11 Steps to A Guilt Free Thanksgiving

Here is something that drives me insane around the holidays, the excessive volume of online articles harping on how to "Boost Your Metabolism" or "Burn More Calories” this Thanksgiving. These articles, though written with good intentions, do nothing but promote guilt, regret, and unhealthy relationships with your body image, weight, and food. So stop clicking them! Stop taking the bait!

So you spend a day eating an excessive amount of food, SO WHAT! Take a day! I have spent countless Thanksgivings stressing about what was on my plate, how much, and how soon I could "burn" it off. I would calculate calories and calculate how long I needed to spend on an elliptical to break even. The way I saw it if you eat less calories than you burn, you lose weight. So I’d calculate and I’d ho and I’d hum and I’d beat myself up about the weight I just gained instead of enjoying a delicious dry turkey! Here’s the kicker, you aren't going to break even, EVER. I need you to do something for me. I need you to enjoy your Thanksgiving. I need you to let go of any preconceived notion of "cutting back" and "dieting" and just enjoy your meal with your friends and/or family.

Does that mean go for the fourth plate of food? Does that mean eat until you make yourself sick? Does that mean eat until you actually are in pain? NO. There’s a fine balance between enjoying a meal and eating mindlessly until you explode. Stop thinking about so much! This is nothing new. This isn’t your first Thanksgiving you know how this holiday works! A healthy lifestyle lasts your entire life and you have to give yourself permission to enjoy an unbalanced meal on special occasions. IT’S OK! I guarantee you, it’s ok. Enjoying Thanksgiving is 100% possible! Here’s how:

Step 1: Get excited!

Thanksgiving is a holiday. There is a reason the word happy precedes holiday. Even if you are dreading going home or if you’re going through a hard time, find a second to smile. Even on our darkest days (or years) you have to find a reason to smile and laugh. Find something to be thankful for. This year I am thankful for my family, especially my sister, because I don’t know how I could survive without their humor or their constructive criticism. I’ve grown a lot over the last few years because they push me to be a more honest, strong, and driven woman. They are the voice in the back of my head (which drives me crazy) but I wouldn’t commit to half the things I do without them. I have some huge power houses in my family and I am really grateful for their advice and thoughts, however unsolicited it may be.

Step 2: Get sweaty first thing in the morning.

Whether it’s a 30 or 60 minute walk/run/bike ride alone, with your dog, a neighbor, a child, a friend, or a family member, find the time to get up and get sweaty. It will make the day easier emotionally and it will help you feel like you earned that second piece of pumpkin pie. (Because yes, you can have a second piece of pie if you want it!) I started running on Thanksgiving. I couldn’t handle the holiday and the gym was closed. It was the best decision I ever made. Tomorrow I'll probably get a quick 5K in before Hurricane Kelly rolls into Dumbo and destroys my family's kitchen.

Step 3: Skip the snacking (IE the chips and dip)

You don’t need it and in the scope of the delicious food coming your way, it’s just not worth it. We always have chips and dip out all day long at our house. It’s a trap. I just park myself as far away from said temptations as possible. And if I decide I need some I go with carrots and dip (and a few chips because live your life). Eat a normal breakfast, eat a normal lunch and avoid the snacking.

Step 4: Don’t be first in line if it’s buffet style.

This is my secret weapon. I am a fast eater. I’m normally ready for seconds by the time the last person gets a plate. So I go towards the end. It gives me a chance to refresh people’s drinks and get major brownie points. (And Thanksgiving is so much yummier with a fresh drink.) Then I get in line and make myself a plate which leads me to…

Step 5: SLOW AND STEADY WINS THE RACE.

slow and steady

Thanksgiving is like a marathon and there’s no way you’ll make it to pie with a smile on your face if you don’t pace yourself. Plate #1=average portions. Nothing overwhelming. There should be room on your plate! Don’t worry about calories, don’t worry about what you’re eating, and don’t make a comment that you’re a pig. There’s no judgment at the Thanksgiving table and anyone is judging is an asshole. Don’t be an asshole.

Step 6: No dinner roll.

I skip the dinner roll because it’s bland and I’d rather eat stuffing. (unless there's cornbread in which case hell yeah cornbread.) 

Step 7: TELL A STORY.

I can’t do the lift your fork up and put it down, chew slowly, “enjoy your food” nonsense. I’m gonna eat fast. The only way I can combat speed eating is if I’m telling a really good story. So back pocket a really good story, start it before you get your first plate, cliff hanger it while you head to the table, and pick back up when you sit down. It’ll buy you a good 5 minutes. Your welcome. (If you don’t have a story, bring up religion or politics. Then watch shit hit the fan J )

Step 8: Eat in negative splits

Round 2, skip the stuff you didn’t like as much. I go with slightly smaller portions and eat like a speed demon. Then if you go for round 3 you are really committing.

Step 9: Take a good little recovery before pie.

Kind of like an intermission in a show. Build anticipation for that sweet sweet pie.

Step 10: Body slam some pie.

There’s always room for pie! And my only rule is that I wait a while for seconds of pie. That way I inflict the pain on a well informed decision.

Step 11: Reflect and reminisce.

MMMMMMM Thanksgiving. MMMMMMM mashed potatoes. MMMMMMM stuffing. And remember to thank your cooks because they made that delicious meal possible.

HAVE A WONDERFUL THANKSGIVING EVERYONE! Remember enjoy your food and commit to eating that delicious meal. Tell your people you love them, take pictures, make memories, and congratulate yourself if you hosted. You hosts keep the world spinning. Until Friday, #RunSelfieRepeat. AND REMEMBER there's still time to join this virtual turkey trot!

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Kelly Roberts

My name is Kelly Roberts and I am a 25 year old New York City resident. My story made headlines when I took selfies with hot guys “hottie hunting” my way through the NYC Half Marathon. My blog, www.RunSelfieRepeat.com is bursting with humor and personal stories that lend an insight into the world of running and lead you to believe that just about anyone, regardless of their fitness level, can and should fall in love with running. Though currently an avid runner, I never would have predicted I would run marathons. I was the kid who used to hide in the bushes or play dead to get out of running the mile in school. I HATED running. But running has given me a purpose. It’s shown me that I really am limitless. In the two years since I started running, I’ve run multiple half marathons, 10ks, and 5ks, one full marathon, and I am just weeks away from the New York City Marathon. My mission is to inspire others to find the courage to say yes to themselves all the while making them laugh hysterically because laughing is the solution to everything.

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Let's Talk Running Injuries with my Physical Therapist

Today I have a very special guest blogger, my Physical Therapist Mike Riccardi, the wizard who helped me go from overwhelming knee pain to a practically pain free marathon in 5 WEEKS! (Hence why I think he actually may be a wizard.)

This is Mike laughing at me while I cry.

This is Mike laughing at me while I cry.

I wish I would have started PT when I started training for my very first marathon because I’m an amateur runner and I don’t really know what I’m doing. Running seems like one of those things you don’t need help with; everyone innately knows how to run. But poor form leads to injuries and the only way to prevent injuries is by building strength, mobility, flexibility, balance and endurance. Not sure how to do that? NEITHER DID I! I did what every other normal runner who was training for a half or full marathon did; I read tons of RunnersWorld and online articles, a book here and there, and watched YouTube videos but I was clueless about implementing what I was reading into what I was doing.

Then when shit hit the fan during an 18 mile training run I knew I needed help. I couldn’t walk yet alone run without pain and I flipped out. I was terrified I wouldn’t be able to run the marathon. I asked around and got the same answer from all of my friends in the running community, Finish Line Physical Therapy is the place to go. I don’t consider myself a really serious athlete. I run because it makes me incredibly happy. I’m not impressively fast and I don’t run competitively. I just like to run! I didn’t think physical therapy was intended or necessary for my little horse and pony show. BOY WAS I WRONG. There’s a whole bunch of running related injuries that any runner, regardless of their level, can develop and they are 100% preventable. Two of the most common are Runner’s Knee (Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome) and Illiotibial Band Syndrome (ITBS). Mike has graciously agreed to educate us on ITBS and Runner’s Knee because marathon season is coming to a close and many of you could ABSOLUTELY benefit from spending the winter season in PT. TAKE IT AWAY MIKE!


Kelly first came in to see me about 5 weeks before the NYC marathon.  Like other patients that came in around the same time, Kelly's biggest fear was that she shouldn't be running anymore. She had felt some pain a few weeks prior to coming in and at her doctor’s recommendation she took a week off.  Many runners have this "If I just rest it'll go away" mentality but rest only gets rid of some of the initial inflammation, it doesn't truly address the underlying causes of pain. So, when she tried running a week later she started having right knee pain.

 After doing a quick exam on the table I found that Kelly, like countless others, had some common issues including: decreased hip mobility and decreased outer hip strength. When I had Kelly do some more functional activities like squatting, single leg squatting, balance, step downs, etc. I saw how those issues affected her movement.  Finally since her issue came from, and was exacerbated by, running I needed to watch her run.  Again, some of the limitations I found on the table and with the functional movements showed up in her gait analysis: over-striding, decreased hip extension, increased hip drop while on one leg (trendelenberg), as well as a few other things but those were the biggies at the time.

Behind that camera is a girl uncomfortably laugh crying.

 Immediate treatment included giving Kelly come cues while running to improve her form and decrease the amount of force going through her knees, manual techniques (which Kelly will probably describe as complete and utter pain) [Kelly here and yes, YES THEY HURT LIKE A MOTHER EFFER], foam rolling to help loosen up her hips (more pain), stretches for her hamstrings and hips flexors, as well as some strengthening exercises while we still had some time before the taper period.  As we got closer to the marathon we focused most on getting her pain down by switching largely to manual based treatments with the addition of functional stretching and foam rolling. Now that it's post-marathon I've discussed with Kelly the importance on continuing to come into therapy to work on strengthening exercises that will help resolve her knee pain completely, and more importantly, keep it from coming back.

I'M NOT DRAMATIC!

 Background

 Running is an inexpensive form of vigorous-intensive physical activity and can be done anywhere and at any time. However, running may cause various overuse injuries, especially in the legs.  Various studies have reported on the prevalence and incidence of running injuries occurring during training or races, with injury rates varying between 25% and 65%.  The most common overuse injury in runners is patellofemoral pain syndrome (PFPS), commonly called runners knee, followed by ITBS.

 Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome (PFPS)

 PFPS, commonly referred to as runners knee, tends to present with pain around the kneecap with activities stressing the patellofemoral joint such as squatting, prolonged sitting, stairs, and running. A number of various causes of PFPS have been suggested including muscle imbalance and weakness, overuse, soft tissue tightness, and poor lower limb alignment and mechanics.

 Previously, treatment strategies focused on knee strengthening exercises.  These have shown to improve pain, however, a shift towards hip based strengthening exercises and programs that combine the two have been shown to be more effective than knee strengthening alone at reducing pain and improving function in people with PFPS. A strength deficiency in hip abduction, external rotation, and extension has been documented in females. Therefore, proximal strengthening of abdominal, hip abductors, and hip external rotator muscles has been shown to result in a significant improvement in PFPS symptoms. Abnormal foot pronation also exacerbates PFPS and therefore strengthening of the dynamic support of the medial longitudinal arch may be beneficial, as well as the use of semi-rigid orthotics.

 PFPS Treatment Options

A multimodal physical therapy approach including a unique and specialized strengthening program, stretching and foam rolling techniques, and manual treatment are the main aspects of current conservative PFPS treatment.

I like to tell jokes while I do the exercises. It passes the time.

 Iliotibial Band Syndrome (ITBS)

 ITBS is the most common running injury that occurs on the lateral (outside) part of the knee. It is a non-traumatic overuse injury caused by repeated knee movement that causes irritation in the structures around the knee. The incidence of ITBS in runners is estimated to be between 5% and 14%. The syndrome results from rectified friction of the ITB over the lateral femoral epicondyle. The ITB move anterior to, or in front of, the epicondyle as the knee extends and posterior, or behind, as the knee bends,

 The main symptoms of ITBS is sharp pain or burning in the lateral knee. Patients typically start running pain-free, but develop symptoms after a reproducible time or distance.  Initially, symptoms subside shortly after a run, but return with the next run. Patients often note that running downhill, lengthening their stride and sitting for long periods with the knee in a flexed position aggravates the pain.

See that thing that looks like a bouncy castle behind me? That's an AlterG Anti-Gravity Treadmill.

 Causes

Three main factors were investigated with regard to the etiology, or causes, of ITB.

1. The strength of the hip abductors.

  • Hip abductors are the muscles on the outside portion of the hip.

  • In addition to certain leg movements, they act to stabilize the pelvis while standing on one leg. Considering running is essentially jumping from one leg to the other, they are pretty important.

  • Some of the articles had conflicting evidence regarding if hip abductor weakness has a role in ITBS or not.

2. Biomechanics

  • One study showed that when runners with ITBS first struck the ground, they displayed higher peak hip adduction angles, greater peace knee internal rotation and femoral external rotation, and remained more adducted throughout stance (think of it like running on a tightrope) compared to matched subjects without symptoms.

3. Training and Shoes

  • Most runners with ITBS spent more than 90% of their training time running long distances at a low speed. Knowing when a pair of shoes need to be retired is incredibly important, as is making sure you're getting the right shoe for you. Don't pick a shoe just because it looks nice but make sure it is the shoe your foot and running form needs. See a specialty shoe store that knows what they're doing and can help you find what's right for you.  One store I recommend to NYC runners is "Brooklyn Running Co." in Williamsburg.

 Common treatment strategies of ITBS

Common treatment strategies of ITBS involve alteration of running form, manual treatment from a physical therapist, hip flexibility exercises/ stretches, hip abdcutor and glute strengthening, rest, ice, pain medication, and foam rolling. Unfortunately, there is still conflicting evidence around the best treatment strategy for ITBS.  It is rarely the result of a single issue so it's important to talk to a physical therapist who will be able to determine possible underlying causes that may contribute to poor running form and will be able to educate you on methods of fixing them.

I like to scream, "BE CAREFUL OF MY MONEY MAKER" (IE my face) during this one. #SquatsForDays

With marathon season coming to an end I think the biggest and most important thing to stress as a physical therapist who sees these types of injuries every day is that while rest after a race helps decrease pain, and is definitely needed, it doesn't truly solve the problems.  Many people go weeks without running thinking that their pain will resolve on its own and find their pain to come right back as soon as they hit the roads or track again. So not only is it important to utilize the offseason to take care of any nagging injuries that still may be troubling runners, but it's also important to take the time to figure out where some weaknesses may be and how they are affecting your form. Too many runners come in weeks before a race freaking out that they started to have pain somewhere and won't be able to finish the race. Take care of some of these issues before the pain causes you to need to take serious time off running. A thorough gait analysis and strengthening program can ultimately lead to improved running economy and efficiency, helping runners continue to set new PRs without getting injured.

 Sources:

 Peters J, Tyson N. Proximal exercises are effective at treating patellofemoral pain syndrome: a systematic review. The International Journal of Sports Physical Therapy. 2013; 8(5): 689-700.

 Clark N, Bourque R, Schilling J. Treatment of patellofemoral pain syndrome in a track athlete. Human Kinetics. 2014; 19(1): 27-31.

 Van der Worp M, Horst N, Wijer A, Backx F, Nijhuis-van der Sanden M. Iliotibial band syndrome in runners: a systematic review. Sports Med. 2012; 42(11): 969-992.

 Fredericson M, Wolf C. Iliotibial band syndrome in runners: innovations in treatment. Sports Med. 2005; 35 (5): 451-459.


Prevention or "Prehab" as Finish Line calls it is the best way to stay injury free. Sometimes you don't see an injury coming. I went from feeling perfectly fine to one day, all of a sudden, not even being able to run. Sure the injury itself happened over time but I had no clue it was happening. Had I started with Mike sooner I wouldn't have runner's knee and I could have saved a whole lot of money and stress had I started sooner.

To read more about my award winning Physical Therapy Clinic Finish Line PT CLICK HERE.

Until tomorrow friends, #RunSelfieRepeat.

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Kelly Roberts

My name is Kelly Roberts and I am a 25 year old New York City resident. My story made headlines when I took selfies with hot guys “hottie hunting” my way through the NYC Half Marathon. My blog, www.RunSelfieRepeat.com is bursting with humor and personal stories that lend an insight into the world of running and lead you to believe that just about anyone, regardless of their fitness level, can and should fall in love with running. Though currently an avid runner, I never would have predicted I would run marathons. I was the kid who used to hide in the bushes or play dead to get out of running the mile in school. I HATED running. But running has given me a purpose. It’s shown me that I really am limitless. In the two years since I started running, I’ve run multiple half marathons, 10ks, and 5ks, one full marathon, and I am just weeks away from the New York City Marathon. My mission is to inspire others to find the courage to say yes to themselves all the while making them laugh hysterically because laughing is the solution to everything.

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My List of Excuses to Not Work Out

Have you ever had one of those days where you spend a vast majority of your time coming up with excuses not to run or go to the gym?  For me one excuse easily turns into a week of excuses and before I know it, a whole month has passed (or in some cases years) and then it’s no longer a matter of motivating myself to workout in but having to get back into it all over again. But some days are rough! It's a miracle if I can get out the door on the days when all I want to do is lay on a couch eating bonbons.

The Holiday season is notorious for being the demise to many a motivated person. Between traveling, busy schedules, the Christmas cookies and food comas it’s all too easy to fall into a chocolate blackout only to wake up in January confused about why you haven’t run in weeks.  So how do we combat it? Well any problem is easily solved by going to the root. Today I am listing all of the excuses I have used recently and we are going to strike them down like a Christmas Pinata.

1. I didn’t get enough sleep last night to workout.  

2. I just ate some ice cream and I don’t want to get a stomach ache.

3. If I run I will get sweaty and have to shower which means I have to re-do my hair. (NO THANKS.)

4. I’m gonna skip squats and stuff because I don’t want to be sore for physical therapy tomorrow.  

no thank you

5. I have to be somewhere in 3 hours and there just isn’t enough time.

6. My favorite sports bra is dirty and I’m just not in the mood to work out without it.

7. That hot trainer is working and I feel like I look disgusting. What if we make eye contact?

8. I forgot my headphones/gym shoes/socks.

9. I had a really light lunch and I don’t want to pass out.

10. I ate really well today so I don’t have to go to the gym.

11. I feel bloated and/or gassy.

12. It’s raining/snowing/ really hot out and I just don’t want to deal with it.

13. The weather is perfect and I would rather do anything than go workout.

14. I am going to start working out again tomorrow.

15. I don’t want to be seen struggling on the machines next to really attractive people who make it look effortless.

16. I’m in a bad mood.

17. I feel a tiny tickle in my throat, I better take it easy.

18. I slept weird, I don’t want to aggravate my neck/back.

19. I have to run errands after work.

20.  I was invited to get drinks/dinner with friends.

21. I will work out twice as hard tomorrow.

good idea at the time

22. I just need a break.

Rule of thumb, if I find myself starting to make excuses it's do not pass go, do not collect $200-you need to run or go to the gym. Anyone who tells you that they love working out all the time is lying through their teeth. There are terrible awful days where you just don't want to workout. There are also just days when you aren't really feeling it. Sometimes it takes everything in you just to get 30 minutes in, but at the end of the day 30 minutes is better than nothing at all. All it takes is a little motivation.

My advice is to work out first thing in the morning. Find the time to knock it out otherwise you probably won’t do it. And if you don’t do it, don’t beat yourself up! It’s not the end of the world! A tiny break never killed anyone. Just don’t let a week off turn into a year off. Take care of yourself and use those Holiday Sweets as motivators. The more you run the more cookies you get to eat! (Not the healthiest approach but 'tis the season to stuff your effing face. And I don’t trust anyone who tells me otherwise. Live your life, have a cookie! Just don't eat the entire chub of sugar cookie dough...by yourself.)

This Thursday is my 2 year runniversary. 2 years ago I went for my very first run and it took me one and a half hours to run and walk 3 miles. Sticking with it was the toughest part. Tougher than any marathon. So remember, getting into it isn't going to be a cake walk. It's gonna take some hard work and dedication. But it's worth it. You need to be the light at the end of your tunnel. Find the time and make it happen. No more excuses. Until tomorrow friends, #RunSelfieRepeat.

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Kelly Roberts

My name is Kelly Roberts and I am a 25 year old New York City resident. My story made headlines when I took selfies with hot guys “hottie hunting” my way through the NYC Half Marathon. My blog, www.RunSelfieRepeat.com is bursting with humor and personal stories that lend an insight into the world of running and lead you to believe that just about anyone, regardless of their fitness level, can and should fall in love with running. Though currently an avid runner, I never would have predicted I would run marathons. I was the kid who used to hide in the bushes or play dead to get out of running the mile in school. I HATED running. But running has given me a purpose. It’s shown me that I really am limitless. In the two years since I started running, I’ve run multiple half marathons, 10ks, and 5ks, one full marathon, and I am just weeks away from the New York City Marathon. My mission is to inspire others to find the courage to say yes to themselves all the while making them laugh hysterically because laughing is the solution to everything.

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A Virtual Turkey Trot For Everyone

With Thanksgiving less than a week away we are in the heart of Turkey Trot season. What's a Turkey Trot? It's a fun run, normally around a 5k/10k that happens on Thanksgiving! It's the perfect way to start your holiday splendor of sticking your fingers in the mashed potatoes or sneaking into the kitchen for a spoonful of stuffing. (No just me? OK moving on...)

Here's a ridiculously convenient way to fit in that turkey trot this year (if you're like me and missed the signing up for a Turkey Trot boat...): you can run a virtual 5k for charity! Say what? What does that mean, that sounds like a bunch of Hocus Pocus! NO! NO IT'S NOT MY SKEPTICAL FRIENDS! It couldn't be easier! Everyone wins you get to eat your Thanksgiving feast guilt free AND support a great cause by signing up for Courage to Hope's Virtual 5k: 'Run for Hope.'

How does it work? Well the beauty is that you can run this 5k whenever and wherever you want between November 24th and November 29th. (Basically you don't have an excuse not to do this runners...you're running that far anyways!)

Step 1: Run/Walk 3.1 Miles (at least)

Step 2:  Take a screenshot of your time from any running app (RunKeeper, etc.)

Step 3: Upload it onto social media with the hashtag #RunForHope2014.

There are amazing prizes for the winners of each age category so don't phone that run in! Registration supports victims of domestic violence in Ukraine and gets you a great T-shirt. Sign up and find out more CLICK HERE!

It's the Holidays everyone, remember there's more to it than panicking, stressing about presents, and feeling overwhelmed. Do something for yourself and for someone who needs it. And remember to breath and smile. We will get through the holiday's together. I got an arsenal of jokes ready to go. Until Monday, #RunSelfieRepeat.

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Kelly Roberts

My name is Kelly Roberts and I am a 25 year old New York City resident. My story made headlines when I took selfies with hot guys “hottie hunting” my way through the NYC Half Marathon. My blog, www.RunSelfieRepeat.com is bursting with humor and personal stories that lend an insight into the world of running and lead you to believe that just about anyone, regardless of their fitness level, can and should fall in love with running. Though currently an avid runner, I never would have predicted I would run marathons. I was the kid who used to hide in the bushes or play dead to get out of running the mile in school. I HATED running. But running has given me a purpose. It’s shown me that I really am limitless. In the two years since I started running, I’ve run multiple half marathons, 10ks, and 5ks, one full marathon, and I am just weeks away from the New York City Marathon. My mission is to inspire others to find the courage to say yes to themselves all the while making them laugh hysterically because laughing is the solution to everything.

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Finding Happiness During the Holidays

Yesterday I was on the subway, eavesdropping as per usual, and I overheard a Grandmother ask her granddaughter what she wanted to be when she grew up. The little girl simply replied, “Happy.” My heart stopped and my face immediately broke into the world’s cheesiest smile. We ask kids that question all the time, HELL IM 25 AND PEOPLE ARE STILL ASKING ME WHAT I WANT TO BE WHEN I GROW UP, but the answer is never a state of being like happy which is honestly something we all need to work harder to be. I started thinking about what makes me happy and my first thought was cupcakes! No I’m just kidding my first thought was my family. With Thanksgiving less than a week away I want to talk about happy and the holidays.

The holiday season is a really delicate time of year for my family. On the one hand it’s the time of the year I most look forward to because my entire family gets together for some insane shenanigans. Then on the other hand it’s a reminder that a huge piece of our puzzle is missing and will never be with us again. I actually went on my first initial run on Thanksgiving Day in 2012 because I was drowning in grief. I couldn’t stop crying. I was missing my brother and there was nothing I could do to make myself feel better. In a way dealing with loss puts you in a state of helplessness for the rest of your life.

So how can you be happy when you’re broken? How is it possible to be happy during such a difficult time of the year? How is it possible to not light a house of fire reading Facebook statuses about how blessed someone is this holiday season. The entire point of Thanksgiving and Christmas, at least at our house, is family. We’ve had 5 holiday seasons now without my brother and though it hasn’t gotten easier, I learned a whole hell of a lot about happiness. Being happy is a choice that you have to work towards because it’s not going to magically happen. These are my tips to finding joy and happiness during the holidays:

1. Be In the Moment

We spend so much time consumed with what’s to come or what’s already happened that we miss what is happening right now. I get it, you’re busy and you have a lot to juggle. But remembering what was or focusing on what could have been is a black hole. It takes a conscious effort to engage in the now to be happy. Engage with what’s happening and take it all in. Time is precious and it needs your attention.

2. Small Tiny Choices and Small Tiny Goals

Huge lofty goals are great but focus on what you can accomplish today. Focus on the choices you are about to make now because what you do now affects what you do in the future. Are you trying to eat healthier this Holiday Season? I’m a glutton and I’m the first one to announce I am on my 20th cookie and I eat when I’m sad. So instead of giving up sweets entirely I will focus on not eating that entire chub of cookie dough right now. Or find time to get outside every day. Focus on finding times to grab your kids and going for a walk. Only focus on what you can do and control today.

3. Stop Crafting Perfection

Want to know what isn’t interesting? Perfection. I don’t know a single family who is perfect. I’ve never been to one holiday party that was perfect. Want to know what’s memorable about the holidays? The unexpected and the chaos! Embrace it. Enjoy what you have not what you are trying to prove. Seriously, let that go. Life isn’t a perfect made for TV advertisement. Embrace the flaws, embrace the chaos, and remember it’s the most wonderful, and stressful, time of the year. Everything isn’t perfect. It’s ok to acknowledge that.

4. Be a Weirdo

My family had to start all new traditions that are 100% weird and unconventional. We buy our Christmas tree on Christmas Eve (It’s also 80% off) and we decorate it using hot glue, construction paper, glitter, spray paint, balloons and all sorts of nonsense. It’s our “disposable” tree. It was too hard for my Mom to get all the Christmas decorations down because it all reminded her of my brother. So we came up with new weirdo and wacky traditions that keep us laughing. BE A WEIRDO. Stop with the perfect instagram pictures, you’re not fooling anyone. I’d rather see a bunch of people having a blast than a bunch of posed nonsense any day.

5. Stop Caring About Being Right

Keep calm and carry on. Don’t take anything personally and don’t worry about pleasing everyone. Someone is going to have an opinion or prefer something done a different way. Don’t worry about being right just do you.

6. Invest in Yourself

run.gif

Go for walks, hikes, runs, or bike rides. Find time to get sweaty because life’s stressful and getting active is the best way to manage said stress.  It’s also the perfect excuse to take a moment to yourself if you need one. I don’t like letting my family see me cry, I’m what is called a hero child (I’m working on it). I know I can announce that I am going for a run and I go cry, run, and be with my thoughts. It’s my escape.

7. Listen

It’s really hard to ask for help or to admit that they are sad. Just listen to everyone around you. Listen to them and acknowledge them. You don’t have to do anything for them. You don’t have to change anything. All you have to do is listen.

8. Don’t Be An Asshole

This one is specifically for me because if I get upset, I turn into an asshole. DON’T BE THE ASSHOLE! You didn’t get your way? That’s ok, go do something else. Things aren’t going according to schedule or as planned? THAT’S OK! People aren’t thanking you for all your hard work? No sweat off your back! Roll with the punches. Be a problem solver but don’t be an asshole.

9. Be Vulnerable

It’s funny every year my Poppy reads us “Twas the Night Before Christmas” as we drink coacoa and tea and hang our stockings before bed. Well now it’s the time when everyone pretends like they aren’t about to cry so you just see 20 people all choking on tears they don’t want to let out. It’s hard to be vulnerable but it’s important. Be honest. It’s so much easier. I know it’s hard, trust me you’re talking to the Queen of “EVERYTHINGS OK IM NOT CRYING!”

10. Say Thank You and I Love You

Two simple phrases I want you to say all day every day. Be grateful. Tell people you love them. Even if you think it’s implied, just tell them anyways.

11. Smile

Even in your ugly cry, smile. Smiling makes everything a little less shitty, it just does. Smile at people. Smile at strangers. When that ass hole steals the last parking spot, smile.  Remember everyone has a story, everyone has a family, and everyone else has shit to do. SMILE. Please God smile smile smile.

Be happy. Choose to make an effort to be happy. It’s so much easier, trust me. Until Monday friends, #RunSelfieRepeat.

1 Comment

Kelly Roberts

My name is Kelly Roberts and I am a 25 year old New York City resident. My story made headlines when I took selfies with hot guys “hottie hunting” my way through the NYC Half Marathon. My blog, www.RunSelfieRepeat.com is bursting with humor and personal stories that lend an insight into the world of running and lead you to believe that just about anyone, regardless of their fitness level, can and should fall in love with running. Though currently an avid runner, I never would have predicted I would run marathons. I was the kid who used to hide in the bushes or play dead to get out of running the mile in school. I HATED running. But running has given me a purpose. It’s shown me that I really am limitless. In the two years since I started running, I’ve run multiple half marathons, 10ks, and 5ks, one full marathon, and I am just weeks away from the New York City Marathon. My mission is to inspire others to find the courage to say yes to themselves all the while making them laugh hysterically because laughing is the solution to everything.

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