Monday Mayhem: STRETCH!

Hear the audio version of this on the WLRH Sundial Writer’s Corner!

I’ve always wanted to be a dancer.

It’s a truth that not many know about me! But there it is. In black and white now, for all the world to see. When I was a little girl my mom spoke often of putting me in ballet, but the cosmos did not align in my favor for many things that I wanted as a little girl.

Life happens.

You grow up. You tuck away your childhood dreams and go on.

I admired ballerinas from afar, attended Alvin Ailey performances and with my daughter watched the Nutcracker with awe and wonder.

Fortunately, when she expressed a desire to dance, I was able to enroll her in a little studio not far from our house and I’ve watched with awe and wonder as she’s developed grace and poise in a very short time. When I registered her for the summer the studio owner reminded me, again, that they offer “adult” classes and I told myself, again, that I’m “too old for this” now. My time has passed. I’m past my prime.

It would be a stretch to take ballet at my age…literally!

But, then I thought, why not stretch? Stretching is good! Physically, stretching increases range of motion, prevents injury and  improves balance, but psychologically? Emotionally? Professionally? Stretching can be scary. Reaching for goals that are not just beyond my reach, but beyond my zip code!  Extending myself to attempt things that are so far outside of my skillset that I have to do research before I can even start? No. My courage is a bit atrophied from decades of settling for tasks that fall safely within the parameters of my paygrade, from sticking with activities that lie limply under the canopy of my job description. So, the thought of crawling out from under that safe, yet confining space was frightening!

When atrophied muscles begin to move, the result is resistance. When we wander into unknown territory, the initial move is hard. To stretch beyond the comfort zone is to pull away from the familiar and to risk pain. That’s why it’s easier to stay where I am, to stick to what’s expected of me at my age, to settle, rather than to stretch.

But, there’s another reality:  if I do nothing I die! For years I’ve watched others do things I wished I could do. I’ve spent much of my life on the bench, observing from the sideline. At the end of my life will I be content to say, “boy it sure was fun to watch everyone else living their life!” No! It’s high time I get in the game and do some living myself!  Physically, if a person doesn’t move, they will deteriorate. Psychologically, emotionally and professionally the same is true too. Because anything that is not moving is declining; anything that isn’t living is dying!

The bottom line is, I have two choices. I can either get old or I can grow old.

If I get old I stay where I am, in my comfort zone, doing what’s safe, completing the easy tasks that I know I can do, never stretching myself to do any more or to try anything new. And every year I’ll get older.

Or I can step out of my comfort zone. Break away from what’s safe, challenge myself to tasks that seem too hard for me, stretch myself to do more than I think I’m capable of and to try new things that I never thought I could. And every year I’ll grow older.  I’ll stretch, I’ll change; hopefully I’ll be stronger and better for the effort and experience.


So, what about you? Do you need to stretch? Have you settled into a safe space and allowed your literal or metaphorical muscles to atrophy? Maybe it’s time to peek out from under your canopy. In the meantime, if, you’ll excuse me, I have some stretching to do, my ballet class will be starting soon!

  • Learn more about the benefits of stretching from Prevention
  • Learn more about my favorite little dance studio Arabesque Dance Arts
  • Also, check out “Hi, I’m K” where I’ve uploaded pictures from my ballerina daughter’s birthday “spa” party!

*Want more Monday Mayhem? Click here!


Monday Mayhem: Fight!

One of the most difficult things that I have had to deal with as a writer is the daily fight with demons.  They’re called  Doubt.

  • Doubt I’ll come up with a topic today.
  • Doubt I’ll ever be a good writer.
  • Doubt I’ll ever be a published writer.
  • Doubt anyone will read what I write.
  • Doubt anyone will be interested in my writing.

On and on it goes.  Those doubting demons attack daily. And so, before I can ever write a word, I have to fight.


Which is why I have Mayhem Mondays, and especially why I have Revamp Mondays. To help in that fight…to strengthen my mind as I strengthen my body. Join me in the fight!



by Tanzy Chandler


“I start each day with prayer and God reminds me that, “He has not given me the spirit of fear, but of power, love and a SOUND MIND”

I first started noticing symptoms of depression in my third year of college. I was used to being an athlete, but since starting college I wasn’t playing any team sports because of schedule conflicts and I started noticing a feeling of constant fatigue and low energy.  I was easily overwhelmed by the simplest tasks.  I was losing interest in the activities I once loved and started feeling hopeless about my future.  It was all very gradual. There was no traumatic event.  As far as I could tell, I had no reason to be sad, yet I was.

I started seeing a counsellor which I found to be helpful, but over the years the depression became more and more paralyzing.  I was numb on the inside, just going through the motions of life.

Then, after a back injury, my doctor encouraged me to start exercising in order to strength my back and lose weight, so I started riding my bike a couple days a week and I was reminded that my body was craving physical activity.  But a leisurely bike ride was not enough.  The more I exercised, the more intense I needed the exercise to be. I joined a group led by  a trainer who incorporated weights in a circuit training style cluster of functional exercises.  I quickly became one of the strongest in the group, in part, because I was driven to push myself to heavier weights and more challenging exercises. After being with that group  for a few years I later discovered crossfit, which is defined as functional movement, constantly varied at high intensities. It combines HIIT, powerlifting, Olympic lifting, gymnastics, and plyometrics. Every single crossfit workout  gave me that natural exercise high that I was craving.

After an intense workout my mood almost instantly improves.  Exercise has been known to cause a release of endorphins in the body which increases the serotonin and dopamine levels in the brain.  My husband always tells me that he can tell when I’ve had a good workout because I come back from the gym smiling.   Those chemicals are directly connected to our mental health.  Our bodies were designed to move!!  THAT IS HOW GOD CREATED US.

Our mental, physical and emotional health are all intertwined, so exercise is critical for a strong mind.  It may not be weight lifting for everybody, but I’ve found that lifting weights releases the right amount of endorphins which starts that positive chemical chain reactions that improves my mental health.

In 2015 I had foot surgery and I was very concerned about my mental health during my required bed rest period.  I knew that weight lifting and high intensity exercises were my “antidepressants”, and was afraid of how my mood would change without the ability to stay active. My doctor  prescribed antidepressants during that time to help my mood while I was recovering. To be honest, I’m not really sure how much it really helped. Maybe a little, but they were no substitute for my exercise routine. After being on the meds for a year, I gained 15 pounds and wasn’t nearly as mentally at peace as I had been while I was exercising. Once my surgeon cleared me to begin lifting weights again, I weaned off the medication and signed up for my first crossfit competition.  The weekly training required to prepare me for the competition was just what my mind and body needed.

If you are reading this and you are struggling with depression then I highly recommend that you begin exercising regularly–3 days a week at minimum. Find a trainer or fitness friend that can teach you how to incorporate lifting weight safely and effectively into your routine. Not only will it improve your mental health, it will also strengthen your body and help you to manage your activities of daily living with more ease.  The key, however, is consistency. You can’t do it once in a while; you must do it regularly in order to see the benefits.

I start each day with prayer and God reminds me that, “He has not given me the spirit of fear, but of power, love and a SOUND MIND,”so I can attack each day with hope and courage!

Happy Monday!