Silver Linings Playlist

Midweek Blahs (& Mental Health Check-In

I came down with a bad cold on New Year's Eve, and ever since have been stuck in a "I'm feeling better/wait no I'm not" loop. Is it the same cold? A new cold? Allergies? Some kind of combination cold/mold sinus monster? I have no idea anymore, but I do know that it's making me look and feel like this:


i am comfy but also grumpy leave me alone in couch buttcrack okay?

I continue to force myself to rise up from the couch buttcrack occasionally, so as not to undo some of the small mental health best practices and small victories I've achieved over the last couple weeks: I've added at least 30 minutes a day of circuit training-type exercise to my 30 minutes a day of SAD lamp time, and while I know this is not BRAND NEW INFORMATION or anything, and merely proves I have the memory of a goldfish, but: Wow! Getting regular exercise sure does help! Whodathunkit, golly gee, alert the lamestream media, etc. 

I don't know how many times I've learned this exact lesson, and every time -- EVERY TIME -- I swear up and down that that this time -- THIS TIME -- I will stay consistent and stick with it. And then every time -- ERRRRY TIME -- I get bored of my workout routine, hit a plateau, drop down to once or twice a week and then start slacking off completely. Inertia and excuses take over and then I'm back where I started, all weak muscles, lousy endurance and a sad/anxious brain.

Jason's been attending a boot camp-style fitness class at our YMCA a couple times a week and kept telling me how much I'd probably like it, since it mixes things up a lot and isn't too repetitive. But it starts at 5:30 a.m. which never in a hojillion years would be doable for me. If life were a wacky supernatural comedy and Morgan Freeman himself came down dressed as God and promised me a complete election do-over and all I had to do was attend that 5:30 a.m. boot camp just enough times to compile enough footage for a proper montage sequence, I would still fail completely. Sorry, America. Nuclear blast, fade to white, roll end credits.

(I took some cold medicine before writing this, in case you couldn't tell.)

But it turns out Jason missed his calling as a personal trainer, or has at least proven that he's way better at Pinterest than I am (I STILL DON'T GET IT I'M SORRY). Every day he scours the fitness boards and sends me a new workout, tweaked a little to what I can perform at home, and every few days ups the ante because he knows I'm a competitive motherfucker who -- when asked how it went/whether it was too hard -- will always be like, "IT WAS FINE NBD IS THAT ALL YOU GOT?" While the truth is more along the lines of being super grateful I'm here alone so no one but the dog is around to witness me grunting and moaning as I struggle to get HOW MANY DUMBBELL REPS/BURPEES/CRUNCHES??!?? in before just lying on the floor for a little while for some post-workout ceiling contemplation.

It's been seriously helping, though. Enough to boost my confidence/general ass-kickery desires enough to officially commit to attending the Women's March on Washington in a couple weeks. The last time I attempted to attend a political rally it resulted in a really, really bad enochlophobia-fueled panic attack on the D.C. Metro, an experience that has fucked with my brain anytime I'm around large crowds (especially crowds + enclosed spaces like trains, malls, nightclubs, concert venues, ugh ugh ugh) ever since. I'll be going down by (assigned seating!) bus with a small group of friends (who know my particular shade of crazy), avoiding the Metro, staying outside, have clear set plan for getting in and out, etc. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't still a low-key freaked about it, but...I need to go. I need to try. It's important to me and I'd regret NOT at least showing up and being one more small body among the thousands of others, an image that is likewise both a little terrifying and inspiring at the same time. 

Plus hey, after a couple more weeks of workouts I should be able to defend my personal space with two nice strong arms and two even pointier elbows. 





I'm so glad you're going! I REALLY want to but I'll be at a conference in San Antonio that weekend and I'm SO disappointed to miss it! Part of history? Worth a panic attack! (Probably)

Miss Dawn

Whenever you can, especially whenever the sun is out, no matter how cold it is get out and WALK! It really does help to get fresh air and sunshine. I know I suffer like you do especially in the winter. I just try to get out everyday I can with my dogs and walk. I promise it is worth the effort to get wrapped up and get out. But keep doing the other stuff too. I am rooting for you!


UGH, I need to get my ass moving again, as I, too, fell off the wagon due to a persistent cold thing and general insanity of the holidays. I go in fits and starts, and like you, once I'm into it, I swear it's the greatest and I never want to stop... until I do.

I will be without access to my favorite piece of equipment (rowing machine) for the next month or so, which blows. I swear, that thing can be monotonous, but holy shitballs, the payoff is pretty crazy. I do 15-20 mins 2-3x/week, and I swear it makes a dramatic difference fairly quickly. (Not an infomercial, though my husband and I could easily do one for it.) I watch a show on my iPad while I do it to make the time pass.

I need to just find some yoga or workout videos on YouTube to get moving again in the meantime.


There is a good HIIT class at the normal hour of 6:10PM on Tuesdays at the Dancel Y. It is a good mix of I can do that, I can attempt that, and oh hell no.

Ree in Chicago

Have you read about this at all? If you're a knitter, pattern is free. If you're not, I am going to start knitting tonight. Let me know and I'll outfit you.


Good for you! For everything -- exercises, going to the march, your cat. Seriously, I love that cat.


I'm too far away to attend the Women's March but I will be with you in spirit. I'm just a stranger on the internet but I want you to know I'm incredibly proud of you. I really wish I could be there.


I also freaked out during the Rally to Restore Sanity and will also be nervously attending the Women's March, hoping I can keep it together if I can stay toward the edge of the crowd.

Suzy Q

As a veteran of a half-million women march on D.C. (For reproductive rights in 1989, yo!), I can honestly say I am done with that kind of stuff. Am too damn old, and OMG SO MANY PEOPLE. Even though my sister and I veered off for a few respite minutes to a couple of museums, the claustrophobia was strong in me. Sounds like you have a plan, though (which we did not), and I wish you well (both for the cold and the march)!


I was the same type of exerciser, start-stop-repeat, until I joined Orange Theory 2.5 years ago. I still love it! I can't say enough good things about it. Sadly I'm in week three of a fracture in my foot and I'm feeling very down given my lack of exercise. Realizing my mind needed it even more than my body :-)


Don't forget to register for the march!! They need to know how many pleople are going.


... I don't suppose you'd be willing to share the workouts Jason chooses for you? I exercise at home too and this sounds really fun. :)

I also depend on exercise to keep anxiety at bay, and I'm in full agreement with Miss Dawn about walking. There's something about being outdoors and moving through space that makes me feel better, more so than anything else, unless the weather is so bad (horizontal rain, subfreezing temps+wind) it cancels it out. Sometimes I think humans evolved to be walking basically all day and we just don't function as well sitting all the time.


So glad to hear the exercise is helping! If you want some awesome FREE mix-it-up workouts check out I was addicted to my 5:45 gym classes, and These guys have gotten me through for the last 4-5 years! And the lady, Kelly, is really honest about her mental health struggles and what a role proper fitness and nutrition helps (I can't and don't suggest you eat like her, but if you're up for it, whatever floats your boat).

Brittney Corey

I know that you don't know me from Eve, but if you're interested in a little financial motivator to keep up with your workouts, we'd be happy to have you in our FB group. Our next "put your money where your mouth is" type challenge will start in mid-February. :)


I will also be at the Women's March, which will also be the first protest/march/political thing other than whining and voting and compulsively donating to PP, that I've done since the Rally for Sanity and/or Fear (which was awesome, BTW, and I'm sorry you missed it).


I will be attending the NYC branch of the march, since dragging a toddler to DC for the day was not really in the cards. Here's hoping it's not too cold for a stroller nap! My husband and I will be attending with our activist choral group, so lots of singing :)


Have you checked out Beach Body on Demand? They have a "challenge du jour" which is a daily workout video you can stream. It's only a few dollars a week and takes the guess work out of the process. You also get access to the member library so if you don't like the CDJ, you can do something else (I swap out the plyo routines). It's like your own personal Jason without the effort. And the site will track your workouts.

michelle b

See you at the March, gurl.


I'm jealous. We booked a hotel room for $400/night (I'm in FL) and thought we would drive. But my mom has a lot of body pain and didn't think she could drive. Flights were astronomical and would have cost us $2000 just to fly and stay, not counting metro, food, etc. We couldn't swing it. Or I couldn't financially. But we did decide to ear-mark funds to fight this mfer for the next 4 years.
Gloria Steinem is going to be there. And I'm so hoping there's coverage and I can at least watch. When I was in college I was briefly a feminism major because I wanted to be her.
Thank you for going. For standing up and being counted and being a body in the crowd for those of us that can't make it.
For fighting. For all of us. xo


Yay! I'm going to the march too! I also feel you on the workout blahs. I already start my day at 5am & refuse to get up any earlier than that. And I don't get home until 6 and then there's dinner and bedtime and stuff and then it's 9pm and who works out at 9pm? Then I'm too jacked up to go to bed at 10:30 so I can try to at least get 6.5 hours of sleep at night. Gah! I had the week off between Christmas and New Years and worked out every day for a 1/2 hour and loved it. I miss it.


Winter and the cold weather have also put a damper on my exercise routine (aka taking the dog out for really long for both me and Good for you for finding (or being coaxed into) some motivation.

Totally different subject but I saw these "NOT TIRED" t-shirts the other day and I think Ike totally need one :


That is so good! Yay you and your helpful spouse and harnessing your competitive spirit. Glad to year you are marching, I will be cheering you from here!


First--I bought the sad lamp after you wrote about your positive experience with it. I've used it 2 days, and while I think my seasonal affective disorder is pretty mild, I have still noticed a difference. Second--yay for going to the march! Have you heard of the Pussyhat Project? That's how I'm participating, and I have seven hand knit pink hats that I am going to send to their headquarters to distribute, unless maybe you want one or more of them? LMK. I am going to mail them next week.


Hi Amy,

I'm Shannon and I met you last year after the band concert at the kids' school. I'm pretty sure that I just live a few streets over from you. I'll be driving down to the metro with ladies from the 'hood as well as my fantastic aunts on 1/21 if you want to join us. I promise I'm not unreasonably crazy...only enough to approach a blogger after hearing fifth graders play the tuba.


I also don't like Pinterest. I hate when I'm searching for something and get led there, because it's often just a picture of something and not an actual usable link telling me where I can get this thing!

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