Some Days are Hard

**I wrote the first half of this 5 days ago, and have continued on today**

Today I just want to talk about my feelings. Things I have learned about myself through the feelings nobody really likes to feel, but which are very necessary in life. I came back from a wonderful vacation, refreshed and ready to hit my goals again. I also felt that I needed to work as much as possible to make up for the money spent in Hawaii, so I have been working full time hours and even considering picking up extra hours on my days off.

At the end of the last three 12 hour day shifts, I was reminded why I am doing this. Why I am working to be more financially healthy. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE what I do. I love taking care of entire families, responding to emergencies, listening to concerns, and providing comfort. Just a small piece of what I do, but I do love my job. The parts I don’t love are the parts I don’t have control over. I don’t love that I can’t choose a better lifestyle for these families or help them get to a safer place. I don’t love that I am arguing with people above me to provide the best care I can, to get the best equipment possible, and to provide the best and safest staff for all of my patients. I love that when I go to work I am supported by my colleagues, I get to socialize, and I get to help people. I don’t love that I can’t choose my hours, that too many people are working sick or burnt out because we love the job, the families, and feel obligated to be there for them ALL the time. I finished the long weekend, which I thought might be more relaxing because on weekends, though health care is 24/7, it tends to be less busy because there are no managers, less staff overall, and less tests etc. Well, that’s not always true, and of course, that is what I signed up for. Still, wouldn’t the world be a better place if health care workers could meet families in places they are comfortable in? Wouldn’t it be better if we could catch diseases before they happened? Wouldn’t it be better if we didn’t need extra units, extra staff, and extra equipment because people were just HEALTHIER?

Vacation mode

I realize I have been absent for a little while and I am sorry. I know I have few followers and it may seem like I’m just the “little blog hidden behind a lot of big ones”, but what’s important is that I tenderly love and care for this little piece of art, and help it flower like my goals.

I have taken a lovely trip to the Big Island, Hawaii. I brought along my little laptop, I have the app on my phone (which I’m using right now), and I had every intention of writing more often while here. The point is, while focusing on exercising and eating well is important to my overall transformation, it’s easy to forget the bigger picture when distracted by things such as palm trees, tropical fish, and volcanoes. Not to say one shouldn’t enjoy a vacation, time off to relax away from technology. I also didn’t want to spend my vacation staring through a screen. So, I have two points: while on vacation don’t let your goals get swept under the carpet and remember the big picture, AND take time to enjoy where you are, every moment, every day.

Now, I’d like to share a bit of my time here, since we booked this vacation mainly for a “mental health break”. We knew a trip somewhere warm and free was necessary to get back on track to feeling good in body, mind, and soul and let me tell you: it has been!

We have now been here for 7 days and though we weren’t hopping on tour buses or planning something adventurous and spectacular every day, we have had a great vacation so far. We started out on the sunny side, in Kailua Kona, drove around the entire coast of this Western side over the following few days, getting in some snorkel, some swimming, and some sand of all colors (even green!). We hoped to go diving, but due to the high surf were unable for safety reasons. Yes, I was a little sad about that but then I remembered to be grateful. So grateful we can still experience the beautiful sea of Kona, get sunshine (aka the happy vitamin), meet amazing people at the air bnb places we booked, and eat amazing fresh Hawaiian food. We headed to the highlight of the island for the next 3 days, the more rainy ‘cooler’ side – Volcano. Yes, the actual thing that spurts lava, only more of a slow slug-slime like crawl, and hard, sharp, crusted black lava we walked on. We did A LOT of hiking. I did 28,000 steps on my fitbit one day, and over 30,000 the next! I am so grateful I can still get exercise while seeing amazing sites! I must say, Mother Nature is quite impressive and the entire time were exploring all I could think was how grateful I am to be able to appreciate this wonderful phenomenon created by Mother Nature herself, and the great amount of respect I have for her and her creations.

Of course, we still enjoyed sunshine even at high altitude, and had begun to enjoy more than just one scoop of ice cream. Just a few days ago, I confess, I indulged in more gluttony than my new me would approve of, but wow did we experience the culture. I found a community of people calling out to me with their multicolored and tye-dyed shirts, their dread locks and flowy sarongs with loose hair and no makeup. I was reminded of the days when I cared less and I wouldn’t have even considered bringing my hair straightener or makeup – both of which I actually did bring and never used. I also packed too many clothes. I didn’t wear 2 shirts, a dress, or any of the warm clothes I brought for the one day we had planned on the top of the volcano (which does have snow on it btw, but which we didn’t go to because we didn’t feel it was worth it after exploring reviews and prices a little deeper).

Now I sit here, our last night, appreciating the cool breeze, the sound of crickets and birds and the experiences we have had this past week. We booked a last minute night dive with Manta Rays that was, sadly, cancelled due to a sudden shift of winds that caused a high swell and dangerous sea. I was sad, which is okay. I mourned the loss of that experience but then I thought, what gratitude can I get out of this. I admit I am still practicing so it was hard to squeeze out the positive at first – grateful the company values our safety, grateful I remained safe on land and the wind switched before the boat left… then we decided to walk around town, visit the local beach and watch the sunset.. Now I am truly grateful we didn’t squeeze in too much activity, we could relax on our last night, enjoy each others company. I’m so grateful we still have tomorrow morning to enjoy here and we can afford, and will, return to dive when the time is right.

So much went well about this trip, and we saw so many sites I couldn’t fit it on an hour long page, so I will leave you with a few photos.

I really got in touch with my spiritual healthiness, and my healthy mind, even if the healthy diet didn’t continue 100% after the first few days. I feel a positive change in my journey, I feel the energy changing and I’m so excited.

Feel Good

Every time I feel myself falling from my goals, I take action. Every time a mini goal is achieved I create another! On Thursday I completed my latest body goal – the Shred 10. I feel great about my body and don’t want to fall back into old habits, as mentioned in my last post, so I decided that I would sign up for another Barre class today, on my first day off. I continue the habit of making a smoothie in the morning (although to the annoyance of my husband on the weekend – when he was trying to sleep), packing healthy lunches and keeping positive.

There are still many exercises I struggle through in these Barre classes. Even through the motivating chant of the instructor to “keep going, feel the shake and keep holding” I find myself taking a mini break before going back to whichever pose I was previously in. When I take these little breaks I feel like I’ve cheated when the other women in the class (I have yet to see a man join..) hold strong, legs (or arms) shaking until told to release. Each time I do a class though, I hold a little longer, I push my limits a little further, and I focus on the goal. I will continue to go to these classes because afterward I still FEEL GOOD. After the class I tell myself “Next time, I will push through the pain and hold it that extra 5 seconds” and when I get home, I sign up for another class on my Mind Body App, and am excited for another day. As soon as the Shred ended I drank coffee, ate pizza (just a piece) and had a chocolate from my advent calendar (that I didn’t finish before because I left it at home when going to visit family). In order to not feel defeated though, I have learned to push past the negative thoughts and see the end goal. I praise myself for the little accomplishments (“well I made a smoothie today and drank a bottle of water BEFORE I drank coffee, so that’s a change”). I continue to build my will power muscle and form change. I said “no thank you” to the sweets offered at work, instead of “oh I can’t because I’m on a detox”. I should always be on a detox. I am so much less bloated, have more energy, and instead of automatically reaching for an unhealthy snack when I am hungry I find something healthy and satisfying: lately it’s been apple and peanut butter (all natural, crunchy, yum!).

An unexpected positive side effect of doing the Shred, and not being able to drink coffee (or caffeinated drinks), was my budget! Since the new year I have only bought TWO coffees. Previously, it’s been about 2-3 a week (minimum). More when I’m working night shift. Another win. I have also refrained from eating out or buying fast food. It’s tempting, now, to continue my old habits. After all, 10 days is a short amount of time, so I’ll continue to post on here when I feel weak, make my smoothies in the morning, say no to unhealthy foods when I’ve had my share for the week, and sign up for exercises (or, you know, just go to the gym).

I am posting today, because I am continuing to feel good about this transformation. I don’t yet know the end goal. I know that I will be strong. I know that I will be successful. I know that I am living a life where every day I am saying “I am thankful to be here. I am so grateful to be living my life”. I feel so loved and supported by the people in my life, and so grateful to be constantly meeting new positive and inspiring personalities. Today I have focused on both a healthy mind and a healthy body (as the category indicates), because both are hurdles I have overcome today. Everything does connect, and the more good habits I form in one area, I am sure, the more that will naturally occur in others. The more exercise I do, the healthier I want to eat, the happier I am, the more friendships I form, the closer I get to financial freedom where I am achieving what I want AND making money doing what I love.

This is only the beginning. Keep feeling good.

Staying motivated

So, yesterday was my final day of the Shred 10. The whole week I thought my last day was today, but as I saw the post “day 10!” My brain automatically wanted to go back to old habits. My first thought was “yes! That means I can have coffee tomorrow! And finish my Christmas chocolate!”. Then, consciously, I listened to those thoughts and remembered my goal. After 10 days of eating whole foods, drinking plenty of water, and exercising (nearly) every day I feel so great, so why would I ruin this good feeling? I am constantly reminding myself that change is not easy, but it is a decision I am making every minute of every day. I did wake up today, debating whether to have my decaf coffee or herbal tea, as I have the last 10 days, or indulge. I convinced myself to indulge in a cup of black tea with cream and I am totally okay with that decision.

The point here isn’t about feeling like a failure every time I have something bad. It’s about consciously realizing what I’m choosing, and consistently choosing things that bring me closer to being a holistically healthier person. When I tell people I know that I’m working on becoming healthier, the common response is always “but you are healthy!”. Sure, compared to a lot of people I eat healthy, I exercise fairly regularly, and I am a pretty positive happy person overall. I’ve been through this before but the point is how I feel about myself, not how I am perceived. I believe that small change is a catalyst for larger change and getting over the mental battle is my biggest challenge. I can choose to listen to everyone and go on living my pretty good life, or I can change my mindset, stop making excuses, and live a pretty AMAZING life!

Getting to the point, I’ve realized to stay motivated I need to do a few things: form a routine (ex. having a smoothie and exercising when I wake up – no matter what shift I’m on), visualize my goal every time I feel myself falling back into old habits (ex. feeling strong when I look in the mirror, imagining my energy as I hike up a mountain or bike up a steep hill), and find supportive people to share my journey with. Now that I am already beginning to feel great about my body, my next goal to add is to work on a healthy mind: More than just positivity in bad situations.

My goal: By the end of 2018 I will be meditating at least 5 minutes a day. I will do this whenever I feel myself falling and have the urge to give in to old habits – such as indulging in a lot of chocolate or cookies, saying to myself ‘the days wasted anyway so I’ll just sit here and do nothing until I go to bed’, or feeling bad about myself. I will also continue to meditate before bed (no matter what shift I am on).

Cheers to a healthier mind. Namaste

(This photo was taken in early December at an inspiring event – a representation of my healthier mind)