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My first therapist taught me to use mindfulness in the face of anxiety. This basically entails using my five senses to ground myself wherever I am.
I ask myself, “What do I hear, smell, touch, taste, and see right now in my immediate environment?” and go on to list everything I can observe.
I recently joined a gym after a too-long exercise hiatus. My weekly personal training sessions with Jenn that kicked off my new fitness journey have been amazing, but I knew I needed to supplement the rest of my workout routine and give myself some variation that wasn’t running on the old treadmill in the basement. It was time for a change.
As my shiny new membership tag was scanned at the Croton-on-Hudson New York Sports Club, I was suddenly struck with a deep sense of fear.
You see, as a plus size queer person, I’ve never felt particularly comfortable at gyms.
Music can change my mood instantly. That’s why whenever I’m feeling a little down, I turn up the tunes and dance around my room. It’s the quickest way to make myself feel better.
I’ve been working on building mood-specific playlists to be able to access at a moments notice. I’ll continue to share them here as I make more. This first one is pretty special.
Check out my Self-Love Playlist on Spotify. It’s perfect for those moments when you need a little boost of confidence, for those times you’re doubting your self worth and need a little reminder from Kelly Clarkson and RuPaul of how freaking awesome you are. From upbeat pop hits to strong ballads, you’ll find yourself grinning as you hum along at the gym, in the car, or at your desk.
Here are some highlights from the track list:
Regarded as a class LGBTQ+ anthem, this will always be my favorite Diana Ross song and it deserves a top spot on this playlist. It’s upbeat and breezy and can put a spring in your step. Walk down the streets to this disco beat and let the world know you’re here!
One of the chiller tracks on this list, this song encourages you to express yourself and know that you are strong for doing so. Love will save the day, indeed. Self-love, that is!
This dance hit quickly became a pride staple, and deservedly so. While I’m not a religion person, the sentiment is stronger than those particular lyrics in my opinion. This classic Gaga track makes a strong statement, and it’s a nice reminder that I, too, am on the right track.
This is the song that pops in my head whenever I’m on cloud nine. The fasttempo, the fun lyrics, and Freddie’s vocals all make this a upbeat track a great one to celebrate your inner power. Listen to it when you’re feeling low and psyche yourself out!
This is definitely one of those songs that I’ve belted out in the shower after a breakup. Listen to Sia, don’t let anyone tear you down. YOU ARE TITANIUM.
Lizzo is the intersectional hero we all need, and all of her music clearly reflects this. I strive to be as confident as Lizzo seems. Play this track when you’re getting ready in the morning and you’ll feel good as hell about yourself too.
One of my favorite bands in the New York area, Boy Band is a group of three young women who make really empowering music. This track, a personal highlight on their first EP, encourages you to be the “strongest flower rising from the mud.”
You can check out the whole Self-Love Playlist track list below:
What are you favorite songs about loving yourself? Share them in the comments and I’ll consider adding them to the playlist. Happy listening, folks!
Just came back from my second personal training session with Jenn and WOW my butt is feeling it today. It was my first time lifting a kettlebell in quite some time and I forgot how much I like using one.
We concentrated on legs and abs, and pushed through plenty of squats, lunges, kettlebell swings, deadlifts, leg extensions, Russian twists, and alternating toe touches. I felt good on my first two sets of everything and tired by the third set. It’s always the end that sneaks up and gets me! I got through it though, and that’s all that matters. Jenn repeatedly told me I was living throughout the session which helped and made me laugh.
She offered to have this session on the roof of her apartment in Astoria and I’m so glad we took advantage of it on such a beautiful day. I felt totally invigorated out there, especially since it has been raining for the last couple of days. The gorgeous view didn’t hurt either.
It’s a smart idea to mix up your work out environment once in a while to keep things fresh. Here are ten reasons why you should consider exercising outside for a change:
1.) Sun Time
Exercising outdoors is a great way to get some much-needed Vitamin D. Moderate sun exposure benefits your health and can make you feel happy. Just remember to put on SPF before you head outside and reapply as needed.
2.) Save Money
Gyms provide plenty of equipment for varying needs, but they can also be super expensive. You’ll save if you stick to using local roads for running and public parks to exercise in. You may also be able to find free fitness classes and events that take place in parks. Check out the NYC Parks Department website if you’re in the area.
3.) There’s More to Look At
Staring at the same gym walls can feel pretty boring. When you exercise outside, there’s so much to see and hear! Trees, cityscapes, dogs, and cute babies – need I say more?
If you don’t want to listen to the gossipy ladies sitting on a nearby park bench, consider putting on some headphones and playing tunes. Try a Free Trial for Amazon Music Unlimited.
4.) You’ll Work Out Harder
The same workout will obviously be more difficult in the summer heat than in a climate-controlled gym, and that’s good when you’re looking for a challenge. Varying temperature will put more stress on the body and result in a better burn.
The changing terrain and inclination of an outdoor space can increase the impact of your exercise as well. Sand, mud, grass, and rocks all affect your gait and can impact the level of difficulty.
5.) You’re More Likely to Exercise Again
One study found that you’re more likely to repeat exercise sessions if you do them outdoors. If going to the gym is a constant battle, then it might pay off to try outdoor fitness.
I’ll be working out on the road while I’m on my California road trip next week. Stay tuned for a post about that experience, as I’ve never dared to try hotel gyms before.
You can read about how I restarted my fitness journey on this page.
Active vibes to you all!