Tag Archives: wellness

Transitioning from 2016 to 2017

Standard

2016 was a tough year for me.

It’s probably one of the reasons why I didn’t post much in the second half of the year. I think the worst part about it all was feeling so helpless and guilty about it when I knew other people who were going through much more difficult experiences. I could go on about all of the personal reasons, professional changes and circumstances that led it to be so challenging.

But then I wouldn’t be moving on.

Instead I’d like reflect on the good things. Instead of wallowing in despair, I’d like to bask in the gratitude. I have every intention of manifesting a healthier, happier and kinder 2017.

We Lived

  • Rob and I walked away from a potentially fatal accident on February 14th. Rob was left with some physical scars. I’m still left with some mental and emotional ones – fear of driving in certain conditions and replays of the event in my mind. But we are still here. That is what matters.

I Read

  • I’ve often read that when you are unsure what to do with your life, think back to what you loved most as a child. I adored reading. I got back on it this year and it’s been my saving grace. It has not only challenged my mind, but it also helped me pass the time when all I could think are negative thoughts.
  • I set a Good Reads goal to read 26 books in 2016. I chose this number because I’ve never measured the number of books I’ve read in a year before and I tend to read slowly. When I surpassed those 26 books, I changed my goal to 30. After that, I left the number the same; but in my mind set my sights on 52 books. In the end, I read 60 books in 2016. For me, that’s a feat.
  • I was introduced to audiobooks, which is something I really want to share with you in another post. It’s done wonders for keeping my mind from thinking worst case scenarios about every driver on the road and instead helps pass the time on my new commute.

I Returned to Yoga

  • When I moved to MN back in 2003, my friend Jen and I joined a yoga class together. I loved it. Every drive back from class, I would say to her, “I just love Yoga!” I was in a state of bliss.
  • In 2006 when Rob and I bought our house, I cut expenses in a ton of places, including our yoga class.
  • When I felt ready to go back, our truly perfect yoga instructor had retired and moved abroad. Finding another class was difficult. I couldn’t find anything else like her style or that suited me. I wasn’t one to do videos at home because I liked the personal instruction.
  • Then my friend Kristi casually told me about Yoga with Adriene – free You Tube videos that she said were great for beginners. She was right. I started doing those in the morning and it helped me reconnect to my body. But also because I didn’t want to be totally lost when…
  • Jen and I went on a yoga retreat to Kripalu. This was a 40th birthday gift to ourselves. It was blissful. I never felt better. I never really posted about this experince, but I would highly recommend it to anyone. It was so nice to do gentle yoga (my choice) about three times a day, attend wellness sessions and have healthy meals prepared for me. I also got two massages and learned that the hot stone massage is the one for me! Jen and I joked that it was a rough day when we had our silent breakfast, attended a yoga class, leisurely read, enjoyed lunch, attended a meditation session and then napped before our massage appointments. 🙂 That was a true gift.

So in 2017, I want to continue to recognize all of those ways that I can be kinder to myself and continue to practice those things. Because I am grateful to be here.

It’s truly fitting that I start out the year with a cold – one that had me sleeping 12 hours overnight and then another 4 hours in the afternoon. My body is telling me to take care of myself and ease into this.

In what ways do practice self-care?

Cheers~
Carrie

Thankful Thursday

Standard

Today, I’m copying Racheal with a Thankful Thursday. I write in my Gratitude Journal everyday, but I’m needing a little thankfulness today, so I thought I’d participate publicly.

Today, I am thankful for the fact that we only got a light dusting of snow, unlike the 15 inches they got just 30 miles north of us.

I am thankful for all of the extra Sophie Jean cuddles and snuggles I am getting now that she has been groomed.

photo 2

I am thankful that we have three coffee shops within a half-mile of our house.

I am thankful that we have family in town this weekend. That we get to celebrate my brother’s belated birthday and that I get to see my nephew and gobble him right up! {Wrong holiday? 😉 }

I am thankful Rob’s parents will be in town in a few short weekends, too. We love when they visit. Plus, they need to catch up on Season 2 of House of Cards. 😉

I am thankful for my friend Ceci who signs for our South Coast Wine Club wine because we are not home during the day to do so.

I am thankful that I am still going strong {or at least going!} with the Couch to 5k and that I found these stretches to do post-run.

I am thankful that it’s supposed to be in the 60s next week!

photo

I am thankful to my friend Jen allowing me to borrow all of her Veronica Mars DVDs and waiting for me to catch up to see the movie together!

I am thankful that I got most of my pre-guest cleaning done last night, so I can focus on running tonight.

I am thankful for fresh sheets on the bed and a good night’s sleep.

Thank you, thank you, thank you from the bottom of my heart.

What are you thankful for today?

Cheers~
Carrie

5 Things from Yesterday for Friday

Standard

 

1) Yesterday, I had my first Malaysian Milky Bun at Satay 2 Go.

Milky Bun

Milky Bun

2) Yesterday, my husband bought a bottle of my favorite hard cider of all time.

photo 3(2)

 

3) Yesterday, we took in a visitor.

Lenny!

Lenny!

4) Last Night, It snowed six inches. I got stuck at the end of the driveway this morning. Happy Spring?

5) Last night, I painted the Eiffel Tower à la Van Gogh. (No, I did not deface La Tour Eiffel, I painted it on canvas.)

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

I’m still addicted to these painting classes. It’s very therapeutic and relaxing, even when I don’t think mine is as good as the original. I’m still a novice!

What’s the best thing that happened to YOU yesterday?

Cheers~
Carrie

 

Five Links for Friday

Standard

I’ve been collecting a few links that I’ve wanted to share. There’s no theme here. Or the theme may be that these posts don’t relate to each other. I enjoyed them, so I thought you might, too.

1)  Perspective: When your Body Feels Like a Burden…

2) I am already a pretty light packer, but I could travel more fashionably. I love these combos: Packing Math.

3) Lost in translation? I’ve, too, felt like the French overuse our “F” word. It’s strength and vulgarity are misunderstood. Some examples: La Bombe d’F.

4) Can you live on $35 for groceries each week? That’s what food stamps will get you. Take the $35/Week Challange.

5) How to Stop Worrying and Learn to Love Bitter Drinks – A step-by-step guide on how to enjoy bitter cocktails. Seriously. I. Had. No. Idea.

Please share one article or blog post that intrigued you this week!

Cheers~
Carrie

4 Tips for Falling Back to Sleep {Food & Fitness Link-Up}

Standard

Do you remember my post on Sleep several weeks ago?

Well, I used to be one of those of those people who could fall asleep anywhere. I could take a nap in a room full of people. I could sleep in a car, on a bus, on a plane. Maybe that’s because I was so tired all the time. I used to think it was inherited from my mom’s side of the family.

But as I age, it’s not quite as easy anymore. And if I wake up during the night, it’s often hard to fall back to sleep. Sometimes, VERY Difficult. I find myself thinking about all the things I need to get done. I thought this would change after I scaled back to one job. But that isn’t the case. I’ve just found new things to “need” to do.

But I’ve recently discovered a few tips:

How to Fall Back to Sleep During the Night:

  • Put a pen and notepad next to your bed. If you find yourself thinking of all of the things you need to remember to do, make a list. You won’t have to worry about forgetting them.
  • Gratitude. Instead of thinking what you think you need to do, think of things for which you are grateful. You can even number them, as if you are counting sheep. This one will make you feel really great when you wake up. It’s kind of like in college when I studied for a test right before bed. I retained it so much better.
  • Set your alarm, but put a piece of paper over the face or turn the clock around to hide the numbers.  This is one of my new favorites that I read in a magazine! If you wake up during the night, don’t look at the clock. Trust that your alarm will wake you when you need to be. I’ve found that when I can’t go back to sleep, I start to count the hours I’m missing and it makes me feel worse that I can’t get back to sleep! Not knowing is so much better.
  • If all else fails, get up. Do that thing that you want to get done and be productive rather than just thinking about it. Even if you end up tired the next day, at least you accomplished something.

Now it’s time…

planning

Food

Dinners:

  • Monday – I’m getting my hair done, so I’m probably going to come home and make myself some Tilapia with tomatoes. I mean, really… How could I go wrong?
  • Tuesday – English Muffin Pizzas – Yes, these have been on the menu for the last couple weeks, but they always got bumped out. Will this be the week? I hope so, because they are up first.
  • Wednesday – Zoodles with Meat Sauce. Or noodles. Depends if I can pick up some good zukes.
  • Thursday – Rob’s co-workers have a BINGO night every couple months and sometimes I join them.
  • Friday – Poker night!
  • Saturday – I have an idea where we may be taking some friends…
  • Sunday – TBD

Lunches:

  • Leftovers
  • Quick & Easy Bowls! I’ve got some leftover rice and a leftover partial can of tomatoes. This will be so easy. Open a can of black beans and I can make a usual taco salad of sorts.
  • I have fruit as well as nuts as snacks. And of course, my daily dose of dark chocolate.

Breakfasts:

  • I have a couple of options available and will make them depending on what I am in the mood/have time for each day:
    • PB Toast
    • Granola with milk

Fitness

  • It’s been six weeks! I have been able to stuff my toe into a shoe, although it doesn’t feel 100% normal. I might give walking on the treadmill a try. If that’s not an option… There are others! See below
  • Post-back surgery PT exercises until I get strong enough to move into more yoga.
  • Recumbent bike – With a broken toe, I need to stay off the treadmill for a few more weeks. Although I did do a lot of walking on the golf course. The toe isn’t well enough to fit into a real shoe yet. {I’m still wearing the boot.} But it is feeling better every day!

What is your best tip for falling asleep  in the middle of the night?

Cheers~
Carrie

I Want to Go Back to Art Class!

Standard

Do you remember when I talked about the gymnastics unit we had in grade school gym class? How I never really appreciated the fact that our public school district had {or rented?} a set of gymnastics equipment that rotated to different schools in the district throughout the year? It’s only now that I’m learning that most kids didn’t have this opportunity to try out all of the fun stuff you see during the summer Olympics. I don’t think I appreciated it as much as I should have at the time.

The same is true for art class.

Art class was hard for me. I was a girl that did pretty well in school, but mostly because I tried to learn the right answers. Art is so much more subjective! And back in those days, I thought art was a natural skill – either you were artistic or you weren’t. Because I always got Bs in art class, I just assumed I wasn’t. And it wasn’t really that fun for me.

Now I wish I could go back to those art classes.

I don’t remember much from art class, except for the fact that our art teacher, Mr. Cook, had a beard. I wish I could just think back on what I’d learned. But I really can’t remember much at all.

And now I’m loving all of these painting classes that I’ve been taking!

Last night, my friend Jen and I took another one of these painting classes that I’ve been obsessing with lately. This one was with Brushes & Brews over at the Cherokee Tavern in West St. Paul.

This painting was titled:

Two to the Moon

Our instructor was Jessica Barnd, who is a high school art teacher. And it shows. She was an excellent instructor! This photo is of the Original painting on the right and the canvas she was working on as we went along on the left:

photo 1(2)

Her teaching style suited me well. One of the things I love about these classes is that each one is so much different from the others. Not only am I painting a different picture, but I’m also learning different techniques from different instructors. I don’t always remember the techniques, but I’m always open to whatever is being taught. I love learning something new!

At the beginning, as per the usual, I had to Trust the Process:

Jessica showed us how to make “GPS points” in order to know where our moon, birds and major branches would go. I loved this strategy! When we started using black, she moved her canvas to the right and continued to use white instead so that everyone in the room could see what she was doing.

photo 2(2)

At first, as we started drawing the branches, it looked like my birds were in the sea and I was drawing seaweed! This was my first thought; but when Jessica voiced this out loud about what we might be thinking about our paintings, I laughed!

photo 1(1)

But as Jen and I know we had to Trust the Process

photo 3(2)

And our finished works:

There is more to learn in these classes than just painting. One of the most important things I’ve learned is not to be too harsh on myself. I’m new at this. I don’t have a steady hand yet. Maybe I never will. Whenever we go to these classes I hear things like:

What are we supposed to be doing?

I can’t get my X to do X!

Mine doesn’t look like that!

I used to {and sometimes still do!} say these things, too. Everyone is so critical of their own work. And when you are sitting up close to your painting, it’s really easy to critique and compare with the original. We find that when we take a step back from the painting and look at it from the distance from which most art is viewed, we get a new perspective. And while we are busy criticizing ourselves, we look over and compliment a friend or neighbor’s painting, thinking about how it looks SOOOOOOO much better. But what’s funny is that person is usually thinking the same thing!

Here is a link to a photo of our class paintings. So you can see, everyone turns out with a REAL piece of artwork, whether you are experienced or not.

And after all is said and done and I take that piece of art home, I completely forget about every little detail that was nagging me during the painting process and just relish in the fact that it is mine.

I made it.

Painting is a process – just like life, with its flaws and all.

Trust That Process.

By the way… Did you know that blue is my favorite color? Well, I actually like all of the colors of the rainbow because they make life so beautiful. But if I *had* to pick one, it would be blue, because it is so calm and serene.

What’s your favorite color and why?

In what parts of life are you unsure of the outcome, but you try to trust the process?

Cheers~
Carrie

How Much Do You Sleep? {Food & Fitness Link-Up}

Standard

I am one of those people who needs sleep. In that I don’t function well. I get crabby…

And we know that sleep is vital to our health. But why is it that I know so many people who are seemingly fit or healthy that seem to pride themselves on functioning on little sleep?

I used to be that person.

I recently read an article that teenagers should get about 10 hours of sleep per night. I most certainly didn’t get that as a teenager. I worked the maximum hours possible, allowed by law, for a kid in high school. I had something going pretty much every night of the week, whether if be working or academics. I often didn’t start my homework until late at night and usually went to bed about 11:30pm. But then I’d get up at 5:30am to start it all over again.

I had a social life, too, often staying out late because I didn’t really have a curfew. Then I’d get up early again on the weekends to attend a Forensics Tournament miles and miles away. I thought I needed to do all of these things to get into and afford college.

This wasn’t a good habit to have formed.

College was a little better. Because I knew I liked my sleep, I didn’t schedule any classes before 9:30am and I didn’t work as much the first year.

But in the summer, I often had two jobs and somehow this continued… even after college. Then it just became life for me as I mentioned here.

As part of my self-care theme this year, I’m not only trying to slow down, but also focus on getting more sleep.

And while I’m not a parent myself, I know there are plenty out there (especially those of newborns) who only wish they could get more sleep! I especially liked this couple’s attempt to do so!

But other than that, when did it become a thing of pride to thrive on little sleep?

In American society, we are all familiar with busy schedules. We go, go, go… And most of us don’t make sleep a priority. We think that because we are busy, we are being productive. But that isn’t always the case. Especially not when it comes to health.

I once read on a magazine cover, “Sitting is the New Smoking.” I didn’t read the article, but that title has stuck with me. And I think as a society, we are becoming much more aware of the importance of activity in our lifestyles.

I’m only hoping that we can one day put the same importance on sleep.

Because you can’t make up that missed sleep.

~

planning

Food

Dinners:

There aren’t many days available to cook this week, so here is what I’m thinking…

Lunches:

Breakfasts:

  • I have a couple of options available and will make them depending on what I am in the mood/have time for each day:
    • PB Toast
    • Granola with milk

Fitness

  • I didn’t do my post-back surgery PT exercises every day last week, but I did feel great on the days I did! I’m planning to continue them until I get stronger and then move right into more yoga.
  • I tried the recumbent bike last week. My doc said it was okay as long as it’s not putting any pressure on nor whacking my toe. The bike has caused my back to hurt in the past. So I started with an easy 5 minutes – barefoot. When that felt okay, I went to 10. I’m going to continue on the bike slowly increasing speed and increments of time.

Something is better than nothing!

How much sleep do you get?

How do you make sure you get enough?

Cheers~
Carrie