30 Day Glow Up Challenge

This challenge isn’t dissimilar to how this blog got started or where I came up with the name, but I still think it would be fun.

I’ve seen a few variations of the challenge but in essence, it comes down to this:

  1. At least a little exercise everyday.
  2. 5 bottles of water per day.
  3. Follow a skin care routine.
  4. Have a get-ready/hygiene routine in general.
  5. Eat better.
  6. Put down your phone for an hour.
  7. Be nicer to people around you.
  8. Be confident in yourself.

Essentially it seems like a “Commit to being your best self for 30 days” challenge.

We’re going to start this for August so we have a few days now to get ready. Here’s my plan:

I want to create a solid meal plan and grocery lists for the month. I do all my grocery shopping using City Market pickup and if I don’t have a plan, I end up eating out. If I get everything organized now, I have no reason to not follow through.

I also want to have a gym workout routine with rewards and fall backs for when I can’t manage it that day so I still do something.

I may invest in a different water bottle or several so there’s a rotation but we’ll see about that.

If I feel too overwhelmed, I think I’ll allow myself a total of 3 cheat days so I can have an off day and get back to it.

I’m going to look into a new skin care routine since mine now is really just… Wash your face ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Essentially, I’m going to take the next few days and plan and we’ll soon be on our way! Wish me luck!

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What To Do When You Run Out Of Energy

You know the feeling. You had a crappy morning and now you feel drained. So drained it takes everything you have to just move at all. You want to lay in bed for the rest of the day. Let’s not.

It’s not an uncommon feeling, especially attached to mental health conditions. But I’m not a doctor or a counselor so instead of focusing on the why, I want to explain how I snap out of those days. (Side note: if you believe you are showing symptoms of mental health problems, please seek the help of a trusted professional).

Before we get started, this list seems dumb. If you’ve never felt the way I described (first of all, that’s great), you may not understand why this list is so basic. The truth is, there are days when some people need a list of the bare minimum. Bad days happen and it’s all we can do to get by. So if you do find the list a bit basic, please try not to judge those who need it.

The first thing you need to know is that you’re going to have to force yourself, at least a little. You have to make yourself do each task on the list and it may not be easy. It helps to only think of the task at hand, instead of focusing on the whole list or what you’re trying to accomplish after. The second thing you need to know is that sometimes, this won’t help. Sometimes you might not be able to do the list. And that’s okay. Berating yourself will not help and may make it much worse.

1. Don’t focus on what you’re doing wrong.

I kind of just said this one, but it’s important. You can’t move forward unless you stop beating yourself up.

2. Change your clothes

Usually when this feeling comes on for me, I’m in my most uncomfortable work clothes or I’m still in my PJs. Even if you’re going from PJs to PJs, change your clothes. Something fresh will make you feel much, much better.

3. Comb your hair

I can’t speak for people with super short hair, but for me, this helps make things feel a bit more in place.

4. Wash your face

Would a full shower be better? Sure, but you’re going for the bare minimum right now. In fact, on the off chance this step is even a bit much, face wipes go a long way.

5. Brush your teeth

Again, if this is too much, at least swish with mouth wash. Anything you can do to get your mouth feeling fresh.

6. Drink water

90% of the time that I feel like this, I haven’t been drinking water. Force yourself through one 8oz glass, then refill it and sip it.

7. Move

It helps to feel like you’ve moved around today, so I suggest trying an exercise that’s easier but doesn’t require a lot of preparation or effort. The key isn’t too workout, rather to get your heart beating slightly. Some great examples include:

  • YTWs
  • Jumping jacks
  • High knee march
  • Summo squats with side punches
  • Jog in place
  • Standing side crunch

Motivational Mondays #3: Treat Yo Self Because Science Told You To

Okay. My dad told me, too. Today I wanted to talk about the science behind rest days and also giving into your cravings. I’ve talked about it before but I have a tendency to dive head first into things, start to drown, and then never go back to that pool. But my dad’s right about the best approach and I have the science to not only back it up, but tell you the best way to do rest days.

In researching this post I found a great summary by Jonathan N. Mike, M.S. and Len Kravitz, Ph.D. with the University of New Mexico. Their article compiles a bunch of questions and answers about rest and recovery days, some of which I want to highlight here. There’s a few different kinds of recovery and while they focus on all of them, I’d like to actually talk about training recovery, which is what a lot of people are talking about when they think of rest days.

Basically, the amount of rest days really depends on the size of the workout. It’s absolutely logical. If you do a huge, full body workout, you may actually need up to two full rest days. However, if you’re primarily doing low impact, low cardio exercises like a yoga workout, you may not even need a full day off in between workouts. This is in part because of what happens during your workout. The Huff Post has an interesting article that talks about that here but to summarize, as you workout, your muscles are forming tears along the side. I had always heard that as a kid but I thought they meant the muscles are tearing in half or breaking when really, it’s more along the lines of how your skin forms stretch marks. It’s these tears that are causing your pain. Additionally, as you’re working out you’re changing the chemical composition inside those muscle groups. Your body converts oxygen to create the chemical ATP which gives your muscles the energy they need for your workout. In your recovery, you’re allowing your chemical balance to even out and improve oxygen levels.

Whew. That was a lot of science. What does it mean for your workout schedule? A lot. Basically, the more steady and manageable your workout is, the fewer rest days you’ll have to have. But even if it’s super low-impact, low-cardio workouts, you’ll still want to have a few of them a week to help your muscles work efficiently. If you’re really stubborn, you can rest one set of muscle groups and focus on a different set that day. But again, you still want full, actual rest days. Skipping your rest days can lead to fatigue and actually plateaus your progress.

The next thing I wanted to talk about was food cravings. In an interview with Glamour, dietitian Jesse Cording talks about how allowing ourselves to indulge in small amounts of our cravings every once in a while helps us to not feel like we’re being left out of our favorite foods. It’s easier to stick to a long term healthy diet if you’re not totally cutting out certain foods. While you definitely need to control portions, allowing yourself to have a donut once in a while means that you won’t want to quit your diet altogether AND, when you do give in, your body will be able to handle it a bit better as opposed to feeling like you’re trying to digest a rock.