By Nina Marchione, SOLACE New York
Finding your solace isn't always easy when you have a job that revolves around creating solace for others. For me, solace is a place or state of being where you feel good or free to be yourself, a place where you can let go when you're feeling stressed or overwhelmed. I find solace in many ways and many places: family, friends, working out, yoga, dancing, music... the list goes on.
As a teacher and trainer, it's our job to provide people with a safe environment to train in, while at the same time encouraging them to explore their limits and push beyond what they think they're physically capable of. It takes endless amounts of energy to be consistently motivating and positive, so it's super important that we recharge our batteries and create positive habits that will lead us down a path to our own inner solace at the end of the day.
Here are the daily habits I follow to stay balanced...
- When I wake up I make sure not to go straight to social media. I try instead to take time to reflect on what I'm grateful for in my life. Then I usually start moving with some easy stretching in bed and quick yoga sun salutations, always an easy go-to for waking up the body. If you're with someone, you can always start the day by doing your own salutations in bed together, because a little morning love is never a bad way to start the day! Whatever you choose to do, get your feel good endorphins flowing by moving your body and being grateful, and start your day off with real connection as opposed to online relationships or news.
- Properly fuel your body! I believe in starting the day with at least 24 oz of room temperature or warm lemon water. It flushes out the system and gets the digestive fire going, and it's also great for the skin! I eat lots of veggies, and try to pay attention to what's in season. I don't hold myself to any strict rules in my diet, and I enjoy a lot of different foods as long as they're real and not processed. I often follow Ayurvedic practices, and believe that eating to balance and nourish your body, instead of just eating for the sake of eating, has a profound effect on how you feel physically as well as mentally.
- Stay authentic to yourself throughout the day. When you do things genuine to your soul, it resonates and spreads to everyone around you. Speaking your truth is liberating. It's not something that always comes easy for me and sometimes I second guess myself, but the older I get, the more I've learned to trust my instincts and follow them because they usually end up being right! Censoring yourself for the sake of appearing perfect to others around you isn't doing anybody any favors. To me authenticity equals freedom, and freedom is a great tool for finding solace.
- Surround yourself with strong supportive people. It's my job to motivate other people to be strong, so I better have some people in my life who do that same thing for me. I'm blessed with a solid family and they have always been my support system. I also have some really great friends, some of whom have been around since grade school, and others just a few years, but the true friends are always going to give you solace. Call the people you love and tell them you love them, it feels good to say it!
- Let someone else lead the way once in awhile. As a teacher, I am always telling people what to do, and sometimes if I don't check myself this can carry into my personal life — I feel like I need to fix everyone’s problems! You can't control anyone but yourself and this can be an energy zapper, it will leave you feeling worried about the world. I let go of this by going to other classes and letting someone else tell me what to do. They might kick my butt, or lead me through a yoga class or a meditation, whatever it may be, it feels good to let someone else lead and tell me what to do. I'm in luck because I have so many talented friends who teach here in the NYC fitness scene, I will never run out of classes to take!
- Find a good massage therapist/physical therapist, a yoga teacher, or guided meditation teacher that you really like. Doing some form of this for yourself and your body will lead to finding some sense of solace.
- Don't take anything in this life too seriously! Nothing good or bad lasts forever. Nothing is perfect. This is very simple, but one of the MOST important things in my opinion!! Laughter is the best thing you can give yourself, and it's free — thank god — because nothing else in NYC is! Get free, let loose, dance, and embrace your inner goofball/ wild-child/ superhero/ muppet/ spirit animal/ whatever it may be! Perfect is boring anyways.
- Let go of false perceptions of physical perfection. As a fitness industry pro it is so easy to slip into an unhealthy obsession with physical appearance. I spent my whole life dancing in pink tights and a black leotard surrounded by mirrors, judging myself and comparing myself to others. It's never a good feeling when you're comparing yourself to others, because we're not supposed to be somebody else, duh, we're supposed to be the best versions of ourselves! I've had unhealthy moments throughout my life with body image, but I worked through it when I learned that the worst thing you can do is compare yourself to everyone else and worry about how you size up. Most of us in the fitness industry are by nature competitive people, but there is a big difference between competing and comparing. Never compare yourself, and try to support your fellow fit family — we can all shine together, there's plenty of room. I'm surrounded by great examples of this through all the trainers at Solace everyday.
I feel grateful almost every day to be able to say I love doing what I'm doing. I can honestly say that I've found solace at Solace New York because it's really been a place where I can express myself through my classes. It's through the classes that I'm able to help people let go of the negativity they may be feeling about themselves, embrace the uncomfortable, and rise to a challenge.
However, as much as I love what I do, I believe it's imperative to try and take at least one day off a week from teaching. It can really be a crazy-town schedule when you're a fitness pro working (sometimes at multiple studios) and teaching classes. I often spend my days off in Brooklyn. I like being out of the city and I try avoiding the MTA at all costs on my days off. I usually spend them with people I'm close to, I might go out to a show or out to eat, but I also really enjoy staying home drinking wine, listening to music, and cooking on days off. I have two amazing French roommates and we definitely get down in the kitchen, usually followed by dance parties in our living room! I also have my brother and some cousins living close to me in Brooklyn, so I try to spend days off with them whenever I get the chance. My family definitely gives me solace because they know me best, so I feel comfortable — and we all like the same food!
Finding a balanced schedule is hard but you can't give endlessly — you'll burn out. I absolutely have to take time to recharge myself. This doesn't always happen, but I try to always make it a priority.
Nina Marchione is Director of Sculpt by SOLACE, the newest fitness program offered by SOLACE New York. Nina is one of those extraordinary individuals whose raw talent and energy is magnified when given a challenge. Having grown up in a musically inclined family, Nina’s interest in fitness stems from her love of movement and music. Nina learned to play the violin from the age of six and is classically trained in ballet, jazz, tap, and modern dance. She is also a former B-girl for the NBA's Cleveland Cavaliers. Call her a modern day renaissance woman.
Nina’s Sculpt by SOLACE class is a hybrid like herself. Combining her extensive background in yoga, barre, dance, and Pilates, Nina created an invigorating total body workout mixed with cardio conditioning and body weight training. Take a class with Nina and expect to sweat, as this workout requires continuous movement propelled by the beat of the music.