Close Out the Year with Self Love

As the holidays approach, media and marketing will sell you on thinking it’s the most wonderful time of the year (and hoping you spend that pretty penny too). While I hope nothing but good cheer for all, sometimes this time of year brings forth heartbreaking reminders of those we’ve lost, failed resolutions, being stuck in careers, relationships, or unsatisfied life choices, or just simply feeling lonely. I’m here to remind you that even though these times may play havoc on your emotions, you’re still amazing and now, not just January 1, is the perfect time to practice some self-love.

I’ve come up with some practical ways for you to bring back that lovin’ feelin’, woah that lovin’ feelin’:

De-stress Monday’s

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There’s an account on Instagram I follow called @destressmonday and they also have a webpage here. Stereotypically, Monday’s are the “worst” but the account gives you little reminders to breathe, smile and think positively, not just on Mondays but for everyday of the week.

 

Start Saving Weekly to Give Yourself a Present/Trip

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Chanel Boutique in Paris

It may seem ironic to put away money when you know you probably should spend it towards the gifts for others this holiday, but how can you be your best for them if you don’t take care of yourself once in a while? Practicing some budgeting and rewarding yourself for making the means to grab something you really love or a getaway you’ve been craving for is not selfish, it’s making a goal, being diligent, and taking pride in your work. That’s an achievement!

 

Pay it Forward

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Be Kind from Momentum Jewelry

If you are feeling slightly guilty for thinking about yourself, which you SHOULDN’T, you can always give back to those in need or just do random acts of kindness. Smile and hold a door open for someone, buy the person’s coffee behind you, volunteer at the local food pantry, give to charity. There are literally millions of ways to help and be kind and in the long run, you’ll feel better because you brightened someone’s day!

 

Listen to Inspiring and Interesting Podcasts

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This American Life Podcast

I might get a little heavy here. Personally, losing 3 family members over the past 5 years actually makes the holidays suck, to be brutally honest. My mom was the champion of Christmas with the decorations, several little ceramic villages, lights, dinners, pies, and presents. She made the holidays feel lively, animated, and she made everyone around feel loved. This will be my 4th Christmas without her. It doesn’t get easier, but I know that by holding everything in could be disastrous. When I’m out on long runs, I like to listen to podcasts to pass the time, like This American Life with one episode in particular talking about a way to speak to loved ones who have passed and reconciling with others who are still here. The first act is discusses a documentary in Japan about the Wind Phone. It’s a non-working, old, rotary phone in a white phone booth box on a man’s garden that over 10,000 people have visited or used. It’s popularity began following the 2011 Tsunami and became a way for friends and family members, of those lost or taken from the disaster, to find a way to speak to their loved ones and grieve peacefully. I did end up watching the documentary here at this link, but be forewarned if you’re human, you’ll probably cry. The second act is about two elderly brothers, in their 80’s, who held a somewhat unknowingly grudge and hadn’t really spoken in about 20 years. The son of one helped to reconcile them, knowing time was not on their side and helped guide them to have an adult conversation about their grievances which helped to take some ‘weight’ off their shoulders. Both stories are healthy reminders to allow for time to think about your loved ones who are no longer here and to not wait to reach out to those who still matter to you while they are still here.

 

#12days12ways

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Brady the Cat, named after the GOAT Tom Brady

On a lighter note, because there are only 12 days left until Christmas there’s a hashtag going around called #12days12ways. It’s a reminder to reflect back and document, however you wish, 12 ways your life has changed positively over the past year.

Here are mine:

January: Got to celebrate the new year with my friend Liz, who visited us in France from NYC

February: Watching the Patriots win the SuperBowl

March: Spending a week in the Swiss Alps snowboarding

April: Completing my 9th Marathon in Rome, Italy and during that same week watch Julien crush his PR in the Paris Marathon

May: Completing the Luxembourg night half marathon, the hottest race I’ve ever done in my life

June: Growing my influence in the running, fitness and wellness community on Instagram and having my hard work, “little hobby”, get recognized with sponsorships and ambassadorships from companies like Under Armour and Nordstrom

July: Getting a new kitten and fur baby, Brady

August: Visiting my one of my oldest friends Dorothy, in Rotterdam, Netherlands while at the same time being lucky enough to have her on this side of the pond with me

September: Twofer, sneaking home on a super discount flight for Labor Day weekend to go on, one of my best friend’s, Katie’s sailboat and completing my 10th marathon and 3rd World Major in Berlin

October: Having my Dad visit for a couple weeks and then all of us flying back to the US for 3 weeks, 2 weddings and an east coast adventure

November: My birthday in Budapest, Hungary with my American bestie here in Metz, Carmen

December: Having Julien’s family embrace and welcome me into their home for Christmas this year

Here’s to ending the year on a positive note and feeling optimistic for what is to come!

 

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Post Valentine’s Day Thoughts

I’ll probably sound a bit like a Debbie Downer with this blog but hear me out. I’m one of those people who believes that Valentine’s Day is a marketing scheme for cards, flowers, overpriced restaurant menus and chocolates (ok, I do love chocolate). I don’t believe we need a day to say or prove our love with momentos. I also don’t believe in shaming those who love love, or those who use social media to prove “my boyfriend is better than yours” or making those who haven’t found a significant other feel lower than low (and I actually don’t think anyone does any of those things knowingly in spite or to create harm). However, with that being said I won’t knock a day that brings people together with loving thoughts and actions, to feel appreciated, special or even sexy. 

Cupid hits shoes

Yesterday’s Valentine’s Day consisted of 6am wake up and 1:40 commute to work which should be 45 minutes (traffic to Luxembourg is notoriously awful). I worked a half day because I had testing to determine my level to start French classes on February 27th (I’m not a beginner but I’m not fluent 😉). I ran 5 miles and then had a dermatology appointment, nothing serious thankfully, because I’ve been stupid with protection and have age spots.  People, protect your skin!! Then had another 1:40 commute home getting us back at 8pm. Julien did cook dinner and dessert, after a full days work, and at 9pm we ate and had some champagne before going to bed before 11pm. This is real life. It’s monotonous. It’s rather uneventful. It’s tiring. But that’s our relationship and we tell each other “I love you” every night and every morning. We don’t particularly need a special day to let us know how we feel about each other.

Valentine's Day Run

Valentine’s Day Run


Champagne

Champagne

My point is we shouldn’t have to prove our love (to a partner, family member, friend or anyone for that matter) just because of a heart shaped chocolates and a naked Cupid baby on a card says we should. We should be telling the ones we love that we care on a routine basis. Just like brushing our teeth or going for a run and doing some core work is good for our health, so is the maintenance of our relationships. 

Valentine's Day humor

So, if you’re in a fight, make peace by being the bigger person and saying “I’m sorry” first (even if you aren’t at fault). Buy a cup of coffee for the person in line behind you, open the door at the store and say thank you if someone did that for you. Volunteer at the local food pantry. Pick up litter on the metro or bus. Wave and nod to the jogger or walker passing by you on your run. I feel like we’ve lost a bit of humanity and it’s either go big or go home. Don’t get me wrong, I like material things but I don’t necessarily need them to feel validated as a loved individual. I know I’ve gotten into the hustle of life once or twice and think I’m under appreciated but it’s probably because I miss the small acts of kindness, texts, hugs or smiles. I believe these actions, if done daily just like exercise, can bring a lot more happiness.

Act Kind
I do hope everyone had a lovely Valentine’s Day and going forward everyday. I hope you get the chance to feel special and deserved and happy by either those around you or by commiting to loving yourself. We’re all worth it!

Because love is love is love is love ❤️ 

What did I do wrong book

What did I do wrong?

Beware: Tear Jerker

As a physical therapist, yes I’m specialized in high level sport rehab but a greater percentage of my job, in treating the outpatient community, is taking care of the elderly. 

I see them for all sorts of issues like knee and hip replacements, posture correction, low back pain to gait and balance. These souls are of a population I don’t have much interaction with outside of the clinic. And I selfishly lead my own life once I’m done for the day, not considering what I did for that person in the 30 minutes together or what and how they get home to after. I guess it’s out of sight, out of mind. 

But if you take a moment to watch the 10 minute video by Voyager called “Junk Mail“, the day in the life of 98 year old Mary, you might change your tune. I watched, I cried and I put myself in their shoes. 

This Thanksgiving I hope we all take time to be thankful for our families, homes, jobs, livelihood, but take time to give back to those who don’t have as much. We need to be kinder. We all need human contact. 

I volunteer with Boston Cares but there are so many other charities or groups locally you can invest with and, ultimately, make those we help plus ourselves, feel better.