Self Care – Keep Your Own Sparkle.

Oh how I have advised people in the past about taking care of themselves, not overworking, eating properly, getting more sleep, you know the kind of thing.  As always, we are not so good at taking our own advice.

I’m tired, there, I  admit it, the last two months have more or less worn me out.  I empathise with carers so much more now that I have an understanding of their plight, looking after a loved one.  I at least have the knowledge that Mom is recovering slowly from the broken hip and each day gains a little more power in her leg, gains independence and also confidence in her walking.  I am still working from home but this week sees me begin a slow, phased return to the office, one afternoon only.  But it has been very tiring, caring for my parents, cooking, cleaning, shopping, working the day job from home, catching up with studies and attempting to follow my love of singing.

I’ve not done badly, I have returned to Zumba class on Wednesday evening which I love.  The music is so wonderful you just escape into that Latin Beat, the moves can be difficult but it really doesn’t feel like a work out and although I ache afterwards, it is a good ache.  I’ve escaped for an hour for some me time and yes, that is important.  At first I felt selfish at leaving the house to attend the class but my lovely Mom, bless her, said I needed to do something for myself and get out of the house.

Last week I returned to my vocal coaching and oh how good that felt.  The drive there, the hour going through my breathing exercises, the vocal scales and then singing a couple of the songs I had been working on, it was like a release of the soul.  Thankfully, although I had not been to my vocal coach since mid August, it seems I have not lost my pitch and my breathing hasn’t gone to pot, phew!!  This week I have been learning “You raise me up”, surprisingly not many lyrics to this song but a lot of variation in notes.

These two small steps have helped me to feel like me again.  I can see how easily it can be to get lost within yourself, when you are indoors 24/7 and suddenly plunged into a different life course.  How apt that my current studies are about our perceived life course and our plans and how things we do, or perhaps things that happen to others can alter our lives.

Tomorrow afternoon I face the wide world of the city centre when I venture to the office for the first time since mid – September…I’ll keep you posted.

Thank you for reading my blog 🙂

And Breathe...take care of you!
And Breathe…take care of you!

The ‘Start Again’ Sparkle.

A week on and I can’t report a truly successful week of healthy eating. I slipped up more than once with a chocolate biscuit or three and all within a day of writing my blog post about getting motivated to eat a healthier diet and move more. The intention was there but I just couldn’t seem to resist the sweet choices, the odd crisp, chips, slice of cake…oh I could go on but I think you’ve got my drift. My best intentions didn’t manifest into reality. Well, that’s just the way it is, I tried but not hard enough, even when that biscuit hit my lips, I can’t say I enjoyed it but I couldn’t stop myself from eating it. I craved the chocolate, the sugar and felt yucky for doing so.

I’m not going to beat myself up for this almighty fail, I’m human, my willpower was non existent and that was that. I’m thinking that now you are expecting me to say I’ve given up. NO!! I have no intention of giving up. If anything my huge non healthy eating week has made me more determined to succeed.

For some reason almost every article I’ve looked at online or in a book or newspaper over the past few days has been about healthy eating and exercise. Someone somewhere wants me to see this!! I woke up Sunday morning inspired. I want to be healthy for a very long time to come. Actually I want to be healthier than I am now. I want to shake off that sluggish feeling for good, I want my body to sparkle with inner health and I want to stop putting too much fats, sugars and let’s face it, chemicals into my system.

  
Picture via Pinterest.

I need to be healthy to cope with my caring responsibilities, to carry out my day job, to find time to study and to follow my passion, singing.

I’ve been shopping, I’ve loaded my cupboards, fridge and freezer with good healthy food. I’d be lying if I said there weren’t any goodies…of course there are but these will be now taken in moderation and not as a staple requirement. I’m not going for immediate, total changeover because I know I won’t stick with that, I’ll get bored. I will however try, one meal at a time. I’ve done that for two days now. I feel good about that. All is not lost and perhaps my biscuit binge of last week was just what I needed to get me going this week.

  
Picture via Pinterest.

I’m off to a good start this week…let’s see how strength of mind and willpower perform from now on.

Thank you for reading my blog 😎

My Monday Motivation 

Something I start quite often is a healthy eating regime and for a while I do very well. I’m lucky because I do love fruit and vegetables but I’m not a huge fan of meat. I’ve not eaten Red meat for over twenty years, I just went off the taste. I eat Chicken and Turkey and that’s about it meat wise. However, as much as I enjoy fruit and vegetables, I enjoy chocolate a whole lot more. I’m not big on cake but recently biscuits of all types have almost become my staple diet!!! Over the past weeks I have said to myself in the evening “tomorrow you start eating healthy and moving your body again”. Each day has gone well until just after lunchtime and my hand reaches for the biscuits once again. “This has got to stop”, I tell myself. Well tonight, I’m writing to you that yes, it is going to stop!!
  
Picture via Pinterest.

I know for sure that the change in “normal” life over the past six to seven weeks has been the cause of my total derailment of eating proper food. Because I have been so busy in my caring role, I’ve grabbed what I can to eat to keep myself going. I have grabbed totally the wrong foods and really I have no excuse for that as I am cooking healthy food for my parents. Because I have been working from home to carry out my “day job” I feel I have to worker longer hours, get more done, because I go missing from the laptop throughout the day to care for my Mom. I sit down too much, hunched over the laptop. I find myself doing all the things I tell my friends not to do. Time to take myself in hand and make some changes!

I’m not talking about dieting although I’m sure that I would benefit from losing at least a stone. I’m more interested in being as healthy as I can be, feeling energised and not sluggish. That my skin glows with health, my nails return to strength and my hair feels strong again. How easy it is to forget the wonderful benefits of eating correctly.

  
Picture via Pinterest.

During one of my vocal coaching sessions I asked my tutor about foods or drinks I should or shouldn’t take that could affect my breathing or voice. She had one simple response, “eat and drink as healthily as you can and your general health and voice will reap the benefits”. She also added “don’t be too strict with yourself though, everyone deserves a treat…in moderation”. Of course, we all know this but somehow we tend to forget it when those chocolates appear, the cupcake with our coffee and the ice cream dessert on a night out and “now and again” becomes an every night treat.

And so, because I want to stay healthy for as long as I can, because I want to take care of my body and because I want to achieve my country music dreams…from tomorrow, my Monday Motivation will be:

Drink more water, eat fresh food, move more…Are you with me?

  
Picture via Pinterest.

Thank you for reading my blog ☘✨

Autumn Walk 🍁🍃🍂

I love walking. Sometimes I love the idea of walking more than actually getting out there and walking. I suppose that is the lazy part of me talking myself out of getting my boots on and heading for the door. I think my longest walk was about 14 miles. I was in agony post walk. I had to lie on the floor to wriggle out of my trousers and even after a long soak in the bath, I hurt. However, it was a good feeling. The walk had taken all day but it also took in some wonderful views of the Staffordshire countryside, part of Cannock Chase with snow still lying on the ground and the unmistakable beauty of the late Winter evening drawing in at 4:30 pm, with a frosty, misty, low sun glare as we walked back to Lichfield. It was just magical.

There is something of an air of freedom when you go for a walk. It doesn’t have to be a long country walk, sometimes a walk in the city at lunch time can clear your mind and put things in order. Things always seem to look a little better post walk. If I take a walk alone I like to listen to my music. I walk fast or slow depending on what comes on and what piece of music reflects my mood. Some days I don’t even hear the music my mind is so full of other things. Other days it is as if every song that plays is speaking to me personally; talking, advising, offering alternative action or giving me ideas and inspirations.

I took a walk this afternoon. It was a lovely Autumn day. Not sunny but it was dry, a little chilly and a gentle wind blew the leaves around my feet. It wasn’t a long walk, just half an hour.  Autumn is such a beautiful season, watching nature prepare for the cold of Winter ahead and our urban landscapes change in front of our eyes. How many people really notice the beauty of what is taking place? People are busy, stressed out, on the go all the time but perhaps if they took time out for a walk, to view and breathe in the splendour of nature around them, they may feel a little less overwhelmed and a little more at peace.

I took a few photographs with my iPod of the changing trees. I’ve always loved trees I just wish I knew more about them, the names, their fruits, how they grow, where they grow…one of the most beautiful sounds to me is the wind rustling through the trees. Whether it is a huge gust or a timid blow, I think it sounds amazing.

   
   
My walk added real sparkle to my day today, it cleared my mind, made sense of my thoughts and made my face tingle in the cold. An all round positive result I think.

Thank you for reading my blog 😊

  
Picture via Pinterest.

It’s amazing what you can do when you have to…

Someone text these words to me a couple of weeks ago. They resonated with me immediately because I’d just lived twelve days and nights of to me, an unreal existence.

When I decided to start my blog up, my plan was to write about my love of singing, the voice coaching I was receiving, my purchase of an amplifier and microphone and general ‘me’ things. After many, many years I had finally decided to have a go at the one thing I have loved doing all my life, singing and music.

However, life takes us on many twists and turns and mine took me on a twelve day stay in hospital with my Mom when she fell and broke her hip. Mom is always healthy, never ill, strong as an ox so for Mom to be out of action is unheard of.  You tend to go into that dream of unreality, paramedics, accident and emergency, x-ray, waiting to see the bone Doctor…the hours tick by and you find yourself putting your trust, your hope, your confidence into strangers. Strangers who are now attending to one of the most precious people in your life, your Mother.

Without going into the whole 12 day existence, I washed in public washrooms, I lived on sandwiches and skinny cappuccino and plenty of water. I slept in the chair next to Mom and generally helped out overnight. It gave me a complete insight into how hard people work in our hospitals and how lucky we are to have a National Health Service here in the UK.

Mom’s operation went well, the following morning she was up and walking with the walking frame. A week later we were home. Life has changed. For the moment I am looking after everything at home, I am managing to do my ‘day job’ at home but at random hours and I’m taking care of healthcare as best I can. There’s a long way to go recovery wise but things are progressing slowly but at least there is progression.

I am currently petrified of leaving the house in case something happens but I know I have to get over this. I’ve had to give Mom an anti coagulant injection every day in her tummy; this was terrifying to begin with but I’ve managed it.

Life for me is somewhat on hold at the moment, I’ve not been outside in the real world for almost a month, I’ve not attended Zumba class, struggled through what is now ‘Grand Central Station’ each morning and evening, not sang a note for weeks and have only just commenced my latest Open University module ‘Adult, ageing and the life course’. Of course, I’ve just experienced a crash course in that subject!!

I have no problem putting things on hold to care for Mom, and Dad too who is doing his best but of course, there are things that only girls can do for and with each other. Although I look outside at the beautiful Autumn days, I’m happy to give my time to caregiving, administering injections and medication, keeping some positivity and encouragement going and being responsible for someone other than myself.

It’s amazing what you can do when you have to…

  
Picture via Rose Hill Designs on Pinterest.

Thank you for reading my blog 💖