Posted in exercise, food, know better do better, mindset, motivation, physical health

It’s normal. But is it good?

At some point recently, my Facebook memories claimed this quote:

“I have eaten a lot (for me) of junk food in the last week or two, and I feel like crap. It is amazing to me that how I feel right now used to be ‘normal.'”

If we’ve never been on a path with decent health habits (food, exercise, sleep, stress, connection), we have no idea how much better we could feel.

I had no idea.

How we feel is normal. But “used to it” and “good” aren’t synonyms.

Sometimes (read: usually) taking the first steps to healthier does not instantly yield the results we want. I know countless people who were completely sedentary, started exercising, and complained bitterly that they were exhausted and it was a myth that exercising gives you more energy.

It’s not a myth. But it’s also not a 5-hour-energy drink. Give it a couple of weeks or a month.

Any time I don’t feel like exercising and go out and do something anyway, I felt better after. Always. As a general rule, I feel better when I exercise regularly. I’m not an outlier in this.

Most of us know we feel better with a good amount of sleep. (What “a good amount” is varies pretty wildly.) It’ll take a week or more of regular, sufficient sleep before it yields results.

Stress is a huge weight. I go through periods where I’m able to relieve myself of some of it and feel much lighter. I’m working on managing what’s left better in hopes of maintaining some of that buoyancy when I’m dealing with situations that I can’t get off my plate.

Food plays an enormous role in mood and energy level (which are themselves linked). A reasonably healthy diet on a consistent basis is better fuel for your body. When you have good fuel, you run better. But again, it takes more than two days (or two meals haha) of eating well before you feel it. And if you’re eliminating allergens or irritants, it could take a month before it’s all cleared your system, depending on which food.

If you’re running on low energy, I challenge you to start tweaking your basic health habits and see how they help you. Start with just one.

Change your normal.

 

 

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Posted in about me, differences, know better do better, mindset

My path from introversion to introversion

I’ve always been an introvert. I’ve not always know I wasn’t defective.

I have never been comfortable around strangers.

I have no idea whose house we were at, but they had a piano. I must have been pretty young, because when I was in elementary school, my parents bought a piano and my sister took lessons. I wanted to play the piano. (I didn’t know how to play the piano.) She said I needed to ask. I was terrified of asking. She said if I didn’t ask, I wouldn’t get to do it. I didn’t ask.

That’s not introversion. That’s anxiety.

I remember in 7th grade seeing a (very extroverted) friend of mine talking and laughing with a couple of other people and thinking that I wished I was more like that because it looks like so much fun.

I spent the next 25 years trying to be that.

And then I realized: that’s just not me. And that’s OK.

In the mean time, I gained skills in hanging with people who I’m uncomfortable with, maybe without it being completely obvious. (I’m still pretty self-conscious in those situations, so it’s hard telling what it looks like from the outside.)

I can have a conversation with a person I don’t know, if they can hang for their half and if there’s something to trigger a conversation.

Most of the time, I still can’t start a conversation from zero with a person I don’t know or don’t know very well.

Unlike the current pop definition of introvert, I love spending time with people. They just need to be my people. I spend so little time in meaningful conversations that when I can spend time with friends, it definitely feeds my soul. (And if I’m feeling particularly chatty, watch out!)

But, like the real definition of introvert, I also need time to myself to recharge. But recharge from the energy spent with people teaching or small talking or other necessary-but-draining activities. Not from hanging with friends.

I’d be thrilled to lose more of the anxiety, or to be better able to make conversation, but not being an extrovert? That’s OK.

 

 

 

 

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Posted in differences, know better do better, mindset, thoughtfulness, vulnerability

If it ain’t broke…

“If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”

Who defines “broke”?

So much of what has been going on socio-politically here for decades (centuries?) really boils down to this question, I think.

People yearning for “the good old days” were, as far as they were concerned, part of a system that was working just fine. Ain’t broke, don’t fix it. (These are the “I don’t have a problem so no one does” people.)

Everyone else was not.

(I would argue, though, that even if it’s working (whatever “it” is), that maybe re-evaluating and looking to improve is often worth the time. Not in the way that we see so often, where we shake things up just to shake them, but in a way that is thoughtful and methodical.)

And so we try to fix it, with constant resistance from people for whom it wasn’t broken to begin with. (Or from people who have been convinced that it’s not broken. Or from people who don’t know that everyone isn’t in their same situation. The “I didn’t know my family was weird until I was 24” kind of scenario.)

A bit of self-reflection I heard, paraphrased:

I did a thing with positive intent to a person who is different from me. The person I did it to received it negatively because of how people like her are seen and treated. At first, I argued that that’s not what happened here, because that wasn’t my intent. But when I stopped caring only about defending myself and looked at it from her perspective, I realized that she was right and I was wrong, and I felt terrible. So we talked a little and I apologized, and I was grateful that she accepted the apology.

I think it’s the “feeling terrible” part that people in general look to avoid—of course!—but you can’t learn and grow without making mistakes, seeing the mistakes, and correcting the mistakes—even if the only opportunity for correction is moving forward.

 

 

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Posted in differences, know better do better, mindset, thoughtfulness, vulnerability

Do you hope others learn from your mistakes?

There seem to be three ways of looking at the plight of other people in relation to one’s self.

1: I don’t want anyone to suffer like I did. This person wants to mentor/coach people through it, or try to fix the problem entirely to decrease the number of people who go through the same experience. “It wasn’t good, and let’s see if we can reduce or eliminate it.”

2: I suffered; why shouldn’t they? This person wants the score to be even and resents people who avoided pain that they endure(d). “It wasn’t good, and haha now it’s your turn.”

3: I’m not suffering so no one else is. This person doesn’t understand that other people have different experiences and that their own experience isn’t able to be generalized to the population at large. “It’s all good.”

I see a lot of all three.

Less of the second and third would be ideal, but that requires a level of empathy that a lot of people don’t seem to have lately. (Maybe they never did and lately it’s simply more apparent.)

You don’t have to treat others the way you were treated.

Empathy and vulnerability are not weaknesses.

The proverbial rising tide raises all boats.

Love and kindness are not a zero sum game.

Hurt people hurt people. Help others. Let the tide rise.

 

 

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Posted in know better do better, mindset, motivation, tips

Talking to myself, time travel edition

One of the reasons Americans are bad at making health choices or long-term financial planning is that we are disconnected from our future selves.

There have been a couple of studies in the financial realm where, if shown an age-progressed photo of themselves, people invest more in their 401K options than if they’re shown a current photo. No other change in variables.

There are some fascinating studies about language that feed into this as well. As it turns out, languages that don’t have a future tense (where present and future are the same verb conjugation), people are healthier and plan for the future better. English, of course, isn’t one of those languages, and so the present and the future are linguistically disconnected.

That means we need to work harder to help our future selves.

I have a habit — well, I fall in and out of it, so I’m not sure it’s really a habit — of talking to Past Heat and Future Heat.

For a while, I was prepping breakfast and lunch for the week on the weekend. It was a pain. But especially during weeks that were busier than usual, it was really nice not to be starting from scratch when throwing a lunch together. (And there was no day that ready-to-go breakfast was unappreciated.) Many Thursdays, I paused for a moment and thanked Sunday Heat for taking the time to make me lunch for today.

So many of us eat with abandon from time to time and then feel guilty. Either let go of the guilt or don’t do the eating. Have a chat with your future self. The one right after the meal. Or the one trying to button pants in a couple of days. Or the one that’s going to feel like crap and be out of commission for half a day. (Depends on the consequences of the binge, really.)

When you’re at a decision point, pause and talk to You in Two Hours, or You in A Week, or whichever You is going to be grateful that you paused and took the path of delayed gratification.

It doesn’t work all the time (at least for me), but it does work sometimes.

Appropriate for eating, drinking, exercise, sleep, financial decisions, parenting, and on and on and on…

Honestly, I think sometimes just the pause is sufficient, but the glance down the road? It helps.

 

 

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