I just returned from a whirlwind 15 day Asian vacation with my family. I write this at 3:00 PM EST while my eyes feel as though it is 3:00 AM. The trip was beautiful, glamorous, and exciting one minute and heart-breaking, exhausting, and stressful the next. I saw poverty, heard about abuse (elephant abuse specifically), and pollution. I also saw beautiful blue waters, immensely incredible ancient buildings, and glittering skylines. I experience immense kindness and also was verbally accosted by a pseudo cab driver in Vietnam. Since coming back, my head has kind of been in a cloud. Partially jet lag, and partially with immense gratitude and appreciation for my life, the people in it, and the country that I live in. Coming back to work has been wonderful – I love the people I work with both in the clinic where I see patients [love my patients as well], and I love the residents and working in the residency clinic. I don’t want this post to be specifics about what I did as much as I want it to be about what I feel.
So the theme for this week [I know it has been months since the last post like this] is resolutions. The products I’m sharing/recommending are ones that can help you keep your resolutions.
Reduce waste. Use refillable water bottles and refillable coffee mugs instead of disposable Starbucks cups and disposable water bottles. KeepCup makes these cute refillable coffee mugs in different sizes, and I love HydroFlask for water bottles. I like cold water, and water in this stays ice cold all day.
Reduce spending. Kakebo is the Japanese art of saving money. Basically, they utilize a planning method where at the beginning of the month, you make a detailed list of the things you will need to spend money on for the upcoming month [or 4 weeks]. That way you are prepared for things to come and you have a stash of “extra” money if needed as well. It apparently successfully decreases spending by 35%. Here’s an article about it. And here is a book. I don’t think you really need the book, but if you’re a person that benefits from something tangible.
Plan. I bought this recently to streamline meal-planning and grocery shopping. I’ll let you know how effective it actually is, but it seems really helpful.
Read. So one of my resolutions was to read more, and this is one of the first books on my list. One of the greatest science-related books of our time, and I haven’t read it yet.
Okay, okay, it’s been a while. I figured this would happen. But the last two months just got unexpectedly (but maybe not so unexpectedly) busy. So, it’s 2018. A new year. Time people make resolutions. I posted some general resolutions on Facebook earlier this week, but I’ll go into further depth on this blog.
- Don’t diet. Instead make lifestyle changes, lifestyle changes, lifestyle changes. Please don’t diet. Diets set you up for failure, mess with your metabolism, and cause forever yo yo-ing (how do you write yo yo-ing?) of weight. Instead, if you want your body to change, make lifestyle changes that you can maintain without suffering. It might take longer to get the weight off, but it will last. Eat more vegetables, eat healthy fats, don’t deprive yourself completely of your favorite foods, work on portion control, drink more water, and move more. A side tip, never mention diets and weight in front of children. I’ve seen little girls as young as four talk about calories and pinch their skin talking about fat. Create a healthy mindset about food and exercise and pass that on to younger generations.
- Move. Exercise in ways that don’t feel like chores – take fun classes, go skiing, hike outside, walk your dog, dance, anything you think you’d enjoy. Enjoy the process and it’s something you can continue for the rest of your life. I also use the word “move” to encourage travel. Road trips, outdoor adventures, or overseas trips if you’re able. All are amazing for the mind + soul. See a doctor once a year and talk to them if you are having difficulty with your weight, there may be a medical cause.
- Less screen time. I feel as though 90% of the day I am on my phone or a computer. I interact with patients and then immediately go back to my computer and type up notes/put in orders. Precepting with the residents, I’m basically on the computer the whole time. My phone seems as though it’s an appendage of my body these days. I have found that when I’m away from screens, time slows down! Less screen time will hopefully result in more time to read and create (more of that later).
- Reduce + reuse. I know everyone pushes recycling, which is great, but even better is to reduce or reuse. Buy better quality products, but fewer of them! For example, instead of 10 cheap sweaters, buy one of great quality that will last you forever. In fact, reduce buying in general – I know I have so many things that I bought that I really didn’t need; they are just collecting dust in my house and one day will just be thrown out. So wasteful! Buy food with less packing waste – buy in bulk bags (nuts, seeds, rice) when you are able. Refill water bottles instead of buying disposable ones – I’m using Hydroflask, and I love it. It comes in several sizes and colors, and it keeps my water ice cold all day long. And reuse. This is something I need to work on. Reuse bags, boxes, jars, whatever you can, before throwing them out/recycling them.
- Read. I am going to try and read one book a month. It seems like the easiest task ever, but I get so caught up in my screens that it’s hard to make time for reading.
- Give. Give more presents to people, give more hugs, volunteer. Give yourself a break! Giving is the best thing you can do. If you can’t afford to donate money, donate your time – there are so many organizations to get involved with out there.
- Create. I’m going to work on writing more, but I also am going to work on watercolors and work on cooking and baking more. But create in any way you choose – write, paint, draw, dance, make music, etc.
That’s it for now. I’ll try to post more regularly (#7 up there) while still not increasing my screen time (#3).