#Chase2015: A Season of Change

Over the past few weeks, I’ve made many decisions to change the way I live, or had been living. It’s not that I was extremely unhealthy, but I was making unhealthy decisions that were wreaking havoc on the state of my brain, body, and heart. I have a stressful career (as many careers are), but in many fields of nursing, from the time you walk in to the time you leave you are moving.  You’re moving both body and mind and have to be on your A-game at all times. Human lives aren’t something to mess around with. As a result, I have to be very conscious and careful of the decisions I make both inside and outside of work to stay healthy.

One of the biggest changes I’ve made in the last month is going gluten-free. I’ve had many physicians suggest at least trying it, but I was insistent corn was enough and that I was fine with gluten. I even thought that there was no way I would have all the symptoms they say happen when you take gluten out. Well, about 24 hours in to being gluten-free, it was clear I was wrong – others were right. I was severely fatigued, extremely pale, itching everywhere, and just felt miserable. This lasted for about a week, and then all the sudden I felt the better. A month into it I feel the best I’ve felt in years. I feel like myself again. Even if I am one of the people who can’t tolerate gluten, I still don’t think that gluten-free is for everyone, but it is for me, at least for now.

Beyond going gluten-free, here is my list of things I’m focusing on to round out the end of 2015 the healthiest me I can be:

1. Taking a day of rest

As a Christian, the Sabbath is taught, but many years into my faith I am just beginning to understand how truly a day of rest is important. This doesn’t mean sitting on the couch all day, but it means doing things that give life to me and making sure I do rest properly on this day.

2. Stretching

I’m great about walking and good about exercising, I’m awful at stretching. In the last few weeks since making a point to stretch. I can’t explain the difference it has made, but it is wonderful.

3.  Saying “No”

It took me a long time to learn there is such a thing as saying no to good things. Letting go of people pleasing and truly asking the questions… Is this going to stress me out to an unhealthy level? Will this fill me up? Is this an absolute must? Choosing to make my yeses full good yeses and saying no even when it’s hard. It is okay to say no because you need a night at home. It is okay to say no because you have errands to do. It is okay to not do everything.

4. Going technology-free

It isn’t an always thing, but I want at least an hour out of my day to be technology free. Whether this is reading, walking without my phone, cooking… whatever it is, take time away from technology and social media. I’m hoping to continue to increase this time, especially on weekends. We don’t know the long term effects of technology, but we are starting to see some short term effects and some aren’t pretty.

5. 10,000 steps

I got my fitbit in April and it has been  a great tool. I notice such a change in my energy when I keep up my fitness level. A minimum of 10,000 steps 6/7 days a week is my goal. An attainable, challenging goal that helps to keep me healthy.

6. Daring to Dream

This is the most important to me. Somewhere along the way after bad relationships and failed dreams, I left dreaming behind. But the truth is, the heart needs to dream. The heart needs to acknowledge what it is it desires to do most. So I’m taking the chance to dream again, and not just dream, but dream big.

Some of these steps are harder than others, but they are all beneficial. As I sit here after truly putting these into practice for the last few weeks I feel great. I feel rested, I feel healthy, and I feel like myself. You can’t always control you health issues or diseases, but you can make the decisions to live the healthiest you can at that moment. It isn’t fun at every restaurant having to list of allergies and intolerance, but being up all night itching from hives and being extremely fatigued the next day is far worse. Choose to be healthy. Choose to chase out the end of 2015 as the healthiest you there can be right now.

#Chase2015: 7 Enhancements for Better Living

We’re already well into September, where exactly has 2015 gone? I am still asking that question. This year already my family has experienced a few additions. My brother got married and my sister gave birth to a second beautiful baby girl. To celebrate the new additions to my family, I decided to make a few positive additions and changes to my lifestyle:

Chase2015_edited

Here is my top 7 enhancements I have made to #Chase2015:

Using a Fitbit

My pedometer died on me and I was left with the decision of get another or invest in something a little more. I went to Target and using my Cartwheel app (which by the way it is my favorite app that saves me lots of money!) I got the more expensive one for a decent price.

Protein shakes

I have once again started drinking a protein shake on my way to work. It is sustaining and helps fuel me through the morning. I find that when I choose protein over carbs, I don’t like I used to and that is wonderful.

Panera

This quick on-the-go choice has the most healthy options I have found yet. The only downfall at this point is simply that it costs a little more. I can almost always find something to eat that doesn’t kill me in calories for the day. Favorite food choice so far? Turkey and Avocado BLT (minus the tomato of course!). Healthy and fills me up? Count me in!

Increase quiet time

I don’t always succeed at this one, but I at least try to set some quiet time aside to pray, meditate, or just practice being. That is a really hard one to strip yourself down so that you can really enjoy peace and quiet. I still am not all the way there yet, but it gets easier the more I keep trying.

Wunderlist

This is an organizational app that you can get through the Apple store (it is free). I can sync it to my computer, set up reminders that are sent to by email, and I can stay on top of my game. I seem to end up going in a million different directions and this helps keep me on task. So far in the week I have been using it, I feel more organized, more productive, and not so scatterbrained. They have pre-made lists like work, family, groceries, movies to see…as well as the ability for you to change and create new lists. I like also that you can create a network of others with this app. Add others to your network and help delegate tasks. I like using this as a shared network.

Writing skills

So, I am taking two writing classes. Yes, 5 weeks of pen and paper bliss. This is something that I have needed to do for my work and mostly to build confidence in my writing skills. I have moved into a creative marketing position so the need for brushed up writing skills is now needed more than ever. I am hoping this investment in my personal skills will help me achieve success.

Massage and adjustment

I have been getting wellness massages and adjustments from my chiropractor about once every 6 weeks. This is how I deal with my stress. I carry so much of it in my shoulders and when everything is off–it makes my demeanor, my mood, and my fuse short. While I can afford it, I have really tried to work on balance and these two steps have made a major impact on my emotional and physical wellbeing.

Over all, I feel better. I know that I need to work on balancing better and these 7 steps have helped me achieve more balance than I have had in a long while.

Despite stress still being there, I am managing it much better than I used to because of these small enhancements.

How are YOU enhancing your life?

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