My Post-Pandemic Body Is Different. And That’s Okay.

The other day my coworkers and I were planning some lectures we are going to give as part of a leadership development series. For the first time in over a year, we will be presenting to a live audience in person, and we have to dress the part. My team, men in their fifties and sixties, joked about how they might need to get new clothes since the running gag is everyone has gained weight during the pandemic. I told them that was the advantage of wearing dresses–they’re a lot more forgiving.

My post-pandemic body is different than it was a year ago. It’s squishier and, according to some clothes that didn’t fit when I did a recent closet de-cluttering, a little larger.

I’m okay with that…for now anyway.

Hear me out…

Continue reading “My Post-Pandemic Body Is Different. And That’s Okay.”

Interview with Wing Chun Practitioner Steve Grogan: Let’s Talk About Mental Health

Steve Grogan of Geek Wing Chun, Inc., and I get real.

Can we have a real, honest conversation about mental health? That’s what Steven Grogan and I do in this video. Steve is the founder of Geek Wing Chun, Inc., and has been a guest writer on Little Black Belt several times. 

In this video (click here to watch), we talk about my new book Kicking and Screaming: a Memoir of Madness and Martial Arts, how we handle mental illness, and how it intertwines with our martial arts practice. 

How to Talk to Your Boss About Your Mental Health

As the economy picks up, people get new jobs, or continue in their current roles, it seems like there’s the expectation to return to “business as usual.” Six months into 2021, and we’re not back to “business as usual.” We’re all still dealing with the fallout of the collective multiple traumas of 2020, and many people dealt with individual crises. Some people, like me, have been triggered back into active mental illness, while others are facing it for the first time.

This can affect the way we work, and we need to be able to have open, honest conversations about it with our bosses. Check out my article on Fast Company, How to Talk to Your Boss About Your Mental Health, for tips on what you can do to preserve your mental and emotional well-being.

Interview with Karate Practitioner and Writer Les Bubka

I’m pleased to share that fellow martial artist and author Les Bubka invited me as a guest on his podcast “Accidental Podcast…or Something Like That” which you can listen to by clicking here, or watch our interview on YouTube. We talk about martial arts, mental health, relationships, working with kids, and why he calls me a “Russian bride.” We had lots of fun recording, and I think you’ll have fun listening to and watching us.

Les has been practicing karate for over twenty years. He is the founder of the Karate for Mental Health Program and the author of a number of books about karate. For more information about Les’s work, click here.

My Guest Post: Five Tips For Writing About Your Mental Health Journey

I started my blog Little Black Belt in 2014 as a way to express the insights, feelings, and ideas I was having as I progressed in my taekwondo training.

What I haven’t been as open about is that I really started the blog to write about my mental health.

I’d already been in treatment for my mental illnesses before I started taekwondo, but my taekwondo training was the boost I needed to get from point A (miserable and not seeing much change) to point B (confident, relatively happy, able to productively deal with life’s stressors). It opened my mind to a new way of seeing life – hence, the blog.

Writing has been a great way to both cope with mental stress and tell the story of my mental health journey in an engaging way that resonates with other people. Writing builds habits of observation and reflection that can lead to positive change.

In this article for DIYMFA, I share five tips you can use to write about your mental health journey.

 

Visit DIYMFA.com for more great writing resources.


Listen to My Story: Two Martial Arts Podcasts!

My martial arts friends in person and online have really come through for me as my first book was released into the world. Their support doesn’t surprise me, though, because martial arts people look out for their own. We like to help each other spread the positivity of what we love so much.

I’m honored to have been featured on two prominent martial arts podcasts by multi-media veterans Andrea Harkins of The Martial Arts Woman and Jeremy Lesniak of Whistlekick Martial Arts Radio.

To Listen:
Click here to listen to my interview with Andrea on The Martial Arts Woman podcast.

Click here to listen to my interview with Jeremy on Whistlekick Martial Arts Radio.

You’ll learn about my first career, my favorite martial arts action stars, how I got into martial arts, and the powerful healing qualities martial arts has given me for my mental health. You’ll also hear my “light Texas drawl” that I mention in Chapter 29 of my memoir.

 

 

 

What’s More Motivating: a Trigger or a Goal?

A friend’s recent Facebook post stated that during the week of the devastating Texas winter storm she felt a strong compulsion to move. Nothing was wrong with her house; she just felt the need to move NOW. Fast forward less than three months later, and she and her husband are happily settled into their new house, sold their previous house, and are enjoying decorating their new place.

As we’re starting to come out of the collective trauma of the pandemic (and everything else that happened in 2020 and the beginning of this year), I wonder if it’s changed the way people are motivated and inspired into action.
Continue reading “What’s More Motivating: a Trigger or a Goal?”

Book Review from a Fellow Martial Artist

It’s one thing to be a newly published author.

It’s an even better thing to be embraced and supported by friends in the martial arts community.

Please check out this video for Steve Grogan’s honest and thoughtful review of my book Kicking and Screaming: a Memoir of Madness and Martial Arts

Steve is no stranger to this blog. He has contributed several articles to Little Black Belt on training techniques and martial arts in general. To read Steve’s guest posts on this blog, select from the categories Guest Writers. Be sure to visit Steve’s site Geek Wing Chun for more of Steve’s training tips and other work.

Later this month I will be posting a review of Steve’s book The Lone Warrior, which is available at Geek Wing Chun.

First Post-Surgery Jump Kicks

Just over eight months into recovery from ACL reconstruction surgery, I did jumping front snap kicks.

You may be wondering how I ended up in this predicament in the first place. Take a look at this post (“POP! Goes My ACL”) for the detailed story of how I injured myself and what followed in the immediate aftermath.

The short version is I tore my ACL doing a jump kick, and not even a good one at that.

Continue reading “First Post-Surgery Jump Kicks”