Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Fifth Post - Fit

Once a year a dear friend of mine takes me for a walk. This friend, walks hills regularly, rides her bike, swims, works out at the gym and looks fantastic. In contrast, I walk the halls at work when I go to pick up students.The halls are flat! Last year we went on a 10K walk up at Silver Star Mountain. She assured me there wouldn't be hills - I believed her. A mountain with no hills, not likely. Anyhow we had a wonderful walk. Her dog, complete with bell, accompanies us and she carries bear spray....although I'm always reassured that it's not bear season. So this year, it took until yesterday to team up for our walk. This was billed as a medium walk with no hills (ha, I didn't fall for that this year.) We headed out to a park in town and our goal was to walk down (there's a hint) to Kal Lake and back. I've already mentioned that I am far from being a regular fitness walker, however, I don't like to turn down a challenge, nor miss an opportunity to spend time with my friend, so off we went. The first 20 minutes were all uphill. Not a little hill, a big hill. I like to talk when I walk and when I walk with Mrs. C, I can't talk. I can barely breath. Hmmm, maybe that's why she takes me on these walks. So I can practice listening.
At any rate I made it up the hill and what a reward was waiting. The most spectacular view of one of God's most beautiful creations - Kalmalka Lake. The walk down to the lake was a breeze. Conversation was good, energy was good. However, what goes down, must go up! After a brief reprise at the Lake front, it was time to turn around. Mrs. C had calculated 1 hour 15 for the 7 km walk, so off - or should I say, up, we went. I won't go into details, about gasping for air, about sheepishly asking for a rest - more than once,  but I made it. Exercise and friendship, the best combination for fitness. By the way, it's now the day after and I feel great!
Apparently we're heading on a 40K bike ride next year - with no hills.

What did you do to promote personal fitness this summer?

Kalmalka Lake, Vernon, BC 

Silver Star Mountain (2009)

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Fourth Post - Links

Contrary to the ads on television showing parents doing the happy dance as September gets closer, many parents, teens, children and TEACHERS, are experiencing some fairly typical, back to school anxiety. This anxious state often goes hand in hand with the anticipation and expectation of a new year. I'm not sure who's more excited or nervous; parents, teens, children or teachers. Rather than listing strategies to "cope" with the emotions of the next several weeks, I've decided to add a "links" gadget and list some useful resources surrounding anxiety and its partner depression. The link "Peace of Mind" includes a brief depression screening as well as an anxiety screening that you may find helpful. Several sites are applicable to adults and parents as well as teens and children. For a bit of balance I've included a link to an ADD/ADHD website. If you decide to view a link or two, please send me some feedback.

How do you approach the "Back to School" days?


Enjoying the last days of summer vacation.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Third Post - Change

I wonder why some people can look forward to change...and embrace the unknown. Not me! I want to. I make big plans, dream big and then when the "change" gets closer, I panic. Really panic. Anxiety, nausea, headaches...... I get flooded with thoughts of all that will go wrong. Even though I know this about myself, even though I have done the "work" to limit/control the effects of anxiety, those nasty feelings keep on coming. I'm in the middle of reading, "mindsight - The new Science of Personal Transformation" by Daniel J Siegel, M.D. I understand how my brain works (yes, it's working). The science all makes sense, yet, when change is imminent, my body seems to default back to the familiarity of anxiety and worry. According to Dr. Siegel, what I'm working towards is called "bilateral" or "horizontal" integration. This occurs when the left and right hemispheres of our brain collaborate. Sounds so easy. I get this. It makes sense, but when push comes to shove, I still "feel" anxious. REALLY big time anxious! The "I think I'm going to die" or, "Jim, do you think I have <insert worst case scenario illness>? kind of anxiety.
So, now what? Here I am again, so what am I going to do? Well, first off, I have to sort out if what I'm feeling is anxiety or perhaps a bit of a flu bug, or maybe something I ate. It gets confusing because they all feel pretty much the same. Then, ruling out illness - this may involve a visit to the Doctor, I force myself to pause, to breathe, to think calm thoughts. In my worst days (almost two decades ago) I used to quote my verse....."I have not been given a spirit of fear, but a spirit of power and of love and a SOUND MIND!"  2nd Timothy 1:7 (Bible) Over time I have come to believe and accept and rejoice in my sound mind. So now, when these dips come, I'm not starting right from the beginning but am able to accept the fear. To acknowledge the fear, and then to slowly speak to the fear. If you have ever had an experience with anxiety you know that the fear is absolutely real. The feeling of fear, that is. The triggers are always highly exaggerated and usually involve absolutes like never or always.
As silly or as simple as this sounds, the best thing for me is to get up and move around. I need to have my feet grounded. They need to feel the floor. I need to be connected with the here and now. Once I do that (and trust me, that simple step can take a great deal of effort), my eyes are open and I breathe more naturally. Once I do those steps, the flow of information from my left to right brain (or the other way around) is released. What a difference that makes. I'm not dancing yet, but I can physically "feel" and intellectually "know" that I'm headed in a healthy direction. Peace and balance is restored.
I'm not going to lie to you, this mental health thing can be hard work. It is a lifetime journey. But it is worth it. Why? Because we are worth it! We are worth a life of health and balance! We are worth the knowing of self! We are worth the experience and beauty of life.
Bottom line...........WE ARE WORTH THE WORK!
Are you ready? 


How do you "do" Change?

Monday, August 23, 2010

Second Post - Pacing

My typical pattern is to start big, with loads of energy and then putter out as I approach my goal. Hiking (who am I kidding - walking) with me can be a, slow, fast, slow.....stop. Repeat! It works, but I'm discovering there is a better way. I am learning to "pace" myself. To breath. To take time. To enjoy the sights along the way. While arriving at my destination is still important, I want to appreciate the journey.
There are so many things I want to include in my blog. So many topics, questions, insights, things I've learned and am still learning, however, I don't have to write them all at once.....whew.....what a relief! So, I'm settling my heart and mind and typing fingers. I'm breathing and have purposed to pace myself. I hope you don't get bored along the way. Stick with me and hopefully you'll find something that interests you while I share my journey.
Are you a pacer?


"Give wind and tide a chance to change"  Richard E. Byrd

A tranquil Parksville morning

Sunday, August 22, 2010

First Post

Today is "International Reading in Public Day". I'll be heading outside with Sizzling Sixteen by Janet Evanovich. I'm heading to sites unknown, chosen by my husband (not sure what he'll be reading). I know this will make my life better! What will you be reading outside today?

Reading in Public with my husband