Wellness 2— Small Steps Toward Balance

This past week I chose a few small steps to commit to. Since I love vegetables I’m going to incorporate as many as I can into most meals. I had a good time singing along with 70’s country radio on Pandora while making a quiche full of veggies and some kielbasa. (Have you noticed that when you sing with the radio while you’re working in the kitchen then you almost unknowingly get in a few dance moves too?) I like a quiche that is mostly veggies with some meat and then glued together with the egg mixture. I don’t much care for a quiche that is mostly egg mix with a few veggies floating around in it.  You can see from the photo that the meat rose to the top during baking while all the veggies sank to the bottom where you can’t see them. Regardless, it was darn tasty. 

Kielbasa may not be the best choice of meat to use, but this is where the balance comes in for me.  The balance of healthy goodness with something not exactly healthy, but yummy, that also brings satisfaction. Because if you’re not satisfied then you crave something else and the vicious cycle of not getting what you want, then eating something else to get satisfaction, spirals out of control. This has been an issue for me in the past. I think if you eat mostly healthy you can incorporate the less healthy elements into it and be okay.  I try to make meals look appealing too. Sometimes you want a ‘wow’ type of presentation, like a platter of finger food arranged artfully and with good color— a plate of cucumber chunks hollowed out and filled with a lemon-chive neufchâtel cheese with smoked salmon on top and a sprig of herbs, with perhaps some cherry tomatoes scattered about the plate. Sometimes you want a visceral comfort presentation, like a hearty stew bubbling in a cast iron dutch oven on a cold day– it will fill you up, warm you up, and completely satiate you. Can you smell it? 

Fruit isn’t really a food I go looking for, but I like it well enough if it isn’t a melon. Since giving up coffee I’ve substituted orange juice for it. I’m trying to make this more of a habit but find that I forget it some days. Good habits take perseverance so I’ll need to keep working on this. I already drink a good amount of water throughout the day and wanted to incorporate something natural and healthy. Normally I don’t drink soda or sugary beverages (except for hot cocoa in the winter). Coffee and water has been most of my fluid intake (though I am fond of bubbly wine 😇 in moderation). 

The area where I need the most work is activity. Working a desk job takes its toll. 40 hours a week of sitting can be mentally and physically wearing.  I never thought I would say that about an office job. I mix it up by taking breaks to walk around the office and lifting the sit/stand desktop to get the blood circulating a bit, but it isn’t nearly enough to get through the workday. Some days I feel as if I’m going into a coma. In my younger decades I worked in factories and at physically active jobs and went home exhausted every day wishing for the physical relief of office work. Coming home each night sweaty, dirty, with hair full of metal dust and in need of a shower, made me wish I could dress nice for work and come out clean at the end of the day. I guess there are advantages and disadvantages to every job. 

We are always seeking to better ourselves and our situations but we need to remember that we will eventually find the things we don’t like about every situation and even about ourselves after we reach our intended goals. There is always room for improvement. I wish for a bit more activity where I could be up walking around during the workday. But truth be told I haven’t felt well for nearly a year and even a lunchtime walk downtown has been too much. Gasping for air on the return walk uphill to the office is not pleasant and shows me just how far my deconditioning has come. Sad but true. I intend to change that this spring beginning with short walks.

Today was perfect for taking a walk— mild 40’s temps, sunshine, barely a breeze. I didn’t go far but it felt good to stretch the muscles and get the heart rate & breathing up. It feels like spring has finally arrived even though it’s going to get cold again tomorrow for awhile before the real warmup. Tomorrow promises to be a busy day with errands and meal prepping for the work week (more music and bopping around the kitchen!). In order to get more walking in I’ll park further away from the entrances. Every little bit helps. 

Last but not least in my balancing act– the one thing that is imperative for me— my hour at the end each day. I might read, or watch an episode of Downton Abbey, or do some bible study, or make notes about my day, etc. I never miss my hour. This sets the example for how I want my other good habits to be: an imperative part of each day which will not be compromised. Baby steps now are my only choice on this road to wellness and that’s okay. Fatigue still plagues me to the point of being forced to lay down, but I’ll rise to the challenge. My spirit is strong and I have too much I want to accomplish to give in and give up. 👩🏻‍💻

 

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