Sunday, January 24, 2010

This is Not a Resolution

I decided over my Christmas break that I needed to make 2010 the year that I got my health in order. It wasn't so much a New Year's Resolution, as I always end up breaking those, as it was a re-commitment to something I've been working on to various degrees for years. Shawn and I are thinking we might like to start a family in the next few years and I am realizing that, as I get older, I need to put more effort into keeping my body healthy both for carrying a baby and for the stress that comes with raising one.

So I've committed to continuing to eat better. I've successfully kept my refined sugar intake much lower since July and I think that's a lifestyle change that I can keep up. I have been eating more fresh fruits and vegetables, more lean proteins and way less processed food. Now cutting down my sodium intake has become a new part of the plan. I know that I have lowered my intake by eating less processed foods, but there are still many things that I eat that contain more sodium than they should. Shawn has been great about finding new recipes and foods that include minimal or no sodium at all, but when I am home alone it is hard for me not to turn to a can of this or something frozen. That needs to change.

I also decided to see an acupuncturist and my first appointment was yesterday. I'm not sure what I thought of that. I was recommended to them by someone I trust very much and the doctor I saw was very interested in my health issues and looking at ways that he could help. I did not realize, however, that his treatments included chiropractic elements. I knew that he was also a chiropractor, but thought that we could just do acupuncture. Nope. It was a bit jarring as I've always found the whole idea of cracking and adjusting a bit weird, but I think it went OK. And I enjoyed the acupuncture part. I wasn't expecting to be so tired afterwards, but I did sleep very well for a change. I have to go back for 8-12 more sessions and take some Chinese herbs, so we'll see how this progresses. I will try to have regular updates on the blog.

I'm still going to the gym three days a week too. And walking to work every day. I want to keep up the momentum and continue to see positive changes in my body. My trainer has me doing an exercise called Jackknife currently that tests my terrible balance more than any other previously. Our goal of improving my balance has been very successful thus far and this one is an even tougher test - one that I'm determined to master.

Beyond those changes I've also started setting aside time in the evenings to read and write. I've made a list of the shows I really love and have committed to only watching those and using the other time I have available to write in my journal, work on the novel or read a good book. No more sitting on the couch watching Iron Chef because Shawn likes it and I'm too lazy to bother leaving the room. I've already finished The Year of Magical Thinking and have been feeling so much better about the amount of writing I've accomplished.

Hopefully 2010 will be a better year. One where I am truly able to live my best life.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Stolen Sleep

My insomnia is back. Even writing that sentence makes me quiver. Insomnia is something I dealt with extensively a few years back as I made the leap and left the music industry. It wasn’t fun. If my experience this week is any indication it still isn’t the life of the party.

Over the last few years I have spent a lot of time thinking, reading and writing about sleep and all of its awesome, occasionally elusive, properties. I have worked hard to get to a place where I am able to sleep well most of the time. I try to keep a steady bedtime, although I give myself a little leeway on the weekend. It’s the same principle as with children – if you’re on a schedule you’ll just sleep so much better.

I also keep a gratitude journal, which I try to update each night before bed. I got the idea from O Magazine and it’s one of the many from that source that has served me well. It reminds me of all that was good about the day, lets the worries seep away and be replaced by the small pleasures, the little triumphs and the moments of happiness. It’s such a positive note to end the day on and usually it leaves me feeling much calmer. The journal has helped me so much to keep the niggling worries at bay and get to sleep.

And I’ve discovered the power of hot milk. I always thought it was an old wives tale, but it turns out that hot milk before bedtime really does have the power to help you sleep. I use skim, to keep the calorie count reasonable, but it helps me feel full and warm and it really does have an enzyme that helps you sleep.

Add to that my better eating habits, which mean my body isn’t full of refined sugars all the time, as well as regular exercise and I have had a decent recipe for combating insomnia for the last little while. Until now.

I blame my holiday break, where I was bad about keeping on schedule on top of all the rest. My body will need a little time to get back on track. Until then, I will suffer from my sleep deprivation. Fingers crossed that it won’t last long this time!