Posted in about me, differences, ebb & flow, meandering, physical health

I used to be a night owl; now I’m just tired

I was always a night owl.

As a kid, I would sleep until 15 minutes before I needed to leave for school. Clothes on, breakfast in, out the door. Saturdays, I would sleep until 10 or 11. (Marching band at Saturday morning football games killed that.)

Nights were always my best time. Best for thinking, for writing, for talking, for pretty much anything (except maybe sleeping…).

But then I became a teacher. And for decades now, I’ve gotten up way earlier than I would like.

(And yes, I became a mom, but The Kid is also a night owl and has been since Day 1. That has been much less an issue than the gig.)

Regardless, I don’t sleep in any more. I don’t do late nights well any more. I don’t consider it a function of aging, as many people do. I consider it a function of repetition. I think if I’d had a job all these years where I could go to bed at 1 and get up at 9, I’d be much better at sleeping later than 6. (And I’d be sadder than I already am that The Kid reports to school at 7:05.)

I’m getting better at going to bed earlier so I can wake up at 6 and feel decent. But it’s hard, because the late evenings have always been My Time, and now they’re sleep time. But they’re sleep time because I need to go to work, not because My Time is at another time.

Adulting would be less hard if my work schedule and my Me schedule were more closely aligned. (I’ve thought for a long time that life in some ways must be simpler for morning people, since life is structured on their schedule much more often.)

It’s also hard, because night used to be when I could focus well and work on things that required a lot of brain power.

Now, I can sometimes get in good evening work, if I’ve gotten enough sleep and the day hasn’t been too arduous, but mostly, I’m just tired. I do the majority of my writing now in the early afternoons, after I’m home from work but before I pick up The Kid at school. It’s not ideal—that’s definitely an energy dip time for me—but it’s pretty consistently available, and I’m grateful to have it.

I do much better writing on Sunday mornings. The Kid is usually with The Tall Daddy, and I’ll often wake up an hour or two before The Climbing Daddy, and I can use that time to write.

But most of the week, I get up and go to work. I can’t hang out and write. (I don’t even get up and exercise in the mornings. I’m not an early-morning exerciser. Or an early-morning anythinger.) I’m not getting up earlier than I already do, because I can’t (won’t?) get to bed earlier than I already do.

So now, I’m not a night owl, and I’m not a morning person. I’m just trying to get to bed early enough to be a well-functioning teacher/mom/wife/friend/writer/exerciser everythinger.

Posted in audience participation, know better do better, mental health, mindset, motivation, parenting, physical health, socializing, thoughtfulness, vulnerability

Why it’s hard

We have too much physical stuff, too much emotional stuff, too much junk to eat, not enough exercise or sleep or meaningful connections with people.

Because—

Society values and promotes

  • being busy
  • being stressed
  • being underslept
  • fast food
  • large portions
  • cheap everything
  • convenient (to accommodate busy)
  • sitting
  • reactive medicine over preventative
  • pills over natural
  • social isolation

But we are society. It’s not an “other” thing. It is us.

We can push back. We can vote with our dollars (and with our votes). We can choose to swim upstream. We can choose what we buy and what we eat and how we spend time and with whom we spend time. We can choose what we say yes to and what we reject.

Our current path is not sustainable.

Who’s in?

Posted in physical health

Veganism, motivation, and real food

Veganism has benefits, and I don’t think there’s anything bad about being vegan, as long as you know what you need to know for getting all of your nutrients. (Protein is not the issue, typically.)

So when I was given a magazine promoting veganism, I flipped through it, mainly looking to see if they had any good recipes. (The magazine was not about a vegan diet as much as a vegan lifestyle, so it wasn’t rooted in health.)

There were eight recipes along with a suggested meal plan for a week.

Most of it was crap.

Only two of the recipes didn’t include soy products, and most of the suggested products were fake meat. Many fake meat products nowadays have good texture and flavor—they’ve come a long way—but they’re full of garbage.

An excess of soy can fairly quickly cause health issues. Soy mimics estrogen in our bodies, so eating a lot of soy has the hormonal effect of extra estrogen. It can cause short- and long-term problems. I have seen it first-hand.

Additionally, soy is genetically modified to be Round-Up ready. This means it’s resistant to excessive application of glyphosate. The glyphosate is absorbed by the plant and consumed by whatever critter eats the soy—including us. That’s problematic.

While I support animal rights and while we as a people eat way too much meat (on health, environmental, and overpopulation sustenance measures), I don’t think that replacing meat with garbage food is the way to go on a regular basis.

Going vegan? Cool. Eat real food. (The same applies to not-vegans.)

Posted in physical health, tips

The small magic of bentonite clay

Bentonite clay is a powder, made from volcanic ash. (I buy mine from Mountain Rose Herbs, but it’s available online in a bunch of places. Link is not affiliate.) It is negatively charged and bonds easily with positively charged compounds, which, as it turns out, makes it useful for a variety of health applications.

What do I use it for?

Add a little water to make a paste, and slather that stuff on bug bites and stings.

The relief is nearly instantaneous. The sooner I can apply it after being bitten, the more pronounced the results.

I also put a band aid over it so it doesn’t get wiped off.

It’ll dry out, and you can flake it off (or wash it). For bad bites or stings, reapply every few hours.

I’ve read that it works well for many skin issues, but my only personal experience is mosquito bites, ant bites, and bee stings.

I’ve also read that it works well as a generic skin mask. Haven’t tried that either, but maybe I will.

I have made tooth powder including it, and my teeth looked good, but the powder was somewhat unpleasant. (Can’t entirely blame it on this ingredient, but still.)

Bentonite clay needs to be stored in glass, plastic, or wood. Stored in metal, it will absorb from the container which makes it inert. In other words, it won’t work. My little container that goes hiking with me? Plastic. I’m not keeping glass in my hiking pack, I couldn’t find a suitable wooden container, and I already had a plastic container. (And if you’re using utensils to scoop or mix it, use wood or plastic.)

If you do a search to find more information, many sites will give recommendations for ingesting it. I don’t. This is why.

There are two common types of bentonite clay: sodium and calcium. Most brands of clay are recommended for external use only. Only calcium is typically recommended for internal use. But really: its namesake mineral goes in to your body as it draws out whatever it’s drawing. A lot of extra sodium isn’t good. But if you have certain health issues, a lot of extra calcium could be a significant problem as well.

Much like any natural remedy (I’m looking at you, essential oils!), before ingesting, speak with a professional who knows about these things (naturopath, aromatherapist, etc.—most typical US physicians wouldn’t have sought training in these types of things). Just because it’s natural doesn’t mean it’s safe to use willy nilly.

But for bug bites? Try it!

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

Go get what you deserve

Get out.

Exercise.

Eat real food.

Cut the processed crap.

Cut the added sweeteners.

Quit smoking.

Get enough sleep.

Cultivate relationships with people offline.

Turn off the TV.

Why?

You deserve it.

Feeling good in your body, being healthy, having energy, are worth it.

We’re told at every turn that it’s not.

“You deserve a treat.” Sure you do! But a “treat” isn’t deep-fried or chocolate-covered.

Can you really think of no way to reward yourself for whatever you feel you need to be rewarded for other than to eat junk food?

(How often do you need to be rewarded?)

Have you lived in a sluggish, tired body for so long that you forget how good it feels to have energy and mental clarity?

Being tired all the time is not the inevitable result of hitting a certain age. Neither is weight gain. Many significant health ailments are avoidable or reversible.

When I was in my mid-20s, people who were in their mid-30s told me I would understand when I was their age. Same thing happened in my mid-30s from people in their mid-40s.

As I pass through their ages, I understand that they were blaming it all on aging so they didn’t have to accept that it was really something they had some control over.

Make healthy choices.

You deserve it!