Monday Mayhem: Do the Right Thing!

Why are Mondays so hard? Is it because of Newton’s law—“a body in motion, stays in motion,” so a body that’s motionless remains so? I suppose, then, if you’ve spent the weekend mentally and/or physically in “chill mode” it will take an act of God to move you from chill to work mode, then, huh?

Yep.

Today is a Monday, for sure.

Literally, every class I walked into the faces staring back at me looked like this:

Student

So, it’s on me to bring the energy–no pressure–yeah, right!  As if I haven’t been laid up all weekend too. I have problems of my own! No matter. When all eyes are on you, you have to step to the plate. Mondays come whether we like it or not—whether we’re ready or not. We just have to zip up our big girl or big boy pants and decide:

what is the next right thing?

I thought about this when staring back at those less-than-enthusiastic faces and when I watched Mel Robbins talking about the 5 second rule that propelled her out of a rut and into her successful career. Lynn Cowell, too, echoes this sentiment in her latest book Brave Beauty: Finding the Fearless You, because this difficulty with figuring out what to do next starts when we’re young. But, really, it’s an age-old concept. Leo Tolstoy’s parable “Three Questions” lays out clearly how to handle hard tasks: one at a time.

You see, the secret to pushing past the Monday blues and don’t wanna-get-out-of-bed days that keep us stuck in dead-end jobs, in crazy-cycle relationships, in counterproductive mindsets is answering one simple question: what is the next right thing?

Not, “what is the answer to all my problems?” Not, “how am I going to solve all these issues?” Not, “how do I climb Mount Everest!” But just what is the next step? How do I make it through this next challenge—even if that challenge is getting out of bed!

The reality is, we will never know all of the answers or have everything figured out anyway. So, waiting for the full picture to be clear will only frustrate us. The only thing that’s certain and completely in our control is right now and although taking control of each moment seems so simple it can also be so empowering! If I take control of this moment and do the right thing right now—even the smallest right thing–then perhaps the next right step will be revealed by that action and I will know what needs to be done next! And after that? Well, I’ll wait for that moment to come.

Yes. Mondays are hard. But they don’t have to be. All you have to do is tackle them like every other day–one moment at a time.

So, do the right thing…have a Happy Monday!

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What Does it Mean to be Liberated?

 

Just when we thought we were past all those old stereotypes about women we get quarterback Cam Newton calling our qualifications into question. But, I guess we shouldn’t be surprised. After all, the POTUS joked about grabbing women’s privates and even his women voters didn’t blink!

So, when I saw this image it made me stop and wonder about what we call freedom. It’s easy to look at women in other cultures and congratulate ours for evolving. I mean, look at us (Americans)! Our women get to be sports journalists and presidential candidates and we can even wear bikinis! Woohoo!

Nevermind that we get paid less and our credibility is often on the line, or that we can be twice as qualified for a job, but lose opportunities to men who are half as qualified.  And, about those bikinis…why is it that we obsess about our bodies, or feel compelled to starve ourselves, or go into debt for surgeries that will perfect our bodies so that we can look more like the super models in the magazines when we put them on?

Oh yeah! To impress those men who refuse to acknowledge our intellect or talent, but love to look at our assets. Right.

Liberty and justice for all. Woo–hoo.

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Revamp Monday: True Confessions!

I’m a workaholic. I have a hard time slowing down and unplugging from work obligations, especially when I have a lot to do. There’s a sort of adrenlin-rush that comes from busy-ness and activity and a bit of anxiety that comes over me when there’s nothing going on. I always feel like I should be “doing something”. I actually have to make a concerted effort to rest when work is calling. Crazy, huh?  But they say that recognizing you have a problem is the first step towards finding a solution, so I suppose I’m halfway there!

Of course, knowing what to do is a lot harder than doing what you know.  In today’s “Revamp Monday” Tanzy reveals her own struggle in “Confessions of an Abuser,” but I don’t mean for you to esteem her struggle in contrast to mine. You should see them as one and the same, for they both have one crucially common component: our health. My penchant for busy too often pushes me to the brink. I suffer from migraines, high blood pressure runs in my family, heart attacks and strokes are common risk factors. We both have to take seriously the lure of our addictions–even those that seem, on the surface, to be a good thing!

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It was a stressful day. Caseload at work was epic and I had paperwork to last hours. There was a mountain of laundry begging for my attention and a sink full of dishes that had been woefully neglected. My stress levels were climbing towards 7.9 on the rector scale, So I did what had become so natural to me. I pulled into the drive through at my favorite burger joint and ordered my usual sedative: a number 6 with a root beer and extra sauce. Only 5 minutes into my meal and I felt blissful stress relief come over me.

Later that night after rushing through homework, laundry, dinner time, bath time and bed time, a wave of overwhelming fatigue took hold and I reached to the cupboard for my rescue: a bar of chocolate that soothed my suffering. I repeated this pattern regularly. For years, but not just in hard times, in good times also. After completing that project at work that consumed many weekends, I decided a celebration was in order. Reservations at my favorite pasta restaurant. Appetizers, entrée, soda and dessert!  In fact, eating became my answer to many emotional callings: 

Stressed? Eat. 

Depressed? Eat. 

Happy? Eat. 

Overwhelmed? Eat.

Thankful? Eat. 

Worried? Eat. 

The practice of eating was closely integrated into every life experience. Every emotion. Every occasion. Food was my best friend. Like a toxic lover, my addiction lured me and always delivered the relief I needed–rich, high-calorie foods with little nutritional value, excess sugar, starch and fat–they were good to me, but not good for me. They made me feel better, but not without consequences. Years into the co-dependent  relationship, it bore fruit: weight gain, splotchy skin, worsening asthma, chronic fatigue, digestive upset, a sedentary lifestyle, insecurity and low self-esteem. While I had been exercising consistently I wasn’t addressing my diet in the way I needed to, and the mere thought of facing it, made me fearful! Food had become my best friend and confidant, my “blankey”, my “binki,” my counselor, my consoler, my relief, my medication.  I was terrified to fix it!

The relationship we had was twisted, toxic and abusive. I was both the abused and the abuser. I was the victim and the offender.  I was in the right and also in the wrong. We all need food to fuel our body, but I was using it to fuel my emotions. 

The effort it would take to rectify this complicated relationship would be constant and intense. It requires moment by moment mindfulness, regular prayer and accountability. It means learning to embrace the full weight of my emotions whether positive or negative. It requires finding alternatives for celebrating and mourning. It means going through crippling periods of withdrawal. It requires learning the ugly nutritional truths of man-made food, but also being enlightened by the glorious nutritional truths of God-made food. And it will likely take a lifetime to heal the bond between me and food–a lifetime to put food in its rightful place.

But it’s worth it. For the sake of my mental health, my children and grandchildren, an extended life expectancy and an improved quality of life. It’s worth it. Everything we put into our bodies is fuel. Either fuel for disease or fuel for good health.   I no longer want to indulge in things that rob me of the abundant life available to me. I want to live my life to the fullest. After all, you are what you eat!

Tanzy Chandler
Physical Therapist
Group Fitness Instructor
Founder of
REVAMP FITNESS
“Become a Better You”
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