“There’s no wrong or right – just write.”
I love to write. Big shocker, I know. It’s more than just my love to write blogs and stories – I love writing myself notes. I love writing down my workouts. I love writing to-do lists (and checking off items – talk about really feelin the love!).
As a fan of the pen-to-paper life, I’ve been journaling in various ways for several years. Right now, I have two daily question-based journals and an exercise journal. Lately though, I’ve wanted to up my journaling game and my wellness game.
One of the reasons I love running and lifting is because both are forms of therapy for me – so too is writing. After finding a 2019 planner in the dollar section at Target (another shock, Target dollar section FTW!), I was ready to begin. I just needed to figure out exactly what to journal, aside from logging my daily workouts and rest days.
In addition to a typical calendar, this particular journal includes extra pages for each month, every day gets its own dedicated space and it’s organized into weeks. I started brainstorming ideas for what to journal about on a daily basis. I came up with a few wellness journal topics and decided I’d try to write down something every day each week that will help keep me on my path to wellness.
Here’s how the journal is currently set up:
Daily workout and rest day logging in the calendar portion. Then, on the weekly, blocked day pages:
-Reflect on the past week’s workouts
-Three things for which I’m grateful that week
(one kicker, I can’t let it be my son – because, c’mon, I’m grateful for him every damn day)
-A mid-week check-in of where I’m at with goals
-Three things I can’t control, but how I can respond to them (because that’s what I can control)
-The best thing I saw or heard that week
-Reflect on the past week’s eating and nutrition
Tuesdays I decided to leave flexible, allow me to include a rotating thought. I’ll use this space for things like a dream or memory recall, a cluster thought exercise, writing down what I’m doing to keep calm and collected that week, things like that.
I kicked off my new wellness journal last week and I’m looking forward to keeping it up and, hopefully, seeing some health, life, and stress management benefits from it.
More than that, my goal is, not only to write more, but to reflect more; to look back periodically on week’s past and try to learn something from my thoughts and feelings.
Do you keep a wellness journal? What are some wellness journal ideas you have? Or is there something similar that you try to write down every day, like a gratitude or meditation journal? The comments are meant for you so please leave me one, or tweet me @LindsayIRL.
“I love you, but you’re crazy.”
Fargo gets pretty cold in the winter. I’m not shocking anyone with that statement. This past week, we had some of our chillier days, with a few down to the single digits. So what did I do on the coldest day, when the temp reached a balmy five degrees? Eagerly layered up and ran outside, of course.
Let me back up and explain a bit.
For the past several days…well, almost weeks…well, really, most of the month of December, I’ve battled various colds. I hate being sick. Up until I had a small child who goes to daycare, exchanges loads of germs, and brings them home to us every day, I rarely got sick.
Not only does being sick just make a person feel crappy, workouts are pretty much nonexistent. And I love my workouts, whether they come at 5 a.m. on a weekday or a later morning run after Abel goes down for a nap on Saturday.
This week, I started feeling a tiny bit better, enough that I gave our elliptical a shot for 20 minutes to see if I felt better. I did. So the next day, I was eager to break another short sweat.
I honestly couldn’t remember the last time I went for a run so, as you can imagine, I had the itch. After an end-of-day meeting allowed me to get home a few minutes earlier that usual, with a small window of daylight left, my urge to run was even greater. There was just one issue – it was five degrees outside.
But did I let this stop me? Hell no. I layered up, putting on all my best, warmest stuff, forced Burton into his sweater, and we were out the door.
Oh, an outdoor run. How I had missed it. Was I a little worried about aggravating my sickness? Sure. Did my eyelashes partially freeze together? Of course. But did it feel great? You betcha (in the words of a true Fargo-nian). I love winter running and know how to make it really enjoyable.
Funnily enough, I never once felt cold. The right clothes – and mindset – really do the trick. For tips on layering for cold-weather runs, I’ve got you covered.
As I was running, I thought about how people always say runners are crazy. We get up super early to squeeze in miles before work. We sacrifice weekend for long runs, recovery naps, and icing. We spend a lot of money to run a lot of miles for enjoyment. Most of all, as I demonstrated, we brave some of the toughest elements without much thought – in fact, with enthusiasm.
While most people couldn’t bear to spend 30 seconds outside in five-degree winter weather, I voluntarily went outside with the intent of spending several minutes in it…for pleasure. Yes, I think it’s true: we runners really are a special kind of crazy.
Are you crazy for running? Or do you believe runners are straight-up crazy? The comments are all yours so leave one. Or tweet me @LindsayIRL.
“You’ll bounce back.”
My son recently turned 9 months old. I’m not going to be THAT mom who says, “Where did the time go,” or talks about how, “They grow so fast,” or anything like that. For the record, it’s all true but I’m not here to do that.
No, what I wanted to talk about is getting back to wellness, particularly body, after baby. I know, guys, at first glance, this one isn’t quite for you. However, it might be helpful if you’ve got a new mom or expecting mama in your life, give you an idea of what she’s going through or will be soon.
When I was pregnant, I was admittedly concerned about gaining weight, losing fitness, and the way my body might change forever. Everyone told me I’d “bounce back” after having my baby, assumingly because I went into it very fit. Yes, you could say I had a fit pregnancy; I ran a full marathon and three half marathons, while continuing to lift. I planned to start working out right at 6 weeks postpartum and I did, so I guess the natural thought was I’d easily get back the body I had before.
Let me tell you, it didn’t work that way. I didn’t bounce back quickly or easily.
Here we are, nine months later, and I only recently got back to my pre-baby weight. I gained fewer than 30 pounds during pregnancy but, as they say, it takes nine months to put it on and it really does take nine months to take it off, assuming you eat and work out in a reasonable, non-aggressive fashion. So I didn’t bounce back quickly.
Secondly, it has taken a lot of work to get back to pre-baby weight. I wasn’t one of those women who breastfed and the pounds just fell off. Nope, my body needed every extra pound and calorie to produce anything. Only once I stopped breastfeeding was I able to lose my last five pounds, even though I’ve been consistently working out five (sometimes six) days a week and focusing on eating a reasonable amount of food. No, I definitely didn’t bounce back easily.
Then there’s a whole other side of things. I may be back to the same weight as I was before, but it’s not actually the same. I went into pregnancy at my usual weight, which fluctuated in the high 140s to 150. The last few times I’ve hit the scale the past few weeks, I’ve been 153, 148, 151, all around that usual benchmark. But my 150+/- pounds, pre-baby isn’t quite the same as 150 +/- pounds, post-baby.
I’m slowly building back my strength and muscle mass, but I’m still not as strong as I used to be.
I ran my first half marathon back before Abel turned five months old, but I’m still not as fast as I used to be.
I’ve been able to get back to normal, fairly healthy eating, but I’m still not cooking and meal prepping to the degree I’d like.
I sleep well most nights but I don’t get as much rest – naps and relaxing – for as good of recovery as I used to.
I never used to get sick and now my immunity is nowhere near what it used to be.
And, again, I’m the same weight and all of my pre-baby clothes fit but it’s just not quite the same…
I feel like I’m working harder at wellness now than I did before Abel, but the results aren’t the same.
I didn’t just bounce back, and I definitely didn’t do it quickly or easily. What I’ve learned is this is my new normal. This may just be my new body, my new lifestyle.
Why am I sharing this specific of a story? I think there’s pressure on moms to look great and just magically get back to the way we were before. But, truthfully, it won’t be the same as it was before.
The body changes and goes through a fight club of sorts, so it’s not the same. Add to that now we’ve got tiny humans to take care of, in addition to ourselves. That’s definitely not the same.
So if you’re like me and you didn’t “bounce back,” quickly or easily, even with essentially having the deck fully stacked in your favor, know that you’re not alone. It’s okay that it’s not the same.
Guys and gals, tell me about your experience getting back to fitness after starting a family. Comment or tweet me @LindsayIRL.
“Sorry not sorry”
Most of the time, my blogs and thoughts center around my personal life and things I love to do – why to run without headphones, my favorite leg workouts, or lately, more parenting-related posts like what it was like to run a half marathon a few months after having a baby.
While many topics and themes I write about do cross over into my professional life, I tend to keep that side of my life low-key. Part of that is because I believe in establishing boundaries, the other is, quite simply, my blogs are blunt, challenge popular opinions, and use colorful language. Yes, it’s who I am in real life, but I recognize it’s not always the most favorable way to present myself, professionally.
This week, I’m going to invite you a little more into my professional life. I’m a Public Relations Specialist where my job is heavily focused on writing – me, a writer. Shocking. I collaborate often, both with people on my team and coworkers on other teams. I work a lot with those outside my organization as well like editors, and people at associations and other companies we work with.
In short, I work with other people a lot. And, often with group work, comes dynamics and norms one seems to adapt to without always realizing it.
So, in addition to this extra-special glimpse into what I do, and because I’m a fan of setting goals, I’d like to share with you a professional goal I have for 2019. It’s related to something I often do automatically, without thinking; something that comes from the day-in-day-outs of working frequently with others.
In 2019, my goal is to apologize less.
This might sound like a strange goal and let me assure you it doesn’t mean I intend to be more cutthroat or rude to my colleagues.
I think we all apologize a lot. Often, I catch myself apologizing for something for which I have no reason to, or in cases when the person on the opposite end of the exchange isn’t expecting an apology. I’ve even apologized for observations or before even starting a conversation.
I’m sorry, but I say “I’m sorry” too often. Ha, see what I did there?
By skipping an unnecessary apology or offering one when I don’t mean it, I can focus on more productive conversations and more meaningful exchanges. And, when I truly am sorry, you’ll get a sincere apology and know that I mean it.
What’s a professional goal you have this year? Please share it in the comments or tweet it to me @LindsayIRL.
“A goal without a plan is just a wish”
You’ve been waiting for it – or not; either way, it’s time. My annual anti-New Year’s Resolution blog is here. And this year, I’m going to let a video do most of the talking.
Last week, I joined my friend, Erick, as a guest on his talk show. Because I don’t believe New Year’s Resolutions are effective (here are six reasons why New Year’s Resolutions fail) or a good practice, we focused our conversation on how to be successful at something I do think is effective: achieving your goals.
Here’s the episode of the show, My Office from Codelation.
Please watch and enjoy, and I hope it inspires you to achieve some great things as we head into the New Year.
What’s a big goal or a couple small goals you have? Comment or tweet me @LindsayIRL.
“Why would anyone ever eat anything other than breakfast food? Because, Leslie, they’re idiots.”
I have a confession to make. For the past two weeks, I’ve done something several times that I never do, that I never thought I’d do. Anyone who knows me will be shocked to hear me admit this…lately I, Lindsay Paulson, have been skipping breakfast.
Breakfast food is my favorite food. I often eat breakfast food for lunch or dinner. At my wedding reception, our dinner was – you guessed it – breakfast food. For real, I love breakfast food.
Additionally, I love to eat. I’ve often said that sleep is my time machine to get to my next meal, whether that’s a nap or a full night.
Combine these facts and it’s pretty clear that I’m not one to voluntarily skip a meal, let alone my favorite one of the day.
It all started two weeks ago when I was working early to get a couple things done before heading into the office. I worked out, got myself and Abel ready, then jumped right into work and got on a roll and, I can’t believe I’m saying this, forgot to eat.
I wish I could say that was an isolated incident but, sadly, it was not.
The next week, after my son so lovingly shared with me his stomach flu bug, I didn’t eat much of anything for a couple days. Combined with another morning or two of accidentally not eating it, and I’ve come to a conclusion: I really should eat breakfast.
As someone who’s proud of being able to maintain laser-sharp focus at work, I noticed I wasn’t as dialed-in as I normally am. As someone who keeps calm and collected, I noticed my moods were, shall we say, stronger than they normally are (um, #hangry anyone?). And, quite frankly, I got to the point of some fairly serious jitters and shakes by 11 a.m. each day. Basically, I wasn’t my best.
This doesn’t even factor in workouts. Eating breakfast is often imperative to fuel a good run or other workout. For a few ideas of what to eat before a long run, check out my previous blog on the topic.
On a related note, I’ve heard a lot about intermittent fasting and the benefits it can have, but I’d always been skeptical to try it because of fear of these (and other) reasons. I even had two of my smart fit pals, @JoeFitness and @thecoachhaines, weigh in on that topic, but that’s for another blog.
In a nutshell, this impromptu experiment reminded me why I’m a big supporter of eating breakfast. And, let’s not forget, it really is the best kind of food there is. Ron Swanson and Leslie Knope will never be wrong on that – so much that Leslie Knope can teach us all a thing or two about living well (opening quote credit for all you non-Parks and Rec fans).
Is breakfast something you need to function at your best or are you one of those people who never eats breakfast and it’s not a problem? Comment or tweet me @LindsayIRL.
“There’s no ‘I’ in Team – but there’s an ‘I’ in Win.”
Striving for individual achievement gets a bad rap. Whether work, home, or sports, it seems like everyone is always preaching teamwork.
Don’t get me wrong, teamwork is important and certainly applies to plenty of situations across our lives. I’ve loved running as a team for Ainsley’s Angels and I’ve also enjoyed advantages of having a running training partner for events.
However, I feel like the message of individual responsibility and hard work gets lost with all the focus on teamwork. I’m concerned it creates a dangerous mentality of, if you’re part of a strong team, you can slack off but still reap the rewards of everyone else’s hard work.
My belief is that a team functions at its best only when every individual on the team is committed to his or her best. In order to do this, we need to shift focus on the importance, not of relying on a team, but of each individual pulling his or her own weight, contributing at their highest level, and striving to be their best.
I was thinking about this recently and then thought about how it applies to some key areas in life.
At home, a marriage is a team. But if both spouses aren’t committed to putting in 100% of themselves, the marriage is going to be in trouble. It still might be okay but it won’t be its best.
At work, a group project is a team. But if every person isn’t committed to putting in their share of the work, the end result isn’t going to be great. It still might be decent but it won’t be its best.
A sports team is, well, a team (it’s right there in the name). But if every person, whether the pitcher, an offensive lineman, the relay anchor, or the goalie isn’t working his or her ass off and putting in every bit of effort, the team won’t hit its potential. It still might be good but it won’t be its best.
Are there situations where one person can slack off and ride the success of the team? Of course. But that’s the problem. It teaches people they don’t have to work hard to take the glory. It teaches people they can claim credit for something they didn’t earn. It teaches people that, rather than rely on others, they can mooch off others.
That’s not a message I want for my coworkers, my husband, or, especially, my son.
Now, being quick to take solo credit for something that’s a team effort or shine a spotlight on oneself for the sake of being a glory hog isn’t what I’m talking about. That’s selfish and arrogant, plain and simple.
What I’m saying is there’s nothing wrong with setting big goals and challenging yourself to be great – then celebrating and feeling good about those achievements. We’re so often taught that being humble is a good thing and pride is a bad thing, and I think that’s a big part of where the concepts of “teamwork” and “team effort” comes.
There’s a term called, “humble brag” and it exists for a reason. You don’t have to be humble all the time. You can absolutely be proud and brag. Just strike a balance between the two.
p.s. the quote that kicked off this blog comes courtesy of the cool and badass @DanicaPatrick. I had the opportunity to hear her speak at an event last month and, while a lot of what she said resonated with me, that one line was something I knew would someday be a perfect blog tie-in. I feel like she and I would get along swell IRL. Thanks, Danica!
Where do you stand on my push for encouraging individual effort instead of always focusing on teamwork? Comment or tweet me, @LindsayIRL.
“Being busy is a form of laziness – lazy thinking”
Remember when Sheryl Sandberg made it her mission to ban the use of the word bossy? Don’t worry, eye-rollers, this isn’t a girl power blog post about #banbossy. Rather, I like Sheryl’s concept of eliminating a word from our vocabulary that’s, essentially, bullshit. In that spirit, I’d like to start the #banbusy movement and remove use of the word busy.
At work: Did you get that task done?
Sorry, I’m just so busy.
In life: Did you work out?
I don’t have time, I’m too busy.
All the time: How are you?
(overwhelmed sigh) BUSY.
Seriously, can we stop it with the busy? Do we all have things going on? Of course. But when “busy” is the go-to first response to anything, especially a simple question asking how our life is going, that’s a problem. Either we’re truly too overcommitted, or busy has become nothing but a way out, an excuse, or worse, some sort of goal or contest, like you should feel bad if you’re not busy. And I get it, I’ve done it. But it’s time to stop.
Now that I’m a parent, it would be easier than ever to use the word busy. Do I get to the gym after work anymore? No, I get up super early to work out…or I sleep in and don’t. It’s not that I’m too busy, I’d just rather spend more time with my son.
It’s new responsibilities and different priorities, and fitting in what I truly want the most. Remember my blog about not being too busy to dress up my baby in a Halloween costume? It’s not that I’m busy, it’s that I just don’t care.
When Sheryl sought to ban the word bossy, it wasn’t necessarily that the word never applies. It was meant to stop use of the word when referring to a girl stepping up, taking charge, or delegating to others. Instead of being quick to assign girls the label of “bossy” replace it with a word that accurately described them like tenacious, responsible, a leader. The idea that the word is only used when referring to strong girls was the problem, not as much the word itself.
This is the same with the word busy. Is it sometimes accurate? Of course. But too often it’s not used appropriately. It’s not an excuse and it’s not a bragging right, so it needs to stop being used in those situations.
We all have the same 24 hours in a day. While some of us have different priorities and responsibilities than others, that’s exactly what they are. So let’s stop making busyness an excuse, a badge of honor, and a contest. Not being busy is okay – and it’s good for us.
Let’s #banbusy. Who’s with me? Comment or tweet me @LindsayIRL.
“I’m an includer”
Thanksgiving is one of the best holidays. Spending time with family or friends, eating, watching football, and relaxing – a great day indeed.
This time of year, you won’t have a hard time finding blogs, stories, and quotes about gratitude. And that’s great, it’s important to step back and realize that there’s plenty of things we all have to be thankful for. But because Thanksgiving is a great example of inclusion, something in which I’m a big believer, I’d like to instead take this time to talk about that.
While most holidays are all about family, Thanksgiving is one that includes friends. I remember in college when I didn’t have family to spend the holiday with, a friend invited me to his family’s celebration and they welcomed me like one of their own. There were years several of us had to work on Thanksgiving so, rather than try to get to a family Thanksgiving a few or hundreds of miles away, we’d get together after and enjoy a meal together. Now, Friendsgivings are nearly as popular as traditional Thanksgivings. Even the first Thanksgiving was an event where all were invited to attend.
My personality, or a strong trait of it, is an Includer. While most obvious in work and social settings, this effort of inclusion spills over into my wellness life.
I’ve run several races with others, primarily with Ainsley’s Angels inclusive running group. I blogged last year why inclusive diets are better than restrictive eating plans. And I’m all for including any type of exercise into a fitness regime, whether that’s Crossfit, running, Bodypump, or cycling.
So let’s celebrate the underlying theme of Thanksgiving by remembering life is good when we include, not leave out. Some of those things I include in life to keep my wellness bucket full are the obvious: running, lifting weights, and regularly eating lots of foods that I love.
p.s. how fun was it that I got to include the word, cornucopia, in a blog?
And it wouldn’t be Thanksgiving without also noting those things that I’m thankful for, that I get to include in my life – the ability to be fit and the opportunity to have access to eat a variety of foods, and of course my friends, family, and special shoutouts to Burton, Blitz, Chris, and Abel.
What are some of the good things you make sure to include in your life? Do you feel happy and well when you include vs. exclude? Comment or tweet me @LindsayIRL.
“I would’ve stiff-armed his ass and kept going”
I don’t know about y’all, but I giddily watched last weekend’s TCS New York City Marathon and proudly cheered on our American women to several top finishes. I got goosebumps watching Shalane Flanagan make her move into third place and nearly teared up when she mouthed, “I love you,” to the crowd near the finish line (I love you too, Shalane!).
While the American women were one of the most talked-about parts of the event, there was one other moment that received quite a bit of attention. Those of you who follow a running-focused page on social media likely saw the guy who proposed to his girlfriend, a participating runner, around mile 16.
The reactions I saw on social surprised me – it was a mix of congratulatory and snide remarks. I, of course, had my own reaction to the news, which I planned on keeping to myself. But after my friend, @kyods tweeted me that she was dying to know what I thought of it, I decided it was a great reason to blog about it.
Most of us who are wellness enthusiasts, especially runners, have seen one too many finish line marriage proposals. To each their own but I’m personally not a fan of a proposal at the finish line of a race. That’s not to say I’m not happy for people when it happens; my friend Emily received a finish line proposal and I was thrilled for her. But it wouldn’t be for me and here’s why.
Finishing a marathon is a huge deal. I worked so hard for that moment. Please don’t steal it with your marriage proposal.
Finishing a marathon is exhausting, physically and mentally. I’m drained. Please don’t add to the overwhelming emotion by throwing the biggest decision of my life at me.
Finishing a marathon is hard work. To be blunt, I’m sweaty, salty, and I smell awful. Please don’t put me in a position where I’m going to feel even a tiny bit bad about myself if I don’t want to hug you.
Finishing a marathon is depleting. A proposal adds that much more time between me and the water and food tables. Please don’t keep me from the hydration and nourishment I need (ahem, #hangry).
Finishing a marathon earns me a medal. That’s the bling I want to take home that day. Please don’t give me more.
Now, the marriage proposal at last weekend’s NYC marathon wasn’t at the finish line. So, one might wonder, “Lindsay, are you okay with this one?”
No. No, I am not. And again, this is based on me putting myself in those running shoes, here’s why I wouldn’t want that.
Mile 16 of a marathon is a point where I still feel good and strong, and the tough miles haven’t yet started to get me. Don’t stop me and put me at risk to stiffen up or break my stride.
Mile 16 of a marathon is a great time to give me a wave and a high-five, and encourage me to keep going. Don’t stop me and kill my momentum.
Mile 16 of a marathon is where I’m dialed in and focused. Don’t stop me, break that focus, and leave me with the emotional rollercoaster and million thoughts that follow a proposal – for another 10 miles (what kind of food for the reception, I need to call my best friends, what kind of food for the reception, we need to choose a date, what kind of food for the reception – damn now I just want food).
And most of all, I’m a goal-oriented person and a Type-A planner. When it comes to racing, I have a goal and I have a plan to achieve it. If you stop me, at any point during a marathon, you’re messing with that. Don’t mess with that. DO NOT get in the way of me achieving my goal.
I’m all for support during a marathon. Chris has been there for me, both at the finish line and during a marathon. He has cheered me on, threw a gel my way, taken pics, held my water bottle, and picked up clothes as I shed layers a few miles into the race. He has been my pit crew – he has added to the quality of my race experience, not taken away from it.
My final thought in all this then went to how would I have reacted if Chris had proposed to me in the middle of a marathon. I had a hard time coming up with an honest answer to that, so I’ll leave it to the wise words of my friend, Kelsey, who said, “I would’ve stiff-armed his ass and kept going.” Well said, friend. Well said. And now the quote I kicked off this blog with makes sense.
What do you think about a mile-16 marriage proposal? How about race-day finish line proposals? Comment or tweet me @LindsayIRL.