It’s hurricane season, and there is already another hurricane barreling towards us when most are still picking up the pieces from the last hurricane.
That’s life, though. Life presents one storm after another, whether it is in the form of a hurricane, personal illness, family trauma, and the list can go on and on.
We have to learn to live our best life now and not wait for the storm to pass.
Pampering is an essential part of living your best life. You HAVE to take care of yourself.
I used to live in Connecticut years ago. I loved living in Connecticut. It was such a beautiful place to live.
I made many new friends while I lived there. One of my new friends had immense wealth.
One day, I was at her humongous home, and our daughters were playing somewhere in the house, and my new friend was giving me a tour of her home.
I remember her showing me her bathroom, which was fantastic.
Floor to ceiling windows.
Beautiful sunken tub surrounded by ferns.
“I really love this tub, but I have never used it,” she commented to me.
“Why not?” I asked.
“I just don’t have the time?”
While we walked on to the next room, I was stunned over what she had just said.
How can you not have enough time for a bath?
In a tub you love?
How can life be so hectic that you can’t find 10 minutes for a soak?
Living in the idyllic backdrop of New England, I too kept myself busy; although I didn’t have the grand tub to ignore, I did ignore taking time for myself.
Then, I had a miscarriage at 15 weeks, which devastated my mind, body, and spirit.
Six months later, I had another miscarriage at 8 weeks, which further weakened me.
You’ll never guess what happened six months after that – I caught Lyme’s disease.
I felt like I was in a boxing ring getting punched in the face and gut over and over again by a prizefighter.
It’s just life, though. I am no different than anyone else.
Life can be one hurricane after another.
After it took months to climb out of the deep hole of lethargy that Lyme’s disease threw me into, I began to rethink the whole “No time for the tub” agenda, and I am hoping if that is your mindset, you will reconsider that too.
If you walk by your tub and think, boy I could use a soak, then take ten minutes out and soak.
Who is it going to hurt?
No one is going to care that you took time out for yourself.
If you have always wanted to take a gardening class, go do it NOW.
Don’t wait until the stars align or someone with higher rank gives you permission.
Go take the class NOW.
If you have always wanted to take yoga or exercise class, or meet your friend out for a cup of coffee or a glass of wine, go do it NOW!
The excuses you make to not pamper yourself mean nothing.
When you take your last breath on this earth, I promise you, you will not think, “I lived a good decent life. I’m so glad I didn’t soak in my bathtub for ten minutes.”
You may very well say while at the end of your life, “What the hell was I thinking? My life is nearly over, and I never got a chance to live my best life.”
Taking time out for yourself helps you to live your very best life.
When you make that extra time in your day for yourself, go do what you need to pamper yourself.
None of us have that much time in life to pass up opportunities to be kind to ourselves.
Pamper yourself now because that next hurricane is already on its way.
Life is ever changing. We are dynamic and rarely static, yet having a life of routine might help you live longer.
How is that possible?
My grandfather lived a very structured life.
He ate an egg on toast, two pieces of bacon, and three pieces of cantaloupe for breakfast, every day.
He ate breakfast, lunch, and dinner at the same time, every day.
He walked after each meal, every day.
He went to bed at 11:30 pm and woke up at 7 am, every day.
His patterned behavior is what he attributed to his healthy life, and I have to agree.
There is so much about life that we are unable to control. We can’t control the storms that come our way, the job layoffs, the broken relationships, but we can control the simple things in life that keep us going.
The Big 3 that keeps us going are:
Oh wait, did you think by the Big 3 I meant:
Rock and Roll
Sorry about that.
If we can get a grip on performing those three life tasks consistently (sleeping, eating, and exercising) we have a chance of having a smoother and potentially longer life.
My grandfather, Poppop, lived to be 92, and he lived fully up until the last 3 months.
During the last 3 months of his life, he was in the hospital. He had some discomfort, mostly from all the tests the hospital put him through. The last 3 days of his life were difficult for him, and then he died. Because I was in agony watching him die, it seemed like he lay dying for a long time. Looking back though, it was a very short period of time.
So many people I know seem to be slowly dying from the time they turn 40, and they continue this slow decent for decades. Decades. Many of my friends, neighbors, and family members (No, I’m not talking about you.) struggle with weight gain, heart disease, diabetes, whacky hormones, and the list goes on.
Most of us have not found that peace that a life of consistency brings.
Our bodies need a healthy routine of the Big 3.
We need a sensible pattern to help us exist.
You feel that, don’t you?
When you stay out too late, isn’t the next day really difficult?
When you eat that piece of birthday cake at 9 pm at night, don’t you have trouble sleeping?
When you miss your daily workout session, don’t you feel sluggish?
When you try and compensate with an extra cup of coffee, don’t you feel all bothered and jittery?
We need the Big 3 to remain constant in our lives.
My Poppop grew up during the Great Depression. There was a reason for him to ration his food and eat the same foods for each meal. There was also a reason for him to wake up at the same time each day to go to work.
Luckily, we are not experiencing an economic turn like that of the Great Depression. Today, many of us can eat whatever we want with the ability to choose between the multitudes of fast food and grocery stores. Many of us can sleep when we want to with the ability to work in virtual offices from home.
That isn’t helping us as a nation to stay healthy, though. As we vary our sleep patterns, we lessen our ability to heal from the emotional and physical wear and tear life puts on our bodies. As we vary our food intake, we alter our metabolism. As we vary our exercise, our bodies become injured more easily.
Consistency in life is important, but don’t get me wrong. Spontaneity has its importance in life as well. I will never pass up birthday cake at 9 pm, and I don’t think Poppop would have either. You’ve got to always leave room in life for adventures. Go watch those shooting stars, and hike those canyons, but for the normal days, stay consistent.
While you don’t have to be as exact as my grandfather, I challenge you to try being routined with the Big 3 for six weeks and see how you feel.
Wake up every day at the same time.
Endeavor to eat a protein, fruit, vegetable, and grain for every breakfast, lunch, and dinner. You don’t have to eat the same thing for every meal like Poppop did. Just make sure you have the same nutrition ratio, and eat as close to the same time each day as you can.
Walk, stretch, practice yoga each day. If you can only exercise in the mornings, then do it! If it has got to be after lunch, then do your exercise at that time. Pick a time and stick to it.
Being consistent with the Big 3 helped my grandfather with his overall health, but it also helped create space in his life for happiness and peace.
A friend of mine has told me on numerous occasions that she doesn’t want to live past 80. She’s currently in her 50’s, so that doesn’t leave her with a whole lot of time. (No, this isn’t about you. Just, kidding, it’s totally about you!) She has predetermined that she will have a life of medical hardships that 80-year-olds often face, and I find that so sad.
My grandfather had such a great outlook on life. Even as he lay dying during that 3-day time span, he held my hand and smiled as he told me he was planning on living until he was 110.
Stay consistent with the Big 3, and may you create so much room in your life for peace and happiness that you find yourself striving to live to be 130!
Spring is in the air, and so is a lot of collective stress.
It’s been a brutal start to spring.
We’re all feeling it.
Nearly everyone’s March Madness NCAA Basketball brackets burst with unimaginable game outcomes (I still love you, Tar Heels. Yeah, I’m talking to you, Berry and Pinson!).
Our kids have taken to marching on the capitol and giving moving speeches along the way because they are fed up with being shot at during school. (These are OUR BABIES marching because of violence! OURS!)
I don’t even want to talk about the news media’s obsession over a woman named Stormy who had an affair with our current president before he was president. (Why is this mass media newsworthy? We all get it. A lawyer gave her hush money. Is that really 60 Minutes worthy? Our babies marching – OK, I can see that. But, an hour of Stormy? Oh for heaven’s sake!)
Collective stress is in the air, arriving before the impending rain of pollen.
That pollen will cover and clog everything it touches until a good storm washes it away. We truly don’t want to stop the deluge of pollen because it promotes growth.
Just as the rain will wash away that irritating green river of pollen, there are actions we can take to remove collective and personal stress.
Here are 7 actions to rinse off stress.
Have you noticed while watching the news, you may be holding your breath or shallow breathing with your shoulders up around your ears?
Have you ever noticed how you breathe when you are happy and exhilarated, like when UNC won last year’s NCAA Tournament? Many of us were taking deep, long breaths after that win.
We can help reset our stressed-out nervous system by practicing breathing exercises.
Breathe in through your lower abdomen, poking your belly out. Continue the breath by expanding your ribcage. With the same breath, breathe into your collarbone area. Now, exhale pulling your stomach in towards your spine.
When you practice breathing full breaths, you may become aware of how often you hold your breath or breathe shallow breaths.
Make sure you are taking several deep breaths (Yogic breaths) every day.
Stress wears us all down. When you sleep, your body’s nervous system can repair.
Take a nap for ten minutes, thirty minutes if you can, every day to help you reset and repair. You’ll be amazed at what a brief break can do to increase your daily productivity.
Speaking of daily rest, not only does your body need to repair so does your mind. Ten to twenty minutes of daily meditation helps to clear away the clutter collective stress heaps on you.
Meditation is the act of doing nothing.
You can do nothing for ten minutes, right?
Practicing yoga on a regular basis helps to relax your mind and muscles.
Yoga also helps increase your focus.
You don’t have to go to a studio to practice yoga, just do some poses in your office or your living room.
Keep it simple.
I’ll post a yoga pose for you here to get you started.
Get up and get moving for at least 30 minutes every day.
That stress is wearing you down.
Walk it out!
Do something to get your heart pumping and your body sweating to rinse away that stress.
Remember that time you helped out in the soup kitchen?
Or the time you made cookies at The Ronald McDonald House?
Or when you picked up the drink tab of your friend wearing a Duke basketball sweatshirt? (You helped out a Duke fan even though you know Bagley is a big diva who holds onto the rim too much when he dunks.)
Remember how great it made you feel?
Conversely, stress makes you feel awful, so do something that makes you feel good – help someone!
Find the Time to Do Something You Love to Do
Since we are talking about doing something that makes you feel good, do something you love to do.
Stress takes a toll on us all. It can make us forget who we are.
It can make us forget what we love.
If you love shooting baskets, go outside and shoot hoops for a few minutes.
If you love to read, go read.
Whatever it is you love to do, go do it!
Collectively, we will all recover.
- To follow my blog, please click the subscribe button on this page. We’ll be working together on ways to journey towards the positive.
- Click the Yoga tab to find simple yoga poses that we can all do together to help move in the direction to calm down and let go.
- Next week we’ll take a look at Reasons Why We All Need to Calm Down! I hope you will find your way back to The Happy Bishop to read the post.
Now available, How to Survive the ICU Experience, an eBook to help you as you sit by the bedside of a loved one. Buy your copy here!
Regular exercise can make you happier!
Recently, I had lunch with Ginger Casbon, head coach at Orange Theory Fitness. While eating a fabulous eggplant pasta dish, we talked about many things. One of the topics was how great exercise is.
Ginger, a certified personal trainer, and group fitness instructor told me, “Exercise improves our digestive system, gives us more energy, and even boosts our immune system.”
I did complain about how tough exercising can be, and Ginger reminded me, “If it is challenging, then it’s worth doing.”
Let me fill you in a little on Orange Theory Fitness. It is a one-hour high-intensity workout which burns more calories than steady straight cardio. You wear a heart rate monitor to track your heart through five zones to make sure you aren’t overtraining or undertraining.
I have been exercising at Orange Theory Fitness for over a year. Although I do complain on occasion about how challenging the workout can be, I have seen results. I love how it pushes me to get the most out of my workout as a result of excellent coaching, varied exercises, and a strong sense of family with my fellow OTF-ers. Just this weekend, our class raised money for a local young man battling Leukemia (Please click here to donate to young Casen’s cause.).
As Ginger and I ate, we gave stern looks to our waiter who walked by us with tempting deserts (No, we didn’t get a dessert, and yes, I tipped him well.). Feeling a sense of victory over not indulging in the light, fluffy cheesecake that traveled past our table, we came up with a few fun facts on exercise.
When you partake in a regular exercise program, you sleep better at night. So, go on, take that eight-hour sleep. You have earned it!
It’s not as easy as driving backward on a racetrack as Steven Tyler did for a 2018 Super Bowl Ad for Kia. Click here if you haven’t seen it. It’s pretty cool. When you exercise, you get rid of stress, and you sweat out toxins making you feel younger. Well, that is after your eight hours of sleep, of course.
Think about the likable people you know: Dwayne Johnson, Jackie Chan, Oprah, Kristen Bell. OK, so maybe you don’t know these people personally, but you must admit, they are very likable. Guess what? They all have solid exercise routines in place.
When you exercise regularly, not only will people like you more, they will also tolerate you more. Maybe it has to do with sweat, or chemistry, or endorphins.
Maybe people like you and tolerate you more when you exercise because you like yourself more.
When you like yourself more, you are happier! That makes it worth the sweat!
Whichever exercise program works for you, keep going! Here’s to a happy you!
For more information on Orange Theory Fitness, check out their website at http://www.orangetheoryfitness.com
- To follow my blog, please click the subscribe button on this page. We’ll be working together on ways to journey towards the positive.
- Coming soon: Yoga Wednesdays! I’ll be posting simple yoga poses that we can all do together to help move in the direction to calm down and let go.
- Next week we’ll talk about taking the agony out of stretching. I hope you will find your way back to The Happy Bishop to read the post.
Coming soon, How to Survive the ICU Experience, an eBook geared to help you as you sit by the bedside of a loved one.