healthy hacks

Backup Plans

I am a “just in case” kinda gal. Belt and suspenders, as it were (and probably a safety pin or two in my pocket for good measure). (And a carabiner clip). I like to have extras, options, backup plans. Leaving things to chance makes me skittish. I can easily spin out on worst case scenarios. I can think down too many rabbit holes. But I like to be prepared for as much as I can imagine.

Sometimes this comes up in my fitness life. I have been working, slowly but surely, up to #35 dumbbells in different movements. I wrote it in my goal book. Maybe a year ago I still had a hard time picking one #35 up. But I have been working on it, ever so slowly, over the year. When dumbbells come up in workouts, I will usually grab two sets. One I will start with, and then one that is 5 pounds lighter, just in case. Usually, if I have the lighter set, I don’t use them. They just sit there. But if I need them, I can grab them without wasting too much time. They’re my backup plan. My insurance policy.

I carry around too much stuff in my car. I bring my computer places in case I have extra time to work or write. I keep an extra set of workout clothes and shoes in my trunk in case an emergency bro sesh or walk / hike with friends breaks out. I carry emergency protein often. I have camp chairs all the time (and recently, a dear friend did actually need one and I happened to be passing by! Ta Da!)

Some succeed in life by traveling light. They will figure things out whatever happens. I admire that quality…I work on adopting that effortless approach sometimes but mostly I don’t. I usually have a backup plan, even if I never tell anyone about it. Do I waste time and energy overpreparing? Sometimes. Do I get satisfaction out of being ready, come what may? To some degree, yes.

Just a bit of life in my corner of the world.

healthy hacks, inspire

Karma and Kindness

When you are kind many things follow or fall into place. I always choose to fear less and progress forward. When I do so I seem to carry no extra weight or baggage in life.

It’s funny to think about but it’s an important rule to consider. Fear less. Focus on forward. Don’t let life’s dead weight halt your progress.

Kindness matters as well. When you explore a kindness matters motto in life good karma seems to follow. Not really sure how to articulate this other than using a key phases I have heard growing up:

You can fall in a bucket of shit but still come out smelling like roses. Is this really possible? Not physically possible but in life it is entirely possible. One’s life can be shaken to the core and disrupted yet one can still choose happy, kind, and so on. Making that choice is a conscious decision. Sometimes a daily decision.

Nevertheless the choice to be kind normally sets a tone for life. You end up around similar mindset people. You tend to live with good karma/juju. You tend to be open to new environments, people, cultures, opportunities, and so on.

Kindness and karma. Think about how both sit in your life path today. See if you need to change things up a bit to test my theory. See if life throws you sunshine and rainbows or not.

healthy hacks

Rising Rituals

Win the morning, win the day, to paraphrase author and entrepreneur Tim Ferris.

Life these days has me early to bed, early to rise.

Right now, a good morning starts the night before. I lay my clothes out for whatever the day may bring. If I am going to the gym, I pack my gym bag and work clothes and put them in my car. One less thing to worry about in the wee hours.

Coffee maker starts brewing at 4:15 am.

I start the day by preparing my coffee and lighting a candle. Something that smells good. The warm light is comforting and for some reason just adds to the quiet sense of this as my personal time and gift to myself.

Then I read for about 5-10 minutes. I just finished Obstacle is the Way and started Stillness is the Key. Then, I grab my 5 Second Journal. This journal was recently recommended to me by a friend. I jot my way through my daily schedule and morning thoughts. Probably the most helpful part is writing down the main project for my day. I am generally pretty scatterbrained and can get through a day without even touching the most important thing. Forcing myself to choose a priority helps me think ahead to getting that done. I also benefit from the hour-by-hour breakdown of the day as a bird’s eye view of what is ahead.

After reading, writing, candle, and coffee, the day may take one of two paths. I may have time for a quick errand or two…empty the dishwasher, pay a bill, or I might do some more extensive writing. If I am working out at home that day, I start my home workout.

By the time I really start moving, I feel productive. I feel relatively calm, centered, and directed. The day is going in the right direction. I blow my candle out and off I go!

My biggest challenge is staying off my phone throughout this process. Some days this is easier than others. I know I need to use my time productively and generally my phone scrolling is sort of mindless. I can also quickly lose 20 minutes and not know what happened. So I try to keep it to paper and pencil as much as possible.

My morning routine for the past few months. It wouldn’t work for everyone but it works for me. Sometimes this is the only time I have to myself all day. While I love and appreciate people, getting my mind right and having some time to just think and greet the day myself is helpful for finding my footing in this hectic and unsteady world. What do you do to start your day off right?

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.

healthy hacks

The Extra Weight

It was Amazon Prime day. I had been thinking about purchasing a weighted blanket. The price was right. I took the plunge. Was it worth it?

First, the box was heavy. It was a weighted blanket inside the package. Why wouldn’t it be? Nothing fancy from the aesthetic side but functional and purposeful….we shall see.

Night one. It’s heavy! It’s heavy on my body. Maybe a bit of a smothering feeling. Almost seemed like it would be so much extra effort to get up and go to the restroom.

Night two. I knew what to expect now. Today it was hot. Come winter that will be good but today was a warmer fall day so it didn’t have me jumping for joy.

Day three: the real question was did I sleep better? I don’t know is the answer. I don’t have an issue sleeping so it was in/out just like normal.

Day four: I was sore from my workouts. Going to bed was an extra effort. Lifting that extra weight seemed daunting but I did it. That extra weight seemed to diminish the aches or soften it a bit. Off I went to lala land.

Day five: I had to travel. A hotel was in the mix. I noted I missed my weighted blanket. It could have been the newness of it but I missed it. Obviously I’m not going to travel with my weighted blanket so I’ll have to wait a few days to get back in the comfort flow with it.

The verdict is: I’d say give it a try if you have been considering a weighted blanket. Your results may be more spectacular than mine. I could see it being a benefit if you are stressed and need that weight to calm you or if you struggle winding down it could definitely help you get settled due to the weight alone.

My package said it’s like getting a giant hug. With so much physical distancing these days maybe you need one just for that hug option.  Just another weight post for you think on.