I Can Do Hard Things, and So Can You
Hey everyone! I hope you are all staying positive and testing negative!
It dawned on me that I could be sharing my wellness journey with y’all! It has been one heck of a journey, and I am sure that people can relate. Let me get you guys all caught up.
During 2017 and part of 2018 I was in therapy learning about tools to help me deal with my anxiety. One of those tools is exercise. Now most of us have heard or been told that exercise can help release endorphins that can elevate your mood, but honestly, I did not think I could be a “workout person”. I rebelled hard against that tool for a long time. After exhausting all my other tools, I started to notice a bit of an emotional plateau. I figured that meant that the tool I was ignoring needed to be used. I decided to follow some “normal” people on Instagram that work-out to see if I could convince myself to give exercise a try. Maybe working out semi-regularly (still revolting) will help me feel a little better. Maybe.
I ended up following a few Beachbody coaches on Instagram for months but still didn’t think I could do something like that and stick to it. I have tried exercise programs a few different times throughout my 20’s and always ended up quitting. I would do well for a week and then miss a day and use that as an excuse to quit. That pattern had me convinced I was not capable of sticking to a program, so why should I try?
In comes Shanta. She is a badass Beachbody coach, my Beachbody coach in fact! She taught me to give myself grace. She helped me realize that just because I miss a day or a week does not mean I have to quit, it does not mean I failed. She taught me to be dedicated over motivated. Motivation comes from doing, so waiting to do something until your motivated is a waste of time. She is magical and I am so glad she is out there helping people like me. (follow her on IG @Shanta.lindo) She is one of the women I followed on Instagram to help prepare myself to being working out regularly.
Getting diagnosed with Adjustment Disorder has helped me learn and accept a lot of things about myself. I know that I need time to process things, and to start small with new habits. I knew that I needed some time to learn how to give myself grace, and not give up. I knew that if I joined Beachbody and tried to change my morning routine, diet, and start journaling / tracking I would potentially quit the whole process. Knowing that I decided to make a little mental plan to help me take it on one step at a time. Breaking it down into smaller parts made it a lot easier to process and implement the changes. I really wanted to make it work, even though part of me was still scared I am going to let myself down.
In January of this year (2020) Shanta asked if I wanted to join Beachbody and start the Barre Blend class with her and her group. I was mortified, but I sat with the question for a bit to process and decided to give it a go. Barre Blend is an 8-week program which seemed very daunting, but I tried to tell myself I was going to take it one day at a time. Barre has vastly different moves than exercises I was used too which made the first two weeks a bit of a disaster. I hated the moves and would purposely half ass them and then complain I did not work that hard. It was very much my brain trying to get me to quit because it was new and hard. One day I heard Shanta say, “you can do hard things.”, which resonated with me in that moment. I told myself over and over that I can do this and made a conscious choice to really try, to prove to myself that I can do hard things. I slowly started to try, but at the end of the eight weeks I knew I had to do it again. I knew I needed to take it seriously and push myself. So, I did.
In the beginning of my second time through Barre Blend I finally decided to take some tips from my sister, Josie, and Beachbody coaches on how to make it easier to routinely exercise. I decided to do it in the morning, so I have less time to convince myself to not workout, though I still give myself one cup of coffee’s worth of wakeup time before I begin. When I wake up I get dressed into workout clothes instead of street clothes, so I am ready. I also tell myself that if I skip my workout I cannot have a second cup of coffee. Sometimes you have to manipulate yourself to get something done until your brain accepts it as your norm. Having a coach also means I am accountable to someone which can help push me on tough mornings. Sometimes it is easier to let yourself down than to let someone else down.
The biggest thing I have learned so far is that when you have a brain like mine you must understand yourself as much as possible. I used to try things that worked for other people without thinking about how my brain operates and then wonder why it did not work for me. Sometimes it is a process of elimination to find what works, sometimes you know from experience. However your brain works, and however you manage to make changes in your everyday life is okay. We spend far too much time comparing our brains and our experiences to others, when we are all operating with different “software”. There is no shame in however you trick your brain into healthier habits, do what works for you.
At the end of the second time through Barre Blend I felt powerful. I turned out that I truly can do hard things, it gave me a lot of esteem. I had made it long enough to feel like this officially part of my routine. I made it though phase one of my wellness plan!
Phase two is diet, and that is a giant can of worms we will open later.
Trigger warning: next week will involve talk about my past eating disorders and all that that means. Be kind with yourself.