Thursday, January 29, 2009

investing in wellness

One of my “Take Action” steps is to invest in my well-being. I thought of listing “exercise more” as one of my action steps, and it surely is part of it… however, there are times when “exercise more” sounds more like a chore and then I think of a dozen excuses to get out of it.

I also remember that I did so much better when I was writing things down. When I was training for running, I had a piece of paper taped to my bathroom wall and I would log in my miles and cross-training sessions on it. And I’d feel proud of myself seeing my writing fill the once-empty boxes, one day at a time.

I’ve decided to do it again. Then I kept thinking of what to call it, besides an “exercise log”. Which again, makes it sound like a chore sometimes.

Instead, I’m calling it My Wellness Log.

Microsoft Publisher is a great tool. I create my own calendar, and personalize it with inspiring phrases and short-term goals. This month’s goals: “More Cardio” and “Sleep Better.”

I then write whatever I did for my wellness – whether it’s cardio exercise, yoga/stretching, or taking a nap when I need one (I usually don’t take naps, but sometimes I give in).

So far it’s going great. It reminds me to invest in my long-term health and wellness, which is definitely more than just a chore.

Thanks, J.L., for your inspiration on “focusing your energy”!

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Wednesday, January 28, 2009

snow day

Survival kit:
- fleece sweater
- comfy fluffy bedroom slippers
- lots of hot tea
- yoga and pranayama: (breathing exercise)

Specifically, the ujjayi breath (Sanskrit for "victorious breath") is great for warming up the body.

Sit in a comfortable position, lengthen the spine, relax the shoulders. Close the eyes, and inhale deeply through the nose, and as you exhale, slightly constrict the back of the throat to make a subtle hissing sound – just like you are fogging up a mirror, but with your mouth closed. It sounds a bit like Darth Vader, but more subtle! Do a few rounds and you’ll feel your body warming up.

Unfortunately I can’t really curl up under the covers with a good book since I have homework to do. But, I could take a power nap sometime today. And note that in my Wellness Log. (smile)

Stay safe and warm (and hopefully indoors) today!
photo from

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2009: Take Action

(still having computer issues.... I wrote this on 1/19/09)

The past few years of my life have revolved around themes.... 2006 was about healing, 2007 was about finding joy, 2008 was about being bold (doing things I've never done, or that are outside my comfort zone). After some reflection, I think 2009 will be about TAKING ACTION.

I've spent the last 6 months being in a state of "limbo". Lots of uncertainty and ambivalent feelings about where my path is taking me. I feel like I've been sitting on my hands, thinking, waiting, and attempting to listen and look out for signs/possibilities/opportunities. A friend of mine calls them "God Winks." I like that.

I took some commitments off my plate last year in an attempt to "streamline" my schedule and prioritize. Unfortunately, that didn't work. I didn't get any more done than when I had more things on my schedule. In fact, I seem to do better when my calendar is more cluttered. With a full calendar, I procrastinate less, because I don't have the much-coveted luxury of A Lot of Free Time.

So, what to do this year... This entry is a little bit late for a "New Year's Resolution" blog entry. But seeing that I sometimes make resolutions on NYE and break one (or two or three) of them within the first month, I thought I better put more thought into this.

Here we go...

- Continue my research project
- Do another art show (maybe this spring?)
- Start teaching yoga again (one thing I took off my plate for the past few months... and I miss it)
- Set a reasonable amount of Internet time... reduce non-productive Internet time, especially if it starts interfering with my sleep schedule!
- I would love to take a weekend road trip/photography trip by myself – to a place that will make feel like I’m “getting away”, but also reasonably close. Asheville, NC maybe?
- Prioritize my health and wellness. Listen to my body: take stretching breaks at work after sitting at a computer, take more walks, indulge myself by taking a nap when necessary.
- Set aside some time each day (even just 5 minutes) to reflect, read something inspiring, or write in my journal.
- ACT ON possibilities. Or else they will remain merely possibilities. (this sounds vague, but it’s going to be a LOOONG story if I write it out in detail here)

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Sunday, January 25, 2009

remedy for work/school burn-out

I haven't written since Thanksgiving!

Here are my excuses – work burn-out, vacation, and my s-l-o-w computer which I need to update badly.

(I actually wrote this entry in early January, but have been unable to post it on cyberspace for some reason...)

December left me pretty burned out. I've never embraced a vacation with more open arms than I did when I left for New Jersey/New York to spend the holidays with my brother and his family.

But, getting there was not without (mis)adventure. It was the 23rd of December, the day freezing rain turned the roads into what seemed like an ice skating rink. We were on our way to the airport when the car we were in slid on ice and turned 360 about 2 or 3 times, and we ended up on this grassy field next to the road. Thankfully we didn't crash into anything and no one was hurt. The one driving us was so calm -- he just resumed driving, and we arrived at the airport with time to spare. Had I been the one driving, I would have been in a cold sweat, knees shaking, with no desire to drive for the next several days.

Flight delays and all, I did finally arrive, and was greeted by my adorable nephews (who are 8 and 6). I finally met my 4-month-old niece who, during the course of my vacation, was always held and carried by me or another uncle or aunt. (Felt sorry for my niece's mom afterwards, since she kept fussing and wanting to be carried the whole week after I left).

Babies are amazing... they are such a great reminder of everything beautiful and joyful and peaceful. In March 2008 my grandmother passed, but my family was blessed with 2 new nieces - one born in August, the next one born in September. And that's how life is.

Babies are so.... ZEN.
I love this moment with my niece... she found her hands!

Needless to say, this was such a refreshing vacation, with the right combination of action and down-time, which as you can tell, mostly consisted of time watching, adoring, and holding my new niece.

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