LucieB

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This has been a perfect month to focus on stress: two project go-lives, tons of travel, and my sister's wedding at the end of the month! Right now I'm pretty much running on "survival mode," but I would be doing much worse if I didn't have the "reduce stress" focus to work with. When I find myself losing my mind because I'm double booked for two critical customer meetings and I just returned from a four-day trip to no food in the fridge and the house turned upside-down from my poor husband trying to parent through the chaos in my absence, I can remind myself to just pause, breathe, and take it one thing at a time.

I'm in the middle of reading (on audiobook) "10% Happier" by Dan Harris, and it's been emphasizing to me the importance of daily meditation, especially when things are crazy-go-nuts.

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MissMunchie, I've heard of that author via the Minimalists - how are you liking the book generally? Good for you for surviving well right now! That's a lot going on!

 

I've kind of fallen into the practice of meditation accidentally! During Lent, I tried "praying the hours" (it's a centuries-old church tradition but the first time I'd ever done it; basically stopping to pray several times during the day). I haven't been doing it as strictly since Easter, but I did really get used to getting up in the morning and first thing, lighting a candle and just taking a few minutes, and have still been doing that at least during the week. That sense of ritual and a few minutes of peace and quiet and connection are something I really need to cultivate, I think, and will help me with stress. Things have been going okay on that point - I finally got my dang taxes done ;) and made travel arrangements for a couple of upcoming trips, which were all things that have been taking up mental space!

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Quick mid-month update! My sleep is the best it's been in weeks, not sure what I did to fix it but I'll take it.

 

Stress focus moving along. When I find myself in a negative mental thought spiral I try to step back and view it from outside my head. Sometimes works, but at the least I'm aware that I'm thinking that way. What I'm finding is that I create imaginary scenarios in my head them come up with defensive answers to what I perceive as a critique of what I'm thinking. This burns off minutes of time in my head and I get upset with the way I think someone would respond to a situation that's never happened and probably never will. Not sure this counts as daydreaming.

 

I dunno, if I were to start tapping I'd probably end up bang my head into the wall LOL!!

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It's weird, as part of this month's Whole30, I have been drinking only water.  Previously I would take coffee or yerba mate at different times during the day ... not so much as a caffeine hit, but as an enjoyable beverage. I've always been well-hydrated, and I think I'm more so now since water's my only fluid.

I've been sleeping super soundly ... falling asleep easily, sleeping through the night, etc.

 

BUT --- it seems like it's been harder to get out of bed! I've been hitting the snooze button more this month that I usually do.  Once I'm up, I'm good.  Not dragging at any point during the day.

 

I think maybe I'm sleeping so deeply that I just have, like, sleep inertia built up?  :huh:

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Love reading everyone's posts on this journey. Of course we had to choose reducing stress on tax month.... but maybe it's a good test. Over and over we're all saying and seeing the same thing. Just take on ONE THING at a time. We have been coached for years to learn to multi-taxk and we've learned well... so when people want more it becomes multi-tasks, and then LOTS of multi-tasks. I've find it's more about being kind to myself. No one has yet died when I've said, I won't get to that until late this afternoon or tomorrow. As a matter of fact, it keeps down the phone calls of "did you get it done yet". They already know it's not on my radar. I can't say I've been successful everyday. The husband got snapped at a couple times when I was on over load. But overall... I've found it's a lot easier to be kind to myself, so I can be kind to others. A deep breath and "I'm only going to work on this for right now. Nothing else should distract me when I do this" and wow, I am so much more productive. Stress is almost at a minimum...but I feel I have made a good start and plan to try to live my life this way going forward. Sugar is not my friend when reducing stress, though coffee has no impact. I've been drinking it since I was an air traffic controller in the 70's so it's actually my calming morning ritual. Often I go out on my deck, overlook out mountain valley and enjoy that warm cup in my hands as I slip into my day. But sugar is a no go zone. It's no longer a food with no brakes...something sweet and my leptin kicks in big time. But it then increases my heart rate and that seems to generate adrenaline or something. I'm sure Melissa would know the sciency explanation for this, but it mimics stress. Ugh. But sometimes it's delicious...just maybe not "worth it". Hope you're all enjoying a stress free time. If not, go find one...  quick!  Just kidding. Tomorrow is tax day for me. Got everything together tonight so I am ready to tackle my "one thing". Be kind to yourselves, truly. That's the key.

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What I'm finding is that I create imaginary scenarios in my head them come up with defensive answers to what I perceive as a critique of what I'm thinking. This burns off minutes of time in my head and I get upset with the way I think someone would respond to a situation that's never happened and probably never will. Not sure this counts as daydreaming.

 

Lucie, I totally do this too - sometimes I can stop and laugh at myself, sometimes not! It always reminds me of that Friends episode where Phoebe gets so mad at Ross and can't figure out why. ;)

 

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Just logged on to look at May's goal.  (Just in case I needed prep work before the month started  :) )

 

It's "Training and Healthy Movement" so I'll continue focusing on improving my conditioning with yoga and intervals.

 

On that note (sort of!), I've completed 2 Whole30's and loved the results (feel great, sleep, knee pain, etc) with the exception of energy for my workout.  I never got that Tiger Blood during a workout.  Every workout was so hard ... like moving through sludge ... as though I never really fat adapted.

 

Anyway, I'm working through another Whole30 now (a week in).  I expected the same.  So far, no problems.  I wonder why??  I'm doing what I've done before ... I eat a lot (fat and starchy carbs) just as before.  Could this be a cumulative result?  Is it because of different workouts?  It's good news and I hope it continues.

 

Curious if anyone has thoughts on this.

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MissMunchie, I've heard of that author via the Minimalists - how are you liking the book generally? Good for you for surviving well right now! That's a lot going on!

 

I finally finished it, and I really enjoyed it! Harris did a good job telling an entertaining story and making a case about the benefits of meditation. I listened to it via Audiobook on my commute, but since I enjoyed it and generally get different things out of listening vs reading a book, I'll probably getting a paper copy soon to read again.

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Week 3 check-in! I have not done a great job with keeping up on my goals, which I am okay with. Clearly I wasn't as committed to the results as I wanted to be initially. I just sort of kept forgetting to do the things. So I pulled out my planner yesterday and made some notes to make sure I'm setting time aside to meditate and journal before bed. I did horribly giving up caffeine - coffee is my lifeline during stressful times! Like azcoolmom was saying before, coffee is a bit of a calming ritual. But I have done a better job at identifying if another cup is really something I want, or if it's compensating for a craving or stress instead of being a treat that I will enjoy. I've dumped out quite a few cups when I found they were just making me over-caffeinated and not serving me in a healthful way, something I rarely do (I hate wasting good coffee!). So I'm finding a sweet spot at 2 cups a day, one while I get ready in the morning/drive to work and one when I get to the office. For right now that seems appropriate.

 

Anyway, ready to finish out the month strong with my less-stress goals!

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I'm drinking only water for the month of April. I've reduced coffee in the past, but haven't ever cut it out completely.  Figure it will be good for sleep and the rest for my adrenals will be good for stress management.

How's this working out for you, brother. coffee-bath-smiley.gif?1292867572

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drinkwater.gif

 

It's fine.  Not fantastic, but I'm appreciating the process.  In past threads when I've read about people discussing removing wine during a Whole30, and replacing it with sparkling water or flavor-infused iced tea or whatever, to "keep the ritual", as it were, it never really resonated with me.  But now I get it more.  As I mentioned earlier in this thread (or maybe the April 1st one), coffee hasn't ever been for me a "gotta have it to wake up in the morning" thing ...yes, I experience the boost of caffeine, but I also just like enjoying a good cup of coffee.  More so in the past year that I've been doing Invisalign (removable plastic teeth trays kind of like braces) and I've switched to iced black coffee since you can't have hot liquids with the trays.  I really enjoy brewing coffee in the AeroPress and pressing it over ice. 

 

So ya, I've been sleeping good and still going to the gym and all the usual stuff.  I'm sure my adrenals appreciate the break and I guess maybe my cortisol is averaging lower or something?

 

By the AeroPress will be back to it's usual place on the kitchen counter come Sunday May 1st.

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drinkwater.gif

 

It's fine.  Not fantastic, but I'm appreciating the process.  In past threads when I've read about people discussing removing wine during a Whole30, and replacing it with sparkling water or flavor-infused iced tea or whatever, to "keep the ritual", as it were, it never really resonated with me.  But now I get it more.  As I mentioned earlier in this thread (or maybe the April 1st one), coffee hasn't ever been for me a "gotta have it to wake up in the morning" thing ...yes, I experience the boost of caffeine, but I also just like enjoying a good cup of coffee.  More so in the past year that I've been doing Invisalign (removable plastic teeth trays kind of like braces)brushing-teeth.gifand I've switched to iced black coffee since you can't have hot liquids with the trays.  I really enjoy brewing coffee in the AeroPress and pressing it over ice. 

 

So ya, I've been sleeping good and still going to the gym and all the usual stuff.  I'm sure my adrenals appreciate the break and I guess maybe my cortisol is averaging lower or something?

 

By the AeroPress will be back to it's usual place on the kitchen counter come Sunday May 1st. 

 

brushing-teeth-smiley-emoticon.gif   My, what nice teefies you have,  be sure to keep them brushed. 

 

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drinkwater.gif

 

It's fine.  Not fantastic, but I'm appreciating the process.  In past threads when I've read about people discussing removing wine during a Whole30, and replacing it with sparkling water or flavor-infused iced tea or whatever, to "keep the ritual", as it were, it never really resonated with me.  But now I get it more.  As I mentioned earlier in this thread (or maybe the April 1st one), coffee hasn't ever been for me a "gotta have it to wake up in the morning" thing ...yes, I experience the boost of caffeine, but I also just like enjoying a good cup of coffee.  More so in the past year that I've been doing Invisalign (removable plastic teeth trays kind of like braces) and I've switched to iced black coffee since you can't have hot liquids with the trays.  I really enjoy brewing coffee in the AeroPress and pressing it over ice. 

 

So ya, I've been sleeping good and still going to the gym and all the usual stuff.  I'm sure my adrenals appreciate the break and I guess maybe my cortisol is averaging lower or something?

 

By the AeroPress will be back to it's usual place on the kitchen counter come Sunday May 1st.

I didn't do invisalign but I did use a system with clear tooth brackets & wires - I stopped drinking red wine because it would stain the wires, and completely lost my snack habit as it was just such a faff to go and clean my teeth every time I had a handful of dried fruit/nuts - which was a great thing coming into Whole30!! How are the invisalign pain-wise? I had to blend most of my food for the first two weeks - then after that my mouth was just a bit tender after each adjustment.

I had invisalign-esque retainers for six month once my braces came off (although they were removed for eating & drinking, except water), and now I'm down to wearing the retainers at night time only.

One of the best decisions I've ever made.

Stress wise for me I've had a pretty stress free month - or rather I've just been dealing with it better, prioritizing better, practising gratitude, and generally just feeling more at peace with my choices. I think the fact that my sleep and diet is good is really helping - I'm just in a better place generally.

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Invisalign

Pain is minimal. There's a new set of trays every 2 weeks, and the first day or so of a new set can be kinda sore. Some trays have made certain teeth more sore than others; I think it's just the nature of what tweaks they're making as the shifting occurs over time. Definitely cuts down on snacking! You can read online about the "Invisalign diet" because, ya, who wants to brush them just for a handful of whatever. They make a good case for keeping them clean though, since the trays can trap food against your teeth & gums and also block saliva from doing it's normal job of keeping things flushed out.

I had braces in high school and these are definitely more convenient and comfortable. I wish I would've worn my retainer after braces though, and avoided this whole thing. Ah well.

It's taken a lot longer than they told me it would --- I'm over a year at this point, and I'm good about wearing my trays for the recommended time per day or more (another benefit of IF? ;)) ...

I paid for them using one of those "health savings plans" via my work's health insurance ... not sure if would want to go out of pocket.

I'll see how I feel when they tell me I'm "done" and I see the before/after teeth photos.

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^ Ha! I think that has to be my favourite 'quote' of all time!!  :D 

I also had braces in high school & didn't follow through with the retainers - hindsight is a great thing, huh?  :rolleyes:

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Fun to read the updates, I was getting behind. As you'll read, I've been doing some digital detoxing this month. But I like how everyone is trying something new, carrying lessons learned in previous months forward, and making progress! I quit coffee last year, thought I'd miss it after so many years addicted, now don't miss it at all. We can learn and change if needed, and it's fun to test our limits like this.

 

Sleep for me was going great for a few weeks, but now again I'm up 3-4 times a night to pee. So some more focus on that is needed to figure itout. Because when sleep is good I notice it!

 

Stress -- I've made MAJOR gains here. My stressors weren't acute, but rather these little naggy things that accumulated on me. Reminders on my phone that popped up every day; news articles or podcasts notices emailed to me; neighborhood or blog feed updates; tiny household chores going undone until I 'had more time'; letters to family I kept wanting to write; a receipt at work I need to submit lurks on my desk; a messy yard that needs a few hours of work; errands that wait for many weekends.  I felt like I was constantly being PINGED with do-this then do-that then do-this and do-that. And none of it was anyone else telling me to do it, that's a separate list. This was all on and from ME!

 

So I killed the reminders, I'll hang a post-it on the fridge instead of seeing it repeatedly when I open the phone. Set my phone to Do Not Disturb from 8pm to 6am, working my way up to 9am. Unsubscribed to every digest or email feed. Limited myself to checking one website a day. Set Wednesday as my letter writing day, so I don't think about it any other day. I do 2-3 fast tidy-ups before leaving for work so I don't see the mess a second time upon coming home. At lunch I pick three chores on my list to do before dinner, that way stuff gets done but it doesn't take all night doing them. Sometimes it's just "spend 15 mins in the yard" or "do 10 mins of meditation". 

 

Removing all this noise from my life has been great. How long have I been living like this?!  I guess it's a slow snowball effect. One news feed here, another there. I feel like a big clog has been cleared from the pipes :)

----

On a separate but related note, I just finished a book called Habits of A Healthy Brain by Loretta G Breuning. I thought it was going to be a make/break habits book, but I was wrong. It's about 5 brain chemicals (dopamine, endorphin, oxytocin, serotonin, cortisol), how they make us feel, what induces them, how we evolved with them, etc. 

 

When I first finished the book I was disappointed, like I said I had the wrong goal for reading it. But upon re-reading the last chapters with a different perspective I found some golden nuggets that I've incorporated into my life. She provides worksheet suggestions for how to induce these chemicals. So now when I accomplish a goal I literally pat myself on the back, say I DID IT, or high-five (dopamine); I vary my exercise to be fun or more challenging (endorphins); I look for opportunities to help a neighbor, chat with a cashier, or spend a few more minutes with the gym personnel (oxytocin). I take a moment at work or at home to recognize my contributions to those places and appreciate my status (serotonin). 

 

Last week while walking the dog I a neighbor yell that I was "disrespectful for letting the dog walk on his grass". (Just walking!). I stayed calm, said that since he requested it I'd be happy to avoid his yard in the future. For the next two blocks my heart rate was high and I kept replaying it all in my head (cortisol). So I stopped to congratulate myself for staying calm (dopamine), petted the dog for 30 seconds (oxytocin), and told myself my neighbor is an idiot (serotonin). OK, kidding on that last one!!  :D  After that, I calmed down and pretty much forgot about it.

 

So lots of changes here. Next up is Healthy Movement? Gotta get ready for that I guess. Some research and I'll get back to it here. I've already typed enough!

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My stress focus month was a success for me! Going to continue digital detox, constant to-do's and tasking. As for the mental 'imaginary scenarios' I initially struggled with, in some free thought let-it-flow meditations I realized I could script positive responses in my head to replace negative ones. That helped!

For the Healthy Movement/Training month of May: I've downloaded a few yoga and Pilates apps to test (I don't normally do these exercises), I'm committing to foam rolling for at least 5 minutes each day I run, and I'm NOT going to do my usual month long push-up or burped or abs focus challenge I normally do because they weren't always fun. And I'm finally going to sign up for a fall race! Race shopping!!

How's everyone else ending April and what are goals for May? How did coffee challenges go? If you fell off track in April, come right back and focus on next goals. All are welcome to join in :)

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Ok folks, now that we're all happy little puddles of goo due to having eliminated all our stress this past month, it's time to get up and move and groove!

 

Here's some of the official Whole9/30 pages on Healthy Movement to get us started:

cqDFGan.jpg

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How's everyone else ending April and what are goals for May? How did coffee challenges go?

 

 

Because I've been on and on this month about how I still miss drinking coffee as a beverage (i.e. not just as wake up juice), just yesterday my flatmate asked if I was going to try decaf going forward.  That hadn't occurred to me before!

Previously I'd put decaf coffee in the same category as non-alcoholic beer, or vegetarian chili (aka "why bother??" ;)) ... but I'm thinking I might give it a go!  I've got some regular grounds to use up still, but ya, I think I will get some decaf stuff and try it out.  There's still a bit of caffeine in it I guess ... I'll probably look up how it compares to stuff like green tea, just so I know what I'm drinking.

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Decaf makes me long for the real stuff.  Green tea,  I like loose Gunpowder green tea.  Can make several cups with a small amount. 

"One large-scale study in Japan, published in "The Journal of the American Medical Association"  indicates a link between green tea consumption and a longer life span. The study followed 40,530 adults over 11 years and found that those who drank the most green tea were less likely to die. Harvard Health Publications says two or three cups per day is a reasonable goal."

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Hey all,

 

Checking in - enjoying all the posts.

 

I had a set back a week ago.  

 

I have problems occasionally with passing out (hello mid-life!) ... after lots of tests, figured out it's probably low blood pressure exacerbated by dehydration among other things.  I've gotten good about recognizing when it's happening (and also preventing it).  But didn't catch it when I got up to go to the bathroom early morning last weekend (kind of a perfect storm of mistakes on my part).  Knocked myself out on the tile floor (scared hubby something fierce), ambulance, ED, CT ... now recovering from a concussion.

 

All that to say I'm on a break from working out until things heal up.  The progress feels slow, but I'm getting better.  (I'm really impatient ... more so than I thought.)

 

Brain resting is boring.  I'm well enough now to do a little reading (and computer), but no driving, TV, etc.  Won't complain (but I want to!!) since it could have been much worse and I should have been more careful to prevent it.

 

Trying to use this time to practice a restful mind (meditation-like stuff) because that's about all I can do  :( but lordy it's hard!  

 

Hope to be back at it in a couple of weeks.

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