All posts in Kellie Boyle

Fitting It In

by Kellie Boyle

Many adults come to counseling telling me they are aware of the importance of exercise but fitting it into their hectic schedule of a full-time job, kids, kids’ practices and extracurricular events plus commute time is nearly impossible. Other adults can find the time; however, the thought of exercise sounds miserable and the absolute last thing they want to be doing. I’ve had a few tips for them, that I’d like to also share with you.

Don’t call it exercise. If you are telling yourself you have to make time to exercise or go to the gym, when you are someone who dreads the so-called ‘gym’ or the word ‘exercise’, this will be much harder for you. It’s like telling yourself you must eat your broccoli tonight. Call it whatever you want to call it: “Heart work” “stress relief” “power hour”, heck, you could call it “boys night” if you want. Many people cringe when they think about stepping inside of a gym or the thought of stepping on a treadmill. It’s simpler than you have imagined; you don’t have to do either to exercise. Exercise can be putting on some music in your basement and dancing while you pick up all of your kids’ toys, it can be a walk around the neighborhood with your husband after dinner, it can be throwing the Frisbee with your dog, hiking to a beautiful waterfall, or even running down the sidelines as you coach your daughter’s soccer game. Are you someone who once enjoyed contact sports? Go join a rec league basketball team or a fun kickball team. Bottom line, be creative. There are several ways you can get exercise without stepping foot inside a gym.

Work it in with chores or parenting. Ok, so your kids and spouse may think you are strange if they see you doing jumping jacks in the middle of the hallway, but if you’ve got 2 minutes, you’ve got 2 minutes. If you are picking your kid up out of the crib, do a squat before you reach in and then after with your kid in your arms. Make silly faces at them each time you do a push up as they are practicing tummy time. Play hide and go seek with your kids. And really hide and really bend and stretch to get into those close corners. Make excuses to walk up and down your stairs, whether it’s carrying one laundry load at a time, or checking in on your teenager who hasn’t come out of their room in 4 hours. Incorporating your kids into these activities can be a great way to introduce them to healthy living also. Pets are other good excuses for exercise.

No matter where you are, you can almost always think of a way to exercise. Beach? Take a walk on the beach before you reach for that 4th Corona or bring out the boogie board you haven’t used in years. Just lugging around sand and water from the shore to the sandcastle is exercise. Work trip? Take the stairs. Most hotels these days have gyms and pools. Can’t do an hour workout? Do 15 minutes at a higher intensity. Or your normal intensity. It’s better than nothing at all.

I’ve seen people who absolutely despised exercise earlier in life become much more involved in their health and fitness because they have been able to find something that they really enjoy. Dance classes, yoga, even bowling can be a form of exercise. You could even get that purple jumpsuit Jesus wears in “The Big Lebowski.” (Major bonus points from your 5-year old, not so much from your 12-year old).

To summarize, if you can find something you enjoy doing or you can find some sort of activity that gets your heart rate up, even if it is not your typical type of exercise, it will be less of a chore and challenge for you. Start small, don’t beat yourself up if you skip, and go for that gold.

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Luck

 

Luck
by Kellie Boyle

Luck is an interesting topic. There are different beliefs about what luck is and if it really exists. What is your belief in luck? Do you believe it is something that happens? Or do you believe it is something you create? Or maybe a little bit of both?

I will never forget a day I had working in vocational rehab. I took a young client of mine in for an interview at Target. The client sat through a series of questions (which were pretty standard) and towards the end of the interview, the Hiring Manager asked him the question: “Do you believe in luck?”. My client answered the question with no hesitation. It’s like he had thought this exact question through before. He explained that while he believes there is situational luck; for example, finding a dollar bill on the ground, he also believes that most types of luck do not happen by chance, and went further on to explain his reasoning. Sitting there, I was amazed at how sharp his answer was and thought to myself, how would I answer that question? The Interviewer was clearly impressed with his answer as well. He went on to explain his own belief in luck and why he thought the client had a creative, positive outlook on the subject. The interviewer explained that he does not believe in luck by chance, but he believes that you put yourself into a situation to become lucky. Let me break it down a bit…

What he meant by that is working hard and taking opportunities is allowing yourself to be put in a situation where you do become lucky because of the choices you made along the way. Sitting around hoping and wishing that you will one day catch a break and get lucky is unlikely to happen if you’re not putting your best foot forward. I like this idea about “creating your own luck” because it makes you think about things you could be doing to further yourself and put yourself in a better position. Did Lebron James get lucky by being tall and athletically talented? Sure, he had it in the cards for him, but there was also a lot of hustle, blood, sweat and tears along the way that got him to the point where now one would deem him lucky.

You could argue that not everyone was dealt the best hand of cards, but then again, how can you make the best out of the cards you were dealt? A lot of what is thought of as unlucky could also be spun into a positive outlook. “I hit every red light home from work today” could be turned into “I had more time than usual today to stop and look at the clouds and blue sky around me as I drove home”.

At times, you may even have to redefine luck. Luck may be to one person having good health, whereas, to another, it may be winning the lottery. Whatever your form of luck is, think about how it could change depending on your choices. Good luck 😊

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Running As My Therapy

Running as My Therapy

By Kellie Boyle

 

“Run like the Wind Blows”. A headline I chose, as a yearbook contributor, to use when writing an article for my track team back in high school. Back then, I was much less interested in long distance running and the idea of running for pleasure or to stay healthy did not quite make sense.  Sprinting and high contact sports made much more logical sense to me. I would have never believed if you told me then years later, I would become to love long distance running and actually and willingly participate for relaxation.

I first noticed the benefit of exercise and running when I took my first job out of undergrad. I was working at a day treatment center for kids with emotional and behavioral disorders. I loved my job but as most people who have worked in the mental health field know, it can definitely take a toll on you emotionally and physically. I started running two miles on the treadmill. Before that, I was never challenged or asked to run more than that, but for some reason I thought let’s make it a goal to run 3 miles. Running gave me strength and power and a feeling of sensation I never expected to get. It was so readily available. All I needed was a pair of shoes and a hair tie. I quickly saw the results and was at the gym religiously for at least 3-4 days a week. It was part of my routine, and it worked better for me as therapy then sleeping in or sitting around the house watching TV.

Not long after moving to Charlotte, NC to attend grad school, I took advantage of the warmer weather and started running outside much more frequently. There was a beautiful trail that went around a lake that was close by to my apartment. I loved that trail because I knew it was 1.5 miles long exactly. It was then that I got a call from my best friend stating a friend of hers was planning to run the Country Music Half Marathon in Nashville. Um, a road trip to Nashville? Of course I’m in! Okay, so what turned out to be me wanting to go to Nashville for the weekend ended up me becoming a marathon junkie. I started training immediately. I was finishing up my spring semester as race time approached. I stuck to a very strict schedule of wake up at 6:00am, go to internship all day until 2pm. Go to work, go to class, and rarely got home while it was still light out. Running was fit anywhere in between and mostly long runs were saved for the weekends. People would say to me “great for you, but I don’t have time for it”. Well, I have just as much time as they did, but I made the time because it was part of my routine to stay healthy and happy. Much like eating and sleeping (which everyone makes time for), we make these priorities because we all know we need these to survive. To me, running, or some form of exercise was just as important. It releases endorphins in our brains that make us happy, it releases the stress, anger and pressure of everything we have to get done and it allows us to push that negativity out of our body. It allows us to get fresh air, doze off into space, daydream, use mindfulness to notice the beauty of nature; the sights and sounds, the sunlight and cold breeze touching our face.

So, after a 7.5 hour drive to Nashville, I arrived the day before race day ready to pick up my packet and walk around Music City. Little did I know this half marathon happening tomorrow would change my life forever. On race day, I woke up and it was raining. I borrowed a friend’s hat to keep the water out of my face. (I can run in anything but I hate strongly dislike running in rain with water splashing my eyeballs). I started the race solo, but ended up running into a childhood friend who happened to be doing the race,  around mile 2. We completed the rest of the race together, enjoying for each of us our first half marathon, seeing the sites of downtown Nash, experiencing bands of country and rock at every mile, while catching up along the way. The thrill of crossing the finish line was so unbelievable. My favorite part of the entire race is the last sprint down to the finish line. So many spectators lined up cheering, ringing cow bells, it’s like your 15 seconds of fame each time coming down that chute. I felt so good, and proud of myself. I also earned my right to hang out and relax, eat and drink whatever I wanted the rest of the day.

I love to travel, and so shortly after crossing that finish line I said to myself “I am going to make it a goal to run a half marathon in every state”. I said this in April 2008. I told this idea to many people when asking about my first experience in Nashville. I got the impression from most of them as they just nodded their head and thought “sure” not thinking it was likely I would actually achieve the goal. And I haven’t yet, but I’m sure on my way. Never let anyone make you believe you can’t do something. Because you can. The sky is the limit. Almost 9 years later, I have now completed 2 full marathons, and 30 half marathons. Thirty-one of those races have been in the states, and one was running the Authentic Marathon in Athens, Greece. Running destinations below (in no particular order):

Nashville, TN

Dallas, TX

Athens, Greece

Atlanta, GA

Richmond, VA

Tucson, AZ

Charlotte, NC

Hilton Head, SC

Jacksonville, FL

New Orleans, LA

Jackson, MS

Mobile, AL

Redmond, WA

Las Vegas, NV

Oakland, CA

Kansas City, MO

Milwaukee, WI

Cincinnati, OH

Chicago, IL

Louisville, KY

Dover, DE

New Brunswick, NJ

Brooklyn, NY

Severna Park, MD

Huntington, WV

Indianapolis, IN

Chambersburg, PA

Providence, RI

Moab, UT

Dearborn, MI

Guilford, CT

If you’ve given running a shot, and it’s not your thing, that’s ok. Find something else that gives you that life, that feeling of peacefulness and hope. I’ve heard of others getting that same thrill out of arts and crafts, scrapbook making, yoga, bike riding, kayaking, hiking, soccer, knitting, and cooking. Find your niche. Believe me, once you find it you will know. And it will be a beautiful thing.

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Pay It Forward


Pay It Forward by Kellie Boyle

  • One of my all-time favorite books turned into movie is Pay It Forward. If you’re not familiar with the story, it’s about a young boy who is given a school assignment to come up with a plan of how to change the world. The young boy comes up with an action plan and calls it “pay it forward”. Sounds like a complicated task for an 11-year old, but it appeared that his idea had very little complexity at all. The idea was to do a good deed unasked for 3 strangers and in return ask the strangers to pay it forward to three folks they run across. Then those strangers are told the same thing, and so on and so on, so the notion spreads. I love it because the message is so simple. Doing a good deed is something anyone on this planet can do, you don’t have to have much creativity at all.Sharing kindness can have the same rapid effect that sharing rudeness and anger has. It’s like a domino effect. If it’s so easy to be angry can’t it also be so easy to be kind? If you are having trouble with the concept, think about a time a stranger or friend or family member did something for you- out of the blue, unexpected, or out of the ordinary. In a previous job, I worked at an office with the most pleasant and cheerful Receptionist. I would be going through a very stressful day, and the attitude that this receptionist exhibited- either through a nice email or phone call would literally change my mood for the rest of the day. Her cheerfulness and joy made me stop and think about how genuinely she comes across to everyone that calls in the office or greets her at her desk. It made me feel silly for all the reasons I was upset about whatever was causing me strife that day.Can you remember a time someone had that effect on you? Chances are you felt appreciated and it made you feel good about yourself. Well guess what, you can also feel good about yourself by having that same effect on others. You should try it! And I’ll even give you some ideas. Here are a list of pay it forward activities you can participate in. Remember folks, this is out of thoughtfulness and awareness. You don’t have to have lots of money or time, but you do have to have a heart. Let’s keep the task simple and light. Now more than ever, is a time where we can practice to pay it forward. There is nothing bad that can come out of this, only good.
  • Bake cookies for a neighbor who happens to put up with your dog barking throughout the night.
  • Keep a box of granola bars in your car and hand out to homeless people as you see them at intersections.
  • When you’re at the checkout line, look up from your phone, notice something about the person in front of you and give them a compliment.
  • Send a nice thank you note to school with your child to give to a teacher who has helped him throughout the year.
  • Volunteer a few hours at a local soup kitchen.
  • Sit next to and have lunch with that elderly man who is always at McDonalds having breakfast by himself.
  • Make an extra stop on the way to work to buy your secretary her favorite coffee.
  • Give someone walking through the rain your umbrella.
  • Pull over on the side of the road next time you see someone stranded to see how you can help.
  • Smile at a stranger and tell them you hope they have a wonderful day.
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