Traveling and the Gut

Photo by Gaelle Marcel on Unsplash

I do have ways to manage my gut. But I find it interesting that I throw it all out the window when I travel.

Yesterday I had cookies for breakfast. That was after I’d had quesadillas (lots of cheese) for supper the night before. And, in the car, I passed the time chomping on inappropriate snacks!

It’s as if I give myself an excuse, the freedom, to do whatever I want because my routine has changed. Today my gut will not be happy.

Routines are so important, even if they are a little boring. But the consistency helps me feel like all is right with the world.

Back in Fredericksburg, and I started the day with a trip to the local gym- my first visit in two years? Routines.

Grateful for: two houses I love, time to take care of myself, the sun shining in my windows.

You Have No Regrets Scheduled Today

Photo by Fahmi Fakhrudin on Unsplash

When I opened my calendar email today, I instead of “no events” I saw: You have no regrets scheduled for today.

Now that is a sign from the universe. Perhaps I’ve been spending just a little too much time in the past.

Part of my wellness plan is staying in the present, which is so important for mental health. I tend to go back, rethinking decisions and go forward, trying to predict outcomes. Instead, I am learning to take a deep breath and focus on being right here, right now. It was difficult at first, but it’s becoming easier.

Self care means asking myself “what do I need right now?” Sometimes it’s a nap, and often it’s a walk. This also helps me make good food (and alcohol) choices. Yes, these routines are easier in retirement. But I wish I’d learned to focus more on myself when I was younger. Worrying about what everyone else thinks drains me. It can be downright debilitating.

The biggest shift for me, though, is trying to have no regrets– I did what I could with what I had at the moment. And meditating on that keeps me present.

Things I am reading and listening to:

Self-kindness meditation from Ten Percent Happier

Forgive yourself for who you used to be

Food to eat (or not) for gut issues

Yoga for anxiety

I am Learning

Point Dock

For the past few years, I’ve been learning to deal with anxiety and panic attacks. They are difficult because they cause physical reactions which make me believe I am suffering from, oh let’s say, my gut or my heart.

And I am. Mental issues become physical issues.

But I am learning to “reappraise” a situation, see it in a different light. Radical kindness toward myself helps. When the rapid heart beat, the flutter in the stomach, or the headache starts, I ask myself, “what’s going on here?” I say, “I wonder why I am feeling this way.”

I usually know. But in the past I would beat myself up, try to fix it, or ruminate for hours about what a terrible person I was. These days, I reappraise.

An ability to successfully reappraise enables us to reduce negative emotions and open us up to experiencing happiness, even during difficult times.

Once you realize there is a strong connection between your thoughts and feelings, which then affect your phyical well being, you are able to shift those thoughts. It’s not about being Pollyanna or trying to make everything all good. It’s more about seeing the whole picture, reframing what is happening in a new light.

How you talk to yourself matters. And for me, looking at the pond doesn’t hurt either. ❤️

Summer Storms at Work

With roaring indifference to the frail and imperfect, 
wind flings dead branches and uproots bushes,
sending them sailing.
The trees and I moan under the weight of it all.
I toss aside a broken bough, pruning thoughts under clearing skies.

We survived Hurricane Henri and the remnants of Hurricane Ida. But a poem I wrote last year came to mind as I wandered the beach and then my yard, picking up branches and dead limbs. Those ruminating thoughts can be tossed, too.

A “cleaning of the clutter” periodically helps keep me sane and functioning. I listened to a Ten Percent Happier podcast the other day, a challenge based on the Ted Lasso show (which I love). Joseph Goldstein shared some “phrases for stress” I found helpful. One, “the thought of your mother is not your mother,” helps remind me that what I’m thinking isn’t real. It’s like a movie– no one is really being killed, no one is jumping off a cliff. In our lives, he says, thoughts can cause stress when we take the thought as reality. Some thoughts can trigger emotions.

Thoughts can exercise great power over our life, so remembering that they are only thoughts is helpful.