Muir Woods National Monument – A perfect way to spend the day!

If you happen to find yourself in San Francisco looking for an inexpensive family adventure, I highly recommend Muir Woods National Monument!MUIR

I can often be heard complaining about my husband having to go away more often than I’d like – which, really, is anything more than one night at a time  ;-) .  Even I have to admit though, it’s not always a bad thing in that we’re often lucky to be able to go with him.

We were recently very lucky to be able to join him on a trip to SUNNY San Francisco.  It’s been a heck of a winter here on the East Coast, so the idea of traveling anywhere snow free was very appealing to all of us.  One perk of owning your own company is that he’s usually able to pick his travel dates as per what works for us and this was one of those times – we were able to book it around the kids’ March Break.

Our trip was fabulous, with glorious sunshine for 13 of the 14 days we were there.  So much sun made it easy to work in several outdoor adventures, requiring no boots, hats, mitts, or coats!  One of the best we had was our visit to Muir Woods National Monument.  It’s a forest of redwood trees along the Pacific Coast, just 11 miles north of the Golden Gate Bridge.  The drive to get into the park was amazing in itself…for me, “petrifying” more aptly describes the narrow roads and heights along the drive, but I tend to scare easily.  As long as I kept my eyes up, I was able to ignore the drops off the side of the road and enjoy the beautiful scenery.

When we arrived, we found parking to be a bit of a challenge.  The lots are not very big and the park is super popular (people come from all over the world to see these enormous trees!), so I recommend aiming to arrive at the park early…like, before 10 am. We got lucky and snagged a spot on the side of the road then made our way to the start of the park.

Right from the beginning, before starting on any of the trails, we were awestruck at the size of the trees.  It’s so funny to see Huge redwood trees Muir Woodseveryone walking around looking up.  Before we left the house, I heard all sorts of “why do we have to go look at a bunch of trees?”, but I heard nothing of the sort after we arrived.   :-)  We picked the Ocean View Trail, hoping to get to the look-off over the Pacific Ocean.  The scenery in the park is breathtaking and the redwood trees are HUGE!  It’s really hard to imagine a tree could grow to be that big, let alone an entire forest of them.  They grow in clusters and act almost like a family, protecting each other and making sure the “family” continues to flourish…so cool!

Our chosen trail started on a wooden boardwalk, but quickly turned into a narrow and sometimes very steep uphill climb.  (Warning!  If anyone in your group has trouble with heights, you may need to do some coaxing to get them to keep going!) For the most part, thankfully, the scenery was enough to keep our minds off how narrow and steep the path was. The only complaint I have about the trail was the lack of signage…we walked up and up for well over an hour in search of the trail for the look-off and saw only one sign indicating how much further we had to go and finally ended up having to turn around to head back before we found it.  Back at the bottom of the trail, we promptly grabbed a map (don’t ask why we didn’t take one when we started!) to see how far we were from the look-off trail.  Turns out we had walked right past it!

Aside from our disappointment at not getting to look out over the Pacific Ocean, we had an incredible day…exercise, education, nature, plenty of sunshine and NO SNOW!  What more could someone from the East Coast hope for in March?!  Next time you’re in San Francisco, be sure to plan a day trip to visit Muir Woods – it’s a great outing that’s fun for the whole family!




How to delegate when you are a Control Freak!

How-to-delegate-when-you-are-a-Control-Freak!I confess, I very much enjoy being the ruler of my universe. I clean, cook and organize everything absolutely perfectly. That is when I have enough time and energy to do so. Running a household of of five is a lot of work. When the children were young, it was easier to do it all myself, however now that they are 10, 8, and 5 it is time I let go of my reign of control, at least a little.

Here are some things I have tried and some I would like to over time.

  1.  Talk to other parents – Ask what chores their kids do. It blew my mind one parent told me that their children put away their own laundry. Seriously I stood there with my mouth gaping open. I could do that? For the last month or so, my kids have been responsible to sort and fold and put away their laundry. WARNING. The laundry is not put away the way I would do it. Yet it is extremely freeing to let it go.
  2. Talk to your kids – I have been really honest with my kids, letting them know that if they want to do more fun things, like going to the library or swimming or playdates, they have to help out. With meal prep, dishes, cleaning, laundry, snow removal, I seriously cannot do it all and be super mom and chauffeur to their every whim and fancy.
  3. Start small – It was so tempting when the laundry was a success to pile on more and more and more chores. I had to tone back and make sure laundry was the norm then I added other things into the mix.
  4. Let the kids do things they enjoy – My oldest loves, loves cats. For a long time now she is responsible for the health and well fair of our two cats, feeding, water and scooping cat litter as well as occasionally brushing their fur. My youngest really enjoys unloading the dishwasher, she gets a ton of positive attention. Bonus, it is usually just her and I in the kitchen, so it is quality time one on one together. My son is excellent at vacuuming. He is super particular and leaves no hair behind!
  5. Add onto old favourites – My kids have always cleared their own dishes from the table when they were done. Now I have added the next step, loading them into the dishwasher. It is not done “right” and after they are on their way I do have to reorganize however it is a step in the right direction.
  6. Switching it up – I want all the kids to learn to keep a household clean, organized and how to cook. I have started to bring the oldest in to cook, introduced my son to the art of cleaning a bathroom and the little one how to make her bed. It is easy to allow them to do what they are best at, however I think challenging them to do different chores is important.

I struggle to delegate because I want it to be done right, I do not want to fight with them to do the chores and I am used to doing it all. Although, having the kids helps lightens my load at times (other times it is more work to do the chores along side them) ultimately I believe it is important that they learn these skills. Contributing to the household also makes them more a part of it and respect our space more. I find, especially with my son, when he has to clean his room, he is invested in it and keeps it clean longer.

Do your children do chores? Do you have chore charts?



Snow Days and Battling the Winter Blues

Snow-Days-andToday is another crazy, beautiful snow storm in our neck of the woods. We have had more than our fair share of snow in the last few months. I have noticed that in general people are seriously miserable about it. I can’t help but wonder if by doing so we are allowing the “Winter Blues” to overwhelm us.

I tend to be quite positive about the seasons. I try, although I do not always succeed, to find something to celebrate. Winter is an amazing season. The snow is gorgeous, the air so fresh and crisp. I love going for winter hikes, sledding, and skiing. One of the best parts of winter, is coming in after being outside, warming up by the fire, with a steamy cup of tea. To curl up with a good book, while the weather is fierce outside is wonderful.

I was taken quite by surprise this winter when I experienced the winter blues. It was a brief spell, I was mildly depressed, I was binging on foods and wine, my workouts depleted and nothing seemed worth it. Outwardly I was still trying to be positive, especially around the children. It felt like a constant battle to do everything and it was exhausting.

Thankfully I have left the winter blues behind me, even if winter is still blasting us with storms and snow galore! For me, I think if I would have faired better if I had not allowed myself to veer off my healthy eating and workouts. Here are some tips to battle the winter blues, since clearly winter is so not over yet!

  1. Eat healthy – So hard to do when feeling down, there is a very good reason it is called “comfort food”. However, all that good nutritious food, greens and vegetables, healthy fats and protein will help your body and mind stay clear when the skies are cloudy.
  2. Get outside – Seriously, the wind is blowing, the snow, the ice … get out, walk your dog or even down the block and back. The fresh air will do wonders for your mood and if the sun is out that ever important vitamin D will be a blessing.
  3. Don’t let it spiral – In these parts they talk about “storm chips” and stocking up on booze before a big storm. While the occasion night of Netflix binge watching and chips is awesome, especially paired with a glass of wine, don’t allow it happen too often. I so bad for this, it is a mental thing for me. If I have a binge night, the next binge night seems inevitable.
  4. Work on a hobby – If the weather keeps you inside, have something creative to do. Knit, scrapbook or the like.
  5. Start Spring Cleaning – I always feel so much better when things are organized and clean. When the weather is nice the last thing I want to do is be inside. So I set out to clean and purge while stuck indoors this winter. While it was difficult to begin projects when I was feeling down, once I was into it and it was done, I felt incredible. Great boost!
  6. Sleep – Those long hours of darkness work in our favour to get more shut eye. This will help your overall well being and when I head to bed early I tend not to binge eat! Win win!
  7. Hang out with your people – Getting social is a great way to battle the blues. I tend to feel amazing with my girlfriends. When my winter blues were at their worst was when my besties were off on sunny vacations.
  8. Read a book – Escaping into a story always helps me elevate my mood and the dreariness outside.
  9. Listen to music – Crank up the tunes and listen to upbeat music, around here we are constantly dancing around to Taylor Swift and I really like Kelly Clarkson’s new song (strangely since normally she really isn’t my thing)
  10. Plan a vacation – While we cannot escape due to my husband’s schedule, we can start planning road trips and vacations that we are going on this summer. It is fun to decide where we will go and what we will see. This summer we are heading to our nation’s capital, Ottawa for a family trip!

While staying positive about all the snow didn’t totally ward off the winter blues for me this year, I do believe that if we think positive, it will help.

Do you experience the winter blues? Have any of these strategies helped you?


Consider Acupuncture for Stress Relief – It Works!

ACu (3)I went for my first acupuncture session the other day and I was totally impressed with the whole experience.  I had been researching different ways to manage stress and was surprised to find that acupuncture is an effective way to deal with stress. It just so happens that I see an NCCOAM certified professional who is also an acupuncturist (Karen Ritchie), so I made an appointment.  One problem…I am not a fan of needles. I recently wrote about making a concerted effort to be a good role model to my kids by facing my fears (What Doesn’t Kill Me Makes Me Stronger…Right?!) and this was another one of those times that I was trying desperately to embrace that philosophy. My kids were shocked to hear I was willingly going for acupuncture, but I believe in what this doctor has to say and I trust her advice.

As it happened, in the time between booking and going to the appointment, I herniated a disc shoveling (I’m SO done with winter!) and I’ve been somewhat “slowed down” since it happened.  At my appointment, my acupuncturist said she thought the session would also help my back.  I have to admit, I was skeptical.  As an engineer, I’m a scientific person – I like things that give me a definitive answer, things you can explain…this kind of stuff does does not offer an scientific explanation at all, but what she tells me works, so I believe. :-)

The session itself was, in a word, relaxing.  Completely relaxing.  To the point that as I was lying there with a needle in my forehead and a lavender eye mask over my eyes, I was thinking how much more relaxing this was than getting a massage.  She used only six or seven needles, in my arms and feet (and the initial forehead one…nothing quite like setting a relaxing tone by sticking a needle between your eyes. ;-) I just stayed there, relaxing and “waiting for the Qi (pronounced ‘Chi’) and blood to flow”, as she put it.

After about 20 minutes lying very still (did I mention the heat lamp on my feet – heaven!), she removed the needles, gave me some water and I had survived my first acupuncture treatment! Before I left, she mentioned again that I would likely notice an improvement in my back in the next few days. I left feeling so relaxed and proud of myself for doing it, it didn’t much matter to me one way or the other what it did for my back.

The relaxed feeling  lasted all day and evening, but I didn’t notice any change in my back.  I was pleasantly surprised, however, the following day when there was a considerable improvement in my back and it’s been great for over a week now. I don’t think anything can completely remove stress from a mother’s life  ;-) , but my stress level has been noticeably slower to escalate. I’ve also noticed I’ve been sleeping like a baby since my treatment – may be a coincidence, but I prefer to think it’s another benefit of acupuncture.

I know there are many people who’ve tried acupuncture and/or do it regularly, but the needle thing really was a hard stop for me, so I never even considered it in the past.  I was missing out! That said, I’ve only gone once, so I have little to go on…other than the awesome way I felt during and afterwards and the bonus that it helped my back injury.  I know it’s quite likely some folks don’t get any benefit from it at all (I really think you have to have an open mind to it in order to fully realize the benefits), but just the fact that during the treatment I was comparing it to a massage, makes it worthwhile for me to try again…and again…and again.

My kids couldn’t believe I did it (patting myself on the back for setting another good example for them so soon after the last one), but it truly wasn’t bad.  The only needles I felt at all were in the top of my feet and even that was just a bit of a “tugging” from the inside – she said that was the Qi pulling, which just makes me chuckle. I was nervous for nothing.  If you’ve been recommended to try it, or have an issue you just can’t seem to shake or heal, I highly recommend doing some research to see if acupuncture might be something you should try.  Some of the sites I used for my research are:

Between the research I’ve done and my initial acupuncture session, I’m very happy to have found a promising, natural option for stress management, not to mention pain relief. Do some research of your own and open your mind to options other than medications, to help relieve your stress levels, anxiety issues and of course, pain relief. If nothing else, you’ll spend an hour of complete peace and relaxation…and who couldn’t use some of that!




Where to go now that we eat clean and healthy?


We used to be that family. We did not have a meal plan, sure we ate some vegetables however when we were stuck for what to have for dinner we headed out for fast food.

It was easy, inexpensive and addictive.

It has been a few years since we have gone to a McDonalds or the like and yet I still don’t know where to take the kids to eat out.

The obvious choice is to stay home and cook wholesome, clean and healthy meals. Which we do 99% of the time. There are those nights the prospect of cooking is just not that appealing. Or if we are on a road trip and have depleted our packed goodies.

To add to the lack of choices I have one rather pricky eater. Although we have coaxed him to eat more variety over time, he can still be tricky.

We had found a restraunt we enjoyed as a family then they changed their menu and poof they closed. I will be taking the kids to Joelee’s to try out. Besides that, we have Subway and sushi (though the picky eater almost starves at the sushi restaurant).

When I look for options, there are a lot of articles on how to eat clean at almost any establishment, which I tend to try to do. I seek cleaner eats for my kids too, so they can make a good decision on their own. We are planning a few road trips this summer so I have to figure this out soon!

Where do you like to take the kids to have a decent meal at a decent price? Any “fast food” places that are not totally ew and somewhat clean?


He is Going to Miss Me When He Goes (and I, Him)

We’re quickly approaching the final few months of the school year and along with that will come the first (of many!) high school graduations in our house.  I find myself walking around in daze, wondering how the heck we got here…which, by the way, I seem to be doing with so many things these days. It’s highly likely he’ll be attending a university away from home next year and I’m overwhelmed with so many emotions:  worry (shocker), sadness, (a little) fear, excitement, and anticipation – both of what’s yet to come for him and a bit of how much my grocery bill is going to drop!.  I have to be honest though and say that one of the strongest emotions I feel is happiness…for what he’s done, what he’s able to, where he’s going and with the realization that

he’s really gonna miss me!

I’m sure it sounds strange, but it’s like a justification that everything we’ve gone through over the past 17 years (good and bad) was worth every minute and ultimately, I did it right.  Ok, not everything (or even close to it), but overall, I’m very proud of the relationship we have…I done good!

We all know parenting is rarely easy (although always worth it) and sometimes, being a mom is truly the most thankless job on the planet (so says a great friend of mine ;-) ).  Parenting teenagers has been a much more challenging experience than I ever anticipated, for so many reasons. Seriously, there aren’t many of us going through sleepless nights and/or toddler years who can imagine it getting any harder, but just you wait! The fact that he’s going to miss me as much as I’m going to miss him tells me it’s all good.MISS ME (3)

I’m laughing as I write this, thinking about some of the things he’s going to miss about me when he goes to school next year.  Here the ones that really stand out:

  • Me hounding him to get out of bed in the morning, after he’s pressed snooze on his alarm about six times.  He’s not a late sleeper and seldom sleeps past nine on the weekends, but do you think that boy can wake up for school in the morning – no way!
  • Our late night “big kid” treats where we run out to get Dairy Queen “Blizzards” for us and his oldest sister, after his youngest brother and sister are in bed…although, I’m not sure how much longer those two will be in bed early enough for us to sneak in the treats without them noticing!
  • Having me listen to his very long-winded explanations as to why he really needs me to drive him to school, even though his dad has already clearly stated that he can walk.
  • Coming home the odd day to the smell of home baked cookies or muffins – ok, the very odd day…I’m a great mom, but Suzy Homemaker, I’m not!
  • Wandering into our room at night to go over (in great detail) how much work he has to do, in how little time and having me tell him to take a deep breath because it will all get done – it always does.  :-D
  • Following me all around the house, saying “Mom. Mom. Mom.” (just like Sheldon from Big Bang Theory), to ask me something he knows I don’t want to discuss – which is what I keep telling him, as I keep trying to hide from him.  He’s been doing this one since he could talk and I told him he’d probably have to find a substitute person to hound, just so he wouldn’t get too homesick.

And my absolute favorite thing he’s going to miss about me when he goes to school next year…

  • Not leaving the house (almost ever) without giving me a kiss and telling me he loves me.  Oh wait, that’s one I’m truly going to miss, too.

I’m a very lucky momma.



Hypothermichalf 2015 Halifax – A Recap


Yesterday one of my besties, Nicole, and I ran a half marathon, called the Hypothermichalf!!

It was a very challenging run, the condition of the trail was super icy and we hit some major psychological walls during the run, needless to say we are super excited and proud…we did it!!

Here’s the thing, we did not train for this race. I know…seriously. We were both eager to get back into running after the typical winter hiatus a lot of runners experience. I have been recovering from a foot injury, while still keeping fit swimming and working out. My bestie is in great shape, working out multiple times a week with me and on weekends with her super fit hubby. Although the idea seemed a little on the crazy side, I am so grateful Nicole jumped in for the adventure!

We checked out the route a few days before the race and the trail, although icy, wasn’t too terrible. We ran almost 10k and felt like it was going to be challenging but doable race day. It also gave us an opportunity to fine tune our race gear for the big day.

Sunday morning, Nicole dropped off her three kids at my place and we headed to the location of the start of the race.

Big thanks to my amazing husband for looking after 6 kids while we ran and even bringing them to cheer us on at a turn point!

Initially the route was 10.5 km out then turn and 10.5 km back. However due to the conditions of the trail deteriorating further out, the organizers decided to change the route. While I totally respect they made the best decision possible, the way the route ended up being was really really tough psychologically for me. So we ran up 7km then turned back to the finish line, turned and went up 4km then back again to the finish line. Well to turn at the finish line when fast runners where finishing kinda sucked. If the bottom turn point was even like 1km from the finish line it would have been better I think for me psychologically.

Going back up was tough on us both. We did it, however A LOT of runners that were behind us didn’t. They quit at that turn point. I was reading Piper’s Run, and her recap volunteering for the Hypothermichalf, she stated there were a lot of injuries, including a broken arm! We did see one lady go down and a lot of people were slipping. It was crazy icy and I was so grateful both of us had extra traction on our sneakers and neither one of us experienced an injury. One spot on the route there was blood in the ice and that was super disconcerting too. It was seriously a challenging run psychologically and physically (due to the ice).

It was super cold at the start of the race, I wore long underwear under my running tights, knee high compression socks and three layers on top. Nicole and I bought identical, yet different colour coats the week before for the run. I had thick mittens that I handed off to my husband at the turning point and wore the gloves and neck warmer that were part of the race kit. Once we got running, I was warm and the sun shined beautifully all morning.

I would not recommend this run for a beginner. Everyone that took part looked to be seasoned runners. The weather can be very unpredictable and the trail conditions were so not ideal. I would definitely recommend Yak Tracks or something similar (my husband got mine at Costco a few years ago).

I am so glad we experienced the Hypothermichalf! It was great to feel like a runner again after recovering from an injury. I had the opportunity to spend a gorgeous, albeit chilly morning with a fantastic friend. We also took a chance, believed in ourselves and each other, encouraged each other and pushed our bodies to the edge. Bonus…the metal is so pretty!! It has sparkles and snowflakes!!!

Up next we will be running a half marathon at the Bluenose. We will definitely start training now so we are better prepared both physically and psychologically for the demands of running long distance.

Are you a runner? Do you winter run? What challenges have you faced? Or do you just think I am a little crazy (that’s ok I am a little!)?


Free Crochet Patterns…5 of my Absolute Favorites!

I love to crochet.

Like, reeeaaally love to crochet.Favorite free crochet patterns

I have been crocheting since I was in high school, maybe earlier.  I used to knit when I was quite young, but being the instant gratification kind of gal I am, crocheting works up so much faster, so it’s no wonder I like it more.  I read somewhere that knitting/crocheting are great stress relieving activities…go figure.  It works!

I love to be creative, but also love (and almost have to) feel productive…crocheting gives me the best of both! The free patterns on Pinterest make it possible to make just about anything you can think of!  Finishing something awesome makes me feel so great and I have to admit, having someone stop you to say how much they love the piece you’re wearing is pretty awesome, too. ;-)

I pin a lot of patterns and I’ve attempted most of them least once, but I definitely have a few that I seem to make over and over. These are my current favorites – they work up quickly and are super cute!

  1. Triple Luxe Cowl This is my most favorite cowl! I found this just last week on All About Ami and I’ve already made two (of different lengths), with another one in the works! The pattern suggests using Woolspun, by Lion Brand Yarn, but in my search for that, I came across Loops & Threads, Woolike Chunky and loved how soft it is.  It’s a size 5 bulky, as is Woolspun, so I grabbed three balls of that to try instead.  The cowl is made using a “V” stitch which gives it a knitted look, but the pattern works up so much faster than knitting. These balls are smaller than the Woolspun, so I did need to go back to grab another ball to finish these pieces:  I used four balls for the purple cowl and for the black and white cowl, I used almost three balls of black and about one and a half of ivory.tripluxeCollage
  2. Cabled Wrist Warmers  These are a huge hit with my teenage daughters and their friends.  I also made myself a pair to keep my hands warm while I’m typing…been a cooooold winter and I think we’re going to see quite a bit more of it!  They whip up in  just a couple of hours and make a great  birthday present.  Love the cable design and it’s surprisingly easy to accomplish, even the first time! I used Lion Brand Vanna’s Choice, in Barley – I love them, but I do think the cabling would stand out better with a smoother yarn.  I’ll have to try that for my next pair!fingerless gloves
  3. Slipper Socks I have made four pairs of these since January and I am hooked (pardon the pun!)!  They are the most comfy, warm slippers and I’m still surprised how quickly I can make a pair.  These are two pairs I made for my kids, using two strands of a worsted weight yarn I had in my stash (the stash that hubby says I have to deplete before I can add any more to it!).  My daughter asked me to add a flower to hers…how cute are they?! I also made a pair for myself using one strand of a thicker (size 6) wool.  Seriously, super easy and so nice and warm to have on your feet during this never-ending cold snap we’ve been having.slipperCollage
  4. Buttoned Shell Stitch Cowl I think this is the fastest and easiest scarf I’ve ever made and I love how elegant it looks!  Once again, this pattern is from All About Ami (definitely one of my favorite sites for awesome, free patterns!).  This post offers a couple of options for yarn to use for this pattern – I used Patons Cobbles, in Moon Rock, and was very happy with how it turned out. It can be worn nice and high around your face (so cozy and warm) and the button is perfect for those days when you’ve spent too much time on your hair to pull a cowl on and off over your head…really helps with the static electricity during this time of year, too!  :-D buttoncowl2
  5. Easy Button Crochet Boot Cuff Pattern There are hundreds of free boot cuff patterns out there and I’ve made a few of them, but these, from Kadie at Seven Alive, are my most recent completion.  The pattern is just as it says – easy(!), perfect for a beginner who wants to make something useful with minimal frustration. :-D  These worked up in about an hour (using Lion Brand Wool-Ease Thick & Quick), but I have to admit, I was too lazy to sew on the buttons when I finished, so my daughter just used them without and folded them down over her boots – I love it!cuffs2

If you’re a crochet-er, be sure to give these great patterns a try.  If you’ve never tried, these are definitely good choices to start with.  Also make sure to take a look through the other patterns on the websites I’ve mentioned – they have a LOT of great pieces and most of their patterns are free.  Oh, and a special thanks to my model daughters…how beautiful are they?!

What are some of your favorite crochet patterns – I’d love to check them out!



Finding that Local Coffee Spot – Joellee’s Cafe #Halifax

findingthatlocalspot-1For our weekly blog meeting this week, we chose to check out a new to us cafe, Joelee’s Cafe. It is a locally operated cafe, open 7 days a week located on Dutch Village Road.

When we arrived, it totally had that cozy, comfy cafe feeling. There is free wifi and endless tea when you order a pot (great for our blog meetings!) The food looks fantastic, with both breakfast and lunch options. We were pleasantly surprised at the prices and that the food is real food. They also have some scrumptious deserts. Underneath the snow and ice, there is a patio that will be perfect for a place to stop on an evening walk, when the weather improves.

You can check out Joelee’s Cafe website, for the address and some of the menu items they have.

We spent time discussing how important it is that there is a local place that we can enjoy. There are franchise coffee places within driving distance, however this spot is more part of our community, in the heart of the residential area. It feels good to support a local place.


The owner mentioned that the umbrellas for the patio are on order, hopefully spring weather will follow!

Do you have a favourite local spot you adore?


Fitness Friday – How to workout when injured

http://blessednstressed.com - Fitness Friday- How to work out when injured

The more active you are the greater the chances are you are going to encounter an injury at some point. I have injured myself a few times over the past few years and it really can be challenging to recover both physically and emotionally.

I injured my foot this past October and have been trying to get back into shape since then. In my case I think I tried to do too much too soon, after a summer hiatus from fitness.

What I have learned from this injury, is how important it is to maintain my fitness, even when I am not hard core training or have intense personal goals. This may seem like common sense to most active people, however I am still relatively new to being a fit, active person.

It has taken me almost as long to recover emotionally as it has been to recover physically from this injury (and past injuries). I am very attached to the concept that I am a runner. Yet I have been unable to run for months now. I want to run a half marathon this spring. Accepting that this may not be possible is very agitating for me. I still struggle to maintain the momentum to work out consistently. So to have something act as a barrier, that I cannot control is very frustrating. The following are the things that I am doing so I can work out when I am injured and maintain my fitness level.

  1. Active Rest Days - My goal is to be active everyday. I swim 80 laps 3 times a week, which has been awesome to maintain my fitness and is not hard on my foot at all. Weather permitted, I try to walk often and prefer to walk outdoors, with my dog. For me it is a great way to reconnect with nature and hope to head out of the city more as the weather changes. There are other options, stationary bike and the rowing machine at the gym would be great to use with a foot injury. I have spent some time working out, lifting weights and will modify things if I feel my foot pain. Listen to your body.
  2. Mobility Exercises - I am still just discovering what this means. From what I can gather mobility exercises are connected to flexibility and range of motion. Both I need to work on a great deal. I should be going some stretches and/or yoga daily.
  3. Sleep - Seriously, we know this. Our bodies repair and heal and do so much when we sleep. I aim for 8 hours of sleep a night, even if that means that as soon as the kids are in bed I head to sleep too. I used to resent that, feeling like I was being ripped off quality “me time”. However, if I am honest with myself, by 9pm I am tired and the time is not quality time spent.
  4. Hydration - Water, it does a body good. Every function in your body requires water, think back to a time you were seriously thirsty. Your body aches, you start feeling totally out of whack. I find drinking water challenging, mostly due to not always being in a place that a bathroom is easily accessible (waiting outside at the school for the kids). I constantly have drinking water on my ongoing goal list.
  5. Self talk - Beating yourself up emotionally is not going to help you recover faster. I am super guilty of this. Our self talk has power, to do great things or to destroy us. Accepting my limitations, grieving the loss of running was super hard. I want to be a runner. It is not lack of motivation and desire holding me back, my own body is and I felt betrayed. I have shifted from those feelings now. If I never run again (ack) I will be ok, there are other sports I can excel in and enjoy.

Have you been injured when working out? Have you remained active while injured? How do you keep active?