Sunday, November 1, 2015

#11 How to survive a winter Andrea style

The list of 20 things to try for 2015 is now at number 11...and you are correct, that #11 is nowhere near as exciting as what is happening anywhere else in the world...

And speaking of something more exciting, how about last week's blog post?! Tips to survive a weekend with Andrea, so continuing on with that theme let's talk about Andrea's tips to survive winter!

But first, the mundane, #11:

Get. More. Sleep.

I believe the punctuation used in this recommendation means we should take it seriously. Like we are all seriously sleep deprived and just need more of it.

Unfortunately like all things in life, it is a little more complicated than that. See you can get all the sleep you want but if it's shit quality, like Nestle chocolate, it isn't going to do much for you. Sure it feels good at first but then you are just left feeling like garbage afterwards...Nope you want your sleep to be rich and creamy, dark and lovely...like fine Belgium chocolate, the kind of sleep that makes you forget what time zone you are in or what day it is. Basically, you want your sleep to be like chocolate that's so good you forget that you miss mind blowing sex.

Not sure where that analogy came from, other than the obvious, I'm ADHD and yesterday was Halloween, and chocolate is typically consumed on that holiday and I'm pretty sure I was home studying, not eating chocolate or having mind blowing sex but I think at one point I thought about walking over to my favourite upscale vegan restaurant (Be Love) to grab some vegan cheesecake but decided against it because it was Halloween and no doubt I would have to see adults dressed up like children and I just didn't feel like I could deal with that, so I didn't bother to leave my house. Why doesn't Be Love deliver?!

Sometimes I reframe my inability to leave my house and deal with the world as a positive, like I have some amazing restraint and self-control to not eat vegan cheesecake every day of the week. Yeah, that's it, I'm very disciplined.

Truth be told, I don't generally do well in winter. And no that doesn't mean I'm going to fall apart and kill myself at any moment, it means, I'm a bit more down than usual is all. It is winter, and I believe this is generally a time of year that is good for rest and relaxation. And if we look to Chinese Medicine (yes that is the course I'm currently studying for!), winter is ruled by the Kidneys. And kidney represent your essence. Essence is kind of like your life force. When it's gone you are dead.  So if you want to support your Kidneys, your essence, you do that in the winter. How do we support the kidneys? Don't deplete your essence.

How do we not deplete our essence?
1. Don't ejaculate (check! I'm a woman, not a problem)
2. Don't have babies (check! I'm a woman who is more than the sum of the lifeforms I choose not to push out of my uterus)
3. Don't overwork yourself or endure long periods of stress (I'm trying not to do that)
4. Don't get old (I'm doing that but that's kind of what happens when you are alive)

So, out of those 4 activities there is really only two that apply. One is controllable and the other is not. You are right, we can totally control whether or not we over work ourselves or put ourselves through long periods of stress. So we focus on that one. Or you can be a totally inefficient and ineffective person and focus on not getting old...good luck with that.

Guess what is a good way to combat overwork and stress? Probably lots of things, but I'm going to share with you what I do.

1. Meditate - yes, I know you think you can't do it blah blah but seriously figure out how to do it and don't stop trying to learn until you actually do it daily.

Meditating isn't like a little break it is a lifestyle. It is becoming mindful of everything. Once you accomplish mindfulness, everything becomes way easier. Mostly because you move into the realm of doing rather than thinking and obsessing over doing things you haven't done yet. And I don't know if you ever noticed, but when you stop making excuses/putting off the things you need to do, you realize how easy it was to actually do them once you started doing them. It is true we waste a lot of time complaining about having to do things, time that if we just spent doing the things we need to do, we would be done with them all ready and on to the next thing.

2. Focus on building a foundation of good sleep, eating, and exercising.  Once those three things are accomplished, you can pretty much tackle anything. Problem usually lies in achieving that balanced foundation. Everyone is different and as such has different needs when it comes to those three things. So you need to experiment quite a bit before you find the right fit. And then of course that will change, like how the seasons change. For example, it is winter, and I'm going to need to sleep more than I do in the summer. Just the way it is. So instead of me taking a bunch of stimulants to fight nature and stay awake all year round and be super productive, I can listen to my body and do what it needs and because I'm living in harmony with my body and my environment I become super productive and much healthier doing so.

3. Time management - organize yourself the way you need to be organized in order to function. Maybe you are super organized by nature (who are these people?) or maybe you have an assistant who organizes you, or maybe you are me and have an iPhone and set up reminders in your calendar for every little thing? Still to this day, have no idea how I functioned before the iPhone! Whatever works for you, find it and do it and for the love of god stop wasting everyone's time with your poorly organized self.

So those are the main things I try to do to combat stress and overwork. Kind of high level wasn't it? And not really clearly connected to surviving winter...

So I will summarize:

Best way to survive winter is to know, accept and respect yourself.  And yes that is pretty much how you will survive anything but in terms of winter I can tell you this, I'm more low energy, I need more sleep. Instead of fighting that, as I historically have been known to do, I will instead respect it. I will sleep more, I will take on less activities, I will look after myself, I will rest and recover and prepare myself for when my energy comes back again.

And until then, I will go study!

My kidney is so going to kick winter's ass!

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