This first Motivation Monday of August officially brings us to the start of the dog days of summer. Just when you thought the New York City summer couldn’t be any quieter, these are the days we Manhattanites savor shorter lines and fewer crowds at the gym, the supermarket and all those happening hot spots. This Motivation Monday also happens to bring me closer to my annual escape from the sizzling concrete jungle to the beautiful beaches of Montauk. I can practically smell the sea air now.
This year’s trip seems to be arriving at a truly perfect time as I shake off the remnants of a nasty bug that literally threw me off-balance for nearly three weeks. Who knew a virus could set up shop in your inner ear and make you feel seasick 24-hours a day? Needless to say the dizzy spells and nausea seriously interfered with my normal workout routine. It was tough for this exercise junkie to take a break from what provides a daily boost to my physical and mental well-being. However, it’s equally if not more important to listen to your body when something’s wrong. While some prescription medicine slowly brought balance back to my life, the remedy came with some not-so-optimal effects including many sleepless nights. I now look forward to finishing the healing process at the beach – my absolute favorite place on the planet.
Finally, this is also when I say ciao for the rest of the month. As my longtime readers already know, I use this time as an opportunity for a little writing hiatus as the calendar marches toward Labor Day. So, I close with a thank you to all my readers for your ongoing support and wish you a grand finale to the summer of 2015. I look forward to re-connecting in September and taking advantage of all the new opportunities to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!
Here’s hoping this Motivation Monday finds you rested and maybe looking a little sun-kissed after a happy fourth of July weekend!
I’m happy to report I enjoyed plenty of beach and BBQ time. However, that left very little time for writing. So, after a fun-filled weekend, I hope you don’t mind this re-boot of one of my summertime videos. It features my favorite core exercise done on my favorite setting on the planet. If you’re looking for ways to bring your workout moves out of the gym and into the great outdoors this season, look no further than the beach plank Tabata.
I hope your first day back to reality isn’t too manic and that the week ahead offers plenty of opportunities for you to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!
It’s hard to believe this Motivation Monday brings us exactly two weeks away from Labor Day. Most consider the holiday the unofficial end of summer. As I sat on the beach on the last day of my last vacation of the season, I realized how much time can be wasted thinking about how many hours or days we have left to enjoy something instead of seizing and savoring the present moment.
I stared at the roaring sea, listened to the waves crashing against the sand and started breathing a little more deeply. I wanted to savor the scent of salt and sunscreen and embrace the feeling of the heat on my sun-kissed skin. However, somehow the my-vacation-is-almost-over panic crept in to my head and in to my heart. Panic about the future. Back in the concrete jungle. Back amidst the cacophony of sirens and horns. Back amongst the crowds of students on the subways and more people in the streets.
I know I’m not alone in this constant struggle between living in the present and worrying about what’s to come. As my mom pointed out, how can we not project about what’s two days or two weeks in the future when we’re bombarded with back-to-school sales in June and Christmas promotions in July?
Then I went for a last long beach walk, and one of my all-time favorite quotes from the legendary Dr. Seuss popped into my over-analytical head:
“Don’t cry because it’s over. Smile because it happened.”
And I did smile. I realized how fortunate I was to be back in Montauk with my parents after last year’s hiatus because of my father’s emergency heart surgery. I realized the ocean will continue to churn and then settle into a calm, just like the different seasons and stages of life. At some point, each of us may face the end of a vacation…a job…a marriage…a life. My goal as I move toward a new season is to remember it’s healthier for the body and the spirit to hold on to what was good than lose sleep and sanity over what went wrong and what we can’t get back.
So when life seems overwhelming, I will close my eyes and envision the mighty sea to give me the energy I need to keep going. Whatever gives you strength- a good workout, an image of your children laughing without a care in the world, a conversation with your best friend – enjoy as many of those moments as you can this week and in the weeks ahead. We can’t change the fact that time will always march forward. But savoring the only thing we have control over in that journey – the present moment – can help us take on life’s challenges while keeping us on the course to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!
Last week I wrote about how unexpected events may alter the days I post new material here at LauraLovesFitness.com. However, it turns out I was inspired to share some thoughts for this Motivation Monday by one of my weekend activities. Ironically, it’s the one that involved no strenuous activity whatsoever.
On day seven of the heat wave that made living in New York City nearly unbearable, I decided to get on a train and head back to Long Island to visit my parents. That led to another smart decision: to take a rest day from the gym and replace it with a couple of hours of fitness for my mental health. All I needed was the ocean.
Despite my lifelong love affair with the beach, the power of the sea never ceases to surprise and overwhelm me. I’ve tallied hundreds of hours on the beach over the course of my lifetime so far, but at times it feels like each sandy visit is my first. The waves crash onto the shore with a mighty roar. The water retreats to gather more energy for another crash, leaving only white foam on the shoreline along with a mist that serves as an elixir for more than just my lungs. The salty air also helps calm my nervous mind and unburden my heavy heart.
These moments of clarity remind me of the many blessings in my life: my family, my friends and the countless good memories I’ve shared with these special people. I also realize how lucky I am to have my health. Despite the new challenges in my life and some of the fear I feel, the sea reminds me I can handle it all. The sea constantly draws on its own strength to turn a ripple in the deepest waters into a mighty wave that unleashes its power on the shore only to retreat and start the dance all over again. I’ve done the same thing in my own life many times – and I know I can do it again. My faith tells me that. My strength tells me that. The ocean tells me that.
So if there’s a day when you need a break instead of the heart-pounding workout, remember – it’s okay. Sometimes a mental health hour in your favorite place could be just the “workout” you need to calm a jittery heart and beat down any fears tugging at the heart and soul. Creating a little time for yourself may be all you need to re-focus your energy on the better days ahead filled with endless chances to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!
As many of you read this, I’m either headed to or have already started basking in the sunshine at one of my favorite places on the planet: Montauk, New York.
So begins a week-long vacation and some long-anticipated downtime! That means I’ll be taking some time off from blogging, too. (I also plan to be a little less active on the Twitter feed and Facebook timeline.)
A big part of my vacation will be enjoying some non-time-restricted workouts and hopefully getting some of my exercises done at the beach. Stay tuned for posts later this month on how that all plays out.
For now, I leave you with some feel-good music that I’ll be sure to listen to while staring at the sea, taking long beach walks or reading. Some are new, some are fast, some are true “summer” anthems and some are the old-standbys that always make me smile!
- “Vacation,” the Go-Gos
- “Cruel Summer,” Bananarama
- “Shake It,” Anane (feat. Mr. Vegas & Tony Touch)
- “Let’s Go,” Calvin Harris (feat. Ne-Yo)
- “The Fire,” The Roots & John Legend
- “Time of My Life,” 3 Doors Down
- “Boys of Summer,” Don Henley
- “Scream,” Usher
- “How You Like Me Now,” The House That Dirt Built
- “Heat of the Moment,” Asia
- “Shout,” Tears for Fears
Here’s to a great weekend ahead! I look forward to my extended unwind time so I can return to reality with new energy to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!