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Discover Your City

By Kimberly Blaker, February 2020 Issue.

Going through a breakup, divorce, or the death of a

spouse isn't easy. You've lost not only your lover but your confidant,

cheerleader, activity partner, support system, and best friend. Such a loss can

be devastating. As such, it's only natural to grieve. In fact, allowing

yourself to grieve is vital to your recovery. You'll need time (and perhaps

even professional help) to work through your denial, anger, bargaining,

depression, and acceptance – the five stages of grief.

But even as you work through this difficult period,

you can begin building a happy, full life. Working toward moving on doesn't

mean you've forgotten the person you lost or your prior life. It simply means

you recognize your emotional and physical wellbeing are dependent on getting

back to a normal, positive life. Certainly, you'll still experience some

sadness and miss the person and life you've lost. Allow yourself to feel sad as

often as you need to. But, also look for at least one, if not multiple ways to

uplift yourself each and every day.

Taking time for personal growth is an excellent way to

raise your spirits. So, focus some time and energy to self-discovery, becoming

a more fabulous you, and finding new ways to enjoy life to its fullest. There's

no need to forget the person and life you lost. To the contrary, cherish those

great memories. But build on them by enjoying new experiences and a newfound

appreciation for all life has to offer.


There are so many avenues to self-discovery. The truth

is you might never even reach your final destination. That's because

self-discovery is really an ongoing process. As the seasons of your life come

and go, you'll continually grow and change. The good news is, we live in a big,

beautiful world that's full of possibility, endless things to experience, and

always new knowledge to be had. Let some of these ideas be a springboard to

help you find your new groove.

Job or Career. Do

you like what you do for a living? Or do you wish you'd gone a different

direction? This might be a good time to consider a job or career change.

Explore what kinds of work would make you happy. Just bear in mind your

emotional state and take time to think through the pros and cons of your

choices. Then, once you're in a better frame of mind, you'll be ready to put

your plan into action.

Learn a new skill. It doesn't have to be for career growth or change, although it could

be. Learning a new skill offers lots of other benefits. In fact, it's good for

your brain. It increases the speed at which you learn new skills, improves your

performance on other tasks, and expands your knowledge. It also reduces your

risk of dementia. Other benefits include making you more adaptable to change

(such as you're going through now), providing an additional outlet to stave off

boredom, and making you a more interesting person.

The great thing about learning a new skill is the

multitude of choices to fit everyone's interests. There are also numerous

avenues for learning new skills today. Take an online class or go for a

classroom setting. You can also buy or borrow books to learn on your own or

read instructional articles online, watch YouTube videos, webinars, and more.

Volunteer. This

is another way to expand your skills while also making the world a better

place. Volunteering is also beneficial to your emotional health. According to

research, those who volunteer become happier, enjoy reduced stress, and gain

self-esteem. It also increases your social connections. In turn, all these

factors contribute to a healthier, longer life.

New friends. Following

a loss, making new friends is often imperative. If you're like most people in a

relationship, you spent most of your free time with your partner. As a result,

you may have only a small pool of friends. So, get in touch with old friends

and catch up. You might discover new things you have in common that help

rekindle your friendship. Also, make new friends through work, classes, and

volunteering. Meetup.com

is another option. You'll discover a plethora of different types and ages of

groups. There's truly something for everyone.

Music. If

you're a music lover, you know what a mood-booster music can be. Yet, if you're

like most people, you've listened to the same few genres of music throughout

your life. So, visit your library to explore different types of music, and

check out a variety of CDs. Try multiple artists within each genre, since

styles vary widely among any genre. You just might be surprised at the music

you fall in love with and have been missing all your life. Beyond the more

popular rock, rap, R&B, and country, there's also folk, blues, jazz, and

classical. Also, don't skip over the world music section. You'll find

Irish/Celtic, flamingo, reggae, Latin, Zydeco, Afrobeat, and so much more.

Movies & film. Everyone has their favorite movie genres. But maybe it's time to give

some of those other genres a chance. Also, look for independent movie theaters

where you can catch indie and foreign films. You'll often find award-winning

flics in these theaters that never make it into mainstream theaters.

Art. This

isn't a world just for artists. Although you might discover you have a hidden

talent you never realized. Think painting, drawing, sculpting, photography,

printmaking, and so much more. The other option is the simple enjoyment of

looking at art. Check out some art museums and galleries. You might even want

to pick up a book or take a class on art appreciation to understand art at a

whole new level.

Crafts. Hobbies

offer a host of benefits in addition to the crafty things you can make, keep,

and give. Crafting relieves stress and depression, provides challenge, prevents

boredom, and can even generate additional income. Consider wood crafts,

leatherwork, needlework, glassmaking, paper crafts, and countless other


Travel. Whether

you choose to explore your own state, other parts of the country, or the world,

you'll reap many benefits. Travel can be educational, enhances creativity,

broadens your horizons, and best of all, it's fun. You can travel by car,

train, or plane. Make the most of your trips by doing research before you go so

you hit the right weather and don't waste your trip figuring out what to do and


Food. Learn

new cooking or baking skills on your own or by taking cooking classes. You

might also take up a new pastime of cooking your favorite cuisine. If cooking

isn't your thing, you can still enjoy the delectable experience. Explore a

broader variety of foods. Taste a wider range of fruits and vegetables and hit

restaurants to try out cuisines you've never had before.

Sports & Fitness. Make exercise a regular part of your routine. This is

one of the most valuable things you can do for your physical and emotional

health. Oh, but you don't like the “E” word? Then consider a sport. There are

so many to choose from, whether you like team sports or prefer going solo.

Golf, volleyball, tennis, kickball, swimming, martial arts, and roller skating

are just a few of your options.

Photo courtesy of Michael Feinstein.

Michael Feinstein

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The worlds of Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and other social media platforms have completely revolutionized the fitness industry. Social media has, seemingly overnight, transformed virtually every facet of how we do business in fitness. It has forever changed information access, coaching, marketing, group accountability, perceptions of ideal physiques, trends and so on.

Love it or hate it, it seems as though social media is here to stay. So, I’ve put together my Trainer Tia’s Do’s and Don’ts when it comes to combining your favorite social media platform with your fitness journey.

Do vet the accounts you follow.

Social media can be a vast resource for knowledge, motivation and accountability. These are the three biggest things that most people want from a trainer or other fitness guide. If you find the right accounts to follow (easier said than done), you can get all three of these things for free! So, how does one find the right accounts to follow? Here are some pointers on what to avoid that will help you make that determination.

First, avoid profiles trying to sell things or recruit people to sell things (read: pyramid scheme). If they are constantly giving “shoutouts,” referrals, discount codes and tags, they are probably not in it for you – this kind of user is posting to promote themselves. Be wary taking advice from people who don’t want to really help you, in the end.

woman in brown turtleneck sweater covering her face with her hand Photo by Karsten Winegeart on Unsplash

Also, avoid putting a lot of stock in profiles that don’t reflect your values (i.e. if you’re a vegan bodybuilder, I’d advise against following the bodybuilders who worship the animal protein part of their process). This is different for everyone, so you’ll know when you see it. Just know it’s OK to hit unfollow.

Last, but not least, avoid thirst traps (unless you’re into that kind of thing, of course). If someone looks amazing but fails to accurately relay the details of their workout program, goals, or progress, just realize that they’re best classified as eye candy and not a fitness authority. And that’s OK too.

Don’t overwhelm your followers with nudes parading around as “progress pics.”

Let’s be real, there’s already enough of that out there. Tasteful displays of physiques are one thing, but when 80 percent of your pictures are in the same booty-popped pose with way too much skin, you’re probably not taking “progress pics” anymore.

Do ask for advice and help from your favorite fitness guides.

Again, this information is free and can go a long way. Let your favorite accounts know what you’d like to see or learn and I can almost guarantee that, if they care about their reputations, they’ll answer your questions. Give it a shot. You’re not the only one who wants to know that particular answer, I promise you.

Don’t be fooled by fool’s gold.

Meaning, don’t feel compelled to try that “amazing new ab shredder guaranteed to give you a six pack in six days” … it’s not going to work. Tag your trainer friend on the post or ask your trainer if that movement or program actually works. More than likely, it’s just another sensational marketing ploy that doesn’t actually transform your body. Remember, the old school basic movements have been around for thousands of years for a reason: because they work! This new fad, diet, juice/shake, program that looks seem too good to be true – is most likely a waste of your time. Instead, find profiles that relay the realistic amount of hard work and dedication that it takes to have an ideal physique. Remember, results take time!

Blue Facebook Thumb Up Blue Facebook Thumb Up Photo by Jackson So on Unsplash

Do participate!

Like that picture. Tag your fitness friends on something that you like. Post your story with courage and belief in yourself. With the new algorithms in social media, this will result you seeing more of what you like in your feed. It’s not like you have a finite number of “likes” that you can give out. Be liberal with your liking, it lets the platform know what you’d like to see more of. Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there and engage with the users you admire or the content you are interested in.

Don’t compare yourself to those heavily edited photos of perfection.

I write about this frequently because it’s so prevalent. Remember, Photoshop is an incredible editing tool that can completely alter a physique, before/after comparisons, adjust lighting, draw in shadows/cuts, slim a waist, enlarge a bicep, and much more. Many photos you see on social media are not real. Please remember this when you’re comparing yourself to anything you scroll past!

Social media has become a huge part of our daily lives, and it certainly has its own decorum. Hopefully, these Do’s and Don’ts give you a taste of how a professional sees fitness and social media working (and not working) together. In the end, though, it’s your journey so customize as you see fit.

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