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Author of Lifting Heavy Things, Trauma Informed Personal Trainer, learn more at laurakhoudari.com
Photo by Andres Ayrton from Pexels

If you’re reading this, chances are you’re a fitness professional interested in the ways in which psychology intersects with your work. Perhaps you want to help clients with behavioral change, or maybe you’re looking to balance your own self-care with caring for your clients. In either case, you understand that wellness requires a holistic approach, incorporating both the mind and body.

My work is at the intersection of mental and physical health. I’m a trauma-informed personal trainer. You know how sometimes a friend, loved one, or client struggles in the aftermath of an overwhelming experience? Maybe they develop insomnia, aches…


Photo by Karolina Grabowska from Pexels

Figuring out how to initiate (or return) to exercise in a way that feels emotionally and physically safe after experiencing illness, accidents, or acts of violence can be challenging, triggering, and overwhelming. The same could be said for those trying to increase their capacity for life’s stressors or processing their experiences in talk therapy.

If any of these scenarios resonate with you, a trauma-sensitive approach to fitness can help.

Trauma-Sensitive Workouts

At its heart, a trauma-sensitive approach to fitness accounts for the psychological, emotional, and physiological changes and symptoms of trauma or chronic stress. …


Image from United Nations COVID-19 Response via Unsplash

Are you feeling not quite right, and you don’t know why? It could be what’s known as an “anniversary reaction” to COVID-19. Research has found that around an anniversary of a traumatic event, individuals and entire communities may experience an increase in feelings of distress. This might include a surge of intrusive memories, thoughts, and feelings; a negative shift in your mood; or a marked increase in arousal, which wreaks havoc on your sleep and leaves you feeling ill at ease.

In the first week of March, my sleep radically shifted. I began to struggle to stay asleep, having one…


Person’s legs in motion walking in sneakers on a walking path near beach.
Person’s legs in motion walking in sneakers on a walking path near beach.
Image from Fotorech on Pixabay

We have made it through the 252,000 months of 2020 and are well into December! While I am looking forward to a lowkey holiday season, for today, I want to focus on what will inevitably come at the month’s end: New Year’s and its resolutions. I have no doubt that coming off a year that has been more about surviving than thriving, there will be plenty of people looking to 2021 for a fresh start and a chance to return to a fuller life, somehow or another. …


Last year I posted the Holiday Self-Care Anti-Challenge on Instagram. The idea behind my anti-challenge was to encourage people to actually tend to their own needs during a time of year that we are usually rushing around, wearing ourselves out, and emptying our wallets in the spirit of giving.


Socked feet on an ottoman next to mug and bowl in the foreground, laptop on lap covering face blurred in the background.
Socked feet on an ottoman next to mug and bowl in the foreground, laptop on lap covering face blurred in the background.

While it is always important to practice self-care, I want to encourage you to take intentional steps to practice it this week. We are nine months into the uncertainty of pandemic times and the forthcoming election is fraught for many folks this year. Both the pandemic and the election were the focus for the American Psychological Association’s 2020 report, Stress in America.

For some people the election is touching on old feelings stirred up in 2016. For many people the feelings of uncertainty around how the election will unfold during an already uncertain time is overwhelming. …


Although gyms are opening back up in New York City and other places, many folks are still preparing to invest in a home practice. I have elected to do so because I don’t feel comfortable being around lots of people yelling and exhaling hard even in masks; nor do I feel good about my own grunting and sharp breaths out that send whatever cooties I might be carrying out into the air. Other people who have elected to get set up to workout at home have their own reasons. I suspect some have realized during this period that at-home workouts…


A collection of small blue at home workout equipment on a beige rug with a beige couch in the background.
A collection of small blue at home workout equipment on a beige rug with a beige couch in the background.
Image by rob9040 from Pixabay

My work is really relevant right now and I hate that.

Maybe that sounds weird, but I am a movement-based trauma practitioner, and coronavirus has brought with it a shadow pandemic of psychological and societal trauma. The Kaiser Family Foundation conducted a poll in late April that found almost half of Americans said COVID-19 is affecting their mental health, and nineteen percent say it has had a major impact. A federal crisis helpline, The Disaster Distress Helpline, saw an 880 percent increase in calls and a 1000 percent increase in texts since this time last year. …


By Alex Jones from Unsplash

I have the attention span of the tiniest of fleas right now. A million thoughts are jostling for my attention at any given moment. Did I take the meat out of the freezer for dinner? What day is it? How am I going to figure out my move back home? When are we leaving here? Should I go to the store? What’s New York going to be like? Where’s my blanket?

When it gets overwhelming, I get up and move. I strength train, do yoga, or take a walk. And usually that does the trick. But I am finding that…


Karen Preene image provided by Karen Preene

Today’s interview is with Karen Preene, a Qualified Personal Trainer and Online Coach aligned with Health-At-Every-Size (HAES) based out of Dudley, England. Karen is a Qualified Personal Trainer and Online Coach aligned with Health-At-Every-Size (HAES). I first got to know Karen as @deadlifts_and_redlips on Instagram, where she regularly posts messages in big bold font that challenge the mainstream fitness industry. Karen has an approach to training that’s more holistic wellness than bootcamp. She focuses on joyful movement, agency, community, mental health, and self-compassion. She has a staunch anti-diet stance, and is working to untangle exercise from morality and self-worth.

When…

Laura Khoudari

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