10 Years and 1 Habit

 

My 15 year old told me yesterday that she didn’t want to play her (first ever) tennis match today and that she was considering telling her coach that she wouldn’t be able to do it because she needed to pack for our upcoming move. When I shook my head with a smirk, she then asked me how bad the rain was going to be and if I thought the courts would be too wet to play. When I showed her the sunny afternoon forecast, she dropped her head in defeat. She continued, “Maybeeeeeeeee I could just …”. We laughed and I reminded her that showing up may not feel good and it may not even go well—or maybe it will—but that she’ll feel whole and congruent afterwards no matter what. I said, “You’ll match your insides and your outsides.” She agreed and also said that I was “cringey”. 

 

I get this entirely. I get the art of negotiating the stuff to which we’ve said Yes and even the stuff that is actually healthy for us, good for us. In fact, I will sheepishly admit that I spent most of my life before turning 40 doing that. Everything was negotiable. And flaking out of something always felt good and true. In fact, a lot of times, I would feel like I was standing up for myself and my true wants. BUT BUT BUT. I always ended up feeling regret later. Always. At least with the stuff that mattered and the stuff that I actually had capacity to do. 

 

For me, this has to do with two things: Neurodivergence and worth. I get overwhelmed with “normal” life things that will be overstimulating only to me and then I get embarrassed and then I sign up for the thing anyways because I don’t want to be that person. And then, at the last minute, my nervous system has a giant freak out and the only option left is to just excuse myself from the thing, aka flake out. As for how this relates to worth, the more I do the above, the more I think that it doesn’t matter if I show up or not. And this then creates a vicious cycle for me in which the excuses feed shame and shame feeds excuses. 

 

I’m not sure what your experience here is, but I am sure you can relate in some small ways, maybe particularly in the area of wellness and self preservation. For me, I was this way with exercise for so long. I would flake out or never start or set up inevitably impossible goals. It was just a giant failure to launch, framed inside lots of hopes and ideas for how to move my body, how to feel vital, how to experience physical adventure, how to feel powerful, etc. And I just always bailed out. Always.

 

This is actually the underpinning of the Daily 15 in MommaStrong, funny enough. It came from a deep, mostly unconscious, drive to create something that I would actually do every day AND to create some requirements around it that made it basically impossible for me to not show up. And I think I must have known that it needed to be short, different every day, pain relieving, anti-fitness, zero unitards, zero-ish equipment, no shoes or bra needed … and my actual job in order for it to stick. 

 

And here we are, ten years later. TEN YEARS. Ten years. Ten years. Thousands of Daily 15s filmed. A daily-ish habit that no longer gets tossed around in my head as a maybe, but more of a fine I’ll do it. It’s changed my life, if I’m honest. It’s been here with me through two divorces, getting sober, surviving major life and business hurdles, countless moves (omg), the birth of my third kid, a friggin global pandemic, and everything in between. And while my body has healed and my strength has integrated … beyond that, I have learned to stay true to me in this process and I have learned that exercise is probably my number #1 tool for my mental health. I have become embodied. 

 

I just got chills thinking about this. I couldn’t have done this by just willing myself into the behavior or by reading enough self help books. There was no magic switch waiting in my brain that would then launch me here. It happened because I changed the way I set up my goals and I changed the way I was going to pursue a habit. I didn’t know I was doing it at the time. I didn’t know I was being rebellious in relation to all the health/fitness industry teaches us about motivation. I just was, well, maybe a little desperate and over it. 

 

The lessons here for me are that what we think about motivation and what we’ve been taught about habits aren’t always true for all of us. What is true for ALL of us is that habits stick when they are true to you and when they honor where you have been and where you are now. When they match your insides and your outsides. When they help you in the ways that matter. AND when they allow you to be human.

 

I could have never ever ever ever imagined that I’d be here today, reporting back after ten years. I’ve learned that I’m not a bad shower-upper. I’m actually a pretty awesome one. I just hadn’t set my own terms. And now I have. And now I have a contract with showing up for exercise that has extended into how I show up in life. I don’t flake out even when I want to, even when my mind has one bazillion valid excuses. I do it anyways, as long as it all matches. As a result, I feel what we all want to feel when moving towards health: I feel good about me. I feel sturdy in my integrity. I feel resilient. I just … can feel. 

 

I feel.

 

That’s a weird word when you type it a lot, FYI.

 

OK, good news for you is that the month of April in MommaStrong is dedicated to the art of habits that stick with a month-long challenge called Streaking. Yes, Streaking. You will learn how to show up consistently for yourself ON YOUR TERMS. And you will laugh. You will attempt daily-ish workouts. You will hear about whether or not you should clean your sheets more than once a year. You will hear about how exercise can change your life, if and only if it’s doable regularly. You know, we cover it all and we help you be human and also show up. 

 

Join us starting Monday, April 4th. Register today (it’s a free part of your membership). You can do that as a current member by logging in to your account and then clicking Challenges in the teal navigation menu. OR, if you are not yet a member, voila, perfect time to get started. Simply sign up for your 14-day free trial and follow those instructions above. 

 

That’s it. Tadaah. Now to go convince myself to do a D15. 😉

A Different Kind of Triathlon

 

I signed up for a triathlon recently. It was late at night. I had been texting with a friend and she was joining me in the fierce determination I had been feeling to fight for something, get gritty, move my body, and—oh yeah—get the eff out of the house and my bubble. And so I googled “soonest and nearest triathlons” and found one coming up and then signed up. I even found an app to help track how to train for it and signed up for that. 

 

Let’s rewind the tape here. Hahahaha. I’m currently averaging maybe at most 5 hours of sleep a night. I most often forget to eat three meals a day and end up eating who knows what on the run. I have exactly 30 minutes of alone time each week. And, yeah, the last time I rode a bike was when I was still drinking and I borrowed a friend’s wheels in order to get home safely. Not exactly competitive biking if you know what I mean. AND OH YEAH, I need to learn how to swim laps.

 

So. 

 

Listen, I get it. I was an incredibly athletic kid. I did all the sports, all the things. Movement and pushing my body were things that most certainly served as my life raft in the wild rivers of Growing Up. And I feel so far away from that part of me. The part of me that was a professional dancer, who defined herself as an elite athlete. And this is probably why I signed up for that triathlon. I want that part of me back.

 

I want it back. 

 

Whew. There’s a deep mothering breath in the aftermath of that statement that quivers at first and then ushers in relief. One that is attached to wisdom that rubs my back and wraps a blanket around me. One that says, this makes sense. These feelings belong. It’s going to be ok. It’s also a part of the wise self that knows that before a triathlon, before reclaiming this type of movement and life force, I need to build myself back up. 

 

That is a hard pill to swallow, isn’t it? I want to just pummel my way into health and vitality. I was to rip the bandaid off and wake up early each day and make lunches without panic and feel solid, substantial, calm, strong, ready, powerful. I want to cross a finish line that has nothing to do with dinner and bedtimes and homework and soothing the big feelings of growing humans. I want that verve back. My body’s edges and boundaries. My body’s agility and ability. My body’s autonomy. My body’s safety. My body’s lovely, soft collapse after a long day of conscious and wanted productivity. 

 

I want it back.

 

And this is ok. This does make sense. We are all pulling out of such a long ordeal and now facing new strife, all of which has tapped our individual and collective reserves more than we could have ever expected. This is why we have all moved from languishing to paralysis. We just don’t know how to begin again now. We wonder if we want to. We wonder what will happen in a couple of months if we do. We wonder if we will be hurt again by hope. We wonder if there’s room left for us to take up space and take back space. We wonder if our kids are ok. We wonder we wonder we wonder. 

 

This month, while I watch the daily emails of my triathlon training come and go and I ignore another notification about making sure I recover after my imaginary swim practice, I’m going to redirect these feelings to really knowing myself. Where I am right now. What I need right now. What my tendencies are in these moments of paralysis and wanting. What I can do to begin to build myself up rather than conquer myself and my reality.

 

This is what I know about me right now. I need to build myself up. I need to move away from my tendency to want to disappear when stuff has been hard and heavy for too long. The wild part of this is that the actions of building myself up by going to bed earlier, finding quiet time without distraction, eating three meals a day, and making time to connect with my friends in person … these actions will all take the sort of heroic effort that I associated with the triathlon. It’s not as sexy or endorphin releasing, but it is the truth. It is going to take dedicated retraining and dedicated action.

 

So. Yeah. This is where I am. This is me, knowing myself right now.

 

I invite you to do the same with us this next month in our March Challenge: Know Yourself. We will be investigating together what our realities and our tendencies are and how those can help us move forward and begin again on our terms. You will be encouraged to do a workout a day, maybe 5 minutes or 15 minutes. Heck, we even just released a 10-day Hackathon dedicated to recovering from the pandemic. So, you could start there with 5 minutes a day. The point here is, whether you are not yet a member or a current member, you can start with us as you are right now.

 

Join us Monday, March 7th. This means you need to register as soon as possible! You can do that as a current member by logging in to your account and then clicking Challenges in the teal navigation menu. OR, if you are not yet a member, voila, perfect time to get started. Simply sign up for your 14-day free trial and follow those instructions above. 

 

I will see you there. Or here. Right here, with all of my reality and all of yours. 

Because Our Insides Match Our Outsides

 

It’s that time of year again when the world attempts to clean the slate in one area of life and one area mainly: Health. Most people will soon be inundated with new messages about the best way to undo the effects of the pandemic, to finally retrieve all that we have lost, and to just simply feel better.

 

And I get that, I really do. In fact, the last two weeks have been a profoundly fulfilling and informative chunk of time for me during a break from busy-ness. I feel an urge to grab a hold of the “me of me” and make good on promises made to myself and to my girls. I have already planned a long chat with them in which I will discuss some health and wellness changes to my daily life, with the hopes that they will follow my lead. Going to bed earlier, reading more, getting out in nature, green smoothies (always with the green smoothies), etc etc etc etc etc. 

 

This is all good and this is all warranted, yes. But, as I have been taught to do in therapy, I think it is important to “investigate the fantasy underneath” this. So, what is my fantasy, really? That I feel rested? Hmmm, maybe. That I feel more healthy? Sure, yeah. That I am a better steward of my attention span? Probably. BUT. What is the real motivation, the real hope?

 

Let’s go there. 

 

Underneath all of those good things, the truth is that my fantasy is that by doing the above things, I will become invincible to the unpredictable, out of control-ness of human existence. It’s hard to admit this, but it’s true. And it doesn’t take away the need for change in some areas of my life, but it right sizes these goals and then sets them free to just be small adjustments rather than magical buttons with magical powers. 

 

This is why here at MommaStrong, we don’t start out January with a huge resolution push. We don’t jump on the train of helping you conquer your limitations and become the best version of you. Because we care, truly madly deeply, about the long haul wellness of you. We care that you find a way to show up for yourself each day, regardless of chaos and circumstances, and return over and over to your center. And we know, from evidence-based data and from our experience in this field, that lofty shiny goals made on January 1 rarely do this.

 

So, what will you see from us instead? You will see us give you some deserved proof of why we care about you and how we care about you. This will come in the form of an entire month dedicated to all of our resources, outside of workouts and other more obvious things. We want to make sure that you aren’t just trusting us because the surface level looks great, but because our insides match our outsides. 

 

Whew. Let’s dust off the pressure to be bold and ambitious this January and instead be curious and self-preserving. And let’s do it together. Our January Challenge: MommaStrong Resources starts Monday, Jan 3rd (ahem, soon). Come slowly re-enter your workout practice with us or join us for the first time, doing small chunks of functional movement as often as you can during the challenge, while also learning how we support you in every step of the way with a ton of bonus resources and built-in support.

 

You can join us as a current member by logging in to your membership, then clicking on Challenges in the teal navigation bar. And if you are not yet a member, simply sign up for your free trial and then follow those instructions above. 

 

PS: It’s ok to pause before you launch into change.

What Worked

 

I’ve resisted writing this post, mainly because it is designed to introduce our December Challenge and I am in shock that it is December. I think I am still trying to get through the month of September. Like, wait, September has 75 days, right? Right. GOTTA GET THIS BACK TO SCHOOL THING figured out. 

 

I’ve also avoided it because of the topic, which is focused on “What Worked”. I mean is that a question or a statement? I don’t know. Haha. As I braved the keyboard in the face of this topic, I discovered that the resistance here is less about feeling negative towards “what worked” and more about becoming aware that I need to do some paleontologist level digging to find what actually worked. And, yes, this is where I imagine myself stuck in some southwestern desert, with a magnifying glass and some teeny tiny tools, dusting off some hopeful looking rocks.

 

For me and for so many people I know, the past few months (ahem years) have felt like one shoe dropping after another. I can’t tell you how many times I have heard someone mumble, I don’t know how much more I can take. I’ve even said out loud to friends, “So wait, is this normal grown up life?” I have so many questions in this vein. I mean, for real, did our parents’ generation deal with this and we as kids were just not aware or not in the loop? Is it social media? And necessary news coverage? Is it hyper accessibility? Because I don’t remember shoes dropping from the sky constantly when I was a child, even though there were traumas and stressors. And, of course, generations before us dealt with horrific things and often. So, why does this all feel like it does … constant … extra … unknown?

 

The result for me is that any “wins” from the last year have been covered over with a layer of grime formed in the fumes of endurance. Ah yes, endurance. That’s a polite reframe of survival mode, if I’m honest, but I think it’s a worthy one. We all have endured and we continue to endure. We know that we’re not out of the woods, that nothing will be like it once was, and that our basic safety structures are no longer what they used to be. This means that our new framework for life is now enmeshed mostly in how we get through the unpredictable, rather than “when this is over” or “when things are normal again”.

 

I suppose this is where wise people and thinkers come in. The ones that teach the idea that our expectations of ease are actually the real causes of misery. They remind us that life is more of a bumpy road with occasional smooth moments than anything else. Our prompt here, then, is to find joy and meaning in the bumpy terrain. I get this more now than ever. It has been relentlessly uncomfortable to wake up each day and feel like life is out to get me or to look up at the sky and say WHAT NEXT? I feel a certain calm in figuring out how to stay hopeful and whole while dealing with life on life’s terms. It reminds me of a pair of weathered hands at the end of a long life … they were used and they suffered and they are wrinkled, but they were used. They found a way to make stuff, hold stuff, open stuff, do stuff. They endured. 

 

So, for this month ahead, I’ve decided to go all in on this personal paleontology dig to find what has worked in my life over the last year, which also gives me a new way to celebrate the refresh of the new year ahead. Fortunately for me and for you, we get to be led by the brilliant Stephanie Steiner, who is a meditation teacher amongst the many other skills she embodies. She will help us deal with these human experiences and these bigger needy needs in a way that feels, well, doable. And, for me right now, that matters more than anything else. Doable. 

 

This is your official call to join me this next month in our December Challenge: What Worked, which starts on Monday, December 6th. You’ll get daily content on this subject AND prompts to show up for 5-15 minutes of functional exercise each day. If you are a current member, simply login and then click on Challenges in the teal navigation menu. If you are not yet a member, woohoo, half your challenge is on us. Simply sign up for a 14-day free trial today, then login and click on Challenges in the teal navigation menu.

 

Oh and YOU CAN ALSO GIFT the challenge to a friend, the link to which you can find at the handy Challenges link I have already mentioned too many times hahahaha. 

 

Ok. Off we go. See you soon. 

Bye Bye Sludge

 

I’ve been stuck in a vortex of my own life problems lately. I think you have been too. And OF COURSE we have. It’s been a lot for basically every person I know for the past couple of years and, well, we are fatigued. We’ve noticed here at MommaStrong that our normal new customer count and our normal engagement in our community is down. And we know that this is a reflection of all the things we are all carrying, especially caretakers, and the general resignation that has developed after the fatigue. 

 

I don’t like this feeling. I know the technical term has been identified as “languishing”, but it feels like sludge. I want it to be called sludging. I am sludging. In any case, I am not a fan of it. I keep thinking I’ll wake up one morning and be like, oh there’s the ping, there’s the spark and my engine will get moving and I’ll feel like engaging in the world again in a bigger way. But it hasn’t happened yet. 

 

Yet.

 

This is an important word in these moments. Even though I am super fan of catastrophizing and making permanent terrible things that happen or that I am feeling, this word “yet” reminds me that there is more ahead. It reminds me that all things in life change whether I do anything or not. It also reminds me that sometimes I have to be the one to begrudgingly turn the volume up a bit if I want change to happen more efficiently. This is that moment. Getting up from the metaphorical couch in which I lost my metaphorical remote and having to turn the volume up on the actual metaphorical TV.

 

PS: Why are these new remotes so sleek and hideable? They need to have Velcro and be neon yellow. Just saying.

 

I’ve been here before, we all have. We’ve had to clean out our closets or do the gnarly task we’ve been avoiding. We’ve had to wake up in the middle of the night to deal with needs of children. We’ve had to jolt awake at 5:30am even after staying up until 2:30am for alone time. And isn’t it true that these “had-to” moments in our lives happened because they are in service of something outside of ourselves? 

 

I’m not suggesting that we exploit this service-oriented tendency to make positive life changes for ourselves. In fact, let’s run far away from that. However, I am suggesting that we pay attention to the reality that we as humans are helpers. And I believe this is true because it has been shown to me over and over that when people focus on something bigger than themselves, things improve for the individual and for the community. It’s like this beautiful built-in feature to humanity that has been shrouded a bit in the sludge—at least for me—these last few months … maybe years. 

 

And, so, I am bringing myself back to this feature, but I have decided to be committed to doing service work well. That means that I need to do some education first about what help is, how I might need it, how others might need it, and what qualifies as good help. Some of this education might be uncomfortable because it will require I take care of myself first and also confront some biases about my privilege, my assumptions, and my capabilities. BUT. I want to do this well. I want to be a part of something bigger for the sake of having the volume turned up a bit on being part of the solution in humanity. 

 

Ooof. I just felt “it” a bit. A little tiny heartbeat of forward facing action, the sort that brings meaning and demands positive change … all the things that I think set us stable in this wobbly human existence. I hope to extend this tiny heartbeat your way this month in our November Challenge in which we will be re-introducing you all to our program Share the Show Up. We’ll talk about its history, its current function, and—BEST OF ALL—be led by our own Monique Cortes, LCSW in unlearning and relearning how we can be in-service. She will be talking about so many topics, from microaggressions to checking your privilege to making a doable action plan. I cannot wait to learn from her.

 

Come join us. It starts sooooooooon, like this Monday because apparently November is like BOO on our calendar. So, get yourself signed up and ready. You can do that as an existing member by logging in to your account on mommastrong.com and then clicking on “Challenges” in the teal navigation menu. If you are not yet a member, you can sign up for MommaStrong today and then follow those instructions.

 

PS: You get 14 days free when you sign up, so half the challenge is on us. 

 

Ok. Heartbeat, you hear it? Let’s jump in together and reset the helping way ahead. See you on Monday!

 

Oh Scary

 

I was reading The Very Hungry Caterpillar to Wyatt the other night and instead of reading from years of muscle memory, I really read it. And you know how it goes, there’s this caterpillar and it is very hungry and it eats everything it possibly can and then it goes to take a good long nap in a cocoon and then it comes out as a beautiful butterfly. It’s sweet and basic, which is why I was surprised when I had a pretty strong response to it. I mean, I started crying. Like, actually crying. I just suddenly felt so so so scared for this butterfly, which made me then realize that of course I was feeling scared for me.

 

Dang kids’ books. 

 

The take away was that I am not very honest with myself about my fears. In fact, I even tell myself that I’m not afraid of much, that I’ve been through a lot, and that I can handle big life stuff. And, so, I have concocted this idea that if I am afraid of something, it needs to be profound and I need to dress it up in quotable tinkerings and usher them out to the world with dots connected.

 

Alas, fear—true fear—prefers the basics, the fundamentals. It prefers courageous transparency and zero apologies. In fact, I’m starting to understand that my fear just wants to be named for what it is. Doing anything other than that just means that I end up circling the dragon. I do everything else other than deal with the actual issue. 

 

So, I’ll use this post to simply name a current pressing fear of mine, without costume or courtesy: I am scared to put myself to sleep at a decent bedtime and become a rested human. 

 

There it is. 

 

Sure, there’s more here. Yes, this is connected to the dangers of being visible, of spreading my wings, etc. But, I have looked at all those things at length for a long time now and it hasn’t scratched the itch. So, when I boil it down to the nuts and bolts, I can see that these bigger things are connected to the base fear of tucking myself in at night and shutting things down for rest. You know, the cocoon. 

 

As I was thinking about this blog and how to undress this topic, I kept coming back to an image of my former fish, all of whom died in The Texas Freeze last February. When we first got the tank, I was like no no no no no. I fed them, but refused to look or spend time or get connected. I somehow knew that if I did, I would fall in love with these fragile creatures and their wild ecosystem. And, of course, this is what happened. I especially fell in love with the snails, which you may know because I have definitely already written about them. A lot. 

 

But, then, The Freeze. They didn’t survive, not a single one and not a tiny bit of their ecosystem. I felt terrible for not having a backup heating system. For not having a way to keep them warmer. And having to dunk the tank out in the backyard with these sweet friends was crushing. I still get emotional about it, honestly. And they were fish and snails and things that aren’t pettable pets. But, wow. 

 

The truth here is that I bonded with them, I became attached. I took really good care of them. So, their deaths felt rough. I think this must be underneath how scary it feels to tuck myself in at night. If I take better care of myself, if I grow attached to this body of mine, if I befriend it, then I also become more aware of my mortality. There’s something about always being tired and always being burned out that keeps me on the other side of the fish tank glass. I don’t have to swim in the unknown, I just keep going and going and going and going. 

 

Being rested, on the other hand, is tethered to healing, to knowing, to saying no to myself and others, to not always being in control, to not always being a hero, and to being healthy. And if I am healthy, then I feel like there is a lot more to lose. 

 

Whew.

 

I’m going to stop there because it’s a lot to think about. And, also it’s not. I just need to tuck myself in and create some change in this fear of mine. Give it a big hug and let it know that we’re going to lead it a different way. And for this, well, I need some help. Which is why this month’s October Challenge is exactly the right one: The What Scares You Challenge. We are so fortunate to be led this month by our talented and insightful member, Isabelle Wright, as we learn about fear and we take some steps to naming and loving it. 

 

You can register now for the challenge, which starts on Monday, October 4th and you have through that day to grab your spot. If you are a current member, you simply login in at MommaStrong.com, then click on the “Challenges” link in the teal navigation bar. If you are not yet a member, you can join by signing up for a membership with MommaStrong and then follow the instructions above. And, hey, you have 14 days free after you sign up, so basically half the scary month is on us. OH, and bring a friend, which is made super easy because you can actually gift them the challenge (see at the bottom of the Challenges page).

 

Ok. I shall see you in the cocoon, I mean challenge. Night night. 

 

Articles
Courtney Wyckoff

How Do I Prevent Diastasis Recti?

  Diastasis recti abdominis (DRA), also referred to as Diastasis Recti (DR) is one of the many physiological changes that take place during pregnancy. As the abdomen expands to accommodate the growing baby, the skin, muscles, and connective tissue all stretch as well. This includes the linea alba, or the connective tissue running down the center of our abdomen, which helps join the right and left halves of the rectus abdominis (commonly known as the 6-pack muscle) together. As the linea alba stretches, this increases the distance between the two sides of the rectus abdominis, creating the phenomenon of diastasis recti. And in case you missed it, our PT Advisor wrote a great article that goes deeper into understanding Diastasis Recti.    How can I Prevent Diastasis Recti from happening??  This is a very common question that gets at a very common misunderstanding about DR. Diastasis Recti is a normal process in pregnancy and should not be considered abnormal or pathological. Diastasis Recti will occur to everyone while they are pregnant by at least week 35! A 2018 study even found that the abdominal separation in pregnancy can range from 4.4cm to 8.6cm at weeks 35-41 of pregnancy, and the

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Courtney Wyckoff, CPT, CES

Why Won’t My Toddler Sleep (and how will I survive?)

  I’m stealthily typing this article in my notes app on my phone while my 3 year old sleeps next to me, her face squished exactly in my armpit.   This sweet kid was an excellent sleeper from the age of 10 months until basically her third birthday. And then the combination of threenager brain development, endless cycles of preschool germs, and moving out of the crib after moving to a new house … yeah, she’s no longer a great sleeper.   My hope here is to save you the endless searching on google, all of which leaves you with fairly high priced courses on toddler sleep, which each promise you’ll be enjoying adult time by 8pm every night without a fuss.    Instead, I’m here to share with you what I learned from the true experts, the MommaStrong community, when I posted a question detailing my ordeals at bedtime every night. I can’t even begin to explain how useful, insightful, and calming their responses were. Here’s what I learned:   This is normal Brains develop in amazing ways at this age, a lot of which leads to what we know as the threenager year. Their imagination, independence, curiosity, and

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Stephanie Dillon, PT, DPT, WCS

What is Diastasis Recti

  It goes by so many names it can be confusing: diastasis rectus abdominis, diastasis recti, di-recti, diastasis, or some people will even just call it an “ab separation.”  Plus you can shorten the name to DRA or DR too!  So what exactly is diastasis recti?  Let’s talk about allll of it, and along the way we’ll dispel a LOT of myths associated with di-recti. I’ve read a lot about DR causing the dreaded “mommy belly” and am pregnant with my first. What is a good pregnancy exercise plan to prevent diastasis recti? This is a great question, and gets right to the first myth that we need to dispel about DR. Diastasis recti will occur to everyone while they are pregnant by at least week 35! A 2018 study even found that the abdominal separation in pregnancy can range from 4.4cm to 8.6cm at weeks 35-41 of pregnancy, and the most-common definition of DR is anything greater than 2.0cm. And thank goodness that you do develop a DR while pregnant—otherwise your abdominal muscles might rip, or the baby wouldn’t be able to grow big enough to survive outside of the womb.       Oh no! So there’s really no

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Jya Plavin, MPH, CPT, CPPC

How Do I Plank When My Wrists Hurt?

  We LOVE planks—when done correctly, plank exercises engage and target the whole body, can be incorporated into all kinds of dynamic movement, and require no equipment. Unfortunately, wrist pain and discomfort is a common issue that can be aggravated by planking.    Can I still do planks if I’m having wrist pain? Yes! With a little bit of troubleshooting, you can absolutely get the benefits of plank exercises, even if you tend to have wrist pain. First, it will be key to assess your plank form, since poor form and alignment may be the source of the problem. When setting up in a plank position, try the following tips:   Make sure your hands are stacked under your shoulders, with elbows soft and middle fingers pointing straight ahead. Improper positioning of the hands, such placing them too far forward or wide apart, or turning the fingers in or out can contribute to wrist pain. Keep “armpits down” by gently pulling shoulders away from the ears – I like to imagine I’m trying to prevent someone from tickling me.  Spread out your fingers and think about gently pressing them down. This will help give you a more stable foundation and ensure

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What Happened to Free Time?

  I fell asleep last night in my bed at 10:30ish, fully clothed and un-showered and un-morning-alarmed. I definitely had an AirPod in my right ear, which I am convinced is basically terrible for my brain in some way that science has yet to determine, especially when left in all night. And I definitely fell asleep watching some wild documentary show about women escaping cults. I tend to gravitate to those.    [insert pause for yes courtney has a therapist]   In any case, this is NOT how I imagine my nights to go, certainly not if those nights involve any amount of free time. My nights, ideally, would involve board games, bedtime tea, reading, writing, sitting outside in the still evening air, and going to bed fairly early with electronics far far far away. Alas, over the past couple of years, I’ve run into some very bad habits around how I decompress, how I approach free time, and how I take care of the creative inner child me. And, for ease and simplicity, we can lump all of those habits into one bucket, with the giant label of: AVOIDANCE COURTESY OF BURNOUT.   I’ll say that I hate to

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enough-exercise
Courtney Wyckoff

How Much is “Enough” Exercise?

  Is it just us or is anyone else bombarded with articles and posts about exactly how much exercise is enough? Has it ever occurred to you that this holy grail of wisdom doesn’t actually exist? Yes, you have probably heard the general recommendation to get at least 150 minutes of exercise per week, but how do we apply this to our real lives as mothers, parents, and caregivers? First, let’s take a closer look at the evidence-based guidelines.    Where does the 150 minutes per week recommendation come from? The most-recent Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans are based on a systematic review of the science supporting physical activity and health. Evidence that was graded as strong or moderate was used to develop key guidelines. Here’s a summary from the American Heart Association of the recommendations for adults:   Adults should move more and sit less throughout the day. Some physical activity is better than none. Adults who sit less and do any amount of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity gain some health benefits. For substantial health benefits, adults should do at least 150 min (2 hours and 30 min) to 300 min (5 hours) a week of moderate-intensity, or 75 min

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