giving, health

Feeling Good

I’m feeling good today. The best I’ve been in a while. I’m firing on all cylinders and nobody is generally up my ass. Not sure how long this peaceful state will last but I’ll take it for even five to ten minutes.

Since I was feeling good today I thought I would write a post about being thankful since Thanksgiving is approaching. 

First and foremost I am thankful for my health. My general ability to rise each day and move freely without mobility restrictions.

I am then thankful for my family and friends. Without them I wouldn’t have the support I need to carry the heavy load I do each week. Each person is placed in my life for a reason not a season.

I am thankful for opportunities. The opportunity to serve others. The opportunity to inspire and motivate those around me.

The list goes on and on. Take some time to yourself and reflect on what and who you are thankful for this holiday. Drop a note, make a call, drop by for a visit and let your circle know how valued they are. This is free but many won’t do it.

Be thankful this year for something or someone. If you’re not thankful make a donation. Somebody will benefit and be thankful for you!

healthy hacks

Same But Different

I was on a podcast kick for a while. Then, as it happens with many things, I got burnt out on it. Many of them started to get repetitive. Still, I do a lot of driving and sometimes music doesn’t cut it. If there isn’t anyone to talk to, a podcast is worth a try.

I thought I would try to freshen up my podcast listening library. I’ve been thinking a lot about mental health lately…my own mental health as well as the mental health of my friends, my students, my family, even society at large. So Gretchen Rubin’s Happier Podcast seemed worth a shot by name alone.

I don’t know about you, but my attention span is shorter these days than it used to be…or at least it feels that way. Maybe it’s covid fatigue. Who knows. So short little tips are much more useful to me than long drawn-out explanations.

The happiness tip / healthy hack she gave at the beginning of the podcast was to do something familiar in a new way. Novelty amuses the human brain. We like to do new things. So doing something we already enjoy and adding a twist can light up the happiness spots in our brain. The hosts mention doing familiar activities at different times of day or with different people (or alone.) So go on a hike in the afternoon instead of the morning. Or go to a restaurant by yourself instead of with family. Change it up.

This seems both more challenging and more necessary during the pandemic. So many of us are very closed in, even locked down, to routines and schedules. I feel the doldrums of routines at work and even at home to some extent. For me, it might be riding my bike outside in the afternoon instead of the stationary bike at the gym in the early morning. Maybe have a hot drink in the afternoon instead of just the morning. A different scent of candle of lotion? Extra walk in the evening? Breakfast for dinner? Who knows. Take a new trail. I’ve often heard that changing up our routines can keep our brains nimble. Maybe this is a related perk.

What are some things you can do that are the same but different? What happiness hacks do you use in these challenging times? Share in the comments.

celebrations

The Red Box

Today was a day to get shit done. Lots of projects on the home front. Lots of little things to just take off the to-do list. Now enter the red box.

The red box filled of vanilla creme candies. Dark chocolate covering the sweet vanilla taste. Heaven in my mouth. Now this isn’t just any small box. It’s a 1-pound box of sweetness. Delivered to me by a special lady aka my mom who knows how much I love these candies. Of course I can’t refuse her generous gift. I must eat them all. Just hopefully not in one sitting!

A bigger box than normal so I must have been on the good list but my God that’s a lot of chocolate! Now did I mention this girl really likes her chocolate during a certain monthly cycle? Yup. That’s right folks. Guilty pleasure alert. Or maybe it’s a necessity.

I sit down at my desk to do some work and realize I put the box of chocolates in the drawer to avoid temptation. Yes, I told myself one per day is the indulgence. Well that reasoning went out the door as soon as I ate one.

Because one wasn’t enough. I needed two. Or was it three? Heck, I lost count. So needless to say I had to leave my office because the temptation was too much on me. I couldn’t resist. I lacked the willpower.

I have had these chocolates since I was kid when my Nana took me to the candy house. A fond memory that I passed onto my kids. Now as a grown adult it is such a comfort food. Unfortunately, my macros don’t allow unlimited chocolate intake so I must change my surroundings immediately.

Off to mow a lawn or something to combat the excessive calorie intake. If you haven’t tasted a Phillips Candy House chocolate, they ship to you. Visit www.phillipschocolate.com to satisfy your sweet tooth.

Note: the candy is expensive, but delicious! 

friendship

A Beautiful Day for a Cup

Today was a beautiful fall day. Not too hot. Not too cold. Just the right average temperature to me.

I had to run an errand and hit up the local Starbucks to get my first holiday cup of the season. A creme brûlée in the pretty holiday cup. A definite favorite of mine.  I savored each sip. I marveled at this year’s holiday cup. I smiled. I sighed. I reflected on the little cup and how much joy it brought me. I even enjoy the little crystal bits that are sprinkled on top. They slide right through the cup opening for a sweet surprise. I snapped a few pics and sent one to a friend that is miles away but we unite each year around the holiday cup. It’s a little weird but fun to see who goes first each year. It’s also super cute to have a long connection over a holiday cup that makes us think of each other after many years. Another smile is on my face. 

It might sound a bit corny but the cup of joe hit the spot. A sweet treat. A nice way to enjoy the fall air on a Sunday with not a care in the world.

 I recently got an electronic gift card for Starbucks. It was a great surprise and motivator. Today I gifted another to see if the effect would be the same. Since Covid is infectious and a downer in communities let’s flip the switch and donate a holiday cup to a friend who may need a pick me up. Sure Starbucks doesn’t need the money but the people working there need jobs and your friend could be inspired by the gift of generosity.

Pass on a cuppa cheer this week. You will feel good knowing you shared happiness for about $5.  I will probably get another tomorrow or the next morning to see if it hits the spot the same way. Bring on the holidays.

adventure

Up, Up and Away

Today I flew on a plane for the second time since March 2020. The first time was in May for a funeral when many cities were still in shutdown mode. I thought that was an interesting experience back then and I’m sure I documented it but since I was probably numb from the loss of a loved one I didn’t observe everything I could have.

That first flight interaction was new and seemed different. Wearing a mask. Socially distancing. So many rules yet this time was even more of a drastic change. Plastic dividers in the security check line. Masks, gloves, social distancing signs everywhere. Nobody says anything to you. Nobody sits near you in the waiting area. Many restaurants and bars are boarded up in the concourse. Desolate in certain areas.

And if somebody moved off their 6-foot dot in error boy did eyebrows flare in lines. Many may not realize how expressive eyes can be. When masks are on everyone’s eyes are even more fierce. I can see sad eyes, stressed eyes, tired eyes and even angry eyes. 

I made the best of my travels. I enjoyed the extra space on the plane itself. I overly enjoyed the people watching as I usually do, but this time I seemed to really savor the experience.

It started in the parking lot when an interesting person chatted it up about parking fees. Then we entered into baggage claim where apparently somebody was returning from the tropics and pretty much left their bathing suit on (it was not visibly pleasing). Then at checkin there was a gentleman with super cool pants that he must have designed himself. A mix match of patterns that flowed nicely in such a clever way. I was jealous.

Moving on to the security check and here I focused on masks. Who was wearing what mask and what did the mask tell me about said person. It was almost a game of sorts with myself in the line. Of course I will never really know if I was right or wrong but I sure did pass time and enjoyed being curious.

Then onto the security scanner which I had to go through multiple times. I didn’t wear the right slip-on shoes so it was a lace up lace down task on repeat for this girl. At least I wasn’t the only one. Every time I had put my shoes on waiting for my bag only to find out I had to go back through and that required shoes on/off. Maybe they should say hold up wait for your bag before you put on your shoes. Then a moment of panic keeping up with my cell phone as I ran back and forth. My everything is online from the airplane ticket to the car rental to the no-touch hotel checkin. Help, I need my phone!

Then the escalator and transit system to the gate. Here I was asked for directions. Puzzling since the signs were in abundance but maybe he couldn’t read. Anyway I had a skull mask on so my travel buddy said geez you look like the least approachable person with that mask yet you have been approached twice. Pretty funny to me but maybe my eyes said I’m nice? Who knows.

At the end of my travels, I can say I had fun. A field trip of sorts. I got to see more people in one place than I have seen all year. It was a wonderful occasion. I wasn’t really excited to fly with the recent outbreak of cases but I enjoyed the experience nonetheless.

I love people. I love conversation. I love to watch how things flow. I like to see new places. I just like to explore and that’s what I’m doing. Exploring the new world through my lens and that’s why I’m writing this post.

In case you can’t get out to explore maybe this blog post will show you to do so in spirit with me. I share my lens with you. Enjoy!