Monday Mantra: So you had a bad day…

Happy Monday, Sweathearts!

As usual, I want to help you start the week off with some motivation. Have you ever had a bad day? I’m guessing the answer is yes. I’m even willing to wager that a few of you are having a bad day today—it is Monday, after all. I’ve had my fair share of bad ways. Some have been bad for silly reasons, and I’ve woken up the next day already forgetting the cause of my bad mood the day before. Others have been so bad that they’ve stuck around for awhile. Once we find ourselves stuck in a bad day rut, it can be hard to get out of it. Here are some of my favorite ways to remind myself to find the silver lining in cloud-filled situations.

Sweat it out: Okay, you had to know this one was coming. This is a fitness blog! But while I typically enjoy hitting the gym or a class to get my workout on, when I’m in a bad mood one of my favorite ways to move is an outdoor run. There is something about breathing in the fresh air and taking in my surroundings that helps to calm me down. Even in the winter, I’ll bundle up and take a quick jog around the neighborhood when I need to clear my mind.

Talk about it: When I’m frustrated, it is so easy to shut myself away from the rest of the world. I want to be angry, and I want to be angry by myself…because if I talk to someone, chances are they’re going to help me see the good in a bad situation. They’re going to encourage me to keep my chin up and move forward. And even when all I want to do is curl up into an angry ball and throw a pity party for myself, I force myself to talk through situations with my parents, my sister, my girlfriends, or my boyfriend. Their advice is always spot-on, even when I don’t feel like I’m ready to take it.

Treat yourself: I’m a bit of a shopaholic. I know that I get a little endorphin rush whenever I click the “buy” button on my favorite website. It is a weakness of mine that I have to keep in check, but I budget a certain amount of “fun money” for myself each month. When I’m feeling down, I’ll treat myself to a new book or small gift to bring a smile to my face. I’m not advocating going on huge shopping sprees whenever you’re having a bad day, but a small treat can be a great mood booster.

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My idea of the perfect pick me up: workout gear with motivational messages! (Image from Lorna Jane)

Eat healthy foods: The struggle is REAL when it comes to pigging out on junk food when I’m feeling sad. But I’ve noticed that giving in doesn’t make me feel better at all after the initial food coma wears off. I typically feel sluggish or sick after eating food that I’m not used to, and end up breaking out a few days later as well. Not worth it! I try to have some go-to healthy comfort foods: freshly brewed tea, smoothies, a savory egg dish, or fruit.

Remind yourself that it’s a bad day, not a bad life: Perspective is one of the most important things that I try to remind myself of. I try to gauge things by the “facebook laugh-o-meter”: If I posted what was making me upset on facebook, would people laugh at me? If the answer is yes, it’s time to put things in perspective. It’s not the end of the world to scuff a pair of shoes. It isn’t going to kill me if I don’t win my next pageant. My life is still an incredible one, and I should transform my negative feelings into positive action: helping those around me whose bad days are far more troubling than my own.

How do you like to cheer yourself up when you’re having a bad day?

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Sweat Worthy: Charity Miles

I’m sure that many of you, like me, were absolutely floored by the tornadoes that tore through Oklahoma and other parts of the midwest this week. The power of nature is absolutely incredible, but in this case, absolutely devastating.

As a college student preparing for graduation, I don’t have extra money in my budget at the moment to donate to charity. Between bills and paying for gas to fuel my car, there just isn’t any wiggle room. Still, I wanted to give something to the families in Oklahoma that now have to completely rebuild their lives. Charity Miles offers an easy way to do so.

I recently discovered Charity Miles, an app that allows you to track the miles you complete during an outdoor run, walk, or bicycle ride. It then donates a set amount of money per mile to the charity of your choice. They have a pretty substantial list of charities to choose from, one of which is Feeding America. Feeding America is one of the organizations that will be providing truckloads of food, water, and supplies to those in need in Oklahoma (and across the rest of our nation as well.

If you’re interested in getting your sweat on and giving back to those in need at the same time, be sure to download the Charity Miles app! I’ll be dedicating my next few weeks of miles to Feeding America. On just a short run today, I was able to donate 2.5 meals. It may not sound like much, but when facing such a large challenge like those in Oklahoma are currently experiencing, it is important to remember that every little bit counts.

For more information on Charity Miles, click HERE.

Sweat Worthy: Road ID Review

One of my current fitness goals is to get outside and take up running as a hobby this year. I love to run because I always feel so refreshed when I finish a few miles, but I personally find treadmill running to be a bit boring. Still, I run inside because its easy. Well, that’s about to change–with the arrival of spring today, I’ll be hitting some local paths and training for a few 5Ks.

I tend to do a lot of research before taking on a new task. Naturally, I did the same when creating a running plan. I investigated the local paths and asked friends and family for recommendations. I stopped by the Greenwich Running Company (great service, by the way!) to learn about staying hydrated on the road. I purchased a toque for cooler weather, a breathable pullover, and a pair of running shoes. Then, I came across a blog post (thanks, Shin Splints and Sushi!) that introduced me to Road ID.

I will admit that one of my concerns about outdoor running revolves around safety. What if something happens to me on the trail and I’m unable to call for help? What if someone finds me injured, but I’m unable to communicate with them? Road ID helps to alleviate some of these concerns. Edward and Mike Wimmer, a father/son team, have created wristbands, dog tags, and shoe tags that are engraved with your name, emergency contacts, and important medical information.

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I decided on the Wrist ID Sport bracelet in pink. I have tiny wrists (6 inches) and ordered a size small. It fits perfectly without being too snug (it adjusts with velcro). When ordering your Road ID, you have the choice to go with a ‘Original’ version or an ‘Interactive’ version. The Original version is simply engraved with the information of your choice. The Interactive version allows you to customize two lines of text, then provides information that directs first responders to a full emergency profile that you create online. They can access this profile via phone or online.

I chose to go with the Interactive version for a few reasons. You are able to include so much more information in your online profile than you can fit on a small engraved wristband. I am able to list multiple emergency contacts, my doctor’s information, a photo of myself for identification, and more. I think that the interactive band can also help to clarify situations for first responders. I don’t have any pressing medical conditions that a first responder would need to know immediately. I do, however, take a medication that is used for multiple ailments. Rather than just posting my dosage on my wristband, I’m able to put the dosage and an explanation of why I take the medication in my online profile. Much more useful information!

A Road ID is surprisingly affordable — you can pick up most styles for under $20. To maintain your online profile should you choose an Interactive Road ID, there is a fee of $9.99 per year. However, this fee is waived for your first year of service with your new Road ID purchase. I’m more than happy to pay $20 now, and $10/year in the future for a little extra peace of mind for me and my family.

If you’re interested in picking up a RoadID, you can head to their website by clicking HERE. They provide all customers with ‘Tell-A-Friend’ coupons, and I’m happy to share mine with you so that you can save $1 on your purchase. Simply enter ThanksSarah25585008 at checkout. I don’t receive compensation for sharing this code–I’m simply passing it on because I think that staying safe while staying fit is extremely important!

Do you wear a Road ID (or similar product) when you exercise? Any other recommendations for staying safe while participating in outdoor sports alone? Let me know by leaving a comment below!

Gym Buddies – Week 1

Hello, Sweatsational readers!

Fitness isn’t a journey that you can undertake completely alone. Sure, it’s easy to hit the gym solo. But having people to support you as you accomplish your fitness goals can make all the difference in your motivation level. These people don’t necessarily have to be “in-person” friends–they can be bloggers or vloggers! In my ‘Gym Buddies’ series, I will be featuring links to websites, YouTube videos, blog posts, or magazine articles that have inspired me on my fitness journey each week.

This week, I found my biggest source of inspiration via Pinterest. One of my favorite bloggers, Taralynn McNitt of Undressed Skeleton posted this gem (click here to check out her pin!).

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In one of her recent blog posts, Taralynn wrote about hiking and her nature epiphany: that many people (herself, and myself!) included, don’t take the time to “thank” nature for all that our planet provides for us. We forget to recycle, overuse natural resources, and leave an extremely large carbon footprint in the wake of our everyday activities.

One of my biggest fitness goals is to become a dedicated outdoor runner. I’m excited about spending more time in nature, and I’m sure that running while taking in fresh air while taking in the sights around me will be far more motivating than staring at a wall as I jog on the treadmill at the gym! I plan on “giving back” to the world around me by taking up a challenge that Taralynn has set up for herself: using reusable shopping bags no matter what! It sounds like a small thing, but every little change that we make in our lives can have lasting results.

Thank you, Taralynn, for being such an inspirational gym buddy this week!

Who inspires you on your fitness journey? Let me know in the comments below, and keep an eye out for next Saturday’s Gym Buddies update!