healthy hacks, nature

Porch Sittin’

It was a whirlwind trip to the city. A cozy AirBnB row house was my home away from home. Newly renovated to match today’s modern luxuries inside, but with the charm of the old city neighborhood outside. Street parking was required or you had to park in the alley if you got in too late. I made sure to get the street spot as I wasn’t a  fan of alleys at night.

This is evening there were fireworks scheduled for 930pm. An air show began in the afternoon but lasted to the early evening. There was a lot goign on this weekend. Roads were closed. Weather was perfect for outdoor activities. people were enjoying life outside today. The night was calm. The temps were high 70s. Not a cloud in the sky. Perfect weather for porch sittin’ in between activity.

I was motivated by a woman I saw on her stoop earlier in the day. Not sure how long she stayed out porch sittin’ but when I return home she had a friend. They were giggling, catching up on life and just hanging out: life seemed so simple in that moment. It also gave me time to pause myself and think about how I too enjoyed porch sitting with my nana and aunts in my childhood.

Off I went to grab a book to read a little while there was still daylight. I heard a few jets still passing in the distance from the air show. I heard those passing by on bicycles. I saw a group with motorized razor scooters. A jeep. A motorcycle. Some walkers. Just a couple cars. In between pages I’d pause to listen to the birds chirp. I might have swatted a few bugs too. 

As night came, I flipped the flashlight on phone for a few extra minutes of light to read the last couple pages. The quiet time was good. The environment was very welcoming. The street seemed like and intersection of hope and expectation. The street, the name, the words all crossed my path in different ways in the last 24 hours which was a weird coincidence as I sit on the porch.

Some days we go through life checking off boxes and doing what is expected of us hoping for different results. On rare occasions, we choose to explore or wander. It’s this times when growth happens. It’s not hoping for change that gets you a new result it’s changing yourself or environment that’s yeilds a result. My expectation of myself is simple. I expect to change, often. I expect to grow, as much as possible. 

My porch sittin’ was amazing today. If you haven’t been porch sittin’ in the city take a trip. Find an Airbnb not a hotel. Blend into the community. Eat where the locals eat. Shop where the locals shop. I bet it will be a trip to remember.

health, healthy hacks

Just Breathe

Such a simple statement: just breathe.

There are many times now-a-days I think about this simple statement. In the morning when my coach programs deep breathing in my warmup. It’s almost a time to put me back to sleep but it doesn’t. It settles my mind. It gets me ready for the crazy day ahead. Just simple breathing.

Then I think about the many I know near and far struggling with their breathing. Just breathe is hard for them. They could be having issues with Covid or they could be just aging or they could be dealing with an asthma flare up. Just breathe for them takes on a totally different meaning than my just breathe in the morning.

Then there is deep inhale and long exhale of breathing I do in times of stress. When the calendar is full to max capacity. When everyone needs you in different places at the same time. When life is crazy amidst a pandemic. When you need to make choices. Just breathe. It’s simple but not so simple.

On days like today I take a few minutes to breathe in and breathe out. Appreciating each breath for what it is. An opportunity. A chance to take on a new day. For me the fresh air breathing outside is much more appreciated than indoor but some days I take what I can get.

Don’t underestimate the value of breathing. It can be therapeutic. If done calmly with purpose and thought it can be a reset button of sorts. Just breathing has hidden values.

Take a walk in in the park and inhale the scents, exhale the worries of life.

Sit in your yard and listen to the birds chirp while you inhale and exhale.

Take a trip to the mountains and breathe the crisper mountain air. Exhale the toxins of the city hustle and bustle.

If you are near the the ocean, enjoy calm breathing with the mist of the sea. Exhale any negativity in your life.

Go to your special place. Close your eyes. Just breathe. Remember a loved one. Cherish memories while you breathe in and out. Just breathing slowly with purpose allows up time to enjoy the simplicity of breathing and reflection.

Just breathe. Just breathe as you wait for the big news you are anxious about. Just breathe as you stress about the days ahead. Just breathe as you tackle the the new you that’s on the horizon. Just breathe. It’s simple enough but sometimes we all need that reminder to just breathe through it all.

I’ll leave you with this clip of my morning routine today. Give simple breathing a shot for five minutes. Let me know how this 5 minutes of your day worked to your advantage.

celebrations

Knock Knock

Who’s there?

It’s Mr. Milkshake from Bruster’s ice cream.

What do you want?

I want you to come order a milkshake and enjoy it this evening?

I can’t do that, it’s not in my macros.

So what. It’s Sunday, indulge!

Are you serious?

Yes, everyone needs a spurge now and again.
………..
May I take your order?

I’d like to order a birthday cake shake please.

That will be $5.50, please drive around.

That thick creamy dreamy shake went down the hatch without hesitation. Slivers of sprinkles sucked through the straw one by one. Bright blue gobs of straight sugar fighting their way through the straw. All tangled in creamy vanilla flavor. Heaven in a cup. A heavy, heavy cup.

All that protein. All that sugar. All that fat. It was an amazing treat on this Sunday night. So glad Mr. Milkshake swindled me into coming for a visit. It was just was I needed.
Sometimes a sweet treat is well deserved. I decided today was my day to be deserving the reward. 

If you don’t have a Bruster’s near you, I hope you have a local spot to get a sweet treat.
Enjoy!

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.

nature

Seasons or Reasons

I have never really been a seasons girl. Meaning I didn’t really have a favorite season. I enjoyed summer as it meant lake days. I liked fall for sweatshirts. I liked the beauty of the snow but not a fan of the cold. Spring I like to see new flowers bloom but again none were really a favorite season.

This year, however, I seemed to look forward to fall more than usual. The pumpkin spices. The changing of colors in the trees. The warm jammies. The sweatshirts and of course the seat warmer. I even turned on my space heater for one day already. 

I’m looking forward to fall adventures. Extra blankets for covers. Snuggles with my dog on chilly mornings. Chilling runs outside. And maybe even seeing my breath in the air. The clean crisp air. The fresh air.

Do you think I’m most looking forward to these things because I’ve spent so many months cooped up? Behind a mask. Limited on activities. Confined in many ways?

For whatever the reason I’m dreaming of this fall season. My reason to seize the season. The ability grab the crisp air like a crisp fall apple. Crunch. Snack. Slurp in the flavor of the season.

Some apple cider. Some apple snacks. Some apple-flavored cocktails. Bring on fall and all its festivities. My season. My reason. My appreciation of fall in 2020.

What’s your favorite season? Your reason for the season?