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!

 

Wake up early, meditate, be thankful – Check

So last week I determined to get out of my funk. I decided to take 5 steps in doing so. Here’s a recap:

1. Wake up by 7am. 2. Eat right. 3. Communicate. 4. Meditate. 5. Journal Joyful moments

I said I would check in with you all this week if I indeed followed through with acting on my steps to less stress and more happiness. I’m proud to say I’ve done 3 out of 5.

I’m not perfect (I know, shocking) and I’m not a morning person. Getting up for 7am when I am not forced is just plain annoying. Is it an excuse that I’m probably lazy? Yes. But do I enjoy my moments in bed until 8 or 9 on non-workdays? Yes. Would I also enjoy getting up at 7am, working out, breakfast ate, and showered before 9? Sure. Am I so damn lucky (my Dmb fans, see what I did there?) that I get a choice? You betcha. I’m not disappointed that I couldn’t follow through for the week but I did get up for 7am 3 out of the 4 days so I’m not a lost cause. I figure if I was in misery and wasn’t out of bed before double digits then this should really be an area of focus, but so far so good. 

Communication was also minimal, however I did do my 30 minute daily French lessons everyday. I also hung out with Americans living in Metz (I’ve met 2 more!) for a Saturday picnic but I’ve lacked any attempt in actually speaking French. My only excuse is my irrational fear of sucking. You can’t get better if you don’t try, right? This is will be my long shot.

Eating right as I mentioned in my last blog was something I was currently doing but was trying to eliminate going out and drinking too much. With Saturday shopping for the week and Sunday meal prepping, this week so far has been a breeze. Breakfast, Lunch, dinner and two snacks are all prepped with only minutes needed to finalize the meals. Boom. I’ve also been well behaved with no weekday drinking and have decided to hold off on beer, at least until I go back to Boston on June 10.

I’ve been on point with learning how to meditate with the useful app for my iPhone called HeadSpace. You start with 10 minutes a day for 10 days. It’s a nice way to either start or wind down from the day. I will admit it was harder than I expected because my mind is so used to controlling me than me it. It teaches you how to breathe and absorb your external environment but not act on it. It is a tool to help you find mental equilibrium to keep in check our emotions. Plus there is a ton of research out there that supports this and discusses improvement in relationships, mood, memory, and attention span. 

Lastly, I did journal my 3 joyful moments in each day in my notes section of my iPhone. I was thinking about getting cute stationary but I don’t have a nightstand and why waste paper? I found this exercise to be helpful in remembering good points and bring you back from maybe thinking the day was really shitty or exhausting. 


Overall I like my new routine and going to try to stick with it. I’m happy and less stressed. Here’s hoping my extra beauty sleep and memory from meditation help me digest more French and gain confidence!

In a Funk? Steps to Reset

I was having a hard time thinking of a blog write up this week. I was a bit unmotivated and no topic seemed to spark interest for me. Maybe I’m being selfish because I didn’t have travel plans. Maybe I’m in a rut with my nutrition. Maybe I’m still experiencing my post race blues. Maybe the novelty of moving abroad is losing its luster as I form a daily routine. Maybe I’m frustrated with my lack of French speaking or understanding progress. Maybe I miss my Boston friends. I can’t put my finger on exactly what it is but I’m in a funk.

I’m determined to snap out of my funk. Here are some steps I plan to follow through the rest of May to personally reset:

1. Wake up earlier

I’ll admit going from a full time position that required me to be at work most days before 7am to 3 days a week, where I have no obligation to be up before 7am, has it’s perks. As a non-morning person and preferring sleep or just resting in bed is a nice feeling, but I’m not on the right mindset for the rest of my day. My plan for the rest of May on Monday-Friday (I refuse to give up my sleeping in on weekends. I mean give me a break, do you want me to go insane completely?) is to wake up at 7, have a tea and read or listen to slow news in French podcast, workout or run based on a schedule from signing up for an upcoming race, and have breakfast. 

2. Eat Right

This really won’t be too hard of a step as we do eat well throughout the week. I’m crushing the meal prep each week for dinners but my breakfasts have slacked and I think that’s the most important meal of the day. My weekends have also fallen into the party atmosphere trap. With either travel or eating at restaurants to just plan drinking too much on the weekends, I am only breaking even for the rest of the week. I’m constantly detoxing my weekend impurities through the week to have it go straight to hell when Friday rolls back around. My plans for the rest of May are to reduce binge drinking and eating out on weekends, to stay consistent through the whole week of just plan eating right. I won’t say I won’t have a glass of wine at dinner but I won’t have 4. 

3. Engage in more Conversation

Although I’m not really forced to speak French, I wouldn’t say I’m pushing my boundaries in an effort to go out there and speak French. I think of failure too much. I really don’t like not being good at something, so I’d rather not do it at all. I have to accept that I won’t be perfect and it’s OK to make mistakes. I tried a conversation group in the past but had difficulty attending with my work schedule. I will be determined this month to continue my half hour Pimsleur lessons but then engage what I’m learning and really seek out conversation, even if I’m completely uncomfortable. This also means making an effort to speak or commuicate more with all friends I have, not just in regards to speaking French. Those who know me, know I’m not a big talker either on the phone on FaceTime or even text. But when I do catch up it’s like we pick up right where we left off. I’m headed to Boston for 10 days in June and I want to make sure I don’t miss anyone or anything so communication is key. 

4. Meditate

I have a racing mind. That leads me to be anxious and tense. I learned I grind my teeth at my last dentist appointment. I honestly didn’t even know I did. But everytime I do yoga or just meditate for 5-10 minutes I learn more about my body and state of mind. I realize I’m constantly holding tension everywhere and I’m not focusing on positive. I plan to meditate every day in the rest of May for at least 5 minutes with the help of YouTube videos. 

5. Write down joyful events

Getting back to the positives in life, I plan to journal 3 joyful events that happened each day before going to bed.  Not only will this force me to find the good in each day but it will help me find more gratefulness and optimism. 


Hopefully next week I can update you on my progress. À Mercredi!