Procrastination

PROCRASTINATION

is on my mind this morning….

Why do we put ‘things’ off?

Why are we willing to do ‘anything’ other than the ‘one thing’ we know we should be doing?

I’m not a procrastinator. I’m one of those ‘roll up your shirt sleeves and get it done’ kind of girls.

So, when I find myself avoiding a task I know needs action; I have to delve deeper and find out exactly why I am putting that particular activity on the ‘back burner’.

There are many reasons why  space exists between our intentions and actions.

There are also different types of ‘procrastinators’.

The reality is this: the end result is always the same; procrastination eats away at our most valuable asset, which is time.

We only get so much time. So why are we wasting it?

Procrastinating would seem to be a self-inflicted sort of wound that delays what we feel will result in ‘failure’.

Whenever I am dragging my feet toward action I need to dig deeper and find out what is really going on.

This winter, I found myself begrudgingly heading toward my  basement exercise room. This happened more than once. I found my morning exercise to be postponed well past its usual time.  I had to ask myself , ‘Why?’ What was it about my exercise program that I was not feeling the love?

Sometimes, it can be as simple as we need to change our routine. Maybe we need to give ourselves ‘permission’ to take a rest day. Maybe we need to make some minor adjustments to our meal design. Begin by tweaking a few minor things and see if our ‘procrastination’ lingers.

Have we been performing the routine longer than six weeks?  Are we getting impatient for results?  Do we dislike the activity?  Is our workout area bright and cheerful?  Are we getting enough sleep and recovery time?  Are we drinking enough water?

Getting to the bottom of our delay tactics requires brutal honesty with ourselves.

Get real. Let’s stop kidding ourselves.   As someone once said, “This isn’t a dress rehearsal.”  This is our life.

In my case, I needed to switch my physical design routine. I was getting bored with my current situation. I needed a change of scenery.  The boredom was not with just the exercise, either.   I was feeling antsy and ready for change in several areas of life.  Again, this realization requires us to be brutally honest AF with ourselves.   Deal with the reality then do something to change it.

I think we all postpone things from time to time. Shaming is not motivation. Fear of failure is often the truth behind stalling and needs to be dealt with realistically, if that is the root cause.   Frustration from lack of results may simply mean we need to be more realistic with our goals.  Boredom may require us to be a bit more creative with our physical activity or daily duties.

What are you trying to avoid?

We only get so much time here. I want to help us stop wasting it.

Renewal

Photography by Terri Pouliot

“There’s a big difference between empty fatigue and gratifying exhaustion. Know the difference. Life is too short. Invest in the activities (and relationships) you deeply care about. Value what you give your energy to. Focus on what matters and let go of what does not.”

–Marc Cheroff

I love this quote! Pause for a few moments and allow it to resonate deep within.

Redefine this Season of Spring. Go through each room of your spiritual ‘house’ and do some deep cleaning.

Liberate the mind, body and spirit by letting go of the things that are no longer meant to be. How do you know what these things are? If we spend any time at all getting quiet….and then really listening; we will know. Deep in our hearts, we will know.

Photography by Terri Pouliot

I live in a part of the world that fully undergoes four unique seasons. Some months, it may seem like all four of these changeable climates are rolled into one. With the seasons, our bodies and minds should naturally follow suit.

Many complain of feeling drained and tired after having gone through the harsh winter months. That’s when we truly need to re-evaluate our physical activities and the meals we are consuming. Get outdoors and breathe some fresh air. A brisk walk, especially in one of our beautiful parks; always soothes my spirit and energizes me.

The cold, dark winter months often mean dishes heavy on ‘comforting’ carbohydrates and not much in the way of vegetables. Now is the time to make that seasonal shift toward energizing and lighter foods.  Focus on creating meals that provide a wide array of colors and nourishment.  Exchange ’empty’ carbohydrates for satiating, complex carbohydrates. These keep us feeling full and provide energy needed for outdoor activities.

Photography by Terri Pouliot

And then there is the delicate issue of removing people and situations that may no longer be conducive for enjoying a positive and healthy way of living. It does not mean we don’t still love and care about those people or situations; just that it may be time to move on. It’s never an easy process. It can be downright painful.  Exchange activities that are draining for ones that promote feelings of excitement and growth.  No one feels energized while stagnant.

Our lives are a reflection of our interests.   Our physical design is an accessory that reflects our luxurious and delicious way of life.  We enjoy our lives most when we are energized by our surroundings.

Spring is the season of reawakening!

Walk

Take my hand.
We will walk.
We will only walk.
We will enjoy our walk
without thinking of arriving anywhere.
Walk peacefully.
Walk happily.
Our walk is a peace walk.
Our walk is a happiness walk.
Then we learn
that there is no peace walk;
that peace is the walk;
that there is no happiness walk;
that happiness is the walk.
We walk for ourselves.
We walk for everyone
always hand in hand.
Walk and touch peace every moment.
Walk and touch happiness every moment.
Each step brings a fresh breeze.
Each step makes a flower bloom under our feet.
Kiss the Earth with your feet.
Print on Earth your love and happiness.
Earth will be safe
when we feel in us enough safety.

by Thich Nhat Hanh

 

I love this!  How often do we walk,  only to have our destination in mind? When was the last time we simply enjoyed a brisk walk, with no goal or journey’s end, only our senses fully engaged?

February 28, marks the last day of the meteorological winter.  Spring is on its way!   The warming temperatures mean getting outdoors more and enjoying the warming temperatures.  A nice walk is the perfect way to celebrate.

Walking is a delicious way to exercise, especially when all our senses are invited to participate.  Think of the beautiful simplicity in this poem by Thich Nhat Hanh the next time you go for a walk.

Pause.  Breathe in each step with appreciation as new found as a spring bloom.

 

 

Balance

Ritchie Ledges / Virginia Kendall Ledges in Cuyahoga Valley National Park, Ohio

Balance.

How is it that massive sandstone boulders, such as this one photographed at Ritchie Ledges within the Cuyahoga National Park, can remain balanced with seemingly little to keep it from tumbling?

And yet, as is evident throughout these trails, this rock’s demise will eventually involve a plunge below among the hemlock needles and sand sediment.

Who are we to believe we are such skilled magicians able to juggle work, family, friends and all of life’s distractions without one of them falling?

We cannot.

We are like the rock….it’s just a matter of time.

This is an essential part of health and wellness that is often overlooked.

Balance. So many distractions that pull us away from what is truly important.

Of course we need to work. But we should not neglect the people we care about. They deserve our time and energies.

Learning to decompress during our down time will keep us from falling victim to health issues and other tensions.

I share many effective ways to bring cortisol levels down, raise the ‘bliss’ hormones (oxytocin), and raise energy levels.

Balance is so much more than just moderation. Life harmony contains as many layers as the sandstone rocks shown in this photograph.

Learning to address the whole and not just one portion is needful for stability in life. And not just stability; but a sense of true peace and contentment.

 

Photography by Terri Kern Pouliot

 

Finish Line Smiles

Finish Line Smiles

This is a story I intended to write a couple years ago. My memory was jarred this weekend while attending the Hale Farm and Village Music in the Valley Folk & Wine Festival. Inspirational words in a beautiful song titled, ‘Up on my Feet Again’ by Charlie Mosbrook, recreated a vivid scene in my mind.

The song itself deserves to be heard because it’s all about personal struggle. Charlie’s struggles resulted from a spinal cord injury. Pure grit, determination and gratitude pulled him through a dark valley. Charlie was a marathon runner prior to his injury and today he dreams of someday racing Boston from his hand cycle. I have no doubt he will do it.

A while back I ran a 5k for the first time. This was really out of my comfort zone. I’m certainly not what I would consider a ‘Runner’ in the truest sense of the word. Running is not my choice of exercise. But since this was a non-competitive race, and a fund raiser, I was willing to give it a go.

Race Day arrived and I was nervous and extremely apprehensive. I wasn’t sure I could ‘run’ the entire 3.10686 miles that were included in the route. But I was determined to try. This was something I had to prove to myself. I was here that day for many personal reasons. I never discussed these reasons with anyone. They were tucked securely away in the safest and most secretive parts of my heart.

 

 

The signal sounded for the Race to begin. There were so many people! The pathway couldn’t adequately hold them all. The experienced runners jutted out around the participants who were running a slower pace. My adrenaline kicked in and soon I was one of those moving ahead on the outer portion of the route. Having never participated in a 5k before; I was surprised at how many people were happy to simply be walking and a part of something special.

That’s the moment, or collection of moments, I want to talk about.

Time seemed to -s-l-o-w- down as I whooshed past people. The backs of T-Shirts had sayings on them, photos of loved ones, and some of the racers had mementos with them. Then, it hit me… like a ton of bricks. Their stories. I could sense all that energy present. Not in a hooey-whooey kind of way, but a deep in your gut kind of way. As I approached each person, I could sense it. They each were present that day because they had their own struggle to overcome. Their own illness or the illness of someone they loved, was their motivation. So many of the racers had something to prove, to prove to themselves, as an advocate for someone who no longer had a voice, against cancer, or for unspoken tears. Yes. We each had our own race to run. Different reasons, same race.

Then my tears began to flow. And I could not stop them. I ran and cried, cried and ran. For the first time ever, the saying, “It’s the journey, not the destination,” made sense. It wasn’t about the race. It was never about the race. It was always about the journey and story that was represented that day.

I finished that race. Yes. I wore a huge ‘finish line smile’ when I crossed that final destination. But the reason was multi-layered. I learned so much that day. I never felt more alive. Maybe because I could feel the energy of so many other humans. Connection in the purest and most beautiful form.

Did I run the entire race? No. Did I complete it? Yes. Prior to the race, all I could think about was that finish line. The final destination. Could I run the whole thing? Did I have what it takes? Oh, I got there all right. But that was not the best part. The most meaningful part was the journey itself.

I will always remember that day. I can still feel the ‘stories’ and energy of so many of those people. People that I will never know but forever be connected to. There were many ‘finish line smiles’ that day. Finishing a race was only a small reason behind those smiles.

Finish Line Smiles. Dedicated to Leslie Ann (far right) who passed away recently. I am third on the right.

Tips For the Weekend Warrior

Tips for the Weekend Warrior in US All.
 
Spring brings us plenty of reasons to take our physical activities outdoors.
 
And why not? The benefits of exercise are well documented. Exercising outdoors also proves to be beneficial to our brains, as well as, our bodies.
 
For those who lead a fairly inactive lifestyle (desk job) during the week, and then try to fit in a week’s worth of exercise during the weekend, may result in some very sore muscles at the very least. Injury is also a common factor.
 
Even those of us who are advanced exercisers, may find moving our activities outside may result in DOMS, or Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness. New activities often use different muscles than we are accustomed to using.
 
Activities that are known to create soreness may be:
 
  • Jumping
  • Step Aerobics
  • Hill Walking or climbing
  • Jogging
  • Strength Training Exercise
 
“Any type of activity that places unaccustomed loads on muscle may lead to delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS). This type of soreness is different from acute soreness, which is pain that develops during the actual activity. Delayed soreness typically begins to develop 12-24 hours after the exercise has been performed and may produce the greatest pain between 24-72 hours after the exercise has been performed”
–The American College of Sports Medicine.
 
What can be done to help ease these symptoms?
 
  •  Progress slowly with any new program or activity.
  •  Proper Warm-Up before exercise is essential
  • Recovery
  •  Stretch after muscles are fully warmed up (after exercise)
 
There is little evidence that proves warm-up, recovery, and stretching will eliminate DOMS completely, but can help prepare the muscles for future exercise.
 
No Pain, No Gain?
 
Pain should not be present in any exercise program and is not an indicator of fitness gains. In fact, pain is an indicator that we need to reduce activity to avoid further injuring the muscle or joints.
 
Keeping active is one of the best preventative measures in eliminating the ‘Weekend Warrior’ soreness.
 
30 minutes of moderate physical activity performed a minimum of 5 days per week is recommended. Moderate activities equate to hard enough to break a sweat, but easy enough to carry on a conversation. If performing vigorous activities, 20 minutes or more 3 times per week is recommended. These types of activities would include aerobic activities such as; walking, running, cycling, rowing, swimming or stair climbing. Strength Training should be performed on alternate days.
 
 
Keeping our bodies moving in a safe way is not only enjoyable, but beneficial.  Asking our bodies to perform beyond it’s capabilities may lead to injury and setbacks.
 
Just remember; when we push our bodies too hard; they push back!
 
 
The Thoughtful Voice in Lifestyle
Terri
 
 
 
 
#DOMS #SoreMuscles #WeekendWarrior #HealthyBody #WomensFitness #Exercise #Optoutside

The Goal of Any Exercise Program

 

The goal of any exercise program should not be to exhaust you.

To perform high numbers of burpees, box jumps, or any single exercise is counterproductive.

Go ahead and perform high rep / high intensity moves and see how great you feel afterward.  I guarantee, no matter how advanced of an exerciser you are, you’ll feel wiped out.

My System is thoughtfully designed to help increase strength, endurance, balance and muscle mass. Depending on a client’s individual goal, there will be very specific movement patterns involved. The end result is always to create more energy, not to annihilate the body. Depletion is not the goal.  A well thought out exercise program should always leave us feeling better, not worse than before we began.

To train to failure, exhaustion and soreness should never be the goal. So don’t use the degree of exhaustion and soreness as an indicator of the level of effectiveness of a workout. Improving  body composition, endurance, balance and strength are worthy goals to pursue.

 

High Blood Pressure and Exercise

 

 

blood-pressureMore than 75 million Americans have high blood pressure today. Of those people, three out of four over the age of 60 has hypertension. These are very dangerous statistics. If left untreated, high blood pressure can increase the risk of heart attacks, strokes, as well as peripheral arterial disease. It is well documented that exercise improves the overall function of the cardiovascular system. It can also be very effective against lowering blood pressure. Often, hypertension is treated and controlled with medication. A sound exercise program can help decrease blood pressure even further. In many cases, mild and even moderate hypertension can benefit from embracing healthy lifestyle changes, such as increased exercise, less salt intake, managed weight and overall healthier dietary choices.

The American Heart Association recommends at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise, 75 minutes of vigorous exercise or a combination of both. That means the aim should be for at least 30 minutes of aerobic exercise on most days of the week. Most studies confirm that the hypertensive client should be exercising twenty to 60 minutes of aerobic exercise at 40-70% VO2max. This aerobic exercise may be performed three to five times a week. Heavy weight training should be avoided for the person with hypertension. This is because it can cause a temporary increase in blood pressure. This depends on the amount of weight that is lifted. Since resistance training is known to have long term benefits to blood pressure levels, it can be included if you lift lighter weights with more repetitions. Always get the approval from the client’s physician prior to including any weight training in the program. A sound exercise program can decrease the systolic and diastolic values by as much as five to seven points when followed consistently. It may take up to three to four weeks to begin seeing these improved numbers.

A sound exercise program will also assist in weight management, which can in turn improve blood cholesterol and glucose levels which can lead to health issues if not addressed.

Some examples of aerobic activity that may be included in the client’s exercise program:

Treadmill walking

Stair climbing

Cycling

Rowing

Swimming

Mild aerobic exercises, such as walking or cycling, have the capability to help reduce blood pressure as much as more vigorous exercises, like jogging. The client should be able to carry on a conversation while engaging in these exercises. Many hypertensive clients will be on medication that may alter the blood pressure response to the exercise performed. Always be aware of the list of medications the client is taking and how these drugs may interact with exercise. It is also very important to allow for proper warm-up to avoid a sudden rise in blood pressure during the activity. This is essential. Just as important is the cool-down for the client. Always include an adequate cool-down in your exercise program so the client’s heart rate, and cardiovascular system can safely return to pre-exercise condition.

When including resistance training in with the program follow these guidelines from the American Heart Association:

Single set of 8 to 10 different exercises such as chest press, shoulder press, triceps extension, biceps curl, latissimus pull-down, lower back extension, abdominal crunch, leg press, leg curls, and heel raise.

These resistance exercises may be performed two or three days a week. These moves may be added slowly and monitored carefully. Never include isometric exercises. These strengthening exercises can be incorporated along with the aerobic activity two to three times a week with the physician’s approval.

This web site is for informational purposes only. Consult a physician before performing this or any exercise program. It is your responsibility to evaluate your own medical and physical condition, or that of your clients, and to independently determine whether to perform, use or adapt any of the information or content on this web site. Any exercise program may result in injury. By voluntarily undertaking any exercise displayed on this web site, you assume the risk of any resulting injury.

by Terri L. Pouliot