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Summer Slowdown

 

Lazy Summer days….. (Picture courtesy of my iphone while on the cape a few years ago)dscn1111

What are you doing to enjoy your summer? A reminder (for me more than anything!) to slow down and enjoy the summer. I realized today that June is almost over and it feels like any other month. It is time to get offline, slow down and enjoy the summer.

So I hope today, you just enjoy being outside in the sunshine and slow down. That is my plan the rest of the day.

Enjoy!

Temperament: Approach to Day

Well I’m a bit late in writing this given a work emergency that forced me to take a trip. But better late than never.

I’ve been thinking more about happiness lately. Like my last post, it is on my mind. Why are some people so positive and some so negative. Yet both may be dealt the same exact card. Some people refuel, breathe the air in, and are so much more resilient. Why is that?

After a few hectic days of travel and a lot just going on right now between work and personal plans and moving soon (need to move due to our landlord moving back in), I decided I need to breathe and reboot a bit more. I just did a meditation through my phone as I sit on the plane and then took a nap. I need to slow down. I’m a bit too wired after having worked the last five days straight well into the evenings (had to work the weekend on a rare occasion). And after my meditation and nap, I started to just explore this thought more. I journaled, I wrote in my happiness project book and I just sat here for a bit.

Happiness does partially depend on external factors and circumstances, but the other half is all about your temperament and how you view those circumstances. I read a good quote the other day: “Happiness and misery depend as much on temperament as on fortune.”—La Rochefoucauld

And I also thought, the fun doesn’t come later. The fun is now. It is easy to believe if you arrive in a certain part of your journey or destination (what really is anyone’s destination until we die on a side note), you will be happy. However, that milestone or that achievement in life will never give you as much happiness as you think. That is because you have to find it during the destination. A certain act or time in your life won’t just give it to you. It may momentarily but then it fades just as quickly. A simple example is living for the weekends, verses living for each day.

“Now and then it’s good to pause in our pursuit of happiness and just be happy.”—Guillaume Appollinaire

And you probably say, enough about this happiness babble. What does this all mean? For me it is continuing to challenge myself to be present in the day, breathe, and soak up the moment because we are not waiting for something. This is it. And I am continually challenging myself to find ways to truly be resilient so I can focus on the good stuff.

This week is the anniversary of my mom’s death. Today is actually 22 years. A long time yet still so fresh in some ways. Like everyone else that deals with death, it is an odd mix of both. And every day I remember how lucky I am to get to wake up and live. A rare gift she gave me to appreciate life because hers was taken so unexpectedly. And I want to honor her this week. There was a saying on her wall in her bedroom that she hung right at the door so she could read as she exited each day. And it is the perfect way to end this blog post. Because happiness to me is all about finding time for joy and laughter in every day. No matter what. Even on the stressful days. The long work days. The exhausting moments. Because those can still be great days too….

“The most wasted day of all is one in which you have not laughed.”—anonymous (courtesy of Sally’s needlepoint framed bedroom door hanging)

Happiness- A choice?

“I have found that most people are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.”– Abraham Lincoln

I thought this quote was interesting. If you are not happy, does that mean you made up your mind not to be? Is it all mental and how you approach each day? What happens if you have no control over a decision someone else makes that impacts your happiness? Is it then up to you to still draw happiness through the hurt? Is happiness all attitude?

If you are not happy, did you make up your mind to be lazy and not really try to be happy? Were you self destructive? Or is it just you aren’t lucky or have a horrible circumstance occur in life? Or you didn’t trust your instinct?  Or if someone else around you screws up, totally out of your control and it impacts your happiness, how much is on you?

I think if I really explore that quote it is fairly true.  I do believe while fate, chance, karma, and things way outside of our control happen (sometimes that impact you in negative ways and do cause unhappiness for periods of time) , we do have many things in our control including our attitude and approach to life that help us bounce back and overall maintain a happy life.

I do believe that forgiveness, taking leaps of faith, trusting your instincts, and approaching each day with humility, joy, and thankfulness for getting another day to live on earth all help for sure.

Do you agree with Abraham Lincoln’s quote? If so, what can you do differently to turn a piece of your life that is unhappy or note quite where you want it around?

Summer Surprises

As I sit here in my favorite chair, as the afternoon sun pours in and I look at the fresh flowers in the vases around me, I come to appreciate the curve balls and surprises life throws at you. I am relaxing and enjoying this moment on Memorial Day.  Memorial Day is such a great way to really kick off the summer. And to me spring and early summer is all about renewal. A rebirth of sunshine, warm sand in your toes, possibilities, and long lazy summer nights where the sun is still up until 8-9pm.

And I also reflect on surprises that come in your life. Sometimes good surprises, sometimes bad surprises and sometimes moments that take you off guard (good and bad). And in all those, you grow. You figure out a piece of yourself by your reaction.

The reason I am combining the two is, in the summer surprises seem so much more vivid. I don’t know why. I think I’m more aware of my surroundings, colors, smells, and sunlight. I seem to bounce back at a different pace when I know I can wake up to fresh air and sunshine. I still fill with hope (if something that sets me back) or more appreciation (if really fun) for the surprise in the summer.

So on this holiday, I wanted to pick little surprises throughout my day to enjoy the start to summer. I worked out while I watched a reality show that was completely a guilty pleasure that took place on a beach in the summer;  I wore a new sundress for the first time while I ate brunch with Todd; I read through a new beach coffee table picture book that took me to all different beaches around the world (highly recommend…see picture below); I spent 20 minutes just enjoying my flowers in the house and the quiet; I decided to meet a friend for a quick walk just because; And I will just continue to pick little treats for myself all day.  While I can’t control every surprise that comes my way….good or bad. Today I created some little treats. Because I enjoy them and also because in the spring/early summer, they somehow seem a bit more exciting and new. A bit more alive. Even the simple things.

I hope you enjoy the start to your summer. And soak in the possibilities of the season.

*Great visual treat….of best beaches around the world. A fun way to kick off the summer season

Beaches cover shot

Memories

This week it is short and sweet! I hope you are so exhausted from making memories and laughing that you are filled with happiness but also ready for sleep. This weekend was about making memories with old friends. And sleeping on Sunday evening when we return. Some weekends are for being lazy and resting. And some are for adventures and big memories. This was one of those types of weekends. I hope you have a few like that soon too!

Ready for another day to sleep! But what a great weekend with old hometown friends, their partners, and a fun city (Nashville).

Here is to more summer memories to come!

Nashville

Fake It Until You Feel It

So first, apologize to those readers who follow me! I was gone last weekend for a very good reason. My sister got engaged and we surprised her by being up in NY for it! So last Sunday we were driving all day to get back down to home. So excited for her and Bruce. And such fun to see their joy and enthusiasm for their future.

Now….to my topic this week. I am realizing more and more, attitude and mood is a choice.  When we repeatedly do something, it is a habit.  And how you see the world can become a habit. What I mean by this is, some people are just overly negative to everything. Or focus so much on self-doubt or dark places, that it is a habit. It just their “go-to” attitude. Yet, it doesn’t have to be.

I am all for being in tune with your emotions and allowing yourself to feel sad, happy, emotional, etc. for moments in time (just not forever). It is important to really feel and understand all those things. And not dismiss them. However, so many people can loathe in the dark places it is hard to get out of them. Sometimes, that is true depression which is a whole other ballgame. And is truly something that medically is important to address and get support on. But for some, it is just a negative way of life.

So on this beautiful, sunny mother’s day I hope we choose our attitude. Joy and positivity are contagious. Contagious to your partner, family, and provides a really great atmosphere for kids.  A positive attitude also impacts your health, your relationships at work (which impacts your own success), and attracts you to positive things in your life. I do truly believe you get what you give. And if you give love and positivity to the people and things around you, you normally get it back.

So if today is a happy or sad day for you on mother’s day. Or a combo. Try to give positivity to those around you. Try to appreciate that for each piece of joy around this day, there is also a piece of sadness. For a woman who can’t get pregnant, or lost a child, or lost a mother. The reality is we will all celebrate this day (for the most part) and experience both joy/happiness, and sadness, depending on the stage of life. And it makes me appreciate every single person a little more because of that. We are all humans. And we can choose to celebrate those that get to experience it today in a positive way. Choose to be happy for them and the possibility to see more people happy next year. And also celebrate the wonderful memories from the past vs focus on the negatives today.

Attitude is a choice. Fake it until you feel it. And give the right energy to the world around you! IT will come back around to you. I promise.

Modern Medicine vs. Way of Life

I have been reading a lot about how lifestyle affects our health lately. One chapter written by Dr. Jim Nicolai in a booked called Mindful Living estimates ” that a whopping 70-90% of the diseases he sees in his practice have a lifestyle component and that in the majority of those cases, stress- usually taking from the form of anxiety, depression, or insomnia is the major culprit.” And better than any pill he prescribes, the way you live has the biggest cure rate. “Lifestyle is the new pill.” By no means does that correlate to the ONLY reason people get sick nor that medicine is not a necessity in certain circumstances (I know this more than anybody between being a daughter of a pharmacist and working in the healthcare profession my entire life thus far), but lifestyle has a huge impact on our life expectancy. And the quality of our time here on earth.

Beyond the obvious things like smoking, diet, excessive drinking, and harmful substances, more and more, it is proven that your emotional state has a dramatic affect on inflammation, your ability to rest, recover, and live a healthy overall life. Modern medicine is addressing the big diseases but stress is what is still killing us– leading to heart disease, addiction (at times), digestion issues, physical aliments, etc.

I know this all seems obvious. Yet, most of us do not work on stress levels. Instead, we pile on to them by taking on more and more financially, personally, or with our time. We let our thoughts, things, and people in our life overwhelm us.

I switched jobs 18 months ago and almost became completely cured of my acid reflux/digestion issues which were horrible quite awhile. Now I still have to watch my diet but with my stress level going down (ironically with a bigger, higher paying job), I felt 10x better than I had in years. I started to realize it wasn’t just work that had changed (although that certainly helped) it was how I had changed. I started mediating; I found space in my day, every day for some quiet ALONE time to listen to my breathing or nature without a TV on or cell phone or people chatting around me; I started watching the combination of food going into my body a bit more; and I started focusing on more “me” time. I’ve always been fit. That I have down. I have always found ways to get sleep and workout. And those two priorities will always be at the top of my list. But I also started to find time for me beyond this. Quiet, peaceful time. And I can physically and mentally feel a difference when this time is not made. I immediately start getting acid reflux or indigestion & neck/upper shoulder pain, I notice I have anxiety and a quicker escalation to feeling overwhelmed, and I become impatient. I notice I have more inflammation in my joints which leads me to more hip and leg aches. And I also become exhausted.

How in tune are you with your body and stress? How does your lifestyle affect stress? Do you know your triggers? And can you tell a difference in your body when you are stressed? How do you interactions with others change?

I think so many of us over program our lives between social events, kids events, DVR TV time, work events, and squeezing in time for a workout or to do the chores….there is nothing left. You have given your all to everything else and you are exhausted. And in return, your anxiety and stress escalates as you think about the next day or week to come where you will keep doing it all over again. And then your workouts slip or your diet slips or sleep patterns change, and things snowball. So easy to do.

Yet, instead of taking the pill to calm down, sleep, digest better, etc…..invest in some small changes to you life. And see how your body reacts. I bet the list of side effects don’t look like the side effects on the side of the pill bottle. And we may be lucky enough to add on years to our life to enjoy.

I am still figuring out my balance and ways to manage stress. And as my life changes, I have to re-calibrate how to do this, but I do know that I need to keep working at it and focusing on it. And this work will allow me to be a healthier, happier version of myself. It won’t make me immune to every disease or need for medication, but it will sure help. And hopefully help me heal faster when I am sick.

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Wanderlust

IMG_4401 (1) I have some serious case of wanderlust as summer approaches. I am ready for summer adventures. Adventures that help me grow, give me energy,  refuel me, and teach me new perspectives.   Adventures that fill up my soul.

Even if you can’t afford a big international trip, a road trip to a new town, a trip to a new state (the US is so diverse in landscape, climate, and culture), or a day in another part of your city can do wonders. It can really refuel you. It also brings you closer to the people you travel with along the way.

Any recommendations for trips this summer? Where are you doing to fulfill your wanderlust? I’m up late finishing my wanderlust dreams for the summer.

On my list this summer: Nashville, Croatia, Carolina Coast, and a few weekend roadtrips. I only wish I had more vacation time and money to travel for a few months!!

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Restrictions

I was doing some spring cleaning this weekend (tis the season), and came across a quote I wrote down on a piece of paper like over ten years ago after watching an Ally McBeal episode. It said “We all want love to come along, yet we put all these restrictions on how it can come and how it should evolve once it comes.”

Still a relevant quote even today Calista.

We do put restrictions on our loves- our friends, our parents, our siblings, our lovers. All with expectations about how we should interact, how our relationships should evolve, the steps and phases they must go through, etc. Just an interesting thing to really think about. The more I just allow myself to be spontaneous and ride with it, the more it surprises me. Forgiveness becomes easier. People I never thought I’d forgive or reconnect with somehow come back around and end up being dear friends. The opposite of “my type” ends up being the love of my life.  How I (and my family) was defined by my mother’s death as a teenager breaks and I’m somehow at ease by the quirks and winding journey we took.

Oh Calista who true your statement was and still is!

What restrictions do you put on your loves? How does that impact the growth of the relationship?

As we celebrate Easter weekend and spring, what can you break free from in your restrictions and rules around love? Can you be more open, less competitive, and more free with your friendships/family? Or your significant other?

I encourage you and me to do some spring cleaning on our emotions and let some things float up with the pollen in the air! Take a walk, look at the flowers, and do some reflection.

If you see a weed, make a wish. Wish away your restrictions. Or wish something else. Who am I to restrict your wish or tell you what to wish for! Ha! Break free of that chain you carry with the loves in your life.

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Power of a Good Book

The power of a good book is pretty incredible. It is like an amazing dessert, a wonderful vacation, the great escape, and a total restorative move. It is such a lovely luxury amongst our busy lives. And can take you to places you never thought you’d go– you can travel the world or someone’s life through a good character and well written descriptions. It can be simply amazing and refuel you in all ways.

There is nothing like when you can’t put it down and it is such a good page turner you are forcing yourself to stay up to the last page. And then so disappointed it is over.

I believe in spending as much time as possible with your loved ones (I was lucky enough to do just that this weekend), with nature, and in the present. But there is also something to be said for refueling yourself by curling up with a great read. Even if it is just to get in a chapter or a few pages after the kids are to bed. Or during a hot bath. Or instead of that reality TV episode.

Have you read a good book lately? I just gave one to my sister– The Husband’s Secret by Lane Moriarty (same author as Big Little Lies…the book made into the famous HBO series). And I read a really cheesy but adorable romantic comedy book last week– The One That Got Away by Bethany Chase. Such a fun read. Highly recommend.  Another really fun read is Eight Hundred Grapes by Laura Dave.

Some of my go to authors these days for just pure fun (I also ready nonfiction and self health books so don’t worry but focused on the dream books tonight)– Harlan Coben (good mystery), Elin Hilderbrand, Emily Giffin, Georgia Bockoven, James Patterson, Jojo Moyes (for the one series Me Before You and After You), A fun series by Maria Murnane, etc.

Do you have any pure fun and entertaining reads you recommend? Help me refuel with a good book recommendation please!