Real Life Adventures 10/24/11 by Gary Wise & Lance Aldrich
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It was my first full week back at home since Oct. 1.
Monday morning didn't exactly start out like I had planned.
I stayed up way too late on Sunday night. And I had to be up at 6:00 am to get to work on time. I really need 8 hours of sleep at night--not 6--to be at the top of my game. What was I thinking going to bed at midnight?
The morning was pitch black, rainy, cold, and I would have loved nothing better than to just stay in bed an hour longer. But, I couldn't.
So, I got out of bed, & went down to the basement to get my gym clothes. That's when I spotted a dead mouse on the floor--and it wasn't in a trap! Ugh! Was this an omen for the day? I screamed and my husband came running. Gotta love that guy!
Not enough time to wash my hair--you know how all that blow-drying-styling routine is a huge time suck. Only enough time for a shower and a quick spritz of water on my flat hair & hope no one notices. Why didn't I wash my hair at night?
But Then My Day Got a Whole Lot Better!
1. I made fresh coffee. That always helps.
2. I had a big batch of delicious "already-made" oatmeal in the fridge. My quickie version of Mike's Quick Kick A** Thai Peanut Butter Chili Oatmeal with Greens. Get the recipe here!
3. Lucky me, I also had all the fixings ready to make a quick lunch. Ezekiel Bread, avocado, tomato, & a batch of scrumptious tempeh "bacon". Get the Fakin' Tempeh Bacon recipe here!
4. My husband had made a big batch of Green Smoothies in the VitaMix, and said, "Help yourself!" Gotta love that guy! He's not always this generous with his Green Smoothies.
5. I packed my gym bag & headed out the door. My plan was to make a 6:00 PM class after work. This is a new offering--and the perfect combo for me. My favorite instructor--Beth. 45 minutes of spinning, following by 30 minutes of serious strength training. Just so you know--I hardly ever make "after work" exercise classes. I rarely leave work on time.
6. The ride in to work. For once, traffic flowed. No slow trucks. No school busses. I made the lights. And decided to take a detour that avoided a huge traffic jam down the hill into work. Things were looking up.
How Monday Played Out - Like a Rock/Siegel Healthy Mind Platter Kind-of-Day
Focus Time. When we closely focus on tasks in a goal-oriented way, taking on challenges that make deep connections in the brain. (Rock & Siegel)
I've been away from work a lot this month. Needless to say, I had a lot of work to catch up on, and getting behind always makes me feel crazy-anxious-impatient. But, I somehow lucked out, & was able to cross off quite a bit of the tasks on my must-do list yesterday.
- I made a huge dent in my backlog of work projects yesterday--which cleared out some brain space for "new projects"--not to mention the on-going projects that have been on the back-burner with all my recent traveling.
- When a physician asked me yesterday if I could help him with the background research for a study to find out if a plant-based no-added oil diet could benefit rheumatoid arthritis, guess what I said? And at the end of the day, I even had some time to start working on it.
Play Time. When we allow ourselves to be spontaneous or creative, playfully enjoying novel experiences, which helps make new connections in the brain. (Rock & Siegel)
- I'm excited! I finally registered for the Wellness Forum's Fall Weekend coming up on November 11-13. A weekend with Dr. T. Colin Campbell, Dr. Caldwell & Ann Esselstyn, Dr. Janice Stanger, Dr. Ralph Moss, Chef AJ, and more. Read more here. Dr. Campbell will be talking about his new book and Dr. Esselstyn will share the results of hundreds of patients who have followed his diet.
- This really will be a "play time" weekend, because yesterday I found out that 5 or 6 of my friends have also registered for the weekend.
Physical Time. When we move our bodies, aerobically if possible, which strengthens the brain in many ways. (Rock & Siegel)
After running on 6 hours of sleep, by 5 o'clock I was ready to skip that planned "after work" workout. But I forged ahead. To get to the Spin/Strength class I needed to be changed into my workout clothes, and leaving work by 5:10 pm.
It didn't happen. A co-worker stopped by to share happy news. I wasn't going to interrupt her.
I barely got out the door by 5:25 pm. I figured I wouldn't find a parking place in the gym's crowded-mini-lot. I figured that all the bikes would be taken--if I got there late.
But, I found a parking space. And there was one bike left.
I knew I was going to sleep well last night. And I did!
Connecting Time. When we connect with other people, ideally in person, richly activating the brain's social circuitry. (Rock & Siegel)
I don't know about activating the "social circuitry" part of the brain--but I do know that talking to my kids always makes me happy.
Just as I turned onto my street after my workout, me cellphone rang. It was son #1, the new dad. I was anxious to hear how the new baby was doing, how the "big brother" was doing, and how the new parents were doing.
And I wanted to hear all about his "other baby"--the project he'd been working on for the past ten months--the one that finally hit "show time" last week.
The news was all good! The grandkids were doing well. The parents were getting a little more sleep. The "project" was a smashing success--and the weather cooperated! And a short paternity leave would start soon.
Dinner Time. When you know dinner is already prepared--and you don't have to cook--life is good! (The Healthy Librarian)
Who cares if I didn't get home until 7:30. I was starving by then--but dinner was already made. Left-overs from yesterday. Plant-Based Italian Wedding Soup Rapido--an old-favorite. It's an easy-to-make delicious meal in a bowl. And my husband had the salads ready-to-go. I poured myself a glass of wine. Heaven! Click here for the Vegan Italian Wedding Soup Rapido recipe!
Plant-Based Italian Wedding Soup Rapido
Spinach Carrot Tomato Salad with Lemon Balsamic Dijon Mustard Honey Dressing
Down Time. When we are non-focused, without any specific goal, and let our mind wander or simply relax, which helps our brain recharge. (Rock & Siegel)
Does watching Halloween, MSNBC, & munching on a big bowl of air-popped barbecue popcorn count as downtime? I think so! After dinner, that's exactly what I did.
How to make Barbecue Air-Popped Popcorn:
- Use a hot air-popcorn popper.
- As the popcorn comes out, mist it with water (yes, it really works & it's not soggy) from a water spray bottle, and at the same time sprinkle on Bone Suckin' Sauce Seasoning & Rub (or the seasoning of your choice) It works a lot better than spraying the popcorn with cooking oil spray (which is what I used to do), with none of the fat! The water just evaporates on the hot popcorn.
Sleep Time. When we give the brain the rest it needs to consolidate learning and recover from the experiences of the day. (Rock & Siegel)
I knew I was going to sleep well last night. And I did. Eight solid hours. No staying up late for me. At 10:30 pm I was out like a light.
Time In. When we quietly reflect internally, focusing on sensations, images, feelings and thoughts, helping to better integrate the brain. (Rock & Siegel)
That's exactly what I'm doing now. Thinking about yesterday. Savoring it. And realizing how an average Monday can sometimes surprise you--and unexpectedly have all the elements of a perfect day! With absolutely no planning! Well, maybe a little.