challenges, fitness and nutrition, health

A Million Little Pieces

I wrote recently about being part of a challenge where I’m cleaning out the clutter in my diet. In addition, there are many other little daily requirements in this challenge that aim to improve healthy habits. Every one had points associated with it. Here are some of the little things that I had to attend to throughout this month.

-Complete at least 4 workouts a week. This included a tester workout at the beginning and end of the challenge. I workout pretty much daily so this was not a big deal to achieve. I improved my score by quite a bit from beginning to end.

-Drink 80 ounces of water per day. Only 12 ounces can be unsweetened seltzer water.

This required more effort than the workouts. Filling up insulated cups daily, cutting fruits into the water to infuse them, it all helped. It’s paying attention and planning, just like the food part. I also set up a water reminder app but I don’t think that part encouraged me much. Just a buzz saying “it’s time to drink water” was too easy to ignore. I need to look into something with different sayings.

-Stretch / do yoga for 20 minutes per week

I embrace working out but stretching is something I do wayyyy too little of. And as a “woman of a certain age” I know stretching would help me in multiple ways. I usually broke this into 2 sessions after morning home workouts.

-Follow a sleep routine every night

There were many of these to choose from – drink herbal tea, meditate, turn off your screens an hour before bed, etc. You just had to pick one and do it daily. I chose reading before bed. I generally read something pretty mindless like a magazine. This was a switch from my usual scrolling of social media. I don’t have trouble falling asleep. Staying asleep doesn’t always happen.

-Limit or eliminate alcohol

As I discussed recently, this was already a part of my life. I will admit there were a few temptations with the stressful end of school chaos as well as more celebrations than usual with a lot of friends drinking. I still just refrained.

-Monitor and log progress

Logging points every week was a task to manage. With a bunch of little checkoffs, I wasn’t always diligent daily. But, I kept up. And I still weigh myself every day. The thing I still stumble over is photos. Why do I hate before and after shots so much? I always wish I took the time to do it but still don’t.

-Work on mindfulness

We had little exercises to think about our goals and our why. I knew cleaning up my act was a big motivator.

-Participate in other goofy activities along the way that keep the mood light and community connected

In the few challenges I’ve done before these are often things I ignore. But I did a couple this time just to stay in the game. One was to bite down on a wedge of lime while doing a farmer’s carry for two minutes to practice breathing through my nose. I’m not quite sure what this taught me but I know for sure that proper breathing is something I need to give more attention to.

Health isn’t just eating or just working out. It’s a whole collection of habits, practices, and choices. There were a million little pieces to this challenge. Many of them are things I know I should be doing but I just don’t. The water and stretching were probably what I needed to work on most aside from the nutrition piece.

So, how did it all turn out? Results to follow soon.

perspective

One Stormy Night

A rumbling sound. A light flicker. I was awake. A loud thunder. More light flashes. All seemed to get quiet but I was already startled and stirred.

I lay idle. More flashes. Flickers of lights across the back windows. One side window. The other side window. Then all on the back windows lighting up like a Christmas light show.

Rumbles that shake the house. More thunder. Now I’m wide awake. The sound of rain is constant. Now I hear the clock ticking. I hear sirens in the distance. I wonder what has happened at this wee hour.

The thunder shifts to the distance but the length of rumbling thunder and loud booms within are ever so disturbing. The sound is just blah on many levels. It’s kept me awake far too long.

I try to fall asleep but the distant flickers and thunder are preventing a full restful state. Oh how I need my sleep to rejuvenate. I wonder how many others were bothered by the storm?

As an irony, the storm is not the worst I have endured in life yet it’s doing a good job keeping me awake.

Maybe life is shaking me in other ways and the storm is just how I’m relating to life’s stormy days.
Thoughts in the dark to ponder.

challenges

The Stir At Night

At night many of us can be restless when we lay our head down on the pillow for a good night’s sleep. I am not alone in this area.

Generally speaking I sleep great. However there are times that worry or stress can give me a stir at night. A stir can take on different meanings at different times due to life variables.
The stir can be defined as a jolted awakening from a dream state in which what I was thinking about happened. Nothing actually happened but my mind was playing out the scenario for good or bad.

The stir could be what’s on the to do list. The deadlines that are hard and fast and non- forgiving. Will I make it? Have you ever crammed for a school or work deadline and deprived yourself of sleep?

The stir could be every 15 minutes or so for that alarm you don’t want to miss. The very important event or meeting or plane ride. This lack of sleep may even be the actual factor for you don’t wake up in time! Who’s been guilty of staying up all night to avoid this? Who’s actually fallen back asleep and missed out because of that worry?

The stir could be worry for a loved one. A parent. A child. A friend in despair. A health scare. Financial worries. So many scenarios. So little sleep. How many nights in a row can one endure?

The stir could be your next vacation. The excitement. The ready to go but the time hasn’t arrived yet. This is similar to the start of a new job. A new place to live. Maybe even the birth of a child.

If one doesn’t get the proper rest, the days ahead are impacted: one can be irritated easily. One can make poor decisions. One can isolate themselves to protect others from their bad vibes. The rippling effect from sleep deprivation is pretty long.

For purposes of this post I’ll write I hate with a passion when my sleep is disrupted for stupid things. When my mind races on people who just don’t matter in my life. Insignificant people as these are people lurking in the distance not even in your circle. The ones who try to sabotage your happiness for their own advancement. Not even close enough to matter yet the ones that want to throw the biggest stones at you with the biggest intent to harm you. 

With 2020 in the rear view and people rising from the pandemic ashes you would think people in general would just be content and happy. Unfortunately life isn’t that way. Too many people who feel entitled. Too many miserable people who watch to snatch happiness from others.

Tonight I lost sleep. This post is dedicated solely to the one asshole that try to invade my precious mind space. My precious sleep. My privacy. Although he interrupted my sleep he didn’t prevail. For today is Sunday. A day of rest for me. A day of naps if needed. A little yoga to release the tension in my mind. My happiness is not up for sale nor up for the taking.  

I let the asshole in for a minute when I was tired. Now I’m wide awake. Buckled in for the badass ride that’s on the horizon. I love dirt roads. Bumpy roads are fun too. Add a little rain or a little sunshine I’m game for the weather changes just like I’m ready to play chess or go to battle for myself.  

We are all capable of controlling negativity that enters our life. A dark cloud lingering can be a stir in the night. For some that stir in the night spills over to the next day. Find your sunshine. Don’t let the negative people or scenarios burden you. Train your brain to see life in a positive light. It’s possible. Just shake it off when something gets in your head for that moment. That’s what I did. I said get the f$&k out.

challenges, fitness and nutrition

Approaching 100

Well I’m chasing 100 days of burpees with a plus-one-each-day goal. This is a chipper of sorts. A big mountain of 5000-plus burpees.

As noted before, I said I would provide an update. Here we are: 

I’ve made it from day 1-30 but I also got 35, 36, 38 and 41 while chipping away. I did burpees for breakfast today and bedtime burpees. That was definitely a first but may not be a last.

When I need to accumulate over 20 burpees a day I have to knock out 5-10 where I can. If I’m early for class I drop a few. If I’m stressed at the computer I drop and do five or so. I have a little hand counter that clicks each movement. This allows me to keep a running total for a day. This approach makes it a lot easier for me to find the time for the extra fitness.
What’s crazy is I’m a super busy person but there is so much time in your day that you can squeeze in a few burpees here and there. I haven’t lost interest yet but I’ll check back in here again soon.

As I enter this note, I have now added hotel burpees to my list of firsts. Many times I have said I’m going to do burpees when I travel but never do. This weekend I was in a brand new hotel and decided to go for it. Nothing else to do while I waited on friends so burpees it was. I am seeing my tolerance for number of burpees go up since I started.

Thanksgiving week called for a lot of burpees. Ha just shy of 400 ringing in 394. Holy wow! I could be mad but instead I’m thankful for burpees this year. My ability to keep moving to help offset all the extra calories I consumed. As an added bonus all these burpees have helped me improve my push endurance and quality of movement. A big bonus for me. I also did vacation burpees which is a big win for me. Gone for a week and each day made my efforts count while others slept. 

The half way mark is in the rear view. Hitting 100 days is the goal in sight. Will I make it? Stay tuned…..

partnership

Weighted Dream

I recently wrote about my weighted blanket and sleep. Was the blanket worth it? Did I like the feeling of it? Did it help me sleep?

I found a different and unexpected purpose for my blanket. Fostering growth from within: I do feel the blanket encouraged dreaming. Dreaming for me yields growth. Weighted dreams I said to myself.

When I drift into lala land my mind could still be racing from the day or the day ahead. Maybe it’s my pending to do list. Maybe it’s the challenges within my life. Maybe it’s the person I need to deal with in the morning. Maybe it’s the health of a loved one.

Whatever’s on my mind could in essence make my mind race and not allow me to reach my dream state. My dream state is a hard place to describe but it’s one where I have a million ideas form that can easily take flight with hard work and determination. Do you dream like this?

It’s the restful state in which my mind is super productive. It’s a space where all the distractions of life are set aside and my creative visions come alive. The extra weight on the blanket seemed to help me reach that deep resting spot.

Others minds may work differently than mine but sometimes adding the weight of a blanket, getting in that comfy space and just relaxing will allow you to have a million dreams. They might not all be dreams that involve action but they are dreams. Visions of what could be. What you may desire or not desire.

Funny how my weighted blanket fostered growth for me. Keep your mind open to possibilities. You may never know when opportunity knocks if you never dream of what could be.

As I wrap up this post I think of Pink. The badass singer pink and her song from The Greatest Showman. A million dreams in the dark. I can definitely relate to these lyrics. Can you?