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extra! extra! read all about it!

20 Dec

Today’s post is brought to you by the best cup of coffee I’ve made in weeks.  And my strange shirt with deer on it.  Oh and my tasty cookie with frosting that I had for breakfast.

I’ve had some interesting happenings this week and I figured saving them for one post was a good idea.  That way it seems like I am whining less… hopefully?  The other day Simon woke me up at 4:30 am.  This is not unusual, however, he comes up and walks by my face and IT SMELLED BAD!  Great.  TMI but Simon is a long-haired kitty and at times poop gets stuck to his bum.  I figured this was the issue and quickly got up and scrubbed his bum.

this is a fair assessment of both of our feelings… btw when I looked up “cleaning a cat’s butt” an article stated that a cat’s behind is his health barometer. weird.

Later, I came home and found poop on the floor.  I do feel sorry for the little guy though because about a 1/2 hour later he puked his guts out.  Kitty stomach flu.

(Strange pic ahead!!!)  Then my (male) co-workers and I were discussing birth and the placenta.  We had a disagreement so I looked up placenta online.  And I found this

yep, it’s a teddy bear made from the placenta. I am now torturing my co-workers with it because that’s the type of person I am

I showed my other male co-worker and he said at first he thought it was a pastry teddy bear that just needed some powdered sugar.  I took so much sick delight in telling him what it really was!

The other night I was attempting to balance my beautiful BLT (minus the L), with a can of pop while getting Simon’s toy for him.  In slow motion my BLT hit the carpet.  So sad!  And no, I don’t do the 10 second rule on carpet especially with a pet.  Plus there was the aforementioned poop issue!

this is exactly how I felt – james you get me

There was some stress at work this week hence the cookie for breakfast.  Wednesday, I got home and locked the door behind me.  It was hermit time.  Thursday when I got done at noon(!!), came home, took care of some things and left for a run.  10 big fatty miles!  It was a great run that boosted my Dopey training confidence.  It was also amazing weather 39* and dry.  To not run would be slapping mama nature across the face!

To be honest, I was tempted to hang on the couch again but then two things happened: a) my friend texted and helped kick my butt in gear and b) I realized I didn’t like the underwear I was wearing so I would get to change it after running and then showering.  I am absolutely serious.

It’s been a strange week.  Monday was the two year mark of my mom’s passing.  I wrote a post about it but not sure if I will ever hit publish.  It’s easier this year than the last and I have conflicted feelings about this.  I know healing is important and I am grateful for it but…

I’m looking forward to heading back to WA on Monday!  I’m going to stock up on my favorite blend of coffee, smother my family in x’s and o’s, run and relax.

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I have thoughts – hear me roar!

7 Aug

*Maybe just talking excitedly is a better description

On Sunday I woke up and knew instantly that not only was I not feeling well, it might result in having to see my doc.  I was disappointed and started stuffing pills down my throat in hopes these natural “cures” would take of it.

Nope

I called my doc on Monday to beg for antibiotics… over the phone.  Yep, apparently they don’t do that.  But she did work with me so I did some quickie testing and antibiotics were be in my system Tuesday evening.  I am eternally grateful.

yep – I ate lots of them

On Saturday I was frolicking in the grass with some friends’ little tykes.  All was well.  I started breaking out in hives all over my legs Sunday night and they culminated into a blotchy disaster.  They are getting better but are still driving me bonkers! today.  It’s been a bleak start to the week!

It got me thinking though… As I will mention a few hundred times, August is a BUSY month with work.  We are prepping for the students to come back and it seems like my to-do list is five miles long.  What led to my sickness (in part) was being super occupied with work and not taking care of myself.  Why?  Because I felt like I was to busy and placed my health on the back burner.  I looked around at my colleagues and you can see by their faces, they are doing the same.  (Droopy eyes, dark circles, yawning – just the whole sluggish look about them.)

tru dat’

This isn’t simply my department/job.  In my opinion this is common in most professions.  When we get busy with work or family or other obligations we put our health last.  It’s completely whackadoodle!  If we did pay more attention to our health, all of these other areas would BENEFIT!  All too often I hear people say (along with the voice in my own head) “I don’t have time to eat well, exercise, sleep, or relax (and not in front of the tv, actual real relaxation) because X, Y, and Z get in the way”.  All of which seem to take a higher priority over our health and well-being.

As you might be able to tell, these thoughts (and what I consider my own epiphanies) are what has led me to wanting to take the holistic health classes.  However, while I feel I will be able to help people, the help will only be to treat the symptoms, not necessarily impact the actual problem.  I get that our society has a “pull yourself up from your bootstraps” mentality along with a work, work, work coming first.  So, recognizing that working from home or flexible schedules or breaks for exercise/meditation may not be embraced by the workforce world.  But we need to do something.  Or try harder to bring attention to this important issue!

I will concede we are making baby step size progress.  Many businesses and companies hire outside wellness companies to come in and work with employees on overall wellness.  But as I stated above this is only treating the symptom and not getting to the root of the issue.  I don’t have all of the answers.  I am not exactly a role model of balance although I do want to get better!  So folks – how do you do it?  Heck, I don’t have a family and I still struggle!  I would love to hear the different ways you work to fit things in!

I love some good visualizing!

19 Jun

Edited:  My apologies!  I didn’t realize the photo credits were hyperlinks in the original e-mail so I have fixed this below. 

A couple of weeks ago I was contacted by the incredibly nice and helpful Michelle.  She works in a spa called Skana in upstate New York and she gave me the suggestion of making a health motivation board.  Michelle talked to me about how her knowledge of health and wellness has led her to help clients live healthier lifestyles.  She was kind enough to type up how you can live a healthier life!  Here is the information she provided!

Visualize Your Inspiration for a Healthy Lifestyle

Staying physically fit takes more than just a few good workouts. It also requires you to maintain a strong mental focus toward reaching your goals. Although you likely track your goals on a regular basis, it is also important to make sure that your aspirations remain at the forefront of your mind. For those who are actively pursuing a healthy lifestyle, here is how a fitspiration board can help you to visualize your inspiration.

Clarify Your Goals

The first thing you will need to do as you begin to create a visual representation of your goals is to clarify what it is that you would like to accomplish. Ideally, you should have a combination of short and long-term goals that are challenging yet achievable. Once you have established your goals, decide which one should be the main focus of your board.

Find Inspirational Images

With your goals in mind, begin searching for images that inspire you to achieve greatness. These can be photographs of you or your loved ones, images found online or pictures that you cut out of a magazine. It is important to take your time to find only the most inspirational images possible that reflect your goals. As you search for images to include on your board, be sure to select one that best encompasses your fitness goals. Then, use this image as the main focus of your board.

Choose a Central Location

For your board to serve as an inspiration, you will need to make sure that it is placed in a central location so that you will see it several times each day. Depending upon your personal habits, this could be in your exercise room, kitchen or even next to your bed. If after hanging for a few days in one area you notice that it is rarely noticed, then feel free to move it to another area of your home.

Reflect and Revise

After viewing your board for a few days, take a few minutes to reflect upon your reaction. Have you been feeling more motivated towards meeting your goals? Does it remind you of the things you would like to accomplish? Then, revise your board as necessary so that it always leaves you feeling inspired.

Here is an example:

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What inspires me to be active and aspire to live a healthier life is the outdoors.  I love to travel and see new places.  To me, there’s no better feeling than enjoying the outdoors.  I’m really inspired by yoga for a number of reasons.  Yoga focuses the mind and body, teaching ourselves to find a spiritual balance.  I also love that yoga can be done anywhere, even the beach!  Yoga is great for beginners and the more advanced athlete.

The outdoors are what I’ve used for the center of my inspiration.  I’ve been taking lessons near my work at New York Golf resort, Shenendoah, as a way to spend more time outside. Golf is great because not only is it less strenuous activity, but you also have the opportunity to enjoy the outdoors.  Really any activity outdoors can be motivating. You feel like you have more energy when you are out enjoying the warm weather.  I’d like to try more leisurely activities like fishing or kayaking with a friend.

Your body needs nutritious foods as fuel for when you exercise.  A great source of clean eating recipes is Clean and Delicious.  They have delicious recipes along with instructional videos including a clean chicken & veggie stir-fry recipe.  An easy nutritious breakfast for on the go folks are smoothies!  Customize nutritious smoothies to whatever supplies you have on hand!

Making a fitspiration board is one way to stay inspired to live a healthy lifestyle. Over time, your goals will change as you meet each one. Therefore, be sure to add new goals and images as needed to keep your board fresh and your mind focused on always reaching your full potential.

Thanks so much Michelle!  I am currently working on my board as well and hopefully I’ll be able to post it next week!  Readers, I would love to hear about any images you may use to keep you inspired!

thinking – a dangerous pastime!

1 Jun

I’ve been doing a little thinking…

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When I first saw a preview for “Eat, Pray, Love” I knew I would have to see the movie.  However, because most of the time the book is better than the movie, I went out the next day and bought it.  While some people mock this book, I found it very uplifting.  I identify with the Elizabeth, “Liz” Gilbert, the author and her proclivity toward not letting go.

Yes, I am LOUSY at letting go!  Whether I am committed to an idea, a way of life, stuff or a guy, I have a hard time seeing the value of appreciating it while it lasted and then moving forward.  EEK!  Logically, I recognize the importance of this but for the most part I struggle with the emotional aspect of it.

Last night “Eat, Pray, Love” was on tv.  I caught it just as Liz was arriving in India for her time at the ashram.  This is where she meets Richard from Texas and his character (a real life person, I know!) had some great pillow-stitching worthy insights.

1.  It’s okay to mourn the loss of a relationship and miss that person.  But then be over it.  When you think of that person send them “love and light” and then move forward.  We don’t need to minimize the relationship or the person to get over it.  Instead value that person for who they are and be okay with the fact it didn’t work out between the two of you.

2.  Forgive yourself.  It doesn’t matter in what context – just do it.

First of all, I did put my own language to his thoughts on life, FYI!  Now, I would very much like to say neither of these two nuggets of wisdom are EASY.  But I think not doing these things is much harder than not in the long run.  Concentrating on persons from our past and relationships doesn’t allow us to move into something new.  Not forgiving ourselves allows us to concentrate on the negative and doesn’t push us forward to the positive.

I identified with the idea of not forgiving myself in reference to losing fitness and gaining some weight back.  After I lost 85lbs, I SWORE I would never gain weight again.  NEVER!  I was adamant about it to myself and anyone else who would talk to me about it.  I hailed the benefits of losing weight and being active from the rooftops.  I reveled in my new found feelings of body confidence and in how far I had come from my old couch potato ways.  Now?  Well, I feel I have completely failed myself.  I recognize that 15lbs is not the end of the world but it has changed my perception of myself.  I let myself down and this might be harder than the actual weight gain.  Oh and I tend to overanalyze just a bit!

I need to forgive myself for the weight gain.  It’s completely wrapped up in emotions, my mom and meds increasing then switching so it wasn’t like I decided I didn’t care anymore.  I didn’t handle all of these perfectly but I did HANDLE them so I need to give myself some credit for this.  And I need to move on – I know I’ve mentioned this a few times before but I never put it in the context that I was holding myself back because I didn’t think I deserved to be healthy and fit.

Feeling you deserve a healthy body can be tough to embrace when you are dwelling on the negative things.  It definitely sounds great to put some lip service to forgiving yourself but how do you get to that point?!  Or how do you actually put it in action?  In the book, Liz has a hard time getting up and getting through a morning meditation.  Good ol’ Richard from Texas tells her to dedicate the meditation to someone specifically.  I’m sure many of us have read that in order to get through some tough mileage dedicating miles to people can give you the mental boost you need.  I have forgotten about this and want to work on dedicating a morning work out to people in my life.  Currently, my night owl ways and lack of belief in myself keeps my head glued to the pillow.  But would/could this change if I knew I was helping someone (physically or spiritually) important if I got up?  I like this idea.  A lot.

I like to find connections in my life and use these to better myself.  I know I will always have a hard time with letting go – hello, I have some hoarding tendencies to boot!  But acknowledging it and then working on it are two big steps!  And so is accepting this about myself!

Maybe this is a bit deep for a Saturday afternoon read but I am more than a bit intrigued by some of the ideas above.  Not to mention, it has the possibility for a major load off of my shoulders!  Oooo – a new June goal!  Happy weekend everyone!

mary friggin’ poppins… proceed with caution… whining ahead

15 May

I composed a large amount of this post on my run last night.  My anger run.  Are you familiar with such a thing?  Essentially, I had hate for everything and if anyone/thing made me mad in the previous 24 hours I was angry all over again.  This is super healthy.

But running is a damn good way of dealing with it.  Especially since I originally attempted to deal with it by eating two handfuls of Trader Joe’s deliciousness and it just didn’t work.  Pity, since eating these was a lot more fun then hauling my ass around in the heat.

they have a golden wrapper because they are so amazing and only gold is strong enough to contain them

they have a golden wrapper because they are so amazing and only gold is strong enough to contain them

Anyway, here are my list of gripes:

1.  My boobs and bum are a size bigger than they used to be… there is a whole lot of jiggling and bouncing going on and it’s embarrassing.  It makes me very self-conscious.

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2.  I’m slow as molasses right now.  And huffing and puffing just to get through a few miles.  Boo.  I knew getting back in shape would be tough and clawing my way back from a mental “injury” is hard because there is nothing physically wrong with me.  So then I just turn on the internal angry monologue…

3.  I went on a date last week and it didn’t go as well as I had hoped.  Or rather there wasn’t that “spark”.  Then I felt badly because I knew I was comparing him to a couple of other guys I’ve dated and that isn’t fair.  But still… WHERE IS HE ALREADY?!

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4.  I had some epilepsy issues last Friday.  I hate this.

I saw this yesterday and decided to embrace this philosophy

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Sorry for the language but seriously, there is nothing I can do about the above except keep pushing forward.  My boobs and bum are only going to get smaller if I keep running.  Same thing with getting back in shape and getting faster.  As far as the dudes/dating world… well, I don’t have an answer for that one.  Apparently, I am going to end up alone with 10 cats who are going to eat my face off when I die in my apt and no one knows.  Maybe I should start collecting the cats now.

yep, this is how it will start

I did call my doctor after much prodding from my dear friends.  I was hoping it would just go away on its own (denial at it’s finest).  Turns out my doctor thinks it’s more related to my migraines so this is a plus.  I do have to stay on some old meds for a few more weeks (or possibly long-term) but if it means not having dizzy spells then I will adjust.

I told you there was whining ahead!  When I got back from the run I did feel better.  Maybe not completely soul-cleansing but I was a lot less hateful, which does everybody good – including me.  And I had an epiphany about how to arrange my apt in between feeling sorry for myself so there’s that, too.

Oh and then I got mad at Mary Poppins.  Because you know, this is completely normal.  Seriously though – I snap my fingers all the time and the mess stays put!  What happened to jumping back to its rightful place?!  And what about this spoonful of sugar helping the medicine go down business?!  When I was transitioning these last two and half months, I stuffed myself with sugar and guess what?  It didn’t help!  Lies, Mary Friggin’ Poppins, LIES!

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ADDED:  This afternoon I had a meeting and it was highly entertaining.  I laughed… a lot.  It helped with my stabbiness attitude, too!

“we’re going to pinterest the sh*t out of this christmas”

29 Nov

As I mentioned, this Christmas is going to be tough.  Mom LOVED Christmas and has always done it BIG.  My friend once walked into our house, looked around and said, “it looks like Hallmark threw up in here.”  I think my mom would have been slightly offended but she adored my friend and knew he spoke out of awe/love.

I super duper love this grumpy cat

So, this Christmas season, we have been floundering a bit.  Do we stick to all of our traditions?  Do we add new ones?  To be honest, it has been a tad overwhelming.  My dad is hesitant about sticking to all of the traditions although my sister and I have bullied him into putting up the tree and maybe a few decorations.  Heid and I were on the phone and maybe she could tell I was starting to get a bit anxious and then she said this:

“We’re going to pinterest the sh*t out this Christmas”

Immediately, I laughed and felt better.  No, Christmas (or anything else for that matter) will ever be the same but it can still be good.  Special.  Wonderful, even.

Last year, I created a Christmas Bucket List of all the things I was going to do to celebrate the holiday season.  Midway through, I started to feel as though it were a to-do list and became a bit angst-y because what if I couldn’t get it all done?!  Semantics and language are important to me and while I liked the idea of creating fun things to do for the season I needed to change it up and incorporate my sister’s and my plan to reconstruct our holiday.  I give you

My “Holiday Hope To” list…

*Run a holiday race – done x3 and there will be one more next week!  Not to mention one on New Year’s day that I am really pumped for.

first holiday race of the season!

*Decorate my apt and get a tree – I can’t wait!  This will be happening tonight!  I have pink lights for it.  Maybe I will hate it but maybe it will be <3 instalove <3

*Make cinnamon ornaments – I vaguely remember my mom doing this back in the day and it’s all over pinterest.

these are so cute and they make your house smell yummo!

*Advent Calendar – a sweet friend of mine bought me an advent calendar the other day when she saw my post on facebook asking for suggestions on new Christmas traditions… it has chocolate behind each day – yay!

*Make cookies, send out Christmas cards and exchange names with the fam for stockings – these are definitely not new but are still filled with dear memories for me and are happening again this year

*Go wassailing… haha, no, I actually have no idea what this is… I won’t be doing it

*Participate in the Elf 4 Health program and Runner’s World Run Streak – both of these are going so well!  My “elf” is very kind and supportive and I feel super lucky to have been matched with her!  The run streak is a good challenge for me and is reinvigorating my love/discipline for running.

I can’t help myself – this image cracks me up!

*Ornament and Toughie gift exchange – I signed up on a blog to exchange an ornament with another blogger – this has been cool!  We will be getting our ornaments in the next week or so!  Then I signed up to participate in the Tough Chik gift exchange – love it!  Goodies in the mail I didn’t buy for myself?!  Awesome

*Other things on the docket as possibilities are jammies on Christmas eve, a movie day with the whole fam, Les Mis, a special breakfast (beyond what we usually do – cinnamon rolls are dancing through my head!), making decorations out of candy, making some Christmas presents, going to see the Zoo lights in WA…

I renamed it because these are things I *HOPE* to do but don’t have to.  If I don’t make cinnamon ornaments that’s okay.  My holiday spirit will not be dashed  by things I DIDN’T do.

Do you have any traditions you would be willing to share?  I would love to hear them!

taking a step back to heal

24 Nov
Happy Saturday folks!
Yesterday was day 2 of the RW run streak and let me tell you… it was tough getting out there.  “But Amy, it was only DAY 2!”  Yes, this is correct, however, it was also the first snow and it was chilly outside!  I was very happy with myself for getting up and going.  While I love to run, I’ve noticed this last year that I have a hard time getting motivated to do anything I love – baking, running, working – lots of things.

mother nature tried to convince me to stay inside with the first snowfall!

This brings me to the topic of healing.  I’ve thought a lot about this recently.  I read a great post on the blog “For the Glow” and it talked about healing.  I’ve been really frustrated with myself.  Why can’t I stay motivated?  Why can’t I lose weight?  Why can’t I stay on track?  Why am I not better, faster, healthier?
Well, that all stops.  Putting this pressure on myself is not helping and it’s taken me some time to figure this out.  For those of you new to this blog, last Dec my mom passed away suddenly and unexpectedly.  A month before that my boyfriend broke up with me (didn’t see that coming either) and then Jan was also chaotic.  It was a whirlwind of woe to say the least.

notice there is nothing in there about putting pressure on yourself to “return to normal”??

I’ve been frustrated that I didn’t bounce back as  quickly as I had hoped.  But I didn’t have a bout of the flu – my life has changed permanently and it takes time for the mind, body and spirit to adjust.  It’s time to cut myself some slack.  As the year anniversary approaches (not to mention the holidays – whew!) I’m realizing more and more that grief  is a process and  influences all aspects of my life.  In some ways, the changes have proven to make me a better person.  In other ways, I’m not sure what the outcome will be, it seems to be on-going.  These last few days, I’ve been mindful to take a deep breath and allow myself to accept that I am not “healed” but I am healing.  Slowly.  I’ve also realized I need to take some different steps toward this… I found a life coach who specializes in grief, which sounds pretty perfect for me!
Why am I putting this all out there?  Because sometimes I feel that healthy living blogs (and yes, I use this term loosely in reference to my own blog but you get the idea!  Especially when you see the recipe I posted below!) focus on how life is so pretty and there are no problems that eating healthy and exercising can’t fix.  While I admit this has had a tremendous POSITIVE effect on my healing, more is needed.  And this is okay.  I’m not a failure – haha, yes, that was for my own benefit!  Not to mention, I want to be open with my struggles with this because maybe it will help others.  “Depression” is a scary word and feels like I am admitting something to be ashamed of.  While I am weary about saying it, I know it’s true.  Being healthy is more than a physical state…
I hope it’s evident that I am feeling more optimistic.  I think simply removing the pressure “to be the old Amy” has taken a huge weight off my shoulders.  I also feel validated in feeling this way.  Self-acceptance is essential at any point in our lives and also seems to be a major jumping off point for me.  I remember when I first started losing weight the catalyst to my success was when I accepted my body and stopped constantly hating it.  It seems strange that once I decided my “curves” weren’t the worst thing in the world I made things change!  But self-love seems to bring me hope and helps make me motivated in my life.  I strongly recommend taking some time today to be thankful for yourself too!!
And because I’ve been pinterest-ing this weekend, I found this recipe.  I might add them to my holiday cookie exchange!
*Vanilla Oatmeal No Bake Cookies
2 c. sugar
3/4 c. butter
2/3 c. milk
1 (3.4 oz.) box instant vanilla flavor pudding mix
3 1/2 c. quick cooking oats
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

In a large pan, mix together the sugar, butter and the milk. Bring to a boil. Boil 2 minutes. Turn off the heat, add in the pudding mix, oats and vanilla. Let stand 5 minutes. Drop by tablespoon onto wax paper and let cool. Store in an airtight container.

*This recipe is from the blog  aunt peg’s recipe box
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