My Theme for 2017: Less is More

I’ve noticed a pattern in past new year’s resolutions: write more, exercise more, shower more. You see?

This year, as I stepped back to take a look at my proverbial plate, I thought to myself, why am I adding more? What could I take away from my life that would make it better?

  1. Facebook less. That’s not a typo, that’s “Facebook” as a verb. And that doesn’t mean I will be Instagramming more.
  2. Watch less TV. I’m currently in a bingewatching foggy hangover state from staying up way too late watching — don’t judge — season 2 of Girlfriends’ Guide to Divorce.
  3. Shop online less. It’s not so much that I buy a lot online, rather I go from site to site adding items to carts. “Lindsey, did you forget something?” is a popular email in my inbox. It’s therapeutic, but so is cutting.

Looking at my resolutions, you will see a theme within a theme. We spend 70% of our lives in front of digital media. Yipes. Admittedly some of these “less” resolutions may imply more of something else, but hopefully that will be a healthy natural reaction in the right direction, and not a force against the fibers of my being and all I hold dear. (Note, I did not say “drink less”. I’m not a masochist.)

Screw Prozac, I have my tulips.

One of my most favorite things about springtime: tulips. Purple tulips in particular (Dave if you are reading this, take note).

I had an empty milk bottle and Lucky Buddha beer bottle just waiting to reinvent themselves as vases.

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I love the way tulips are always reaching for the sun, at once twisty and optimistic — I can relate to that.

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I swear with all of this rainy, snowy gray weather and never-ending onslaught of germs, I thought I might break off the top of one of these bottles and use it for a whole other not-so-Pinterest-worthy purpose. So glad spring is here … just in time:)

How My Sister Found Her Inner Runner (While Mine is MIA)

I suck at math. This is not atypical of creative types who flourish in the right-brain arena. I have my writing, and I think I’m pretty good at it. I can accept the left-brain-lackthereof. But then, there are people like my sister, Jill, who can do it all. She was a math major at a top university, graduated summa cum laude and has a very successful finance/banking career. And then she has to go and be an amazing writer and athlete on top of it all. And she’s beautiful. I swear I didn’t develop a complex growing up. Not. At. All.

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Jill (left) and me at the Greenville Zoo a couple of years back.

But I long ago accepted that she and I both have our strengths and weaknesses (does she know all the words to Blues Traveler’s song “Hook”? Wait, she might. Damnit.), which makes it easy to be so proud of her when she writes something like this. Her running group asked her to contribute a blog post to their website about finding her inner runner. Oh yeah, she runs marathons, too. Bitch.

Since I have absolutely nothing to contribute to the running world and she did it in such a moving way, I felt compelled to share. Oh and for those of you like me who literally can’t run to save their lives, “PR” stands for “Personal Record,” not “Public Relations.” I think my inner runner is curled up on my inner sofa watching Grey’s Anatomy and eating nachos:

I sat in my car in the lot at CMC on Kings capturing a few more minutes of warmth before stripping off my sweatshirt and heading toward the start of the Hopebuilders 5K. In those few minutes, I took a moment to reflect and offer up a pre-race prayer. This was a ritual I had done countless times before races in high school, but have only recently come back to. The juxtaposition of it all is what hit me so hard sitting in my Jeep.

It was at that very hospital not more than five years earlier I sat in a room as the doctors and nurses came in to deliver the news. You know it is not a good sign when the first thing they do is hand you a box of Kleenex. When I was discharged and wheeled out to the car a week later, I had regained my ability to walk, but life certainly looked different to me. Even the sky seemed to have a different tint, like I was looking at the world through a lens.

That began a year where every day was punctuated with anxiety. Would this be the day I had another attack? And would I recover this time? What would happen to my family, my children? But life marched on and suddenly I was not so acutely conscious on a daily basis. To the point where reminders now consist of doctors’ appointments and near quarterly infusions.

Sitting in my car, it seemed nothing short of God’s grace and the strength it inspired that brought me from a time where I was exiting this lot via a wheelchair to this morning where I was limbering up to run a 5K – inarguably in the best shape of my adult life.

As I neared the last tenth of a mile, the timer indicated it would be near impossible to break the personal goal I had set for myself. Sure enough, I finished off by just 10 seconds. Undoubtedly, I left 10 seconds somewhere out there on the course. However, instead of racking my mind to determine where in the 3.1 miles I had let that go, I chose to focus on the fact that this was a PR for my post high school/collegiate career and more than a two-minute improvement over my time on the same course last year.

What happened between then and now? FiA. It has been nearly two years since I showed up at my first workout. While I do not deny the relative success I enjoyed as a runner as part of the Ballard cross country and track teams, the joy in running had long since faded for me. On my first Tuesday run – now affectionately known as the Diva Run – I was unsure whether I would make it five miles and was certainly not tied to any goal pace. Over the past couple of years, I have watched my mileage increase, my times drop, and even have my first marathon under my belt.

However, given all these tangible accomplishments, I am most grateful for the love of running that has been re-awakened. And this I owe to the friendships and the inspiration that comes from being part of FiA. It is so much more than being a member of a workout group. It is transformative – physically, mentally, spiritually.

For me, running had become a source of frustration – a reminder of what I used to be, but would never be again. Instead of joy, each step had become painful. My relationship with FiA inspired a running epiphany – the beauty of being part of a running community and letting the sheer joy of it carry you each step of the way. It is the “attitude of gratitude” that I now strive to always hold at the top of my conscious. It may not be my best day. Perhaps, I am sick, or deprived of sleep, or over-stressed. But when the alarm goes off in the wee hours of the morning, I get out of bed because I am so grateful for the opportunity. Grateful for my body that allows me to log in the miles, grateful for the women who are there to greet me and listen and share.

This epiphany is much bigger than running. It is more pervasive than that. It is a collective gratitude that applies to all facets of my work, my family, my relationships – including that with myself. I recognize that this is a journey and I am certainly not implying that I have everything figured out. But in re-discovering my inner-runner, I am getting re-acquainted with myself and the type of person that I want to be. For this, I am indebted to the beautiful friendships I have found in FiA.

New Moms in Skinny Jeans and Other Grievances

I’m a very impatient person. I want the Walmart checkout line/Internet connection/school bus on the highway to move faster. I want my post-baby belly gone now. I want this weight (which is quite heavy for being invisible) lifted off my chest yesterday. I wonder which I’ll lose first: The weight or the crazy?

They say it takes nine months for your body to get that way, and that long — or longer — for it to go back to “normal.” I hate They. (Almost as much as I hate the women I see who had babies after me who are already back in their skinny jeans.)

fits me now

So while I feel paralyzed by my anxiety and while I’m stomping mentally on the inside like a two-year-old because I’m not getting what I want right now, I’m at least thinking about making healthy decisions. Planning — whether it comes to fruition or not — keeps me from pushing my cuticles down past my knuckles. It’s possible none of this stuff will happen, but better to obsess virtually via Internet searches, going blurry-eyed from the bright screen light than to turn inward. It’s dark in there.

I’m thinking about:

But it’s not all talk and no walk. I said before that I was going to ask for help, and I did. Unfortunately, the perfect person to help me is not available until mid-December, but I’m going to wait it out. It’s like when you have a craving for a specific dish, but when you get to the restaurant, it’s a 45-minute wait. If you leave and try somewhere else, it will likely take almost as long but the result won’t be nearly as satisfying. So I’m going to hold out another six weeks for the ultimate mental health veggie burrito as it were.

I’ve also discovered the healthy wonder that is spaghetti squash. Not figuratively, but the real thing. The way it transforms when you scoop it out with a spoon? Blows my mind.

Your Daily Migraine Forecast

I was on AccuWeather.com checking out temps in Charleston for November and I noticed a new feature: Migraine weather reports.

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As longtime migraineur, I pretty much know the kind of weather that’s going to set “it” off (rain, snow, wind, really anything that’s not a nice perfectly calm sunny day). And then I saw this:

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Is it really possible that the entire country is experiencing ideal weather for migraine sufferers? I’m skeptical. Still, it’s nice to see my people recognized, and this could prove helpful when planning trips or even mentally preparing myself for the pain to come (assuming I ever see a state that’s not in the blue).

On a semi-related note, my absolute favorite place to get the weather is from Gigi. If you haven’t, you must.

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Is It Postpartum Depression at 3 Months?

I’m sick of putting on a face for Facebook and only showing my bright side… it’s exhausting. So Lindsey Living is now where I’m going to come to be me. All of me. Not just “look at the cute thing my son did the other day” me. I love to write, but I’m a very private person so this is a big step.

Okay, so I LOVE being a mom. I adore my children. I do not wish to hurt them or hurt myself. (Sometimes I want to hurt my husband, but that’s for many different reasons). My daughter was born 12 weeks ago and she’s a joy. I was told when I went back to work that I would be SO ready and actually relieved to rejoin the living. Truth is, I’m not. I could spend every second of the day with Abbie and be perfectly, blissfully happy. I’m not saying this to make anyone feel like a bad mom who was indeed ready to get back to work. It’s just how I feel. So there’s that.

And then there’s this sudden, overwhelming imperfect storm of anxiety, irritation and sadness that has me mentally paralyzed. I’ve read on the interwebs that this could have to do with weaning. I remember feeling the same sometime during the middle of the first year of my son’s life. I sought help, I felt better. So once again, I’m seeking help. I hope that it is in fact helpful. In the meantime, I’m trying to keep it together, keep my job (which I actually really like) and not to scare the crap out of or totally disorient my family. All while keeping up with the laundry and dishes.

Sorry, there’s no cute pic or stock image to go along with this post.

 

Going Outside My Comfort Zone

I resisted any New Year’s resolutions this year, as I’ve learned with pregnancy and kids that over-planning and too many expectations only leads to frustration and disappointment.

Photo via Speedo.com. I don't do swim selfies. Plus, do you really think I'd post a pic of myself, pregnant in a swimsuit in January? And I did purchase a pink Speedo Swim cap, which I love:)
Photo via Speedo.com. I don’t do swim selfies. Plus, do you really think I’d post a pic of myself, pregnant in a swimsuit in January? And I did purchase a pink Speedo Swim cap, which I love:)

Right before I was about to start a diet (ordered organic meal replacement shakes from Amazon and everything), I found out I was pregnant with my second child. SUPER excited for the baby, but the baby weight on top of my already fleshier self was hard to swallow. Of course, I’m not going to try to lose weight when I’m pregnant. Add that I only seem to crave complex carbohydrates and sugar, and I’m a gestational diabetes diagnosis just waiting to happen.

So what can I do about this? Well, now that the first trimester nausea and fatigue are subsiding, I can exercise. My gym doesn’t currently offer prenatal yoga classes, but it does have a pool. Swimming is such great exercise, pregnant or not, so I decided to give it a try for the first time ever. In January. In a swimsuit. Pregnant. (In the “she looks like she’s pregnant, but not enough that I feel comfortable asking” phase, mind you.)

I’m happy to report that I swam laps for the first time on Sunday and have come out the other side without any permanent scars, emotional or otherwise. Not to say it wasn’t totally intimidating. A weekend afternoon was probably not the best time to try laps for the first time. Each lane had at least one swimmer already, which meant I had to share. The lifeguard very patiently explained to me the difference between splitting a lane and circle swimming. I’m not sure why she pointed me to fast lane as I told her I was new to this, but that’s where a spot was open so that’s where I got my feet wet, so to speak. I wasn’t five minutes into my workout (my meager interpretation of the breaststroke) when my lane partner hopped out and moved down a lane. We were splitting and not circling so I was pretty sure I wasn’t in his way. But,still, it made me even more self-conscious than I already was.

So, this morning, I Googled “lap swimming etiquette” and learned a couple of things.

1. When sharing a lane, any stroke other than freestyle is frowned upon, as you can accidentally kick your lane partner. I don’t remember kicking him, but I never remember kicking my husband and I apparently do it every night in my sleep.

2. Swimmers are possessive of their gear, even when borrowed from the pool. I may have grabbed and used a kickboard at the end of our lane. He may have gotten pissed.

3.  Some Canadian dude said in one article that everyone pees in lap pools. I really hope this is only true in Canada.

So next time, I will have to get over my fear of freestyle. And wait for a space to open up in one of the slow lanes. And try not to kick anyone or steal anyone’s stuff. Swimming is not a resolution, but I plan on sticking to it. Like all new things, it wasn’t as scary as I thought it would be.

Have you tried something lately outside of your comfort zone?

Pantry Purge: Time to Start Eating Clean

In the past two years, my migraines have gone from frequent to flat-out chronic. I’ve trial-and-errored my way through a slew of daily preventives, rescue meds and pain pills. I’ve even tried eliminating alcohol (gasp!). I had an 18-month pain vacation while I was pregnant and nursing, but a) that’s no vacation, and b) I can’t be pregnant all the time. I always thought changing my diet would be a drastic thing to do, but drastic times…

An enticing pic of porridge from KERF. (Hope you don't mind that I "borrowed" this pic, Kath!)
An enticing pic of porridge from KERF. (Hope you don’t mind that I “borrowed” this pic, Kath!)

Due to a recent rodent issue, I’m having to start my spring cleaning immediately in the kitchen. It disgusts me how much money I’m throwing away as I throw out all of the food on our shelves, but eating something that’s been nibbled on by a mouse would sicken me way more.

Tonight, after a day of Imitrex, hydrocodone and canceled plans, I decided that I’m sick of relying on meds that barely act as a Band-Aid and I’m sick of being sick. So after cleaning out our pantry tomorrow (and scrubbing from top to bottom) I’m going to fill it with clean food. What is clean eating? Well, it can mean different things to different people. Diane Welland, RD, author of The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Eating Clean defines clean eating as “consuming whole, natural foods that have not been processed.” For my purposes, I’m also going to try to avoid dye-free foods and sugar (I’ve read that both can be very bad for migraineurs).

This will not be easy and I will no doubt find myself at the McDonald’s drive thru getting a regular Coke within the month (I don’t know why, but their Cokes are the best), but I’m going to try.

So far, I’ve found these sites and bloggers as great resources and inspiration for my new diet.

KERF

100 Days of Real Food

Die, Food Dye!

More than a change in diet though, it’s a change in lifestyle. A recent bout with the stomach bug combined with relentless migraines have kept me from the gym, but regular exercise is just as important as root veggies.

I’m not ready to give up my morning cup of coffee (and perhaps never will be), but I’m going to start to try drinking it black… baby steps.

Have you had success cutting out processed foods? Do you have a favorite site, blog or book you swear by on the subject? Please share!

Great Yoga Book For Kids

I love the library. And with the amount of late fees I pay, I’m guessing the library loves me, too. One of my latest finds is this yoga book for kids by Taeeun Yoo called You Are a Lion! And Other Fun Yoga Poses.

Jed loves doing yoga with me. Up until now, I’ve been winging it and trying to remember all of the fun animal poses off the top of my head. This book not only picks some great ones, it also illustrates them beautifully and rhymes, starting with a “namaste to the morning” and going through a series of poses including butterfly, snake and mountain before ending with savasana and a “namaste to each other.” I say namaste. Jed says, “Happy birthday!” Hey, it’s his yogic journey. Whatever floats his  boat pose.

When he grabs the book and runs to his mat (which is always, always out on the floor) saying “Let’s do yoga, Mommy!” it makes my heart melt. Having a boy, I pretty much knew my child wouldn’t likely share my love of vintage clothing and shoes, but boys can like yoga. And, well, Jed does love wearing my shoes.

Sweet Migraine Remedy

I have migraines on the brain today… quite literally. My friend Aleigh told me that she heard on The People’s Pharmacy that drinking an ice-cold milkshake to try to induce brain freeze can cut through and lessen migraine pain. I can’t think of a better reason to hop in the car and head to The Hop… if I could drive right now. Or make this amazing strawberry balsamic milkshake from The Kitchen is My Playground… if I could stand the sound of blender right now.

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Strawberry balsamic milkshake from The Kitchen is My Playground.