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  1. So I have been trying to sit down write out a "Hi, I am back, the world is still dumb, sorry I disappeared" post for a week and a half. Honestly, I have a word doc with notes and sentences and gifs and stuff on my computer open with these things. But the way I am writing this shows its not going well. I didn't mean to take last challenge off, it just fell off my radar. I was emailing @fleaball and told her I was just out of spoons. But this challenge has come around, my weight is a new high of 315, I am tired, I am stressed, and I feel like I work and come home nad collapse every day. I stopped all walking. I stopped doing boxes, I just kinda existed and I hate it. So I am trying again. Things are still bad at work, its the busy time, great time to reset. I mean I worked 12 hours yesterday and 11 the day before and well, more than that the week before that. So yea, I am back. I am doing boxes. I just need to do something because I really really can't keep doing this. I need my life back. Adding the Gifs I had collected to make a fun Hi, sorry I left post. Ugh, the second gif link is bad. this annoys me. Maybe someone can get it to work. I need to go to work. its almost 6 am. https://scontent-ord5-1.xx.fbcdn.net/v/t39.30808-6/226379337_4383410528346736_5132151508722304137_n.jpg?_nc_cat=111&ccb=1-7&_nc_sid=8bfeb9&_nc_ohc=gGYkAQEWJ4UAX9_P2BD&_nc_ht=scontent-ord5-1.xx&oh=00_AfDjuxZqXChxAZ9OwtVa9z_Fsu4QpYDgXXCZaFV9uEJ9SA&oe=64C8DD5D (This is my life. Someone send spoons or help, or reminders that this is not what life is) That last sentence is really bad and I want to take it out. but at the same time. That is truth for you
  2. So I am out of spoons, but I have been staring at this finished challenge for 2 weeks and I haven't started it. Honestly, I have been looking at the challenge going .. But but but spoons. And last challenge was all about the fact I have no spoons. I didn't even knew where they were physically or emotionally. But I realized, I can't keep living like this. I feel so much older than I really am. I am tired all the time, I am peopled out and I am over the whole damn world. However, I still have to adult, even if I really do believe adulting is all fake it till you make it. Currently, Chaos is winning our battle. Kitchen still has no countertops, and I am hoping they can measure for the damn countertops on Friday. I really don't want to hear we are too far out of level again. Sinus infection from Kitchen Demo won't go away Basement torn up since we are putting the old cabinets that still function down there Work is still a mess. Boss is still grumpy that I am too negative and what not but coworker is in ALL trouble. Kinda hoping something happens there, but if so, then I will be the ONLY PERSON that knows how to do anything, and that is how I didn't use my vacation last year. *Shrug* Mom--- yeah, enough said. She is just leaving tools around again instead of asking for help on things. Agents are stressed cause finals and school and peopling and learning to drive Still can't cook, so how do you eat better? Lets not look at a scale My house is destroyed Anxiety on high setting Depression on highest setting And Seedlings need to start going outside so they can do something to make food. So yea, I am done. But I am finding that my sitting here, waiting for things to change, is not helping. Its making it worse. I just feel trapped and useless, so why try. So going to try starting tomorrow (today had MORE PEOPLE) and I haven't been sleeping. Boxes will be a thing again. I can post if people care. Right now, I just need to do the things that help. Even if it doesn't feel like it right now. And maybe something will change or I can fake it until it changes. Anyone able to kick me until I start doing something. Momentum is hard
  3. I've been hemming and hawing about this introduction for the last few days, trying to come up with something clever to say about this challenge, but nothing's quite hitting right and I've completely missed Week Zero, so let's just jump right in: MY HUSBAND AND I ARE EXPECTING A BABY!!!!! *faint screams of emotion* This represents a seismic shift in my and my husband's identity and life trajectory, obviously; but more immediately, it means my challenge goals are going to be looking pretty different for a while. Less idle beating myself up, and more listening to my body, getting comfortable with uncertainty and being flexible, caring for my mental health, nurturing my relationship with Eamon, making logistical plans and purchases, and cultivating a spirit of ease, trust, and acceptance - for today and for the future. ❤️ Eamon and I am so full of joy, excitement, curiosity, and eagerness to discover who this little person is and who they're going to become. My biggest challenges currently are navigating wildly fluctuating symptoms without checking out of life, managing my anxiety, and starting to get ready logistically, because 8 months is not very long At All and we have zero baby supplies. (And yes, I know a lot of people wait until the second trimester to share about their pregnancies because the risk of miscarriage is still so high this early, but we decided to share with family and friends early because this is our first time and we need all the support and encouragement we can get. ❤️ ) My first and foremost concern for this moment is my mental health. As I've mentioned off and on over the years, I have general anxiety disorder, suspected obsessive-compulsive disorder, and a severe phobia of vomiting - all of which are very, VERY triggered by pregnancy, as you might imagine. I have not yet vomited with morning sickness, but I've been very close to it a handful of times, and a lot of my daily energy is spent like an alchemist frantically juggling potions and remedies to keep the symptoms manageable for another day. It's a huge struggle to leave the house because I feel vulnerable and unsafe if I'm not secure in my controlled environment with my medications, places to rest, safe bathroom, etc. around me. My first week after my positive test was sadly not spent in rejoicing, but in panicking because of the feeling of losing control over my body and my core fears of failing or being inadequate as a mom. And of course, my hormones are all over the place and I am crying unexpectedly at very weird things. So in the midst of this lovely storm of Feelings, my primary goal is to put down anchors in the things that keep me grounded, safe, and peaceful: Scripture reading and meditation, prayer, very gentle movement, sunshine, music, working on things with my hands, and taking action in the areas I can control (like list-making and shopping!). My midwife reminded me at our first appointment that high levels of anxiety can be harmful to developing babies, and plus - I just don't want to feel shitty for the next eight months. So this is where the bulk of my efforts are going to go this challenge. My second concern, then, is caring for my changing body. Y'all, I have never been this hungry in my life. I knew it as a mental fact that expecting moms eat more, but holy crap, I feel like a vacuum cleaner. Except for when I'm feeling really sick, in which case I feel like every morsel of food in the world has turned to disgusting rot and I am doomed to wander through a nauseating wasteland for all eternity. Right now I'm eating even more carbs than usual, which is kind of expected, but I'm doing my best to work in protein and fruits and veggies where I can. I'm craving salsa a lot. And Eamon picked out some canned fruits and veggies for me today since I seem to tolerate those better than fresh, so hopefully that will be a good start. I truthfully have zero idea what I'm "supposed" to be eating except for "healthy" (and no sushi), so that's another area I can research while I'm resting too. All of this feels very jumbled, but that's about where my head is at currently, so that's okay! This thread will be more of a battle log to stay connected and keep myself accountable for taking care of myself, though if specific goals pop up later, I will add those as well. Thank you for starting this amazing journey with me!
  4. Hello friends! My name is Sky, and I'm a 30-something wife and social media specialist who has been Rangering here at NF for almost 7 years. There are a lot of physical goals I need to be working on right now (rebuilding strength in my legs so my knees don't hurt so badly; building core and upper body strength; losing a little weight; getting my janky shoulder looked at), but the biggest hurdle I'm facing this challenge is a pair of therapy/psychiatrist appointments that I've been putting off for many years. Short version: I have moderately severe anxiety and a severe phobia that have made my quality of life pretty crappy for a long time, but they worsened during the pandemic to the point that a lot of my daily energy goes to managing my symptoms and it's wrecking my body (nightmares, panic attacks, irritable bowel syndrome, etc.). Recently, my husband and I started looking for a new house, which is something I'm very excited about and have looked forward to for months; but even that positive change triggered strong anxiety attacks and made me miserable for several weeks. So, I'm finally admitting that I need some extra help to get back to where I'm feeling good more days than I'm feeling bad. Next week, I have an appointment with a psychiatrist to start medication (likely antidepressants), and with a new therapist to start specialized phobia treatment. While I know these are positive steps that will almost certainly drastically improve my quality of life ... I'm terrified. I've never been on antidepressants before and I'm scared of possible negative side effects (even though I know those are uncommon, I'll start on a very low dose, etc.). And I know that no matter what paradigm this new therapist uses for phobia treatment, one way or another it's going to mean facing the thing that scares me more than anything else in the world. I would basically rather sacrifice my own hand. I almost didn't create a thread this challenge, because I really don't have many concrete goals besides rest, self-care and doing the hard work of starting meds and settling into that routine. That could be either really boring or really dramatic, and I feel a little shy about both options. But I really need the support and accountability of my NF peeps who will not only listen to me process with compassion, but also give me a kick in the pants to keep going and not give up. So ... I'm showing up because I'd rather run away and hide, and in my experience this has been one of the best places to go when I feel like that. ❤️ This will probably be more of a battle log than a challenge, but I do have other projects and workout things I'm tinkering with, so I'll talk about those too. And I'm glad to be here. I love you guys. ❤️ Onward!
  5. I've been trying to beat my anxiety for quite some time; first it was denial, then constant battle with myself. Just recently I realized that the first step to improvement is acceptance. This challenge will be about that. My demon gave me some advantages - I have a better focus span and self-discipline than most people around me, but it is also been giving me hell in terms of well-being. That's why it came to my mind it is like a kind of dark super power. Let's try to embrace it! This is the initial plan: 1) every time the demon emerges, just acknowledge it; there is no point hating yourself and the demon, things are the way they are 2) meditation 3) gratitude - speak to your demon and yourself gently, count your blessings, there are much worse things than having your head occupied "I got a darkness inside, And it is talking to me I feel it rumble and writhe Like a hungry disease A face so ugly I hide, But it longs to be free."
  6. I am doing this unlike most challenges I have ever started. I am writing this one off the cuff instead of writing something in word, over analyzing it and making sure it makes sense for a few days before posting. So if this makes no sense outside my head sorry. In mid December, I had knee surgery to supposedly help an injury I sustained in 2020. I knew I had arthritis and it was bad (3 of 4), but I was getting around finr and surprising my PT people on what I could do before surgery (crab walking anyone). After surgery, I have been no where near where I was in October (when surgery was determined) or before. Where I was walking long walks of 2-3 miles, I am just now doing okay with .5-.75 miles. The Dr put Gel in the knee to help lubricate the joint since steroid shots did not help. Gel is kinda my last option at this point. I am not in PT for my knee. The drs admitted that the PT I had before surgery didn't help, and that I lost strength and flexibility during PT. So I am kinda making up my own PT based on the Dr recommendation of "don't overdo it" which is funny when its me since I love to be hard and push myself. (Side not, why in the 9 realms are my neighbors lighting fireworks at 7:09 PM on a Tuesday night in Feb? See this is why I should not be doing this off the cuff) So my PT is use it a bit more at a time, don't hurt it too much, but keep trying. My work is a mess (long story short, its a HUGE mess and I am just doing what I need to) so that is not helping the BP issues or the "go walk" because I don't want to leave my office and my non-ergonomic desk. Oh and there are extended family issues I would love to ignore but can't. I have 2 Agents of Chaos, 2 dog agents (one is a year old basically today and is HUGE (almost 80 lbs) and all the energy), 3 cat agents plus Hubby. The human Agents and Hubby are great, and are helping where they can. but the big thing is I need to MOVE on a regular basis or everything hurts. I am at my highest weight in over 10 years. My depression and anxiety are a giant mess and more days than not, I am doing things, but more out of the "well, the world will be worse tomorrow if I don't" I sound positive, which is weird. I am not sure this will work. I need to be more than a worker, a mom, a mess. So I divide my life into groups, and from there do boxes of things I would like to improve on. I don't have to do everything, just enough of each category a day. More is good, I am always allowed to do more, but I need to not just do nothing. So I got lazy and decided not to post the boxes. If you really want to see them, let me know and I can add them. Here is the breakdown of the boxes and how many I need vs what is possible. 90% of my stuff is things I can do in 5-10 minutes since that is all I may have at a shot. Did I get all pts in: Needed Possible Strength 3 6 Flexibility 5 9 Life and Family 5 10 Future Me Favors 8 12 Daily Skirmishes against Chaos 4 7 Campaigns against Chaos 4 6 Walking 4 6 Fuel 5 8 Points earned for day 38 64 Welcome to the fight against chaos
  7. Hello friends! This is a quick placeholder post because I am in an airport and keep getting booted off the wifi! Edits and actual challenge deets to come!
  8. Hello friends! My name is Sky, and most of the time, I don't feel very good! I have anxiety, irritable bowel syndrome, and a thyroid gland that may or may not be working correctly; I am overweight and don't exercise; I don't often take time to cook varied, whole foods that I enjoy; much of my life is unplanned and disorganized; and I spend much of my time dissatisfied with my appearance, achievements, wardrobe, and daily accomplishments. I'm really a ball of fun, let me tell ya. 😜 But this is the season for taking stock and making plans for things to improve in the new year; and this year, I would like to take steps to help my body and mind feel better. In the Big Picture, "feeling good," to me, would look like: Having energy most days to complete, not only my necessary tasks, but also after-work projects or activities that I want to do. Having a workout routine that I perform regularly, which helps me be functionally strong for daily life and increases my sense of well-being. Creating and maintaining a daily, weekly, and monthly routine for my household cleaning, storage, shopping, and chores that keeps my home reasonably clean and frees up mental energy from making those decisions intermittently. Regularly cooking healthy meals, rich in vegetables and protein, that I enjoy making and eating. Being able to travel and do most things without IBS symptoms. Developing and implementing spiritual, mental, and emotional habits that help me be gratefully grounded in the present, and spend less time worrying about the future. Intentionally making progress toward my big goals like buying a home, buying a car, writing a book, planting a garden, upgrading my wardrobe, etc. Regularly engaging in creative endeavors I enjoy (writing, photography, needlecrafts, desktop publishing) and sharing some of that work with others. Having a happy, thriving relationship with my husband that's nourished through conversation, play, intimacy, exploration, teamwork, and working toward shared goals. Cultivating and prioritizing a daily Bible study and prayer practice, including striving to apply what I learn to my daily life and consistently worshiping and studying with other Christians. Making space for giving back to others, through hosting, donating, volunteering, visiting, and messaging. So in a nutshell: I want to have more physical and emotional energy, make space for things I enjoy, support a nourished body and mind, and have tangible and intangible resources to share with my family and community. This is, obviously, MUCH more than a challenge-long or even year-long project. Striving for this state of being is more of a lifelong pursuit and a process of giving myself grace and patience when life looks much different than that ideal. But at the same time, I can make meaningful steps toward each of these aspirations, and I can build a lifestyle that supports my feeling good more often than not. Now, the kicker is, I've been setting short-term goals related to this Big Picture list for the last few months, and I just ... don't do them. I start out feeling convinced that my small efforts won't make a difference, that I can't achieve the things I want to do, that I don't deserve success, and so on. So before I start haphazardly reaching for my kettlebell or adding a bunch of vegetables to my grocery list, I want to work on mindset and realistic goals. Here's my breakdown for the five weeks of this challenge: Week 1: Mindset Write down 7 affirmations and save one for each day, either on my bulletin board IRL or here on NF. Identify key values associated with my goals (i.e., hospitality, courage, openness, self-honesty, trust) and orient the affirmations around these. Find Bible verses related to these values and copy them down along with the affirmations. Create a vision board with images that remind me of these values, affirmations and verses, and print it and use it as a desktop wallpaper. Week 2: Break it down Organize my Big Goals into similar topics / areas. Select either a handful or all of the Big Goals and figure out 3-4 smaller steps to move me toward these goals (for example, if the goal is "buy a house," one smaller goal could be "talk to Eamon about a realistic down payment and calculate how much to save each month toward this amount"). Week 3: Take steps Select one small-step goal from each topic area and add to my daily habit tracker. Try to perform the small goals consistently for the whole week. Week 4: Reflect Pause to figure out what's working and what isn't, without judgment - if it's not working, either it isn't really a high priority to me, or else I need to try a different tactic. For things that aren't important, let them go! There are plenty of other things to focus on! Week 5: On my way! After reflecting and adjusting, add updated goals to habit tracker and try to consistently perform them for the week. Do something fun to celebrate progress! I'm seeing a lot of things on social media about taking it slow in 2023 and not pushing so hard to set goals; but honestly, I kind of did that in 2022, easing into my new life as a newlywed wife in a new state, and I'm feeling ready to push and stretch myself again. This feels like a lot but I'm feeling good about it. (One last thing that's floating around in the back of my head this challenge, which I have mentioned in previous challenges and likely won't be able to refrain from mentioning in this one, is that my husband Eamon and I have been casually trying to conceive for the last few months; so in addition to riding the rollercoaster of "Is it happening this month?", I'm working hard in therapy to unpack my fears, hopes, expectations, and goals for parenthood while I work on these other goals. Ideally I will limit how much I brain dump / vent / rant about that in this space, but also, I'd rather do that than get triggered and go off on my loved ones who are trying to help me, which is what I've been struggling with lately, so ... no guarantees. ) I'm glad you're here and I'm excited to discover some health, vitality and joy together in 2023! ❤️
  9. So yeah, life is weird I got the MRI in my knee last Tuesday. Last Weds I found out I was exposed to covid on Tuesday during the day. MRI results now wait till Oct 27th. 2 negative covid tests, but still waiting before saying I am in the clear. . It snowed today, like legit snow. Work is crazy and boss finally admitted I am the only one he can trust to do work. With the knee issues, the cold its been hard to get walking. I know I should, but I am just tired (Okay, I am always tired) but I am just stressed out a bit. So I am doing boxes again (I know insanity is doing the same thing and expecting different results). But I have to do something. Going to try getting back on the bike. It worked until the MRI put me on 1 MG of Xanax and I slept for almost 2 days. So trying to get back to doing something besides existing. Do the things, make changes maybe be better. Great plan right?
  10. It was the last days of the harvest season, when the sun was still golden on the aspens and birches, still brilliant as it flickered over the red maples and the solid brown oaks, lighting up the last sheaves of the wheat fields and cornfields that still swayed and rattled, dry and raspy, in the brisking breeze. Winter was coming, its first chilly whispers biting at the edges of dawn and dusk, but it was not here yet, and the world was still warm and inviting in spirit even as the temperatures sank and the light darkened. I smiled faintly and felt a flicker of pride in myself as I carefully arranged dark red chrysanthemums in a couple of hand-me-down baskets on my crumbling front stoop in the last of the golden evening light. The womanly arts of homemaking had never come naturally to me, and autumn was the season when I most keenly felt my fumblings with decorations, hospitality and delicious hot meals. But, no matter what the wintery whisperings of my own mind said, I wasn't failing at everything. I could still bring beauty and happiness in my own ways. I was - cursed? gifted? - with two powers, two identities, if you will, that I attempted daily to carry in balance. On the one hand, I was the Silver Archer: A Lightbearer, one who, with the power of light and words and encouragement, could heal hearts and bodies. My power came from the Silver Bow - a gift given to me by the skilled wordsmiths and encouragers who had come before me. When my blood ran golden-white with joy and warmth, I could do great works of peace, love, service, and friendship; and with the Silver Bow, I could fire those words like arrows that shot across space and time. On the other hand, I was also the Dark Elf, a title I still didn't care to confess to most people I knew. My other power was that of ice. Of fear. Fear, and anger. With this power I could wound, harm, and destroy - and, I could also protect. When my blood ran icy with fear, it was a heavy weight that was nearly impossible to hide or restrain without pulling away from the rest of the world. But it also gave me a strength to sense others' fear, to protect them from danger, to light the way through shadowy valleys that my imagination had traversed like a well-worn path through my dreams or midnight awakenings. And somehow, in between those two things, the light and the dark, the heat and the ice, the joy and the fear ... I was also just ... Sky. A small half-elf, pale and plump, wife of my beloved Eamon, the broad-shouldered blond paladin. Once a servant in the great university on the mystic Temple Island, I now worked at writing and distributing bulletins for the Chief Scientist's small office in our city. It was modest work, but I enjoyed it, liked my colleagues, and especially liked bringing home a bit of extra money to contribute to our little household. The sun dipped below the horizon and I sighed, turning to glance at the little timepiece on the wall in our cottage. So early and already almost dark. Winter was the hardest season for me - the long, cold days and nights made my small body ache, and the long hours of darkness made it harder than ever to resist the silvery whisperings of icy fear and sorrow in the back of my mind. Still, as I took one last look at the mums and went back inside to warm our dinner, I set my jaw and pushed my unruly strand of white hair back up into the rest of my blonde braid. The sun isn't the only source of light, I thought quietly, selecting some carrots and potatoes, and part of my task as a Lightbearer is to seek out and reflect that light and joy wherever I can find it. For myself, as well as for others. Winter may be coming, but there are plenty of bright and happy things to find if I'm willing to go looking in the darkness. I grinned at myself and dragged the heavy cast iron pot out to boil water. Yes, you pretentious philosopher, that counts for hearts, too. Even the Dark Elf has beauty and brightness to offer, and if you're willing to go looking in that side of yourself, you might be surprised what you can find.
  11. SKY RETURNS: THIS IS THE WAY Hello and long time no see!! My name is Sky and this is my first challenge thread of 2022 - I've been an active member on the forums since 2016, but this year I've been hibernating in the Battle Logs section of the forums, mostly treading water while I navigate a wildly busy year. In addition to enjoying my first year of marriage to my amazing husband Eamon, we've also both changed jobs, had medical procedures, traveled for work and vacations, hosted friends and family, and supported both our sets of parents and grandparents in major health problems. It's been a lot. In the midst of our lovely happy chaotic year, I have not prioritized my diet and exercise, and as a result I've gained a lot of weight and lost a lot of strength and stamina. But now is the time to change that - I've recently been diagnosed with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), which is a chronic condition in which the large intestine's muscle movements don't coordinate correctly, leading to irregular bowel movements and other symptoms, like cramping, nausea, and pain. In addition to being triggered by certain foods, IBS is also often worsened by stress and anxiety; and as a lifelong anxiety sufferer, I've definitely found that my mental and physical symptoms can get into really obnoxious feedback loops. So this month, I want to finally take my health seriously and try to feel better - I want to develop an IBS-friendly meal routine, get back in the habit of moving at least a little each day, and keep caring for my mental health and stress to try to lessen their triggering power. This Is The Way I'm doing a Mandalorian-themed challenge because Eamon and I watched the whole thing together on our recent vacation, and we were obsessed. I love the idea of a creed that uses its strength and power to protect the vulnerable and take down the bad guys, and I also loved watching Mando's growth over the course of the show. I want to grow healthier and stronger so I can better care for the people in my life and be ready for whatever adventures come my way, just like Mando. The Creed: Anxiety management and mental/emotional health Frustrating as it is, changing my diet alone will not be enough to help me manage and recover from IBS. My primary trigger is anxiety and emetophobia, an extreme fear of vomiting that's linked to OCD and trauma. When I eat a food that makes me sick, that triggers anxiety and panic; and when my anxiety and panic levels are high, that almost inevitably triggers IBS symptoms. So I need to tackle this problem from multiple angles, and the foundation is my mental health. My goals for this month are: List 3 things that help me manage or breathe through anxiety symptoms and discuss how to practice those daily / as needed Make (or at least talk about) a plan with my therapist to begin EMDR or exposure therapy for my emetophobia Create and practice a mantra or group of mantras to remind myself that I am more than my fears, I am not controlled by my fears, and I am safe even when I feel afraid. Ironically, as I write these goals I'm recovering from a panic attack brought on by an unusually strong reaction to something I ate at dinner, which made me feel very nauseous and, subsequently, very panicked. I'm feeling okay now but embarrassed at being triggered and a little rattled by the unexpected food reaction, since I don't know what caused it (allergy? pre-existing anxiety from a stressful movie? hormones? problem with how I cooked it?). But on the other hand, it's a perfect opportunity to remind myself that I am safe (even if the worst were true and I were very sick, Eamon is with me and would help me, and I can get to a doctor if I need to), this will pass (I already feel better and I've made it safely through nauseous episodes many times before), and I am not controlled by my fears (after the initial panic had passed, I was able to gently move around and do some simple tasks to help ground myself while I breathed through the downswing). ❤️ The Armor: Physical movement Like many of you, I'm participating in the Nerd Fitness Walking Challenge on Facebook, which is a great kickstart to help me be a little bit active every day. While I certainly eat a lot more now than I was eating before I got married, the other factor in my weight gain is that I really just ... don't move. Our apartment is tiny, it's only about ten steps to everywhere we need to go, and it's been a very hot summer and much more fun to hang inside with my new husband and play video games than to sweat and gasp up and down hills in the heat. However, I've had periods of my life where I was very active, and periods where I was very sedentary, and so I know from experience that I feel immensely better when I'm active. While I'd love to be able to just flip a switch and go easily back to the levels of activity I was at when I felt best - who wouldn't! - I know I can only get back there slowly, through patient effort. So for this challenge, my goals are: Walk 10 minutes every day. It's totally fine if that's just walking in circles around the apartment while Eamon plays a game, or two 5-minute walks up and down the apartment building stairs during the work day. But 10 minutes a day. Go to the gym once a week. No limit on what I do there, how long I stay, etc. because I want it to be for the fun of it. Do I feel like rowing? Walking? Playing with medicine balls? Whatever my little playground heart desires, I'll be moving and that's what I want. ❤️ The Child: Diet and IBS symptom management And lastly, the final piece of the puzzle is diet. I'm working with a nutritionist to try the low-FODMAP diet, which is a diet that restricts certain foods and sweeteners that are shown to often irritate IBS. Typically, the process looks like cutting all foods that could possibly trigger my symptoms, then slowly re-introducing possible triggers one at a time and watching for symptoms, until I figure out the unique constellation of foods that I personally can and cannot eat. Now, I happened to have my first nutritionist appointment right at the beginning of a crazy month, so I have made almost no progress on the plan and need to ask her for more time to get in the groove. But last week, I did finally download some apps to look up FODMAPs in foods, planned some mostly-compliant meals for this week, and added tracking into my daily goals. So, progress is being made. My goals for this month are: Complete my second nutritionist appointment and modify my plan based on her feedback Track all daily meals in a food / nutrition app Track all daily IBS symptoms to collect data for patterns Try one new low-FODMAP recipe and report (and share!) It's not a fancy challenge, and progress will be small and slow, but it feels good to be back. I'm hoping for good discovery - and to get to check in with you all more often! This is the way!
  12. So here is a placeholder for the challenge. Basically, I am trying to slim down things. I am busy as all get out, I have no energy, PT has been making my knee hurt when it didn't before, and work is still crazy. So I backed the challenges down and am hoping to do just these jobs. If I can get this down, then maybe I can get better and get somewhere. So yeah, the whole challenge is do the things every day. Max number of things I need to do is 55 things, goal is to do 50 things since those HAVE TO get done. Here is to hoping I don't flake out and hide and say "Nope" when the answer should be "Do it." Oh and anything that is marked as green 1 under value HAS TO BE DONE, no excuses Nerd Fitness Challenge 9/7/2022 Day of week Day Goal Value Description Strength 1 Desk Push Ups 5 1 Raised Arm Circles 1 PT exercises 1 Calf raises 1 Backward Leg Raises Flexibility 1 Wrist Extension Stretch 7 1 Wrist Flexion Stretch 1 Meditating Groot 1 Toe Touch 1 Warrior 1 1 Cresent Moon pose 1 Ankle Circles Life and Family 1 Brush Yappy dog 1 Brush Ninja dog 1 Water Garden 8 1 Water Front beds 1 Spend time with Agents 1 One good thing 1 NF status update 1 Talk to Hubby Future Me Favors 1 Floss in morning 1 Take Morning Vitamins 1 Find one way I am not like mom 1 Read a book 1 Take Bloodpressure 12 1 Out of work by 5:30 1 Take anti-inflamatory med 1 Japanese practice 1 Check orders account 1 Nightly downtime 1 Floss before bed 1 Be in bed by 10:30 Daily Skirmishes against Chaos 1 Desk 1 Clean off file cabinet 5 1 Clean off tall dresser 1 Clean off nightstands 1 Clean off Dresser Campaigns against Chaos 1 Pick up one furtumbleweed a day 4 1 Empty out car daily 1 Pull one gross thing from fridge or cabinet 1 Purge 1 thing a day Walking 1 Walk 10000 steps 1 Walk 15 minutes a day 1 Walk 5 minutes at lunch 6 1 Walk 5 minutes in morning 1 7 hours with 250 steps 1 Walk to Mordor Fuel 1 No eating after dinner 1 Take Probiotic 1 < 4 bottles of tea 8 1 Eat something for Potassium 1 Eat dried Apricots 1 Eat Breakfast 1 Eat Lunch 1 60 oz of water Total Points Possible 55
  13. The early night of winter had settled softly but firmly over our little home on the outskirts of the city, and the daytime sounds of trade and travel outside had given way to the nighttime sounds of raucous celebrations and the smells of food being prepared. My husband Eamon and I had already eaten, cleaned up and put our simple wooden dishes away, and Eamon was settled by the fire, his healing body wrapped in a warm blanket and his mind wrapped up in a book he'd waited weeks to read. I took a deep breath of contentment and let my gaze linger on the small, bright little room we called home: The one big window, the hand-smoothed walls and low ceilings, the little bedroom with our big soft bed squashed inside, the cozy kitchen and eating area connected to the rest of the house by a narrow door. It was a little cramped, yes; but I loved all the touches that we'd added to make it uniquely ours. I settled myself across from Eamon in the wooden chair he'd carved and the padded cushions I'd sewn and stuffed myself. The weather was mild and rainy, and I pulled a light blanket over my knees as I picked up my new, blank journal. With my favorite ink pen, I carefully wrote inside the cover: Sky Elvenword Nobleheart Ranger Field Journal Even though I called it that, though, I knew this journal would be different than past journals I'd kept. There wasn't as much time for hunting and exploration as there used to be, and fewer enemies to fight. Many of the pages would be filled with mundane things like recipes, or tracking my archery practice and weekend hikes. But still, it felt good to be writing again, to be tracking my progress as I learned new things. I sketched out a few ideas for topic headings: Dragon riding. Lessons twice a week, practice twice a week. Cooking. Use veggies from cellar? New grain recipes for winter? Herbs? Creativity / fun! Movement. Hiking, archery, meditation, foraging, sightseeing in the city, etc. Silver Bow practice. Keep those skills sharp! Management. House stuff, money, wife stuff. Being an adult. I doodled a few leaves and vines in the margins before setting the pen down and yawning luxuriously. It was the festival of the new year and Eamon and I got to rest for three days before going back to work. I wanted to start planning some blankets for friends' new babies, dream about a garden, and venture out for a hike in the rain. Closing the soft leather cover, I ran my fingers affectionately over its wrinkles and leaned back to doze. I couldn't wait to see what adventures would fill this journal's pages.
  14. So I have been doing the challenge work for over a week. I started last Saturday. But I couldn’t bring myself to write the post for it. Then Friday through Monday this week I stopped because, well life is hard and I am tired, out of spoons. Just couldn’t. Last challenge took a ton out of me. I am TIRED. I had some major stress happen last challenge and well, I am not okay. Short version is work got TOXIC and Hostile. HR is involved, and while I should not have anything coming back on me as far as discipline, it has made going to work the hardest thing ever for like 3 months. Plus it is all anyone talks about now. And they want to know what happened, and they want to know if I am okay. I will admit, for the 3rd time in my life, I let someone abuse me. I fell for it. I should of known better. I have been trying to heal for over a month. I know this won’t “go away instantly” but I want to be better. Meanwhile, because the source of the issues from work is not currently working, all their work comes to me. I can’t see what they had going, or where things I need are, but I have been told “I am now the lead on coding.” I am 2 years out of college and the only programmer. Guy that isn’t there, is not organized and we have a ton of deadlines that are not miss able in JULY. Boss is at least being cool, but until I see what is going on, I will not not be anxious about this. Yes, it is a different level of stress, and a smaller one, but its still weighing on me. The Mom issue is still well, an issue. Her Texts are getting more passive aggressive. I took her a plant and a card on Moms day, more out of routine, but I didn’t visit or talk. Bio Brother asked 9 days ago if anything had been resolved with Mom, and when I responded he never even sent a 2nd text. I can deal with her, but Hubby’s family asked about her today, and I got all weird and defensive. Hubby said he was sorry about that, and he told them not to, but they don’t listen. I am tired. I have not been sleeping. Turns out I can take 1 mg Melatonin and sleep for 11+ hours, but I can’t do that on work nights. My nightmares are back, I had an anxiety moment at work that I upset boss (I went and talked to him, I didn’t, but I explained I just wasn’t sure and wanted to make sure the air was clear) but I have no confidence. I have no strength left. I am just tired and I need to heal. I need to heal from the trauma at work. It was trauma. I am still asking people to walk to me to my car. I am still walking around making sure he isn’t there. I need to heal from the Trauma of my mom ,and not let someone asking “So how is she doing” upset me so bad. I need to heal from the point before things started to get better where the dark of Depression had no light. I need to heal from being so mad at myself for never stopping any of this. I need to heal from spraining my big toe chasing Agent Ninja when she got out. So that’s what I am trying to do. Yes, I am doing my boxes and trying to do points and I am walking so much (to process and deal with anxiety), but I would love to say “Hey, this is the road to heal real fast” but that road doesn’t really exist. So I am fumbling through healing. I am hoping to be here more, I am hoping I can do boxes to prove I can do things right and that I am not lazy, stupid, old, worthless, ect. But right now, I just want each day to even slightly better than the day before. Really, I just want to be okay. Please don't expect fun gifs or stories here. I don't know what this will look like, but please be kind and supportive. That is what I am hoping for here.
  15. Hi all For those new to our story, So update for all. The last challenge was full of drama and chaos. I am still awaiting Mom’s reaction to my refusal to talk to her. Hubby fell and got hurt, we lost our Agent K9 (all in 24 hours). At the end of the challenge, Hubby got hurt a different way, I am even more out of shape than I can be and things are starting to hurt that shouldn’t and work decided to get even more stupid with 2 os I am tired, I am drained and there is no good way to put it. That being said, I am trying to find a way to get past this point so maybe I can make progress. There are 2 parts here. A) 0 Week I am on spring break so no work, and no school for Youngest Agent. Tuesday was “National Goof off day” and also a planned sloth day. The bigger part of this is that Friday through Sunday I will be going to see my chosen family. It will be a short trip, but we will see at least a couple of my sisters, my neicelings and hopefully recharge there. Seeing my family that loves me always helps. So week 0 will be mostly a “real” week, but with a few days (Tues, And the trip) where boxes do not count The second part is going to be trying to get back on a real schedule. One where there are bedtimes, and routines and not being so “What is going on?” This will help me get a solid idea of what is going on. This has started to happen last challenge, but there were too many chaos moments that we couldn’t control that affected this. Having Hubby get hurt seriously didn’t help. So big thing here will be stay on target. So yeah, this whole challenge will be about resting, recharging and getting myself where I feel I can make progress and maybe get my anxiety and depression back under control. I am still doing my boxes, I added a couple more per day, but basically it is very similar to last challenge. Now to not give up and just nope out. Goal Value Description Strength 1 Calf raises 1 Squats 17 1 Wall Sit (sec) 1 Side kicks Do 4 1 Leg lifts 4 1 Reverse sit ups 1 Sit ups 1 Knee to Elbows 1 Raised Arm Circles 1 Torso Twists 1 Bicep Extenstions 1 Table plank 1 Bicep Curls with Weights (3 lb) 1 Backward Leg Raises 1 Step ups 1 Side Lunges 1 Desk Push Ups Flexibility 1 Wrist Extension Stretch 1 Wrist Flexion Stretch 23 1 Upward dog/Child pose 1 Meditating Groot 1 Lord of the Dance Yoga (ankle above head) 1 Lower back stretch (One leg across body) 1 Chair Pose 1 Butterfly 1 Tricep Stretch 1 Wall Stand 1 Bridge 1 Calf stretch Do 6 1 Ballet 1 Toe Touch 1 Cresent Moon pose 6.00 1 Sitting Fix/Shoulder Stretch 1 Warrior 1 1 Ankle Circles 1 Warrior 3 (Eagle bird thing) 1 Shoulder Rotations 1 Quad Stretch 1 Side Stretch 1 Forward Bend Life and Family 1 Floss in morning 1 NF status update 1 NF reply one other thread 1 Take Morning Vitamins 1 Find one way I am not like mom 1 Brush Yappy dog 1 Brush Puppy 1 Check Dad's email 34 1 Check ordering account 1 Japanese Practice 1 Check Seedlings 1 Only play game on phone one time a day at home 1 Text/Talk to one Choosen family member a day 1 Relax my shoulders 1 Read a book 1 Soak up the sun 1 Plan 1 Nightly downtime 1 Be in bed by 10:30 1 Put lotion on legs 1 Spend time with Agents 1 Floss after work Do 13 1 Floss before bed 1 Talk to Hubby 1 Water 1 inside plant 1 Take Bloodpressure 1 Do one "do that already" jobs 13 1 One good thing 1 Walk garden once a day 1 Puppy Preparing/Training 1 Weed for 5 minutes 1 Use Breathing app for Anxiety 1 if headache, put on headache salve 1 Play with Cats Fight Chaos 1 Pennisula 1 Island 1 Table Clean all these daily 1 Half wall 16 1 Desk 1 Computer room ottoman 1 Bathroom up 1 Clean off file cabinet Do 6 1 Bathroom down 6 1 Clean off door to basement 1 Grandpa's table 1 Clean off Stairs and landing 1 Clean off tall dresser 1 Clean off nightstands 1 Clean off Dresser 1 Counter over dishwasher At least 5 minutes per room (at least one) 1 Garage 1 Dust one surface 1 Computer room 13 1 Basement 1 Random organizing project Do 4 1 Pick up one furtumbleweed a day 1 Empty out car daily 1 Clean our bathtub 1 Family room 1 Wash window or mirror 4 1 Clean 2 papers out of paper organizer 1 File 1 thing a day 1 Purge 1 thing a day Walking 1 Walk 10000 steps 8 1 Walk 15 minutes a day 1 Walk 5 minutes at lunch 1 Walk 5 minutes after dinner 1 Walk 5 minutes in morning do 3 1 Take Puppy for a walk 3 1 7 hours with 250 steps 1 Walk to Mordor Fuel 1 No eating after dinner 17 1 No stupid sugar 1 Track breakfast 1 Track Second breakfast do 4 1 Track Elevensies 1 Track lunch 1 Track Dinner 1 Track Supper 1 Eat A Salad 1 Take Probiotic 4 1 < 4 bottles of tea 1 Eat Dates Daily 1 Eat dried Apricots 1 Eat Breakfast 1 Eat Lunch 1 60 oz of water 1 Record sugar in G
  16. Hi all For those new to our story, So I disappeared during the holiday mini challenge due to the fact that I just had nothing left. I did do some boxes, but I just didn’t have the spoons or the time to post here. Work got more stressful when my boss tested positive for Covid after being in the office the day he tested. Very few people wear masks in the office, and while I do when out of my office, not everyone respects my space and some people will stand directly next to/over me without a mask when I am at my desk. So I asked to work from home for fear of my mom. Then there was some drama over an email and I am honestly worried about going back to work after Jan 3rd. Mom had/has 3 procedures for Dec, all with extra care pre/during and post procedure for me to do, and then you have Christmas stuff. My brother was supposed to come up, but didn’t at the last minute due to kids getting sick. Every day was something new. Oh and Agent K9 had started drooling and his breathe stank, so we took him to the vet thinking it would be a broken tooth, it was a ping-pong sized mass on his tongue. Its aggressive cancer and right now they are saying we may have 60 days since we won’t put him through chemo. Things are worse now than they were a month ago, currently on tap · Mom’s hip is being replaced on Dec 28th. They are currently saying she will come home on Dec 29th which means I will be sole caregiver. Brother isn’t coming home at all to help and Mom has no other family in the area besides my aunt who might offer to help, and no real friends that are more than just “I talk to you once a month at work” kinda thing. So I get repeat October and stay at her house. And I told her about the memory/loss of words concerns so she is doing the silent angry whispers at me, (Her excuse is she talks to cats all day so why does she need to get the words right). So I am sure this will go well when I could barely care for her in October when they cut some excess skin off. This time an entire JOINT is getting replaced. Supposedly she may be held longer if they don’t think it safe for her to come home, but I have given up on this idea. No reason to get hopes up. · Mom has been on FMLA and getting short-term disability since August. She is going to retire on Feb 2 since she’s going to get fired if she is not back in the office. She has had no interest or desire to deal with her workplace this whole time, or the retirement in general. In fact she said “I don’t deal with that. I have you to do it for me.” So I need to figure out what we need to get her retired. Oh plus this will change all of her insurance and income and yeah. · Agent K9 is terminal cancer. They said its super-fast growing, and while we may have 60 days, I am not always sure. I am upset that I may not be here if he needs me and needs to cross that bridge since Mom, but I am trying to spoil him and enjoy him, but I am not even here much for that since Mom. · The loss of Agent K9 would generally put us in a place to look for a new Puppy to help us all heal and fill the void. But with Yappy Dog who has issues here, that may be harder, PLUS can I train a puppy right now? I know it will be so much fun, but extra stress, cleanup, changes to everything here. And Agent Eldest didn’t take the loss of our first dog well and didn’t do well until we had a new puppy to fill that void, but Puppies are also difficult since Agent K9 would want to play and he wasn’t always in the mood. But our house is so weird, older animals (even a year or so) probably won’t acclimate well to 30 people in the house one day, no one home for 8 hours the next. · But I and Family will be more upset with just Yappy Dog since we care for him, he is better here, but he’s not ours. We don’t expect him to go back to Mom’s ever, but he’s another sign that she can’t take care of herself either. He’s happy here, and we enjoy him, but there are just times I want to be angry about it. · Technically I am supposed to be back at work as of Jan 3rd, but the Mom surgery thing may change that. I have a huge training on Jan 3rd I may not be there for, but don’t know until Mom’s surgery. My boss is being cool, but with everything else going on, I don’t feel as okay with taking this time off as I would like because things are so weird. · My anxiety and depression are higher than they have been in years. Anxiety over lack of control for my ENTIRE LIFE since so many things depend on the “Post Surgery” return date. Depression since I don’t see a way out, I don’t think this will change anything and no one believes me that rehab needs to be a thing. If I have to live out of her house for 2 weeks again with her moods and anger, this will not end well for me. If I talk to her about “hey, let’s try to work this out” I am told I am mean and horrible and how dare I speak back to her, so why try. With all of this going on, I have no idea what my challenge looks like yet. Right now, I have boxes built and set up, but no idea if they are valid. I live at moms, I can’t stretch or exercise since the mocking and I am making too much noise. I can’t work on cleaning my house and my chaos boxes there. I won’t even control my own food since I may have to eat what I make her since she won’t eat what I would. If she goes to rehab, this may all be pushed to later Jan. I just don’t know. So this is kind of a placeholder until Jan 28th when surgery will be a thing. Hopefully by an 29th, I might know something. I just want a plan. That would be nice. I also hope to have energy for a challenge and for people since I know I am doing the “Hide from people since no one wants to deal with my depressive self” thing. I apologize now for being a self-absorbed depressive who makes others deal person. I am trying to not be as hard on myself, but I know this challenge is going to be hard, and I am going to try and not be such a downer. Trying not to be all doom and gloom. I apologize now if I don’t do as well at trying as I would like.
  17. I have spent hours looking at my challenge to build. I have spent probably close to a couple of hours staring at a blank word doc. I sit here and I hate where I am, I hate feeling like I am on the wrong path. But the problem is, where I am currently at, at least mentally and emotionally, is that I this will never end and I won’t be able to get out of what I am working on. For those new here, I am in a bad place. I have a job that is high stress and atm high drama. I am a mom to 2 Agents of Chaos, and married to Hubby who is working a weird shift but does whatever he can to help. I am caregiver to my mom who in theory lives alone but she hasn't really been completely independent since my dad died 2 years ago. She is not always the nicest of people, especially to her daughter. My depression is acting up as is my anxiety of never getting out of here. Being with mom so much means she is actively pushing buttons and telling me I am not good enough, or what I am doing is wrong. Mom had surgery 9 days ago and is not recovering well. She gets a “walk” maybe once a day where she laps the house twice. The dr originally told us 5-7 days before she would be independent again. I am wondering if she will be at all or if this is my new normal until we can get her the “hip surgery” that better put her into rehab after. If not, I am going to give up entirely. The hardest part of the new challenge, is a number of things in my Life and Family stuff were either outside only or no longer apply. This section is the place where I work on my relationships and the things that are the things I want to do and who I want to be. The problem is, I can’t see anything that I can change. I don’t see any way to improve myself when I can never not be here. I am currently here like 530-6 AM to 9-10 PM. I have only been in the office 2 days, and I am not really home at all. When I get home, it’s generally eat and go to bed so I can be up at 430 to get back Mom’s on time. So how can I work on being who I want to be if I am always here? Anything I do here to better myself is met with mocking, but I see what the path she has taken lead to. I don’t want to not be able to walk at 65 and need a hip replacement, bad knees and back from being overweight, and while she has lost the weight, she lost all muscle mass so now she is weak as well So I am going to try and do things. I picked a few new Life and family goals. Being here, having this in my face all day, I keep fearing that I am walking the same path as her. Especially since I have been here, I haven’t been walking. I have snacked more since what else is there to do. I haven’t had water in days and my caffeine intake is through the roof. I find myself acting or thinking like her, and I fear it. So one thing I want to start doing is either looking for one thing a day that I am doing differently so I won’t go down that path, so I don’t sound like her, be friendless like her, or end up where she is. Another thing I am going to try and do is to start trying to think about those big long term goals I use to have, like doing a 10 K or a Spartan. Things I lost sight of a long time ago. Things I have been hearing that I am too fat, too old or I am going to be where she is so why think I could ever do that. Time to start thinking about who I want to be and if I get limitations, fine, but how do I want to handle things like arthritis in my knees. I can ignore it and let it get worse, or I can face it head on and see what if anything I can do to minimize it. I wish I could say that this will be all happy and uplifting and I got this. But I would be lying. Its going to be rough, I am going to be upset as I try to process and deal with what I have in front of me. I don’t know when I will get out of this pit. I just know, I need to wait till something that I have no control over changes. Okay, so challenge wise, I need something I can work towards. So Boxes it will be. I have a bare minimum, but really, I want to do much more than that. But for now, I am going to work on doing that bare minimum and if I ever do get out of here and back into more of my normal life, I can always do more, but for now, its about something. Goal Value Description Strength 1 Calf raises 1 Squats 17 1 Wall Sit (sec) 1 Side kicks Do 2 1 Leg lifts 2 1 Reverse sit ups 1 Sit ups 1 Knee to Elbows 1 Raised Arm Circles 1 Torso Twists 1 Bicep Extenstions 1 Table plank 1 Bicep Curls with Weights (3 lb) 1 Backward Leg Raises 1 Step ups 1 Side Lunges 1 Desk Push Ups Flexibility 1 Wrist Extension Stretch 1 Wrist Flexion Stretch 21 1 Upward dog/Child pose 1 Meditating Groot 1 Lord of the Dance Yoga (ankle above head) 1 Lower back stretch (One leg across body) 1 Chair Pose 1 Butterfly 1 Tricep Stretch 1 Wall Stand 1 Bridge 1 Calf stretch Do 2 1 Ballet Toe Touch 1 Cresent Moon pose 2.00 1 Sitting Fix/Shoulder Stretch 1 Warrior 1 1 Ankle Circles 1 Warrior 3 (Eagle bird thing) 1 Quad Stretch 1 Side Stretch 1 Forward Bend Life and Family 1 Floss in morning 1 NF status update 1 NF reply one other thread 1 Take Morning Vitamins 1 Find one way I am not like mom 1 Brush Yappy dog 1 Think of one thing that could be changed/who I want to be 1 Check Dad's email 31 1 Spend time with Agents 1 Japanese practice with Youngest Agent 1 Start thinking on Christmas 1 Only play game on phone one time a day at home 1 Text/Talk to one Choosen family member a day 1 Relax my shoulders 1 Read a book 1 Soak up the sun 1 Plan 1 Nightly downtime 1 Be in bed by 10:30 1 Put lotion on legs 1 Check ordering account 1 Floss after work Do 7 1 Floss before bed 1 Walk across beam once a day 1 Water 1 inside plant 1 Take Bloodpressure 1 Do one "Get that done already" jobs 7 1 One good thing 1 Check Yappy Dogs night water bowl 1 Give Agent K9 5 minutes playtime 1 Play with Cats Fight Chaos 1 Pennisula/Island Clean all these daily 1 Table / Half wall 14 1 Desk 1 Computer room ottoman 1 Bathroom up 1 Clean off file cabinet Do 3 1 Bathroom down 3 1 Clean off door to basement 1 Grandpa's table 1 Clean off Stairs and landing 1 Clean off tall dresser 1 Clean off nightstands 1 Clean off Dresser 1 Counter over dishwasher At least 5 minutes per room (at least one) 1 Garage 1 Dust one surface 1 Computer room 13 1 Basement 1 Random organizing project Do 2 1 Pick up one furtumbleweed a day 1 Empty out car daily 1 Clean our bathtub 1 Organize or purge one thing at Moms 1 Wash window or mirror 2 1 Clean 2 papers out of paper organizer 1 File 1 thing a day 1 Purge 1 thing a day Walking 1 Walk 10000 steps 8 1 Walk 15 minutes a day 1 Walk 10 minutes at lunch 1 Walk 5 minutes after dinner 1 Walk 5 minutes in morning do 2 1 Take Agent K9 for a walk 2 1 7 hours with 250 steps 1 Walk to Mordor Fuel 1 No eating after dinner 17 1 No stupid sugar 1 Track breakfast 1 Track Second breakfast do 3 1 Track Elevensies 1 Track lunch 1 Track Dinner 1 Track Supper 1 Eat A Salad 1 Take Probiotic 3 1 < 4 bottles of tea 1 Eat Dates Daily 1 Eat dried Apricots 1 Eat Breakfast 1 Eat Lunch 1 60 oz of water 1 Record sugar in G Total Points Possible 121 Did I complete 5 minutes in room Total points for day 21.00
  18. The bright autumn sun colored the forest a shimmering rainbow of oranges, reds and yellows, curtains of leaves floating and tumbling down around me as I walked slowly down the path toward town. And I saw none of them, because I was in the throes of the pounding panic that beset me every week on this miserable assignment. "Sky, think of all the opportunities this will open up for you," my husband had said earnestly, holding my hands as if to help me feel how strongly he felt about his words. "There's so much you can see, so many new places you can go, whenever you want. We can help more people instead of relying on them. You'll be even more independent and it'll be such a confidence boost. I really think this is something important for you to do." I didn't know how to explain to him the steel-cold shots of fear that gripped my stomach at the thought of trying this again. I knew he was right and I wanted everything he said - yet I could think of very little I would rather do less. Every weekly lesson felt like the culmination of every failed exam at the Temple, every scolding from my parents, every wound from the Elder and every bungled work assignment, all wrapped up in one miserable hour. But I was Sky Elvenword Nobleheart; and I was brave. I did not run away from hard things; I did not let fear stop me from my goals and I never said no to an adventure. So I swallowed hard and tried to hide the panicky tears in the back of my throat as I said quietly: "I'll try, Eamon." I wrapped my cloak a little tighter around my shivering body and hoped no one in town would see how pale my skin was. I had learned after the first lesson to keep the runes on my arms carefully covered with long sleeves or strips of cloth - my Dark ice powers shone like beacons out of every exposed rune the first time my terror levels shot through the roof. And considering how close I'd come to a fiery crash last week, keeping those runes covered seemed like wisdom for every lesson going forward. Much too soon, I came over the dreaded last hill and saw the stables and open field ahead of me. I was right on time; the other students were opening the pens and greeting their mounts for the day. But I was not learning to ride a horse. I was learning to ride a dragon. I'm not a Dragonrider. I'm not a Dragonrider. I tried to drown out the refrain beating like an ice storm in my brain, but it matched my footsteps toward my assigned pen. I've gotten along fine all these years without this. It's not worth it. I don't need it. I'm not good at it. I can't do it. I don't want to - A gentle huff from the pen at my elbow made me jump, and I realized I couldn't stall any longer. Slowly, I turned to face the slender white dragon who sat quietly in her cage, her ten-foot tail curled primly around her four graceful white feet, her long neck bent to bring her intelligent dark eyes down to my level. She seemed almost amused by my shaking and heavy breathing. I fleetingly wondered, not for the first time, how much these creatures could understand about us. "Hello, Tianlong," I stammered, fumbling with the latch on the gate. She waited quietly until I shook it off and pulled open the door, and I held my breath as she gracefully unfolded herself and slipped out into the grass. She was too well-trained to try to escape, even though it took me three tries to get the harness on her neck and the saddle on her shoulders, my hands shook so badly. Once again, I saw her glance at me with a look in her eyes that was almost amused. "How we feelin' today, Missus?" The teenage boy teaching the lessons, Erkus, stopped by and doffed his hood respectfully. "A little nervous," I admitted. There was no point in hiding it; I let a strap slip through my fingers the moment I spoke. "'Ow, now, ye'll be just fine, you wait an' see," he said confidently, and patted Tianlong's neck affectionately. "This 'ere is the finest dragon I ever took off an Eastern trader. Almost as smart as our Western dragons, she is. Just trust 'er, trust yerself, an' ye'll get along just fine." He'd said the same thing the last few times, so I nodded politely and focused on getting her saddle strapped snugly around her muscular body. I didn't trust Tianlong, and I didn't trust myself, and we probably were not going to get along at all. "Owright, today we're takin' a short flight out to the hills an' back, same as we did two weeks ago," Erkus hollered to me and the other (much younger) riders shuffling nervously. "We'll be practicin' the turns, so remember how to use the reins an' shift yer body weight. Remember: Trust yer dragons. They know more'n ye think they do." My mouth was too dry to swallow against the nausea rising in my throat, so I just tried to focus on steadying my rapid breathing as I shakily climbed up into the saddle and settled onto Tianlong's back, strapping my own safety harness around my thighs. The dragon flicked her tail and stood up, ready to take off into the frigid, empty heights yet again. I sucked in a deep breath. I was a Ranger. I was a Lightbearer. I was a Protector. And now I was going to be a Dragonrider.
  19. The rain was coming down in sheets outside the cabin, the striking drops like a stream of pebbles crashing against the roof. I padded over to the window and gently wiped away the fog, pressing my fingertips against the cool glass and relishing the glimmer of the dense branches and leaves flickering under the heavy water weight. It might still be summer, but the first hints of autumn were showering down with the gray rain. After a few moments I realized I was twisting my wedding ring on my left hand, and I smiled at myself. I had been a wife for a little more than a week, and both the ring and the title still fit me a bit oddly. I frankly didn't know who I was as Sky Nobleheart - Eamon's wife. And while I knew the only way to get to know this new version of myself was to wait patiently for it to reveal itself over time, I was impatient to see who I was going to become. I turned away from the window and realized I was also rubbing the scrollwork of scars on my left arm. The magical rune-like scars had once resembled a constellation when they were fresh; when I joined with the Dark Elf and balanced my light and dark powers, they came to resemble the twisting curves of willow branches. But regardless of what they looked like, they still bothered me when my powers were out of balance. And they had been burning and itching more than usual lately. "Good morning! What are you looking at?" Eamon came around the corner and greeted me warmly, wrapping his arms around my waist and softly kissing my forehead. I smiled and breathed in his warm morning scent, pushing aside the rising pain in my arm. "Just the rain. It's starting to storm again." "Is it? Let's go look." He led me back to the window and held me close to his chest as we looked quietly out at the darkening sky. It was such a strange sensation to feel the warm flush of happiness and peace rising from my belly and beginning to flood my body, only to meet the prickling chill in my scars and subside, like a wave dashing against a rocky shore. It had been like this since our wedding day and I paid it little attention, only feeling dully sad that even in this happiest time of my life, I was denied the complete joy others seemed to feel. This was the curse of being the Dark Elf, I thought ruefully - no amount of light would ever drive away the dark. No amount of warmth would ever melt the ice. Eamon gently turned over my arm to look at the scars, and I knew he could see the faint bluish glow pulsing under the skin. At first he said nothing, just wrapped me a little tighter in his arms and kept looking out the window. After a few moments, however, he asked: "What would help?" I started to form my usual resigned reply: "Nothing really. It's just like this sometimes." But I paused this time to ask myself the question more deeply: What would help? I had given up trying to bring my powers back in balance so long ago - for what felt like an age now, I had simply accepted that this was how things were. That I was just destined to be secretly anxious and cold and numb inside forever because of who I was, the Dark Elf. But what if that wasn't true? What if there were a way to feel wholly warm and alive again? "Well," I said slowly, looking back out the window, "the opposite of fear is love." "It is." "These scars hurt when I am afraid - and I'm always afraid." "I know." "I'm constantly operating out of fear. I work because I'm afraid of letting my supervisors down. I do things for my loved ones because I'm afraid of being a bad wife or sister or friend. I even clean the house because I'm afraid of being a bad housekeeper. My primary motivation is always fear." "So what if you could change your primary motivation to love?" I couldn't keep a small sigh from escaping my chest. "I don't know how to do that. I've tried to will myself into it but that doesn't work." "No, it doesn't. The only way you can change your motivation from fear to love, is by believing that you're already loved, no matter what. No matter if you fail, if you work or don't work, if you clean the house or don't clean the house. When you believe that God loves you, that I love you, and that your family and friends love you no matter what you do or don't do - then you can let go of fear." I knew he was right. And I also didn't know where to begin in believing that. I knew it to be true in my head, but my heart had toppled backward into the same lies over and over again for my whole life. "Maybe that would be a good first project for me as a wife," I said quietly. "Maybe it's time to figure out how to let myself be loved." Eamon lifted my arm and kissed the aching scars. "I support this plan."
  20. Warning, this is not a fun gif challenge. There is depression, anxiety, stress, burnout and well, situations no on wants but have to deal with. Please understand that walking away from the bad is not always an option and I have considered a LARGE variety of other options. Support is ALWAYS welcome and amazingly helpful since being alone and thinking no one cares is some of the hardest parts. Honestly, all I can think is I am losing. I lost my Dad’s Mother last week very suddenly. There is almost no family left there. I am losing my empathy since I am seriously stuck in caregiver burn out. I know that some of this is hard, that there are real issues, but right now, part of me wants to just scream at them to do the things they are supposed to do and not be so damn whiny. It won’t help, and make things worse, but part of this is the “THERE IS NO MAGIC BULLET” discussion. I am losing my patience since everyone comes to me and wants me to drop other things to do their things. I am losing my time to time vampires. Some are innocent and don’t know better and honestly, these I don’t mind as much. Some are dark and menacing and some refuse to think that my time is valuable. I am losing my sense of direction and motivation. I feel like I am so pulled in so many places, I barely know which way is up. When I do know which way is up, I have no idea which way to go because so many directions are needed at one time. I am losing my sense of self. I am not the person I want to be. I keep sacrificing future me for current me, or the things I want to do FOR ME, to do for others. This leads to what basically killed my dad. I will deal with me later, I need to do X for Y first. I am losing my ability to be rested. I am not sleeping well, probably from not walking and stress and a million other things. Doing the things will help me actually be tired and be able to sleep. I come home from work, and have started doing the flop on the couch after 6 pm because I have no other energy, and maybe doze, but once bedtime hits, I am awake again. I am losing my strength and flexibility. I haven’t really taken it seriously, but there are days I feel “weaker” and “stiffer” if that makes sense. Nothing like I randomly fall but more like “That wasn’t that heavy last time was it?” or “Why can’t I touch my toes anymore” (I was doing that really well not that long ago). I am losing the progress I had made. The weight that started to come off is coming back. I am eating a TON of sugar that I don’t need. I am not drinking my water because Tea is better. I need to do these things. I am losing my sanity slowly. I am so torn between being the person I need to be, covering what I need to cover, and at the same time, dealing with the negativity and issues that are a side effect. Too many days, I just find myself in the “I can’t stage” unless it’s absolutely necessary. So, after all of this, I am trying to come up with a “NOT ANYMORE” moment,a “I totally have this and I am going to do the super watch me fix it all thing. Problem is, I don’t see that working either. I am in quicksand and I can’t just turn on a dime and nope out here. I need to be small with my expectations and do what I can. So, as much as it pains me, I am going to cut the numbers on my boxes. I am going to still try to do MORE than I must, but a “Do Something” challenge is only going to make me feel more like I am losing, but lowering the total to work on might not. I will still be doing boxes, mostly the same from last challenge. Big one is that I am changing the do 1 thing for Mom to do 2 things for Mom since I am not keeping up on the workload for her and things like bills are being put off if I am at her house EVERY DAY. This is me, trying to find a way to turn around, maybe find something to pull myself out of here, get to solid footing and move forward. Anyone got something I can grab?
  21. Hi! I'm a rookie trying to build a new, exciting, & healthy life after graduation. Currently my life is fine but I feel like my health, fitness, and mindset really holds me back. Sooo, that's what I will focus on. In general, I buck against hard goals that feel too boring so I am going to do buckets of goals (sets under a category) to pick from as long as I am trying to keep to a schedule. Health: I want to consistently nudge my eating habits towards something more fueling and fulfilling. My goal is to do one of these every day: Don't eat out more than 1x per week, ideally less. Push your veggie intake Fitness: I have recently upped my daily walking from 0.25 miles a day to 1.25 miles a day just by changing my work habits. Now, I wanted to pointedly begin working on daily workouts. Each day I want to do one of the following: Hike Walk Body weight Climbing Gym Mindset: I am a tightly wound, anxious human. While none of the below replace therapy (my therapist is awesome and we're crushing anxiety), they augment what I am working on and help me build a fuller life. Each day I want to do one of the following: Meditate Actively use growth mindset Green witch meditation Challenge my comfort zone Challenge my fears Cheers to the challenge!
  22. The evening breeze curled playfully around the hillside where Eamon and I had spread out our picnic several hours before, surrounding us with the spicy damp scent of trees exhaling their warmth from the day and the soft hum of insects serenading each other in the dusk light. Night was falling, and the village vista far below had quieted, with lamps lit in windows and a softening of the sounds of bustling carts and brisk voices. Our conversation, too, had softened into a comfortable silence; and I curled into the space underneath Eamon's strong arm, resting my head on his shoulder and letting his body support my weight. It was my favorite kind of evening, where in privacy I could tell and show my partner how deeply I loved him - but as happened so often on those evenings, instead of being filled with bright warmth and loving happiness, I was hollowed out with the frosty stillness of my ice powers, as numb and lifeless as a forest clearing buried in midwinter snow. I ached with wishing I could just once feel the love and delight I knew I felt for him underneath the chill - but no matter how hard I tried to shake free, I was locked inside, all my emotions buried underneath the cold. I laughed when he joked or flirted, said all the things I knew in my head that I would say if I could feel anything - but I was sure that somehow, even in the dimming light, he had to see the deadness in my eyes and hear the hollow emptiness in my laughter. I didn't understand why it was happening and that made it even worse. As we gazed quietly down across the valley, Eamon unexpectedly reached over to take my hand - and I thought I saw him flinch the tiniest bit when his warm fingers contacted my frigid palm. Still, he didn't hesitate as he enveloped my small hand in his big one, and he said calmly as if nothing had happened, "You know, I heard from a friend a few villages over that some of the harvest festivals might take place this year. If you like, I could ask him for more information and we could try to go. It might even be after the wedding, so we could go together. What do you think?" I looked sorrowfully down at the dull blue glow of the runes on my bare wrists and arms, and two cold tears rose in my eyes. "Eamon," I whispered, "I'm sorry I'm not going to be a better wife for you." Immediately Eamon shifted to gaze down into my eyes, his heavy brows lowered over concerned blue eyes. "What are you talking about?" I spread my palms and bit back tired tears at the scars and patterns that laced across my hands and forearms, all of which were glowing a jagged, frosty blue instead of the golden light of healing and compassion that seemed so elusive these days. Words and emotions jumbled up in my thoughts, until all that would come out was, "I'm sorry I'm ... not normal. I'm ... sorry I'm ... broken." Eamon sighed heavily and pulled me close to his heart, pressing his warm hand over the cold one I rested miserably on his chest. "Sky," he said, firmly but gently, "I love you. Because you're you. I wish I could do something to help you heal and make your life easier - and if there ever is anything I can do, I will gladly do that, because I want you to be happy. But even if nothing ever changes - even if you feel this way for the rest of our lives - I'm going to love you and be here with you anyway. Not because you're perfect, not because things are simple and easy, but because you're my best friend and the woman I love and want in my life. Nothing will ever change that." "I know," I mumbled. "I just wish I were -" "- perfect," Eamon supplied. I looked up at him, startled. "What?" "You want to be perfect and flawless. But honey, that's not how anything works. I'm not perfect and neither are you. But we don't have to be." His words reminded me of one of my counselor's favorite sayings - "Breathe in, and when you breathe out, release your need for perfection and say to yourself, 'This is good enough,'", she always said. "I don't want you to suffer and I do want you to heal. But that's not for my sake. I'll love you no matter what. And part of how I'm going to love you is by supporting your healing journey any way I can." Maybe allowing love to come into your brokenness is part of being good enough, I wondered to myself. Maybe accepting that two broken people are going to have mess and pain and needs - and can still bring all the love they have to give - maybe that's good enough. Maybe it's good enough to be unwell or irritable or frustrated or half-healed or struggling, together. "Okay?" Eamon leaned back to smile into my face, and for the first time all evening, a tiny spark of hope flickered in my heart as I smiled back. "I may not be perfect, but I'm good enough," I whispered back. Eamon beamed and kissed my forehead. "Amen."
  23. This challenge cycle will mostly be spent traveling in the US. Still not sure how I feel about that, aside from being excited about consumerist shit, but I’ve cast that lot and it’s happening regardless. As such, this challenge can’t just be SSDD on coast mode. Which is probably a good thing, tbh. Here’s my plan to cope with “vacation”: Managing Anxiety I’m sure crowd, travel and people pandemic-ing wrong anxiety will be a thing, and not jumping into reflexive judgey bitch mode to cope with said anxiety is going to be a definite issue. Timelines, time zones & travel time already all have my anxiety at 11. Management: Deep yoga breaths, and reminding myself to get a grip. Not my monkeys, not my business. Also stocking up on hand sanitizer & antibac wipes if I feel I need more control over the situation. We’ve also got disposable masks for that 12+hour plane ride & will have our normal masks on us as well. My general abhorrence of feeling trapped always rears it’s head when forced into social situations I don’t want to be in. Management: Staying in Air BnBs, having a rental car at all times, planning things to do that aren’t just sitting on the couch at a relatives house staring at their damn eyeballs. Family dumbassery. Talking to some family members over the phone is exhausting; seeing them in person is going to be more so. I’m also not interested in 3 weeks of continual bitching about COVID from everygoddamnbody I see. It’s exhausting. Management: Tell said family member(s) that I don’t have the damn bandwidth for this conversation. Change the subject. Leave early if necessary. Hubby and I need to settle on a ‘get me tf out of here before I start screaming’ code. Too damn bad we don’t still smoke. Trying to fit everything and everyone in limited time - especially when everyone only wants to meet up when it’s convenient for them. Management: Not doing that, and not feeling guilty for doing so. Giving people clear guidelines of when I have available slots and when I do not. This I always do, but it’s still always a shit show. I generally don’t feel bad about it, but i inevitably still end up anxious. Those should be the biggies, but I’m sure more will pop up. Nutrition Whelp, this one is going to be a curveball. Body was on a less carb trajectory - aaaand then the stress of planning this trip hit. A few ground rules to help myself not feel quite so bloated and terrible by week 2 of travel: Don’t finish the fries. Start with the main, eat half of it, and then go in for bites of the sides. Don’t eat all sides one by one and then tackle the high dollar item. Eat slower and take stock of when you are full. You’ve already paid for the meal; you’re on vacation - wasting $ is to be expected. Remember that the clean plate club is not a thing. Don’t eat shit I know is going to kill me. If family members are drenching everything in cheese, either just eat sides or pick around the cheese. I don’t need to leave full. Remember that even though we’ll be hitting up some favorites and going in for some primo meals (on top of straight garbage), I’ve had good food before and will have good food again. I don’t need to gorge myself to enjoy the meal. Drink what you damn want but attempt to not go for 2 days in a row & limit shit that’s going to lead to a hangover. Body Care Realistically, I won’t be hitting any yoga classes in the 3 weeks we will be gone, and pressuring myself to do a hotel-style daily workout before leaving each day is not conducive to good mental health for me. I know I don’t sleep for shit while traveling, and often have to get up too early. Do what I can, when I think of it. If I’m bored and feeling trapped, suggest a walk around the neighborhood instead of trying to hide in my phone with DH. It’ll be hot and I’ll be in the ‘burbs, but it may still be doable. Pull up some simple bodyweight routines that can be done whenever - and keep them in the forefront of my mind so maybe that actually happens. And that’s it for this Cycle. Or at least most of it. I will reassess once I’m back and settled. Yoga will definitely return.
  24. Hello everyone, it's been a while. I hope you are all well. I should be well. I have a wonderful son (1,5 years old), a safe job, a nice little apartment, no financial worries. But I have no deep connection to other people, besides my little son and my mom. It's been two years since I did a therapy to learn to deal with social anxiety and I learned a lot. I notice when I come near the "the black hole". Two weeks ago I fell into it. I had the first panic attack in over a year. Because of the pandemic and the lockdown in Germany it is hard for me to get in touch with other people besides of five min talks in kindergarden. So my work is kinda the only thing where I can do something meaningful. But at the moment I am not involved in the important stuff. I sit around and wait for tasks. I went to my supervisor and told him that I want to get involved and that really something has to change. The night I had a panic attack. The next day I had one again. And the whole week I felt terrible. Then when I got trusted with some important tasks, my son got ill. And I used his illness to stay home a whole week. I don't want to feel this panic anymore. There is not even a real reason behind it. It's just my feeling of being alone and the fear to be not accepted by others. My goal for this challenge is to find activities that I enjoy. And to create a routine to answer the panic.
  25. My heart pounded and I doggedly sucked in breath as I slowly climbed the hill trail, feeling my way over lumpy roots and unexpected mudholes through the intense darkness that hung heavily over the entire landscape. The plague still raged on many months after I had initially confined myself to my cottage, and now, a silent, creeping darkness of spirit had spread softly across the land in the wake of the deaths and losses of livelihood. Despair - it hung on people's bones like old cloaks and shadowed their faces like an early nightfall. The plague showed no sign of relenting, and the traditions and gatherings that people had clung to for hope were rapidly unraveling. People needed hope. They needed a light to guide them through the dark, desperate months of winter. I paused to lean against a dead tree, holding out my right hand to grimly survey the intense blue glow of my ice powers in the sharp runes across my palm and up my arm. The fact was that I was in need of light, too - the darkness had ruthlessly pushed itself into my bones, dampening my healing powers, pushing them further and further inside me as my ice powers strengthened and threatened to take control. The cramping, freezing pain in my veins had intensified to the point that I often couldn't eat or sleep, and when I tried to work, it twisted me into near-fetal position, as flashes of ice surged through my body and left me shuddering and sick. Love, hope, light, joy - for days at a time they felt like faint memories from another time. The Voice hissed like relentless sleet against the back of my mind, spitting doubt, fear, and despair into every rune and every wound on my body; and by now, I had begun to think it was my own Voice, speaking my own real truth and inflicting the pain I truly deserved. Scars I thought had long healed creased open again and filled with ice. I was very sick, and I needed hope as much as any of the other weary souls I saw above my mask in the marketplace or at the house of worship. As I gazed quietly at the pulsing blue light in my wrist, a soft step arrived at my side; and Eamon's large hand gently closed over my palm, covering the wounds and thawing a little of the ice with his warm, strong grip. "You're shivering, Sky. Acting up again?" he asked kindly. "A little," I said through chattering teeth. "Do you need to rest? Can I carry your knapsack for a while?" I opened my mouth to say "no," but paused. Eamon's broad shoulders could easily carry my small knapsack, and that would free up my flagging strength to get to the end of this trail. "Thank you," I said sheepishly, and let him lift it from my tight, aching shoulders. He took my hand and squeezed it gently. "You know it's my pleasure to help. Lead the way, I'm here with you." A half-hour and several unexpectedly steep ravines later, we struggled to the top of the hill and stepped out into the clearing, looking down across the sprawling valley sprinkled with lights like stars in the sky. Villages lay in clusters like nebulae, the river valley a curving galaxy of houses and barns. And far off in the distance, I could see a faint arc of light along the horizon, so slender that I wasn't sure I really saw it - but I did. My heart swelled and for the first time in weeks, a bit of the pain faded in my bones. The darkness had an end. It was not infinite and it was not invincible. And no matter how heavy it lay across our land, it had not put out the little lights glowing in each home, farm and village across the valley. It could and it would be defeated. "Sky!" Eamon's voice was soft and I heard him smiling as he put his arm around my shoulders. "Look at your hands!" I looked down and was startled to see white light, not blue, glowing under my skin. For the first time in a long time, I heard the Voice's hiss in the back of my mind, but was strong enough to parry and deflect its lies. I was not the Voice and it was not my friend. And it was not going to have the final say in my heart any more than the darkness was going to put out the lights in the hearts all over the kingdom. As I turned from looking at my hands to look excitedly up into Eamon's face, my gaze was interrupted by the sprinkle of winter's first snowflakes drifting lightly into view, crystalline white and hopeful against the heavy darkness of the sky. "What's happening?" he asked, his face just barely visible in my glow, as I slipped my hands into his. "We've found the edge of hope," I replied. "And we're going to chase it until we find it."
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