I learned much over the last three weeks while I dealt with a severe ear infection. Due to fluid moving around in my ear, it was quite painful and I couldn’t move my head around or down towards the floor, or even lie down for that matter without some sort of pain. So, my regular workout routine became nul and void. No yoga, no gym. I did continue to walk the dogs two miles each day, until it snowed again… (I’m a total suck when it comes to the cold, but so are my dogs.)
For the first several days I was still able to maintain watching my diet and spent a lot of time sleeping. After the first round of meds did nothing, I started my second round of stronger meds and noticed that by then it had been 10 days where my schedule was kyboshed and slowly, my healthy eating habits had diminished. Not completely, but slowly it became easier to make a quick processed food supper or it was too much effort to cut veggies for a salad. My calorie intake on My Fitness Pal was rising, slowly – not a lot, but enough to notice my good habits slipping. And most importantly my blood sugar readings moved up a number or two. All small changes, but significant to me. I had experienced so much success that this was bothering me greatly. And a note of interest – my last blood tests with my doctor showed ALL of my numbers in the normal range, plus I’m down forty pounds. I was so proud of myself, this was not the time to get sick. All my work has my diabetes under control, all within four months of diagnosis. So, seeing those numbers change on my daily tests, even though they were small, sent up a red flag.
Being true to my analytical self, I looked at the scope of what was going on. I couldn’t do my usual workout, but why was I struggling to stick to my diet decisions. I determined that my morning yoga was the key.
My usual routine being the following:
- get up
- get the boys off to school
- do 35 minutes of yoga
- drink a raw vegan smoothie
- creative raw vegan salad for lunch
- workout at gym
- make supper (based around salad)
- walk the dogs with the boys
- bedtime for them
- unwind with Netflix
- bedtime for me and repeat… somewhat.
But the all important key was starting my day with yoga – it created my mindset for the rest of the day. Even if I didn’t feel like doing my yoga, on those days I picked a slightly easier flow, but I still did it. And always, always, I was ready to face my day, I felt good, my mind was clear, focused and I could go on. But that 35 minutes set me up for my success for the day. Without it, evidently, complacency nudged in.
With my ear 95% better, yesterday morning I woke up, got the boys off to school, completed 35 mins of yoga, made a smoothie, and got on about my day. Today, the same, but this afternoon I’m looking forward to getting back to the gym. And just like that, my mood is better, my day is brighter, I’m focused and ready.
I understand that at times I’m going to get hit with an illness and that will disrupt my routine, but this was a real eye-opener into how important my morning fitness routine is to maintaining my overall well being.
Diving right in to getting to know my fellow Anitas (& Anito!) better, I asked long time Anita Factor member, Christina, the following two questions:
You’re a new addition to a box of crayons. What colour would you be and why?
[I would be] a deep tomato red. I love the intensity and vibrancy of the color and how it’s full of life.
Finished reading anything worth recommending lately?
The Septimus Heap series by Angie Sage. This series is a middle grade fantasy that is unlike any fantasy I’ve ever read. Full of unique characters and concepts.
Please connect with Christina:
Christina likes the quirky and the queer, and enjoys trying to come up with characters and settings that fit in her writing. She writes for middle grade children.
Christina and I have known each other a long time. We were both members of the Vast Imaginations writing group, prior to the formation of the Anita Factor. Christina is one of the most creative people I know, not only does she have excellent story ideas, but she’s creative in everything in her life – from writing, to DIY home renos and decor, to arts and crafts, to drawing. And most recently cake decorating – all self-taught. Her creativity oozes from every cell. She’s simply amazing!
I asked Christina the following two questions:
What was the last book you read and you would you recommend it?
The last book I read was Murder and Mistletoe by Robin Stevens, a middle grade read, part of a series, about two girls who solve a murder at their school. An enjoyable read.
What do you think about when your alone in the car?
I drive a lot of highway miles, leaving me free to think unhindered. And after a few minutes my creative mind kicks in and I start to work on whatever project I happen to be working on at home. Sometimes that means trying to sort a way to tackle a DIY home project in the most feasible and efficient manner, or a craft project I want to do. [Pictured: Christina’s book lamp and hand-bound journals.]
But often my brain turns to a writing project I’m in the middle of and almost lazily mulls over different aspects of the story to come up with quirks and details of the piece that surprise me pleasantly. The things my muse comes up with aren’t necessarily things I can work into the story but help me learn my characters better or my setting, which affects my writing positively.
Please connect with Christina:
Christina likes the quirky and the queer, and enjoys trying to come up with characters and settings hat fit that in her writing. She writes for middle grade children
I’m a busy person, looking after a busy family. With eight people and seven four-legged creatures living under one roof, it makes for chaos at the best of times. Try planning dinner — who’s here? who’s working? what time is each person home? What activities are we rushing to? Did I make enough? … Nope (oops!) It happens. . . (sorry David!)
Always being on the run, “chauffeur” should be on my resume — along with “master time manager.” 🙂
We make sure that James and I get us-time. (Special thanks to our respite workers!) It’s a relationship saver.
But sometimes… just sometimes… I need me time. I did some thinking on my self-care tactics and realized that I’ve actually developed some good habits at taking time when I need it. I’m also pretty good at sneaking in me time even when I’m hanging out with the family – it’s always possible if the TV is on!
You’re all well aware that I love photography. I like to take my camera and go by myself somewhere. Getting a great shot is a huge rush for me. And I mean a great shot by my standards, not someone else’s. Self-care isn’t about what others think, it’s about enjoying yourself immensely.
I read a lot.
I enjoy absolute silence. (When all the kids are at school and pets are all napping.) This is actually rare.
I accomplish self-care while hanging out with the family usually during TV/movie time. I’m in the room, I’m interacting with others, but I’m also being creative at the same time. I have “my” corner of the sofa. Near it I have my “tools” – whatever it is I’m into at the time. (Important to note: It’s OK for interests to change!)
I’ve been creating photo albums for about fifteen years. I used to make actual Creative Memories (TM) scrapbooks with real developed photos – you know, back in the day… but now, I use online services and once or twice a year, photo books appear in our home. I’m still about two years behind in general family photos, however, I make sure our holidays are recorded as soon as possible. Disney/Universal took me about six months, committing about three to four hours per week to the project. The important thing is that when it felt like a chore, I stopped. Self-care, remember!
I occasionally teach myself zen-tangling:
Recently, I’m into “adult” colouring books — not X-rated!! I mean highly detailed!
That’s something else I’ve noted is important. I need to have the right tools in order to not be stressed. No sense trying to do something unless you have everything you need to make it fun. My kids have their own bin of crayons. They don’t need to use mine. Against popular demand – mothers do not need to sacrifice everything for their children. Those are my crayons dammit. 🙂
Anyway, where was I… oh, yes. I’ve also recently discovered a fabulous nail polish brand. My other new thing is painting my nails. (I get ideas from Laura at Fun Lovin’ Travelers and then add my own twist.) I’m particularly proud of these ones and thought they were photo-worthy.
Oh, and I should mention my favourite self-care activity – napping. Sometimes at 2:00 p.m. I just can’t focus any more, so twenty minutes on the sofa does wonders. Yes, one of the luxuries of working from home, I know.
I hope you have several ways of taking care of yourself, or are inspired to start if you aren’t making some time. I’d love to hear how you spend your one-on-one you time. Leave a comment. 🙂