What I learned from my fourth half-marathon

I guess these are a tradition now (although I never wrote one for the Wellington half-marathon, my third last year) and now that I’m just a few months out from running my first full marathon I think it’s even more important for me to take a look at my race and think about what I learned.

Yesterday I ran the half-marathon event at Run Melbourne┬áin 1:54:21, beating my previous personal best by over two minutes. Apart from a shiny medal and tired quads, here’s what I took away from it:

EAiZNiaUwAA1iZF.jpg

Continue reading “What I learned from my fourth half-marathon”

Building balance to beat burnout

Last year I had a job I couldn’t quit. When I left the States, my plan was to leave the job as well, but I couldn’t resist leaving the door open (the job was online so I could work from anywhere). When I got a job in Wellington, I intended to leave the other job, but I told myself that making extra money was always good and it wasn’t like I was doing much in my evenings anyway. Essentially, I had two full-time jobs for most of my year in New Zealand. When I moved to Australia, I finally sent that “Sorry, I won’t be able to do the job any longer” email… but I still left the door open for a return.

It’s not because I love the job or even the pay; it’s because I feel like if I’m not constantly working, I’m doing something wrong. Right now, I’m “funemployed” as I look for work here in Australia, but I’m keeping busy in addition to job-hunting. I ran 50km last week, I’m doing yoga every day, I’m updating my blog more regularly than I ever have, I’m reading, I’m doing most of the grocery shopping and laundry and almost all of the cooking. I’m hardly just sitting on my bum watching Say Yes to the Dress reruns (I mean, that’s what I’m doing right at this moment, but in general).

Continue reading “Building balance to beat burnout”

A year of reconnection

Like most people on this first day of the year, I am thinking about 2019 and the goals I’d like to accomplish. I’ve got a couple fairly typical items on my list (read 50 books, run a marathon) that I don’t feel warrant their own post, but one of my resolutions for the year is not something specific, but rather a theme. I don’t want to simply set goals at the beginning of the year and check them off the list; instead I’d like to set intentions and adjust my goals as I see where the year takes me. I want 2019 to be a year of reconnection. I’ve been thinking about what that means to me, and I’ve split it up into four categories.

Continue reading “A year of reconnection”

The morning I thought would never come (the one where I enjoyed waking up early)

Processed with VSCO with hb2 preset

 

If you had walked into my bedroom at dawn a decade ago, you probably would’ve found me wide awake, book in hand. Not because I had gotten up early to read, but because I hadn’t ever gone to bed the night before. My “ideal” sleep schedule, in between bouts of insomnia and the forced early mornings of school, was around 6am to 2pm up through college.

Obviously, this is not sustainable in adulthood for people who don’t work the graveyard shift. It wasn’t really sustainable in school either, to be honest, but I got by. At the time, I was more than happy to be as nocturnal as possible, and I would never have thought I’d ever be anything but a night owl.

I look back at that sleeping schedule in horror now, much as I imagine my teenage self would look at the idea of waking before 8am on a Saturday. Where once I relied desperately on my blackout curtains to keep out the sun as it rose high in the sky, now I regularly beat it to arise–on purpose! Without even having to!

Becoming a morning person wasn’t an overnight process, though. Here are the steps I took to give my mornings an energising boost:

Continue reading “The morning I thought would never come (the one where I enjoyed waking up early)”

Ten Minutes of Mindfulness

Mindfulness is a lifelong practice, and for most of us, it requires conscious effort. We wake up in the mornings bleary-eyed and in need of caffeine rather than serene and at peace with ourselves and the world. It’s easy for us to go about our days telling ourselves that we don’t have time to meditate or do yoga, no spare minutes to practice gratitude in between commuting and working and hitting the gym and cooking dinner and taking care of kids and doing homework and buying groceries and doing every other one of those essential things that seem to eat up every moment of the day.

The truth is, we do have time, and we choose to fill that time with reading and Netflix and sports and bar-hopping and every other one of those non-essential things, and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. This isn’t a “social media is the devil” post, because that subject is beyond played out and anyway that’s not how I feel (perhaps a topic for another post). What this is, is proof that even with the few spare moments you have in your life, you can practice mindfulness. Even if you only have 10 minutes, here are 10 ways to bring more awareness into your everyday.

Continue reading “Ten Minutes of Mindfulness”

Mindfulness in the Face of Life’s Little Annoyances

You know how some people just rub you the wrong way, even if they’ve done nothing to warrant it? Maybe it’s the guy who works at the coffee shop you frequent every morning, the one who always says hello but looks as though he’s just smelled something bad. Maybe it’s your coworker whose friendly attempts at small talk grate before you’ve had a chance to drink the coffee you just bought from the dour barista. They haven’t done anything to offend you; there’s just something about them.

There’s a girl in my yoga class who, until recently, was like that for me. She’s never said a word to me, nor I to her, but I was just not a fan. Most of the reason is that she commits one of my biggest pet peeves–getting up and leaving during savasana (or sometimes she does other, more energetic poses in place of this all-important final resting pose)–but the fact that she always seems determined to try to stretch herself into the fullest extent of the pose, form be damned, didn’t help either. Take your cues from your body, not from Instagram, girl.

So I’m in class, in savasana, while she’s doing pigeon pose or whatever, and suddenly I realise: if she’s beng a “bad yogi” by ignoring the niyama of isvara pranidhana, surrender, then I’m being a bad yogi by letting her actions dictate my feelings in opposition to the niyama of santosha, contentment. Whatever she is doing is not half as detrimental to my own well-being as what my own thoughts and prejudices are doing to me.

Continue reading “Mindfulness in the Face of Life’s Little Annoyances”