Do You Have the Post-Event Blues?

If you compete in sports, I am sure you can totally relate to the feeling of complete accomplishment and exhilaration that you experience when taking part and finishing a sporting activity.
As some of you may know, back in May of this past year I completed my FIRST MARATHON!    I had promised to report back once I had completed the race to tell all of you how I did.     I remember the unbelievable feeling I had crossing that finish line and getting my medal.   I was trying to hold back all the tears when hugging my loved ones who were there to be a part of the special day.  It was a day like no other, and one that I will cherish and remember for the rest of my life.  However, I woke up the next morning to find myself feeling very down, sad, and dare I  say, even depressed.  I should have been ecstatic, but instead I was left feeling empty inside…and more than a little sore.
How is it that I was sad and ready to cry even though the goal that I had been working so hard for was finally accomplished?!  I was mad and upset with myself for how I was feeling.  I could not understand it, and, unfortunately, that made it all the more harder on me.  I thought I would feel better in a day or two, but I was mistaken.  Fact is, I was still feeling down after a full week had passed and I was starting to become concerned.   I did what any person would do and turned on the ole’ computer and started to GOOGLE my heart out!   After some research, I realized that what I had been feeling was in fact, normal.   I was experiencing the post-event blues, my friends.
Post –event blues?  What is that? This type of sadness or depression can be commonly found in runners, but can also be found in musicians or people planning  a big event such as a wedding or a reunion, etc.  When anyone spends large periods of time either mentally or physically preparing and training for an event such as a marathon and then, in what feels like a second, it is over, it can be hard to deal with– on an emotional level.   It is similar to the letdown many of us experience the day after Christmas or after a huge event or fundraiser for which you have been working and planning.  It was such a relief to know the feelings I was experiencing were normal and natural.  So, now, the question became, what do I do to feel better?  Can I feel better? You certainly can fight those negative and depressive feelings, and here are some tips that can help.\
1.         Rest and RelaxTake some time off and just rest your mind and body.   I trained for over 18 weeks for the marathon, and I  needed at least a week or two off to rest and help my body heal.   My body had just gone though a huge ordeal, and it needed some time to recoup and rest in order to be back in working shape.   If you have just planned a huge event and you are suffering from the letdown of the day being over then  you can take this opportunity to catch up with friends or go out to that movie you have been planning to see.   Do something for YOU!  You accomplished something extraordinary and special to you, and you need to enjoy and revel in it.
2.         Get back into a routine After the mini-vacation, you need to get back into a daily or even weekly routine.  It is important to start slow and take your time.  Your body and mind are going through a huge emotional and physical roller-coaster, and it takes a lot of drive and willpower to get back into the grind.  It is not going to happen overnight. You need to get yourself back to being energized and focused on the next event in your future.  Set a pace that you are comfortable with and proceed from there.
3.         Plan New Events And Set New Goals for Yourself This one was very important and necessary for me to get out of my depression.  A huge part of why I was feeling so depressed was the fact that I had accomplished this huge dream of mine, and I no longer had that to look forward to.  It really hit me harder than expected. I needed to set a new goal,  and once I did, I found my spirit and enthusiasm returning as quickly as it had disappeared.  I started to set my sights on another full marathon for the end of October. Focusing on setting a new goal for my finish time and starting a new training schedule felt good…and I was quickly becoming myself again.

If you have experienced anything similar to this, or if you have any remedies for helping to fight the depression, please share.

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How to Talk to Your Kids About the Birds and the Bees

“Mom, when are you going to talk to me about where babies come from?”

Wow, that question certainly packs a punch, huh?    There always seems to be an immediate sense of dread and anxiety when our children start asking these questions.  It really does not matter how close you are to your children, or how comfortable you feel discussing things with them.   Because when this line of questioning arises, you immediately feel as if you are up on the witness stand.  Only recently has my 11-year-old son REALLY started to inquire about sex.   Since I have already been “outed” on Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny, I have to come clean with him and not depend on the “Stork” for the easy answer anymore.

Studies show kids, who feel  they can talk with the parents openly about sex, are less likely to engage in high-risk sexual behavior as teens.    If you are feeling uncomfortable about discussing the subject with your children, then it might be a good idea to read up a little on the topic or even to reach out to a friend who may have already experienced the  “talk” with their own children.  The fact that these parents have already gone through this may enable them to provide you with a list of pros and cons that could be very productive and helpful.

The truth is, the more informed you feel on the subject, the more confident and comfortable you will feel, and this will make it so much easier to approach the subject with your children.  You may even want to do a “trial run” of your opening remarks with your friends or discuss them with your spouse.  It is very important for your children to hear this information from you as soon as possible before they start being influenced on the subject by their peers or from information on the internet.  You, as the parent, should be the trusted point of contact for your child at all times.

All of this interrogation from my son lately has led me to wonder when it was that I  started to have the same questions for my parents.   I do remember being a few years older than my son is now, when I approached my parents with the laundry list of questions.   My parents handed my brother and I a book called Where Did I Come From, written by Peter Mayle, which is still available to purchase all these years later.  My brother and I still get a good chuckle  when we remember this book.

As a parent, I’ve had to do a fair amount of research in preparation for these discussions with my own son.    One thing I have found which may already be pretty obvious to all of you is the belief that “honesty is the best policy.”   It is important that you stress to your child that there is never a bad question to ask, or that none of their questions should be “off-limits”.  You should be able to have an open dialogue with your children, in order for this to run more smoothly and to be ultimately more beneficial for your children.

You need to inform your children not only about “how babies are made” but also the emotional feelings involved between two people when babies are made.    It is important to discuss the facts, but also the responsibility involved and the possible consequences about entering into a sexual relationship.  Being able to give age-appropriate information to your children is the best way to proceed,  in my opinion.   Although you would probably much rather be reading Green Eggs and Ham to your children than sitting them down and discussing puberty, you are providing them with information that will educate them and protect them for the future.  Try to relax and let your child know you respect them and trust in their ability to make good and responsible decisions.   One day they will thank you for it.

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How to go from “Forty and Frumpy” to “Forty and Fabulous”!

Raise your hand if you have heard any of these?

“You know you’re not getting any younger.”

“Age is nothing but a number.”

“You are only as old as you feel.”

I don’t know about you, but all I seem to be able to hear is that teacher from the “Peanuts” cartoons when people start to utter these cliches.  Turning 40 can and should be a momentous occasion in a person’s life.  Some people embrace it, while others, such as myself, had to be dragged kicking and screaming toward that big ol’ number.  Many of you are juggling children, husbands, jobs, errands, finances, and at the end of the day, you feel like a wet dish rag rather than someone fresh off the set of “America’s Next Top Model”.  But taking your attitude from “feeling frumpy” and getting out of that housecoat and slippers to “feeling fabulous” and getting into that slinky little dress is easier than one might think.

By making a few tweaks to your daily routine, you will begin to see positive changes in the way you feel about yourself and, in turn, others will see the changes in you as well.  With an improved positive and healthy attitude, you will soon realize that getting older is not as bad as you think, and maybe the best is yet to come.  Here are some tips I would like to share that I have greatly benefited from over the past few years.

1.         “EXERCISE, EXERCISE and EXERCISE!!!” Now friends, this tip does not mean going up and down the stairs doing laundry.  NO!!!  I am talking real exercise.  We are in a world where we never have enough time, so if your idea of exercise is just walking around the cubicles at work on your lunch break then do it!   Find a half-hour in your day to do this for yourself.    I promise it will help with your physical and emotional well-being.

2.         TURN OFF THE TV AND GO TO BED!! Now I will admit that I am totally guilty of NOT doing this at times, but it is really important.  Trust me, as you get older, you want to wake up looking well-rested, rather than looking like you could pack for a vacation in those bags under your eyes!  Getting a full night of sleep not only helps with the way you look in the morning, but it improves your attitude 100% as well.    You do not want to end up taking a catnap at your desk while at work.    Get your zzzzzzzzzzzzzs.

3.         EAT YOUR VEGETABLES,  OR TAKE A MULTI-VITAMIN. How many times did we hear this one?   I will admit that I would much rather sit down to a pepperoni pizza than a bowl of salad, and I do not always eat as well as I should.  Taking a multi-vitamin is something that has helped me to feel better and has given me more energy.  Once I turned 40, I also turned to “One A Day Women’s” Multi-Vitamin, and it has really helped.

4          LAUGH.     This one is one of my favorites.  Laughing makes everything better in my world. Try to find some humor and laugh at least once a day.   If that means having to put on a funny movie, going to lunch with some friends, having someone hold you down and tickle you, or, if all else fails, head to the dentist for some laughing gas.  Do whatever it takes to get this done or the joke’s on you!

5. SPLURGE ONCE IN A WHILE.   Now this can apply to a lot of different things.  It can be anything from a new outfit you have been eyeing, to a new pair of shoes, to a book you’ve wanted to read, a scented candle, a bubble bath, or even your favorite bottle of wine.   Life is short and you need to take time to enjoy the things that make you happy.   Getting older is much more enjoyable and less torturous if there is a smile on that face of yours.

6.     DRESS IT UP!!!!! Most of the population comes home after a long day and immediately puts on their favorite pair of sweats and a t-shirt to start an exciting evening full of cooking and cleaning.  Once in a while, you need to take off the old comfy clothes and put on the little black dress.  Every once in a while, plan a night out on the town.  It can range from dinner with your significant other to drinks with friends or family.   Dress up and go have some fun.  You are guaranteed to feel better about yourself.   PLEASE REMEMBER IT IS NOT WHAT YOU LOOK LIKE, IT IS WHAT YOU FEEL LIKE INSIDE!!!  IF YOU FEEL FABULOUS THEN YOU ARE FABULOUS!!!

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Reflections of September 11th..

With the recent turn of events these past few days and with all of the images of Osama Bin Laden and September 11th flooding back to all of us, it is important to think of what we lost that fateful day and cherish what we still have.  All of us can remember as clearly as if it were only yesterday where we were and what we were doing when we heard the horrific news.   For me, it was only until I returned home from work that evening that I actually saw the images on the television screen.   I remember picking up my twoyearold son right out of his bed while he was still sound asleep and just holding him for hours.  
 
There was an overwhelming feeling around the Country during that time to try to find a way to help or contribute in any way possible.   I turned to my emotions and a pen and paper and began to write.  I had been writing poetry since I was young, and had used that as an outlet to help me get through some of the greatest and worst moments in my life.  The words seemed to flow out of me and onto the paper, and within a halfhour, my poem was finished.  I turned on my computer and immediately emailed a copy of the poem to Mayor Rudy Giuliani.  I think I speak for so many of us when I say that Mayor Giuliani was such a reassuring and comforting force during that time, when all of America was in a sheer state of panic.   I wanted to be able to reach out to him and thank him in the only way I knew how to at that point in time.
 
About a week had past, when I turned my computer on to check my email as I did every day, and could not believe my eyes when I saw a response from Mayor Giuliani in my inbox.   I honestly sat there in a state of shock for about five minutes before even opening up the email to read it.   His email kindly thanked me for the poem, but it was this sentence that brought immediate tears to my eyes and will forever be a part of me for the rest of my life.  His last sentence read….. “I will be placing your poem onto the wall with the people who still remain missing.”    
 
During a time such as this, when we are all seeing the images and reliving the horrible moments of September 11th all over again, I would like to share the poem that I wrote over nine years ago: 
 
 
This is written to a City so special….
A City which stands for the USA….
Nothing will ever make us forget….
That horrific September 11th day….
 
A Part of you was taken from us….
A part that could never be replaced…..
Your majestic presence will forever have….
An impact on the world and in our hearts, an empty space…..
 
With our melting pot of communities….
On that fateful day, we have become one….
To continue to fight together for our freedom…..
For those terrorists will wish this fight they had never begun….
 
For they do not know who they are against…
Our Nation is something so unified and so great….
With our hearts glowing and our flags flying….
Osama Bin Laden…. You just wait….
 
Our Firefighters and Police Officers….
You are America’s Heroes, it is so true….
You make us proud to be Americans..
You should know the Nation is in awe and in love with you…..
 
For New York, we fight for you….
Nothing could ever bring this Country down….
We stand for everything that is right with the world…
With our Statute of Liberty in her American gown….
 
For the terrorists pulled down our buildings….
But our people we are the glue…
We will put this Country back together again….
For we love this land…. THE RED, WHITE AND BLUE…

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Can’t we keep our babies from growing up?

If you are a mom, the following most likely sounds very familiar on some level. It seems like just yesterday I was laying in a hospital delivery room after a luxurious 29-hours of labor to hear the doctor say “It’s a boy!!!”  From that moment on, it has been a constant struggle to try and make time stand still to keep my little baby just that — a little baby!

 You constantly tell your children all the time, do not rush growing up. Stay a kid for as long as you can.  Are we really giving them this advice for the sake of our children, or is it more for us?   How ironic it is that children spend their entire childhood wanting to be older than they are, while we as parents spend our childrens lives wishing they would stay forever young.

 

How does this happen? Where does the time go? Please stop the ride, I wanna get off!  Truth is, my friends: you cannot stop the ride. You can only hope to slow it down a little to enjoy it for as long as possible.   You look once, and your children are small and look to you for everything. Then, within the blink of an eye, you are waving to them as you drop them off for their first year of college.  I am actually holding back tears now just thinking about it.

 As each day goes by, I see my son growing up so fast before my eyes.  He is growing taller and acting older, and it is sometimes bittersweet, as I have to let him go a little in certain ways.   I have to let go of his little baby face and embrace his big boy face.   I have to let go of the goo goos and gaa gaas, and try to embrace a boy with ideas and thoughts of his own.  I have to let go of my little boy wanting a hug and kiss from his mommy before school, and try to embrace a growing boy who would rather have a high-five from his mom so people will not make fun of him.   Sigh.   These are the things that come with our ever-growing and changing children.

My son has just turned eleven years old, and he’s asking me about the birds and the bees (GULP), asking me to buy him the new brand of deodorant with the chocolate scent in it because the girls like it and then– get ready for this one folks– my son is about to take his first trip on a plane ALONE!!!   Am I ready to throw up??  Ummm, YES!

 I wish there was a way to give some magical advice to all of your parents out there, or some remedy to stop it from happening, but unfortunately, I can’t — because truthfully, it doesn’t exist.  All I can say is your children WILL grow up. They WILL change, and although they will not need you in some of the ways you wish they still would, the fact of the matter is your children WILL always need you in some way.  There is a song that I have heard, and each time I hear it, I think of my little boy who is now growing into a wonderful little man who I love more than myself.  I will leave all of you with a piece of it. Please enjoy every minute you have with your children while they are still young.

 Sunrise, Sunset

 Is this the little girl I carried?

Is this the little boy at play?

I don’t remember growing older.

When did they?

When did she get to be a beauty?

When did he grow to be so tall?

Wasn’t it yesterday?

When they were small

Sunrise, Sunset.

Sunrise, Sunset.

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