Fighting Social Media Addiction

 

Fighting Social Media Addiction: how I plan to take back free time | Runs With Blisters Blog

Every morning I wake up exhausted. I press the snooze button over and over until I barely have time to get ready for work. I tear through the morning, starting my day stressed and already feeling behind. Sound familiar? I function best on 8++ hours of sleep. 8 hours being the minimum required to avoid violent mood swings, threats of bodily harm, and tolerance for hearing noise crankiness. Yet I rarely find myself getting it.

My problem begins in the evening. I arrive home from work thinking, “I don’t have to sleep for 5 hours. I have so much time.” I sit down to scroll through Instagram and Facebook and all of a sudden it’s 10 o’clock (when I should be laying down in bed), and I haven’t peeled my ass off the couch, showered or moved laundry around. How does this happen? Because I think I have so much time, I don’t keep a schedule or routine. I believe that “relaxation” and “down time” will make me happy, yet in practice I just have a disgusting untidy apartment, unmet goals, a neglected husband and no sleep.

I’m going to confess something stupid and embarrassing in hopes of publicly shaming myself into stopping. When I get off work, I check Instagram in the car before I drive away. When I go to the store, I stay in the car and scroll Facebook. When I get home, I sit in the parking lot and check Instagram again before I go inside. I probably log about an hour of social media time between getting off work & walking in my front door. Then I sit on the couch and surf more. Is it any wonder I get nothing else done?

This month, I want to get off social media and fix my evening routine to stop sucking so bad at life increase my quality of life across the board. I plan to spend less time online, go to sleep earlier, and bonus! produce more blog content.

Fighting Social Media Addiction: how I plan to take back free time | Runs With Blisters Blog

For the first week of this month, I’m staying off social media entirely. No Facebook, no Instagram, no Pinterest, no reading other blogs. I use these activities to fill time, procrastinate, and generally avoid living. I need to re-learn how to deal with down time.

After my social media break, I plan to return with a plan. No more aimless scrolling. Before I open a smart phone app or web page, I will decide the point of my time online. Will I post an image and message to Instagram? Look for specific information from someone’s profile? Before any aimless surfing, I must complete my to-do list and set a timer to limit getting sucked into the black hole of the interwebs wasting time.

I plan to create a to-do list for my evenings now. Yes, unorganized, flighty me. Isn’t that adorable? I have experimented with this for the last week, and when I actually follow the list, wonderful things happen. Laundry gets folded! Clean dishes appear in the cabinet! Seeing all the tasks waiting for completion keeps me focused and makes me realize that I don’t have unlimited evening time. This makes staying off social media an easier decision.

To get more sleep, I set a phone alarm for 9:00. At that time, I plan to drop everything to shower, do some relaxing yoga and sleep. In the past, I simply ignored this alarm, but now I will remind myself of the motivation behind it. Do I like waking up wanting to fling the clock across the room grumpy and dragging through each day?

To do lists, social media restrictions, bedtime alarms. These major overhauls to my evening routine will not happen instantly or painlessly. To keep motivation and help me remember why I’m doing it, I posted a page that lists my goals and the reasoning behind each goal in our living room. It may sound stupid like overkill, but I think it will help me transition. Before my new routine becomes second nature, I will need a LOT of help.

Although it will take work to change my habits so drastically, I know it will help me create a happier life. Less time on social media will translate to more time “having fun” with my husband. If I can conquer my evenings, I will spend free time and weekends doing what I love instead of scrambling to catch up. Plus, you guys will all know if I fail. Talk about peer pressure!

Please share: do you struggle finding balance between social media and “real” life? Do you have a system or routine that helps you get everything done? How do you balance household chores and down time?

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Yoga for Better Sleep

Yoga For Better Sleep. Try these poses to relax and unwind before bed. Fall asleep faster, stay asleep all night.The first time I tried yoga before bed, I followed a short video that allowed me to sleep through the night for the first time in months. That amazing experience inspired me to take my practice from wishful thinking sporadic to a part of my almost everyday routine.

 

All evening yoga practitioners need a go-to set of poses. At the end of the day, I have no brain power left for creating flows. Favorites that slow our bodies and brains. Nothing beats a few simple poses at your own pace. During evening yoga, I focus on the breath and simply feeling the sensations of my body. This is more important than contorting into a particular shape.  If you just put your limbs in the poses but don’t breathe, you’re not fully practicing yoga, and you might as well skip the entire thing, slacker miss the mental and emotional benefits.

 

I use yoga to relax and slow down my mind. Throughout the day, my thoughts race all over and create a buzzing anxiety. Practicing yoga makes me focus on my breath and the present moment. This slows my thoughts and makes my brain a tolerable place. Yoga helps me fall asleep quicker and sleep through the night.

 

If you seek a calmer mind, relaxed muscles, instant enlightenment or better sleep, try my short bedtime yoga sequence.

 

Disclaimer: I am not a yoga teacher. I hold no certification of specialized knowledge about yoga. I have only my experience as a practicing yogi obsessed with technique. Secretly, I’m just some crazy yoga lady on the Interwebs, so you can’t sue me if you spontaneously combust or injure yourself while practicing the following yoga poses.

 

First, find a comfortable seated position. Put your hands on your knees and just breathe. Let go of all the things your brain is obsessed with at the moment. Trust me, if they’re important, they’re probably not, they will exist when you’re done with yoga and sleep. Focus on the air coming in, then the air going out. When you feel ready, come into Downward Dog with bent knees.

Yoga For Better Sleep. Try these poses to relax and unwind before bed. Fall asleep faster, stay asleep all night.

Shake your head “yes” and “no” to release tension in your neck. Walk the dog by bending and straightening opposite legs. Try matching your movement to your breath. Bend one knee as you breathe in, bend the other as you breathe out. Take the bend in your knees as deep or straight as you want. Remember your purpose of relaxation, not creating a particular shape. Find a movement that feels comfortable to your body. Hold for at least 5 breath cycles.

Yoga For Better Sleep. Try these poses to relax and unwind before bed. Fall asleep faster, stay asleep all night.

Step one foot between your hands, lift your chest and bring your hands to your knee. Drop your hips forward into Low Lunge. Keep your chest wide open. Tuck your pelvis under and engage your lower abs but only a little. It’s bedtime, people. Breathe for at least 5 breath cycles on each side, relaxing into your hip on each exhale.

Yoga For Better Sleep. Try these poses to relax and unwind before bed. Fall asleep faster, stay asleep all night.

Step both feet together and lift your hips for Ragdoll Pose. Bend your knees deeply and allow your upper body to melt out of your hips towards the floor. Release all tension in your neck, face and arms. Shift your weight forward towards your toes. Fall over from lack of body control due to Zen relaxation. Stand back up. Relax for at least 5 breaths.

Yoga For Better Sleep. Try these poses to relax and unwind before bed. Fall asleep faster, stay asleep all night.

Sit down on the floor for Supported Forward Fold. Just as it looks, stack as many pillows as you own want on your lap. Make sure your toes point towards the ceiling. You should feel a gentle sensation in the back of your legs, not an intense stretch. Just to be safe, add more pillows. Breathe. Relax. Stay in this pose as long as you want.

Yoga For Better Sleep. Try these poses to relax and unwind before bed. Fall asleep faster, stay asleep all night.

Fold up a few pillows or roll up a blanket and place them under your upper back. Put padding under your head so it does not crank back towards the floor. Allow your arms to fall open to the sides. You should feel a slight opening of your chest, but still breathe deeply and easily. If the stretch is too intense or breathing becomes difficult, remove some padding.

 

In this photo, I have one pillow folded in half under my torso and another pillow lengthwise under my torso & head. Find the level that feels comfortable to you. Stay here, I bet you can guess what to do with your lungs, as long as feels comfortable.

Yoga For Better Sleep. Try these poses to relax and unwind before bed. Fall asleep faster, stay asleep all night.

Finally, remove the padding from under your chest. Bring your feet together and allow your knees to fall to the side into Reclining Bound Angle Pose. Place one hand on your heart and the other on your stomach. Feel your body rise and fall with your breath. Feel the floor solid under your back. Stay here as long as you please. Try not to fall asleep on the floor.

 

Namaste and sweet dreams.

 

Please share: Do you have a favorite set of yoga poses or bedtime routine that puts you right to sleep?

 

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#ColoradoLovesYoga Instagram Challenge

ColoradoLoveYoga-Collage

My Instagram world is exploding in insanity!

Instagram—the social media platform based around photos—supports a substantial yoga community, and many people enjoy participating in challenges. Most challenges consist of the host or hosts assigning a pose every day for a specified period of time. For many, these challenges motivate them to practice daily, inspire them to try new styles or poses, and stir them to lust over possibly winning some amazing prizes. In the past, Instagram yoga challenges have changed the way I approach and practice yoga. One challenge eventually inspired my Hanstand365 journey.

I can hardly contain my excitement to announce that I am co-hosting my first Instagram yoga challenge, #ColoradoLovesYoga, beginning October 22nd!

Do you love yoga? Do you love Colorado? Join Colorado-based yogi HOSTS @runswithblisters THAT’S ME, @yogi_b_tattoo, @alexandracarone, @thesingingyogini and @yoginicolorado and SPONSORS @kindnessyoga, @c_ravel, @beautifulcommotionjewelry and CorePower Yoga in Parker, CO for a 10 day challenge focused on uniting and celebrating the Colorado yoga community and sharing our love for the outdoors!

POSTS will happen the night before each challenge day beginning OCTOBER 22! This challenge truly welcomes all levels. Each day, check out:

@runswithblisters: beginner hey, that’s me again!
@yogi_b_tattoo: modified
@alexandracarone: intermediate
@thesingingyogini: advanced
@yoginicolorado: crazy variation aka are you even a real person? How does your body do that?

 

PRIZES:

 

ELIGIBILITY:

  1. Repost the challenge collage to your page- tag all the hosts, sponsors and your friends.
  2. Follow hosts and sponsors @kindnessyoga, @c_ravel, @beautifulcommotionjewelry.
  3. Post and hashtag photos daily with #ColoradoLovesYoga. (OUTDOOR photos celebrating Colorado for bonus points!)
  4. Feel free to catch up or join late. All posts must be submitted by November 5thfor prize consideration.
  5. Post your best attempt or whatever variation/flow speaks to you. This challenge is NOT a competition, it’s about bringing together and connecting the Colorado IG yoga community.
  6. If you aren’t currently living in Colorado, that’s ok. Feel free to join in, but the prizes will be limited to Colorado based participants.
  7. Be Awesome. But you’ve already got that under control.

 

If you have an Instagram account, join in the fun. Even if you choose not to participate every day, challenges present an opportunity to try new ideas, meet new people from the safety of your screen, and take more selfies. Everyone needs more selfies, right?

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Please comment: Even if you don’t participate in Instagram, do you find that joining a community challenge helps you meet fitness or personal goals? Share your experiences about how a community or group of people have helped you grow.

Tent Yoga

Yoga doesn’t always involve a mat, Sun Salutations and Downward Dog. Sometimes after a frigid night sleeping on a thin foam pad in the mountains, you need to move slow and wake up achy joints. Yoga and exercise don’t “have” to be any one thing. Release your preconceived notions and move in ways that feel good to you.

Filmed in Pike National Forest, Colorado on Sunday September 14th, 2014.

Handstand 365

#handstandseverywhere

#handstandseverywhere

Since writing my post about how to live “real” life like a vacation, I have focused on incorporating those guidelines into my everyday life. In a desperate attempt to incorporate multiple rules into one goal, I recently committed to 365 days of handstands. Daily handstands fulfill the following guidelines: #2 Do things you like, #5 Live gratefully in the moment, and sometimes #4 Get outside. 3 out of 6, I win!

Not to mention, what better way to improve on a random and barely useful skill than to make a public promise on my blog and Instagram to practice it every day for one year? Seems logical.

Until recently, I didn’t consider handstanding a skill I would ever master. Only gymnasts, acrobats and yogis with no life outside yoga could handstand. @beachyogagirl’s (Kerri Verna) handstand challenge on Instagram in May changed my mind. She wrote that anyone could practice handstanding and learn it like any other skill. Somewhere in the drills that month, I started to believe her.

Of course, in typical Kiya form, I stopped practicing immediately practiced less frequently  after the challenge ended. I see people on Instagram who have continued to handstand and have noticed an alarming correlation between time spent practicing and ability level. Damn.

Why Handstand 365? Because it’s different. Not everyone can hold a handstand. I would love to conquer a skill I once considered impossible. My minimum obligation only consists of kicking into multiple handstands each day, so even my lazy self has no excuse not to practice it does not require much time commitment daily. Yet, consistently practicing a small amount will likely result in improvement over time.

If you would like to follow my handstand 365 journey, I post my daily handstand drill on Instagram under my handle, @runswithblisters. I use the general hashtag #handstand365 and my personal hashtag #kiyastandsonhands. If you use Instagram and want to join in the handstand madness, tag @runswithblisters in your posts so I can follow your progress!

Please tell me, do you have a long-term goal you are working towards? How do you stay motivated daily? How are you finding ways to live your life like a vacation? Have you ever conquered a skill or situation that seemed impossible at the time? Share your thoughts in the comments section!

 

Day 16 took place on top of North Twin Cone Peak (12,323′) in the Pike National Forest near Jefferson, Colorado.

How to Live Life Like a Vacation

My husband and I recently returned from a week-long vacation in Southern Colorado with my extended family. As with all vacations, coming home sucks shit brought on the inevitable wave of vacation hangover. I longed for the huge cabin full of family and day-long hiking trips into the mountains. The thought of returning to “real” life made me ache. I flat-out refused. No, I didn’t quit my job and run away into the mountains, even though I really, really wanted to. I decided to live my “real” life like a vacation.

I contemplated how I lived and thought differently on holiday and how I could bring that into my every day. I now present my 6 ways to stay on vacation in real life.

#1: Stay off social media/internet/TV

Seriously, I have a problem

Seriously, I have a problem

I rarely use the internet or social media on vacation. My phone usually displays “no service,” and when I receive a connection, I am too busy to notice or use it. The problem occurs when I return home.

I have a major social media problem. The night we returned from vacation, I scrolled through Instagram and Facebook for five hours. Obviously I have entirely too much free time. The next morning I woke up feeling crappy, guilty and worthless. Time on social media and surfing the internet often leaves me with these uncomfortable feelings, yet I return to it like a zombie each day. Why? (Side note: TV doesn’t thrill me, but I feel that it falls into the same category.)

I return to social media because of the ease. My brain doesn’t process, think, or assess. I simply stare as images and blurbs pass through me. It is always waiting to distract me, ready for those brief moments of unfilled time (a red light) or uncomfortable thoughts (how I feel about my brother’s death) or tricky decisions (how to articulate myself in this post). An easy go-to for an avoider like me. Scrolling through Facebook requires less work than revising a blog post, because that post neither informs nor entertains anyway, and, in all honesty, I wasted my time and money on a degree in creative writing, because I only use it to write the occasional boring blog post–oh look, someone else got engaged!

The excessive time I spend on social media distracts from things that would improve my life. Yes, it seems easy in the moment, but it does not create the life I want in the long run. Unless you count my “dream life” board on Pinterest. That counts, right?

 #2: DO things you like

You can tell he's having fun because of the thumbs up

You can tell he’s having fun because of the thumbs up

On vacation we experience ALL THE THINGS NOW! Instead of sitting and watching TV we see the sights, walk the area, and experience new things. Why, when we return home, do we live differently?

Yes, we all have to wash dishes and pick up the living room. That sucks and can only be skipped for so long. Trust me, I’ve tried. Regardless, figure out a way to work in things you actually enjoy too. Don’t spend every night after work washing dishes and scrubbing toilets. Unless you actually like that kind of thing, you sick bastard. Life should consist of more than a series of chores and duties to merely survive.

Some might argue, “but it makes me happy to sit on the couch and stuff Cheetos in my face.” Realize the difference between what makes you happy right now and what makes you happy in the long run. I always think it will make me happy to “relax” in bed and scroll through Instagram for hours, but then I go to sleep feeling like a worthless piece of junk. Alternately, I feel amazing after an evening full of yoga, handstands, writing and my husband. Take the time to think deeply and evaluate if your activities make you happy now or in a lasting way.

#3: Connect with real, 3D people

Family bonding by hiking up a mountain

My family bonds by hiking up mountains together

When you recall the wonderful moments in your life, do you think of a text conversation? The comments from people on Facebook? Or do you remember that time your husband skied you down a giant sand dune, then raced you to the bottom, cutting you off so the two of you fell, rolling and covered in sand, laughing hysterically. Or sitting in the cab of a truck with your dad on one side and brother on the other, talking about what you thought happened after death. Those are my highlight memories. Times surrounded by people I love.

Replace time normally spent with “friends” online with real, live people! Start by building stronger relationships with the people in your house. Spouse, children, parents, roommates, small, gnawing rodents. I don’t know who inhabits your home!

I also struggle with this step. My husband and I pass too much time beside each other staring at screens instead of spending it together. We sit in the same room for hours at a time, but when we go to bed I feel disconnected and sad. Instead, I will make a conscious effort to converse with him and maybe even get some #2 done. See what I did there?

#4: Get outside

Look, I am outside

Look, I am outside


I spend the majority of my vacation time outside. Hiking, camping, burning things in pits. Sometimes I think the problem with coming home boils down to returning to our little second-floor apartment in the city sans yard or trees or happy little chirping birds.

I know the power of spending even a short time outside. On days when my darling little preschool students resemble life-force syphoning vampires stress me out, I spend my break at the park. I remove my shoes and socks and sit on a blanket to eat my lunch under a tree. I return to work feeling completely differently than when I eat in the break room or my car.

Spending time outdoors in the evenings could give me the same lift. Lately I have started taking my laptop or book onto the balcony. Even small changes like this make a difference. Something magical happens when you remove the roof from overhead to feel the sun on your face and the breeze across your skin. I can’t be the only person who feels instantly relaxed by the sound of leaves moving in the wind.

#5: Live gratefully in the moment

Nothing says gratitude like not falling to your death

Nothing says gratitude like not falling to your death

No one finds difficulty giving thanks on a vacation full of people and activities they enjoy. Bring that sense of gratitude to everyday life. If you are reading this post, you are incredibly lucky. It’s a wonderfully written post, after all. You possess access to electricity, the ability to read, a connection to the internet, a computer or smartphone and the ability to operate it. You can probably easily obtain clean food and water, a safe place to sleep at night and shelter from the elements. Of course, these assumptions may not apply to you in particular. Regardless of the specifics, give thanks for the hundreds of amazing opportunities in your life. Things that many people around the world strive to attain. Recognize this every day and thank your lucky stars.

#6: Have more sex

DSCN0748Please, don’t make me explain this one.
How do you cope with returning from vacation? Do you practice these 6 things already in your daily life? Or do you hope to start one or two soon? Do you find some easier to implement than others? Am I completely full of shit, and coming back home from vacation still sucks a big one?

March Challenge: Squats

My squat challenge ended on March 31st, thank the glorious powers that be! That challenge was horribly tedious, mind-numbingly boring, and a little painful.

SquatChallenge

Of course, I completed the challenge completely differently exactly as dictated by the exasperating lovely spreadsheet. I skied 5 days in March, so I counted those as squat days. I used rest days when I forgot felt the need, not when marked. And I maybe, kinda, perhaps, completely skipped the last 4 days of squats.

I could tolerate the challenge until I was performing more than 150 squats a day. All of a sudden it took forever and felt much more painful and repetitive. I suffered though until day 25, when I thought the squats totaled 200. Before that, the amount of squats normally increased by 5 or 10 each day. Until day 25. All of a sudden it jumped 40! I will admit, I quit from complete boredom mental shortcomings. The monotony irked me, and I didn’t push through. But civilization as we know it has successfully continued, and I just don’t care think I will survive this “failure.”

Even though I wussed out at the end of the challenge, I can still tell you a few things about squats.

I didn’t realize how much technique squats required. First and most important, send that butt back! The first movement of a squat should send the butt back, not down. So far back that you want to fall over at the bottom. Don’t actually fall. Not very often, at least. As part of this, the knees should always stay behind your toes to avoid knee strain.

For the love of God, hold your abs! After 167 squats with loose abs, your back will burn like one thousand suns ache. Don’t ask how I know. My lower back hates me enough. I don’t need some silly monthly challenge to throw it out. Plus, holding your abs will give you a little core workout too.

Go quick, but not too quick. When you’re performing 193 bodyweight squats, you don’t want to take 5 seconds on every squat. Just imagining that makes me want to bang my skull into a wall. However, if you go too fast, your form will suffer, you won’t get low enough,  and the world will implode you’ll miss the point of the challenge.

Did my butt grow or love handles shrink? No. My husband actually laughed at me on day 22 when I told him that goal. He obviously doesn’t read my blog. Now I can tell you his dirty secrets and he’ll never know. He eats queso dip cold. Who does that?! Gross.

My lack of butt enlargement was disappointing, but not unexpected.  I know body weight and lots of reps doesn’t grow muscle mass quickly. A girl can fantasize dream.

The twerpy hubby did point out the worthwhile points of the dreadful challenge. It doesn’t require a gym or equipment. You can squat at 10 at night in your living room, not that I ever did that. The challenge kept me moving on days when I didn’t make time for an entire workout. And my love handles didn’t grow. Smartypants Husband actually suggested that I continue squatting after March ended. Maybe throw in some push-ups too. Adorable, isn’t he?

yogatothecore

For April I am joining the #yogatothecore challenge on Instagram. It is hosted by 3 ridiculously amazing yogis who each post their variation of a yoga position every day. Each day works different parts of the core. 6 days in, I love the daily diversity of postures, as well as the ability to choose my variation. If you use Instagram, feel free to join the challenge or follow me. Because experiencing me on just one form of social media cannot fulfill you completely.

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Days 3, 4 & 5. Know how hard it is to take a selfie in lotus?

Have you ever set a goal for yourself, only to discover the goal felt wrong for you? Have you purposely quit an activity before completion? Has anyone else tried this squat challenge? What did you think? Does your core need as much work as mine, and you want to join the #yogatothecore challenge too?

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February Monthly Mission: Meditation & Free Writing

Supplies for February Challenge

March is halfway over, so I should probably tell you about my secret February challenge, because I’m punctual like that.

In February I challenged myself to change my daily routine in 2 small ways: meditate for 10 minutes and complete 3 pages of free writing. Because I know myself so very well, I knew that I needed to schedule these changes into my day, or they wouldn’t happen. I chose to meditate first thing in the morning before work and free write during my lunch break.

Meditation

At first, I used the Headspace meditation app to guide me through meditation. Their Take 10 program kick-started my habit and made it dummy-proof. However, the program ends after 10 days. Headspace offers other programs for purchase, but I wanted to learn to guide myself through meditation. I received Complete Meditation by Steve Kravette for Christmas in 2012, so I decided to crack it back open and actually use some exercises.

I started experimenting with different meditation positions besides sitting. Laying down, standing in star pose which felt fine until my arms lit on fire, and squatting which felt slightly uncomfortable at first, then flared into full on lower back agony. Although not suggested in the book, I fell in love with the yoga pose Legs up the Wall.

Legs up the Wall

Legs up the Wall

Especially for sore legs or joints, letting the blood flow out of my legs for 10 minutes releases the pain and ache. After this position, laying flat on the floor for a minute will allow the blood back into the legs before standing. Unless you enjoy feeling light-headed and falling over.

I have also experimented with silent mantras. Take 10 suggests counting breaths up to 10, but because of my bizarre angst issues, that makes me anxious. I especially enjoy the following mantras from Complete Mediation:

Inhale “I am,” exhale “loved”

Inhale “Re-,” exhale “-lax”

Inhale “hum,” exhale “so,” which means “I am the one.”

Meditation first thing in the morning has helped me relax and start the day with a reset, calm attitude. Even though it takes time out of my morning, it paradoxically feels like I have more time.

In February I meditated 23 out of 28 days!

Free Writing

A pen that flows well is essential to free writing

As a creative writing major, I heard of practicing daily free writing many times. Most recently, an Ali Kamenova YouTube video sparked my memory. She started a 30-day challenge to complete 3 pages each day.  For those unfamiliar with the term, free writing is completed by writing long-hand in a notebook and keeping the pen continuously moving even if it just says “Pen moving. Pen moving. Don’t know what to write.” No judgment. No concern for being coherent, concise, or even grammatically correct. Only minor concern for readable handwriting.

I have not produced much work over the last few years, as evidenced by the spotty posting here. I wrote more blog posts than fiction works, so you can imagine the pathetic state of my current fiction resume. My lack of production boils down to my bitchy inner critic. She vetoes all my ideas before I even write them! Turns out, an inability to create new material presents a problem for a writer.

Through the free writing part of my February challenge, I learned that I can silence that stupid critic. Free writing should be shitty, jumbled, incoherent and making no sense. Previous sentence obviously written in the free writing style… One day I felt so pissed that I just scribbled cuss words in huge capital letters. Counts as a page.

Topics I generally use for free writing: blog brainstorming, planning, creative writing exercises, and general whining writing in my personal journal about experiences and emotions. Each day I picked one and wrote furiously for 3 pages.

I found that free writing each day built momentum. Once the words and ideas were vomited onto the page, more ideas flowed in and branched out. I could then type of the insanely rough drafts and refine them until I could show them to others without complete embarrassment.

During February I used free writing to brainstorm 4 blog posts, finalize 3 posts, brainstorm characters for a short story, and capture issues and emotional states in my journal. I wrote 23 out of 28 days. Success!

March Monthly Challenge

Since both parts of my February challenge helped me so much, I decided to continue practicing them. For March I will conquer the Pinterest squat challenge!

Squat Challenge image via Pinterest

My butt on March 31st
image via Pinterest

I want to grow my butt and shrink my love handles. I used to have such a nice, round booty, and it disappeared! I want it back! I know, I know, lifting heavy weights will grow the muscle faster and more efficiently. But neither lifting weights nor being efficient has ever been my style.

Do you give yourself goals or challenges to keep motivated in fitness or other parts of your life? Wish I were more organized and gave you notice, so you could join me on my monthly challenges? Wonder how long this monthly challenge thing will last? Yeah, me too…

Instagram Insanity

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Runs With Blisters is now on Instagram! So if you’re one of  those cool, hip people that obsessively use all types of social media, follow me there too! At least until I get bored or busy and stop posting.

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Laugh at Observe my daily adventures in living healthy, forcing myself into working out, and attempting good nutrition. Because, you know, you don’t get enough of that here on the blog.

Just don’t ask me to join Twitter…

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Are you on Instagram? What do you think? Too busy/technologically challenged to navigate all these new-fangled social medias?

StairMaster Dancer

Those who remember my treadmill dancing post can only imagine my excitement last week when my husband played the ESPN Sports Nation jeers of February and I saw a dude StairMaster dancing. Not only does he throw down killer moves, but check out that bod! With arms like that, you can break it down however you want at the gym. Who will tell you to stop?

I would love to grove like that a the gym, but I’m too terrified to fall off the back of the machine and get ground to a pulp. Not to mention the pathetic-ness of my flex pose in comparison to his. I bet he can do more than half a chin-up.

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