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Ease your election anxiety

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Ease your election anxiety

Whether you live in the US or not, we can all probably agree that the 2016 election season has taken us on quite a stressful whirlwind! 

This post isn't about politics per se, but it IS about how politics and current events in the world in general has upped our collective anxiety. 

A survey by the American Psychological Association said that 52% of people in the US have said this election is causing them significant stress.

That was reported a few weeks ago, so by now I'm willing to bet that percentage is even higher! 

Almost every in-person training client has told me that they're feeling super stressed about this election and I've absolutely been feeling it too (after the 3rd debate I had a full blown anxiety attack!).

One thing you can do to slow down racing thoughts and feel more calm, relaxed, and grounded is to do some restful movement with a focus on your breath and your body in THIS present moment. 

Will this have a huge impact on this national election and global political atmosphere? Probably not before Nov 8th. ;) In the long run though, it will start to shift how we collectively approach any stressful situation - including crazy elections. 

Let's just start on ourselves with a few moments of inner peace today, shall we? 

*I hadn't filmed this video in order to share it - I was just documenting the sequence for myself!... It's off centered, I had just woken up (note the morning hair ;), and I didn't even have a mat.

I'm sharing it with you anyway, because if it can help even ONE person feel more calm and relaxed for just 7 minutes in the next few days, I feel like I'm helping to ease the collective anxiety! 

I always like to hear what you think: 

How do you reduce your anxiety when stressful things are happening all around you?

Please keep your feedback positive, kind, and focused on helping to ease tension and anxiety. Thanks! 

Try this out and then leave me a comment to tell me how you feel afterwards!

With love and starting with a simple step to less stress, 

xoxo elyse


Hiya, I'm elyse!

I'm a personal trainer, fitness coach, and yoga teacher who gets people moving with in-person training and my signature online 21 day workout program. I want to help people drop the guilt/shame game around exercise and start working out with ease and kindness. When I'm not doing squats and sun salutations, I'm dressed up in vintage lindy hop dancing or gathering other Lovely Lady Entrepreneurs to talk about their careers and living their most passionate lives. Start moving with me today with these FREE stretch breaks you can do to feel more energized and aligned during your day! - stretchbreak.elysesparkes.com


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the truth about when I was 'skinny'

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the truth about when I was 'skinny'

I grew up believing HAPPY = SKINNY.

As an aspiring ballerina (and frankly, just as a woman in our society) it’s kinda hard to avoid that message, amiright?

By age 11, I was in at least 6 dance classes/week, counting calories like it was my JOB, and religiously including 100 sit-ups into my bedtime routine.

Throughout my dance career I was stuck in a never-ending under-eating → binging →  over-exercising cycle. And WORSE, I was beating myself up about it every second of the day.

If I missed an extra workout, I felt like a failure. If I got it in, I was on a treadmill for hours - literally running my body down, depleting my energy, and going nowhere fast.

People classified me as a “naturally skinny” person. Which felt like a pat on the back - a secret handshake - part of the club!

Yet every time I received a comment like that I secretly wished that they could see how HARD I was working to be where I was.

It took A LOT of discipline to live my life!

The daily weighing in, counting food points, measuring my waist, following the latest “lose 5” fad, tripling reps of the best fat burning exercises, restricting, depriving, and covering up my health problems.

There was never a day my stomach didn’t hurt. 

My skin was a mess and my eczema was out of control.

My menstrual cycle disappeared, and the amount of anxiety I felt was overwhelming.

Then when I was 26, my grandmother died from tongue cancer and my perspective started to shift.

In the last few years of her life she had many surgeries and treatments.

With my Gram on the dance floor in 2002, feeling stuck in an unhealthy cycle I felt I couldn't control.

With my Gram on the dance floor in 2002, feeling stuck in an unhealthy cycle I felt I couldn't control.

As an always-looking-on-the-bright-side kind of a person, she said she was so happy in these years because she physically couldn’t eat that much and she finally lost the weight she had wanted to lose for her entire life.

She had ⅓ of a tongue and was ecstatic because she was a “skinny person”.

 

This turned my whole idea of HAPPY = SKINNY on it’s head.

During this time I studied yoga and mindfulness, and came across this life-changing quote (in the video below) in my readings about death and impermanence. 

I became determined to find BALANCE in my approach to how exercise fit into my life in a way that I could maintain and feel GOOD about.

In ways that freed me up to focus my thoughts on my other passions, my career, what I want to create in the world.

In ways that kept me strong.
In ways that kept me centered.
In ways that were exciting and fun.
In ways that felt full of EASE.

In ways where HAPPY = HEALTHY.

Over the years, I've incorporated practices into my life that allow me to truly appreciate my body, feel in tune, aligned, and treat it well.

I want to share this lifestyle with as many people as possible, which is why I do the work I do!

It's about fusing mindfulness into your fitness life, and:

  • starting right here, right now, exactly where you are in this very moment,
  • heightening your awareness around your daily thought + action patterns so you can make mini adjustments that have large impacts,
  • shifting your perspective of "balance" so you're no longer beating yourself up over perfectionism and actually feeling a sense of peace with your body, 
  • getting on the self KINDNESS wagon, so you actually feel like you LIKE yourself and you enjoy being in your body.

When you follow these steps, which I layout in greater details in my online programs and coaching sessions, you will start to find greater strength, confidence, ease and balance in your body.

If you're ready to do this too, watch this video, and leave me a comment with the ONE thing you're going to do today to get started.

How does this sit with you? Leave me a comment below with the ONE thing you're going to do for body today.

I'd absolutely love to hear from you.

With ALL my love and happy balanced healthiness,

xoxo elyse

 


hi, i'm elyse!

I'm a personal trainer, fitness coach, and yoga teacher who gets people moving with in-person training and my signature online 21 day workout program. I want to help people drop the guilt/shame game around exercise and start working out with ease and kindness. When I'm not doing squats and sun salutations, I'm dressed up in vintage lindy hop dancing or gathering other Lovely Lady Entrepreneurs to talk about their careers and living their most passionate lives. Start moving with me today with these FREE stretch breaks you can do to feel more energized and aligned during your day! - stretchbreak.elysesparkes.com


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My wrists hurt in plank, what can I do?

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My wrists hurt in plank, what can I do?

Constant texting, computer time, plus tons of planks, push-ups, and chaturanga's can make your wrists kinda cranky.

If you're dealing with overuse, carpal tunnel, tendonitis, or plain 'ol achy wrist syndrome, you don't have to give up on exercise all together.

Here are 4 variations to put less pressure on your wrists while you're working out:

1. The Mat Roll

  • Roll the front edge of your mat so it's about 2 inches thick
  • Place the edge of your palms on the roll and let your knuckles and fingers touch the floor
  • Press down evenly through your entire hand, just like you were doing this on the floor

PRO: This reduces the amount of extension in your wrist and will help to reduce achy-ness.

CON: Your mat may unroll during a yoga class if you're also doing standing poses, etc.

*Recommended for: Working on your hands for a longer period of time in plank, quadruped, push-up's, etc

2. On your Spider-Tips

  • Spread your fingers so that your hands look like spiders
  • Put just your fingertips on the mat
  • Keep lifting up through the center of your palms so that you're fingertips feel very light on the mat

PRO: This variation is very light, almost no pressure on your wrists, and increases the challenge for your legs.

CON: It's extremely difficult to give your entire body weight to your hands in this position.

*Recommended for: Flowing through high or low lunge, temporary support in transitions (and not recommended for holding up your body weight).

3. The Fist Bump

  • Make fists and place them down on your mat
  • Keep the back of your hand in line with the outside of your forearm
  • Do not bend your wrists

PRO: There's no bend in your wrist

CON: This is a challenging variation! It has the potential to hurt your knuckles and you if you're wearing rings you'll need to take them off or turn them to face your palm.

*Recommended for: Short amounts of time in plank + push-ups. 

4. The weight grab

  • Put dumbbells down on your mat, shoulder width apart
  • Wrap your hands around the center of your weights

PRO: It's less intense than the Fist Bump (variation #3), and still has minimal bend in your wrist.

CON: You might need larger weights to be able to fit your fingers underneath the weights. The weights can be wobbly! Make sure the weights are firmly grounded.

*Recommend for: Planks, push-ups, plank variations (like adding rows to planks), side plank variations, burpee's etc.

give these modifications a whirl!

Have any questions? Send me a note. I read and respond to each + every one.

Know someone who might like this? Send it to them!

With love and feel-good wrists, 

xoxo elyse

 

PS - Still having some aches? Make sure you try the 1st video in my FREE stretch break series - it's all about wrist stretches and strengthening! 


HI, I'M ELYSE!

I'm a personal trainer, fitness coach, and yoga teacher who gets people moving with in-person training and my signature online 21 day workout program. I want to help people drop the guilt/shame game around exercise and start working out with ease and kindness. When I'm not doing squats and sun salutations, I'm dressed up in vintage lindy hop dancing or gathering other Lovely Lady Entrepreneurs to talk about their careers and living their most passionate lives. Start moving with me today with these FREE stretch breaks you can do to feel more energized and aligned during your day! - stretchbreak.elysesparkes.com


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Want to be more kind to yourself as you get fit?

Enter your name + email to get this 14 page printable Self-Kindness journal delivered to your inbox!

On Being Fit + taking care of your sweet heart!

On Being Fit + taking care of your sweet heart!

When I started watching Daniella's love coaching videos, this phrase that she says stuck with me: "Take good care of your sweet sweet heart".  Whenever my own heart was feeling a little deflated, I would say these words to myself.  Since then I've had the chance to befriend Daniella and her warmth and her own sweet presence is even more vibrant in person!

I'm so excited that she's sharing some of her own self-care practices with us today because this is what she's all about! Daniella is a love coach who believes that every woman deserves to be in a healthy, loving relationship without having to change, play by the “rules,” or become someone you’re not. How? Simply by adding a heaping dose of SELF-CARE to your regular dating routine.

It doesn't really matter if you're single or in a relationship, there are so many self-love gems in what she shares with us today!

Meet Daniella Astor:

How Do You Help People Stay Healthy?

I help women attract healthy, loving relationships. Because healthy LOVE makes for a healthy mind, body, and LIFE!

 

 

What Is The #1 Thing Someone Could Do TODAY To Feel Better In Their Body?

Allow yourself to feel the love you already have in your life right now. I bet there's a lot. That feeling makes your body all warm and fuzzy inside. It's almost impossible not to smile. And smiling is very sexy!  

 

 

What's Your Advice To Someone Who's Having Trouble Getting Started With That?

Just like taking your vitamins, or stepping out of the office for lunch, schedule your LOVE TIME. Put a date on the calendar to devote to feeling the love in your life. It could be a writing a little to your dear friend after dinner, remembering who you're grateful for first thing in the morning, or a loving kindness meditation before bedtime. No matter what it looks like, schedule in your LOVE TIME. 

 

What Does A Typical Day Look Like For You And How Do You Fit Movement Into It?

My alarm goes off at 5:30, I'm out of bed by 5:45. During those 15 minutes, I do my own version of LOVE TIME, where I focus on what I'm grateful for in my life, and the amazing love around me. It's easy to feel grateful because my husband is sleeping next to me. :) Next, I eat breakfast, drink tea, and read something nourishing for my mind and soul. Then, and only then, do I open email and start my work day. As a love coach, I speak with clients for most of the day. In the evenings, I move. By that time, my mind and emotions have been going non-stop. So at the end of the day I give my mind a break and hit a yoga class, the gym, or pilates class. Feels so good!

 

 

What Other Practices Keep You Healthy? In Body And/Or In Mind?

I'm most proud of my healthy morning routine of gratitude, nourishing food and drink, and reading. I've never felt more focused in my day, and kind to my body than when I began my days this way. Also, I drink an absurd amount of water. So drinking and bathroom breaks are my life!

 

 

What Is Your JOYworkout?

*Elyse calls a "JOYworkout" a form of movement that is something more than a workout for workout's sake. It's exercise and it's ALSO something that: a) you just plain LOVE to do, b) builds your community, c) teaches you a new skill, d) enhances your spiritual life, e) helps you give back, f) gets you outdoors + is adventurous.

SO many! Yoga, dancing in the apartment with my hubby, cardio classes where I sweat like crazy, and most of all, aimlessly walking around my beloved New York City and taking in the energy of the people. I've always felt a profound, safe, grounded love with this city.

 

 

If You "Fall Off The Wagon" With Your Health + Wellness, How Do Get Back Into It?

Slowly but surely. It's hard to jump right back in for me. I'll go to the gym once a week, then twice a week, then once I feel more comfortable and confident that "I'm back" I'll exercise and eat cleanly without candy or junk on a more regular basis.

 

 

 

Where Are You Getting Your Motivation From Right Now?

Health, in my body, in my mind and in my relationships. Health and longevity is what's most motivating now. Maybe it's because I got married last fall, and I already worried about fitting into the dress, or because I'm looking forward with someone for the first time in my life. But I'm feeling motivated with being healthy in ALL parts of my life, so I can stick around to enjoy all the fun this life has to offer!

 

 

What Is A Motto Or Quote That You Live By?

Love yourself first. I keep coming back to this over and over. It's not the easiest thing, but it's always the right answer and miraculously fixes everything else!

 

 

Thanks So Much For Sharing With Us Daniella!

*Daniella is leading a DATING DETOX starting Monday January 25th! It's for single women who are SO over feeling exhausted and frustrated with dating and know, deep down, that they're destined for deep healthy love.

By the end of the week you'll learn some simple and totally REAL-LIFE things to focus on to attract healthy love this year. Check it out here!

You can also find out more about Daniella at:

 

who's elyse?

Screen Shot 2016-01-20 at 3.58.40 PM.png

Elyse gets people moving with in-person training and her signature 21-day at-home workout program.  She helps make movement a joyful part of one's day, and inspires confidence with her kindness and personalized approach. When she's not doing squats + sun salutations, she's dressed up in vintage lindy hop dancing or gathering other Lovely Lady Entrepreneurs to talk about their careers and living their most passionate lives.

Want to be more kind to yourself as you get fit?

Enter your name + email to get this 14 page printable Self-Kindness journal delivered to your inbox!

hit a brick wall? 4 steps to walk around it

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hit a brick wall? 4 steps to walk around it

hit a brick wall.jpg

Have you ever felt like you've hit a brick wall?

You muster up all your strength and energy to break through that barrier, but in the process you’re getting scraped and bruised and not really getting closer to what you want?

You might have heard advice like, “quitters never win”, or “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger”, or other ideas about perseverance, completing everything you start, or working harder to get what you want.

Those are necessary qualities for some situations, but when your body is sending you clear signals that this is not the path for you, there's another way:

You can walk around the wall.

Calmly.

With ease and comfort.

In the direction of something that feels like the perfect fit.

Exactly a year ago, I hit a rough brick wall. 

I was a week into my new back-to-school plan (I had already started and stopped grad school on three separate occasions). 

This time with an online chemistry class to knock off some prerequisites before I applied to a chiropractic program.

(There are some subjects that should never become online classes.  Chemistry is one of them.)

Each time I cracked open my new $374 chemistry book I cried.

Sorrowful soul-wrenching wails that made me feel like I was going to vomit.   

I soaked the entire 1st chapter with my never-ending tears.

Plus, 

  • I had a head cold.
  • My boyfriend had been ignoring my calls for days.  
  • Unexpectedly a family member was in urgent care. 
  • And my schedule was so jam-packed I wasn't able to exercise or eat well OR sleep. 

I felt like I had hit a brick wall and had absolutely no energy left to break through it.  My body was protesting and my health was waaay out of alignment.  Instead of going forward, I slid all the way down that wall until I was a mangled heap on the floor.

I couldn’t disregard my visceral reaction.  My body forced me to do the one thing I didn’t want to do:

I stopped going in that direction.

I quit chemistry class.

My boyfriend and I broke up.

I made time to visit the hospital.

I stayed home at night to make sure I got 8 hours of sleep.

Redirecting can be just as transformational as persevering.  When you quit one thing that’s not working for you, you will see 100 other things that will work for you.

When I hit this brick wall and went through these steps outlined below to align my intuition-body-mind, I ended up studying in an anatomy and business program that felt like a perfect fit for me and was gaining information that was directly applicable to my career.

I developed a supportive community of women through my Lovely Lady Entrepreneurs events.

I felt better in my body than ever before and I had a renewed sense of confidence and pride in the ways that I was learning and growing.

And most importantly, this path felt natural and energizing. 

When you find yourself hitting a brick wall, use these 4 steps to walk around it.

1. PAUSE

Press pause on your current situation before you hit your head against that brick wall one more time!

Stop and sit quietly for a moment.  Everything will still be there when you’re ready to come back to it.

2. LISTEN to your “script”

What are the words you’re using to describe this situation to yourself?  Listen and hear the true message of your thoughts. 

I kept hearing myself say, “I don’t really want to be a chiropractor, I just want that knowledge.” If I didn’t really want to be a chiropractor then why was I planning on investing many years and thousands of dollars into that profession?

I realized I really appreciated studying at The Breathing Project in NYC and decided to commit to studying there more intensely.

3. FEEL sensations

What are you feeling in your body?  Does your stomach contract when you think about your situation?  Are you getting migraines or head colds or crying yourself to sleep?

*(alternately, if you feel excitement in your chest or warming in your heart when you think about pushing forward into the wall, it might be a sign to stick with it!)

4. REDIRECT

Instead of going through it, go around it!

It’s OKAY to go in a different direction. Even if you’ve spent a lot of money on this path, even if you told your friends and family and co-workers that you were doing this, even if YOU thought it was going to be the end-all answer, even if you think you have to suffer to grow. 

I guarantee you are not a failure or lazy or a loser if you choose to go in a different direction.  In fact, I think you are practicing awareness, self-discovery, compassion, and balance to be the BEST, most productive, happiest version of yourself.  You are creating a body and a life that you LOVE according to what you FEEL as opposed to what you THINK you should be doing.

I say, redirect and more power to you! 

What about you?

Have you ever been in a situation like this?

What do you do when you feel like you’ve hit a brick wall?

I'm curious to know how you deal with this.  Tell me in the comments below!

With love and walking around brick walls, 

xoxo elyse

 

PS - If you feel like you've hit a wall in your fitness life, I can help redirect you on a path to health & wellness!  Contact me about my new coaching and online programs!

I feel like I’m now on the right track with strength training, which was my main goal, but I’ve gotten so much more from it.

This has been a fantastic experience. I’ve always felt like I could be good at sticking with a workout if I only had one that I liked and that challenged me in the right ways, and now I do! I’m so thrilled that it’s flexible in the right ways (I can tailor the length to the amount of time I have, I can change the exercises to fit my needs of the day), but also structured enough to ensure I get a good workout.

Thank you thank you thank you!
— Erica Cox, Regulatory Specialist at Genencor, California
 

HI, I'M ELYSE!

I'm a personal trainer, fitness coach, and yoga teacher who gets people moving with in-person training and my signature online 21 day workout program. I want to help people drop the guilt/shame game around exercise and start working out with ease and kindness. When I'm not doing squats and sun salutations, I'm dressed up in vintage lindy hop dancing or gathering other Lovely Lady Entrepreneurs to talk about their careers and living their most passionate lives. Start moving with me today with these FREE stretch breaks you can do to feel more energized and aligned during your day! - stretchbreak.elysesparkes.com


18 Comments

Want to be more kind to yourself as you get fit?

Enter your name + email to get this 14 page printable Self-Kindness journal delivered to your inbox!