The Not so Nice New Normal

I heard it once said the English were not as demonstrative as other cultures.  At the time I wondered if it was the result of the great plagues that were endured there and great loss of life.

I was reminded of that thought with what we are experiencing today with the COVID-19 pandemic and what will change for us in the future.

I thought of how life has changed in my lifetime following pivotal events and tragedies.  My first memory of one such event was the Tylenol scare. The Chicago Tylenol scare were a series of deaths resulting from package tampering and replacing product with poison.   Following this event was a sweeping change of how seals were incorporated into product packaging.  To the post Tylenol population, it’s a non-issue.   However, there is a little memory that resurfaces when I open my bottle of ibuprofen that now has a cover, a seal, and the familiar cotton ball.  There are many brands and products that were unaffected by the tampering, yet precautions were put in place to relieve worry and worse case scenarios.

The most significant event and tragedy in my life, as with many my age, was 9/11 when four commercial airliners were hijacked and crashed purposely in an act of terrorism.  A short month later the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) was established forever changing the way we would travel across the globe.  No longer would you be able to walk to a gate to send off or greet your returning travelers.   A flight now requires extra time to check in and make your way through the long lines of security checks.  This year we will now need a special identification license or passport with which to travel.  It’s the “new normal” as they say.

The “new normal” is being said quite often these days as the result of precautions to stay safe from the COVID-19 pandemic.  The new normal is one of many phrases we have added to the popular lexicon as with the phrases “non-essential”, “social distancing”, and “flattening the curve”.

So, what happens next?  What will change for this generation either briefly or permanently?  Will we no longer greet people with handshakes? Or will the loss of social contact cause us to embrace even stronger and longer?  Will we reach for a face mask at the very onset of a sniffle; or “fight it off” because any common head cold will be “child’s play” compared to what we lived through?

As I sit here in semi-confinement, wearing my mask outside as I make basic errands and wondering if the person next to me without a mask is giving me germs, I want to break free from all of it.   I want to go outside as if the world was just scrubbed clean and look into the eyes of every person I see with gratitude and kindness.   I have missed people, people I know—and those I have yet to know.  I have never been demonstrative (it must be from my English roots), but I would like to welcome embraces and have mine be welcomed back.

I don’t know what the “new normal” will be, but I hope it is nice.   God bless and stay safe!

Social distancing

 

The Power of One

The current COVID-19 pandemic has crystallized the message of “The Power of One”.   I am awestruck that the world focus is the result of one action by one person.   The globalization of the world has created the condition for widespread permeation from a single source.

This current power of one has been tragic with insurmountable loss and anguish.  Profound grief that I have never experienced before.  It is unlike past tragedies such as 9/11 and others in that they were single events with response, recovery, and a grieving process.   This pandemic has been ongoing and fluid.   We hope for an end, but we are dependent upon each individual for the cure.   As Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, stated, “the virus isn’t moving, people are moving the virus”.   The power of one is perpetuating our condition.

While the power of one has caused pain, the power of one can also cause promise.   With the power of one we may achieve greatness and good.   If people can “move a virus” they can also “move a kindness”.   Think of those great heroes of the world who have made a difference.   I think of Mahatma Gandhi, Nelson Mandela, Mother Theresa, and so many others.

One does not have to have the intention to make positive change on the entire world.  Start with the power of one.  It is a blessing to have lived a life that made an impact on even one individual in the world.  I have been blessed by being the benefactor of much kindness in my life by mentors, role models, and influencers.  Be that one person who “moves a kindness” and makes a difference.

Who has shown you kindness in the world?  Who has been your “power of one” in your life and your community?  Let them know and honor them by being a power of one.

God bless you and stay healthy and safe!

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My Pandemic Perspective

Now more than ever I need to focus on my health.   It’s not easy for someone who is a “stress eater” and likes to self-medicate and pamper myself with unhealthy food and binging.   It’s usually times like these that I give up and it’s a “free for all” in terms of eating.

I have some challenges and events that are testing me.  Here is my rundown:

I have been working weekends to help our property company do an “abandoned inventory sale” due to a retail tenant that decided to give up on their business and walk away.   This left our company with a broken contract and several months of lost rent.

While working I received a call that my brother-in-law suddenly and unexpectedly passed.  He was to celebrate turning sixty in just a couple of months.   It has been completely devastating to my entire family.   We cannot even grieve “normally” and with others during the restrictions surrounding the pandemic.

My job as operations director for the property company also includes a restaurant.   The restaurant is struggling with only doing take-out and I had to take myself off getting a paycheck.  I have filed for unemployment.

I am also caring for my elderly parents.  My mother who is 82, has dementia.  My father who is 87 and caring for my mother has proclaimed he is ready to die.  Seeing his wife deteriorate and having to listen to her childlike repetitive dialog has left him weary and depressed.  It is heartbreaking to watch a woman who was brilliant walk into a room with a cup a detergent ready to consume, and a man who could run circles around men half his age decide he is done living.

So, yes, I’m a little stressed.  I keep reading Facebook posts of people taking walks in their neighborhood and having lovely conversations from across yards.   They are reporting how they are making the most of the situation.  The was another post from a woman who showed her large box of toilet paper stock with her son perched on top with the message “make me an offer”.   It was meant to make light of the situation but it is difficult to laugh when you see posts of the elderly standing before empty shelves.

They say to “meet people where they are” and I get that.  We are all experiencing this emergency coming from different places.   Some panic, some use humor, some try to look at every situation with a positive spin.   I am trying to catch up with that spin.  More importantly, I am trying to stay physically healthy so my body can stay strong for the emotional impact.   My mind is currently in the state of being “unwell”.

To keep my health, I made sure I had my go-to items such as protein bars, dried fruit, and yogurt.   I have lots of water and I continue to take one tablespoon of Fire Cider every day as well as a vitamin.  The gyms are closed so I pulled out my Jane Fonda workout video from the 1980s.  It still is a great full body workout with cardio.  I started journaling, catching up on my reading and my dining room is filled with craft projects.  There is so many things I can’t control so I will focus on those I can.   It starts with taking care of me physically and mentally.

My sincere well wishes to everyone around the globe to make it through this emergency.  However you may be impacted, please do the best you can to make it through to enjoy the glorious celebration yet to come when it has passed.  God Bless.woman's hands hold the sun and its energy

Read Repeat

I have read countless self-help books.  The one thing that I noticed is their message(s) are repeated throughout their writings.  In one book the author actually  lets you know that he will repeat his messages.  As he explains, it’s to reinforce the importance of the message as well as help you remember.

I’ve listened to influencers who do this as well.  One influencer responded to someone telling him he repeats himself by saying, “I only speak about what I know.  I only speak about what is true.  I’m not going to talk about things I don’t have knowledge on.”  I believe this response to be refreshing and brilliant.

I had worried that after blogging for a year I might sound repetitive.  However, I am only telling you my truth – what I’ve done – what I think.   I do not want to give guidance that I have not tried myself or do not believe in for the sake of filling a page and gaining an audience.

I have read so many inspiring books and their messages do overlap.  I appreciate these messages because it reinforces to me their effectiveness and my hope is that they will always be in the forefront of my mind.  I am always in search of those who inspire.  Sometimes, I’ll hear just one new word that clicks and have everything make sense.

It’s hard to listen to words of wisdom and let it really sink in and resonate.  It’s even harder to start with negative thoughts, recognize them and pivot to more positive thoughts.  Furthermore, it takes work for the mind to pull up that wisdom and let it influence your actions.

This is where the read repeat comes in.  Training your brain to remember to pivot to positive as immediate as possible, have it become rote, if you will.

You can find inspiration everywhere, in music, in social media sites, and being around like-minded people.  Below are some of my favorite influencers that I have learned from throughout the years.  Look them up to get more information.  Please feel free to share yours.  I love new sources that either give me new insight or reinforce what I know.

Dr. Wayne Dyer was my first source of inspiration.  When I was 18, I read “The Erroneous Zones”.   The late Dr. Dyer has many wonderful books of which I have read and been inspired.

Gabrielle Bernstein.  I’m reading the “Super Attractor”,  and just finished her 21-Day Manifest Challenge.

Natasha Hazlett.  I’m doing the “Unstoppable Influence” challenge and she is the author of the book with the same name.

Gary Vanyerchuk.  Has authored books but I follow him on Instagram.  Love him!

Mel Robbins.  “5 Second Rule” .  Just starting this book and already learning.

Katy O’Neil Shea.  Daily Facebook post “Soul Shine 365”.  Love this daily read!

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Choose crEATe Over EATing

Did you notice the double entendre in the title?  This is deliberate in that I want to encourage you to try working on a creative project over grabbing something to eat.  In addition, I am hoping with a creative distraction it will keep you from “overeating”.

Truth is my mind is in constant thoughts about food, but I love the creative process so much it’s probably one of the few times I’m not thinking about it. I have learned that when I’m working on a creative project I get lost in the project and forget about eating.

As I mentioned in previous blogs it’s not the food itself, it’s many things.   One of those is the presentation of food.   I tend to really appreciate something made well and plated beautifully.   I guess you could say I like to “eat art”.   In art I love color, textures, designs, the emotion, the message, the memory evoked, depth, sometimes aroma and scent – I like to take it all in.  With food I’ve realized I respond similarly.

Over the holidays I found myself ramping up on the creative projects, not just decorating the tree but creating flower arrangements, ornaments, etc.   It was an uplifting season and rolling into the new year I vowed to keep the creative momentum going.

You don’t have to “break the bank” working on projects, it can be as simple as penning a letter to someone using your most flowery cursive lettering.  You could even rearrange furniture in a room.   Anything that brings out that creative mindset and beautiful distraction.

I have been sharing my thoughts about my food issues for one year now.  I appreciate all those who have followed along.  It’s still a battle but I am still learning new things about myself and finding new sources of inspiration to stay the course.

I’ve decided to change up my blog somewhat and post shorter thoughts on my Facebook Page.  The posts might not all be inspiring and at times frustrating.  However, it will be my truth as someone obsessed with food and the day to day victories and struggles.  You will never read that I’m giving up because I never will.  Never.

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Stock Your Toolbox

It’s no secret that you need the proper tools to get the job done.  This is true whether its construction, carpentry, or you’re an artist creating a painting or sculpture.   It’s even true having the right software program to execute a project or a mechanic repairing a vehicle.  Think about any profession and you will think about the vast number of tools that are required to perform the job.

Apply that same principle with being successful with eating healthy and dieting.  Last week I was without my tool bag and not a single tool to be found.   I had been laxed at going grocery shopping.  On the positive side I was so focused on other projects and really didn’t think about my next meal.   However, I also didn’t make time to go to the store.  Consequently, I let the cupboard run bare… or I should say run bare of anything healthy.   I was home sick and emotionally feeling that need to pamper myself as well.

I rummaged through the cupboard and found a jar of Cheeze Whiz.   So… that’s what I ate.   Yup, as my father would say, “that’s the worst thing you can eat”.   It wasn’t pretty, actually pretty disgusting, and it sunk like a lead balloon in my belly.   I could feel the calories just ooze through my veins.  Yet, there I was slathering the Cheeze Whiz on yet another slice of bread.

It was almost immediately afterwards that I realized I didn’t have my tools.   I didn’t take time to buy my healthy staples – my go to, easy “don’t have to think about” foods – my tools.    I was too busy with projects and didn’t make time for balance.  I can’t say I didn’t take time for me because the projects I was working on were fun.  But as they often say you need to balance!

The other tools in my toolbox are the emotional and intellectual tools – the self-talk.  I allowed myself to feel sorry for myself for being sick and didn’t find another mechanism to pamper myself.  Lesson learned – stock up on the good stuff and remind myself every day of my strength and power!   Affirmations and apples, baby – that’s how to roll!!

Sending healthy wishes!

red tool box with food in top tray

Crush the Course

My blog is to help others to keep going and my tips that have helped me. In a previous blog (The Diets, 02/14/2019), I listed all the diets I had tried that did not work.   However, a couple of years ago I had heard of a new method of weight loss called “Intermittent Fasting”.  I was in a slump and thought to truly be able to speak about the best method for weight loss maybe I should give it a try.

This diet requires you to pick two days within the week, not consecutive, and limit your calories to 500.  The other six days of the week you eat whatever you want.

When learning about this diet it stated that most people end up eating less overall on the non-fasting days.   When I read that I thought… well not me.  If you tell me I can eat, then I will definitely eat and eat very well.  So that’s how it started.   I did great on the fasting days and ate very well on the off days.

Here’s what I noticed…

  • On the fasting days I had planned meals that I knew I would like that stayed within the daily goal of 500 calories.
  • I didn’t have to think during the day what I was going to eat – I had it already mapped out.
  • I got through those days knowing I could eat anything the next day. I just needed to hang in there for those days.
  • On the non-fasting days, I was elated, tickled that I could eat anything. It was as if the diet “burden” was lifted.  I started out doing exactly that – eating whatever.
  • I noticed weight loss fairly early on, albeit slight, but it encouraged me
  • I had a new perspective on the calories I was consuming on the non-fasting days.
  • I started cutting back on the non-fasting days. Partly, because I didn’t want to undermine my results, and because that “thrill” of eating anything had worn off.  I really didn’t “need” to eat all those things I thought I would love eating.  The excitement wore off.

Fast forward, it was very successful but low and behold I was in slump mode again.  I came upon an app that was for the fasting method of weight loss.   I wanted to try something new, especially an app to stay current with society.

This app was a little confusing, not intuitive as I had hoped, or perhaps it wasn’t a great app.   My one take-away was that I would get little reminders during the day… “your fasting will start in an hour”, or you’re doing great, your fasting will end in an hour”.   It’s not that I like the focus on eating.   That part was a negative to me but what I did like is the little pop up communication.

I decided to use my reminder feature on my phone that I already had to create my own notes of encouragement.  At first, I started with “don’t eat…”.  But then I decided that it was better to stay positive and not focus on the eating.   I changed it to “Stay the course”.   Then, I decided that was boring and changed it to “Crush the course”.

I’m having fun with this reminder feature.  It can be anything you want it to be.  It can be something funny to make you laugh during the day or it can be a reminder to take a break and meditate for 5 minutes.   The objective is to encourage you and, in a sense, remind you that you are your own best advocate and cheering section.

So, go out there and CRUSH IT, HAVE FUN, BE HEALTHY, BE STRONG… AND LIVE!!!

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