Exercising By Default…?

Many people are talking about how they’ve gained weight during the quarantine, but I’ve dropped 10 lbs. I’m exercising by default… sorta. I feel as though if things were normal, I wouldn’t be working out as much. I’d probably have distractions or other excuses.

Since I’m freelancing and outside is closed, I don’t have much else to do but workout to avoid sitting all day. My New Year’s goal was to get in better shape, but before quarantine, my friends wanted to hang with me more than usual. Not complaining, but where were they when I was being a fatty? LOL. I’m not the type to hang with friends and eat a salad while they enjoy beer and fried food.

I’m not new to exercise, but during this time, I’ve noticed some things that have happened… mostly mentally.

My cravings change.
I start to crave the unhealthiest foods imaginable. Instead of reaching for an unhealthy treat, I workout. By the time I’m done, I find myself craving a smoothie or another alternative to what I was originally contemplating consuming. Usually I’d grab the cookie or order delivery and regret it later. Recently, I had a Dominos tab open with an order in my cart, but I had a cardio workout paused in my video player. I honestly sat for 30 minutes debating if I wanted to be bad or healthy. I chose to be healthy.

I divert my mind.
The most beautiful thing about working out is that my mind gets distracted. How many times have you found yourself stressing out about something and it goes away during your workout? People with stress and anxiety lean on exercise to give themselves a mental break from their worries of the day. I’ve had quite a few things to stress about and fitness has prevented one or two meltdowns.

Music motivates me.
Have you ever worked out to music and found yourself going to the beat? I could feel exhausted, but once my favorite jam comes on and the beat drops, I suddenly feel rejuvenated. Sometimes I’ll put my workout clothes on and pace around with a hot beat to get me going. Try to pick upbeat music during your intense workouts and slow beats during cooldowns, yoga, and/or pilates.

Who doesn’t want to burn calories?
I use a heart rate monitor and can view calories burned during a workout. If I’m at 450 calories, I’m often motivated to keep going to burn 500. As basic as that sounds, sometimes it motivates me to extend my workout… as long as I have the energy.

Confidence improves as my body changes.
According to the scale, I’ve dropped weight. I still have some fat to get rid of to see fully defined muscles, but I know I’m stronger. My arms are more defined. At one point, I would get tired doing 10 pushups on my knees. Now I can do 15 on my toes.

It boosts endorphins.
Endorphins are nothing, but neurotransmitters of your brain that make you feel good. When you workout, the production of endorphins is enhanced. Your mood automatically boosts or improves when these neurotransmitters are increased. Instead of taking a nap, I workout. If I feel sluggish, I’ll do squats or run in place to get the blood flowing and trigger endorphins.

I have a buddy who’s also working out.
It’s always great to have a friend who’s going through a fitness journey. She’s thinner than me and does different workouts, but that doesn’t matter. I only point it out because people have a habit of comparing themselves to people on different journeys. What’s important is we motivate each other and share great workouts we discover on YouTube. We haven’t seen each other face-to-face since February, but we’re both motivated to be in better shape the next time we see each other. It’s like we’re getting ready for a reveal.

 

Random Word Challenge: Discouraged

Day four of my random word challenge!

Today’s word is “discouraged.”

If you’ve gone through life never being discouraged by anything, I applaud you. Do you have any advice? 😀

Honestly, I have to remind myself to not be discouraged each time I think of something creative. When it comes to creativity for clients or my job, it’s easy. When things get personal, I’m my own worst critic.

There’s always someone better than you, but that doesn’t mean you can’t teach yourself and up your game.

It’s easy to find people who are doing better than you, but how you view them makes a difference. I enjoy baking, painting, writing, and design. Whenever I see someone doing better than me in those areas, I can get discouraged, but what good will that do?  If anything, that’ll make me want to quit. Instead, I look at that person and know I’ll be like them someday as long as I keep improving my craft. Use them as motivation instead of being discouraged.

Random Word Challenge (2)

The last thing you want to do is look back and realize the same amount of time you spent self-sabotaging yourself, you could have been elevating your skills. It’s easy to fall into a negative space, but monumental when you can turn it around and use it as a driving force to do better.

Random Word Challenge: Chapters

It’s day three of my random word challenge. If you’re a bit confused, I’m using a random word generator to generate words in alphabetical order. Each day is a new letter and whatever word is generated is the word I write about.

Today’s word is “chapters.”

When I first saw this word, I couldn’t help but think of the chapters of life. I’ve met so many amazing people who have come and gone throughout my life. Whether through death or we drifted apart due to growing older. I’ve also met people who put on the facade of being good but they were narcissists, sociopaths, and downright disgusting people. There are some people I wish I’ve never met, but thinking back, they’ve only helped me get through the following chapters of my life.

Each person I’ve encountered in life is different and I’ve learned from them in some way. I’ve learned what real friendship is, what a user looks like, the subtle art of manipulation, how love feels, how love shouldn’t feel, and how my own personal values, morals, and worth plays a roll in all of my relationships.

I’ve known my closest friends for over 10 years. Although we’re still going strong as friends, we’ve had several chapters come to a close. These chapters include transitioning from teenagers to adults, going through our 20’s, helping each other through intimate relationships, arguing and disconnecting because of a disagreement, and reconnecting.

It’s amazing how we go through chapters in life learning little things, but we get the true ah-ha moment once we start reflecting. We may feel as though we ended a chapter, but sometimes we go back to it through memories and realize we’re still learning. After deep reflection, we end the chapter and feel more relief than when we first thought our minds were settled. Amazing how that works.

I’ve done some deep thinking over the past few years. Although I’m continuing with my life, my previous chapters are still there. Some more than others. Those chapters are the ones that are constant reminders to never put myself through something similar. One should never repeat a chapter of their life. Create new ones, but always remember the valuable lessons learned in previous chapters.

Release Yourself from Expectations

The way we perceive the world is, in part, based upon our expectations. As we get older, we gain life experience and tend to expect certain behaviors, good or bad, from society.

I’ve learned through jobs, friendships, and intimate relationships that I cannot go into them bracing for impact or filled with excitement. I have to go in with zero expectations.

As I was researching essential oils and mental clarity, I discovered the term “shoshin.”

There is a concept in Zen Buddhism known as shoshin, which means “beginner’s mind.” Shoshin refers to the idea of letting go of your preconceptions and having an attitude of openness when studying a subject. When you are a true beginner, your mind is empty and open.

This is possibly one of the most important concepts to live by!

I constantly tell myself to go into every setting with an empty cup. If I go into a situation with a full cup, I won’t be present. I would have already walked in with a preconceived idea of what’s going to happen, how I’m going to react, and how things will end. My expectations would mentally prepare me to get rejected, not be heard, and to not get excited. Yes, this can be viewed as self-sabotage, but when you have these experiences multiple times, you brace for impact. There have been times when I’ve built positive expectations and thought of all of the wonderful possibilities only to have it get shot down because I was anticipating a better outcome.

With shoshin, you live your life with an openness which causes less anxiety. Whether you’re going on a date, you want a particular job, or something else you have a yen for, toss it into the universe and go with the flow. Conceive positive thoughts, but don’t fill your mind with the good or bad that may or may not happen. If it’s meant for you and you put the work in, it will come.

Keep your mind open, expect nothing, look for the good in each situation, but most importantly, keep your life moving.