Be Kind to Yourself

This morning I had the opportunity to Skype with one of Having ‘Me’ Time’s readers and we had a good discussion about our journey to better health and weight loss.  A lot about the path to better health means avoiding processed, unhealthy foods, sweets or what seems to be almost all of our favourite foods.  It often feels like we are starving ourselves of what we love, especially if that’s how we’ve been eating our whole lives.

What happens when we mess up our diet and fall for that piece of decadently delicious chocolate fudge cake, or that juicy cheese hamburger?   Nothing. Nada.

Many times we are so strict with ourselves that when we fall for that piece of cupcake or donut, we feel like we’ve failed the diet and end up eating for the world.  We throw all our hard work away and lose hope. We go back to our old ways and eat and eat.

My advice to you is this:  Be kind to yourself.  Don’t lose hope and enjoy the experience.

Remember that it’s okay to treat yourself every now and then.  If you crave a hamburger really badly, go out and eat it.  If you want that cake, eat it.  Sometimes having a bite is enough to satisfy the craving. Enjoy it, savour it and then just make a mental note to yourself to work out extra at the gym the next day.  Add an extra session to the week’s workout.

No big deal right?  Have fun being healthy.  Enjoy the experience!

I’ve lost 5kgs or 12 lbs since the beginning of the year and every night I treat myself to some dark chocolate.  I have ice cream and egg tart.  I do, however, make sure that it’s super delicious and worth my extra workout time.

There’s no failing, no wrong in becoming healthy.  It’s a journey that goes up hill, down hill, turns corners and brings you to wonderful new places.  Just keep working at it! Keep on walking down the path. Don’t stop and turn back.

Five years on and I am still working on it 🙂  Step by step, little by little, we’ll get there. Be kind to yourself and be patient.

The Leather Day

This writer of Having “Me” Time has been having some “me” time after a crazy few weeks in a crazy year.  After having just lost my beautiful leather name card holder that I’ve had for over 10 years and being fascinated by Midori notebooks, I thought to myself, why not just make it myself?

The leather name card holder would burn a hole in my wallet if I wanted to replace it with the exact same one. Walking around malls and searching online, I have not yet found one to my liking.  I am picky when it comes to functionality and colour combinations.

The Midori notebooks I love, but hey, it’s made in Thailand!  I’m in Thailand.  It looks like a square piece of leather with a hole in it for the elastic. What could be so hard right?

My journey to leather crafting began.

I searched online, watched youtube, and ordered tools online.  Having the right tools is essential.  I rediscovered the “leather neighbourhood” in Bangkok and made a plan to go. (I’ll review that in another post) It had me excited the entire few weeks. In between meetings or during rests, I would find my mind pondering the many leather projects.  I felt like a kid waiting for candy.

I looked forward to the day I would get to go buy leather.  I was as excited as if I was a kid being told I’d get to go to the zoo.  I’d talk about leather to poor old Alex who so grumpily put up with my ranting. His only wish was for me to make him leather golf club covers.  Of course.

I can’t quite put a name to it, but there’s something about working on leather, using your hands and just sitting quietly designing that relaxes and recharges the soul.  For hours, I didn’t miss the iPad, the iPhone or the wifi.  I didn’t care what was going on in the social media world.  I just focused on on my leather.  I wanted so badly to see the finished product.  Seeing your design come to life.  And when it does, I’m the kid with the ice cream with a big smile at the zoo. Ahhh, the little happiness of pursuing a hobby.

Amazing how little breaks are good for the soul. 🙂 Now I’m ready for Monday. What about you?What’s your hobby?

No Recipe for Life

Sometimes it’s the simplest things in life that can boost for your soul or simply make you happy.   Simple things like cooking or baking.  Ever since I was 5 or 6 years old I’ve been baking and cooking up dishes in the kitchen with my picture cookbook (which I got from one of my best friends and still use till today. Thank you!).  Some dishes turned out well, some turned out funny, some turned out to be something else, but overall it turned out to be a generally good experience that can teach one a bit about life.

It is the experience of cooking or baking that counts despite the sometimes failed attempts.  Thirty years on my parents seem to recall perfectly my initial attempts at making brownies that turned out to be little black squares of rock-like substance that seems to have been part of a volcanic eruption or how my “Eggy” bread” gave everyone a good laugh.  My husband reminds me of how my cookies turned out to be scones or how cakes turn out to be bread.

What ever happens in the kitchen though can be a little reminder of life in general.   There is no one recipe that fits everyone.  Whilst the recipe might work for some, for others it might require tweaking, changes in measurements, or need techniques to get the desired outcome.  The outcome depends upon the ingredients, the sequence in which they were combined or how fast they were mixed.  Even things such as humidity (which are hard to control) play a big role.  The trick though, is to keep finding out why it worked (or didn’t work) and to keep working on it.

That too is life.  There’s no perfect recipe.  You may spend your life trying to do everything “right” but in the end, we are all human.  There are good days, bad days and days you wish you could just stay in bed all day.  Life is all about the experience; finding the recipe, getting the ingredients, imagining the desired outcome and finally seeing the ingredients come to life step by step.  I love the thrill of seeing the outcome.

Sometimes it turns out well, sometimes it doesn’t.  Don’t worry when things don’t go the way you want it.  Don’t worry when you find yourself out of some ingredients.  Improvise and find an alternative.  Figure out why it didn’t work and try again.  If you don’t try, you’ll never get it right.

Happy Baking (or Cooking)!

As Free as the Wind Blows

I love dogs and if you’ve ever talked to me about dogs you’ll probably think I’m a little crazy. Now with James, a labrador, and Zoey, a Thai dog, I could spend hours talking about them. I have pictures and video clips of them on my phone and my eyes start to smile just thinking about them. Yes, dogs are really good for your heart and soul. For me anyways.

Watching James run around the garden and playing ball or frisbee with him, I finally understand why Labradors are so popular. Having previously had a miniature daschund, whom I loved dearly, I have to say that labradors are so different in character and temper. They are happy go lucky dogs that see the world as a wonderful playground.  Nothing is bad and everyone is your friend.

James’s favorite game in this world is “Fetch.”  He could play it all day all night and couldn’t be happier.  Everyday I try to fit in a little game of fetch, but in the case that I should forget, James will gently remind me by bringing his favorite bouncy rubber ball to my feet where it gently drops to the ground with a little squeak.  He doesn’t bark nor make a big deal about it.  He just puts it down, sits up straight and looks at me with his big doe eyes and ears a little back.  My heart melts and become his ball thrower.

If he’s not playing fetch, he’s running around the garden with Zoey.  Yes its good to have two dogs so they can keep themselves busy when you are off doing other things.   Together they’ll run round and round the garden, through hedges, round trees and underneath tables.  Don’t think about growing beautiful flowers or potted plants.  Everything in the path of powerful James running with his ears flapping and his paws pounding are taken down.  James and Zoey run as if it were the best game on Earth.

Watching them somehow reminds me of kids running around.  The happiness and joy that comes with running evokes freedom.  Running in tune with nature, wind in your hair and grass beneath your feet.  I wonder why is it that adults no longer run.  As we grow up, we forget the childish delight that comes with running the garden and getting dirt on our hands.

This summer, why not take a little breather, feel some grass beneath your feet and the wind in your hair.  It’ll make wonders.  Find that inner child and be as free as the wind blows.

It’s a peaceful Sunday my dears

When was the last time you had a peaceful Sunday morning?  For me it’s been awhile since I had a relaxing Sunday like today.  Weekends are usually hijacked by the errands and other obligations that necessitate us being up, dressed and out of the house, or just waiting for people to arrive.  I have come to realize that the most valuable Sundays are the days you can just get up, laze and not feel obligated to do anything.

It’s a day to be treasured.

Last weekend it was hijacked by house projects that although voluntary, it requires one to be up and ready.  Even though all I had to do was wait for the gardener, cleaning lady and fence man to arrive, one still had to be on the watch and make sure things were done correctly.  Which means that you can’t just laze on the couch looking out the window at the big sky with the dogs by your feet.

It becomes an energized day with dogs on full alert at all the strangers roaming about which rubs out on you as well.  You find yourself checking to see if the fence was done the way it was discussed, the dogs don’t get in the way, or just seeing that everything is in order.

This morning, it was an ideal Sunday morning.  There was no one coming, no place I had to be, and nothing I had to do.  It was truly a relaxing “me” time sort of day.

It feels absolutely great.  Rejuvenating.

Alex and I make a mental note that more days like this are needed.  Every now and then, it is absolutely divine to just stay home and laze.  It clears the mind and regulates your heartbeat.  I feel myself breathing slightly slower (although it could just be my imagination) and my mind is strangely clear.  Stress relieve. What about you?  When was the last time you gave yourself some rest?  Have a lazy, peaceful Sunday everyone 🙂

 

Stressed? Run.

This morning, I went running.  It’s been awhile, actually a couple of months since I’ve been running regularly.  The past few weeks its been difficult to just squeeze in twice a week of running.  Of course the usual excuses come up, the rain, lots of things to do..etc.  The list is endless.   Really there is no excuse. , The truth of the matter is that the more stressed you are, the more tasks you have to do, the more you should actually be running.  It clears your mind in unbelievable ways.

It’s like floating on cloud 9.

This morning I realized how unfit I have become.  Just a few months off and there I am huffing and panting after just 4 sets of running at 7.5 km/hour.  My heart felt like it wasn’t getting oxygen fast enough and I felt myself hanging on the treadmill rails.  It got better after the second set, however, my average before was 9 km/hour.  I tell myself.  I have  to keep running.  I cannot let myself get out of shape.

The best thing of all though is that I was reminded of how running really clears up your mind. If you’re stressed, overwhelmed by all that you have to do, have a zillion million things to get done then the best stress reliever of all is exercise.  Your brain feels replenished and thoughts flow more clearly.   You had valuable time to be by yourself and let your brain rest.

After all, don’t you wonder why the best ideas usually appear when you’re out for a walk or taking a shower?  The “thought” had an opportunity to get through the zillion other things that circuit through our brains like flashes of electricity all day long.

So really, the best way to maintain your mental health is to just exercise.  The more stressed you are, the more one should exercise.  There’s no excuse.  Exercise and it will change your life.  Try it.  I dare you. 🙂

The Accident

Accidents do happen. When they do, no one wants it to happen and no matter what kind of accident it is, it always brings up a range of emotions. Yesterday, I crashed my car into the car in front of me while waiting for a turn. A dumb accident indeed caused by my somehow stepping on the accelerator instead of the brake. Good thing it wasn’t serious. It was my first real accident ever after over a decade of driving (that’s if you ignore motorcycles leaving their paint on my side mirror or another car hitting the corner of my bumpber). I’ve been fortunate and count my blessings. Most importantly though, yesterday’s lesson reminded me of an important lesson : have a positive attitude no matter what.

When I realized what had happened and stopped the car, I immediately got out and went to see the lady in the car in front of me. Luckily she was alright and together we decided to move our cars to the side of the road to avoid causing any traffic jams. It was dark and for awhile both of us were sitting in our cars calling the insurance firms and others we needed to tell.

Then we both got out the car and started chatting. What struck me first was how positive the lady was. After I had said sorry who knows how many times, she just told me to not worry about it and smiled. She said, “It’s alright, no one wants to hit someone else. At least we both have insurance.” She even laughed and said it was indeed not such a good year for her as the Chinese Astrology says. She had earlier also been hit by another car and not yet had the opportunity to go fix her car, so the time to fix her car had finally come she said.

As she jumped around avoiding mosquitoes she told me how she had just come back from the fitness, bought food and was on her way home to have dinner with her boyfriend. The lovely part was that she was so sweet and even waved her hands around showing me how she had been exercising. Then we exchanged names and work information. We lived and worked not far from each other and she also had a friend who worked at the same place I did.

What a small world.

And so we had a lovely chat, talked about this and that and waited to see which insurance company would be faster. We laughed at how she could stick her finger into a gap between the car body and her back lights, and commented on our dated driver’s license cards. (We both have the old versions where it’s laminated pink paper) Even though, it was late, dark and we were both hungry, she made everything seem okay. Of course, we exchanged numbers. Next time she comes to my office, we will probably meet up.

Who knows what life brings you right? Every cloud does indeed have a silver lining and maybe I will have found a new friend amidst unexpected circumstances.

So next time something happens that you didn’t want to, remember this, be positive. Attitude makes a difference. If she had banged on her car and made a big affair over it it, we would both have had a horrible evening and gone to bed with angry hearts. Instead we laughed it off and went hope to a good meal and good night’s sleep. Be positive, be happy!