Catching moments in time with journaling

IMG_0246I was never the diary kind of kid.  All the boring stuff in life seemed to silly to write down and all the fun stuff looked like proof to some of my shenanigans.  As an adult, however, I have developed a different perspective on journaling.  Time teaches us an important lesson that life keeps moving no matter how much we would like to slow it down or even stop it.  Important moments and changes in our lives happen far too quickly but some of these live lessons, if we take time to really think about them, can give us insight on how to get better.

So at the end of last year when visiting the Metropolitan museum I found the perfect journal to capture my ups, downs, wins and losses for 2015.  The buying is the easy part, however.  Life can get into the way with the good intentions that come with journaling.  At the end of the day doing nothing or getting some rest may seem like a way better alternative.  Even with the temptation, there is a lot to learn about ourselves when we are open and honest with how we feel and write it down in a journal.  Yes you write down things that happened and what other people did, but the real gems in a journal are the way we felt and reaction to life around us.  In those pages lies the truth that often we are too afraid to admit to ourselves.  Maybe it’s that we are insecure, or are wavering in our faith, or that the problems we blame on others are really rooted in ourselves.  Whatever those truths are, nothing can be overcome without first facing it.  By writing down your truth in a journal you have the time, space, and freedom to come face to face with who you really are at a given moment in your life.  No matter if you later use it for reflection, or inspiration, or even to share more intimate details of the person you are with your children and loved ones it is a great way to capture who you are, at the heart of who you are.

Looking back in order to move forward

new startWell that time of year has rolled around again and it is once again time to celebrate and plan for a fantastic 2015.  With every year many of us make resolutions, or resolutions to not make resolutions, with the hope that we can make the upcoming year everything that we missed out on the year or years before.  Resolutions to lose weight or get a new job or be more positive hit the ground running at the beginning of the New Year but do they somehow look vaguely familiar? How many New Years have those same resolutions been on repeat?  Each new year bring in what we want to be the waves of change but throughout the course of the year feeling more like the same old same dragging us out to sea.

Sometimes to break the repeat cycle we have to take a look back at why our resolutions failed in the first place.  Did our motivation start to fade, or where the old habits too instilled to break?  Whatever the reason for failure a good clue to why they won’t work now is why they didn’t work before.  This process can be especially difficult because we have to be brutally honest with ourselves and stop the blame game.  For me last year I wanted to eat healthier.  At the onset of the year I made sure to come to work with my snacks and be mindful of my portion size to stick with my resolution.  But through the course of working and life I looked up and realized I was back grabbing my first meal at Chick Fil A at 2:00 in the afternoon.  Yes I blamed it on my busy lifestyle but in all honestly I stopped wanting to put in the work to prepare for my healthy meals and found myself at the mercy of what I drove by in the car.  While I liked the idea of being fit and healthy, I only wanted the result, not the lifestyle change that went along with it.  Like most resolutions the goal to change on component of our lives really requires us to change a whole lot more in order to fit it to our lives and when it comes to making the required sacrifice we fall short.

No matter how hard it is to pinpoint the problem, once you done you can work towards a resolution that you have the inspiration and commitment to that you can actually keep.  Perhaps losing 20 pounds starts to feel impossible around March every year but the commitment to walk 10,000 steps on Fitbit is a smaller bite out of the chunk you can actually manage.  Once you start on your way with baby steps it is a lot easier to turn your walk into a stride and your stride into leaps.  Learning the lessons of previous missteps is the best way to ensure your one step forward won’t end with 2 steps back in 2015.   After all Rome wasn’t conquered in a day so why should your lifestyle changes be so easily boiled down to a couple of resolutions?

Why I Love Tea

Tea setSometimes your day just hits a point where life finally wears you down and to keep on with the day you need a pick me up.  IMMEDIATELY!!!!!  There are solutions all around to give you that dose of caffeine for the stamina to finish out the day, from coffee to energy drinks.  Although options abound, few offer both the pick me up potential and the health benefits associated with tea.  Tea is not the weak alternative for coffee drinks but it harnesses its own capacity to deliver caffeine and an assortment of other health benefits and flavors to suit almost any preference.  There are a million reasons to love tea but here are the reasons I try to keep in stock of this liquid gold:

Take a break to just reflect.   One of the main reasons I drink tea is the process.  Taking the steps of steeping and drinking the tea provides a much need reflection moment in my day.  Now true enough my tea is steeped with the hot water from my Sparkletts cooler but even a short amount of time to slow down and regroup helps me calm my brain in the midst of the storm going on around me.  To have something warm and comforting waiting for me in the middle of the day reminds me that there is more to life than the hustle and bustle.  Remembering that can be the key to sanity in an insane situation.

Pick me Up.  Surprisingly tea leaves have more caffeine in them than coffee beans.  It is the process of steeping that dilutes the caffeine.  To increase the strength for more of a pick me up steep more tea leaves for a shorter amount of time.

Potential Health Benefits: Different teas all pack a different punch when it comes to health benefits, here are just a few

Green tea: Full of antioxidants that can prevent clogging of the arteries, burn fat, counteract stress, and improve cholesterol levels.  It also may provide some protection against UV rays

White tea: Studied for its potent anticancer properties.  The high polyphenol count has been found to inhibit wrinkle production by strengthening elastin and collagen (i.e. prevent fine lines and wrinkles).

Black tea: High caffeine content but also provides protection from lung damage from cigarette smoke and can reduce the risk of a stroke.

Different variety of flavors.  Honestly there are just too many to count.  I think for a lot of people not knowing what direction is right for them is a main reason they pass on tea when the tea box of flavors come around.   For advanced tea drinkers there are stores like Teavana that specialize in the many different varieties of tea.  The Teas By Flavor page by Teavana is a great way to explore new things you may like.  If you are just breaking into drinking tea here are some tried and true options:

Earl Grey: Combo of black tea and bergamot for a smoky but fragrant flavor.

Jasmine Tea: Super fragrant and flavorful it is made with jasmine petals for a slightly sweet result.

Chamomile Tea: More of a concoction of leaves, herbs and spices this tea still is very soothing and aromatic.

Chai Tea: A fun blend of spicy ginger, cinnamon, and cardamom and finished with almond.  A good break from more traditional tea flavors.

Photo Courtesy of Dimi, Turikish Tea on Flickr