I stepped on the scale today and, to my dismay, I gained back the 2 lbs. I lost yesterday. I seemed to be in this downward spiral of not being able to lose any weight, and it was incredibly disappointing when I stepped on the scale today. You see, I’d been working so hard over the last month by eating healthier, working out every single day, and standing at my work desk. Doing all the things that are supposed to result in a fitter me.
But no, not today. Today I gained back the only 2 lbs. I’d lost in the past month! It was so discouraging. I wanted to throw in the towel. But, I put on my workout clothes and begrudgingly stomped through the house. I thought to myself, “Why am I even doing this? What is the point?” Let me tell you, I was in a spiral of negativity. I had to dig deep, and I mean really deep. It was time for some serious soul-searching.
I trudged out to begin my walk and the frustrations just continued to repeat in my mind. Why can't I lose the weight? Why won't it come off of me? What is the problem here? Maybe I should just give up. Maybe I should just quit. Dig deeper, dig deeper…
Then, as I began walking up the first hill, I made it to the top without feeling winded. I took a deep breath, exhaled, and all of a sudden my rational brain came forward. I began to think to myself, “I am getting stronger every day, and I know that I am building muscle. I know that I am increasing my lung capacity and helping my heart. I know that I am making my legs and body stronger.”
Digging a little deeper, I came to the realization that I am grateful for what I have been doing for my body. I know I’m getting fitter and stronger everyday. I am grateful to know that my workout clothes still fit today. I am grateful that my husband snuggled with me in bed this morning, regardless of whether I gained those 2 lbs. or not.
Breath deepening, pace quickening, and steps lightening, I realized that I am a work in progress. I am a WORK IN PROGRESS! As long as I’m on a forward trajectory, I cannot go backwards. I can choose which direction I am going. I am choosing to go forward. I’m going to be the best me today. Those 2 lbs. will come and go, and I will not allow the scale to dictate my emotional or mental state of mind. I am doing good things for my body everyday! And, I am still a work in progress! I challenge you to dig a little deeper this week. Where are you still growing? Where are you progressing?
What I have learned: I am a work in progress!
After a long weekend at the lake with friends, I woke up stiff and tight with knots in my back. I worked all day and kept thinking I should get a massage somewhere after work. Still being away from home, I decided to do a little research on spa’s in the area. To my dismay, all the salons I found were going to be closed by the time I was able to get there. I began to feel like it just wasn’t meant to be.
I then remembered a resort hotel that was nearby. I gave them a call, and, miraculously, they had an opening at 6 p.m. I happily took the appointment. The lady on the phone told me to make sure I got there early, so I could enjoy the steam room and other amenities prior to them closing at 7 p.m. I thought that was pretty nice, so I got there early. When I arrived, I was kindly directed to the changing area where I was able to change into a robe. The receptionist waited for me outside the bathroom, then led me to the steam room. She told me that if I wasn’t out in 20 minutes, she was going to check on me because you didn't want me to be in there too long. I thought it was pretty kind that she was concerned about my well-being in the steam room. After my steam, she guided me to the relaxation room, where they had an assortment of alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, snacks, and heat wraps. The room’s lights were dimmed, and I was offered a seat in a very comfortable, heated massage chair. She gave me all of these different options to choose from while I sat and waited for my massage. I relaxed back into the chair, turned on the massage setting, closed my eyes, and felt the warmth radiating from the heat wrap into my neck and body. I was instantly at ease. After a few minutes, the massage therapist came out and kindly led me to the massage room. Let me tell you, that was the most amazing massage I have ever had in my life. The personalized and attentive care provided by the resort staff was so appreciated. The experience was above and beyond my expectations.
I’ve had plenty of massages in my life, but the customer service at any of those other appointments cannot compare to this one. Not only did the receptionist go the extra mile by inviting me to come early and enjoy the amenities, but the massage therapist truly worked out the kinks and knots in my back, took time to listen to my concerns, and helped the areas of my body that were hurting. While I was laying on the table, I was thinking about how incredible this experience was. I've been to some pretty nice hotels and resorts, but they've never gone the extra mile like this. It made me think about whether or not I go the extra mile for people. Do I go the extra mile at work for my students and their families? I would like to think I do, but I will definitely be more cognizant of the service I provide to my students and families. I will continue to reflect on this incredibly revitalizing experience, and I’m going to pass that great service forward to my students and their families. Who would have thought a massage at a lake resort could be such an enlightening experience?
What I have learned: Going the extra mile by treating others with extreme kindness and generosity can make a world of difference.
If you’ve never experienced summer in the Midwest, I highly recommend you try it. While the temperature can be sweltering and the humidity can be thick, summer in the Midwest provides a unique atmosphere. One of my favorite things to do in the summer is to lie on my raft in the pool and just relax. Just the other day I was doing this very activity, and I began to absorb my surroundings. I was able to listen to the water ripple across the pool as it was being pushed out through the jets. I could hear the locusts in the background making that clicking noise that is so well-known to Midwesterners. As I looked around, I realized I was surrounded by a halo of Pin Oak trees that have these gorgeous, large leaves that flutter in the wind. I was also surrounded by flowering trees, such as the apple tree in my backyard and the redbud trees providing wonderful shade. A dragonfly floated through the air across me and landed on my knee, as I drifted aimlessly around the pool by the force of the jets. From one side of the pool to the other, I felt like I was the ball in a game of Pong.
In times like these, my mind takes me back to when my kids were little, and the pool was all they wanted every day. They couldn’t wait to invite their friends over to go swimming. They filled each day with splashing and giggling. I remember the times when I was required to be Shamu and dive to the bottom of the pool with them riding on my back. I remember the swimming lessons that occurred each week at my house and the treat box that was saved for a sweet delight after lessons. I remember the other moms and I making the kids sit out and give us quiet time on our rafts in the pool. During that time, it just seemed like it would never be peaceful and quiet around the pool. Yet, today I float, surrounded by peace.
Back in those days, I didn’t take the time to look at the water rippling, to hear the locusts, to see the dragonfly, or to watch the leaves flutter. But I am so grateful for all of the experiences past and present. Perhaps those crazy, chaotic times are what helps me appreciate these quiet, peaceful times even more.
I think it is a great idea to spend time with your child and teach them how to be mindful and listen to the summer sounds. It could be a great bonding experience for you both. Like I said, if you’ve never had the opportunity to experience a summer in the Midwest, I highly encourage you to take a trip and experience it. But, if a trip isn’t in your immediate future, you can practice mindfulness anywhere at any time.
What I have learned: Summer sounds of the Midwest are amazing. Take a listen
How do you prepare for stressful times in your life? Balancing it all can be quite a circus act. I can relate.
I remember back to school time being very fun and exciting for my kids, but it was usually extremely busy and chaotic for me. Gathering school supplies, going to “Meet the Teacher” night, reviewing the kiddos’ schedules with them, easing their worries, and containing their enthusiasm kept our homelife busy. Because I was teaching at the time, I was also busy getting my classroom ready for my incoming students, which was both exciting and exhausting. I loved my job and always tried to make everything just right for my students. I wanted to make sure my students had an organized classroom experience and my kids had a stress-free transition into their own classrooms. Needless to say, life was really busy.
I know not all of you are in education, but I am sure many of you are busy juggling other careers, managing a household, and experiencing life. As a working mom, I have to spend time getting myself organized and plan things out in advance. I need structure and routine to calm life’s unexpected storms.
Tips to keep YOURSELF organized:
Tips to keep YOUR KIDS organized:
The more prepared you and your child are, the less stressed out you will both be. Be sure to communicate with your child about what to expect during this transitional time.
What I have learned: The more organized you are, the better prepared you will be for life transitions.
I knew from the moment I first kissed my husband that he was the one for me. How in the world can a person know that at 17 years old? Well, when you know, you know. That is all I can say. I remember my heart filling with love in that moment and feeling like it could quite possibly burst! I had never felt so connected to a person in my life than I did with that one kiss.
When we were first married, we started out with $400 in the bank. We were literally living on love. We were not prepared for anything, neither the bills, nor the chaos that life can bring. Not the sleepless nights of parenthood, nor the joyful moments with the children. Not the heartache of losing someone you love, nor the overwhelming love of having a child together. We did not think about any of this when we started our life together, but I knew one thing for sure. I knew we were not going to give up on each other. I knew from the moment I met him that he believed in me and would support me in all the ways I needed. I also knew that I believed in him. I believed he would uphold his vows, walk alongside me, push me in the right direction, and sometimes hold me back to protect me. I knew that he was going to be true to me and be kind to the people I loved. I believed that he would work hard for our family, and he always has. I knew he was a good man with a giant heart and that is what I needed. We vowed to always work it out together. That is what we have done for 30 years.
Younger people make comments about our long relationship like, “I want to be like the two of you,” or “I am holding out for a marriage like that.” I am always honest with them and tell them that it doesn’t just happen. WE WORK ON IT! We work on it together. We make adjustments, compromises, and admit when we are wrong. We go on dates without our kids and without our friends. We do things TOGETHER. We say we’re sorry and then we actually change our behavior so that it does not happen again. We work together. Call it 50/50 or 100/100, either way it takes a concerted effort from two parties. That is how it works.
When he proposed to me, we actually argued. I wouldn’t say yes until he agreed it was FOREVER! We bantered back and forth a few times, and when I was convinced, I said, “Yes!”
What I have learned: When you know, you know!
I remember being in a therapy session. My therapist told me she sometimes just sits outside and watches the world go by.
Then, she proceeded to tell me that her daughter came by one time and asked, “Mom, what are you doing?”
She replied, “Nothing, I'm just watching the world go by.”
Her daughter said, “How boring, mom!”
But my therapist responded, “It is not boring. I am spending time recharging my battery.”
So I have a little challenge for you. When was the last time you just sat and looked around to recharge your battery? When was the last time you took a moment to look at the details of your surroundings? I challenge you to do just that. I did this exercise the other day on my lunch break. I sat outside and took in the view of all the trees in my backyard. I just stopped for a moment. I didn't bring my phone with me. On my lunch break, I usually catch up on a tv show or text or call a friend. Not today.
I decided to do nothing at lunch. I ate and listened to the birds singing and the leaves rustling as the wind blew. I observed the shapes of the clouds, leaves, and rocks around me. I watched the wind blow the giant treetops in my backyard. I watched the flowers in the planter flutter in the breeze. Ironically, being still made me feel recharged.
What I have learned: Sometimes doing nothing but observing your surroundings and relishing in the beauty is the best way to recharge your battery.
Tania Farran is an educator, mom, business owner, and an author. Her blogs tell about balancing all of these things in life! Laugh or cry with her and maybe learn a thing or two.