November 14, 2017
by Gillian Byers
November 14, 2017
by Gillian Byers
March 23, 2017
by Gillian Byers
“When I was on the couch barely wanting to move to use the restroom, let alone to do more, what got me to taking a walk — a pleasant, relaxing one, at that?”
I was graciously given permission to share this Spoonie’s very personal and moving story:
“Garbage. I had to take the garbage out for this morning’s pick-up. While doing that, I kept walking, past the cans (after laying my bags in it), past other homes, into the night.
And that one step led to the next step…
What got me to that one step? What got me to take out the garbage versus delay? The consequence of fruit flies and a big bag of garbage with nowhere to go probably did it.
After the walk into the calm, accepting world and back into my depressed- and anxious-feeling apartment, I felt I really needed an accountability buddy. I didn’t want to fall into the abyss again. Short of an electronic one in the form of an app, I’d have to be my own friend through this. I came up with two whiteboard messages, as follows:
Activity: What’s one step? (checking the Spoonie Membership site can be a step)
My happiness matters to me.
That last has it’s own, dark, backstory. After days of inactivity, I began to realize I could just melt into the couch and spend my days in total isolation, as I have, and it wouldn’t matter to anyone but me. I no longer have any family and friendships have necessarily drifted amidst upheavals and exhaustion of recent life. Being a life-long volunteer and active in the community in an ‘anonymous angel’ sort of way, I’ve oriented to helping impact others; it never occurred to me to matter to myself enough to do something for my own sake.
I made a decision. I am the tree. And I am the forest. And the tree has fallen. And it matters to me that it gets up.
I don’t know how this stuff locked-in yesterday when at other low times, it hasn’t. Maybe I hit some sort of bottom. Maybe I will hit a lower one.
For now, I am grateful to see that my body and moreover my mind are receptive to taking even one positive step, and that leading to the next.”
The person who wrote this story played a vital part in helping me create the Monthly Membership for those with Fibromyalgia and other chronic conditions (Spoonies). The membership site has a variety of short gentle movement videos to meet your unique needs each day. You can hop on and choose just one video that sounds the most appealing. All videos are 10 min. or LESS. Click here to learn more.
January 15, 2017
by Gillian Byers
If you’re at all familiar with my approach you know I’m BIG on finding exercise you enjoy!! The variety of ways you can move your body is almost never ending!
I highly encourage you to keep looking if you haven’t found what lights you up. I’m happy to have a FREE Tea and Exploration call to help you explore options if you’re feeling stuck!
HOWEVER sometimes the physical activity required for you to build up to activities you enjoy is not fun in and of itself. It’s boring and tedious and so. not. fun!
This could be Physical Therapy exercises to rehab an injury.
Perhaps you’re a book worm through and through and while all bodies like some movement and you want to be able to go on walks through lovely small towns and play with your children, you know that in order to do those with ease you need to move at other times when you just really want to curl up and read a book! Exercise is more enjoyable for some then it is for others. I don’t want to deny this reality.
Perhaps you’re a Spoonie, maybe even a Spoonie that adores exercise. But your condition won’t let you do the movement you love. You know the short easier sessions help you overall and even feel good, but it’s hard to think of them as fun when you really want to be out running or hiking etc.
Bethany wrote a wonderful post about her experience with not so joyful movement HERE. If you have a moment go check it out and then come back, I’ll be waiting with some ideas.
A couple ideas if you’re choosing to do movement that isn’t particularly fun for you:
* Make it as fun as possible. Can you do it with a friend? Play your favorite music? Watch or listen to a show (as Bethany mentions)? Turn it into a game with rewards? Break it up into smaller pieces?
* Experiment with what amount/type gives you the greatest rewards. Perhaps there’s a way to combine exercises so they take less time. Maybe you’re doing more sets then necessary for the outcome you need. Check with a trainer about maximizing impact with less time and more effective exercises.
Can you relate? Are there ways you’ve made it easier to do the not so fun exercise? I’d love to hear from you in the comments!
December 14, 2016
by Gillian Byers
I get it!
There’s so incredibly much going on this time of year! And it’s so easy to push exercise off until New years!
But hear me out, just for a few seconds, please?
Did you know that movement can actually help with the holiday stress?
Yes, perhaps you did! But you’re still thinking “Ya Right, like it’s going to fit”!
What you might not realize, or may have forgotten, is that the smallest bits of movement can really make a difference!
Here are a few ideas. Choose ONE and see how it goes. You can always come back for more later 🙂
~ Roll your ankles and give your body a full stretch with some relaxing breathes before you get out of bed.
~ Do 5 jumping jacks right after you get up in the morning, or mid morning after sitting, or right before lunch, or right after getting home from work.
~ Dance to your favorite song once a day
~ Do my feel good full body warm up right before you hop in the shower. It takes less then 6 minutes. Or during your lunch break or right after you get home from work.
~ Balance on one foot while brushing your teeth
~ When cleaning do so with music on and move your body with more energy, paying attention to supportive form.
~ Post in the comments your quick movement break ideas!
What benefits can the above bring? Simply put then can help your body FEEL GOOD! From that place of feeling good you can function more efficiently, feel the stress a little less, and perhaps find a smile and get your endorphin’s flowing. Just to name a few.
Many are surprised at the difference just a little can make. And maybe a couple of the days you’ll find yourself with time to do more and lovin’ it!
If you end up doing nothing, please be kind to yourself. Take a breath and enjoy what’s in front of you. You’re awesome whether you move your fabulous body or not.
What small movement sounds totally doable to boost your day?
November 22, 2016
by Gillian Byers
I wish for us to move our bodies because it feels so good
Not because we feel guilty for eating
If we choose to move after a meal I hope we’ll feel the nourishment it brings, the added oxygen helping us to digest after savoring a delightful meal.
Not because we feel bad about what we ate.
And if we choose a nap, may we enjoy it thoroughly!
I wish for us to know that exercising doesn’t have to be in a gym or running or any specific activity.
It can be jumping on a trampoline, dancing, raking leaves, wiggling, ice skating, a stroll with a loved one, tag and so on.
What fun can we have with family and friends? Or nourishing alone time to refresh?
If moving your body without guilt feels way to foreign, can you take a moment to ponder the idea? Simply think about it as a possible option. What might it feel like to move with freedom and ease, to release stress not increase it?
June 30, 2016
by Gillian Byers
Have you ever attempted to give up something in order to be more healthy?
When applied to food, drink, TV etc. this is a commonly accepted practice (how helpful those attempts are is a whole other topic). However, when it comes to exercise we often feel the pressure to “never give up!”.
Does your body feel weighed down when you think about exercise?
Is your exercise routine constantly pushing your limits, setting you up for injury?
Are you feeling more tired overall then before you started this routine?
Are you missing out on important things in your life?
Do you rarely exercise because it’s so not fun?
What would happen if you gave up on exercise that you don’t enjoy? Or that isn’t, at the least, giving you direct skills to do other activities you enjoy?
I adore this bike!
This bike is what I got for giving up.
In this post here I share about overcoming some mountain biking challenges by facing a fear and preparing my body. It was a great experience. But what about the rest of the story?
I didn’t bike much after that.
Thankfully my husband suggested that a different type of bike would be more comfortable and fun for me. So we went looking and found the bike pictured above. It was instant love!
I love how my back feels because I can sit up straight and still reach the handle bars. The ease of standing up straight on the peddles while still solidly holding the handle bars when going downhill, fresh air blowing into my face. And more!
Does this bike do well on mountain bike trails? No. Truth is I don’t really like mountain biking. It was great that I gave it a shot and overcame some fears and gained some skills. But it feels really good to just say “it’s not for me” and give up!
We don’t always have to conquer our fears or push for what challenges us the most. Sometimes the greatest benefit comes from giving up. Ya know what? I bike a whole lot more now! 🙂
What exercise are you trying to talk yourself into?
Sometimes it’s so worth it to work through our fears and prove to ourselves we are up the challenge! But I also see us pushing when we don’t need to. When it’s not in our best interest to!
There are so many many ways to move and strengthen our bodies. Changing things up could make a night and day difference! Why not try something different?
Are you pushing because you enjoy it or want to get to the skill level so you can enjoy it? Or simply because you think you should? Being honest about this doesn’t mean you have to take drastic action right away if you don’t want to.
Does giving up feel too scary or are you feeling torn about whether you truly want to do this activity? Some minor tweaks may be all it takes:
~ Try different equipment (like I did with the bike)
~ Find a new location or different teacher/trainer
~ Slow down the movements or shorten the sessions
~ Talk with a trainer to help you modify it to meet you where you are
~ Try something new just 1 day a week or take just a few minutes from each workout to try something a little different.
~ Add music
~ Find a partner
~ Change the time of day
If something feels off but you aren’t sure what to change I’d be happy to chat with you, free of cost and pressure, and see if we can find some ways for you to pivot and test. Grab some tea and we’ll hope on the phone or video chat! Sign up for a tea and exploration session here.
May 16, 2016
by Gillian Byers
In this interview Ane Axford and I talk about honoring sensitivity and being Mindfully Active with fibromyalgia.
March 14, 2016
by Gillian Byers
You’ve decided you want to start exercising again! You do a google search. Can we say overwhelm?!? So many claims that this is THE way to exercise. How do you be sure and choose the right one?
Keep reading to learn 2 steps to the workout that will have you feeling good and coming back for more!
Human nature seems to have this strong pull to find THE way of doing things. We have this, often subconscious, desire to put everyone in the same box. “If it worked for so and so then it should work for me” we think. We do this within ourselves as well. “It worked for me last year, it should work for me this year too. Why can’t I get my act together?”
The 2 essential steps to finding the best workout for you is to continually test and pivot. I have so appreciated this concept from Hélène Scott when it comes to running a business and I think it can apply to much of life, including exercise!
There are an endless amount of ways to move your body! If you aren’t liking what you’re doing now, there’s a high probability that there’s a much better fit out there! But often the only way to know for sure is to actually test and find out.
I tested out a yoga site a few weeks ago. I’ve found I’m extremely picky with yoga, there are VERY few that I enjoy. Most are oh so painfully boring to me. So I move on, I test and pivot. Just because others adore yoga doesn’t mean I have to. I’ll do the few I like when I feel like it and focus my energy on building my skills in an area that calls to me.
Even things I love one day, can feel like dead weight another day. So I pivot.
Life changes us, always. It’s far more beneficial to be kind to ourselves about activities we used to enjoy but now don’t, then to try and push ourselves into the past mold.
One week a certain level will be perfect, the next week your body may ask you to take it easy. Test it out and pivot based on the feedback your body and mind provide you.
Having a plan is important, it helps us avoid analysis paralysis. It’s powerful to have something to default to! But I always let myself pivot from the plan if something else is calling my name, either emotionally or physically.
Would you like test and pivoting guidance to help you find a workout that has you feelin’ good all over!?
Click here to sign up for a tea and exploration call and I’ll get you started! I work with people online and in Newberg, OR. Grab some tea and we’ll talk about some things you can start testing and pivoting right away as well as how we can work together if you choose. I’d love to meet you and have no desire to pressure you into something you don’t want. We’ll talk and I’ll give you the space you need to decide.
January 8, 2016
by Gillian Byers
What if the large goals you set, and never seem to fulfill, are due to being out of touch with reality, not your lack of will power to follow through? Looking at reality can feel like the death of our dreams, so we avoid it anyway we can. I know I do this!
But what if reality was actually the path to those dreams instead of the death?
We will have to let go of reaching our goals instantly. But then the door opens wide and we are able to create a solid path to our dreams.
Reality gives us priceless insight into what can actually be sustainable to do and those doable, consistent small steps are what move us forward much faster than once in a while grand leaps with nothing in between.
True, there are some projects that can be done in one big upmf! But when it comes to physical activity, consistency is HUGE, even in small amounts.
Having a plan for when I can only do a little has been KEY to long term success and getting me closer to my dreams.
I’ve made 2 compound strength exercise videos that are great for those days! You can watch video 1 here, covering your legs, core and ankles. Today’s video covers your upper body.
You will want weights for this exercise. If you don’t have dumbbells then you can start with something from around your house like cans of food, bags of beans or rice, water bottles, cleaning supplies etc.
Start with a light weight and work your way up as you are able to do ALL of the exercise without any straining. Some parts will likely be easier then others. You can do those with heavier weights on days that you have more time/energy. A lighter weight can help you focus more on form and ease of movement which is important too!
December 31, 2015
by Gillian Byers
It’s new years eve
Candles are lit
Music is helping you feel centered
A crisp, blank journal page lies enticingly in front of you
It’s ready for ink to create the perfect resolution to change your life forever.
Your beautiful child runs in the door and places a jelly covered hand on your clean, crisp journal page
Your to do list starts to spin in your head
Remembering your last grocery trip, where you were barely able to carry in the groceries, leaves you feeling discouraged and like giving up.
Who are you kidding? Who has time or energy for grand resolutions!
I love the fresh feel of New Years! Clean journal and awe inspiring goals that are going to revolutionize my life! However, usually by the time December rolled around many, if not all, of my goals were not met with a gold medal (or any medal at all).
Should I just give up on making the improvements I longed for?? What was standing in the way?
Failed New Year’s Resolutions are often thanks to decisions based on perfection and shoulds rather than reality and self awareness.
According to the dictionary a resolution is a decision, and a decision is something reached through consideration. Consideration for YOUR reality and YOUR deepest longings.
What stood in the way in the past?
Don’t blame yourself for these. See this as data that needs to be respected and worked with in kindness.
What does strength mean to you?
Think about the activities you want to be able to do. Think about how you want to feel as you go about your everyday life.
What do you need to help you gain strength?
Think about how you’ll start and progress safely. Think about what will be enjoyable to you. Explore various personal trainers, equipment, courses or classes that will support you in being successful.
These are truly helpful things to explore, but if they feel overwhelming skip them for now and keep reading!
The most powerful thing I did for my exercise resolution was to start small. This is not a cop out. This is making a smart decision about your resolution. There is a growing amount research showing the long term effectiveness of small steps.
I’ve been exercising consistently for about 7 years now. One of the key things I did that first year was to always let myself do just 5 minutes of physical activity.
Do you know what the key is 7 years later? Letting myself do just 5 minutes. I don’t time it, I just be sure and do something, anything to give my body some movement love.
Life happens, and we are creatures of habit. 5 minutes keeps the habit. Plan wisely for more psychical activity, but have a super doable amount be your resolution. The momentum of being successful and building a solid habit will be powerful.
SO if you’re ready to set a 5 min. goal for strength training, what do you do with just 5 minutes?
In this post, and the next, I’ll show you! These are compound moves that cover a good range of muscles. I’ll show you the full move and then break it down so you can start wherever your body is at! And PLEASE start where your body is at and not push it. Slow, consistent, growth in tune with your body is what will pay off in the long run.
(Alternate strength and cardio days. Dancing (or cleaning!) to a favorite song is a great cardio option when you are short on time.)