Tag Archives: well-being

What’s on your plate special edition: what’s in your cup?

It’s just past 9:00pm, and C’s sat across from me enjoying a cup of herbal tea (or an infusion, as the British and French more correctly call it) something that’s been an evening ritual of ours for some time now.  Except I’m not indulging.  This is not, as you may suspect, because C is mean and didn’t make me one.  It is instead because I get a bizarre case of heartburn if I drink anything hot at night, even those herbs specifically known for their antacid properties.

Drinking is such an important aspect of wellbeing.  I could go on for days about this one…how drinking what’s good for me has helped so much, while how drinking too much of what’s not has hurt me and those I love.  Yes, I do refer to alcohol here, but also caffeine and sugar.  While they don’t intoxicate, they do contribute either to our health or our lack of it, and I’m a huge proponent of all three chemicals!  In moderation, mind…

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You gotta love some body.

The penny really dropped for me in a roundabout way.  I’d decided to try giving up cigarettes, and it would take me three rounds (gum, patches, and finally Champix, as well as an extraordinary nurse and very supportive partner all along the way) before I really and truly got there.  But when I did, I was immediately struck by how much less my chest hurt and how many more stairs I could take than I could whilst I was still lighting up (duh).

But there were other pains: back pain, which came and went and was debilitating; pain in my ankle and knee from a lack of physio after my 3 surgeries following my broken leg; and then just the normal aches and pains that go along with carrying 60 lbs too many around with me everywhere, every day, all the time.  This giving up smoking thing was very much connected to my well being in three ways:  vanity (I was sick of yellow teeth, being stinky, and worrying about those horrible lip wrinkles), fear of death (kept picturing myself on my deathbed with lungs that would never clear out again, having to look my loved ones in the eye), and the anger that came with constantly feeling a lack of control over my situation (nothing took precedence over making sure I’d had a cigarette when I needed one).  Giving up cigarettes is something that occupies every free moment of thinking time when one is going through the hardest bits, and consequently, I spent lots of time contemplating the function of the body I was healing.

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Year 2…and counting…

Around this time last year, I posted about my 1 year anniversary of giving up those wicked little sticks I’d depended upon for more than half of my life.  The focus of those posts was what had and hadn’t worked, since 2 years ago wasn’t the first, second, or even 8th time I’d given up smoking.  This morning, though, out for a run with Chris (during which, incidentally, my lungs didn’t hurt one bit), I got to thinking about a seminal point in my last so-far-successful attempt.  That moment so deeply affected my success to this point – and quite a lot of other things in my life, to be honest – I thought it warranted a post all its own.

As a manager at the Y, I had what I thought of as the A-Team for a little while.  There were hiccups, of course – sick leave, temporary transfers, etc.  But when we were a team – and, really, it was more about when they were a team – it was magical.  Three very different women with such remarkably disparate gifts to offer, I couldn’t have hand-picked a better trio.  The eldest of them, C, was – is – an extraordinary person.  Her life could fill not less than three novels, and her experience was infused with a depth of understanding the rest of us were and are still working on.

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1 Year In…What Did Work.

It’s probably true that one of the biggest obstacles to quitting smoking is all of the hype that surrounds it…and ironically, a lot of that hype is geared to support people through the process.  My friend Kevin once (Who am I kidding?  More like fifty thousand times) told me that the trick wasn’t to quit smoking…rather it was to become a nonsmoker.  This was incredibly sage advice, but I wasn’t hearing any of it, in large part because nonsmokers telling us to quit, or why we should quit, just doesn’t work.  Even if they were smokers before.  That said, when the time is right and the smoker in question does take the plunge, a lot of that great advice comes in handy.

Having been smoke free for a year now, I’ve had a lot of time to reflect on what I did wrong all those years…and what I did right this time around.  As previously mentioned, these lists are exclusively the product of my own personal experience, and it just might be balderdash to everyone else out there.  Bear in mind, if you’re a smoker, I’m not telling you to quit…only you will know when the time is right, and rushing it, or doing it for somebody else…well, it didn’t work for me (although that didn’t make it to my previous list…maybe it should have?).  I think this is more about planting seeds…thinking about something is the first step in making that thing a reality, and thinking about becoming a nonsmoker in a healthy, positive way…well, like I said, it’s only a start.

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1 Year In…What Didn’t Work.

So as of a few days ago, it’s officially been fully one year since I resolved to quit smoking.  Yes, I realize that most people would celebrate their actual quit date, but these things are never really that simple, as any smoker will tell you.  This is, for me, a massive milestone in my life…the whole premise of “what if and why not” is for me this idea of life’s endless possibilities…I have known for a very long time that I would be severely limiting my own life’s possibilities if I couldn’t kick the habit.  So in light of that, I’m dedicating two posts to my process…maybe it will help a couple of people, maybe it’s just therapeutic for me.  Maybe a bit of both.  Whatever the case, please bear in mind that these are things that worked for me, and every person’s journey to any new stage in their life is unique.

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