Category Archives: Health

Miranda’s tenth month: music

I’m happy to say that I didn’t eat any candy or cookies for 22 days in a row. And during all of these days, I did some kind of physical exercise, although on a few days it was only a walk. I have tried zumba and pilates and tai chi, and for once, I’m almost addicted to working out. It does make me cope better with the workload, and I don’t crave sugar anymore. And despite my stress, I’ve been able to read two books, meet some friends and go to two concerts. Because I prioritized what I felt was most important to me, I had the energy to do things in time anyway.

So, because of last month’s success, I’ve decided to go against my plans and choose a focus area that may not help me finish my essay faster. However, it will hopefully keep my mood up and give me some nice breaks from the long hours of studying. This month, I will focus on music.

Last week, I took part in the filming of a documentary, and they wanted a shot of me playing the guitar. First, it hit me that I hadn’t taken my guitar out of its case since my last guitar lesson in December. Secondly, I couldn’t come up with a single song to play. This made me feel really awkward, because here I am, dreaming of making albums that will change people’s lives, and I haven’t even touched my guitar for months. I figured that if I managed to squeeze in up to an hour of exercise every day, I should have time to play some guitar as well.

My first goal is to learn a quite difficult song containing lots of fast picking, which is something I really need to practice. Right now, it seems completely impossible. But if I slow it down and just gradually play it a little faster each day during the month (or at least each day I’m home, because I’m going to London tomorrow), I could make it.

My second goal is to find a new band I like every week. Sounds simple enough, but I’ve had a really difficult time finding bands with more than one or two good songs lately. I cancelled my Spotify subscription last week to save some money, and I still haven’t regretted it. I think Spotify made me lose my patience with music, because there’s too much – it’s so easy to jump to the next song. And some music needs to be listened to a few times before the greatness of it sinks in. Now I’m mostly using 8tracks, a free service where you can only skip songs a limited number of times.

I think these two goals will be enough, considering that this is the month I will (hopefully) finish my essay. It’s kind of hard for me to grasp, but soon my education will be finished. In one month and a few days, I will be free.



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Filed under Goals, Health, Miranda, Music, Physical exercise, Priorities, Stress

Miranda’s ninth month: Priorities

Inspired by Titania’s thoughts on time and priorities, I have decided to turn this month into an experiment. Since my life gets more and more stressful, I think it is time to start prioritizing the right things. Since I came home from Italy, I have been exercising twice a week, and I notice such a tremendous change in my energy and motivation that it would be stupid not to take time to exercise. It simply gives me so much time in return.

One thing that doesn’t give me energy, however, is sugar. This easter weekend has been crazy, with two family dinners and lots of desserts and candy. I don’t need to lose weight, but stomachaches and tiredness is something I could definitely do without. I’m curious to see how it would affect my body and mind to stay away from sweet things for a whole month. I don’t think I have managed more than a week before, but I think that this perspective will help me. Instead of viewing it as a ban, I will prioritize eating healthy because it makes me feel much better and gives me much more energy.

Finally, because of my stress I almost feel guilty when I spend half an hour reading  before I go to bed.  I haven’t touched my guitar for months, and sometimes I would like to draw or take some photos or bake bread or meet a friend, but I usually end up studying instead. This is not okay! I have to squeeze in some free time and fun activities to be able to cope with the stressful days, and I think that if I can make my days more effective by gaining more energy, I will find time for this as well.

So, my goals for April are:

1. Do some kind of physical exercise every day.

2. Eat no candy or cookies.

3. Take time to do something I really enjoy every day.


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Filed under Body, Challenge, Diet, Food, Goals, Health, Miranda, Physical exercise, Priorities, Productivity, Stress, Wellbeing

Miranda’s seventh month: Wellbeing

My simple month turned quite chaotic. I managed to clear out three rooms before I suddenly ran out of spare moments. All my time seemed to be wasted either working or worrying about working. I have tried to do one thing at a time, and I think I have started to prioritise better but I want to keep striving towards a simpler life. In the middle of everything I went to an osteopath and she said I had severe vitamin deficiencies and that my digestion isn’t working properly. So, now I’m taking four kinds of supplements, while trying to stress less and get my mind and body on track again. I decided to squeeze in a wellbeing month to have yet another reason to stay focused on what makes me feel better. These are my goals:

– Exercise regularly

– Eat mindfully

– Get enough sleep

– Meditate

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Titania’s second month: Body

At the moment when I start writing, there are eleven minutes left of my first project month. Tomorrow is 1 September and it’s time to shift focus from mind and soul to body. This does not mean that I will suddenly leave all my mental and spiritual activities aside. I will certainly go on meditating every night, doing reiki as often as I can and want to, and go on living as mindfully as possible, in every aspect of my life. The yoga part didn’t get much attention in my first month, and I actually just wanted to get a little taste of it, and then do more of this in my second, body-focused month. Just like Miranda writes, goals can sometimes destroy more than they help and I often prefer to talk about dreams and visions rather than goals. However, when it comes to this particular months I have actually set my mind to a few rather specified goals.

Doing physical exercise

I get so very much out of working with my body. Having a job where I mainly sit by my computer, I really enjoy doing something physical for a change, and I particularly love the dose of endorphins that fill my body afterwards, making me relaxed and happy. Some five years ago, I discovered what I like most of all: body combat, a high-energy workout class inspired by various martial arts, but where your combatant is not another person but just yourself in the mirror. I also enjoy running and taking power walks with a good radio program in my earphones. This month I will change gyms and the money I save in this process (since the new gym is cheaper) I plan to spend on taking a yoga class every now and then. My goal is to do some more demanding form of physical exercise three times a week when possible – be it body combat, running or yoga (which means bringing my running shoes when I’m away from home). I also plan to take an evening walk or lunch walk as often as possible.

Minding my feet

I have two problematic feet. No matter how much foot cream I rub into my heals – they are still constantly dry, cracked and often soar. From now on I hope to get better at doing a foot bath every now and then. That certainly helps a lot.

Getting enough sleep

I find it very difficult to get into bed at night – I simply have to many things I enjoy doing, such as blogging, reading and meditating. Almost every night I end up surprised at how late it is, and how little sleep there will be in store for me, tonight again. It’s not that I always walk around like a zombie in daytime, but since I have a job where I sit down reading and writing a lot, I sometimes fall asleep in the middle of something important. Then of course I know that getting enough sleep is good for a lot of different things, one of which is staying fit and not putting on too much weight, the next item on my list. I will also try to remember to always do a short round of reiki whenever I get to bed later than I should have.

Going on a diet

Finally, I plan to go on my own modified version of the Weightwatchers’ diet for a while. Being on a diet sounds extremely boring, but I know from experience that once I get started I even enjoy it. I have gained a lot of unnecessary weight over the last year or so, indulging myself far to much with unhealthy food and too much food. The main reason why I want to lose weight is that I have a lot of nice clothes in my wardrobe that I can’t use nowadays. I hate diets where there are a lot of stuff you’re not allowed to eat (such as GI), which is why the Weightwatchers’ diet suits me so well. I can eat whatever I want, as long as I do physical exercises and don’t eat too much. I have already done it a few times, and it has worked excellently. I particularly remember the nice feeling of taking control of your body from one of my previous rounds. Just wish I could keep my weight, but perhaps this time? I will not start tomorrow, however, since it’s the day of my husband’s big birthday party (he will turn 40 soon). So, the message for my body the first day of my new project: Enjoy all the good food tomorrow! Then you can go on the diet on Sunday.

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Filed under Body, Body combat, Challenge, Diet, Food, Goals, Health, Meditation, Physical exercise, Reiki, Running, Titania, Yoga

Halfway through

Half of my Health & Energy month has passed, and I must say things are going quite well. I finished the last of my summer courses this morning, which means I’m free for three weeks before my next course starts. Although I have a long list of other things to do I will definitely use this time to relax and focus on my project. So, what about my habits? The first week I didn’t run at all, but last week I did it three times. I decided not to care about the distance or time, to let go of my performance anxiety and run because I know it makes me feel better. I still track my time, though, but only because it feels so good write it down in my project notebook afterwards.

I’ve done my back exercises almost every single day, and when I went to my chiropractor two days ago, he was surprised by how much my problems had improved. He cut down my daily exercises from ten to three, and I won’t need many more treatments now. It’s so wonderful to see that my work is really paying off!

When it comes to eating I’m using an iphone app to keep some kind of track of my calorie intake. I haven’t been able to eat as much as it tells me to, and it still feels like I’m eating all the time. But you know what? Every time I’ve started exercising during the last few years, I have lost weight. But last week I ran three times and by the end of the week I had actually managed to gain a little weight!

The other habits are going up and down. I haven’t been very good at meditating, but yesterday when I felt irritated I decided to stop sulking and meditate instead and I felt so much calmer afterwards. I will really make an effort to meditate every day from now on. Overall, though, I already feel more energetic. I haven’t been as tired as I usually am (I’ve noticed because over the last weeks I’ve been able to watch a whole season of X-files almost without falling asleep, and I always fall asleep while watching films or TV). Most importantly, I have been able to deal with pre-exam stress as well as a topsy-turvy relationship without panicking or giving up, and for me, that means a lot.

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Miranda’s first month: Health & Energy

There are only four days left until the first day of the first month of the project, so I thought I’d tell you a little about my very first focus area: Health and Energy. I have a feeling that some of the months ahead of me will be more challenging than others, and I have decided to start simple by focusing on very concrete goals that don’t require too much time or mental activity. Like actually putting on my jogging shoes or flossing my teeth. That is one of the reasons why I chose Health and Energy as my first focus area. The other reason is that I think it’s the ultimate start for a project like this. Some more energy is obviously an advantage when dealing with all kinds of things. I also know that the less energy I have, the worse I feel about myself, and since next month will be all about confidence, I hope I’ll be able to prepare for it by acquiring some healthy habits, both for my body and mind.

So what will I be doing this month? Since I’m a hopeless list and notebook junkie I’ve bought a notebook where I will keep track of my progress during this project. I’ve put together a list of seven habits for August:

1. Run
I love running. I enjoy just listening to the sound of my soles against the gravel, or an exciting audiobook in my headphones. I enjoy being exhausted from doing something physical rather than from spending another day studying by the computer. In a weird way I even like the sweat and the aching muscles the day after. Anyway, I know exercising makes me feel happier and less tired, and it gives me more energy to tackle the challenges of everyday life. My goal is to run three times a week, and right now the most important thing isn’t the pace or the distance, but the act of actually doing it. Not tomorrow, next week or next month. Now.

2. Do back exercises
Adults have told me to straighten up as long as I can remember. My bad posture has haunted me throughout my childhood and adolescence, manifested in a poor self-esteem and frequent headaches. I was nine years old the first time I went to a doctor for my headaches. He told me to drink more water. That didn’t help. A year ago I went to a physiotherapist who gave me some exercises. They didn’t help either. A few weeks ago I went to a chiropractor, and for the first time in thirteen years I can go weeks without a headache. I still have a long road of expensive treatments and daily exercises in front of me but it’s definitely worth it. If I can have a life which constant headaches isn’t a natural part of, then I will spend those twenty minutes a day doing my back exercises gladly. I just need to remember to do it, and that’s why I’ve made it a part of this project.

3. Eat more
When almost every women’s magazine is crammed with dieting methods and every other woman you speak to complains about her bloated thighs or how difficult it is to stay away from snacks, it’s almost embarrassing to want to gain weight. Skinny people should just shut up and be pleased they’re not fat. But I’m not pleased. I’m not pleased to be hungry and out of energy all the time, or freezing because of my lack of subcutaneous fat. I’m as jealous of women who have curves and boobs as they may be of my ability to stuff myself with whatever food I want without a thought. I’ve never been extremely skinny or had eating disorders or anything like that. It’s just that my metabolism is through the roof and it’s really difficult for me to gain enough weight to reach the limit for what is not underweight. But this month I will really try. As a step towards feeling more healthy and energetic I will consume more fruit and nuts, eat more frequently and regularly and count calories to make sure I get enough of them.

 4. Skip the makeup.
Although this habit might actually fit better in the Confidence month I feel like I have to start it right away. The health of my skin is part of my general health too, isn’t it? Anyway, I’m in the middle of this painful acne treatment where my skin flakes and breaks out and feels kind of terrible. Putting makeup on is a disaster and I really need to stay away from it as much as I can. Up until a few months ago none of my friends had seen me without makeup on. I still feel uncomfortable without it, but I’m challenging myself more and more and it’s a step towards not caring what others think about me (which is one of my personal commandments). During August I will try to use makeup only on special occasions, like parties and dinners. It will probably be the most challenging goal of this month, but I know that both my skin and my confidence will thank me if I succeed.

5. Mind the teeth.
This is kind of a boring habit that doesn’t need much explaining. I’ve simply neglected the health of my teeth for too long and although I haven’t had a single hole so far, it’s no guarantee for the future. So, from the 1st of August I’ll brush my teeth twice a day and floss every day.

6. Drink more water.
I drink way too little during the days. No wonder I get headaches and run out of energy! To drink the recommended two liters (six refills of my water bottle!) a day seems near impossible to me, but I will do my best.

7. Meditate.
Finally, one of my biggest problems is my inability to stay in the moment. I tend to spend way too much time worrying about what I’ve said or what I’m going to say, what people think or what they are going to think. Too often I slip away from the present, which has many bad consequences: I forget things, I don’t listen and I miss out on what’s important. Because of this, I will devote a whole month of this project to mindfulness. However, I’m going to start right away by making a habit of meditating. I’ve tried it now and then for the last few months and though I’m kind of useless at concentrating enough I’ve already noticed its advantages. It helps me to stay patient and let go of anxiety. It helps me think clearly and keep me from tangling up in negative thoughts. I will try to do it every day, even if only for a few minutes.

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