Stress and Anxiety

I don’t often talk about my stress and anxiety issues because I like to pretend that they don’t exist.  If I don’t acknowledge them, they aren’t real.  At least that’s how I like to think.  And because I don’t acknowledge them, I don’t deal with them, and they get worse.

Also, its a really private thing.  But I feel compelled to talk about it. Maybe it’ll help me feel better, maybe it’ll help one of you feel better, who knows?

Lately I’ve been feeling increasingly more stressed.  Work is pretty crazy. Not in the way that everyone likes to say when they are making small talk, but really very busy.  I don’t think wedding planning itself is really stressing me out, but the change associated with marriage.  And those of you who deal with stress know that sometimes even really good things stress you out.  Simply because it is a change from the normal; even when it is something you are so excited for!

My stress and anxiety came to a head this weekend when I had a benign but scary cardiac episode.  I was feeling very stressed and very jittery.  Michael and I were celebrating his and my dad’s birthday with family. I had had a little extra caffeine and I thought that is what was irritating me, but then I realized that my heart was pounding and my heart felt like it was “skipping” a beat.

My dad noticed that I looked unwell, asked me about it, and since he’s in the medical field, he listened to my heart.  My heart rate was high, my blood pressure was high, and my heart was fluttering. He said I have something called Premature Atrial Contraction.  Its benign, happens in healthy people and does not point to a serious heart issue.  It is usually brought on by stress, anxiety, and high alcohol and caffeine intakes.  I’m still feeling anxious, and still feel that flutter in my heart every once in awhile, but I feel much better.

It is not something that requires me going to a doctor unless its extremely bothersome, or I feel like I cannot reduce my stress/anxiety levels.  However, I don’t like to treat things with medication until I’ve explored more natural ways of controlling it.

One of the other things I don’t talk about much on here is my faith.  I’m a Christian and my faith is very important to me.  I tend not to talk about it here, because I’m mostly talking about running and fitness and only about my personal life when it intersects with those things.  However, I am going to bring it up here because it is pertinent to the topic.  I love that my fiance reminded me to rely on God, when so often we try to rely on ourselves.

I talked to my fiance about it today and he gave me some really good advice, some of which I’ll highlight here for you:

“The best thing I’ve found is you really should look at all the things that are on your plate, remove the ones that aren’t as important and focus on what’s really important, then rest and relax and enjoy your life, not trying to accomplish too much at once.I was like you once and I had to really make an effort to “feel” and recognize when I was anxious and stressed and take the steps I mentioned above to keep healthy mentally. Nothing is worth putting yourself through that.  Mainly because we should be trusting God in a lot of our circumstance versus trying to control them.

I can’t say it enough….it’s VERY common to be in the position you are in, especially in your mid to late twenties, you’re going through a lot of major life changes and sometimes it’s not always one thing you can put your finger on but a combination of things.  The best thing you can do is pray for peace and ask God that he reveal what it is that’s stressing you.  Sometimes you have to put up the white flag and trust God.”
No matter what you believe in, it is no secret that sometimes you have to look at something outside yourself for strength.  Whether it is your family, or religion, or yoga and meditation, or something else entirely, there is something that helps keep you grounded.
I’m working very hard to find ways to reduce my stress and anxiety.  Its a process and it won’t happen overnight.  But recognizing it is always the first step! I feel that with taking proper steps in taking care of my spiritual and mental well-being, I’ll feel a lot better.  Of course, taking better care of my body is a large part of that too.
How do you deal with stress and anxiety?  What keeps you grounded and gives you strength?

Weekly Update – 9/8

Felt ok about my workouts this week.  I have been completing solid workouts, but still not where I want to be.  I am going to try to really focus on how much sleep I’m getting, because I think that is a huge factor in my energy levels.

Monday

Monday AM: Why did I ever plan Monday AM workouts?  Got 1.5 miles in once I convinced myself to get out of bed because I’d be mad at myself if I didn’t.  Also, looked at the tread on my running shoes – um, yikes! No wonder my feet have been so unhappy with me!! Time to lace up the new pair I have on deck.

Monday PM: Yoga with Jaye.  This class was MUCH better than last week’s.  Seemed a lot more organized and flowed much better.  Some of the transitions she cues for are a little awkward, but I’m getting used to it.  Practice went a bit longer than normal since she was a few minutes late and wanted to make sure we got a decent amount of time for shavasana.

Tuesday

I love sleep in days. Danny night.

Three rounds:
1. 300 meter row (200 on the second round, then 100 on the third)
2. Stair run with medicine ball on right shoulder, then left, then above head (right and left shoulders for 2nd round, and above head 3rd round)
3. Resistance band lateral walks
4. Resistance band monster walks

Wednesday

Wednesday AM: I need to go to bed earlier cause getting up was SO HARD. By the time I stretched and rolled I only had time to get 1.25 miles in.

Wednesday PM: Had to skip yoga because I had a bridal shower for a coworker after work and then a birthday dinner for Michael.  I hate missing class!

Thursday

Danny wrote me a workout to do because he couldn’t be there.  After he sent it to me, I asked him if he hated me.  Hard workout, but I was pleasantly surprised how well I did!

1. 50 KB Sumo Dead Lift (35 lbs)

2. 500 meter row (under 4 1/2 min)

3. 40 TRX Back Rows

4. 400 meter row (under 4 min)

5. 30 TRX squat jumps

6. 300 meter row (under 2 1/2 min)

7. 20 MB slams

8. 200 meter row (under 1 min)

9. 10 Inchworms with push-ups

10.  100 meter row (under 30 seconds)

Friday

Friday AM:  Woke up late.  Again.  I don’t know if it was because I woke up late and was slightly but unnecessarily panicked or what, but my heart rate was a little higher than it normally is.  I decided against cardio and did some nice gentle yoga instead.  Felt good.  Made me a lot less grumpy :)

Friday PM: Rest night, duhhhhh.

Saturday

Danny.  I’m pretty sure this was my last Saturday session for awhile due to schedule stuff.

Outside workout day!

Three Rounds of the following(all were done for 25 yards):

1. Sled pull (35 lbs plus sled?) – squat, right lunge, left lunge then repeat

2. Lateral squats with sled pull lead with left foot

3. Lateral squats with sled pull lead with right foot

4. Bear crawl sled push

Sunday

Church then a late lunch at my Dad’s house to celebrate Michael and Dad’s birthday :)

How was your weekend?  How were your workouts this week?

Amazon Prime and new socks!

I love Amazon Prime! The 2 -day shipping is beyond awesome. So remember when I wrote this post? I whined about having crappy socks, so I took your recommendations and am trying some of them out!

Look what arrived from Amazon today!

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Yay purple!

I have a pair of Injinji socks coming in tomorrow :)

I can’t wait to try them out and let you guys know what I think! I also can’t believe I’m this excited about socks.  :)

Weekly Update – 9/1

This was a pretty boring, uneventful week.  Kind of a slow week with my workouts, which was good, apparently I needed the rest.

Monday

Labor Day – so I did the opposite of Labor Day and I rested.  :)

Tuesday

Work was really rough.  One of those days.  You know the kind.  I was pretty much in my “I hate everything” mode when I got to the gym. Danny night.  I was hoping my ankle wouldn’t give me too much trouble. Seemed to be ok.

First Round (2x):

1. 10 Power Rangers (each side) with resistance band

2. 10 kneeling row/press (each side) with resistance band

Second Round (3x):

1. 2o goblet squat jumps

2. 20 squat and hold KB front press

3. 10 kneeling to standing reverse grip KB press

Wednesday

Wednesday AM: Due to my ankle issue, I decided to scratch my run and just rest it up one more day.

Wednesday PM: Vinyasa yoga.  This was my first yoga class without Sue as my instructor.  I’m not really a fan of Jaye’s style.  I’m not even entirely sure you could call this a vinyasa class.  It seemed all over the place. And she doesn’t cue very well, which is really frustrating.

And oh my goodness, I guess yoga stretched my foot out or something, the arch of my foot started cramping up and rolling it out on a tennis ball barely made a dent in the pain.

Thursday

Woke up Thursday morning to a still very cramped up and upset right foot.  I’m gonna guess the culprit is a mix of yoga and the fact that maybe my foot/ankle are more angry at me than I thought from my little spill this past weekend.

Danny night.

One Round (3x):

1. 10 Turkish Get-ups (each side) 8 lb KB

2. 30 second saw plank with TRX

3. 100m goblet hold farmers carry (25 lbs)

I.Hate.Turkish.Get-ups.

Friday

Friday AM:  Had an early work meeting, so no workout this morning.

Friday PM: After the insane week I had at work….I just wanted to CRASH.

Saturday

Danny.  I didn’t sleep well Friday night and this workout kicked my butt.

We did 4 rounds of the following with double KBs (8 lbs each):

1. 10 single leg KB rows (each side)

2. 10 KB split squats (each side)

3. 10 (?) KB high-pull and squat

4. 1 minute jump rope

Then I went home and had to do yard work since I’ve been neglecting it.  It was HOT on Saturday – I was sweating so bad my sunglasses were filling with sweat when I bent over! Not fun.   After that, I came in and did all the housework I’d been neglecting: 2 loads of laundry, dusting, vacuuming, sweeping, cleaning bathrooms, cleaning the kitchen, etc. It was quite a productive day!

Sunday

Church in the morning, even though we only missed a week, it felt like an eternity.  Then Michael, Michael’s brother and I headed down to Elizabeth City to see his parents.  Did my grocery shopping then watched a million episodes of Naked and Afraid.  I decided that I’d never make it on that show.  I’d tap out on day one!

How were your workouts this week?  Have you ever watched Naked and Afraid?

Labor Day Weekend + A Silly Injury

I was super excited about this weekend because Michael and I went to Arlington to see my brother (Jaryd) and his girlfriend (Laura)!

We got up early on Saturday morning.  I hate getting up early on my day off, but it was ok because I got my first Pumpkin Spice Latte of the season!

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PSL, how I love you!

We got up there around 10am.  We checked out my brother’s apartment and then made a gameplan for the day.  We planned on doing a bunch of wineries, so we started heading west.  Let me just point out that I’m not a huge wine person.  I will drink it, but it is not my first choice.  Take all my reviews with a grain of salt :)

The first one we went to was The Winery at Bull Run.  Their wines were pretty good, but I really liked the atmosphere most.  They had both an inside and outside tasting bar (we opted for outside).

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Aren’t we cute?

Then we headed to Mediterranean Cellars.  This is a greek winery that is a favorite of my dad’s.  He sent me with a list of wines to pick up for him.  It was pretty good. They had a really good port wine that I bought for Michael and me. It had such a cool European feel.

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Overcast, but still pretty!

Next we headed to Marterella Winery, just down the road from Mediterranean Cellars.  I was not very impressed with the wines here, or the service, to be honest.  Maybe I was just grumpy because I needed food, I’m not sure, but I just was not impressed.

We went to a local Irish pub for lunch.  They served a nice bread for appetizers, and I got a chicken Caesar salad.  Jaryd and Laura split a shepherd’s pie that looked pretty good, and Michael got a shrimp Caesar salad.

We got back on the road for the last two wineries.  The next one we hit up was Linden Vineyards.  Jaryd and Laura were really excited to go there. It was one of the most beautiful views I’ve seen.  The wine was decent, but not as outstanding as any of us were expecting.

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Isn’t this place gorgeous!?

The last place we went was my favorite; the Winery at La Grange. I ended up buying a bottle of their viognier.  So good. I didn’t get any pictures and I wish I had.

We headed back to Arlington, got checked into our hotel and then headed out for dinner.  We met Laura and Jaryd and Laura’s parents at the Grand Cru. I had the most outstanding Rustic Mac and Cheese; I was so full I couldn’t finish it! We had a lot of fun getting to know Laura’s parents.  They are so wonderful.

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YUM.

We fell asleep pretty quick and slept in a bit the next day(Sunday). We got up and found a Starbucks and got our day started off right.  We hopped on the metro and headed into Eastern Market.

This is where it all went wrong.

We stepped out onto the sidewalk after exciting the metro station and instantly I stepped wrong, rolled my ankle and fell to the ground.  I’m not sure how I gracefully ended up on my butt, because I definitely should have gone down sideways.  Don’t mind me, fellow pedestrians, I’m just an idiot sitting in your walkway.  Of course, when you roll your ankle, it hurts like hell for the first couple minutes.  I eventually was able to wiggle it around and get up. Bearing weight didn’t bother it so much, but walking did. I toughed it out and stupidly proceeded to walk around on it the rest of the day. Of course, walking around a city is about the worst thing you can do because the ground is uneven everywhere.  I stepped funny a few more times and made it angry at me.

We went to the Museum of Natural History and walked around the mall area to see some of the monuments and then decided it was time for lunch.  We went to a pretty cool beer/burger joint for a late lunch, then got back on the road (and off my foot!).

How do I feel about my injury?

Well, it doesn’t hurt too bad now.  Every once and awhile I’ll step in just a certain way that aggravates it.  I haven’t tried doing anything other than walking yet, but we’ll see.  Of course my mind immediately goes to my half-marathon.  I have not sufficiently prepared for this half thus far, and I can’t afford to back off now.  However, like I said, it doesn’t really hurt that bad.  I feel even a little funny saying I injured myself because I’m not really in pain. I have a workout with my trainer – we’ll see how that goes.  Not sure if I want to try to run just yet. I’m just annoyed more than anything else.  I’m the type of person that just is clumsy and hurts themselves by just walking around a city!!!

Have you ever gotten injured in a really silly way? Have you ever fallen in a public place and embarrassed yourself?

Weekly Update – 8/25

Monday

Monday AM: Woke up so late but decided to get something in.  1.25 miles on the treadmill was all I could muster out after a quick stretch session.

Monday PM: Hatha yoga with Sue – her LAST Monday hatha class.  I’m so depressed.  She’s my favorite instructor and she’s leaving the gym and opening her own yoga studio.  I’m beyond thrilled for her, just sad about my loss!  Class was good – learned a few new things from her before she leaves us.  Shavasana was extra long and I loved it.

Tuesday

I love days I don’t have to get up to workout in the AM! :)

Danny night.

First Round (2x):

1. 5 “whatcha call its” – I have no idea what to call this. Start in standing position, lean over and grab the inside of your feet, squat down while holding on to your feet, raise arms in a “Y” raise, then stand up.

2. 15 bird dogs each side

Second Round (2x):

1. Squat and hold, then 20 kettlebell presses

2. 10 side/overhead/side ball slams each side

3. 20 side plank single arm row (each side)

4. Walking lunges (25 ft-ish) with medicine ball carry on each side

Wednesday

Wednesday AM: I did not sleep well at all and I decided to can the workout for the morning. I think I got about 3 hours of sleep.  UGH.

Wednesday PM: Last vinyasa yoga class with Sue :(  Class was good.  A little slower than normal, but good.  My half moon is getting so much more solid! Just have to work on being able to hold it longer :)

Thursday

Danny. Why does he make me workout outside on hot days? Why?

Warmup:

1. 3 minutes jump rope

2. 20 push ups

3. 2 minutes jump rope

4. 15 push ups

5. 1 minute jump rope

6. 10 pushups

Workout (just one round):

1. 20 Sumo squats with 2 20ish lb kettle bells

2. 50 meter farmer carry with 2 20ish lb kettle bells (25 m forward, 25 m backward)

3. 10 single leg RDLs (each side) with a barbell

*These were SO hard on one side, mostly due to the inequality in the strength in my back from my scoliosis.

Friday

Friday AM: 1.5 mile walk on the treadmill.  My right hamstring was tight from the single leg RDLs from Thursday night’s workout.

Friday PM: Rest, yay!

Saturday – Sunday

Michael and I went to Arlington, VA to visit my brother.  More about that later. BUT – I tend to injure myself in stupid ways when I go on vacation. I was going to add a poll so you could guess what stupid way I hurt myself this time, but it doesn’t seem to be working.  Feel free to comment below :)

 

FMS Score Round 2: Improvement!

So a few months ago (in April) I wrote about an FMS screening that my trainer did for me. You can read all about it here.

For those of you who won’t click on it, here are the highlights of the Functional Movement Systems (FMS) program.  Their website, tells you all about how it works, but in summary and in their words:

“Put simply, the FMS is a ranking and grading system that documents movement patterns that are key to normal function. By screening these patterns, the FMS readily identifies functional limitations and asymmetries. These are issues that can reduce the effects of functional training and physical conditioning and distort body awareness.

The FMS generates the Functional Movement Screen Score, which is used to target problems and track progress. This scoring system is directly linked to the most beneficial corrective exercises to restore mechanically sound movement patterns.

Exercise professionals monitor the FMS score to track progress and to identify those exercises that will be most effective to restore proper movement and build strength in each individual.”

Basically – for each exercise/activity on the assessment, you can get a score of 1,2 or 3.  A three is the best you can get; meaning you performed the activity correctly and optimally.  A two means that you are proficient, but work is needed on technique.  A one means you need correction in that area.  If an exercise is done bilaterally, and one side is stronger than the other, you receive the lower of the 2 scores.

Last time I did this – we did 7 exercises for a total of a possible 21 points.  I received a 14.

This time, Danny adjusted it down to 3 exercises for a total of a possible 9 points.  I got a 7.  (Woot!)  If you score 1-3 then you need major correction, 4-6 needs some adjustment, 7-9 means you should only need to maintenance.

That being said, just because I ended up in the top category does not mean I only need to maintenance.  Danny and I know I have a few things to work on, and that’s ok.  He “prescribed” me some of the correction exercises to account for that.  He might have other opinions, but these are my takeaways:

1. My hips have gotten much stronger and much more open (though not perfect).

2. My calves, shins and ankles are still really tight.  I have been instructed to foam roll, use the stick, and roll on a tennis/golf ball often.

3. Because of my scoliosis, I have issues with bilateral equality.  Strengthening my core will help a lot.

4. Yoga has benefited me immensely.  I know that a lot of my strength and flexibility can be attributed to that.

5. The unilateral movements (single arm or leg) that Danny and I have been doing have helped a LOT.

6.  I’ve saved the best for last.  My number one focus has switched from just being active for activities sake to being SMART and do things RIGHT.  Form and correction is so much more important than its ever been.  Success is no longer defined by just getting out there and “getting it done,” but by doing it injury free.  Its always been my goal in running, but its spilling over more and more into all areas of my physical activity.  I’m so much more aware of how everything is intertwined.

Thanks for staying with me through that brain dump.  I am excited about the progress we’ve made (trust me, so much of this has been Danny’s doing) and I can’t wait to see how we continue to improve! This journey has been hard but so worth it!