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Self care through the storm

This isn't the first time I have written about navigating storms and rough waters as they flood into life. I just recorded episode two of the Integrated Fitness Space podcast entitle Self care through the storm. In it I discuss my most recent storm, my divorce.

The storms always happen. I'm 47 years old, storms have been constant. I have navigated them differently as I have aged. Sometimes I sail gracefully and other times they flip my boat upside down, leaving me powerless, soaking wet and frantically flailing my arms in the air. I would like to say, at this point in my life, that I navigate the storms effortlessly and gracefully. I dont. Bit, I do struggle less and the tools to help me navigate are always within arms reach ready for the grabbing.

Think of your most recent storm, I'm not just talking about a little storm I'm talking about an all on fucking hailstorm, the kind that threatens to tear holes through your roof. That's the kind of storm I am swimming in, my relationship of 24 years ended. Nothing prepared me for these feelings, grief, sadness, rage, resentment and gratitude walking with me all day. I'm only 5 months into this process and I know I need the habits and practices that I have woven into my being. I credit them as the reason my left foot still moves in front of my right.

I have been working as a fitness professional for about 10 years and in that time I've noticed that most of us stop taking care of ourselves when shit gets really hairy . I get that, there are days where I feel like it would be so much easier to just lay on the couch with a fluffy blanket and Netflix my brain into oblivion. Sometimes the couch/blankey vibe is appropriate. I dont want my ass to grow roots though. It won't serve me to move away from the practices that help me Therefore, a girl's gotta do what a girl gotta do what a grils gotta do.

I have these handy dandy habits and practices I'm leaning on them for dear life. They are my lifeboat right now. I'm in the middle of a fucking storm. Here is how I am moving through the storm.

Most of my days begin the same.

  • All of them start with coffee (priorities)

  • Meditation and journaling (the backbone of my days)

  • Make my bed

  • Movement either strength training or yoga.

  • housework, yard work and mom-ing (those are constant)

Oh, one more thing, I am trying to add more joy so I make sure I am social or hang out with friends at least twice a week. I am quite an introvert so this isn't as easy as you may think.

Those are my non- negotiables. I stopped writing and studying daily, some days my work is minimal, I stopped marketing, I stopped taking clients, I stopped measuring and logging food. I began eating more intuitively. I leave space for my emotions, my technicolor dreamcoat of emotions.

Let's dig

We can breathe, swim and flourish in the storm. These are opportunities for us to grow if we accept rather than fight against them. Struggles and challenges are something we all have in common. I hate to think of things in binary terms. Let's instead think on a spectrum…

  1. If there were a line illustrating two directions One moving away from self care and the other toward it, where would you be on that line when the storms in your life arise?

  2. Think of your most recent storm, how did that storm impact your self care practices?

  3. Is there a way that you could shift your approach to movement and eating so that they help to carry you through challenging times? Can you instead pivot and modify them (rather than approaching it as on or off) when your capacity changes?

The value of movement

Do you move solely for an aesthetic result? If so you are missing out on some really cool shit. Next time you exercise, I invite you to pay attention to how it feels to move. You may find a whole new level of joy when you connect to the feeling of the movement. Grab some emotional benefits of movement while you are at it. Recently, I had a killer deadlift session. My workout gave me the confidence I needed to accomplish a scary task. I found power that I may not have noticed if I were solely digging in on an aesthetic outcome.

  1. Does your movement practice invite you to draw power or joy from it or do you view it as a thing you “have to do”?

  2. After listening to this episode do you see space and potential to expand your view to lean on your movement practice to support you in the storm?

  3. Think back to your last workout, can you recall a shift in how you felt emotionally prior to your session? During? after?

“Give yourself permission to begin again throughout your experience, remind yourself that you can always begin again. This is the essence of what it means to practice.”

Do you practice? There is quite a bit of discussion in this episode about “practicing”. Practicing allows for some misstepping. It doesn't ask that we get it “right” every time. It simply asks that we continue to bring effort and energy.

We invite you to reflect and uncover…

  1. Do you expect perfection from yourself with regard to reaching fitness and nutrition goals?

  2. Could you benefit from adjusting your sails and adopting more of a “practicing mindset"

New beginnings are often disguised as painful endings” Lao Tzu

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