Becca's Not So Fab Five
I don’t always cross post my blogs from my personal website over here to the Haka Fitness Blog. Over on my page, I speak more broadly about Health and Wellness and include thoughts on topics such as Marriage, Parenting, Self Improvement and more. Though all of that is in line with the Haka Message, in can get all cluttered and people generally look here for info on Exercise and Nutrition. On my page, I publish a monthly Fab Five with 5 little things that are improving my overall wellness at the time. This month I published the Not So Fab Five because I have been struggling in a lot of areas lately. This blog post seemed to really strike a chord with my readership and I felt it might be good to put it here, as well. So here it is…
You may have noticed that I am super late with the Fab Five this month. You also may not have noticed, and that’s ok, too. But I noticed. I actually noticed every single one of the ways I have sucked since about the second week of January. A huge dark cloud has been hanging over me and try as I might, I simply could not find any light. Was I depressed? Hell, I don’t know… maybe. I have no doubt that many doctors would’ve happily slapped a script in my hand and patted my tush as I walked out the door. Problem solved. I’ve gone that route and I don’t like that Becca.
When we were kids, my Aunt Bea used to call it the Mullygrubs. The Mullygrubs came out of nowhere and snatched your brain and made it sad. Sometimes, they had you for a day. Sometimes, they had you for longer. Either way, she gave it a name and made it ok and never tried to tell us to feel anything different. Instead, she offered a hug and an understanding ear and permission to feel all the feelings. The world tells you it’s weird to feel sad or lonely. I think my Aunt Bea was right, though, that they are all part of the amazing and beautiful spectrum of feelings that make us human. Rather than running from anything less than perfect, there’s glory in just sitting in the crappiness; in making peace with it. And that’s what I’ve been doing while I haven’t been doing ALLLLLLLL the extra things that make my business and life more successful. So this month, I’m bringing you the Not So Fab Five. It’s five little things that helped me as I was wandering around with the dark cloud trying to make friends with the Mullygrubs so they would return me to my less than “normal” life that I love so much.
When life isn’t going well, it’s more important than ever to think about NOURISHMENT rather than NUTRITION. Understanding and honoring the cycles is key. Daily I reminded myself that this was a phase and it would end. I set 3 guidelines for myself that I had to oblige and let everything else just be ok.
Guideline 1: Every single day, I fasted 12 hours. All that means is that I noted the time when I finished eating at night and didn’t eat anything the next day until the same time in the morning. The 12 hour fast gave my body time to maintain healthy hormonal rhythms, offset emotional snacking, and even on the worst days I was only shoving in chocolate HALF the day.
Guideline 2: I practiced “crowding out”. I required myself to consume bone broth at some point in the day before dinner. I drank a warm 8-12 oz with a lemon squeezed in it. Bone broth has tons of healing properties and I could wax poetic about the ancient ritualism, but you can just ask me about that hippy dippy part if your interested. It’s also super filling. Drinking the bone broth was filling and nourishing and often stopped me from emotional eating simply by filling me up.
Guideline 3: I kept a drink count. I could easily drink a beer every single evening and that could easily creep up to two beers on multiple days. The Mullygrubs simply whisper encouragement in my ear. I have found the only way to combat this is to keep a drink count. For me, that number is five drinks a week. I can have them all 5 in a night (I would die) or 1 a day for five days or whatever combination suits the week.
That’s it. During this season of struggle, these were my only true guidelines and for me, it helped prevent a lot of damage and the added mental stress that comes along with that.
When the world feels heavy, everything feels hard. It feels especially hard to knock out killer workouts. Our lead coach at Haka Fitness, Jake, ironically wrote a blog during this last month titled The Motivation Myth. You should read it! Sometimes, it’s just about getting up and going through the motions. Surprisingly, once you get moving you often fall prey to some cosmic inertia and do better than you expected. When things are really rough, I follow the 15 Minute Rule. Essentially, I start the thing and if in 15 minutes, I don’t feel any better, I can gracefully bow out. Sometimes, I still do a walk , but not always.
The other thing that helped me a ton was #MobilizeTheTribe. It was just happenstance that I released this program right before the Mullygrubs snatched me in the night, but Praise the Lord, I did. It was so easy just to turn on the video and do what I told myself to do. I didn’t have to think about it and the mobilization work was perfect for opening my body… and my mind. Here is Movement 4 which focuses on opening the front body. It’s perfect to combat the rounded shoulders and closed heart associated with sadness and loneliness.
Hahahaha. I scoff at Enjoyment. This Cornerstone of Health is supposed to be about stress, sleep, playing outside, internal and external commitments and expectations, and things of that nature. The problem? Basically, all of these things were the actual problem. The Haka Baby and Haka Preschooler were conspiring against any kind of sleep routine. Mark was needed to work out of town for three weeks leaving me with allllllllllllll the commitments to juggle, unexpectedly. Many nights, I couldn’t even sleep at my own house because I needed someone to watch my kids when I went to work at 4:45 am. My house and yard were falling into shambles- certainly not up to my strict personal expectations for such things- and I was crumbling physically. I had no energy for the whole playing outside BS I talk about…
When things get like this, I often get lost in my thoughts, and they aren’t usually nice thoughts. I love to use always/never, arbitrary inference, personalization, overgeneralization, and magnification. In other words, my brain wants to think that every single thing is ALWAYS about ME who NEVER seems to get ANYTHING right and EVERYONE is going to think that I suck. You see, Stress is a psychological process with a set of physiological components. You make it stressful in your thought process and your body responds with stress symptoms. You flood with cortisol and start a cascade of symptoms that makes you feel even worse. Repeat. Repeat. Welcome to the hamster wheel. The only thing that works for me when the wheel gets going is to “catch” these thought statements and literally rewrite the narrative. I used a Thought Catcher to help me. You could do this in a journal format or just have it hanging somewhere as a constant reminder to speak to yourself truthfully.
Example 1: “Everything sucks so bad in my life” Reality: “We are in a period of several weeks that are very difficult. It DOES suck not to sleep at my own house and to pay for so much babysitting but this has a definite end date and lots of good things are still happening in the midst of some suckage.”
Example 2: “My kid is ALWAYS pushing my limits and people will think I have no control.” Reality: “My child is assertive. This can be a great characteristic if I foster it with patience. Some people may actually perceive that I have no control but ‘control’ is not how I define parenting anyways.”
With my husband mostly gone and me on the struggle bus, I did the unthinkable. I asked for help. Gasp! I know, I know…but I did it and you know what? It has blessed me beyond imagination. What I have found is that asking for help not only relieves me, it gives someone else a framework for HOW to help someone they care about. People want to help me. They want to help you, too. For whatever reason, though, it feels like weakness to ask for help. It also feels intrusive. These are just more lies we repeat in our heads. I can think of lots of times that I have truly wanted to know how to help someone who is struggling. I am happy to pick up toilet paper when I run to the store, fix a meal, grab a kid from somewhere but no one will tell me how to help! Turns out, #MyTribe feels the same. Asking for help gave one friend a chance to spend time with my two kids. She had a blast doing all the activities she misses from when her own two boys were little!. It gave another friend the opportunity to step up and help out at Nature School which has given her kids one more chance to be in the woods with friends. She is thrilled! Another friend came by with her child to give me some adult conversation (and drink some wine) and we solved her looming childcare issue putting her mind at ease. By asking for help, I deepened my relationships with these women, gave them permission to ask ME for help in the future, and opened doors for blessings in their lives, too. This month, ASK SOMEONE FOR HELP. This is how you build a true tribe, and also how you survive an attack from the Mullygrubs. I see that now.
Don’t laugh now…. My bonus is a Children’s book. We found Pete the Cat: I Love My White Shoes several years ago and my oldest LOVED it. It has been on the bookshelf for probably over a year without being touched, but it resurfaced this last month. If you don’t have this kids book, you should. If you don’t have kids, check out the YouTube of the book below. It’s quite funny and it has such a great message for when things aren’t going your way. This book gave me a way to tell my kids that things weren’t going the way I wanted and that even though I wanted to cry and get upset, like Pete the Cat “No matter what I step in, I just keep walking along singing my song because it’s all good.”