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Defining

Pressure on the understood boundaries of yourself

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I am not a warrior. Not really. But this challenge, I think I'd like to try channeling my inner champion.

 

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Boring back story/personal stuff:

Spoiler

I've been struggling lately with some kind of existential depression/exhaustion/anxiety, and am done waiting for my head to pull out of my @$$. Instead, I'm going to fake it 'till I make it - if the physical act of smiling makes us happy, then going through the motions of a productive member of society might actually trick my brain into thinking that's what I am?

 

This is not actually a new issue for me (the lack of meaning/purpose/focus/direction in my life), but I search in hope for a new strategy to combat it. This time around, I'll try to battle my demons with strength, since despite best efforts my mental fortitude has thus far been insufficient. Maybe focusing on physical goals will be more productive for me in getting out of this rut, rather than relying on my mind as I am wont to do.

 

Historically, I've enjoyed finding my known limits, and then pushing a bit to expand beyond that; defining things (if you will) in order to push past boundaries. Lately (and *sigh* unfortunately that encompasses close to the last 5yrs), I haven't done that. 

 

Goals for this challenge:

  • Weight lifting at least 4x a week for 40min 
  • At least 2 days/week of lower kcal (a la 5:2 strategies)
  • Drinking at least 1.5L of non-caffeinated liquid/day

 

Other habits that I've been working on and would like to try to maintain (and/or build on):

  • Walking for at least 70km/week, at least 20km of those with a weight vest
  • Eating at least 5 veg + 2 fruit/day
  • Getting at least 150g of protein/day (have lost some weight, so I can reduce my 1g/lb goal a bit)
  • Physio routine every morning to stave off pain & improve wellbeing

 

Bonus tasks:

  • Operation declutter: get back to slowly clearing out the chaff
  • Mission n-1: ideally get back into the flow of regular content creation
  • Doing Something: this might be getting a part time job, or reexamining my freelance options to switch up my routine a bit. Possibly volunteering for the next film festival in town.

 

 

Let's gain a bit more strength to push on those boundaries, shall we?

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On 8/5/2019 at 6:12 PM, Defining said:

I am not a warrior. Not really. But this challenge, I think I'd like to try channeling my inner champion.

 

Oh hey, welcome!

 

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On 8/5/2019 at 6:12 PM, Defining said:

 

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Instead, I'm going to fake it 'till I make it - if the physical act of smiling makes us happy, then going through the motions of a productive member of society might actually trick my brain into thinking that's what I am?

 

This is not actually a new issue for me (the lack of meaning/purpose/focus/direction in my life), but I search in hope for a new strategy to combat it. This time around, I'll try to battle my demons with strength, since despite best efforts my mental fortitude has thus far been insufficient. Maybe focusing on physical goals will be more productive for me in getting out of this rut, rather than relying on my mind as I am wont to do.


Most definitely. Weightlifting is what cracked open my (18 year long, at that point) depression and has finally enabled me to start building some foundations on this swamp. I've found that doing physical stuff is actually easier, and it's more habit forming than other activities, maybe because of the physical/biochemical feedback one gets from exercise. With depression, waiting until you feel like doing something doesn't really work. But then you also need to know when to cut yourself some slack and rest. It's tricky. 

I think the creative stuff is also important, though it's been harder for me to form habits here. But you need it for "flow"--the feeling of being dissolved in an activity where time passes and the rest of the world fades into the background. It's such a necessary part of our mental wellbeing but I think it might be especially important against that feeling of meaninglessness and alienation that often accompanies depression. 

Anyway, welcome and good luck with those goals.

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2 hours ago, Harriet said:

I've found that doing physical stuff is actually easier, and it's more habit forming than other activities, maybe because of the physical/biochemical feedback one gets from exercise

 

Anyway, welcome and good luck with those goals.

 

Hey, thanks for chiming in and your welcome! I wouldn't call my current state anything as formal as real depression - it feels more like terminal petulance. ;) I say that not to discount my own experience, but to acknowledge that I don't think it's a clinical issue so much as a thought-cycle problem. But yeah, not that I haven't been working out previous to this challenge, but I'd like to prioritise the muscle gain & strength stuff for a while - with any luck, progress in one part of my life will help create momentum in other areas as well.

 

I've done dismally thus far this week in terms of getting under the iron though - my brother is visiting, and my last couple of days have been overwhelmed with last-minute work stuff and getting the house ready for someone else to live in for a few days. :P Maybe I'll push out a bodyweight routine this afternoon...

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4 hours ago, Defining said:

I've done dismally thus far this week in terms of getting under the iron though - my brother is visiting, and my last couple of days have been overwhelmed with last-minute work stuff and getting the house ready for someone else to live in for a few days. :P Maybe I'll push out a bodyweight routine this afternoon...


How much does your brother weigh? Maybe you can deadlift him. Quality family time and quality lifting sets at the same time :D 

 

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If I had to give myself a score for week 1, it would be zero. I am struggling to even keep up with my already existing habits, I am stressed and in pain because of the tension, and my days keep getting away from me. I have a couple hours of quiet time this afternoon, I think I'm going to need to sit down and WRITE OUT how this is going to work, be it scheduling, cues/strategies, changing my environment, etc. Because I am not proud of my performance this week.

 

Stop. Reset. I can recover from this false start, I can! :beaten:

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Keeping with existing habits sometimes could count as a win, even in the military, you don't spend h24 on the frontlines, you need to be taken back and have others fight from time to time in order to keep your ability to fight.

 

16 hours ago, Defining said:

I can recover from this false start, I can! :beaten:

You sure do!

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Adjust your goals if you need to. Every challenge for the last year (almost) I've been throwing different things at the wall. Some stick, some don't. Have you got a strong "reason why" and clear feeling about how the habits support your goals? I find it harder to maintain habits when I know theoretically that they're good for me but don't have a clear vision/understanding of how they're promoting the outcomes I want. Which is why it's easier to exercise than to meditate (though I've been collecting evidence about the concrete mechanisms by which meditation helps).

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On 8/10/2019 at 10:03 AM, Harriet said:

Have you got a strong "reason why" and clear feeling about how the habits support your goals?

Nope. Hard pass. I've literally spent YEARS trying to find a 'why'. That's part of my new strategy - saying "IDGAF about a 'why', I know what I'm supposed to be doing". Or at least trying to. The motivation may or may not follow later, but that's not something I'm willing to contribute any more energy to finding.

 

I am not as healthy as I can be. I know what I can do RIGHT NOW to improve my health. I'm going to do that. Not because I need or want to be healthier, but because I think that by improving my health I will either improve other areas of my life... OR, at the very least, I will be able to check off a couple more boxes for 'no, a lack of health isn't what's making me feel like shit....'. Removing factors that may be contributing to my deep and abiding sense of 'blah'. These are the actions I need to practice in order to set myself up to get to the next step. I need to be able to look at my life and say 'Here's what I'm doing to equip myself to live a fulfilling life - and I'm not there yet. What's still missing?'. These are the interim priorities that I need to accomplish first. 

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13 hours ago, Defining said:

Nope. Hard pass. I've literally spent YEARS trying to find a 'why'. That's part of my new strategy - saying "IDAF about a 'why', I know what I'm supposed to be doing". Or at least trying to. The motivation may or may not follow later, but that's not something I'm willing to contribute any more energy to finding.

 

I am not as healthy as I can be. I know what I can do RIGHT NOW to improve my health. I'm going to do that. Not because I need or want to be healthier, but because I think that by improving my health I will either improve other areas of my life... OR, at the very least, I will be able to check off a couple more boxes for 'no, a lack of health isn't what's making me feel like shit....'. Removing factors that may be contributing to my deep and abiding sense of 'blah'. These are the actions I need to practice in order to set myself up to get to the next step. I need to be able to look at my life and say 'Here's what I'm doing to equip myself to live a fulfilling life - and I'm not there yet. What's still missing?'. These are the interim priorities that I need to accomplish first. 

 

Maybe what you need is a narrative to tie your efforts together. "I should try meditation, everyone says it helps" is not super motivating. But maybe there is the dread demon of Blah, who curses people with a lingering but hard to diagnose malaise... I can already see it sliming around (it's amorphous, sticky and grey). Your job as the cursed but plucky adventurer is to discover the demon's weaknesses. It's an enemy whose resistances and vulnerabilities are unknown--you have to attack it with blunt and bladed weapons, fire and frost, backstabs and projectiles, until you know what affects it. You might start your investigation by writing up a list of possibilities. And not just the usual suspects (diet, exercise, sleep, stress, sunlight) but also some high-level ones ones (meaningful long term projects, social connectedness, psychological state of "flow", connection to nature, civic participation or contribution to something bigger than oneself).

 

For me, doing lots of reading on different topics has helped, because the benefits and importance of things like meditation and sleep have come up in different areas: in books about the psychology of eating; in blogs and research on strength training; in discussions of depression; in books on internet and social media habits and our cognitive limitations; in a book about psychedelics and spirituality; and in a comprehensive book about how stress affects all the body systems. Hmmm. I should really get on that meditation thing already. Anyway, I hope it will be easier to get started and stick to something if I have collected a lot of evidence about its benefits. 

P.S. As the ambassador of acronyms, I feel I must tell you that I googled IDAF. I found several possibilities, including I've Done Action Films, Isthmus-Dependent Arterial Flutter, and International Dwarf Athletics Federation. I would also like to contribute my own suggestions: It Doesn't Actually Fly; I Don't Apologise, Fool; and Intrepidly Dope Adventurers' Fanclub.

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22 minutes ago, Harriet said:

P.S. As the ambassador of acronyms, I feel I must tell you that I googled IDAF. 

 

:glee: And the truth of it is: I just didn't proofread. IDGAF*

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a) I Don't Apologise, Fool is now in my lexicon forever, and I really feel as if it must be said in Mr. T's voice.

 

b) I, also, have battled a variety of insideofmyhead demons externally with iron + sweat + my 'grrr' face, and found it to be generally more effective than other strategies I've tried, so I'm just following along to say ...

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Two workouts in this week, so I'm likely not going to hit my goal for this week. That's cool, there's still time to reach that by the end of this challenge!

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Hi. I keep struggling to post something, because I struggle with a lot of the same general existential malaise and I don't have any more answers now than I did the last time we discussed it. I'm just chiming in to lend some support in the form of paying attention and following along with your challenge. I'm curious how all the video stuff is going for you. Talking about things helps me focus on them; I'm not sure whether or not that's the case for you. It's a big part of why I'm around these parts. Anyway, stick with it and good luck on the rest of your challenge.

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