Starting the Week Right: Workouts and Wellness

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Hi Everyone,

It’s a brand new week and I am ready to meet it. Sometimes in our lives we find that we desperately need a reset. For me, that’s been the status quo for a while.

The Covid-19 pandemic has been challenging, and the changes to my routine combined with the addition of a new baby have left me feeling spread thin and very, very tired. I’ve been feeling two steps behind on my to-do list. As someone who likes to get stuff done and checked off my list, that has increased the mental burden of this unprecedented time. Add to that the financial impact of the pandemic and my stress has been in overdrive.

So what helped me get through the stress and feel ready to move ahead? I stopped telling myself that everything was alright and I had no reason to be stressed. I have so many reasons to be joyful. I am 100% aware of that. However, I was using all of those reasons to talk myself out of acknowledging that my stress was valid. Giving myself time to recognize that things are hard right now helped to decrease my guilt in feeling overwhelmed.

The demands of our life and our energy levels fluctuate. I’ve been in a phase where the requirements of my life were exceeding the levels of energy I had to meet everything with. Once I recognized that, I identified some of the areas that were causing me stress and I worked to eliminate the things that I could.

One of those things was easy. I deleted the Facebook app from my phone. The hatefulness I was seeing from so many people made my heart ache. I found that one small change had a lot of impact. I had more time, and I was spending less energy getting upset. I didn’t log in for a week and I found that it positively impacted my mood.

I raked leaves and let my kids run and jump in the piles. I did yoga outside, and taught Maverick some new poses. I went through closets and donated or sold things that we didn’t need. I enjoyed the smells of autumn and the sun shining on my face. I admired the colors of the leaves on the trees and the crunch they made underfoot. I let myself disconnect without feeling guilty for it.

I did some workouts, made a playlist of happy songs, read two books, made it through some sinus headaches, showed up for work and had some great interactions with my students, and I feel refreshed.

Somehow, when I let myself relax a bit, I continued to get stuff done and I found more joy in it.

What helps you when you’re feeling stressed and overwhelmed? Let me know in the comments.


PS You can find me on Social Media: @BenderFitness and on Facebook: @MelissaBenderFitness and Jesse is on Instagram: @BenderCrosby1

PPS If you want to help support BenderFitness so we can keep bringing you new workouts, your donation is greatly appreciated:

Today’s Workout:

Equipment: I use one dumbbell in this workout. I alternated between High Knees and Dumbbell Swings for my cardio bursts. You can easily use a kettle bell instead of a dumbbell if you decide to give the swings a try. You can also choose another form of cardio (High Knees, Burpees, Mountain Climbers, Jump Rope…the sky is the limit!)

Proper Form for Kettlebell (or Dumbbell) Swings.

Workout Video:

Set Your Interval Timer for 10 Rounds of 10/30/10/50

*30-Seconds of Cardio Before Each Exercise*

  1. Low Impact Burpee
  2. Lunge to Hydrant-Right
  3. Lunge to Hydrant-Left
  4. Down Dog Cross Kick-Right
  5. Down Dog Cross Kick-Left
  6. Leg Drop Series
  7. Reverse Plank Step Out
  8. Angel Abs
  9. Side Plank Foot Tap-Right
  10. Side Plank Foot Tap-Left

Repeat 1-3X

Full Workout Breakdown with Photo Tutorial:

19 thoughts on “Starting the Week Right: Workouts and Wellness

  1. You do a lot. I can’t imagine having two little kids AND outside work AND a YouTube video series AND all else. I’m inspired. And thanks for this comment about stress.

  2. Kelly S

    When I’m overwhelmed (I am a stay at home mom with 3 kids 3 and under) it helps me to pray, come up with all the things I’m thankful for, and make a list to help me prioritize what needs to get done that day. Putting my phone away and “living in the moment” is so important as well. Fitting in at least 30 min of one of your workouts is also a must! Thanks for taking the time and energy to post them 🙂

  3. Shaela

    This is really how I feel too. It can be hard to look at the positives but when we do, things really change. It proves that happiness comes from within. Really and truly. Thank you Melissa for your wise words in these strange and exhausting times

  4. Teresa (Portugal)

    I understand what you say and I often feel the same … that I have to stop and reflect on my life in order to overcome less good times.
    It’s good that you feel better and that you can transmit what’s going on with you so well, it helps a lot to recognize that it’s possible to overcome difficulties

  5. I also find when I am not on social media as much, I am happier. Happier with myself for not being so distracted by something that doesn’t really have much meaning, and I am less obsessive over checking it or needing to listen to this video, that video, etc. I read more, I’m more present with my kids, I’m more me. Thank you, Melissa, for always being you and being real. I have loved following you for so long

  6. Heidi

    A great book recommendation for anyone:
    The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry
    Mark comer

    A very fluid, fun, easy read. With lots to take to heart, I might add.

  7. Lunge to hydrant were fun! Good balance challenge. Thanks!
    When I’m stressed and overwhelmed – I try to get outside, do a Melissa Bender workout, and try to take a break from my to-do list for the day. Always feels easier the next day.

  8. Christine

    Awww love this! The pic of your beautiful kids just brought a smile! Your workouts help me so much to break the stress cycle. I love your honesty and I think I will rake some leaves tomorrow and let the kids play in them! Thank you so much!

    • Lupe

      Excellent idea regarding Facebook app. I’ve started NOT checking FB, IG and email first thing in the mornings – this is day 2 1/2 ; ))). Get up, let the pupzz out & feed them, workout, THEN go have some coffee and get busy with my day list. Later, when I sit at my computer I can look at that other stuff. I’m drinking a LOT more water, never alcohol during the week, finish eating by 7p, knit, play music, do art, rest peacefully. Changing habits for the better is helping more than I imagined. I appreciate your suggestion to delete the app on my phone. EXCELLENT!!!
      Getting outside every day is great! Saturday snowshoe in the mountains 1ft of powpow made it harder, Sunday nordic ski first time this year – I was a klunky mess but laughed a ton, Monday snowbiked for a couple hours. It’s been clear and cold here, and we have great snow coverage. Lots of vitamin D going on here.

  9. Casey

    I have been in a rut lately, especially with finding workouts that I enjoy or have fun doing. This workout is just what I needed this morning. You always keep your workouts fun, different, and encouraging. I really found the last plank exercise to be my favorite. Both challenging and fun. Thanks again for always showing up for us, Melissa!! I’ve been following your workouts for about 5 years now!

  10. Rebekah

    Great post! I’ve been feeling so much the same way! The weekend was a good chance to stop and re-evaluate. I’m restarting with less “drive” – meaning trying to do what I can without driving myself to do what I think I need to do. It’s been a hard year, but an excellent chance to learn a better way of living.

  11. Wanda

    This year has been tough for everyone,=. I need to refocus on my life and not everyone else. I am hoping the exercise brings me alive again,

  12. Scottie

    Always a great workout. As a PT in a rural area of Idaho I recommend your workouts to everyone. I know they will be safe and effective.

  13. Melissa, thank you so much for creating your workouts! One of your HIITs was a life saver for me during the pandemic and I am so grateful that I found you! Here’s to a healthy, happy, hopeful, and prosperous 2021!

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