pause + rewind + try again

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

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

taking care

run like a girl

When I was a kid, I used to get upset when my childhood friends (mostly boys) said I ran like a girl or threw like a girl or really reminded me that I was a girl at all. I was vastly outnumbered in my neighborhood, and while the boys were nice to let me hang once in a while, there were times when I really wished I had more girls around. Luckily in these times, I had my bestie Crystal to commiserate with. She has a brother and boy cousins and felt my pain of being the odd woman out. Fast forward some years later, and I’m finding myself surrounded by more powerful adventurous athletic women than I can count. They are my adventure crew, my ride or dies, my bucket list babes.  We do let the boys hang once in a while, but most of the time we like to feel our power. And now, I can proudly say that hell yeah, I do run like a girl.

Speaking of running like a girl…

check out some of these fun facts (and the articles to back them up) from the past couple of years to see just how far women have come in the running game:


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As this fall race season is in full swing, chances are high

that you know a woman who’s racing towards a goal. It may be her first 5k, it may be her 101st marathon, but either way, take a moment to give your girl a high five. It doesn’t matter what distance, which race, or if you’re racing at all, going for a run is an amazingly gratifying experience. If you want to feel YOUR power, just strike out on your two legs…see how far you can go!

namaste and safe travels,

E


remember when you hit the streets…#wegonshineremember when you hit the streets…#wegonshine

remember when you hit the streets…#wegonshine


How did you get here

How Did You Get Here: Carrie Grace

We have a new story of transformation, empowerment and moxie today as we continue our How Did You Get Here Series. Today, we’d like to introduce you to Carrie Grace. Some of you may follow her on Instagram, and if you’re not following her we recommend it. She is a ray of sunshine in the a sea of selfies and negativity. Perhaps you were lucky enough to have received or have been gifted her Kindness Box. These are no longer available for sale, BUT she does have something new on the horizon. Carrie is a former teacher turned motivational speaker, who is on a mission to inspire others to spread joy and kindness, in hopes of people making the world better than they found it. She believes that no act of kindness is too small or ever wasted. She currently travels the country to inspire others and has she’s been featured on major media including USA Today, Huffington Post, His Radio, and many more. Carrie stays busy encouraging us all to push through our fear of rejection, but we are most thankful she made time for us this week.

What is the most rewarding thing about your venture?

To be honest, it’s the people. I’ve had the chance to interact with so many different people, and to hear their stores…lots of different people. I love the storytelling aspect of this, hearing what others have to share. It’s always been about the people.

How and why did you start your journey?

I am not someone who thought I would have a career as motivation speaking or who particularly enjoyed public speaking. My journey into this career began when I was invited to speak at my friend Lara Casey’s Making Things Happen Conference in 2014. If I’m honest about this, I hated it. Not the conference, but the speaking part. I loved being the one welcoming the attendees. Forming relationships with those attending was the best for me, but one day, Lara said that I needed to be a speaker. She said I had something to share and I had to get comfortable being the one speaking. It was after this experience that I realized I had to have a mindset shift about making speaking a career. After having opportunities speaking, I had people telling me that I could make a career doing this, but at first it wasn’t profitable. Initially, I was bartering and trading things for my time speaking. BUT trading things doesn’t pay the bills! I had others encourage me to find people with a budget to pay me to be their speaker. It was after this that I began reaching out to various groups and businesses to be the speaker for their events and training programs.

What was the most challenging part?

I’m thinking it’s finding the right events. Being my own marketer. Keeping up with the travel. Right now it’s been in the United States, but it’s expanding to Canada later this year.

What have you learned?

Everything. I went from products to service, and it’s a totally different world. Figuring it all out. I’ve made some mistakes along the way. I’ve had some speaking engagements where afterwards you say, “hmmm, that wasn’t my best.” There’s always a  learning curve.. It’s can be scary. There are days that I want to quit, but it all comes back to the people. You get to have an impact telling a story and people continually find a point they can relate to and grow.

What advice would you give someone else on this path?

If you don’t have a risk-taking in your blood, it’s very hard to do. You have to be good at rejection. That’s why I speak on rejection. It’s not about who you know, it’s more about your willingness to know someone. Are you willing to send that email? Are you willing to pick up that phone? My mind is wired that way, maybe to a fault. I know that not everyone is like that, as we tend to think we can’t do it.

How has it changed you?

This is not what I  expected my life would look like. For me, it’s what I’m proving to myself. In the beginning, I gave a commencement speech in front of a thousand people with a cap and gown on. Once I did that, I think it made it easier to be honest when I’m speaking. I went real big, real fast. Never in my life have I been in front of that many people. There’s nothing that can prepare you for that, but it’s probably one of my top ten favorite moments. I can sit here and say, “Gosh, I did that.” Even if it wasn’t my best or if you could tell l I was nervous, I can say that  I did it. Not only did I do it, but I got up there, I didn’t run, I didn’t throw up, I didn’t trip. I can do hard things.

What has surprised you the most?

Honestly, I’m surprised that people have a lack of faith in humanity. I’m amazed that people have such low expectations. The world isn’t great right now, I get that, so their view is skewed that the world is out to get them.

Anything else you’d like to share?

Don’t give up until you have heard one hundred ‘no’s’. That’s really hard. Don’t stop going after things until you’ve got a hundred, then take a break. Sometimes after two no’s we’ll give up, go sit in the corner, and cry.

I always tell people there are two kinds of people in the world. One is the person who only sees the finish line. The other is the one who only sees the obstacles in the way of the finish line. If you cannot train your brain to see just the finish line, you will stop at the second obstacle you encounter. There will always be obstacles. You won’t make it to the finish line if you don’t have the stamina to keep going up hill…If you cannot keep your eyes on the finish line, you might still get there, but it’s going to be a much harder thing. Sometimes you have to take a detour to get to the finish line. People tend to focus so hard on being in the race, that their eyes aren’t on the finish line, so the second their eyes come off the second it becomes really hard.

You start small. I’m a runner, and run about 90 miles a month. 3 miles a day isn’t hard, because if you do something everyday, it adds up.If you send 3 emails a day, you’ll send 90 by the end of the month. Out of those 90, someone is probably going to say yes. AND you haven’t even hit 100. We like to think it’s all or nothing, but I like to look for opportunities of all kinds.

Thank you so much for taking the time to speak with us Carrie.

If you’re interested in learning more about her, you should check out her website, follow her on social media (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter), and/or subscribe to her newsletter. If you’re looking for a speaker for your business or school, consider bringing Carrie in to talk about empathy. Did you know that empathy is one of the most important skills we can learn? Empathy teaches us to cherish our humanity and value one another. We develop better relationships through empathy, not just with our family and friends, but with our co-workers and everyone with whom we come in contact. If we can be more empathetic, we can have better customer service, better work relationships, and stronger leaders. Sounds like a win right?


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taking care

Make it a-MAY-zing!

So it’s May. We are beginning the fifth month of 2018. To some of us it’s like WOW where did the time go? For others it may seem to be dragging along. At this point, spring is in full swing and we are finally coming back to life after a long and strange winter. As the summer draws near, let’s shake off the cold and make this new month a-MAY-zing!

There’s a revitalizing quality about this time of year. The newness of flora and fauna, the longer days, and there is SO MUCH LIGHT! It’s amazing, and if you notice, it energizes people. Look around. People are taking dogs for walks, they are out jogging. They are drinking on porches, dining on patios, and playing cornhole. This time of year is a great “goldilocks” time to take advantage of outdoor activities; it’s not too hot or too cold. It’s just right.


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Having that said, I want to invite you to join our 91 Rewind a-MAY-zing Challenge! Crystal and I are going to kick off this month by doing something that scares us a little. We are going to challenge each other to make a new habit. We’ll pick something and try to do it every day for an entire week. After the week, we will report back on the good, the bad, and the ugly. Who knows? May-be we will a-MAY-ze ourselves? (haha I can’t quit with the May puns!)

For the first week of May, I’m going streaking. RUN STREAKING that is. I’ve been hearing a lot about these everyday runners and I’m intrigued. Some people have run every day for multiple years. This astounds me. I mean, I run all the time, but certainly not every day. I’m kind of afraid my legs will fall off, but a dear friend of mine @run_rhea_run gave me a bit of advice on the subject. She said to start small with a short period of time, and check in along the way. Rhea is a streaker, a 4X Boston Marathoner, speed demon, and general badass. She said she started with a week and just kept going with it. Now over four years later, she is still streaking and running stronger every day.

It is nearly impossible for me to imagine running for 1500+ days in a row, but I’m sure Rhea felt that way too when she began. I don’t necessarily have the same expectations for myself, but it’s really cool to see how a small idea can evolve into something really awesome. If you just stick with it and allow yourself to be a part of the process, transformation will occur. She has had good and bad days, but she’s run through them all. Maybe just a mile at a time, maybe slowly, or around an airport terminal, but she just sticks with it. It’s inspiring to see such determination.

So that’s what I’ll do, too. I’m going to run every day for seven days in a row. This is scary because I may not make it through the entire week..I am telling you all about it so feel free to ask me how it’s going. If I do make it through the week, I will have a choice to make on day eight: end the streak or keep going…I have no idea know how this will go, but I’m excited to give it a try.  

People say you can only eat an elephant one bite at a time. While we do not advocate or support eating elephants at the 91 Rewind, we do hope you have elephant-sized dreams and goals. We support your efforts in making them a reality and invite you to take a step—or maybe a week’s worth of steps towards making this month A-MAY-ZING! Persistence pays off, so as long as you can get started, your on your way.

P.S. – Crystal is also taking on a challenge for the first seven days of May…stay tuned for her post later this week!

Namaste,

E


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taking care

Progress

Progress. It’s a fickle thing. It can take years of momentum to accomplish just a kernel. It can also seem like it happened overnight. Sometimes things are moving along  just fine, and  suddenly they grind to a halt. Progress can be measured/noticed/recognized in many ways, but I’m convinced you have to look to find it. You have to check in with yourself a bit to process what has happened and decide what to do next. 

After some underwhelming race finishes a couple years ago, I found myself asking that very question-“what now?” I had completed my fall running events, but didn’t achieve the personal records I had envisioned.  I was pretty bummed out. I trained harder than ever before-I even tried a new training plan with wan additional day of running! I had the time in my schedule to add the extra day, and I was sure it would increase my speed.

A friend of mine, who is a registered dietitian and power lifting coach and marathoner, explained that I had probably under-performed at my events because I was over training and to continue would likely wind up with me getting injured. How could that be? I know people who run twice as much I do on a weekly basis! What she said next really threw me for a loop; “training for any event is deeply individualized, and it’s likely you were just not physically ready for the mileage increase in that particular plan.” 

I completed the training, but when race day came I was broken down instead of refreshed. She told me quite simply that if I wanted to run more, I was going to have to  focus my efforts, eliminate some other workouts, and be willing to build mileage slowly over time.   

Have I mentioned how impatient I am? The idea of doing anything slowly over time just seems like drudgery. However disappointing this news was, I had to face the facts. My method had not yielded the results I wanted. I was more focused on the outcome than I was on the path to achieve it. I wanted to break my record from the previous year and was willing to try anything to make it happen. I got caught up.

Flashback to my fifth grade teacher and her famous saying:


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I hadn’t failed to plan, my plan had failed. Was I a failure? Surely not. I was disappointed, but I was also motivated to find a better plan. 

Failing to plan is not limited to the absence of a plan. It can also mean following the wrong plan, or having too small a plan for the scope, or over planning. I don’t really like this saying now that I think about it. There are a million ways to fail with or without a plan, but most of the time you don’t really know until the end.

We cannot avoid trying something because we don’t have a perfect plan. We should plan to fail, in fact.  When something doesn’t work, we can learn from it and make better choices the next time. Even a failure can lead to doing better in the future.

I want to go back to my fifth grade teacher and tell her to stop giving the kids anxiety. Failure is not a bad thing! Failing as fast as possible can be viewed as a path to breakthrough success. We should change the saying to something a bit more inspiring: 


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It gets me thinking about how many times I have tried something new and felt disappointed. Maybe that wasn’t a result of not working hard enough, maybe the let down was inevitable because of a flaw in the plan. Disappointment, like failure, is not a bad thing necessarily. The fact that one has an opinion, good or bad, on the outcome of an event shows an investment. (If we don’t care at all about something it’s easy to let it go.) Disappointment can drive us to make huge leaps forward. 

After we experience a setback in life we are faced with two choices – we can give up, or we can regroup and try again. While giving up is an option, in my opinion it isn’t the best one. If you give up every time you hit a wall, you’ll just be left with a long list of limitations.

If you want to learn something, if you want to experience progress, you have to be willing to screw up a little. You have to go for it despite not knowing exactly how or what to do and possibly fail. We will never be able to know in advance if the plan will work. We’ve got to be willing to try it anyway. 

If it doesn’t work out, at least you know that it doesn’t work out. You have knowledge and experience, and THAT my friends, is progress!

 

taking care

the lies we tell ourselves

So I completed the inaugural Race Across Durham Trail Marathon, last weekend. My third marathon, but my first true trail race of this distance. It was a great day overall; the course was awesome, the volunteers were amazingly supportive, and the weather was perfect for spending the day on some technical ass trails. My awesome pals, Amy and Liz, and I just kept stepping and sharing encouraging thoughts with another. We made jokes about how slow we were moving. We celebrated when there were cookies and Pepsi at the aid stations. We pushed past a barrage of crazy feelings along that soul-crushing course all the way to the finish. The race was a lot more challenging than we expected, and we all had to keep the positive mental attitude strong to get through it.

The truth is this: for moments in the race, I was absolutely lying to myself. For only the second time in my amateur “I-like-to-run-for-long-periods-of-time” career, I wasn’t sure if I had it in me to complete the race. Parts of the course I could barely hike without tumbling ass over ankles, much less run. I didn’t know if we’d ever make it out of the woods. I was in way over my head, but acknowledging that uncertainty would only make matters worse. I had to make a choice to banish my doubt and pretend it was going to be perfect. I had to monitor my inner dialogue and speak only kind words of encouragement aloud to Amy and Liz. I crafted lie after lie so I could stay focused and be supportive of the process.

When we finally stumbled out of the woods six hours later, it was revealed that my friends and I experienced the same exact thing. Each of us had doubts and worries and concerns, but we all made a silent vow to keep it positive for every step of our 26.2 miles. It is truly amazing that three completely different people can-without talking about it-get on the same page. Trail running is not really a team sport, but on 12/3 in Durham, it absolutely was.

As a person who subscribes to an “honesty is always best” policy, I have to admit that the lies we told ourselves last Sunday were absolutely necessary. Honestly, I did not KNOW what would happen. I had to hope for the best and believe we would get through it. I’m reminded of Henry Ford’s famous words:


HebrewDawn: the lies we tell ourselvesHebrewDawn: the lies we tell ourselves

HebrewDawn: the lies we tell ourselves

This has always resonated with me. I believe that the mindset you have going into a situation informs it’s outcome. Think about it for a moment. When we look forward to something with excitement, we are usually a little more forgiving. Maybe the caterer mixed up an appetizer order, but the party was still great! Maybe our best friend’s incoming flight was delayed, but there was no traffic on the way to the airport! When we are hopeful, we can overlook some of the imperfections and idealize reality.

Conversely, when we are full of dread and anxiety, when we are fearful or doubtful, there is a snowball effect. I know we have all had days were things start off bad and progressively get worse. Without fail, if you are already running late for anything, there will be some traffic situation to delay you even more. And then you will probably spill your coffee everywhere and leave your lunch at home on the kitchen counter. Is the universe out to get you? Probably not, but it feels that way.

Why does this happen?

It happens because negativity, even a kernel of it, can send us down a spiral of doom. It begins to color the lens through which we see everything. When we start expecting a hot shitty mess at every turn, our brain will do everything it can to make that a reality.

It takes great effort, and sometimes a little creativity to be positive, but it’s worth it. The little lies we tell ourselves, the little uncertainties we smooth over, they help us to stay focused on the task at hand. They keep us moving forward so we don’t get stuck in the spiral.

So remember, next time things start to get a little dark, try with all your might to look at the bright side…even if it has been created with artificial lighting 🙂

xoxo,

E


HebrewDawn: the lies we tell ourselvesHebrewDawn: the lies we tell ourselves

HebrewDawn: the lies we tell ourselves


HebrewDawn: the lies we tell ourselvesHebrewDawn: the lies we tell ourselves

HebrewDawn: the lies we tell ourselves

taking care

recovery discovery

I have grown to resent the number hours I need to sleep to feel rested. I find myself saying things like “if I could just wake up a little earlier” or “if I could just have a couple extra hours in the day” all the time. Although, I’m quite sure if I had “extra” time, I wouldn’t spend it resting. I would undoubtedly find ways to fill that time with all sort of stuff and find myself in the exact same situation.

Not long ago Crystal posted about slowing down and taking time to enjoy the little things in life. I read it and even commented that I agreed, but have I taken time to slow down since then? No, I have not.

Every day seems like a race against the clock to do more in our waking hours than we did the day before. If we succeed, the bar is raised! (And so is our anxiety from trying to continually increase our productivity.) If we fail, we feel sad and guilty.

So what gives? When our cell phones and tablets indicate a “low battery” we know and respect the limited amount of time left. We stop what we are doing and scramble to find an outlet, we rush to recharge these devices so we can stay connected. People will traipse miles in an airport or conference center to find a place to plug in their devices. We even tote little portable battery packs so that we can stay charged up.

If we can understand the limited lifespan of our rechargeable devices, should we not take it a little easier on ourselves? It’s as if we expect our “batteries” to last forever. If we do actually admit we feel depleted, we make excuses as to why we have to suffer through it and we keep on trucking.

We don’t recharge. We grind away at life, willing ourselves to continue despite our exhaustion. Why? Because we feel guilty.


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Self-care is greatly undervalued in this country. Most can agree that we don’t have time to be sick/injured/tired/not in the mood, yet most of us don’t take the steps needed to prevent the maladies from affecting us.

While taking a vacation may not prevent you from getting the flu, research shows that it can relieve stress. Chronic stress can affect a wide variety of biophysical processes AND can weaken your immune system. Regular exercise and a whole food diet may not put more money in your bank account, but it may help you sleep better. Arriving at work well-rested helps us stay positive and productive. 

Taking “personal time” can be seen as a narrowly afforded luxury or worse, as an excuse for slacking off. (The entire concept of playing “hooky” was born from the idea that our personal time is not valuable enough to be taken seriously.) We feel irresponsible taking a “personal day,” like doing something just for fun is not value added. We have talked already about the importance of playtime, but still why don’t we allow ourselves a break?

If we temper our expectations for our devices when the batteries run low, why can’t we also temper our expectations for ourselves?

There is a tremendous amount of research in the fitness world that suggests that recovery is as critical to your routine as the workouts themselves. Elite athletes all over the world tout the benefits of the “off-season”. Think about it, even professional basketball players do not hit the court every single day. They spend long hours training in their chosen modality, but they also take time away. Giving the body time to rest and rebuild between workouts is the keystone to realizing progress.

Recharging does not have to include sleeping, or binge-watching shows on Netflix-although that is pretty darn nice too. Rest and recovery means engaging in low-stress (physical and emotional) activities that stimulate creativity, bring joy, or help us connect with others. Cleaning my apartment has become a favorite off-day activity for me. (I can’t believe I just said that. Mom will be SO proud!😂) I can take it at my own pace, listen to music, and by the end I feel way more relaxed.

Whether your recharge involves being playful, productive, or simply present in the moment, relish in it! Plan for and look forward to it. Make rejuvenation a habit. The ability to recover from stress (whether it’s physical stress from a workout, or emotional stress from an intense day at the office) helps us raise the intensity, to endure higher levels of stress in the future. BUT it is not until we slow down and give ourselves time to recharge that we can actually raise the bar.

The only way to make progress in life is by allowing our minds, our bodies, our spirits, to rejuvenate. Just like our cell phones, sometimes we absolutely NEED to power down and give ourselves a break. If we keep going without enough rest, we become useless…just like an iPhone with a dead battery.

Go hard, my friends! Chase your dreams, and live large. But, if you’re ever feeling tired or stressed, it’s okay! Sometimes rest is best.

Namaste,

E