Shopping

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This week was a little different.  I went to the mall with my daughter, and this time, I came home with two shopping bags.  Yes, me, yes, two bags!  A number of years ago, my son gave me a gift card from Victoria’s Secret as a Christmas gift, and I put it away in a safe place (because that’s what you do with gift cards).  Even though I understand that it’s to a woman’s benefit to have her bra size checked every few years, I haven’t had mine checked since I first started wearing bras – more years ago than I want to remember.  I buy my bras from Walmart, and even though I’ve breast-fed two babies, gained more weight than I want to even think about, and have been feeling (seeing) the effects of gravity, I’ve still been simply guessing at bra size, throwing my shirt on, and trying to forget about it.  If you can’t see it, it’s not there, right?

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So, I screwed my courage to the wall, took a deep breath, and got sized.  You know what?  The woman who helped me was so nice, caring and understanding that I almost cried.  Yep, having someone else take care of me does that to me.  Thanks to my son’s gift card I’m now the proud owner of two bras that make me look pretty good – gravity be damned!  But, for those of you out there who love to get freebies, I also got a pretty beach cover-up and a beach tote for FREE!  So, after years of hemming and hawing, I just so happened to pick a freebie day!  Wow!

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My second bag was for a ten-dollar black sleeveless duster, much like one the wonderful, worldly wise Miss Fisher would wear.  I’ve been looking for one of these for quite some time, and found it in a store that sells everything for the princely sum of $10.00.  So, it was bargains all around.  What a great shopping experience!

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For someone who absolutely hates shopping, this was one day for the record books.  Best of all, I now know my bra size and what a well-made bra looks like, so I can purchase some better bras now.  And, I get to swan around (somewhat) like the fantastic Miss Fisher! What a great day!

The Destructiveness of Verbal (Emotional) Abuse

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There are various forms of abuse, but verbal abuse often gets ignored, and/or brushed aside as though it doesn’t really have any effects on the person who is abused.  The reason for this is that it doesn’t leave any physical scars.  There are many people who believe that if there isn’t a physical scar, it doesn’t matter.   Many women who suffer from verbal abuse are told “at least it isn’t physical”.  Since this is a common statement, it can make the victims of verbal abuse feel like it must not be happening – it’s all in their heads.

What is verbal abuse, and how can you decide if this a part of your relationship with your significant other?  Here is a definition:  “any act including confinement, isolation, verbal assault, humiliation, intimidation, infantilization, or any other treatment which may diminish the sense of identity, dignity, and self-worth.”1

Emotional abuse is also known as psychological abuse or as “chronic verbal aggression” by researchers. People who suffer from emotional abuse tend to have very low self-esteem, show personality changes (such as becoming withdrawn) and may even become depressed, anxious or suicidal.

https://www.healthyplace.com/abuse/emotional-psychological-abuse/emotional-abuse-definitions-signs-symptoms-examples/

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There are many long-term effects of verbal (emotional) abuse that can include:  chronic pain, migraine, headaches, indigestion, bowel issues and stress-related heart conditions.  The psychological effects can include anxiety, depression, PTSD, memory gap disorders, sleep and/or eating disorders, hyper-vigilance or extreme startle response, anger issues, addiction issues, irritability and/or anger issues, suicide or self-mutilation.

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As you can see, being in a relationship where there is verbal (emotional) abuse has long-term effects.  The first thing you can do is figure out if you are in such a relationship.  The second thing you need to do is decide whether or not you want (need) to stay.  There should be no judgments on whether or not you decide to stay.  I understand that there are many considerations to be made.  If you’re dependent on the abuser, feel a need to stay; or whatever reason, this is your decision.  However, if you do decide to stay, being aware of the abuse is a step in the right direction.  You will no longer feel as if you’re “going crazy”, or wonder if you’re being “gas lighted”.  You will be aware, and can change your reactions to what is happening to you.

I’m leaving links in this post so that you can make yourself aware of what verbal (emotional) abuse is, what could be happening to your mental and physical health, and how you can care for yourself.  Be aware, be safe and be healthy.

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https://www.healthyplace.com/abuse/verbal-abuse/effects-of-verbal-abuse-on-children-women-and-men/

https://www.7cups.com/blog/post/81/12+Effective+Ways+to+Defend+Yourself+From+Verbal+Abuse.html

https://www.californiapsychics.com/blog/mind-body-spirit/the-best-strategies-against-verbal-abuse.html

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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.

Some Information on Ayurveda

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I’ve been thinking about health for a while now.  My Fibromyalgia has been gradually getting worse as I’ve been getting older.  I let myself stop working out and now that I’m back at it, it seems to be taking me a long time to get some flexibility back.  I don’t want to be a little old lady who can barely walk at the ripe old age of 60 (when I do get there).  One of my resolutions this year was to go to the Doctor for a physical, so I’ve got to do that.  I don’t think that other than my Fibromyalgia I’ve really got anything else going on, but since I haven’t been to the doctor for quite a few years, I think a physical could be a good idea.

Since I like to research things, I found myself looking up information on Ayurveda.  For those of you who don’t really understand what it is, here is an explanation, copied directly from the website.

“The two main guiding principles of Ayurveda are 1) the mind and the body are inextricably connected, and 2) nothing has more power to heal and transform the body than the mind. Freedom from illness depends upon expanding our own awareness, bringing it into balance, and then extending that balance to the body.”  http://www.chopra.com/articles/what-is-ayurveda

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When I read that, I thought it was a great way to look at health.  Of course, everything is interrelated, and we really do need to learn how to meditate, slow down and care for ourselves.  This is such a problem for me.  I’m one of those people who, when told in an airplane that I would have to place the oxygen mask on myself before placing one on my child, recoils.  Intellectually I know it makes sense, but why would I put myself before my child?  See my problem?

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I’m determined to explore this “self-care” more this year, and encourage you to do so too.  Since I hate pharmaceuticals, I don’t want to be put on any.  I want my health to come from natural sources such as what I eat, how I think and how I take care of my body.  Let me know what things you do to stay health in mind and body.  I’m going to explore this Ayurveda path, and I’ll probably talk about it in some future posts.

 

Why Not Getting Enough Sleep is Seriously Bad for You

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I’ve posted about skipping sleep before.  I have a hard time forcing myself to go to bed, and I seldom get more than four to five hours of sleep a night.  I’ve always been a bit of a night owl, however over the years, I’ve gotten much worse.  At first it was babies being up all hours of the night, then came the night terrors.  But, for many, too many years, my sleep habits have been terrible.

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When I do get jaw-crackingly tired, I still try to stay up!  The culprit is often a book, although I’ve been known to stay up playing Destiny, also.  In my defense, even though I may be exceedingly tired, there have been times when no matter how much I want to go to sleep, I haven’t been able to fall asleep.  However, the vast majority of time, I just don’t want to go to sleep, apparently, I’d much rather read than sleep.

However, as usual, there is scientific evidence that I should be getting more sleep.   Researchers have found that skipping sleep can cause inflammation in our organs, which can lead to immune system problems.  Since I suffer from Fibromyalgia, this skipping sleep is really a dumb idea, since I could be making my problems much worse.  http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2013/11/why-late-nights-are-bad-your-immune-system

Another scientific finding is that loss of sleep may lead to permanent loss of brain cells.  So, no!, I really need all the brain cells that I have.  There is also a process that removes toxins and waste from our brains while we sleep, and this in itself is extremely important for our brain cells.  So, yah, I think I really do need to get more sleep.  http://www.duqsm.com/sleep-is-not-for-the-weak-why-staying-up-late-is-bad-for-the-brain-and-body/

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Here’s another fact for you.  Not getting enough sleep can lead to a slowing down of the metabolic system, and lead to weight gain.  So, that explains it.  Another benefit is that when we sleep we produce HGH, which is the human growth hormone.  As we age, we produce more cortisol, which helps to age us.  So, if we sleep more, we’ll produce more HGH, which in turn will keep us from aging too fast.  http://www.webmd.com/sleep-disorders/features/lack-of-sleep-weight-gain#1

http://www.medicinenet.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=54286

And, finally, lack of sleep can make us more stressed.  Not getting enough sleep can affect up to 700 genes in our bodies, alter our hormones and lead to our inability to deal with stress.  http://www.pnas.org/content/110/12/E1132.abstract

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So, who’s for a really good 8 to 10 hours of sleep?  I know I am!

 

Taking Care of Yourself

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When I was a new mother, one of the first things people would say to me was that I needed to take care of myself, and that I wouldn’t be able to take care of my children if I didn’t take care of myself.  I always thought that was a pretty funny thing to say to a person who was up at all hours of the night and breast-feeding on demand.  Granted I’d always had a problem with the whole “take care of yourself” deal.  I’d always been such a low maintenance type person, that the idea of taking care of myself was completely foreign to me.  I’ve never dyed my hair; I’ve got blond eyebrows so there is little need of even tweezing them; I don’t wear nail polish so when my nails get too long I just cut them (no filing required); I shave my legs every so often (again the gift of blond hair); and I don’t usually use make-up.  Just what is this “taking care of yourself” thing?

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As I’ve gotten older, I realize that I really do need to indulge in some “self-care”.  If left to themselves, my eyebrows can get a real Gandalf thing going on.  Maybe I should try to at least look like a “grown-up” sometimes.  It’s not really okay to go years without cutting your hair, not to mention periodically hacking off your bangs, hoping that you didn’t cut them on an angle, and if you did, trying to fluff out what’s left to hide the fact.  And, I don’t really have to look like I just came up from the back 40 all the time.  This can include wearing those jeans that I have to haul up from falling off my butt since they’re as old as the hills and no longer fit.  Unfortunately, my idea of getting dressed up includes wearing what my daughter has informed me is known as “athleisure”.  My response is, “but it’s comfortable!” said with a whine in my voice.  Really, does she want me to look like the Queen?

But, all that being said, I do get the healthy reasons for taking care of yourself.  After all, I make sure that I eat right, exercise and go to bed at a decent hour.  So, I understand that part.  It’s actually anything that translates into the “looks” department that I have a hard time with.  I don’t really know where that all came from, but I’m trying.  I’ve been replacing my Elmer Fudd wardrobe with “athleisure” since it’s nice and comfy, and actually looks decent.  And, I’ve been impressed with the fact that I do need to have a few pieces that are really “dress up” clothes.

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Small steps.  I’ll report on this process as it goes on.  How about you?  What do you do to take care of yourself?