Do you feel helpless?
This month Professional and Personal Wellness has focused on Mental Health for the monthly topic. Make sure you check out the Newsletter and the monthly educational presentation for excellent information regarding Depression.
What I would like to talk about is a condition called “learned helplessness”. Learned helpless is defined as the general belief that one has little or no control over their situation. It can result in persistent feelings of powerlessness, and it can be an underlying cause of depression. I see this condition a lot with employees who feel stuck in their job. No matter what they do, they cannot get ahead both financially and career wise. Often I hear: “all I do is work, eat and sleep” with little or no time, energy and money to do anything else. In my mind the worse of the systems of learned helplessness is the feeling of “giving up” and just living life going through the motions!
What can be done? I believe it starts with making small changes. Break the routine, even if it is driving home via a different route. Do something you enjoy every day, even if it is just for a minute or two. Set small obtainable goals to change and monitor them. Try new things, talk to different people.
Learned helplessness did not happen all at once. Learning that you are not helpless will also take time. Small steps over a long time make a huge difference. Consider talk to others or a trained professional.
Helpless is no way to live your life
Build strength with resistance bands
Resistance bands are a great way to add strength training into your workout, without having to use weights. Most resistance bands come with different levels of resistance, so that you can increase weight as you gain strength. They can be used for many exercises like hip bridges, squats and even for upper body movements like banded pull a parts. These take the place of weights allowing you to get resistance in your exercises without have to use a barbell or dumbbells.
Just like weights, they come in all different resistances, making them versatile for anyone! Resistance band can be used alone but also use in addition to weights. For example, when doing barbell squats one may use a resistance band around their highs (right above the knee) to up the intensity, as well as forcing the knees to stay pushed out creating the burn sensation in the glutes!
Bands are a great piece of equipment that can help get you started with strength training, or up the intensity!
Creating a Goal Worth Sticking With.
We’ve all experienced it. At some point in our lives we’ve created a goal that we’re so giddy about. That initial phase is like Christmas day; there’s excitement, along with progress and a natural momentum with each breathe of confidence … then something happens. It could be the loss of a job, a vacation, or a crazy-busy season of life. This eventually results in a slowdown of those momentum wheels, maybe this slow down results in a plateau (this is actually success believe it or not), or perhaps a total loss of progress.
Was it you, or your goal?
The first step to creating change is identifying a proper goal. Begin with a specific action that you wish to change. This action should be measurable, easy to calculate whether you’ve achieved it or not, achievable, literally, is this goal within your capabilities (or perhaps start a bit smaller) and include an end date (you will follow this goal for a definitive amount of time). Remember SMART goals from grade school, yes, there’s a reason we learned how to do them?!
Since I’m a dietitian, the example goal we’ll use is going to be food related. My goal; to consume a total of nine servings of fruits and vegetables every day for the next two months. There’s action (eating, easy enough), measure (nine total servings of fruits and veggies), and a timeline (daily for the next two months).
“Goals in writing are dreams with deadlines.” – Brian Tracy
What I love about a goal like the above is that instead of depriving you of something, it comes from a place of positivity and kindness, (something health related goals rarely do). By this I mean that you are encouraged to eat more of what makes you feel good, not less of something. Goals shouldn’t be punishment.
Now that we’ve identified a written goal, assess progress toward your goal daily. Fast forward two months and now you’re getting in the groove of eating nine servings of fruits and veggies daily, and you’ve gained confidence. When you’ve achieved your goal, create another one while the momentum is still hot! This is the definition of steppingstone, or mini goals.
Steppingstone goals are beneficial because they are short enough to stay motivated and see the light at the end of the tunnel, yet they still offer a big boost in confidence with each successful completion! With confidence you can create your next steppingstone goal and make it just a little bigger. Each time you reach a goal you gain confidence and become a little closer to the person you wish to become.
“Without dreams and goals there is no living, only merely existing, and that is not why we are here.” - Mark Twain
Everyday I'm Shuffling
Shuffleboard is a game that has been, according to records, enjoyed dating back to the 15th century by the old and poor alike. Its simple base rules made it recognizable by soldiers and royalty alike, easy to set up with crude or fancy materials, and the appeal universal between all abilities and education. Then, according to shuffleboard.net, “World War II opened the "Swinging Forties" and shuffleboard really came into its own. The intrinsic appeal of the game – skill, diversity, competitiveness, availability to young and old, strong and disabled, the serious game, the fun game, offered the kind of release needed in those turbulent years.”
The game of shuffleboard tends to bring to mind cruise ships and retirement homes and, because of its low physical fitness requirements, the game is often associated with the elderly. But that’s changed in a world where millennials (25-39 year olds) have an especially large love for games. Shuffleboard is becoming increasingly popular among younger crowds. The table version is more and more common in bars and breweries, enjoyed by the same people that enjoy the darts and billiards sections. I even played one in an escape room lobby a few months back. Its enjoyment factor is not at all limited by age or ability.
The rules are very similar to any scoring games, with variations in point calculation, penalties, etc. If you want to know the exact rules, check out this link https://www.rulesofsport.com/sports/shuffleboard.html. Yet while they rules and play of shuffleboard are simple, mastering the game is a matter of technical skill and intense strategy. From primarily defense to primarily offensive, you can learn a lot about a person by how they play shuffleboard. While there is a certain amount of civility expected in this historic game, I’ve yet to see a match where knocking your opponent into the kitchen (resulting in negative 10 points) didn’t result in (mostly) friendly mocking and “stirring the pot” motions. Off course, any game is as competitive as you want to make it, I just happen to enjoy playing with very competitive people.
I’m currently in a shuffleboard league now, where the ages range from late twenties to eighties. Everyone has a great time and we always leave with a smile. It’s the perfect way to pass the time, get outside (for floor shuffleboard), and meet new people. If you haven’t tried it yet, stop shuffling your feet and try it!
Over time our bodies adapt to whatever stress we may put on it. Whether it is running, biking and, yes, lifting. When our bodies adapt, some may think that that’s where progress stops. Linear progression is the increase of weight being used over time. What does this do for our bodies you may ask? It puts stress on the muscles forcing them to work harder and adapt.
When linear progression is implemented into a strength training routine, it will result in strength and muscle growth. You don’t have to switch things up every week to notice results. By keeping things simple and slowly increase weight week by week, you’ll be able to push past that plateau you may think you’re in.