Tag Archives: Spring

What I Learned During April 2017

Finally!

The month of April 2017 went by fast. It seemed like we had just begun the Lenten season and then suddenly it Easter weekend, and then April was over.

Despite the month feeling as if it went by quickly, I learned a few important personal lessons during that time.

I Love Reading and It Should Only Be Used for Leisure

Every time I see a blog post for, “How to Read X Amounts of Books in a Year” I instantly feel the need to take on the challenge. It’s taken a lot of will power and discipline to stop myself from following through on my desire to do so.

March and April I read two books. The first was Fifteen Dogs by Canadian author Andre Alexis. I loved every minute of this book. There were times I had to stop in the middle of a page and think deeply about what I just read. I realized that if I had chosen to participate in a year long reading challenge I might not have been able to take time to consider in depth what I was reading. Instead, I would have been focused on finishing the book so I could mark another one off the reading list and carry on with the goal.

Some of these challenges would require me to read at least one book per week, and at that pace, I honestly don’t think I would find reading relaxing; it would become another task added to my already too long of a to-do list.

The second book was The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins. I had started reading this novel approximately a year ago and abandoned it half way through out of boredom. I decided to finish reading it because I wanted the book off the shelf and out of my house, and because so many people I know had said the book gets better as you read along. It didn’t.

Lesson Learned: Reading challenges are great, but only if doesn’t take away from the relaxation and pleasure of reading.

Sunlight Brings Happiness to an Entire City

It’s difficult to get an entire city population to agree on anything, but here in northern Alberta, we seem to all agree that the constant darkness of the winter months affects our moods. I’m not referring to a condition known as Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). After 8 months of cold weather and dark skies we are known to crave warmer temperatures and most importantly sunlight that extends beyond the afternoon.

I couldn’t help but notice how excited me and my female co-workers have been about finally getting to wear spring leggings, skirts, and ankle length pants, and not to mention sandals and heels. Avid gardeners are excited about planting, and tending to the earth. Tired workers are already looking forward to relaxing in their backyards and enjoying summer BBQ’s.

Lesson Learned: Constant darkness and cold weather does in deed affect people’s moods. Sunlight not only provides vitamin D and sun tans, but also happiness.

Bullies Rarely Apologize, So Don’t Hold Your Breath

For several months I’ve been dealing with a group of bullying Christians who are part of a local Christian organization. They have consistently engaged in dishonest behaviour, manipulation, and fraud. I thought I would be able to bring about changes to this organization, but I haven’t been able to do so.

I realized that you can create a long list of policies and procedures, but if people aren’t willing to change their unhealthy ethical practices and develop a sense of integrity, it won’t work.

I allowed the bullying behaviour to take an emotional toll on me until I realized and accepted the fact that I can’t make others change.

Lesson Learned: If an organization does not want to become a healthy workplace, I have three options: accept that the workplace is toxic and find a way to work there without becoming toxic myself; stress myself out and become toxic as well; run away from there as fast as I can.

QUESTIONS and REFLECTIONS

Are you the type of person who learns lessons the hard way or the sensible way?

Which types of lessons have the most positive impact on you; lessons that were painful, or lessons that involve “aha” moments.

How do you think God teaches us lessons in life? Does he do so gently, painfully, both, neither? How do you know when God is “teaching you a lesson”?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Spring/Summer Happiness

 

March is gone and April is here. There really is no big difference between the two months except for the change in daylight hours. It feels great to have longer hours of sunlight.

For me, slightly warmer days and more hours of sunlight often means dreaming and planning a new fitness regime. I suddenly go from planning nights of Netflixing to arranging evenings filled with physical activity.

Spring To-do List:

Train for a marathon, check.

Start P90X again, check.

Loose 110 pounds by the end of summer, check.

Go Paleo, check.

My Pinterest board becomes active again with me posting any and every article that promises to help me become the fittest, trimmest, and fastest version of myself.

My fridge is suddenly filled with superfoods: spinach, collard greens, avocados, bell peppers, and anything that can be thrown into a smoothie.

The truth is this excitement rarely lasts into the second week of April. It only takes a few days of missed workout sessions, vegetables that were left to rot due to a preference for microwavable foods, and a reminder that I have a deep-seated hatred for long distance running.

Are you a Spring and Summer time fitness dreamer? Do you make grand plans to lose weight, get fit, eat better, and then accomplish none of those dreams? I don’t have a magic solution, but I will say this. If you know you’re a Spring/Summer dreamer, be realistic. Set your goals so they are about enjoying the things you do to stay active.

Why plan for a foot race when you know you are not likely to commit to the training; instead, make a goal of getting outdoors more often. Make a goal of watching less television in the evenings and you’ll suddenly find yourself with more time to be outdoors. What you choose to do outdoors is up to you. Go for a walk, toss a frisbee or football around, or play a sport. The goal is to pick something you will enjoy doing.

A strict meal plan might not be something you care to do, especially knowing you aren’t going to stick with it. Instead, aim to eat more fruits and vegetables. When BBQ season arrives, try grilling fruit and vegetables. Chop up some fruit and keep them in the fridge instead of eating foods from the cupboard.

I wish I was the only one who makes a habit of setting unrealistic goals, but I’m not. During the summer I stay active and eat healthy meals. Not because of a strict meal plan or rigorous exercise, but because I stay true to myself.  I choose to do things that I enjoy.

My wish for you this Spring and Summer is that you will also stay true to yourself. Do you enjoy long distance running, power yoga, or jogging up and down hundreds of stairs, great. Keep doing it. If not, find another way to keep yourself fit during the most visually beautiful and warm months of the year.

Are you happy with your diet related meals and strict eating plans, good, then stick with it; if not, then make the changes that will lead you to consuming healthy foods you actually enjoy.

Moving and feeding your body should not be something that brings unhappiness to your life. You can be healthy and happy. Taking care of your body isn’t about punishment or strict regiments.

 

Reflection and Questions:

-Do you associate healthiness with unhappiness?

-What is your personal definition of ‘happy and healthy’?

-Do you believe that a person can be happy while trying to achieve a fitness or health goal?

 

 

 

 

Personal Spring Tune Up 2016

 

Spring Self_Tune Up
Source: Pixeltango

It’s April, and where I live that still means snow, wind, and toques. However, April also means happier moods thanks to more daylight hours, warmer weather, and the anticipation of the end of snow for at least a few months. It’s wonderful to watch the city transform from dark and white, to brown, to green and colourful.

Each Spring I do a massive decluttering of my place. During Winter months I tend to accumulate a lot of unnecessary things that get tucked away on shelves, in baskets, cupboards, wherever I shove items, that’s where they stay until a pile topples over or I need to find something I hadn’t needed all winter long.

The beginnings of this season usually involves home owners dedicating their weekends to readying the garden and lawn; and getting their vehicles prepped for Spring. I was thinking this morning about how we tend to prepare our possessions for a new season, but we don’t often prepare our bodies and minds for the changes in nature.

I don’t handle our Northern winters very well, especially because I am dependent on public transit. Nothing kills your joy faster than walking after dark, in dirty snow, bundled up for the cold weather. So when Spring arrives I look forward to new activities and revisiting old ones. This takes some thought and preparation.

Your Turn!

The following can help prepare you for a great Spring and Summer season; don’t let another year go by where you coulda’ shoulda’, woulda’, but didn’t.

Deep clean your home and your vehicle. Great weather means great company and nothing helps people clean faster than knowing someone is coming to your home. Here is a website with a variety of tips, schedules, and information on getting organized and maintaining a clean home. If your vehicle is a mess of fast food containers, empty coffee cups, and paper products; then a spring clean up of the inside of your car is a good idea. Set aside a few hours to clear everything out and take it to the car wash where you can clean both the inside and outside.

What’s your yard, garage, and shed looking like? If it’s a mess, schedule time to tend to these areas. It is absolutely necessary to schedule a date and time to get these things done otherwise we will always find other things to do or procrastinate to the point where we are no longer left with choices. No one likes fines from by-law officers for something like not keeping up your yard, a task that would have only taken at most an hour.

http://springcleaning365.com/

SPRING-IS-NEAR

Rejuvenate your body. If you’ve neglected your body all winter or want to get prepared for more physical activities, it’s important to ease back into it. If you are going to pick up running or switch to outdoor running, be prepared in order to decrease your chances of injury and increase your opportunities for success. Here is a link to Runners World online where you can find information on training, dressing for the weather, and footwear. The link to Olivas Trunk Unlocked leads to a great article on spring cleaning your body.

http://oliviastrunkunlocked.com/2015/05/22/spring-clean-your-body/

http://www.runnersworld.com/shoe-guide/runners-world-2016-spring-shoe-guide?cid=OB-_-RW-_-CHRR

http://rw.runnersworld.com/training-plan-finder/

Another important way to prepare your body is to eat seasonal fruit. If you are able to buy locally grown fruits and vegetables and shop at farmer’s markets, great, if not, then the grocery store chains will have to do. The good thing about buying in-season produce is the cheaper price. Spring and Summer seasonal foods are often on sale or the prices are lower. I know I’m looking forward to cherries, peaches, nectarines, grapes, and watermelon. These items are quite pricey where I live. During the off-season peaches and nectarines are $3.99/pound.

https://snaped.fns.usda.gov/nutrition-through-seasons/seasonal-produce

whats-in-season-spring

After eating heavy foods all winter, the body might be in needs of a cleanse. There are a lot of exaggerated claims made by companies who sell body cleanse and detox products, but the truth is there is no need to go to extremes to cleanse the body when switching to a healthier eating regime. If you do decide to do a program, I recommend looking into The Masters Cleanse and Wild Rose D-Tox. With the Master’s Cleanse you are limited to 10 days of a mixed lemon water drink whereas the Wild Rose D-Tox allows you to eat a variety of foods from a list; you won’t ever be hungry on the 12 Day D-Tox program.

http://themastercleanse.org/

http://wildroseproducts.com/en-CA/kits/d-tox-program

If you’re not into cleansing and detoxing, but know that your body is in need of a change from a diet of heavy foods, and processed goods a great place to start would be clean eating. This link will give you a simple breakdown of the clean eating lifestyle.

http://www.cleaneatingmag.com/food-health/food-and-health-news/what-is-clean-eating/

Check your finances. Sunshine means spending lots of time on patios, going to sporting events, and bring-a-side-dish bbq’s. This also means spending more money. Take a look at your spending habits from the past 3 months. Aside from necessary bills and payments, what did you spend most of your money on? If you aren’t happy with where you spent your money during the winter, try making changes for spring and summer. Try making a budget, it is easy to over spend during the warmer months when there are a lot more recreational and social options available.

http://www.daveramsey.com/home/

spring planning

Closet Check. It’s time to switch clothing and bring out items you haven’t seen or touched in several months. Try on your clothes to see if they still fit. It’s annoying when you plan to wear an item only to find out that you’ve either gained or lost weight during the winter or what you thought was a great item last year no longer looks good to you. If you no longer want the item, get rid of it. Save your closet space for things you will actually wear.

Bring out all of your summer items and put away the winter gear. I have a large Rubbermaid container where I place out of season items. This way everything is in one place and I won’t have to go searching for it 5 months from now.

http://www.realsimple.com/beauty-fashion/clothing/wardrobe-basics/wardrobe-basics-checklist

Spring List 2016

Get Creative, Get Going. No need to be house bound when the weather is great. Tap into your creative side, or dust of your bucket list. What are some things you’d like to do or try this summer? Be intentional by writing it down, or take a step further by writing it down and making a commitment by registering or paying ahead for these activities. Maybe you want to do more golfing, or run in a foot race. How about an overnight or weekend trip? It might even be something as simple as starting a garden in your yard. The choice is yours.

http://www.mylifelist.org/

https://www.bucketlist.org/

http://www.raptitude.com/2009/09/how-to-make-a-life-list-youll-actually-do-a-comprehensive-guide/

However you choose to spend these next few months, may it bring you peace, good memories, and personal growth!