Lies My Mental Health Tells Me

Depression.

Anxiety.

PTSD.

OCD.

Intrusive thoughts.

Trichotillomania.

My name is Alexandra and I suffer from mental illness.

I have suffered from mental illness since I was a child. Now, at age 30 I am unpacking my trauma and understanding how and why mental illness came knocking at my door. Mental illnesss is a liar and has altered my thoughts in ways I never could have imagined. I am plagued with negative thoughts and can not trust what I think anymore.

I hope to #BreakTheStigma surrounding mental illness by providing a honest look at the lies my mental health tells me on a daily basis. My mental illness has kicked me down and made me cry and bleed. It’s impact is felt in all aspects of my life and rattles my soul to the core.

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Review: Barre & Soul Harvard Square

SAN MARINO

Disclosure: I received a complimentary barre class. All opinions, as always, are my own.

This past year was a difficult one for me personally and professionally and I’ve struggled to find peace, balance and harmony. I’ve only recently accepted self-care as an act of self-preservation and not an indulgence. I avoided yoga studios for many years because I couldn’t bear to spend an hour in silence with my thoughts. Like many moms my brain just doesn’t shut off and the thought of slowing down wasn’t an option. As I continue jumping hurdles that my mental illness throws at me, I have no choice but to s-l-o-w down, and thanks to Barre & Soul Harvard Square I now have a safe and accepting space to do so.

In the midst of the constant bustle of Harvard Square lies an oasis for those that need an outlet where they can relax, rejuvenate and train hard. I was excited to have Barre & Soul join Harvard Square as there aren’t many barre studios on this side of town and travelling into Boston for a fitness class just doesn’t work with my schedule.

I arrived to barre class late and quickly found a mat (provided by the studio!) and breathed a sigh of relief at the smiling instructor and small class size. I am wildly out of shape (I blame it on turning 30 last year) and have done little other than complain about the extra bulge around my midsection. Thank goodness for high waisted pants! I wasn’t sure what to expect at class, and stupidly thought it wasn’t going to be too hard for this newbie. Nope. K-i-l-l-e-r workout. My body was on fire (in a good way) post class.

As a newbie I enjoyed the small class size and the instructor was amazing! She came over as soon as I entered class and asked if I had any injuries and when I was struggling to hold certain positions as sweat was dripping from my brow she gently helped with my form without agitation. EMMA!My fear of being with my thoughts for an hour wasn’t something I had to worry about as my main focus was on digging deep and pushing myself to be present in class. I’ve never been flexible, couldn’t touch my toes in high school and still can’t, but it’s something my body craves. I hold all my stress in my shoulders and quads, they are constantly tight and in knots, which is crazy uncomfortable and frustrating. During class as we used the bar for various positions I was able to lengthen those sore spots and give them the much needed love and care they’d been missing. And they soaked it right up.

The studio is located in “the garage” on JFK Street in Cambridge and offers their signature barre classes as well as yoga, aerial yoga (want to try!) and teacher training. I had the pleasure of meeting the manager Emma and I think she might be my new best friend :) She was amazing and so supportive of me as I complained that I totally sucked in class.

Finding time to exercise isn’t easy, but just like anything else that’s important you have to make time for it. Because my time is so limited I look for six key aspects in a fitness class:

  • A welcoming environment
  • Friendly and supportive instructors
  • Affordability
  • Judgement free zone
  • Accessibility
  • A full body workout

Barre & Soul Harvard Square encompasses all of these aspects and more. The studio isn’t some massive space, it’s intimate and relaxing and really sets the tone for the type of workout you receive. I am now all about that barre life (#BarreSoHard) and look forward to purchasing a membership so I can continue my fitness journey, and I encourage you to take a class if you have yet to try them out. They also have studios in Melrose, Lexington, Portsmouth and now offer virtual classes so you can Om at home! Oh and did I mention the owner, Andrea Isabelle Lucas, is amazing (interview with her coming next week) and is organized a yoga and barre retreat in ST. CROIX ya’ll!! Amazing.

You’re going to love this studio! They are offering a couple of special membership options: $30/month of unlimited yoga or $69/month for unlimited barre and yoga classes! And because I love ya use the code VIP during checkout to receive $10 off the unlimited barre and yoga intro special!

NAMASTE FRIENDS :)



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Boston: Dance Your Way Fit with TRILLFIT!

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Disclosure: I received complimentary classes to attend trillfit class. All opinions, as always, are all my own.

On any given evening if you were to stop by my house you’d find yourself in the middle of a dance party. There is nothing more my daughter and I love more than busting a move just because. In another life I was a professional dancer. And my dance partner was Idris Elba :) Juggling work, a blog, my daughter, a boyfriend and a partridge in a pear tree a puppy doesn’t leave much time or energy to exercise so letting loose at home and dancing has become my fitness routine. While I appreciate slowing down with yoga or barre, loud music and dancing energizes every ounce of my being, allows me to destress and shake what my mama gave me. So I was thrilled to learn about TRILLFIT, a Boston based high energy, beat-based workout party.

I’ve had the opportunity to attend two TRILLFIT classes this spring and I’m hooked! Classes are held at various locations around Boston including Hotel Commonwealth, Athleta Newbury Street and the Boston Center for the Arts, and offers attendees a sweat-inducing, addictive full-body workout complete with a live hip-hop DJ. Inspired by hip-hop culture and nightlife, classes are 60 minutes and incorporate a wellness component to ensure well being from the inside out. TRILLFIT is more than a workout, it’s a way of life and is what sets this boutique fitness company apart from the rest.

This past weekend I attended class at the Boston Center for the Arts and spent an hour dancing to the hottest music thanks to the beats of DJ Nick Bishop.Think Beyonce, Rihanna, Drake, Kanye, Jay-Z and more. From high knees to ab work to mountain climbers, dance instructor Melisa Valdez made sure we earned our mimosas post class. Melisa introduced herself to all attendees prior to the start of class and took time to break down the class structure which included a HIIT sequence. While there weren’t any formal breaks to get water, you can encouraged to break to catch your breath or get water anytime you need to. Below is a glance of what you can expect at a TRILLFIT class:

What’s special about TRILLFIT is the ability to completely lose yourself in the class, the dancing and the music. I am usually extremely self aware in group classes, spending a good chunk of it ensuring my posture is perfect and that I’m following the instructor’s directions p-e-r-f-e-c-t-l-y. That’s not what TRILLFIT is about. I walk into class ready to work hard and excitedly leave all my stress at the door. With every move and twist of your hips your body gets looser. With every change of song you find extra motivation to push through a set of high knees. And when it burns, you dig deeper because stopping isn’t an option. The purpose isn’t to nail every, but to find that beautiful balance of understanding the moves and adding your special spice to it. I’ve left both classes I’ve taken feeling like a million bucks and with a renewed sense of energy and confidence.

While TRILLFIT is their signature class they also offer the following class options, all of which are set to a live hip-hop DJ:

  • TRILLFIT: The TRILLfit signature workout is an explosive, cardio dance class that incorporates HIIT exercises for optimal burn.
  • TRILLsculpt: TRILLFIT’s invigorating vinyasa yoga flow is remixed with strength training and body weight exercises.
  • TRILLyoga: TRILLyoga is a vigorous yoga class that moves through poses with the pace of your breath.

I absolutely recommend checking out a TRILLFIT class over the next month as they partner with Athleta Newbury Street to provide a month-long series of FREE classes. Attendees will enjoy an exclusive shopping event prior to class, a 60 minute workout followed by refreshments from local sponsors.

Post Class Sweaty Pic!

So, the only question I have is….are YOU ready to get TRILLFIT?!



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