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  1. The bright autumn sun colored the forest a shimmering rainbow of oranges, reds and yellows, curtains of leaves floating and tumbling down around me as I walked slowly down the path toward town. And I saw none of them, because I was in the throes of the pounding panic that beset me every week on this miserable assignment. "Sky, think of all the opportunities this will open up for you," my husband had said earnestly, holding my hands as if to help me feel how strongly he felt about his words. "There's so much you can see, so many new places you can go, whenever you want. We can help more people instead of relying on them. You'll be even more independent and it'll be such a confidence boost. I really think this is something important for you to do." I didn't know how to explain to him the steel-cold shots of fear that gripped my stomach at the thought of trying this again. I knew he was right and I wanted everything he said - yet I could think of very little I would rather do less. Every weekly lesson felt like the culmination of every failed exam at the Temple, every scolding from my parents, every wound from the Elder and every bungled work assignment, all wrapped up in one miserable hour. But I was Sky Elvenword Nobleheart; and I was brave. I did not run away from hard things; I did not let fear stop me from my goals and I never said no to an adventure. So I swallowed hard and tried to hide the panicky tears in the back of my throat as I said quietly: "I'll try, Eamon." I wrapped my cloak a little tighter around my shivering body and hoped no one in town would see how pale my skin was. I had learned after the first lesson to keep the runes on my arms carefully covered with long sleeves or strips of cloth - my Dark ice powers shone like beacons out of every exposed rune the first time my terror levels shot through the roof. And considering how close I'd come to a fiery crash last week, keeping those runes covered seemed like wisdom for every lesson going forward. Much too soon, I came over the dreaded last hill and saw the stables and open field ahead of me. I was right on time; the other students were opening the pens and greeting their mounts for the day. But I was not learning to ride a horse. I was learning to ride a dragon. I'm not a Dragonrider. I'm not a Dragonrider. I tried to drown out the refrain beating like an ice storm in my brain, but it matched my footsteps toward my assigned pen. I've gotten along fine all these years without this. It's not worth it. I don't need it. I'm not good at it. I can't do it. I don't want to - A gentle huff from the pen at my elbow made me jump, and I realized I couldn't stall any longer. Slowly, I turned to face the slender white dragon who sat quietly in her cage, her ten-foot tail curled primly around her four graceful white feet, her long neck bent to bring her intelligent dark eyes down to my level. She seemed almost amused by my shaking and heavy breathing. I fleetingly wondered, not for the first time, how much these creatures could understand about us. "Hello, Tianlong," I stammered, fumbling with the latch on the gate. She waited quietly until I shook it off and pulled open the door, and I held my breath as she gracefully unfolded herself and slipped out into the grass. She was too well-trained to try to escape, even though it took me three tries to get the harness on her neck and the saddle on her shoulders, my hands shook so badly. Once again, I saw her glance at me with a look in her eyes that was almost amused. "How we feelin' today, Missus?" The teenage boy teaching the lessons, Erkus, stopped by and doffed his hood respectfully. "A little nervous," I admitted. There was no point in hiding it; I let a strap slip through my fingers the moment I spoke. "'Ow, now, ye'll be just fine, you wait an' see," he said confidently, and patted Tianlong's neck affectionately. "This 'ere is the finest dragon I ever took off an Eastern trader. Almost as smart as our Western dragons, she is. Just trust 'er, trust yerself, an' ye'll get along just fine." He'd said the same thing the last few times, so I nodded politely and focused on getting her saddle strapped snugly around her muscular body. I didn't trust Tianlong, and I didn't trust myself, and we probably were not going to get along at all. "Owright, today we're takin' a short flight out to the hills an' back, same as we did two weeks ago," Erkus hollered to me and the other (much younger) riders shuffling nervously. "We'll be practicin' the turns, so remember how to use the reins an' shift yer body weight. Remember: Trust yer dragons. They know more'n ye think they do." My mouth was too dry to swallow against the nausea rising in my throat, so I just tried to focus on steadying my rapid breathing as I shakily climbed up into the saddle and settled onto Tianlong's back, strapping my own safety harness around my thighs. The dragon flicked her tail and stood up, ready to take off into the frigid, empty heights yet again. I sucked in a deep breath. I was a Ranger. I was a Lightbearer. I was a Protector. And now I was going to be a Dragonrider.
  2. I have spent hours looking at my challenge to build. I have spent probably close to a couple of hours staring at a blank word doc. I sit here and I hate where I am, I hate feeling like I am on the wrong path. But the problem is, where I am currently at, at least mentally and emotionally, is that I this will never end and I won’t be able to get out of what I am working on. For those new here, I am in a bad place. I have a job that is high stress and atm high drama. I am a mom to 2 Agents of Chaos, and married to Hubby who is working a weird shift but does whatever he can to help. I am caregiver to my mom who in theory lives alone but she hasn't really been completely independent since my dad died 2 years ago. She is not always the nicest of people, especially to her daughter. My depression is acting up as is my anxiety of never getting out of here. Being with mom so much means she is actively pushing buttons and telling me I am not good enough, or what I am doing is wrong. Mom had surgery 9 days ago and is not recovering well. She gets a “walk” maybe once a day where she laps the house twice. The dr originally told us 5-7 days before she would be independent again. I am wondering if she will be at all or if this is my new normal until we can get her the “hip surgery” that better put her into rehab after. If not, I am going to give up entirely. The hardest part of the new challenge, is a number of things in my Life and Family stuff were either outside only or no longer apply. This section is the place where I work on my relationships and the things that are the things I want to do and who I want to be. The problem is, I can’t see anything that I can change. I don’t see any way to improve myself when I can never not be here. I am currently here like 530-6 AM to 9-10 PM. I have only been in the office 2 days, and I am not really home at all. When I get home, it’s generally eat and go to bed so I can be up at 430 to get back Mom’s on time. So how can I work on being who I want to be if I am always here? Anything I do here to better myself is met with mocking, but I see what the path she has taken lead to. I don’t want to not be able to walk at 65 and need a hip replacement, bad knees and back from being overweight, and while she has lost the weight, she lost all muscle mass so now she is weak as well So I am going to try and do things. I picked a few new Life and family goals. Being here, having this in my face all day, I keep fearing that I am walking the same path as her. Especially since I have been here, I haven’t been walking. I have snacked more since what else is there to do. I haven’t had water in days and my caffeine intake is through the roof. I find myself acting or thinking like her, and I fear it. So one thing I want to start doing is either looking for one thing a day that I am doing differently so I won’t go down that path, so I don’t sound like her, be friendless like her, or end up where she is. Another thing I am going to try and do is to start trying to think about those big long term goals I use to have, like doing a 10 K or a Spartan. Things I lost sight of a long time ago. Things I have been hearing that I am too fat, too old or I am going to be where she is so why think I could ever do that. Time to start thinking about who I want to be and if I get limitations, fine, but how do I want to handle things like arthritis in my knees. I can ignore it and let it get worse, or I can face it head on and see what if anything I can do to minimize it. I wish I could say that this will be all happy and uplifting and I got this. But I would be lying. Its going to be rough, I am going to be upset as I try to process and deal with what I have in front of me. I don’t know when I will get out of this pit. I just know, I need to wait till something that I have no control over changes. Okay, so challenge wise, I need something I can work towards. So Boxes it will be. I have a bare minimum, but really, I want to do much more than that. But for now, I am going to work on doing that bare minimum and if I ever do get out of here and back into more of my normal life, I can always do more, but for now, its about something. Goal Value Description Strength 1 Calf raises 1 Squats 17 1 Wall Sit (sec) 1 Side kicks Do 2 1 Leg lifts 2 1 Reverse sit ups 1 Sit ups 1 Knee to Elbows 1 Raised Arm Circles 1 Torso Twists 1 Bicep Extenstions 1 Table plank 1 Bicep Curls with Weights (3 lb) 1 Backward Leg Raises 1 Step ups 1 Side Lunges 1 Desk Push Ups Flexibility 1 Wrist Extension Stretch 1 Wrist Flexion Stretch 21 1 Upward dog/Child pose 1 Meditating Groot 1 Lord of the Dance Yoga (ankle above head) 1 Lower back stretch (One leg across body) 1 Chair Pose 1 Butterfly 1 Tricep Stretch 1 Wall Stand 1 Bridge 1 Calf stretch Do 2 1 Ballet Toe Touch 1 Cresent Moon pose 2.00 1 Sitting Fix/Shoulder Stretch 1 Warrior 1 1 Ankle Circles 1 Warrior 3 (Eagle bird thing) 1 Quad Stretch 1 Side Stretch 1 Forward Bend Life and Family 1 Floss in morning 1 NF status update 1 NF reply one other thread 1 Take Morning Vitamins 1 Find one way I am not like mom 1 Brush Yappy dog 1 Think of one thing that could be changed/who I want to be 1 Check Dad's email 31 1 Spend time with Agents 1 Japanese practice with Youngest Agent 1 Start thinking on Christmas 1 Only play game on phone one time a day at home 1 Text/Talk to one Choosen family member a day 1 Relax my shoulders 1 Read a book 1 Soak up the sun 1 Plan 1 Nightly downtime 1 Be in bed by 10:30 1 Put lotion on legs 1 Check ordering account 1 Floss after work Do 7 1 Floss before bed 1 Walk across beam once a day 1 Water 1 inside plant 1 Take Bloodpressure 1 Do one "Get that done already" jobs 7 1 One good thing 1 Check Yappy Dogs night water bowl 1 Give Agent K9 5 minutes playtime 1 Play with Cats Fight Chaos 1 Pennisula/Island Clean all these daily 1 Table / Half wall 14 1 Desk 1 Computer room ottoman 1 Bathroom up 1 Clean off file cabinet Do 3 1 Bathroom down 3 1 Clean off door to basement 1 Grandpa's table 1 Clean off Stairs and landing 1 Clean off tall dresser 1 Clean off nightstands 1 Clean off Dresser 1 Counter over dishwasher At least 5 minutes per room (at least one) 1 Garage 1 Dust one surface 1 Computer room 13 1 Basement 1 Random organizing project Do 2 1 Pick up one furtumbleweed a day 1 Empty out car daily 1 Clean our bathtub 1 Organize or purge one thing at Moms 1 Wash window or mirror 2 1 Clean 2 papers out of paper organizer 1 File 1 thing a day 1 Purge 1 thing a day Walking 1 Walk 10000 steps 8 1 Walk 15 minutes a day 1 Walk 10 minutes at lunch 1 Walk 5 minutes after dinner 1 Walk 5 minutes in morning do 2 1 Take Agent K9 for a walk 2 1 7 hours with 250 steps 1 Walk to Mordor Fuel 1 No eating after dinner 17 1 No stupid sugar 1 Track breakfast 1 Track Second breakfast do 3 1 Track Elevensies 1 Track lunch 1 Track Dinner 1 Track Supper 1 Eat A Salad 1 Take Probiotic 3 1 < 4 bottles of tea 1 Eat Dates Daily 1 Eat dried Apricots 1 Eat Breakfast 1 Eat Lunch 1 60 oz of water 1 Record sugar in G Total Points Possible 121 Did I complete 5 minutes in room Total points for day 21.00
  3. The rain was coming down in sheets outside the cabin, the striking drops like a stream of pebbles crashing against the roof. I padded over to the window and gently wiped away the fog, pressing my fingertips against the cool glass and relishing the glimmer of the dense branches and leaves flickering under the heavy water weight. It might still be summer, but the first hints of autumn were showering down with the gray rain. After a few moments I realized I was twisting my wedding ring on my left hand, and I smiled at myself. I had been a wife for a little more than a week, and both the ring and the title still fit me a bit oddly. I frankly didn't know who I was as Sky Nobleheart - Eamon's wife. And while I knew the only way to get to know this new version of myself was to wait patiently for it to reveal itself over time, I was impatient to see who I was going to become. I turned away from the window and realized I was also rubbing the scrollwork of scars on my left arm. The magical rune-like scars had once resembled a constellation when they were fresh; when I joined with the Dark Elf and balanced my light and dark powers, they came to resemble the twisting curves of willow branches. But regardless of what they looked like, they still bothered me when my powers were out of balance. And they had been burning and itching more than usual lately. "Good morning! What are you looking at?" Eamon came around the corner and greeted me warmly, wrapping his arms around my waist and softly kissing my forehead. I smiled and breathed in his warm morning scent, pushing aside the rising pain in my arm. "Just the rain. It's starting to storm again." "Is it? Let's go look." He led me back to the window and held me close to his chest as we looked quietly out at the darkening sky. It was such a strange sensation to feel the warm flush of happiness and peace rising from my belly and beginning to flood my body, only to meet the prickling chill in my scars and subside, like a wave dashing against a rocky shore. It had been like this since our wedding day and I paid it little attention, only feeling dully sad that even in this happiest time of my life, I was denied the complete joy others seemed to feel. This was the curse of being the Dark Elf, I thought ruefully - no amount of light would ever drive away the dark. No amount of warmth would ever melt the ice. Eamon gently turned over my arm to look at the scars, and I knew he could see the faint bluish glow pulsing under the skin. At first he said nothing, just wrapped me a little tighter in his arms and kept looking out the window. After a few moments, however, he asked: "What would help?" I started to form my usual resigned reply: "Nothing really. It's just like this sometimes." But I paused this time to ask myself the question more deeply: What would help? I had given up trying to bring my powers back in balance so long ago - for what felt like an age now, I had simply accepted that this was how things were. That I was just destined to be secretly anxious and cold and numb inside forever because of who I was, the Dark Elf. But what if that wasn't true? What if there were a way to feel wholly warm and alive again? "Well," I said slowly, looking back out the window, "the opposite of fear is love." "It is." "These scars hurt when I am afraid - and I'm always afraid." "I know." "I'm constantly operating out of fear. I work because I'm afraid of letting my supervisors down. I do things for my loved ones because I'm afraid of being a bad wife or sister or friend. I even clean the house because I'm afraid of being a bad housekeeper. My primary motivation is always fear." "So what if you could change your primary motivation to love?" I couldn't keep a small sigh from escaping my chest. "I don't know how to do that. I've tried to will myself into it but that doesn't work." "No, it doesn't. The only way you can change your motivation from fear to love, is by believing that you're already loved, no matter what. No matter if you fail, if you work or don't work, if you clean the house or don't clean the house. When you believe that God loves you, that I love you, and that your family and friends love you no matter what you do or don't do - then you can let go of fear." I knew he was right. And I also didn't know where to begin in believing that. I knew it to be true in my head, but my heart had toppled backward into the same lies over and over again for my whole life. "Maybe that would be a good first project for me as a wife," I said quietly. "Maybe it's time to figure out how to let myself be loved." Eamon lifted my arm and kissed the aching scars. "I support this plan."
  4. Warning, this is not a fun gif challenge. There is depression, anxiety, stress, burnout and well, situations no on wants but have to deal with. Please understand that walking away from the bad is not always an option and I have considered a LARGE variety of other options. Support is ALWAYS welcome and amazingly helpful since being alone and thinking no one cares is some of the hardest parts. Honestly, all I can think is I am losing. I lost my Dad’s Mother last week very suddenly. There is almost no family left there. I am losing my empathy since I am seriously stuck in caregiver burn out. I know that some of this is hard, that there are real issues, but right now, part of me wants to just scream at them to do the things they are supposed to do and not be so damn whiny. It won’t help, and make things worse, but part of this is the “THERE IS NO MAGIC BULLET” discussion. I am losing my patience since everyone comes to me and wants me to drop other things to do their things. I am losing my time to time vampires. Some are innocent and don’t know better and honestly, these I don’t mind as much. Some are dark and menacing and some refuse to think that my time is valuable. I am losing my sense of direction and motivation. I feel like I am so pulled in so many places, I barely know which way is up. When I do know which way is up, I have no idea which way to go because so many directions are needed at one time. I am losing my sense of self. I am not the person I want to be. I keep sacrificing future me for current me, or the things I want to do FOR ME, to do for others. This leads to what basically killed my dad. I will deal with me later, I need to do X for Y first. I am losing my ability to be rested. I am not sleeping well, probably from not walking and stress and a million other things. Doing the things will help me actually be tired and be able to sleep. I come home from work, and have started doing the flop on the couch after 6 pm because I have no other energy, and maybe doze, but once bedtime hits, I am awake again. I am losing my strength and flexibility. I haven’t really taken it seriously, but there are days I feel “weaker” and “stiffer” if that makes sense. Nothing like I randomly fall but more like “That wasn’t that heavy last time was it?” or “Why can’t I touch my toes anymore” (I was doing that really well not that long ago). I am losing the progress I had made. The weight that started to come off is coming back. I am eating a TON of sugar that I don’t need. I am not drinking my water because Tea is better. I need to do these things. I am losing my sanity slowly. I am so torn between being the person I need to be, covering what I need to cover, and at the same time, dealing with the negativity and issues that are a side effect. Too many days, I just find myself in the “I can’t stage” unless it’s absolutely necessary. So, after all of this, I am trying to come up with a “NOT ANYMORE” moment,a “I totally have this and I am going to do the super watch me fix it all thing. Problem is, I don’t see that working either. I am in quicksand and I can’t just turn on a dime and nope out here. I need to be small with my expectations and do what I can. So, as much as it pains me, I am going to cut the numbers on my boxes. I am going to still try to do MORE than I must, but a “Do Something” challenge is only going to make me feel more like I am losing, but lowering the total to work on might not. I will still be doing boxes, mostly the same from last challenge. Big one is that I am changing the do 1 thing for Mom to do 2 things for Mom since I am not keeping up on the workload for her and things like bills are being put off if I am at her house EVERY DAY. This is me, trying to find a way to turn around, maybe find something to pull myself out of here, get to solid footing and move forward. Anyone got something I can grab?
  5. Hi! I'm a rookie trying to build a new, exciting, & healthy life after graduation. Currently my life is fine but I feel like my health, fitness, and mindset really holds me back. Sooo, that's what I will focus on. In general, I buck against hard goals that feel too boring so I am going to do buckets of goals (sets under a category) to pick from as long as I am trying to keep to a schedule. Health: I want to consistently nudge my eating habits towards something more fueling and fulfilling. My goal is to do one of these every day: Don't eat out more than 1x per week, ideally less. Push your veggie intake Fitness: I have recently upped my daily walking from 0.25 miles a day to 1.25 miles a day just by changing my work habits. Now, I wanted to pointedly begin working on daily workouts. Each day I want to do one of the following: Hike Walk Body weight Climbing Gym Mindset: I am a tightly wound, anxious human. While none of the below replace therapy (my therapist is awesome and we're crushing anxiety), they augment what I am working on and help me build a fuller life. Each day I want to do one of the following: Meditate Actively use growth mindset Green witch meditation Challenge my comfort zone Challenge my fears Cheers to the challenge!
  6. The evening breeze curled playfully around the hillside where Eamon and I had spread out our picnic several hours before, surrounding us with the spicy damp scent of trees exhaling their warmth from the day and the soft hum of insects serenading each other in the dusk light. Night was falling, and the village vista far below had quieted, with lamps lit in windows and a softening of the sounds of bustling carts and brisk voices. Our conversation, too, had softened into a comfortable silence; and I curled into the space underneath Eamon's strong arm, resting my head on his shoulder and letting his body support my weight. It was my favorite kind of evening, where in privacy I could tell and show my partner how deeply I loved him - but as happened so often on those evenings, instead of being filled with bright warmth and loving happiness, I was hollowed out with the frosty stillness of my ice powers, as numb and lifeless as a forest clearing buried in midwinter snow. I ached with wishing I could just once feel the love and delight I knew I felt for him underneath the chill - but no matter how hard I tried to shake free, I was locked inside, all my emotions buried underneath the cold. I laughed when he joked or flirted, said all the things I knew in my head that I would say if I could feel anything - but I was sure that somehow, even in the dimming light, he had to see the deadness in my eyes and hear the hollow emptiness in my laughter. I didn't understand why it was happening and that made it even worse. As we gazed quietly down across the valley, Eamon unexpectedly reached over to take my hand - and I thought I saw him flinch the tiniest bit when his warm fingers contacted my frigid palm. Still, he didn't hesitate as he enveloped my small hand in his big one, and he said calmly as if nothing had happened, "You know, I heard from a friend a few villages over that some of the harvest festivals might take place this year. If you like, I could ask him for more information and we could try to go. It might even be after the wedding, so we could go together. What do you think?" I looked sorrowfully down at the dull blue glow of the runes on my bare wrists and arms, and two cold tears rose in my eyes. "Eamon," I whispered, "I'm sorry I'm not going to be a better wife for you." Immediately Eamon shifted to gaze down into my eyes, his heavy brows lowered over concerned blue eyes. "What are you talking about?" I spread my palms and bit back tired tears at the scars and patterns that laced across my hands and forearms, all of which were glowing a jagged, frosty blue instead of the golden light of healing and compassion that seemed so elusive these days. Words and emotions jumbled up in my thoughts, until all that would come out was, "I'm sorry I'm ... not normal. I'm ... sorry I'm ... broken." Eamon sighed heavily and pulled me close to his heart, pressing his warm hand over the cold one I rested miserably on his chest. "Sky," he said, firmly but gently, "I love you. Because you're you. I wish I could do something to help you heal and make your life easier - and if there ever is anything I can do, I will gladly do that, because I want you to be happy. But even if nothing ever changes - even if you feel this way for the rest of our lives - I'm going to love you and be here with you anyway. Not because you're perfect, not because things are simple and easy, but because you're my best friend and the woman I love and want in my life. Nothing will ever change that." "I know," I mumbled. "I just wish I were -" "- perfect," Eamon supplied. I looked up at him, startled. "What?" "You want to be perfect and flawless. But honey, that's not how anything works. I'm not perfect and neither are you. But we don't have to be." His words reminded me of one of my counselor's favorite sayings - "Breathe in, and when you breathe out, release your need for perfection and say to yourself, 'This is good enough,'", she always said. "I don't want you to suffer and I do want you to heal. But that's not for my sake. I'll love you no matter what. And part of how I'm going to love you is by supporting your healing journey any way I can." Maybe allowing love to come into your brokenness is part of being good enough, I wondered to myself. Maybe accepting that two broken people are going to have mess and pain and needs - and can still bring all the love they have to give - maybe that's good enough. Maybe it's good enough to be unwell or irritable or frustrated or half-healed or struggling, together. "Okay?" Eamon leaned back to smile into my face, and for the first time all evening, a tiny spark of hope flickered in my heart as I smiled back. "I may not be perfect, but I'm good enough," I whispered back. Eamon beamed and kissed my forehead. "Amen."
  7. This challenge cycle will mostly be spent traveling in the US. Still not sure how I feel about that, aside from being excited about consumerist shit, but I’ve cast that lot and it’s happening regardless. As such, this challenge can’t just be SSDD on coast mode. Which is probably a good thing, tbh. Here’s my plan to cope with “vacation”: Managing Anxiety I’m sure crowd, travel and people pandemic-ing wrong anxiety will be a thing, and not jumping into reflexive judgey bitch mode to cope with said anxiety is going to be a definite issue. Timelines, time zones & travel time already all have my anxiety at 11. Management: Deep yoga breaths, and reminding myself to get a grip. Not my monkeys, not my business. Also stocking up on hand sanitizer & antibac wipes if I feel I need more control over the situation. We’ve also got disposable masks for that 12+hour plane ride & will have our normal masks on us as well. My general abhorrence of feeling trapped always rears it’s head when forced into social situations I don’t want to be in. Management: Staying in Air BnBs, having a rental car at all times, planning things to do that aren’t just sitting on the couch at a relatives house staring at their damn eyeballs. Family dumbassery. Talking to some family members over the phone is exhausting; seeing them in person is going to be more so. I’m also not interested in 3 weeks of continual bitching about COVID from everygoddamnbody I see. It’s exhausting. Management: Tell said family member(s) that I don’t have the damn bandwidth for this conversation. Change the subject. Leave early if necessary. Hubby and I need to settle on a ‘get me tf out of here before I start screaming’ code. Too damn bad we don’t still smoke. Trying to fit everything and everyone in limited time - especially when everyone only wants to meet up when it’s convenient for them. Management: Not doing that, and not feeling guilty for doing so. Giving people clear guidelines of when I have available slots and when I do not. This I always do, but it’s still always a shit show. I generally don’t feel bad about it, but i inevitably still end up anxious. Those should be the biggies, but I’m sure more will pop up. Nutrition Whelp, this one is going to be a curveball. Body was on a less carb trajectory - aaaand then the stress of planning this trip hit. A few ground rules to help myself not feel quite so bloated and terrible by week 2 of travel: Don’t finish the fries. Start with the main, eat half of it, and then go in for bites of the sides. Don’t eat all sides one by one and then tackle the high dollar item. Eat slower and take stock of when you are full. You’ve already paid for the meal; you’re on vacation - wasting $ is to be expected. Remember that the clean plate club is not a thing. Don’t eat shit I know is going to kill me. If family members are drenching everything in cheese, either just eat sides or pick around the cheese. I don’t need to leave full. Remember that even though we’ll be hitting up some favorites and going in for some primo meals (on top of straight garbage), I’ve had good food before and will have good food again. I don’t need to gorge myself to enjoy the meal. Drink what you damn want but attempt to not go for 2 days in a row & limit shit that’s going to lead to a hangover. Body Care Realistically, I won’t be hitting any yoga classes in the 3 weeks we will be gone, and pressuring myself to do a hotel-style daily workout before leaving each day is not conducive to good mental health for me. I know I don’t sleep for shit while traveling, and often have to get up too early. Do what I can, when I think of it. If I’m bored and feeling trapped, suggest a walk around the neighborhood instead of trying to hide in my phone with DH. It’ll be hot and I’ll be in the ‘burbs, but it may still be doable. Pull up some simple bodyweight routines that can be done whenever - and keep them in the forefront of my mind so maybe that actually happens. And that’s it for this Cycle. Or at least most of it. I will reassess once I’m back and settled. Yoga will definitely return.
  8. Hello everyone, it's been a while. I hope you are all well. I should be well. I have a wonderful son (1,5 years old), a safe job, a nice little apartment, no financial worries. But I have no deep connection to other people, besides my little son and my mom. It's been two years since I did a therapy to learn to deal with social anxiety and I learned a lot. I notice when I come near the "the black hole". Two weeks ago I fell into it. I had the first panic attack in over a year. Because of the pandemic and the lockdown in Germany it is hard for me to get in touch with other people besides of five min talks in kindergarden. So my work is kinda the only thing where I can do something meaningful. But at the moment I am not involved in the important stuff. I sit around and wait for tasks. I went to my supervisor and told him that I want to get involved and that really something has to change. The night I had a panic attack. The next day I had one again. And the whole week I felt terrible. Then when I got trusted with some important tasks, my son got ill. And I used his illness to stay home a whole week. I don't want to feel this panic anymore. There is not even a real reason behind it. It's just my feeling of being alone and the fear to be not accepted by others. My goal for this challenge is to find activities that I enjoy. And to create a routine to answer the panic.
  9. My heart pounded and I doggedly sucked in breath as I slowly climbed the hill trail, feeling my way over lumpy roots and unexpected mudholes through the intense darkness that hung heavily over the entire landscape. The plague still raged on many months after I had initially confined myself to my cottage, and now, a silent, creeping darkness of spirit had spread softly across the land in the wake of the deaths and losses of livelihood. Despair - it hung on people's bones like old cloaks and shadowed their faces like an early nightfall. The plague showed no sign of relenting, and the traditions and gatherings that people had clung to for hope were rapidly unraveling. People needed hope. They needed a light to guide them through the dark, desperate months of winter. I paused to lean against a dead tree, holding out my right hand to grimly survey the intense blue glow of my ice powers in the sharp runes across my palm and up my arm. The fact was that I was in need of light, too - the darkness had ruthlessly pushed itself into my bones, dampening my healing powers, pushing them further and further inside me as my ice powers strengthened and threatened to take control. The cramping, freezing pain in my veins had intensified to the point that I often couldn't eat or sleep, and when I tried to work, it twisted me into near-fetal position, as flashes of ice surged through my body and left me shuddering and sick. Love, hope, light, joy - for days at a time they felt like faint memories from another time. The Voice hissed like relentless sleet against the back of my mind, spitting doubt, fear, and despair into every rune and every wound on my body; and by now, I had begun to think it was my own Voice, speaking my own real truth and inflicting the pain I truly deserved. Scars I thought had long healed creased open again and filled with ice. I was very sick, and I needed hope as much as any of the other weary souls I saw above my mask in the marketplace or at the house of worship. As I gazed quietly at the pulsing blue light in my wrist, a soft step arrived at my side; and Eamon's large hand gently closed over my palm, covering the wounds and thawing a little of the ice with his warm, strong grip. "You're shivering, Sky. Acting up again?" he asked kindly. "A little," I said through chattering teeth. "Do you need to rest? Can I carry your knapsack for a while?" I opened my mouth to say "no," but paused. Eamon's broad shoulders could easily carry my small knapsack, and that would free up my flagging strength to get to the end of this trail. "Thank you," I said sheepishly, and let him lift it from my tight, aching shoulders. He took my hand and squeezed it gently. "You know it's my pleasure to help. Lead the way, I'm here with you." A half-hour and several unexpectedly steep ravines later, we struggled to the top of the hill and stepped out into the clearing, looking down across the sprawling valley sprinkled with lights like stars in the sky. Villages lay in clusters like nebulae, the river valley a curving galaxy of houses and barns. And far off in the distance, I could see a faint arc of light along the horizon, so slender that I wasn't sure I really saw it - but I did. My heart swelled and for the first time in weeks, a bit of the pain faded in my bones. The darkness had an end. It was not infinite and it was not invincible. And no matter how heavy it lay across our land, it had not put out the little lights glowing in each home, farm and village across the valley. It could and it would be defeated. "Sky!" Eamon's voice was soft and I heard him smiling as he put his arm around my shoulders. "Look at your hands!" I looked down and was startled to see white light, not blue, glowing under my skin. For the first time in a long time, I heard the Voice's hiss in the back of my mind, but was strong enough to parry and deflect its lies. I was not the Voice and it was not my friend. And it was not going to have the final say in my heart any more than the darkness was going to put out the lights in the hearts all over the kingdom. As I turned from looking at my hands to look excitedly up into Eamon's face, my gaze was interrupted by the sprinkle of winter's first snowflakes drifting lightly into view, crystalline white and hopeful against the heavy darkness of the sky. "What's happening?" he asked, his face just barely visible in my glow, as I slipped my hands into his. "We've found the edge of hope," I replied. "And we're going to chase it until we find it."
  10. Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.” While this quote is widely attributed to Winston Churchill, there's some who argue it's true source. I'm off topic, please pay no heed to my ramblings. It's easy for me to lose track sometimes... Ok, ok all the time. I've been on this site for sometime. During that time I've never followed through any of my side quests to complete my end game quest. It's not entirely uncommon for me to begin anything and sprint right into the field of battle, if you will, and for some time I will excel, push through the gruel and sweat and then I'll lose that initial momentum. This is so true to the point, I really feel that at this point...it's almost damned near inevitable that is what I will do in anything I do. This isn't where I pictured myself at thirty-two years old. I'm not trying to be pessimistic, throw a pity party or be ungrateful for my many, many blessings in my life the Gods have given me. As such, there are many things in my life that I am the one responsible for the fruits they bare. I lost track again.. I think, em, maybe not? I'm thirty-two, overweight, overcome with stress, depression (But wait, there's more!) and anxiety whilst being generally unhappy with where I am in life. I adore my beautiful fiancee, our handsome wee lad and even our aggravating but sweet Shorkie, Gypsy...it's everything else in my life I'm unhappy with and these things are and have been bleeding into those wondrous blessings that is my family. Now that I've either got your attention or lost it (The latter is irrelevant, moving on ha), my name is Drew, and my nickname is Redbeard. Besides being thirty-two and overweight, I'm a gamer, an author, an oughta-be musician and last but most certainly not least a follower of the Anglo-Saxon/Nordic Heathenry and Asatru faith. I also am rather interested in many other beliefs, pantheon's, mythos and Core Shamanism as well those exclusively not separate to their parent faiths. This is my time, I'm nearly middle aged according to the general consensus, and if I don't change these negative things I dislike about myself, I may never be able to.
  11. Feels a bit abrupt to drop back into the NF forums after being away so long, like :poof: I’m baaaack! I’m hanging out with the Adventurers for awhile (my previous couple years’ worth of challenges were done as a Ranger). It has been so long since I’ve been active, and my entire life/routine/body has changed so much in the past two years, that I have no idea what type of activity/lifestyle I’m into now. So, for now, I walk, I hike, I eat a mostly healthy diet that doesn’t fit into any particular category (mostly working on dialing down my sugar consumption without reawakening my disordered eating dragon who has been kept meekly at bay for 4 years now), and I work on my mental health (a host of other dragons). I’m a bit late in posting, but I started my challenge right on time on May 28. I’m easing back into the NF challenge arena with a simple challenge based on streaks. My challenge is intentionally gentle at this early stage. I am 6 months postpartum with my first (and only!) little, and it's been quite a ride so far. I am struggling with postpartum depression and anxiety as well as new variations of old body image issues. I am also pursuing a promotion (with a big increase in responsibility) at work, so I’m stretched to the point where it’s still manageable but I know I can’t add too much more to my plate. While I do have long-term goals for my weight and health markers, I am also working on being gentle with myself at this early stage as I ease back into the mechanisms of a NF challenge in my new postpartum reality. The Streaks: @=completed, X=missed, =gold star day [Nutrition] Eat a vegetable with two meals every day. Gold Star if I manage to find a way to make vegetables palatable for breakfast. Week 1 - @@@@@@ Week 2 - @@@X@@@ Week 3 -@@@@@@X Week 4 - @@@X@@@ [Health] Drink two of my big stainless water bottles full of water every day. Gold Star if I manage three full bottles in a day. Week 1 - XX@X@@X Week 2 - @@@XX@ Week 3 -XX@X@@@ Week 4 - XX@X@@X [Fitness] Walk for 15 minutes every day. Gold Star if I walk for 30 minutes in a day (can be broken into multiple walks). Week 1 - XX@XXX Week 2 - XXXXXXX Week 3 - XXXXXXX Week 4 - XXXXXXX [Life] Write something, anything, for 15 minutes every day. Gold Star if I write for 30 minutes in a day (can be broken into multiple sessions). Week 1 - XXX@@X Week 2 - XX@@XXX Week 3 - XXXXX@X Week 4 - XX@XX@X One-off PowerUps: =complete Call new therapist and make an appointment. Go to first therapy appointment and make a decision about whether or not to continue. Set up auto-pay for my June bills BEFORE the late notifications appear (a new problem for me due to new-mom fatigue and forgetfulness). Get the new plants put into the garden before they all die of dehydration in their little pots. Go to my local Pride festival in June. (happy day! Last minute schedule change meant we could go!) Spend legit hang-out time with a friend. My challenge retrospective post will tally number and length of streaks, and number of Gold Stars and PowerUps obtained. Will update the streaks in this post, and will share progress reports in the thread below.
  12. THE SILVER ARCHER: BOOK II Chapter 5: Solo Mission The theme of this month's challenge is really about self-care. I feel like I've been doing a lot of that lately and I'm more than ready to get back to butt-kicking, but as the sun rises on Week One, I will be in a van driving ten hours away from the only hometown I've ever known, preparing to spend three months working an incredibly high-stakes internship, living with two strangers (and their cats!), learning the rhythm of a metropolitan region, and basically upending every imaginable portion of my currently quiet, happy, predictable Midwestern life. Recipe for freaking out. So this month, I will be laying out goals to help myself stay centered and not withdraw into a melty puddle of panic during the move and subsequent transition. Week Zero will be move-related goals; the main challenge will help me check in with my morning and evening routines, make sure I'm eating well, and try to work in some physical activity to release stress and keep me feeling good. This will also be a fluid challenge, as I don't know yet what my daily routine at my internship is going to look like (other than the fact that it begins way earlier in the morning than the night-owl schedule I've been keeping) and what is going to be feasible and realistic. I may create small sets of goals at the beginning or end of each week instead of one big set at the beginning of the month. Tomorrow I'm going to create a plan to help me finish packing and getting all the utilities turned on properly (everything is in progress, just not getting accomplished as quickly as I'd like), and this will guide me in the second half of Week Zero. Yoga and physical therapy exercises must happen too, and eating reasonably despite stress and sharks. And lastly, Sky's narrative may or may not appear in this challenge, just to be realistic. But whether or not I find time to write it down, I am very aware of what she is doing currently, and she and all the wisdom she has gathered over the last few months are close with me while I pack and prepare for my own "solo mission", as she prepares to set out into the forests of Middle Earth and uncover the Dark Elf's latest evil scheme.
  13. Hey all! A week late but had a desire to do a challenge. Kind of went MIA when stuff wasn't quite working for this site and me. Personal issues, that ended up leading me to depression in quite a dark place. Bright side I'm working on it, but everyday stuff is still hard even though I can plan 6 months ahead of myself. I'm hoping this challenge shows some daily light to where the conflict is coming from underneath everything. Along with wrapping my head around, having a schedule doesn't make things boring it just adds a little control. Bright side- I'm still trying to continue on! I have professional supports, have things to laugh at/with daily, even with my troubles with my projects I still want to work in the field outdoors. Goals: Sunrise walking- filling a mental, physical and spiritual need to get to close to nature. I will figure out the minimum but being outside for at least 30 mins with the sun up will help. (Sunrise is around 7 at the moment... I haven't decided yet but throwing on clothes and going on a walk between 7-9 am is my goal) Some Structure- I'm needing some structure in my slightly chaotic life. My goal is to plan out my day on my google calendar by my hope to do what for many hours. From checking when my appointments are, eating, and getting myself to the library. Goals- will make at least 1 goal to follow through daily (however small or big, something to move forward with my life) Enough structure to help fend off depression and cope with my anxiety. While also observing what my daily battles are lie for my goals. Side goal- get my social connections/ support links on here. My depression has been very good on cutting myself off, but I love the atmosphere and over 2 years I'm still coming back.
  14. shy

    Shy Takes A Second

    I can't believe I'm still here!! Wow! I didn't give up, I completed my first challenge, and I'm actually proud of myself! So.. hey! I'm Dawn aka Shy.. I'm super shy. My first challenge goals were... Exercise every single day. (Week two of January and I've managed this since the 3rd. W00t.) Drink more water. Eliminate Caffeine. Work up the courage to go for a walk or go to the apartment gym. (Super scary for cowardly me!) Here are my Feb-Mar goals.... Main Goal I should say "lose all this excess weight" but I'm going to say TRY to lose 15lbs by the end of April for a start. Here's what I'm thinking for the Feb-Mar challenge... Smart Goals Exercise every single day (Again?! Yesss... because I can.) Keep track of my calories (Aiming for around 1550 or so. Might adjust later.) Stop going to bed with dishes in the sink (I HATE that I keep doing this!) Try to get any amount of dishes done before bed! (No joke, this has been my most difficult challenge.) I might add another goal later but, if I'm honest, I've got some stress on me at the moment and I think that's enough for right now. I've already started counting my calories on Cronometer. Believe it or not my most difficult goal might be number 3. I'm SO tired every single day I usually fall asleep holding my daughter on the sofa after dinner. (I'm not proud of this.) I need to make the next day less stressful for myself and do future me a favor and get the kitchen clean. (I feel more stressed when things are messy, which they usually are.) As much as I'd like to add "get under 220" or "do x number of crunches", etc. I think this is a reasonable goal set for me. Good luck on YOUR challenges!!! I can't wait to see all of you meet your goals!!
  15. Hello all, my name is Fluffy_Shark (or Fluffy for short) and this is probably my third time respawning. I am 22 years old. I struggle with depression and anxiety and currently go to school full-time while working part-time. Lately my stress has been through the roof and I've resorted to eating copious amounts of sugar, and drowning myself in the internet, all trying to escape from my stressful world. I have never liked how I look and I have always felt weak and unfit. I haven't worked out in nearly 4 months and I'm sick and tired of it. I have so many things I want to accomplish in life but I barely have the energy to get through the day. Even keeping my home clean, and general adulting tasks seem nearly impossible to complete some days. I am also extremely socially awkward, sometimes even hanging around my friends is tough. I am a negative person and get upset or jealous when others are happy around me, I really dislike this part about myself. I do this because I don't feel like I'm ever enough, I never feel like I'm doing enough. Despite everything going on in my life, I desperately want to incorporate fitness back into my routine. I was happier and had more confidence when i was doing that. I also want to make a more consistent effort to focus on my mental health. I know I need to get a counsellor and I will be booking an appointment with my school's councillor. Outside of that however I want to start reading Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy again. I also want to practice my art skills everyday to get into a competitive design program. So my goals right now are as follows: Physical Health: Complete 2 NF workouts a week for a month Eat 1 serving of veggies a day for a month Limit myself to 1 sugary treat a day (I currently eat 1-5 so this is a challenge for me) Mental Health: Read Feeling Good for 10 min-1 hour a day Art Skills: Practice drawing for 10 min-1 hour a day My actions to make it happen: Physical Health Workouts: write workout in bullet journal schedule for that specific day 1 week in advance, pack gym bag with needed materials and put it on my bed (so I will see it and think twice before just mindlessly reclining on my bed). Progress will be tracked on here, bullet journal, and StickK (There will be a $10 penalty for every workout missed OR rescheduled) Food: Write a veggie to eat that day in bullet journal schedule, make sure I buy lots of veggies on my shopping trips Treats: Keep track of treats consumed in bullet journal and here, for every extra treat, there will be a $2 penalty, always have some kind of healthy snack with me like trail mix Mental Health Place book on bed and track progress on here and in bullet journal Art Skills I have already informed my friend to keep me accountable of this but i will also record my progress in my bullet journal, StickK, and here ($5 penalty on every day missed), Placing sketchbook and medium to use that day on bed Hopefully this new system works. I tried to change too much all at once initially but I think this is manageable. My physical health, my mental health, and my art skills are my biggest priorites right now aside from work and school. Wish me luck!
  16. spooky

    spooky is a cat

    where's the lie though? actual goal of this challenge: treat myself like my cats. when my cats do something wrong or make a mistake i don't judge them. i treat them with kindness and deal with the results of whatever just happened. so...the same goes for me. also, taking things one at a time. cats aren't stressing about things that may or may not happen. they just do whatever is in front of them I RESERVE THE RIGHT TO CHANGE THIS CHALLENGE AS IT IS 12:40 AM. but i think the sentiment is right. measurable ways of doing this...is one of tomorrow's goals. gotta do a 2017 reflection in my last challenge and then, 2018 i'm so ready for you.
  17. It's been awhile since I've posted here, and of course I haven't done much to change my physique or anything else for that matter. But, that is ok, I forgive myself that I have severely slacked in my training both physically and mentally. I suffer from depression and anxiety, and due to that I have hardly any motivation to do much of anything save what I barely have to do scrape by to live. So, daily I'll do a post about what I've accomplished for the day and I'll try to share my Cognitive Behavioral Therapy homeworks for the day with you all. Today, I've managed to get through half of the Nerd Fitness Body Weight Workout, and that's sad because I used to to the full workout almost double what I'm doing now. I will get back to that and surpass my old accomplishments! I've read in numerous places exercise and proper diet also help with my mental issues, so I'm definitely game to do whatever it is I can to make myself better not only for me, but for my family as well. Stay tuned to topic updates and quest adds! Edit: Redbeard's Quest for Viking Body, Druid Mind! Perform the Nerd Fitness Body Weight Workout at least 3-4 times per week. Do your daily CBT homework assigned by your therapist! Take time out to work on something spiritual for at least five minutes per day, ie meditation, studying Runes, Tarot etc or working on blót for Jul. Take time to read to Brann, my son :D, per day. I am very bad about overloading myself and then beating myself up about what I didn't accomplish. So, I'm going to take baby steps to start these four weeks off. Let's mosey.
  18. Bye Weeks Challenge Goals Quest One - Try something new Cooking! I love cooking and am always looking for new things to try so this goal is 1 new recipe per week. Quest Two - Mini fitness goal Changed to one extra day of weight training. So Weights 2x a week: Tuesday and Sunday Quest Three - Unadulterated joy Reading for pleasure. I don't do this regularly enough . It always makes my day better so 30 minutes of reading per day. Continuing with meditation also falls under this goal. Life Quest: Finish Papers before June 3
  19. Hello! I'm Severine. I've been here for just over a year. I've had both successes and failures, and lately I've started to feel like they're cancelling each other out and the result is stagnation. It's why I took last challenge off and just did a battle log instead: I was messing up most of the challenges in a repeating pattern, stuck in a rut. I'm basically working on all the same fitness/health stuff I was working on last year. I don't like it and it's frustrating. And let me be honest: the problem is not lack of knowledge. The problem is not lack of time or equipment. The problem is follow-through, adherence, discipline, and persistence. The problem is me repeatedly making excuses and finding reasons not to do the stuff I know I need to do. The time away from challenges was helpful and I feel ready to tackle a challenge again. And the theme came to mind sort of by accident: something that keeps coming up in my threads is the fact that my grandma is a badass who I really love and respect despite her flaws, and many of my problems would be solved by listening to the things she used to tell me when I was a kid. A recent picture of my mum and grandma. At the time they were 54 and 82: My grandmother and I are extremely close - she basically raised me, and I lived with her instead of my mother for a long time. My childhood was complicated and the details aren't relevant here, but suffice it to say my grandmother was more like a mother to me, and my mother was more like an irresponsible older sister. So what's the advice I need to follow? Well, my situation is that I know what I need to do and the problem is just bloody doing it. And here's what my grandma would say about that: 1. Cultivate Self-Command Grandma is a big fan of what she calls self-command: "doing what needs to be done without stopping to think about whether you want to do it or not." My grandma had many years in her life when the question of what she wanted was not something she had the luxury of considering. It made her miserable sometimes, and she had some terrible coping mechanisms, but she always did what needed to be done. And I should be able to avoid misery and other bad side-effects, because my situation right now is so much more fortunate than hers was back then. More than anything else right now, I need to cultivate self-command. I have found in the past that it's self-perpetuating, and various scientific studies have shown the same: we have a finite amount of willpower in a given day, but over time our pool of available willpower is something that increases with use. This means doing the things I know I need to do every day: Exercise every day, even if it's just a half hour walk (1 POINT) Morning routine (glass of water, stretching, Hobonichi) (1 POINT) Track my food (1 POINT) It also means tackling procrastination: every day I need to cross one thing off my to-do list. I get 1 POINT for doing anything on the list and 1 BONUS POINT if the thing I do is something I really don't feel like doing. 2. Reject the Victim Mentality I remember so vividly when I was 13 and something really bad had just happened to the family, and I was pretty distraught. And my grandmother was consoling me in a very loving way. But then when she started to talk about me going back to school the next day I started to cry and said I couldn't. I said I could get a note and everyone would understand because of what had happened. And she said, "Oh yes, everyone would understand. But many times in your life you will have to choose whether you want to be someone whose failures are understandable given what you've been through, or someone whose successes are surprising given what you've been through." I have never forgotten that, and although I do believe in having compassion for yourself, I think that sometimes the strongest expression of self-love is expecting the best of ourselves, believing that we're capable of carrying on despite difficulties, and pushing ourselves to be better than anyone would expect given the circumstances. This part of the challenge is mostly about anxiety. I have it, and it's a problem. But I don't want to let it define me or limit me. I don't want to become less capable or more fragile. And currently it is affecting my health adversely, because I have emotional eating issues and a lot of why I'm overweight is that when I'm stressed or anxious or sad, my impulse is to eat for comfort. I'm in therapy, which is helping, and I just started meditating a couple weeks ago and I am finding that useful too. So here's how this will work: Going to therapy once per week is worth 5 POINTS (except the one week I'll be on vacation, which doesn't count) Meditating is worth 1 POINT every day Every day I am tempted by emotional eating and I do something else to cope instead (music, tea, walking, writing, etc.) I get 1 BONUS POINT. 3. Face Up To My Mistakes If past challenges have taught me anything, it's that I am going to have days when I screw up. My past pattern is a lot like this: things start off well. I feel awesome and I'm engaged in the challenge and my enthusiasm is high. Then something happens and I miss a day or two of goals, and then I feel guilty because I am no longer perfect. (Perfectionism is a real problem for me). So I decide I'll just not post until I get myself back on track and can report success instead of failures...but being absent from the boards and having lost my streak of perfection makes it easier for me to feel like it's okay to make exceptions and fail some more. And then I avoid the forums more because of the guilt. Sometimes by the end of the challenge I'm posting on everyone else's thread but not my own. My grandmother made a lot of mistakes in her life. Serious ones that, in some cases, really hurt people. I remember as I grew up and found out stuff about her past, I really struggled with integrating it into my image of the woman I knew, who was very different. She was ashamed, but she never hid it or denied it or tried to get people not to talk about it. She believed it was important to face it, to bear the discomfort of confronting it and the pay the price for her previous actions by letting people know about what she had done. She also had an immense amount of compassion for people who had screwed up: she believed in second chances and helping people make amends. She volunteered in prisons, and she took homeless acquaintances and friends-of-friends who were detoxing into her home for weeks or months at a time, to help get them back on their feet. She understands fallibility and she understands that people are complex and that you can't completely judge a person based on a single moment or action. So the final requirement is that I post every day, no matter what is happening, and report on how that day went. 1 POINT per day and, although this may sound counter-intuitive, I get 1 BONUS POINT for reporting in on any day when I have met less than 50% of my goals. Okay! So that's the challenge. I'm going to make another post with details of my grandma's life for those who are curious. Also I will continue to update my battle log if there are details specific to OCR training - I'm working to get ready to run the Fenway Spartan Spring in November!
  20. Yesterday I read an article by a woman who made it her goal to do one anxiety-provoking activity every day for a year. She said this helped her overcome many fears at a gradual pace. When I read this, something in my brain went "click." I thought of that worn old adage, "Do one thing every day that scares you," but that's very vague, and makes me think of things like jetting off to Thailand or walking a rope and board suspension bridge. Not super applicable to my daily existence. But anxiety provoking stuff? Hell, I live in a world FULL of that. I do not live in aworld of scary things, but I am surrounded by anxiety triggers. With a specific timeline like "365 days" the concept immediately gets more concrete. I like commitments with numbers attached. Numbers make it easy to tell if you're done or not. I have terrible issues with grading myself (doesn't everyone?) but data doesn't lie or flatter. It's just there. The worst part of anxiety is, the world gets smaller and smaller as I try to avoid things that scare me and the list just gets longer. The single biggest thing between me and the life of my dreams is the anxiety I feel when it comes to doing pretty much anything that will bring me closer to level 100 me. But after spending most of my adult life with it, it's starting to dawn on me that maybe my fear is never going away, it will always be there waiting to pounce. Perhaps I will never not feel it. I might as well update my definition of "happiness" to include "despite anxiety" instead of "not feeling anxious anymore", and get on with things I really want/need to do. So. I feel compelled to express up front my doubts that I will actually keep this up for 365 days, but each day I stand up to the demon is a day I get something useful done. Let it begin here. Today, I responded to a scary all-caps email from my part time boss requesting an overdue piece of paperwork. After setting a procrastination timer and taking many deep breaths, I completed and sent the desired form. Whew.
  21. In almost exactly eight weeks I'm going to be running my first OCR: the New England Warrior Dash in CT. Right now I am pretty damn unfit, and I want to use these eight weeks to improve my fitness and endurance as much as I can. I love the idea of OCRs and I hope this will be the first of many. It's okay if I don't do objectively well the first time; what will make me proud is knowing that I prepared as well as I could and did my best on race day. Half the idea behind doing this OCR is it's something I've dreamed of doing, and I'm hoping it'll give me an added push of motivation to embrace the exercise/nutrition/self-care routine I need to embrace for my general well-being, but have been failing at recently. Six months ago I left a physically active job and I did not adjust well: I went from super active to instant potato. My fitness has fallen off dramatically and I haven't been taking good care of myself. For years, I had exercise built in to my job and now I don't, so I have become almost totally sedentary. I have anxiety issues (for which I'm in therapy) and a few related problems that either exacerbate or stem from the anxiety: insomnia, stress eating, caffeine dependency, and jaw clenching that causes headaches and a lot of neck/facial pain. All of which are things that, for me, have historically responded really well to regular exercise and good nutrition. So the good news is I know exactly what I need to do. And I know how much more awesome I'll feel once I'm doing it. But so far I've been struggling to find my groove. I've whiffed on the last few challenges, and that's why I'm switching to a battle log. A challenge is a thing you can fail, and I've been getting weirdly anxious and avoidant about them recently. You can't fail a battle log, though. My goal is just to keep track of what I'm doing and how I'm feeling. I'm nervous and excited, and I hope I don't screw this up
  22. This is the beginning of my journey, and I need your help. My name is Lindley. I am an ICU nurse with a really shitty night schedule. I am 5'1" and the heaviest I have ever been at 163 pounds. I was in a very unhealthy five year relationship, had two sons with the individual, and am now a single mom. I struggle with Borderline Personality Disorder, depression, anxiety, binge/purge, and PTSD. Now for the thing that sent me over the edge... June 12, 2016, I woke up and discovered my 5 week old son (Ronin August) had died from SIDS during a nap. Needless to say, it was the single most traumatic experience of my life and it's left me with an overwhelming feeling of hopelessness and apathy. Any kind of will to live just went out the window, let alone any king of will to get healthy and back in to shape. Now, just waking up and doing day-to-day things is a struggle. I live in Oklahoma and have a very limited support system (one friend within physical proximity, and my mom and aunt available via telephone). I'm maxed out on my antidepressants and I go to hypnotherapy 4 times a month (which is not cheap!). Also, I'm now hypertensive and I just FEEL the toll this is taking on my body. I don't feel good. I used to be very in shape. I loved being active and eating clean. But now, the smallest things are a challenge. I don't want to live like this, but the sadness overwhelms me. I am reaching out to this community because there is still a sliver of something inside of me that wants me to "get better". I'm searching for support. I've tried to be mentally healthy, thinking my body would follow suit, but that obviously didn't work. And now I need a different approach. I want to be healthy for my remaining son (Olin Anthony). We all have struggles. We all have our crosses to bear. I would love to hear what others have overcome and how they did it. Tell me your story.
  23. ** Dear newbs: As of right now it seems we don't have a guild leader. I've been here for over 3 years so if you have questions feel free to ask me. You can ask here, PM me, @ tag me in another thread, or post in the general chat thread. Please feel free just to drop in and say hi too. My threads tend to move fast because I'm friends with crazy people, but we're the good crazy. ** Right-o. Changed my title because I decided to take this challenge in a different direction. So the American Psychological Association's definition of resilience: Resilience is the process of adapting well in the face of adversity, trauma, tragedy, threats or significant sources of stress — such as family and relationship problems, serious health problems or workplace and financial stressors. It means "bouncing back" from difficult experiences. tl;dr version - I have an anxiety disorder and feel like I'm constantly stressed. Which is Not Good psychologically or physiologically. I've also had a number of massive stressors recently, one of which is only going to get worse from here. I've been told I'm handling it all really well and I know they're legitimate things to be stressed about, but I don't like where I am right now. In my crisis management class we talked about resilience and how to build/strengthen it, so I'm pulling from the principles on his powerpoint and choosing goals that were on my list that will mesh with what he said. The Goals 1. Take Care of Yourself Movement every day - yoga, Elements, even a walk around the block Cut out dairy, minimize meat Be in bed by 11pm, out of bed by 8am Cut caffeine 2. Active Problem Solving Register and study for the Certified Associate in Project Management exam (falls under "goal setting") Complete one Spanish skill or 30 exp on Duolingo every day. 3. Maintain a Positive Outlook Post a daily recap of all the things I did - job applications, phone calls, taking out the trash, anything to prove to myself I did more than just sit on the couch all day End journal entries with 3 things I’m grateful for 4. Social Support ??? 5. Meaning and Purpose Daily meditation Journal every day Reach out to some of the organizations I might want to volunteer at and see how to get started The much longer version of the rationale: (under a cut for length, not because I'm embarrassed or ashamed to talk about anxiety/etc... actually I'd talk about it forever if you let me) Handy dandy tracking spreadsheet. Feel free to make a copy and adapt to your own needs.
  24. The long-awaited moment has arrived: it's time for the CAT TAKEOVER challenge! A bunch of forum veterans banded together and decided we would all do cat-themed challenges this time. If you want to join, please do! Anyone can pepper their thread with copious numbers of cat gifs! And who can deny that cats are worth emulating?? They're good at stretching, eating well, and getting enough sleep. They've got athleticism, grace, and poise. They've got high self esteem on lockdown and they don't let anyone tell them what to do. When they want something, they go after it. "I daresay, old chap, cats ARE rather impressive." So let's all be cats, yo. I'm going to emulate one of the thing cats are best known for: BALANCE! And I'm striving for balance in two senses of the word: Literal: my actual balance kind of sucks. Since I'm into rock climbing and just started aikido, I have good reasons to try to improve it. Figurative: a balanced life is a happy life. I've made recent progress and I want to keep it going. I need sustainable progress in various areas, all in balance with each other. THE QUEST FOR UNCANNY FELINE BALANCE 1. EAT LIKE A CAT Cats don't eat junk. I will emulate their good judgement by: - Continuing my no chocolate rule (exceptions for restaurant desserts, or if a friend bakes me a gift) - Limiting takeout to once per week - Keeping a calorie deficit (on average) to keep losing weight - Tracking my food 2. GET FIT LIKE A CAT Cats are the ultimate natural athletes. I am not. It will be a long quest to match their might. I will: - Continue working out every day as part of my morning routine - Continue stretching every morning as part of my morning routine - Do bodyweight strength training twice per week - Rock climb once per week and go to aikido at least twice a week 3. CHILL THE FUCK OUT LIKE A CAT Cats are much better at relaxing than I am. I will embrace my inner feline by: - Getting enough sleep: stick to 12am bedtime/7am wakeup time (exception: on weekends can sleep in until 8:30) - Going to therapy every week - Writing in my Hobonichi and journal for at least a few minutes each day 4. WORK ON NOT SUCKING AT BALANCE BECAUSE SERIOUSLY CATS ARE SNICKERING ABOUT IT ATM I love rock climbing and I just started aikido. Both require elements of balance and, let's face it, it doesn't come naturally to me. I need to strengthen my stabilizer muscles and improve my balance. So I am issuing myself a daily dare: pick a balancing pose (e.g. standing on one leg with other extended) and hold it for as long as possible. Work to improve the length of time I can hold the pose over the course of the challenge. Let the cat frenzy begin!!
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