Posted in exercise

12 months later…

Sometimes, I don’t feel as energetic or as pain free as I’d like to be now, even after being diagnosed with Ankylosing spondylitis. Then I remember where I was just one year ago! I am so thankful for the improvements and positive changes that I’ve had over that time.

I started recording my walking and workouts on the app Map My Walk in June 2018. How do I know this??? LOL I looked it up yesterday because I went walking at one of my favorite local places. And it was FAST; well fast for me. I looked at the app to check whether I had ever recorded a mile pace that fast.

And NO I had not! 🤩

Yesterday’s pace was a 23 minute mile. I was listening to music and imagine my surprise when the music diminished and the voice of the app stated the one mile mark with the pace time! I even went back and checked last year’s workouts when I was struggling just to get out of bed. I didn’t have the exact date but I did have a couple of times listed for February and both one mile pace times were over an hour!

AND, I was still walking with the cane then!!! 😧

I am so thankful and grateful for the opportunity to pursue better health and to actually feel better. Days like this are a wonderful reminder of progress. And thank you for rocking with me throughout this journey!

From yesterday’s walking path
Posted in Overall health

Finding balance

I’m sitting on the beach at a lake in Ohio. As my brother jokes, this has become my new favorite place. 🏖 and in a way, it is. I can get outside, enjoy the sun and disconnect for a bit before going back into the business of everyday life.

And I’m thankful that the beach is only 30 minutes away!

I decided to bring a book today along with my usual snacks. It’s called Body on Fire by Drs. Aggarwal and Rao and I’m already hooked on the first few pages. It goes along perfectly with my desire to find balance, or homeostasis as mentioned in the book. And for me, that’s everything at this point. So many times, I’m going from one thing to the next all day and not resting until it’s time to sleep!

And I’m on a such a mission to regain balance that I recently put in my notice at work without having another job lined up immediately. There’s a travel component that is just too much for me physically as I learn how to manage Ankylosing spondylitis. But the wild thing is that once I made that decision and put in the notice, I started receiving TONS of interview requests; and while that’s a post for a different time, it brings a level of validation that others positively view your skills the way you see your skills but your current place does not.

But, I digress …I am finally saying yes to myself and all that entails. And my yes may look very different from your yes, and that’s okay. Each of us is so unique and it’s time we celebrate our uniqueness in healthy and balanced ways. So as I continue to read, and begin class again next month, I hope to hold this moment to look back on when I don’t always have a moment to pause.

Wishing you all the best from the beach! And check out the book 📖

Posted in Overall health

Summer fun – Wellness Wednesdays

Have I mentioned before how much I love summer?! Being born in the summer surely has something to do with it 😉 I mention this because finding something pleasurable or that you find joy in is a part of wellness. So I’m sharing my summer joys.

Summer for me is all about relaxation. And that falls in line with my meditation work. I’ve recently read more about grounding and try to step in the grass daily, when it’s not raining. I have a massage chair topper as well to help with relaxation. That helps your nervous system turn on the parasympathetic stage- rest rather than flight or fight mode.

While I try to get outdoors throughout the year, I really focus on outdoor life during the summer. I walk outdoors a lot more and spend more time exploring the area, discovering new things. I try to visit the beach, hike, ride a bike – basically anything that allows me to enjoy the world around me.

Barbecue and ice cream! I’ve had to back off of these to adhere to diet protocols but summer is the best for both. I have found mustard based bbq sauces since I can’t do tomatoes. And ice cream on hot days – whew! I’ve found a non dairy coconut cream brand that I absolutely love. But …sugar *sigh* so I reserve that for days that are over 90 degrees. It’s all about balance.

And while I don’t swim, I do like to get in the pool occasionally or just sit out and bask in the sun 🌞 I try to go before kids get to the pool so going early on a hot day is crucial. I prefer the beach but I don’t live close to any at this time.

What are ways that you enjoy the summer? Comment below 👇🏽. Maybe we have some things in common ☺️. See you next week!

Posted in Mental health matters, self-care, Work/life balance

Less Stress – Wellness Wednesdays

Over the last couple of years, I have purposefully been looking for ways to de-stress. I would only take self care seriously when I went on vacation but that’s not enough to sustain a stress free lifestyle. As variety is the spice of life, below are things that I started incorporating more regularly.

Yoga – I have taken one on one yoga classes to learn how to modify various techniques. The breath work in yoga has helped so much. I even did a yoga workout on PBS this morning that is chair based. It also helps with flexibility concerns so it serves as a win-win.

Massage – love love love to get a massage, especially deep tissue massage. That has helped so much with the arthritis symptoms as well as serving as an outlet to destress.

Prayer – some call it quiet time or contemplation time. This is so essential for me to bring stress down. It helps me to keep life in perspective. I tend to get a little hyper or think “what if’s” and this helps temper those.

Meditation – this is the most recent addition for me. I use a meditation app at night to just relax and breathe. And it helps me to fall asleep. Meditation is a great way to lower your blood pressure too.

Exercise – aerobic exercise is your friend. Walking and hiit workouts are such good ways to just get the stress out of my system. I love being able to just forget about what bothered me before the workout.

Beach. Outdoors. Nature – the ultimate stress reliever! Nature is a such a good way to disconnect from stresses, work, pressure. When it’s nice outside, I try to get out almost every day. Reconnecting with the earth keeps you grounded, research shows.

What things have you incorporated to reduce stress? What works well for you? See you next week!

Posted in Uncategorized

Grass, trees and trails – oh my!

Allergic to alll greenery outdoors but I love walking and exploring so do it anyway 😂😂

I’m always looking for good walking areas and I found a couple of locations to go to: flatter trail closest to home and a split trail that goes to two parks about 10 minutes away. With the advent of the coronavirus, the walkways been more congested than usual so I try to go at odd times and hotter parts of the day. My joints LOVE heat so this is a win-win.

Community trail that is closest to home. One day I will conquer the entire trail!
Trail leading to Gold Park
Strolling through River Park

Getting outdoors allows for a change of scenery and can produce endorphins to make you feel better. And I love warmer weather so getting in a sweat is a plus! My acupuncturist is all about walking outdoors as nature, especially green and trees, relaxes the body. And with stress levels through the roof, who doesn’t need a way to relax?!

I truly hope this finds you well, safe and healthy. Have you found a place to get away? If so, drop a line below; I’d love to hear from you! 🥂 to your good health.

Posted in Uncategorized

Outdoors and MH

I love being outdoors. Well let me clarify- I love being outdoors when the sun is shining and the weather is warm or hot. I find that MH (mental health) for me is better when I do. And when mental health is great, then physical and emotional health seem to flow from that. But it took a long time for me to figure that out. And even that was a challenge.

I currently live in a northern part of the United States where it can get cold with short sun light days and snow – not the greatest combo for this Leo! So I head to the gym but that’s not a favorite combo; fluorescent lights versus sunshine. That’s a no brainer. So I read that SAD lights can help by emitting light the emulates the sun and I started using that last fall. And it makes a HUGE difference. But I found that out by doing lots of reading, not because a doctor recommended it to me.

No, my doc recommended what I call “happy pills” to deal with anxiety and being super anxious rather than helping me find out the why- why am I dealing with anxiety? Where did it come from? How long have I been dealing with it? In all my searching, I found that being outdoors works for me, helping to reduce anxiety. I know now that anxiety is a byproduct of PCOS as is depression but so many don’t know they have a hormonal disorder and so many more don’t recognize they’re struggling mentally. And nature is healing. It’s the freest therapy that I can have, leading to my decision to move further south and take advantage of an environment that better suits me.

If there are things in your life inhibiting your mental health, please research, seek help, whatever it takes. And if something doesn’t seem right, keep searching.

Quick note: I started writing this blog post and had to take a break. Before beginning again, I saw a very similar commentary by a Canadian nutritionist that I follow on Instagram. I say that to say- the struggle is real but so are the solutions! If being outdoors is not your thing, then seek the thing that will contribute to mental wellness. Last, I have included pictures from some of my outdoor excursions that I’ve had over the last month. The change in scenery is always refreshing. Until next time!

bike riding in Celebration, Florida
at Clearwater Beach, Florida
Quarry Lake walking trail, Baltimore, MD