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It's winter here in West Virginia.  It's been sharply cold, with a wind chill that bites through the heaviest of sweatshirts.  My hands feel as though they have been scrubbed raw every time I step outside into the biting, frigid air, despite the fact that I've been slathering them with lotion at every opportunity and wearing gloves.  This morning, I'm stuffy, cold and rather miserable, as Mr. ReddHedd has brought home yet another ick that my crappo immune system has failed to fight off.  Again.  And I can't seem to keep my birdfeeders close to full, because the little winged buggers keep eating me out of seed and home.

At times like these, I go searching for some visual, mental or musical vacation.

Lately, though, I've been thinking that the relaxing is good and all, but that nagging in the back of my head about my New Year's resolution to try to be healthier ought to get me on a better path.  I always think about doing better — I've got the shelf full of yoga and cardio DVDs to prove it — but I never seem to get there somehow with any consistency.

It's a sort of catch-22, having issues with your joints and an autoimmune thing to deal with, on top of just being so tired from the aforesaid issues.  I keep telling myself that if I eat better and get more exercise, that will help, but how to do that when what you really crave is some Ben and Jerry's, a nap and a hot soak in the tub to ease your knees?  That's a good question, isn't it?  When you add in the fact that any level of exercise tends to make the joint pain much, much worse in the short term, even the easiest of walks starts to look daunting in the face of those backlash knees.  But any extra weight that I put on myself adds an extra strain to my joints.  And around we go. 

But I keep working on it.  Mainly because I refuse to allow this thing to run my life, thank you very much.  And I'm not saying all of this to gripe or get some sort of pity thing going, but because I'm genuinely hoping that some of you all have had to deal with this sort of thing and have found a solution that you are willing to share.  (If it's a solution that includes giving a momma more energy to play with her Peanut, all the better.)

This morning, I thought we could all talk a bit about the things we are doing — for ourselves or others — to be healthier.  Whether its exercise or a change in your day-to-day eating habits or beginning to meditate or whatever you may be doing in the moment to build a better you. 

My motivation for trying to do better comes in the form of a 3 and a half year old cutie pie that I would like to be around for a long, long time to come.  To do just that, I need to start taking better care of myself, no matter how much it may pain me to do so.  I have always tended to be one of those "take care of everyone else before yourself" sorts of people.  But a friend said to me a while back that "what your family needs is for you to put on your own oxygen mask first, so that you'll be better able to help them with theirs in an emergency."  It makes a lot of sense when you think about it — and I've been trying very hard not to be that person running around, gasping for my own air while helping everyone else on with their masks until I collapse.

Been there, done that.

So this morning, let's talk about whatever it is that you have been doing for yourself lately, to help get you to that next level, or to mellow out, or whatever goal you have set for yourself to be a better you.  Pull up a chair…