1. I stopped working. That is, I retired from the work-a-day work force. I’m not going to lie, it has been a bit of an adjustment but I am quite certain I can make this retirement thing work. I have a list of daily tasks, reading and learning (currently Spanish on the free amazing app Duolingo), exercise, communication with friends and family and meditative walks plus meal planning, groceries, laundry and doodle care. These things shape my days during this pandemic while I dream of world travel once return to Canada testing requirements lift. (There has been a rumour that the restrictions will lift April 1!!!!!) Oh my goodness. Can’t wait!
2. I stopped avoiding stairs folks due to dropping about 50 pounds! Obviously had to climb up before heading down (in both cases, actually). This is hubby ahead of me in St. John’s, Newfoundland. These days I enjoy stairs and getting back into good physical condition. It is an epiphany to witness the body getting stronger and more fit.
3. I stopped social media (is blogging considered social media? Hope not.) This on the heals of watching a documentary called ‘The Social Dilemma’ and now understand the reason social media are free. If a product from massive technology companies are free, it means WE, the USERS and our ATTENTION, are the product. Keeping our attention is the purpose so that their advertisements get more time to normalize into our awareness and become that item we recognize and eventually buy. Our attention is their aim. Sadly, their tactics for keeping our attention can take us down myriad wormholes – wormholes that they provide to us through their algorithms! The top idea to get away from some of the social media pressure is to simply turn off notifications. Simple. Here’s an article out of Syracuse University with further recommendations for you: https://launchpad.syr.edu/3-things-we-learned-about-social-media-from-netflixs-the-social-dilemma/
4. I stopped drinking alcohol. I felt backed into a corner first by peri-menopause and then by full-on menopause along with, lets not forget, mental illness. I found that imbibing begets more imbibing. If I don’t drink, I usually don’t miss it. There are all these new non-alcoholic beverages on the market and at some restaurants which make this an easy choice. Hubby brought home zero percent alcohol coronas baby! So with a wedge of lime, we were feeling tropical. Today was above zero so, there’s that.
5. I stopped wearing makeup. To be fair, I haven’t worn much makeup since the 80s. I’ve always wondered why I sometimes feel obliged to paint my face? Do men feel obligated to put daily colour and chemicals on their faces and eyelashes? So, I’ll keep it to the light pink barely-there Burt’s Bees lip balm and nothing more. (for a funny story on (not pink) lip balm read: ‘Trying Something New‘).
Ok, if I was going to a fancy thang, I might apply a very little bit of makeup. I’m not a fanatic.
6. I stopped hating being alone thanks to the pandemic forcing the issue. But, the sun is coming up folks! This is a pretty morning sunrise on one of my solo (with doodle-dog) walks around a pair of ponds just up the trail from my house.
7. I stopped rolling up my yoga mat. Instead, now it lies in a ribbon until I flick it into place and get on it. Or, it can sometimes be found laying in wait for me, all set to go. I am incrementally building strength, flexibility and balance. It takes time but not nearly as much time as I thought, because I’m doing it daily. I’m back into my fluid, intuitive daily arm-balance and inverted yoga practice. I still love being upside-down, it seems. Several people have asked me what I include in a typical daily practice. Here’s an example.
8. I stopped wearing my hair long and I stopped the perpetual hair band on my wrist. One day I lost the love for my long tresses. It was dragging me down. I put my washed wet hair into a slick ponytail and asked Hubby to lob it off. I later went to a hairstylist and she made it look sweet. It is short. It’s just easier. Fresher. More up to date. (Not saying I hate long hair, it’s just a break from 30 years of the same relative hairstyle which was born of the fear of a loss of femininity should I cut it.)
9. I stopped long enough to enjoy this view, and many others. This is the gorgeous Petty Harbour, Newfoundland. We love this place!
10. I stopped not using snail mail and now I have a five year-old pen pal. She is an incredible communicator getting to the brass tacks in each colourful letter: have you ever seen a puffin bird? Even though people do not look the same on the outside, they are the same on the inside. I like talking with my friends a lot. What do you like? And, what is your favourite pet animal?
11. I stopped sleeping well due to facing past trauma, though it’s important to do so, with professional support, when ready. So, then I stopped trying not to take a sleeping pill. I hate them but I also hate 3 hours of sleep at night. I had written a post about how to get a good nights sleep by taking a health supplement. For me, that lasted about three weeks and then back to insomnia and the dread, loneliness and hopelessness that comes with it. I have sought help and was recommended to do a self-study of this program found at mysleepwell.ca* out of Nova Scotia’s own Dalhousie University. Now I am doing myriad things to aid in the normalizing of a decent night’s sleep. Here’s some of the programs’ recommendations: only sleep in the bed (for example, no reading in bed). That was huge. So, reading in a chair until I’m sleepy for bed. The thinking is to associate your bed with sleep only.
There is much more to it like keeping a sleep diary. Sleep hygiene (clean up you sleep act) like: no screens in the bedroom – don’t use your cell phone for a clock. (I picked up a travel clock for under $20); dim lighting, full darkness at night which may mean better curtains or blinds or a sleep mask, no pets allowed in who would disturb you or other humans who snore. If there is a chronic snorer, or twitchy-legged partner? Try to find a bedroom and a bed that can be made quiet with a tightly closing door and/or a hallway door that closes too. The double door stops you being awaken by the cat. The very one who used to jump on your face at 4 am wanting to be fed or cuddled. We’ve all been there. Feed your cat at night. We have big brains but sometimes these simple little tricks elude us. I know.
Sleep needs to be your sanctuary.
These measures and a few more (caffeine only in the morning; less or no alcohol; dim lighting; cool room, no heart racing exercise a few hours before bed) are to be done for a while until you’re habitually sleeping soundly for seven to nine hours per night without any sleep medications (and if you’re on sleep medications there are instructions on how to wean yourself off of them for good but, it must be done slowly to stick).
I am very hopeful that this system will work for me. Hubby got me a new sleep mask to help with this project (such a sweetie!). It works very well – not letting any ambient light in. Inky blackness is all I see if I open my eyes in it. Find it by searching for zizwe sleep mask. I also wear earplugs that are suited to my female, smaller ear canals. They come from a Swedish brand called happy ears and are very effective. So basically, I put my mask on and my ear plugs in to help block out unnecessary light and sound.
12. I stopped wearing underwires. ‘Nuff said. Good riddance.
13. I stopped taking my good fortune for granted. OK, to be fair I’ve always been really good at counting my blessings but now I really count them.
Well folks, what have you stopped in this year 2022 or in the last year? Leave me a comment. I love ’em!
*Sleepwell is led by Drs. David Gardner & Andrea Murphy from Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada and contributed to by psychologists, psychiatrists, family doctors, pharmacists, people who live with insomnia, researchers, and sleep experts to make sure that our recommendations and content are accurate and practical. Funding: Drug Evaluation Alliance of Nova Scotia, Government of Nova Scotia.