Monday, April 29, 2013

April Happiness Project: Done!

April is over!
This month has been a good one getting all my priorities in line. I have become busier with school and work and while piano lessons are coming to a close at the end of May, I feel like I am much better at it than before.

Asking for help is a huge struggle for me but well worth the exercise to make a point of doing this. Help can come from many sources and sometimes unexpectedly.
Keeping tasks on a list so they don't get forgotten has been very helpful, not sure for work, but for life in general. I love lists to begin with (packing anyone?) so it was an easy task
Learning to enjoy failure hasn't been fun, but it certainly does help knowing that everything is a lesson in some way or another.
My biggest success this month had to have been recognizing that there is time to do something in 30 minutes. Even if it's a couple questions, a small task or a chapter read, it's enough to chip away at the mile long list of things to do. This past weekend was a perfect example of this idea in motion. I alternated between cleaning up the flower beds and yard with studying or playing piano. Breaking everything up into smaller time slots made me much happier and gave me a chance to still be effective when I needed a break.

While this month wasn't nearly as successful with checking things off a list, but it gave me a nice perspective on things and a few new habits to keep up with. I was dreading this month when I read the chapter, but after making it work for ME it was well worth the focus.

On with May!


Monday, April 22, 2013

April Happiness Project: Week 3

I'm starting to get into a better groove. Stress levels are going down, life is starting to fall into place and I feel like I can finally manage everything. Compartmentalization is key! Everything seems less daunting when it's broken down into smaller tasks. I am starting to feel more content with my work at dayjob, studying and piano. I feel like there IS time for everything.

Ask for Help...
  • ...when I feel like I can't do it all.
    • I have been relying on Frenchie a lot since I signed up for my course. I can't thank him enough for taking on a bit of the extra work around the house. He's such a huge supporter.
    • Asking is more effective and better received that telling ;)
Work Smart
  • I have been working really hard at my diploma and there have been a few nights I struggle to answer some questions. I have learned that with the self study courses such as this, taking a step away, going to bed, going for a walk or just playing with the dogs for a bit helps shift my focus. What usually happens is I go back to the text and the answer pops out at me. Frustrating, but that half hour away can make a huge difference. 
  • There is no sense slugging through when I'm exhausted. It's ineffective and I'll get far more done if I stop, get some rest, recharge and pick it back up later. 
  • I've made a task list for work that has been very helpful for me to track what I am working on. Checking things off is a great incentive. (I like my gold stars!)
Enjoy Now
  • I was reading the Mortal Instruments series. I finished the first 2 books and really enjoyed them. I was trying to get through the third one and just got bored with it. With too many things on my mind, it wasn't the right book for me. I liked it, just a bad time to read it. Normally, I would push through and finish it, but that seems unfair to the book. 
  • I'm taking more time on the weekends to not-work. As part of working smart, I also have to enjoy. Taking time to cook dinner with Frenchie and going for a walk with the dogs and him helps me enjoy everything that much more. Breaks are important!


Wednesday, April 17, 2013

10/30: Staying Healthy with Nutrition by Elson M. Haas

Staying Healthy with Nutrition, rev: The Complete Guide to Diet and Nutritional MedicineStaying Healthy with Nutrition, rev: The Complete Guide to Diet and Nutritional Medicine by Elson M. Haas
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Format: Paperback
Read from February 19 to April 17, 2013

From Goodreads: Decades of practical experience and scientific research are compiled into one encyclopedic volume that features newly expanded chapters on special supplements, lifestage programs, and breakthrough medical treatment protocals for conditions including fatigue, viral illnesses, weight management, and mental and mood disorders such as anxiety, ADHD, and depression.PART ONE gives a detailed analysis of The Building Blocks of nutrition: water, carbohydrates, proteins, fats and oils, vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients.PART TWO evaluates Foods and Diets, discussing every food group and most diets around the world. A special chapter on the environment and nutrition raises awareness and offers guidance about food additives, industrial chemicals, food irradiation, electropollution, and other health and ecological issues.PART THREE brings all of this nutritional information together, showing readers how to make wise and commonsense choices while Building a Healthy Diet. A personalized eating plan for the year, The Ideal Diet is both seasonally and naturally based, and a healthy lifelong diet.PART FOUR contains specific nutritional and lifestyle therapies for enhancing all stages of life and suggests treatments for common conditions and diseases such as aging, menopause, bone loss, weight loss, and cancer by focusing on Nutritional Applications: 32 Special Diet and Supplement Programs.Anyone interested in enhancing wellness, eating right, treating illness naturally, and living in harmony with nature will find Staying Healthy with Nutrition to be the ultimate handbook for optimal health and vitality.

As part of my Natural Nutrition diploma this was the first textbook. I made it through this entire textbook plus answering questions and writing two tests in 11 weeks.
This book is filled with some amazing information on ourselves and on our planet. The information provided is extensive and covers a wide range of topics.
My favourite portions of the book were definitely discussing how our earth and all the chemicals we put into it really affect our health. It makes you really think twice about what you're eating, breathing and touching.

Reading about preventative medicine really inspires me to be more proactive in my own health rather than reactive. There is something missing in our current medical system and I, like the author, believe it is preventative medicine. We function in a society where unless you're really sick or have some sort of disease, you aren't worth the time of a doctor. We need to start taking care of ourselves and prevent getting to that point. The more we take care of ourselves and prevent disease as best we can, the better our medical system will become in the future. It's a long way off, but we only need to start.

Definitely a must for my nutrition collection

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Monday, April 15, 2013

April Happiness Project: Week 2

This past week was a little tough and a little exciting.

Enjoy the fun of failure
I made a mistake a work that wasn't huge, but still got pulled into my boss' office to discuss. I hate that. As a child in school I always used to cry if I ever got in trouble, and it appears that hasn't changed much. I'm just better equipped to hold it in, which I'm not sure if better. I take things very personally and hate failure. My biggest fear is losing my job for some reason, and while I know that isn't something that's going to happen, it will always be in the back of mind. Fear is a powerful motivator even if it's just in your head. It also can cause undue stress which is terrible, so I guess it's a trade off.
I can't say I "enjoyed" the failure or that it was "fun", but I did try and remember that yes, I made a mistake, and yes it wasn't smart, but that's the end of it. Move on. Learn from it.

Ask for Help
I asked for help again at work with a problem I didn't know how to solve. I'm finding that asking different people is more helpful than my direct teammate. I get a lot of "I'm too busy" or "Not right now" that is very frustrating. I'm having to get creative in finding people for help and times that work for us both.

30 is long enough
All my hard work with my first course paid off. My first exam came back with a nice 89% mark on it! I'm super excited that I did that well. Gold star for me! This shows me that going at it slowly and steadily is the way to go. I get great amounts of time on the weekend to hammer through a lot of the material, just need to get more time during the week. I think this will be easier once I am in a different book and am not lugging around my 1000 page textbook.

Enjoy Now
This weekend I enjoyed my time on Sunday. I recently joined an NFP forum that has a lot of great women on it. It's inspired me to go back to Church and get more in touch with my faith again. It's been a long time since I've gone and I miss it. Part of it is my exhaustion and part of it is my anxiety about going alone. Frenchie may be a cradle-Catholic, but he's not much for going to Church. I need to re-think about going alone and put a positive spin on it. I will enjoy my alone time, be less of a nagging wife and strengthen MY faith rather than ours.
I felt more whole after I went this weekend and really took that feeling through with me all day.


Friday, April 12, 2013

Say hello to the next 2 years of books

I'm almost finished my last course in the introduction package of my Holistic Nutrition diploma. Rather than finish the intro package and then order the rest of the books, I decided to be proactive and order them early. That way I'll have no break and just continue on with the rhythm I've got working for me.
ALL the textbooks and course material came last night. A big heavy box on my doorstep.

The contents:
say AWWW puppy paws

I'm going to work my butt off to finish my intro package so I can dive into this pile. I also need to clear out some room on my bookshelf to put all these books.


Monday, April 8, 2013

April Happiness Project: Week 1

This month will be a hard one to set quantitative goals for. A lot of my resolutions are situational. I'm hoping that I get an opportunity for a lot of them to take advantage of the changes I want to make. I don't wish to fail at something, but it's a part of life.

Enjoy the fun of failure...

This weekend I went to Barre class. It was the hardest class so far and I am thankful I wasn't the only one that thought that. The room was extremely hot and we had a different instructor than usual. While she was good at being an instructor, it was her first time teaching the class so her audio cues weren't as crisp as I would have liked as a student. The hard part was the fact that I had no energy. I had to continually stop during an exercise and catch my breath. Annoying, but part of the failure was knowing to listen to my body, and it didn't matter if I stopped during class. I went at my own pace and that's ok.

Ask for Help...
  • ...when I'm stuck or am stressed. 
    • I asked for helped on a support issue at work. I have trouble doing that, but it was a good training exercise in the end.
Work Smart
  • 30 minutes IS long enough
    • I had a half hour before Frenchie got back from getting groceries for breakfast. It was long enough for me to read another part of my textbook. Little bits here and there add up to a lot of reading in one day.
  • Set up a study station
    • I have an official study station now. It's in the dining room, (which we never use unless we have a big family dinner) facing away from everything. I can now leave my books open so they are ready when ever I have some extra time.
    • I have the computer close by but not with me so I can play music to help me study. There are no other distractions, but I'm still close enough to the kitchen and doors that if I need to get up and get something or let the dogs out it's not a huge thing.
Enjoy Now
  • Focus on a song just to play rather than perfect
    • I think I'll play Clair de Lune by Debussy for my year end recital. I love the song, the version isn't complicated and I think it's beautiful to play. 


Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Happiness Project April: Aim Higher

While March was a focus on love, April is a focus on Work. My least favourite topic, so this will be a challenge. This month will be a struggle for me, but I also think it will be positive. Since I technically have 3 jobs (day job, piano, student), I would like to focus a little bit on all of them.

Enjoy the Fun of Failure

  • I can't be everything. 
    • Failure doesn't mean I suck. It just means I need to try harder, get help or I'm not meant for that task.
  • Enjoy the times I fail and see them as an opportunity to improve.
    • Failure is hard for me. I hate having someone criticize me in a negative way. Not only do I know I've done something wrong, but the added bonus of someone pointing it out makes it worse. This goes right into the second resolution...

Ask for Help...

  • ...when I'm stuck or am stressed. 
    • This is a huge struggle for me. I hate asking for help because it means failure. And it usually results in either not receiving help, or being in trouble for not knowing something I'm already supposed to know. 
  • ...when I feel like I can't do it all.
    • It's easier to ask a friend or family member for help than to be stressed out trying to do everything myself. 
  • ...when I need advice. 
    • I ask my sister for advice a lot for piano. She's a great resource and always willing to help or just let me talk things out. 

Work Smart

  • 30 minutes IS long enough
    • a half hour is long enough to get a small task done, a chapter read or an email sent.
  • Set up a study station
    • With my nutrition course, I need to set up a station to study. Somewhere that my books can be left open to make it easier for me to sit down when I have a couple extra minutes to read a bit or answer a question (15 - 30 minutes IS enough)
    • Packing and unpacking books is inefficient and cuts into those hour long sessions. 
    • It also needs to be comfortable and away from distraction

Enjoy Now

  • Make a list in the morning and try to focus on it. 
    • I enjoy crossing things off, and sometimes get lost when I have no list. For dayjob, this is huge and something I really need to focus on. I've struggled with using an electronic list, a paper list, Outlook list. It doesn't matter what the media for the list is, it's using it that matters. 
  • Focus on a song just to play rather than perfect
    • It's important for me to play a song at the year end recital for my students. I need to worry less about making it perfect and just picking a song I like and will play for fun. 
  • Enjoy reading rather than getting it done
    • The last few years I've concentrated on the number of books I read in a year. With studying this year, I need to focus more on reading what I want and less about the number.


Monday, April 1, 2013

March Happiness Project: Week 4

March was focusing on Frenchie and remembering love. I told him this weekend that I was doing the Husband Project again and he said "THAT's what was different" I could take that two ways. 1. I need to shift my focus to him more often or 2. I did a good job.

This weekend we relaxed. No agendas, just relaxed. That might not seem like a big deal, but for our household it's huge. I usually have so much planned on the weekends, this was a nice change. I didn't nag him to go to church, just left him sleeping, set the coffee to start and left.
I made him ribs for supper Saturday and that was well received. I had to fight to keep mine on my plate! He's been asking for ribs for a while so I think he was really happy I found a great recipe to make for him.

I also let him pick the movie again this weekend, which meant we saw GI Joe: Retaliation with a friend of his. It was great action and I love the Rock.

It was a long week but I think the relaxation was the biggest payoff and grand finale for the month.

On to April!