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

If you follow me on Instagram you might recognize most of these photos but here (and only here!) can you get the scoop behind the pictures. Okay not really. You can also get it on Instagram. But sometimes I fill in different details here too, so you should still read my Five Things. Heck you’re here, so you must want to. 🙂 Read on then! Don’t let me get in your way!

five things sept 14

1. Speed-walking to school, as we do most mornings. How can we get almost everything ready the night before and still take so long getting out the door? Tell me I’m not alone in this. What hurries things along for you?

2. I can’t get over these emoji cookies from A Couple of Squares. The London, Ontario bakery supplies to The Second Cup near our dentist, so we picked up a few after our last visit. And then brushed our teeth really well.

3. Well we already know Mindy Kaling has an amazing sense of style, but did you know she’s also got a brilliant eye for decor? I love her feature in the latest issue of Domino. And may I just say I’m so glad the magazine’s back? Now we just need them to put out another book!

4. This cutie is one of the Minted prints I’ll be showing you in an upcoming post about transitioning your decor to fall/winter. Don’t you love?

5. I’ve started a six-week bootcamp at the gym three mornings a week and let me tell you, it’s a killer. Or I am super out of shape. Or maybe both. Today I managed to squeak out a few more push-ups than I did in the first class on Monday so I can already see some progress. Yay! (Everything hurts but still, yay!) Do you amp up your fitness routine in the fall?

Hope you’re having a good week, everybody! Talk to you again really soon.

Five things

Hey, you came by! Thanks for popping in. I know many of you are busy celebrating Easter and Passover, so it’s especially nice to see you here. Here’s a little update on the week that was.

five things collage smaller

1. This week we had a lot of firsts: first time putting fondant on a cake, first time making and using royal icing, and first time using food decorating pens to decorate cookies, like you see my daughter doing here. Our inspiration: a playful, wonderful cookbook I just received to review. It’s called The Sweetapolita Bakebook, and it’s in stores this Tuesday, April 7. I can’t wait to tell you more about it and show you else what we made!

2. I put out the welcome mat for Spring, ‘tho winter is taking its own sweet time saying goodbye. Yesterday and the day before we woke up to more snow (!) but there’s a heck of a lot less on the ground than there was just a week ago. I’m so sick of wearing my winter coat that I’m ready to light it on fire. “Maybe that would melt the snow,” said Aneta.

3. Love these heart-shaped succulents (aka single-leafed Hoya kerri) from Papier Fleurissante.

4. Are you a Gretchen Rubin fan? You might enjoy her latest book, Better than Before: Mastering the Habits of Our Everyday Lives. Since how we spend our days is how we spend our lives, Rubin maintains that building beneficial habits is key to a happy, satisfying life. In order to change, we must find strategies that suit our nature or “habitual tendencies.” Readers will recognize themselves in Rubin’s questions and anecdotes and with this self-knowledge, be better able to identify effective methods to prevent and overcome slip-ups, setbacks and failures to change. While the writing is accessible, the research exhaustive and interesting and the strategies helpful (in theory anyway; I’ve yet to try any), I found Rubin’s own experiences difficult to relate to. As a rare, self-motivating “Upholder”, maintaining good habits seems to come easy; she has a remarkable self-discipline that most of us do not possess. That aside, it’s a worthwhile read and an informative study in human nature. (Random House sent me a copy to review.)

5. And coming up on the blog: an update on my fitness goal for March. Can you believe it’s April already? Do you have a fitness goal for the month? What about other goals?

Look out March, I’m coming for you!

Any day is an opportunity to make a new start, but somehow that feels especially true the first day of the month. And I need a new start. I feel like I’ve done nothing but eat, sleep, repeat the past two months and it so isn’t working for me. But today I’m making myself a promise: I’m going to run every day and slay the hell out of March. I’m tired of feeling like a sloth (and worse) and beating myself up about it.

slaying march for the blog

I miss the rush of feel-good hormones a great sweat sesh brings, and the boost of self-confidence and mental clarity I get when I’m in a healthier groove. Not that exercise is the be all and end all — I also need to be creative, somewhat organized, eating well and in touch with my girlfriends to feel good (or less bad) — but it has a huge impact on my overall outlook and somehow I’ve forgotten that.

In January I committed to go to the gym every other day and I did for a little while, but it wasn’t enough to keep me going. I need to work out every day to make it a habit and feel in shape. A moderate approach just doesn’t work for me. What does: putting on my workout clothes when I wake up in the morning and going to the gym as early as possible in the day. It’s what I did this morning, and what I’ll do tomorrow and the day after that.

That’s not to say I’ll be killing myself. I’m talking 30 to 45 minutes on the treadmill, maybe some stretching and that’s about it. I know I should be lifting weights but it’s always felt so boring, and frankly I’m intimidated by all of the muscled people (mostly guys) on that side of the gym. I’ll get to it one day (maybe) but for now I’m just going to push myself on the cardio.

I’ll check in again at the beginning of next month and let you know how I did and how I’m feeling. In the meantime, March is mine! How will you make it yours? Is fitness a priority for you?