Care-Giving

I find it hard to engage in the stereotypical acts of self-care that are anything but true caregiving for yourself:

Light a candle. Take a bath. Have a glass of wine.

Numbing yourself isn’t freeing yourself of the daily hardship of life.

Lifting weights and eating mostly healthful food has been the only form of self-care I could adhere to long-term.

I’m getting older and act as my mother’s caregiver. Thus getting pulled away from posting blog entries every single week on the same day.

Thinking of this I realized that not every reader is aware that I used to post blog entries every Friday.

Does it really matter if I don’t post the blog entries on the same day every week?

I was told to Google “care for the caregiver” to find a support group for caregivers like me.

In early December I will be able to post a new set of Upper and Lower Body Workout Routines.

I’m grateful to see loyal followers joining and reading this humble blog.

What I’m going to do in the coming blog entries is to focus again on the topic of Living through the Pandemic – 21 months later.

My stance is that instead of parroting the often-white-influencer feel-good tropes of “self-care” that I don’t relate to:

My aim is to talk about “care-giving” to ourselves and others.

With the specific revelation of the life lesson I learned the hard way. After living for so long with a lack of energy.

I learned the secret to feeling lighter and freer.

As the pandemic drags on and continues to course through our lives:

I seek to give others hope for healing.

Peach Tarte Tatin

The Peach Tarte Tatin shown in the photo I created from a recipe in The Peach Truck Cookbook: 100 Delicious Recipes for All Things Peach.

I checked the book out of the library and will buy a copy in the future.

Alas this recipe calls for 3/4 cup sugar–yes Sugar! So I use this recipe every so often not every week. The sugar is divided among 6 peaches though.

The other recipe I created from this cookbook is the Peach Pizza–yes pizza!

A white pie with ricotta mozzarella chopped shallots minced garlic and red pepper flakes. The peach slices top off everything.

You can use store-bought pizza dough like I did which is perfectly fine.

The pizza is tasty. So is the Peach Tarte Tatin.

The recipes are fairly intricate and owing to copyright I won’t repeat them here.

I recommend buying The Peach Truck Cookbook which I’m going to do shortly.

100 delicious recipes for all things Peach. What’s not to like?

My 10-Year Plan

Years ago when I was the Health Guide at a mental health website I wrote about my 10-year theory:

That you should give yourself the gift of 10 years to achieve your version of recovery.

Wanting or expecting to achieve dramatic results via drastic measures is dangerous to our mental and physical health.

If you don’t like yourself as you are now how will you be able to like yourself in the future?

Being happy isn’t predicated on achieving a goal. One goal I’ve have for a long time hasn’t materialized yet. Only I accept where I am in my life.

It took me 10 years of lifting weights to get the body I have now.

A person cannot give up exercising after only 2 months. You need to give yourself 4 years of consistently working out to see long-term gains.

“Drop 2 Dress Sizes by Tuesday” should not be the goal. Lifelong health and wellbeing should be the goal.

For the first 4 or 5 years I lifted weights 3x per week for 50 minutes in each session.

Then I had a setback where I had to act as my mother’s caregiver.

My trainer at the time a woman started creating shorter routines I could do in my apartment.

After she left a guy trainer who is exceptional like she was took over.

For going on 4 years I’ve been lifting weights in my living room mostly 2x per week for 30 to 40 minutes in each session.

I’m 56. I’m fitter than I was when I first started training at 46.

The point is that loading up exercise on the front end will improve your odds of being able to consistently work out for the long-term.

Continuing to act as my mother’s caregiver (she is 83 and in ill health) I often can only exercise 1x per week right now.

My first trainer at the gym left to open his own boutique fitness center. He had told me that as long as I continued to exercise I would maintain my fitness level.

Life happens. Stuff happens. Setbacks are to be expected. It’s not a question of if you’re going to have a setback but when.

Setbacks will occur often. That’s the nature of living life: being thrown curveballs.

In the early 2000s I had written: “When life throws you a curveball hit it out of the park.”

I would say that giving yourself the gift of 10 years of engaging in an exercise routine is mandatory.

The goal like said is not to become thin or skinny.

According to a research study people who work out feel better about their bodies even if they don’t lose weight.

My secret was not giving up the fight. Continuing to exercise even when I’m able to work out only 1x per week.

In the coming blog entry I’ll talk about the research-verified fitness strategies in the book Eat Move Sleep by Tom Rath.

This common-sense guide guide touts that small changes can make a big difference.

The keyword in that sentence? Small. Making changes doesn’t have to be difficult or arduous.

On Being Different

An outlier, I’ve come to terms with the fact that I’m different.

I describe how I “operate” as being unusual.

No–I don’t identify as “Queer.” I prefer to use the word different or unusual.

Too I choose not to conform. Instead of using “she/her” as my preferred pronouns I use my given names as my preferred nouns as in “Chris/ Christina.”

It’s because I’m different that I don’t expect other people to be live act think and dress the way I do.

I’m able to have compassion for others.

Often I wonder: “Can we at least try not to judge others as often as most of us do?”

I have grappled with the fact that living a totally judgment-free life might not be possible.

In terms of the myth of needing to be thin:

We should love ourselves first in order that we can love others too.

If you hate your body and by extension yourself because you’re not thin that doesn’t bode well for accepting another person as they are.

Most people wouldn’t exercise the way I do. I workout like a madwoman in training for the prizefight of her life. The sessions are so intense that I need to take a recovery day afterwards to rest.

Each of us has personality traits we can use to help us succeed in life. To discount these traits as a factor in our ability to overcome adversity is what upsets me.

It hit me as I’m writing this that someone should write a book titled “The Personality Trait Fitness Guide.”

Using your unique competencies is the best way to triumph.

Each of us has skills, abilities, and strengths we can use to overcome internal and external roadblocks.

In coming blog entries I’m going to talk about my own fitness trajectory in the last 10 years of lifting weights.

I’m going to review the Top 3 Health and Fitness books I’ve read in the last 5 years.

I’ll also bust the myth of always needing to buy organic food.

Everyone’s doing the best we can with what we were given.

No one should feel guilty or ashamed because they don’t live up to some impossible societal ideal of how much you should weigh or what your body should look like.

I tell you: Be a Rebel. Dare to be different.

Walk down the street like you own the pavement.

Regardless of the size on your clothing tag.

On Not Being Thin

To start this story where it should end I have no desire to become thin.

I feel I have nothing in common with white affluent “Influencer” women who proselytize getting a “beach body.”

Using the term Thinspiration alarms me. No one needs to be thin if they’re going to go on a crazy “diet” to try to whittle down to their bones.

My body is at its “fighting weight” now. Which is great because by exercising I can burn off the anger I have at the injustice in society.

Hello folks–it wasn’t my goal to lose 20 pounds in the last 2 years. Nor do I like using the word “thin” or “skinny” to describe my body or anyone else’s body.

From the time I was 22 until I turned 23–in only one year–I gained 30 pounds. At five feet tall I was unhappy weighing 138 pounds. In the early 1990s I had about 5 sessions with an M.D. who had a practice focused on nutrition.

It took me 6 years to lose the extra weight.

In my forties I weighed 125 pounds.

Three months before I turned 46 I was going through a hard time. Suddenly and out of nowhere I told myself: “You must start lifting weights.”

Not at all so that I could lose weight or become “thin” or “skinny.”

I decided to lift weights as a coping mechanism for the emotional pain I was in. In March of this year I celebrated my 10th Anniversary of lifting weights.

So I went out and bought a cool DKNY pocketbook as a reward.

Again: the goal is not to be thin or skinny.

In the coming blog entries I’ll talk more about my weight lifting practice. I will review 3 health and fitness books that are right-on.

Too I will talk about my Left of the Dial lifestyle that is predicated on this motto:

“No judgments.”

Upcoming Blog Topics

In the coming blog entries I’m going to talk about how to manage anxiety, fatigue, and depression that is caused by a poor diet.

Should you need to take a happy pill that is okay too.

I talked with the health coach Devorah that I had first hired in 2019 two years ago.

She gave me ideas about how to get my energy back.

Stress, a lack of sleep, and poor diet all impact our mood and energy levels.

Stay tuned for a detailed examination of what I found out.

Happy New Cheer

Happy Season. Happy New Cheer in the coming year.

In the week ahead I’m going to write blog entries about portable healthful snacks you can take with you.

I’ll refer to where you can buy the containers to use.

Hint: refrain from using plastic containers. Glass and food-grade stainless steel are better options. For the planet and for your health.

I’m excited that 2021 arrives soon. With it the opportunity to chart a new course.

Keep wearing your face covering when you go outside your house or apartment. Even when walking down the hall to the compactor chute.

The coronavirus is out to infect as many people as possible.

Should you feel unwell and not know if it’s a cold or something else: get tested for COVID-19 to rule out that you’ve been infected.

Stay 6 feet away from others even with your mask on.

In time when the spring returns we will be closer to the time when life returns to normal.

It will take time to get there. This has been an extraordinary year. Not in a good way.

We need to do more than pray for change. We must act to make the changes.

As Michael Jackson sang in “Man in the Mirror”:

To change the world you first have to change yourself.

This is something I’m committed to doing.

“Peace on Earth” rings hollow to me as a holiday sentiment.

In my own life I seek to bring peace and harmony in my interactions with others.

To serve the greater good.

Now more than ever living solely for self-gain is not the right way to live.

Let’s celebrate each other and our individuality as the clock ticks towards 12:00 on January 1, 2021.

A better day is coming for us all. I firmly believe this.

Healing through Meaning

In the last blog entry I referred to logotherapy a modality that focuses on healing through meaning.

In any internet search you’ll hit on the quote: “You’re possessed with a power bigger than the pain.”

In my life I fix 36 as the magic number. It’s the year I decided to become a mental health activist.

My goal was to turn my pain into a thing of beauty for other people. To spread the gospel that people could recover.

Healing through meaning sums up how exactly a person can recover.

Everyone deserves to live a life of meaning and purpose no matter how great their challenge is or whether their illness is chronic or not.

Amidst the struggle finding meaning in what’s going on might be hard.

Decades later I know I’m a better person today for having gone through what I did when I was younger.

How to find meaning and purpose in your life:

It comes down to engaging in rituals often termed self-care that make you feel good.

In being who you are not who others want you to be.

In looking in the mirror and shouting: “Hello, Beautiful!”

Who knows why you and I have to bear whatever burden we’re going through.

The holiday season is here. A time when a lot of us feel sad not cheerful.

What’s powering me through this time is going easier on myself. I changed the dining table decor to the winter tablescape.

In December out comes the holiday dinnerware I bought in Crate and Barrel. Hot cocoa is my go-to drink.

I’ve begun wearing eyeshadow every day. Applying moisturizer at night as well as in the morning.

Little things like these are what I call taking “bite-size chunks.”

Now is not the time to bite off more than you can chew. Not when you’re going through a hard time.

Healing through finding things that give your life meaning and purpose can make all the difference.

As hard as it can be to find the time to take care of yourself I say:

Just Do It. Set the table with the holiday dinnerware. Cook a meal for yourself on the days that you’re able.

Do what gives you joy. Always.

Giving Thanks

November is Native American Heritage Month.

We should remember the Indigenous forefathers of our country.

They risked their lives to continue to live here. Thousands were killed in the worst genocide in American history along the Trail of Tears.

We should honor their peaceable worship of nature and the natural world and the Spirit.

It’s why I prefer to celebrate the Giving Thanks part of Thanksgiving.

Not the shop-till-you-drop Black Friday frenzy.

I recommend keeping a grateful journal and writing in it 5 things you’re grateful for as often as possible.

I’m grateful my family is here to celebrate with me.

A Happy Season to You!

Spring Cleaning in the Pandemic

This is how I define the fancy word self-determination:

The right to choose how you want to live your life.

It’s as simple as that.

After the pandemic ends will you want to remain in a soul-sucking job?

Will you want to continue in an unhealthy relationship?

I say: time’s up on the status quo.

It’s time for each of us to decide for ourselves the kind of life we want to live, who we want to have in our lives, and what ideals we want to carry with us into the future.

I’m going to spring clean my mind with the help of a therapist to get rid of the weedy and overgrown thoughts that held me back.

My goal is to publish 2 books in 2021.

While everything has shut down and our lives have appeared to come to a halt:

It’s the perfect time to do spring cleaning.

“Out with the old–in with the new” rings truer today if you ask me.