The Power of Journaling

It’s been some time now since I’ve last posted anything on my WordPress blog. Over a year and a half to be exact. That went by fast! Other than just everyday life getting in the way, there are a couple of other reasons. One being, I have been sharing more on my Instagram Blog, shutting down the laptop and getting outdoors to explore more, and I’ve taken up Journaling in that time.

With today being a rain day, with little to do I decided to update my blog site to tie in more with my Instagram account and to share a post with you about Journaling. Why I love it and how it has helped me.

I keep 2 Journals. One I use as an emotional, stress release, on an as-needed basis, the other I use weekly.  In my weekly journal I write down 3 things that I am grateful for in my life, plus things that give me hope and make me happy. The gratitude journal creates a positive mood.

Both Journals are equally important for keeping me in balance.

Journaling has allowed me to clarify my thoughts and feelings, while gaining valuable self-knowledge. It has become my go to as a problem-solving tool to release stress, putting down on paper what I don’t want to burden others about.
Journaling about the stressors in my life helps me process them by fully exploring and releasing the emotions involved. Once they are on paper, I leave them there. I tuck the book in a drawer. They no longer take up space in my head. I also have found, that putting pen to paper has helped me to come up with solutions more easily.

As for the health benefits of journaling, no need to take it from me. It has been scientifically proven. Research shows the following:

– Journaling decreases the symptoms of asthma, arthritis, and other health conditions.
– It improves cognitive functioning.
– It strengthens the immune system, preventing a host of illnesses.
– It counteracts many of the negative effects of stress.

I hope my experience with journaling will help inspire you to start your own journey with Journaling.  You may not need 2 journals, or you might. My suggestion starts with a gratitude Journal, once a week, working your way up to daily. Write 3 things you are grateful for. I prefer to write in the morning in my gratitude journal to start my day on a positive note, or sometimes I will write before bed, to reflect upon the day. It doesn’t matter when you write, just take the time whenever you can squeeze it in.
Before you know it, just like that it’s a habit.

If you are already someone who Journals, I would love to hear how it has helped you.

Thanks for taking the time to read my blog, I will do my best to post a blog at least once a month about this amazing Journey called life.
Stay well
Pauline

Now What?

“My Journey continues because I have conquered a lot and I know how to conquer the rest.”

I started having severe lower back pain in August 2016 that at first, I thought was a sciatic problem. A few months in and ex-rays on my back I was told it was arthritis in the lower back that was causing me all the discomfort.
Doctors kept telling me the pain I had was arthritis, which could have been part of it, but I knew it was not all of it.

After a routine pap exam in November 2016 the doctor ordered a Trans vaginal Ultrasound as soon as possible and referred me to a specialist. The results of the sonogram showed why I had pain. My uterus was enlarged and there were several Fibroid Tumors the largest being 14 cm in diameter. At this point we discussed whether to wait and see if tumors would shrink with medication or move forward with a hysterectomy. I opted for the medication at first and completed the full 3 months of it. Further testing , poking , probing had shown that the medication was not shrinking the tumors as hoped for and an updated biopsy was showing that there was now abnormal cell activity happening. I had no choice, a hysterectomy it was.

My hysterectomy was completed because I was diagnosed with Endometrial hyperplasia as well as having several Fibroid Tumors.
Endometrial hyperplasia puts a woman at a higher risk of getting uterine (endometrial) cancer. Endometrial hyperplasia means that there are more cells than there should be in the lining of the uterus. This is called a precancerous condition because it might turn into cancer.
Fibroids are muscular tumors that grow in the wall of the uterus. Fibroids are almost always benign (not cancerous).

On Thursday Sept 7, 2017, I was admitted to the hospital to undergo surgery. Laparoscopic Assisted Vaginal Hysterectomy and Bilateral Salpingo Oophorectomy. (Total Hysterectomy with ovaries & fallopian tubes removed.)
I was in the hospital for two nights, because of the amount of blood loss, my hemoglobin count was very low. I was up walking a little bit, next day.
I had been doing a brilliant preparation for surgery, meditation for a period of time before my surgery so I was very calm and relaxed and this sudden change didn’t bother me at all. All the doctors and nurses commented on how calm and positive I was.

I firmly believe A positive attitude causes a chain reaction of positive thoughts, events and outcomes. It is a catalyst, & it sparks extraordinary results.

My recovery so far at day 5 has been straight forward with no issues. Pain medication no longer needed and feeling not too bad.
My greatest challenge is resting! I am so used to being on the go all the time, resting is tough; but I realize how important it is to not overdo things and I am resting regularly.
I am being kind to myself and am not rushing the healing process.

I am sure there will be some fun times ahead, since I will be hitting menopause at full speed. But even so, I have not a single regret — it’s lifted an enormous weight.’

Just another part of the journey.

If I could tell women one thing I would say that all women should be advocates for their own health and well-being. You know your body. If you sense a problem, then do not stop until you feel that it has been solved. If it means having a hysterectomy to save your life, then do it.
As I sit and write this blog I can’t help but think of my dear cousin laying in a hospital bed out west who is in the final stages of ovarian cancer. May god bless her and may we all be grateful for the little things in life. Early detection is key my friends.
Be Well!
Pauline

Energize Your Spirit

breathe in the beauty of nature…

If I could take you by the hand, I would take you outside to connect with nature.
It has made a tremendous difference in my life.
I love to spend some of my time each day outside observing what’s happening around me. I am beginning to notice things about the environment that I’ve never seen before, at the same time increasing my awareness of my surroundings while taking in the beauty.
I do enjoy finding the road less traveled. Dirt roads, my favorite.
Although driving along dirt roads isn’t completely natural, I find if you roll down the windows and let the breeze flow through, you enjoy the natural experience just as well.
My favorite place to be to reset or energize my spirit is by water, to watch, to listen, to just sit and be still.
After all, natural bodies of water are absolutely the most beautiful.
I’m sure we would all agree that the sound of water is naturally soothing, but it is all that comes with getting outdoors that lifts the spirit. The beauty of the flowers, the sound of wind and birds, and the feel of the breeze seems all I need to lift my spirits. Everything else at that point and time is non-existent.
The freshness and energy it provides is positive.
I once read “Staying with nature will help you to get rid of all negative thoughts, curiosities and anxieties too. These are the three things which troubles you from leading a happy and healthy life.”
So true! I’ve been hooked with staying with nature ever since.
While nature walks combine exercise with outdoor stimulation, any form of outdoor living will elevate your mood.
It has been proven that walking through a forest will reduce levels of the stress hormone cortisol and reduce blood pressure and heart rate. Three things we all need to keep in check.
So take a daily walk, try your hand at fishing, or simply sit and read on the back deck, or in a park to see benefits.
I strongly recommend, whenever you get some leisure time try to engage your life with nature , not just for a day, a week. Engage in nature daily, explore, wander and continue it until it’s your favorite thing to do. Do it throughout your life, experience the difference and be well!

When coming to a fork in the road – take it (Yogi Berra)

It’s Simply Enough

This week I was asked by an individual “What is it you do for a living Pauline?”
My reply was “I work at a semi private golf course in Muskoka from May to October in the Pro Shop and in the winter, I take time for me.”
“Wow! It’s great that you can do that. Your husband must have a pretty good job”
Me: “Not really, he works 4 days a week at a grocery store in our small town. We just choose to live a simple life. We have what we need, the rest are just wants.”
Amazing the look, I received. Almost as though there was something wrong with me.
However, this conversation did inspire me to write a blog about how & why I chose to live a simple life. I hope you enjoy and are inspired to find your own way of living that lets you be your authentic self.

It’s Simply Enough
The world we live in is such a loud, busy, noisy place. Others always telling us we need to grasp for more, that bigger is better. Seems the world around us thinks we need to have this big impact for our lives to be of value or count. We ourselves seem to think that all too often as well. I was there, thinking “What if I never amount to anything when I grow up other than a mom and wife”. After all wasn’t it expected of me to become something, to make something of my life?
I leaped into the chaos of always wanting more, a higher title, a larger salary, a bigger house, a fancy car, for years I played the part and was very successful, but something was missing. This always wanting more, sacrificing my health, happiness and family time for what? So, at the end of the day I can say “I’m #1 or I’m in the Top 10” or “I make a 6-figure salary” “my house is the biggest on the block” Striving for this type of life left me worn out, drained of happiness and had me asking myself. “Am I simply not enough if I don’t have these things?” “Who am I? ”
It took me some time, tears, anxiety & depression not to mention a divorce along the way to find out that I am not cut out for the chaos of this society and cannot even begin to keep up. I know so many people with boundless energy and stamina that can live this lifestyle, balance it and enjoy it, but knew that what I needed was tons of solitude, calm and periods of unscheduled time for me to be the healthiest version of me I could be. The person who doesn’t care about expensive fancy things. Whose home is humble but is happy. Who would rather risk being judge so that I could just be my authentic self, be there for the people in my life that matter most. I want to do what I want to do not what society thinks I should do.
I don’t want to write a book or earn a 6-figure salary. I want to write because I have something to share from my experiences from my heart. I can only hope to inspire others I care about and encourage them to love and care for themselves. Because bigger isn’t always better and that they as individuals matter. That they are valuable for who they are, not the title they hold or the amount of money they earn.
I have embraced my limitations and have made peace with who I am and what I need and I honor your right to do the same.
Is it wrong to just want a small, slow, simple life?
I don’t think so. I am most happy where simple lives.

Spend Your Dash Wisely

Yesterday I spent the day with some truly amazing people. My Rocky Crest Family. It wasn’t a day of fun and games but a day of remembrance as we all gathered to share our stories and say goodbye to one of our members and dear friends Mr. MacLellan after his courageous journey with cancer.

It was a beautiful service with both his son and daughter sharing with us their stories, a slide show of pictures and his beautiful wife Sherry , who raised a glass for all of us to toast Scott. The number of friends, family, business colleagues that attended was a testament to what we already knew about Scott. Scott was truly admirable and touched many lives. Scott lived his Dash!
“The Dash” A poem by Linda Ellis that was read at the funeral and although I had heard this poem before it just had me. I Can’t stop thinking about it. Maybe because I am on my own journey of personal development, the journey of me consciously evolving as a person, regularly improving my life mentally; physically and spiritually. I heard the words this time for what seemed like the first time. Heard it! You know that old saying “When the student is ready, the teacher will appear. ”
If you have never heard or read the poem, it talks about how we make note of the year that the person was born and the year they died, which say nothing, when it’s more about what’s between those dates, the dash, which represent the years of that person’s life. The poem makes you think about how you spend your dash and when your eulogy is being read, will you be proud of how you spent your dash?

RIP Scott MaCLellan and thank you for touching my life.

Life is short spend your dash wisely.

Here is a link to Linda Ellis Poem , The Dash. It’s certainly is inspirational.

http://www.linda-ellis.com/the-dash-the-dash-poem-by-linda-ellis-.html

My Journey – Part 2

Two weeks ago, I made the decision that I was going to become the healthiest version of me that I could become. A long overdue visit with my family physician was just the wake up call I needed.
For the most part I eat a pretty healthy diet and have a moderate exercise routine. So, when the Dr. told me that my blood pressure was dangerously high, like stroke high I was a little taken back. Medication was prescribed and yet another new journey begins for me. Journey #2

Let’s start with Journey #1.
October 2013, I left a job that sucked the life out of me, the negativity around me was too much and left me dealing with Anxiety & Depression, I made myself a promise to never let anyone or anything ever take away my love of life again. My focus was to increase the positivity in my life. I knew I had to take responsibility and make it happen, because no one else could do it for me.
I just wanted to be more positive! I was so frustrated with the negativity that my thoughts seemingly force upon me. I knew it wasn’t going to be easy, but I was ready.
I found myself seeing a therapist, reading books, googling positive quotes that inspired, encouraged, and motivated me. It didn’t matter to me that I already knew what the book was all about, or that I’ve seen the same quote 2 or 3 times before or that people might think she’s crazy seeing a shrink. What mattered was that I continually feed my mind with positive and inspirational material. The more time I spent in the land of the positive, the better I was becoming. So, what happened was gradually I found myself here today, one of those happy, positive people that can handle any adversity. I still work on this Journey daily and continue to practice random acts of kindness. I just love making people smile!

This takes me to Journey #2
The same process I followed in Journey #1 for personal development is exactly the process I will follow to supercharge my life with a gym membership to meet my health and wellness goals.
I’ve Joined a gym!!
No doubt that intimidation is an unavoidable part of life. I know there will always be that someone who I feel is better than me in some way, but that doesn’t mean I should run from those feelings. I need to trample them under my feet. It’s unfortunate, and I know I am not alone on this one, people feel intimidated at the thought of joining a gym. I get it now, walking into room with mysterious machines is tough and what’s worse is that everyone there seem to be in great shape and know exactly what they’re doing. The hardest part about going to the gym for the first time was getting myself there. dsc_0019_1
I set up an orientation with a trainer who showed me around and taught me how to use the machines. I asked a lot of questions and felt a little silly but once all my questions were answered and I knew how the machines worked, I felt much more comfortable about showing up for my work outs on my own. I might have initially felt awkward following the trainer around the gym, but to me an hour of discomfort seemed much better than days of confusion at the gym.
It’s hard in the beginning, (only 2 weeks into it) because I’m trying to change something that my body isn’t used to. I’m o.k with that. I have decided the best look I can have when going to the gym for the first little while and trying to overcome the anxiety is one of confidence, because if I look like I know what I’m doing, I’m golden. Fake it, till you make it-lol

So, I will throw my ear plugs in and zone into motivational music that will silence the other gym goers and give me the push I need to keep going. My goals will give me focus and purpose.
Each day as I walk into the gym, I will tell myself that I am there to give it my very best and it doesn’t matter how everyone else looks. My first two weeks is not comparable to someone else’s 52 weeks. I’ve got this!

Gradually as with Journey #1 The happiest version of me I will also become the healthiest version of me Journey #2.

Thanks for reading, feel free to leave a comment.

Be Well!

Pauline

 

Anxiety Does Not Define Me

I find that People always share the shining side of things, especially in our world of Social Media. Yes, I am guilty. It’s easier to share the highlights of your life than to talk about the negative, but I think it’s also important to show we’re all human, we all have failures, we have things that are more difficult to cope with.

Admitting vulnerability has the ability to connect people. I hope that with this blog I connect with you & give you inspiration.

Everyone has struggles in life – it just happens that anxiety and depression are mine.

Anxiety. At some point in life you will face it. A public speech, job interviews or the first day at your new job, you’ll get nervous, do whatever it is that is making you nervous and then go back to your usual self. This makes me incredibly envious.

The stigma around having a mental health issue causes a lot of people to hide it. That’s why a lot of the time when you find out someone has anxiety or depression it comes as a surprise.
SURPRISE!

I am not an expert on anything. Most days I struggle with being the expert on me, but that is the only thing I come close to being an expert on.

People are puzzled by me — I come across as outgoing but introverted, very social but rarely wanting to go out and socialize. My alone time my safe place.

Despite many physical symptoms of anxiety, I’m a master at hiding it.

While I may not be able to prevent stress or anxiety from showing up at inopportune times, my remedy and a great place to start is by taking a deep breath and remembering I don’t have to have it all together all the time. Or even some of the time. The best thing I can do is live honestly with myself. I’ve also been through a couple of episodes of depression. Luckily, I have had the strength and guidance of professionals to get through them along with amazing support of family & friends.

I think a couple of my favorite pieces of advice for when feeling down is “it’s OK not to be OK” and “Sometimes we fall down because there is something down there we’re supposed to find”

I know this might sound strange, but I am grateful for my Anxiety and Depression even though I would not wish them on my worst enemy, but they have had a huge impact in shaping who I am, and in developing some of my biggest strengths. I’m proud of my kindness and empathy. Being familiar with struggle makes a person appreciate the goodness in life so much more. Life is good, and life is short, and for that reason I will make my journey count.

Anxiety and depression do not define me, but I am truly very grateful for the life lessons I have learned in working to overcome and manage them, and of the person I am.
I have become more proactive to stay healthy, especially when my mental health is at stake and have come to the conclusion that I will never let my most personal decisions be influenced by the opinions of others. I have to believe the right decision lies deep in my heart. I believe in the knowledge I have and trust myself enough to embrace the unknown.

The prescribed medication I take for anxiety attacks does not define me. I am OK with my decision to take medication when needed to help me with my anxiety. A decision that came from acceptance, not shame. A decision that allowed me to start down a new path on my journey.

My one piece of advice to anyone dealing with anxiety is to never let anxiety fool you into thinking you’re not strong enough for something. 8edbf8af8f9b1546b55e86bed33c060b
Not everyone experiences anxiety in the same way. This is based on my own individual experience.
No one knows you better than you know yourself. Always stay true to you 🙂  Always remember…Asking for help is a sign of strength, not weakness!