Do You Feel Relevant?

Valentine’s day is a day for celebrating love.   If you have a partner who remembers to get your flowers or chocolate, you get to feel lucky, important and valued.  But for many, this day only serves as a reminder that one is lonely and unimportant, that one is irrelevant because there is no one to be loved by.

Do you feel relevant or irrelevant?

Thing is, going between feeling relevant and irrelevant happens to most people on a regular basis every day, not just on Valentine’s day.  V-day, just brings it out more.

Think about it: Do you get angry when someone cuts you off in traffic, speaks rudely to you, interrupts you while you are speaking, ignores you, disregards your needs, makes you feel used, takes advantage of you or “forgets” about you?

Why do you think you get angry or hurt?  How does it really make you feel?

Most likely, the situation has made you feel somewhat irrelevant.  Like you don’t matter.

It’s one of the reasons why holidays like Valentine’s Day can be so difficult for so many.

If people felt more valued and relevant regularly, there would likely be less fighting, road rage, depression, anxiety and other illness, as well as job satisfaction.

A study based on surveys of more than 1700 full- and part-time employees in the US showed that people who feel valued are more likely to have better physical and mental health and higher levels of engagement, satisfaction and motivation.

So what can you do about it?

Certainly, no one can make you feel relevant or irrelevant without your consent.

Sure, people who adore you, accomplishments you achieve, obstacles you overcome, and being connected to places and parts of nature you are in awe of help.  But if you don’t start to believe you are relevant simply because you exist, no amount of flowers, money, or beautiful sunsets will be enough.  You cannot base your sense of relevancy on other people or external things.

You are relevant simply because you exist and you have a heart that can love and be loved.  Celebrate yourself because you exist and you can start by getting yourself some flowers, chocolate, a massage, a day off, a whatever you heart desires.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Breastly Healthy

Lift them, hang them, hold them…..but most of all, love them.

I’m talking about your breasts.

If you are lucky, you have two healthy ones.  The problem is that statistics show that 1 out of every 4 women will get breast cancer. It is a scary and chilling statistic. Is it because cancer is more prevalent or because we have better mechanisms for detection? I am not sure of the answer. But my general rule of thumb is not to live life in fear, but rather be prepared and strong.

The same goes for your immune system.

Put it this way. Your body is made up of trillions of cells. All kinds of pathogens (negative things like cancer cells, parasites or toxins) enter your body at any given moment. When your immune system is strong and able, it can generally protect you and fight for you. If your immune system is weak, the fight could easily be lost.

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Who’s Got Your Back?

Studies show that individuals who feel more isolated, are sedentary, eat foods that increase inflammation, lack social support and feel victimized rather than empowered have more physical and psychological ailments. Science also points to the rise of depression and anxiety as individuals feel more disconnected from nature and more connected to the screen, be it a computer or smart phone (see Your Brain on Nature, Wiley 2012). And if the ecologists and environmentalists are correct, their research implies that natural resources are disappearing as global warming is advancing.

your community can help you thrive

Given this information, I have examined for myself what is true for me and I ask you to ask yourself these questions?

  • Do I live isolated from others or do I belong to a community that I can count on?
  • Do I spend more time on my computer or smart phones even when I am engaging with another person or out doors in nature?
  • How connected am I to nature and the outdoors?
  • How frequently to I prefer the ease of comfort foods filled with chemicals, sugars and fats rather than the natural foods my body actually need?
  • Do I often view exercise as an obstacle, rather than as an activity I can incorporate as a natural part of daily living?
  • Do I feel entitled and want a “quick fix” to any given challenge, rather than understand that hard work and patience deliver more than just a fix but an inner reward?
  • Do I understand that I leave a “carbon footprint” on the Earth that can affect future generations?
  • How often to I give back to the Earth or to people what it/they have given me?

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Purpose = Pain Relief

What is life without purpose?

Add purpose and you can do it!

Last Monday, the WOD (work out of the day) involved running a mile, doing 100 pull-ups, 200 push-ups, 300 air squats, and finishing up with another mile run. Crazy.

The day before the work out, when I found out what it entailed, I contemplated bailing out of it. The last time I did 98 push-ups, I could barely lift my fork to my mouth for 5 days (Though I have to admit, my triceps looked great!).

Then I watched the video about Leutenant Michael “Mikey” Patrick Murphy.

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If you have been following my blog, you know that in the past couple of weeks I have been learning more about what it means to be fit and resilient through the experience of watching and coaching my CrossFit friends in the CrossFit Open competition. This past week, I got to experience being coached/judged and this is what I learned:  PEOPLE help you strive for excellence.

This is what happened. The WOD (workout of the day) involved doing the following round as many times that we could in a 20 minute period: 5 pull-ups, 10 push-ups and 15 below-the-knee air squats. In case you are not aware, 20 minutes is a really, really long time….Especially when at the half way mark you realize you may have started out too hard and fast and that you are completely losing your wind despite having 10 minutes to go.

In the beginning of the workout, I felt strong, enthusiastic and determined to at least finish out the 20 minutes. For some reason though, I had it in my mind that it was a 10-minute work out. When Chris B., my judge/coach, told me I had reached my 10-minute mark and that I was half way there, I was so bummed that I literally felt the wind get knocked out of me–All the incredible energy that was moving me forward left my body in one split of a second, just because I was psychologically upset.

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Keep Moving!

I recently had the honor and the joy of watching my CrossFit friends compete in the Crossfit Open Games, in which close to 60,000 people across the world do the same exercise for the most repetitions, the best time, or the heaviest weight, depending on the exercise.

Being the wuss that I am, I did not enter the competition, but I did take the opportunity to “coach” and cheer my friends on.

Not only was the competition fun to watch, but more so, it was interesting.

You see, this last week, each person had 7 minutes to do as many burpees as they could. If you are not familiar with burpees, they are really, really difficult. I can do about 10 before the wind is sucked out of me. It takes strength, agility, stamina and perseverance to do them in any event, let alone over a 7-minute period.

What I found to be amazing, was the time and again, around 50 burpees, the athletes would start wobbling, losing their form, and I could see that a part of their brain was saying, “You can stop now. You are so tired. You can barely move. Just stop.” While the other half of their brain was screaming, “No! Don’t stop. You can do it!”  Despite the negative talk in part of their brain, they kept moving. As the number of burpees done climbed, their energy and determination visibly waned. Would the “tired” brain win out even though there were 2 minutes left to go? So just as they began wobbling—in the millisecond of the brain’s decision to stop or go—I would scream, “Keep moving!”

And they did…keep moving, over and over again until the 7 minutes were up.


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Getting Out of My Own Way

I did it! No, I did not improve my time at CrossFit, manage to lift a heavier weight or suddenly develop the legs I always wanted. I finally figured out how to get out of my own way.

After writing my last blog, I decided to address, head on, my fears related to injury and exercise. I closed my eyes, took several long, deep breaths, and began meditating. I brought my focus to my lower back, where I usually experience pain and injury and asked, “What is it that I carry here?”

My imagination soon took me to being 15 years old. I was on a Sea Scouts white water rafting trip in Wisconsin. It was raining that day, so we decided to drive into town and roam about. On our way back, the 16-year old driver decided to show off and speed up. I remember being scared and begging her to slow down. I was in the front passenger seat. Three other girls were sitting in the back. In 1983, there were no laws regarding wearing seatbelts. None of us wore them.

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