Week Four: Resilience – It really does add up.
Complete the Weekly Reflection
Week Four, Mindset…(Eleonora)
I hope this past week you have enjoyed sending yourself good wishes and receiving them from loved ones! Full disclosure, this practice didn’t come easy to me when I first started it. The world gives us too many reasons to resist letting love sink in. But don’t desist! This simple exercise is “the gift that keeps on giving”. It literally creates new neurological pathways that will allow you to more easily access and be refueled by feeling that you deeply matter to yourself and others.
As we talked about last week, both physical and emotional wellness relies on the hormonal climate created by caring connections. The interesting part is that we might even have plenty of caring connections in our lives, but simply “having” them doesn’t actually mean that we are nourished by them. It is the act of paying attention and lingering on feelings of care that transforms our physiology. And it is that physiology that makes us resilient.
Resilience is the theme for this week. Recently, I bumped into a small health issue that totally panicked me. In the past, I would have feared being seen as weak or as a burden and would have kept it all to myself. Since I try to practice what I preach ;), I reached out and opened myself to feeling emotionally supported. The result was that within a day I was able to feel grounded again and confident in my ability to take charge of my health. The problem itself didn’t disappear overnight, but no part of me felt alone with it, and therefore I knew that I was going to be ok. The moral of the story is that resilience is not something we do on our own! None of us does, it’s just not how we work as human beings. Resilience is an ability grounded in collectivity, in community.
Last week we practiced feeling connected using our imagination. This week we’ll practice the sense that we are not alone by taking action. We’ll start with a brief journal exercise. Set a 5min timer and answer the questions below without overthinking it. Just write what automatically feels enlivening and warms your heart:
- “Three simple things I enjoy doing for myself are…” (examples for me include walking to High Point Cafe and getting a coffee, playing music, reading a book on my favorite chair)
- “Three simple things I enjoy doing for others are…” (examples for me include baking for my neighbors, sending short thank you notes, checking in on a friend)
- “My six favorite people (folx you personally know and could contact) are…”
Ta-da!! You now have a menu of 6 actions and 7 people (you count!) to work with.
So here is the practice for this week: each day select from the list you just made an action and a person to do it for (even at random!). While these small caring actions (towards yourself and others) are the vehicle for cultivating the sense that you matter and that you are not alone, remember that it is the lingering on the feeling that those actions rouse within you that changes your physiology and makes you resilient. So don’t forget to indulge on the good feelings that come up as you do them. Have fun!
Week Four, Movement…(Pamela)
Life gives us all sizes, shapes, and speeds of curve balls. The last year has certainly shown us this, pandemic alone, nevermind anything else that might have presented itself to you as an obstacle or change during this time. This six week course might be the thing that propels you forward into continued adaptations for whatever life you experience. By starting the program, you are showing up for yourself and making the effort to positively influence your actions and habits. This deserves a high five, so… please do give yourself one right now.
The beautiful thing about exercise and movement is that the same movement or workout for that matter, can and likely does look different for each of us. We can all squat. Yet, each of us has different depths, varying degrees of external rotation of the hips and torso lean, as well as the number of reps or amount of weight used in doing the movement. But, we all squat. The changes you make to do a squat might be different then the ones I make but again, we both squat. The adjustments allow us to workout together at the same time. In doing so, we’ve not only just completed a workout but we’ve completed it together and have given each other support throughout. I’m not sure if you’ve ever thought about it that way but it’s how I see each and every single workout we do together. It’s also why I’ve always said that I enjoy exercising with you in the group!
Here’s a story:
Luckily for me, one of my first experiences in a gym setting had a strong community. It was inside a large gym but there was a core group of women I trained with regularly both inside and outside the gym. We held each other accountable to showing up, even to classes or sessions that were not my favorite. We encouraged each other to keep going when it was hard. We celebrated each other’s successes. In fact some of those women I’m still in contact with today, 18 years later.
I found a tremendous amount of value in the support system. Even when our trainer was no longer working with us, our workouts remained together at someone’s home or outside. Looking back it’s also part of the reason we are where we are today with Urban Athlete. Being surrounded by amazing people who want you to succeed for you is invaluable.
When movement doesn’t feel right or if life creeps in and gives you an obstacle, finding a detour around the obstacle is critical for being able to continue to work toward your goals. Remember, movement is joy to the soul. When we move the right way for our individual bodies, we feel better because of consistent exercise.
I encourage you to do three things for your movement resilience every day/week:
- Schedule your workouts into your calendar. Keep these appointments with yourself as if they are a work meeting or a doctor’s appointment – whichever is more likely for you to show up.
- Have a workout buddy. It’s probably better to have one who works out at the same time you do but it can also be someone you check in with to say, “I did it, I’m finished and I feel great!”
- Ask for help. If something ever doesn’t feel right. If you have an ache you aren’t used to. If you have something come up that seems like it could be a set back. Ask for guidance from the coaches, we can help you make it work rather than not work at all.
Week Four, Mess…(Pamela)
How can we be resilient with food?!
As with most things, the scenarios that interrupt your efforts toward supportive nutrition, are vast. From meals on the go, to hectic mornings, to simply being too tired at night to make a healthy meal, it seems like something can always make nutrition harder than it should be.
Finding a simple, go-to meal is a first step in having an option when options seem impractical.
This is what that looks like for me when I don’t have time or when I’m tired.
Breakfast: greek yogurt
Lunch: I have bags of lettuce and even those salad kits in the fridge with a dozen hard boiled eggs. Open the bag, peel the egg, salad made. I was even recently telling a fellow POP participant that I will leave the house with a bowl, the bag and the egg and put it together when I’m at the gym.
Dinner: In a frying pan, I’ll cook some ground turkey or beef and add in a frozen veggie with some seasonings. It isn’t gourmet but usually takes less than ten minutes.
What are some foods or groupings of foods that you can always have on hand that are easy for you to access for meals?