Oh Where Does the Time Go?

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Well, I have been noticeably absent from my little blog for several months.  Mostly the crazy end of the school year and then summer got in my way of finding time to write posts.  But also, I think that I needed some time to minimize my thoughts and life.  I found that after leaving my previous job, where I was extremely burnt out, I needed time ( as I eluded to in my previous post) and some of that time was just learning how to survive in this new normal.  I also had to learn and accept that not being crazy busy every second of the day was ok.  That learning a little mindfulness and quietness was a good thing and that if I sat in silence for a few moments, it did not need to be in contemplation about what our weekly menu plan needed to be or if I needed to do another work task, I can just sit.  And that folks, was a revelation.

And so this summer, I chose to spend time with my kids on my days off.  We took lots of weekend trips.  We slept in, we talked and fixed big late breakfasts.  And on my days at work, we hired a wonderful Nanny and the kids swam, went to the library, played, rode bikes, and it goes on and on.  And no where in there did I let my stress about how messy the house was or how much I needed to do this or that interfere with our enjoying the summer.  This was not easy, as I have been programmed for years to get it all done at the expense of my health, but I just fought those self imposed expectations.  And guess what?  Knock on wood, my IBS is the best it has been in YEARS!!! I have had a great summer, I love my new job, I have enjoyed the heck out of my kids and I managed to do a little bit of work towards my 2016 goals.

Now that the kids go back to school tomorrow, life will get a little more scheduled, and I will jump back on the band wagon of getting things done.  But sometimes…sometimes, it’s ok to slow down and catch your breath.  So I am sending that message out there to everyone who is completely and totally overwhelmed, take a few months, say “no” to all those , and find moments to pause and just be.  No expectations, no running lists, no agendas.  And I am hoping this brings you better health and balance to.  Good luck everyone!

 

Who knew.. Less work is hard..

 

I have started my new job that affords me much more time at home, more time with the family, and more time to work on this blog.  My stress is much less, the people I work with are wonderful, and .. I’m exhausted.  I find myself wandering the house, not sure which direction to go, where to start.  My list of projects is so long I can’t discern where I should start or finish.  Consequently, I find myself wandering around, consumed by projects that need to be done, but leave me feeling like I have not accomplished much.

Well, I decided to cut myself some slack and really analyze  why I am struggling

  1. I am in recovery- After talking to my naturopathic physician and finding that it is perfectly normal to feel this way after years of stress and overwork, we developed a plan for my physical recovery.  So first, I have to take care of myself, eat healthy, lots of water, prescribed supplements, get plenty of sleep, daily practice of meditation, and exercise.  So you know, starting small 🙂
  2. Minimalize the house- Here’s the deal, if I could get my house in order, minimalized, my “womb” would be content.  I have a dear friend that always says our homes are like our wombs, if they are disorganized and cluttered, we feel disorganized and cluttered.  Though my home does not look bad, and it cleans up well.  I find myself spending too much time on it.  Those spaces I have done the Kari Mon method on, I feel content in.  I am happy to be in those spaces and they take very few minutes to clean.
  3. Need to develop a cleaning routine.  I have ditched the awesome housekeeper ( at least on a regular basis) and now need to develop a concise and through cleaning routine.  There are some outstanding blog posts on this subject that I have found on Pintrest.  Check out these posts, I am using them, and tweaking them for my own use.
  4.  Need to continue vigilant budgeting- with the reduction of my salary, I have been budgeting down to the penny.  Maybe this hyper vigilance is just my effort to feel control in this new situation, but it is also in alignment with our goals as a family to have a debt free life.  This is difficult sometimes for my kids, especially little I who love to spends money and always wants to eat out.  But we just continue to reinforce that my new freedom to be a more available more means that we need to be more responsible with out monies.  Also, I want my kids to look at time and experiences as wanted things rather than plastic junk that ends up in the landfill anyway!!
  5. Cut myself some slack- I have been building my body and mind into functioning as such a high pace and under such increased stressed for a long time, it’s going to take some time to retrain my brain (and body) to a more mindful and purposeful life.

I’ll keep you updated as my new work/life balance shapes up, any more tips that I find to be helpful.

 

Meditation for Dummies

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I am really horrible at meditation and mindfulness, like 30 secs in and I am making my grocery list.  As an OT who has worked with individuals with brain injury, chronic pain, and other chronic illness, I know how life changing mindfulness has been to my patients, and yet, I find I have trouble incorporating it into my everyday life.  Below are some options for meditation that I have tried and what has worked for me and what has not.

Guided imagery – This is a method of listening to a recording of a guided meditation and imagining what the presenter/speaker is saying.  This is a great way if you have never ever tried meditation to help with a variety of issues, headaches, stress, sleep, general health, etc.  There are many podcasts that are free on iTunes that will take you through some of these exercises.  One of my favorites and one that I have used with my patients, (not free) is Dr. Emmett Miller, MD.  He and his company have great, directed ( and for whatever reason or ailment) meditations. Feel free to Google his name and you will get a wealth of information on him and his products. Here is his website DrMiller.com .  His information is also available on iTunes.

Breath work – there are a lot of different options here, and can be as simple as three part breathing, to belly breathing to just breath awareness.  This work I LOVE, when I am with a yoga/mindfulness instructor and have good guidance.  But suffice it to say, I stink at doing this independently.  I find my mind wanders way, way to fast.  Left to my own devices, my brain happily trails off to all the things I need to do and my breath work goes out the door!!

Finally that brings me to the most effective tool I have ever found for meditation.  The EmWave device.  This little device is a phenomenal way to learn how to meditate, and really is a biofeedback system.  This allows you to learn what your body feels like when it is in it’s best state and teaches you how to get to that place every time!!! Find out how the EmWave products came to be, the science behind them and how easy they are to use here: heartmath.com .  The product we use in our house is: EmWave Inner Balance. This program has a downloadable app with a heart rate monitor that plugs into your iPhone or android phone.  It’s a simple and easy way to get effective biofeedback and retrain your system.

And since I have now given some ideas for you to start with meditation, I am going to challenge myself to a 7 Day EmWave Challenge, and see what changes unfold in my life.  I’ll be sure to keep you updated.  Leave a comment below if there is a type of meditation or mindfulness that you have used that has been helpful.

DIY Face Cleanser

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About two years ago, I began to notice a dry flaky, scaly skin on my chin.  It spread to all around my mouth and up to my upper lip.  For a long time, I believed it to be rosacea or psoriasis ( both of these aliments run in my family so I thought this was a reasonable guess as to what I had.)  Additionally, after borrowing some of my father’s psoriasis medication (which was just a powerful corticosteriod) it got much much better.  But what I didn’t know at the time, was this was just about the worst thing I could have done for myself.  What I actually had was perioral dermatitis, and steriods are the worst thing you can treat it wih.  The rash would disappear for a little while, but then return with a vengeance.

After a trip to the dermatologist to get the correct diagnosis, I was told that the traditional treatment was 6 weeks of antibiotics.  Well, besides the issue that my IBS does not do well with antibiotics, I was, at the time experiencing a nasty bout of vertigo ( this lasted 6 months and was only resolved with manual therapy to my head and ear).  The primary side effect of the particular antibiotics that I was to be prescribed was … you guessed it, dizziness.  So I went in search of a natural remedy.

I started researching possible causes of this perioral dermatitis and guess what.. I found the cause of this nasty little rash.  SLS- Sodium Lauyel Sulfate.  And this obnoxious chemical is in virtually every body product you use.  Makeup ( huge contributor), shampoo, conditioners, soap, soap made specifically for your face, laundry detergent, chapstick,deodorant .. really the list goes on and on.  So I threw out everything and this is how I cured my dermatitis:

  1. I quit putting anything on my face – I washed for two weeks with only a wet cloth, and then put jojoba oil on as a moisturizer
  2. I got rid of all of my makeup and started investigating what make ups didn’t have SLS derivatives in them.. Guess what – few don’t.  I had used Bare Minerals in the past.  Their original formula is SLS free and only has 4 ingredients.. this worked great for my face.  To this day I only use my foundation and blush.. that’s it.  But their eyeshadows also have no SLS so I can tolerate those as well.
  3. I got only SLS free shampoo and conditioner, soap, laundry soap, etc.  this seems to have helped J’s  Escema as well.
  4. I started using the Below DIY face cleanser

 

DIY Face Cleanser

I read in my research into natural remedy for Perioral Dermatitis that some individuals have effectively cleaned their faces for years with oils.  So I tried a few concoctions and came up with this recipe which I LOVE!!!

2 tablespoons – Organic Coconut Oil

1 tsp – Organic apricot seed oil

1 tsp – Organic Jojoba oil

1 tsp – Avocado oil

8 -10 drop of Lavender oil ( Young Living)

8-10 drops of Frankincense ( Young Living)

 

Heat up water in a glass bowl, place 2 tablespoons of coconut oil in glass jar (I use a small mason jelly jar) and place in bowl of hot water to melt coconut oil.  Once coconut oil is melted ( remove from jar for bowl at this time) add all other ingredients, stir till you feel that it is well mixed and place lid on jar… That’s it!  I store jar on the side of my tub for use while I bath.

Note: it will harden somewhat sitting out- to like a jelly consistency, but is easily scooped out with a finger.

How to use:

During my bath I exfoliate my face with a clean washcloth.  My secret here?  I buy the cheapest white washcloths from Walmart because they are rougher than nice, more expensive towels and therefore works as a great scrubber!  After exfoliating, I take about pea sized amount and rub it all over my face.  As with any cleanser, I avoid right over my eyes.  I then run my wash cloth under the hottest water I can stand and squeeze out the wash cloth.  I place this over my face ( think of a hot towel during a facial) and let sit for about 1 minute.  ( Breathe in those essential oils! They smell great and are good aroma therapy).  I then gently use the cloth to wipe off any excess…and that is my cleansing routine.  My face has never felt so soft and I rarely have dry skin ( which used to be a serious issue for me).  I live in a very dry, cold climate and this cleanser works all year for me.  Hope it works well for you too!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2016 a year of minimalism

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2016.. it’s here, and it holds big changes for our family. 

Besides leaving the company I have worked for for 11years ( more to come on that), I plan to take minimalism in our home to a whole new level.  I have already completed the master bedroom and master bath minimalism – though a refresher is needed.  The rest of our home is in desperate need of a minimalism makeover.  With the last year of working the position I was, and with getting Miss H to all of her therapy appointments, not to mention J and little I to all their events, I mostly felt like I was working to keep my head above water ( sound familiar) ?  I am hoping with two additional days off a week ( that’s right, doing the happy dance over  this and my new company that is allowing this flexibility)  I will have time to devote to some substantial minimalism.  This blog and specifically this series of posts are my commitment ( with some accountability to you) to regularly update my decreasing stuff and share my successes and failures throughout this year.  These are the main areas that I would like to declutter this year:

  1. physical home ( kitchen, linens, closets, kids rooms/stuff, garage and paperwork/memories) .
  2. finances – continue to organize this area, develop a process for weekly or bi weekly accountability meetings with myself and husband.
  3. All body products made from home – So at first glance this does not seem like doing less, but I am a big believer in finding healthy, simple alternatives to our body products.  I already use this ( insert link here) awesome face wash that I made, and LOVE it! and believe that much of our skin and health issues can be helped and remedied by using products that I actually know what all the ingredients are!  I promise to blog about all of the products I end up using/creating so that you might use them too!!
  4. life- yes, I mean looking at our current activities, what therapies or special tasks we need to be doing for the kids and ourselves, and determine if we can cut out some of the “chatter” of our lives.  This will involve develop/solidifying some significant time management skills and processes.

I am excited to see where this journey takes me and my family this year.  And as always, hoping that I will find more, doing less!!

 

How Our Daughter went from Reluctant reader to Bookworm

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Our wonderful little H had a rough start to her schooling years.  After being told, on literally the last day of preschool, that the teachers had concerns about her going into Kindergarten (of which I quickly dismissed because of my experience with visual perceptual development), to days in first grade when she would crumple into tears as the schedule would transition too quickly, it was a rough beginning.  One concern we did identify is that she really really struggled to learn her sight words, and she would get very frustrated with trying to read her small reading assignments, but she wanted SO badly to be able to do it.  Of course, being the mom I am, I went in search of ways to help my little H and I found some GREAT resources and techniques.

  1. We always, always read to her.  Every night at bed, at down times, to help calm her down.  We did lots and lots of trips to the library and got as many books as they would let us check out!!
  2. We got SNAP WORDS available from child 1st publications.  ( check out their website- http://www.child1st.com/#_l_1s).  This was the single most substantial item we did with H.  Immediately after we got the cards, started giving context around the words, and providing and action with them, she started reading!!
  3. I started reading The Gift of Dyslexia by Ronald Davis and Eldon Braun.  This is an amazing book about how children (and adults) can learn to read.  Its really the first time that I thought about dyslexia being a contextual thing, about giving our kids credit for thinking in 3-D and that if we can just communicate curriculum in the way they think.. they can learn ANYTHING!!! People with dyslexia are smart!! and lets not forget that.  Read this book if you want hope about your own child’s ability to read.
  4. We never ever believed that she wouldn’t be able to do it.  We praised every little success and encouraged her learning and interest in books.  This was such an important piece of her learning!

Fast forward three years and H is in the fourth grade now… and she is a FEROCIOUS reader.  Like run into stuff because she can’t stop reading long enough to get her nose out of the book.  Reads several 200 +books per week.  Reads all her brother’s middle school books before he can get to them.  She reads at the lunch table, at recess, all night if we would let her. And better yet, this reading has sparked many many conversations between her and us!! And for a little person who we have tried to get to talk more than one word answers.. a whole conversation about a story or a book, or a play, or whatever she has happened to devour that day is such a success.  We now have the reader I always knew she could be!

Why I Take Away my Children’s Halloween Candy

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Yes, it’s true, I am that mom.  I take away my children’s candy.  Its really because I cannot stand the thought of my children eating all that sugar!! at once!! Like shove  it in your mouth and eat as much and as fast as you can.  Some of it probably stems from being so careful what goes in J due to his Celiac’s disease.  And some of it is because I have noticed my children do not do well with lots of sugar.  They tend to get very emotional and often end up with a stomach ache.  Now all this removal of candy does not mean I don’t allow my children to have any candy.. because we do and they get plenty!  We have discovered a great way to convince our kids that the WANT to give up their candy.

Ya, you read that right.  Our kids willing and happily give over their candy.  Every year, every year that is since we introduced one thing.. THE GREAT PUMPKIN.  So since we introduced The Great Pumpkin, our kids are so excited and happy to participate in the holiday and actually look forward to giving up their candy.

Here’s how it works.  So after a complete and crazy DAY of trick-or-treating ( our community does a school thing, then downtown business trick-or-treat, the Rec Center Fright Night, then town trick-or-treating- so when I say all DAY.. it is quite an eventful day) we have everyone dump their candy out  in individual piles and pick out stickers, tattoos, little toys, etc, and everyone chooses 10 pieces of candy to keep.  All the rest is placed in a pile on the table for the Great Pumpkin.

Now as you can imagine, and for those of you who have kids that need the Why behind everything, we had to create a back story about the Great Pumpkin.  We went somewhere between the tooth fairy and a Kris Kringle… Our backstory goes like this.  The Great Pumpkin saw how much fun kids had at Halloween, however, some kids in the country, world, etc didn’t get candy and so he comes and gets your extra candy, leaves a small toy or trinket behind and takes the candy to those kids who did not get to go trick-or-treating.

We usually spend less than $10.00 on each child and try to get them something they have had their eye on.  As we continue on our journey of less stuff, gift certificates for food places are a great choice, i tunes cards, or replacement pieces for toys that have been broken, etc.

This year is no exception.  As we have completed our Halloween round up, the kids are anxiously awaiting the arrival of the Great Pumpkin, and I am glad to see the sugar go!

The Beginning

I must have this thought a hundred times a day. Between the questions, the constant performance of multiple tasks, answering questions, the “always being on”, one statement is on constant repeat. “its all too much” . I don’t think I am alone in this feeling, in wondering when the world started traveling so fast, when your thoughts barely have time to form before they are put to use. In this chaos I completely realize that I missing life, that there is no real time to “LIVE”. I miss time with my kids, my husband, my dog, and even the time I would like to spend with my patients. We are hurtling in to the complex world, where the only answer we can come up with is more complexity. I am looking to step off that train, and find the calm in the storm. Really the answer has been there all along, it not complicated, really, it’s simple. You know like SIMPLE.. Simple. In order to live life, I need less. I need less stress, less complication, less overwhelm, less stuff, less of it all. With Less, I hope to gain More. more space, more clear thinking, more time, more connection, more of LIFE!!! This Blog is my journey to finding more, doing less. I have no idea of my how, but I hope that as I discover my successes and my failures, I can help others find their more as well. We all deserve to live a rich, wonderful and exceptional life. Maybe your living with less with help you find more too.