Anxiety and the fitness studio: How I pushed through The Dailey Method’s 30-day challenge and not only didn’t die, but came out stronger

TDM barre April 13

I don’t talk about it much because I’m afraid how people react and worry that no one will want to be around me if they know, but I struggle with anxiety a lot, particularly social anxiety. (I’m still not sure I’m going to actually put this out there but if you’re reading this, well I guess I have.) And it’s not just new people and large groups that freak me out (‘tho they do) but even the prospect of getting together with a girlfriend I’ve known for years. I worry that I’m not smart enough, funny enough, interesting enough, thin enough (!) — just enough, period. I avoid more things than I try and fret obsessively in the lead-up to the things I’ve said yes to, and then overanalyze every little perceived misstep afterwards. (If I haven’t cancelled at the last minute. Which brings its own set of worries.) It’s exhausting. And isolating. I’m telling you all this because I know there’s got to be someone reading this post who can relate, someone who feels crippled by anxiety like I do, someone who really has to push themselves to try small things. If it’s you, I want you to know that you’re not alone, that you can do things even if you think you’re going to die. And you might come out the other side better for it. (You might still overthink things ’til you’re a wreck, but you might be proud of yourself too.) What do I know about it? Well I’ve spent the past month doing a 30-day challenge at a local barre and cycle studio, The Dailey Method, and as much as it was physically challenging, it was an exercise in mental and emotional toughness even more so. The Dailey Method comped me a free month in exchange for a post, and I want to share some of the things that helped me not only meet my goal, but exceed it, and come out feeling stronger all-round. As the instructors often reminded us, the mind is ready to quit long before the body. Here are some of the strategies I used to help me push on through. I hope they’ll help you too.  Continue reading “Anxiety and the fitness studio: How I pushed through The Dailey Method’s 30-day challenge and not only didn’t die, but came out stronger”

Five things

Flowers are blooming, birds are singing, the sun is shining — it’s what we’ve been waiting for, isn’t it? And yet this time of year I find it especially hard to fight the urge to crawl into bed and shut out the world. Spring has sprung! We’re supposed to be happy! But what if you’re not? If you struggle with anxiety and depression or something else crappy, you might feel a little (or a lot) guilty. A little (or a lot) out of place. A little (or a lot) like something is wrong with you. Maybe all of those things. That’s how I feel a lot of the time, but I keep trying small things to lift myself up. Here’s what I’ve been up to lately.

five things may 18

1. My kiddos just turned 6 and 8. We’ll celebrate with their friends next month when we’ve had a chance to get ourselves organized (one year we didn’t get around to it ’til October and had a joint Halloween-themed birthday party), but on their birthdays each got to pick what they wanted to do and we did it together as a family. For James it was dinner at McDonald’s and playing on the lighthouse and the steam train outside the Science and Tech Museum. Lily picked bowling and lunch at the Dairy Queen. What do the littles in your life like to do for their birthdays?

2. I’m pretty sure there are fairies hiding in here somewhere.

3. Random House sent me a copy of Tara O’Brady’s Seven Spoons: My Favorite Recipes for Any and Every Day and it’s a treasure. The food stylist and blogger shares over 100 recipes inspired by a variety of influences, including her family’s Indian, English and Irish roots. If it’s true that we eat with our eyes, readers will be just as nourished by the gorgeous photographs and stories as they will by the dishes. I’ve made the roasted red pepper, almond, and feta salad and the trail mix snack bars several times (new family favourites!) and can’t wait to try O’Brady’s seeded boule, Vietnamese-inspired sausage rolls and za’atar chicken and roasted vegetable salad.

4. Saturday we happened across a fair when we were out doing errands. We didn’t go then (heavens, we don’t do things spontaneously!) but promised to return on Sunday as long as everybody was being good. Lily and I went on the ferris-wheel-type-spinny-ride you can see in the sky behind the ticket booths and thought we were going to die, then Lily joined her brother on a couple of the tamer rides. I’d love to share some pictures here if we did that sort of thing, but Hubs is most comfortable keeping the kids’ identities on the down-lo. You’ll see a lot of feet and hands and backs-of-heads here on the blog and on my Instagram, Twitter and Facebook accounts.

5. Do you like entering contests? Here are some (Canadian) giveaways you won’t want to miss: Hélène is offering a one-year subscription to Ricardo magazine, Monica has a contest for a $100 Visa gift card, and Chris wants you to win a butt-load of Pringles.

Have a great week everybody! Maybe try some small things along with me?