Monday, November 07, 2011
The epiphany occurred as I was drinking my morning coffee.
I had grabbed a mug out of the cupboard and looked at it. It was one I had bought for Janet last summer and one of the sentimental things I took after she passed. It has a cute handpainted bluebird hanging upside down on a birdhouse. On the side is enscribed: "Enjoy the day".
Janet kept the coffee mug on her kitchen shelf where she could see it each day. She truly did enjoy each day that last year of her life. The difference between her and me is that she knew for a fact that she had a year, maybe less, of life left. How often do we take life for granted and think that we have plenty of time to do this or that, plenty of time to say what we need to say to make things right. She lived every day fully and truly enjoyed each one. I have to say that despite all she endured, I never saw her depressed. I didn't see one anxious moment. She had a pleasant peacefulness about her. It was real too, because I knew her so well that she couldn't ever hide her true feelings from me (and vice versa).
So I looked at the mug and pondered my current situation. Being depressed wastes precious time. It takes away so much. We're given the gift of life and the free will to do whatever we want with it. I don't want to spend one more minute of it feeling sad, moping around. I want to use my time wisely because none of us knows when it will end. I want to honor my sister by following her example. I want to improve myself in some small way each day. Life IS whatever we make it to be. There is no one else making the choices for us.
So, as simple as that, I am walking on sunshine today. I love sunshine. It always cheers me to wake up to a blue sky and bright sun. I can make even the dreariest of days sunny inside my heart and soul. I like feeling happy. I choose happy.
C'mon, lets ALL get happy!!
and ENJOY THE DAY!
Sunday, November 06, 2011
It's something I've dealt with off and on for many years. It feels heavy...like walking around with a damp blanket covering me. It immobilizes me. I don't want to do anything except curl up on the couch and watch mindless tv. It robs me of my joy and I forget to notice all the things I have to be grateful for. It makes me eat comfort foods which only creates more anguish. It's a viscous cycle that's sometimes hard to break out of.
Why am I so depressed?
For one, I haven't yet been able to fill the huge hole inside from the loss of my sister. Sometimes I miss her so much I ache all over. I lost my very best friend and confidante. She's irreplaceable.
On top of everything, I have a sick cat. My Emma is just 6 years old and started losing a great deal of weight several months ago. I took her to the vet and bloodwork determined she's losing protein from either cancer or an inflammation in her intestines. She's been on a steroid med for the past couple months. Initially she did well, putting on 1 lb. in a month. We cut the med down last month and she lost half a pound, so now she's back on twice a day but seems to continue to decline. We have 2 other cats I adore also, but Emma's the one who follows me around all the time and sleeps on my pillow every night. Losing her will be hard.
I'm in the season of feeling blue/eating for comfort/gaining weight/feeling bad about myself. It's a pattern. This is a hard time of year for me. It starts with my birthday on 10/25 (horribly sad this year - my 60th and first one without my sis celebrating with me)...then the Halloween candy,...coinciding with cold weather starting early in November and less daylight after daylight savings...on to Thanksgiving Day stress and all that focus on food (why do we always have to have 12 different dishes at this one meal???)...then the entire holiday season is a bummer for me, starting right after Thanksgiving until January 1 (I've become a real scrooge over the years - don't like shopping, no longer send cards, decorate less and less, don't feel like baking but usually end up doing it anyway and then eating too much of it, basically can't wait until it's all over)...then there's the COLD, snow and ice from Jan. thru March (sometimes April), coupled with cloudy-damp-dark-dreary days that seem endless. It's 6 months of UGH!!!!
I need to change this pattern...right now....THIS year. I can't do winter depression on top of dealing with healing from my horrific loss. I'll explode! I'm sure my doctor would prescribe meds for me to feel better. I'm opposed to taking medication because all drugs have some sort of negative side effects and I am not willing to succumb to that as a solution. My belief system is that I have the ability to overcome this through behavioral means.
I know it won't be easy. I know that it's going to take every ounce of strength I have to turn things around. I also know that it IS within MY power to do so!! No one else can do it but me. That's the good news because it means that I am in control...I am the captain of my own fate..I write the story.
I think it'll be a work in progress to find ways to recapture my joy. I'm starting with things I know I can do:
1. Walk daily - walking makes me happy. Ironically, when I'm depressed I don't feeling like walking even though it's EXACTLY what I need to feel better. If it's nice outside, I need to push myself out the door. If the weather is crappy, I need to just pop in a walking DVD and commit to at least 1 mile...guaranteed I'll want to do more once I begin. It's the getting started that's the hardest part.
2. Same as walking, go to Zumba class Tues., Wed., and Thurs. Dancing makes me happy too.
3. Use my light therapy every morning for 30 minutes. Take vitamin D supplements.
4. Carve out at least 30 minutes a day for meditation. Stop thinking and just breathe during this time. Connect with my inner self who knows the perfect solutions I'm seeking.
5. Watch less tv and instead read uplifting books or pop in a motivation DVD (I already own many books and DVDs of this nature - get them out and use them).
6. Listen to my inspirational CDs while cleaning - two positives...I love it when the house is clean and it's a perfect time to multi-task and inject positive thoughts at the same time.
7. Keep things simple for the holidays. Reduce stress as much as possible. Always remind myself that it's my own thoughts and perceptions that make things better or worse, and I have control over those. Dan wants to have Thanksgiving at our house this year and he's quite set on it. I should be grateful I have a brand new kitchen with great new appliances and I do love to cook. That doesn't mean I have to put pressure on myself to create this "perfect" meal. It's only one day and I can make it as pleasant or as stressful as I choose...it's my attitude that will make the difference. Same goes for Christmas....don't have expectations of other people and don't put demands upon myself. Maybe this is the year I ease up on the guilt of not wanting to do all that "commercial" stuff, and instead work on helping others and strengthening my spirituality.
8. Try something new and see what happens. Through hospice, they are conducting a six week support group for those who are dealing with loss through the holidays. I was hesitant at first to do this, but am considering it now as something that may end up being very beneficial.
9. Remember this: I don't have to lay down and let this depression take over me. When I allow myself to become depressed, I only focus on what's not working in my life and what's missing. There are so many things I do have to be thankful for. Whatever you focus on expands. The more you give of something, the more you get back. Give out love and joy to others and you receive the same.
Appreciation and gratitude of the simpler things in life that create joy seems to be the biggest antidote for depression. Once I can get in the right state of mind, everything else just seems to fall into place. Instead of having to push myself, I have the energy required to easily do all the things listed above. I start wanting to eat healthier and that comes easier. I see the pounds drop instead of pile on and that fuels my motivation more. Happiness is no longer something evasive...I don't have to chase it, it follows me everywhere I go.
I can turn this around. I will turn it around. This is the time to do it....right now!
Friday, October 28, 2011
Last night was the most fun I've had in a long time!
We dressed up for Halloween and the place was decorated with cobwebs and creepy things. The lights were turned low and there were black lights all around.
We danced to Ghostbusters, Thriller, Monster Mash, and a bunch of new songs.
I came as a honey bee.
note: bee costumes are NOT slimming....horizontal stripes yikes!
My husband came at the beginning, wearing his beekeeper getup. He's a real beekeeper, and he gave my instructors each a honeybear.
Here's a picture with our Zumba instructors....Europa on the right, and co-instructor Hilary on the left:
And here's a pic of our whole group:
Europa gave out 3 prizes for best costumes. The prizes were 2 free classes, woot woot! I got the first one!!! She HAD to give it me....I bribed her with honey, haha!!
I'm so glad I decided to stroll over there on one September evening to check out Zumba. Who knew you could have so much fun burning tons of calories!!
Tuesday, October 25, 2011
As of today, I've been on this planet for 60 years!!! I feel the same as I did in my 20's (well, in my mind that is). As time goes on, it seems the years go by faster. I'm sad that this is the first year that I won't be celebrating with my sister. I know she's all around me today, wishing me happiness....but it's not the same.
My husband is putting up a new railing at my sister's house today and I'm going with him. BIL has put the house up for sale and will be moving down south in a matter of a week or so. I don't blame him. Too many memories and he'll be in a nice, sunny, warm, cheerful climate. A completely new environment is just what he needs and he'll have the support of his son. This'll probably be the last time I'll visit Janet's house.
New chapter. Janet's year-long suffering is over. I'm starting a new decade of life. I need to discover how to make it the best it can be - starting with my health.
I got my Fitbit yesterday. It's tiny! Much smaller than the picture. Amazing what this little thing can do! I wear it all day and it records every step, every flight of stairs, adds up the distance, calculates the calories, and records how long I sleep (even how many times I wake up during the night). It uses a 3D technology to track movement. Nice little gadget, but exercise and activity have never been my problem.
Now to focus on the eating side of the equation! I started logging my food in last week but fell away from it mid-week. I'll recommit today and keep recommitting until I stick with it.
I know I have the ability to make positive changes, and now I have an angel watching over me to guide and encourage me.
Thursday, October 20, 2011
Rants are good if they result in positive change. Sitting around complaining does nothing, so I'm all done with that. On to the positive changes....
This morning I ordered myself a birthday present (next week I'll reach the big 6-0!).
It's called a Fitbit. It tracks your steps, distance, stairs, calories burned. It even tracks your sleep. It's really small so easy to wear.
It's wireless - when you are within 15 feet of the base station, it automatically uploads the data onto your computer. You can view real-time stats on your Fitbit and the website keeps all your data in charts and graphs to show progress/trends.
The next positive thing I did was log in my food this morning! Fitbit has a food tracker on its website, but I have to say that SparkPeople's is much better. I already have tons of favs on SP and they've improved the tracker since I last used it (years ago!). Fitbit just tracks calories, and I like to keep track of certain nutritional components also, which the SP tracker does nicely.
As much as I resist doing it, there are extreme benefits from tracking. I ate 606 calories for breakfast! In the past, I would just continue on eating in oblivion. That was a huge wake-up call for me. If I'm being truly honest with myself, the only times I resist tracking are those times I don't want to obstain from eating high calorie foods in large quantities.
Right now at this moment, I want to face up to it. I can't change what I refuse to see. Now I can see in black and white how much I'm consuming and how much I'm burning. There will be no escaping and living in a world of self denial.
The payoff will be SUCCESS! If I'm staying within my goals, I will see success again. I still remember how great that felt. It wasn't that long ago (March-Oct. 2010) that I was on fire and dropping pounds every week. I keep thinking about that to refuel my motivation.
The biggest thing that has changed for me since last night is my attitude. I'm 95% there if my attitude is in the right place. Things are about to change in the right direction.
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