despite (or maybe because of) the scoffers and naysayers (aka: my sisters), i have successfully completed my hefty to-do list for the month of january regarding my list of new year’s resolutions. you can see the full post here, but i’ll summarize below:
- bible in a year: on track! loving the bible project app, and totally recommend it.
- stretching after working out: i started out january with an ankle injury and no time to rest it, but modifying my workouts and stretches has kept me successful with this one.
- meal planning: stayed consistent with this.
- not wasting food: i was far from perfect on this, but i did order my groceries online as planned, and that definitely cut back big time on the wasted food. also, my freezer is full of jars of veggie stock! room for improvement next month, but also experienced an improvement compared to 2016.
- blog once per month: yup.
- practice flute 3x per week: i’ve loved being reunited with my flute! fave thing to do: put on some beatles music and play along with it. i’m in the band!
- practice french every week day: finally broke the 40% mark! i’ve been struggling with getting out of the 30s for so long, and that threshold felt reeeaaally good!
- knit something: i knit a clapotis scarf out of knit picks chroma, and although it was a boring knit, it was a perfect project to get back into the craft, and the self-striping yarn kept me interested.
- home improvement: i mudded, repaired, and sanded every wall on my main floor, plus the back stairwell that has been neglected for over a decade. huge task, but what a relief to have it finished even if my house is now covered in drywall dust.
- woodworking: this was by far the most intimidating item on my list! it had been too long since i’d built anything, i couldn’t make a decision, and i was honestly just intimidated by the whole process. odd, considering how comfortable i used to be in a woodshop. time does strange things. anyway, i eventually settled on an easy project from anawhite.com to get me back into “it”, and i had a lot of fun! the smell of sawdust will always feel like home to me.
and now it starts all over again! choosing projects for february and finding time to complete them. i’m definitely enjoying the feeling of productivity that accompanied january, and am looking forward to another big list at the end of this short month.
how are you guys doing with your new year’s resolutions?
i’m a big fan of this quote by the father of medicine, and have been convicted by it for a long time. for the last 4 years i’ve been testing this theory, and recently have been seeing some almost-miraculous results.
for the last 2 years, i had rejected my friend trina’s offer to try kombucha. i was down to manageable levels of pain, and my need to call in sick to various activities was at a minimum. besides the fact that i couldn’t remember or say the name (koombaya? komboochoo?), it looked disgusting, and i was not going to risk it sending me back to my former levels of chronic pain.
for those of you who don’t know my backstory or what i’ve gone through for the last 4 years, here’s the basic summary:
i took antibiotics of increasing potency almost non-stop for about 6 months to fight your standard UTI. the antibiotics stripped away my ability to digest anything, and i’ve since been on a journey involving doctors, specialists, many days in bed praying for the pain to pass, many events/appointmets bailed upon. having been burned by prescriptions in the past, i decided to decline the lifelong pain management prescription offered, and attempt to find my own way to just… deal.
as i said, after about 2 years of playing with diet, i’d reached a comfortable place that was neither ideal nor crippling: a sort of compromising balance. i became dissatisfied with this compromise after my belly took me down this summer when i really needed it to be non-participatory. a series of following disappointing setbacks forced me to rethink the solution that i’d thought i’d found. so i gave trina’s crazy hippie drink a try.
at first i had to choke it down, but after about a week, i started to aquire a taste for this strong beverage. within 2 weeks, i actually started to like the kombucha! even better than my tastebuds accepting this strange new drink, were the results that i was feeling in my belly. it’s been about 6 weeks of drinking one cup each morning, and i haven’t spent one single day in the fetal position in my bed.
i’m not functioning at 100%, but for the first time since beginning this journey, i am starting to feel a glimmer of hope.
anyone with dietary restrictions will understand how big that little word can be: HOPE. the idea that i can travel without reading food lables via google translator. the crazy idea that i won’t be hangry in social settings because i forgot to bring food with me. being able to share a meal with friends without having to “be special”. to not fear food will be such freedom! even just writing that paragraph makes me so thankful for the leaps in health that i’ve experienced since drinking my daily kombucha.
here are a few links for the how-to. i won’t bother writing out my technique because there’s no need to make the internet redundant. if you’re local and you want to try making your own though, i’d be happy to donate a scoby and help in any way you need. i don’t think that kombucha is the cure of the ages or anything, but if you’ve been struggling with gut health then you should skip the skepticism and give it a shot! i’m so glad that i finally did!
tools i use:
- 1L mason jars
- fabric scraps to replace lids
- nylon mesh strainer
- korken bottles from ikea
- black tea
links that have helped me:
i’d love to hear if anyone else has had great success with kombucha, or advice, or flavouring combinations that win. happy fermenting!
i have literally been obsessing over what my resolution will be for the new year. i have a healthy post-it note board of options, plus a brain-full that haven’t made it to paper.
normally i wouldn’t agonize over such a decision, because, who does? it’s your standard new year’s resolve to try to be better for maybe a month or two. however!! i actually completed my NYR for 2016! the internet tells me that 92% of the people who make resolutions, don’t keep them. so, i’m celebrating this!
in light of the fact that NYR success is possible, the decision becomes more significant. as a non-decision-maker, this leads to the abnormal “agonizing” mentioned in the previous paragraph. there’s just so much room for improvement!
my 2016 resolution was to basically become an adult. more specifically, to do dishes, sweep the floors, and clean the bathroom before bed each night. i know some would cringe at the fact that i wasn’t already there, but we’re all programmed differently! for me, this was an area of self-improvement that i knew i needed to make. it’s been so great to wake up to a house that’s ready for me, instead of being presented with a “to do” list each morning.
as for the daunting post-it note list, i want to tackle it all. i know that it’s too much to focus on, but instead of making cuts to ensure success, i’m going forward with a plan. you may not care to read it, but part of the commitment process involves “telling others”, so here i go!
- bible in a year: daily, and with a friend for accountability (already coordinated).
- blog: basically just take the mental blogs that i write all the time, and actually put them onto the site. aim for once/month, but i’m not going to make up content if i have nothing to say.
- don’t waste food/ meal planning: i’m already a pretty decent meal planner, it’s the “going shopping for the planned meals” part that i have a hard time with. i’ll often grab containers of fruit at costco because i’m already there, but i really only needed 3 apples, not the giganto bag. not sure if that makes any sense to you, but trust me- it translates into food going into the compost bin. action plan: shop for groceries online and go pick them up. make something out of the food about to spoil (like apple crisp!), or don’t buy it at all.
- woodworking: fun fact- i used to be a carpenter. my plan to get back into my shop is pretty simple: schedule one small project each month. i have a pinterest board of things that i want to make, and i feel like setting myself a 2017 goal is just the kick that i need. one of the warmer months will definitely be a “clean out the garage” month if i’m to have any success though!
- music: leave my flute out of its case, and practice 3 times each week. i tell my kids to practice their instruments daily, and i feel like this is something that i can set an example in. also, i plan to buy myself a piccolo at the end of 2017 if i have been successful in this resolution.
- stretch: i already have pretty good habits for waking up and doing daily cardio, and my gym buddy and i are lifting weights thrice a week. so i feel like stretching NEEDS to be added to this schedule if i’m going to be able to stay in it. action plan: add 10 minutes of stretching to each morning workout.
- french: i’ve always wanted to be fluent enough to speak to my french half of the family. i’ve been doing duolingo for a few years now, but i need to make it more of a commitment. action plan: duolingo every week day, 50xp. also, when costco gets the french smart books back in stock, i’m going to buy and work through them. goal: to be able to communicate with our host family the next time our youth group does a missions trip to quebec.
- knit/crochet: i go through phases on this one, and i’m looking to be more consistent. the plan is pretty similar to the woodworking one: pick a project for each month and do it. part of the goal with this one is to be off of my phone when watching a tv show with derek, and to stave off carpal tunnel syndrome.
- home improvement: again, one project per month. some of it will be DIY, and some of it hired out. if you’ve ever been in our home, you’ve seen plenty of half-projects. walls that are drywalled and mudded, but not primed and painted. my goal is to complete our projects.
so there you go. basically broken down into manageable time frames and more set-up for success. the last thing that i have to do is pick out the monthly projects and schedule them, but i have lists and pin boards already made, so it’s just a matter of picking and choosing. the sticky note wall that i just wrote on, will be at the top of the home improvement list :)
what do you think? am i taking on too much and setting myself up for failure? (if someone says “yes” to that last question, you’re basically locking me into success because i excel at being stubbornly defiant!). i absolutely love that i completed my 2016 NYR, and am looking forward to a year of seeing my goals accomplished, and wistful regrets disappearing.
anyone else in the 8% club with me?
proactive about forming traditions, or not; we all have them. i’m the type of person who despises routine, but cherishes the traditions that our little family has organically formed.
on christmas eve, we squish into the living room, and have a sleepover. there is always one gift opened, and that gift in itself is a tradition: footy pyjamas, and a toy made by me. we sleep late the next morning, and slowly get through breakfast, and reading the christmas story from the bible.
my kids are growing up, and so am i. they no longer “play” with the toys that i make them, and i no longer have the time to make weekly toys. so this year, i really struggled with what to make them for their christmas eve gifts. i didn’t want to break with tradition, but i also didn’t want to waste time and resources.
i brainstormed and consulted with friends and family, and came up with handmade ornaments. and now i kind of wish that i’d had the idea many years ago. the ornaments summarize the year that is coming to a close. in doing this, the kids can have a chronological record of their childhoods. practically, they can start a collection for their own trees in their own homes- days which are too rapidly approaching.
elliot has been into pokemon for years, but this year he was pretty focused on the release of a new game, and counted down the days for at least ⅓ of the year. given his history with pokemon (it was really the first “thing” he was into), i thought it fitting that his first ornament be a pokeball.
anne’s been in ballet for almost 4 years now, but this year she made the decision to focus on it more seriously. she doubled-up her lessons, and began daily practice at home. she’s even been teaching me!
tomorrow night we’ll continue our tradition of pyjamas, handmade “toy”, and a sleepover. i’m looking forward to seeing the reactions of my not so midgety-midgets when they see the new twist on an old tradition.
merry christmas to you all! thanks for reading!
happy new year! i’m finally ready to share with you the apps & tools that help me to invest in my physical health. stick around, non-iFriends! there’s stuff for you here too :)
i really need to start out by acknowledging the fact that i am so incredibly flawed and aware of it — this series on new year’s resolutions is not coming from a place of “having achieved”, but from a place of recognizing that most of us are in the same situation of just wanting to do better. if i weren’t using diet to control personal pain levels, i’d still be the lady who eats 3 buttertarts for breakfast!
i’d also like to address the “love yourself” body image movement that’s sweeping the internet. i completely agree with being satisfied with the body that you have been given. i completely DON’T agree that “loving yourself” means neglecting your health. do you see the difference? loving something means caring for it, not giving it whatever it wants. you do what is best for those that you love, and if you “love yourself”, then you should do what is best for yourself. you get one body for your whole complete entire life!
there are many options on the app store for water-drinking reminders, but they’re all basically timers. your phone comes with a timer (even if you don’t have a smart phone, i’m sure you have a timer!) get yourself a great water bottle, and set your timer for one hour. when the reminder sounds, drink your water, refill your bottle, and restart the timer. if the taste of water is your hang up, then infuse your water with fruit, or do what i like to do when i need variety: throw in a bag of fruit tea. also, take your water with you wherever you go. these are my current favourite water bottles because they fit in a purse, are made of glass, and are so wonderfully colourful. (local tip: they’re $5 cheaper at Sail)
i might actually consider myself gifted in this area of life. for all of my preamble up top about “not having yet achieved”– in this regard, i am boss. where i fail in the sleep category, is in the waking up part. when i’m trying to be responsible, i use the basalt wakeup alarm clock. i may be the only person i know who just can’t get up in the morning, but this alarm clock alerts when i’m in a lighter sleep cycle. it’s a bit helpful, or maybe it’s all in my head. i’ve heard tales of people who can wake up to an average alarm clock, but i’m not convinced that those people actually exist.
anyway, sleep more. my trick: get way super-comfortable in bed. make your limbs relax, slow your breathing, and count each breath backwards from 100. do not give up! when you get all the way back to zero, start again. i tell myself that i won’t give up until i’ve tried it for 400 seconds, which is not too much time to invest in trying to fall asleep. i’ve only made it to zero twice in my life, and never ever through the second hundred. i use this trick to fall asleep at night, to force myself to nap, or to stay sleeping in when i’m really not wanting to get up yet in the morning. i’m pretty curious for someone else to try it and let me know if it works for them, or if i just excel at sleep.
work out daily.
actually every day! we had years of gym memberships before letting it go over the summer, and not renewing again this fall. i thought that i wouldn’t be able to handle life without all of those machines, but i’m actually really loving home workouts!
pinterest is making a double-appearance in this series, but google or any other search engine works well also. just search for equipment-free 20 minute workouts, and you’ll find tons!
the big hurdle with working out daily is not gym memberships, equipment, fancy fitbit gadgets, or lack of information online. the biggest problem to overcome to meet your goal of working out, is believing the lie that you don’t have time. how is it that wasting 20 minutes on facebook is so effortless, but taking 20 whole minutes to exercise is a gigantic effort?
the reason that i say “every day”, is because skipping a day is enough to break a habit. it doesn’t have to be a HIIT workout each day, but you could go for a walk with your husband or dog if you want a break or need variety.
i know i’m not the only girl who has a pinterest board full of workouts that never get done. here is the app that i use to make sure that they get done:
paper 53 is a drawing/journal app. i use it to upload my pinterest saves, and make a journal of workouts. i have one journal for pieces in progress workouts (which i love), and an actual “fitness journal” with before pics, motivational pins, logs of different workouts. why do i bother with putting the workouts into another app? because paper 53 allows me to organize the workouts and to check things off as i complete them. for example:
i love that i can quickly check items off as i accomplish them, then erase it all again for the next workout. i can also add notes to existing workouts, as seen above with “add chin ups & jumping jacks”. also, please note how EASY the last example is! NINE full minutes of rest incorporated in this level one 30 minute workout. you can do it! (find this workout and the next two levels here).
if you cringe at the idea of doing before pictures, consider doing before measurements. i’ll say over and over that being healthy isn’t about how you look, but that’s not what the pics or measurements are for. nobody likes to work without seeing results. having measurements or pics allows you to see that your daily efforts are making a difference. also, regarding taking before pics: obviously you don’t want anyone to see them! you pass your phone to your uncle to show him pictures of your kids, and he scrolls a little too far…. awkward. *chirp* *chirp*. paper 53 lets you load your pictures into your journal, and then you can delete them off of your phone. want to see my before pictures?
if i want to see them, i open my journal, open the page, and erase the doodling covering the pic. no embarrassing accidentally showing anyone my befores.
done! i hope that the information on these pages is helpful to you! again, let me know if there are any great apps that you use to keep you accountable to your health- i’d love to hear about them.
wishing all of you a 2016 that you’re proud to have used wisely! thanks for reading!
today i’d like to focus on mental health, because i really firmly believe that brains need to be worked out if you want to depend on them for any length of time. i plan to use my brain for many years to come, so here are some of my favourite ways to pursue that goal.