I always feel so settled in Fall. It is such a beautiful season, and it’s the season where life becomes routine again. School, work, dark nights, less pressure to be doing crazy things all the time- it’s nice, relaxing. October and November have been filled with good friends, lots of exercise and training, as well as a healthy amount of homework. I’ve been really enjoying welcoming balance back into my life, and staying as busy as possible.
Since my last post, I have really changed up my exercise/rehab (getting way less rehab-y!) schedule. I was getting way too cold cycling outside on my bike, and also, the rain just WOULDN’T END. SO I joined Yyoga so that I could do their spin class, as well as yoga and pilates. It has been so amazing! I love the communal, positive workout environment. Also, spin is such an amazing endorphin activity, especially during the dark months. I try to do spin about 4 times a week, and fit in yoga or pilates whenever I can. I have also stopped going to the gym, because i’m doing more functional exercise, and also, I was getting damn sick of it. I’m trying to be very intuitive with my exercise, and not forcing myself to take part in activities that I don’t enjoy. For example, I found myself forcing myself to go to the gym, so I just stopped. If you’re in a negative place about a workout, your workout is going to stink anyway!
Quick note about school: unremarkable, boring. I walk a lot in the endowment lands between classes to keep my body moving and to stay distracted. I’m so ready to be done!!
I’m insanely excited for ski season, but trying to keep skiing intuitive too. I’m trying to stay away from the i-gotta-be-the-first-to-post-a-ski-picture-on-instagram mentality, and keep skiing relatively free from social media. Skiing is so meditative for me, and so important for my relationship with my dad. I will get out when the time is right, and it will be magical. This time last year I was not able to ski, so to be able to ski now is a testament to how far my body has come.
Physically, things keep progressing. The pain in my right calf/achilles is probably 75% better as I slowly strengthen and stretch my right glut out. Left leg (original injury) feels amazing. People often ask how my knee is doing, and to be honest, ever since prolotherapy a year ago, it has been solid. The biggest work since then has been the rehab from really bad atrophy, and evening out both sides of my body. I don’t think i’ve had a muscle group in the past year that hasn’t been stretched and strained as I struggled to build them up! When i’m “sore”, it’s never my knee, it’s always my groin or calf or something like that!
I also wanted to speak out a little bit about prolotherapy. Prolo is a little known treatment for chronic pain that is pending approval in Canada, and originated and is used in Europe. Because it is not approved here, health insurance doesn’t cover it. With my doctor Pam Squire, I paid about $70.00 each treatment- totally reasonable, and less expensive than other treatments like PRP (where they take the plasma out of your blood and inject it into the injured part of your body). Prolo’s main goal is to irritate the affected area of your body to encourage your own immune system to heal the area. A needle is used and is filled with an “irritant” of dextrose and other stuff. In my case, much of my knee pain was because I had such bad atrophied muscle. However, we could not get the pain and irritation down enough for me to exercise or walk; the tendon, itself, was quite irritated and swollen, and the pain was made irrational by the abnormal pain processing that I had developed. As soon as we did one round of prolotherapy, I noticed a large improvement. Prolo is also very natural, and non-invasive. I often felt the effects about 3 days after, with a bit of increased pain, but nothing I couldn’t handle. Prolo allowed my knee to heal enough that I could fix the musculo-skeletal problems that caused my overuse injury in the first place. Important things were glut activation and strengthening, and just getting enough muscle so that my leg was supported again. I’ve heard some interesting “takes” on prolotherapy from people who aren’t very experienced in the area, so as someone who has experienced it personally, I thought I would spread some info! It’s pretty dang cool.
I’ve been quite happy and busy this Fall, however, I have to be honest when I say that the US presidential election prompted in me one of the greatest sadnesses i’ve felt in a long time. To feel so powerless is scary. To feel like the rights of women and minorities will be crushed under the weight of Donald Trump and Mike Pence is scary. The whole thing is upsetting, uncomfortable and makes me want to curl up in bed and never watch the news again. People ask me why I care so much about politics, especially US politics. It could be because some of my best friends live in the Southern states, and I had a passionate democrat for a roommate for a year, but it’s also because I believe politics reflects our values. Politics reflects our principles and what we believe in. I have been ready for HRC since ’08, and I so thought she would win, the loss that I, and MANY feel, is palpable and all consuming. Also, the way America votes reflects global trends, and also North American ones. We consume so many products and so much media from the states that we are affected no matter what.
The day after the election, I saw many people, especially young women, sobbing at school. I also saw the internet blow up, with the liberal media and most of my friends outraged. I asked myself how to handle the anger online. Who do we blame for this devastating loss? James Comey? The Electoral College? Mysogny? Racism? White Men? Anthony Weiner? Trump? Hillary, herself? There are many reasons why our goddess HRC lost the election, and I came to the conclusion that blame and finger pointing only worsens our anger and hatred. Blame is not classy. So I distanced myself from the media, Facebook, and all the political commentators I followed intensely for the past year. I sincerely believe that our job now is to hold our loved ones tight, and remember and fight for our shared values. If this election is anything, it is a reminder that the liberal and loving causes most of us believe in still need us. Our beliefs, like women’s rights over our own bodies, religious and ethnic freedoms, social security, and climate change ARE important. We are just gonna have to work a little harder. 🙂 ALSO, I will never support Donald Trump, and I will never ever respect him, but I will get on with my life. I will hold my values close to my heart and fight for them for as long as I can. Remember WHO you are in these tough times, who you love, and what you need to protect and fight for. As Obama said: “Don’t boo, vote!”; don’t rant and rave against what happened- move on and do something. Also, special thanks to one of my oldest friends Lauren who spent election night with me. Thanks girl, I wouldn’t have gotten through it without you.
To alleviate my election depression, as well as life stress, of course, I bake! This fall I have made an incredible coffee cake, as well as an amazing butter pumpkin loaf. Both recipes are from the New York Times cooking, and are worth making yourself.
This pumpkin loaf is moist and sweet. It uses brown butter, which enhances the buttery flavour and texture, as well as maple syrup, warming spices, and pumpkin. You can also make the recipe with half whole wheat if you want it healthier! The recipe is for muffins, but I bake it in a loaf tin and for about double the time.
As always, I have been doing some intense self reflection over the past couple months. I have also been able to give myself credit for some of the hard work i’ve done. I am a die hard perfectionist, and because of that, am very hard on myself. I have been working on self-compassion, lately, which is incredible fulfilling. An amazing podcast hit me right in the feels on the exact right day a couple of months ago. In the podcast, dietician Christy Harrison speaks to wellness guru and therapist Megan Bruneau (Vancouver girl!). As someone who has struggled with the relationship between food and exercise, and finding the right balance, it was enlightening. I couldn’t believe how much I resonated with Megan, and Christy!
I have also been reading many many articles. This one, on the importance of alone time, hit me hard. As anyone who has ever dated me knows…I need my alone time. As a kid, I wouldn’t be able to have a sleepover with a friend and then hang out with them the next day. I needed space to recharge and refuel. I am an extrovert, but also have introverted qualities. I love the energy other people bring into my life, and how their spirits excite me; however, I also need time with myself to reflect and rest. I sincerely believe that our relationship with ourselves is the most important one we have. We must foster, nurture it, and give ourselves what we need. It may be tempting, especially in our early 20’s, to feel the need to go out every night and do and be anything. It’s important, however, to have down time, especially for some personality types.
ENJOY Fall, look forward to Christmas, and play safe!! Honour yourself 🙂