Category Archives: ideas

Energy and holiday resolutions

holiday lights

Fond holiday memories usually involve being cozy and quiet indoors with loved ones and soft twinkling lights.

With the holidays in full swing, I’ve only just finished my Christmas shopping and everything’s wrapped and ready to go and all I want to do after the day’s done is sleep and sleep and sleep . . . It’s a rambling way of saying – I’m spent.

I recently talked about how restorative it is to take a break from wiring into technology, but where do you draw the energy to get back on the horse? How do I muster the mental drive to put something worth reading up here? (Not that I manage that on good days all of the time, but bear with me . . .)

I sit in a frenzied, mentally-draining, my-goodness-where-did-my-money-go daze of too much sugar, too much caffeine, too little sleep and too much singsong holiday music (Frosty can kiss my butt) and all I want to do is crawl into bed for a week.

But I know I shouldn’t gripe — I’m very fortunate to be where I am, have a roof over my head and a job that keeps food in my fridge and caffeine in my bloodstream. I’d wager a lot of money that during the holidays especially, self-neglect runs more rampant than any cold or flu. It’s contagious, has a longer incubation period and is terribly difficult to self-diagnose sometimes. But enough is enough — in the interest of boundaries and accountability, I’m posting my pre-New Year’s resolutions which, with any luck, well help me get through that blessed occasion.

1. Be thankful every day. Lately, I’ve been reminding myself to tell Alex that I’m thankful for him. I really am — it’s not a good-gift-insurance plan — but by verbally telling him, “I’m really thankful I get to talk to you today” or something similar, it’s an audible reminder to me to keep my focus on the important things.

2. Remember that it’s not about the money. Really, it isn’t. I really stretched my budget this year to buy my family and boyfriend things I felt they’d really love . . . but I could have done it differently. I could have done it a little less expensively. I’m not overdrawn, my bills are paid and I’ve got money for gas and groceries, but I really had to remind myself yesterday when finishing up a Christmas present that the person receiving it would love the nice (yet less expensive and not-quite-so-swanky) model of something similar I’d been thinking of getting them. In the end, it saved me enough money to cover gas to and from Sacramento, which is a pretty sweet difference — and those ‘just in case’ funds are so useful around the holidays.

3. Get back to what I care about. Some self-reflection this holiday season has reminded me of what’s important to me, what I’m working towards, where my heart is and even why I started this blog. Expect to see some very different, mindcasting-type posts in the new year.

4. Sleep as much as I can. This is going to be an epic, sisyphean task, but I’m going to try to get 9 hours of sleep each night. Yes, you read that correctly. Will keep you posted on how that goes . . .

5. Do something self-soothing every day. Sounds a little basic and prosaic, but I have to make a checklist each day . . . and from here on my checklist will include one item/task to shoot for that will help me relax — knitting (yes, I’m an 80-year-old disguised in a not-quite-24-year-old body), reading something that doesn’t require much thinking to enjoy (hellooooo, guilty-pleasure-chick-lit), or a bath.

These are hardly groundbreaking resolutions, but I think they’ll really help me enjoy the remaining 10 days of the year — because that’s what really should be happening, right?

P.S. My current favorite song just came on my AccuRadio station . . . Instantly brighter, more energized mood. 🙂

On my bad days . . .

After a rough day, I like to come home, slip into something comfortable and pour myself a glass of wine. (If I’m celebrating, it’s two, but since we’re talking about bad days, here I’ll get back to the topic at hand . . . )

I cook some dinner, though my hunger level usually dictates what’s being cooked. If I’m not super hungry (stress, surprisingly, doesn’t usually trigger “Oh-man-I’ve-gotta-eat-everything-in-sight”), I’ll linger over something more process oriented. For me, cooking is therapeutic. There’s nothing that makes me feel better than cooking — my shoulders relax, my neck de-tenses and I’m breathing slower, deeper (mostly because my face is hovering over a pot of yummy trying to savor the smells and fragrances of food).

After dinner, I climb into bed, burying myself further and further below my down comforter. (Seriously – if you have never owned a down comforter, you don’t know what you’re missing. I splurged on mine at Target after I graduated college (because I’d always wanted one) and I must confess . . . I will *never* own anything else again.)

My stress is melting away as I wrap my cloud around me and I turn on . . . something ridiculously funny. I hate going to bed upset, which is why my go-to on bad days is something that will lift me out of the funk. Here are some clips from favorite comedians.

Megan Mooney:

Jokes.com
Megan Mooney – Drinking Race
comedians.comedycentral.com
http://media.mtvnservices.com/mgid:cms:item:comedycentral.com:193893
Funny Jokes Funny Videos Daniel Tosh Stand-Up

Eddie Izzard:

Laughter is my ultimate stress relief. I honestly try to laugh every single day.

Options

I still haven’t made up my mind about the marathon, but I’ve got a few options:

– Train for a few more weeks and decide whether I’ll do the race then

– Drop down to a half marathon or 10K

– Don’t go

The last one is the worst, but I’m considering a combination of the first two — keep training, keep my long runs up as much as possible and run the half, but that’s provided EnviroSports will allow me to do that. I hope they will, but we’ll see.

The advantages to doing a half marathon definitely outweigh the advantages of just not going: lower risk of injury, more time to get in better shape for Big Sur and the knowledge that I didn’t quit training. It’s all up in the air at this point, but I’m hoping for some clarity soon.

On an unrelated topic, I am no longer allowed to buy pickles.  I simply cannot be trusted with them.

Owning it.

Rachel Wilkerson is one of my favorite bloggers and probably one of the biggest inspirations I had to write a wellness-themed blog. (Bear with me – I’m new here and don’t quite know what I’m doing just yet. Sorry I’m not sorry.)

Recently Rachel wrote about seriously owning your life and not apologizing for the things that make you you or what you want to do in life. I’ve been reading (and loving!) follow up posts like this one, and this one, and this one that have lit a bit of a flame under my butt to actually own up to some of my own ‘isms’ that I make no apologies for.

So, here goes . . . Sorry I’m not sorry.

 

Seriously. I got this.

 

I love the news. I really do. But I don’t follow it as often as I sometimes feel like I should. I have a lot on my plate – I work full-time, I’m trying to get established as a health and wellness blogger, I’m training for a marathon, trying to lose weight and have a social life and maintain relationships at the same time. Maybe I didn’t hear about Dr. Laura securing herself as a total idiot when it happened, or maybe I’ve gone a few days without watching any coverage of the fifth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, but I’m still trying to keep up as best I can so cut me some slack. I know I won’t be perfect at it. I could say that in my defense, I’m getting better at it, but that feels like an apology — and I’m not apologizing that my priorities right now don’t include gluing myself to CNN or MSNBC. Sorry I’m not sorry.

I’m a blogger! But I don’t know what I’m doing sometimes. I own this – and I’m working on getting better at it, but for now . . . Sorry I’m not sorry.

I’m a vegetarian who often gets asked, “But . . . but where do you get your protein?!” As if being a vegetarian has branded me as some sort of nutritionally-braindead Martian? Whatever. I get plenty of protein – I actually get more than enough – and I refuse to answer this question any more for obnoxious people who can’t see beyond bacon, burgers and chicken salads. While many most people are perfectly nice about it (for those people, I’m happy to answer politely), every now and then I get a pretty rude line of questioning that is almost always punctuated with, “Wow. Well, I could just never give up meat . . . I just don’t know how I’d get protein,” — as if thinking outside the box of chicken nuggets means I’m somehow crazy, ill-informed, malnourished, flouting the laws of conventional nutrition or just plain weird. I even get comments of, “Well, I only ask because I worry that you’re not getting enough . . .” Bullshit. Keep your judgments to yourself. I’m smart, resourceful, creative and I make it a point to educate myself on nutrition – especially given that whole marathon part and my status as a No Meat Athlete. I don’t eat meat and I doubt I will won’t ever again. Sorry I’m not sorry.

Most people who know me would describe me as being pretty positive. Upbeat, sunny, cheerful — all words that I hear people use in reference to my personality. But as good as I am at being an upbeat, positive person, inside I’m pretty snarky and downright critical — chalk it up to my wry wit and other Capricorn tendencies. I may not tell people to go fly a kite, suck it up, or fix it/figure it out yourself, but I’m probably thinking it. Still waters run deep, yo. I have no patience for people who nag, rush, or otherwise vex me and I’m twice as likely to not be my helpful little self if you’re just plain pissing me off. I have a serious weakness for not doing something because I don’t understand it. I’m logical, rational and if something makes no sense to me, it’s not worth my time to do it. Most of the time I’m good with going with the flow and just doing it, but every now and then, I just can’t resist the urge to toss out a snippy comment or sarcastic remark about just how utterly ridiculous the situation is. Sorry I’m not sorry.

My apartment is messy – it will never pass a military inspection unless the military ONLY inspects on Sundays. With the aforementioned full-time job and marathon training, I don’t have a lot of time. My tendencies to enjoy exercising, cooking and generally finding ways to keep myself alive prevent a lot of free time to be spent, oh, cleaning. Deal. There’s probably definitely (clean) unfolded laundry on my couch, there’s a bunch of clutter on my counter, a pile of shoes near my bookcase where I kick them off every day after I get home, and God only knows when I last made my bed . . . but I own this. I’m not living in squalor, I just don’t have time to keep everything completely in order. I clean on the weekends, and by the next weekend, things need cleaning again. I’m busy and I’m not going to sacrifice sleep or my priorities to make sure there aren’t sweaters and jeans draped over the arm of my couch. Sorry I’m not sorry.

I’m a runner, but I am sloooooooooooooow. I own this. It’s probably why one of my life goals is to qualify for the Boston Marathon — because it will be SUCH a challenge.  For now though, sometimes, I don’t finish in under an hour. Sometimes, I walk faster than I run. Hell, sometimes I just plain skip runs, but I’m a runner and I deserve to be taken seriously as a runner even if I’m not smashing records when I cross those finish lines. Sorry I’m not sorry.

I spent years studying the likes of Chaucer, Shakespeare, Faulkner, and Hawthorne to get my degree in literature, but I LOVE a good chick lit novel every now and then. Sorry I’m not sorry.

So there you have it . . . It’s what I’m owning. Thank you, Rachel, for the inspiration and for the huge sigh that just escaped me.

Challenges

Well, I may have fallen off the deep end, but I’ve decided to take on a 30 Day Shred Challenge! For anyone unfamiliar with Jillian Michaels’ fitness prowess, she pretty much kicks butt on The Biggest Loser challenging and pushing people past their perceived limits to really get them to a new level of fitness.

Anyway, she’s something of an inspiration to me. I’ve owned a copy of 30 Day Shred for a little over a year, but haven’t really ever committed to it. So here I am now . . . getting ready to commit to it.

Today, I ran 3 miles in 38 minutes — lost some time to frequent stops to adjust the bandaid covering the back of my ankle — and popped the DVD in afterwards. This is going to be an interesting challenge, to say the least. I took measurements and weighed myself yesterday, so I hope taking on this 30 Day Shred Challenge (on top of marathon training, mind you) will help me accelerate the rate at which I’m slimming down.

I didn’t just sign up for the marathon to shed a few pounds and I’m not doing the 30 Day Shred just for that. When I ran my first marathon, I really struggled with running consistently and I almost never strength trained. With the interval training of the DVD and a more resolved attitude to stick with my running schedule, I have hope that I’ll be able to cross the finish line (and lose a few pesky pounds in the process).

Another challenge . . . I got a flat tire today. Majorly flat. My poor little VW had been trying to tell me for a couple of days that the pressure was getting low (via the ‘low pressure’ light on the dash – go figure), but I resolved to take care of it this weekend when I had some time. As I left my apartment today to run an errand, I noticed a squeaking sound as I was pulling out of the carport. After I pulled over, my suspicions were confirmed. My right front tire was flat as a pancake.

Of course, I had a spare tire (and not a little donut either!), lugwrench and the know-how, but no jack! How does a 2007 car not come with a jack?! To add to my shopping list, to be sure . . . Anyway, a dear, sweet friend came to my rescue bringing a tire jack and some muscle to help get the lug nuts off. Seriously owe that boy a beer . . . or four.

Anyway . . . off to bed am I. Professional headshots at work tomorrow, but I don’t think I’m going to be getting the beauty sleep I really need. Oh well.

What about you? Any challenges you’re taking on this week?

C’mon, get happy!

Sometimes, it’s good to just remember things that you love, the stuff that makes you feel good and happy . . .

  • a cup of coffee
  • dark, bitter chocolate
  • lemons
  • cooking something that turns out really tasty
  • a cupcake
  • going for a long run
  • a long drive in the foothills
  • a good yoga session
  • climbing a new route and making it to the top
  • Greek food
  • Josh Groban
  • a clean apartment
  • rockin’ out
  • list making
  • a glass of wine
  • a good smoothie
  • a tidy desk

I like some good “happy” . . . I think it’s very important to remind yourself to be happy — particularly during a busy week, when something not so great happens, or when you’re just having a hard time remembering to smile.  I think I’d like to make this a weekly post – and I certainly welcome comments of things that make you happy as well!  🙂

P.S. This was dinner last night — quinoa w/ black lentils and broiled Roma tomatoes. Deeeeeeelish! 😀

The power of positive associations

jumping

Imma gonna leap for joy!

I believe it to be widely understood that a positive attitude will get you very far in life.  Or, as my cynical side chimes in, it will lessen the blow from all of the crap you’re dealing with.

Today, I spent a bit of time thinking about how our associations influence our actions.  I struggle with motivation every . . . freaking . . . day.  I’d say that 75% of my time is spent wasted, which is a bit sad.  I find a goal I like, get really excited about it, but in about three weeks the enthusiasm has fizzled (if it even lasted that long).  I would like to be a more driven, motivated person, but where do I pull that from?

I have a list of goals I would like to accomplishments, but no steam to keep me going.  I try to be positive but some days, I just fall so far from the mark it becomes that much harder to pick up the slack and keep going.

This afternoon, it hit me: for me, it’s my friends.  My friends, my boyfriend, my colleagues at work.  When THEY are inspired, encouraged and motivated, it rubs off on me.  It seems so simple, but why have I never thought of this before?  (By the way, it’s also very frustrating to realize that this revelation might mean that my parents were right all that time they were yakking about getting involved with kids that weren’t ‘good for [me]’ — mostly those kids were unmotivated, not especially driven, and apathetic.)

Lately I’ve been hanging out with a lot of smart, driven young professionals.  My volunteer work with a local city council campaign has me working closely with a lot of really awesome people who are excited about getting involved, who want to make change happen and who are committed to their ideas.  This is beyond motivating as I’m looking at my life, seeing where I’m stalling and noticing that there are some big changes that need to be made.

But the changes in my life that need making will bring me closer to my goals, will keep me more accountable, and will make me “well” in so many ways.  I won’t be tired because I’m eating poorly and exercising little.  I will be stronger because I’m climbing more and running many miles. I will be engaged at work because I can pour myself into projects.  I will be a better friend, girlfriend, and daughter because I will have energy and enthusiasm for my relationships.

It’s wellness on a broad level, but it’s still being well.