From Adaptive P.E. to Meals on the Bus

The past 12 weeks have involved huge changes for everyone: school, work, safety, staying home, cancelled trips, social distancing, finding new ways to stay close without being in close proximity to one another.

Since I work in education, we went through dramatic changes in a short period of time. I went from teaching Adapted P.E. working with students every day, to a ‘go home for two weeks order’, that changed to a ” help is needed delivering meals to our community children,” over the weekend!

Lunch bags being prepped for the next days meals.

Over that first weekend, three entities collaborated to have meals prepared and delivered to the youth in our community. “Feeding our children while school would be closed” became a priority! Monday morning three meals went out in a meal pack for each student. Tuesday morning – I showed up to help.

We didn’t know whether we were being paid or if it was voluntary those first two weeks. I personally didn’t care. On that Monday morning in March, the world was just beginning it’s journey into a new frontier, a great unknown and our school district, transportation department and kitchen staff were going to ensure that our community’s children were fed and I determined that I would do my part to help!

Meals packed waiting to be loaded.

The process did take a few weeks to work the kinks out. Kitchen staff showed up at 5:00am to begin preparing the days hot meal, making sandwiches and putting the meal packs together. The previous day’s meal counts would be assigned to each bus, counted and packed. We arrived at 8:30am to set up our side of delivery, gather changes and information to pass onto our bus riders who began to arrive at 10:15am. We helped pack the meals up those first five weeks. There was a lot of bending and lifting – I was definitely tired at the end of the day. We held a morning debrief for our bus riders that included safety: wearing face masks at all times, importance of frequent hand sanitizing, social distancing – even on the bus, any educational materials going out, the days menu and any concerns that needed to be addressed.

It was a coordinated effort with a great amount of communication and organization required. Loading busses began at 10:30am for the early busses and 11:00am for the regular routes. We set up for curbside pick up: drive through and walk up, having meals to go from 12:00pm – 1:30pm. Our site packed and delivered 800 – 900 meal packs a day, five days a week. Our school district, including the four area meal sites, delivered about 3000 meal packs daily.

Site coordinators: Dana and myself.

Once we knew this process was continuing through the end of the school year, weekly educational materials were also delivered. As more families picked up chrome books and got connected for on line distance learning, the number of learning packets reduced.

Our staff enjoyed seeing the students as meals were delivered. Families at first would say how many meals that they needed. The meals would be bagged and then set in a plastic tub. Once the staff member moved back, the student or parent would pick up their families meals. There might be several families at a stop. In the beginning, our bus riders communicated regarding social distancing and reviewed the changing safety protocols. In a short time, the staff knew the families at each stop, how many meals would be needed, and which school was attended for educational packets.

It has been a long twelve week journey. The meal program has been very rewarding team to be a part of. Together, our district delivered over half a million meals to our county. There is still much unknown ahead of us, but we know that communities can work together to make a difference! I was glad to be a part of the solution after the schools closed.

15 busses lined up each morning for our town’s deliveries.

The meals on the bus go round and round, all through the town.

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Why Am I So Tired?

Do you feel more tired during the winter months? Is it being inside? Is it the shorter days? Is it the darkness?

My husband tells me how tired he is every night. I look at our work schedules and our activity levels. There is a big difference.

How is your activity level?

When the days are long and the weather is clear – we get outside more! The sunshine and more daylight invigorates us, refreshes us, and gives us a reason to go outside and be more active.

An activity/exercise relieves stress and helps us to sleep better.

So, how is your activity or exercise level in the winter? How well do you sleep? How are you relieving your stress?

Swimming, weights, cardio, stretching

I work out five or six mornings a week. My workouts may change with the weather, but getting in my morning exercise is non negotiable. I get up about 40 minutes earlier than my husband to make sure that I have time to do this. This schedule helps me to feel more organized and helps me to start my day feeling energized and accomplished.

Maintain your healthy routine no matter the season or weather.

Drink enough water. Maintain the same bedtime. If you are doing these three things and are still feeling tired – what are you doing regularly that sparks joy and excites you?

Make sure to add fun into your life. Do things that make you laugh. What sparks your interest? What brings joy to your life? When was the last time you were excited about something? Or the last time that you a had a good long laugh?

Get out of the same old nighttime or weekend routine and try something new or your favorite activity that you keep putting off. Make time for fun, joy, laughter! It is healthy medicine that you need!

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The Art Of Gratitude

Gratitude can take practice. I don’t mean saying “thank you”, although we need to do that. Every day we need to “count our blessings “. If you were not raised to list those things that you are grateful for, it can take time to train yourself.

We have so much and we take most of it for granted. Even in times of difficulty, there is so much to be thankful for. Often we do not express appreciation or gratitude to others or for what we have.

Such a little thing that can make someone’s day – let them know that you appreciate them, their effort, their service, their help!

Gratitude changes our focus or attitude.

It is easier to be thankful when things are going well, but how often do we do that? I take for granted life when it’s rolling along smoothly, but the car breaks down, I get sick… something happens and I forget all of the good days, the days that went well and well you know… By practicing gratefulness, listing things that I am thankful for every day, I can keep an event from ruining my whole day. I can be thankful that it doesn’t happen every day. I am more likely to let it go or put a positive twist on it.

It is a rainy winter here in the northwest and I really have to fight depression.

Every day a battle rages.

Each winter morning, I try to get ahead of the battle. Listing things and people that I am grateful for is one way that I do that. When I focus on the positive, on things that I am thankful for, I think less about the dark, the rain, the grayness everywhere. I can change what I think about.

I get up and I workout. When I focus on the things that I CAN DO to make each day better, I have a better day.

I can not stop the rain. I can not make the days longer. I cannot make the sun shine. But I can change what I focus on and being thankful for another day is a good way to start!

Great daily inspiration!

Do you need some help focusing on the positive and practicing gratitude? A journal will help. A daily guide like “A Year of Positive Thinking” pictured above is a great resource. Commit to writing down or listing at least three things each morning that you are grateful for. Recall those to your mind throughout the day. Think of positive remarks to say. Use words of affirmation. Make a list of positive comments that you can use. Remind yourself that you are a work in progress.

You are doing great.

You got this.

Today is a NEW DAY!

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The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

As a swimmer and a coach, I notice feet and toenails. I used to wonder why many people that have worked around pools for many years had ugly toenails. Wet feet are just asking for fungus. I know it’s shocking! Athlete’s foot and nail fungus like damp and it can be so difficult to get rid of!

Warning!!!Ugly photos below.

After two weeks of treatment.

I have battled nail fungus for years! I would get it almost cleared up and then stop. Before I realized it was worse than before. I started getting monthly pedicures hoping it would help. Later, I find out that can be one of the worst things to do if you are trying to clear up foot or nail fungus.

My second toenail was so severe that when I saw a doctor they recommended removing the toenail. I was told there was a very good chance the nail wouldn’t grow back, it could be permanently deformed or that it wouldn’t solve the problem! Hello!!! What part of that “treatment ” sounded positive? So I totally wasn’t going for that option.

I tried over the counter nail fungus treatments. The one in a pen dispenser with a brush kept it from spreading. Rubbing alcohol applied with a cotton ball after drying your feet well helped the large nail. Nothing cleared it up. I tried straight tea tree or melalucca oil. Nope.

Four weeks – left nail is clearing up.

My pedicure technician told me that my nails were so bad that she could no longer give me pedicures!!! What???? I was shocked! I was ready to go back to the doctor, but first I was going to do some research online. I didn’t want to be on some antibiotic treatment or talk about removing nails again.

Still waiting for a noticeable improvement on the left.

There is a lot of information out there. First I got this anti fungal essential oil from my sister. She has recently gotten very informed about essential oils. I apply it directly to the nail and then use a toothbrush to gently brush it around and I clean the toothbrush afterwards.

I found that tumeric is a great anti fungal. Ingesting pills and making a topical paste to put on the infected areas is another natural treatment. I feel that the every other day foot soak in vinegar water is most beneficial combined with a daily topical treatment.

Getting clearer

For the foot soak it is two parts hot water and one part vinegar. I have used distilled white and apple cider vinegar. You just need enough liquid to cover your toes. It was recommended three times a week, so I just soak ten to fifteen minutes every other day.

After three months my left nail was completely cleared up and by four months a huge difference in the right foot nails. Other bonuses; my feet are staying soft, they do not stink, and they no longer itch.

Taking longer, but working!

After six months, I decided to end this blog post with my findings. I feel that if I did not swim and coach swimming, my nails would have cleared up quicker. Having frequently wet feet just doesn’t help. My right foot nails are healthier than they have been in ten years. They are not cleared up, but I have seen great progress. Instead of taking four to six months, it may take a year. I am focusing on the positive. I have found an inexpensive, natural treatment that works over time AND I still have my toe nails! NO SURGERY!

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Would You Rather…

So would you rather leave at 3am so that you can be to the airport at 6am or stay the night at a hotel near the airport and take a shuttle? We choose to stay at a hotel if we have a morning flight time. So a delayed/cancelled flight isn’t just about the time investment but also the hotel cost!

Waiting

My trip began with the four hour trip through big city rush hour the evening before. Mileage wise, we live 2 1/2 hours from the airport, but the fastest we have ever made the trip to the airport is just over three hours. When we fly in after 8pm, the trip home can be made in about 21/2 hours!

Would you rather have your flight delayed two and a half hours and miss your connecting flight, then head back home or wait all day at the airport to get an evening flight and arrive at your destination seven hours later than planned?

I chose the latter. If my husband had been traveling with me, we would have returned home!

An empty gate to wait.

The plan was a weekend trip to Oklahoma City to stay with my aunt and visit family. The Seattle airport was fogged in Friday morning and flights were delayed. I was flying from Portland to Seattle and on to OKC. At first they told us an hour. And then at least until 10am. My flight was supposed to leave at 8:30am and the connecting flight at 10:35am. Originally, I would arrive at my destination at 4:15pm! “Perfect”I thought!

What was that?

At 8:00am, when we were supposed to board the aircraft, everyone with a connecting flight was called to one of two counters to reschedule flights. An hour and a half later, I had a new flight with a seven hour wait at the airport…. Does getting upset help? Nope. Does anybody enjoy waiting? Not in these circumstances.

Many texts regarding plan changes including airport pick up and a worried husband, were exchanged. I decided to enjoy brunch. At 10:15, during my delicious brunch, I heard them announce boarding for a flight to Seattle. I wasn’t sure which one, several had been cancelled.

I sat, enjoying breakfast and then a had several hours to read a book, looking forward to my trip. My sweet and thoughtful husband changed my return trip, extending my visit one day, since Monday is a holiday and we both had the day off.

Do you see the rose’s or the thorns? Do you make the best of a situation? Do you try to improve the situation? What types of situations try your patience? If I can do something, I will. If I can only control my attitude in the situation, then that is what I try to focus on.

Practicing a positive attitude in all situations can really help everyone involved. Be kind. Stay calm.

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Planning Ahead

I know most of us plan ahead for vacations and weekend trips, some even plan or schedule activities around sports seasons or team activities.

Looking forward and change requires preparation.

Do you plan and prepare for each day? I have a morning routine: the alarm goes off I get up and spend a few minutes with morning ablutions. Then I dress in the laid out workout wear, drink my Energize and go do the planned workout for the day. I drink 12 ounces of water during this time.

A monthly calendar to keep from overbooking myself.

Mostly I am referring to planning ahead for a positive and healthy week! I am more successful at everything if I have planned for it and scheduled it into my day. Teacher’s make lesson plans, coaches write workouts, supervisors make work schedules, delegate responsibilities and have a daily agenda. Go ahead and start planning your day to be more effective, positive and healthy!

Set out your clothes the night before.
Swim bag ready to go.

Next I have some quiet time. This includes listing things or people that I am grateful for, a devotional reading, a short chapter from the WOW Book by Todd Durkin, then I post on social media. My posts are meant to be motivational or inspiring and about my health and fitness journey.

Everything in my morning is planned to start my day feeling positive and accomplished. It helps set me up for a successful day in which I try to make a difference in other’s lives. Next I get ready for work.

Meal prep one day a week.

My breakfast is a healthy shake/smoothie every day and I plan and prepare my lunches on Sunday for great healthy choices and variety. I just need to grab the containers and put them in my lunch bag. I fill my 24 ounce water bottle and I am set for my work day.

Even on the weekends, my mornings begin the same way unless I have to drive to a swim meet and coach or we are on vacation.

If you are trying to build healthy habits – try planning ahead and prepping your snacks and meals for healthier choices. Build positive, healthy routines in the morning to start your day. Building good habits takes time – usually about three months, so don’t give up before you have given yourself the time to replace old ways with new healthier choices and habits.

Using positive self talk, positive and motivating input and a positive focus will help you to stay on track! Don’t let those negative thoughts stay! Sweep them away.

What are some great planning techniques or habits that you have?

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Enough is Enough

When you decide enough is enough!!!

Four years ago, I decided “enough is enough!” I took control and started building healthy habits and working on a healthy lifestyle. I found a nutrition lifestyle and workout program that works for me. I feel good about myself. I am healthy and I like to work out. By taking control and doing something about how I felt and what I wanted to change – I took away the excuses. I know that I can only blame myself when I make bad choices.

You have to decide.

It doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks or says – it’s up to you.

The doctor can tell you that your blood pressure is too high, you need to watch your cholesterol, or you are pre-diabetic and need to change your diet. Your spouse can tell you that you need to exercise, quit smoking, change your eating habits or quit watching so much television! Your clothes can tell you that you need to lose some weight or get a bigger size! Your boss can tell you that “he can’t overlook you being late to work anymore” and you better be on time if you want to keep your job.

Friends, family and professionals can ALL tell you what you need to do for a better or healthier lifestyle, BUT until YOU decide “enough is enough” it doesn’t make any difference.

Changing your diet takes commitment.

So you decided “enough already “! What next? You need to know:

*What you are changing.

*How to make the changes.

*A plan of action – commitment .

*Accountability

*A goal

*A timeline

Change requires action.

Nutrition– you can start with portion control, eating more fresh foods, cut down on dining out and stop eating processed foods. Or you can decide to follow a thirty day plan. Keto, vegetarian, low carb, whole 30, intermittent fasting, portion fix – there are a lot of great nutrition plans that are not diets. They are designed to help you make healthy food choices to fuel your body, feel better and help you lose weight. There is a lot of valuable information on the internet and many great books are available. Talk to your doctor and look for something that you can reasonable follow for thirty days to START with.

You can’t wait until you feel like it.

Time management– When the alarm goes off – get up! Don’t think about it, just do it. It doesn’t matter if ‘you feel like it”, most of us don’t feel like being adults 50% of the time, but we take responsibility and do it any way! Make sure that you go to bed early enough so that it doesn’t need to be a war every morning to get out of bed! Pushing snooze just delays the inevitable and puts you behind at the very beginning of your day! 3 – 2- 1 – go! Get up and move.

Daily consistent behavior is what it takes to create lifestyle changes.

Getting active or exercising – you have to get up and move. Schedule it into your day. Get a walking partner, walk at lunch, exercise at home first thing in the morning, join an exercise class or group, do an activity that you enjoy. Make a commitment to yourself for 30 days. Ask someone to be your accountability partner. Post in social media about your exercise or activity experience every day! If you hate it – say so, but say why you will keep it up for thirty days. The next thirty days try something different. After three months you should gave built a healthy habit and should be feeling better about yourself and more energetic!

When I started, I gave myself a 21 day challenge. The next month, I went for 30 days. By then, I was getting addicted to working out every morning and I noticed many positive changes. It was easier to do another 30 day challenge and now, four years later – it is my lifestyle.

SLEEP, NUTRITION, ACTIVITY, MINDSET

Do you need to introduce small changes or clean out the cupboards and make a clean start? Know your personality and be positive about the changes you are making. Tell yourself that you can do it, you feel better, you are proud of yourself. Every day positively encourage yourself and find a coach, partner or group that will help to encourage you also.

What do you need to change? Where do you think that you need the most help? I would love to hear your thoughts or if you recently began a lifestyle change, share what your victories and struggles have been.

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A New Season

Time flies! A year ago I was on vacation with my sister in New York City! It is hard to believe that was a year ago. The month of September signals the return to school and the nearing of autumn, both signal a new season every year for me.

What an amazing Broadway Show!

The calendar can fill up fast and before you know it another month is over. Some day and one day are not days of the week – what important things do you need to get on your schedule and keep saying ‘one day’ to?

Calendars and clocks, mark the passing of time.

I had thought that I would have so much time to write my blog at least once a week this summer, I apologize. That didn’t happen! Where did the summer go?

Multnomah Falls

I worked and we traveled some and enjoyed a few long weekend mini vacations! I admit, I was not ready for summer to be over, that is the thing with the time and seasons: we aren’t in charge. “Time waits for no man, or woman.” Ready or not school started, a new month began, daylight is shortening and fall is getting closer everyday!

Lake Tahoe

So, what does this have to do with living a healthy lifestyle?

Every day, week, month, season and year should remind us of how quickly time flies. We can’t stop it, slow it or get it back. We plan for tomorrow, for vacations, the holidays, next year, retirement but today is the only day that we can act on.

Stop putting off until tomorrow what you should be doing today. You need to “start” today. Whatever that ‘thing’ is; exercise, new job, education, eating healthy, losing weight, quitting smoking….you need to begin NOW. we have about sixteen hours every day that we are moving. What are you doing with yours? If you are so busy working that you can’t remember your last vacation – start scheduling self care days, weekend get away’s and your next vacation. It is not a plan or a goal unless you are taking steps to make it happen. Your life is your journey. What does that look like to you?

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So You Don’t Like to Exercise !!!

Even though I LOVE to workout, I know that many people actually dread exercising!!! Which category do you fall into?

Exercise – Love it or hate it?

If you are trying to lose weight or maintain your weight – nutrition is MORE important than exercise! You can’t out exercise poor nutrition! 80-90% of managing your weight is determined by your nutrition, not how much or how often you exercise!

I have been on my healthy lifestyle journey for four years! September marks my anniversary and I always do a bit of reflection and a restart this month.

The scale is just one tool – don’t over emphasize what it reads!

Over the past year, I have noticed that the only time that my weight fluctuates is when I am not eating very healthy. Most of the time, I am okay with it. Vacation, I want to enjoy some different foods, indulge a little; holidays or celebrations, I want to have dessert or chips and dip. But when I start to feel bloated and ‘yucky’, have less energy and don’t sleep well – that is NOT okay! I have also learned to think about my diet as the first solution when I am feeling that way.

Typically I have gained 4 – 5 pounds, not a big deal. My jeans might feel a little snugger, my tummy is a little’ poochy’, but mostly it is how I am feeling – not like my positive, energetic self, that is what upsets me. Reality for me, is if I am feeling good and my clothing fits comfortably – I don’t really care what the scale is telling me. But, when I realize that my nutrition has been on a long downward slide – say for three or four months (or more, like this past winter, holidays, dark days through March) then I step on the scale and use it as a gauge to help’restart’ myself.

Three Things That Help Me Get Back On Track

Number one is planning. Menu planning, workout planning, weekly meal prep days. Really, planning ahead simplifies your life and when you have healthy food choices readily available – that is what you will grab! Along with planning is tracking; whether you track your meals, calories, steps, exercise minutes, weight/measurements etc., use a daily journal or a calendar, track what you are doing each day. This way you can look back over the week, the month and SEE how well you are doing, where you need more help or improvement and when you might need a little more motivation.

Number two is a short cleanse. Some of you may do a 24 – 36 hour fast. I do a three day cleanse. Cut out the sugar, the starch, the grains and drink lots of water, eat a variety of vegetables and one serving of lean protein each day. This short, focused cleanse helps to restart my focus, my mindset, and helps curb the sugar cravings that have gotten me off track.

Number three is mindset. I know that I can do this. I remind myself that nutrition is for fuel, not for recreation. I only need to eat when I’m hungry. Speak positively to yourself. Encourage yourself. Think positive thoughts. You can be your own worst enemy, be your biggest cheerleader instead!

Come up with a quote, a mantra, a saying that helps to inspire and encourage you. Memorize it. Repeat it every morning. Make a poster of it. Post it everywhere that you can see it and remind yourself that “YOU CAN DO THIS!”, “YOU ARE WORTH IT!”

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Retiring…..Your Shoes

We recently spent a weekend at Mt. Hood that included a fair amount of walking and hiking. I took an old pair of tennis shoes, just for that reason.

Mount Hood

These shoes used to be so comfortable ! They were my favorite workout shoes and then I wore them to work. After awhile, I noticed that when I wore them all day my lower back would hurt. So they became the shoes that I threw in the car for ‘just in case’. You know, when you might need a pair of shoes for a walk or a dry pair of shoes in an emergency.

They don’t look old or worn out, but when your shoes make your feet, your knees or your back hurt – it’s time to retire them!

I have a pair of workout shoes that I wear for about a year and then they become my secondary pair of shoes for work. I teach adaptive P.E. and wear tennis shoes all day. So most of the time I am on my feet! I wear my work shoes until I start to notice that my knee hurts or my lower back aches by the end of the day. This is a sign that the shoes no longer give me the required foot support needed to be on my feet all day. Nobody likes pain, but it amazes me how many people don’t realize that they need to replace their shoes! This could help solve or reduce their foot, knee or back aches and pains.

Cute and comfortable!

These are my new work shoes! I alternate between two pair. If one gets wet or muddy, I have a spare. Alternating helps them to last longer and gives them time to air out between use!

As adults, our shoes are rarely going to look worn out – but the shoes that you wear daily or regularly need to be replaced to maintain the needed support. I also regularly replace my deck shoes or flip flops.

What shoes do you need to replace? Is it time for you to go shoe shopping?

Comfort and support should be the first priority and then how they look.

My shoe closet.

Hey! Don’t judge. I love shoes.

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