Are Your Health Goals in Alignment with Your Values?

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles, 2013, from http://www.freedigitalphotos.net

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles, 2013, from http://www.freedigitalphotos.net

I and many others are embarking on a health and wellbeing journey. It has not been easy, but it has already reaped rewards and it’s because my resolutions are in alignment with my values (finally!).

Weight Management: I am not particularly interested in calorie counting or counting pounds. In fact, I am not going to weigh myself until my biometric screening in June. Counting lost or gained pounds are counterproductive – especially when one is building muscle mass as they work out.

Others find solace in seeing lost pounds, whereas I find solace in feeling great, having tons of energy and sleeping well at night. I want overall wellbeing – few to no colds, a general sense of great health, and a knowing that my body is thriving.

There’s no right or wrong way to look at weight management. What’s most important is whether or not your weight management styles are in alignment with your true values.

Nutritious Diet: I value consuming lots of fruits and vegetables. My mother gifted me a NutriBullet for Christmas and I now I am cultishly juicing/extracting everyday. I’m hooked. Now I crave fruits and vegetables over chips and cookies. Juicing assists with my value of consuming a large amount of fruits, vegetables and nuts. I don’t beat myself up over having a meal at a diner or a dessert. I know I am in the land of the living and sometimes I want to indulge. I make all the conditions in my life to allow me to easily eat or drink when and what I want.

Moderation is key. Because I am on blood thinners, I can only consume a small amount of alcohol, so I save drinking for special occasions. I eat everything in moderation and never feel compelled to finish everything on my plate. I am a lifelong naturally slow eater, which I’m told is a good thing (a pain for my friends and family, but a good digestive/metabolic thing for me).

Exercise: I was the biggest gym rat ten years ago – going five to six times a week. Before that, I would rally up friends to take belly dancing classes with me. I do not have a gym membership presently, but I do have my beloved elliptical machine in my garage, some great 1980s ab workout videos and YouTube exercise How-tos. I also have my sneakers and long, suburban blocks to walk. There are several parks in walking distance that I can jog to. I may get a gym membership, but I have exercise at my fingertips right now, free of charge.

So many of us think we have to go to the gym and that there’s one way to fitness. Fortunately, there are many paths to great physical fitness that can be aligned to our personal values – not just what’s the latest fitness fad or what others are doing to stay fit.

Meditation: My relationship with meditation has strengthened over the last year. I carve out ten to fifteen minutes of my lunch break most work days to meditate. I book an empty conference room, turn down the lights, tune in to my YouTube meditation channels on my cellphone and I meditate. Sometimes, it feels like I’ve left my body, the building, the planet, only to become aware of reentry into my physical being when the music or chants stop. Meditation is what grounds us and at the same time releases us from the clutches of worry, anxiety, and earthly issues. I am most proud of myself for continuing to meditate on a regular basis, even at work.

Singing: I don’t sing for others, I sing for myself. I sing when I’m happy, when I’m sad, when I’m driving, and when I’m feeling silly or serious. Singing is a form of exercise and meditation for me, all mixed into one. After losing my breath during my pulmonary embolism episode, I value feeling good and breathing. I can breathe, damn it!

What makes us beautifully human is our ability to sing, dance and be merry. Love your body, this earthly vessel that carries you. When we forget to love ourselves, our body communicates to us what is needed to get back into alignment. Sometimes that communication is illness, injury, or depression.

When we start to recognize and honor our values, our goals naturally flow and align to and from them, effecting lasting, positive changes in our lives.

~Your Curator of All Things Abundant, Kimberly Jo Cooley

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10 Life Enriching Things To Do When It’s Cold Outside

 Merry Christmas Folks! I hope you are having a lovely time with friends and family, but be sure to take time out for yourself, even if it’s just for a few minutes each day through the holiday season. When you’re refreshed, you bring your whole self to the party! This blog post is a revisit from last December and I thought it was timely as many of us are taking time off for the holidays. Enjoy and Happy Holidays to you and yours!

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Courtesy of Freedigitalphotos.net

Cold weather or tending to sick, sleeping children definitely keeps many of us in doors. When we find ourselves bound to the house, whether to stay warm or to care for ourselves or others, we can use the time productively. Here’s a list of ten life enriching things to do while stuck in doors.

1. Create an acknowledgement/gratitude journal. This type of journal is different than one to capture all your thoughts and emotions from day to day (although I think that’s a good reason to journal too). This journal is simply to acknowledge the specific things you did in a day and what you are grateful for. In time, you will have a collection of acknowledgements about your life and will have physical evidence of all that you do and receive.
2. Create a Manifestation journal. This is different from an acknowledgement/gratitude journal because it is a chronicle of the things you wish to bring into your life in the near and far future. It will feel amazing to see the things you scribed in your manifestation journal come to fruition in your acknowledgement/gratitude journal. Some things I have manifested was my daughter, my degree, my vehicle, and a better job, just to name a few.
3. Create a Vision Statement for your life. A paragraph detailing your vision for yourself is an awesome way to culminate all that you want represented in your life. It is a great reference to look at each day in your cubicle wall or on your bathroom mirror. Companies have vision statements, why not the little peoples too?
4. Create/work on your vision board. I have a well loved, ratty vision board that essentially has everything I wanted to manifest come about and now need to make time to create a new one. A vision board is great for the visual folks who need to see images to conjure up good feelings of what they want to have or continue to have in their lives. I grabbed images from the internet, magazines and even fortune cookie notes. It is a fun project to do with the kids, too.
5. Surf the web with purpose. Surfing the web sometimes gets a bad wrap as a time zap. I personally feel we are gaining information to store for later when we are perusing the net. Now that I am blogging, every opportunity to surf is a possibility for a new subject to write about. When you’re surfing the net, think about something from your manifestation journal you want to do a little more research about. Perhaps it’s a trip to Brazil. Or, an article on the history of tithing. Whatever it is, surf with a purpose to make the computer time count.
6. Guided meditation. I am a huge fan of guided meditation because it helps to guide the mind and body into a quiet state. Guided meditation reduces stress and for those of us who are spiritual, it brings us closer to our Higher Self or God. Here is a link to UCLA Health’s website with free quick, guided mediation MP3s http://marc.ucla.edu/body.cfm?id=22. If you’ve never meditated, having a guide to help you quiet your thoughts is super helpful. Don’t feel like you have to start out doing 30 minute sessions – start with five minutes and work your way up.
7. Listen to Podcasts. Just as I’m a journal junkie, I am also a little strung out on Podcasts. I listen to spiritual leaders and life coaches for daily inspiration. Some podcasts to check out: Everyday Attraction with Rae Zander; Think, Believe and Manifest Show with Constance Arnold; Receive Your Life with Janice Campbell; The Matt and Phil Show; Flowdreaming with Summer McStravick. For the creative writers, check out Writers on Writing.
8. Exercise. Get some second hand yoga or fitness videos, dance, or if you have room in your family room, get a small bike or elliptical machine and work up a sweat while you watch television. Whatever you do, get moving. Obviously, if you have a sick child or you’re sick yourself, this is not really a feasible option, so that’s why it’s towards the bottom of the list.
9. Daydream. Now, this is something you can do while your child sleeps or if you’re bedridden. Allow your mind to wonder. It feels so delicious to dip into a daydream, and almost a letdown when it’s interrupted. Here is how Wikipedia defines daydreaming: Daydreaming is a short-term detachment from one’s immediate surroundings, during which a person’s contact with reality is blurred and partially substituted by a visionary fantasy, especially one of happy, pleasant thoughts, hopes or ambitions, imagined as coming to pass, and experienced while awake. Your mind needs a break, why not daydream?
10. Sleep. This will be a given if you’re sick. Even if there’s no sickness in your house, a nap or a night’s rest is what your mind and body needs to recharge. For many of us, sleep is a depleted commodity and naps are great for storing a little day’s energy. On days when I’ve had a hard time or had to leave work early, I go straight to my couch and take a nap. I usually wake up feeling a lot better about a situation or I may even dream up a solution to a problem. Sleep is medicine.

What are some ways you pass the time on cold or rainy days? And, what are some ways you enrich your life for free?

~Your Curator of All Things Spiritual and Inspirational, Kimberly Jo Cooley

Kimbery Jo Cooley’s Blood Clot Story

My very first published piece is located on stoptheclot.org! And, it is something that is (literally) near and dear to my heart. My health crisis, has become a blessing in so many ways. I felt an urge to get my story out, to save even just one life. The original posting is on http://www.stoptheclot.org/news/kimbery-jo-cooleys-blood-clot-story.htm:

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I’m a thirty three year old, healthy mother of three children, and I was diagnosed with a Pulmonary Embolism in July, 2013.

I vaguely recall bumping my left shin on my platform bed, and feeling a leg cramp. It had been a long time since I had a leg cramp, but figured I needed to eat more bananas for potassium, which helps prevent leg cramps.

A week later, Saturday, July 13th, I felt a tightness in my chest. I thought, “Gee, I am gaining weight!” I was breathing shallowly, but assumed the Sacramento summer heat was getting to me.

The following Monday morning, I drove to work and I was feeling a little lightheaded. I called my mother once I got to work. She told me to call the doctor. I thought my mother was overreacting, and I told her if the tightness persists, I’d consider making an appointment.

That day, I climbed a set of steep stairs near my office building, which I normally had no problem doing; but this day, every step was agonizing. I couldn’t catch my breath, and had to pause with each step. I still didn’t think anything was wrong – just assumed it was time to start a new exercise regimen. On the drive home from work, I felt the tightness again, so much so, I needed to take my bra off.

Tuesday was the same symptoms, only more intensified. As I breathed, there were sharp pains on the left side of my chest and I couldn’t take a deep breath. I’d listen to Podcasts and had trouble comprehending what was being said. On my drives to and from work, it felt like I was even starting to black out.

On Wednesday morning, I barely made it to work. I was so dizzy and disoriented by the time I arrived. My mother called me and asked me how I was feeling. I told her, “like crap.” She demanded I call Kaiser’s advice nurses and make an appointment. I was so busy at work. I was a new arbitration specialist for an auto insurance company. I had workaholic tendencies, and the thought of going to the doctor felt like a waste of time.

I decided to listen to my mother because the dizzy episodes were starting to freak me out.

I called the advice nurse. She placed me on hold to consult the on-call doctor. When she got back on the line, she said, “I do not want to alarm you, but you need to get an ambulance or have a co-worker drive you to the ER (emergency room) right now.” I was like, why? She proceeded to tell me that I had life threatening symptoms, and then said, “I wish you all the best. I am sending you waves of light. May God bless you.”

I began to sob. I called my husband and he picked me up to take me to the ER. I was too cheap to call for an ambulance, and I really didn’t want to bother my co-workers in the event that there was nothing really wrong.

I went to the ER and the staff attended to me right away. They ran some blood tests, one of which was a D-dimer test. While the nurses were out, I googled on my smart phone what a D-dimer test was for. I realized it was to rule out blood clots. A few minutes later, a doctor confirmed the diagnosis.

A CT scan confirmed I had a blood clot in my left lung. I was prescribed Lovenox injections and Warfarin. Two days later, I was back in the ER with excruciating pain on my left side. The ER doctor explained that the pain I was feeling was the area where the PE was caused that part of the lung to die – a pulmonary infarction. They gave me Norco for the pain and I went home.

I feel like a combination of things caused my PE. I have a sedentary job where I sit for many hours per day. I bumped my left leg, which likely caused a DVT (blood clot in the leg). I was once a smoker. I did test negative for genetic clotting disorders. They still do not know officially what caused it, so I will be on blood thinners the rest of my life.

I made some changes in my life. I take frequent breaks at work now. I exercise. I go to the doctor when unusual symptoms pop up, despite what the financial costs may be. I now put my health first in my list of priorities.

Take Home messages
·Blood clots can happen to young, seemingly healthy people.
·Seek medical attention for symptoms that seem like a muscle pull or soreness, especially when they seem to get worse, since DVTs often appear in that way.
·Get care right away in the ER for chest pain or shortness of breath.
·Pay attention to unusual shortness of breath and seek medical help as soon as possible.
·Immobility can increase your risk of blood clots.
·Trauma to the leg can increase your risk of blood clots.
·Listen to your body and go to the doctor when something doesn’t feel right.

Recommendations and Shout Outs

Friday, December 27, 2013 Recommendation(s):

A common New Year’s resolution has to do with weight loss and physical health. More gym memberships are purchased (and later neglected) in January than in any other time of the year. How about trying something different this time around?

Weight loss starts and ends with the mind. We can set up the best workout schedule and buy all the best fitness gear (I’m a sucker for fuschia workout clothes), but it will all be for naught if we do not get our mind and spirit wrapped around the new physique we are trying to embody and the improved health we aspire towards. We are destined to hold on to the weight and undesirable health issues until we first address the mind, body and spirit connection to getting into shape. Let 2014 be the year that we all celebrate renewed, healthy bodies that happens to look great too.

This week’s recommendation goes to Flowdreaming.com, for its programs and audio MP3s that help bridge the gap between fitness goals to success, and the mental mumbo jumbo in between. Flowdreaming is a Law of Attraction modality into emotionally daydreaming our way into manifesting the things we want in our lives. The founder of Flowdreaming, Summer McStravick, has several “flowdreams” on her website – 10 to 15 minute deep, emotional visualizations that carry you away for a moment and into the life and body you  want. In time, the Universe begins to provide experiences that match that which you are creating when you flowdream. She has amazing flowdreams on the subject of weight loss and improved body image, but also a whole cache of MPs on various life subjects. Here’s a list of some of the flowdreams related to improving the body:

  • Beautiful as I Am (Total Self-Acceptance)
  • My Ideal Body
  • Lose Weight Now Playlist
  • The Flowdreaming Weight Loss Support System

Do yourself a favor and begin to envision the body you want, so much so that when you look in the mirror, you don’t over analyze where you are physically at in the present moment, because all you can see is the body you’re becoming. There has to be acceptance of where you are physically, a loving appreciation of what works and looks good on and in your body now, visualization on what you wish to see, and then the steps towards getting there will follow – in that order.

Friday, December 27, 2013 Shout Outs:

I’d like to give a special shout out to http://www.yourbeautifullife.org/. I first discovered this website through Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/Yourbeautifullife, and the images and messages there were life enriching and inspirational, which led to me creating my own life enrichment blog and website. Here are some of the beautiful posts created on this website:

Support Yourbeautifullife.com by “liking” and following this page on Facebook – you will not regret seeing these inspirational messages everyday.

-Curator of all things life enriching, Kimberly Jo Cooley