Pit Stop Mondays, Week 3


Final update on last week’s project: I wasn’t that intentional. I think if I had put a bit more structure around it, I would have had better luck with my focus on flexibility. Something more concrete: I will stretch for x amount of time, and I am focusing on achieving y goal.

I’m tackling a few different challenges with one common thread . . . the Internet. This week’s Pit Stop Monday  is designed to help me waste less time (always a precious commodity) and not fixate on unimportant things (a struggle sometimes). What’s the project? A week without:



Don’t worry! I’m not going a week without WordPress, I’m abstaining from checking my stats for the week.

I always enjoy my breaks from Facebook. It helps me both save time and prevents me from the ever-insidious Facebook creeping.

For Hulu, watching shows typically corresponds to times when I am feeling very de-motivated, lethargic, and introverted. Rather than doing good things for myself, such as seeking out friends or going on a walk or even reading a book (one of my favorite pastimes that often gets neglected because of said Hulu), I’ll squander a few hours watching meaningless drivel. Entertaining drivel, but pointless none the less.

I place too much weight on my WordPress stats. Whenever I get on my dashboard and don’t have the highlighter orange number alerting me to new activity on my blog, I automatically check my stats to gauge some form of ‘success.’ For my very type A, rewards and accomplishments driven personality, I’ll equate high bars as ‘good’ and low bars as ‘bad.’ But it really isn’t about that. Maybe on a very low traffic day, the very person that needed to get encouragement stumbled upon my blog and did. On a higher traffic day, maybe no one who could relate to my journey actually stopped by.

It’s going to be a good week!


The Exercise Compulsion

Quick check in, day 2, week 2 of Pit Stop Mondays.

I’ve been stretching, but half hearted motions. What I really want to talk about today is a revelation from this weekend. Here’s something I wrote on Sunday that I wanted to share:

Today, I was planning on going on a run and going to the gym despite my protesting body (my knees hurt going up stairs . . . I’m guessing because I was very very active the day before) After reading this post, I decided to plan on a walk, and to run if I felt like it, followed up by some elliptical action at our gym. I headed towards my usual route, and walked at a very leisurely pace to our amphitheater.

The weather was beautiful: warm, breezy, and sunny yet slightly overcast, and the sloping grass in the amphitheater was absolutely alluring. I contemplated a nap,  but instead went to the far corner and, hidden by trees, stripped down to my sports bra and did a few sun salutations on soft, springy growth.

Here, I again considered a run. It’s hard for me to break out of the idea that I should be active when I have time, and that walking “isn’t exercise” because it isn’t hard or rigorous. But I simply kept walking—and I am so glad I did. Walking outside on the trails in the woods, I was able to talk out loud (which is important for me) to God, and continually be amazed at what I saw.

My usual running route looks so different when I actually stop and look at it. I had no idea how diverse and beautiful the plants were—if someone had seen me, they probably would have been confused at my antics. I stopped to rub soft tree leaves on my cheek, to marvel at shapes, to gape at trees I’d never noticed before. I saw a toad, several caterpillars, and even helped a lost baby turtle back to the lake. I’d never have seen it if I had been jogging.

Allow yourself breaks. Marvel at nature, breathe in the scent of spring.

I’m going to take my camera out on that route, and show you all what I saw! I’ll add them in soon.


Loose and Limber: Focus on Flexibility!

For my second week of Pit Stop Mondays, I’m focusing on flexibility.


Growing up, my dad would always joke that he was the most flexible member of the family…with four daughters, this was problematic. None of us were naturally limber–I distinctly remember physical fitness assessments when I was in elementary school that involved me straining (unsuccessfully) to touch my toes.

In high school, I started stretching more routinely and got interested in yoga. I’d attend classes 1-3x a week, and my flexibility drastically increased. I went from barely being able to touch my toes to being able to fold myself in half. Forget touching my toes–my head could touch my knees! I still never attained the splits (my hips struggle to open that way), but I was loose and fit.

Now, I fall somewhere in between the rigid ten year old and the elastic sixteen year old. I still enjoy stretching, but I tend to only do it after exercising. One of my goals for this semester is to be able to achieve a front split , and I’m so close! (Depending on how warm my muscles are…)

Rather than only stretch when I work out, I’m going to stretch, at a minimum, twice a day: in the mornings and evenings.

Why stretch? According to the Mayo Clinic, stretching improves athletic performance and reduces the risk of injury. It increases blood flow to your muscles, and for me, it makes me feel great.

What is your favorite stretch? 


Dare to (Not Compare) Check in Day 6

Good Morning! Happy Sunday!

I am so grateful that this is how I started off Pit Stop Mondays–I think it has definitely set the tone for the rest of the challenges. Now, one week after intentionally not comparing myself to others, I can see that it has definitely made an impact. Since I’m not constantly looking to others to see how I measure up, I’m better able to assess my own abilities and appreciate myself.

Because of this week, I’ve noticed a few patterns that were probably very apparent but that I hadn’t connected before. First, comparison–> a more negative body image, whereas refusing to compare–>more appreciation of my body. When I appreciate my body, I treat it better and listen to its needs–whether it needs food, rest, exercise, etc. I’ve also noticed this week that there has been a drastic decrease in my temptation to binge. Because I’ve been encouraging rather than disparaging myself, I’ve been happier and have had a more realistic (and optimistic) view of myself, and I think that is what has lessened the impact of what has historically been triggering.

One of my close friends with who I have dialogued constructively about these issues shared a parenting practice a mother she knows uses. When her daughter was a baby and toddler, every time she bathed her she would say “beautiful, beautiful, beautiful” as she moved the washcloth over her body. Now that the little girl is starting to bathe herself, she too echoes that she is “beautiful, beautiful, beautiful” as she washes herself. What would happen if we adopted this practice–affirming every part of ourselves as beautiful, beautiful, beautiful?

Another realization: in my quest to avoid comparison, I’ve been focusing primarily on bodies. After going on a run with a guy friend of mine and getting discouraged that he was seemingly fitter than me (after months of only sporadic exercise and running because of an  injury, whereas I’ve been exercising consistently), I realized that I also can’t compare myself to others in terms of performance. I can do my best and no one else’s.

This is a pit stop Monday week practice that I’m going to continue. Many of the others will last only a week, but I’m keeping this around for the long haul.

Have a great week! See you tomorrow for Pit Stop Monday, Week 2!

Have you noticed a subsequent increase in happiness because of a decrease in comparisons? 
What is one challenge you could practice for a week to increase your overall health?