Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Blogging on the go!

I'm testing out the Blogger app. Looking forward to blogging even when on the go!

Organizing Your Health - Where to Begin?!

My bout with Bells Palsy and some other health challenges along the way really was a wake up call to value my health more.  I wanted to make my health a priority.  By doing so I figured not only would I feel better, but I would also be better able to serve my family and just plain enjoy life more! Being the organized person I am, my next thought was, where do I start?  This is how I organized my health.  I am not done organizing my health, in fact, I think it is a lifelong process.  I just need a strategy that made sense and would provide me some structure to go after health goals.

Healthy living can actually be overwhelming!  Where do you begin?!  There's eating right, exercise, vitamins, supplements, stress management, making sure you get enough sleep, getting rid of chemicals in your personal care & household products, and the list can go on.  In order to not get too overwhelmed, I have learned to just take it little by little.  Even the tiniest effort will work wonders to build a new healthy you.

I start organizing by creating categories.  I have split my health management into 4 categories:  Nutrition, Exercise, Environment, and Stress Management.  I'll explain a little about each category, then in the coming weeks dive in to each even more.  I am also providing a free printable "Organizing Your Health Goals Sheet" for you to jot your "to do's" under each category.  You can use this as a weekly, monthly, or annual sheet - or even use it daily if you'd like!  I'm using it as a weekly goal sheet, writing one thing down in each category to implement for the week.  It can be as simple as "put vitamins in a daily pill organizer" or "make annual checkup appointment."  If you like to create your own printable goal sheets, has some great free printable patterns to make your sheet fun.  Here's the pattern I used:

Nutrition is my biggest category.  I am a strong believer in good nutrition being the biggest indicator of our overall health.  Nutrition is also perhaps one of the hardest changes to make since most of us have eating habits that are deeply ingrained in us. If we've been eating a certain way since childhood, eating differently can take some major effort!  You may need to shop different, cook different, eat out different, and perhaps even ask others around you to respect your choices in nutrition too.  Also included in this category are vitamins & supplements.

I gotta admit, exercise is hard for me.  I have 2 toddlers who keep me on my feet all day long.  Sure we play, and go on walks, and I clean house and am up and about, but if I really want to make some physical changes in my life, I've got to up my exercise and do some more challenging stuff.  I would absolutely love to lose the 15lbs I have left to get back to my wedding day weight!  It's not my favorite, so it's no surprise that I've done more in the nutrition and other categories so far!  I need a plan to exercise.  Something that will be motivating, work for my schedule, be challenging, and make some amazing physical changes.

The environment category involves making the environments you are in the most the healthiest they can be.  It's making sure your home and work space are providing you with adequate support and tools you need to stay healthy.  It is also making sure your environments are free of harmful chemicals, clean, and pure. 

Stress Management
Stress Management can also be a big category.  I lumped doctor and health care provider visits into this category because it's something that needs to be regularly scheduled.  Annual check ups, specialist visits, nutritionist visits, and things like massage and pedicure appointments are in this category.  Also in this category are things like getting enough sleep, stress management techniques, and areas of simple living that will bring our stress levels down.

I look forward to diving deeper into each of these categories in the next few weeks!

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Friday, August 17, 2012

I'm Back! . . .When Neat Doctor Needs a Doctor!

My last blog post was in January. Many of you may be wondering, what happened to Neat Doctor?! Sometimes life has a way of taking us by the hand & sitting us down for a while so we can re-focus & realign our priorities. Or, in my case, life just gave me a swift push in the tush to rest a little! I'm currently in a stage of life with 2 toddlers where I am go-go-go all day every day. I got to a point where I was over-caffeinated, under-rested, under-nourished, over-stressed, and just plain not taking care of me. I was not living out the concept of "put your oxygen mask on yourself first so you can better help others." Ever since my daughter was born in 2010, I have been sick very often. I think part of it comes with having kids - they run into germs here and there, and I'm taking care of them all day, so I'm bound to get sick more often. But I seemed to be getting sick not only more often, but with more severe ailments.

February 2012 was a wake up call for me. In the late afternoon I was giving my kids a bath and I felt like when I smiled I wasn't able to move my mouth fully. Then my cheek didn't feel like it was moving. I asked my husband to look at my face when I tried to smile, and he commented that it looked a little strange. I called my health insurance's nurse hotline. After describing my symptoms, her advice to me was to "hang up and dial 911." Huh? I was shocked, and scared. I've never had to call 911! I even tried to downplay it and say, I feel ok, I can walk around just fine, can't I just go to urgent care? She again reiterated her advice to call 911 right away. So we did, and the fire truck and ambulance came and got me. My kids at first thought it was pretty neat to have firemen at our house, until they saw them carrying mommy out on a stretcher. I'll never forget hearing my daughters cries as I was being lifted into the ambulance. After CT Scan, another ambulance ride to another hospital,a long night in the ER, and a MRI, it was determined that I did not have a stroke, but a condition called Bells Palsy.

Bells Palsy occurs when one of the facial nerves is inflamed. The nerve goes through a very narrow canal in the skull and basically turns off because of the inflammation. Doctors believe it to be caused by a virus that settles in the nerve. Many patients are under a lot of stress when this happens. The left side of my face was completely paralyzed. I was so grateful it was not a stroke! I was actually glad I only had to deal with the annoyances of Bells Palsy, and nothing more serious. I had it for 2 months. The most annoying things about this condition were not being able to use my tongue when eating on that side, and having to manually blink my eye. You don't realize how great it is to have involuntary reflexes like blinking until you have to do it by hand! I also had to put gel in my eye and tape it shut every night to prevent it from drying out. To this day I still find that I need some eye drops during the day and gel at night. Besides a little eye dryness, I have made a full recovery.  Here's what my smile looked like:
This was a wake up call like I had never had before. It was so frustrating! I realized how important my health was if I wanted to give my all in taking care of my family and enjoy life to the fullest. It really made me take a step back and finally strap on that oxygen mask. I am still fighting my tendencies to do too much every day, but it's getting easier. I took this as a very strong warning to change my ways, and I'm chipping away at it every day. To kick off my journey back to blogging, I will be focusing on health topics for a while. I truly believe living a healthy lifestyle is the root of being able to reach our dreams and goals. I am excited to share some of my a-ha moments & even my stumbles along the way! Cheers to good health!