I was falling into the black hole of YouTube the other day (you know that hole where you go in to find one video and then 2 hours later, you find yourself watching a totally unrelated video?) and I came across a video featuring Miranda Kerr. It’s actually a worthwhile video to watch, but she said something in the video that really resonated with me.
“If you take care of yourself, then you can give so much more as a mother, you can give so much more to your work …”
Obviously, this quote can be tailored to you: “If you take care of yourself, then you can give so much more as a ________ [friend, daughter, wife, mother …]
I don’t know why, but I’ve been especially cranky and “off” this holiday season. Throughout the school year, I would get into frequent bouts of feeling “off” to the point where many of my friends felt it.
Now I’m not advocating for people pleasers, but I don’t think it’s fair or ever enjoyable for your friends to deal with negative/pessimistic people. I always feel horrible and sorry when I’m snapping back to my friends or am not my usual chirpy self.
I think this quote is really critical, especially during the holidays when we’re spending so much time with our family and friends. We have to be the best versions of ourselves so that we can step our best foot forward when we’re spending time with others.
For me, that’s to exercise, journal, get lots of sleep, eat nourishing and nutritious food and getting enough alone time. This last one seems counterintuitive, but I often times find myself the most energetic and outgoing with my friends when I’ve had enough time for myself to recharge.
And exercise doesn’t have to be extreme. I usually like to go on runs, but these days I’ve been trying out the barre/pilates/yoga classes at my gym – and completely obsessed! It’s nice to have someone tell you what to do and the class members motivate you to not give up! Or even a simple morning walk with the dog or family is always up my alley.
So in short, remember to pamper and take care of yourself during the holiday season. It can definitely get hectic and busy, but unless you maintain the best version of yourself, you can’t give as much to those around you.
I’ve recently been in a funk. After school got out on May 31st, I’ve just lost all motivation and energy. I am an extremely organized and Type-A person – so much so that I plan my days out to the minute. Throughout the school year, before I went to sleep, I would create my schedule from my notes app. It would be something like
This sort of method helped me to stay on top of things but I think such a rigid and structured schedule made me completely flop over when school ended.
Things I enjoyed such as blogging, running, and reading, became things I didn’t even consider doing. I just wanted to sleep, eat, and watch videos on YouTube.
It’s hard to describe the feelings exactly but I’m sure many of you guys here can relate those days when you just don’t want to do anything.
But I’m slowly coming out of that funk right now and I have a few tips based on my experience.
UNPLUG | We unfortunately have these things called electronics and social media. I really really recommend to those who are in a funk to just UNPLUG. We have such a bad tendency to just reach for our phones or our computers whenever we feel lazy or unmotivated. This is procrastination at its finest. I tend to procrastinate on studying or doing work by going on social media rather than spending time with my friends or family or by reading. This past week, I unplugged for just one day and it was such a powerful experience. My emotions and feelings were no longer dependent on these small devices – I felt so free and lighter. Take a day or a few hours to just unplug (if you need to tell some important people beforehand, send them a quick text saying that you’re going to turn off your phone for x amount of hours). You’ll feel refreshed and reset to forget about the sluggish past few days and look forward to a fresh new slate.
WALK | While I haven’t been running at all this past week, I’ve been walking every night for an hour with my parents. Something about being surrounded by who love you the most in the midst of a light cool evening breeze and just walking it out is therapeutic. Also, walking alone is great too. Listen to some music (or refrain if you’re going to adhere to #1) and take a moment to just reflect and think.
JOURNAL | Maybe it’s because I am a huge journal addict, but I love love journaling. Its really powerful to just jot down your feelings. Sometimes you just don’t know why you’re feeling like you do. You feel sluggish, unmotivated and lazy, but you don’t know WHY. And writing in your journal, it allows you to again, take a minute, reflect, and identify why you’re feeling a certain way and then find ways to solve it.
You can see that in these three tips, the running theme is to TAKE A MINUTE. Just take a moment, close your eyes, breathe deeply, and reflect what you are feeling and why you are feeling that way.
And the most important thing to remember is that we all have those days. It’s normal to feel unmotivated and sluggish. We are not perfect. We are human. We are allowed to feel lazy and not are best selves.
This is definitely a question, actually more of a belief that I would have held last year.
As much as I loved running and the feeling you get after a nice long run, I do have to admit that I did run for the sake of staying fit. My thought process was this: if I run, then that means I’m burning more calories, building up more stamina and endurance, yeah, I’m going to keep on running.
And this mindset would be the driving force despite the pain I felt in my knees, the heaviness in my quads, the limping after my run.
Now this isn’t to say that running is bad, no that’s not it. After taking a break from running and simply “intuitively exercising” I’ve realized that I’ve been extreme in my attitude towards exercise.
I reasoned that if you don’t exercise, namely rigorous exercise (which means lots of sweating, lots of heavy panting, frequent thoughts of “I can’t do this. I want to give up”), then I won’t be fit.
However, as I continue to consistently do yoga, walk a lot, and go golfing, I realize that exercise doesn’t have to be necessarily rigorous to make an impact.
It’s just a matter of efficiency. Running, HIIT (High intensity interval training), boxing require a lot of energy but in a short burst of time. Yoga, golf, walking, hiking require much less energy, but during a longer period of time. Now, long distance running has both the energy and the length aspect, which is probably why the bodies of long distance runners is generally referred to as #bodygoals.
However, I think the key to exercise is not about the intensity or about the length, but about how much you enjoy it.
My dad personally hates running (yet he was my buddy runner for all my 5K GOTR races when I was in middle school – thanks dad!!! <3), but he LOOOVES golfing. He claims that he’s not good (I don’t know about that since he’s waaaay better than me lol) but he enjoys the sport so much. Now, there’s no point in him to run since he literally only goes to the gym once or twice a month to run on the treadmill. What good is that? Yeah, even if one mile is nearly 100 calories, what good is it if he only runs 4 miles ONCE a month? Just 400 calories.
But he almost golfing every weekend with his friends. And I mean every weekend. Minus the weekends that he’s visiting me that is. Even during the winter, he would go out with a million of layers and lots of heat packs. He even did a golf outing with his friends for a long weekend where for two days, they played 36 holes each. 18 holes before lunch and 18 holes after lunch. I know, extreme.
But despite the less energy golf requires, my dad does it in such high frequency that in the long run, golf is the exercise that makes him fit. And let me tell you, don’t regard golf lightly. All the times I’ve gone golfing with my dad, walking the full course is a lot of work. I had my phone in my pocket the whole time and after the course, I checked my phone and it was already over 10,000 steps. Think about it! I just walked the recommended number of steps by doing a round of golf! It definitely requires less energy BUT it’s for a prolonged time so it definitely does train you.
Sorry for this long rant – these days, I’ve been getting a lot of “aha!” moments about eating and exercise. And I wanted to spread this “wisdom” I’ve been getting with you all.
Today, I want to talk about intuitively exercising. I really want to experiment with this “intuitive exercise” thing for a month and perhaps give you guys an update.
As many of you guys know, I am pretty strict and regimented about my exercising routine (as you can see from my various exercise blog posts). However, for the past three weeks or so, I’ve gone to the gym perhaps in total of three times. I know…gasp. It’s a surprise for me as well.
Now, I don’t know why all of a sudden, my motivation and love for exercise died down. Perhaps it’s because of all the injuries I’ve gotten this past year (knee problems, shin problems, foot stress fracture) and perhaps because I got cut from winter track this year that I really wasn’t required to run every day like I was in the fall with cross-country or last year when I did winter track. I don’t know. I really can’t say what the reason was.
Regardless, I’ve trying to get back into exercise. And I want to get back by intuitively exercising. And this means whatever makes me move and makes my heart pump for at least 30 minutes. At that means at that instant – that instant where you realize you should exercise — what do you want to do? What makes you excited to move around?
Whether that means I’m foolishly dancing to songs, whether that means I run for 10 minutes and walk for 20 minutes, whether that means I go on a hike with my parents, whether that means I go shopping with my mom (which always takes longer than 30 minutes), whether that means I go on YouTube and find a 30 minute full-workout video or do a nice relaxing yoga session, as long as I’m moving and my heart rate is increasing, I’m good.
I think this makes exercise so much more enjoyable. Not that running wasn’t enjoyable to me. I think because I came back from so many running injuries and thus had a hiatus from running, my endurance and stamina for running has dropped significantly. And being the Type-A perfectionist I am, every time I go on a run after my injury, I am striving to get to those splits and times and mileage again. Which is unhealthy. And which makes my body struggle and makes the whole exercise experience unenjoyable.
Therefore, I’m just going to do whatever floats my boat. Intuitive exercise doesn’t mean that I’m going to get out of shape or gain weight. In fact, some of the most slimmest countries do just that! Reading about the Japanese or Korean or Europeans, while these countries have the most delicious foods (at least in my opinion), the natives are so slim. Why? First their portions are small (what Serena just wrote about) and second, they walk A LOT. In America, we tend to rely a lot on our cars – but in these countries, there’s a lot of walking. While there’s still public transportation, walking to and from the bus stop, train stop, and all sorts all adds up. And so these people eat good food and stay in shape by simply walking! So don’t be afraid/think that your exercise regime isn’t “hard enough” – as long as you’re moving and you love what you’re doing to exercise, then you’re all set!
Knowing myself, right now, I’ll have grown a food baby from all the good food I’ve been eating in Korea.
HOWEVER, I’m hoping that I don’t go so out of control. So this post is dedicated to those who want to travel the healthy way but at the same time go the #YOLO way. I think it’s really depressing if because of your weight loss regime, or diet, or whatever, that you pass up on the delicious concoctions that are only available at your travel destination. So here are some of my tips for healthy travel.
1. HYDRATE | This is especially true on the plane. It gets especially dry up there, so make sure to properly hydrate.
3. Don’t think that you have to finish the whole thing | Yes, I know it’s manners and we’ve been taught as children to not leave anything on our plate, but don’t think like you have to finish that massive pasta bowl or whatever. Remember: restaurants usually do not serve proper portions but much larger portions. Make sure to listen to your body and STOP when you’re full.
4. Share the good (indulgence food) | Similar to the previous point, if you want to order that dessert on the menu, don’t think you have to finish it all by yourself. Share it with someone at the table. Twice the joy, half the calories.
5. Stretch everyday. | Flexibility is just as important than other fitness skills. And stretching is super easy to do on your hotel bed or while in your plane seat. Stretch, stretch, stretch.
6. Walk lots. | Take the long route (walking), walk up the stairs if you can. As a runner, I don’t think I’ll be able to run in Korea (insert sobbing emoji) nevertheless, make sure to just MOVE a lot.