How to avoid energy vampires

An energy vampire can be defined as a person, activity, or thing that drains you of your vital life-energy and leaves you feeling depleted, frustrated, or completely bewildered with emotions that aren’t your own, or at least weren’t yours to begin with but have been imprinted on you.

I learned this term from a dear friend of mine, Veda, in Hawaii– @laveda.ayurveda on Instagram. Being the innately spiritually attuned soul that she is, Veda informed me that the feeling I got after encountering someone particularly negative was due to energy vampirism.

A lot of the time, people don’t even realize what they’re doing when they’re being energy vampires. I know I’ve caught myself plenty of times in the midsts of ‘venting’ and realized I had to take a step back and turn to my journal instead.

But some people know very well what they’re doing and just simply don’t care.

While being compassionate is always recommended, sometimes it’s not optimal for your health to emotionally invest in other peoples’ problems–especially those you don’t even know!

The most obvious cases of energy vampirism have happened to me by complete and utter strangers. You know, those people who scan a room and approach anyone who happens to look even remotely in their direction– zero in on them, and immediately talk at them.

If this has happened to you then you know that in these types of situations the vampire has no interest in what you could possibly contribute to the conversation, even if they feign it for a moment or two, the conversation always shifts backs to them and their needs.

Photo by Vera Arsic on Pexels.com

Social media can also be an energy-sucker. So can certain activities that simply don’t serve you, your goals, or add any value to your life and even worse– steal away your time, energy, or money.

Recently I was listening to a From the Heart podcast (@yoga_girl) where Rachel Brathen was explaining how after one of her spiritual awakenings earlier in her life she used to absolutely refuse to take part in any small talk that didn’t serve her and would simply tell the person who was trying to engage with her, “This really isn’t resonating with me. I have to go.” And she would walk away abruptly.

She pokes fun at herself and admits that she wishes she wasn’t so abrasive. While Rachel’s method is certainly one way to avoid energy-sucking activities and people, there are other, more subtle methods to releasing yourself from the bondage of these vitality guzzlers.

  1. Fill your time and space with things that DO add value to your life.
  2. Set boundaries. Decide for yourself how long you’re going to give your time and energy to something whether that be Instagram, the stranger on the street who is telling you his life story, or a work project. Once the timer in your head is up– kindly move on.
  3. Allow yourself to say NO. And don’t feel obliged to give any explanation whatsoever. Your time is your own– you don’t have to justify how you spend it to anyone.
  4. Smile and walk away. This one is my favorite. If you feel frustrated and can’t find the words to express yourself– don’t fumble over and over in your head with an appropriate exit strategy. Just keep it simple and remove yourself from the discomfort, giving yourself time to recenter and then return to the project, conversation, or activity when you’re good and ready–or don’t.
  5. Recognize when you are the energy vampire. Often times we steal away our own energy by not setting proper boundaries– or we suck the energy of others by venting feverishly to no avail simply because we aren’t aware and haven’t devised a proper outlet for our feelings.

In our society it’s hard to recognize these things, so be gentle with yourself.

I mean, it’s not like we are taught in school, or university even, how to sit with our feelings and manage them properly (aside from the occasional liberal arts elective). So don’t be harsh with yourself , or others for that matter.

And when it doubt– smile and walk away :).

Be well xx.

Sleep hygiene

Have you heard of sleep hygiene?

It’s a hot topic in health right now. There are countless threads on quora detailing the best practices in sleep hygiene.

In essence, it’s how to develop a routine that enable you to have a proper night’s sleep.

Lately I’ve been struggling with sleeping the full 8 hours that is touted as the ideal amount of sleep your brain needs to function properly. So, I’ve done my own research into sleep hygiene. It’s something I’ve been interested in for a while and used to be very on top of in my own life. But alas, when life gets hectic, our routines become compromised.

Yesterday morning when I awoke to sleep stats that read 4 hours 2 minutes, I was appalled.

Thus beginning my efforts to change the dynamic of my space in hopes that it would be more sleep friendly environment.

I started by cleaning my room, from top to bottom! That meant from the cobwebbed corners of my ceiling to the faint forgotten dust behind my bed.

Did you know that our walls can hold unpleasant toxins and odors?

I used a wet rag soaked in vinegar on a yard stick to reach the far up corners of my ceiling and rubbed all the way down to the dark crevasses in the four corners of my room.

I put my comforter and sheets in the wash and proceeded to wipe up any dust, and re-organize my space. I am always cleaning, simplifying, and throwing things away in my room because I am most productive in a space that is free of clutter and distractions. I also burned some sage and walked around my whole room, kindly asking that any energy that wasn’t conducive to relaxation or restfulness be banished out the slightly cracked window.

This past evening, I was determined to get a proper 8 hours of rest.

So, I put my charging station outside of my room, in the hallway. And even set my Fibit on my dresser so that I would feel pressure to get see positive feedback in my sleep stats the next morning. If you have a Fitbit Versa you can manually set sleep mode from your phone instead of wearing your watch while you sleep, which is what I did around 12PM.

I woke up this morning at exactly 10AM and felt SO well rested. Ergo, I’m a sleep hygiene expert now. Just kidding. But here are my tips!

Best Practices in Sleep Hygiene:

Use a humidifier – Especially in the winter when heat can dry out your sinuses. It also works well as white noise.

Make sure your room is a cool and dark – No lights, especially white light! Leave your phone and other devices charging AWAY from your bed. Use a fan, even in the winter. And get rid of any unnecessary heavy blankets.

Try earplugs – Great for anyone who is sensitive to noise, lives with roommates, or in an urban environment. Ear plugs can be a total game changer. You may not even realize your flatmate’s clinking together of pans in the morning is disrupting your sleep or that you wake up to the metro passing like clock work.

Go to bed at the same – Every night, get into a schedule of going to bed at the same time! I know this can be difficult, but try to stick to it on the weekdays.

Move in the morning – Don’t exercise too close to bedtime, this can disturb circadian rhythms. It’s great for sleep quality to move your body, but since it gives you a surge of energy, stick to a morning or afternoon workout routine. Early evening workouts shouldn’t be too disruptive either. I do know people who claim a good workout knocks them out before bed– so it really depends on the individual.

If you DO wake up in the middle of the night, try not to check your phone or any other white-light producing devices. Listen to a podcast. I recommend Rachel Brathen’s (aka @yoga_girl) From the Heart podcast. I listened to it the other day while resting and it was a beautiful way to shift into relaxation.

Try not to eat anything, and make a soothing blend of caffeine-free tea.

If you’ve been lying awake in bed for more than around 20 minutes, change your location. Take the pressure off your brain and body to fall asleep by doing something mindless.

Remember, one night of poor rest won’t throw off your whole week.

Take it in stride and don’t stress it.

There is always tomorrow.

Be well xx.

My goals for 2019

On the last day of 2018 I’m laying out my ambitions for this coming year in hopes that this post will give you some insight into your own goals and inspire you!

My intention is also to use this post as a way to keep myself accountable, since I am going on record and all.

Going off of my last post (acknowledge your victories folks) let me celebrate the fact that I’ve completed my December blog challenge!!! 21 posts in 21 days. One post for every weekday this month, woohoo. I’m so proud of myself :)!

Anyways, here it goes. My New Year’s resolutions.

1. ADHERE TO A REGULAR POSTING SCHEDULE FOR DEARFITKRIS.COM – New blogs Tuesday’s and Thursday’s.

2. OPEN UP ENROLLMENT TO ONLINE CLIENTS – with my Precision Nutrition Level 1 Certification, NASM-CPT, and plenty of personal training experience under my belt I definitely feel comfortable taking online clients into my fold. I couldn’t be more excited about this fact and I will definitely keep you posted as to when I will be accepting new clients!

3. PUBLISH MORE OF MY WRITING- I’m looking forward to publishing more for the Healthy Living series of the Record Journal and plan to submit my writing to magazines / websites this upcoming year. I will also be building my portfolio here on dearfitkris.com as I publish twice weekly :).

4. REMAIN FOCUSED ON ORGANIZATION AND FINISHING WHAT I STARTED– I’ll leave this just as it is for now and elaborate later!

5. STOP USING EXTERNAL ACCOMPLISHMENTS AS A MEASURING OF SELF-WORTH- we all do this to a degree but I find myself falling into this nasty habit more often than I should. Whenever I see how my training is progressing (or not), my grades in school, anything I really give my all to, I take the outcome to heart. Which is great when I do well, because it boosts my self-confidence. But not so great when I don’t excel because I feel so down on myself for absolutely no reason! Our external accomplishments and failures are not meant to be a measure of our value as human beings. Read that again.

6. PLAY MORE GAMES WITH MY FAMILY– I have a few specific board games I’m making it a priority to play with my nieces and nephews.

7. PLAN AN EPIC TRIP WITH THE LOVE OF MY LIFE — Gio and dearfitkris take the world! Just kidding, well sort of! We will see :)!

8. TAKE LESS PICTURES– this one sounds pretty easy, but it’s something I really need to work on. I have almost 15,000 pictures stored on my iCloud and I’m constantly deleting the blurry ones. Yes, you read that right almost 15,000 (and I’m down a couple thousand). It’s not that I need to take less pictures per se, I just want to take more MEANINGFUL ones. Taking less snapshots will also help me live more fully in the present moment. Which brings me to my next goal…

9. LIVE PRESENTLY– I’ve gotten really good at this when I’m actively trying. But I want this mindset to become my innate way of being. Those who know me, know that I am constantly expressing how I feel, telling those close to me all the ways I love the little mannerisms that are integral to who they are, appreciating the small things like morning coffee dates, and when my cat is extra cuddly; stopping mid-run to admire the sunset, taking deep breathes and feeling the stillness of a fleeting moment where I feel entirely calm–like for one single second the whole world and all the powers that be are completely at ease with me.

10. SPEND LESS TIME BEHIND A SCREEN– I used to be a behind-the-screen-fiend. Especially when I was in undergrad, had countless essay assignments, and discovered the beauty of Netflix. Although I’ve improved drastically since then, I still want to make an effort to put my phone away more and stop mindlessly scrolling through Instagram (the only social media platform I regularly use). If you want to keep up with me regularly make sure to visit my blog every Tuesday and Thursday as I will be giving my refresh-feed thumb a bit of a break — for now!

Well, I’m going to get a jump start on #10 and sign off for the year!

You caught that, did you? I know nothing gets by you ;).

Well 2018, you’ve truly been a blast.

But in true Ariana-thank u, next-fashion I’m going to welcome this upcoming year with open arms.

Look out 2019, there are big things ahead for dearfitkris.

Be well xx.

How to set goals that will set you up for success

It’s almost New Year’s and that means your timelines will be absolutely flooded with proclamations of resolutions. Which is exciting! But, it also makes you wonder how people plan to achieve these lofty goals in 2019.

Are they going in blind? Fueled purely by New Years-esque inspiration? Or do they have a set plan detailing the methodology of how they’re going to get from point A to point B?

The general trend in goal setting seems to prioritize outcome based goals. After all, they are much more overtly glamorous and bold than their behavioral goal predecessors, (you need behavior changes to take place to get you to that fancy outcome you’ve dreamed of all 2018).

I know what you’re thinking, what’s she babbling on about? I thought goals were goals– what gives?

Well my friends, I will tell you!

There are different types of goals:

1. Outcome based goals- often times objective, numerically based, and not within your direct control

2. Behavior goals- focus on, changing or forming habits, carrying out actions that you can take regularly in order to progress you to your big picture goals

In my loose definitions I tried not to use either of the root words within the terms. But, they’re pretty self-explanatory.

Outcome based goals focus on an outcome (duh Kris). An example of this would be setting a specific weight in pounds as your goal, or measurements of waist, hips, etc. in inches.

Whereas a behavioral goal would be to eat a serving of vegetables every morning at breakfast. It’s something that you have direct control over right now.

Your behavioral goal (combined with a few others centered around developing a well-balanced diet and exercise regime) of eating more veggies would likely get you to your outcome based goal of losing weight.

I suggest setting BOTH types of these goals. Identify your big picture dreams and make a road map of how you’re going to get there by STARTING SMALL!

Avoid the all too common pitfall of heading into 2019 hard, declaring you’re going all natural everything and working out 7 days a week.

Woah– slow down there! Ambition is a beautiful thing, but don’t set yourself up for failure.

An all or nothing mentality is sure to have you feeling defeated before you’ve even had a chance to show yourself just what you’re made of.

Identifying what you want your life to look like next year might require a little soul searching, so I highly recommend you check out a post of mine where I explore my priorities by answering a few questions. In this post linked above, I talk a little bit about my struggles and triumphs academically which also reflect my personal growth.

Your goals for 2019 don’t have to be fitness oriented. In fact, you should have a wide array of goals that enhance all faucets of your life.

When it comes to goals in the fitness realm it’s especially important to focus on behavior changes and performance progressions.

It’s easy to get upset when you don’t see the number on the scale going down (or up, depending). If you’re tracking your workouts and increasing in weights, that’s a win! Make sure you give yourself credit for your impressive progressive overloads. Or maybe you shaved a couple minutes off your marathon time— woah, gold star!

Rewarding ourselves when we accomplish what we set out to do is just as important as setting the flashy goals!

Don’t just let the day that you deadlift 200+lbs (or whatever you’re working towards) go by like any other! NO– celebrate that achievement! Treat yourself, share it on social media, tell a friend who has been spotting your from the very beginning.

Make sure you acknowledge your victories properly.

You are amazing, your goals matter, and you will make them happen in good time. Don’t get down on yourself when you slip up or get “off track” –whatever that means!

I’m rooting for you.

Now go create some detailed goals to carry out in 2019. I can’t wait to see you absolutely crush them.

Be well xx.

New Year’s challenge

Hey all, it’s Thursday (Friday Jr.) and I figure everyone is still reeling from the holiday festivities, so I’ll keep this post simple.

Every week next year write down something that was great, made you proud of yourself, made you happy, or some spare morsel of insight. Fold these piece of paper up and keep them safe in a giant mason jar, or box.

This time next year you will have an entire collection of amazing things that made your 2019.

It will feel SO GOOD to see all the positive aspects of your life and have something physical to show for everything you’ve learned.

I do this through journaling regularly, but I figure it’s more attainable to ask for weekly pieces of joy.

Set yourself up with papers and a jar so you can begin on Monday :)!

Lifting weights won’t make you look like a bodybuilder

As a trainer, as someone in the gym a lot, and as a bodybuilder myself, I constantly hear the phrase “I don’t want to lift weights because I’m not trying to look like a bodybuilder.”

Women, specifically, ask me for workouts that are tough–but not too tough.

They fear getting “bulky” and “manly.” These women clients typically describe their ideal body as “toned.” Not all women have this same ideal though.

But the one’s whose fears I’m trying to quell with this post usually think muscles are synonymous with men and are for men, and men alone to have.

Our westernized culture assimilates muscularity with masculinity, but I know plenty of scrawny men– that’s an aside. But it’s important to note, because muscularity is also a characteristic of ideal femininity, in my opinion.

Everyone is entitled to have their bodies look how they want them to!

As the famous saying goes:

“Beauty is in the eye of the beholder” – Margaret Wolfe Hungerford

But for those of you who are worried about looking like a bodybuilder (I can earnestly say no offense taken here, I love my bodybuilder body) or who know someone who is afraid of looking too muscular, read on!

Here are some straight #facts to ease your mind.

1. In order to gain muscle in a manner that would make you appear to be larger than you typically are, you would have to be in a caloric surplus while also consuming 1-1.5 grams of protein per pound of lean body mass, AND implement a strenuous resistance training regime specifically designed to increase your muscle mass. Most causal gym goers don’t meet all of these criteria.

2. Bodybuilders typically utilize hypertrophy workouts which are designed to increase muscle size and not necessarily muscle strength. Usually these workouts aren’t consistent with powerlifting style training routines that result in the formation of hefty dense muscles mass (woo, go powerlifters). But that’s not to say bodybuilders don’t also lift very heavy! This was just the style of training typical to my class of bodybuilding (Bikini) which is the lowest level of muscularity along with the typical high levels of conditioning found in bodybuilding to show off lean muscle.

3. You’re not on a 5 by 5. Aka you’re not hitting Personal Records (PRs) or maxing out sets until failure. Chances are, you’re not upping weight every set until your physically unable to lift it. This is the typical style of training I recommend, as a trainer, to those who are looking to build mass.

4. Without dieting down you will never accidentally become as lean, conditioned, or vascular as a professional bodybuilder. It takes weeks for bodybuilders to prepare for shows, anywhere from 10-20 (a typical prep is usually 12-16 weeks). Some competitors spend YEARS building muscle in between seasons. Competition style preparation requires that your body fat levels reach extreme lows. This is why the muscles that these athletes showcase POP so much on stage and appear cartoonish (the tan also helps)!

I hope you can now rest assured there is no amount of typical gym training, Zumba, or barre classes that will have your body completely transform before your eyes without consistent effort and the specific intention for it to.

Implementing a resistance training program is absolutely essential to building a body that can DO THE THINGS YOU LOVE and feel STRONG!

I always tell my clients, the more muscle you have the more efficient your body is at burning fat.

Seriously, this post isn’t tongue in cheek (albeit, a bit sarcastic at times but what blog post of mine isn’t?)! You’re not going to look bulky by weight lifting.

It always saddens me to see this misconception hinder peoples’ success in the gym and prevent them from reaching their body composition goals.

Don’t fall into this trap. Get the facts, research a routine, and feel free to contact me: kdearborn@rocketmail.com with all your fitness inquires, or find me on Instagram @dearfitkris. I would be happy to formulate a training program specific to YOUR needs!

Be well xx.

Finish the year strong

Okay so first off, forgive yourself for all the Christmas cookies you inevitably ate today and stop talking about how you “need” to start a diet.

Be gentle with yourself and let your mind and body readjust from the holiday festivities back to normal life.

Don’t be in a rush to make New Years Eve plans.

Let yourself breath a little.

If you don’t have some swanky party to go to for New Years that doesn’t mean your 2019 isn’t about to be insanely successful.

Finish out 2018 strong by prioritizing yourself.

Think about it, you just spent the past couple weeks brainstorming the best way to make the holidays a special time for your loved ones, purchasing gifts, making time for family parties, and finishing those work projects before their respective deadlines.

Now it’s time to focus on YOU.

If you’re introverted, you might find yourself needing more time at home with a good book to recharge. Or, as an extrovert, you might want to spend time with close friends to feel inspired.

Remove any added stressors in your life.

Has scrolling through Instagram got you feeling down or overwhelmed lately? Delete the app.

You can always re-download social media once you’ve centered yourself.

This also goes for certain people, and places that bring about unwanted feelings or simply don’t produce joy in your life–you can do without them.

Your time and mental energy are best spent on activities that bring you the most fulfillment.

Once you rid yourself of mental clutter, move on to your physical space.

Throw away, give away, or re-purpose the things that have been cluttering up your house, car, and office.

Get a new calendar and start marking down important dates, doctors appointments, pre-determined self-care days, and make it pretty!

It’s fun to plan and it helps to reduce stress.

Remember, you don’t have to prove that you’ve evolved in 2018 and that 2019 is going to be the year you pay off all your debt, start that business you’ve been dreaming of, become the political figure head of a small country etc.

You’ve accomplished so many great things these past 12 months, and no doubt you will in the preceding 12 months. But don’t feel like you need everything to happen for you all at once.

And don’t think that it won’t all happen eventually, because it will!

In good time, all good things take time.

Be well xx.