How often have you heard those words, or even said them to yourself over holiday foods during this season? Don’t despair, it’s never too late to learn new habits or try something new. Here are five ways to fight holiday weight gain starting now:
1. Absorb: Drink at least eight glasses of water a day. A glass of water before a meal is a good idea, too.
2. Activity: Exercise is always a good idea. I recently got a Wii console for an early Christmas gift, and Zumba to exercise to. I don’t always do it, but it’s on my list of New Year’s resolutions, to exercise to Zumba at least four times a week.
3. Avoid: Don’t eat for emotional reasons. When you reach for that ice cream, ask yourself if you’re sad, bored, angry, or even joyful.
4. Await: Slowly count to 10 before you cheat. Then, if you still want it, eat it, You’ll know you made a conscious choice.
5. Always: Always eat breakfast. It helps start your day right by making you feel full to begin with, and it really is the most important meal.
I posted earlier this month about dogs, and how we should try to be more like them. Animals know intuitively when they need a break. Dogs are not far removed from their wolf ancestors, who needed to conserve energy for hunting and gathering. When I take my Lucy out for a walk, you would think she’s on a hunt. Her nose is constantly to the ground, unless she hears a noise. Then she has to see what’s going on. But when she’s not playing, walking, eating, or otherwise occupied, she sleeps.
I find it difficult to sleep during the day due to some of the meds I take for bipolar disorder and CFS. But this is what I do when I know I absolutely need a nap and I’m having trouble. I go into my bedroom, close the blinds, get a light blanket, and turn on a cd, maybe Sleepy Rain: With Delta Brainwave Pulses. I have other cds I listen to, including a Brahms Lullaby for babies. Hey, whatever works.
Just be sure to get lots of rest this holiday season. It helps your immune system fight off these nasty colds and flu that are making the rounds.
Ever have one of those days where you just feel down and blue for no real reason you can pinpoint? Or maybe you know the reasons but you don’t want to talk about it. Guess what? I’ve been there. I think we all have.
These are some things I do when I’m feeling blue, and maybe they will help you:
1. Play with the irrepressible Lucy. Lucy is my dog, as most of you know. Just cuddling for ten minutes, just PETTING an animal, can raise serotonin levels in our bodies. It’s a fact.
2. Aromatherapy. Lighting candles, especially lavender, jasmine, or vanilla scented, are calming and naturally help the senses go to a better place. I always turn to candles when I’m not well.
3. Puzzles! It doesn’t necessarily have to be a jigsaw, but it can be, if it’s something you enjoy. I enjoy them, but I can never find enough room for them. Something puzzling can take your mind off your own problems even if for ten minutes and it’s fun to boot! Rubik’s Cube, Sudoku, Crosswords, Origami . . . anything which strikes your fancy. Go for it!
4. Help someone else. Compliments work wonders. Open the door for someone else today, or help an elderly woman load groceries into her car. You don’t know this, but you help people in so many ways that you don’t even know about. You’d be surprised at how many people you help. If you ever get to feeling blue again, why don’t you ask someone, just for kicks, “What do I do that matters to you?” (Or whatever way you want to word it)
I do hope you are having a lovely day and aren’t feeling a bit blue. Peace out.
Yesterday we talked about how there can be a disconnect when dealing with codependency. A disconnect within ourselves, with who we are, what our own needs, emotions, and feelings are.
Today, I would like to present five ways to get to know ourselves better. There are, of course, many ways. These are just five to get you started:
1 Make collages: Any magazines will do. Family Circle, Redbook, Vogue, Cosmo, to name a few. Sit down on the floor or at a table with several magazines spread around and a pair of scissors. Then flip through the pages and cut out anything that speaks to you. Faces, places, objects, famous people, nobody in particular, babies, adults, old people, trees, whatever that resonates to you at the moment. Put the cut out pictures in a pile separately. Later, glue them on a large blank paper or perhaps begin a sketchbook of collages and date them, keeping track of how you have changed.
2. Journal. I suggest a blank, unlined journal, for several reasons, but this must be purely your choice. The reason I suggest an unlined journal is because sometimes you might like to draw or sketch out what you’re feeling. Sometimes there just aren’t words to describe what’s going on. There’s no better way to describe a black hole, for instance, then to draw a black hole. And sometimes I like to paste in special things I’ve found that have meaning. A goose feather that fell next to me while I was writing one day, for instance. With journaling, you can be exactly whatever. No one is grading it. No one checks your grammar, spelling
erors errors, or whether or not you mention them. It is YOURS and YOURS alone. Keep it in a lock box if you wish. Get to know yourself.
3. Create. Paint. Knit. Crochet. Make something out of clay. Write a short story or go big and write a novel. Getting creative can help you know yourself because the left side of our brains, which taps into creativity, also deals a lot with emotion. So GO, DO! Don’t be afraid of mistakes. Mistakes don’t count when you are using this creativity to know yourself. They don’t even figure into the equation. You might even consider paint-by-numbers if blank canvases freak you out. Yes!
4. Join a support group. Whether it’s Al-Anon or another support group, it’s important to find a place you’re comfortable to dig deep and TALK about yourself. When you talk in general about whatever the support group topic is, you will find yourself learning more and more about yourself.
5. Do the unusual thing. If you usually don’t walk during the day, WALK. If you usually don’t speak up for yourself, be bold for one day. Think about what you do, then do the opposite for one day, just to see how it feels.
As always, love you guys to pieces. Peace out.
When we live with or love an alcoholic, when we are a parent, or a wife, a co-worker, a small business owner, and on and on, it can become very easy to put others first in our lives.
Sometimes it becomes so easy the lines get blurred and we lose ourselves in the process.
Here, for your light-hearted Friday before Friday the 13th, are seven signs you aren’t taking care of yourself:
1. When your feet hit the floor after you get out of bed, your first thought is of someone else. Yes, maybe you have children to feed, a husband to get off to work. Maybe you are concerned whether or not your hungover son/daughter/sister/husband/wife will make it into work and how you will handle it. We all have responsibilities. But if you don’t take care of YOU FIRST, in some small way, you’re no good to anyone else.
2. You read another loved one’s horoscope before your own. Enough said.
3. You’re the first to volunteer for committees, bake sales, and block parties – LONG after you’re overburdened. Hey – volunteerism is wonderful. I do it myself. But have you ever noticed, especially in a church home, there is a small percentage of people who can ALWAYS be counted on to do anything? Don’t be one of those. Burn-out city. Trust me.
4. Friends call you a whirling dervish, because they hardly see you anymore. Worse yet, they stop calling at all. Staying connected is important. I read a study that serotonin levels in people who are shut-ins goes up just by spending time on Face Book. So imagine how much happier face-to-face contact makes us! We need touch, we need hugs, laughter, all these things to remind us we are not alone in life.
5. Your dentist no longer recognizes your name, and says they have no information about you on file.
6. You stop speaking up for yourself, and all the boundaries you’ve worked so hard to build start to wobble and weave.
And the last sign you aren’t taking care of you?
7. When you are in a car crash, your car sliding around on ice, before it comes to a stop, the lives that flash before your eyes are everyone else’s except your own.
Dear Reader, please take care of yourself. You are the only YOU there is.
At Saturday’s meeting there was another double winner, like me, a friend of mine (at least, she signed my sheet, so I count her among my friends now ) who is in both AA and Al-Anon. She mentioned when it was her time to share that she was celebrating that very day 27 YEARS of sobriety. Whoo hoo!!!
All meetings have a different sort of “flavor,” and this meeting is much looser, and allows crosstalk. We allow questions and direct statements back and forth to each other because we are a very small and close-knit group. It’s just how we are. Most groups don’t allow that, because it tends to put people off and they then don’t feel very willing to share their story.
Anyway, what I did was, I asked her “How’d you do it?”, which is a question oft-asked of people who get a token for achievements such as this. People want to know how one made it through even a month of such an achievement, let alone 27 years.
Well, “J”, my dear friend, simply said, “It was love. A whole lot of love.” And then she couldn’t talk anymore about it because she got pretty choked up.
Love pretty nearly does make the world go ’round. God’s love, through Him, and through His people.
P.S. Got three more phone numbers of potential friends Monday morning. Yay me!!
I wrote this for myself, but feel free to take and leave whatever works for you. We’re all in this thing called recovery together, right? We need to help each other as much as we can. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
CHRIS’S RECOVERY MANIFESTO
Boundaries are good. They’re important.
There is no such thing as too many meetings.
It’s okay to need people.
“No” does not require an explanation.
If you don’t mean it, don’t say it. If it comes out anyway, be prepared to make amends.
Always follow through.
It’s okay to be human; mistakes happen. What’s important is the getting back up part.
Call your sponsor.
Stop worrying about what other people think of you. It’s none of your business what they think of you.
Do the best you can; at the end of the day that’s all you can do.
Pray always. Pray about everything, the little things and the big things. Say thank you, regardless of what happens.
Never take the steps out of order. They were written that way for a reason.
Let go and let God.
Breathe. Breathe again.
Remember that you can’t save anyone, not even yourself. That’s God’s job.
Stop trying to control the moon and the stars. They were here long before you, and they function quite fine without your help.
People are who they are. Accept that and avoid much heartache.
Love them anyway.
Live big. Dream big. Laugh long and hard.
Have goals. Change them as necessary.
Always love and know that someone loves you.~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Note: I reserve the right to add to and edit this manifesto as I grow and learn more about myself and this thing called life.
As you may have noticed when you happened onto my page this lovely morning, things have changed around here. When I first began blogging, I thought my blog was going to be about knitting and writing, with some posts thrown in here and there to reflect my Al-Anon journey.
Since I’m going through the Blueprint for Progress with a small group of women, which involves the 4th step adapted from Alcoholics Anonymous: Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves, I have to get real about this blog.
It’s an Al-Anon blog, with some posts here and there about knitting and reading, writing, stuff like that. As I made this decision, I understood the fearless aspect of getting honest for the first time. Well, not really. I’m still afraid I’ll lose readership. You see how I have to beat off the comments as it is now.
But I like the new feel, the new look. It’ll have pages added to it, as I get off my lazy butt and put them in. But for now, what you see is what you get. By the way, Route 66 no longer exists, except in a historical preservation sense. It’s in one state (can’t remember the name now) and it leads nowhere, just a nice scenic drive.
That is a bit of a metaphor for what I want for you, gentle reader, and me. I want to take the scenic way home. I want this to be a long trip, and – will you stay with me?
Oh. Time for a meeting.
Out of all of the slogans I’ve heard around the Al-Anon tables, my two favorites are:
“Bring the body and the mind will follow.”
“If God brings you to it, He will bring you through it.”
Each of these slogans, or sayings, for me has to do with determination.
The first one I hung onto when I didn’t really understand the program and thought I was there to CURE the alcoholic. I thought I was there to get the alcoholic in my life sober, and after that, my life would be just perfect. Oh, how wrong I can be. But Al-Anon folks don’t tell you you’re wrong straight out. They don’t even judge. They just smile, give a hug, and say “Keep coming back.” So I did. That was me, being the tortoise, putting one foot in front of the other, reading the literature and trying so hard to get my loved one sober. I thought I was doing the right thing.
But I so wanted the peace and serenity of the other members at the tables. Some of them had alcoholics in their lives who were still drinking or worse, in jail. And they were AT PEACE. I wanted that.
I just kept bringing my body to the meetings. Eventually my mind caught up with the rest and – it CLICKED. I learned the three C’s: I didn’t cause it, can’t cure it, and can’t control the alcoholic. Slowly I brought the focus off others in my life and onto myself. That’s enough to deal with right there! I’m certainly not perfect, and I still work on this.
When I’ve come to crises in my program, the second slogan kicks in, and I learn that I’m not alone. For all my determination, I’m not a LONE tortoise out there running a marathon. My higher power, whom I choose to call God, is not only my cheerleader, He is my legs, and my arms. He is the wind propelling me forward when I can’t take another step.
What does determination look like for you?
Taking care of ourselves also involves just trying to BE ourselves. That’s easier said than done. We see billboards and commercials for thinner, better versions of the people we’d like to be. For the record, I count our own mirrored images as distorted comparisons as well.
According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, 13.8 million cosmetic plastic surgery procedures (both surgical and minimally-invasive) were performed in the U.S. in 2011, up 5% since 2010. Also 5.5 million reconstructive plastic surgery procedures were performed last year, up 5%.
My sister and I couldn’t be any more different if we tried. She’s small-boned, very petite, and weighs probably 115 lbs soaking wet. When she’s stressed, the last thing she thinks about is food. I’m tall, bigger-boned, not at all petite, and – well, we don’t need to go there. I’m a stress eater, unless I’m very anxious. Then I don’t eat.
As artists and craftsmen, how often do we compare ourselves to others? Whether you are a writer, knitter, painter, sculptor, mixed media artist, scrapbooker, playwright, actor, or carpenter . . . how many times have you looked at someone else’s work and said, “Why couldn’t I have done that?” OR conversely “I could have done that blindfolded with both hands tied behind my back!”
It takes a very secure person to be happy for another’s success, without reservation. In a book I’m reading, The Sister Knot, the author states it’s almost normal for sisters – or anyone, really – to feel jealous of each other at certain times throughout their lives.
At my meetings, it’s still, after over 1 1/2 years of attendance, difficult for me to share. I worry that I will sound funny. I think my share will seem thrown-together, not cohesive, and not nearly as fluid and confident-sounding as the OTHERS in the group. At a group I went to last Friday, a man shared. He stuttered, stammered, and it was very hard for him to share just a few words. After he spoke, I felt ashamed of myself.
Why do we do that? Why do we bother to compare? There is only one me. There is only one you. As far as writing or projects go (even if they have nothing to do with writing, if you are an artist this applies to you) I’m reminded of a sticker I often turned to during National Novel Writing Month last November. When I got discouraged I would look at it to boost me.
It said, simply, “Your story matters.”
Whatever you do, be it welding, gardening, crocheting, quilting, dog-training, remember that. YOUR STORY MATTERS.
Whatever your size, your eye/hair color, nose/lip shape . . . YOU. MATTER. SO. MUCH. Just the way you are.
Wanting that feeling of being approved/accepted comes from deep within our hearts, and it starts when we are very young.
I remember needing nothing more than to be accepted as a child, for who I was. It seemed my well-meaning parents were always wanting to make me into something different. A better, more-polished, more-polite, more-confident, more . . . version of Chris.
It seems like it takes so much for us to shake off those old tapes and that old wiring and reach for something better, even if that something better is so spectacular as to be a higher power, whom I choose to call God.
We DO get some DO-OVERS in life. We get second chances to get acceptance in life. I get it in Al-Anon, around the tables,with God, and with the best sponsor in the whole, wide world.
At those meetings, I don’t have to pretend to be something I’m not. I don’t have to struggle for the right words, or say them in the right way. I can have an off day. No one is going to fault me for it. I can laugh, cry, get angry. I still get a hug at the end of the meeting.
Do I still work hard at changing myself, as this lovely cartoon by Cathy Thorne suggests? SOMETIMES. But it’s not so much big changes, because I think I have begun climbing this daunting mountain called Acceptance. I’m halfway there.
Until I get to the top, I can let OTHER people accept me the way I am . . . that, too, gets me there more quickly.
The thing is, I don’t think we can truly accept OTHERS unconditionally if we cannot do the same with OURSELVES. How are you doing?