Overthinking

I have a tendency to overthink. It’s likely the byproduct of an overactive imagination. I like to think. I like to let my mind wander and get lost in the worlds of could be’s and possibilities. It’s helpful when I really want to get the root of an issue or a problem that’s bothering me. And sometimes it can be helpful in thoroughly planning for the proper preparation of a major goal.

But it has a dark side. My overactive imagination can easily wander down dangerous dark alleys. I can often find myself certain that there’s some underlying issue to a minor problem either in myself or in a loved one. I can convince myself through overthinking that whatever excuse I’ve come up with that will keep me from doing the work I promised myself I would do is reasonable and valuable – and that I’ll certainly find time to do that work later in my schedule. I can overthink reactions and interactions and getting to action.

I overthink. A lot.

But because I’ve become aware of this trait, I’ve been able to harness it better. I can let my overthinking out to play when it comes in handy. When I’m thinking up the rules of an imaginary work I’m creating, I’ll let myself overthink. When I’m crafting a business plan for a new endeavor and want to brainstorm all the possible ways I can get myself to a new goal, I’ll let myself overthink. When I’m staring out a window on an airplane considering what I want to do with my life, I’ll let myself overthink (assuming the airplane isn’t turbulent…that’s a bad time to overthink). When I’m planning to pursue a major goal and I need to craft the foundation of a schedule that will allow for it, I’ll let myself overthink.

Part of the reason I let myself overthink is because later, when it comes time to executing all the things I’ve been thinking about, I can put my overthinking mind down and simply act. I’ll know that I already thought through all the possibilities and decided this was the best course of action. So I don’t have any more thinking to do and can devote all my time to action. Once the action is done, I can go back to the thinking and see how I feel about the action. More often than not, I’m happy I did the action and didn’t let my overthinking keep me from it.

Overthinking isn’t the same as listening to your instinct. In fact, I’ve spent much of my life trying to shut up my overthinking mind so I can get in better touch with my instinct and my intuition. I’ve spent years overthinking the “right” move rather than listening to what I wanted to do most. I’ve convinced myself multiple times that I didn’t need to do something because it didn’t make perfect sense at the time, even if I really wanted to (and visa versa). And almost every time I overthink something and don’t let my instinct have any say in the matter, I regret it.

I would say I “learn my lesson” but because I continue to do these things repeatedly, I’m not really sure I have.

The lesson I’ve really learned is that my personality and my mind enjoy tend to overthink. And once I know that, I can embrace it and watch out for it. I can start to hear the difference between simply thinking something through and overthinking myself out of something that would be good for me. Once I notice it, I can simply thank my imagination for its active work and let it take a little rest while I go ahead and do what my instinct is telling me I need to do.

This is part of the reason I meditate regularly. I appreciate guided meditations, but honestly some of my most clear moments have come with just simple music or (and often even better) silence. I’m able to let my mind just relax and know that the thoughts will pass as easily as they come. And that they’re just thoughts. The more I see them as noise, the more I can cut through to get to the more powerful instincts that will serve me better than any of the noise.

Some people don’t have an overthinking problem. I admire you. I like to be around people who just do it because they said they were going to do it, with very little judgment about the situation. I’m getting more like that, but it takes a lot of work on my end. It’s not a major shift, it’s an ongoing, small, subtle change that I’m committed to and see results of incrementally over time.

This morning while I was at the yoga sculpt class I wanted to talk myself out of going to (but didn’t), my teacher had us do a particularly difficult move at the end of a particularly difficult sequence. I hesitated and she yelled “Don’t think, just do it!” I know she wasn’t talking directly at me, but she hit the nail on the head with that direction.

To be fair, I already thought about it so I did throw my knee down for a one minute and took an extra breath. But I didn’t let myself stay down and think about it for too long before I forced myself back up to finish out the exercise.

Sometimes, it’s not about completely eradicating yourself of a certain trait or habit. That’s too much effort and asking too much of yourself. You’re setting yourself up to get frustrated, inevitably fail, and lose faith in your ability to transform in the future. Instead, as it was in this case, it’s about understanding you have a tendency to do something, recognizing it, and choosing to overcome it when it doesn’t serve the you that you want to become.

And of course when it does, let ‘er rip.

 

Advertisements

Inspired by Insta Models

In an effort to get myself feeling like myself again, I’ve been attending a new fitness class. Unsurprisingly, it’s yoga-based (I know, I know, I never talk about yoga – you’re likely shocked…). It’s called Yoga Sculpt and it incorporates both yoga movement and weight-based workouts, plus intense cardio, plyometrics, and all sorts of other torture.

But I don’t just go to this class any time of day. I go to the very first class in the morning at 6 am at one of the busiest studios in the city. I go with the intense early birds and go-getters. It’s crowded and sweaty but effective…so I like it.

And, I learned after the first class I went to, that’s the time of day where the Insta Models workout.

Now you don’t have to be in insanely great shape (or insanely talented, let’s be honest) to be Insta Famous. And I have my own clear perspective on how I generally feel about being too obsessed with Instagram.

But there are a ton of people on Instagram who consistently show off their healthy lifestyles. And some of them don’t even need photoshop to do so. These are some of the people I’ve begun working out with in the morning.

Keep in mind, too, I live in Los Angeles where actors, models, and personal trainers (and often various variations of the above three labels) abound. I’m used to seeing pretty people and I’m used to seeing very in shape pretty people. So when I say I see these Insta Models…I mean they are genuinely beautiful people. Even with their sleepy makeup-less faces early in the morning.

When I went in the first day of class, I was intimidated. I already knew the class was difficult from previously trying it out (at a more reasonable hour). Generally the people in the class studio are in pretty good shape. But these 6 am class people… they’re no joke. The yoga outfits are on point, their weights are ready, and they are already warming up. Once we get started, they go hard. And you can see the results in their incredibly toned bodies.

There was a part of me (who I used to listen to a whole lot more when I was younger and insecure) who wanted to curl up and hide from these women. I felt like I wasn’t worthy. I am not in my best shape. And, honestly, even when I am these women are still on another level.

Instead, however, I decided to let them inspire me. I’d take my cues from the hard work they’re putting in all around me and let their motivation fuel my own. When I wanted to quit at something, I’d look around at the badasses who are putting in the work around me and try to keep up. And I’d let their fit bodies be a reminder of what you can achieve if you really commit. Because they’re not just filtering themselves and pretending to be in shape. They’re there putting in the work.

There’s one woman in particular who, I’m gonna be honest, is a freaking glamorous beast. Her outfits are beautiful. Her body looks photoshopped. She doesn’t even put her perfectly curly hair in a ponytail as she annihilates every exercise by going above and beyond even the rest of the class. While most of the class (myself included) are struggling to keep our 5 lbs weights going during some of the more intense reps, she’s using 10 or 15 lbs and going hard.

The other day as we were warming up, I saw her start to really dance to the loud music like she was getting in the zone. Years before, I might have listened to the forced inside and outside of me that said “Be jealous of her” or “Who does she think she is?” Now I see her getting her groove on with her heavy weights at the ready and doubling up on most of the exercises by pushing herself harder than anyone else and I think “Fak yeah, girl. If you can do that, I can do this.”

She and the other people in that early morning attack class are total badasses. And I’m inspired to be the same simply by being with them. Though, to be fair, you won’t see me post about it on Instagram because that’s just not my thang.

Femoir the Podcast – Season 3, Episode 109: Little Decisions

Hi again, friends.

This episode, we talk all about how those little decisions that seem meaningless in your every day life can really add up to big changes.

We discuss letting things go, how I’ve experienced big transformations through a series of small decisions, yoga (of course), the Myth of the Life-Changing Moment and, for some reason, limp dicks and Doomsday preppers.

***I also had major sound issues this recording, so thank you in advance for sticking with me as I figure out MicrophoneGate 2019.***

Also, I mention this in the podcast, but please @ me anything, everything, and always.

Subscribing and rating are major helps, but listening keeps it going.

 

Bush Cheer Squad

Fair warning: This is not a political post in any way.imgres

I’m literally talking about a bush that I pretend to be hoards of fans cheering me on while I run. And by run, I mean when I physically attempt to move my body at a faster rate than usual by putting one foot in front of the other.

I don’t like running all that much anymore. Getting back into shape sucks. And it’s all I can do to push myself to keep going on a very short and easy run that would take my former runner self absolutely no time and hardly work up a sweat doing.

Plus, I don’t listen to music, so I let my imagination run free.

And one of the things my imagination does is pretend that this unruly plant who’s branches stick out onto the sidewalk at one of the points in my run is actually a hoard of people cheering me on and holding out their hands to give hi-fives.

That’s all I really wanted to say.

It makes me feel both ridiculous and motivated. As all the best mind-tricks do.

So, yeah, no politics talk.

 

Couples Running

I don’t often like to get too much into my personal life here, but I am going to take a quick pause from my usual policy of “NONEOFYOURBUSINESSLEAVEMEALONE” to tell you something cool about my significant other.

Sometimes we actually go running together.

As some of you may know, I haven’t been competitively running for a long time. I two-children-running-on-beach_70368391changed my focus a while back to more weight training and whatnot. But we’re doing a little dual-motivation challenge with each other that’s making both of us hop back on the running horse. (Metaphorically, of course. He actually hates horses so this can only be a metaphor.)

It’s not easy to find a running partner in any capacity. I tend to like to run (and usually just workout) alone. And I still like to do that. But having someone else along for the jog is surprisingly nice. Especially when you genuinely enjoy that person’s company. And I genuinely enjoy his. Which makes my genuine frustration for getting back in shape ease up a little. And makes me look forward (even just a little bit) to going running. Because it means I get to hang around someone I enjoy being around. Even if we’re both doing something we both aren’t super excited about.

It’s nice.

As nice as running can be for be for me at this point I guess.

Anyway, I could talk about it more but that already feels like an over-share for something I tend to stay very private about so I’m gonna go hide in the shade in the corner and wait until you forget all about this and we can all go back to staying quiet and not talking about my personal life because it’s “NONEOFYOURBUSINESSLEAVEMEALONE.”

Exercise for Sleep

Tpuppy snuggleshere are multiple excellent reasons for exercise. I write about them constantly.

One I rarely talk about is the fact that it helps me (and most people) sleep soundly.

I have a lot of energy. I’m a pretty energetic person. I’m actually really aware of my energy level because it’s a good indicator of my inner mood. If I’m exhausted midday, it’s likely because I’m doing something I don’t want to be doing. If I’m sleepy at night just before bed, it’s been a good day of accomplishments. If I’m still anxious when I’m going to sleep, odds are I didn’t exercise and/or be productive enough that day.

Exercise, for me, is the opportunity to not only clear my mind and gain some perspective on what does and does not actually need to be done in the day. It also gives me a place to let out some of the pent up steam from various projects or interactions throughout the day. It energizes me if I’m feeling drained (and know it’s not from lack of sleep) and it calms me for the rest of the day.

I use my energy level as an indicator. And it typically directly corresponds to my exercise consistency.

Yet another reason to add to the long list of why getting up and getting moving is good for you.

 

Personal Space

I get not everyone knows gym etiquettepersonal-space-animals

I understand that it can be uncomfortable to take a class for the first time when everyone else seems to know what’s going on.

I even applaud that people can be in classes they’re way under-qualified for physically because they want to challenge themselves.

Cool, mama. Do your thing.

But there are some basic human interaction rules that still apply while you’re in class.

And there was a lady in the last Kickboxing class I took that was apparently completely unaware of all sense of personal space of basic class etiquette and it drove me bonkers. And of course only really affected me because God has a wonderful sense of humor.

So it started out like this. I get to class (on a rare rainy day in LA) on time. I’m in a good spot towards the back so I won’t get yelled at by the intense teacher I love but with direct eye line to the front. I’m evenly spaced out from the other participants, as is custom, and I’m ready and rearing to go. Class starts and a girl snags a spot a little too close to me, but it’s next to her obvious friend so I let it go.

And then she strolls in. About 10 minutes late. Casually strolling. The woman that will become my enemy throughout this class. I shall call her “Nancy.” Short for “Fancy Nancy” because she wasn’t so much kickboxing as she was doing whatever fancy move she felt like.

Nancy chooses the respectable spot open just in front and to the left of me. Nancy decides to start doing really whatever she feels like while the rest of the class does specific, disciplined moves. She kinda flops around. Of course I find this hilarious and am immediately distracted, but I let it go.

Until Nancy, about five minutes into her own unique workout, starts creeping near me. She starts straight up invading my personal space.

Now, let me remind you what kind of workout this is- Cardio Kickboxing. We are moving non-stop and we are kicking and punching. So if you get too close to someone, they could kick and punch you. And Nancy had, slowly but surely, gotten into my own kick and punch bubble.

But see I didn’t want to move. I can be really unreasonably stubborn about certain things. I got a good spot in class and I was maintaining my area as was everyone else in class, so why do I need to adjust to this woman? Instead, I did what I do best and got silently angry and mumbled “GO AWAY” to her between punches. I legitimately almost punched her a few times. In fact, about 15 minutes into class, when Nancy was basically standing on my left foot, I started using my frustration for her as inspiration for my hardcore punches.

I thought about shoving her.

I just admit that on the internet.

I, a pacifist who meditates regularly and believes in balance and happiness and zen, legitimately considered shoving a stranger out of my way.

That’s how frustrated I was.

I didn’t shove her. Eventually I glared her down and made a dramatic gesture to move to my right so I could have more space. I made a point to look around and see if anyone else was struggling with this. Of course not. Everyone else in class was having a perfectly normal class experience.

personal space dilbert

Nancy was standing so close to me it looked like we were friends so it made the teacher think we were pals and she equated us.  I know this because at one point, the teacher came over to break down some moves for us and looked at both of us and said, “Watch me, girls.” Then did the moves. I got pissed. We were not equals. I was kicking butt and taking names and Nancy was making fancypants moves all over the place.

Eventually, the only other girl slightly affected by Nancy (the one who originally got a little close to me to do the class next to her friend) left to get some water. When she came back, she chose to stand in the No Mans Land spot Nancy had abandoned in order to tie herself to my leg. I was glad the girl did this. I hoped it would encourage Nancy to move into her spot farther away from me. It did not. I had to keep moving.

I kept getting more pissed.

Luckily, unlike my frustration with the texting chick next to me in Yoga class, I was able to actually kick and punch away my anger during this class. Eventually the girl abandoned the No Man’s Land and I got fed up with Nancy. I stopped moving (a big “No no” in this class), let out a deep sigh of frustration, glared at Nancy, and moved up to the empty space that gave me plenty of personal room to get the rest of my moves in easily and happily.

Nancy didn’t even notice I was gone. The only thing she noticed was that she now had a direct view of herself in the mirrors and apparently liked what she saw. So she spent much of the rest of the class staring at herself and doing her own “Fancypants Nancy” moves in them while the rest of us pushed through a very difficult class until the last minute.

In the locker room afterwards, Nancy was talking to her friends were talking about how difficult the class was and dabbing off the mild sweat that had accumulated from staring at herself while other people around her got their asses kicked.

Nancy is what I like to call a Personal Space Cadet.

(PYT) Member Appreciation Day

bikiniDisclaimer: I don’t know this chick. I just googled “PYT” and she had abs so I figured good enough.

The other day, my gym had “Member Appreciation Day.” I had seen the signs up for it but didn’t think much of it. I like to be left alone at the gym. And when I’m running errands. And when I’m at coffee shops. I’m mostly a hermit who can sometimes trick people into believing she’s social.

I only noticed because a trainer came up to me after I did a set. He asked me if I liked the exercise I was doing, because he had a variation for the same muscle group that was even more challenging. He called my exercise “skull crushers” (which made me feel pretty badass) and showed me another tricep exercise using my bodyweight and gravity. I was my usual quiet gym self, barely mumbling a thank you as I reluctantly did what he showed me. I shyly looked off and said thank you so he would go away. He smiled and found another gym member who was working on squats. He then worked with her for quite some time on different exercises. I even saw him helping her stretch a while later. Before I left, he was working with yet another gym member and showing her some exercises.

I thought it was odd someone was wandering around giving tips and pointers, but then saw a sign for “Member Appreciation Day” and put two and two together. Then, I realized that the man was only hovering and helping young, female members of the gym. He had a very specific way of showing his “appreciation.”

I can’t prove that he was biased. But I do know that the other two women he was working with seemed a lot friendlier than I was, and he was with them for a whole lot longer than he was with me. And that there were a ton of men everywhere… who seemed to need no help at all.

I appreciate the appreciation… but I’m onto you, buddy. I’m onto your little games.

And also if I had known you were hitting on me, I would have been so much friendlier! Next time just make it more obvious!

Armband

armandI got a little luxury lately.

It’s really not a big deal.

It’s a minor change. Something I used to have but didn’t upgrade and lived without for years.

Can you guess what it is?

I’ll give you a hint.

It’s pictured here.

I got an armband for my iPhone while I workout.

I’m really excited about it.

It’s so simple, I know. I just never made the commitment to getting one because I always tucked my phone (which I keep around for music purposes not for phone calls, silly) in my pants. Or sometimes in the back of my bra.

Yeah, it was sweaty. Yeah, it often slipped down and caused me to embarrassingly have to go chasing for it. Yeah, it was uncomfortable. But it was cheap so I liked it.

But I finally caved and got an armband. Well, to be fair, my mother bought it for me for Christmas. Because we all know I don’t spend money on such frivolities (god, I really do sound like such a scrooge!).

The point is, I’ve used it every day. And I love it. And it’s wonderful.

Sometimes you really should invest in the little things that can make such a big difference.

Back to Running… Reasonably

homerI’ve talked a lot about running and lifting on this blog. If you don’t feel like getting totally caught up, here’s the story in a nutshell: I used to run a lot. Then I hurt myself. Now I lift a lot.

There. You’re basically caught up on two year’s worth of posts.

There is a part of me that misses running regularly. It won’t ever become my go-to exercise since I think I’m much more suited for the lifting lifestyle (and a much bigger fan of the results). But I find running to be extremely honest. If you run regularly, you will get better at it. If you haven’t run in a long time, you cannot fake being good at it. It will hurt. And you have to push yourself through the pain (but not too hard… otherwise you’ll end up with problems like me) over and over again until you get back in shape. And it’s humbling. And I like to be humbled.

But this year, I’m prepared. I’m of course going to continue my regularly scheduled gym routine (because I find it the most efficient and effective for me), but I’m also going to add back in little bits of running. Even if it’s just a mile here, a set of interval sprints there, ten minutes on the treadmill…whatever. And I’m prepared because I got a specialty running sock that supposedly helps when you’ve got a messed up club foot like I do.

It’s not a traditional club foot. I call it a club foot because it hurts like I’ve been standing in heels in da club for hours after ten minutes of running.

Anyhoo, I’m excited about it. And because I’m all about being reasonable this year, I think it’s a reasonable compromise between my present lifting self and my past runner.