It’s amazing how one small decision can lead to so many changes. Five years ago, I made an appointment at the gym near my work. As an introvert and overall quiet person, I was pretty nervous (I share a few introvert tips here that helped me get used to the gym environment). So I listened to their spiel, signed up for a membership, and agreed to pay for three discounted personal training sessions. Unfortunately, unless you buy their expensive training packages, you’re pretty much on your own after that.
It took me six months to figure out what I wanted to do. I tried the circuit training machines. I ran on treadmills and rode exercise bikes. I attended a few group classes and attempted yoga. It was okay but I didn’t love it. Then I started picking up heavy weight. I loved it and finally knew I wanted to get stronger. Within a couple of months of switching my routine over, I started noticing positive changes.
My brother obtained his personal training certification around this time. So he created a workout program based on my strength goals. He coached my form and gave me feedback. He was also able to work around my old injuries and strengthen my weaknesses. With his help, I grew capable of moving a lot more weight.
As I increased in strength, my confidence grew. I wasn’t as timid. I started standing a bit straighter (it’s still a work in progress). I felt more confident in speaking my mind and asserting myself. I became more comfortable with myself and around others.
I was motivated to improve other areas of my life too. I’ve worked on maintaining a schedule so I can get to bed earlier. I’m working on drinking more water. I cook all my meals from scratch and try to choose healthier food options. Most recently I started taking ballroom and latin dance classes. Dance class has helped to boost my confidence even more. And it all began with a single appointment at the gym. Below is one of my favourite quotes on fitness.
Going to the gym isn’t a punishment for what you ate or how much you sit, fitness is a celebration of the fact that you are alive and can still move. Fitness isn’t something you only do at a gym; fitness for life means you either approach your body and mind with respect, or you disrespect the gift of your own life and health and then everything that defines a healthy human being, such as the ability to pick up a grandchild or to walk on the beach, is taken away from you.
Getting in shape isn’t something you only do for a wedding or for the newly divorced, fitness is a personal choice where you decide to live your life at the highest level you can possibly achieve, because if you are fit and healthy, then anything in life seems possible. The mindset for fitness isn’t about being perfect or trying to recapture who you were, “back in the day,” but rather becoming the best you can be today.
There is no perfect you, but there is a you within that can overflow with happiness, vibrant health and crazy energy, because you now understand you don’t do fitness, you are fitness. Mindset is everything in the pursuit of personal health, but you have to enter the arena with the understanding that fitness isn’t another hobby you only do when you have time or to relax; fitness is the very essence of how you live 24 hours a day, how you think and who you are.
What activities do you enjoy?
Life has been going a lot more smoothly. Even though the situation at work and home hasn’t changed, I’m a lot more at peace.
I got fed up of being overwhelmed. I was tired of catering to others while ignoring my own physical and mental needs. I was tired of running on empty and constantly fending off burnout. I’ve been taking a lot more alone time and it’s made a huge difference. It’s amazing what such a “small” thing can do!
I’m still doing the same things. My weeks are full of work, household tasks, workouts, dance, walks, social time with friends, chats with my roommate and countless other things. But I no longer feel stretched thin. I’ve also gotten to connect more with my family, something I’ve missed due to busy schedules. That’s also helped me feel more grounded.
I’ve been trying to be more proactive as well. If I’m starting to overthink things or stress out, I’ll change my focus. Pick up a book, change my task, or put on some happy music. Michael Buble’s ‘I believe in you’ is currently on repeat. I’ve embraced being quiet in conversations. I’ll contribute if I want to (rather than feeling obligated). I intentionally take things slow when I can. So I can appreciate the journey and the process.
As I’ve embraced my quiet nature I’ve gotten more patient. I have more energy on a daily basis. I’m more open to random conversations with my roommate (as long as it’s outside my quiet time). Everything goes better. So I think I’ll keep this up 🙂
How is your week going so far?
It’s been nearly three months since my extroverted roommate moved in. It’s been a good experience overall. Both of us keep things clean and tidy which is great. She’s a lovely person but there’s a huge difference in our personalities and it’s been a bit of a struggle at times.
To me, a roommate is someone who shares rent. Someone you can chat with when you cross paths. But otherwise you maintain separate lives. I get the feeling she’s looking for a best friend. Someone who’s game for late night pizza runs and all-nighters. But I’m not that person. I don’t have the energy nor the inclination.
She comes across as confident but she’s also needy. If she hears me in the kitchen, she’ll join me. If I’m in the living room, she’s sitting beside me or talking to me from her room. She’ll ask me where I’m going if I’m heading out. She’ll ask me why I’m getting back later after a dance class or workout. She’s likely just curious and making conversation, but it can be stifling. She got a gym membership at the same gym and suggested we work out together. Even if I wanted to, our schedules and routines are so different that I don’t see the point. I often dread going home. Sometimes I’ll spend time at a quiet coffee shop after work, to postpone the inevitable.
It hasn’t been all bad though. We’ve connected through a few shared hobbies. And I’ve been learning a lot. I’ve been getting plenty of chances to practice saying ‘no’. I’m learning to prioritize my health. And I no longer feel guilty for closing my door and recharging in my room. I’m really hoping that once it warms up she’ll get out more. And maybe I can have a quiet evening alone 😉
Do you have any suggestions?
Life has been rather hectic lately. I’ve been bouncing from weekend to weekend, with barely enough time to recharge in between. However, I’ve been able to avoid complete burnout, which is a new feeling, and very enjoyable. It’s far easier to recharge from 10% than from 0%. While I still make bad decisions at times, this summer has been full of positive experiences and I’m excited for the future.
I no longer force myself to do something simply to please others. While I may feel a bit guilty at first, I’ll counter that feeling by reminding myself how vital alone time is. By showing respect to myself, I’m showing others I’m worthy of respect. I’m also pretty stubborn, so if someone pressures me to do something I don’t want to, I’ll typically dig in my heels. Perhaps not the best attribute, but it comes in handy when dealing with pushy people 😉
I also find that, as I get older, I care less and less what others think of me. It’s been such a freeing and wonderful feeling. In the past, I worked hard to be as “fun” as possible but it was at the expense of my peace of mind and I was miserable. I’ve come to realize that not everyone is going to like me, and that’s perfectly okay.
These changes have occurred because of a few amazing people in my life. Several of my close friends and family are incredibly perceptive. They can tell if something is bothering me and they’ll ask me about it. Or if I’m interrupted, they’ll always ask me what I was going to say. I know I’m being heard and I know they truly care. It’s helped me become more vulnerable with them and I want to encourage others the same way.
And thank you to everyone who reads and comments on my blog, I’m so appreciative and grateful for your support and I’m happy you’re here!
How’s your summer been?
There’s still a misconception floating around that introverts are anti-social and don’t like people. Despite the increased knowledge regarding introversion, I still come across people who hold this view. But nothing could be further from the truth. Social activity, in manageable doses and of good quality, is important in maintaining and improving my mental wellness. I need to feel connected to others.
This past weekend was a lovely, people-filled couple of days. I spent most of Saturday with friends and close acquaintances. After a short break, I went over to a good friend’s home and enjoyed in-depth, quality conversation, over a glass of iced tea, for several hours.
I had Sunday morning to putter around at home before getting ready for a workout. I even had the energy to chat with a fellow deadlift enthusiast (though I typically avoid small talk when I’m working out) between sets. After a quick shower, I picked up a friend and we headed to a BBQ, enjoying several more hours of conversation and much laughter.
I was invited to see a movie that night, but as my energy was pretty low, I politely declined. While I felt a tiny bit guilty for saying no, I knew it was the right decision. As a result, I was able to head home for some food prep and time to unwind.
It was a really enjoyable weekend, and I was able to stay true to my nature, so I’m celebrating small victories. I will, however, be spending tonight alone, as I’m still not fully recharged 😉 This is a far cry from previous experiences and it’s encouraging to see positive changes.
How was your weekend?
These past few weeks have been interesting. It’s reminded me how much more assertive I still need to become.
I’ve been consistently undermined, likely due to a lack of confidence, since my skills speak for themselves. Or questions will be asked and my answer will be ignored. People assume they know what I’m thinking, when the opposite is true. I don’t have the ability to respond articulately on the fly. So as a result, I say nothing and the frustration builds.
Although I’ve come a long way, I’m still far too passive. If someone takes advantage of a close friend or family member, I’ll go on the offensive. But when it happens to me, I don’t have the same reaction. As a recovering people-pleaser, I’m still learning to take potentially confrontational situations head on, but it’s a challenge.
I need the wisdom of knowing where to draw the line and how to enforce it. My frustration stems more from my lack of ability to respond, than to the situation itself. Any ideas on how I can be more proactive?
But in more positive news, I saw the Wonder Woman movie and it was fantastic!
How’s your week going?
As an introvert, I love my comfort zone. It’s warm and cozy, there are no people around, and there’s plenty of snacks. But despite how much I enjoy being comfortable, I know that staying there indefinitely isn’t realistic or healthy.
I always want to be in a state of growth and development. But stepping out of the comfort zone is a very uncomfortable feeling. Why would I willingly subject myself to something unpleasant, in order to attain some elusive ideal? But at the same time, pushing beyond my physical and mental boundaries has always lead to positive things. Even if the experience didn’t go well, I’ve always been able to learn something.
Whether its public speaking, performances, or just introducing yourself to a stranger, stepping out of your comfort zone can be intimidating. Here are a few things that have helped me in my own journey.
1. Plan, plan, plan.
This is an introvert’s strength. We’re quite good at plotting things out. While life doesn’t always give us this option, if you have the chance, take advantage of it. Putting yourself out there takes a lot of energy, and since we have a limited amount of said energy, we need to store it up beforehand. Ensure you have ample quiet time before the event or experience to mentally prepare. You can always go back to your comfort zone afterwards.
2. Just do it.
Any kind of public speaking or performance never fails to set my nerves on edge. But once it’s time, go out there and own it. Just focus on the task at hand and crush it! Do your best, that’s all anyone can ask of you.
3. Recovery time.
Guess what? You just did the scary and intimidating thing! That’s awesome and it took a lot of courage. Regardless of how it turned out, you took a step forward and that’s the important thing. Allow yourself some time to relax and recharge. Run yourself a bubble bath or watch your favourite movie. You did well. Try not to focus too much on how things went (this is hard) and just enjoy the relief of having finished the task.
Once some time has passed, go over the experience objectively. What did you learn? Did it go well? Did everything fall apart? What would you change if you did it again? What do you know now that you didn’t before? Be sure to focus on the positive (while being realistic) rather than getting discouraged if it didn’t go as planned. You’ll find that the more you put yourself out there, the easier it is next time!
Do you have anything to share?
These past few weeks have been a whirlwind of events. I’ve only now had the chance to catch my breath and catch up on some quiet time. While I love being busy and having a lot to do, it was a challenge to battle through late nights and long days. Coffee and I were becoming pretty good friends towards the end.
But in the midst of the chaos, I experienced a really encouraging moment. I was attending a dinner party that ran quite late into the evening. This took place after several busy days and late nights. To say I was exhausted would be an understatement. As a result, my brain was sluggish and I struggled to engage in the main conversation (I had several lovely one-on-one conversations). In the past, I would have mentally berated myself for being unable to participate more fully. But this time, I acknowledged how tired I was, told myself that feeling this way was normal, and didn’t pressure myself say anything if I couldn’t. It was a really positive experience.
For anyone who has self-deprecating thoughts (and I still struggle with them) keep moving forward. I keep reminding myself that if someone else were struggling with the same thing, I’d be patient and encouraging. I need to extend that same positivity to myself.
How’s your week going so far?