Eat Well, Sleep More

I really truly thought I haven’t been this stress-free in so long. 

Until I got sick and the doctor told me that people get ATP when they’re under a lot of stress.

Sure, work isn’t as physically and mentally draining as it used to be for me (thank GOODNESS for that!), but there are other stressors around.  I figured that for me it was not sleeping enough and (sometimes) over fasting.

Having trouble sleeping

It’s been over a year since my Sleep Apnea diagnosis, yet unfortunately, I haven’t made much progress in creating habits to promote better sleep quality. Heck, I don’t even use my CPAP regularly. And I should. The sleep doctor recommended that I use that machine everyday, and even during travel.

When I got sick, I noticed an increased challenge in getting myself to relax and ease into slumber. At times, I even felt anxious. Of what, I couldn’t really tell.

My Fitbit comes with a Sleep Tracker, and if it’s accurate, I’m only getting an average of 3 hours of sleep. I have more Awake and Restless hours logged than actual Sleep! 

Getting enough rest and quality sleep should be a priority. No matter where you are in your life right now, it’s important to accept this. Getting sick, and being instructed by the doctor to rest at home for three days (without doing ANY work), is a sure way to get one to take this seriously. But we shouldn’t really wait for any Medical issues or emergencies before we take heed.

What happens we don’t get enough sleep?

This is Your Body Without Sleep (infographic) - see Pinterest link for image credits

This Is Your Body Without Sleep (Infographic)

Virtually everyone has experienced the negative effects of a bad night’s sleep: grogginess, crankiness, lack of focus and a host of other nasty feelings that hover over your body and mind the entire

So you see, there is A LOT riding on getting the right amount of shut-eye regularly. Our well-being depends on it.

Deliberately sleeping less

But I get it. Sleeping 8 hours or more daily means spending a third of our lifetime in bed. And when you’re dreaming big, and have so much to accomplish, that seems like too much time wasted.

So we try to make our days longer by cheating ourselves of a few minutes of sleep. Then we find that we need more time to do the things we want to do, so we wake up earlier, and go to bed later. And it keeps going on and on and on.

We tell ourselves: Oh I’m okay with just four hours of sleep. We convince ourselves that we can function just as well with four hours as we would if we had eight hours of sleep. But do we, really?

Skipping Meals

Have I mentioned that I recently lost about 40 pounds? That’s over the course of a year. The most weight I have lost and kept off EVER. Yay me.

I got here by eating well, and incorporating exercise into my routine. There’s actually a ways to go to get to my ideal weight (the answer to many health issues, apparently) but already, I know that I am in a good place in terms of my health and well-being.

My wellness plan involves having three balanced meals a day. There’s a prescribed timing for meals, but we’re cautioned not to starve ourselves. The problem is, I have unintentionally been skipping meals while at work the past few weeks. Doing so hasn’t helped me lose more weight. Instead, it just put me at more risk for getting sick. And get sick, I did.

That day I started having chills, and complained of a very sore throat, my husband immediately pointed out that I must not have been eating well. He accused me of skipping meals! I was on the defensive right away – telling him that that was against my wellness plan. But when the doctor was asking me questions around the same topic, I had to stop and really think about what I had been doing in more recent weeks. I had to admit to myself that yes, indeed I have been skipping meals to the point where I was starving. And I should have known better.

Purpose and Priority

Think about this: Instead of deliberately depriving yourself of sleep, how can you make more out of 16 hours that you’re already awake? Take an accounting of each 15- or 30-minute block of your waking hours and ask yourself: does the time you spend on the things you do, represent the life you want to live?

Do your current actions take you closer to your goals?

It isn’t easy. First you need to determine what you want to achieve. Have you painted your big picture? Do you know where you want to go?

Knowing your purpose, setting your intention, makes it easier to decide what your priority is. It makes tough decisions easier to make, like how you spend each minute, and with whom you spend it with.

If you haven’t decided yet what your big goals are, then maybe you can make to prioritize. So you can spend less time doing unimportant stuff, and have more time for what matters most – including rest and sleep.

As for me, I have my Passion Road Map (thanks to my Passion Planner). It’s still changing from time to time, and I’m not sure that I’ve already found my purpose in life, but I understand the general direction I want to head towards. But I’ve realized too that I will not achieve my goals, or it will take a lot of extra effort to do so, if I keep pushing my body to the limit without giving it the proper nourishment, exercise, and rest that it needs.

So getting better sleep, and NOT skipping meals, are currently my priority. Locking these down help assure that I will have the physical and mental energy, for everything else I need to do.

How about you? How much sleep do you get? And do you eat three balanced meals daily?

 

I don’t like this picture!

I enjoyed our vacation in Taiwan so much – there was a lot to see, and we were in good company.

But I’m not LOVING this photo so much. Haha!

Here, we were about to go up the steps in Jiufen Old Street that is famous for being the inspiration for the animated film Spirited Away (not just the steps, ha). Somehow though, instead of igniting memories of sights and sounds of that rainy but FUN day, looking at this photo has me fretting over my not-so-crowning glory. Ugh!

But I am still sharing this photo. Why?

Because I realize that having thinning hair has been bothering me MORE than it should. I mean, of course I do worry about it – it could be a sign of some health issue (and as it turns out, of low levels of a particular hormone). And I am dealing with it.

But I shouldn’t let this bother me SO MUCH, and in THIS WAY.

Not SO MUCH that I wouldn’t want photos of me being taken. And definitely not SO MUCH that I see a photo and completely overlook the more important memories and experiences memorialized in that captured moment.

Sure, I don’t look perfect (ha! It’s not just the hair, hon), but I was having a GREAT TIME.

It had been raining; my hair, scarf and jacket were wet – so I was getting really cold. And I was thinking, I should have brought a backpack instead. But I didn’t mind. I just really wanted to keep walking and keep exploring. I didn’t care about how I looked right at that moment. It was the weekend and Old Street was teeming with tourists, stopping for a photo already meant blocking the way up. I didn’t feel the need to take the time to fix my hair and everything else right then. Besides, why be bothered NOW about how I looked THEN when all I’m supposed to be doing is looking back at that memory?

Of course, most of the time I would also try to look better when being photographed, just like every other person. There is nothing wrong with that. Who doesn’t want to look good? I just also have to admit that I don’t look good all the time. Not Instagram- or Pinterest-worthy every second of the day. And I am okay with that.

This quick visit to Jiufen is one of my favorites of the entire trip because I felt that the place had a vibe like Sagada’s – it’s in the north of Taiwan, and the quieter street had interesting artisan shops and cafés. It is definitely a place I would love to visit again.

Over at the very busy Old Street, there was so much food and it was interesting to just stand back and witness all that was happening. Even watching food being prepared is quite the treat.

All that, and more, is what I should remember. And that’s what you should see too.

The next time you look at photos of a vacation, event, or even everyday life, and it sparks a good memory BUT also shows you in a funny or unglamorous light – choose to look beyond your perceived imperfections. Remember its context and remind yourself of the stories associates with it.

How we saved up for Travel

This is our Travel Money Jar. Today, it is nearly empty but there is no reason to be sad. After all, this empty Travel jar means that our travel memory banks are full!

You see, it’s nearly empty because we used its former contents to fund our recent trip to Puerto Princesa, Palawan. And what an amazing trip that was!

We got a really good deal on airfare for this trip back in November 2017. As soon as I learned of PAL’s seat sale, I let Mom know right away so we can take the trip together. Just a couple of months prior to the trip date, I reached out to an old classmate of mine from grade school who is in the Tourism Industry in PP. She hooked me up with a local travel agent to make arrangements for the hotel and tours.

52 Weeks Money Savings Challenge

A couple years ago, the 52 Weeks Money Savings Challenge became viral.

The concept: Save an incremental amount of money weekly, and enjoy your lump sum savings at the end of the year. One can start with a small amount that increases each week (50 pesos on the first week, and increase the amount by PHP 50 increments weekly), or start with the biggest amount, and work your way down.

It’s our second year now of doing this challenge. We chose to specifically allocate the savings for our Travel fund, and physically stash cash in a repurposed jar of Mayo.

The husband and I are both doing the challenge, so we started with 50 pesos each at the very beginning. If we miss one week, we make up for it on the next. To stay on top of the challenge, we use the 52 Weeks Money Challenge App.

Both the husband and I have the app on our phones, so every week, I enter the actual amount we each deposit. If we needed to borrow cash for emergency spending in the house, we record it through the app too.

To start off, you will need to enter the following:

  • Motivation/Goal – Travel, a new TV, or Downpayment for a new house, or whatever you fancy
  • Saving Method – Start low, or start high
  • Base Unit/amount – we chose 50 pesos, to get a substantial amount for our travel goals, but you can choose a lower amount depending on your end goal and capacity.
  • Reminder Time – This is my favorite feauture because you can set a day and time at which the app reminds you to save weekly!

Every once in a while, I count the actual cash in the jar to make sure the totals tally with what the app tells us we should already have. It’s been a real good way to keep track of things and not rely on just memory – Did we put money in the Travel Jar this week?

Doing this challenge, and physically seeing the money stack up inside our Travel Jar, has really kept us on track with saving money for our travel goals – without necessarily taking away from our regular budget.

As a couple, we haven’t done that much travelling – it just wasn’t a priority in the past. But it is also something we are changing.

How do you save up for your travel goals?

Are you also doing the 52 Week Money Saving Challenge? How is your experience, so far?

Recognizing Co-Occurring Disorders in Loved Ones and Getting Treatment

How good are you at recognizing the signs of substance abuse and symptoms of mental disorders in family members? Can you effectively answer how much is too much? Do you know when someone keeps having an extra drink at lunch, or nightcap, beyond what’s recommended? Or has a loved one talked about needing something to help balance them out in order to make it through the day, leaning on that extra little drink or pill? Has buzzed driving gone from just getting home to the second DUI, or that original pain pill prescription becomes a seemingly constant script fix? When there is too much partying or pain management, then it is time to seek some addiction treatment.

These questions are hard enough to answer for ourselves, let alone for a loved one. These are all reasons, and rightfully so, for additional concern.

Oftentimes, addiction may not be the only problem. There may be an underlying mental health issue as well. Fortunately, there are treatment options available to families with someone suffering from a co-occurring disorder. In fact, if the affected individual has health insurance, it might be possible for them to access free detox solutions going forward.

You have to do your best to figure out whether there are any mental disorders, substance abuse or both in order to seek out a drug rehab center for treatment. For effective recovery, underlying issues (including mental health) have to be addressed as well.

Wellness starts with admitting there is a problem. Your loved one has to recognize this in order for treatment to help. Be prepared for resistance from that person, including outright denial of a problem existing. This is true whether they’re dealing with depression, bipolar disorder, alcoholism, narcotics addiction, etc.

Having adequate health insurance is a big portion of getting well, both mentally and physically. Without good health insurance or the means to pay outright, your treatment can be subpar or non-existent at all if some health institution refuses to treat you.

Also, the path from recognizing a substance abuse issue to sobriety is not usually a straightforward one, like a ‘walk-in-the-park.’ Often, it is more like Dorothy starting on that path to Oz, you have to put one foot in front of the other. There may be some stops, getting off on the wrong track even, or other unexpected detours. But you may also meet some people along the way who take care to be vested in you and your loved one’s well-being and who want to see you do well.

Sobriety is an every minute of every day, of every month, of every year thing. Falling off the wagon happens. But the most successful treatments look at the reasoning behind why you fell off the wagon and then gives you the tools and assistance and resources to help manage these detracting situations. These problem management tools become part of your arsenal in order to hopefully build another string of days, weeks, months and years of success successful sobriety. The same is true with the mental health portion of treatment.

A Life in Stitches

I loved reading this collection of essays from author and knitter Rachael Herron.

Seriously. My blog is Stitches and Words right, but her book should be called that. She writes so beautifully about her knitting.

Despite a very productive year so far in terms of yarn projects and blogging (productive na to, considering previous years), I really don’t have a lot of completed projects under my belt. Still, I find that using either of the two blankets I made and kept always gives me a sense of pride for my handiwork, and comfort.

In contrast, writing sometimes makes me anxious. For a long time writing was also my solace, but not having written for so long I feel like I have lost my voice and am now self-conscious about publishing what I write. But I intend to break through this. They say writing is like a muscle – the more you write, the more you get better.

Crocheting and Knitting centers me. When the stitch is uncomplicated, and the pattern repetitive, I am able to keep my hands busy and my mind free to wander. While I stitch, I let thoughts form and percolate. In a way, it’s as if I meditate while I hook.

In the last three years specifically, I have gained more confidence as a crocheter and knitter. Confident enough to feel proud to give my handiwork as gifts. With the same consistent practice, I hope that confidence also shine through in whatever form I choose to share my stories.

Recently, crocheters from a group I belong to in Facebook have been yarn bombing and doing meetups. I have yet to participate, but that is on my list. I’d love to meet fellow yarn lovers and share stories while crocheting.

Every now and then I think about opening a craft store where people can come get their crafty fix, and also learn to make stuff. But I’m not quite sure I am creative enough to hack that. Hmm.

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