Do you feel there is always too much to do? I’ve honestly not done myself any favors with this website and blog adventure – I’ve quit the ease of one web developer to have more control over my website, and quickly discovered there is so. much. more. to learn to manage the site (but it is more malleable!). Additionally, I’m holding myself responsible for a lot of things home-related, started working for my partner’s arborist business (in the home office), and at the end of 2019 decided I want to run another 50k (in 2020… and I have been doing ZERO training). Plus, the lovely (very early) symptoms of peri-menopause have made their presence known over the last year. (YEAY to the aging process!)
It’s no wonder I’m stressed again, and my back has been killing me lately.
Over the past year and a half, I’ve attempted to un-learning the always-busy mentality of my corporate-living past , and am actively re-learning how to take care of my own needs and discover what it is I really want through the Raise Your Hand Say Yes Inner Circle with coaching from Tiffany Han. You may have seen a little commentary on this process, and that it is much harder in practice than it sounds to enact these changes as a reoccurring theme on my Instagram posts. I mean, we installed a bath in our new home in May – and I only just used this gorgeous fixture for the first time – two weeks ago, at the end of January (and again last night!) This tub is something I specifically asked for (and picked out) with the desire to take relaxing, hot baths, and I have been denying myself this pleasure for over SEVEN MONTHS.
Definitely seeing a pattern of my past – self denial.
In order to help myself along this journey, to ease and self-care I have decided to make some changes this year. Here are the four things I’m committing to this year:
1. 12 days to quitting coffee:
(today was day 7 of the quitting process – 1 whole week!)
I have been hearing the whispers for literally years. Coffee doesn’t taste good to me anymore, I usually need more caffeine in the afternoon, and I’ve done enough reading and research to conclude it’s probable that my body isn’t producing cortisol well on it’s own anymore, and my adrenals need a break. So. I’m quitting coffee for 2020. Yes, it’s a month late to start, but now is better than a year from now. I want to feel as good as I can and that is going to require some real change.
In order to set myself up for success, I am using a delicious, hot morning beverage substitute for coffee I found on the wide world of Instagram – Rasa, and I am actually using their New Year Energy Reset which conveniently comes with a 12 day Energy reset program of helpful and inspiring emails. Who doesn’t like a little pep talk before you drink your coffee?
Rasa is made with organic, sustainable herbs and adaptogens that help provide long-lasting energy while letting your adrenals rest. I love how I can drink my cup, and not feel any immediate jitters, and – already – no longer feel that 2pm crash.
RASA is helping me change my life for the better.
(Wanna try RASA? Get 15% off your first qualifying order by using the code ALAINALOVESRASA at checkout. Click Here.) ♥
Sleep is SO important. I know this, you know this, we all know this, and yet … we often ignore this simple fact. I have been wearing a FitBit Versa (they now only have the Versa 2 and Lite versions), and watching my sleep change has been a fascinating adventure. I now have real evidence that backs up how much better I feel when I get 7+ hours of sleep (gone are the days when 5.5-6 hours was “fine”), and watching the pattern of REM & Deep sleep change while considering what I ate (or drank) or where I am in my cycle is really great information. I can make better decisions for myself on the daily knowing how these variables affect my sleep, and mood.
Tracking isn’t just limited to sleep and heart rate (did you know your resting heart rate fluctuates throughout your cycle, ladies? It’s crazy to see!), but tracking my exercise is wonderful. The watch even picks up on when I start a walk, and will keep track of the time I’m walking. Love this tool!
3. Health as priority #1
I have known for five years or so that my cholesterol is a little high, and there is family history (on both sides) of high cholesterol and blood pressure, so I wasn’t too concerned about this change in my early thirties. Last week, I had a biometric assessment, and my test results surprised me. Overall, my cholesterol ratio is still good, but my levels have gone from low 200’s to 217 last year, and last Thursday… 241. So, as someone who has been on the right side of healthy all her adult life, this is honestly a little scary.
I know I need to commit to some serious physical activity. Due to all the changes and stress of the last three years of my life, I have fallen out of the exercise wheel. Running used to be routine, while often motivated by an end-goal race (or simply the fact that my running buddies ran a minimum of 8 miles on Saturdays), I got out at least five times a week to pound the pavement. While I want to run again, I am not ready to commit to a huge race like a marathon or 50k. Daily running (or walking – as I get back into the habit) sounds easier than chasing down a race.
Many years ago, I made a similar goal “Two for Twenty for Twenty-two” yet now, my ambition is higher – 4 miles for however long it takes that day, and for the foreseeable future (until I’m ready for a race – if that desire comes back). Today was day 2 on this mission. Hopefully I keep up this streak for a great, long while. My hope is that running regularly (getting my steps!), adding some weights (as recently advised by my new chiropractor – to protect my joints as I have loose ligaments), and eating more veggies and awareness of portion control, these numbers will turn around.
I’m also jumping back into taking Vitamin D – because I live where the clouds hang out for 9 months/year, and my body doesn’t get the daylight needed to create that wonderful happy vitamin (and this may be another factor in the cholesterol mystery).
4. Nothing NEW – Only Make, Thrift, or Mend
I recently saw this beautiful book on the lovely Ana Louise’s Instagram Feed: Mending Matters by Katrina Rodabough. Ana Louise is a Portland, OR small business owner whose store Experimental Vintage (and the store Instagram feed) have been instrumental inspiration for my home decor choices and to start this year with this ambition of nothing new.
Katrina Rodabough’s book Mending Matters speaks to the heart of how I feel about consumerism. I’ve been a long-time patron of Goodwill (started shopping for myself as a freshman in High School, with my part-time job salary), and have shifted to thrifting at estate sales, and more local vintage/consignment stores. After almost 11 years in the apparel industry, and experiencing how different fabrics breathe (or not), I started feeling like a bit of a fabric “snob” however, I think it simply comes down to choosing what feels good for me, and what I find more environmentally responsible. Natural fibers – cotton, wool, cashmere, and linen (and sometimes rayon, but the process of creating fabric with rayon is generally not environmentally sustainable) are what I gravitate towards – and I’m looking forward to spending some time mending and augmenting clothes with holes or that are fraying, and repurposing other items that are not mendable.
On that note, I am getting married this year…
and I fully intend to make, thrift, or mend a dress. I was starting to dream of buying a new dress before I made this commitment to myself, and now I know I need to follow through. Besides checking out the local Goodwill, St. Vinny’s, and vintage stores, there is a chain with a location in Portland I will definitely be checking out: Brides for a Cause. By recycling dresses (they take your donated dress, and sell it to me, let’s say), this non-profit raises funds for women-focused charities. About 90% of their net income goes to donations, and to date, they have donated over $1,000,000! I am looking forward to checking out their inventory in the search for my perfect dress.
I do however have a back-up plan, which involves my mom’s wedding dress (from 1980, mind you), another dress I found at Consign Couture, some Oxygen Boost cleaner from Branch Basics, new thread, old linen items I’ve found, some serious brainstorming, sketching, and patterning, and a LOT of patience.
Here’s a peek of the lovely dress that was my mom’s…
So… That’s my top four for 2020 – plus a little wedding preview. ♥ Overall, my goal is to settle in my life here in the Willamette Valley, learn to be a good homesteader, harvest & preserve from our garden, and find the ease in my new routine. Thanks for being here, and lending your ear to hear my story and dreams.
Now, I want to hear from you – what are you doing for yourself in 2020?
Let’s make it a great year – I’m happy to support your dreams.