Category: health

I’ve taken up running.

Did I mention this? Probably not. It’s been a minute since I posted here. It started in December. A friend asked me if I’d consider running with her. She was transitioning between a gym and a personal trainer and was considering just saving all that money and switching up her fitness routine by running instead.

I had never considered running. I was always one of those people who joked that if you saw me running, it was probably the zombie apocolypse. But I had really loved going on early-morning walks with this friend (we had worked our way up to 3 miles a day, 4-5 days a week) so I said yes.

I started reading a little bit, I made sure my walking shoes were okay to run in. I bought a headband-ear-warmer thing, and when January 1st rolled around I texted her. “Running tomorrow?”

Err, umm, actually, no. She had found a different gym and wasn’t going to do the running idea after all.

Well, poop. I had psyched myself up for it! I wanted to see if I could do it! So… I did it.

At first, I couldn’t run a full mile without stopping to walk. I used a highly scientific method for “training.” I left my house walking until I felt like I needed to jog. Then I jogged along until I felt like I was going to throw up, at which point I downshifted to walking again. I made myself get outside as often as the weather cooperated.

In January, that was about 4 runs. And in February it was only about 5 runs. But the weather turned pretty eventually, and in March and April I started to really be able to go running with consistency. I started challenging myself for little victories: the first time I ran a full mile without walking! the first time I ran a 5K distance (3.11 miles)! I got an app that tracked my distance, and as I saw my miles tick toward 100, I realized something:

I like this.

As workouts go, I can’t rave about it the way I did P90x3. I did that workout for 90(ish) days and saw insane results. With running – well, see, I want to run a few times a week and still eat pie. So, I haven’t made any big shifts to make myself overhaul my nutrition the way I did during X3. Also, I did x3 six days a week almost every week. With running, I get out there between 3 and 5 days a week. I have lost a couple of pounds, I have lost a couple of inches, but nothing drastic or noticeable to most people.

I like it as a hobby. I like it as something FUN to do. And I think that’s what has made the difference. I’ve never had a physical activity that I’ve stuck with for this long. I’m eight months in to running, getting close to the 200 mile mark, and I really don’t want to quit.

The problem

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Self Care for Moms

I woke up this morning thinking about self-care, and how different that looks now than at any point in my adult life.

For one thing, I now know and use the phrase self-care and I don’t even feel too awkward or embarrassed about it. Well. I still feel a little awkward, to be honest. Taking care of my self has not always been easy for me.

Briefly: when I was in college, many of these things came very naturally. Part of that can be attributed to the environment I was in (I was surrounded by friends, literally living with my best friend, and living in the middle of a place where I felt valued and respected. My academic career, my campus jobs and volunteer opportunities, and my sorority all packed those years chock-full of caring for myself – but back then, I didn’t even realize that’s what was happening.

Which meant that as adulting hit break-neck speed (we got married, Chris started chemo, I started my first job, we moved, he started medical school, we had miscarriages and then eventually a baby and another and another), I didn’t realize some of the things I needed to do to nurture my self.

Eventually, I started to realize I needed care because I was starting to crack. And over the years, I have figured out a lot of ways to take care of myself – and over the years, I’ve been all over the board in terms of how much time, money, and energy I’ve had to devote to self-care.

I thought that it might be helpful to share some of what has worked for me, in case you:

  • are pretty gosh-darn broke
  • are a  single mom or a “work widow”
  • are knee-deep in the baby stage with a little one who can’t be left for long
  • are up to your eyeballs with multiple kids at multiple ages
  • finally have a little bit of fun-money to spend
  • just got out of the baby stage and have a few minutes to yourself now and then

…because I’ve been at ALL those places. Each of those circumstances have their own challenges, but self-care can still happen.

**********

What does self-care mean, exactly?

Self-care is anything you do that feeds your spirit. It recharges your batteries and connects you to who you really are. It may involve caring for your physical body, your mental health, your emotional state, or your spirituality.

I think I get it. But I need examples! 

Okay, good. That’s what this post was supposed to be about, anyway! Here we go. A quick guide to the notations:
$ (when you’re super broke)
$$ (when you have a little cash)
$$$ (when money’s no object)
SW – single mom or work-widow mom
NB – newborn nearby
MK – multiple kids
FT – finally have a little free time

 

Coffee/Tea
$ – A quick cuppa can be crazy-cheap if you do it at home. It’s

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Sweet Abi started taking a ballet/tap combination class this school year. She so adorably loves it. Every Friday morning, she gets all decked out (and even lets me fix her hair! #girlmomperks ) and after class, regales me with chatter about what her teacher did and what her friends said and all the movement games they played.

I love it for her.IMG_6661

When I was about 11, I took ballet when we lived in Texas. I think I took classes for about a year, and I remember loving the music, the movements. It was probably the first time I felt aware of my body and proud of its strength. But when my dance teacher told us that she wanted me to move up to the en pointe class, I got scared. She said I was younger than most of her pointe students, but she thought I would do well.

Even as a kid, I had a bad case of paralyzing perfectionism. The idea of going into a new class where I would be the youngest, the least experienced, and therefore probably the worst? No way, nuh-uh, not happening.

So I quit ballet.

That was the first of many hobbies and interests and activities I would begin, excel in, and abruptly quit.

Piano. Baton. Horseback riding. Sewing. Spanish.

I’m so thankful that my parents continued to let me try new things.

But I hate how my anxieties kept me from enjoying them longer. I wish I had been able to push myself past the part where the new skill got challenging. When I could no longer play my piano pieces through after a single practice session, I decided that meant I didn’t really have “an ear for music,” and I stopped taking lessons. After my first parade, I realized that other {older, experienced} baton twirlers could do a zillion more tricks than I could, and figured since I was still struggling with Move X, I’d probably never ever master my way up to Move Y. So I quit that, too.

The thing I’ve realized as an adult is that a lot of that tendency was due to my particular brain. Lots of gifted kids exhibit this little quirk: so many things come so easily to us upon first blush, that we get accustomed to everything coming naturally. We also get stuck in a feedback loop, where adults praise us for mastering things that seem very simple and effortless: therefore we think that effortless=praiseworthy. We see kids around us struggling with mastery and {yes, it’s true, we kinda can’t help it, many of us start off pretty egotistical and only learn empathy later} we assume that struggle=stupidity. Then, the first time we hit a task that’s going to require some WORK on our part, we spiral into cataclysmic thinking.

This is hard. -> Stuff is supposed to be easy for me.  -> If it’s hard, that means I’m stupid {about this}. -> Feeling stupid

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keepcalm

When I was a kid, I wasn’t particularly fearful. I don’t remember being afraid of the dark, or of monsters under my bed. I was too rational and logical, even at three or four years old, to get caught up in those fears.

I’m not sure exactly when that started to change. It wasn’t that I ever really got swept up in normal kid fears; it was more like I had a really heightened sense of awareness of everything that could go wrong in the world. The first pivotal moment came when my dad went to the Persian Gulf for Operation Desert Storm. My mother and brother and I remained in our house on Fort Hood, in central Texas, for a while. Then after a few months, we took a Greyhound bus all the way to Thomasville, Georgia. If you’re not familiar with the Southeastern United States, let me illustrate (well, let Google Maps illustrate):
TxToGaMap

That is a long stinkin’ bus ride. Please note that the 14 hours drive time helpfully listed on this map? Does not account for bus stops. Anyway, what was I saying? Ah, yes, pivotal moments in Fear.

There was this man on one of the busses. I was turned around in my seat, kneeling and looking around the bus. It was such a new experience, you know? Everything seemed infinitely possible. Who were all these people? Where were they all going? And then this guy made eye contact with me. My memory of him is hazy; over time I’ve turned him into that guy from Con-Air. At the time, of course, I had never seen Con-Air. But that guy scared me, like down to my bones scared me. My stomach clenched and I just knew I couldn’t explain it to my mom, who was seated across the aisle. She was sharing a seat with Jason, who was feeling horribly bus-sick most of the ride.

Danny Trejo Con AirIt was all fine, you know, as most bogeyman stories are. The guy didn’t grab me or try to kidnap me. We stopped eventually and found Dramamine for Jason. I remember the bus stopping at a Popeye’s chicken. I remember watching the trees change. That’s the thing about a trip from Texas to Georgia – the trees change and when you finally start seeing the pecans, you know you’re almost home.

We got to the bus station, and my Grandmama was there to pick us up, and we went to her house and I felt warm and safe. Even though I know now it’s not true, at the time it felt like the only place I would ever be completely safe again was at her house.

Eventually, the war ended and my dad

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It’s been 13 years since Chris’ diagnosis with testicular cancer. I told the whole story a few years ago, so I won’t repeat myself.

But do you know what’s always worth repeating?

ThanksBe
I am still thankful for restoration and health at the hands of the Great Physician. Thankful for the man Chris has become through the past thirteen years. Thankful for the three beautiful children with whom we have been blessed, and for the life we have built. Thankful for the hundreds of lives he’s touched through his work. Thankful beyond measure to the Lord Jesus Christ.

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I’m considering my first round of P90X3 finished. I didn’t officially “graduate” — I let life stuff get in the way and I really lost steam during my third block. When the calendar flipped to a new month, I decided to make a fresh start. Even though it took me well over 100 days, I’m calling these my “90 day” results and I’m starting again with a brand new round of the program!

Day 1 Stats:
Weight: 121.4 lbs
Chest 34″
Natural Waist 29″
Navel 34″
Hips 37 1/4″
R Thigh 21″
L Thigh 21 3/8″
R Arm 10 7/8″
L Arm 10 3/4″

Day 90 Stats:
Weight: 119.8 lbs
Chest 33″
Natural Waist 26 3/4″
Navel 32″
Hips 34 1/4″
R Thigh 20″
L Thigh 20 1/2″
R Arm 11″
L Arm 10 7/8″

So, overall I lost 1.6 pounds and 10.25 inches. I love the way I can tell my face has slimmed down. I’m thrilled with my legs and obliques, especially. 🙂

Fit Test Results
Day 1
Pullups: 0
Vertical Leap: 6″
Push-ups: 5 (standard)
Toe Touch: +6 3/8″
Wall Squat: 2m, 1sec
Bicep Curls: 20 @ 8lbs.
In & Outs: 16

Day 90
Pullups: 1 (it was ugly, struggling, and wobbly, but I did it!)
Vertical Leap: 9″
Push-ups: 11 (standard)
Toe Touch: 8″
Wall Squat: 2m, 21sec
Bicep Curls: 24 @ 8lbs.
In & Outs: 32

For round 2, I’m going to follow the “Lean Program” (it uses the same 16 workouts, but in a different order than the Classic plan). I’m also really going to focus on my abs, and will try to add the Ab Ripper routine a few times a week to accomplish that goal. #journeystrong

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Meet the author

MICHELLE NEBEL

I write uplifting women’s fiction woven with threads of faith, grace, and Southern hospitality. My blog is where I share a glimpse of my life, and I hope you’ll find the thoughts here encouraging!

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