Tag Archives: Resolutions

Make A Self Care Resolution

Feeling anxious? Down? Overwhelmed or even angry? I get it. We’re a few weeks into the New Year and the weather and light seem to be in perpetual November gloom. There’s no snow to brighten things here in Niagara, and spring is by no means just around the corner. Maybe you have bills piling up and no way to take care of them. Or you’re scared and raging that your neighbour next door is installing an angry billionaire as president, because, you know, he says he cares about the little guy. Or perhaps you are grieving or hurting from a loss. You might just be bone tired of slogging through life. I just want to say it won’t always feel this way.

I just want to say it won’t always feel this way.

It might feel worse, yet. But however wretched you feel, you feel. And it’s okay to feel miserable. It’s even okay to retreat a bit and rest away from the world.

But not forever. You don’t deserve interminable torment. If you feel like you can’t go on, give yourself permission to reach out and ask for help. Try a helpline, a doctor, a trained counsellor, or a friend. Join a group. Talk to someone. Getting help for your hurt is a radical act of self love.

If your pain is mild and just the temporary or situational bruises of life, resolve to look after yourself in little ways that give you joy: Go for a walk and look for ragged beauty (let’s face it, it’s dreary now and that may be the only beauty we can find); eat some ice cream; have a nap; write a letter; paint your nails; crank a tune and sing; volunteer; say “I love you” (doesn’t have to be in words and it doesn’t have to be to a human).

 

Now or Never

 

I started my ‘New Year’s Resolutions’ on September 12 last year. It was the day before my 33 birthday. But before I go on, I have to admit something.
I hate New Year’s Resolutions.
I just all around find them….painful. I don’t know about you, but I put more than enough pressure on myself and spend more than enough time sifting through recriminations, guilt, frustration and the eventual shrugging of my shoulders throughout the year for the ‘New Year, New You’ regimen. I like ‘Me’ just fine thank you. Well…most of the time. Ok…there is some room for improvement…
You see: I am a smoker. Nasty, I know and I will spare you the details.
It came down to this: I woke up on September 12 and decided that for my next birthday, I wanted to be able to say that I was smoke free. I was tired of smoking, really and truly tired of it.
 
Today is January 8, 2014 and I have not had one cigarette since that day. To say I am proud of myself is an understatement. I understand though, that this will never be easy. What I’ve realized in the last few months is that by deciding I no longer wanted to smoke, I was choosing to be healthier. Hmmmm….what other ways could I choose to be healthier? 
 
And… cue the ‘I hate New Year’s Resolutions.’ 
 
You see, for some reason as soon as I had that thought, I immediately put it off. I somehow immediately put it into my head that I was going to wait until the New Year to start actively pursuing this new and healthier ‘me’. I mean, I had just quit smoking for crying out loud, what more could I expect from myself?? It could wait until the ‘New Year’! It was almost comical how quickly my brain started teasing me with whispers of ‘ya right.’ and ‘how long will that last’ and ‘one thing at a time silly’. I started laughing at myself long before I even started.
I was asking of myself two extra little things. One was to eat healthier and steadier, the other to get more exercise. (They are NOT lying when they say you ‘may’ gain weight when you stop smoking. Not lying at all.)
SO HA! I had picked only the two top things people resolve to do on New Year’s Day. But…wait a minute…this was only the beginning of October. What was stopping me from starting now? Right this very minute? I have an elliptical machine in the basement. My family recently joined the Y. I had groceries in the fridge to make a ‘healthy meal’ out of. What was stopping me?
Nothing. Just little ‘ole me telling myself I had to be ‘ready’. You know…so that I wouldn’t give up. So I sat there on my couch and rolled my eyes in defeat and found myself scrolling through the humor section on Pinterest to distract myself. And then I reached the end of the page and realized I had already seen more than half of the pictures I had just scrolled through. So, being bored, I went to the main page and there before me is a picture of the most incredible looking recipe I have ever seen. I quickly pinned it and then found myself scrolling through the food and drink section happily pinning away all of these delicious and mostly healthy looking recipes. And…cue that teasing whisper. You know the one. This time it was quietly laughing at me. Reminding me that I have pinned a thousand crafts, recipes, decorating ideas etc. and have only ever accomplished three of them. So I stopped.
I got up and went and got a pad of paper and a pen. I brought everything over to the 
table and sat down. I then went into my ‘Favorite Recipes’ board and scrolled all the way to the bottom. I had pinned over 200 recipes and the only thing I had ever made was peanut butter cookies made to look like reindeer the Christmas before. Well that was that. Now I had lit a fire under my behind. I picked three recipes and made myself a grocery list. I got up, got my keys and went to the grocery store. Two hundred dollars later I arrived home exhausted, excited and wondering what I had gotten myself into. You see, for a girl who loves to cook, I had spent the last year being incredible lazy and downright cranky about having to make dinner. It had fallen to my husband (who to be honest, didn’t mind the chore) or to take out/dining out. I do have ready excuses for my bowing out of my kitchen- I was working full time, planning a wedding…ok I’ll stop. Excuses. So, there I stood surrounded by grocery bags when my husband came into the kitchen and stood there in shock at how much stuff I had bought. When he asked what all the food was for I took a breath and made myself accountable for those purchases. I would NOT let this food go to waste. I explained about the recipes I had picked, and that he and JJ could expect three fantastic meals this week. I don’t know that he believed me. I don’t know that I necessarily believed myself. I only know that I was kind of really looking forward to it.

 

I have to date made almost 25 things off of my Pinterest page. All of them vying for ‘that was my favorite’ from the three of us. I’m not saying I have cooked every single night. I’m not saying we haven’t gone out to eat. I’m not saying I didn’t have to give myself an intervention of sorts because I was suddenly spending excessive amounts of money at the grocery store for one meal. I’m saying I’ve been learning to enjoy making healthy, delicious home-made meals again. Meals that stretch into healthy lunches for my boys and myself (saving me some precious moments in the morning).
While all this non-smoking, and healthy (extra) eating was fantastic I still want (and now really) need to be a little bit more faithful to exercise. This has been the really tricky part for me. Working 9-5 doesn’t leave a whole lot of time to make a healthy dinner and go to the gym. My proudest moment was the day I managed to do 5k on the elliptical. This was a HUGE accomplishment for me. Sadly, I haven’t been back since as the Christmas Holidays hit and you know…excuses, excuses. But….I have the rest of my life to figure out that balance. I truly do.
It’s not one day. It’s not one year. It’s not one decision. It’s not one fallback.
It’s all YOU baby. It’s your day, your years, your decision. It’s your forgiveness and allowance to give yourself a break. It’s your willingness to stop judging yourself and just allow yourself to take things one day at a time. Stop being so willing to give up because you let yourself down in a moment of need. Understand that every single thing you decide to do for yourself as a ‘resolution’…takes time.  You have time. All the rest of your life darlin.
It’s not one day. It’s not one year. It’s not one decision. It’s not one fallback. So here are my ‘resolutions’ for my life as it is today.
I resolve to be me. Whatever that means.
 
Wishing You…the best year yet.
P.s. if you are interested in learning about how I have stopped smoking…just ask. If you would like a recipe for the world’s best salmon dinner…or the best ‘winter’ roasted jalapeno soup (guaranteed to warm those insides) just ask and we can post the recipes.)

 

Resolutions: Not Always Meant to Start in January

I resolve to feel grateful.

I resolve to feel grateful for the people I love and for those who love me; for my health, and my happiness; for my faith; and for those times when something special and unforgettable happens in an everyday moment in time, and in the places least expected. 
Experience comes with age. This adage is true, and experience I hope, comes with the ability to be grateful. How forgiving of others and of myself does my practice of being grateful teach me to become?  It is as simple as breathing, and yet, it has taken me so long to actually embrace and begin to try to master. Now that I am able to feel truly grateful, I find things to be grateful about in everything I see and experience.
So sit up straight, take a deep, cleansing breathe of air,  and let it out slowly while feeling your tensions leave your body. Allow gratefulness to enter. I promise that you’ll feel lighter immediately, and a moment you treasure will come to you, a smile will spread across your face, and — this is the amazing part — you’ll love this feeling so much, that you will begin to look for and recognize people and events to be grateful for every day…eventually…even without the deep breathing.
So for everyone near and dear to me, I am grateful to know you, care about you, learn from you, and share our journeys together. I am grateful for time spent in good company and for those hard lessons that have only served to make me stronger, more resilient, and more patient with others and myself.
I promise you will not be disappointed if you too resolve to feel grateful.

Random Acts of Kindness

I am a champion for the written word.Yes, my text messages are longer than average and I include full punctuation — to the point where a complete stranger in the waiting room of a doctor’s office commented that it looked like I was writing a novel. I confess that I put the cellphone away immediately and had a real conversation with her, and it was lovely.

So with this love of the written word, you can understand the anticipation I feel when my monthly Chatelaine magazine comes in the mail. (Yes, the mail. I can’t bring myself to have an online subscription to anything.) I indulge in the luxury of snuggling down with a hot cup of tea and a cozy blanket in my most favourite spot in my home to read.  Ah, just writing that makes me smile.   

Enough about me, I want to share with you a feature in their January issue, and topic of my blog – the launch of kindcycle.ca

From now until the end of January (yes that’s today), make a kindness resolution to do five random acts of kindness and help make the world a happier place. Join this month (it’s free) and $100 will be donated in your name to the Canadian Women’s Foundation by the Lise Watier Foundation to support programs across Canada that move women and girls out of poverty, out of violence, and into confidence.  A simple kind act is guaranteed to make someone’s day and now it can change a life!

So, in an age where people will stop mid-conversation with me to answer their cellphone, look away before making eye contact in the street, or race in front of you to get one car ahead in the traffic line (perhaps it is just me, but I find that hilarious) I am putting what I read into action and helping the Canadian Women’s Foundation fund programs that will help not only women, but all of us. I resolve to help make the world kinder and gentler, one random act at a time. What are you going to do?