Small Steps

I finally took Marley up to walk the new section of the Vulcan Trail high above Birmingham Thursday morning. It was chilly, but long overdue. The trail makes you forget that you are in the heart of the city, taking you up above it all through a peaceful, tree-lined path with breathtaking views. It makes me feel like I’m back in my beloved western North Carolina enveloped by the unfettered beauty of nature. What a gift to have this wonderful trail here in our ‘Magic City’.

I’ve made a pact with myself to use the trail more often in my mission to reduce stress through healthier daily habits. I have always loved to exercise, but have found myself giving away the time allotted for myself to work-related commitments, pretty much self-sabotaging my ability to live a truly healthy life. I’m also not sleeping well at all, and no longer popping wide awake at 5am as I have always done without the help of an alarm clock my entire adult life. It’s all too easy to make a slow slide into unhealthy behaviors before you even realize what’s happened. Especially when you are as good at denial as I am.This girl knows how to chill…

The walk was amazing- we passed one runner, and other than that we were alone the entire time except for the sound of birds singing in the trees. I felt my stress melt away as Marley and I walked (with some jogging interspersed). I have made a goal to do UAB’s Mutt Strut 5-K in April with her; she is a wonderful exercise buddy, well-mannered and always eager to go when she sees the leash come out. I am counting on her to help me jumpstart my self-improvement goals.

When I went to get ready for bed last night, I found this note taped to the mirror of my chifforobe. How blessed I am to have Dan in my life; someone who truly and selflessly loves and cares about me and my happiness. He reminds me to not take myself so seriously (his inner child is alive and well), but he also reminds me when it’s time to put myself and my needs first- something that is often difficult for me to do. My health scare last week was a good wake-up call; I can’t give all of myself to my career. After so many years of living that way, there will be a learning curve as I seek the right balance. Shiva birdwatching…

I have been on a continuous quest for self-improvement my entire life- with several detours in the wrong direction. Not giving up is important, but not beating ourselves up is just as important. Life takes us through so many peaks and valleys, and I believe that we all are doing the best we can with the tools we have at the time. Now I’m working hard to realize that that belief includes myself as well. “When you know better, do better.” Small steps.

10 thoughts on “Small Steps

  1. Thank you for sharing your journey, Denise.💕
    I suffer from some of the same issues, as you, so I am learning along with you……
    I believe we KNOW what to do, however the difficulty, for me, is making the commitment to follow through.
    Thinking of you, and cheering you on! We can do this! 🙌💪💝

    1. Catherine, we can encourage each other along the way. I agree…I know what to do, but often I am so overwhelmed by so much responsibility that I just freeze. I’m working on it. And yes- we CAN do this. ❤️

  2. What positive and uplifting post. You are so loved by your husband and your pets! It reminds me that our job will not take care of us, family and friends do. Recently I too posted list of my right to mental health. I will be sharing you list in my FB. I am cheering and supporting you as well.😻

  3. The good news…you recognize that you have options. So many times stress is self inflicted. Keep going for walks on that trail with Marley, it looks so calming.

    1. You are so right, Lori- I know I do so much of this to myself without even realizing it. The trail is healing for sure, and Marley and I will be enjoying the peace a lot. ❤️

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