Signals

Signals

Before I took a couple of weeks off, my body told me it was time before I did. I was feeling anxious and tired but didn’t realize the extent of it. I thought this is how it’s supposed to be while you’re juggling a day job and trying to build a career from scratch on the side. I seemed to always be in a rush. Rushing to go to work, rushing to complete a blog post even if I knew in advance what it was going to be about and my mind constantly thinking about what I should be doing to take better care of myself: Lose that weight, try that skin product, watch that video on natural healing, finish reading those books, document more, promote my E-book more frequently, submit to other publications on a regular basis and be a better daughter, sister, friend, cousin, Christian, traveler, volunteer, wife, writer, student…

So when I thought I was just going about my business, the signals my mind was sending to my body shut me down. I was not going to share this but I thought maybe someone somewhere is or was going through the same thing and if I want to be anything on this blog, it is real. I am not writing about this because it’s anybody’s business except for mine but to pretend like I took a short break “just because” didn’t feel authentic. My doctor told me to slow down and that I was having anxiety attacks. It’s a strange thing to be told if you believe that everything is generally “ok” and you’re just “busy.” I am one of those people who tell myself, even in the thick of it, that I have blessings to be grateful for but I was telling myself those things while running.

In the last couple of weeks, I have taken time to go to bed and wake up earlier, journal and pray as soon as I get up and to listen to something inspirational. I lean towards a T.D. Jakes sermon or a little of John Gray. I even joined a morning routine challenge on Facebook which has helped to keep me accountable. I also have gotten back to working out and weighing myself weekly. I decided to go gluten-free (I don’t have an allergy) for 90 days. I wanted to see if it made a difference with brain fog and I don’t know if it’s because of that or a combination of all of these habits, but it has worked.

I can’t tie this up in a nice, neat bow nor do I want to. These past few weeks have made me see things with a new clarity. I still want all of the same things but slowing down to write, pray and move myself  has strengthened my resolve to be more patient about getting them and strangely a confidence has blossomed from it, too.

All I can control is my effort, consistency and the time to take care of myself which will eventually take care of the reaching my goals aspect of my life, too.

Even if my body had to tell me before I was willing to do something about it, I am glad I did. I don’t feel like I’m running breathlessly today and all I can do is be grateful for that and set myself up to feel the same way tomorrow.

Your turn: Has your body ever told you something before you realized it? If so, what did you decide to do about it? I would love to hear your thoughts!

See you on Thursday’s post with a wellness journey update!

 

Healing

Healing

I have been thinking about what should be next in plant-based journey. I have thought about cutting out wheat, oil and finally going ahead and removing all soy-based products from my diet. It would be hard for me to stop myself from feasting on the chicken-fried tofu from Whole Foods but of course, I would survive. I can’t help but feel like there is something I am missing and something I am moving towards. In terms of what I am missing, I am missing consistent discipline with everything to be truthful. I have been able to maintain my blogging schedule, met my E-Book publication goal and will start working back on my novel and another project soon. However, when it comes to my self-care I am definitely slipping. I have not focused on doing both. I have thought about it but I would be a liar if I said I have taken consistent action. I’ve been missing dance class which I love and have been snacking late for no reason whatsoever. I wrote a piece about being scared to be empty in one of my writing classes. I could mull over the reasons why or try to develop an origin story for this fear but I would rather funnel that energy into moving, getting to bed early and forming new habits. I am moving towards a new me that is healthy and for the first time, is starting to see animals. I mean, really  value them. I even told hubby I wanted to visit an animal sanctuary. For those who don’t know me, this has NEVER been me. I have never owned a pet or particularly cared to pet an animal. It was not for me or to ever be for me but eating this way has changed me. I find myself more curious than I have ever been. I don’t know where this newfound curiosity will take me but I am willing to follow along.

A important part of this blog is to focus on my wellness journey. My healing from it all-the weight, the PCOS, the psoriasis, etc..I know I don’t write enough or almost at all about it. I post what I cook on Mondays but not much else. I think I want Thursdays to be a wellness update.

I am not sure if I will include pounds lost or skin cleared but it will be real and it will be here.

 

Float On

Float On

Earlier this week, I started researching float therapy. I  heard about it earlier this year and a woman in one of my writing classes recommended it. Since hubby has been experiencing some nerve pain recently, we decided to try it together. I read about many  benefits including stress and chronic pain relief, relaxation and even bursts of creativity!

The ambiance in The Float Zone was spa-like. Comfortable chairs, soothing music and a basket was provided immediately for our shoes. There was also an Ipad and headphones provided to view a video for first-time floaters. After the viewing and signing a waiver, we went on a tour of the center. The tour completely calmed me down. I am not claustrophobic however, if you agree to climb into a pod I believe that is something you should examine. Because you have your own float room that locks and you can keep the door to your pod as open as you’d like, I don’t think it is a big concern.

Every time you float, you must shower and shampoo before and after and they had everything ready in the room beforehand. You must  wear earplugs, too. They also provided a neck pillow for comfort while in the pod. I noticed the pod seemed massive compared to what I saw online. I think it was just seeing it in person for the first time. I also love they had Vaseline with the toiletries provided to protect your self from the Epsom salts if you had cuts and bruises. Because of my psoriasis, it was immensely helpful.

As I stepped into a pod,  I couldn’t help but feel like I was some kind of alien. Climbing into a pod and shutting it over yourself is definitely a singular sensation.  I tried not to have any expectations except to float. I heard a range of testimonials from deep relaxation to nausea to psychedelic visions.

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My pod! It is so much bigger in person!

I decided to forgo the light and let their meditation music play in the background at first. The music wasn’t distracting but it added to the chatter going on in my mind. Once I found the button to shut it off, my relaxation went to a deeper level. For some reason, I focused a lot on my maternal grandmother, Yvelle. We called her Veve. She passed away in 2003. She was beautiful with an appetite for life. I saw her face and couldn’t stop picturing the couches and curtains in her house on 109th in Queens. I even saw myself as a little girl sitting in a backseat of a car in New York, driving to or talking about going to a McDonald’s.

At one point, my body felt baked into the salt solution. My body was there but I was very aware that my brain was someplace else. I might have been dreaming. Even when I wasn’t sleeping or drifting off, I could clearly hear my breathing and heartbeat. I knew this could happen after watching part of the “Float Nation” documentary on YouTube.

Before I knew it, I simultaneously heard a soft, female voice telling me it was time to exit the pod and sensed the light come on in the pod. I came out of sleep (or whatever state I was in) and found I couldn’t just stand up or find the bottom which was crazy because I was only in 12 inches of water. I had to roll over to my side and grab the short bar to get my bearings and in a matter of seconds, I was able to stand up and lift the top of the pod.

When I walked out, I felt some cool air but it did not disturb me. I showered and left the float room and settled into the post-float room. It was complete with water, herbal teas, magazines, books, adult coloring books, a fireplace and more comfy seating. Hubby liked floating but kept the light on and told me he started exercising in the pod. The darkness freaked him out but it was one of the things that I liked best about it.

 

The question is: Would I do it again?

Yes, because now that I know what to expect I think I will have a real idea if incorporating into my life will have real benefits on my journey of healing.

Your turn: Would you try floating? And if you have, what was your experience like?

Defined by a Number?

Defined by a Number?

I’ve actively resisted using the word “weight” on this blog. I happily write about wellness in its totality. However, the world seems so invested in exact numbers. It’s as if people need to know exactly where to place you.

Sometimes “people” is me.

I don’t define beauty and worthiness by a number. For sure, I want to change the number but I don’t subscribe to any of those notions. I heard a podcast host (an extremely fit man) in response to his guest who is struggling with his weight loss goals say something like: Yeah, I love doughnuts! The guest said nothing about doughnuts and the host repeated it more than once.

Clearly, this is not wildly offensive. I am sure it was just an awkward attempt to relate to his guest but I was disappointed by it. For me, it fed into the notion some people have about overweight/obese people sitting around, glued to the couch and shoving _________ (insert whatever junk food you would like) down his/her gullet. I actually have heard some version of this on more than one podcast, radio station, TV show, magazine, book or film.

Since you can find overweight people sitting next to you at work, class or at a sporting event, traveling beside you on the plane or working out with you at the gym, why does this notion persist?

Maybe I feel compelled to write about it as my husband and I, who eat a plant-based diet  to heal from our conditions exacerbated by inflammation and love to be out and about, are about to undertake a serious weight loss journey. I don’t want who we already are  to be lost on those who read this or already know us. I start as someone who works, writes, dances, prays, reads, travels, nurtures and cooks and I will be that woman in a smaller body and my husband will be who he is in a smaller body, too.

Not people who are waiting to get off of the couch but people who are ready to move on to the next adventure.