life curation

New Goals for 2020

Even before COVID-19 upended our collective plans and intentions for 2020, I knew that I was taking a completely different direction than I had for the past few years.

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Every year, I focus on very tangible goals. My goals could be easily quantified, because I believe in goals being SMART – specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound – and I tied my personal value to the achievement of a SMART goal.

But now, my goals are shifting . . . And I like it. Yes, to a degree, my goals are still SMART, but they all aren’t as dynamic as before. I will always have a couple of dynamic goals (that’s my nature) but some of my other goals are more fluid, and allow me room to be gentle with myself. I’m starting to fall in love with my “new normal”, which include practices that support my emotional and mental health, and goals that focus more on who I’m being as opposed to what I’m doing.

With that in mind, here are some of my new goals for 2020:

  • Practice yoga weekly
  • Finish writing and editing two of my books
  • Complete my herbalist certification (did that earlier this week!)

Have you had a chance to revisit and rethink your goals? What direction do you think you’ll be going this year? I’d love to hear all about it!

health · life curation

Fibro Fridays: A Thought on Spoon Theory

Happy Friday friends! We survived another week and here’s hoping that we are all feeling great as the weekend begins.

I was just thinking about how much things have changed since my fibro diagnosis last year, as well as the concepts and terminology that has become second nature to me due to fibro. One of the most fascinating concepts that I’ve heard about is spoon theory. This principle speaks to the finite energy stores possessed by the chronically ill, as well as how easy it is to fall into an energy deficit, resulting in the inevitable “crash” phase.

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The Spoon Theory essay was written by Christine Miserandino, and I love that this simple teaching has offered such an accurate visual representation of the daily reality of chronically ill individuals. Once we have used up our energy, the results of exceeding our limitations can be devastating in the days and weeks to come. Also, it illustrates how having casual/less active days can allow us to “save up” energy for anticipated intense days.

I’ve shared this theory with friends and relatives so that they can better understand what I experience. It’s hard to describe the specific feelings that I may have each day, but I can easily tell you if I’ve used too many spoons in the previous days, or if, on a particular day, I have a lot of spoons at my disposal. It’s very useful for quantifying my energy levels on any given day.

If you really want a better understanding of chronic illness, I highly encourage you to read the Spoon Theory essay for yourself. If you’ve already read it, let me know your thoughts in the comment below!

Those are my views on Spoon Theory. I hope you all are doing well, and enjoy your weekend!

 

food · life curation · luxury

Learn About Tea – For Free!

On Facebook, I recently saw an ad from The Republic of Tea, offering a free email course about tea. Tea 101: An Educational Email Series promised to deliver, over a 6 day period, information about the “nuances and complexities of premium tea”.

I’m a sucker for nuance and complexity, so I happily dove into the emails as they arrived.

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The lessons cover the different aspects of distinguishing between and enjoying tea. The lessons are brief and to the point, so they are perfect for busy people.

I especially enjoyed the emphasis on the fact that herbal teas aren’t true “teas” (the only true “tea” is the leaf of the camellia sinensis plant). However, the company still took time to explain the benefits of herbal “teas” and blends. I also liked the description that Republic of Tea provided, regarding the caffeine levels in varying tea varieties. It was good to see which teas provide light, medium and heavy caffeine.

 

health

Fibromyalgia Awareness Day

I try to bring awareness to fibromyalgia every week via my Fibro Friday posts, but I wanted to spend this Tuesday, Fibromyalgia Awareness Day, as an opportunity to share some of my insights about my condition.

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(Photo credit)

My fibro journey has been an absolute roller coaster at times. There have been some intense highs (finding occasional relief and modifying my lifestyle to make things easier for me), and some dramatic lows (which I won’t be reliving here on the blog LOL!) In any case, I’ve learned so much from this experience, and despite the discomfort, I’m thankful for this condition.

Yes, I’m thankful for fibro.

If I hadn’t been diagnosed with fibro, I would have continued to overwork myself, abuse my body through inconsistent sleeping, and deny that a deeper part of myself needed healing. My fibro forced me to slow down, learn how to really care for myself, and start taking the steps to live an authentically healthy lifestyle. Fibro led me to relocating to my dream home (which is closer to my healthcare team), find work that wasn’t mentally draining, and gave me an opportunity to spend more time at home with my family.

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Fibro forced me to re-examine the balance within my life

Most importantly, living with fibro taught me to ask for help and to allow others to help me. I was so independent and “strong”: I never felt the need to ask for help. But now I’ve learned to rely on my wonderful support network and I can really appreciate the way that my love ones have rallied around me.

Fibro was the most painful gift I’ve ever received, and I’m grateful for it.

I can’t speak for everyone diagnosed with fibro, but as for me, I see the silver lining to this “purple cloud”. And I’m okay with how things are unfolding for me.

That’s all for today. If you know anyone suffering from fibro or another chronic illness, please send them some love today. Take care!

fitness · health

Fibro Fridays: Yoga for Fibro Relief

Happy Friday, friends! We’ve completed another week, and aren’t we happy for that? This first full week of May was pleasant, despite the fact that we’re all still adjusting to our collective new normal.

As a person managing fibromyalgia symptoms, I look for relief from multiple sources. I prefer to supplement my prescription and alternative medicine routine with physical activity that is gentle, effective and easy to do at home. For that reason, I turned to yoga tutorials on YouTube to help me to stay active and reduce physical pain.

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I’ve tried several different tutorials and I have a few that I can recommend. I hope that you can use these to get pain relief and feel better!

Firstly, Shima Flow Yoga’s Yoga for Fibromyalgia is the gentlest routine that I’ve used, and I always feel so good after I do it. It’s the perfect length (a little under 30 minutes) and doesn’t require any special equipment. I highly recommend this one!

Next, Sleepy Santosha’s Gentle Yoga for Fibromyalgia is a little longer than the previous video (a tad over 30 minutes) but is still a good one. This channel is really good because the yogi is a chronic pain sufferer, so she’s mindful of our physical limitations. I noticed that the routine is a bit more intense that the previously mentioned video, but I like that this channel does have multiple videos specifically for fibro.

Finally, when I’m pressed for time, I go to Shima Flow Yoga’s abbreviated Yoga for Fibromyalgia video. This video is less than 15 minutes and you can pace it as quickly or as slowly as you like.

Let me know if you try any of these videos, and how well they work for you. I’ll talk to you all next week. Take care, and enjoy your weekend!

beauty · life curation · luxury

Embracing Natural Beauty When You Can’t Leave Your Home

Last week, I shared a post about how I’m enjoying the natural beauty around my home. I’m fortunate to live in a suburb where I have a yard, beautiful plants, and a climate that is conducive to growing the kind of plants I enjoy.

For those that aren’t able to walk outdoors and take in natural beauty (either because of strict quarantine measures or due to living in a “concrete jungle”), I wanted to share some links to websites and YouTube channels that highlight natural beauty around the world.

My current favorite is the Keukenhof Garden in Holland. With millions of stunning tulips bulbs planted, the garden is a feast for the eyes. I’m thrilled that I can take in all of this natural beauty from the comfort of my home.

 

There is also the US Botanic Garden (located in Washington, DC). This incredible garden used to have many fascinating public events and was a wonderful resource for anyone interested in learning more about botany. At this time, however, you can do a virtual tour as well as many online programs. You can even do “yoga in the garden” online every Saturday during the pandemic.

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(A double flowering lenten rose, from the US Botanic Garden website)

Another lovely garden that I used to visit regularly during my workday was the Enid A. Haupt Garden. This stunning pocket of serenity was my perfect place to “get away” when I needed some time to relax away from the office. I always walked around the “parterre”, though this was only a small portion of the garden.

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(A photo of one of the urns in the Haupt Garden Parterre)

In my hometown, there is an incredible botanical garden. At Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens, it is also possible to do a virtual tour. These gardens are particularly special, because of their stunning annual butterfly exhibit.

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(Elegant butterfly featured on the Lewis Ginter Botanic Garden website)

If your city has a public garden or other outdoor space, you can probably do a virtual tour (a quick Google search should let you know if virtual tours are available). Do you have a favorite garden to tour? Let me know all about it in the comments below!

 

health

Fibro Fridays: Fibro Awareness Month

Happy Fibro Friday! As we welcome the month of May, I’m happy to share that this month is also Fibromyalgia Awareness Month. I will continue to share information about fibro every Friday, and I hope that the information I share can be used to create additional awareness around this potentially devastating condition.

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(image courtesy of Zazzle)

I’ve done well with managing my symptoms and taking care of myself, but that doesn’t mean that things are perfect! No, on the contrary, I continue to learn about fibro because I’m still learning how to manage my symptoms and improve my health. I’m just glad that I’m not as negatively impacted by it as I was prior to my diagnosis.

I hope you all are healthy and safe. Enjoy your weekend, and I’ll talk to you all soon. Take care!