Kindness Challenge and What I learned

Our 7 Day Kindness Challenge has come to an end. The last few days were a challenge. I have been home in bed with the worst stomach flu since I don’t know when. Not quite the way I planned on losing those 5 pounds for, Bikini/whatever bathing suit covers my stretch marks/Season, but here I am. When I first started this challenge, I really thought I would be out and about doing great deeds. Some days were like that. I got to do some volunteer work, ship some boxes to deployed Military, accept donations for future projects, had cash on me when I saw a homeless person in need. Other days I had to look closer to home and my circle of friends I interact with almost everyday. Instead of rolling my eyes or being annoyed at things I needed to around the house, I took it as my kindness act for the person that appreciate or benefit from it. I looked for ways to be a supportive friend or give a compliment. Then once I was stuck at home, I reached out to friends and family I have not talked to in awhile. Started a scrapbooking project for my kids that I have been putting off. Then I gave myself permission to be kind to myself for taking the needed time to get better without guilt of missed classes or letting others down. I binge watched TV shows (even though I had to hit pause every 10 min.) I didn’t shower for a couple days and just stayed in my pajamas and rested. I did fold some laundry and do a few dishes, I mean, it is me we are talking about. But, I let myself just be (the horrible stomach cramps made it hard to do much else, haha) I started to this challenge to be more mindful of ways I can make a difference in the world around me but it also made me more aware of the small opprotunties in front of me everyday. In my home, at work, and even as close as the mirror.

What did you learn in this 7 day challenge? I would live to hear from you.

With Kindness Always

St. Patrick’s Day Care Packages

When my daughter left for college and was too far to come home for weekends I embraced care packages. I love decorating the inside of the box and adding a few things to remind her of home. This year, not only is she at school but my son is in the Military and this is the 1st Holiday he is able to receive a care package. When the kids where little I left cut out shamrocks with clues on where to find the next one, leading them on a scavenger hunt to find the “treasure” they left. Always a box of Lucky Charms and a black pot filled with gold wrapped chocolates.

So for this years boxes I wrapped the inside with gold paper, added shamrock stickers and fun, twirly ribbon. They are filled with funny glasses, Kiss Me headbands, green bead necklaces and of course Lucky Charms and gold wrapped chocolates. Even far away I know it will be bring a smile to their face. I still have my youngest at home so I am hoping having a bowl of Lucky Charms with your mom will still be cool this year.

Let February Begin

Hello February 2019,

Like many of you, January did not live up to the hype for me and I am ready for the fresh start. To shake off all the expectations of New Year New You, Resolutions, Challenges, yada yada yada.

Here is my January in a nutshell:

  • I did not succeed at Dry January. It was more Dryish January. I did drink lots more tea and forgot how much I liked it. I went to bed earlier, read more, found out my favorite sushi joint has awesome green tea when I did not order hot sake. My favorite wine bar I sipped on French Press coffee. I did miss my lazy Sundays cooking, enjoying a glass wine and watching cheesy romantic movies while I meal prepped, so a couple cheat days happened there. Then there was a Military Mom meetup and vodka soda’s while talking about how much we miss our kids was too much to pass up. I fully enjoyed a cocktail while talking to my husband last night watching a movie. I went to bed early most of Jan and bypasssed watching TV to not be tempted to eat or drink, which was good, but I did miss spending time together. So the take-away, trading books and tea during the week for wine and TV will be a keeper. Going to bed earlier was much needed. Enjoying the occasional glass of wine with friends or cocktail with my hubby over good conversation, well that is staying as well.
  • Being injured is frustrating and annoying. I set a goal to do a pull-up before my son graduated Bootcamp. I made it to 3 chin-ups and felt good about that. Then my shoulder got injured. I have had to side line the whole thing while it heals, meaning I will lose all the progress I made. Real problem? No. I can still teach my classes. I am healthy, but I am still ……so annoyed.
  • 2018 was a big year for my family. My daughter became a mom, which means I became a grandma. My son became a Marine, which brought with it 3 months of no communication. Going from talking t your child once a day to stalking the mailman hoping for a letter was very hard. Then it ended with his graduation ,which was one of the proudest moments of my life. My baby started his Senior Year of High School. I think all the emotions caught up to me and I needed January to just kind of reset. I ate chocolate and ice cream. I was distracted and it was hard to work on new routines for my classes. My son was home on leave and I didn’t want to miss anytime with him. Finally by the last week, I found my groove again.
  • I still have a 17 year old at home. He breaks curfew. He is late to school. He talks about all the piercings and tattoos he is getting at 18. But, he is healthy, safe, not on drugs, just embracing the annoying teen thing a little too much, which is why I still need wine and chocolate.
  • I started working at 5:30 am 4 days a week instead of 2. Still not a morning person.
  • I let my gratitude journal slip which was my favorite habit I established in 2018. I did it every morning. The new work schedule maybe the reason for the change, I only wrote in it a few times at night before bed. This is a routine I want to embrace again. I have noticed the difference with out it and if I set any goals for February, this is it.

So there you have it. Bring on February.

 

Being a MoM

The past few weeks my son has been home on leave for the 1st time as a Marine. I am guilty of several things on this list and today in the market I can add “hiding your tears in the market as you shop for Sunday dinner, because you don’t know when the next one is”. Parenthood is hard. Motherhood is hard. Being a Military Parent stretches and challenges you in ways you can’t imagine until you are there. You are filled with so much pride, yet this child you love more than anything puts themselves through brutal training and challenges to be ready to protect and defend at a moments notice. Our job as parents is raise our children to grow into confident, independent, young adults ready to conquer their dreams. Raising a child who’s dream is to defend an entire country and adopt a new family to fight side by side with, makes you realize you really rocked at your job, and you have a truly amazing kid. So hug your babies while they are home. Smaller or taller than you. Say ” I Love You”, listen to their stories, they are your heart. As they venture out into the world, no matter what path they follow, time is all you want. To hug, to listen, to love.

Find Your Mantra

As we roll into the Holiday season it is easy to get caught up in the perfectionism of the season. Worrying about how Insta worthy our holiday pics are. Letting judgements of our relatives get the better of us. Allowing stress take our joy. Behaving in immature ways we don’t do any other time of year. We let food and drink be our crutch to “survive the holidays” and derail goals we have worked on all year.

Most of us have Mantras we rely on daily or some we pull out just when we need that extra push or moment of patience. This morning I took an online quiz to see what mine was and it was correct, “Be the change you want to see in the world.” I live by this most days but it got me thinking, what if I broke it down further. What if I was the change I wanted in my loved ones lives. That I showed more compassion, more understanding and stepped back before I took a comment personal. That I embraced all the things I wish for my family and friends everyday. Show my daughter that connecting with your family is the most important thing and not getting a perfect picture and missing the moment in the process.

Now this Thanksgiving I do have an advantage. I am traveling to spend time with my daughter her first year as a mother. We are staying with her and her in-laws and space will be limited. I also am unable to prepare the meal I usually would because it won’t make the 7 hour drive. So we have planned a scaled down, simplier meal to prepare. There will be favorites my kids have requested but let’s just say that I am going to accept the shortcuts this year as needed and if something is not from scratch, its okay. I am even going to do paper plates. This is the 1st year my daughter will look at this holiday through the eyes of being a mother. She will be looking to me as the example of how she now brings holidays to life for her family. Instead of nagging her to stay off her phone or question why she is not helping in the kitchen, be the example and set my phone aside. Let her enjoy a little peace as a new mom, let her relax and take notes on recipes she may want to pass down. Soon enough it will be her turn. My being calm, keeping it simple, putting the focus on spending time with each other will help her create peaceful, meaningful holidays for her and my grandbaby. When I was a new mom I stressed about everything being perfect, but as I know now, the holidays with the best memories and stories are not the perfect ones. I have had those Holidays where everything finished at the same time and looked beautiful, but more often, nope not even close. There has been family drama and broken reindeers. Even a fried turkey that never made it into the house and was eaten in the garage. Fortunately, I had a back-up turkey in the oven. Then the holidays we didn’t even get out of our jammies and watched movies and ate all day.

When things start to derail, we need to pull out that favorite mantra and remember why what we are doing is important to us. We need to focus on what we will gain. Anytime in life we focus on all that can go wrong, we miss the moment right in front of us. Sometimes a simple “thank you” repeated over and over is enough to remind us. Maybe with certain family members “I am enough” is the mantra you will need. My other favorite “You can do anything for 10 seconds” might be enough time to stop an eye roll or sarcastic comment.  Some of you shared your favorites with me as I posted this was today’s topic. “Do your best with what you have at each moment.” “Own who you are.” “Unapologetically me.” What mantra will you choose?

Shine When It’s Your Time

Sun and moon

As a fitness instructor, I put myself out there to encourage others to enjoy their workouts, have fun, and help them reach fitness or health goals. When someone shares a story of how their workouts have helped them not just physically but mentally overcome depression, loss, stress, loneliness, the magnitude of how blessed I am to be able to connect with people and be part of their story, is truly humbling. As we all know, anytime you open yourself to the world, there will be people ready to knock you down.

I see it in the gym when friends who started working out together, stop being supporting of one another when their goals or their progress shifts away from each other. The looks of judgement when someone is new and trying to find their footing starting their fitness journey. When cliques develop over certain workouts or classes, not recognizing one shoe does not fit all.

I would like to say as instructors we set a better example, but sadly I know this is not true. We judge each other on class numbers, social media following, if our format is better, how expensive our shoes and workout clothes are. We question if our body is in good enough shape to even be in front of a class, if we are talking enough or too much,  if  the critics are right.

Standing in front of groups of people, several times a day, eventually criticism will come. On the days it is constructive, I am grateful. I embrace the opportunity to grow as an instructor, to provide better classes and better experiences for my participants. At times, it is not, and I challenge myself to remember the way my light shines is not for everyone. I might be the sun and they need the moon. When I encounter another instructor not creating the kind of positive, supporting, uplifting class I think is important, I remind myself to stay in my lane. If I stay true to me, I will get to my destination and I will have a tribe with me that is excited about sharing the road together and letting each other shine. Each person deserves to find their lane, their light, without our judgment or harsh comments.

When we are on the end of criticism, we have an opportunity to grow, to let our heart become kinder for when we feel we need to offer guidance, to become stronger by standing up for ourselves when needed. The moon can shine in the dark and so can we.