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?
This is a saying I use a lot in my fitness classes. I usually get a groin or an eye roll, but as a group we push through and finish. The depth of these words never truly hit home with me until I wrote them to my son in the 1st letter he will receive at Boot Camp. “Tell yourself you can do anything for 10 seconds and if you need 10 more seconds, say it again”. We all have times we need to push through those 10 seconds to reach a goal. Small things: I can do push-ups 10 more seconds. I can walk away from that cookie. I can focus on this project. Then there will be moments that it will take all your inner strength to get through. Those 10 seconds will be the most challenging of your life. Knowing my son is facing that repeatedly over the next several weeks means I have been relying on this phrase heavily.
Sometimes, you need those 10 seconds to breath. Throughout the day we all face challenges that can cause us to react in a way we may regret later. Traffic, a screaming toddler, an unreasonable client, a salty teenager or a situation we have no idea how to handle. We need to take 10 seconds, to not cut someone off or make a gesture. To see the tiny, hungry, tired person in front of us. Or most important, to not say things we can’t back. Sometimes 10 seconds to breath is what will help look at the situation from the outside. The person in the other car doesn’t know me, they clearly are having a bad day. Does it really matter what strangers in this store think of my child’s behavior. Does this client understand what they want from this project? Is this battle worth picking? You are not going to be able to solve every problem in 10 seconds but it can help you connect with your inner self so in the next 10 seconds, you are expressing who you want be.
We can use 10 seconds to be kind. We often say we want to do more but we don’t have time. You can roll your eyes when you see a shopping left in the parking lot or push it as you walk up to the store. You can send a text to a friend having a rough time. You can hold a door open for someone. You can tell someone thank you. You can tell someone I love you. Now, with a fresh perspective, you can do anything for 10 seconds.
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.
Spring is here and like many of you, I am looking at my home, my schedule, my inner self and taking inventory of what I am ready to let go of, and what I would like to add to my life. While I have been quiet online, there has been a lot going on as I refocus, redirect and look at how I really want to use this space and what I want to share. While I will continue to share workouts and recipes, I am feeling I want to share deeper and be more open. From the conversations I have had the last few weeks, a lot of us are struggling with parenting, marriage, friendships, feeling guilty and trying to find balance. Yet, we don’t want to talk. We are afraid of being judged and instead put on that perfect front. I think the ultimate act of kindness is to be open and honest with those struggling around us and be transparent so our loved ones can support us. I will be running some challenge groups in the FB group that will help us share and reach short-term goals. Coffee Talk posts will be more frequent and real life struggles parenting a teen and young adults, new adventures in my 21 year marriage and just life in general. Cardio And More will continue to be workouts and tips. Cup Of Love is a space for motivation, kindness and peaceful living. Thank you for being part of my journey, for your love and support. Please comment on any topics or tips you would like to see in the coming weeks. Hope your week is filled with Coffee, Peace and a little Cardio.
This morning I sat down to write in my gratitude journal, enjoying a cup of coffee and the quiet of the morning. I was flipping through the last week and this statement I wrote down jumped out at me ” Be unapologetically you. You are never too much.” It was from a morning text I received from Shine and clearly a reminder I needed today. One of my favorite sayings is “a candle does not lose their light by lighting another candle.” There will always be people who want to be the only light in the room. Some people have not found their light yet. You can be an encouragement and lift others up but we need to stop apologizing for living our best life. You are not too much! Be Unapologetically You. 🙂
When we are surrounded by sadness and don’t know how to make a difference, start with one small, kind act. Be a light in darkness.