Three healthy tips you can start doing to improve your immune system

I know during this time you’ve probably seen a MILLION posts and articles similar to mine. Everyone suddenly is either a health professional, doctor, nurse, CDC expert, fitness trainer, or nutritionist. Luckily for you, I’m none of those things. I’m simply a Physical Education and Health teacher with a passion for being fit, eating a healthy diet, and sharing that knowledge and passion with others.


Here’s what that means for you. I have decided to take the THREE best tips from various articles and put them into this one post to make it easy and convenient for you to follow. In this post I will tell you what you can do at home, where you can find certain products, the cost, how it can keep you healthy, and how it will benefit your immune system. Some things are really basic (like just being hydrated and drinking water), while others may involve a change in your diet. (cough, eating fruits and vegetables….) Okay maybe I shouldn’t have put the cough, but you get it. If you have any questions or comments please feel free to ask, either below the post or anywhere you find me on social media.

Tip #1 – Drink water. LOTS of it!
You see this a lot. However when we are just sitting around the house not doing as much, we tend to forget this simple rule. We are made up of 75% water. Our cells, tissues, organs, and bodies thrive off it. Water regularly maintains the upkeep of our body systems, including our immune system. Water helps flush out toxins, brings oxygen to the blood, and is the pillar of maintaining proper health. And since you’re most likely working from home and maintaining adequate social distancing, you don’t have to worry about being near a bathroom! (If you’re interested in leveling up your water drinking skills, you can buy a Brita filter pitcher, 19.99 on Amazon for the 5 cup turquoise edition and you have clean, purified water at your convenience).

Tip #2 – Exercise for a minimum of 20 minutes a day.
This one can be tough. Gyms are closed. You may not have the space or equipment at home. Motivation is low. Anxiety is high. I get it. But somehow you need to muster up the strength and move your body for at least 20 minutes a day. This can include various bodyweight exercises, Yoga, Pilates, or form of stretching or movement is beneficial. If you want to get out of the house and exercise outside that’s even better! Walking, biking, hiking, jogging, and/or running are all great options to get some exercise in outdoors. Local parks or trails are great options, if they decide to stay open, but if not, performing those activities outside on your street are just as beneficial. Plus, being in the sun provides you with Vitamin D, one of the micronutrients I talk about in the next paragraph that also helps your immune system. Exercise on the body does a couple of things. First, it improves blood flow and the amount of oxygen that your heart and body are receiving. Second, it can help flush bacteria out of the lungs and airways. That’s because exercise causes change in our antibodies and white blood cells. Our white blood cells are our body’s immune system cells that fight disease. When they are able to circulate more rapidly like after exercise, they can detect illnesses much earlier. So think of exercise as a much needed boost for your immune system.

Tip # 3 – Eat MORE fruits and vegetables!
Suddenly when there is a nationwide panic to overbuy at your local supermarket, everyone goes for the pasta, the chips, the cookies, and the junk food. (And apparently toilet paper 🤦🏻‍♂️)
Yes, that food tastes good. No, I am not telling you not to eat it. However, your immune system works BEST when it eats fruits and vegetables, not Oreo’s and Doritos. (Or McDonald’s, Sorry Chris 😜) Fruits and vegetables have one thing that junk food does not, and that is micronutrients. The micronutrients in fruits and vegetables include different vitamins and minerals that helps our bodies and immune system thrive. The more colorful the fruits and vegetables, the better. Think blueberries, strawberries, sweet potatoes, spinach, kale, peppers, etc. That’s because they also carry antioxidants. Which is just a fancy word for a substance that inhibits oxidation, or reduces damage done by oxygen. But in truth, they provide considerable help to your immune system. By supplying these nutrients and antioxidants to your immune system, you improve your body’s ability to FIGHT illness.
“But D-rob, what happens when the store doesn’t have any more fruit or vegetables, can I do anything else to help get these nutrients?”
Solid question, glad you asked. Luckily, there are great supplements and green powders out there that offer various servings of fruits and vegetables through one little scoop of powder. They are also not too expensive. One I recommend is from the company Amazing Grass called “Green Superfood”. On Amazon, it’s currently 21.97 for 30 servings, and if you get lucky, can sometimes find it in stock at Stop and shop for the same price. Adding one scoop to any liquid and shaking it up will do the trick. Buy some frozen berries, (all supermarkets I went too this past weekend had these currently in stock), put them in a blender, add some non-dairy milk, one or two scoops of the green superfood, and boom, all your servings of fruits and vegetables in one healthy delicious drink. You want to pig out on your snack food, I am not going to stop you. But add some fruits and vegetables to the mix. Your immune system depends on it.

There you have it. Three of the best tips to staying healthy during social distancing. No I didn’t include washing your hands and general cleanliness because let’s face it, if you still don’t know you should be doing those things than no article or expert will be able to help you. If you want more tips, you can scroll down and read my previous post on tips to eating a healthy diet. They are a little bit more extreme, but provide even more benefits to your body and immune system.


I hope these tips are useful and can help you in the next couple of months.
Don’t forget the power of staying connected to one another and offering support to your friends and family during this hard time. Social distancing does not mean social isolation. We need interaction. We need support. We need love.
Stay healthy my friends,
-Drob

My top 3 ways to transform your eating plan to guide you to a healthier and happier you!

First, if you made the resolution to become healthier, to become fitter, to start to live a better life, I seriously applaud you. That first step is often the most difficult, and you are on the path to living a healthier and happier life! But, yes there is a but, (“Look, Nemo touched the butt”. You know I always get the movie reference in 😝) if you do not make the same commitment to your nutrition and eating plan, solely working out will not get you the results you are often seeking.

So here’s where this article comes into play. Most likely, you have seen and read about various fad diets that are often promoted by celebrities and read about in your latest health magazines, that often have tons of rules, guidelines and restrictions that often can lead you to cheat on those diets, thus decreasing their effectiveness. I am not discrediting any of those diets. If you can follow them and stay consistent then by all means go for it! But for most, there is a simpler approach to take, and I am going to tell you how.

To get the results you want, AND improve your health and wellbeing, there’s THREE things I believe are the most important AND can jumpstart you to your health goals for 2020. That’s it. Three. Incorporate all three things for the next month and you will see and feel results.

1. Do not eat for 12 hours a day.

The first, is to change the amount of time that your body ISN’T eating. Yes you read that right. Everyday, our bodies need an ample amount of time to do what it’s supposed to do, especially when it comes to digestion. Our bodies need to adequately digest and break down the food to get the nutrients we need, then transport those nutrients all throughout our bodies, from our head to our toes, our muscles, joints, bones, organs, tissues, and cells. The only time our bodies give this process its full attention, is when we sleep. 8 hours is that magic number for sleep that is required to make sure we are functioning properly and getting enough rest to recharge for the next day. And our bodies do well with that. However, in terms of what we are eating in relationship to our eating window, we do NOT give ourselves enough time to use that energy our body stored up from the day before. We are a species that is built for storage. We evolved on being able to go long periods without eating in order to survive because we had to move and hunt for our food. With the access of food being readily available today, as well as the societal impact on “eating a balanced breakfast” advertised on tv’s since we were kids, our brain has tricked us into thinking we need to eat as soon as we wake up regardless if we are even hungry. This isn’t the case. But its okay if this is describing your eating pattern. It isn’t hard to fix. Our bodies and brain adapt fairly quickly. All you have to do is give yourself a few days with this approach and you will be well on your way to developing a new eating routine that sticks. So here’s what you do. Give yourself a time period of 12 hours to devote to NOT eating anything. 8 of those hours are going to be spent sleeping. So the time frame in terms of meals will be from after dinner, to before breakfast. I suggest a time frame of 7pm to 7am. That means your last meal/snack will be at 7pm. Do not eat anything until 7am the next day. Even if you wake up earlier than that, you can not eat. If you do, you do not get the benefits that come from this state of fasting. You may have heard of this before, even from prior posts I have written, called intermittent fasting. 12 hours is the minimum amount of time needed to give your body the positive effects from this approach. Plain coffee or plain tea without any sweetener is okay as long as there is no added sugar during this window of not eating. Once you reach 12 hours, you can then eat your normal day’s worth of calories. To enhance the effects of this fast, you can increase the time you’re not eating to 14-16 hours. Working out first thing in the morning on this state of fasting is also extremely beneficial and gets your body into a state of “ketosis” or fat burning mode. (The same ketosis that happens in the ketogenic diet that has become popular and trendy). What is lost in that diet however, is your body does not need to stay in constant ketosis to reap the benefits. You can get a lot of those same benefits from starting with just a 12 hour fast each day. This first thing to implement is the easiest, because you are not changing anything to your actual eating plan, yet. You are just shifting the time you are NOT eating. Do this for one month, and I promise you will see results.

2. No dairy!

The second thing is going to be directed at a specific food group. And yes, it involves restriction. I know, I know, diets that restrict don’t normally work out in the end due to cheating, but I strongly believe this restriction will fast forward your health and fitness results, as well as make you internally feel a lot better. That restriction is dairy. Yes, that also means cheese. (I’ll lose half of you after this statement I know it). Dairy has been routinely studied and linked to causing inflammation in the body. And inflammation in the body is bad. Doesn’t take a rocket scientist to prove that. (Or a health teacher 😏🤓). It has been linked to increases in the risks of many diseases including diabetes, heart disease, and various forms of cancer. Not only that, but many of us lack the proper enzymes to even digest dairy products. This increase in inflammation that happens in our bodies from eating dairy products leads to stomach issues, inconsistent bowels, IBS, yeast overgrowth, bacterial infections due to the increase in bad bacteria, and ulcers. Not to mention decreased immune function. (70% of our immune system is in our guts, so if our guts are not working properly, neither is our immune system). What doctors and nutritionists have found over the years is that if their patients took out dairy, a significant portion improved their symptoms relatively quickly. You see, when your gut starts to feel better your entire body reaps the benefits. I know this one is usually the hardest to do, but for one month try it out. No dairy products. (Sorry pizza lovers).

3. Add a salad of leafy greens.

Last but not least, the third thing to implement in your nutrition plan is to add a salad of leafy greens to your meals, or part of your meals. Leafy green vegetables have SO many benefits, too many for this post, but I will try to sum those up as best as I can in the least amount of words! Leafy greens such as spinach, kale, arugula, swiss chard, box choy and microgreens are some of the healthiest for you. They are high in vitamins A, C and K, great sources of iron and calcium, as well as a great source of fiber. They are vegetables that your stomach bacteria absolutely love and thrive off of. Not the bad bacteria that feeds off your dairy addiction. (See how number two intertwines with number 3). Since you’ve cut out dairy, the bad bacteria have nothing to feed off of, or at least less. The influx of leafy green vegetables gives more for your good bacteria to feed off this increasing. The more good bacteria your stomach has, the better you feel. Plus, a big bowl of leafy greens has a considerable amount of fiber and water. So when you eat that beautiful green instagram able meal , you not only get hydrated, but you feel fuller faster, with less food, thus eating less. So if one of your other goals in 2020 is to lose weight and reduce calories, substituting a salad as one of your meals is a great choice to make!

Well, there you have it. My three things to implement in your nutrition plan to transform you into a healthier and better you. You have the fitness down. Now comes the nutrition. Or maybe its backwards. Start with this nutrition plan, then add some fitness. Whatever you choose, it’s consistency and determination that will help you reach your goals. Start with these three things, and you will be on your way.

As always, peace and love…..(and lots of salads 😎)

-Drob

The quest for happiness (inner peace) 🧘🏻‍♂️✌️

Today’s blog won’t be long, I hope. I just wanted to write. You ever get that feeling and REALLY listen to it? You know, ACTUALLY give in and do it. I feel a lot of us put that feeling off because we get sidetracked with the regular demands of life, but simply forget that the number one demand in this life is US. Yes, YOU. That person staring back at you in the mirror (which is probably dirty, windex people 😝). What makes that person in the mirror happy? What drives them? Do more of that. For me, it’s a combination of being creative, and inner peace. That includes writing, reading, meditating, drawing, coloring, jigsaw puzzles, etc. I need to use the right side of the brain regularly or I drive myself mad. And you don’t want to see me mad? (Just take my word for it okay 😂).

What I wanted to write about is simple. The inner peace portion. How do we find it? How do we maintain it? All that good stuff. To some, it seems like mumbo jumbo. To others, it’s not. To me, it’s something I’m continuously seeking, finding, researching, and learning about. The search for happiness is a myth. But the search for inner peace is fact. Don’t mix up the two. You can be happy and peaceful or unhappy but still at peace. On the flip side you can also be sad and still at peace or sad and not at peace. We hold the cards. We decide where we fall. This is the part that people seem to confuse. Many of us are on this unreachable quest for something to make us happy. We’re looking at the next goal, the next day, the next job, the future vacation, the future accomplishment, whatever THAT is, DOES NOT EXIST. And do you know what happens when that future day comes? You don’t magically become happy. You just find another future event to mark on your little iPhone calendars (or Androids 🤦🏻‍♂️), and start looking ahead to that day. Which comes and go’s and now you’re in this cycle that is not making you happy. And notice how I said quest to make us happy. I didn’t say at peace. That’s because you can’t relate to it, yet. And that’s okay. This post is to help you get started on that journey.

Okay, here’s what I want you to do. Close your eyes wherever you are. Take a deep breath in through your nose. Expand your ribs and stomach so it becomes big like a balloon. Now exhale, let all of that air rush out of your nose and squeeze your stomach pulling your belly button towards your spine. As you are breathing really listen to the sound of the air going in and out your nose and throughout your body. Listen closely to any sounds around you. What can you hear? Really try to listen. Good. Now on your next breath observe how your body feels. Are you tense anywhere? Sore? What hurts? Try to pinpoint these areas visually in your head as you are breathing. Perfect. Now repeat this two more times. Open your eyes. How do you feel? Less anxious? More calm? I hope you do. If yes, congratulations, you just spent your first minute being at peace. If no, that’s okay too! Repeat again and again throughout the day until you get that YES!

The reality of searching for inner peace is simple, but not really. Confusing I know but hear me out. Yes, sometimes all it takes is a simple breathing exercise that we just did, which is called mindful meditation. Being mindful is being aware of your surroundings, your body, your breath, just flat out aware. You’re not a zombie in an endless search for your next meal of human flesh (sorry, I just saw Zombieland 2 and it IS almost Halloween). Snap out of your snooze fest. The minute you stop your brain from thinking in the past, or thinking about the future, you have won the battle for inner peace. Do more of that throughout your day, and watch what happens in your life.

There will be times where I will expand on this topic even more, but there are two books that I have read that I recommend to you if you are serious about finding inner peace. They are “The Untethered Soul” by Michael Singer, and “The Power of NOW” by Eckhart Tolle. Inner peace is a real thing. No matter what has happened throughout your life, you can be at peace. Or you can be happy. Whatever you want to call it, just stop searching for it. It’s already here. 🤓🧘🏻‍♂️✌️

Don’t be an energy waster!! (Energy series part 2)

Ok, so in my last post which was a part 1 of a 3 part series about energy, I wrote about empaths, gave you some cool science behind our energy, and also told you how to protect yourself from people with negative energy.

Today is part 2 of my energy series and will challenge you to really think about if you’re TRULY giving energy to what you want most out of life.

Here are two simple questions you need to ask yourself.

What (or where) is your energy going to?

Who is your energy going to?

There are no right or wrong answers. However, any answers you do come up with are valuable insights to allow you to determine if you are on the path you are seeking, or if you need to start making some changes.

Your energy should be going into three things;

1. YOURSELF,

2. YOUR RELATIONSHIPS (friends, family, co-workers,)

3. YOUR GOALS/DREAMS.

First and foremost you need to be putting energy into things that make YOU happy. This is your ME time. Exercise, hiking, dancing, coffee with friends, reading, listening to music, having a spa day, playing sports, whatever it may be, you need to do more of that. Don’t make excuses about not having time. MAKE TIME. We all have the same amount of time in a day. If you need to wake up an hour earlier or re-plan your schedule around your kids then do it. I can’t stress how important putting energy into yourself is. You can’t put energy into numbers 2 and 3 if you aren’t putting enough into number 1 first! You should always come first. Put energy into you and watch how much more your energy improves.

Second, think about your relationships right now. This can be with your significant other, your friends, your family, co-workers or all the above. Are you getting what you want out of those relationships? If you aren’t, you may not be putting enough energy into that relationship, OR you’re not giving off any positive energy so your attracting more negative energy back to you. If you want more communication then you have to be the one to start communicating more. If you want more effort being put into planning dates or spending time with friends and family than you have to be the one committed to actually planning that. Don’t give the excuse, well they don’t hit me up so I guess that’s it. Nah, snap out of that. If someone is valuable to you then put in the effort. When the effort becomes too much and turns stressful and draining to your energy, THAT is when you have to cut that person off.

Lastly, your energy needs to be going into your goals and dreams. I don’t care how big or small these may be. Want to lose 10 pounds? Then what are you doing daily to bring you closer to that goal? Did you make a change to your diet? Are you going to the gym? Did you take the stairs instead of the elevator? These all are choices you make where you determine what your energy is going into. Dreams of starting a business? How are you getting closer to that dream? Are you reading books from top entrepreneurs? Asking for advice from people on social media? Researching the steps to market your business? Again, this is where your energy needs to go. If it isn’t, you are wasting it. Very simple.

I find far too often that many people seem to be living in auto-pilot. They fall into a routine and thought process that inhibits growth and without coincidence, unhappiness. There is nothing wrong with routine, I find routines helpful especially if you have anxiety. However, if that routine is not bringing you what you want out of life, or bringing you closer to your goals, then break the fucking routine!

You have every right to chase happiness, but make sure you’re putting forth the right energy into your chase.

Make today the day you start investing in yourself and taking your energy seriously.

I promise you it will be worth it.

Thank you for reading, and thank you for being YOU.

Have a great day. 🤙✌️😎

Living as an “empath” and what you can do to protect yourself from negative energy (Energy series part 1)

Are you someone who lives with a heightened ability to feel what others are feeling?

Are you someone who’s mood can change by who you surround yourself by?

If you answered yes, then you are someone who may be an “empath”.

The definition of empathy is the ability to understand and share the feelings of others.

What I’ve found, is there are people who do this at a much higher ability than others (often labeled “empath’s”) as well as those in the world who lack it, and often find that those who are able to fully empathize with others, are the ones that get hurt more in the process. If you are someone who is empathetic, this article will provide you an important tool to protecting yourself from unwanted energy. If you aren’t empathetic, I encourage you to continue to read on as you may also learn a tool that can also help you.

What I’ve learned from various research among books, articles, and following spiritual and natural healers on social media, is that about 15 percent of people classify as highly sensitive. Usually, we label these individuals, “empath’s. But that isn’t entirely true. These people are really good at showing empathy yes, but it’s their sensitivity to feeling everything so vividly and deeply, plus at a more intense level than the norm that separates them from everyone else. Often these people are the ones who are always being drained of their energy. They take on the energy of other people, often at the expense of their own harm. Doing this, mostly without fully recognizing it, is harmful to the body also at a physical level. It’s no coincidence that there is a correlation to empaths developing some type of health disorder or auto immune disease in life because of the stress of feeling so much negative toxic energy from others. That is why I became so interested in this topic during the last few months. Learning about myself, understanding I classify as being highly sensitive, and learning how to deal with toxic unwanted energy has been a life saver that I want to pass on so you too can start to heal and protect yourself.

One of the problems is not being fully prepared to “shield” oneself from toxic negative energy. I know you know what it is. For example, have you ever walked into a room where you could sense there was a argument or fight? How did that room feel? Heavy? Weird? Awkward? Sense of unease? Yes, all of that is correct. That is your body’s ability to read energy.

(Sidenote: Without getting too far into left field, the science is that we’re all made up of matter and this matter is simply energy. The words we say and even our thoughts are made up of this energy. Speak positive and thinking good thoughts will have you living life at a higher frequency. Speak negative, complain, and thinking negative thoughts will have you living at a lower frequency. Those people who are living at a higher frequency generally have good health and live a great quality of life. The opposite can be true for those living at a lower frequency. People fluctuate between the two energies all the time. The key is realizing what frequency you are at, change it to a higher frequency, and consistently trying to maintain that.)

So let’s say you work or live in an environment where it is surrounded by people who are living at a lower frequency. (These people can be easily pointed out, they are often the ones that you feel suck the energy right out of you”.) Going into this environment on a daily basis is harmful to your health, but there is a helpful tool that can protect you from this energy!

I’m going to give you a solution that I learned through a book I read, “Energy Healing” written by Kris Ferraro. (She wasn’t the originator, this tool has been around since ancient times and can be found in various books about eastern medicine.) She states that this simple tool to equip you is called “shielding”. Yes, a shield like a spartan warrior would use to protect them in battle. (Or the one Captain America uses.)

What you need to do is imagine a 3 foot bubble forming around your entire body. You really have to visualize it and imagine the shield is building around you. This can be done by first closing your eyes for one minute, and relaxing the body by focusing solely on your breath. Once you are relaxed, on each exhale, start the shield or bubble first extending from your heart. On each next exhale, visualize the bubble getting bigger and bigger until it is fully formed into your protective shield. (I like to think of mine as the ones Wakanda uses to protect their land. Second marvel movie reference in case you’re counting).

Once you’ve done this, the next thing to do is to repeat an affirmation consisting of resisting negative energy, and allowing positive energy in. An affirmation is the state of affirming, or using words to state something exists or is true. Using an affirmation like, “This shield will protect me from unwanted negative energy, and it will only allow positive loving energy in. Thank you for your protection” helps strengthen the ability of your shield.

When you get good at this, you won’t need to breathe and relax and make it a huge process. Saying in your mind or out loud but quietly, “shield up” or whatever else comes to mind will do the trick.

Teachers, this also works with challenging students! Once those students realize they can’t get through YOUR shield, you can start actively attacking their wall with love and guidance that they’ve resisted. But that’s an entirely different topic.

What I’m still learning through this practice is it will take time for your shield to develop its strength. The more you practice and better you get at visualizing, this will greatly enhance the effectiveness of your shield.

Now that you are equipped with this knowledge and skill I sincerely hope that it helps you and that you pass it on to anyone else who may need it.

Look for my next post, where I will write about effective ways to restore and even improve your energy to help you live and maintain that higher frequency.

Have a great day, and happy shielding. 🧘🏻‍♂️😎🤙

When it’s time to be selfish

This summer has been amazing.  It’s been relaxing, exciting and fun, with some small periods of stress sprinkled in the mix.  Two bachelor parties out of state, two stags I helped throw, one wedding including the best man’s speech for my twin bro (yes, I have a twin, and yes, my speech was phenomenal), and to top it off, some serious improvements on myself.  Oh yeah.  BIG TIME improvements. To the naked eye, they may not be as big, but to me, they’ve represented a shift in my viewpoint of what being happy truly means.  And you know what that is, being God damn selfish (sorry Mom I know you hate when I curse). Let me explain.

My entire life I have been a people pleaser.  I am a “go with the flow” type person, super laid back, the type to want to just have good vibes and avoid conflict.  Growing up this turned me into a “Yes man”, always wanting to do the right thing, to never let the other person down, to seek that sense of approval.  I think this view also represents the current state of a majority of people who use social media.  We are always seeking some type of validation for our posts, whether its on our main feed, our stories, whatever the case may be.  I myself also fall into this mix, and throughout my adult life, I’ve restrained from some of the posts I may or may not have put because I was afraid that it wouldn’t get that “approval” I was subconsciously seeking.   I don’t know what finally switched, it could have been a variety of factors, but sometime during the last few months, heck even the last year, I started being selfish.  Selfish with my thoughts.  Selfish with my communication.  Selfish with my time. Selfish with what I would say “Yes” too. Selfish with what I would post. Everything.

Here’s what I started to notice.  Freedom.  Freedom from the people who would take advantage of me. Freedom from my thoughts of any self-doubt.  Freedom from the opinion of others.  Freedom from the forced validation and competition of social media.  I started actually LIVING for me. No fear. No competition. Just doing what was right and best for ME. And in doing this, some of my passions that have been “dormant” or almost “hiding” have started to reemerge.  New passion and career paths have started to motivate me to new goals. I’m excited at everything I plan to accomplish within the next five years.

Heck, even in writing this, I feel back to my true creative self. I started this small blog because one I always wanted to help people, but two, because I LOVE TO FUCKING WRITE (sorry again Mom but the “f” word was needed in that sentence). So here I am again, being selfish in not only this blog post, but in how I’m spending my Sunday afternoon. I’m eating a salad, I’m drinking a seltzer, and I’m sharing my thoughts with the world (or to the 20 people who actually decide to read this), and yes, I couldn’t be happier.

Peace be the journey,

-Derek

(Always have to throw in a movie reference) 🤙

Just a normal Sunday, or so I thought…

But if you push that anxiety and fear away for just a few minutes, the universe can surprise you with something special.

The universe works in mysterious ways.  It can truly work in our favor if we let it, and this morning was a perfect example of that for me.

Sunday morning is one of my favorite times of the week.  I sleep in, (which for me, and many other teachers, is to about 8:00 a.m.), then get up and drink a big glass of water.  I perform some light stretches to get my body up and moving then head to the gym where I dedicate a couple hours to mobility work, a full body workout, foam rolling, finished by a quick session in the sauna and hot tub.  This time is amazing for me.  I blast my music and get lost into another world.  Anyone who works out consistently can attest to the addiction of finding and staying in this zone.  What sets today apart is what happened and who I met after my workout was over.

Walking into the hot tub at a gym can be a scary experience for some.  The anxiety of sharing a tub of water and jets with strangers can be pretty intimidating, and I understand that.  But if you push that anxiety and fear away for just a few minutes, the universe can surprise you with something special.

Today as I was walking in the hot tub there was a man already inside, who smiled and greeted me, “hello” as soon as I entered.  I greeted him back with a hello, and a routine, “Nice and hot today!” before sitting down next to one of the jets.  The man continued to talk to me, including telling me his age, 75 years old, and how it wasn’t fun to be old while stating how much pain he is currently dealing with in his back.  If you don’t know me or my story, (scroll up to read “Heart of a Lion”, my first blog post about my health journey), I am also a person who has struggled and still deals with chronic pain.  Instead of writing this complete stranger off, I opened up to him and briefly summed up my health journey.  I then told him about chiropractors, physical therapists, massages, trigger points, mobility exercises, breathing, dry needling, cupping, anything I knew off that helped with back pain I was listing it off to him.  He was very receptive to my advice, and asked questions about people and places I would recommend to get these treatments done.  He went on to state that the only care he is receiving for his pain is from an orthopedic doctor, who is currently prescribing him pain relievers and possibly surgery.  I offered him more advice about seeking these natural treatments first before getting surgery, as I am a big believer that surgeries ultimately cause more harm than good.  (I’ve had four surgeries in my lifetime and two on my knee and shoulder that could have been avoided if I didn’t fall into the hypnotic spell of the orthopedic surgeon and sought other options myself). He was receptive to my advice and assured me he was going to try some of these treatments in the coming month. What he went on to say next is what led me to write this post about this experience.  He looked me dead in the eye, with a huge smile, and thanked me for talking with him.  He told me that countless times in this gym he has tried to start conversations with people and they wrote him off.   We shook hands, formally introduced ourselves with our names, and exited the hot tub.

The entire conversation lasted roughly 10 minutes.  It could have easily been 10 minutes of silence, two men just relaxing in the hot tub, completely oblivious to the world and each other.  But it wasn’t that.  It was 10 minutes of two people being human.  It was 10 minutes of two people connecting.  It was 10 minutes that I am so deeply and incredibly grateful for experiencing today.

As you go through the rest of your day, week, month, I simply ask you to be a little more receptive to what or who the universe drops in front of you.  As I learned today, there are no coincidences.