A To-Do List For A Difficult Day

Anyone who knows me knows about my love/hate relationship with November. This year, I seem to have gone darker and deeper into the grey than ever before. I need vitamin B, or iron. I need a week off. There’s never enough sleep, never enough time. The leaves are hanging on longer because even they seem to know that I need the added brightness of their outrageous colours. The good news is, it’s nearly over.

Here’s a to-do list for today. It will likely be extended to tomorrow as well. These are big days for me, these two. Big enough that without such a list, I might just sit here and stare out the window and not get anything done at all. Feel free to borrow this list, any time you need to. You’re guaranteed to feel at least 3% better if you use it.

Today I will…

  1. Eat an entire bar of chocolate. Well, almost. But, it’s fair trade and sugar free. Plus it’s dark, 70% even, so I’m okay with this.
  2. Cry over nothing.
  3. Cry over some really big things.
  4. Write.
  5. Try to work. Mostly suck at this.
  6. Make an entire thermos of tea and sip it slowly all afternoon.
  7. Listen to Leonard Cohen.
  8. Miss my kids.
  9. Colour.
  10. Read for pleasure.
  11. Eat soup for dinner.
  12. Wear my slippers at work because I need the extra cozy.
  13. Wear lipstick, or something else that makes me feel better.
  14. Finish all my work so I can do whatever I want all weekend.
  15. Send lovey emojis to my cousin-sister.
  16. Call my mom.
  17. Hug my kids after school.
  18. Go for a walk.
  19. Try not to cry in front of people who barely know me.
  20. Avoid the news, because sometimes I have to.
  21. Sing.
  22. Have a glass of wine, but only one.
  23. Make a fire in the fireplace.
  24. Add some frankincense to the diffuser.
  25. Watch a funny Christmas movie.
  26. Eat popcorn.
  27. Light a candle.
  28. Remember the spectacular depth and breadth of love.

3 Ways to Enjoy Healthy Holidays

Today’s post is another guest post from our awesome Fitness expert Oonagh Duncan. So many of us fall into the trap of excessive holiday celebrations, but if we are mindful and we make conscious choices about how we share in the festivities, we can actually enjoy healthy holidays. Read on for three easy ways to make healthier holiday choices.

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The Gift of Self-Love

I want to share a very valuable secret with you. Of all the things you could ever wish for, there is only one gift you truly need. The very best part of this secret is that you are the only soul who can give this gift. Not a single other being is as qualified or as capable as you are to be the giver. The gift of self-love is the most precious gift you will ever receive, but it is the hardest gift to give until you know why you can’t live without it.

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How Being Fluid Got Me Off My Ass

Happy Monday Lovers!

Today I want to chat about how being fluid got me off my ass this weekend.

It’s time for another true confession. I’m a control freak. This is one of the big issues I try to recognize and move through every single day. There was a time when my need to have everything go exactly the way I wanted it to was so all-encompassing that it would fill me with frustration and anxiety when even the tiniest of things would fall out of place. I’m sure you can imagine how fun I was to be around, especially with the added unpredictability of my newly acquired young step daughters.

Now, when a wrench gets thrown into the works, which is actually a daily occurrence in my world, I am able to pause, breathe and relax into the change, redirecting and re-evaluating what my needs and the needs of the day require. Most of the time.

For example, Sarah cut my hair at home. She’s done incredible work on the kids’ heads, but I will freely admit I’m a hair diva. I bond for life with a good hair dresser, but I want to be as frugal as we can be now. I wasn’t sure I was up for the risks involved with letting someone I love, who has learned hair dressing on the internet, come at me with a pair of scissors, but I finally relented and let her have a go. I have very thick, weirdly wavy hair. It’s kind of a beast to tame, but I think Sarah’s first go was pretty darned good. It wasn’t salon perfect though, and I could see the difference, which drove me nuts. And subsequently drove other people nuts because I wouldn’t stop talking about it. We tried to fix it, but it still wasn’t right. What did I do? Saturday night, two tequila in, I tried to fix it myself. Secretly, in the bathroom. No surprise, it didn’t work. What happened was a huge lesson in ‘leave well enough alone’. Now, drastic measures would be required to repair the damage I’d done.

Past me would have cried. I would have been furious with myself for being so impulsive and stupid. I would have tried to blame Sarah for not getting the hair cut right in the first place. (See? I told you I could be an asshole!) Instead, I laughed, had a shower and then when Nekky came to bed, I shared the disaster of my hair with him and prepared him for the reality of my pending short hair. Then I turned to You Tube and found an amazing tutorial of the hair cut I would need to fix my lid. In the morning, I dragged Sarah upstairs, (after she’d had breakfast of course) and asked her to help. We took it slow, we followed directions, we made a few modifications because I currently have bangs. It was fun, and even when I feared we had cut too much bang, and that I looked like a medieval squire, I continued to breathe. Then I dried and styled my hair, and it was just fine. It’s better than fine, even. Sarah is a fiercely talented lady. I’m still not convinced that my bangs aren’t a bit too gigantic, but I’m going to stop obsessing about it, because there are more important things in the world than my hair.

My need to control my physical body has been illuminated through this hair saga. From where I stand now, I can see why I need to exert myself so extremely sometimes – everything from hair obsession all the way to the need to conquer my anxiety and depression by feeding myself shitty food that I’m convinced makes me feel better. This need for control is likely attached to the trauma I’m working through. I can do something to my body that has an immediate and gratifying effect. I do feel better. But then I feel worse. Not just physically worse, either. Guilt and shame come flooding in, regret over too many cookies. Yesterday, rather than sitting and ruminating, I engaged in physical actions that made me feel good. I was already in a great mood, and the weather was glorious, so I’m sure that helped shift from staying in my head to being in my body and pushing through. It’s not always easy to put things in motion, so I’m going to make a little list of those activities to refer to them when I need them again. You can use them too if you like!

Physical Activities that I Can Immediately Access to Feel Better

Housekeeping – major spring organizing and purging, and major elbow-grease required scrubbing

Shifting plans to spend more time with the kids

An hour long walk in the woods with Noah

Pretty decent food choices all day long

A DIY manicure – I never do this kind of thing, but it felt so nice to just focus on making my hands look good

Yoga – though it became more like Aussie Rules Yoga as Noah tried to climb on me and turn me into both a bridge and a tunnel

Early bed time – not sure this would have been a choice, but I was so sleepy from all the fresh air and exercise that I tucked in with Noah and was asleep before I could even consider some bed time reading

Early wake up for more Yoga – I’m feeling really tired now, but I’m hoping I can adjust to this because I love how much time it leaves me with in the morning.

Why this particular rambling today? I guess I’m trying to let you know that if you can relax through change, try to hold on to the positive, and just keep breathing, you’ll see at least one great lesson. On the surface, I thought the lesson was “Don’t try to cut your own hair after drinking tequila” which is not without merit, but I see now that there was a deeper opportunity there. I could connect to a bigger issue and actually experience the ways I could make changes.

What hiccup in your current life has thrown you for a loop? What is the surface lesson there? What do you think the deeper lesson(s) could be? How can you do something today to embrace that lesson and make at lest one positive change?

Let us know your own physical tricks for dealing with your own little idiosyncrasies in the comments below.

Oh, and here are the hair tutorials Sarah followed:

Live From the Sick Bed

This evening I’m coming at you live from the sick-bed. I’ve had a recurring, ridiculously painful sore throat for nearly a month now, and yesterday it felt like I was swallowing knives, so finally I gave up and dragged my sorry ass to the walk in clinic for a ten-day dose of the evil, yet effective penicillin. I say evil, because it always wreaks havoc with my system, even while clearing up whichever problems I am having, so now I’m eating sauerkraut by the jar full and chugging kefir to stave off the yeast infection I will almost certainly get on day eleven. TMI? Sorry, but I need to vent. Thank god for modern science and drugs that help us, I’m not ungrateful, believe me.

I took a sick day today, even though all the kids were home from school. It was an almost proper sick day, where I spent a lot of time in bed, reading books and magazines and catching up on a bit of work. My favourite new job allows me to read the work of other writers, and I’m so enjoying the piece I’m working on now, but I haven’t had nearly enough time to get into it. It’s a modern-day noir caper with a darkly hilarious supernatural twist, and it’s got real laugh-out-loud moments. I put a huge dent in it, which was a highlight, and I also got to curl up for a midday nap with the baby, which is a rare treat, and something I miss from his infant days. Another highlight was the thoughtfulness and empathy from my two wonderful daughters who are blossoming in their emotional maturity in such a beautiful way.

Meanwhile, a small mountain of costumes awaits purging and selling. The members of my former cabaret troupe have raided the collection and taken the choicest pieces for themselves, as I hoped they would. I’ve decided that what remains isn’t really worth selling, at least not to the general public. The stress of a sale was making me panic, so I’m abandoning that plan.

This is something I’m learning – if an idea, a task, a plan isn’t sitting right, or making me plain uncomfortable, I do everything I can to shift it. My gut seems to be the wisest voice to listen to these days. When I pay heed to Ms. Gut, all the other voices in hear quiet down their clamor, and I can feel, and think, and breathe. Ms. Gut wants me to start exercising more, and I’m dreading that one a bit, but I know she’s right. Sigh.

How did your week get started? Residual ham coma? Chocolate stolen from you kids’ Easter basket? A screw the pooch kind of day at the office, where nobody is really ready to be there? I’ve always thought that long weekends might as well be four-day weekends, because nobody gets anything accomplished on the Friday or the Monday leading up to the holiday.

Unless that something is medical attention, one-on-one time with your son, quiet time to read, a luxurious nap, some catch-up on work, and some meaningful correspondence with friends. Hmm…maybe what we really need are more sick days?