Limping Through Life?

When living life on a banana peel, one must move very slowly. If at all.

Here is a rundown of what is not getting done:

  • House cleaning
  • Sustainable Sue content planning
  • Bike rides
  • Uninterrupted night’s sleep
  • Weed pulling
  • Showering
  • Meal planning
  • Reading multiple books in a week

Live footage of me finishing last week:

Source: Giphy, of course

We are down to the basics, and I must add crafting as one of my basics to keep afloat. I am taking this tip from a couple friends who craft to manage their stress levels too.

Above: Sumo wrestler relaxes between matches by cross stitching (Source unknown). Right: Tom Daley, British Olympic diver manages stress at events by knitting (Source: Instagram)

 

NOTE: Before I go further I want to acknowledge all the privilege that I have that allows me to manage mental health. I have money to afford hobbies or therapy, no kids at home to feed when I just want to eat ice cream for dinner, and a job where I work at home and can lie down during my lunch hour if I need to.

My Floors Are Not Clean But…

Here is a snapshot of what that is getting me through these tough days.

1 – English paper piecing is a quilting / sewing technique that I learned at my local quilt shop. I have several projects in mind including a quilt I may try to sell and small handbags for my nieces. Bonus is using up fabric scraps AND scrapbook paper from my stash. Yay for free crafts!

2 – I learned to knit in August and finished a scarf as my first project. I bought some practice yarn scraps from Reconsidered Goods (think Goodwill shop for all things crafts). I worked on my stitching for awhile before purchasing nice yard for a blanket I want to make for a couch we purchased earlier this year. Lucille is a big fan of knitting too, as you can see.

I like this craft because I can carry it easily in a single bag and it is easily contained to do on long car trips or in waiting rooms and such.

3 – I have wanted to make a puff quilt since seeing it on social media. Turns out Lo and Behold Stitchery has a free pattern that includes a video tutorial! This quilt is 720 squares of shades of Christmas colors, plus backing and binding that I was all able to pull from my fabric stash. I really loved using the stash because half of the squares are never seen so I could use some of the less favorite fabric that was in my mom’s stash that I inherited. There is also some fabric from her that is just so old it is hard to work with. I could not part with it, but this way I can use it and it just does not matter how janky it turns out!

Here is my puff-in-progress.

The purpose of this post is not to shame you into thinking you * should * be doing crafts too. This post is a reminder to myself that what I am doing today is enough. I hope you have something in your life that brings light to your days.

Be easy on yourself and others.

Your Turn

What could you stop doing to give yourself a break? What can you start doing to give yourself a break?

By |2021-10-11T19:11:05-04:00October 12th, 2021|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Fitness Without a Finish Line

I want to share some words with you a little differently this week. Kindred Mom blog invited me to talk about redefining strong, brave and beautiful in the second half of life. I shared about the Sustainable Productivity concept of  “fitness without a finish line” and then recorded it as a podcast with them. You can find this piece here. I hope you enjoy it. Here is a small excerpt:

My 45 year old belly I see in the studio mirror is far from the six pack abs that belonged to the collegiate athlete who was weighed each week and when she hit her (coach’s arbitrary) scale goal was told to start dropping body fat. Young Susan did as she was told – mostly through high intensity cardiovascular workouts which were part of pre-season/in-season/post-season/off-season training programs anyway. And let me tell you––if it was on the training schedule it got done. If there is one thing Young Susan (and sometimes Today Susan, if I am being honest) loved, it was a gold star.

Health and Fitness

By |2021-10-05T08:53:13-04:00October 5th, 2021|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Burnout of Busyness

Are you drowning under the weight of your to do list? When people ask how you have been, is your default response, “Busy!”

Have you stopped to ask yourself why you are filling every nook and cranny of your days – of your kids’ days?

I hear your defensive exclamations: “There is no time in the schedule for asking nonsense questions like that?!”

Let me float another one by you – how does it feel to be so on the run that you cannot check in with yourself.

Or is it the inverse – you stay so busy on purpose so you don’t have to consider those feelings.

To consider the voice in your head nudging you to slow down…

..to wait…

..to breathe.

By |2021-07-18T14:13:26-04:00July 20th, 2021|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Sleep – A Foundational Component to Sustainable Productivity

Let’s talk about the elephant in the room – sleep deprivation. This impacts almost 70% of Americans. In my 30 years of studying health, wellness, and productivity, sleep has time and again shown itself to be the foundational component to a Sustainably Productive life.

Sleep deprivation has a detrimental impact on all 3 dimensions of Sustainable Productivity (SusPro). Let’s break each pillar down.

Health and Fitness

Lack of sleep has been linked to negative short-term and long-term hormonal changes in your body. Research has demonstrated that sleep loss (less than the recommended 7-8 hours) is associated with a higher Body Mass Index, lower leptin, higher ghrelin, and increased hunger and appetite. Ghrelin is a hormone that increases hunger, while leptin decreases hunger.

I think this is what the movie Gremlins was about. When you go to bed on time and get the right amount of rest, your body responds as a cute little mogwai. You coo and have those big round eyes and are generally pleasant to be around. Hunger is under control and you make healthy food choices because your body is in balance.

Tell me you don’t feel like this when your stomach is growling.
Photo source is Amazon

When you are sleep deprived, your body releases ghrelin which leads to increased hunger. This seems to primarily be related to acute (short term) sleep loss.

When you are sleep deprived, your body inhibits leptin which leads to increased appetite and storage of body fat. Data from the Wisconsin Sleep Cohort Study found that sleep deprivation is a greater contributor to obesity that hormone imbalance causing high leptin levels and is directly linked to increased BMI. This seems to primarily be related to chronic sleep loss – continued sleep deprivation over time.

Mental Well-being

There is a reason that sleep deprivation is used as a means of torture. Job performance suffers with lack of sleep. Psychiatric illnesses are made worse with lack of sleep. Driving while sleep deprived can have the same result as driving under the influence of alcohol and other drugs.

The detrimental impacts of lack of sleep can be devastating and far reaching. They impact all the SusPro components of mental well-being.

  • Relationships. Please tell me I am not the only one who is impatient and crabby with her People when she is tired and sleep deprived.
  • Time Management. You can get more done – and focus more on the right things – when you are not sleep deprived. A couple weeks ago I was mentally limping out of the work week after not sleeping well and literally sat at my computer for a full 60 seconds before I could remember what I was supposed to be doing with a certain report.
  • Hobbies. Creativity is higher in those who are not sleep deprived. Additionally you will have more energy and patience to learn new things if you are not sleep deprived.
  • Rest. It is hard to rest when you are sleep deprived because you just end up falling asleep. This is ok because your body is claiming what it needs, but not great when your Kindle drops onto your face. A SusPro life needs sleep and rest in balance with each other.

Introduction to Sustainable You

Environmental Surroundings

I find that when I am sleep deprived the first thing to go is my environment. When I am exhausted and ready to drop into bed, the kitchen shutdown does not happen, clothes drop wherever I put on my pajamas, and there is a general feeling that a tornado hit the house.

Additionally, because sleep deprivation allows for less mental space for hobbies and SusPro time management, we tend to fall back on numbing out with creature comforts like social media and TV.

It is not something to push through or feel badly about because you “have no willpower.” Your body is trying to be good to you and signal that you need to sleep.

Let’s talk about how to make that happen.

SusPro Sleep Tips

While the Sustainable You Health and Fitness Module goes into depth about how to make small, impactful adjustments to improve your sleep habits, here are a few quick tips that you can try tonight.

  • Stop caffeine 30 – 60 minutes sooner than you do now.
  • Turn off screens an hour before bed.
  • Decrease your thermostat by 1 degree when you go to bed.

Your Turn

How are you sleeping these days? What have you tried that does or does not work? What do you notice about your mood and focus when you have slept 7 – 9 hours per night consistently?

By |2021-06-13T08:28:51-04:00June 15th, 2021|Uncategorized|0 Comments

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