April 16, 2018

Oatmeal for Days

I'm a creature of habit. 
If I have a routine or something I love, I repeat it for a long time. My roommates would tire of hearing the same music droning from my room and my children have complained about visiting the same treasured bookstore. Thankfully I have friends and a husband that push me to try new things! But recently, for my health challenge, I decided to go with what I do best ~ familiar and repetitive.

I read an article listing the best thermionic (fat-burning) foods your body can consume and it listed: oatmeal, yams, sweet potatoes, multi-grain cereals, whole-grain bread & pasta, brown rice, broccoli, spinach, salad greens, asparagus, grapefruit, oranges, apples, blueberries, pears, cantaloupes, chili peppers, paprika and caffeine. I decided to start with breakfast and simply exchange what I had been eating for oatmeal. I've had oatmeal with blueberries (no sweetener) everyday and I'm loving it! I sprinkle a little cinnamon and a teaspoon of flax-seed in to help the flavor and maximize the results. It's been really satisfying and keeps the hunger at bay for longer. HighCarbHannah once explained that oats like street-sweepers for our body pipes. I've always been a fan of oatmeal, so this hasn't been hard to incorporate. I know this level of repetition is not for everyone, but it works for me! Such a simple first step.

Easy Exercise
I've also been walking daily. I've mentioned this before, but I find it so much easier to walk everyday when I don't require myself to go anywhere. Sometimes I walk around the neighborhood and sometimes I just walk inside my house. I try to make it fun. Either I dance-walk with my favorite songs, or I walk while listening to a podcast or audio book. Books and music are my passion, so it makes the yucky exercise part seem less daunting (the yucky exercise part is growing on me too). Another exercise I love is yoga ~ not super hard yoga, just basic stretching. Yoga with Adriene on YouTube is my favorite because she's quirky and chill. She makes you feel amazing just for showing up! After my post a few days ago, I got more recommendations from friends about other exercise channels I should try. I'm going to check them out and let you know what I think!

What easy tips have you found helpful for a healthy, happy life?

April 10, 2018

New Beginnings

New Beginnings I'm at a new phase in life and feel a little lost. My kids are leaving the nest and I suddenly have a lot more time on my hands. I look ahead and wonder what to do with my life. I have causes I want to support, and pursuits I've never pursued at the level I want to. There's so many things I want to do. I already have a part-time job I love, working as a receptionist at my son's high school, but I definitely want to focus on writing, creating, personal growth and physical health with the rest of my time.

Writing has always been a passion of mine, but in the past I've worked on it in waves instead of keeping a consistent practice. I've always dreamed of writing books and I want to take that dream seriously. I have a need to express myself.  So my focus will be to simply practice the art of writing/documenting, send off articles and build my writing skills.

Creating art comes in at a close second to writing. I love so many forms of creativity: painting, hand-lettering, singing, doodling, drawing, acting, coloring, knitting, dancing, stamping, chalking, playing, embroidering, and on. Practicing this one comes easy for me, I find it easier to do everyday because it's easier to start and stop. I want to focus on drawing and doodling; I'd also like to continue learning ukulele.

Personal growth is an obsession with me. My personality leans towards analyzing, so it easily transfers to my own behavior. I enjoy the puzzle of learning how to live better, react better, work better and any other kind of improvement. I feel a bit smothered if I don't have something to work towards. I want to continue pursuing that, sharing the tips and resources I find helpful.

Health is a hard one for me. Of course I want to be healthy, but this has always eluded me. I've held the wrong belief that I'm not a "health nut". Somewhere I started believing that if you were a healthy person then you weren't fun. I know that's totally ridiculous, but deep down I believed it and I've worked to change that wrong belief. Over the past year I've been alternating between eating vegetarian and/or vegan and I feel better. But I think I've been a bit of a junk-food vegan and I'm trying to eat more whole foods now. I'd also love to be in better shape, so I need to incorporate an exercise program that I can make a habit of my daily routine.

Sharing I'll be sharing my journey here and on social media to have accountablity. Sharing online helps me stay focused.

How do you handle transition? Have you ever wondered what to be when you grew up ~ even at middle age?

March 16, 2018

I Want . . .

I want a simple cottage in the woods.
I want to hear singing birds and rustling leaves.
I want to snuggle on a squishy couch with my laptop.
I want long walks through tree-lined paths.
I want my family around me laughing.
I want to travel with my husband to new places.
I want to explore ancient buildings.
I want bravery to speak my mind.
I want to stare at the stars in awe of what I still don't know.
I want to doodle an entire sketchbook.
I want unlimited time to browse through art museums.
I want my words to lift lonely hearts.
I want to paint freely with abandon.
I want to soak up every moment while I'm in it.
I want to love well and live long.

March 12, 2018

Something to Say

You have something to say.
It may not be profound
Or extremely life-changing,
But you have wisdom to give.

Small, explosive wisdom
That comes from living life
In the honest trenches,
Deeply aware of your failures.

You learn lessons in the pit
About what connects you
To the heart of others and
What pushes you away.

You learn your weak-
Spots and blind-spots.
You see your mistakes
And bravely own them.

You find your hidden power
In unexpected moments.
Emerging as a leader,
Creator, or problem-solver.

You awaken from growth
On the side of experience
With tender wisdom to share ~
Something important to say.

January 16, 2018

Introverts Get Happy on Less

When our kids were little, my husband always wanted to have people over but I rarely did. I felt out of energy at the end of the day and having people over (as much as I loved said people) sounded horrible. I wanted quiet and solitude with a side of cuddling. I felt guilty and selfish for not wanting to be social. Often I would give in, but feel resentful for it. I hated telling my husband and kids that I wasn't up for company because I felt like the bad guy, the party pooper. Being extroverts, they couldn't understand me.

But now I realize why. 

Reading through The Introvert Advantage, I learned some key pieces of the puzzle. According to Laney, 

Introverts actually get energy or dopamine hits much faster than extroverts. 

That's why it doesn't take a whole lot for an introvert to be happy. Sitting under a quilt with a good book is dreamily stimulating for me. While the same "hit" would take my husband multiple outings and/or multiple people interactions each day.

I used to feel frustrated that my husband couldn't just enjoy being home instead of going out. But now I realize that staying still too long feels suffocating for him, just as going out too much or interacting often is draining for me.

Since introverts reach their "hit" faster, they can become overstimulated easily. 

This is why at parties they seem to wilt, sometimes with glazed-over eyes. They often seek solace in less crowded areas, like the porch or the bathroom. You'll often see them sitting in a corner away from the crowd.

I've learned to conserve my energy if I have multiple interactions coming up. 

I give myself quiet and solitude in the hours or days ahead, immerse myself in a book or intimate discussion with a close friend. These things fill me up and get me ready to dispense energy out. I'm much less judgmental about my family's need to go and do things these days, but I'm also more vocal about when I need to quit.

Sometimes keeping the balance is simply going home for an hour to sit in the calm and allow the over-stimulation to settle down. Sometimes it's refusing an invitation to go out because I've already exerted too much for the weekend. Sometimes it's taking two cars so I can leave early.

I used to feel weak because I was happy with small things. I love repetition and all things familiar. It made me feel boring next to my adventure-seeking family. But now I see the strength and beauty all of us bring to the table. My extroverted family convinces me to try things I would never try on my own and they keep me from being a recluse. I help them rest and notice the simple pleasures in everyday life.

Both perspectives are needed.

Instead of feeling trapped by being an introvert, I now understand my strengths. I go deep. I'm easily entertained. I enjoy life. 

Introverts get happy on less and that's a good thing!