A New Way to a Familiar Destination

I was planning on writing a blogpost about boundaries this week; their importance, why we struggle with setting appropriate boundaries, tips on how to get going… but this morning I realized that one was going to have to wait.

Instead, I feel the need to write about the “baby-steps” I’m taking to rebuild my strength after a crappy experience of being very ill this past winter.

So BABY STEPS it is!

Those who follow me on social media or who receive my newsletters might remember that I came down with shingles after injuring a nerve on the top of my head last November. (If you’ve ever had the chickenpox, you have the virus that can cause shingles sleeping in your nervous system. With all my heart, I truly hope it never “wakes up” so you don’t have to experience shingles.) Anyway, I was surprised as the only people I’d known of who had shingles were all women in their 70s – I’M NOT THERE YET – and I didn’t realize a nerve injury could trigger it, although in hindsight it makes perfect sense.

So, I had shingles on my scalp, my face and in my right eye. I have never been so ill in my life. I literally laid on the couch for almost 2 full weeks. I didn’t even sleep in my own bed because I wasn’t really sleeping. The pain was incessant and unpredictable. I’m not one for taking medications if I can help it, but let me tell you I was keeping track of every painkiller I took so I knew when I could take my next dose and even then they just dulled the pain they didn’t eliminate it.

My rash didn’t clear up until 5-6 weeks later and my eye is almost completely healed. There is a small patch in my vision where it feels like I’m looking through a smudge on my glasses but it is very tiny and I can live with it!

I barely ate. I barely slept. The pain was unimaginable. I’m so fortunate to have loved ones nearby who could help me out with groceries and getting to appointments as I wasn’t able to drive for weeks.

Recovery was slow. Especially given that it had gotten into my eye. So I tried to go slow as I eased back into my “regular” life.

It took so much longer than I expected!

I should also mention that while not single, I am a Solo Mom and the past few years – even before the pandemic – had been very challenging. I went into this illness already maxed out as far as stress-levels were concerned.

The first time I really realized how hard everything had been on my body was when I went snowshoeing in early January (almost 2 months after getting ill). I have been very active during the winter for 10 years now so going snowshoeing wasn’t anything new to me. We weren’t doing anything difficult, just a nice little loop that would take us less than an hour. Well, my body did NOT enjoy that and I ended up getting extremely ill afterwards which set me back a little bit as far as getting back into the swing of things to say the least.

My nutrition was up to snuff (I have the BEST supplements and shakes which truly got me through the worst of my sick days because I honestly could barely eat anything but my body desperately needed the nutrients to fight the virus and heal), so no worries there. However, my physical stamina was nowhere to be found.

How could this be? I didn’t understand fully because I’ve never been that ill before, so I started asking questions and looking into options to help me heal to a point where I feel stronger and more capable than I had been for a few months.

WHEN WE FIND OURSELVES IN NEW SITUATIONS WE NEEDTO BE OPEN TO FINDING NEW WAYS OF APPROACHING THINGS.

I found I could not do a full yoga practice as I am used to doing. After about 25 minutes I would feel drained (and while I am a yoga teacher and have been for many years, I typically practice a slow-flow sequence so it wasn’t like I was Power-Yoga-ing and then feeling pooped, lol!) So I created mini practices for myself #babysteps. Depending on how my energy levels were, they are between 10-20 minutes which I am just now able to combine to enjoy a half hour practice. Yay!

I discovered that my cardio strength had really diminished and it was keeping me from hiking all the gorgeous trails near where I live. But the weather, my family responsibilities, work schedules, etc made it challenging as to when I could actually get outside while it was daylight. I’m the kind of person who likes to have a regular routine as it makes things so much easier to stick to!

What new way could I build my cardio and stamina from home? One that DIDN’T cost a fortune or take up a lot of room as my home is tiny… I found an old-school stationary bike! And I love it! It is compact, easy to use, and didn’t cost me a fortune. To be honest, I found it for $50 on Marketplace. Yay!

I started slow, because I had experienced what happened when I tried to push myself too far too fast. Ten minutes in the morning and 10 minutes after work. Just enough to get my heart rate up a little! The next week I did 15 minutes twice a day. Now I’m up to 20 minutes before and 20 minutes after work and I’ve been able to increase the tension for a better workout! Again, #babysteps to the rescue!!!

Do I feel bad about myself because of how I’ve had to scale back what activities I do or how long I do them? NOPE. I feel proud of myself that despite coming up against new challenges and obstacles, I’ve been able to find ways of healing and improving my health that work with how things are NOW.

Things change. We need to be able to change too.

Different isn’t bad, its just different. And sometimes as we shift into something new and different, we need to do so gently and let ourselves take Baby Steps.

Always from the heart,

Jennifer

PS – if you’re looking for some help figuring out your own best next-steps to make positive changes in your life, I’m here! I’m certified in wellness, life, and sleep science coaching and I’ve been teaching yoga for almost a decade. Give me a shout at info@breezewellnessbc.com

Just Tell Me What to Do!

Yeah, I knew…

  • I knew that I was supposed to eat well. 
  • I knew that I was supposed to drink enough water. 
  • I knew that I was supposed to rest.  
  • I knew that I was supposed to make time for play & self care. 

But even though I knew all of these things it was like being caught in a whirlwind of “supposed to’s.” I had all the information but what I really needed was for somebody to just tell me what to do! 

I was so caught up in the chaos of all of the “shoulds,” that I couldn’t do any of them at all. And I paid for it. In every area of my life…

What changed for me? I reached out for help

This wasn’t easy for me, I’ve always been very very independent. I’m still very very independent. But I got to a point where I simply couldn’t keep spinning my wheels any longer. I was feeling like I was totally missing out not only on my life with my kids, but my life in general.

What did I do? 

Continue reading “Just Tell Me What to Do!”

Mixed Feelings for Mother’s Day

Let me begin by saying that being a mom is without a doubt the best experience of my life. And that I am constantly in awe of how much so many moms are able to handle not only while raising their children but also throughout the rest of their lives.

But, like some other holidays we celebrate in our society, Mother’s Day brings up many conflicting feelings and thoughts for me. This doesn’t mean that I don’t think mothers should be celebrated, it simply stirs up a lot of “stuff” for me and I feel like maybe I’m not the only one.

Continue reading “Mixed Feelings for Mother’s Day”

You Could Get an Entire Day Back This Way

Do you ever feel like you’re stuck in a rut of plunking yourself down in front of the TV and suddenly the evening has disappeared? It happens. We are creatures of habit and sometimes those habits don’t always serve us very well.

I’m not going to be that person who tells you “you should get rid of your TV and never watch it again!” because honestly, this is real life and sometimes watching a show or a lighthearted movie can be helpful. And sometimes, we need a half hour to ourselves to get something done (like dinner!) and if the kids can watch one show while we do that, then so be it!

I will, however, keep encouraging you to decrease the amount of time you watch. And there’s very good reasons for that. Here are just 5 of them:

Continue reading “You Could Get an Entire Day Back This Way”

It’s Time to Get Moving!

It seems like it wouldn’t make sense, right? I mean, you’re wiped-out tired, barely enough energy to get through the day and someone is telling you that you should exercise ?!?

I get it, I’ve totally been there and honestly there are still days that hit like that in my life. But what I’ve learned over the years is that when I’m feeling exhausted, getting myself moving is usually EXACTLY what I need to do!

Why?  Really… why???

Well, exercising not only improves your energy levels YES YOU READ THAT RIGHT, but it also helps improve your overall health and sense of wellbeing… including your mood!  I know I always feel better emotionally after I’ve gotten myself moving.

Continue reading “It’s Time to Get Moving!”

Making Time to Unwind

The Mom Life is a busy one, no doubt about it. But its not very realistic for any of us to expect to be able to go-go-go and then hop into bed and promptly fall asleep, right? I mean, we probably have a little routine when we want(ed) our kidlets to fall asleep and this is your gentle reminder to do the same for yourself!

Unwind time is the signal we send to our bodies that we are preparing to rest and it can be super simple or elaborate if you like! As I always say, not only are our circumstances different, but while we are all made from the same stuff, we are all put together a bit differently… so its best to Be True to YOU and to figure out how you unwind best.

Continue reading “Making Time to Unwind”

The Bedtime Brain Dump

One of the best ways to prepare yourself for a good night’s sleep is to unburden your brain before bed!

Something I used to really struggle with was bedtime monkey-mind… you know, when you finally get to crawl into bed and get all cozy and then your brain remembers every little thing that you had to put off “til later”! Ugh!

So I modified a creativity tool that I learned years ago and worked it into a nighttime routine to help me clear my mind so I could have a better chance at falling asleep and staying asleep.

Continue reading “The Bedtime Brain Dump”

Catching Some ZZZs (and why how you fuel your body matters!)

Most likely its come to your attention at some point in your life that there are certain things we should avoid if we want to get a good night’s rest. The most common thing we’re warned about is CAFFEINE and I know its a tough one to give up (or even cut back on). So I’m not going to tell you to go cold-turkey on that unless you want to… but I am going to let you know that because caffeine has a half-life of 8 HOURS, you’re gonna want to make sure you aren’t having any coffee, tea, pop or energy drinks a good 8 hours before bedtime to give you your best shot as sleeping well. Oh, sadly I need to add chocolate to that list as well as it contains caffeine too. Have your treats a little earlier in the day!

In addition to caffeine, eating too much food, or having fatty foods like burgers, pizzas, or fully loaded nachos late in the day can stress the digestive system and wreck havoc on your nighttime rest by causing indigestion and/or bloating. Best to enjoy in moderation, maybe by enjoying a good sized salad along with a piece of pizza or smaller helping of nachos. Keep it a bit more balanced and less taxing on the tummy.

One more thing to be mindful of as far as what you’re consuming close to bedtime… alcohol. Yup. I know it can be super tempting to pour a nice big glass of chardonnay or something to help unwind at the end of the day, but hold off. While a bevvy like this might seem like it helps you drift off to sleep quicker, it actually interferes with you getting quality sleep at night. So yes, you might be snoring away in bed for the whole night but you’ll like wake up feeling like it was only for 4 hours. Best tip if you are looking to improve your nightly slumber? Avoid the bedtime drink or have it at least a couple hours before you’re going to tuck in.

Okay, so those are the thing you want to try to reduce or eliminate to improve how much rest you’re getting at night. Happily there are certain things you CAN have closer to bedtime to help make things better!

Try adding a nighttime snack of a handful of nuts, such as almonds, walnuts, or pistachios. These all contain natural melatonin which helps regulate our sleep/waking cycle. Your grandma’s standby of a warm glass of milk before bed is actually a good idea if you like milk! It contains both tryptophan and melatonin. CHERRIES were such a lovely surprise to me in my research to find sleep-supporting foods! This fantastic fruit is a powerhouse of sleep support. Cherries contain 4 different sleep regulating compounds: melatonin, tryptophan, potassium, and serotonin. Finally, while I advised against caffeinated tea above, chamomile tea IS recommended and has been used traditionally as a remedy to help insomnia. Chamomile contains a flavonoid compound called apigenin which has sleep-inducing properties… but just have one cup – you don’t want to be waking up in the middle of the night because you’ve had too much tea and need the bathroom! LOL!

On that note, staying hydrated throughout the day will also aid your sleep at night. When you are dehydrated, it can cause leg cramps and sore joints which can wake you or prevent you from dozing off easily. One last note on fueling your body for better sleep quality… sometimes our diet simply might be lacking in a nutrient that our body is low on or has trouble assimilating so we need an extra boost. This was a big discovery for me as I made my way on my own wellness journey. I spent a decade trying to ditch my exhaustion and get some decent sleep and everything I added to my daily habits helped, but it was finding the right supplement that finally clicked everything together for me. That final missing puzzle piece, if you will.

Magnesium, B12, Calcium are just some of the supplements that can help improve quality of sleep. As I always say, “We are all built from the same stuff, but we are all put together a little differently.” And we all have differing life circumstances. If you feel like you might need to supplement to give your body a nutritional boost, I highly encourage you to check in with your healthcare practitioner to see what you might be lacking. I’ve taken supplements pretty much my entire adult life because I was aware of some gaps in my nutrition. Now that I’ve found a super simple and effective 3 step supplement system that I can get done as soon as I wake up in the morning has made all the difference in fueling my body well. If you’d like to know more about the line of nutritional supplements I’ve fallen in love with, check out the Nutritional Support page at http://www.breezewellnessbc.com

Soooo, are you up for taking a good look at what you’re putting into your body and how it (or lack of it) might be impacting your sleep? It is one more step you can take in setting yourself up for sleep success with a routine you can stick with!

Cheers to catching those quality ZZZs!

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