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Practicing Balance and Sanity, Part 4, Final

The following is a list of more suggestions and ideas that Collette and I have learned and practiced as we continue to care for our loved ones.

As time goes on, I am sure there will be many more suggestions and ideas to be shared relative to practicing balance and sanity. However, for now, these ideas and suggestions in 4 Parts will, at least, be a good start for you, my wonderful readers, of Forgive and Forget.

Read two pages of an escape book:

The Art of Racing In The Rain, The Boys In The Boat, any novel written by David Rosenfelt, Amy Tan, JoJo Moyes. There are hundreds of terrific published authors available through bookstores, online, or your local library. Find one book or author you like and read two pages a day from your choice. That’s it. Two pages.

Move It, Move It, Move It:

Get off your cute tushy and stretch for 1 minute. One minute, that’s it. Or do 10 jumping jacks. 10 right now, that’s it. Or be goofy and do the “Maniac” move from the 1983 movie Flashdance for 10 seconds. (Yes, I’m that old!). Take a walk for 10 minutes, 5 if that’s all you have time for. Don’t think, just get up and move.

Ten seconds reboots our brain. This fact has been scientifically studied and proven. Ten seconds may not take off unwanted extra pounds, but for our brain, it’s a reboot after a solid ten seconds.

Eat Clean. Eat Often. My mood is directly affected by what I put in my mouth and how often I do so. I keep my pantry, fridge, and freezer clean and cleaned out. I grocery shop for just two to three days at a time so that I never find myself arriving at the type of hunger that leads me to devouring empty, dumb calories.

Drink a latta watah.

Avoid pre-made (frozen) meals. Those ingredients listed on the packaging we can’t pronounce are not great for us. Try and cut out, or cut down, on sugar and flour (gluten). You won’t feel so bloated or feel like Shamu.

I never buy anything tempting because I have no will power, especially anything even close to resembling the makings of a sundae. There are certain foods that I would love to eat; however, I do not buy them because I have learned: out of sight, out of mind, out of consumption.

**However, Trader Joes has delicious, healthy, pre-made meals, and now I am learning there are online companies that will deliver to your door, fresh, health conscious, inexpensive, and delicious meals.

Shush: Set the timer and sit or lay down for three, five, or ten minutes. Listen to your breathing. Concentrate on slowing down. Breathe in for four seconds and breathe out for four seconds. At first, you will feel like you are going to jump out of your skin, and you might even feel a bit pissed off and agitated, probably at me for suggesting this. But remember: this is a practice. You will get better at it the more you practice it. You will become less and less pissed off and agitated, also preferably towards me.

Try not to expect this time-out to be without background noise. Not everyone is able to have 100% quiet. If you do have background noise, try to accept it and take it in as part of the practice. Or, grab headphones that either give you total quiet, or listen to something soothing at a low volume. The point is to quiet down, to shush the mind and our thoughts by bringing our attention to the now – that which we can control.

If you have never taken a yoga class, take one. When I finally did, it wasn’t at all what I assumed. It’s as easy as this: if you can lay down and breathe, you just did a yoga move called “Shavasana.” See? Not hard. Yes, you stretch, but you go as far as your body allows. It’s not a competition, or an Olympic trial. Good instructors relay great information and new ideas about how to think more productively and more calmly.

Not to sound too foo-foo, but when you are in a room with good energy, that energy will shift everything in your body for the better.

Dip Into Water. Letting hot water wash over you; i.e. taking a shower, or soaking in a bath, shifts your psyche, another fact that has been scientifically studied and proven. If you are lucky enough to live near a lake or a pool, my advice? Jump in!

Get Lost: If you have time for a movie, watch it. Or, if you are able, and have the know-how, stream something fun: Longmire, Sherlock, Grace & Frankie, Justified, Downton Abbey, Boston Legal, Goliath, Bosch, Breaking Bad, The Blacklist, Billion. Shift your brain. Get swept away. Your brain will function better AFTER a break.

Read one paragraph of an educational book. One paragraph. One. It doesn’t have to be about dementia, just something educational. You get BONUS POINTS for reading these blogs.

Pour a glass of wine, or have a cocktail. Be responsible, however, with this suggestion.

What Is True For Me

Thank you, Collette, for all your input. These unique suggestions have been put into yours and my daily practice. They have helped us to keep our sanity in check, and to keep us balanced and grounded. We hope that these suggestions will help you, my readers, also.

As I asked you in Part III, choose one thing from the combined IV Parts to start practicing. ONE. Two if you’re feeling extra ambitious, but just start. "You can start late, be uncertain, AND STILL SUCCEED!" The photograph at the top are dear friends and neighbors of mine, Elfie and Ted Von Reitzenstein. Elfie received her Masters in English Literature, 1996.

My hope is that you will come to know, as I have, this one Truth for yourself: I know with an unwavering faith that when we want something badly enough, the Universe/Life/God will make room for us to have it.

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