Doctor Visit

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After eight years, I finally put on my “big-girl panties” and went to the doctor for a “wellness visit”.  Once again, when it came time to go for my pre-visit blood test, I almost backed out.  Seriously, after eight years of not having any tests done, why go now?  I feel healthy and only have a few questions.  However, the change now is this – who knows how long I’ll have health care?  I could lose it at any time, just as you could (if you live in the U.S.).  The cost of our insurance is sure to continue rising, and it looks like rising is the least of it.  I’ve heard up to 18% increases and more in my state alone.  So, I decided to keep my appointment, just in case.

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How did it go?  Great!  All my blood work was terrific.  The only problem is that once again my blood pressure was a little high.  Gee, I wonder if that has anything to do with how nervous I was?  My doctor suggested that I buy a cuff and take my pressure every day for two weeks and see if my normal pressure is lower than the one at his office.  So, that I will do.  If it is high during the day on a consistent basis, I’ve got to go back. I hope it’s not.

I do know that I’ve got a major “fight or flight” response, so in order to combat my stress I want to try just laying on my bed and practicing my yoga breathing since that is one thing that I know works for me.  I’m happy that I went, and I’m extremely happy that I’m healthy!

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Be Your Own Advocate!

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I’ve been writing about self-education for a long time.  I truly believe that the more educated you are on a subject, the better off you are.  Do you check out the reviews of a product before you buy it?  How about ingredients on the side of a box at the grocery store?  Do you know what most of those ingredients are?  Are you the type to look something up if you don’t know?  If you are, then you’re definitely ahead of the game.

Knowing what your buying and/or ingesting is a good thing.  Finding about more about a disease you or a loved one may have is another good thing.  Educating yourself is always wise.  If you’ve got a long-term disease, keeping up-to-date on new ways to manage/deal with it is a great thing to do.

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No one is going to take care of you.  Self-care is one of my problems.  I live I the land of denial at all times, and this has been a real challenge in my life. I’m really good at taking care of everyone else, but not so good at taking care of me.   As a quick example of this, my underwear drawer is full of torn panties.  I know what you’re thinking, but unfortunately, they were not torn in a fit of passion, they are just old. In my defense, I’m still losing weight and am waiting to drop some more to replace them with a hopefully smaller size.

Being your own advocate can be hard.  This means that you have to take responsibility for yourself, whether it be at work, at home, in relationships or with your health.  Being responsible is difficult.  However, think of the benefits (besides great underwear), you can influence in your own life.  Wouldn’t it be great to live the life you really want?  This is what being your own advocate can achieve for you.  Let me know what you do to advocate for yourself.  Let’s see if we can inspire each other!

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Clutter

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I recently watched a documentary on clutter.  First of all, I must admit that I was pleased that I don’t have the level of clutter in the houses that were shown.  These were typical American homes; however, these weren’t hoarders, just the usual clutter that we’ve probably all seen.  You know, where you can’t walk anywhere except in the ally-ways that have been made.  None of these houses looked like that.  So, they weren’t talking about the extreme clutter.  Just the mostly normal amount of clutter that most families live with on a daily basis.

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However, while I was watching the documentary I was wondering what the effect on people is from just having the “normal” amount of American clutter.  Some of the information that I found includes weight-gain, stress, sleeping problems and anxiety.  This I can believe, since even though I don’t have the amount of clutter I saw in some of those houses, I do have more than my fair share – and it drives me crazy.

While I have no ambition to become a minimalist, I do want to stream-line my life.  I know that I’ve got too much.  Who really needs thirty or so journals? Well, apparently, I do, since I keep buying them.  Or how about twenty or so plastic and stainless steel drinking bottles?  Yes, even though I’ve gone through them, gotten rid of a bunch, somehow, I’ve managed to end up with more of them.  Seriously people?  Do we really need more?

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So, my project for the next few months so going to be getting rid of the clutter.  Have you done this?  How did it work out for you?  And, if you accomplished this goal, have you seen any differences in how you feel?  Let me know in the comments below.

 

The Effects of Constant Criticism

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I live with two people who are free with their criticism.  Some of this criticism includes such things as the way the spices are organized to the way I do my laundry.  If this was constructive criticism I wouldn’t be so upset.  However, it is not.  This is done specifically to make me feel “less than”. It takes a toll on a person, and I decided to do a little research into exactly what kind of effects this has on the person being criticized. One notable effect is that being constantly criticized can really affect your self-esteem and sense of self-worth.  This is true, since after I’ve been criticized I really feel sick, whether it’s a headache, upset stomach, or both.  Then I find that in the days following such an attack I just want to curl up in my bed, hide under the covers and do nothing.  It takes every ounce of energy I’ve got to continue on my path to change.

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When I looked up information on this subject, there was a lot of information regarding parents being overly critical of their children.   My parents were overly critical.  If I got a score of 100% correct, I was asked why I didn’t get 101%. When I graduated college with a double Major in four years, my Mother was upset that I didn’t also have a Minor.  My achievements were not recognized, only my “faults”.

So, I’m now struggling with this issue in my life, and either the attacks are getting worse, or I’m not dealing with the after-effects as well as in the past.  Being told to grow a thicker skin is not helpful, and not something I’d recommend to other people.  However, I try to look at the problems of the person who is attacking me.  As far as I’m concerned, the only reason they are attacking me has to do with them, not me.  If the criticism is valid, I look for the truths in it.  However, when the criticism is generally about how I do something, or say something, or in some cases just the very act of my being is the object of the criticism, then I try to remember that it’s not valid.   So, look into the critical statements, see if it’s valid and if it isn’t , consider the source.

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http://www.huffingtonpost.com/donna-labermeier/negative-impact-of-criticism-_b_3829346.html

 

Camp NaNoWriMo

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This month, I’m going to be attempting the April session of Camp NaNoWriMo.  I’m trying, once again, to finish my short chapter book for a little boy I know.  It feels like I’ve been working on this forever (mostly because I have).  But, I really want to get this done and move onto other projects.

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Writing can often be the most difficult thing to do.  There are so many things that sound great in my head, but once I get them down on paper I find that they’re not that great at all.  Also, it’s so easy to be distracted.  Ever since I stopped going to the library to write, my progress has slowed down to – no progress.  I’d like to go back to the library; however, I don’t feel that I should leave my elderly dog on her own.  There would be no one here if she needs help, and of course I just can’t do that to her.  I just have to learn how to not get distracted by things.

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Is anyone else attempting Camp NaNoWriMo?  Let me know how it’s going for you.  Maybe we can  commiserate – or more hopefully, celebrate together.

Using Lists

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I know that some people say that making lists just isn’t too effective.  However, I have to say that if it weren’t for my lists I’d feel like I was getting basically nothing done.  I started making lists after I gave birth to my son and became a stay-at-home mother.  I was encased within the fog of no sleep and endless new-baby tasks.  My husband would come home and ask what I’d done all day and I struggled to remember doing anything beyond baby-related tasks.  So, I started making lists of tasks to be accomplished each and every day.

To this day, my list consists of such things as washing dishes, running the dishwasher, laundry, vacuuming, picking up, etc.  All those little things that you do during the day, but don’t really consider them “work”.  But, my lists also have the bigger things on them like: writing a blog post, chapters for a book, and illustrating the book, along with the dreaded paying of bills, grocery shopping and meal making.

There have been times that I’ve neglected to make lists, however I’ve found that one thing is completely clear.  In order to function, I need a list.  It’s not so much the remembering to actually do what’s on the list, it’s the crossing out of the things that I’ve accomplished.  I get great satisfaction in crossing out the tasks that I’ve finished.  Now when my husband comes home and asks what I’ve done, I can reference the crossed-out list.  Of course, my list often consists of all the things that I’ve done for him so that he doesn’t have to do them – making doctor appointments, calling insurance agents, etc.  All those things where you can be put on hold for thirty minutes or so at a time, which is why I call and he doesn’t.

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Probably one of the reasons I like to make lists is that they keep me accountable to my goals.  Let me know if you’re a list-maker, and if it helps you accomplish what you want to achieve.

Stress, What is it Good For?

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We’ve all been told that stress is extremely bad for us, especially long-term stress.  The high blood pressure, the rapid breathing, the clammy hands, the shot of adrenaline that can leave us shaking in its wake.  All these things are really really bad for us, or so we’ve been told.  I recently watched Kelly McGonigal’s Ted Talk, and she made me rethink what I thought I knew about stress.

https://www.ted.com/talks/kelly_mcgonigal_how_to_make_stress_your_friend?language=en#t-123462

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In the studies that McGonigal talks about, subjects were simply informed that stress was actually good for them.  That’s all.  They believed that contrary to what they thought they knew, stress was good for them.  The blood pumping through their veins was so they could think better; the adrenaline was getting them ready to respond to what was going on around them.  Once these subjects really believed this, their bodies reactions to stress changed.  So, if we believe that stress is bad for us, we can die from it.  If we believe that it’s not bad for our health, we don’t die from it.  Our beliefs can change our bodies reactions, making me think of the Buddhist teaching that we are what we think. Our body is a system, so if we can change our thinking about stress, we can change our reactions to it.  This actually gives me a great deal of hope.  I really can control my reactions, and so can you.  Make sure you watch the video, since McGonigal has fantastic things to say, and then work on changing your thinking.  You may just save your own life.

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