It’s hard to believe that we’re already here . . . at the tail-end of February! It’s time to check in with Kim again – to see how she’s been doing with her fitness and self-care program this month.
(In case you missed the first post in this series last month, you can read all about it here.)
Kym: Hi Kim! Let's start with an update: How is your fitness program going this month? How are you feeling?
Kim: It took me a few tries to find things that work for my back, but I have finally settled into a routine that is working well for me. Every day I work out to either Kathy Smith’s “Fit over Forty” doing her circuit with weight training or one of Leslie Sansone’s walk workouts on YouTube -- sometimes with weights or resistance bands. (You can see the Kathy Smith circuit videos here and the Leslie Sansone walking videos here.)
I’m also going to Tai Chi twice a week, and we do try to snow shoe one day on the weekend. I have found out just how tight my hip flexors are!
Kym: Last month when we “chatted”, you were planning to get outside for exercise, you were going to do fitness workouts using Beach Body On Demand, and you had just ordered some weights. Are those plans working for you? Any changes to report?
Kim: It’s been very challenging to get outside except on the weekends because of the weather and the lack of morning light before work, but when I can, I do get out -- and love it! Instead of Beach Body on Demand, I am working with the videos I mentioned earlier and I’m really enjoying them. I like being able to work out at home. I have moved from my 3-pound weights up to the 5-pounders, so that's a bonus. My muscles are definitely feeling the workout, but it’s a good pain. :)
Kym: Can you tell me more about your self-care group? How did you find the group — and what’s involved? How is it helping?
Kim: I am working with a group that meets online called SCI (Self Care Initiative) founded by a man named Jason Seib. I found his book "Body Beliefs” (which is a free download) through Facebook, and decided to join his group after watching a video he had up. (Here’s a link to the video Kim watched; you need to register for access.)
He opens up the group to new people every now and then. There is a $30.00 monthly charge, but you get a lot for the little it costs. He does a weekly podcast, puts up a weekly focus video, and has a very active FB group where he is always there to help. He also offers a one on one program for with people (it’s called SCI Accountability). It’s more expensive, but when he opens that up again I will probably sign up.
You know we “Obligers” do better when we are held accountable . . . ha! I know doing this monthly blog check-in with you has made me commit to working out every. single. day.
Anyway, the group focuses a lot on looking at your thoughts and how they affect the way you react to situations. One of the key questions he has us ask ourselves . . . is how a thought that is “self deprecating” (for example) is really about self care; how it impacts the way we care for ourselves.
He also helps us look at stress and stressors in our lives, and explains that by taking out the emotion and by keeping focused on the facts, we’re usually able to deal with our stressors much better. When faced with stress, he encourages us to ask ourselves a series of questions -- and by the time we’ve really examined it all, it’s easier to remove the stress by focusing our work on the stressor.
This has really helped me! In the past I would often have sat ruminating about something over and over in my head. Now, instead, I’m applying a non-emotional way to confront the situation and resolve it with no bad feelings on either side. It feels like a gift to be able to communicate more effectively.
It’s hard to describe, but I have found this group VERY helpful, because the focus is always on “Self Care” right down to the food we put in our mouths. I’m sure that there are a lot of self-care methods out there that are equally as helpful. Anything that helps us to value ourselves more is something we should all be practicing don’t you think?
Kym: It sounds like you’ve found a program that is really changing the way you think and respond, Kim. You’re so right – anything that helps us value ourselves more is something we should all be practicing! I’m so happy you’ve found this group – and that it’s working for you.
This is Kim's tai chi t-shirt, along with a book she's currently reading.
Kym: I know it’s hard to go back to work full time — AND manage the rest of your busy life! How are you fitting fitness activities into your days? Is it harder than you expected? What are the barriers you’re encountering? And - any tips at working past those barriers?
Kim: Well, I have cut way back on my yarn business, which has gone a long way towards reducing my stress. I’ve changed from doing "dyed to order", to having "dyed inventory in my shop.” I will be making a lot of decisions this year concerning how much longer I will continue with my yarn business. Working full time really does make things so much more challenging – especially because I still want to find time to have a fulfilling life outside my work.
In order to get a workout in before I leave in the morning, I really have to prioritize my time so I can get out of the house. Having 5 older dogs that need attention, putting a healthy lunch together, squeezing in a little meditation time, then a workout, a shower, etc. usually has me running out the door in a flash . . . ha! I am fortunate in my new job that I work 3 days alone in the office, so I am able to slow my pace down a bit on those days once I am there.
I find the more I can try to get ready the night before (such as making my next day lunch if I can, getting my clothes ready, etc.) really helps the next morning go a little smoother.
Kym: You mentioned to me earlier that you’re learning ways to work out so you don’t aggravate your back issues. What kind of advice do you have for other people trying to work out after prior injuries or surgery? What do you find to be the best strategy for figuring out what you can and can’t do regarding fitness activities?
Kim: I found out very quickly that there is no way I can do any type of stomach crunches unless I do them supported on a ball! I have found that you can work on your core muscles and abs when you are standing with little modifications. It’s important to figure out what kind of exercises work for you with any physical limitations or injuries.
The videos I’m using have been good for me. Kathy Smith’s ab workouts don’t work for me with my back issues, so on those days I use Leslie’s videos instead. What I like about Leslie’s videos is she has options within each video so you can tailor it to your needs, but they are all based around walking. Sometimes the people in the video with Leslier are a bit corny, but the workouts are good – and effective! I do work up a sweat, and it starts my day off so much better.
I’m sure as the year progresses and I gain strength, I will eventually join one of the gyms up here. It’s sad that our big local gym closed.
Kim's tai chi studio (can you spot Kim???)
Kym: How are you dealing with the tedium and fatigue of a long, New Hampshire winter? How do you keep your energy up at this time of year?
Kim: Winters up here are just so blessed long! I find that by the beginning of March, I am really looking forward to spring - and playing in the dirt again. I love to read, so I tend to immerse myself in reading stories I can get lost in (and forget about winter). I usually do a lot of knitting and sewing in the winter, as well. This year I have been trying to clean out “stuff” from our old house. We are hoping to move closer to the ocean when we finish renovating this house, so re-homing things that we don’t use any longer will go a long way to making the move easier. It also is freeing up space in my brain!
I always try to learn something new in the winter, as well, and lately I’ve been playing with the app Procreate on my iPad. It’s a fun program that is stretching my brain a little bit.
Kym: Thanks so much for taking the time to check in again this month, Kim! I’m really excited to be following your progress – and I’m happy to offer some “accountability” for your Obliger-self! Maybe by next month - when we catch up again – we’ll be seeing signs of spring! (Fingers crossed.)
Enjoy your weekend, everyone!