just part of an exercise movement but she looks celebratory to me.)
Another 5 Minute Mindful Meditation for Calm from the Great Meditations YouTube channel (I have really become a fan of that channel during this series!) The still age features light brown text reading ‘Calm 5 Minute guided meditation’ and a cartoon image of a person sitting in meditation with their arms, bent at the elbow, outstretched slightly to the sides in a welcoming or accepting gesture. Behind their head is either their long hair streaming upwards or a thought balloon that contains symbols of thoughts – question marks, ellipses, hearts, emojis etc. and behind their body there are symbols of tangible items like a clock, some gears, and the leaves of a plant.

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.

Dancing · holiday fitness · holidays · meditation · self care

Making Space 2022: Day 30

Before you read this post, I dare you to make some space in your body by:

  1. Rolling your shoulders back and dropping them away from your ears
  2. Relaxing your jaw – maybe even moving your lower jaw back and forth
  3. Releasing your breath with a sigh and then inhaling slowly

Okay, now that you have a little extra space in your body, let’s get back to making a little extra space in your future for you.

What can you put in place now (or at least soon) that will make it a little easier for future you to take the space that they need?

Could you clear a corner for your yoga mat to stay rolled out?

Could you make sure you are stocked up on your favourite teas?

Could you put your journal and your pens next to the space where you usually write?

Could you put a recurring ‘meeting’ on your calendar that is actually some time for you to spend doing something that refreshes you?

Could you make a playlist of songs you like or exercise videos you want to try so it is waiting for you when you need it?

Could you plan time with a friend?

Could you book an appointment with your counsellor/therapist/social worker/psychologist/chiropractor/physiotherapist/personal trainer? (Only you know which one(s) you may need in the future.)

I know that most of us *need* space in our lives for ourselves but, of course, I can’t know what kind of specific space you need – that’s up to you.

And if you also don’t know what you need, perhaps you can start with a little extra time in your schedule to write/draw/meditate/walk/roll/dance – I’m sure you will be able to figure it out as you go.

No matter what, starting out with a plan – even a very loose one – will help make you feel like making space for yourself is just one of the things you do on a regular basis. And, once you feel that way, it should get easier and easier to make that space – even if it is just a few minutes at a time.

And, of course, when I mention future you, that could be the you of 30 seconds in the future, it doesn’t just have to be the you of next week.

In fact, I hope you can find ways to make space for all of the future yous and I hope you can find ease and joy in the process – even if it gets tricky sometimes.

Here are today’s videos – for now you and future you – have fun with them!

A seated workout from the Improved Health YouTube channel entitled ‘Bee Gees SEATED Workout | Chair Exercises for Seniors | Stayin’ Alive & Night Fever | 1970’s Workout. The still image features the instructor wearing exercise clothes and sitting on a chair in front of a circular wall decoration. She has her left arm extended with her finger pointing at the ceiling and her right arm extended with her finger pointing toward the floor. Her right leg is bent with her toe touching the floor near the chair, her left leg is extended out in front of her with her left toe touching the floor.
A meditation from the Great Meditations YouTube channel entitled ‘Guided Meditation to Enjoy This Life.’ The still image features a cartoon image of a person seated on a dock with water behind them. Their legs are crossed and the backs of their hands resting on their legs (their palms are upward) with each of their thumbs touching the index finger on the same hand.

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 · self care · yoga

Making Space 2022: Day 29

I have to tell you that it made me VERY happy to find a short yoga video about creating space to include today. The video, of course, is about creating a feeling of space in your body and my advice tends to be about creating a feeling of space in your mind but, since we are all very wise and sage people, we know that that distinction is arbitrary, don’t we?

(If we were talking in person right now, I would be giving you an exaggerated wink so you’d know that I, too, know that while the difference is fairly arbitrary it doesn’t always FEEL that way. I do think that we are all wise and sage though, even when we feel foolish.)

ANYWAY!

For these last few days of December, I have been inviting you to consider ways to make space for your future self – even as you use self-kindness to make space for your current self.

NOTE: If you are just here for the videos, please scroll on down. I’m about to get chatty.

Today, I want you to think about how to make some mental space for future you by removing or changing a recurring hassle . That is, figuring out ONE small annoyance or frustration you can remove for your future self.

I’m thinking about things like the basket in the corner that is not *quite* big enough for the things you want to store in it so things keep falling out.

Or about the fact that your measuring cups are on a shelf that’s a bit too high for you to easily reach so you end up either making do with a regular cup or you take down all the measuring cups and then leave them on the counter.

Or the fact that everyone in the office keeps asking *you* for the same piece of information (a phone number/copier code/person’s name) over and over because they can’t seem to remember it.

Or the fact that something needs its batteries charged or that there’s a branch that makes a weird noise against the house when the wind blows a certain way or the fact that there is nowhere to lay your keys down near your front door so you end up misplacing them on the regular.

I don’t know what kind of recurring hassles take up your mental space but these kinds of low-key hassles end up occupying a lot of my mental real-estate – both in the moment and whenever they cross my mind.

But the thing is, those are the kinds of hassles that often don’t get dealt with because they seem like they shouldn’t be a big deal or that they aren’t worth the effort to fix or that they wouldn’t be a problem if we ”just” did…whatever thing that we clearly have trouble doing.

But it IS worth dealing with these things if they free up your mental space.

You have enough things that you *have* to think about without letting this stuff crowd its way in, too.

You don’t have to deal with every hassle at once though.

Today, I’m inviting you to just consider one thing, whatever pops into your mind first, and then make a plan to take care of it.

Get a bigger basket or store some of the things elsewhere. Find a new spot for your measuring cups. Write down the number or the code or the name. Charge the batteries. Cut the branch. Get a hook for your keys.

If you can’t enact your plan right away, schedule a time when you will take care of it.

Knowing that you have a plan and a schedule will immediately create some room in your brain because you will be able to stop asking yourself when you are going to take care of the thing and you will stop admonishing yourself for not having taken care of it yet.

By the way, if this is a thing you have been meaning to get to for a while but you just couldn’t do it, please be EXTRA kind to yourself if it ends up only taking a few minutes. Yes, the task was small but the obstacle was large and hard things are hard – being mean to yourself in the process doesn’t make them any easier.

If you have multiple things to take care of but none of them have a deadline and none of them seem obviously more urgent than the others, pick the one that is first alphabetically or the one that will make the most visible difference. When there is no obvious place to start, it doesn’t really matter WHERE you start, it only matters that you start somewhere.

This is about reclaiming some of your own mental space for your future self. You don’t have to pick big things, you don’t have to pick obvious things, you only have to pick things that matter to your current self and your future self.

And, as always, I wish you ease in the process.

⭐ <<<<This is for your efforts in figuring this out.

A video from the Yoginimelbourne YouTube channel entitled ‘Create Space 7min yoga flow’ and the still image features the instructor from the waist up, leaning their upper body and outstretched arms to her right while looking upwards to the left. They are indoors and the leaves of a houseplant can be seen on the lower left while the video title appears in black on the upper right.

The yoga video about creating space made me happy but so did the fact that this meditation video is specifically about breathing space. SPACE! We all deserve a bit more in the places where we want and need it.

A video from Teik Yen Ko’s YouTube channel entitled ‘Mindfulness Meditation: 3 Minute Breathing Space’ by Professor Mark Williams from the Oxford Mindfulness Centre. The still image features the light green cover of a book by Mark Williams called ‘Mindfulness: A Practical Guide to Finding Peace in a Frantic World’ and the image on the cover is the silhouette of a city skyline reflected in a body of water.

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.

fitness · holiday fitness · holidays · meditation · yoga

Making Space 2022: Day 26

Today seems like a great day for some restful self care.

Hmm, that’s misleading. I think EVERY day is a good day for restful self-care, and active self-care, and, well, any kind of self-care at all, really.

ANYWAY, on to my point…

We are just a few days from the end of the year, and a few days from the end of a busy month. Instead of thinking in terms of getting more done or cramming more things into our day/week/month/year, I’d like us to be thinking about how to take things slowly, how to ease forward.

And, of course, I’d like us all to be kind to ourselves while we do that. 🌟💚

Here are two videos to help us to be kind and loving towards ourselves as we take things as slowly as we can.

PS – Martha’s delightful 2020 Wellness Calendar posts ended with a round-up post on December 26, 2020. So I am flying solo from here on in.

Jessamine Stanley’s 8-Minute Yoga for Self-Love from the Health Magazine YouTube channel. Still image features the instructor sitting on her left hip and using her left arm to support while herself while the sole of her right foot is on the mat, right knee is bent, and her right elbow rests on her right knee. She is dressed in pink/flowered exercise clothes and is on a pink yoga mat.

Loving Kindness Meditation 5 Minutes with Sharon Salzberg from the FitMind YouTube channel. Still image shows Salzberg (who has shoulder length blond hair and dark-framed glasses and is wearing a purple bottom up shirt) speaking into a microphone. On the left side of the image is text reading ‘Loving Kindness Meditation.’

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 · 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 · habits · meditation · nature · October

Christine’s Meditative Afternoon

The Thanksgiving holiday gave me the opportunity to have a nice, slow start to my week on Monday.

I took Khalee for a walk and, even though it was windy, I took time to tune into my surroundings, noticing how the leaves have changed (or fallen), how the river noises are quieter, and how everything smells a little different right now.

A light haired dog on a green leash. Shadows from the dog and her owner are being cast on nearby grass.
It was kind of windy today but Khalee and I still enjoyed our walk. Image description: a photo of a light-haired medium-sized dog on a green leash is facing away from the camera while standing on a gravel path next to some grass. My shadow and Khalee’s are visible on the grass. Because it is late afternoon in autumn, the sun is low so our shadows are VERY long and we look disproportionately tall.

When I came home, I took down the load of clothes I had hung earlier. (It was a fine day on clothes, as the saying goes.) This task can be pretty mundane (or even boring) but today it was routine in a good way – repetitive actions with positive results.

A line of laundry in the late afternoon autumn sunlight
The repeated actions of hanging (and taking down) laundry) are meditative in their own way. Image description: a line of laundry hanging in my yard on a late autumn afternoon. The sun is shining through leaves so there are patches of sun and shadow The clothesline stretches from my patio to my shed so aside from the laundry, the photo shows some potted plants, a lawn chair with a red pillow, my patio rail, and some trees and my red-painted shed in the background.

As I turned with my basket of clean clothes, I noticed how inviting my swing looked and I remembered how much I enjoyed meditating while sitting there cross-legged the other day.

An outdoor shot of a hammock and a large round swing hanging from trees in the corner of a backyard. The grass in front of the trees is covered in brown leaves.
Two of my favourite parts of my backyard. Image description: a photo of one corner of my yard where my brown and orange hammock hangs from two trees and a round swing with green trim hangs from one of the branches. My wooden fence is one background and my (still green!) grass is littered with crunchy brown leaves.

So I decided to meditate there again today.

An outdoor shot of a woman (from the shoulders up) in her backyard.
No, I’m not actually meditating here, obviously. I was trying to use the back camera on my phone and took umpteen photos, each more bizarre looking than the last, and I fluked into this one. I decided to roll with it. Image description: an outdoor photo of me in my backyard. I am sitting on a round swing but it’s not visible in the photo. I am wearing a blue fleece jacket, my light brown hair is pulled back from my face in a cloth band, and my eyes are closed. I am smirking and I’m wearing one headphone. Grass, trees, my fence, (and part of my orange and brown hammock) are visible in the background.

And that brings me to 51 days of meditation in a row.

When I opened the Insight Timer app today, it offered this very appropriate quote for how I felt at the end of my meditative afternoon:


Mental health is not a destination,
but a process. It’s about how you
drive, not where you’re going.

– NOAM SHPANCER, PHD

I liked how, today, I have ‘driven’ myself calm instead of driving myself around the proverbial bend.

Wishing you all ease for the week ahead. Please try not to cram 5 days of work into a 4 day week. 💚⭐️

ADHD · fitness · meditation · mindfulness

A short reflection on 22 days of meditation

A few weeks ago, I posted about finding ease by doing the easy thing and, at that point, I was on my 9th day of yoga and meditation.

As I write this (on Monday night) I am at Day 22 and I feel really good, really at ease.

A screen cap from a meditation app that shows a small round photo, text reading ‘22 Consecutive Days’, and a row of stars.
I chose this profile photo in Insight Timer ages ago, I didn’t realize until now that the teeny version looks either smug or disconcerted – I’m actually smirking of course. Meanwhile, I love that the app has given me gold stars. Image A screen capture from the ‘Insight Timer’ app that shows a small photo of me, text that reads ‘22 consecutive days’ and a row of 5 stars – 2 bronze and 3 gold.

Not every minute of every day but, at any given point, it’s a little easier to find that space, that breathing room, when I need it.

And, to be clear, I’m not saying that I am meditating here and there in search of that ease. I mean that, because of my short daily meditation sessions, there’s a little bit of extra room in between my thoughts – I just have to choose to look for it.

Given my galloping ADHD brain, sometimes it is a bit tricky to remember to make that choice but I am definitely making it more often than I ever have before.

An up-close view of evergreen needles.
Looking closely at these evergreen needles also makes me feel peaceful so I thought I’d share. 💚 image description: an up-close view of evergreen needles on a tree.

I know that I have tried to develop a meditation practice several times before and my results were mixed, to say the least.

This time, though, doing the easy thing, not making a plan, just taking it a day at a time has worked out marvellously for me.

It has become easy and straightforward to include meditation at the end of my day – sometimes for 10 minutes, sometimes for 2 minutes – and I feel great about it.

In case you were wondering, Khalee is also a fan of my quiet practice…

A light haired dog rests in a burgundy armchair.
When I finished my practice a couple of nights ago, I looked up from my mat to see Khalee looking off in the distance like this. I can only assume she was mindfully paying attention to her breath like I was. Image description: Khalee, my light-haired, medium-sized dog, is resting in a burgundy armchair. Her head is resting on the seat cushion and she is deeply relaxed while she looks forward but off somewhere to left of the camera.

ADHD · fitness · health · meditation

The effect of music on Christine’s brain: A (very) small sample experiment

As someone with ADHD, I am always looking for ways to improve my ability to focus. My medication, my planning, and environmental cues all help but it can still take a lot of energy to keep myself on task, so when I came across some music that made it easier to stick to my work plan, I was delighted.

I’m not sure how I happened upon Greenred Productions ADHD Relief Deep Focus Music (embedded below) but I can only assume that it was something the algorithm churned up after I watched a How to ADHD video at some point.

Embedded YouTube video from Greenred Productions called ‘ADHD Relief Deep Focus Music with Pulsation, ADD Music for Concentration, ADHD Music’ The video includes 12 hours of music but there is a single still image on the screen for the whole video. The image is of a mystical looking stag with antlers that look like gnarled tree branches. The stag is standing in light that seems to be shining through the trees that surround it. There are broken tree stumps, plants, and a large rock near the stag.

Maybe there is a scientific reason why this music works for me or maybe it is a coincidence but, either way, playing this video helps me to focus. And the fact that it is almost 12 hours of music means that I won’t lose track of time while selecting music or creating a playlist.

I don’t always have music on when I am working but it has been great to have this on hand when I need a little extra help to focus.

A couple of weeks ago, I was returning to the video over and over throughout the week but, for some reason, I wasn’t resetting it, I was just letting it play from wherever I had paused it the session before.

So, even though it is a 12 hour video, I eventually reached the end and THAT’S when I found the best meditation/relaxation/body-calming music (embedded below) that I have ever encountered.

Embedded YouTube Video of Greenred Productions video “Deep Cello Meditation Music: Dark Meditation Music, Relaxing Music, Dark Cello Music for Relaxation” There is two hours of music but there is no actual video just a still, black and white image of a person with shoulder length hair playing the cello outside a stone house with a set of double doors and a window set in the front of it.

It turns out that I find cello music incredibly calming. In fact, when I listen to this music, I feel the same kind of sensory-soothing calm that I feel when I put on a weighted shoulder wrap or lie in my hammock. Something in the music just really grounds me and puts me at ease.

I have been playing it while I meditate, draw, colour, or read and I swear I can feel myself sinking deeper into those relaxing activities as a result.

Do you find specific types of music help you to focus or to relax?

Does music contribute to your peace of mind?

Did YOU know that cello was so relaxing? Am I the last person on earth to discover this?

Tell me all about it in the comments. Pretty please!

PS – I really wanted to call this post ‘Cello, it is you I’m looking for’ but then the first embedded video wouldn’t make any sense and besides, I wasn’t sure if the Lionel Richie reference was too much of a reach for the joke to work. 😉

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

Making Space: Day 31

Welcome to Day 31!

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

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

You matter, your needs matter and your efforts matter.

And here’s a gold star for those efforts:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

See you tomorrow for my first Go Team! post.

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

Making Space: Day 30

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

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

We don’t have to earn our rest.

We don’t have to finish everything first.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

⭐️ <- for your efforts to make space today

And now, on to the totally optional videos:

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

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

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

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