Therapy Homework

I have been quite conscious of the fact that relationships take work for a long time and I really started being more thoughtful in graduate school when I noticed many of my relationships suffering. I lived far from home and really did not give them the attention and care they deserved. My initial thought was to just research and do better, which helped. Not enough though.

In seeking help lately, I was given the homework to be more assertive and express how I am feeling. Additionally, I need to keep others accountable for what they say or promise to me. It is really breaking an unfortunate habit I have created. And as I write this I am thinking about the fact that I am the gal who is constantly working on herself.

I am not perfect and I never can be, but I want to be a kind and thoughtful person. This homework though, while I feel it is thoughtful… I feel so unkind at times. I am struggling with this part of the homework. I know it is necessary to tell people what you need, however, I feel conflicted with relying too much on others. It takes a lot of reminding myself that sometimes the kind thing to do is to be blunt and clear.

At this moment I feel like I have put too much faith in what I was told, which is why I need to work on keeping them accountable. Everything I am being promised right now for both scenarios of how things could work out, they need to be followed. I can not let anything slide anymore. I am what is at stake here.

I would love to hear the kinds of homework you or a professional have given you to work on. Or maybe your working on the same thing as me, how do you feel you are doing? Right now, I would give myself a B-. I just need to pause to think more before saying, no I do not need anything.

Everything in Life is Falling into Place

It feels like everything is falling into place. One of the great things about life is how it always seems to work out, especially when you put the effort into going with the flow. Focusing on what was really important to me seemed to help manifest changes that are making me really happy.

My health seems to be in a better place. I am feeling better mentally and physically. My cycle is not only back, but becoming regular. My face is clearing up. Both signs that my hormones are balancing out. I also have not turned to food for comfort in times of stress. I love checking out all the farmer’s markets in the area with their beautiful produce. We are not bringing home so much junk food. I am enjoying short walks and yoga. I feel like I am returning finally to being active.

Being active is just one way my life is feeling fulfilled right now. I started an incredible job a month ago where I feel valued, working with an amazing team and love what I am going. The opportunities for growth these job offered has already led to a promotion! I am glad I am writing a blog about this because the next time life feels uncertain I have a reminder that life works out when you put good efforts into obtaining what you want.

My partner had faith in me and was so supportive of me this past year. I am so grateful for our relationship. We have been working to spend regular quality time (my love language) together and still have the feeling that waking up next to each other is the best feeling.

Travels – Atlanta

Recently, we traveled to Atlanta to meet the newest member of our family, our nephew. It was a great trip. We really miss this little person we just met and hung out with for only a few days. ❤ He loves to be sung to, found ice shaken in a cup to be the funniest thing in the world, and is growing way too fast. We are in love and have to get back to Atlanta ASAP! So glad we were able to make the trip and focused on getting to know the little one. Here is the break down of this trip.

Fitness

Walking and a little yoga or stretching was mainly the only exercise during this trip. Our nephew loved to just be carried around in a upright position, but you had to keep moving! I walked hundreds of circles around the varies levels of my in-laws home just to keep him smiling. Additionally, we took a short walk as a family, I took a morning walk one day (the beautiful flowers above I spotted everywhere that morning), I stretched before bed each day and yoga one morning. The trip was an active rest break from my typical workouts.

Activities

With our nephew being so young and hating being in the car, we primarily hung out at the house or did things close to the house. We arrived in the morning on the first day. We ate lunch at the house, went for a short walk, played with some toys, picked up take-away from an Asian fusion restaurant and then passed out early from waking up at 3 AM to catch a flight.

Day two, I went for a hour long morning walk and returned to enjoy breakfast with the family. Until lunch we mainly just chatted and played with baby in between each of us getting ready for the day. We went out for lunch and to Target, then returned home to chat and play more until baby’s bedtime. We ended the day playing Wits and Wagers and chatting before getting some sleep.

Day three was pretty chill as well. I did about 20-30 min of yoga in the morning, ate breakfast with the family, helped my sister-in-law keep baby distracted in the car while we picked up groceries, ate lunch, played and chatted with baby, ate dinner, and played card games before bed.

Last day, I only had enough time to enjoy breakfast with everyone before heading to the airport. I took the MARTA, which offered me some beautiful views of Atlanta on the way to the airport. This trip is a good example of different priorities than most vacations. I was there to make memories with our newest member for our family and loved every bit it! He has already grown so much since he was born and we cannot wait to see him again this Fall during a family wedding in New Orleans.

Food

Thankfully, my sister-in-law is a nurse and keeps things pretty healthy. Breakfast was hard boiled or scrambled eggs with avocado/cheese and salsa. Lunches at home were simple salads and our lunch out on day two was at Grub Burger Bar where I got the Hippie Chickpea burger. It tasted like falafel with all the Mediterranean sides on top, YUM!And yes, I also got a combination of onion rings and sweet potato waffles fries because it was my treat while I watched others down milkshakes. ;^P

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Dinner was homemade from scratch bolognese over spaghetti and buffalo chicken and black bean nachos loaded with more veg than you would expect (corn, olives, greens, etc.). Day one, we picked up Doc Cheys, where I chose a sesame noodle special they were having at the time. It was very delicious and I was able to get it with tofu as my protein.

We did not really eat dessert or snack while we were there, since the meals were so filling and we were busy with getting to know our nephew. I felt like the chill environment and focus on creating memories as a family kept me from doing the typical vacationing with family eating… a combination between loss of appetite, over indulging too much and eating when you are not hungry because they are relentlessly offering you food no matter how much you say no. Any one else have this problem?

Blog-iversary!

I have been writing this blog for a whole year. Sharing my life, product reviews and experiences openly through this venue has felt influential. I appreciate all the likes, comments and support from those who have read my blog. Writing has been a great weekly practice for me and I feel as though I have learned a lot about myself in the process. In addition, this means its my birthday again and I am excited to share with you how I celebrated.

What I have learned…

I really thought of myself for a long time as a weak writer and story teller. I had this assumption that because I had done poorly in a subject (in my case English grammar and literature) when I was in school that I could never write well. I feel that I can communicate my points and keep things concise.

I also thought I was not interesting enough. I do not live a very dramatic life nor am I a thrill seeker, but it seems like that is not what people are looking for. When I look at who I follow on social media and blogs, I realize I am looking to see how other people live to become inspired and feel secure in the actions and feelings I challenge myself on. I get the sense that others are like me in ways I was once made to feel was uncool. Learning from others and sharing myself has made me more confident with my intelligence, awkwardness and capabilities.

I do not let the haters in. I had a few not so nice comments through this blog and Instagram. I wondered how they would make me feel before I began this journey. I really did not think of the negative comments as something about me though. I feel they are more about the pain that person may be going through. Although, I wish they would find a different way to express their pain, I really hope things become better for them. I want a lovely life not just for me, but for everyone.

What I did for my birthday, affordable and balanced

I started this blog on my 30th birthday and tomorrow is my 31st year. I am someone who prefers a low key celebration with close family and friends, such as a BBQ that is focused on just bringing those I cherish together. I like some adventure, while I enjoy the things I love most (eating, moving and laughing).

This weekend my partner came to visit and yesterday, we ate like the French. A delicate pastry for breakfast, a steamed mandoo as a satiating lunch, a shared slice of Bavarian raspberry torte for our sweet afternoon treat and a healthy, hearty dinner of falafel beet hummus salad with a bratwurst. We focused on eating the delicious things that we would miss in this town.

As for activities, we explored a couple neighborhoods and worked on designing a computer for me, since the computer I have been using will be returned to the museum on my last day of work. My partner is a computer and electrical engineer, so he this is something he loves being able to show me how to do, especially because it can be a much more affordable computer. The first computer he built for himself lasted from 2009 until just a week ago… thats 8 YEARS! It cost as much as the last machine I purchased from HP, which only lasted 3 years…

As for tomorrow, my actual birthday. I am going to wake up and have a slice of cake for breakfast. Yep, I purchased a special slice of cake from one of my favorite places just to eat for breakfast on my birthday. It was one of the things I really wanted for my birthday and it only cost me $5. I will Instagram this beautiful slice for you. 🙂

Thank you for reading my posts each week and look forward to more on the way! I am looking forward to what this next year brings 🙂

Relationships Take Work

Maintaining healthy relationships is important to having a healthy life. Now, I am not saying all my relationships are perfect. I have relationships that are in complete shambles, but I try to focus on maintaining a loving, supportive connection with my family and friends.

For example, my relationship with my father is not good. We currently do not talk. This relationship has brought me great stress and at times depression. I really wanted to move past the turbulent and abusive years of my childhood. However, I have come to realize I worked hard on that relationship for years and feel that he chose to not do the same. His actions and decisions hurt me and made me feel unloved for so long.

I made the choice to a few years ago to stop putting so much energy into one relationship that after decades was only progressing into a weaker state. It was a burden on my other relationships and myself. To be honest, it still has negative impacts, but in a diminutive way. I no longer feel drained of everything I have to be able to provide other people with love.

I appreciate those who somehow stuck through all my drama with this and I became aware of how much a relationship can influence your daily life in so many ways. Healthy relationships are critical to a happy life. Maintaining these take work. I am a firm believer that you get what you put into something. I can not expect for people to keep in touch with me if I just sit there. Is it easy to connect with everyone, no.

I use to think Facebook and other social media was the best way, but who is to say that a post will be seen by everyone in your networks on such platforms. I also stopped really using Facebook years ago. I want to call or video chat with people more if I can not meet with them in person. I also want to try to figure out how best to communicate with people, maybe decipher their love language so I can speak theirs.

The thing is, if you do nothing there is no relationship. So all relationships take some work. Then to keep some relationships that are important to you healthy you may need to do things that you do feel are your strong suit to maintain them. For example, I feel I am terrible at giving physical gifts and showing my appreciation for the physical gifts I am given. Stuff is just not on the top of my list for what is most important to me.

By list I mean, if the house caught on fire what would I take with me. My loved ones and the memories with them are so much more valuable to me, but who is to say that for someone else it would not be their grandmother’s handmade tablecloth or husband’s leather jacket that they wear to feel connected to them when they are away or after they have passed.

To get back on track, I see that some of the people need my appreciation in ways that I feel are part of my weaknesses. I am working to improve that though because I care about them and want to show that. This is the work I am talking about. It may not seem easy to me, but completely worth it.

How do you work to maintain relationships?

 

Lesson Learned: Spring Slim Down Challenges Do Not Support Me

I have debated a post like this because I do not like to focus on appearance or size. Why? It causes me to have pretty negative thoughts, but slimming down is an important part for many folks to get healthy. I like to promote doing what makes you physically and mentally feel good. When I feel good, I like the way I look. So for me its all about feeling good. Getting to that state happens when I take care of and support myself.

Knowing what does not serve me

April typically kicks off all the challenges for Summer and media ploys toward looking your best in your swimwear. I loved participating in these until I made the connection that the language used by these challenges had me being unfairly negative and harsh toward myself when I did not meet “my goal”. A typically an unrealistic goal which was generated by the expressions from the challengers. I believe for many they can be a great way to kick start getting healthy, but I question how some of these events may be designed.

The wording specifically could be used to market products to you, while hindering you feeling good about the progress you have made. This is what I noticed in myself. I wanted all the stuff they were selling and the body they said I could have if I follow everything they instructed me to do, but then the statements made caused me to feel like the amount of progress made was not enough. So no more Summer body challenges for me. Lesson learned.

Coming off my bulk

If you do not know, bulking means that you eat more calories than you need to maintain your weight so that you gain weight. This weight gain can be in the form of both muscle and fat. I was bulking from November to February. The time of the year you typically eat more any way due to all the winter comfort foods and holiday get togethers, so I figured it to be the best time to bulk.

I am currently changing how I eat after my bulk during the Winter. I took about a month and a half to focus on eating when I felt hungry to halt any over eating habits I had developed during the bulk. I have definitely put on muscle, but also fat. I gained about 6-7 lb. during this time. I now want to stop gaining weight though to see how much muscle I have really put on. I notice I am stronger, but this was really the first time bulking so I am trying to learn what process works best for me to gain strength and hopefully maintain it without becoming over weight again.

I am taking a step back from all added sugars, as well as changing up the distribution of fat, carbs and protein. My calorie in-take will remain the same now that I am back to maintaining. I have seen in the past that when I focus on eating my carbs in the form of fresh fruits and vegetables, reduced the amount of fat by more frequently skipping out on fatty additions (mainly the fried foods, extra cheese, sauces, dressings, nut butters, etc.) and get out of the habit of consuming dessert, I see a more lean body. So to summarize, same amount of calories, but replacing the more frequent treats with high quality, real food.

I will plan to do an update in a month to let you know what I have learned from my first bulk and especially whether or not my strength was maintained. Hope you have a beautiful Earth Day!

Defining Wellness

Recently, I participated in a survey regarding how I define wellness. Without being fully conscious about it, this is something that changes for me all the time. I learn things every day that transform my understanding of what it means to be well. I also see how my wellness is not just about me, but the wellness of my family and community.

How we communicate, move around and shop in our neighborhood influences our community. If we are loving toward our neighbors, active to feel great and buying local, good quality products that creates a positive impact on those we interact with. If we buy local that supports our neighbors and what we buy influences what products are available to the community. If we request certain products at the grocery store, it is not just provided for us, but for our entire community!

With this in mind, I feel even more empowered to be healthier this year and to be a benefitial member of my community. In 2017, I will work on purchasing more natural household and hygiene products. I already use some natural household products since the use of the conventional stuff made me sick to my stomach or develop rashes.

Only recently did I start trying to switch my makeup and hygiene items to all natural products. Lately, I am trying the Shea Moisture brand’s shampoo, conditioner and make up. So far so good, but I have to admit my commercial brand mascara is tough to beat in its volumizing and affordable price. However, my hair has not felt this great in a long while.

Also, after 6 months of using natural deodorants (Schmidt’s and Herbal Clear Sport), I find I sweat less and never feel the need to reapply during the day. With the conventional antiperspirants, I would start to smell part way through the day and had developed rashes from certain brands. I may post some reviews this year on the natural products I have been trying, please let me know in the comments below if that would be of interest to you!

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In regards to how I stay physically healthy to maintain wellness, I believe that eating to fuel your body and please the soul while moving around in the ways that you most enjoy will boosts your mood and makes you feel strong. If you feel great, you project that to others. If others see how you make yourself feel great they may recognize that as something they can do for themselves. Its not your job to preach to everyone, but to just do what feels right for you. Just know that how you feel can impact how you behave toward others.

Lastly, I like to put out into the world what I would like to get from it. I want to be better about how I connect with people every day. This includes greeting folks that I walk by (even in the unfriendly city), connecting with people who bring joy to my life and teaching myself how to improve my relationships. I have been savoring opportunities to learn more about relationships and love from The School of Life and The 5 Love Languages.

Since reading The 5 Love Languages book, I have seen my relationship with my partner improve and hope that I can use what I have learned in my other relationships as well. The School of Life has helped me understand our psychology and why myself or others may behave in certain ways. I have also been reading books on ADHD. I want be conscious of how it can impact relationships since I am very close with people who have ADHD. The best one I have read thus far would be Is It You, Me or Adult A.D.D..

For me, I see wellness as something that encompasses not only my physical and mental health, but that of those around me. Since I feel in a good place with myself, I want to begin to work on projecting wellness in my community. How do you define wellness?

Happy Holidays! My Plans Today

Although, I do not currently practice any particular religion, I respect everyone’s spiritual beliefs. However, since I was raised in a Catholic household, I celebrate Christmas with my family. I thought it would be fun to detail what I am doing for the holiday I follow. My day in general is filled with love and tasty food, so here we go!

What I am doing today!

Morning

I am starting off my day with a run and lower workout, followed by some holiday breakfast.

I will get cleaned up and wake up my family to feed them and help them get ready for our traditional eggnog and cookies with our closest family friends. We toast to a blessed year and the new year while we share a lot of love.

We usually open gifts before a light lunch.

Afternoon

We just sit around and chat while watching holiday movies and playing games (both of the board and video varieties).

Evening

We end the day at a long time family friend’s house. We have known these folks since my Mother was a baby and this is my opportunity to catch up with them all each year since I no longer live in my hometown.

What I am eating today!

Check out my Instagram today to see exactly what I eating because I am going to try to post  pictures of everything I consume. Just know, today is special so I am eating sweets, but I try to focus on just enjoying food until I am comfortably full. However this is how Christmas day typically goes:

Breakfast: Tea, Rolls, Eggnog and cookies

Early Dinner: Turkey sandwiches with Brie and Cranberry Sauce

Dessert: Pie

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Before bed: Traditional Medicinals Belly Comfort / Eater’s Digest tea

Hope you are having a wonderful holiday season with your loved ones! And please feel welcomed to share your holiday traditions in the comments below! I am always curious to learn more about different cultures than mine 🙂