Things that make me happy? Hiking, dog smiles, and dog hugs!
Have you heard about Happier? It’s a social media website that focuses on positivity – not a bunch of ads, political rants, or inflammatory comments. Like any other social media site, you can create a profile, and then post about moments that make you happy. You can also read happy moments shared by other users and “smile” at them (as opposed to Facebook “likes”).
I joined a few months ago, and I love it. I definitely don’t use it as often as I would like, but I’m trying to change that. When I’m stressed, a dose of positivity from other people can really help. Plus, research has shown that focusing on small happy moments instead of chasing after an ideal of happiness can actually improve overall mood and life satisfaction.
I’m not affiliated with the site at all – I just love the idea of focusing on positive thoughts. One of my favorite features of the site (and the iPhone app) is that it reminds me to be grateful for the little things. Since I’m feeling so busy/overwhelmed right now, taking a few minutes each day to use the app gives me just the pick-me-up that I need! Check it out!
I’m keeping it simple. After following a pretty strict training plan for the last 6+ months, I needed a break. The structured training was great for recovery from my injury, and gave me great confidence with my running progress. However, since I don’t have any races scheduled, I’m taking it easy.
I’m lifting pretty hard, so I’m taking it easy on the roads. Over the years I’ve learned that I have to listen to my body – the times when I haven’t is when I’ve gotten injured. Wendy and I are enjoying our runs, and they are restorative and fun. It’s nice to not stress about times or distance.
But, my little sister is running the Rock and Roll Half in Providence in September… and I’m starting to get the itch… we will see what happens…
This week is a recovery week, and it couldn’t have come at a better time. I’m beat, and starting to show signs of overtraining. For me, that usually means sleep disturbances (can’t sleep soundly, no matter how tired I am), achy bones and joints, increased susceptibility to colds, and exactly ZERO motivation to work out. The motivation thing isn’t a typical, “Oh, I don’t feel like it” but more of a “I just don’t have it in me” kind of feeling.
I’ve been watching for the signs, and noticing how they have been gradually piling up, for the last couple of weeks. I started a new semester a few weeks ago. My classes have forced me to change my sleep schedule quite a bit, which is a huge struggle for me (I have a lot of trouble with sleep, and adjusting to a new sleep schedule is a challenge). Plus, I attend a very large university, so I’ve spent a lot of extra time walking around a very cold campus. On top of those logistical things, I have a lot of homework and am also planning my sister’s bridal shower. I’m having a little bit of trouble turning off my mind, and the stress and sleep deprivation is affecting my recovery.
Since this was a recovery week anyway, my runs have been shorter. My long run this week was only supposed to be 6 miles. Since we are expecting the snowpocalypse on Friday, I probably won’t run this weekend. So, I took today off, and will do a lot of yoga and foam rolling for the next 4-5 days – and will likely avoid running and cross-training altogether. I will also try to get this sleep thing under control – I’m no stranger to insomnia, and I know enough of myself to know that it can be a slippery slope. I don’t want it to get worse than it is.
I needed to take care of myself a bit, so I took a short detour on my ride home today to play photographer. I will post them soon. Then, next week, back at it. I will probably keep my long run next week to 6 miles, and then continue to ramp up from there.
Sometimes it is good to take a break.
The holidays can be a magical time of year. For me, however, they can be so bittersweet. This year, I am remembering two close family members who have passed one recently (my grandfather passed just before Christmas last year, and my aunt passed in October). In addition, I have (mostly) unexplained infertility. The stress of my infertility doesn’t affect me in an overt way – except around the holidays. From January to November, I can embrace all the other (wonderful) aspects of my life and move toward my goals. In December, it sometimes seems like all I can feel is loss – I may never be woken by excited voices on Christmas morning, or have to come up with creative ways to hide that silly “elf-on-a-shelf.” When I remember the magic I felt as a child, I find myself grieving that I cannot pass on that magic to children of my own. Of course, I make the best of it – and every moment I can spend with my niece, Talia, eases the pain.
Before the holiday craziness yesterday, I took Wendy out for a short run. It was quiet in my neighborhood, and the snow was gently falling. My neighbors’ Christmas lights were all turned on, and I was able to be quiet with myself. I tapped into the magic that is Christmas, and my burdens were lighter. This wasn’t any sort of epic training run, but it gave me time to reflect before the day became crazy. I am so lucky for my family and friends, and for all the love in my life. I am also lucky for a few stolen moments, when I can run with my dog and remember the little things that make me happy, while letting go of the little things that drag me down.