Over a month ago I wrote part one of my review of Alyson Stoner’s wellness program. Since then Alyson so graciously read and posted about my blog on her Instagram page. I was shocked but mostly grateful for the acknowledgement, and thoroughly overjoyed that she appreciated the words I had to say about her program and authenticity.
Much has changed since part one–I broke my arm.
Although this could be an entire other topic of discussion, in the midst of continuing Alyson’s program, I had broken my arm to the point of surgery. Needless to say, my time with Miss Stoner was halted. However, four weeks post-surgery, I’ve gotten back into the groove of Alyson’s Mind-Body Movement program and discovered new territory about myself.
Dedicating several years to working on myself and my mental well-being, I’d say I am mentally strong. Given the fact that I had this traumatic experience, my mental strength helped me handle it better than anticipated. Much of that strength can be attributed to the recent work I’ve been doing through Alyson’s program. I made modifications to following her videos, mostly completing them in a seated and/or lying down position. Alyson encourages you to do whatever is most comfortable for you, which I appreciate.
As mentioned in my first post, I’m not going to state all the elements within her program (check that out for yourself), but I will explain some things she discusses that helped with me in this particular situation.
I needed to work my way into normalcy. I needed to start from ground zero in terms of functionality and mobility. Post-surgery I was in a sling; to my excitement I did not need a cast or stitches or a splint. Still, basic functions like washing your hands felt like climbing Mount Everest.
In Day Three: Understand, Alyson discusses actively working on changes we strive to make. Often, we as humans want to change, it just comes to how do we do it? Understanding ourselves involves the good and the bad: things we do that make up the way we walk and talk. Habits are a part of this make up, and Alyson promotes the action “habit-stacking,” a term coined by author S. J. Scott.
Basically, without copying word for word, habit-stacking involves movement cues in order to be functional. An example of this is getting dressed is a cue to go for a walk. This intrigued me before my broken arm because I have a serious problem with following a schedule, especially on days where I’m not doing much. With the broken arm it was an entire new ballpark. I was more inclined to get up and follow cues to create a routine to keep myself feeling useful. Although I was excused from my in-person college courses, therefore I was home, I needed something to suffice my bed rest period.
I’d follow a cycle of getting out of bed, brushing my teeth, making breakfast, getting dressed, and catching up with schoolwork if I could. Putting a normal morning routine in the term habit-stacking made me look at my inaction differently as well. Ultimately, I began to feel so much better because I wasn’t relying much on my mom to do these things. Also, because it was important to me to have my arm relearn how to do daily tasks.
Day Four: Trust, deep dives into the relationships we have with our bodies. Sometimes they are good and sometimes they aren’t. Alyson explains that there are different factors to that, especially the not so nice stuff. She poses the question; can you trust your body? For me, it’s been a question I’ve been posing with since my accident. Working out was something I did willingly to make my body stronger, and I had prioritized it heavily in the weeks before the accident. During recovery I’d ask myself, “I worked hard to build up my strength and endurance, why did this happen?” As inspiring as it is to start from square one, it’s also debilitating. I’m slowly starting to gain the trust back with my body as time progresses.
Alyson explains trust is a building block. It’s earned over time. But most importantly, she explains that through gaining trust, is self-discovery. For me, I learned two things: to ask for help and to understand my limitations better. Man, asking for help is hard. Especially for an independent boss babe like me–I'm too prideful. Since my injury, I’ve had to surrender to having people help me even when it felt coddling at times. I think this is something people relate to.
My doctor told me I could only lift the weight of my phone in my right hand. Have I done that recently? No. With the progression of movement sometimes I can be too confident. Just a few days ago, I was making oatmeal on the stovetop and picked up the pot with my bad arm. It didn’t hurt, I’m just physically too weak. While I could pick up other things like my water bottler or a coffee mug, I still have limitations. This is okay. It’s all about progression and trusting myself that when I find my limit, I won’t push too hard again. Only when I am ready.
We’re well into this journey and I wouldn’t consider any of it so far in the realm of a review. So, let me get to that and say my closing thoughts with the program.
I said it before and I’ll say it again, shouting from the rooftops, this program is so authentic. It has the intention to truly help someone treat themselves healthier.
It is rehabilitating. I had started this program way before my broken arm as a way to connect with my body and mind; now, I am using it as a form of rehab. I’m not saying to do this instead of therapy-do what works best for you–but it has the personability that you may find with a psychologist or counselor in therapy. In that respect, my experiences with my psychologist were guided and intended for me to act to do better.
Alyson isn’t a therapist, nor does she claim to be, although, with the amount of resources she has in her program it definitely seems that way. Giving the facts. I did say that the program shifts its focus from mind one day to body the next; however, it does have the capacity to jump around. It comes back to the idea of fluidity: the driving force of her program. Yes, the program is structured, which is great, but you have the room within the 7 days to expand further and to explore each day for as long as you want (Alyson encourages this).
I personally found the journals more effective during the days focusing on the body. The movement intrigued me more and were exercises I’ve never done before.
In closing, Alyson’s great. She had a way to break me from harmful cycles and observe myself in certain spaces. Most importantly, she helped me through post-surgery. I had no idea how that was going to go but, in the end, it’s the motivation to not prioritize one above the other: mind or movement. Instead, it’s all connected and therefore deserves equal care.