Mantra Monday: Discipline Doesn’t Mean Going Full-Speed All The Time

Coming Back to Life

My last post was nearly three weeks ago. Clearly, when it comes to discipline, this blog hasn’t been a priority since I started teaching full-time again in September.  Unfortunately, my priority level for health and fitness also dropped a few months after that. So I spent the winter months trying to find out how to best serve in my new role and trying to figure out which road I wanted to take.

At the same time, a bunch of other occurrences took place, which contributed to my current state. Now, I normally slow down a bit during winter anyway, because I have seasonal affective disorder. If you don’t know what that is, it basically means that once November hits and it starts being dark for the majority of the day, I tend to find myself more depressed and apathetic about life. It usually lasts until March.

That’s pretty much what happened this school year. I started out well in September and October. I was still working out regularly, still watching my portions, and was still in shape. Then in November, I stopped going to the gym on the reg. I made the conscious decision to do so, thinking that I’d just “hibernate” through the winter, and pick things back up again in February.

And that’s what I did. Around mid February, I started going to the gym again, and though I never quite got into a rhythm, I was working on it.

Then COVID happened. The gym was closed. That was okay, though, because the weather was getting warmer, and I could go outside and run or walk or ride my bike. The problem was I had no energy to do any of those things.

Everything’s Connected

Back in 2016, I was diagnosed with severe sleep apnea. At that time, I was prescribed a Bi-PAP machine (a more hardcore version of a C-PAP) to control it. Once I started using the machine, my life changed.

I’ve written about this before, but the gist is that once I stated getting quality sleep, I lost over 80 pounds in about a year. Now it wasn’t just by sleeping, of course. But the sleep finally allowed me to have the energy I needed to start being active. It was like a chain reaction.

I’d wake up with energy and I’d go walking. Soon after it was running. Then it was doing home workouts three to four times a week. It was making healthier eating choices because I didn’t want to waste my efforts. By the summer of 2017, I was feeling good enough to run along a Florida beach with my shirt off.

Now, once I was fit, I didn’t really have apnea anymore. Meaning I didn’t snore because all of the fat around my neck was gone. I know because I have a sleep-tracking app that records my snoring, and if I’d sleep somewhere without my machine, there was still no snoring recorded, or if there was, it was extremely light.

Well, a few months ago, my machine broke on me. Since I’ve gained wait, my sleep app has revealed the return of my sleep apnea. So I’m not sleeping the way I should.

I am working on getting a new machine, but honestly, I’ve been jumping through insurance hoops for three months now. Hopefully I get a new machine this week, but I’m not holding my breath.

So not sleeping, combined with the exhaustion of being a teacher, compounded by being a teacher (and human) during COVID and the utter nonsense that is the state of our country right now (more on that later this week), pretty much meant that I had very little energy left as of Friday (the last day of school).

Then there’s my shoulder.

I noticed when I went back to the gym in February that my right shoulder was pretty sore whenever I did any work with it. I laid off of it for a while, and it seemed to calm down, but it was still mildly sore most of the time.

I went to the doctor about it in April because I wanted to start working out on my boxing bag again, but I didn’t want to hurt my shoulder.

I’m really glad that I did that. My doctor referred be to a sports rehab clinic and I found out that I’ve got serious issues with my back and shoulder muscles. So boxing’s out of the question for the moment.

Instead, I’ve spent the last two weeks working on stretching out those muscles and recovering the proper range of motion. I’ve got one more week of that treatment, then we’re going to start working on strength training. I’m super excited.

And now we get back to discipline!

So you’ve read roughly 800 words of what could be called excuses by now. If I were you I might be thinking something like that. But then I’d be making a mistake. See, discipline isn’t always about meeting your goals every day.

A popular saying from Firefly, paraphrased, is this: Run until you can’t run anymore, then you crawl. And when you can’t crawl anymore, then you find someone to carry you.

There’s a lot to unpack there, but I’d just like to focus on the first part. Run until you can’t run anymore, then you crawl.

Circumstances being what they have been, I ran myself until I couldn’t run anymore. Now I’m crawling.

That’s the spirit of discipline. It’s about perseverance, tenacity, and determination. Last summer, discipline meant running two-and-a-half miles three times a week for a warm up, and lifting and doing yoga on top of that.

Right now, discipline looks like me doing the shoulder stretches I’m supposed to do three times a day. It looks like me doing a 20-30 minute session of cardio, whether that’s a run/walk or a bike ride, three times a week. It looks like me practicing good sleep hygiene, even if I don’t have a new machine yet. It looks like me practicing Spanish every day. It looks like me saving money and keeping it saved. It looks like me staying home as much as possible and wearing a mask when I go out. And it looks like me limiting things in my life that are making me unwell.

It also looks like me finishing a new album and releasing it before I go back to work in the fall.

Further, it looks like me writing more of my own stuff this summer. Be those compositions songs, poems, declarations, or stories.

The world may be going to shit, but I don’t have to go with it. Expect to see a much more active Brandonia soon!