About a year and half ago, I decided to start reading before I went to bed every night. I had long given up reading anything more than a magazine or a quick web article and realized I missed having some quiet, yet productive time each day. I don’t really have any sort of rules about what I read — and when I don’t feel like starting something new, I reread one of my favorite Outlander books. (I love them!) I prefer reading books that help me escape into new worlds and experience different lives – Escape Fiction. Some people think that we shouldn’t read to escape reality. I’m not on board with that — sometimes a great story is the only thing that helps you hold on. Recently, I came across this quote:
“reading books is a waste of time if you don’t let them change you. If books really are “portals” then they should leave you somewhere you weren’t when you finish them. Somewhere enlightened.”
My take: Read because you want to — no rules, no parameters. Read because you love it, you enjoy a story, relate to characters, it helps you cope with whatever is going on in your life, you love reading the written word. READ with no rules! I think reading changes you whether you are cognizant of it or not.
And turns out it’s healthy for you:
I loved this recent article about President Obama, who said reading helped him survive the White House.
“…talked about the indispensable role that books have played during his presidency and throughout his life — from his peripatetic and sometimes lonely boyhood, when “these worlds that were portable” provided companionship, to his youth when they helped him to figure out who he was, what he thought and what was important.”
I just finished a book that has stayed with me, When Breath Becomes Air. It’s a non-fiction autobiographical book written by Paul Kalanithi, about his life and illness, battling stage IV metastatic lung cancer. It’s a quick read that packs a powerful punch. Sad, poignant, introspective — all words to describe it. I went back and reread parts after I was done because I wanted to feel the feelings again after reading the closing chapter which was written by his wife, Lucy.
I rarely watch videos from start to end when they are more than a few min long, but the other day this one: Simon Sinek speaking about Millennials in the workplace of today, caught my attention and has really stuck with me. I have had to learn how to manage millennials and work with them in my day to day life. They are definitely a different generation than the GenX I am a part of.
Simon brings up so many good points about why they are the way they are — but his points don’t only apply to the Millennial generation. So many of us are addicted to our devices. We don’t leave home without them, we sit down at the table with them right beside us, we bring them to meetings – we are attached to these devices night and day. I remember having to sit for Jury Duty and the first thing I thought –WTF I can’t bring my phone or iPad while I wait? What am I going to do?? (I ended up running into an old friend and we chatted the time away and I wasn’t chosen so I got to leave early – so it all worked out.)
I went to Wegmans earlier this week and after watching this video, I stood in line and purposely left my phone at my side but what did I see all around me? Everyone else was on their phones waiting for their lane to checkout. Sinek is so spot on – we are losing the moments of connection, the moments that lead to an idea, innovation. We are so busy looking down at our phones, we miss out on all the opportunities to connect with others – known and unknown. We need to look up more. I’m not in the camp that devices are evil – but they have all but taken over our lives. We are rarely disconnected, our kids are viewing celebrity lives through filtered lenses, heck, we see our own community through filters. It does affect people –good and bad.
I wonder how hard it would be for all of us to do a digital cleanse? Maybe it would do us all good especially now that Trump will be in office soon and with him, comes a lot of propaganda, fake news and sensationalism.
Have you done a digital cleanse? Let me know —
- Why You’re Not in Shape (Yet)
- Which exercise burns the most calories: Jogging, spinning, or personal training?
- The Year of Conquering Negative Thinking
As if hearing about George Michael’s passing wasn’t enough, now Carrie Fisher has died too. If you grew up in the 80’s, like I did, you have noticed that many of our childhood heroes and iconic figures are dying. Nancy Reagan, Prince, Bowie, Ali to name a few. I wonder if this is the beginning of our generation starting to feel old…
Carrie Fisher was Princess Leia in Star Wars- and if you know my family, Scotty’s favorite thing is STAR WARS. Beyond that, she was an author, comedienne and lent her voice to help to remove the stigma of mental illness- sharing that she was bi-polar. It’s no secret she had led a pretty hard life — and it eventually catches up to you, I guess.
It’s another reason why taking care of ourselves is so important. We aren’t spring chickens anymore. We can’t pass for kids in our 20s. We are getting old. Just last night, Scott and I hit up the new MGM Casino at the National Harbor for his birthday. As we were walking into the casino, with our IDs ready for inspection, what happens? The security guard says – Ma’am you can go on through. No ID check, no humor me and look at the damn thing, nothing and he added a Ma’am to boot. What’s next? Reading glasses!!!??
I realize there is no escaping getting older, so why do I, like so many others. fear it or live in constant denial that it’s happening? I don’t have an answer, but here are some articles to read for insight…
- 7 Awesome Things About Getting Old
- Growing Older, Getting Happier
- Getting older, leaving the ‘hot girl’ behind
- The Case Against Sugar
- Is A2 Milk Better For You Than Regular Cow’s Milk?
- Most Schools Are Serving Healthier Meals, Despite Challenges
- The Brazilian Guide to Weight Loss
It’s no secret that I’m not the tallest person — I’m around 5’3. Scotty, my husband, is 6’3. I figured when we had kids that they would most likely be taller than me. So, while it’s not a surprise that HB is now taller – there is a milestone moment in parenting when it hits you – your baby is now grown up. I had that moment recently and my super tall husband had to point it out —
We were shopping at a local sports store and I couldn’t reach something –so I asked HB to get it for me and sure enough, she reached up and got it with no problem. It was not a noticeable moment for me – do you know how many times I have to ask someone to get something for me? I can’t count that high — short people are used to asking for help. But Scotty – well he strolled by and asked “Did you just ask HB to get something up high for you?” That was the moment when I realized it had happened. My first born child is growing up. Can we make time stop?
As much as I love who she is now, I wish I had that time back when she was a baby. I would have been less nervous with her and enjoyed the time more. Life really does happen so quickly and before you know it – they are up and grown and your roles change. Circle of life, I suppose. Parenting – it never gets easy – what’s hard just changes.
Other thoughts around Parenting
- How parenting tactics influence teens’ problem behaviors
- Parenting as a Gen Xer: We’re the first generation of parents in the age of iEverything
- The American Obsession With Parenting
Scotty posted this to my Facebook wall recently to let me know I’m not alone. I was once asked by a friend, “Does your husband know you are moving out?” after he saw my car.
It should go without saying, but it’s more important than ever to look for ways to help each other out in our own neighborhoods and globally. Look for ways to lift each other up when possible -even if its simply a kind word and approach things with the best intentions. And, sometimes we need to remind ourselves that most people in our lives try to act with the best intentions even if they annoy us. And above all — BE KIND. Kindness Matters always.
Health Benefits of Kindness
Did you know there is scientific research that proves being kind and generous is actually good for your health? When you do something that makes you feel good, your body makes Oxytocin, which then releases nitric oxide which dilates your blood vessels and reduces your blood pressure!
Research has also shown a link between being kind and your body releasing dopamine, which helps with your mood and aids in giving you a sense of euphoria and eases anxiety.
Here’s some good info on Why Being Kind is Good for your Health to drive the point home even more…
On a related note, I do not share much related to religion here, however, this was a story and a lesson about kindness and support that should resonate with us all, especially now as we are seeing an increase in hate crimes and mean spirited politics…
“Let me tell you the secret of Judaism. When you warm other people’s hearts, you remain warm yourself. When you seek to support, encourage and inspire others; then you discover support, encouragement and inspiration in your own life as well. That, my friends, is “Judaism 101”.”
- Massive 10-Year Study Has Linked Diet Soda To Heart Attacks And Stroke
- The Mind-Boggling Bullshit of Health and Fitness
- Tip: Women, Stop Obsessing Over Diet and Eat for Muscle
- More than 1 billion people globally are living with high blood pressure
Where have I been? What’s been going on? I wish I could share some exciting details or news, but the truth is I have been lacking inspiration and motivation the past few weeks. Maybe it’s the election results, or the change of seasons- whatever it is, it’s been affecting me big time.
Now that the holiday season is here, most of us will be out socializing a lot more than usual. I get invited to a ton of Holiday Parties and Happy Hours in December and if I’m not careful, I start to slip back into old eating habits. I’m sure I’m not alone. Last week, during one of my Body By Wayne training sessions, I was bitching about how hard the workout was (something I do regularly). I asked Wayne why it’s so hard to stay lean and healthy. How come there isn’t a pill I can take to keep this way? I workout all the damn time –hard workouts, that challenge me in many different ways, but yet each time I go, it’s a mental and physical challenge once again. It’s not freakin’ fair, but the truth is — Fitness is rented. You have to pay that rent each and every day. And if it’s important to you, then you will do it.
What keeps me motivated to stay fit?
Here’s some insight into how I think…
- I have seen far too many older people become immobile and unable to take care of their most basic needs without help. For some, it wasn’t something under their control, but for the vast majority – if they moved their bodies and paid a bit more attention to their overall health when they were younger, they wouldn’t be that way. When I start to lament about having to workout, I remember this.
- When Scotty was sick with colon cancer, we spent every other Tues at Georgetown Hospital getting his chemo. I saw and met a lot of very sick people. Exercising is one of the best ways to prevent many cancers — and it’s an hour of of my day. One friggin hour! And if you can’t do a full workout – then just go for a walk. MOVE YOUR BODY. I remember our time getting Scotty well and the people I met.
- I live in the suburbs and I am seeing more and more, people my age ignoring their health. We are at the cusp of “no, we aren’t old” and “no, we aren’t young” and so many of take little time to take care of ourselves. We know how important it is – but tend to get wrapped up in everything else. I remind myself how important it is to take time for myself to take care of myself. Not only for my own well-being, but as a good role model for my kids.
After thinking about those three important things, how can I really not go and workout? Those aren’t trivial reasons and I have no real excuse to skip. Not to mention that I love the feeling I have after a good workout and the great people I have met through my fitness journey. Hopefully, the insight I shared will help motivate you to stop waiting and begin…
- 7 Science-Backed Reasons Why Generosity Is Good For Your Health
- Holly Robinson-Peete on autism and obesity: Get kids moving
- ‘Lets face it, keeping children sedentary for most of their waking hours is causing harm’
- How the food you eat affects your brain – Mia Nacamulli
Today I am choosing Happiness. I am willing to accept the outcome (like I have a choice or anything) and will be figuring out how I help. For me, it was important to take time yesterday to feel what I was feeling. I am seeking to learn about the perspective of those that voted for Trump. I want to understand – really I do. One of the most shocking things to me about the election was the realization that I didn’t even know how a huge number of people were feeling in this country. I like to think I am a caring, smart, well-read person, so for me not to even know the disillusionment and anger that a huge percentage of people are feeling — it rocks me to my core.
I didn’t spend my time yesterday insulting anyone. I spent my time thinking about what happened and seeking clarity on what exactly happened. If you don’t understand what caused this outcome, than you can’t do much to fix it.
I am finding it difficult to understand some Trump supporters reasoning’s though. When asked about how they reconcile Trump being ok with having the KKK support him, I’ve read that “it’s a Democrat conspiracy”, even when presented with a tweet from David Duke himself. It seems that some of his supporters are fine with simply ignoring some of the dirtier aspects of their candidate while magnifying those of HRC. I am truly trying to understand because I don’t.
However, I did read a really well thought out post yesterday from Alex Young that put some perspective around this whole thing for me and suggested a coherent game plan that we all need to get behind…
I am concerned about what Trump’s win says about us a country. We are really broken — and yes, we are America and will pull ourselves up by our bootstraps and fight against injustice. It’s in our blood. I trust in the great document that we live and die by created by our founding fathers. It has stood the test of time. But, this is a big shift in our country and a wake up call for each and every one of us. Yes, politicians come and go. Yes, I woke up today and have the same responsibilities to my family as I did Monday. But, none of us should forget we have a responsibility to our country and to each of its citizens. We can’t grow and prosper without taking care of one another. And that’s what I am going to focus on.
Woke up to the news — I’m sitting here speechless, in tears thinking about how scary the reality of what has been done. My kids have to grow up with a leader who has been honest about his lack of respect for women, minorities, anyone not in his camp.
He has no plan, doesn’t do his homework, is unkind and disrespectful and lacks any self control. He gets to help pick a SCOTUS. He has Omarosa as one of his advisors.
This is America? This is not the America I want – and I’m sitting here thinking about how I’m not sure what to do and how to change it.
Someone this morning on FB mentioned not understanding the tears, that life goes on. I thought about that — Why am I crying? Why am I feeling scared? Do I lack faith in my country or fellow man? Do I not believe in kindness above all?
My tears are coming from a place of sadness, fear and anger that our great country is this broken and that people are so divided. It’s not about woe is me. The problem arises when you keep crying, unable to see clearly and get stuck long after today. Having to tell my kids that this man, who has said and done some really terrible things publicly, will now represent us globally is unsettling. Appreciation of our lives, knowing that life does indeed go on and stopping to feel whatever one feels are all ok.
How can anyone forget the KKK publicly backed Trump. He did not publicly say No Thanks which any decent person would have done. I’m trying to make sense of what happened last night. I am still in disbelief. I am struggling to understand how this happened? I am grasping for clarity…
I went to two get-togethers last weekend — I had so much fun. I was told quite a few times how in shape I looked. It was a much needed affirmation that the hard work I’ve put in has been working. I’ve found, at least for women- we need visual proof before we really believe that we lost weight or toned up. Well – the pic on the right gave me the visual proof that I needed to see my results. (and that’s my friend Tank with me!) And, make no mistake — it’s been tough. Varied training 5-6 times a week and watching what I eat. Could I be even more careful with what I am eating? Yes – but I need balance, so it will have to do for now. I’m not training for the Olympics or anything. It’s important to keep your perspective in check.
I also was reminded that I need to make sure to spend more time with friends. I get so focused and busy with work, kids and ‘life’, that I tend to brush off plans friends try to make with me. I know it’s shocking but I think I am an extroverted introvert when it comes down to it. I really do love being around people but it drains me –so I also love spending time alone so I can recharge. And Napping – napping is my favorite. But I felt so happy and loved being around friends. So, I’ve made a commitment to step outside of my comfort zone and accept more invites to hang out with friends. It’s so easy to decline –so I’m not going to go the easy route. It’s a lot less fun.
And of course Halloween was yesterday! Here are my kids’ costumes. Each year, HB makes her own and this year was the best yet. She was a pineapple!! And I’m sure you can guess what Nate Dogg was…
- Stimulating the brain makes exercising the legs feel easier
- WHY WOMEN SHOULD LIFT SLOW AND HEAVY
- Being fit protects against health risks caused by stress at work
- Tim Gunn on why the fashion industry needs a makeover
I had no idea when I mentioned how my boxing place was closed for a death in their family, that would mean that they would close permanently but I got the notice a week or so ago that indeed they are closing their doors. I’m pretty bummed about it but can you imagine in the course of a few weeks the life shock that family has gone through? My heart breaks for them as they figure out how to adjust to their new life. With that said, I have to figure out another cardio/strength option now that there are no close by boxing places for me to move on to….
And change must be in the air because it looks like my long term contract that I had is probably coming to an end early December. It’s been a great experience, and my original boss was awesome. She taught me so much, was fun to work with and had perspective about the work we were doing. But, she left this past spring and as usual, with new management and changing of the guard – they want to bring in their own people. So, come end of the Fall, I will be looking for more consulting work. I’m not going to lean into the fear though. I have sent out some emails — and have some meetings already set up. And, I keep repeating to myself —what’s the worst that can happen? to help keep the fear at bay and get perspective.
Don’t Get Stuck in a Fear Loop
In this article about using fear to your advantage, they suggest reminding yourself that most of your fears are irrational, that you will get through the situation that is making you uncomfortable, and most times getting through it will make you stronger. A while ago, I shared some info about Tony Blauer’s fearloop, and how you need to be aware of how it works so you don’t get stuck in it and become paralyzed by fear.
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- How being alone may be the key to rest