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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What the Heck is Mindfulness?

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I keep hearing about mindfulness.  It seems to be all over the place, most especially in regard to the workplace.  According to the definitions I’ve found, mindfulness is being aware of your thoughts, emotions or experiences on a moment by moment basis.  As far as employers are concerned, mindfulness is focusing all your thoughts on the task at hand.  Sounds good, but how easy is it to simply focus on what’s in front of you?  My mind jumps around flitting from one thing to the next like a jackrabbit.

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The reason I practice Yoga is that for that half-hour to an hour during my day, I turn my focus to my breath.  If I force myself to think only “breathe in breathe out”, I can empty my mind of all other thoughts and relax my body.   The only other time I can do that is when I say my affirmations to myself while lying in bed waiting for the sleep fairy to knock me out.

I understand the concept of mindfulness, and when I try it while working, the longest I can manage it is in half-hour increments.  Although, I must admit, those are the most productive half-hours I have during the day.  But the effort to reel in my busy little mind that is usually running off in a hundred different directions can be exhausting.

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Does anyone else try this?  And, if you do, how is it going?  Please let me know in the comments below.

Tears and Yoga

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Okay, I can be funny here and say that Yoga does indeed make me cry.  When I realize that my lack of flexibility has gotten worse, since I stopped doing Yoga, I can cry with anger.  However, I’m talking about that crying that you do when you do a pose.  Something that opens up your flexibility and just suddenly you find yourself with tears running down your face.  That kind of crying.  I was wondering if that was a thing, since it’s happened to me twice this week, so I looked it up and discovered that I really am not insane.  It happens to other people too.  For some reason the hip-opening positions seem to start the tears for some people.

From what I’ve discovered, people tend to store emotions that they haven’t dealt with in their bodies.  Just think of how tense we become in stressful situations, and then we don’t totally relax after the situation has ended.  Later, when we stretch, those muscles relax and the tension is released, sometimes in the form of tears.  Hip openers seem to hit the tear trigger for me.  This is the area of my body where I’m the least flexible, so I assume that my tension resides here as well as my neck and shoulders.  However, it’s really easy to relax your neck and shoulders, since all you need to do is flex them, but the hips are more difficult.

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While I’ve been doing the Sun Salutation for a while now, I realized that wasn’t enough, since I do tend to have flexibility problems. I was able to find my favorite yoga tape on YouTube recently and hence my tears.   I’m so glad that I’ve added to my Yoga routine, and that I’m not insane.  If you don’t do Yoga, you should try it since the benefits just keep adding up.  If you do cry while doing certain poses, just know that you’re not alone.

http://ask.metafilter.com/144861/Why-do-I-get-emotional-during-one-particular-yoga-pose

https://blog.yogaglo.com/2012/10/why-are-students-overcome-with-emotions-after-yoga-class/

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Fighting for Positivity

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Sometimes it can feel like in order to survive I need to hide in my bed, under the covers.  I’m sure that I’m not the only person who sometimes feels like this.  I’ve said before that some of the people in my life are extremely negative.  They can also go out of their way to try to make me as negative as they are.  Since staying positive is not a default position for me, it can be a trial.  However, I’m trying my hardest to remain as positive as a can.  So, that being said, here are some of my favorite quotes I often read in order to remain as positive as I can.

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2017 Goals

 

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Since I have been sick, this is a late post (I planned on this for the 1st of the year, but often things don’t work out the way I thought they would).  I’ve been thinking really hard about how to make goals for this year that aren’t completely unattainable. I think that may be the main reason that so many people give up on the goals they made.  So, with this in mind, and many hours of thought, here are my goals for 2017.

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Better organization and meal planning.  Meal planning is a huge thing.  When I do it right it actually makes my life so much better – I know what I’m serving for dinner every night, there is no stress involved at all, the grocery list is no longer hit or miss.  I actually know I’ve got all the ingredients.  Better organization in daily life makes life so much easier.  I’ve already started this process with “Tidy-up (or “tidy-oop” as Ulla from The Producers would say) Tuesday, and Watering Wednesday.  I have to work on what to call Monday, Wednesday and Friday, it’s a process, after all.

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Stress Management.  I’ve been listening to music for stress relief and concentration.  It helps, but I plan to work on affirmations more, and positive thinking.  I’ve realized that this is a necessity now, and not just something to “think” about.  My stress level has gone through the roof, and I really need to get a handle on it as soon as I can.

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Writing.  My Saturdays at the library have shown me how much writing I can get done when I allow myself the time and space to do it.  So, I’m going to make it a priority this year.  I have specific writing goals that I want to achieve this year.  The first one is the children’s book that I’m writing for a special little boy who really needs something good in his life.  My deadline for that is Valentine’s Day.  So, my first project already has a deadline, and that will help a lot with actually getting this done.

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Exercise and Health.  I’ve been planning exactly how I will do this, with a list of videos from FitnessBlender, Billy Blanks and Denise Austin along with a schedule to follow that I came up with.  I need to do this first thing in the morning, as I can talk myself out of just about anything given the chance.  Usually a written schedule and list of goals helps a lot.  I’m hoping it will help with this.  I’ve got to set up an appointment and go to the doctor, since I haven’t had a physical for at least 10 years.  Also, I need to tweak my eating habits so I’m eating fruit instead of snacks; and go to bed earlier.

Work.  By the end of February I want to have my first coaching certificate, and begin working on my second one.  Also, I have to set up a business, have a website and begin getting clients.  I’m really nervous about this.  Hence some of my stress.  I have no idea how to do this.  I’ve been looking up lots of information about it, so at least I won’t be starting from scratch.

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So, that’s it.  What are your goals for the New Year?  Let me know in the comments below.  And, good luck to you all!