Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Tidbit Tuesday: Make it a game!

For a while now, Matt (Matt = husband) has been turning tasks into games. Whenever there is a major "to do" on our list he offers it as a game and reframes the entire experience. Flashback to Mary Poppins. He has also done this with a few buddies, to help keep things in check.

So, while I was on the phone with Tiffany (mentioned in Tidbit Tuesday August 2), talking about how we wanted to get back into routine, we decided to make it a game.

I know that life moves with more ease when I am going to bed earlier, waking up around 7 a.m. and eating breakfast. This is something I have learned about myself - amongst other important lessons - and I also know that when sleep and eating are "off" so comes the rest of everything.

So, Tiffany and I are playing a game together. We both realized that each of us are more likely to tend to ourselves and follow a routine when there is a commitment to someone or something else (e.g. be at work on time, meet person at the gym and so on). We committed to ensuring the other one is up and out of bed each morning at 7:30 a.m..

Each of us have set an alarm, and the first one to call gets a point (1 point for Gryffindor!). Whoever has more points at the end of the game wins a home-cooked meal from the other. The daily commitment is fulfilled when we are each out of bed, in the kitchen with glass of water, and in the midst of preparing breakfast.

So, here I am, now up for over an hour (Thank you Tiff) and starting my day. I already feel more like myself!

The moral of the tidbit: make it a game, and call upon a friend. It could be with anything - eating more vegetables, driving the speed limit, smoking fewer cigarettes, taking shorter showers... Whatever it is, whatever the unfulfilled commitment may be.

Another tip: define "conditions of satisfaction. The what's, how's and when's... so the outcome is measurable and clear.

And, thanks to Matt too. Not only is playing a game a great idea, I do appreciate that you now have to listen to Tiffany and I chat it up every morning at 7:30 a.m. (as you reminded me yesterday when I told you). And YES, you can come to dinner too!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Tidbit Tuesday: Has planning ahead replaced the present?

I just heard an advertisement for Halloween events. Here I am, driving along in my car on the way home from a lovely dinner with my sister. I am thinking about today's interesting quake events, wondering about whether I will hang out with hubby tonight when I get home, liking the song on the radio and thinking that I could use a tank of gas....and then it happens! An advertisement on the radio for a fright-fest at a local amusement park.

Immediately I realize I am breathing shallowly and I think - wait! What is today!?! Halloween! Christmas! Hanukkah! My mind running forward many months into the future.

Yet, I recovered quickly, whew! I have been practicing breathing to bring me back to present. Ahhh, breath. It is still August and I have plenty of time before all of these wonderful things happen.

Y'know, this is not the first time that I found "time getting away from me" recently. There are already talks of Thanksgiving plans, winter holiday gifts (yep, I shop all year long) and who-will-be-in-town-when surrounding all of these fabulous events. Yet, this was the first time I actually forgot to breathe in the midst of it - listening to this radio ad.

So, my offering today is simple. How do I concurrently keep breathing deeply, savor each moment and operate so that I am "ready" for the "hustle and bustle" of Rosh Hashanah-Halloween-Thanksgiving-Hanukkah-Christmas-New Years? Will I maintain a healthful way of being so that I enjoy today and do not get carried away? All while still preparing for and celebrating the flurry of the fall and winter holidays?

And now, back to you...in the midst of Halloween radio advertisements in August, and Christmas decor in October, how will you design being present, and still be "ready" for the celebrations to come?

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Tidbit Tuesday: It may be time for dinner, but this is about lunch!

Thank you to the people who filled out my lunch survey over this week. We had 20 respondents and I am so appreciative of your participation in helping me think about this subject matter more deeply.

Quick run down of some of the findings:
  • 80% of respondents are working full time
  • 75% of respondents eat breakfast; 20% inconsistently eat breakfast
  • A super variety on what is consumed during the lunch period - varied responses on each item
  • 55% of respondents agree that lunch is something they do not skip; 20% somewhat agree
  • 25% of respondents somewhat disagree that lunch is a time they can take to rejuvenate
  • 13 people agree or somewhat agree that lunch is spent at their desks
I must admit, I am not a statistician and so I cannot provide you with a full and comprehensive report of these findings. Really, I am interested in the diversity that surveys like this show and even more so that it makes me think a bit. Whenever I create or participate in a survey I find myself challenged to explore something more deeply than I might have otherwise. This is the gift, for me, in this survey.

So, what I learned - from my non-statistician point of view - is that, even with what I know of today's health/fitness culture (our interest in organic goods, yoga, 5 fruits and veggies a day etc.) there is an impressive amount of diversity in this group of 20 people about their lunch eating habits.

For example, 4 of our respondents, out of the 17 who reported being either full or part time workers are not given paid time for lunch. While 12 people are given the time for lunch (do not have to "clock out"). I say it is awesome that most people are afforded a paid lunch break, yet still 4 people out of 17 going without is quite a bit. I can see how some people may not take this time out for themselves given that it is unpaid.

For me, lunch is one way to look at how I care for myself. When I was working full time, I often got caught up in meetings or a project and would wait to eat. Then, I would be ravenous and would eat whatever was in front of me - donuts, leftover danish, cold pizza that had originally been frozen - then cooked - then cooled. I might eat so late that I would fall asleep in my keyboard because I would crash after running on empty for so long and then suddenly having food in my system. I learned that I need to eat by 12:30 or qwerty is all over my cheek for the afternoon.

I want to know if you think that lunch is important. If you realize that nourishment, midday, is important for you. And, how do you nourish yourself?

I am still "digesting" this data supplied by our awesome 20 respondents. I may have to write about it more later. But I can say this - it definitely made me think about the importance of lunch and how to consider that eating lunch (how, when, where, with who, what) may be a reflection of how we take care of ourselves, in general; regardless of the demographics and percentages!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Meet me in St. Louis....I mean, Minneapolis

Valuable lessons when traveling....
  1. Always carry goulashes in the car
  2. Be nice to the people trying to assist you at the airport
  3. No matter how together you are...God or some force can actually intervene with an incredible monsoon of sorts and you might miss your flight
Today I was preparing to depart from visiting my fab friend Andrea (shout out to Rochester!) and on our way to the airport, we literally ran into a flash flood! Sheets and waves of rain and wind consumed Rochester. We approached one intersection and everyone was turning around. Down another street the water was up to the top of the tires and we decided to pull into the nearest parking lot. Within the 10 seconds it took for parking the water was up to the hood of other folks' cars.

Mother nature is just amazing, really. So powerful. So powerful that with all the water, the major highway was closed for multiple exists. Hence, I called and called and called the airline to check my options as the minutes ticked away toward my flight.

And I missed it, completely. So, I will be late for a class tomorrow in Minnesota.

Things I might have done differently at the airport (really I know better...I am pointing my own index finger at myself):
  1. Smile and say hi before asking for help. AND ask "how are you?" to the attendant - actually wait for their answer and really listen
  2. Tell them concisely about missing the flight and ask for help, BEFORE explaining about the weather. Offer my sob story about flash floods only after it seems that I might not receive the help I am hoping for...consider holding off on hostilely offering to show them the photos after I hear, "Well 112 other people were here for their flight..."
Yea, I think it came off like an excuse, and I get it. Because I was overly concerned about getting to Minnesota and did not stay with my practice of taking a deep breath, acknowledging the circumstances just as they are, and then requesting help without having expectation or negative emotions. Not that I was super nasty either; maybe a bit entitled though. And that is not cool, really.

It seems that my yoga practice of yesterday (which was amazing by the way!) did not follow me into the airport today...So, I am recommitting to being peaceful, gracefully go with the flow, being kind to my fellow humans no matter what and remembering that I get to be in control of only myself - no one else - certainly not the weather. Just me. So while its great to plan ahead and follow the rules and guidelines for travel etc., its probably even more important to be in practice with knowing that the world will take its course, as it should, and I get to decide how I am going to be with whatever shows up.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Tidbit Tuesday: Time for a lunch break!

So, I took a few moments to locate some statistics on Americans taking lunch breaks, and did not find the subject matter that I wanted. Thus, I have invented my own little survey....open for 1 week starting now, which you are welcome (and encouraged) to take. Next Tuesday I will share the learnings. Visit this link to complete my survey!

Tidbit hiatus....while I collect these survey responses!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Tidbit Tuesday: Grateful, because today, so far, I am still breathing.

There is only one imminent truth; we are all mortal. At some point, we each will face our own death. True. The key is to live well in-between birth and death. And this is a theme in my education.

So, why today, such a morbid tidbit (morbid for some at least)? Because today I am still breathing, as of the moment I write this, and I am so grateful. And it could be otherwise. In fact for two individuals this morning driving the beltway in metropolitan DC/MD/VA it is otherwise following a fatal car accident. In 2009, 30,797 individuals were reported as dying in fatal car accidents in the United States.

My grandmother used to say "a car is a weapon" and my father lovingly passed this information along to me. Not as a scare tactic, instead to highlight the responsibility that comes along with driving a vehicle and riding in one.

This is part of my wellness in life. My appreciation for life (my own and the life of others), the opportunity for this adventure and to do the dance of life with some grace and ease - this is wellness. Getting behind a wheel and pushing the gas petal is part of this dance....Do I drive with consideration of the others around me? Am I interested in theirs or my wellbeing, or the concern of those who love us when I am driving or riding in a car? What is my mentality? My emotions? What is my body doing? Is it tense or tight? Am I even in my body?

And is this a reflection of how I am in life?

This breath, is precious, I say. The person breathing in the car next to me, or in front of me - their breath is precious too.

I'd like to acknowledge my dear friend Tiffany, who reminded me about this as she shared her concern and love for two individuals - who as I write this - are being hospitalized with severe, unspeakable injuries sustained from a vehicle accident. In love, and hope for their peace and ease, and those of their loved ones, as they dance this part of the dance.