balance

Recalibrating #body

I keep alluding to the fact that we’ve had a big change in our lives recently.

I’m not trCartoon teddy bear clipartying to be vague or coy.  I just don’t have the words to describe the elation and the relief and the joy that we feel at the addition of this amazing, wonderful, two-month-old teddy bear to our family.

Someday (maybe?) I’ll write a blog post summarizing the events of this summer and the subsequent jubilee Tee and I have been experiencing.

But for now, I’d like to talk about how to get back into a good routine for #body nourishment now that all my workouts now include ten pounds of baby goodness.

Lucky for us, the NCR Trail is literally right outside our front door.  So Teddy and I frequently take mid-day walks on the trail, which is awesome.  However – I’ve been really slacking on running.

Today, I decided to go with my theme of #BabySteps and follow this beginner 5K plan I found online:

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It was pretty perfect for today.  It feels funny to be doing such incremental work when I used to go for a seven mile run on a regular basis, but hey – it’s all about #BabySteps.

Additionally, I am (yet again) going to try this plank challenge thing:

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Today was Day 1 for me.  I feel an especial urge to strengthen my core, now that I am wearing and lifting Teddy every day.  I wouldn’t say I am experiencing back pain, but I’m definitely aware of my back in a way I am not usually.  SIDEBAR: I LIVE IN FEAR OF DAY 30.

balance

Background Noise & Baby Steps #soul #How’sItGoing?

At this exact moment, Tee is cooking massive quantities of delicata squash, our kitten is playing outside (but not, thankfully, up in a tree), and a sweet baby boy is sleeping on my chest.14100465_1003936956419716_1647979541272358827_n

Life is wonderful.

And yet, I find myself struggling with this one particular habit: background noise.

Ever since I was a little kid, I’ve been accustomed to having some form of entertainment playing in the background almost constantly – television, an audiobook, a podcast, etc.

At different points in my life, this habit has been less problematic.  Like the years I lived without access to TV.  And the time before my iPhone made constant entertainment even more of a reality.  (There’s literally no point in my life when I am not able to be listening to an episode of The Big Bang Theory in the background.)  And the times when I’ve worked hard to break this habit so that I can live a more mindful and present life.

BUT I tend to slip back into this habit during times of stress.  Even when it’s happy stress, like right now – happy, blissful tiredness and crazy scheduling and life adjustments.  These are wonderful things – but they still result in me being tired and cranky at moments, which is when I’m most likely to engage in numbing activities and least likely to work to overcome problematic habits.

So – what do I do?

How do I break this habit, increasing my mindfulness and overall presence, so that I can have a clear head, a happy heart, and lots of mindful present quality time with my baby boy?

I don’t want to give up television or podcasts completely – that’s not my goal.  What I want is to be mindful of my intention.  If I am listening to NPR Politics or re-watching Jane The Virgin with the intention of enjoying myself and consuming some culture – that’s fantastic.  However – if I’m listening to The West Wing in the background of my life because I’m uncomfortable with silence or trying to numb some difficult feeling – that’s a whole different story.  That’s what I’m working to change.

When I’m constantly engaging in background noise, a lot of my headspace is consumed with nothingness.  When I’m allowing myself time for silence, for calm, for quiet, I can feel myself getting a surge of adrenzen-habits1aline.  I can feel myself getting energized and replenished by having room to think, space for spontaneous thought.

Whenever I’m setting intentions, be it via a new year’s resolution, a happiness project, a blog post, I am always, always eager to work on doing one thing at a time fully.  I know it makes me feel better to live a mindful life.

Making it happen, however, is not always easy.

So here’s my plan:

Part A: take baby steps.

Part B: one day at a time.

Part C: practice self-compassion when I don’t do this thing perfectly.

Part D: repeat.

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balance

My Perfect Day #soul

When I am overwhelmed, I often start trying to do this thing.

I start daydreaming about My Perfect Day.

I start thinking about a hypothetical perfect day when I do everything I need to do, perfectly, flawlessly.  I work out.  I meditate.  I call my family.  I spend time with friends.  I write.  I read.  On this perfect day, I say and do everything so well that I feel awesome and amazing and never have a bad day again.

I plot out this day.  I write lists on lined paper and scrawl My Perfect Day across the top of the paper.  I decide on a schedule that I’ll follow every day so that I can ensure that I am taking care of all aspects of myself.  My Perfect Day always includes meditation, yoga, running, time with Tee, and all the other things that I’ve deemed I need on a daily basis to keep myself grounded and whole.  13495146_1023846291034597_3675100431032092705_n

This is a pretty compulsive, over-the-top, uber-planned-out, insane way of living.

I am trying to re-work this strategy.

Because really, I do much better at living life when I take things one day at a time.

I feel kind of disconnected lately.  It’s been a long time since I’ve experienced a Moment of Flow – and this is confusing to me, since right now I pretty much have everything I could possibly want in the world!

When I realized this – this lack of flow in my life – I definitely kicked into My Perfect Day mode.  “I need to meditate every morning when I wake up!”  “No more coffee!”  “Yoga during Teddy’s morning nap!”

Yeah – I know that’s not how it works.  You can’t plan your way into perfection.  All you can do is take things one day at a time and do your best to live with intention.

And hope that the Moments of Flow are on their way.

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balance · self-care

Coffee Versus Tea – An Update #body

True story: for several days this week, I drank tea instead of coffee.

WHY DON’T I DO THIS ALWAYS?

I slept better.  I felt better.  I didn’t have to frantically choke down Luna bars to offset the coffee because I accidentally drank three cups and forgot to eat breakfast.

Is this what other people feel like – people who don’t drink coffee?  Calm and not jittery?  Peaceful?  No headaches?

Truth be told, I have not been sticking to just tea.  I love coffee too much.  BUT it’s something to keep in mind.  We shall see how my caffeine habit progresses.

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balance · blogging · writing

200 Blog Posts – Say Whaaaaat?!?! #mind #soul

I always feel the urge to do something significant when I reach a blogging milestone, but the milestone post is rarely anything extra-special. 200

And now – 200 posts!

This post probably won’t be anything crazy, either.  BUT I do want to take a snapshot of where I am right now as a blogger/writer.

1. How’s my blogging?

Get ready for a humble brag.

I am AMAZED that I have been able to keep up with this blog.  I’ve started blogs at least three times previously and have abandoned them within months.

This time, it’s been over a year – almost fifteen months – and I’m still going strong.

I think this can be attributed to two things.

a) I have given myself absolutely no rules about when to blog and how often to blog.  I’ve been true to my Rebel tendency (thanks to Gretchen Rubin and Better Than Before for helping me to know myself better!) and I have not given myself any obligations or accountability.  I write when I feel like writing, and I post when I feel like posting.  #noplanskerriann

b) I have harbored no expectations for this endeavor except to have fun.  This writing is my playtime – it’s my chance to be silly and to express my creativity.

Good job, KEM!

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2. What has blogging done for me lately?

I’ve written a lot about how much this blog has helped me – with the adoption wait, definitely, and with my efforts to keep myself balanced.

I’ve also written a lot about mindfulness.

And I’ve learned this: writing on heartsoulmindbody helps me to be mindful.brain-balance-06

It helps me to take moments to pause and to reflect on how I’m spending my months, weeks, days, hours, and minutes, which is not necessarily something I do naturally.

It helps me to notice what’s going on with me, and then to make adjustments when I find that I’m not being balanced.

That’s pretty cool.

3. What’s next?

So I’ve been exploring a couple of things.

One is making a Facebook page for the blog.  I’ve actually already made it, but I’m significantly challenged when it comes to doing new things on the internet, so whenever we’re not busy (hahaha) Tee is going to show me what it means when you have a Facebook page.  (If I were a firstborn child, I’d probably figure it out for myself.  But I’m a youngest child; we need mentoring.)

The second thing is moving the blog over to Squarespace.  I’m pretty sure all the podcasts I listen to have contributed to a kind of brainwashing, because I really don’t know why I am considering this.  But the more I hear Ann Friedman talk about it, THE MORE BRAINWASHED I BECOME.

The third thing is changing the name of the blog.  But I don’t know if I can let go of heartsoulmindbody!  The problem is – it’s a little simple, basic.  The next time I’m up all night with insomnia – which hopefully won’t be in the near future thanks to my brilliant switch from coffee to tea – I will scribble names all over my journal like a crazy madwoman and see what I come up with.  More to come.

And to close out, a Shel Silverstein poem.  Just because.  Happy 200 Posts!

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balance

No Pressure #soul #mind #body

Our house is still very much a work in progress.  pnplogo

Looking through my blog drafts, I started to feel a little bad about myself for not working on Marie Kondo’ing my house.

However, the thing with me is that I can pretty much never force myself to do anything.  (If you’re a believer in Gretchen Rubin’s four tendencies, I am very much a Rebel; I can’t make myself form a new habit, and no one else can make me do it, either!)    When I want to form a habit or get something done, I just have to wait for the desire to come over me.

Occasionally, this is problematic; like when Tee really wants us to clean the house when friends are coming over and I’m like, “But it doesn’t feel like the right time to clean right now!”  That doesn’t usually work out great for either of us.

But with most things, I am usually okay just waiting for the motivation to come back to me.  The desire to go for a run always comes back.  The desire to eat healthy always comes back.  Reading, writing, yoga…  It all comes back when the moment is right, and there’s never any need for me to fret about that.

I constantly need to remind myself of this, especially when I have moments of feeling societal or internal pressure to just get things done.

Our world does not encourage us to just go with the flow.  It encourages deadlines and accountability.

And those things, while helpful for some, are rarely effective with me.

So, I’ll go with the flow.  And the flow is not all about me doing the 100 dishes in my sink right now.  It is all about me reading my book on Ruth Bader Ginsburg, doing some writing, and then going for a jog.  #followtheflow

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balance

Just Plain Fun #heartsoulmindbodyspirit

So what happened was, last week, I was talking with my new friend, and she asked me what I like to do for fun.

It took me a moment to answer.

It felt like an hour.

In reality, it was probably just  a second, or a half-second – but for someone like me, who values fun and play as equally important to (IF NOT MORE IMPORTANT THAN) work/productivity/self-care/etc, this was waaaaaay too long for my brain to need to remember the last thing I did that was Just For Fun.

The thing is, I’ve been busier than usual recently, and I’ve been way stressed.  And while I’ve made time for self-care (running, yoga) and for enrichment (meditation), I really feel like I’ve been slacking in the Just For Fun category of my life.  I mean, yoga can be fun, I guess?  And meditation, too?  But not the way I’ve been doing it lately.  I’ve been making time for activities that help me stay balanced, yes – but not for activities that just cause me to laugh out loud at the silliness of it all.

When I got home after my chat with My New Friend, I repeated this interaction to Tee, who lovingly rolled her eyes at me (not really) and then helped me (really) to sift through the last few months of my life to see if really, truly, I have not been doing anything for fun.

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My research brought me to these conclusions:

1. Yes, I’ve been having some fun.  But it’s been more moments of fun rather than hours or days of fun.

2. Self-care is wonderful – nourishing, fulfilling, and enjoyable.  But it doesn’t always meet the criteria of Just Plain Fun.

3. If I’m not engaged in activities that are a) engaging my silly side, b) making me laugh out loud, and c) filling my whole body with glee, then something is missing.

I think that there is room in my life for self-care, personal enrichment, AND just plain fun.

HENCE MY WEEKEND.  Tee and I decided to go to Earth Treks, a rock climbing gym in Timonium, on Saturday; it was the first time I’d been climbing in forever.  It was so much fun!  When Tee and I first met, we used to climb every single day.  It was really awesome to get in a whole bunch of climbs – so many that by the last climb (thil_570xN.764724594_6pye (2)e route was called Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle, I believe), I couldn’t make it to the top.  My muscles literally failed me, in that awesome way they do something when you’ve had a truly satisfying and challenging workout.

We stopped over at the Valley on our way home, where some of our friends were camping out, and ended up doing spontaneous gymnastics and getting in some good belly laughter.

Today, we’re engaging in two of my most-favoritest-ever forms of fun – we’re going for a hike at Rocks State Park, and then tubing at Deer Creek.

I feel pretty good about the level of fun I achieved in three days.  Let’s keep it up, universe; all work and no play is just not a good plan.