Personal Development

Stress and the Missing Sock

I am missing one of my favorite socks and now I’m late for work. It’s walking Wednesday which means I pack my tennis shoes and extra socks for my lunch break walk. For some reason my sock drawer is empty, and I can only find one sock in the dryer. And so it begins- I spend way too long looking for a match, and I still need to pack a bag for the gym; and I need to get dressed for work; and where is the lid to my glass lunch container? and what did I do with my keys? which purse was I using last week? and where’s my water bottle? We’ve all been there, right? Then we’re hitting every red light on the way to work, coupled with the plague of summer traffic, which is four cars at every stop sign and people driving 20 in a 50 taking pictures of the cormorants on the float. I’m breezing into the office at 8:59 heart pounding, with only a, “Sorry I wasn’t here sooner, but I couldn’t find my sock.” This is what stress looks like.

This is as bad as it gets for me- mini earthquakes over socks and stoplights sneakily eroding my sanity until about 20 minutes into the frenzy and I say, “Ah ha! I’m onto you, Stress. I’m listening.” I am grateful for stress. It sends a loud and clear message that I am off track and need to realign myself. It is time to strategize and turn this around. Thank goodness for stress to send up the s.o.s. smoke signals before I spiral off the edge in my unmatched socks.

The missing sock is a symptom of a bigger issue-a busy schedule. I’ve been traveling, visiting three states and another country in the last 2 weeks. The laundry from the suitcase is washed and dried but not folded and put away. It’s summer. The days are jam-packed full of fun. It’s not supposed to be stressful. But, well, it is when the little routines get off track and you can’t find your favorite sock.
We tend to have strategies for handling big stress; family emergencies, work issues, or health scares, but the little stuff can be just as dangerous when left unattended. The more we experience stress the more susceptible we are to illness, fatigue, weight gain, troubled sleep, and fuzzy brain. So as soon as I see the s.o.s. smoke signal I do the following:

1. Breathe. I take a deep breath and get centered. (Try this now. Doesn’t that feel good?)

2. Identify. I look at my circumstances and surroundings and identify the stressors.

3. Assess. I decide if I can change the circumstances or if I can work on my reaction to them.

4. Gauge. On a scale of 1-10 how big are the stressors? Most often I find they are 5 or below. That’s not too bad in the scheme of things. This perspective alone helps mitigate the stress.

5. Affirm. I assure myself I can handle this. A quick affirmation keeps me calm and confident instead of self-critical and overwhelmed.

6. Write it down. I make list of what I need to address. I prioritize these in order of most pressing or easiest to handle, and then feel good about meeting them head on.

7. Relax. I keep doing the things I love and find relaxing: walk, read, garden, stretch, exercise, cook, visit with friends. These moments fuel me and are important to maintain. I try to not make a habit of giving up what feels good because I feel bad.

8. Plan. Time management allows for the unexpected while handling what’s already on my plate. A well planned day is like a well loaded dishwasher: you can fit more in, even the oddly shaped things, if you start with some order.

9. Put away the laundry. As tempting as it is to skip the mundane tasks to go do exciting things, the mini earthquake of a missing sock isn’t worth it. Honestly, at first I just bought more socks. Then I set aside a reserve stash of walking socks. These short term solutions just prolonged the inevitable.

Whatever it is that starts a stress spiral for you, try to meet that head on as soon as you see the s.o.s. You’ll start to see the small signs if you look for them and listen, and you’ll be grateful for this too. Stress has a way of showing up just when we need it to help us realign, reprioritize, and regroup to relax.

Motivational Personal Development

How Do You Make the World More Beautiful?

One of the joys of living in a region where we have all of the seasons is experiencing the many moments of beauty that emerge, the sudden splendors that come but pass quickly in their time – the ruby blaze of autumn leaves; the diamond sparkle of fresh snowflakes; and the gilded petals of the forsythia as they are awakened by the lengthening days of spring. With our summer sun there are more moments coming and going at a rapid pace. This week our lupine are blossoming with their plumes of lavender and pinks. I am always reminded by these purple spires of the children’s book, Miss Rumphius. She is tasked with one instruction: you must do something to make the world more beautiful. Of course she chooses to travel and plant beautiful flowers, and the book’s illustrations could be sketches of the Maine countryside. The lupine are a very literal beauty, and I am grateful to witness this each year. When I see them, I am reminded to do my part to bring beauty to the world.
Literal beauty is only one kind of beautiful. I think beauty can not only be how something or someone looks, but also a state of mind that comes from harmony within ourselves. I think this comes naturally as part of a self-care routine. When we prioritize ourselves by eating well, drinking water, working out, and getting rest, we radiate beauty and wellness. When we are loving ourselves this way, beauty shines out from us and our actions like a beacon. When we are taking care of our needs, we are able to create the space to bring beauty into the world.
This weekend I thought about my to-do list and how to spend my time in a meaningful way. The most important thing to me was to be of service to others. This was how I could make the world more beautiful. My parents have just arrived to their summer home, and I decided my time would be best used helping them get their garden going. It was a great joy to share this moment as summer emerges, turning over the earth and planting their flowers. I’m fortunate that my folks have always set an example for me of being generous with their time and helping others, and by trying to make the world a little bit better by contributing. Even this weekend my dad said to me, “ The only things you can take with you when your time here is done, is what you have given away.” Digging in the earth this weekend was much more than adding a splash of color to the yard. It was about adding beauty through the gift of time and service. What is your Beauty? Are you taking care of yourself in a way that brings you harmony so that you can radiate beauty? Are there actions you can take that bring beauty to the world in a way that is meaningful for you?


How to Prepare for BBQ Season

It is officially sailing season, and Tom and I had our first overnight cruise this weekend. There was a chill in the air, and we had our anchorage all to ourselves. Provisioning for a cruise is always fun and the menu is always delicious. Galley cooking has its challenges, but if I am well prepared, meals are both a culinary and nutrition success. Memorial Day weekend is also the official kickoff for backyard bbqs, potluck picnics, and celebratory cookouts. It’s a fun and festive season. Who doesn’t love to see the recipes from Pinterest debut on the new patio table? But for those of us working on a new nutrition plan and wellness routine, these events can take us from fire pit to pit fall in 60 seconds or less. A simple occasion can now be fraught with emotions ranging from anxiety to despair as we try to make good choices while being polite or enjoy a small indulgence without being buried by guilt. The good news is many of this can be navigated safely with a few simple strategies and by being prepared.
Preparing for a bbq, picnic, or cookout can be narrowed down to a few simple dos and don’ts.
If you are going to a potluck, bring a healthy dish you can eat. If it is a new kind of food for your crowd, have a few pointers about why this is something you’ve added to your repertoire and share these with nutrition-curious guests. Chances are you’re not the only one skipping the slaw and others will be glad for the alternative.
Don’t show up famished. It is much harder to make healthy choices at the buffet when you are over-hungry. Sometimes we institute our own fasting / reward rule – skipping lunch to overeat at dinner- this is not a recipe for success. Treat the meal at the party like any other meal on any other day. Stick to your portions and food group balance.
The devil is in the details. Your average meal and calorie intake hovers around a certain amount. The peripheral foods can add up to just as many calories- the handful of chips, grandma’s ambrosia salad, the ranch dip (even though you’re eating veggies with it), and all those cute little dishes of bite-sized yumminess perching on the side tables. Be mindful of those small bites as you work your way to the game of corn hole.
At the same time, don’t completely deprive yourself of a little splurge. No one should be the martyr in the corner with a rice cracker plate. This only builds resentment and a feeling of missing out. That’s not healthy either. You get to be empowered here. Choose something, if you feel like it, that you can’t get just anywhere, like your friend’s cheese dip she only makes once a year, and maybe skip the deli potato salad that you can have anytime.
And finally remember why you’re here. These parties are to gather with friends and family. While food is a big part of the event, it is not the only focus of the event. Enjoy yourself, enjoy your summer, and celebrate.
Simple dos and don’ts of the backyard BBQ for nutrition success:
DO- Bring something healthy that you love.
DON’T – Overeat because you are over hungry
DO – Watch the peripheral grazing
DON’T – Deprive yourself
DO – Enjoy your friends and family

How will you prepare for your next event?

Motivational Personal Development

What is Your Awesome?

This week I have the pleasure of visiting my niece and nephew during my trip to Colorado. My time with them consists of doing things they love and watching them be awesome. We play tetherball, ride bikes, read stories, make slime, and there’s soccer and flag football games too. Both of them have something they are awesome at doing, and their joy and excitement around that is contagious.
Yesterday I took them to their school fair, complete with sack races and a dunk tank. I love seeing them in their world and having them share it with me. Sven, a circus arts performer, was my highlight at the fair. I’m always impressed when someone can do these amazing stunts and entertain an audience with humor and wit, with a peppering of philosophy. Sven climbed towers, balanced on giant spheres, and juggled fire. It was meant to impress the kids, but I was riveted. This man was “doing his awesome.” I realized as he set up to do his final tight rope walk that he was not just entertaining us, he was not an exhibitionist, he was simply exceptional at his art and inviting us in to his passion. His mission was not to inspire us to become circus artists, but to inspire us to be awesome at something we love.
As he began his walk across the tight rope, he looked out at us and said just what I was thinking, “Boys and girls, I know I make this look easy, but this is hard. I’ve been doing this for 28 years and I’m really good. But I’m not here to inspire you to become jugglers. I’m here to excite you to find something you love and be awesome at that. Then go out and share that with the world. That’s the world I want to live in, where people are awesome at different things and they share that with each other.”
Today was my turn to share my awesome with the kids. We went on a full day expedition in the mountains. There was so much joy between us as we laughed and learned, and sang and summited. This is the world I want to live in, just like Sven, where people share their awesome with each other and bring joy not only for themselves but to each other by sharing it…

What is your awesome?

Motivational Personal Development Uncategorized

On Being a Beginner

Midcoast Maine hikes
View from weekly walk up Beech Hill

Hi everyone! I thought I’d give you a little background on how I came to be a guest blogger for Hybrid Fitness. About a year ago I invited Hunter to join me on my weekly walk. I use this time to clear my head and get some fresh air. He joined me, and now my walk is our walk. Our conversations meander from business advice, to personal development, to fitness, to general wellness. We talk about books we are reading, ideas, goals, relationships, challenges, and I always try to leave him with a little nugget of wisdom. It was only a matter of time before he decided he wanted to start sharing some of these nuggets of wisdom with all of you. It didn’t seem quite right that he kept them all to himself. Hunter is a big fan of the live camera, as we all know, and he’s a big fan of pushing me outside my comfort zone. One day he put the camera on me and said, “Let’s go live on Facebook!” What?! I’m not a Let’s Go Live kind of person. As an introvert, I’m a listener, and I think A LOT. I am not shy, but I do not perform, or give on-demand wisdom. Going live is not my style, but I agreed that some of the things we talk about and I think about might be interesting to all of you. He’s always thinking of ways to enrich everyone’s experience at Hybrid Fitness, and so our compromise for the past few months has been the Weekly Thought from Dar. I take a picture and share on Facebook one insight from that week with the hope of bringing you a new perspective, a challenge to grow on your path to the best version of you. Given that platform, I realized there’s so much more to share. Hunter and I agreed that these little nuggets of wisdom could be expanded to blog style articles with more depth.

It’s not easy for me to put my thoughts out there, but this community is the perfect venue. We all come to Hybrid Fitness because it is judgment-free. We are supportive and encouraging of one another. So while I am not going “live”, I am outside my comfort zone (another win for Hunter). I hope to bring you quality content for your own personal development, while sharing a little of my story. I am not an authority on any given topic, but I am passionate about wellness, including fitness and nutrition. Over the next few months you will learn more about me, but more importantly, by bringing you information about wellness, fitness, and nutrition, hopefully you will learn more about you.

And now what you came here for…the weekly thought from Dar…

“Be willing to be a beginner every single morning.” –Meister Eckhart

It takes courage to be new to something. We reach our adult lives and most of us have become professionals in a field, or we have our routines that are really familiar. Being a beginner is uncomfortable and unfamiliar. When we walk into a new place, a new job, a first date, or the weight room at the gym, it can be a little scary. Try to remember in the midst of that fear, that it is never as scary as it seems. We’ve all survived the scariest, newest times in our lives. That’s how we got here, right? On the other side of the beginning, all of the new possibilities are waiting for you. In anything you do, you are a beginner first. What possibilities will be open to you if you let yourself be a beginner again?

Motivational Uncategorized

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