When things “heat up” in your life (e.g. work, school, commitments, family), how do you cope? Do you reach for a drink or comfort food? Do hit the gym, or go shopping? Or… do you carry on until something “breaks” – like your health, your relationships, or your enthusiasm?
The question is not whether you react, but how. Are your choices goal-enhancing or goal-sabotaging…self-nurturing or self-destructive?
I’m a fitness competitor, and as I write this, find myself only 10 weeks away from my next competition. As the intensity builds in my training for Nationals, I am “getting real” with myself and finding ways to healthily offset the extra intensity. If I don’t take care of myself, it will soon show up as fatigue, slower progress, injury, or burnout. I also can’t lean on my usual comforts — a glass of wine after a long day, sushi, or just enduring it… as this stress will be revealed in my physique, my hormones, and in my ability to train at a high level. I need goal-enhancing ways to recover, nurture, and pamper myself.
Little things add up when you consciously incorporate them with positive messaging. Here are some my favorites… even though they seem a little random – each one has a very specific response for me, and is deeply necessary!
1. Add beets to my evening salad
Same color as merlot, excellent for muscle recovery, and I appreciate the different texture and sugary sweetness!
2. Go for a pedicure before I need one
My feet are my connection to the earth – I always want them to shine
3. Apply ice to injuries while working at my desk job
4. Take a Musclease* bath 1-2x a week
I make this a ritual, adding scent-infused water, a fluffy bathrobe, a homemade avocado coconut hair mask, and candles to my in-home spa-experience. I allow myself time to relax – without a computer, book or phone.
5. Use foot massage regularly
More affordable than traditional massage, foot reflex is arguably more effective at an “organ” level. Also, love the convenient walk-in availability.
Sole Training®* at home with aromatherapy – a little bit goes a long way.
Marry a man who enjoys rubbing your feet…
6. Take basic options in my workouts, when my body asks me to
I acknowledge and honor the signals that I need recovery
Practice self-compassion, instead of self-criticism.
7. Add pumpkin & nutmeg to my protein shake
Variety is the spice of life…and ’tis the season for pumpkin spice!
I can make my own for a fraction of the cost (and calories…), avoiding the artificial fillers and sugar, and staying on point with my diet.
8. (Shhh. It’s my secret!) I indulge in eyelash extensions
Ahhh a monthly one-hour nap…
Shortens my prep time in the morning – no makeup required!
9. Utilize the Chopra Meditation series***
Encourages and facilitates my daily meditation practice
10. Take a plank practice hiatus…
Wait, what? The Plank Queen is not planking?! Yes, I am deliberately taking a break from daily plank practice in order to honor my Nationals prep and the ongoing stress I am putting on my hip flexors with heavy squats, single-leg exercises, and HIIT cardio sessions. I am counting on a “cross-training” boost from my training regime and your inspiring plank times to carry me to my 20 min plank goal in December…do not disappoint!
Bottom line: When you acknowledge the additional intensity in your lives and take care of yourself, you’ll send a message to your bodies to not freak out. You’ll establish a new, positive pattern of behavior and reinforce it each time intensity shows up in your life. This week, pay attention to where intensity offsets or energy leaks apparent, and sthen replace the “how” while still tending to the “need”. You can do it… you’ve got willPower.