birds in a barrel's mission is to release creative nonfiction into the wild.

40 Days & 40 Writes is its first project.

Rise & Grind

Almost every day, I do a millennial thing. It's called rise & grind.

To everyone who isn't a millennial, it's called working out in the morning.

But that doesn't have as nice of a ring to it.

So my routine goes like this Monday, Wednesday and Fridays, I run with a training group at a park. We focus on running hills to build speed and strength. 

Thursdays, I strength train with a group of runners on a plot of concrete.

Sundays, I run long. 

And since the start of January, I've also done yoga every single day. 

At the end of 2018, before my insurance for the year ran out, I went to see my doctor. I couldn't lose weight and I didn't understand why. 

She asked me the typical questions. I gave, what I thought, were the typical answers. Then I asked for anxiety medicine for sometimes when I felt really overwhelmed.

She refused. She told me that was a crutch. That I could handle all the anxiety myself. 

Instead, she prescribed me yoga.

"Your body is in fight or flight," she said. "Your cortisone is always up. So it's never letting your body recover."

Here I was, thinking that because I worked out all the time, that I was able to release all my stress. Wrong. I was in a stressful job that had me in several stressful situations and I was making less money than I had out of college. So pretty much it was stress on top of stress on top of stress.

I began reading into fight or flight and learned about rest and digest. Where your body recovers. It doesn't mean I can't still be active. Just that I need to let things go.

That's where yoga came in. The instructors constantly reminded me to breathe. Whenever I'm in pain, I've learned, I tend to hold my breath. Which makes the pain actually increase. If I can breathe through sticky, uncomfortable poses, than I can breathe through sticky, uncomfortable situations. 

So yoga became part of my daily routine. I haven't missed a day since the start of the year. Some days I take a 60-minute power flow or a 45-minute slow flow or a 30-minute runners yoga on my phone. On recovery days or after a long run, I tend to do a hip opener yoga. I've even created my own flow or just laid in the sun breathing in and out in savasana. 

That's not yoga? 

Well, maybe I don't build up a sweat in some of those non-class situations, but you know what it reminds me to do? To breathe.

I have constant reminders around me too. My lock screen tells me to inhale & exhale. My home screen says "Just breathe" and little notes around my mirror remind me to "Turn the page".

Since January, I don't know if I've lost a pound. I haven't stepped on the scale because I don't care to do so. I can tell my body is different the way my running clothes fit. 

But the real benefit of it all is that I learned to breathe, through it all. 

So my routine isn't really stringent. I don't have to work out with my training group (although I do because I love to) or go to yoga (although I do because I love to do that too.) I have a journal my mom bought me for Christmas. She probably doesn't realize it was the best present she's bought me. Even better than my Garmin that tracks all my miles. The journal is called Commit 30 and it helps me track myself. I get little jolts of joy when I reach a daily or a weekly goal I set for myself. Plus, it's helped me track my workouts and what I eat. And I've done some other personalized tracking along the way. 

But I guess what I'm trying to say is I don't really feel like I have a routine but I'm always in my routine, because my new routine is to just breathe.

Inhale & exhale.

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