2016 Non Resolutions

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Happy 2016!

So I’m a little late to the punch on the New Year wishes around here, but better late than not at all, right?

For the past eight years now, instead of joining so many of the masses and making grand statements and lists of Resolutions, I’ve marched to my own drum and made up a list of Non Resolutions.  Okay, so you might say, “but isn’t that still a different kind of pressure, one that you were trying to avoid by making a list of things you claimed to do in the new year, by making a list of things you will try not to do?”  And yeah, it is kinda/sorta the same thing, but to me, the different spin on it seems to make a little more sense.  If I don’t win on one of my Non Resolutions, then for whatever reason, to me, it doesn’t seem like as much as a big fat fail as if I don’t accomplish a big ole’ regular Resolution.

You with me?

So, here I go again.  But before I make my little list of things I resolve not to do this year, I have to say that 2015 has been good to me, and to my loved ones.  I celebrated weddings and engagements with dear friends, welcomed new babies into the world with other friends, ran a handful of races, worked to make our new house feel more like a home over the past year we have lived here, drank some really good beers on sunny patios and decks throughout the warm months, traveled a little bit here and there, nurtured friendships and my relationship, delved deeper into a meditation practice, and most recently, 2015 was the year we made little baby M&M and shared the news that he or she will be making their debut May of this year.

It’s been a good year overall, with many highs and a few lows (to keep the balance in check over here seeing as how that is the theme of this blog and all).  I feel blessed and grateful for what has passed, and excited for what’s to come.

Without further blabbing on and on, here are my 2016 Non Resolutions (some have made the list eight years going strong)…

In 2016 I resolve not to:

  • Get sucked into worry.  Every year this one has made the list.  I know, deep down the vicious cycle of worry I can get myself wrapped up in if I let myself, and I know even more, so much of worry has to do with choice.  I can choose to dwell, or I can choose to try to just be, try to live in the moment and have faith, that things will all work out as they are meant to.  Easier said than done, 95% of the time for me, but it is still something I can continually work on.  And resolve NOT to get sucked into, over and over.  I’ll share my favorite quote by Michael J. Fox as I have done in past years…

“If you get caught up in the worst case scenario and it doesn’t happen, you’ve wasted your time. And if you are caught up in the worst case scenario and it does happen, you’ve lived it twice.” 

  • Let things pile up as much.  This includes, but isn’t limited to:  laundry, junk mail, worry (ahem), chores, and clothes I need to put away.
  • Interrupt.  Sometimes I don’t even realize I’m doing it, and truthfully, I do it more out of excitement rather than thinking what I have to say is better than what someone else is sharing.  It’s an annoying habit and it’s something I want to be better about (still- second year in a row for this one).
  • Think too much about what other people think.  (Unless it really counts.  Like it obviously matters what my boss thinks if I show up to work late every day.)  But other things- things like following my gut and being true to myself and then not overanalyzing what others think of my decisions.  This year I want to really embrace the mentality of being true to me, doing what’s best for me, and knowing in my heart that if that’s what’s ringing true to me, then what other people think shouldn’t matter.
  • Go a week without meditation, or yoga.  Both make me feel wonderful.  It’s lame to let a week go by without doing one or the other.  No excuses there.  It’s a must!
  • Go a week without exercise.  This one should be easy, as I can’t remember the last time this has happened anyway, but I know that with a little one on the way, excuses might come easy, but it will be a priority of mine to make some sort of movement on the regular.
  • Lastly, be so hard on myself.  (Again, a regular on the list.)  Life is tough, and it’s easy to be hard on ourselves.  I want to be kind to myself, as kind as I would be a dear friend.  Nicer self talk.  Less judgement.  More self compassion, less comparison.

I think that’s a good start.  Would you care to join me in sharing your Non Resolutions for 2016?

T’is the Season…

**Thank you for the kind, supportive, and congratulatory comments on my last post!  We’re so excited, and at 17 1/2 weeks with this little M&M brewing, it’s finally starting to sink in that this time next year, we’ll have a little human to take care of!  We’re thrilled and genuinely thank everyone for your sweet comments and messages!

Does anyone else feel like you blinked and all of a sudden, it’s December?  It feels like it was just the early fall and all of a sudden, here we are in December, with just over two weeks until Christmas?  I don’t know where the time goes!

The weekend before last we got our Christmas tree!  We wanted to cut down our own at a local tree farm, but we were crunched for time and instead we dished out $45 to the community house in our town for a super dry (but pretty!) tree.

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Charlie is totally unsure of what to make of a TREE, in the house…

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Even more unsure (er, embarrassed?) was how she felt in this little reindeer outfit I picked up for her when Matt was away on business last week…

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But seriously, how cute is that little embarrassed face?!

Last weekend my mom came to stay with me a night while Matt was away, and we indulged in the yummiest of Greek food, followed by a night in on the couch with a Hallmark holiday movie and M&M’s.

If I hadn’t slurped up all of this crack deliciousness in almost one sitting the week before, I would have saved some to share with her…

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The next day, we got a little crafty and my mom helped me with a project I had in mind to bring a little bit of holiday charm to our window boxes out front!

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Other than the decorations, I do still have some shopping to do, but I’m pretty excited for the holidays this year.  We’ll be traveling to Pennsylvania to visit with Matt’s family this year.  I’m excited but know I’ll also miss my family back home.  We’re doing a pre-Christmas get together which will be good, and within the next two weeks, between the two of us, we have four parties on the books!  I have a feeling January will be a month dedicated to a bit of R&R after all the holidaze craziness.  We even have a little trip (my coworker told me this is our babymoon!) planned to Puerto Rico for late January that we’re really looking forward to!

How about you?  Are you ready for the holidays?  Have you decorated?  Lots of shopping left to do?

 

Valentine’s Day HIIT Workout

With all the snow out there lately, I’ve been less inclined to get outside to run or drive to the gym, and more apt to workout at home.  Especially now that we have space in our new digs to workout at home, I find that it’s easy to get a good workout in first thing in the morning before work.

I’ve always been a big fan of exercise DVD’s, T25, PiYo, Turbo Fire being a handful of my go-to’s. Sometimes I hit up You Tube for some workout inspiration as well; there’s so many great ideas on there!

I’m also a huge fan of HIIT workouts.

If you aren’t familiar with HIIT, it stands for High Intensity Interval Training, and it’s a great way to burn fat, in a short amount of time.  Different than steady cardio like running for thirty minutes straight or hopping on a machine at the gym that works your aerobic endurance, HIIT works both your aerobic and anaerobic endurance.

Both cardio and HIIT have their different benefits.  Cardio has it’s time and place- it’s easy to do, sometimes a little mindless (can be good or bad?!), can be low impact, and it’s something that can performed on a daily basis (though I wouldn’t recommend it).  Usually cardio is done at a moderate intensity, and is done for at least twenty minutes.

HIIT on the other hand, like it’s name, is an intense, shorter workout, typically no longer than twenty minutes, of all out intensity.  HIIT alternates short bursts of hard core exercise with periods of rest. Another sweet benefit of HIIT workouts is the that your body continues burning calories after your workout!  Sitting on the couch watching the Bachelor and still burning calories and fat?  How can you go wrong?  Your metabolism stays revved up for several hours post workout, and that’s pretty cool if you ask me.  HIIT workouts shouldn’t be done on back to back days; I usually do about three or four a week, combined with weight training and running (steady state cardio).

HIIT is not for the faint of heart.  These workouts are supposed to be pretty grueling, and the expectation is that you go all out, giving it 110% of effort and then recover in between exercises.

Here’s a recent HIIT workout I’ve been doing, just in time for Valentine’s Day!  I don’t know about you guys, but try as I might, I haven’t been able to totally avoid the chocolate and other treats hanging around lately, and frankly I don’t really want to!

Let me know if you try this one out and tell me what you think!  If you don’t have a jump rope, just wing it and fake it.  No stairs?  No toe taps on a box or something.  Just get moving and make it intense!

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The Anatomy of a Funk

I think January on the whole wasn’t my favorite.  Snow on top of more snow, not very much sunlight at all, gloomy days, bitter temperatures, the whole month just wasn’t really my jam. Feeling in a bit of a funk during the best conditions (for me that might look like a crisp fall day, a sunny, patio sitting kind of afternoon, or a breezy spring day), well feeling in a bit of a funk under those conditions is bad enough, but when you’re not feeling your usual sense of calm, kind of feeling off for no real pin-pointable reason, feeling that way in the dead of winter?  Well that just feels like a double whammy, you know what I’m saying?

Something has felt a little bit off.  I don’t have a big story or reason why I’m feeling funk-ish; I don’t have a reason to pin it all down to, it just feels like a general sense of… “blah,” that was hanging around last month.

Anyone else?

I also realize that some people have some serious things going on, serious reasons for a funk, or a case of the sads, or really do have a diagnosed SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder).  Sometimes I think of this and I know my funk pales in comparison, but I guess we all are dealing with… something, right?  Big or small, we all have something on our plates, and we’re all just trying to do our best.

I think it’s important during these kind of funky times to be in the moment, remind ourselves that it’s okay to feel not awesome and not totally on point and on our game all of the time, because those are some high expectations to have and to put on ourselves!  I also try not to totally wallow in the throws of a funk for too long.  I tried to kind of wrap my mind around what I was feeling, and when I couldn’t really attribute my blank mood to anything in particular, I thought of what I could do to kind of get myself out of the funk.

  • Exercise- This one usually always helps me to feel in a good mood, gives me more energy, good endorphins and all that goodness.  Some days I just wasn’t feeling it, so I went a little easier with myself and did yoga instead of something more intense, or considered the shoveling as my workout. Holy hell, all the shoveling.
  • Reading- Getting drawn into a good book is something that helps to distract the mind, and I enjoy getting sucked into a good story.  Using our imaginations can help to get us out of our own heads for a while, and I like how reading a novel can take us to a whole new place.
  • TV- Probably not the best choice of distractions, but if I’m being real and honest I will tell you that I enjoy shutting my mind off and watching TV for a while.  My newest favorite- Love, Lust, or Run- Stacy London’s new show on TLC.  Kind of What Not to Wear-ish, but shorter and without Clinton which is a bummer for me.  I love Clinton!
  • Writing letters- Like real, handwritten notes and cards.  I’m getting back into corresponding with an old friend, snail mail style, and I just love writing and receiving notes in the mail.
  • Cleaning & organizing- For some, doing this one might not be what you’d go to when in a funk, but lately I’ve been really excited about keeping our new home clean and organized, decorating and thinking of new ways to make our home feel even more like “us.”
  • Pinterest- It helps with the decorating ideas!  And recipe planning.  And fashion inspiration.  And hair!  I could look at hairstyles for hours on end.
  • Getting a new hairdo- I’m making an appointment for next week for a little spruce up of my do’.  That always makes me feel in a good mood!
  • Helping others- This one is in the works.  I’m looking for some opportunities to do some more volunteering.  I’m part of a volunteering organization in Boston, but haven’t really delved into it all too much.  I’ve been wanting to find a local soup kitchen or food pantry to volunteer some time at, so I’m looking into that.  Back a few years ago, I used to visit with an elderly woman in my town, something setup through the Council on Aging I think, and it was something I enjoyed a lot.  I’d like to see if something similar exists in our new community, or even a local nursing home where I could go and visit with the residents there.  I have always enjoyed spending time with the elderly.

So, those are some of my get-out-the-funk go-to’s I’ve been working on lately.  I’m feeling a bit better, it being February and a shorter month, closer to some warmer weather, already seeing some more daylight. I’m looking forward to the weeks ahead as I have some plans with friends that I’m looking forward to, a long weekend getaway to see some friends and my God children, and a few other exciting things in the works.

How about you?  Have you had a case of the Januaries?  What do you do to get out of a funk?

Here’s a couple good articles I found that touch on the subject..

How to correct your mind to get out of a funk

10 tips to beat the blues in winter