When Your Body Asks For A Break

There are some lessons that bear repeating.

1. The emotionally unavailable man will never change, not even for you.

2. It is impossible to open a package of Oreos and eat just one. You have to do an entire row or none at all.

3. Your body deserves better than you likely give it in an average day.

There are more but these are the big three.

I seem to swing between being ultra aware and responsive to what my body needs or I tune it out altogether. For the last couple of weeks, I have ignored my body as it has screamed for more rest, less stress, better food and much needed quiet.

I have this inner voice that’s constantly pushing me to keep going when I don’t want to, that tricks me into not hopping on the treadmill when I know exercise would be invigorating, and that tells me to eat the fries because that’s what I really want even though I know I’ll be sluggish tomorrow.

Meanwhile, my body is asking for a break, begging for good nutrition, movement and rest. And I ignore it.

I rely on my body to get me through the day. It takes me everywhere I need to go even when I’m mean to it. It has never failed me but I fail it all the time.

How to do better? That’s the $64,000 question.

This week has been stressful and tiring. Healthy eating, exercise and stress management are really just a pipe dream, something to be put off until the weekend when I undoubtedly will crash.

We all go through times like this and the best we can do is the best we can do. I’m trying hard to remember that good choices breed more good choices and that what I do to my body today will effect how I feel tomorrow.

I know that I’m approaching a breaking point when I simultaneously want to run away on a trip and also hide in my quiet house with a package of cookies.

A trip may be in my future but the cookies will not.

For today, I’ll just keep pushing forward and make the best decisions possible. And then tomorrow, I’ll wake up and do it again.

Things will be better soon.

A Funny Thing Happened On Day 29

Whole 30 Day 29 didn’t go as planned. I took a trip to the Franklin Park Conservatory for a morning of art and flowers. The plan was to buy a salad and eat the fruit and nuts that I had packed.

That was the plan until I discovered the food truck served the Beyond Burger. If you’re vegetarian you know how exciting it is to find a quality vegetarian options on a menu. The Beyond Burger is amazing.

As I stood there studying the menu, a part of me demanded that I order the salad and be happy about it. Just a day and a half to go and I could say I’ve successfully completed four rounds. But there was another voice. It was the voice of a person who has done a few successful rounds and who feels she has nothing to prove.

The goal of the Whole 30 for me is to reset my bad eating habits and to acquire a taste for whole foods that are good for me.

Would a day make a difference?

If you’re a beginner, yes.

If you’re trying to identify foods that cause your ailments, yes.

If it’s important to you personally that you accomplish the thirty days – you bet.

But for me? No.

I have done a pretty good job ridding myself of bad habits and there was nothing wrong with eating the Beyond Burger topped with onions, cabbage, peppers, mushrooms and the best tomato jam I’ve ever tasted.

It was a delicious experience eating my burger and feeling the breeze in my hair and I do not regret this decision.

If I were trying to complete a round, tomorrow would be a restart. Day one again. With Whole 30, you restart every time you stray from the rules. Every single time.

But for me, it’s not about the round. It’s about good health. So tomorrow I will simply continue making the best possible decisions, eating clean and feeling good about it.

A year ago, I would have felt like a quitter.

Today, I feel accomplished for knowing that goals and priorities change and that I’m capable of adapting rather than blindly following a rule.

Isn’t this what the quest for personal growth is all about?

Mental Health Day

 

n.JPG

The last few weeks have been challenging on a number of levels so I took a mental health day yesterday and pursued an adventure with a friend. I’ll tell you that story soon. Meanwhile, here’s a picture from said adventure and a little giggle to start your day.

Mark Twain had a way with words but when you know the context you might consider it in bad taste. Stay tuned for the whole story.

The day off was a big help and I would recommend taking a break to anyone who is feeling stressed.

Whole 30 Has Begun!

July 8 is a date that’s been circled on my calendar for some time now. That’s the day I was supposed to start a new Whole 30 round with my pal Sarah.

Whole 30 is pretty intense and it seems like every 30 day round is tougher than the one before so it’s a good idea to have a buddy.

Unfortunately, it seemed that I kept eating crap with the reasoning that I won’t be able to eat it after July 8. And you know something? My body has been hating me for all the mistreatment.

When I eat well, my mind is clearer, my body stronger, my endurance impressive. But when I eat sugar and processed foods, I’m tired, sluggish, temperamental and simply feel bad.

So I decided on a whim Monday that my Whole 30 round was starting right that minute. And I’m so glad!

The anticipation was literally killing me and there was no reason to hold off since I know the rules and how to eat. I just need to do it.

Funny thing though – within an hour of saying “today is the day,” my mother texted to say she’s having a holiday cookout and wanted help with making an ice cream cake. Not long after that, at work, we scheduled an event with a lunch later this month.

It just goes to show, there’s never a perfect time to do what’s good for yourself. But if you wait for perfect conditions, you will never get anything done.

I’m taking my own food for the cookout – grilled fish, baked potato and a nice salad. Dessert will be fresh fruit. Sounds pretty good, doesn’t it? And as for that work function – I’m there to work, not to eat, and can do lunch on my own later. It will be ok.

Not sure what the Whole 30 is? I wrote about it here and here. It’s actually meant to help people identify foods that cause digestive issues, intolerances and other health problems. However, it’s a great way to refocus your attention and your taste buds using clean eating and real food. It is not for everyone but I feel amazing when I eat the Whole 30 way.

And, as for Sarah, I’ll just be a week ahead of my friend but intend to extend this round by a week so she won’t be in it alone. I’ll give you an update a little later and let you know how it’s going.

Don’t Let Fear Slow You Down

I encountered a group from Maryland on last night’s hike. They were extremely friendly and thrilled to be hiking in the Hocking Hills.

For some, it was their first time on a hike. A few seemed to marvel that I was out there alone. This isn’t an uncommon reaction.

I hike alone a lot.

This is partly because there is nothing like the serenity of the woods and having people around is disruptive. It’s partly because I refuse to miss out on experiences simply because there is no one to go with.

This wasn’t always the case. I didn’t pick up solo hiking until last winter. My relationship of many years had just ended. I was working on accepting the idea that it will likely always be just me and I refuse to spend my life at home simply because I’m single.

So I started hiking in the well trafficked areas of local state parks until becoming comfortable enough to venture out on longer hikes where there are fewer people.

It was intimidating to put it mildly. But once I got used to the uneasiness, it became an experience that I crave.

I breathe better in the woods and despise having a lot of people around when trying to enjoy my surroundings.

Those visitors yesterday marveled at my bravery. I didn’t have the heart to tell them I feel safer by myself in the woods than walking down the street in a city like their hometown. People are nuts and scare me far more than wildlife.

But I’m not stupid. I’m always prepared for something bad to happen and grateful each time I make it out safely. Of course, after the spike in crime in the town with my favorite TJ Maxx, I feel the same sense of relief every time I leave there without incident too.

The bottom line is that you can’t let fear prevent you from living. Know the threats and prepare to avoid or face them the best you can. But you still have to live and enjoy life.

And I’m not just talking about hiking.

Wherever you are right now, you’re probably letting fear hold you back in some way. Fear could even be running your life or preventing you from doing what’s best for you.

It’s ok to be afraid. It is not ok to let fear prevent you from living the life you want and deserve.

Go for the hike. Take the leap, whatever it may be.

You may be surprised at how good it feels.

Big Lessons From A Little Tree

We can all learn a lot from this little tree. It’s growing out of a sliver of masonry over a second story window in the village where I work.

First, you never can tell where you’ll find a little bit of life and goodness. Who knew that if you just took a moment to look up you might find a nice little tree where you least expect it.

Also, if you want to live and grow and be happy, you can do it no matter where your roots are. The phrase “bloom where you’re planted” comes to mind.

Notice, it’s not only surviving – it is thriving.

Life is a series of choices. Always look up, look for the good and do your best to bloom where you’re planted.

Why This Blog Exists

Elk Peonies.jpg

Peonies on a spring day in Ohio – just because they’re pretty. 

It was a shock to realize the one year anniversary of this blog is just a few weeks away. After all, most new blogs don’t make it past the first year. I started writing here for a couple of reasons. The first is that pictures and stories posted on Facebook prompted friends to request a blog with more in-depth stories.

The other reason Make the Journey Fun was born is that I needed a project at the time. It’s not a secret that 2018 was a transformative year and a period of self exploration. Having this outlet was a healthy part of that process.

Since then, I’ve written about things that interest me and that I hope interest you as well. If you’ve been around for a while you probably know how random the subject matter can be. That’s because I write the kind of stories that I like to read – the bloggers who invite their reader into their home and life and thoughts.

Photographer Jim Grey comes to mind as he mingles stories of his personal life with camera reviews and pictures from his travels on Down the Road. I look forward to his posts every day and have learned a lot about photography as well as the National Road which frequently appears in his storytelling.

The Frugal Girl is another great example of personal storytelling as she shares about her family and their efforts to live responsibly.

Neither of them present themselves as experts in any topic but simply share their thoughts in a pleasant way. In a world of self proclaimed experts and glorified internet trolls, these blogs are like a breath of fresh air.

So I tell the stories that friends sometimes request and stories that I would want to read. And it has been a wonderful experience to do so. Near strangers sometimes strike up a conversation in the grocery store and friends often message with their thoughts. Not to mention the people I’ve met online who have provided insight and even a kind of friendship that wouldn’t have existed had it not been for this space of written word and photos.

It’s been a fun ride and I have absolutely nothing bad to say about it.

In the world of bloggers, the experts measure your success by statistics. I’m honored each time someone subscribes or says they like reading here. However, I measure my success by the great conversations that occur online and in-person rather than by my statistics.

But as the year is winding down, I can’t help but assess the future and whether writing here is the right thing to do. I’m better now than I was a year ago and no longer need this outlet.  Yet, it’s still fun to share here so I’m planning to keep going until it’s not fun anymore or until folks aren’t reading anymore.

Please accept my thanks for bringing me into your world each day and for coming into mine. It’s lovely hearing from so many of you – both in the cyber world and the real world. I appreciate you all! I’m also happy to share observations from my corner of the universe and hope that you sometimes find yourself enlightened, inspired or even encouraged.

Enjoy your day, my friends. Spend it doing something that makes you happy.