Exercise, Education and Your Emotional Health

For the past 14 years, I have had the privilege of working with women at all ages and stages of life. I like to refer to these chicks as “Healthy Babes.Any Age.Any Stage.™” – women who are working to achieve balance in life so that they are physically, emotionally and socially on top of their game. I mean, really, when our physical, emotional and social states are in harmony, life is usually feelin’ pretty good. Yet, it seems that in this game of Life, finding balance in and amongst those three components is a challenge.

I have long told my clients and class participants that one of the greatest gifts they can give the loved one’s in their lives is themselves – Fit. Healthy. Strong. physically, emotionally, and socially. It is possibly my favorite soapbox to stand on because I have witnessed and experienced the impact of the imbalance-to-balance ratio. Just one small shift or stressor in one area can have an adverse affect on one or the other two! Then, for many, add parenting to that equation and, well, I don’t know about you but I found things got imbalanced pretty quickly.

While the notion of helping women become the Health(iest) Babes they can be is not just for parents (I personally pride myself on having been a super-awesome aunt before I was a mom), this blog is inspired by a particular aspect of parenting that I and many of my clients and friends seem to be constantly having to manage, maneuver and respond too: our child(ren)’s education.

While my husband and I planned to have children, we did not stress about their education prior to their existence. Hadn’t even kept up on the issues the City of Chicago has with its’ Educational system. Yet others I know had their desired neighborhoods and schools prioritized before conception or adoption. Now, I’m pretty “to each their own” here and don’t have any F.O.M.O. issues in this area – and thank God for that because just looking at my children and desiring more (better?) for them has been enough!

From as early as preschool to now, waiting on the fates of determination (having gotten on the CPS Selective Enrollment Crazy Train) I have been fascinated by the ways and means that parents, mother’s in particular, are so engrossed in our children’s education. The steps we will take, the things we will sacrifice and, quite frankly, the burdens we will put upon ourselves (and likely our children) is CRAY.ZAY. And when that crazy hits a peak or worse, a seemingly long-term tension-filled span of our life, you can bet your thesaurus all three states of our physical, emotional and social wellbeing get compromised. For me, my personal fitness routine either helps me manage the stress but sometimes, the stress is so much that taking care of myself takes a backseat…bye, bye, exercise!

Most recently, stress from managing the educational needs of our daughters was the result of transferring from an international private school to our (outstanding) neighborhood CPS school…our oldest daughter entering in the critical 7th grade year. Without getting in the minutia of that insanity in this blog, let’s just say I could have joined the circus with my specialty being spinning multiple plates on poles and my husband perfecting his juggling (he’d already been workin’ on that tho’…😉).

Now this is where things got kinda interesting for me. Turns out, in the 14 years of training, teaching and/or networking with all these cool chicks, I have myself in this amazing network of women with whom I have been able to reach out to on behalf of myself, my friends and/or clients as we work our way through this thing called Life. A sort of “Women’s Wisdom, Tried and True. Local to You.™” that I have informally been collaborating with over the years and has evolved into a community of sorts.

One of those women is the lovely, Heath Leneau Bragg. Mother, daughter, former client, friend and – wait for it…Learning Specialist! So check it out, ’cause this is really how this whole “Healthy Babes” thing has organically grown. Client Andrea hires me/YGG!F to train her during her pregnancy, then refers one of her BFF’s, Heather, to YGG!F to train during her pregnancy and voilà! – we are connected. With YGG!F, Personal Training being almost exclusively By Referral; most of my clients are already pretty selective about who they send my way but I still screen pretty well for fit.

How does this all relate to one’s physical wellbeing? Well, while neither of my daughters has a learning disability, there are definite areas of struggle that were compounded, most recently, by transferring to CPS and trying to make sure our oldest child successfully traveresed “perfect” grades, MAP Testing and, finally, the High School Admissions exam. You can probably imagine the stress, tension and anxiety that filled my home, taking their toll on the emotional, physical and social aspects of our lives. Trying to provide support without adding more pressure…and that’s where my community of Healthy Babes comes in, with Heather Leneau Bragg as the first woman I am highlighting to share her wisdom.

We’d stayed connected, I had my own auto-graphed copy of her book, “Learning Decoded” and she was my go-to for guidance in clearing the cobwebs of learning styles, adolescence and empowering my daughter through an overall hellacious process. For my husband and me, we could finally BREATHE…and chillout a bit – seeing our daughter rise to the occasion with greater ease and comfort under Heather’s tutelage. Over the years, I have found that I have been able to assist clients and/or their friends by being a trusted resource for a variety of issues that women are facing based on the community of women I’ve come to know; often sharing the wisdom of women that have traversed those same issues before us. Being that trusted resource has been so cool to experience that I am providing that service in a more organized manner!

So, if your home (or that of someone you know and love) is stressed by or filled with angst as a result of the pressures of making sure your child is getting their educational needs met, please join me and Heather Leneau Bragg on Thursday, March 10th, 2016, 6:30p-8:30p @ Sweet Peas Studio, 3717 N. Ravenswood, as she discusses “Learning Decoded: Understanding and Using Your Child’s Unique Learning Style to Improve Academic Performance” (and I’ll add: keep you calm in the process). Registration is required. Cost: $30/pp, $55/per couple.