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Posts Tagged ‘self-care’

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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This coming week is the last week before rolling into TECH WEEK. While I have never experienced tech week as an actor, as a drama mama during Andrew’s tech weeks, I know it can be intense for all involved. Yesterday afternoon, I attended rehearsal to work solely on my monologue and solo for the play. I’m enjoying the process of developing my character and exploring different choices as Mitch. It’s an exciting feeling!

So, I plan to bask in the calm before the storm this week. Hydration and eating clean are top priorities. Getting an ample amount of sleep and keeping stress to a minimum are key. This week is a season of self-care. Next week is a season of sacrifice. Both are temporary but necessary for an incredible end result. Tickets are now on sale at www.octavians.org if you, dear reader, feel so inclined to come see a hilarious show that encourages audience participation.

In Other News:

If you want an excuse to rewatch The Office, check out the new podcast, Office Ladies. Jenna Fischer (Pam) and Angela Kinsey (Angela), who happen to be BFFs,  take you on an episode-by-episode journey that breaks down each episode and gives you behind the scenes information on the much loved tv show.

Kombucha 2My quest for Big Easy Kombucha is still in full force. I have only been able to find it at my local Wal-Marts. They have added two more flavors, Jammin’ Ginger infused with ginger, Meyer lemon, and hibiscus and Melon Magic infused with cantaloupe, honeydew, and watermelon. I usually enjoy a cup of Kombucha with my dinner. Apparently, Big Easy Bucha has a tasting room in New Orleans where you can try Kombucha on draft. Road trip!

I am down another pound which puts me at a total loss of 9 pounds since September 2nd. Slow and steady wins the race. I am ten pounds away from meeting my weight loss goal.

Life is good, dear reader. Better yet, life is wonderful! I am living a blessed filled life. What are your plans for the remainder of the weekend? My hubby and I are going to see Zombieland: Double Tap in a couple of hours. We watched the first one last night to refresh our memories. Good stuff! After Andrew gets off work (yes, work…an official employee at BAM), we plan to meet him for dinner at SLU. The cafeteria in the Student Union is amazing. Happiness!

“…and when the tension receded there was calm, the calm that is called before the storm, but is in reality the foundation of a human life, waiting there for us between the steps of our march to our mortality, when we are compelled to pause and not act but be.”  ~ Mohsin Hamid, Exit West

 

 

 

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“Stay true to yourself, yet always be open to learn. Work hard, and never give up on your dreams, even when nobody else believes they can come true but you. These are not clichés but real tools you need no matter what you do in life to stay focused on your path.” ~ Phillip Sweet

Dream Big

Back in the summer of 2016, I read the book 168 Hours: You Have More Time Than You Think by Laura Vanderkam. She included an exercise in her book that Caroline Ceniza-Levine uses in her workshops to help people to try and figure out “What do you want to be when you grow up?” The exercise is to create a “List of 100 Dreams” where you list 100 activities that you would like to experience throughout your lifetime. According to Ceniza-Levine, this is exercising the “passion muscle” (Vanderkam 42). You may discover after trying some of these activities that they are not quite right for how you want to live your life. And, that’s awesome! You can now use your time pursuing something else that is more worthwhile for you.

As a (mixed-style) multipotentialite questioner, this exercise was right up my alley. I have many interests, and I want to pursue creative endeavors. I separated my list into three categories like Laura Vanderkam: career, travel, and personal/family. I enjoyed creating my List of 100 Dreams which was #19 on my 19 for 2019. Take a look, dear reader (Kat’s List of 100 Dreams)!

 

In Other News:

#8 Read one book a month for self-improvement. This month I read Stretched Too Thin: How Working Moms Can Lose the Guilt, Work Smarter, and Thrive by Jessica N. Turner. I admit several times this past school year I felt stretched too thin. I purchased this book to get some fresh perspective on how to handle these seasons of busyness that can get overwhelming. Turner had some good suggestions on setting achievable goals, making self-care a priority, and developing solutions on managing your home. I admit that I did not take the time to complete all the exercises after each chapter which are devoted to different areas of your life. However, I did read through the questions and reflected on the ones that seemed more relatable to me and my circumstances. Self-care is definitely an area of my life that needs the most improvement. I feel that other areas in my life will benefit from self-care getting necessary attention.

Well, dear reader, another month has passed. Tomorrow begins a brand new month with new possibilities and opportunities. Dial into your passions and dream big. Happiness!

“Once you stop trying to be someone you are not and doing things that don’t align with your desires and/or your responsibilities, you are better able to thrive in your life.” ~ Jessica N. Turner

 

 

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IMG_0600What an absolutely gorgeous day! The sun is out, the temperature is cool, and the air is crisp. I took my little dog out to do his business before starting my business of writing and soon found myself sitting on my front porch basking in the sunshine and watching the birds and squirrels. I closed my eyes, listened, and felt peace. It only lasted a few minutes. However, it inspired me to write outside today. Thus, I am now writing this post outside on the deck in the backyard while enjoying a cup of hot green tea with honey. It is cooler than I expected since I am more in the shade than in the sun; however, it feels wonderful, and I am PRESENT. Nature has that effect.

Linger more. This was my challenge action this week for The Busy Boycott. While I wish I could report that I lingered more throughout the week, I pretty much saved it for today. I woke up at 7:00 this morning, made a quick trip to the bathroom, and climbed right back into bed where I snuggled some more under the blankets until 8:00. Feeling like I loitered long enough, I got up and wandered into the kitchen to make a cup of coffee and check my cell phone for any messages. I had an email from mon frere (Simon), so I replied, hit send, and brought my coffee along with my I-Pad back to the bedroom. Plopping back into bed, I caught up on reading a few blog posts, as well as my devotion for the day. Therefore, I lingered over my cup of coffee and took my time reading. Now I am up and ready to live the day.

Since the new year has started, Sundays have become a retreat of self-care. It seems as if each Saturday of January has entailed some type of activity outside the home. Friday afternoons before dinner have become the designated grocery shopping day which allows for Sunday to be sacred. I still have chores to do, the checkbook to balance, and clothes to wash; however, I have allowed myself to linger over that cup of coffee or actually read a blog post instead of skimming through it for the highlights. Having a day to just BE at home with nowhere to go has been pure delight. No one should have to wait for a vacation to practice self-care, savor a cup of coffee, or admire the beauty of nature on a day like today.

I know it does not appear on the surface that I have been doing much to change; however, the changes are happening, just slowly. Cutting back on my school hours, allowing myself a day to practice self-care, writing more, evaluating the “busyness” of my life are just a few ways I am laying the foundation to achieve my goals for this year. I’m opting to be the tortoise instead of the hare.

Throughout the next week, I will be thinking about my perfect day. This exercise was mentioned during the Smart Cookies webinar I participated in last week and as a reflection question for The Busy Boycott. This exercise is meant to help inspire you to work on goals that will help you attain what really matters to you for your life. I’ll share my perfect day with you when I get it figured out. In the meantime, enjoy your day. Try to get outside today if the day is beautiful and soak up not only the sun, but also the sights and sounds of nature. Happiness!

“Stop and unplug,” say I; “look around you, at the vastness and greatness of the natural world.” Some stop. Others need binoculars to tie their shoelaces.” ~ Fennel Hudson, A Waterside Year-Fennel’s Journal-No.2 

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Comic Con 2016

Happy Sunday! I hope you are enjoying a wonderful weekend. There are so many ways to celebrate your time off, whether it is attending an event, creating some art, hanging out with family and friends, or reading. What are you doing with your time this weekend or when you have time off? I decided to have some fun because having fun is a way to practice self-care.

Andrew and I attended Comic Con yesterday in New Orleans. We had a great time checking out merchandise, seeing what is new in gaming, and getting a peek at the celebrities that were inJeremy Renner attendance this year.  My goal was to get a glimpse of the actor Jeremy Renner who has starred in films like American Hustle, Mission Impossible, and Marvel’s The Avengers. Andrew and I took a picture with Scott Wilson (Hershel, The Walking Dead) and sat in on a panel featuring William Shatner (Captain Kirk, Star Trek). Mr. Wilson was very sweet, and Mr. Shatner was hilarious. Andrew played in a video game tournament for a new PlayStation 4 game called Naruto Ultimate Ninja Storm 4. While he did not advance to the Scott Wilsonsecond round, he had the opportunity to preview this game which he preordered last week. Both Andrew and I bought a couple of items. I found an X-Files t-shirt! If you do not already know, I am a huge X-Files fan, and I am super-excited because the show is coming back on television this month for a six-episode revival. Needless to say, I am stoked!

As for today, I am practicing some more self-care by doing a couple of activities I thoroughly enjoy: writing and reading. Of course, I do have a few tasks to complete (laundry, bills, chores); however, they will not consume all of my day. As you know, I am participating in The Busy Boycott. The first week, I did not talk about being busy at all. I caught myself several times about to utter the words “I’ve been busy” or “super busy” when someone asked how I was doing. Last week, my challenge action was to DO LESS. And, doing less is exactly what I did even with having to go back to work. I have made the decision to only stay at school until 4:00PM unless I have a meeting or event that requires me being there longer. I cannot eliminate my current job; however, I can eliminate working an inordinate amount of hours. What am I compromising for the sake of my busyness? The answer is my health, relationships, and creativity.

Innovation is my theme this year. Baby steps are what I will be taking the next few weeks to achieve some of the changes I want to see in 2016.  Enjoy what is left of the weekend, my dear readers. Happiness!

“The expectations of what we can get done, and how well we can do it, are beyond human scale.” ~ Brene Brown

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Hello, my dear readers! Remember me. It has been over a year since my last blog post. I apologize for being away for so long. I have no excuses except that I did not do a terrific job of practicing self-care this past school year. I’m what Gretchen Rubin would call an Obliger. Unless I have something at stake in my areas of self-care, I will make work or family obligations a priority over other areas in my life. This type of prioritization clearly equals burn out. Therefore, this summer I did nothing but practice self-care. Now, on the eve of reporting back to school for workshops, assignment changes, and classroom preparation, I am singing (humming is more like it) the summertime blues. Because for me, the summertime allows a more flexible schedule and the ability to move at a more comfortable pace. Today, I will wallow in the wonderful memories I created this summer. Let me share with you the highlights of my respite from school.

June provided relaxation, entertainment, and creative expression. 

Relaxation: stayed up later/slept later, read a book about habits, walked daily, had lunch with a friend, and watched more television

Entertainment: Barry, Jr. and I booked a room in New Orleans and attended a concert. It was the first time the two of us did something like this together. After parking the car and checking into the hotel, we dined at the Hard Rock Cafe. Afterwards, we took a taxi to the Civic Theatre to rock out with Rob Zombie. Awesome! Then we walked over to Bourbon Street to check out the sights. The next morning we visited the Aquarium. The penguins, seahorses, and otters are my favorite. Before heading home, we ate a scrumptious meal at Drago’s.

Later that week, my boys and I went to a Zephyrs baseball game. It was the first time for Andrew, and he absolutely enjoyed it!

Creative Expression: I took a weekly acting class to exercise my mental muscle and get out of my comfort zone. At the end of the month for four days, I attended the TAC Scrapbook Convention at the Airport Hilton with my BFF and our scrapbooking buddies. I worked on layouts from our Zombie Run, a homecoming dance that Barry, Jr. attended in high school, and our first year we went to Comic Con. I won third place in a page layout contest and donned a tiara.

July provided more relaxation, entertainment, and organization. 

Relaxation: went to bed earlier/woke up earlier, read a book about creating fringe hours, walked daily, had lunches with friends and family, and started re-watching the X-Files to prepare for its reboot in January

Entertainment: movies on Tuesday afternoons with my boys; another Aquarium visit, but this time with Andrew

Organization:  I began to reorganize my scrapbook room and my extensive home library (both are a work in progress). And, I took care of purchasing new uniforms and school shoes for Andrew for his FRESHMAN year of high school. I still have school supplies to buy; however, I will take care of that in the upcoming week.

I move through the summer like I’m floating on a raft on a lazy flowing river with occasional stops along the way. My stress level is much lower, almost nonexistent, and I can take my time with self-care. While I’ve made a promise to myself to be better about self-care during the upcoming school year, I lament the end of my summertime break because I know my relaxed schedule is about to speed up rapidly.

Wishing you my readers, a relaxing Sunday. Happiness!

“You must eliminate self-imposed pressures in your life to enjoy a more fruitful life. You cannot be everything for everyone. Moreover, if you do not take time for yourself, you will flatline. Pursue a life of joy and contentment, and you will be happier, healthier, and more at peace. Making time for yourself is both necessary and fulfilling.” ~ Jessica N. Turner, The Fringe Hours: Making Time for You

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