What is a time of joy for many women was my darkest hour.
There was this time in my life -– that started when I was 14 and ended approximately a year ago –- when I smoked pot a few times a day. My boyfriends always sold weed (I’m inclined to say this was coincidental, but in hindsight, I’m not sure that it was), and I ditched a lot of class. I NEVER touched a Bob Marley shirt, though, and, sadly, I never figured out how to roll a joint. (I also can’t snap -- not that that’s relevant.)
Last February, I had intentions to stop smoking pot. I even wrote an article about it. But I didn’t. I just began acting like a total stoner.
My hair got ratty and knotted (luckily that was the look in my ‘hood). I rolled into work late, reeking of smoke and perfume, and kept my eyes fixed on my monitor -– lest anyone attempt to engage me with their Peanuts teacher talk. On my commute home, I was so stoked for a night full of bong rips, lying in bed and binge eating, and watching Netflix.
What a life, I KNOW.
After nearly 10 years of being as stoned as that cartoon rabbit from that spooky D.A.R.E. video (anyone remember that? I can’t find a clip online!), I don’t think weed ultimately made me lazy and worthless -- I hit an inevitable depression. I went through a trauma I’m not ready to write about a couple weeks after that pothead piece went up.
And instead of talking through it, I got blazed. I also got blazed when my friend overdosed, that guy I was obsessed with lied to me about everything, the magazine I worked at folded and I lost my job, and ughhh….
Indeed, I sprinkled many other chemicals on top of THC, like booze (a depressant that turns me into the devil), and molly (that drains all your serotonin), and hallucinogens (that I’m still fascinated with). But pot was my constant -– that thing I made a million excuses for, as I thought it was necessary for my survival.
Now that I’m out of my fog and no longer depressed (SO MUCH THERAPY), I realize pot didn’t truly help me get over those heavy things that eventually built up and broke me, but numbed the pain temporarily, and made things like people walking dogs on my street in the morning, really, really funny, immediately after I’d been sobbing because it hurt to get dressed for work.
Since I know there are plenty who can put back martinis without transforming into Lucifer, I recognize there are also many who are fiiiine unwinding with a joint at EOD and/or watching some subpar TV. Should your body feel like butt from having lazy bones, or should you feel the incessant need to do SOMETHING because you feel still and shitty, may I suggest these easy exercises I even did whilst stoned and depressed in my bedroom? You can also keep ‘em in your back pocket for a stay in a hotel, or when it’s raining, because I also use that excuse for not leaving my apartment sometimes:
Check with your doctor before you start a new exercise routine and please don’t fall off a roll-y chair and crack your head, k thnx…
1. TOP SPINAL STRETCH:
You can do these right now, as you sit at the device of your choosing while you read this, even if you’re at work.
First, sit up straight with your feet flat on the floor. Sit straighter! Pretend there’s a string in the middle of your head, and someone is pulling it up, like you’re a marionette puppet. Good, my puppet! In this position, move your head directly back as if someone who has no sense of personal space is pushing on your forehead. Do NOT tilt your head. You’re just moving it straight back. If you’re doing it right, it should look like you have a double (or triple) chin. You’ll feel it in your upper shoulders, and it will feel amazing. You feel it?
When you release the stretch, you’ll return to the same original, straight puppet position. Don’t jut your chin forward, like a stupid pigeon. Do this stretch as many times as you like. I’d start with 20.
Why this helps your body not feel shitty: Your spine is made of a bunch of disks stacked on top of one another. The disks in your upper back and neck are tiny, and get crunched together when you’re hunched over, reading the device of your choosing. This exercise stretches your upper back in an inverted position of you hunched over your laptop like Igor (like me). You’ll feel more support in your upper back and shoulder blades and will notice yourself not slouching as much like Britney Spears.
2. TRICEP DIPS
One of my favorite hobbies is finding different surface areas to do tricep dips on. I also like to run with friends, stop at a bench and say, “Let’s do 20 tricep dips!” and watch them writhe in pain. (I hate running with friends.)
Sit on a flat, steady surface, like a chair that doesn’t roll, with your feet together. Put your hands down on both sides of your hips, with your fingertips facing forward, towards your feet. Walk out to either a tabletop position –- with your feet flat on the ground -– or on your heels with your legs straights. Dip down so your elbows are pointed behind you, and come back up so your arms are straight, staying mindful that you’re using your arms (and not your legs or like, thrusting your hips and ass) to get back up. Do 10. Get up for a second, stretch both arms back overhead and complain about how much it hurts, then get back down and do another 10.
Why this helps your body not feel shitty: The opposing muscle to your bicep is your tricep – that area underneath the upper arm that gets flabby if it isn’t used. And it NEVER gets used. This is an exercise you can do on almost anywhere with your own body weight that strengthens it.
3. ROLLING LIKE A BALL
You can do this beginners Pilates move on your rug, should it not be atrocious, like this one. Or your bed, except that might be difficult if your bed luxurious, and not at all hard and sturdy.
Bend your knees, bringing your heels in towards your butt. Your knees should be about hip-distance apart. Hold your ankles, or your shins if you can’t reach that far. Put your chin towards your chest, look at your stomach, tighten your abs, make a C-curve with your spine, lift your feet off the ground and balance, and gently -– gently! –- roll down like a ball. And roll back up. Wee!
Don’t feel your abs burning? You might be making a common mistake: Depending on momentum to get you back up. Try rolling down to the spot where your bra strap sits (guys who don’t wear bras: that’s like where the bottom of your shoulder blades are) and really tighten your abs to pull you back up to a balancing position.
Why this helps your body not feel shitty: It helps strengthen your core (that’s your abs, hips, and back), increases flexibility, improves balance, and massages your spine.
4. SIDE LYING CLAMS
I love these, ‘cause I have HIPS.
You can do them in your bed, if it’s not extra squishy and cloud-like, or again, on your disgusting rug or carpet. Lay on your side, with your bottom arm extended directly above you on the ground. Rest your head on it. Place your other hand about 6-inches in front of your sternum. Bring your legs up to about a 90-degree angle with your heels in line with your back. Keeping your heels together, slowly lift and lower your top knee. You’re a clam! Do 12, flip over, and do 12 on the other side.
My boyfriend tried to take photos of me clamming it up. Of course they all ended up looking grotesquely sexual. “The blue box is focusing in on your crotch,” he said at one point. I GAVE UP. May I recommend this YouTube video instead? (I personally, would rest my head flat down, though. Holding it up crunches those little disks in your upper back together, thus defeating the point of exercise #1.)
Why this helps your body not feel shitty: They help alleviate tight hips -– which sound hot, but aren’t -– you get them from sitting all day. The clam exercise also works those muscles that are on the outside of your hips.
5. STANDING KICK BACKS
You can use the back of a chair for this one. (I usually hold the iron footboard of my bed, but since my room is SO narrow, I cannot possibly angle a camera to take a picture in there.) Stand so the back of the chair is aligned with your feet, and make sure your feet are just a tiny bit apart. Place the hand closest to the chair on its back, and employ the straight puppet master technique (in exercise #1). Keep the leg closest to the chair straight and planted on the floor. Slightly bend the other leg and lift it straight back, using that sweet butt cheek and the back of your thigh to lift it up.
Be sure to keep that foot off the ground when you lower it back to meet your straight, standing leg– just hover it – for 20 lifts. Remember that the lifts aren’t as much about kicking your leg back and up as high as you can, as it is about keeping your upper body stable. Turn around to the other side and do 20.
Why this helps your body not feel shitty: ‘Cause it makes your booty (glutes) go POP.
7. STANDING CALF RAISES
These are the easiest things ever and you can do them in an elevator or when someone is talking to you and you want to look like a bored child. Whilst standing, keep your feet together; roll up onto the balls of your feet. Then lower back down on your heel. Go for 30.
Why this helps your body not feel shitty: This works the back bottom halves of your leg and strengthens the Achilles tendon, which is attached to your heel and helps support your ankle. It also won’t make your calf huge, so do NOT worry about that.
What do you think: Sound doable? Do you have any other lazy exercises? Do you wanna go back to talking about pot? I sort of don’t. Do you know when Season 2 of Workaholics is out on Netflix so I can lay on my bed, doing clam exercises, and watch every single episode?