Wellness 5— Motivators

Let’s take this week chronologically and focus on motivation and activity a bit. There are motivators–of which we all have many— relating to health, family, goals, finances, etc. Then there are motivational tools– which I learn from and use to keep me focused.

I find that a fitness tracker motivates me to pay more attention to my activity level throughout the day. I’ll compare the two I have for you:

  • The Motiv ring fitness tracker that I ordered arrived about two weeks ago. It’s waterproof so I can go swimming and kayaking without worry of ruining it. My Fitbit Alta is not waterproof and is sometimes irritating in hot weather. 
  • I love the sleep tracker on both the Motiv and the Fitbit as it lets me see if what I do before bedtime each evening is helping or hindering my sleep and I can change my habits accordingly. However, the Fitbit is bothersome on the wrist at night and lights up when I’m restless making me wakeful. The Motiv ring is very comfortable, doesn’t light up, and I forget that it’s there which allows better sleep.
  • I like the Fitbit app better as there is a community of people that you can connect with, groups you can join to discuss your fitness journey, and challenges that you can do with a group or solo. I like to learn from what others are doing and I find their stories motivating. It’s nice to see their various levels of activity and how supportive they are of each other. The Motiv app has only two free workouts and no community pages, although there is an option to invite people you know, by email, into your ‘circle’.
  • You can clearly see your tracking information on the Fitbit by tapping the screen. There is no screen on the Motiv and you have to access your information on the app. I don’t see this as a big deal or an inconvenience for myself as I always have my phone with me. I can understand how this might not work for other folks though.

Both trackers have their pros and cons for me. If Motiv should come up with community pages for their app I would probably make the switch complete and stop using the Fitbit app.

Self improvement books are motivational. Just a few days ago I began reading another self help book. The premise is good in my opinion. It’s about arising a little earlier each morning in order to begin your day with a positive and affirming routine in order to effect beneficial changes in your life. I do like to read an occasional self improvement/self help book. They have nuggets of wisdom that you can extract and apply to your life in order to effect small changes slowly that will stay with you over time.

On a side note: It amazes me when young people write self improvement books. I know their intentions are good, but they just don’t know or comprehend the limitations that  come with an aging body. They have the “no excuses” mindset and are adamant that literally everyone can and should be able to do everything they recommend. I would like to see how they would approach writing the same book 30 or 40 years from now. I think they would be much less rigid in their thinking and more inclusive of medical issues and the age factor.

On to the week’s ups and downs:

Monday: I forced myself to walk on the treadmill (aka hamster wheel or dreadmill) for 12 minutes. Completing an activity as simple as this is a boost for the mind even if it’s a struggle for the body. The muscles can well handle it but there is still the fatigue and the complete lack of motivation that the treadmill inspires. It’s a struggle but I keep my end goal in mind to prod myself into action. I’d much rather be out walking in the woods although having a book to read while mindlessly marching on a spinning rubber mat is a big help. Gotta keep that motivation going and that end goal in sight.

Tuesday: I didn’t make notes for Tuesday. Maybe we didn’t have that day this week?   It’s a mystery. 🕵🏻‍♀️

Wednesday: A wicked storm— heavy wet snow, sleet and rain. I had to drive in it and there were cars off the road everywhere. When I arrived home I was so fatigued that I slept thru two movies. That was a huge disappointment for me. I had taken the day off because I wanted to accomplish some tasks at home and perhaps do something fun and relaxing. Things never seem to go as planned. When the storm cleared we walked around the fields and woods. I was still exhausted though. Some days dealing with this fatigue is overwhelming. 

Thursday: Motivation is slipping at this point. I was headachy and tired most of the day. My doctor is away for a month and I don’t really want to see someone else about this. To top it off I had a horrid dream the previous night about choking on phlegm. I’m pretty sure a sleep study is what’s needed here.

Friday: Feeling a bit better. I managed to get in three short walks. 20 minutes on the treadmill on lunch break with an easy pace, then another ten minutes on it at the end of the workday, and finished up with a walk around the fields at home after supper. It was nice to feel the muscles working. I’m so glad it’s Friday and the weekend looms ahead. There are so many projects I want to get done.

Saturday: Yard work! It seems that spring is finally arriving in fits and starts. A little raking and cleaning up gets the muscles working and the blood flowing. Just what I needed. 

Summing up the week: 3 days of walks and a morning of yard work. Alright! I can feel good about that despite the ongoing struggles with fatigue. I’m beginning to get some much needed activity. The motivators form a foundation which can be built on and revised as I progress and begin to see changes in myself. More endurance, better habits, increased strength, and redefining goals are all part of the process. I’ve learned to be flexible and allow myself the hours or days I need to rest and recover.

Why do you get up every day and do what you do? What are your motivators? What gets you back on track when you’ve wandered off? What sort of motivational tools do you employ?  👩🏻‍💻

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. 👩🏻‍💻