Category Archives: exercise

Getting Overwhelmed

I woke up “early” today, at 9:39 am to be precise, and I am, in this moment, trying to transition from the anxiety of nighttime to the, hopefully, calm state of daytime.

Sometimes it feels like my brain is my own worst enemy.  For example…

Yesterday turned out pretty cool. A friend and I drove to Rochester to pick up our t-shirts that we will wear when we belly dance on Saturday in a Shimmy Mob for the first and last time. But oh, the stresses attached to this endeavor.

My friend found this program last year when it was too late to sign-up, so we vowed to sign-up this year. In the meantime, we split from our troupe and had to deal with that issue all year.

Naturally, when the time came to sign up for Shimmy Mob, our old troupe suddenly decided to participate here in our little town while we decided to join the team in Rochester. Awkward!

Then the choreography turned out to be a bear to learn, meaning that we had to put our own personal dancing on hold for the past two months. We had questions for our out-of-town team that were hard to get answers for. Well, we could have just stayed with our old troupe for that!

It was looking like everything would be last possible minute and that was quite stressful.

Then yesterday we got word that we could pick up our t-shirts early. Yippee! We would know early if they fit and could actually do something about it if they didn’t. We’d know what color so we could plan accessories accordingly. We could talk to a team member instead of meeting them all for the first time on Saturday. And as a bonus, she lived in a part of the city I have been to frequently, so our trip was uneventful in a good way and I could have that added feeling of accomplishment yesterday.

Every day I wonder if normal people just take things like this in stride and waste not a moment of thought or worry on tasks such as yesterday’s undertaking: The Great T-shirt Unveiling!

Years ago I was one of those people who could just drive to “the city”, meet a new person, get a t-shirt, drive home, and let the experience melt into the past without dwelling on it. How I miss those days and that self.

There has to be a happy medium somewhere in there. Maybe that is a definition of wellness: Doing things with some kind of presence of mind and without getting stuck in the fear and worry.

Saturday will come and go as does every other day of my life. Shimmy Mob will be memorable for what happens and for what I learned. It will turn out to be not as bad as it felt at times while we struggled with someone else’s choreography. And I will have no desire to try it again. Not because it was hard but because my time will be better spent on my own creativity which I tend to put on a back burner far too often in this life.

Then again, nobody knows what next year will be like and maybe it will be something else altogether.

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Filed under anxiety, art therapy, decision making, depression, emotional health, exercise, friends, growth, healing, human nature, planning, pressure, progress, stress, Uncategorized, wellness

Enough Time Goes By

Last night my belly dance troupe held its annual Christmas Hafla (belly dance gathering).  We’ve had about five of them.  This year was our third one held a local bar that one of our dancers works at.

I was so keyed-up beforehand that I felt nauseous.  As many times as I have performed in public, that sickish feeling seems to be necessary on some level.  Maybe it is a gathering of all my energies.  It passes once the food is set up and the pool table moved out of the way and the music starts and we are dancing.

There was something different about how I felt, though, compared to previous years.  I felt more centered in my body.  There was less of a “people pleasing” element to me just being there.  More of a detachment.

I think it was a healthy detachment.  More of a “this is where I leave off and that is where you begin” kind of detachment.

Usually I do a lot of nervous laughing in between songs and sometimes even during a dance.  That didn’t happen last night.  Yet, I can say I did have fun.  Less laughing and more being actually present in the moment.

My choreography partner and I performed the dance we choreographed ourselves this year and we received a lot of positive feedback.  I felt really strong while dancing it.

We finished our second choreography this week.  It goes with a Christmas song and we had hoped to have it ready for the Hafla.  But there just wasn’t enough time.  We will polish it to perfection and unveil it next Christmas.  No pressure!!!

So anyway, this is one more example of the kind of progress I have made this year in comparison to where I was last Christmas season.  It is reassuring to have something to measure in a journey that is all about going with the flow.  These things take a lot of time and I am fortunate to be able to spend my time in this way.

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Filed under art therapy, boundaries, decision making, exercise, first impressions, friends, getting along, growth, healing, history, journey, progress, self-care, self-respect, social phobia, Uncategorized

Three Good Days

One of my goals is to change from being the kind of person who is externally motivated to being one who is motivated from the inside. I have always been one to respond, to act responsibly, to over-achieve. If your motivation comes from outside yourself, then you’re pretty much a puppet of every single person and circumstance in your life. And if you’re trying to please others all the time then you are doomed to failure. Many people have very, very high standards when it is someone else who is doing whatever it is that needs doing. What an excellent way to burn yourself out.

My life is much quieter now than it ever was before. I have cut out a lot of people, activities, and obligations. I had to get my life down to some very basic activities and relearn to honor my very basic needs. Am I rested? Am I hungry? Am I thirsty? Am I warm? Am I cold? Stuff like that.

I’ve been working on this relearning for over two years now and more and more often am seeing some good and real changes.

This week I was pleasantly surprised for three days in a row. Thursday, Friday and Saturday I got up at my usual late hour and noticed that I felt good. I felt strong. I wanted to get dressed for the day, eat and drink a bit and then get some exercise. Exercise!!!! That is huge. I never feel like exercising. I have always instead found an activity that I needed to do anyway and made it extra physical and counted that as exercise. Again with that external motivation. Doing something because I “had” to.

Nope, on these three days I drove myself to a newish park in town that has a quarter mile paved track. I just wanted to go there and do some steady walking. I wasn’t sure how many laps or miles I wanted to do. I’ve walked there before and knew what to expect as far as the facility and how many people might be around. But to actually want to just go and move my body was very cool.

As it turned out, I decided that nine laps would be reasonable. Two and a quarter miles felt good and like a work-out at the same time. I was very impressed with myself that first day. Then the second day, I almost couldn’t wait to get out of the house and do it again. And the third day I felt the same way.

Today, I didn’t feel like going and I know it is because my depression was triggered last night and that led to me having a great deal of trouble getting enough rest. So, instead of forcing myself to go, and probably kind of ruining it for myself, I decided that I need to make sure I get enough rest today and tonight so that I will be ready for exercise come Monday morning. And just typing that out and thinking about it that way has brought back my excitement, and I am once again looking forward to walking my nine laps again tomorrow.

All this time I had been hoping that my healing method would lead to something like this–real growth from the inside out. This feels so different from anything in my life before. I have really gotten lost along the way and been lost for a very long time. Learning to really listen to myself, and respect the answers I am finding, seems to be the ticket.

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Filed under anxiety, depression, exercise, healing, journey, motivation, self-care