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Thursday, January 21, 2016

my daily CARE

www.byjen.com
It's the new year and January is really chugging along. Like many others, I've done my best to start moving towards better physical health. But when choosing my word for the year, I also thought about all my goals for the year, including those unrelated to physical health. Normally my word would encompass what I wanted out of the year, but in choosing Innovation, I feel its more about looking for new ways to view old problems. So this led me to think of a new method for reminding myself of what I want to reach for each and every day.

I would like to be creative on a daily basis, whether it be the more traditional making of art and crafts, or less traditional creative activities such as cooking, baking, and even problem solving. On the same note, I'd like to make a greater effort to work on my photography daily. I would also like to practice gratitude on a daily basis, possibly with a journal or just sharing with my family at the dinner table (or both).

Keeping these daily wishes in mind, I tried to think of a clever way to remember these goals. My first idea was 3 C's for 366 (it is leap year): Create, Capture, and Cherish. The create is an obvious choice, but then capture refers to taking more photos and writing more, especially in a gratitude journal. And cherish reinforces taking time to be grateful everyday. But then the 3 C's didn't include my desire to regain my health with more activity and better eating. So I continued to think....

At this point, I also realized I needed to focus on caring, both self care and feeling committed enough not to give up on myself. This led me to my daily CARE goals: C=Create, A=Active, R=Reflect, and E=Emerge. Not only did this include Create for daily creativity, Active for my health goals and desire to get moving on other goals, and Reflect for daily gratitude, but it also gave me Emerge (a word my husband wisely suggested).

Emerge was perfect because when I started contemplating my word for 2016, I kept thinking I needed the opposite of retreat. After losing my dad in April 2014, I really retreated from much of life. It wasn't done intentionally but that was my reaction to the pain of loss. Just as everyone has said, the pain never really goes away, but my ability to handle it has changed. It's time to emerge from my safe cocoon and really live my life to the fullest. My dad would have wanted that. So here I go with my daily CARE in mind....

Thursday, January 14, 2016

My Word for 2016


Happy 2016! 

It's a new year full of new possibility. The past couple years have been emotional for me, but I'm feeling stronger and feeling it's time to regain control. What better time for a fresh start than at the beginning of a new year? As with the past several years, I've chosen a word for the year rather than a list of resolutions. The word of the year has worked well for me in many cases, even though I'd say I lost sight of last year's word, "Open." But that that doesn't matter now. It's a time for a fresh start.

As I tried to decide what I want for my life in 2016, I started seeing a Facebook game that would generate a word for 2016. Several of my friends had shared it since they were given fun words like "Joy" and "Happiness." So I thought I'd give it a try. My resulting word was "Change." Ugh. I hate change. I'm a creature of habit. I had just gone through the most major of change in losing my dad. Change did not seem appealing. So I tried the random word generator again and I got the word, "Innovation." Hmmm. Isn't that basically a different word for "Change"? Where's my "Joy" or "Happiness"? So I walked away to reflect, of course only after a 3rd try that gave me "Wisdom." 

After some thought, I really started to like "Innovation." Innovation seemed like it could be a way for me to focus on new and creative methods of change. It felt a little more positive and less scary than focusing my year on the word, "Change" (even though change is necessary since I want things to be different). A way for me to look forward rather than backwards. Too much of my time has been spent looking backwards, leaving me feeling depressed from the pain of nostalgia and the shame of regret.  So my word for this year is "Innovation," which has already led me down some new paths that I look forward to sharing in the future....

Thursday, May 21, 2015

A Little Disney Magic

Tinkerbell, the Castle, and spectacular fireworks just before we began our family 5K
Mother's Day weekend I had the pleasure of running the Neverland 5K and the Tinkerbell Half Marathon through the streets of Disneyland and California Adventure along with my family (the 5K) and my good friend, Jacee (the half). We signed up for the race back in August (Disney races are known to sell out almost immediately) which seemed far enough away to take the leap even with all the uncertainty I felt. My heart was still aching from the loss of my dad in April, but I knew I needed to do something to keep myself moving forward.

When race weekend arrived a few weeks ago, I'll admit that things didn't look like what I had imagined they would. Don't get me wrong: a fun weekend away with my family, visiting with my good friend, racing through the magic that is Disney--That was all perfect. But I wasn't the me I had hoped I'd be. My training had gone fine and I was prepared for the distance, even if it was going to be at a snail's pace. But I was still struggling with my grief and coping with the roller coaster of emotions with food, especially the sweet stuff. Despite training for a half marathon, I still managed to return to my heaviest weight. And I was frustrated and angry with myself.

But the magic of Disney helped me see a silver lining. The Tinkerbell Half Marathon was my sixth half marathon and probably one of my more challenging races. But you know what? I did it! I completed the race even though my health wasn't where I wanted it to be. It reminded me that I can do anything I set my mind to as long as I try and I believe.

So I came home with a reignited sense of belief in myself. With this belief, I decided to tackle my weight issues. I took a big leap and gave up sugar, following the Prevention Magazine 21 Day Transformation challenge. Normally I'd be too afraid of something so drastic, especially since I often rely on sweets to deal with difficult emotions. But with my new sense of strength and optimism, I jumped in and have now been successfully living without sugar since the 11th. And it feels great. I've already lost 10 lbs, I feel in control, and I have seen a dramatic decrease in cravings.

This Disney race came at the perfect time. It was just the encouragement I needed to help myself become the me I want to be. I couldn't have imagined taking this leap without my new sense of self belief. Tinkerbell has now become a new symbol of strength for me and she pairs perfectly with my old favorite "Believe."

My new Tinkerbell running shoes, complete with wings, pom-poms, and inspiration