365: Body, Mind, Spirit | Week 51

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When I started this project in January, I thought for sure I would fly through the reading and flounder when it came to walking. The opposite happened. I’m not going to give myself a hard time about the reading because it’s not like I never read, and to focus on what I didn’t do would take away from the walking which was huge for me.

I have only one week left, and I’m starting to think about what I’m going to do next year. I’m going to keep walking, definitely, but I’m going to stop taking pictures of my feet. Hallelujah.

Because I don’t want to get out of the habit of walking, I’m still going to take daily pictures. This time I will focus on the scenery. It’s symbolic, really. Next year I will focus on looking forward, looking up.

This past week was okay, but the weekend was terrible. I had yet another migraine, this one lasting three days. I did the math, and during the last 30 days, I’ve had a migraine 27% of the time. During the last 20 days, I’ve had a migraine 40% of the time. This is no good. I’ve narrowed it down to three culprits.

Stress

I’m a naturally anxious person, and this year has been particularly stressful due to issues outside my immediate family, the Mister traveling a lot, me taking on so much responsibility at school, and just my natural talent for being a yes person. Nice segue into culprit number 2.

Commitments

I say yes too often and no not enough. I show poor time management and procrastinate. I’m not very organized. I know that last one may surprise you, but when it comes to the boys’ school and schedules, I really am a bit of a disaster. I also hang onto things–and people–I shouldn’t out of, I don’t know, a sense of loyalty, maybe? This year I started eliminating people (family, “friends”) from my life who, for many reasons, were just no good for me. It hasn’t been easy, but there are only so many times I can forgive/forget someone betraying me or gossiping about me before their act of commission becomes my sign of permission. The Mister said it best: “There’s no rule that says you have to be friends forever.”

Health

My diet needs some cleaning up. I’ve been skipping meals again and eating too many sweets and snack foods. I don’t sit down for meals. I’ve been toying with the idea of abstaining from sugar, but that’s a slippery slope for me. The reason I’m considering it is because the last time I abstained from sugar is the longest I have ever gone without a migraine. (18 months)

I also need to sleep more. I’m not getting nearly enough, and my excuses are poor. I like to stay up late. It’s my quiet time; my time to read.

What That Means for 2014

Heck if I know! I’m still brainstorming, though right now “William Morris the Hell Out of Myself” sounds catchy. (joke) All I know is that I’m ready for the new year to begin.

Song of the Week

Hallelujah — Jeff Buckley

Comments
35 Responses to “365: Body, Mind, Spirit | Week 51”
  1. JĂșlia B. says:

    Dear Jules, thanks for this post, it got me closer to what Project 365 is about. I only found your blog in October, and was looking for the first post on “365″ but had no patience to scroll to the beginning of the year on the label page. :) If there’s an introductory post, would you mind linking it in somewhere? Thanks.
    Also, your William Morris-ing gave me a lot of inspiration. I’ll need something like that for next year, surely.

  2. Katherine says:

    ha- i would totally tune in for a year of wm’ing yourself. that sounds awesome.

    (well, i’m tuning in either way.)

    i tried one new thing a month as my “resolution”, starting a couple of years ago. one month i committed to being in bed (lights off, no screens) by 10:30 and up at 6:30. the difference in my overall mood and my eating habits were pretty notable.

    i say that to float the idea of one thing a month, since one-month goals feel attainable to me. no way i could commit to being in bed by 10:30 for a year. but a month? sure. i’ll try it and see what happens.

    the migraines sound terrible. i’m so sorry. i hope you get a nice long reprieve from them soon.

    • Jules says:

      I’ve been told repeatedly that my life will change if I get to bed before 11:00pm. I know this to be true, but I have a total block. I’m like a petulant child.

  3. Joan says:

    Sorry to hear about your migraines. I suffer from them, too. If you’re eating lots of snack foods, you’re probably consuming preservatives or something else that could trigger a migraine. Stress is definitely not the only thing that can cause them. This list of triggers seems to be pretty comprehensive: http://uhs.berkeley.edu/home/healthtopics/pdf/triggers.pdf. Maybe it can help you find a trigger that’s causing you problems.

    Good luck.

  4. Kristy says:

    When I went through my divorce a couple years back I really took a step back and saw where true friendships and even true family lied. It is eye opening, really (I realized how many friends were not actually friends, yikes!). I, too, often found myself the topic of gossip and hated when I heard my ‘friends’ gossiping about others. I even called them on it. I said “you know, whether you believe it or not, you talking about this person, that sends a negative energy out to them and they can feel it.” Well they all looked at me like I had 3 heads (and probably had a good laugh when I walked away). Life is too short to not be around people who are in your corner and love you and get you. Sometimes I have found it easier to just be alone or with my dear ones.
    Migraines suck! Had one yesterday. I am proud of you for taking a closer introspective look at what you need. I have decided to stop taking responsibility for people (I too often want to help others solve problems that they can themselves. I am a helper, a people pleaser, etc). No more. I am stepping back on that too. Thank you, again, for sharing yourself so openly!!
    Kristy :)
    http://www.journeyintomotherhood.ca

    • Jules says:

      I hate that you know what I’m going through, but it helps to know that you know what I’m going through. It amazes me that I hear gossip like “she’s never around, she never calls, obviously there is something going on.” And yet that person never calls to see what that “something going on” is. Like another friend said, a true friend would ask the person if everything was okay rather than making it about themselves and then turning around and gossiping. :/

  5. Kristy says:

    PS. Amazing song choice, love that one!

  6. Susan G says:

    SO sorry to hear about your migraines. I’m on day 3 of one – mine are generally triggered by weather changes. In my part of Florida in December all the weather does is change. High in the 50s today, 80 by Friday. Then I will have migraines for 2-3 days while a front moves through and the temperature drops. Then it warms up and the cycle goes on.

    Love the Jeff Buckley song, although no one can ever replace kd lang singing that song. Fun fact – my father and Leonard Cohen grew up same time in Montreal, although LC lived on the right side of the tracks and my dad lived in the poorer Jewish area but they did go to McGill together.

  7. Susan G says:

    Oh – and this seems like a perfect book for you and your walks – On Looking: Eleven Walks with Expert Eyes Hardcover by Alexandra Horowitz. I read about it on brainpickings – do you read that? AMAZING articles on books especially – it’s dangerous!

  8. Amy says:

    Congrats on walking so much! That’s such an awesome accomplishment.
    Have you considered going to the chiropractor for your migraines? I started going when mine were really bad, and felt almost instant relief – instant pain relief, but completely gone in 24 hours instead of 72.
    Now I go regularly for “maintenance” and have dropped the number of migraines I’ve had dramatically. I’ve only had 1 in the last year, although I do still get regular headaches. Those aren’t very frequent either.
    I can feel my migraines originate in my neck and back, so if I can avoid my trigger foods, and do some stretching when I feel them coming on, I can reduce them to headaches instead of down-for-the-count migraines.
    Good luck!

  9. Kelly says:

    I get a few mild migraines a month — don’t sound nearly as debilitating as yours, but they do ruin my day — but I will say after reading your culprits, we sure are similar in our “vices.” I volunteered to be a co-room mom this year, but since my co-person is virtually clueless, its all on me. And I suck at it, really, but I’m “acting” like I know WTH I’m doing. Poor kids! :(

    • Jules says:

      Mine are normally tied to my cycle, but the last few months…Wow. Just out of control. :( I need to take better care of myself. Yes, we have the same vices.

  10. I have been wondering if you would like the book “Foodist”. I have hesitated to recommend because I don’t want to cause issues to come up that I don’t get. I have food issues as well, but not the same as yours, and I thought her book and her blog Summer Tomato were a breath of fresh air. She absolutely hates diets and refuses to even use the term. Her entire focus is on eating well and moving. And she’s a scientist, so she approaches things from a very logical perspective.

    Congrats on your walking. It is an impressive feat. Merry Christmas!

  11. Jenn says:

    SO, SO happy that the walking has turned out to be the 365 that you stuck to, and have turned into a true daily activity. Really looking forward to 2014, and can barely believe that this was week 51? Seriously.

    The migraines have been terrible this fall. Don’t know what it is. I’m testing my magnesium levels, as being too low can trigger, also upping protein and fat, thus lowering carbohydrate :( as they both have a connections, and could help. There are so many linkages, it is hard to know which combination of things causes the onset. I had secretly hoped that the daily walks would eliminate the migraines, maybe there have been other benefits to your health?

    After hearing the Jeff Buckley version (which is so lovely and haunting), I had to listen to KD Lang’s, and now Leonard Cohen’s. What a beautiful, beautiful song, no matter how many times I’ve heard it, it never grows old.

    • Jules says:

      I haven’t tried the magnesium yet, but I’ve heard about the low carb. Sigh. I’m nervous.

      LC’s voice kind of creeps me out! It’s so deep!

  12. Since my teens I’ve suffered from frequent migraines. No matter the Rx or other treatments I pursued, the migraines continued. Until I broke my sugar addiction. For packaged foods I keep to 5 gm or less of sugar per serving. For home cooking I’ll use stevia, Truvia, splenda, and occasionally agave. Honey has a higher absorption rate / glycemic index, and will trigger headaches for me. My headaches slowed in frequency / intensity after only a week off sugar. I think it was about 4months into the program that I realized I hadn’t had a headache in a super long time. Also went whole grain only, no simple carbs that have a sugar effect on my system. I’ve been eating this way now for 7 years and don’t miss the headaches or sugar at all! Good luck.

    • Jules says:

      How did you come to the conclusion about sugar and migraines? Did you read about it in a book or see something online? I’d like more info. I was sugar free/grain free and had zero headaches, but that diet was crazy for me. Yours sounds more moderate. I didn’t even have honey/agave/etc.

  13. maria says:

    I second Jenn’s comment. I started soaking in Epsom salt baths for the magnesium, and no migraines, didn’t have to give up sugar either, just had to cut back. In addition, my nerves feel steadier and I sleep better. When I don’t have time for a bath I use Morton Epsom lotion (at walmart) on my feet and neck right before bed. Good luck.

  14. Brene Brown is running an Ecourse based on The Gifts Of Imperfection. Two six-week courses. I honestly truly think there is a whole year of work in it if you enrolled in the courses and then practiced what you learnt. It applies to every single thing on your list (I am working through the first course). Check it out – Brene Brown Ecourse via Oprah (and if you’re like me, get over the Oprah connection ‘what will people think of me’ – and do it anyway).

    • Jules says:

      Get out! I asked for that book for Christmas because I’ve been debating taking that course!! I never thought about making it part of my blog. Hmmm. That might be something interesting…although there’s a lot of art involved and I don’t know. I’m really shy because I got little skillz.

      • There would be a fair bit of your work that you would need to keep private but I ‘ also sure you would generate a fair bit of blog content . I find the lessons learnt really need to be constant practices in order to retain and integrate the improvements and I think a twelve month program rather than twelve week might be where this course leads in time/as professionals pick it up.

  15. Rebe says:

    What an accomplishment! You are definitely an inspiration.

    I love Hallelujah. The previous conductor of the Men’s Glee Club at my Alma Mater (Miami University) arranged it for the Glee Club (100 male voices) and I’m partial to that version and listen to it on my commute almost once a week but they are all so amazing!

  16. Kate says:

    I love the combination of Christmas and roses. It’s just SO different from what the holidays look like here.

  17. Michellejeanne says:

    Migraines bite. That is all.

    Well, no it isn’t. I have a lot of the same triggers. Sugar – especially without a meal. Weather changes. Skipping meals. And don’t fill in with a cupcake, even if it is a stop to sit chat at a cupcake bakery with your 16 year old while shopping- eat the cupcake and talk, then grab a piece of fruit or a sandwich PRONTO! Meds – I take some doozies for arthritis – can’t avoid those. Not getting enough sleep.

    Are you me? First, start your day hydrated, and drink a few glasses of water right off the bat. That way, if I get distracted (what, a mother of 3 girls with a part time job and a problem saying No forgets to drink water? You don’t say?) – where was I? Oh yes, if you get distracted, well, you can catch up at meals and you have a good start warding off those headaches. DO sit down to eat. Even if it is only a piece of fruit or some of those great roasted veggies (my fave lunch) it will help. And probably cue you to add some rice or whatever else you have on hand. On the go because you say yes, or your kids are in 3000 activities? Pre-package some of those veggies, or a few sandwiches and keep them in the fridge. and then snack.

    I find that my migraines come when I have three triggers intersecting – if there is a weather front coming through and I haven’t slept well, I am verrrrry careful about avoiding the rest of my triggers, including going to the grocery not down the street to avoid the older ladies doused in perfume. And I try to nap, and sometimes if the kiddos have evening activities on one of those days (music concert anyone?) I pre-medicate with a few excedrin and drink some more water. Not often, but a band concert with a migraine, no matter how good, is not good.

    I’ll tell you, since I started on the arthritis meds I went from a few migraines a year to losing 2 days every two weeks, at minimum. Following my own advice, I cut that down (and as an RD I do eat well most days, though I do like my sugar). But the best advice? Go with the chiro or an acupuncturist. I have been seeing my acupuncturist for 18 months now and I get a headache about once a month. And I can get through it – I can drive the kids around, cook, eat meals, and simply go to bed a little earlier and I wake up feeling wonderful. I sleep better when I see her on a regular basis – about once a month now, though more frequently the first few months. Sometimes she only does acupressure… which is my favorite part. No cracking, no disrobing… awesome. Look for a Zero-balancing practitioner and see what you think. Otherwise… I think you already know what you need to do!

  18. Mary says:

    So inspired by this post. I happened to stumble on it today and found myself nodding my head at many of the topics you covered. Can’t wait to delve further into your blog and the comments from readers. Lots of great ideas and helpful suggestions. This is exactly the kind of thing I’m looking for to keep me on track this year.

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Hi! I’m Jules.

I used to be an attorney, but it made me grumpy. Now I write about life, sweet and savory, as a wife and mother to two small boys. My knowledge of dinosaurs knows no bounds.

You can read more, including the meaning behind the name Pancakes and French Fries here. And, yes, I really am phenomenally indecisive.