taking care

post-COVID pep talk

so much has fallen into place these last few months. part of me wants to celebrate, but a part of me is energized and inspired to accomplish more. it’s not an entirely new feeling, but one that hasn’t come up in a while.

i am moving away from survival mode and finally into a space where i can analyze, evaluate, and evolve. these past pandemic years uncovered determination and resilience in myself, the likes of which i’ve never seen. 

as i reflect, i feel proud to have endured the hardship and uncertainty. at the same time, i am keenly aware of how those years of being stuck in “fight or flight’ mode have affected me.  it’s exhausting to be worried about work, family, security, and health all at once all the time.

every human has to consider a few major focus areas in life:

basic needs // one’s ability to obtain food and shelter profoundly impacts the way they see the world. 

health // this does not just encompass physical well-being and mental health, but also personal safety. 

relationships // humans depend on social interaction, evolving and adapting in relationship to other beings.

during the pandemic, every human on the planet experienced a disruption to one, if not all three, of these things. this makes us feel off balance, preoccupied, irritable and unsettled. as a result, we did what humans do best which is to respond to stimuli. 

our nervous system is awe-inspiring AND remains largely unchanged from many thousands of years. when we feel stress in our bodies, they react the same way they did since the dawn of human existence. this means that the body’s natural response to being chased down in the bush by a prehistoric saber-toothed tiger is the same way we react to getting a snarky email from a coworker or encountering a traffic accident on our way to an appointment. our muscles tense, our heart rate increases, and our senses heighten. regardless of the stimulus, our sympathetic nervous system is blind to the details and can only hear one message: 

S T R E S S. 

so, when life hands us a rotten egg as it did in 2020, and the drama mounts because we experience job loss, exposure to infectious disease, and physical distance from the ones we love, we are no longer able to function as we did before.

we transition into survival mode: a sustained ‘fight or flight’ response that sends our stress hormones into overdrive.. as we soldier through the day with clenched teeth and fists, we make choice after critical choice in order to survive each moment. 

instant gratification really shines when we are in this state, bringing with it joy and pleasure that delights even if it is temporary. and why shouldn’t we enjoy a momentary respite from the constant survival struggle? we cannot pour from an empty cup after all. 

for me, it’s food. abundant and delicious food makes me happy and, when i’m extremely overprogrammed with stressful thoughts, it offers comfort from the chaos and a chance for me to enjoy myself. for others, it’s a glass of wine or online shopping or garbage television. whatever we use, the result is the same: a feeling of joy that soothes and reminds us everything is fine so we can continue the fight to survive.

the sympathetic nervous system is critical to human survival, but excessive activation comes at a price. i will stay out of the weeds and simply say that chronic stress does, in fact, take a great toll on our mental and physical health. 

for this reason, i have to share my gratitude for the blessings of this year. through a lot of hard work, a little luck, and boatloads of determination, i managed to pull off some sweeping lifestyle changes that are helping to balance my three main focus areas. i am starting to feel secure in my survival once again.

plentiful work at new companies and homeownership means that food, shelter, and utilities have once again become a certainty for my family. research has produced therapies and vaccines for COVID-19 that have stabilized the spread which helps assuage my health concerns and provided more opportunities for gathering with loved ones. 

simply put, i’m not wringing my hands with worry every day, or doom scrolling on my news feed. i have things to look forward to again. for the first time since january of 2020, i feel like i have room in my brain to level up. and now that i can look out a little further into the horizon, i want to optimize. i don’t just want to survive, i want to thrive. so, where to begin? 

let’s circle back to instant gratification. it is incredibly powerful because it can lift us from the lowest of places with a snap of a finger. we will go to great lengths for the dopamine rush, even if it yields an undesirable outcome. 

for myself, the action of eating comfort foods has become a ‘go-to’ solution in my survival toolkit for how to cope with uncomfortable feelings. it felt good in the moment, but i’m not sure it’s serving me anymore. of course, i want to lose the extra weight, but i recognize there is a bit more to the solution than that.

before i can change my survival habit for good, i have to understand where it’s coming from. i also need to forgive myself for “letting it happen” in the first place. 

as much as i wish life were a video game, and i could just select a different character or persona when it suits me, it is not this way. change and adaptation takes much more time, attention and intention than i had to give when was stuck in survivor mode. 

i am working to reframe the moment and choose self-kindness. my inclination is to be frustrated with myself for end up in a place i didn’t like, however the smarter, wiser me is proud of myself for surviving and eager to create better habits for the future. 

the journey to thriving will be long, but i am curiously optimistic about what i will learn along the way.  wanna join me?

xo,

e

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if 37 is prime, so am i

y’all…it has been a HOT minute since i did any blogging and for that i apologize sincerely. like so many of us, life got a little hectic, personal tragedies, yadda yadda. it’s not that i want to diminish the trauma we collectively and individually faced these past couple of years, it’s that i want to move forward. this post is not about THAT, it’s about what’s going on NOW.

in this, the last month of 2022, which is also the month of my birth, which is also the peak of Sagittarius season, i want to acknowledge some truths i have come to behold. the most potent among them is the idea that we are dynamic people. all humans are capable of learning and adapting and that is awesome.

on the final days of my 36th year, i can say that i am becoming a different person: a person who is more positive and kind. i see that encouragement and understanding and loads of curious optimism are the only real way to get things done. 

i journaled about a few goals at the beginning of this year. they were mostly terrifying and i thought i would fail, so i didn’t really broadcast them (i regret my choice, but that will be a whole different article). instead, i read, researched and strategized. even though i was out of my depth, i tried to stay positive and hopeful. it nearly killed me at some points, but it paid off.

early 2022 saw a variety of obstacles: the raleigh, nc housing market was wild and it was looking like time was running out for first-time buyers like ross and i. (ross is my partner and significant otter BTW.) COVID-19 was still looming large with variants popping up and making things dangerous. studio yoga classes were unpredictable, and i was eager to expand my outdoor yoga schedule and nurture my little corner of the yoga community. 

i was also feeling frustrated with my marketing career and curious if there might be something better out there for me. if i may–the great resignation is a silly name to call it. people are simply waking up to the simple fact that if they are going to spend so much TIME at work, they should get to enjoy some fulfillment from it. so, yeah, i realized it was time to make a change.

it wasn’t the first time i’d pondered these life change, but i arrived at a crossroads. what was holding me back? information? certainty? i mean we can always have more money and time, but realistically, my fear of failure was stopping me from starting.

this made me LOL. when i walk it back, it doesn’t make sense. how can i be fearful of something that hasn’t EVEN happened yet? like for real. i did not have the answer to whether i could do these things or not, and yet, i was totally subscribed to my limiting beliefs. i allowed my fear of an uncertain future outcome to rule my present circumstance.

i decided to do an experiment; i had to at least try to manifest these changes. just like in yoga, i tried to think about the situation in a different way. Instead of how i would feel if i didn’t get what i wanted, i considered how home ownership, a new job, and more outdoor yoga classes would positively impact my life. the more i meditated on this, the more i was motivated to make it happen. the expression “nothing to lose and everything to gain” had never been more true. 

there were a few moments of affirmation along the way where i felt like i was on the right track. we got pre-approved for mortgage lending which felt great! even though it was still chilly outside, people were asking me about my outdoor classes, saying they’d seen my instagram stories and wanted to try it out. i also started getting excited as i perused marketing job postings on linkedin and indeed. 

it was a very slow burn though, and each of these goals took months of planning and scheming to actualize. then, when i finally “got in the game”,  i experienced several losses. we went to dozens of home showings and had offers get rejected. i had many zoom interviews with nary a word from the company. i was struggling to find a new yoga venue and the online classes were not getting traction. i was discouraged and it all had me wanting to give up. for some reason, (maybe it’s just my stubborn Sag energy?) i kept at it…

the possibility of change catalyzed that curious optimism again. i noticed how the pursuit of these big goals really fueled me. and, i decided that even if it failed, it felt good to at least be trying to change. i was doing things not because i had to, but because i wanted to and that also felt kinda nice.

of course the yoga teacher in me also considered this time to be a wonderful opportunity to practice managing stress, LOL. oh, and the stress was palpable. i cried a lot, yelled a lot. i went on runs and cried, i did yoga and cried, i talked to my mom and best friend and cried and yelled. as much as i wanted to give up, i was relying on myself.

among my three big goals, a theme emerged: finding solace in uncertainty. i had to sit with ‘not knowing’ a LOT this past year. when you put yourself out there, even in a quiet way like i did, you can get rejected. which i did. quite a bit. but every time you don’t immediately die after that rejection, you become wiser and more resilient. and less afraid of future rejections.

eventually, the little dream nuggets came to fruition. we became homeowners and moved into a cute place we love. this fall, i added a second weekly outdoor yoga class and met tons of new clients. i also started a new position with an amazing experiential marketing firm that does incredibly powerful work for communities i love.

i have to shout out Ross because the homebuying process could not have happened without him. we truly did it together in every aspect, and i am grateful for his support. we are planning to die here though because neither of us want to move again, ha!

so, as i head into year 37, i am full of curious optimism. i’ve learned that i am a person who enjoys a challenge and likes to work hard. i’ve also learned that, while i do NOT like it, i’m a person that can sit with a little uncertainty and not explode.

the number 37 is prime, and so am i. while i don’t advise plotting a course for three major life upheavals in a single year, shoot your shot! it might be fabulous.

xoxo,

e

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There’s No Better Time Than Now

So, I had an epiphany the other day. It was Christmas Eve morning and it was pouring rain. It was warmer than it had been the past few days, but it still wasn’t optimal at 52°. Regardless of the weather or my feelings about it, I had to go for my daily run.

I parked at the lake near my house and sat there for nearly 10 minutes, thinking about my options. I considered driving home and waiting for a better (less cold and rainy) time to run. 

After looking at Weather Underground for the 80th time that morning, it dawned on me. Neither the weather outside nor my motivation to run was going to improve anytime soon.

It was all there in front of me; the trail, my headphones, my water bottle. There was not going to be a better time than right now. So I did it. 

It wasn’t the best run of my life, but it wasn’t bad. I only passed one other person along the two-mile loop, so I scream sang the lyrics of Lizzo, Meg the Stallion, Sweetie, and Tame Impala as I ran in the rain. I was soaked by the time I finished but it was done.

The moral of the story is that sometimes now is the best we can do. It can be tough to motivate ourselves to complete a difficult task, but before we bail we must ask ourselves this…

Will I want to do this MORE later? If the answer is no, you better get to it NOW. 

In the 10 minutes I sat there trying to figure out an alternate plan, I could have been done with the damn mile. And life is funny like that. So often the hardest commitments to keep are the ones we make to ourselves. 

Running everyday goes the same way. It’s a cool endeavor, but it isn’t always glamorous. Sometimes the daily mile feels like a mountain to climb, and like anything, starting is usually the hardest part.

When you have a daunting task, think not of the drudgery of doing it, but the satisfaction of getting it done. It will probably suck a little bit, but before you talk yourself out of it, remember that there’s no better time than now

taking care

Running the Road to Nowhere

Like so many people this year, I’ve been combatting my cabin fever with exercise at home and outdoors. Fitness today is not the same as it was pre-pandemic, you know when we had races to train for and studio classes with our favorite good vibe tribes. BUT at-home workouts have been a marvelous way to manage stress during this crazy time, and I am thankful to have remained healthy through the last several months. 

I feel proud of myself for “not skipping a beat” and maintaining an active lifestyle despite all the closures and quarantines and disruptions to life, but I have noticed something I can’t ignore: I am completely burned out. I have not raced since late winter and haven’t really strived for much beyond my average weekly mileage for months now. Yet somehow, I feel as though I’m running the road to nowhere.

Sometimes we ignore the signs

This is not an all-of-a-sudden feeling either. If I’m totally honest, I’ve been low on motivation for many weeks now. At first I thought it was just hot, then I thought I just needed to double down on my routine, or push through it. Before long, the self-doubt started creeping in; maybe I am out of shape or no longer passionate about fitness.

Why and how can this be? It feels like I’m not doing really anything, so how can I be tired of it… Does this feeling of shapeless fatigue sound familiar to you? 

As I stop and think a moment, it occurs to me that what I’m feeling is a combination of guilt and fatigue. I feel spent yet I don’t feel I’ve done enough to warrant a break. 

Rest does not have to be earned.

We talk a lot, especially on The91Rewind, about the importance of rest and integrating it into our self-care routine. And the truth is this: rest is not something we deserve only after a monumental effort. It’s not something that we must earn. Rest is a vital part of keeping our engines running and our living our best life. 

While I haven’t been out there killing trail races every weekend, or getting promoted at work, or teaching sold out handstand workshops, I have still been doing my gosh darn best. And that – particularly in today’s current and colorful climate, takes a great deal of effort and energy. Living necessitates rest. Not living well or maximally, or heroically or any other superlative…just living and surviving the day to day entitles us to a break now and then. 

So I’m going to press  P A U S E …

Just like our cell phones, without regularly and intentional recharging, we will eventually run out of batteries.  Don’t wait until you think you’ve earned it (you already have) or worse, until it becomes your only option. Let’s be proactive and practice rest just like we practice anything else.

Have a great month, friends! And give yourself a little break now and then!

Living Well

Don’t Forget Yourself

November is well underway at this point. Halloween has come and gone, Thanksgiving is just around the corner with other winter holidays following close behind. It’s a busy time of year, which for many of us will only get busier. While you’re running around gifting and giving this holiday season, don’t forget yourself.

I say this because I’ve noticed that in my own life, the self-care rituals I really enjoy are the first things that drop off when my schedule picks up. We all have responsibilities and must be flexible at times; it’s part of adulting. But we usually sacrifice those little things that bring us joy when we need them the most. Head’s up-I have one way to ensure you get yourself a little TLC before the holidays, (and at 15% off too) but you’ll have to read on for that.

When the tasks pile up, I feel like I don’t have time to take care of myself. How can I possibly go to yoga when I have so much to do? I can’t spend an hour cooking when I’m already behind on this project…Sounds familiar, yah? I think many of us have felt this conundrum. FELT being the key word. 

If only I had more…Subconsciously I believe if I can require less energy/time/food/sleep/whatever I can have more energy to channel elsewhere. While it would be cool, this logic doesn’t say much for common sense. The truth is that we have to take care of our needs if we’re going to be of any use to the world. And speaking of the world, it will continue to turn regardless, so you may as well make yourself a priority.

Simply put, we cannot get something from nothing. I think it was a third grade science lesson that I first learned that matter can neither be created or destroyed. It can be transformed though and embody different states. I like to think about human energy in the same way. Our energy can ebb and flow but it is present at all times.

Self-care is one way we can transform our energy. Spending time generating good feelings can help us feel rejuvenated and refreshed. A few months ago I had an opportunity to recharge my energy at a local yoga retreat hosted by my dear friends Lauren and Cici. It was the perfect way to reconnect with myself and my yoga practice in a playful and friendly atmosphere. Here’s a little recap of my Day Pass experience.

The retreat was located nearby at The Eco-Institute at Pickards Mountain in Chapel Hill which is about 40 minutes outside of Raleigh. I couldn’t go for the whole weekend, but I was able to purchase a Day Pass to attend the Saturday sessions. This was perfect because it allowed me to enjoy a TON of great activities like multiple yoga classes, workshops AND yummy snacks, at a great price.

Photos courtesy of JME Photography

Photos courtesy of JME Photography

I arrived at the farm and was greeted by the sweetest little goats just in time to gather with the group for a quick cup of tea. We said hellos and headed upstairs for an energetic morning vinyasa lead by Lauren. About 75 ass-kicking minutes later, I was roused from Savasana by the scent of roasted sweet potatoes. Magically, there was a delicious brunch spread waiting for us after class. It thoughtfully included every possible dietary option with labels to help clarify… very nice touch!

After brunch, we had a couple of hours to explore the farm before we resumed our afternoon activities. I took a walk down to the adorable Honeysuckle Tea House to get a cuppa and chat with some of the other retreat goers. To my surprise, everyone had the same story. We chose to attend the retreat because it was perfect for a last-minute Treat YoSelf activity. 

We reconvened in the afternoon for a workshop focused on demystifying the “bandhas” which of course, lead to an upside-down yogi recess. Even with many different levels of experience, Cici was able to get everyone playing with the concept of arm balancing. SO FUN!

Photos courtesy of JME Photography

Photos courtesy of JME Photography

After this empowering but exhausting hour, Emilee from Healer’s Hemp Co gave us a crash course in all things Cannabis. She offered some insight on dosing and what to look for as you shop. Raleigh Raw came through with a create-your-own poke bar which was a huge highlight for me. I just LOVE Raleigh Raw and I got extra cashew sauce this time. 

Our evening yoga class was inspired by Yin and Thai massage and was a perfect way to conclude such a physical day. We partnered up for some assisted stretches, which contrary to my expectation, was not weird at all. (By that point in the day, we were all very close friends, ha!) The class was gentle and relaxing and it left me feeling restored but still alert…I had to drive home after all. 

Photos courtesy of JME Photography

Photos courtesy of JME Photography

After a fireside s’more, I hugged everybody–literally everybody at the retreat, goodbye and headed home. I was so blissed out, I don’t even think I turned on the radio.

So, with the Day Pass I got way more than I paid for…multiple yoga classes, knowledge, delicious foods, fellowship with awesome yogis AND I was home before 11pm! It was amazing and I highly encourage you to join Lauren and Cici for a day at their upcoming Winter Immersion Nov 21-24. For 15% off, use the code DAYPASS15 when you check out. Visit the retreat website to sign up; the discount is valid until Saturday 11/16.

As the holidays draw near and you’re giving everything to everyone, don’t forget yourself. You deserve TLC as much as the next guy or gal on your list. When things get crazy double down on the joy mongering. Make time for fun so you can smile your way through these wild times. 

Whether you commit to your weekly fitness class, family dinners or spending a day (or maybe the whole weekend) at an amazing local retreat, DO NOT forget yourself this holiday season.

in love and light,

E

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Save the planet, BE a HERO!

If you’re a child of the late 80s and early 90s, there is a strong chance you are familiar with Captain Planet. If not, google it, we’ll wait. This amazing (I loved it and still do) cartoon series explored the perils of pollution, mismanagement of natural resources, unconscious business practices, and a host of other environmentally-motivated topics. This franchise put earth lovers and environmentalists on a SUPERHERO pedestal and made conservation cool. Captain Planet and the Planeteers’ message that WE can and should work to make our planet better is an empowering one. Together we can have a positive impact. We can take steps today to fight this…Save the planet, be a HERO! 

There’s another group of environmentalist kids inspiring the world today. But it’s not enough to just “like” quotes from Greta Thundberg, Ridhima Pandey, Alexandria Villaseñor and others on social media. It’s not enough to applaud their outspokenness or appreciate their passion for the environment. We, the very same grown ups that have failed them, MUST act. The good news is that it’s pretty easy.

Here are some ideas for simple steps you can take to GO GREEN:

They are getting into the spirit of conservation at Ocean Isle Beach.

They are getting into the spirit of conservation at Ocean Isle Beach.

  1. BYO Bottle – Some think of BYOB as a party recommendation (bring your own beverage), but we’re talking about bringing your own water bottle. Bottled water is convenient if you’re concerned about your tap water, which is a legitimate issue in some areas. The fact is that the vast majority of Americans do indeed have access to clean drinking water. Disposable water bottles are terrible for the planet, and costly for your wallet. Save money AND the planet by bringing your own bottle. 

  2. BYO Bag – this is an easy one and a fun one. Reusable grocery bags come in all shapes, sizes, colors, and cute prints. You don’t just have to use them for groceries, you can use them for all kinds of stuff; toting lunch to work, makeshift purse or gym bag, even as gift-bags, etc. And some stores will even give you a discount for using them? That’s kickass! You can get a cute bag whilst practicing green living and saving a few pennies at the same time? Let’s call that a WIN WIN WIN!

  3. Go meatless once a week – it’s also a fact that commercial farms are tough on our planet. Opting out of animal products once a week is a great way to try new foods and lessen our dependence on an unsustainable supply chain. I get it, this is a big ask and not everyone is down for a big bowl of kale and chickpeas. If going meatless isn’t for you, explore options for shopping from organic farmers in your area. Yes it may cost a little more, but you’re funneling money DIRECTLY into your home community and helping a local business owner thrive. Yum! Local lunch, anyone?

  4. DITCH the straws – unless you’re still on sippy cups, straws are really a silly convenience item. We do not need them. If someone hands you one at a restaurant hand it back and watch their confused face It’s funny! If you must have a straw, opt for one that is dishwasher safe and reusable! They come in cool colors and multiple materials. 

  5. Alternative transportation –  it’s not practical for all of us to sell our cars and start biking to work every day, but we can get creative with how we get around. Cutting down on our time in automobiles is not just a green idea, it’s also kind of fun! Instead of driving to the corner lunch spot, take a bike ride. Perhaps you and your coworker take a picnic lunch instead of carpooling to Panera? Maybe you book a vacation rental that has restaurants and shops within walking distance? Uber even has options for sharing rides with people that are going in your direction. And it’s CHEAP, y’all. Seeking out opportunities to carpool, get out on two wheels, or your own two-legs whenever you can will drive down emissions and probably make you feel happy. After all saving money, engaging in movement and spending time outside can all boost your mood.

He’s a hero. Gonna take pollution down to zero…wanna help?

He’s a hero. Gonna take pollution down to zero…wanna help?

If we all do a little, it adds up to a lot! You just have to start somewhere. Commit to do just one of these things. You will feel better knowing you’re fighting on the planet side. Just like Captain Planet said…The Power is YOURS!

Just in case you are wondering, #CaptainPlanet is still fighting the good fight over at https://captainplanetfoundation.org, so head over to learn more!

In light and love,

E

taking care

On your left: A handy guide to outdoor activity etiquette

It’s still summer for a little while longer, but that hasn’t stopped people from ramping up their outdoor activities. You may notice an increase in the amount of bicycle and foot traffic on the sidewalks and in the parks this time of year. Folks may be training for a fall event, getting back into the school routine, or simply looking to take advantage of those declining temperatures as the days shorten. I’ve got a few ideas for sharing the road (or trails or sidewalks) for motorists and movers as well. HINT: It’s not just shouting “on your left” as you pass! Please review this handy dandy guide to outdoor activity etiquette.


outdoor activities are better with FRIENDS!outdoor activities are better with FRIENDS!

outdoor activities are better with FRIENDS!

Let’s get the formalities out of the way. Here are three rules of the road that can help make your outdoor activity ventures MORE fun and safe.

  1. Bicycles are not allowed to ride on the sidewalk! They are considered a vehicle (at least in NC) and should ride as close to the right side of the street WITH the traffic if there is no bike lane. If there is a bike lane, sweet! Still, stay in your lane. When I see bicycles on the sidewalk I become unhinged. Why should I jump into the street to avoid an oncoming bicycle who is A.) not supposed to be on the sidewalk and B.) who is traveling illegally against traffic? I am risking my life so that this cyclist can break two rules? Yikes.

  2. Runners and walkers should travel on sidewalks, AGAINST the traffic. Opt to use sidewalks whenever you can, but if you must run on the road, slow up and look around. I never cross in front of or behind a car until I have confirmed eye contact with the driver. Once I’m SURE they see me, I will move around them. This may mean slowing down the pace a little at intersections and road crossings, but hey, showing up to the finish line alive and healthy should be the goal of any training plan, right?

  3. Tell people when/where you’re heading out and how long you think you will be gone-especially if you don’t typically carry your cell phone with you. This is not a state or federal law obviouslt, but it is an easy accountability step that can help you feel more secure and confident. Not only that, but it gives you a little support crew that will know when and where to look for you should something happen.

Now, what follows are some things I would really like you (our readers) to think about and strongly consider. You may not get a ticket for violating these guidelines, but they are still important enough to mention. 

Be mindful. 

Pets belong on leashes. PERIODT. Y’all, you KNOW I love animals. I have a dog and a cat and I love other people’s pets and take selfies with them. I follow a lot of pet and animal accounts on instagram and pet videos make me cry on the daily. BUT if I see you and your dog frolicking on the greenway, in the park, or on the sidewalk without a leash, I will stop and ask you to leash your animal for safety purposes. Ask about me. Anyone who runs with me (especially on the greenways in Raleigh) has seen me do this.

I don’t hate dogs. I’m not afraid of them either. It is simply unsafe FOR YOUR PETS to be loosey-goosey in these public outdoor areas. There are many scenarios that could catch even the most perfectly poised pets (and their owners) off-guard and create a hazard. It’s not even the danger to other humans on the greenway as much as it is for the safety of the dog itself. When your animal is physically tethered to you, you have a greater degree of control. Ever tried to chase a dog on a leash? No, of course not, because you don’t have to.


even on the greenway, rules are rules!even on the greenway, rules are rules!

even on the greenway, rules are rules!

Now, I get a lot of flap from indignant dog owners on this one. I do not care how great of a relationship you have with your dog, how well trained it is, or how well it listens to your commands. I can guarantee that your preferred outdoor activity spot has signs that indicate off-leash pets are prohibited. This is not a selectively-enforced policy to punish bad dogs. It is to protect all dogs (or cats or rabbits—which I’ve also seen on leashes on the greenway) from the inherent dangers of a public outdoor space. 

One way to think about the argument that someone’s dog is “too well behaved” to follow leash rules is to think about other moving violations. If you get pulled over for speeding, would you argue that you shouldn’t get a ticket because you’re really good at driving fast? No. This would be ridiculous. The officer who pulled you over does not care how skilled you are at not having a collision while driving over the speed limit. They care that you put yourself and others in danger by breaking the law. Leash rules are the same way. They do not exist to punish dogs who misbehave. They are there to reinforce safety and order in these public spaces. 

Be aware.

Fitness is IN and there are more people than ever before enjoying an active lifestyle outdoors. These folks come in all different shapes, sizes, speeds, etc. Some walk or run, others rollerblade, ride a bicycle or a big wheel. Sometimes there are big groups, sometimes solo adventurers. You never know whom or what you will see out there, but you can be sure you WILL encounter something. This is a big one. If we expect to encounter one another, motorists and movers alike, we can stay safe!

Drivers…

please get on my level. It is easy to let “autopilot” take over as we commute to and from work. It takes a conscious effort to train our awareness to detect non-vehicle sized objects on roadways, but it is worth it. None of us EVER wants to end someone’s workout by putting them in the hospital. This may sound dramatic, but it is true. 

I run every day, mostly on sidewalks and greenways during DAYLIGHT hours, but you would be shocked at the number of people that “don’t see me” because I’m not shaped like an SUV. The other day,  I put my hands (rather forcefully) on the hood of a woman’s car to get her to stop accelerating into a right-hand turn and realize I was still in the road. It’s sort of hilarious to imagine; I know I startled her, but at the same time, this is my life! She did not see me because she wasn’t looking to see me. Even running over me at a slow speed would have resulted in significant injuries. PAY ATTENTION!

Movers:

You can help by keeping your eyes and EARS open. I love running with music blasting through my headphones, but those headphones are affecting my ability to hear the world around me. I bailed off the side of the road the other day because I didn’t hear a bicycle coming behind me and was caught unaware. Luckily there were no oncoming vehicles, but still, it was a sign for me to ditch the tunes and get connected to my environment. Turn music down or try something new and different and leave the headphones at home during peak activity times such as after work and weekend morning hours.

Take it a step further and foster good vibes by saying hello to everyone you encounter. Tell them they are looking strong or to have a good morning. Truly sharing the road is a two-way street, and mindful consideration is our mode of transportation.

As we embark on this new season and the promise of more pleasant outdoor temperatures, stay alert and pay attention. No matter how you use the road, take  the time to notice all that is happening around you. It will help keep you and your loved ones safe.

Get out THERE and SAFELY enjoy the road, the park, or the greenway to the fullest!  Thanks for coming to my TED Talk and Happy Adventures!

E

pause + rewind + try again

8 things to do if you woke up alive today

So, unless you’ve been living under a rock, there’s a chance you’ve heard about the most recent string of mass shootings. No doubt you’ve heard about other countries warning their residents against the dangers of traveling to the US. I’m also confident that you are devastated by what has happened, and likely, a little fearful as well. (I considered calling my mother on my way to Wal-Mart yesterday, just-in-case I didn’t make it back out.)

While Crystal and I are absolutely not, I repeat NOT dismissing or diminishing the seriousness of our current situation (we both believe that as a country, we are past the point of “needing to do something” and having a full-on national crisis) we would like to offer a few suggestions that may help us move forward with love. 

In case you happened to wake up alive this morning, here are some ideas to celebrate the beautiful and precious life you get to live today.

  1. Tell someone you love them. Not your partner, your children, your dog, or other immediate family members that hear it all the time, but someone who won’t expect it. Even if you’re not one to throw the “L-word” around, telling someone you genuinely appreciate something they’ve done will make them feel good. And then you’ll feel good for making them feel good, and then everyone will just feel all happy and warm and fuzzy.  

  2. Eat, drink, and be merry! We don’t get nearly as excited as we should about the abundance of food that is available to most of us. There are places in this world, in this country even, where people do not know if they will have access to food. Those people would be elated to have the leftovers or well-intentioned groceries in your fridge. Challenge yourself to avoid the grocery store and deplete your cabinets. It will be fun and cheap! And make you feel a little more resourceful.

  3. Go outside! It’s summer for many of us, take off your shoes and socks and step outside. Feel the earth under your feet and remember that your mother (earth) is always supporting you. She’s right there, underneath it all, holding us up. We should show her some respect for that.

  4. Make up a silly song about something mundane; a musical narration as you get ready for work or an impromptu interlude as you make yourself lunch. You have a voice! You have a brain! You can use them both together to create something! You don’t have to sing out loud, all though it’s more fun. 

  5. Give yourself 60 minutes of free movement. Close the door to your office or bedroom and let yourself go! Whether you’re perfecting your #Narutorun, your dance moves, or riffing on the wacky waving inflatable arm flailing tube-man, you can’t go wrong just moving your body organically. It will make you feel free and we bet you can’t do it without laughing. *Bonus points if you combine 5+6*

  6. Help somebody! We are all capable of helping others and the good news is that we can do this in a variety of ways. Maybe you go big and donate to an NPO you love or volunteer regularly at your local animal shelter. Maybe you run an errand for a coworker or water your neighbor’s plants. Seek out opportunities to be of service because service does not discriminate! Everyone can make a difference. Even small gestures can be extremely valuable.

And then there were two…These last suggestions are critical but can be tough to implement. They will require constant vigilance and call upon the most American of ideals –  that we as individuals are entitled to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.  

  1. LOVE YOURSELF. Trust that no one can be you, no one can know you, no one can love and care for you, the way that you do. You matter, you are important, and you are a beautiful part of this world. If a message makes you feel less than, don’t look at it. If someone says something that makes you feel judged, get curious about what THEIR problem is. No one can make us feel inferior without our consent. Stand up fully for the magical awesomeness that is inside of you and others will be drawn into your light.

  2. If you really want to stick it to the man, LOVE EVERYONE ELSE TOO! Sometimes it is hard to do this, especially when people in high places try to tell you what/how to think. It’s hard to avoid judging others, buying into stereotypes or rejecting what we don’t understand. It’s exponentially harder to apply a critical lens to ourselves to better understand our own behavior and prejudice, but it MUST be done. We owe it to ourselves as Americans to SEEK OUT COMMONALITIES that unite us! Make it your mission to be ANTI-HATE, to find good in every individual. We are all, every one of us, somebody’s child. 

We may not agree with some (or many or ANY) of the policies and strategies being implemented by our leadership, but that doesn’t mean we should give up and call it a loss. Let’s take things back to a local level. Treat others; not some, or a few, or just the ones you know, but ALL OTHERS, how you want to be treated. Celebrate the joy of being alive today and find gratitude for all that you have. 

If you do these things, I can guarantee it will make it a little easier to carry on in this crazy world. 

In love and light,
E

taking care

Self-Care is NOT selfish

Today, I want to talk about guilt. Not a guilt-trip or a verdict in a courtroom, oh no. I’m talking about the guilt we heap upon our very own selves. That special kind of self-loathing reserved for when we do or feel compelled to do something we shouldn’t. Eating the extra helping of dessert, taking a chill day when our to-do list is miles long, or just generally living with a case of the fuckits… We are adults (mostly) in command of our own lives, yet when we decide to do something for ourselves, we feel terrible about it! Not only that, but the guilt hangs around haunting us. My question is why? Self-care is not selfish.

Humans are hardwired to focus on deficiencies.

We are analytical, detail-oriented beings who are very good at noticing when things don’t add up. As a species, this has served as well and made us very good at keeping ourselves alive (in a primitive sense) and seeking out and exploiting opportunities. Along the way, we’ve developed a practice of shortcutting by way of binary thinking. In trying to make decisions quickly and efficiently, we label things as good or bad, wrong or right, love or hate. We want more good and less bad, we want to be right and we don’t want any negativity. I mean positive vibes only, yah? It all seems very simple, maybe too simple.

For a great many of us, this mindset shapes our view of self-care.

More good stuff, less bad stuff. Spend more time doing more things, not just things —productive and important things. As if taking care of ourselves is some irresponsible act, we view time spent on ourselves as something that could/should have been spent doing something more valuable. Like taking care of ourselves is at the direct expense of the rest of the world. No wonder it makes us feel shitty.

If we ask ourselves whose responsibility it is to take care of us, to ensure our happiness and safety, we know the answer. Yet, we trivialize any effort undertaken to deepen our relationship with ourselves. This simply makes no sense. Self-care is NOT selfish. If we are aware of the important role wellness plays in our day-to-day lives, we should feel empowered to seek self-care and wellness. We should not feel bad or guilty when we practice self-care.


join Erica for a flow class on July 27!
join Erica for a flow class on July 27!

By gosh we should feel PROUD of ourselves!

The last time you woke up and didn’t feel good, you probably went to work anyway. Maybe you just had a tough day, but maybe you found yourself feeling worse and eventually at the doctor sometime later. By that point, you earned a note from a physician that says you’re officially sick and authorized to begin caring for yourself…now, armed with prescriptions and a guilt-free pass, it is now time to focus on your recovery and nothing else. Just a quick show of hands, who has ever received an accolade or financial incentive for coming into work sick or not using all of their sick days? Even if you did, you would still be sick!

I bring this up because I have noticed that in many ways we all seek approval and validation to engage in caring ourselves. We’re looking for that guilt-free pass so we can focus on us without that swirling icky feeling. When we are children, validation comes from a parent or loved one that advises we are too sick for school/activities today. Later on, it’s a medical professional’s diagnosis or expert recommendations that get us off the hook. Sometimes medical help is vital, but it shouldn’t be the sole factor in determining whether or not we need a little self-guided TLC.

It’s easy to see how we are conditioned to look to others to validate our feelings and action plan for handling them, but we don’t have to stay in this place forever.

I’m here to tell you that we do not actually need ANYONE ELSE to authorize our self-care.

We are smart and we are capable of appraising and executing our own self-care rituals. Whether they involve skipping a workout, taking a day off, or spending a little extra on the nice shampoo. We get to call our own shots! Outsourcing self-care is silly. When you’re hungry, do you make an appointment with someone to decide what you should eat? No! You just eat! When you’re low on gas do you stop driving your car and just take an Uber? No! You go get gas. We are empowered independent amazing humans. When you need a minute, honey, TAKE A MINUTE! It’s just a minute after all.


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Just as happiness is an inside job, so is self-care. It’s not about excuses or inventing reasons to blow off our responsibility, it’s about loving ourselves enough to say “Hey, I love ME enough to prioritize MYSELF.” We are the creators, the approvers, and the managers of our own guilt-free passes y’all, so get your best, most fanciest ink pen and do some autographing! (And if you’re free on July 27, join me for a celebration of self-care and friendship!)

In love and light,

E

taking care

Welcome to the Treehouse

We have big BIG news!

We have always thought of The91Rewind as a virtual treehouse. We have worked to build a warm and inclusive community devoted to encouragement and friendship. We love creating and sharing all this #goodstuff with you guys over the last couple of years. Now, we want a chance to connect with you offline. we have created a new page, The Treehouse, to share exciting events taking place in Richmond and Raleigh with you!

You’ll see a hodgepodge of happenings listed in The Treehouse. Some will be hosted by us, others will be events we are attending, but they are all 100% awesome opportunities for you to get out and about while engaging with friends. That’s right! You will have a chance to get to know your favorite BFF bloggers and be introduced to some really fine local businesses as well. our goal with these events is to offer a chance to pause our hectic schedules and do something nice for ourselves, just because.

With that in mind, we have two events this summer devoted to #selfcare and finding ways to easily integrate it into our day-to-day. Self-care is a hot topic these days. It may seem like yet another thing we have to manage in our busy lives, but it is definitely something we can benefit from.

So, what is it?

Self-care can be defined as any activity or ritual we do for ourselves to generate joy, peace, or other good feelings. There isn’t much to the concept; the fun is in the application. There are so many ways to practice self-care. For some people, it looks like a daily meditation, weekly yoga, or spin class; for others, it might involve taking “the long way” home because the drive is scenic. For some, this may look like a time of pampering with a massage or a day at the spa. This  could even be a week-long silent retreat at a tropical resort, or it may be just making coffee before work. Self/care doesn’t have to be fancy, in fact, the more simple your ritual the more likely you are to stick with it.

Why is it important?

Well, because it helps us to be better! Better for ourselves and better for all the people and things that depend on us. We all work hard, adorably badass-ing it up, and we deserve a little love. This may not make sense. It may even seem selfish, but it is a fact. Treating ourselves well sets the tone for how we interact with the rest of the world. When we take the time to be kind to ourselves, to seek out peaceful and joyful moments, we are nicer people. We work better with others, we are more kind and empathetic.

Get out there and PLAY!

My personal brand of self-care looks like playtime. As a marketing professional, life feels at times like one critical decision after another with high stakes and even higher stress. In order to avoid lashing out like a dragon lady at the people I love, I have to care for myself. I do this through movement; crank the jams, connect with my breath, and let that shit go. I get lost in the music and the flow and before I know it, I am relaxed and ready to put my thinking cap back on.

Just give it a try!

You don’t have to take my word for it. Trust that you are deserving of your OWN kindness and love. Productivity and engagement are best when sprinkled with play time! If you’re looking for places to play this summer, look no further than The Treehouse! Here are some upcoming opportunities for you to join the movement party:

  • #SundayFunday hip-hop flow @ Yogi Oasis! rotating Sundays, starting June 23.

  • Self-care Saturdays at NCDI! We’re teaming up with local businesses to introduce you to amazing products and services you can integrate into your self-care routine! Class details can be found here.

  • Sunday Yoga @ Lululemon North Hills –  always fun, always free! Sunday, June 30 at 11:00 am.


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