Healthy Habit #10 – A Month of Getting Moving

Get Moving

Here we are in October, so it’s time for a new Healthy Habit.  I have put this one off as long as I could, being the sedentary person that I am.  It’s time though.

I can’t wait any longer.

I’ve got to get moving!

Since I did a month of yoga back in March, I haven’t done any real exercise. I’ve done a yoga class here and there, and I’ve done yoga at home from time to time, but that’s it.  So this month is going to be the month of getting moving.  In my last post, I talked about how difficult the coming months are for me.  I’ve been down and sluggish and not at all active.  My inclination is to go to work and then come home and lay around…doing nothing.   I am hopeful that adding a little bit of activity will not only improve my physical health, but also my mental health.

Here’s my plan: there is no real plan.  I don’t do so well with plans that are set in stone…I get bored and then I quit.  What I am going to work toward is doing something physical every day.  I have a little fitness center just across the parking lot from my apartment, I can go use the treadmill or the elliptical.  I have yoga DVDs that I can do at home.  I can walk around the lake at the park that is less than half a mile away.  I can use the weights that have been collecting dust beside my sofa.  The weather has cooled off here in the desert, so hiking on the weekends is an option.  Whatever it is that I do each day, I know that something is better than nothing.  🙂

I’ll see how it goes, and hopefully I’ll be healthier and happier.

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Update on brown bagging it:  Taking my lunch to work every day, along with making sure that I take a real lunch break away from my desk (Healthy Habit #8), have definitely become a habit.  I haven’t eaten at my desk more than a couple of times in the last two months, and I haven’t ordered out or gotten Subway or pizza for over a month.  I find that I look forward to my lunches, and that I feel refreshed and more motivated in the afternoon.  Success!!

Gratitude – July 11

friday

 

Woo hoo!!  The weekend is finally here, and I am ready for it!  My work week was exceptionally busy this week and I am looking forward to having time to read, relax, and visit with friends this weekend.  This is going to be a short post because I am going to start my relaxing by going to bed early tonight. 🙂

Today I am grateful for the Dunkin’ Donuts coffee that my friend at work brings me every Friday morning.

I am grateful for being able to buckle down and get my work done today, after a week full of distractions kept me from getting some important things finished.

I am thankful for the yoga class that I went to this evening with a friend that I have known for 35 years.  I am also thankful that tonight my balance was pretty good, so I was able to think less about falling over and more about staying in the moment and breathing.

I am grateful that when I got home from yoga, my Honey had a delicious dinner made for us.

I am thankful for the hot bubble bath I just got out of to write this post.

I am thankful that I don’t have to set the alarm for tomorrow morning.

I am grateful that gratitude is the subject of so many blogs lately!!  I’ve been reading about it everywhere, so it must be something that we’re all thinking about.  And you know what?  I think that taking a few moments to remember the things that I’m grateful for, big and small, has really improved my mood, outlook, and perspective on the things that normally get me down. So, if you haven’t already, give it a shot!  Jot down a few things you’re thankful for in a notebook or journal, or share them with a loved one, or type them out in the comments below.  Try it for a week and see if maybe it changes your perspective too.

Happy Friday!!!

 

 

Healthy Habit #4 – A Month of Kindness (and an update on Yoga)

 

Kindness

For 2014, I committed to starting some Healthy Habits.  So far, they have all been about me (there’s an alcoholic for you!), I’ve started daily prayer, meditation, and yoga.  But this month I am going to make my Healthy Habit about others.  I am going to practice kindness, each and every day.

Each month we have a student recognition assembly at the college where I work.  Besides giving out perfect attendance awards, and honor roll certificates, we have a short presentation on something that may be helpful to the students.  Last month, the topic of the short presentation was kindness.  A short video was shown about the power of kindness and how it benefits both the giver and the receiver.  That really got me to thinking so I did a little bit of research about the science of being kind.  I found that in addition to both of the parties involved in the acts of kindness, anyone that sees kindness in action also benefits.  I read this in an article in Psychology Today:

I have a friend who used to live in Pakistan, where he was an animal rights activist. One day, he was walking through his home city when he saw a crowd gathered around the stall of a bird seller. A man had bought some myna birds – a popular caged bird in Pakistan, because of their ability to mimic sounds – and was releasing them. One by one, he took them out of the cage, and let them fly free. In all, he bought 32 of the birds, just to set them free. 

My friend was amazed by this act of altruism, partly because – as he put it – ‘such acts of charity were not so common in my part of the world where people are not so kind to animals in general.’ But he was also amazed at his own reaction to the act. He was filled with a deep sense of peace. A strange quietness filled his surroundings, and he felt completely free of worry or anxiety. The sense of peace and joy remained with him for a few days, and, in his words, ‘I believe it is still there to some degree.’

Isn’t that awesome?  A simple act of kindness, and everybody wins!  It’s not just the man who bought the birds that gets to feel good for having done something kind, and it’s not just the birds that feel good flying free; everyone who was part of, or witness to the act, felt good.  I want to experience that.

So, my commitment for the month of April is to take opportunities to perform acts of kindness each day.  I’m not talking about just being nice to people, I think I already do that.  And I’m not talking about just giving gifts or things of monetary value.  I am talking about going out of my way to do something kind for someone every day.  I have a few ideas (not a whole month’s worth, though), but I am confident that the ideas I have will breed more as the month goes on.

My plan is to keep track of my acts of kindness as I journal each day, and I will report back to you all at the end of the month.

Be kind!

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Yoga Update:  Well, I wish I could say that my Healthy Habit for March was as successful as the first two of the year, but so far it hasn’t been.  I did well for the first couple of weeks, and I have to admit, I felt really great.  It seemed like my posture improved, I felt strong and healthy.  But then somewhere along the third week my yoga sessions became hit or miss.  Then, for the last week, whenever I said that I was going to do yoga, I seemed to find something else that was more important to do right at the moment.  Like sleep.  Or fold laundry.  Or read.  Ugh.

So yoga has not yet become a habit for me.  But I’m not giving up.  I did my yoga DVD tonight, and I am going to keep trying!

Healthy Habit #3 – Yoga

yoga

March is here and that means it’s time for a new Healthy Habit.  This month I have decided that I am going to give yoga a try.  I have heard so many good things about it, but have never done it myself.  You’ve probably heard the same list of healthy benefits of yoga that I have:  increased flexibility, stronger muscles, less achy joints, stress relief, and more restful sleeping.  But I also read that yoga has some other benefits that I didn’t know about.  Practicing yoga can strengthen bones and prevent osteoporosis.  It can also get your blood flowing and improve circulation, which, in turn, leads to a healthier heart and a decreased risk of heart attack.  Yoga can also aid in weight loss (woo hoo!!), and boost your immune system.

So yesterday, I went to Target and bought myself a DVD for yoga beginners.  Before I try any classes around other people (I’m 42, a little overweight, and terribly uncoordinated), and embarrass myself, I thought I better give it a try in my living room.  I’m going to give the DVD a test run as soon as I finish this post.  I’ll let you know how it goes.

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Meditation Update

For the month of February, I started meditation as my healthy habit.  I have still been meditating in the morning.  I have missed a few days throughout the month, but have been pretty successful in staying consistent.  I started with guided mindful meditation and I find that I really like it first thing in the morning.  I have tried to keep my morning a routine and that seems to work best for me.  When I first get up, I make coffee and sit and journal as I have my first cup.  When I finish writing, I go sit in my comfy green chair and meditate using the app I downloaded to my phone.  I started at 5 minutes and have moved up to 15, but on rushed mornings I go back to 5.  What I have noticed is that when I meditate, I feel calm and mindful.  I am able to be in the present without anxiety and fear.  I am more aware of my breathing and what my body is feeling. It’s an absolutely wonderful feeling, and I only wish that it would last all day.  As I continue to mediate, I don’t think that I need to add more time to my morning sessions, instead I think that meditating more times throughout the day will be even more beneficial.

I was concerned in the beginning about being able to turn my thoughts off, but I quickly learned that clearing one’s mind isn’t the point.  The point is to learn how to redirect unfavorable thoughts as they come up.  While the calm, mindful feeling doesn’t always last as long as I want it to, the redirecting my thoughts and concentrating on my breathing has stuck.  I have found myself on a number of days in stressful situations at work.  I have consciously redirected my thoughts about the situations by closing my eyes, breathing deeply and reminding myself that, in that moment, I am alright.  It works!

I have also been trying to incorporate metta meditation into my day.  One of my fellow bloggers over at Mished-Up, commented that she enjoys metta mediation, so I did some reading up on it and have been practicing it along with the guided meditation.  Metta meditation, or lovingkindness (isn’t that an awesome name for it?), is a type of mantra mediation where you repeat phrases of loving kindness out loud or to yourself, beginning with yourself and working outward to your family, friends, coworkers, acquaintances, strangers…as far as you would like.   As I inhale, I use statements like:  May I be strong, May I be mindful, May I be well, May I be joyful.  And I as I exhale I focus on breathing out the opposite:  Gone is weakness, Gone is worry, Gone is illness, Gone is sadness.  And I continue outward with the other people in my life, wishing them the same things I wish for myself.  I really love this meditation.  It’s repetitive but I like that…so far the phrases have not become rote, and I truly feel each one as I say it.

So after a month of meditation, would I say that it’s a keeper?  I think it’s definitely something I want to explore more.  I see the benefits and I feel better when I do it.  I think that’s reason enough to do some more practicing, don’t you?