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Posts Tagged ‘self-care’

It’s Hump Day, dear reader! I want to share an update with you about the current exercise program that I started last week, what I eat in a day, and a new recipe I tried this morning. Currently, I am on Week 2 of 4 Weeks for Every Body. According to the workout calendar, today is a REST day; however, since I have a busy weekend ahead of me, I opted to complete Workout #3 this morning and plan to complete Workout #4 tomorrow morning. This leaves Friday-Sunday for either walking/biking or resting. I will walk or bike at least two of those three days.

Overall, I like the exercise program and most of the exercises. At first, I did not think I would like incorporating the core ball, but I actually like it. Each week there are 3 days that include a total-body workout, targeting different muscle groups (2 days-upper body and 1 day-lower body). A 4th day is cardio, but weights and the core ball are still a part of the total-body workout. The exercises are challenging, but totally doable. My only complaint with the program is the pacing. Sometimes, the instructor goes a little too fast between exercises which is fine if you are not going from a floor exercise to a standing exercise or vice versa.

My last weigh-in was Monday morning at 153.5 pounds. I have not lost any additional weight since 28 September; so my overall weight loss remains at 8.5 pounds since 01 June. I am basically maintaining my weight. Be that as it may, I am making strides in building up my strength. I feel terrific overall because I am eating better, sleeping better, and exercising better. Eating clean coupled with intermittent fasting is working well for me. With that being said, I did splurge a little on Saturday. I drank a beer at Gnarly Barley’s Ocktoberfest mid-day on Saturday. Then later that evening, I had two hotdogs (on buns) with chili, some Cheetos, a 12 ounce Sprite, and a Hocus Pocus cocktail. However, I did eat clean for breakfast (Burner Smoothie) and lunch (Salad with Shrimp).

Speaking of eating clean, I thought I would share with you what I eat in a day. I documented with photos this past Monday. I ate breakfast, lunch, dinner, one snack (can have up to 3 per day), plus drank two cups of coffee (morning/afternoon) and plenty of water. Clean & Lean is about eating 30 clean foods for 30 days. Therefore, these 30 foods are basically assigned and repeated throughout the daily menus for the month.

I do not like to cook. When I have to cook, it is simple and requires minimal ingredients. I use olive oil spray to cook my eggs and anything I fix in the air fryer. My husband is a sweetheart and will grill whatever I may need for the week, which for this week was turkey burgers. He also made a crock pot of red beans which I can eat on this plan. Although, I cheat a little when I eat the sausage he puts in the beans. I will eat brown rice with my beans if I choose beans for lunch, but I will eat beans with no rice if I have it for dinner.

Even though, I am not a fan of cooking, I do like trying new recipes if they are easy and do not require lots of complicated ingredients. Son #1 and I tried Pumpkin Overnight Oats this morning. We have never fixed overnight oats before, but after watching Michelle on Pocketful of Primary prepare them, I figured I could handle it.

My friend Rita, who lives in the UK, suggested I share some recipes. So, I am including Michelle’s recipe. Last night, I filled two mason jars (one for me & one for Barry, Jr.) with the following ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup Old-Fashioned Rolled Oats (NOT quick 1-minute oats)
  • 1 scoop of vanilla protein powder
  • 50 grams of pumpkin
  • 3-5 ounces of Almond Milk
  • Cinnamon (optional)

I put all of the dry ingredients in the jar first, added the Almond Milk, stirred everything together, and sprinkled cinnamon on top. I capped the jars and stuck them in the refrigerator. I am going to be honest, dear reader. I was a little nervous about trying these overnight oats this morning, especially since they were going to be cold. I love hot oatmeal! Is it possible for me to love cold oatmeal?

Goodness! The answer is YES. Both my son and I thought the overnight oats were delicious. Fixing oatmeal this way is a game changer for me because it is quick, easy, requires minimal ingrediants, and the flavor possibilities are endless. I plan to make them again tonight; however, I will use 2% milk and see what happens. Sometimes, we do not have Almond Milk on hand, so I want to make sure I have another option. Honestly, I even think water can be used as the liquid ingredient. I use water when I cook oatmeal.

Admittedly, getting back in shape can be arduous, but when you discover the right workouts tailored to your needs and healthy foods (appetizing, available, and affordable) that can be easily prepared, the health and wellness journey is actually quite enjoyable. If you are fortunate enough to also have a support system of family and friends cheering you on along the way, the journey is exponentially better. Have you ever tried overnight oats, dear reader? If so, please share what you put in your jars. Happiness!

“Take care of your body. It’s the only place you have to live in.” Jim Rohn

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Happy Wednesday, dear reader! I finally have a moment to catch my breath after having a busy September. During this month, I took a break from Beachbody on Demand, walked when I could fit it into my schedule, and ate clean about 80% of the time. I did not do any DVD workouts.

This past Monday, I started Round 2 of Clean & Lean. I will follow the clean eating guidelines as closely as possible. In addition, I started a new exercise program on Beachbody on Demand called 4 Weeks for Every Body taught by Autumn Calabrese. Each week consists of four workouts with three rest days. Today is a rest day, but I will walk after dinner for at least 30 minutes. And, I plan to walk or ride my bike the other two days. Yesterday’s leg workout was so tough that my legs felt rubbery afterwards. Terrific workout!

I weighed in this morning at 153.5 pounds. I have lost 1/2 of a pound since 31 August with an overall weight loss of 8.5 pounds since 01 June. I have basically been maintaining my weight the last few weeks. Personally, I think intermittent fasting along with staying away from soda, fried foods, and added sugar helped me maintain. When I do indulge, it is in moderation. I choose the treat for one meal or snack instead of an all day affair. I would love to see 149 pounds by the end of the 30 days.

Since cooler weather arrived this week, it finally feels like autumn. Cooler weather makes it more comfortable to walk outside, and I can fit it in my schedule earlier in the day. As always, dear reader, I am excited to see what I can accomplish in the next few weeks concerning my health and well-being. What are you doing to improve your health? Happiness!

“Food can be fun and exciting, but never forget that it’s your body’s most important fuel.” ~ Ian K. Smith, M.D.

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Happy Hump Day, dear reader! I officially completed Clean & Lean yesterday. Overall, I am satisfied with the results of this month-long challenge. I like intermittent fasting, and the 14:10 TRF (time restricted feeding) schedule works well for me.

As I mentioned in my last post at the start of this program, I did not use the Workout Plans in the book. There is absolutely nothing wrong with the fitness portion of the plan. I knew I could not commit to the step count (walking) or the staircases (no access) during the month of August. As for the exercises, I used Beachbody on Demand (4-week program called Start Losing with Jen Widerstrom) and walked most evenings after dinner (at least 20 minutes). Thankfully, I had started my BOD program in July because my life got a bit hectic between 19 August and 28 August (no workouts), and I was able to complete that fitness program which I enjoyed.

While I did not strictly follow the book’s eating plan, I followed the Clean & Lean guidelines as closely as possible. I drank plenty of water but no alcohol. I ate as many of the 30 clean foods as possible. I stayed away from fried foods, artificial sweetners, and MSG. I limited added sugar, soda, condiments, processed foods, and white flour. We celebrated Andrew’s birthday, so there was cake and ice cream. I have been eating fruits and veggies, but could be eating more of both on a daily basis. I am eating a moderate amount of dairy and taking my daily vitamins.

I weighed in this morning at 154 pounds. I have lost three additional pounds since 03 August with an overall weight loss of 8 pounds since 01 June. Considering how busy I have been lately, I am pleased with my results.

With all of that being said, I have PLENTY of room for improvement. I am the worst when it comes to time management. I am terrible at meal prepping even though I know it is effective. I overextend myself because I want to be involved in everything. And, I do not sleep well which I think is tied to menapause. I love a good routine if I can stick to one; however, throw one monkey wrench into my routine, and it all falls apart. Then, I get down on myself which causes me to shut down, and then I procrastinate like a rock star.

So, what’s the next step? At this moment, my plan is to not start any new fitness programs on BOD. A holiday weekend is approaching with Barry starting vacation this Friday. We have plans to do a bunch of tasks around the house. The weekend after, I go into dinner theatre mode for an entire week because I got a role in Murder! At the Disco at the Columbia Theatre. In addition, I have all my reading projects for the month, my weekly improv class, and I am supposed to be launching my YouTube channel in September. Presently, I do not want to start anything new or add anything more to my already overflowing plate. Therefore, my plan for the next 30 days is to continue following the Clean & Lean guidelines and exercising (walking and DVD workouts) daily.

Before bidding you farewell, dear reader, I want to share the results of my nerve test and update you on my hands and wrists. Good news! I have NO nerve damage. My right wrist is feeling much better; however, I am tentative with how I use it, especially with lifting things (or Tooty) and doing certain exercises. I think a combination of meds, exercising, and adjusting my sleep position has helped with the numbness in my fingers. Hopefully, I am turning a corner with this issue. I am ready to move on and jumped into September with both feet. Happiness!

“Regardless of what you accomplish, always consider yourself a work in progress, for this humility will allow you to accomplish even more.” ~ Ian K. Smith, M. D.

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Happy Wednesday, dear reader! It is time for me to finally lean into Clean & Lean by Dr. Ian K. Smith. I actually started the 30-day plan on Monday of this week, and it is going well so far. My health and fitness journey actually started back in June; however, I am taking small but intentional steps to ultimately reclaim a healthier version of myself once and for all. As I told Simon, mon frere, “I have a date with Europe.” I want to be healthy and physically in shape to acquire the most out of traveling to all of the places included on my List of 100 Dreams. I experienced a taste of exploration when Andrew and I visited New York City in June. We walked everywhere, and it was exhilarating for me. Of course, I love walking! Honestly, it is not only just about traveling, but also being healthier in general and feeling good about myself. When I am eating healthy and exercising regularly, I have more confidence and energy which benefit me in every area of my life.

The foundation of this program is based on the Clean 20 eating plan with 10 additional clean and lean foods along with intermittent fasting and exercise. For intermittent fasting, I have chosen the 14:10 TRF (time restricted feeding) schedule. Some of the components I really like that Smith provides in his programs are the daily meal and snack suggestions, health-related information, encouragement, recipes, and a great deal of flexibility. Planning and preparation are the key to success on any program. As with his other plans, there are clean eating guidelines.

Clean Eating Guidelines

  • Drink lots of water.
  • Drink only freshly squeezed juice.
  • Eat plenty of fruits and veggies.
  • Eat dairy foods.
  • Try canned and frozen options (packaged in water/natural juices).
  • Focus on the 30 clean foods.
  • No alcohol
  • No soda (regular of diet)
  • No added sugar
  • No artificial sweeteners
  • No MSG
  • No fried foods
  • No white flour
  • No mayo, ketchup, salsa – unless homemade (there are clean versions in the grocery store)
  • No salad dressings loaded with sugar

Regarding the fitness element of the plan, I am not using the exercises in the book. There is absolutely nothing wrong with the fitness portion of the plan; however, I will be using Beachbody on Demand (subscribed for one year) or my own fitness DVDs for workouts. In addition, I am walking every evening after dinner (at least 20 minutes). I am currently on the second week of a 4-week program called Start Losing with Jen Widerstrom. It is a low-impact beginner program that focuses on cardio and strength training. It is fantastic, and I love the instructor!

I mentioned in my last post that I am having an issue with my right wrist (tendonitis) and both my hands. I saw my orthopedic last Friday, and opted to get another cortisone shot in my wrist (last shot – 02 November). It has given me some relief. My hands are a different matter and started bothering me at the end of May. Many mornings, I wake up with numb hands. Once I get out of bed and flex them, the numbness goes away pretty quickly. It is annoying and a bit concerning. I think it is related to the position of my hands/arms while sleeping. Somehow, I am pressing on a nerve and cutting off circulation to my hands. What the heck! Truthfully, I really do not know the cause; it is just my theory. I have been trying to sleep with my arms by my side which seems to help; however, it is not the most comfortable. Needless to say, I am scheduled to have an unpleasant nerve test done next Wednesday. I appreciate any prayers and positive thoughts that you can send my way, dear reader, that it is not anything more serious than “at 53 years old, I cannot sleep correctly.”

Before wrapping up, I have to share that I weighed in this morning at 157 pounds. I have lost two pounds since Monday with an overall weight loss of 5 pounds since 01 June. I know the workouts are helping because my balance is improving, and I am feeling more elongated when walking which means my core is getting stronger. I still need to drink more water. I want to develop a better schedule for my workouts. Time tracking is in my near future. HA! In the meantime, I need to keep high 5ing myself and showing up. Happiness!

“While tangible goals such as weight loss, muscle strengthening, and body sculpting are important, so is the goal of making sustainable lifestyle changes that will keep you feeling healthy and fit.” ~ Ian K. Smith, M. D.

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Howdy, dear reader! It has been a hot minute since I have updated you on where I am on my healthy lifestyle journey. Back in June, I decided to do a round of The Clean 20 to start cleaning up my diet and walking again on a daily basis. I had joined Beachbody on Demand, had my colonoscopy, and felt good about starting over on a journey to take back my health. Fast forward 20 days, and I had not done one Beachbody on Demand workout, drank enough water, or walked daily. It is not to say that I was not successful in the intention that I had set for myself; I just took baby steps instead of strides. For me, starting anything is hard, but starting over is so much harder. If you have read my blog for some time, you know I have already been down this path several times.

Well, I am here to tell you, I FINALLY did a workout on Beachbody on Demand. Not only did I do a workout, I completed the whole 7-day Clean Week program. Yes, you read that correctly. Last Monday, I laced up my tennis shoes, showed up in my living room, turned on my television, pulled up Day 1 of the program, and worked out. Even though it is a beginner program, it was not easy. However, I did my best on Monday and every day afterwards. Progressing through the week, the workouts got a bit easier. My body said, “Hey, I remember how to do squats!”

Clean Week Program

  • Day 1: Core Function
  • Day 2: Cardio
  • Day 3: Strength
  • Day 4: Active Flex
  • Day 5: Core Function
  • Day 6: Cardio
  • Day 7: Strength

Clean Week was the perfect program to kick-start my fitness habit. Each circuit-style workout is only 30 minutes and includes a warm up and cool down. Minimal equipment is needed, and I can work out in the comfort of my own home. The only obstacle I encountered was with the floor exercises that required me to put any pressure on my wrists, so I modified or substituted those exercises. I am having trouble with my right wrist again and with both hands. I do have an appointment with my orthopedic this Friday to address the issue.

Out of curiosity, I weighed myself on Monday, 18 July and was 159.5 pounds. I had not gained or lost any weight since 22 June. I have been eating clean as much as possible with an occasional treat from time to time. I did weigh myself this morning since I was updating you, dear reader, and I am 159 pounds. HA! I am 1/2 of a pound lighter! Thanks, Kathryn Huggett, for convincing me to join Beachbody on Demand!

So, what’s next? On Monday of this week, I started a new 4-week fitness program on Beachbody on Demand called Start Losing with Jen Widerstrom. So far, I am loving it. It is a low-impact beginner program that focuses on cardio and strength training. The circuit-style workouts run anywhere between 33-42 minutes, including a warm-up and cool down. Also starting this week, I added a daily walk (at least 20 minutes) in the evenings after dinner. As for my nutrition goals, I will FINALLY be starting Clean & Lean by Dr. Ian K. Smith on Monday, 01 August. It is a 30-day program that blends the Clean 20 guidelines with intermittent fasting. My fitness and nutrition plan is in place, dear reader. Happiness!

“Starting over can be challenging, but also it can be a great opportunity to do things differently.” ~ Catherine Pulsifer 

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Greetings, dear reader! Today, I want to share my Clean 20 results with you. On 01 June, I started cleaning up my diet using The Clean 20 by Dr. Ian K. Smith as a guide. The goal for the 20 days of the plan was not to lose weight, but rather to clean up my eating habits by eliminating added sugar, fried and processed foods, and soda while implementing healthier choices (more fruits and veggies) and increasing water intake.

June has been a busy month for me, and it probably was not the most ideal month to start something new. However, I was not starting a diet. I was starting a lifestyle change to clean up my diet and get moving again. I was NOT perfect by any stretch of the imagination. During my 20 days, I had a colonoscopy, attended an engagement party, ate lunch with a friend, attended a weekend scrapbooking event, and visited New York City for a few days. The odds of me spending 20 days in a row at home are slim to none. The key is to move daily, make healthy food choices, eat in moderation, and drink plenty of water.

Kat’s Clean 20 Report Card

  • No alcohol
  • No soda (except 2 oz of Ginger Ale on flight to NOLA)
  • No added sugar/sugary foods (except Strawberry Shake/Vanilla Bean Cone in NYC; syrup on pancakes from Ellen’s Stardust Diner in NYC)
  • No artificial sweeteners
  • No juice with added sugar
  • No MSG
  • No fried foods (except french fries at Natural History Museum in NYC)
  • No white flour (except pancakes from Ellen’s Stardust Diner in NYC)
  • No mayo, ketchup, salsa – unless homemade (did NOT follow this for mayo/ketchup, but ate both sparingly)
  • No salad dressings loaded with sugar
  • Ate more fruits and veggies
  • Ate in moderation
  • Ate healthy snacks
  • Cut way down on processed foods
  • Drank more water (could still drink a whole lot more)

As for exercise, I have not started the Beachbody on Demand workouts, and I am not walking daily, yet. I walked 13 of the 20 days. Andrew and I walked everywhere in New York City. On Friday, 17 June, we walked 30,224 steps! On that day, we visited The Metropolitan Museum of Art, and that evening we walked to and from the theatre to see The Lion King. I love walking! It is a wonderful way to stay fit, come up with ideas, and enjoy your surroundings. I am not quite sure why I have not started working out with Beachbody on Demand. I should have started the Clean Week (a 7-day program) by today, so I could consistently complete the week before getting my implant that is scheduled for next Wednesday, but I literally have NO desire to do it. I know I will like it. Once I get started, I know I will use the heck out of it.

Last, but not least, I did lose a couple of pounds even though that was not my intention. Yesterday morning, I weighed 159.5 pounds for a total loss of 2.5 pounds. Overall, I am feeling a little better. I am not craving soda or sugary treats. Funnily enough, I AM craving more of a routine, and that may be the underlying factor as to why I cannot get myself to start working out or walking daily. June has been a whirlwind of activity, and I am loving every minute of it. Nonetheless, I am looking foward to a calmer July and a chance to catch my breath.

So, what’s next? I will continue following the Clean 20 guidelines with a bit more flexibility. I may indulge in an adult beverage this weekend or the next (4th of July). Ideally, I want to start Clean & Lean by Dr. Ian K. Smith, but that will depend on any food/exercise restrictions I may be given following my oral surgical procedure next week. Clean & Lean is a 30-day program that blends the Clean 20 guidelines with intermittent fasting. Regardless, I must continue going forward with making good food choices, drinking lots of water, and moving daily. Happiness!

“One of the secrets of life is to make stepping stones out of stumbling blocks.”      ~ Jack Penn

Note: Photo at top – I took this photo (Friday) of my breakfast at Sarabeth’s on the Upper West Side in New York. I ordered the Spinach & Goat Cheese Omelette served with local greens and toast. I did not get the toast, but ended up snagging a piece of Andrew’s wheat toast. It was a healthy, yummy breakfast.

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Happy June! Today is the first day of new beginnings, and I am starting the new month with cleaning up my diet. I have been eating pretty crappy lately, and my body is begging me to fuel it with better food choices. So, last week, I pulled out my copy of The Clean 20 by Dr. Ian K. Smith; it will be my guide for the next 20 days.

My colonoscopy is scheduled for this Friday, so I will be prepping for my procedure all day Thursday and a short time Friday morning. Therefore, today is the perfect day for me to start over with a clean plate.

Basically, these are the rules for the next 20 days:

  • Drink lots of water.
  • Drink freshly squeezed juice.
  • Eat plenty of fruits and veggies.
  • Eat dairy foods.
  • Focus on the 20 clean foods.
  • No alcohol
  • No soda
  • No added sugar
  • No artificial sweeteners
  • No juice with added sugar
  • No MSG
  • No fried foods
  • No white flour
  • No mayo, ketchup, salsa – unless homemade (there are clean versions in the grocery store)
  • No salad dressings loaded with sugar

The goal is to reset my body by reducing processed foods, reducing unwanted additives, and decreasing added sugars while increasing water intake, increasing fruits and vegetables, and becoming more mindful of the foods fueling my body. As you can see, dear reader, weight loss is not my goal for completing the Clean 20; however, I did weigh myself this morning (162 pounds) as a benchmark. If I lose weight on this clean eating reboot, I will be thrilled, of course. The first time I did this program back in September 2019, I lost 7 pounds.

With that being said, I ate an omelet (two eggs with a tablespoon of 2% milk and a handful of baby spinach) and 1/2 cup of blueberries for breakfast this morning. I used olive oil spray to prepare my omelet. I also had a 12-ounce cup of coffee with a packet of Truvia (natural sweetener), 1/2 tsp of sugar (cut the Truvia aftertaste), and 1 tbsp of half and half. The added sugar is negligible. For my mid-morning snack, I ate cucumber slices (half a cucumber) with 1/4 cup of classic hummus. And, for lunch, I had a salad (spring mix lettuce, grape tomatoes, kalamata olives, gorgonzola cheese crumbles, boiled crawfish tails, and honey roasted pecans with Apple Pecan salad dressing).

As for exercise, I started walking again this morning. My goal is to walk daily for at least 20 minutes. Of course, more is better. I will also get more walking done when I take Comet aka Tooty and Luna out for their walks. Additionally, I joined Beachbody on Demand (online video workouts) yesterday through my friend Kathryn. She is now my Beachbody health coach and will provide me with encouragement and accountability. Kathryn recommended that I start with Clean Week (a 7-day program) which will help me get back into the groove of working out (cardio/strength training). I plan to start that fitness program either Saturday or Sunday, depending on how I feel after my procedure on Friday.

As you know by now, dear reader, I love having a plan. I am excited about eating clean, working out with Beachbody on Demand, and taking my daily walks. Will I be perfect every day? Nope, and that is okay because it is not about being perfect. It is about enjoying life without sacrificing self-care. Happiness!

“The purpose of the Clean 20 is to reintroduce your body to the wonders of clean eating and to give your organs a break from all the processed foods that dominate the choices in our stores and restaurants.” ~ Ian K. Smith, M.D.

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June has come and gone, and yesterday America celebrated Independence Day. Due to the impending bad weather and social distancing, I spent the day at home. I walked in the morning, read some, and finally wrapped up answering some questions from Mind Over Weight that I needed to answer before rebooting (again) my exercise/clean eating routine. Needless to say, I was not successful with getting back on track with eating properly or incorporating additional exercise into my daily routine. Clearly, I was not really ready to change my indolent ways. So, since I have now listed all the reasons I want to take this journey, selected some motivational strategies to keep me on track, and created an action plan with some realistic goals, I think (eye roll) I’m ready to take the first step starting tomorrow morning.

I have two main goals:

  • Lose 20 pounds (#5 on my 20 for 2020) by 06 December 2020. I weighed in this morning at 159 pounds. I haven’t lost anything since June 1st, but I also haven’t gained anything.
  • Run a 5K (#20 on my 20 for 2020) by the end of 2020. Unfortunately, COVID-19 has currently halted road races. Therefore, if I cannot actually register to run a race in 2020, I will have to create my own 5K. I ordered new running shoes which should arrive sometime this week. I will start my run/walk program next Monday.

I must think about my future self. Obviously, I am not getting any younger. If I do not commit to a healthier me TODAY, it is evidently not important enough to pursue, and my future self will be the one that suffers when it’s all said and done. If not now, when? Without sounding overly dramatic, the answer is never. I have made the decision that if I cannot change my ways in the health and wellness area of my life at this point in time, then I’m done. I’m tired of talking about it. I’m tired of thinking about it. Frankly, I’m tired of dealing with it.

Additionally, I will be spending the next 30 days breaking up with my phone. A couple of weeks ago, I listened to Episode #6 (“Dial D for Distracted”) of Season 2 of The Happiness Lab podcast. It was an eye-opening conversation between Dr. Laurie Santos and Catherine Price, a science journalist and author of How to Break Up With Your Phone. Yes, I bought the book! Sadly, I am addicted to my phone, and COVID-19 has added fuel to that fire. In order to protect my brain, I must reevaluate the relationship I have with my phone and set some boundaries with it.

The next few weeks of my life should be interesting, dear reader. I’ll be going through withdrawals from sugar, a breakup, and the pain of having a tooth extracted, so approach with caution if you see me in public. I hope my future self appreciates everything that I’m doing for her. Happiness!

“If I am not for myself, then who will be for me? But when I am for myself, then what am “I”? And if not now, when?” ~ Hillel the Elder

Books & Coffee Cup

 

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FlowersThe first week back to work after a week-long vacation went by rather slowly. I think I am suffering from the onset of spring fever. Thankfully, today begins Daylight Saving Time. For me, the next eight months should feel glorious with the extended daylight in the evenings. I’m hoping this is also the end of my personal “canary in the coal mine.”

In Episode 144 of the Happier in Hollywood podcast, Sarah and Liz reveal their personal “canaries in a coal mine.” Back in the day, coal miners brought caged canaries in the coal mines with them. If the canaries became ill or died, the coal miners knew they should not venture into the coal mine since it was not safe for them. Mercifully, this practice was stopped in the late 20th century. However, today, it is being used as a metaphor for comparing canaries to the warning signs of something stressful or alarming that is amiss. The canary is there to tell you that you need to practice self-care. In Episode 147, Sarah and Liz revisited the subject and shared some of their favorites from listeners. After listening to both episodes and pondering the revelations from Sarah, Liz, and several listeners, it dawned on me that I have my personal “canary in the coal mine.” Drum roll, please! I actually have two canaries, sugar and procrastination. And, they go hand in hand.

Basically, when I am anxious or feeling overwhelmed, instead of taking a walk or productively completing a task or project, I consume a sleeve of cookies while playing Words with Friends or scrolling through Facebook for two hours. And, lately, I find myself doing that more and more, and it only adds to my anxiety. I LIKE being in control, and right now I feel out of control. Instead of being proactive, I self-sabotage myself. I feel like I am in a state of paralysis. So, what am I anxious about these days? What is overwhelming me? I actually have a list.

  •  Taking my acting career to the next level
  •  Sonic and his health issues (perianal fistulas and new thyroid issue)
  •  Finances (cost of Sonic’s impending medical care)
  •  Disarray of the house from remodeling
  •  Barry, Jr. working in Singapore and his time over there being extended
  •  Feeling like I don’t have the time to work on my goals
  •  Feeling like I’m running out of time to reach my goals

Surprisingly, after writing this list down, I’m feeling a little better. Lots better, in fact! Looking over my list, the situations that are overwhelming me right now are temporary, and they are not life-or-death issues. What action steps can I take today to alleviate the anxiety that I’m feeling about each of these items on my list? I can start with taking a deep breath, praying the Serenity Prayer, thinking of five aspects of my life to be grateful for, and releasing my canaries. It is time for me to practice some self-care and take action.

Dear reader, I am grateful for you and the joy you bring to me. Thanks for reading! Do you have a “canary in the coal mine?” What behavior reveals you are more stressed than you realize? Take heart because you can always release your canary once you have identified it and taken the necessary steps to extinguish the stress. Happiness!

“Nothing diminishes anxiety faster than action.” ~ Walter Anderson

 

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Earlier this weekend, I wanted to beat myself up a little, like I feel like doing to those damn kids in the Putnam County Spelling Bee. The reality for me right now is that I cannot physically and mentally do everything I want to do in the timeframe I scheduled everything. It’s a bummer because everything I want to do brings me joy. Instead of wallowing in self-pity, I checked myself and counted my blessings of which I have a multitude.

Simply Blessed

So, how do I salvage the remaining portion of what I committed to without forsaking my sanity and still gleaning some benefit? Letting go of the time lost and picking up where I am right now is my solution. I have not, I repeat, not written one word of my 50,000 word novel. However, if I start today and write every day for the next 21 days, I could still meet my November 30th deadline. Of course, that means I will need to write at least 2,381 words per day. I have only meditated once with Deepak Chopra. However, if I start today and meditate every day for the remainder of the meditation series, I will only lose one day. The series allows a five day window to catch up. Finally, I want to get back to my scrapbooking and getting my house in order. Realistically, both of those activities will have to wait until I’m on Thanksgiving break. My calendar is marked to devote some time to both. Fingers crossed that the utility room will be completed by then.

In Other News:

  • I am taking an Improv: Level I Course in Metairie. This course will focus on the foundation of improv performance. It will also help me with improving my acting and auditioning skills through active listening, confident communication, and acceptance of given circumstances. It is four classes that meets once per week (two in November/two in December). The first one starts this Tuesday evening.
  • As for my weight loss goal, I am down another pound which puts me at a total loss of 12 pounds since September 2nd. I have 7 more pounds to lose by the end of 2019 to reach my goal.
  • There are only two more opportunities to see The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee: Saturday, November 16th at 7:30 pm and Sunday, November 17th at 3:00 pm. Tickets are still available at www.theoctavians.org.

I have NO plans today but to rest (and write/meditate), dear reader. I started feeling a little funky last night (itchy throat, dull sinus headache). I think it is a combination of weather change, staying up late, and being on the go constantly. All great components on their own; but together, they can lead to feeling run-down and depleted. I cannot get sick with two upcoming shows and everything else I want to accomplish this week. So, today will be ALL about self-care. I even got out of going grocery shopping at Wal-Mart. Happiness!

“There were two ways to be happy: improve your reality, or lower your expectations” ~ Jodi Picoult,

 

 

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