Category Archives: Holidays

HAPPY NEW YEAR

I woke up this morning and realized I’m at 225 days without a flare so this is a great start to the new year. We don’t have to wait until New Year’s Day to make changes in our lives or set goals but it seems easier to do so when it seems the slate has been cleaned and the new year ahead is full of opportunities. I started my day by teaching a yoga class and I started by saying I think we should ease into the new year and what I heard back was no bring it. Most people are tired New Year’s Day, most people haven’t been sleeping enough, eating out of the ordinary, drinking more than they normally would and we should probably all let our bodies rest but instead we wake up on the first day of the new year and want to be challenged. Whether in a spin class, a new facebook challenge, or even a yoga class. We want that push to get us started in the new year right. We all look for this, but what is the drive? I don’t have the answer to this question as I’m still trying to figure out what drives me to do all I do, and try all the things I try. The people around me wonder where my energy comes from, where my drive comes from and what my boundary is. The only thing I know for certain is that I do as much as I can on days that I feel good because it isn’t every day that my body is running at 85% and never at 100% these days, but I do what I do because I can. If you have been with me since the beginning there was a time when I couldn’t walk and with therapy walking 2000 steps a day was a chore and took all day, now I hit 10,000 steps usually by noon, because my legs work, because my body functions. I do hours of yoga because I have the strength in my arms, elbows and wrists. I do what I do because I have worked to get here and part of me is afraid it could be taken away at any moment. I live in the now as best as I can, but there is a lingering fear that my body could and probably will some day long from now not do what it does today. I believe I will always be able to walk and I will always be able to do yoga. That is where I put my focus, but I’m crazy about spinning. I’m crazy about trying new things, and I’m crazy about succeeding.

I don’t know what this New Year will bring, but I am open to all the events that come my way. I know I will not like everything that I’m faced with this year, but I will face anything with calm, peace and grace. I will continue to encourage all of my yoga students to do the same and challenge them as they need and let them rest when they must without judgment. Happy New Year to you all and hope your year brings you health, happiness, and peace and may this year bring you everything you need.

HEALTHY BODY, HEALTHY MIND, HAPPY HOLIDAYS

I haven’t written in a while but have not had a lot to write about. This is a good thing actually because it means that things in my life are relativity in balance. The point of this blog is to tell my story about MCTD but that story is very much the same day after day. I’m at 217 days without a flare which is wonderful and I’m very grateful that my body is feeling good. I am still working out every single day whether it means walking, spinning, or weight training. My yoga practice is a daily adventure whether it is my own practice, preparing for yoga classes, or teaching. My body is strong and most days I feel like my mind is strong. However, this time of year the days are short and it is dark when I go to work and it is dark when I get home. This time of year can be stressful for some people and even bring on depression. We are rushing from place to place, trying to prepare for events, eating and drinking more than we might normally, sleeping less than our bodies need and feeling the stress throughout our bodies and minds. Many people are rushing around so much that their immune systems wear out and illness takes over. I live with MCTD therefore I have a “super-immune system” I don’t worry about the common cold or flu. I don’t worry about picking up germs from the places I go. I enter a gym atmosphere nearly every day, which other than an airport might be one of the germiest places on earth. What I worry about is running my body too hard and putting myself into flare.

This time of year we must make choices, and they won’t all be easy. I thought I would write about some of the things I do in order to stay flare-up free during the holidays and winter months. I am not saying I don’t or won’t flare during the holidays or winter months but I try to keep things quiet in order to stay flare-up free for as long as possible. In Maine our winter started several weeks ago and will take us into April. It is long, it is cold, it is hard to endure sometimes. The way I get through this time is simply one day at a day time. Each day when I wake I take inventory of how I am feeling and then decide what my body needs. I will do something every day even on days I wake up a with some fatigue. I can always walk, as long as my legs will move, I can walk. I find some days it is actually easier to walk than to do yoga. Even if I choose restorative yoga because my body doesn’t always want to bend and move in certain postures.

This time of year we are invited to many events as most of you are, until I was diagnosed with MCTD I rarely said no to things even when I should have. For the last 13 years I say yes to the things that most important to me and my husband. Our families will always be high on the list and if I can help it we do not turn down family events. I also choose 1 evening event a week, this way I’m not out late 2 nights a week. We may do something Friday night and something Sunday during the day but not two late nights. This ensures that my body receives the adequate rest and sleep that it needs. I’m not hyper vigilante about what I eat this time of year except that I make stuff I really want. On Dec 26th that is when I go back to being hyper vigilante with my eating and drinking and let my body fully recover. By New Year’s I am not looking to go out or make resolutions I’m looking to start my new year fresh, clean and re-offer my body everything it needs. Think of it as a back to body basics cleanse.

I meditate a lot this time year. I take minutes in the morning to reflect on the day ahead and things I might have done differently yesterday. Not with anger, or regret, but as ways to learn and do better today. I take minutes to watch my thoughts, make my thoughts cleaner, and notice days when I really don’t have a lot of thoughts. I take this time for me, the time in my life that truly belongs to me, not my family, not my work, not my yoga, not my trainer, not my spin instructor, truly just me, only me. Minutes, not several minutes or an hour, minutes in my day.

This holiday season is going to look different to each and every person, but my goal in this holiday season is to capture the joy, love, peace and calm that it brings. Happy Holidays to all.

HAPPY NEW YEAR

Today is the start of a brand new year and I’m very excited about what 2016 has to offer. I had such wonderful moments in 2015 and achieved some amazing goals as well as ended the year on a healthy note.  I am 187 days without a flare and my hope is that I can reach a year.

I received my yoga teaching certification and have 2 classes a week that I’m teaching along with a full time career so if I had more time I would certainly devote more to teaching yoga. This past year I have developed a daily yoga practice with a daily meditation practice and if nothing else I think those 2 things have me healthier and stronger.

I didn’t make any New Year’s resolutions but I haven’t in many many years because I prefer to have goals and plans in which to achieve those goals. I once heard that goals without a plan are simply dreams and I have dreams too of course the things I believe might be achievable but yet I still question the likelihood and wonder how.  My goals are achievable and even if they take time I will get there.

The most important people in my life make my life what it is and how special it is. I have an amazing husband that makes this life so wonderful and he is truly my biggest supporter. My family is amazing and extremely supportive as well. My sister is home for Christmas and came to one of my yoga classes. It was truly so wonderful to have her there and watch her practice my yoga sequence. I have 2 nephews that I can’t wait to see what they learn and teach me in 2016. They are growing up so fast and I still don’t know where 5 years have gone.  I adopted 2 kittens from Tennessee for my birthday back in Oct and they have been with us 10 weeks, they literally make me smile every single day since they have been here.  They bring a spirit and life to our home that is so much fun.   They are sisters but nothing alike, perhaps they found each other on the truck from Tennessee to Maine and just clicked, perhaps they are truly sisters, all I know is that they love each other so much even though they are truly so different and they love my husband and I even more. Sounds silly and probably makes us sound like the couple without kids so we love our kittens and maybe so but they are wonderful and yet still allow me hours to do my yoga, spinning, weight training, walking and other activities. However, they do climb in my lap during meditation so part of my practice is disconnect from them for that time, I don’t make them move I make my mind believe they have moved.  It’s working so I let it be.

I hope this year brings you exactly what you need and although when we wake up today and believe since it is a new year it means a new start, you can wake up each day and start again, fresh and new and have a clean slate every day.

WEEKLY STATS

Just another couple of days until Christmas and truly my body is feeling the effects of lots of eating, chatting and being off schedule.  I am ready to have the holidays come and go so I can get back to my regular routine.  As I have written in many past blogs I do not partake in the alcoholic beverages since it really can put me into flare quickly and without much effort.  I am 178 days without a flare and not about to get one now when my body is already tired and teetering on the edge of exhaustion.  However, I have been walking more do try and combat the terrible eating I’m doing. Yes I’m keeping it gluten free but not sugar free and it has really worn me down.  My yoga practice is great and I have also been able to find myself in the Bikram studio for some warmth so I’m happy with the way my body is performing just wish I wasn’t so tired.

 

Weekly stats – 97,725

Daily – 13,104

Miles – 36.46

Floors – 141

Hope you all enjoy a safe holiday season and that your bodies are holding up

WEEKLY STATS

As you can see by my stats I have increased my walking activity to 10k steps a day.  I am having a hard time balancing the hours of yoga needed for teaching with the activity that my body and mind desire in the form of walking, spinning and weight training.  I have started my mornings a little early in order to fit in some cardio or weight training before my yoga.  As I make this change I still need to be very conscience of the time I need for real sleep and rest.  Life is a balancing act and sometimes I have it dialed and sometimes life shifts and I get a little unbalanced. I am honestly feeling a little unbalanced right now but I love teaching yoga so much and not willing to give up that part.  As winter gets here and things slow down in my real career I will find those moments of enjoying life in a balanced manner.  Good news is that I’m still weight training and actually had my session first thing this morning so that is out of the way and able to teach yoga this afternoon so both are getting accomplished today.

 

Weekly – 76, 741

Daily – 10,963

Miles – 29.82

Floors – 193

 

Hope you are all continuing to survive the holiday season and find your own balance in life.

TIS THE SEASON FOR STRESS

First things first, here are my weekly Fitbit stats.

Total steps week = 88,338

Average daily steps = 12,620

Miles walked = 33.78

Average number of floors climbed = 130

On with the stress. Everyone looks forward to spending the holidays with loved ones, sharing food, laughing over drinks, spreading the cheer and engaging in the stories but when we are out and about it seems as though everyone is stressed.  More than just stressed they also seem incredibly tired and completely worn thin.  This is the season when we do way too much and somehow completely forget how to say no.  I bring this up because for the readers with MCTD you only have so much energy to give on any particular day so finding extra energy can be really difficult.  I know from experience that it is very hard to say no to one more get together, one more fire side chat, one more “this is really important” dinner with either friends or family and one more “I could really use your help shopping” so give yourself permission to say no.

No one wants to disappoint people on any given day but certainly no one wants to disappoint our loved ones during this season.  They have been there for you and helped you through some really challenging, scary, tough times so you feel as though you want to thank them and by doing so you end up doing too much.  Remember these very people that were there during your challenging times also realize that your bodies run out of energy very quickly and not putting yourself first could end you up very tired or even in bed with a flare.

I’m not saying use your MCTD as an excuse, but I do think that putting yourself above all others for a few moments each day to assess how are you feeling on this day, what kind of energy do you have, how much do you really have to do and how much can you actually do are very important questions to ask.

I have been living with and managing MCTD for 11 years and still after all this time I have to pick and choose the important times and yes there are times when I run myself into the ground but getting back up takes me a little bit longer so there are consequences for those actions.  My family is the last group of people who want to see me stressed, over tired and just making it through the day so they are also the first ones to give me the break of not participating and staying home to rest.  The rest of the world doesn’t even see me with an illness most of the time so when I tell them no I see the perplexed looked on their faces but I have nothing to explain or defend.

Getting to a place in your life when you can truly own your decisions and feel good about the decisions you make is unbelievable and it didn’t come to me over night. It came to with each flare and each recovery.  Although my base line is different and my endurance is better I still feel fatigue and when I do I have no one to blame but myself for not reading the signs and listening to my body the way I should.  I am going to get through this season, all the crazy hours, eating, drinking, song singing flare-up free but only because I have found my active listening skills and really worked to listen to my body and know when it is time to say No.  We believe we may miss something, but if you are in bed with a flare you are 100% certain to miss something.  Keep yourself well, forgive yourself if you over-do it and send yourself compassion if you do flare.  With each flare and recovery you will find the skills needed to read the signs and react in a way that helps your body.

The season is supposed to be fun so try to keep the stress of it down to a low roar.  Happy Holidays.

BIKRAM YOGA

Each year the Bikram studio holds a 2 hour class with music on Thanksgiving morning.  I have been doing this for many years and it really just starts my day off right. I am no longer a member at that studio but I knew I wanted to be part of the Bikram festivities again this year.  The class is a donation class so all the money went to the food pantry which is very fitting for a Thanksgiving practice.  Here is how the day went and what a day it was.  In Maine we got a foot of snow Wed night into Thursday morning which meant that Matthew and I had to get up around 4:30 and start snow blowing and shoveling ourselves out.  At 6:30am he started the turkey. Our 26 lbs. bird was beautiful and we know well loved.  As a thank you to the bird we used the whole thing but more on that later.  As my handsome husband donned his favorite apron and got started in the kitchen I made my way out into the snow winter wonderland first for an exercise and weight training session followed by my 2 hour Bikram class.  I had not been in a Bikram studio since June of this year and I did not know what to expect.  I figured I would just treat this class like I did all my other classes in the past so I wore my long pants, long shirt and small jacket to make sure I was warm.  I found a great spot near the heat up at the mirror.  2 things struck me immediately, the first is that the room is so bright and second is that mirror is there to show every flaw and mis-step.  At one time I enjoyed the mirror and being able to see myself but for some reason I didn’t like it this time. Maybe after spending so much time on my mat just feeling, I didn’t really want to see.  There was music playing so that was a nice change since there is usually no music in a standard Bikram class.  This was a fusion class with the 26 postures mixed in, but we also did vinyassa work which was really challenging in the heat.

I love the heat, always have and probably always will but going from head up to the head down was really hard and made me a little bit dizzy.  Nothing that I couldn’t control but I did wonder if there were any new people in the class and how they were fairing.  We hit all the major 26 postures and took the entire 2 hours to complete our moving meditation.  I was so hot, tired, and totally spent but also felt so incredibly good.  I forgot how absolutely wonderful being that hot and sweat can actually feel.  After it was all said and done I was ready to join my husband back at home to finish our thanksgiving preparations.

He had it all finished and off to my parent’s house we went, 26 lbs. turkey in hand with pies, and cranberry sauce.  Once we got there everyone was so pleased with how the bird looked and especially how it tasted.  We sliced up the organ meat and put that out as well and everyone devoured it.  We didn’t want our little bird to go to waste so we ate the entire thing.  He was so delicious and I think we have made our mark on the family that getting our meats from the nearby farm where they are truly loved, well taken care of and especially well fed naturally is the best for the animals and us.  My husband did a marvelous job with that bird and has been crowned the chef to do it each and every year from here on out but I don’t know that he really wants that responsibility.  The day was stress-free, so enjoyable and I ate guilt free since I had just put in my time at the gym and Bikram mere hours before.