Archive for the ‘ Healthy living ’ Category

How To Stop Worrying

 

How much time do you spend worrying? One hour a day? 24 hours a day? Isn’t it exhausting?

Problem: Most of us worry too much over things we cannot control. Even if we could control them, worrying would not help the situation. Some of us worry so much that it interrupts our sleep, appetite and makes us cranky. People often flee from the worrier to avoid hearing about their worries.

 

  • In my day job (dentist), I see people walk into the office visibly carrying the weight of the world on their shoulders. In most cases I notice they have been grinding their teeth into oblivion while they sleep.  ( you can tell by looking at their teeth. I promise I don’t secretly go to their houses and check while they are sleeping.)

 

  • When I tell them they are grinding their teeth and need a night guard, they wonder why.
  • We put too much pressure on ourselves.

 

  • I did it for years and every day I still fight the urge to worry. I came to the point where enough was enough.

Fact: We are not meant or built to handle excessive worry

  •  Eventually you will get to the point where you just can’t take one more hassle piled onto the top of your mountain of worries and you will  decide to say, “oh well”.
  • Saying, “Oh well” does not mean you don’t care. It means you are done worrying and tormenting yourself to the point that you turn into a ball of stress that cannot be unraveled.
  • The same thing goes for the dreams you are chasing. Don’t stress over your dreams. They are your dreams for a reason. They are meant to happen. Let them happen. Worrying will only hold you back from realizing your dreams and your life purpose.
  • Many of us are natural worriers. We are good at it. When we don’t have something to stress over in our life, we panic and call our friends and ask them what’s going on in their lives so we can fuss and fret over their problems. We all have better things to do.
  • In the end worrying will prevent you from moving forward. You end up in a worry spiral where you are spinning around in a circle until you are dizzy and fall down.

 

  • Resist the urge to worry and fret. It is a complete waste of time.
Try this out:
1) Make a list of all your worries, even the silly ones. In fact make sure you put the silly, ridiculous worries down too. Then read them back to yourself out loud.
You will realize most of your worries fall into 3 categories:
a) They sound foolish
b) They are highly unlikely to happen
c) You stressing about it is not going to change or prevent anything.
2) Get out of your own head

Every time you feel you are going to spend an unhealthy amount of time ruminating, and pontificating over something you have no control over or something where worrying will not help the situation (which is everything), slap yourself in the face to snap out of it. (Not too hard though…and not in front of other people)

Then, go and do something else. Anything else is more productive than spending time worrying.
Taking a walk always helps.
       
  • Walking always clears the stress from my mind and helps me see things from a better perspective.
  • I don’t want to make a night guard for you….okay if you need it, of course I will. I just don’t want you to be another teeth grinding statistic….
  • Look at this cat. This is a random cat that sat at my feet. It was a Wednesday. He was not thinking about his problems. Be the cat…except don’t scratch people and hiss at them when they walk by, or walk under their legs when they are at an outdoor café.
 And here is an obligatory Miami water view for your stress free viewing pleasure.
Caroline
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Sunsets, Candy and the Beach

 

Remember when you were a kid and it took very little to make you happy? Someone giving you one of these : would light up your entire world.

 Life was like a bowl of chocolate covered cherries back then

 

Now as an adult you have to make a conscious effort to get insanely happy about things. Adults are always trying to find the key to their happiness.

When you were a kid it was effortless. Today I told a kid she didn’t have cavities and she practically jumped out of the chair screaming with glee. Her sudden enthusiasm startled me. Adults seem bored when I tell them they don’t have cavities. A few will say an extremely unenthusiastic and sad little, “yay” but that’s about it.

I think as we get older, we forget to take pleasure in the little things. That makes us a little jaded and takes away from our happiness. To children, everything is new and interesting and they are constantly surprised by the world around them.

I think we could learn a thing or two from kids. Try to find some joy in the little things you do every day. There is so much that we take for granted. If you take the time to notice things then maybe you will get some of your old childhood enthusiasm back. Trust me, it’s there, underneath all your layers.

What makes me happy?

 dessert

 wine and cheese (should really be the 5th food group)

 oddities of nature

 any body of water that is that shade of blue and lined with sandy beaches

 sunsets (did you know they happen every single day) I didn’t get that memo….

 a decent cup of coffee (much harder to find than you think)

 and of course Miami

 and yes, I still love these…

 

Pay attention to all of the things you love. It’s easy to get distracted by the negative stuff that comes into our lives…so don’t do it :)

Caroline

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Taking The Sky For Granted

Ever since I got back from my weekend at the beach something about me has changed. It’s a small thing, but I have noticed that when I go outside, I really take the time to look at the sky.

I think I got used to staring up at the sky when I was in Miami on the beach. Now, even when I am working in the city I take the time from my busy day to look up at the sky and everything around me and really appreciate it. It is late spring and that sky is amazing. I walk outside to grab my lunch and I peer out at the heavens in between the buildings and I appreciate it for what it is.

 I once went to Maui and thought that the night sky there was the only amazing one I have ever seen. You can see every star in the sky in that little island in the middle of the water. It feels like you are on a small boat in the middle of the ocean looking up at the clean and starry sky. But I was wrong. The sky even in D.C. at lunch time on a spring day is also incredible in its own way.

It is fine to appreciate nature and the beauty around you when you are on vacation, but it is also important to do it during your day to day life when you are home.

It is tourist season in Washington D.C. and I always used to laugh when I saw tourists photographing buildings that I walk by every day. They photograph streets that I drive though without a thought. Then I realize, when I go on vacation I do the same thing. How many little cobblestone streets did I photograph when I was in any city in europe? I would even photograph clothing lines going down little alley ways in tiny beach towns in Spain because to me it was unusual. When you are on vacation you see beauty where the natives who live there ignore because to them it is not special.

Sometimes I forget that I work within walking distance of the White House and several historic buildings that people come from long distances just to get a glimpse of. I have taken it for granted.

I once went to the Amalfi Coast in Italy which looks like heaven on earth. I have never seen anything so beautiful. I wanted to photograph everything in sight. I asked a cab driver if he knew how lucky he was to live in such a beautiful place. He just laughed and said he didn’t think it was anything special. He was just used to it.

Try not to get too used to the beauty around you. Try to approach each day with fresh eyes and learn to appreciate what is in front of you. Don’t take it for granted what you have or get desensitized to it.

Sometimes it takes a newcomer or a tourist to remind us to look up at the sky once in a while or appreciate where we live. If we learn to enjoy what we have, then it will feel like we are already on vacation without ever buying a plane ticket.

Just my thoughts for tonight :)

Caroline

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The Water’s Edge

Yesterday was my birthday. I woke up and realized how quickly time passes when you are not looking. Life moves fast. My life has been hectic lately and I felt the need to slow down the pace a bit.

I took the day off to enjoy the day. I sat at the water’s edge overlooking the Potomac river and just stared at the water. I looked around me and noticed that everyone else was doing the same thing. What is it about the water that makes a person so entranced by it? Some of the people were on their lunch break. Others were tourists. We were all taking a moment on a Wednesday afternoon to ourselves. I wondered why I don’t go there more often. 

 Lives moves fast. It is important to find a day or an hour to slow it down. When you slow things down for a bit, you can reflect and regroup. Today I was recharged for the rest of the work week all because I took a moment to myself yesterday. I felt like a new person.

Find your hiding place, or spot away from the hustle and bustle of your life. Go there whenever you can and spend a little time. Make time for it. You will be glad you did.

Caroline

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Singing in the Waiting Room

Does your routine bore you? What can we do to make the routine, less routine?

I think that so many of us are so in need of entertainment and a reprieve from our daily rigamorale that we need to make our days more interesting. One solution is make it personal, and inject a little pizzazz into your day.

Today as I parked my car in the garage near work, I was greeted by the always friendly valets. They have a job that can be monotonous like most of our jobs can be. However they try to make it interesting by learning the names of every single person that parks their car there regularly. They even come up with nicknames for the cars they park on the regular. My car is named, “El Rojo” simply because it’s red. As soon as they see me coming for my car, they shout out, “El Rojo” to each other to signal the car must be pulled out from the bowels of the garage for me. When I drop the car off in the morning, they come up with a new way to put my name into a song and sing it loudly. It’s nice to be greeted in that silly way after sitting in traffic for an hour in the morning. It takes the edge off. They don’t just do this for me, they do it for everyone. They are not obligated to do this, but I bet it makes their days go by much better. It is a positive way to make the time go by.

I saw two little boys in the office today. Then, as I was seeing their mother, they waited patiently in the waiting room. Instead of fighting or being rambuctious as children often are in that boring waiting room. They chose to entertain themselves by serenading the waiting room with an entire host of songs. I listened to two children loudly singing in unison and surprisingly on-key from the waiting room and laughed to myself. Their mother said, this is how they passed their time when they were bored. I didn’t mind it. At least they weren’t fighting. It brought good energy into the office. Another positive way to make the time go by.

Most of us have daily routines of getting up, sitting in traffic, going to work, gym etc. If we don’t break it up with a little of the ‘weird’ and silly then it can get too monotonous. Life is not meant to be lived like a robot. You also have to make it personal. One example of this succeeding is when Starbucks decided to start asking people what their names were when taking their order. It’s much nicer to hear your name being called when your coffee is ready than just hearing the name of the drink that three other people ordered in the pick up area. It makes it more personal.

Sometimes when I see people going through the day just getting from moment to moment without enjoying anything, I try to break them out of it. Often, I have patients who sit in the chair expressionless and think that they are just on a conveyer belt waiting to be treated until I call “Next!” That’s not how it works with me. They are not a number. Each person is unique. I make it personal. I tell stories, and make jokes. I had a child sit in the chair today and when I greeted him, the first thing he said to me was, “Did you know that I am special?” Adorable. You can only get away with that if you are a child. If an adult said that to me, I definitely wouldn’t find that adorable, I promise you. He went on to tell me about all of his achievements in school and told me that education was the key to everything. He was a special kid, he was right.

It is easy to get caught up in the mundane and the everyday and forget what is important. Making connections with other people and life around you is key.

Whatever you do with your day, and your life, make it personal. Make it special. Be silly and be wierd. Smile at someone, say hello, make a joke. Anything is better than just going through each day like a robot without taking notice, and enjoying the moment.

Caroline

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I Was A Vegetarian For 1.5 Days

Yesterday I started one of those cleanses that are supposed to…make you clean on the inside I guess. I have always wanted to try one but I was always intimidated by those hard core cleanses where you don’t eat anything for a week except water, lemon,  cayenne pepper and maple syrup for dessert. One cannot exist on these things alone. If I tried that insanity, they would find me hypoglycemic on the floor trying to crawl to my chocolate stash for sustenance.

I used a cleanse recommended by a friend who used it and lived to tell about it. It seemed pretty painless. No meat, chicken, fish, dairy, sugar or caffiene or fried foods for 3 days. You can have all the fruits, veggies, beans, grains and nuts you want in the world. Just none of the other stuff I mentioned. I thought, ‘just 3 days! No problem’. Famous last words.

I thought of this as my own personal vegetarian experiment. I once read about the blood type diet where it tells you that if you are blood type ‘A’, (which is me) then you are supposed to be a vegetarian. Something about being able to digest it better than meat and it will make your body function better.

Now ordinarily I eat pretty healthy. I avoid soda, and most junk food, I use a juicer, and eat tons of fruits and veggies. But I am also a carnivore.

Here is how it went for me:

Day 1:

I started the day by already cheating. I had a cup of coffee. I bought it at Starbucks without thinking. Once I realized what crime I had committed, I gasped and threw the offending beverage in the trash half consumed. The lady who saw me do it, gave me a strange look.

The rest of the day I made good use of my juicer and juiced fruits and veggies like there was no tomorrow. It was delicious. I recommend mixing sweet fruits in to hide the veggie bitter taste. The thing with juicers is that it takes forever to prepare and clean up and 3 seconds to drink. I ate a salad for lunch. Nothing out of the ordinary for me so far, so I figured this was already easy.  

I had to plan dinner. I went to Whole Foods and went on a bean buying frenzy. Not the canned kind but real beans that you have to rinse and prepare and cook. I am against cans because I am convinced that some of the metal in the can leaks into the food (trust me on this one, but that’s for another topic). I looked up recipies for different rice and bean dishes and came up with something pretty tasty. However, it needed some chicken. It needed chicken very very badly. Or some steak cubed into it. That would’ve made the meal complete.

No offense to vegetarians, but everything I ate felt like it was seriously lacking something. Maybe it just takes time to get used to it then you won’t feel that way anymore. (no I don’t like tofu, so please with all due respect, don’t give me the tofu argument). Perhaps after more time it would get easier.

Day 2

I was a good girl. I didn’t cheat. However, by the end of the day I had a migraine. I never get them. I had my usual salad for lunch. Ok not the exact salad I get. I always make sure my daily salad has fresh bacon and ceasar dressing in it. (don’t look at me like that. I do also have beets, carrots and other healthy stuff too) This salad did not. It’s odd that I got my first migraine in years after that.  Maybe my body was sad it didn’t have bacon.

My drive home was not fun. I was fighting a migraine in rush hour traffic and battling bright sunshine. I decided Chipotle would be my cure. This does not go against any of the rules. I got a bowl with brown rice and all veggies. I have never ever in my life told the person making the burrito bowl not to put meat in there. I have noticed it when others do that, only to get a glare from the employee. Today I was on the receiving end of that glare. It was a look that said, “I just lost all respect for you”. I didn’t have the energy to care since I was so exhausted from not eating any meat products for a day and a half. It was almost like my mind went on vacation from the shock to my system.

The burrito bowl was delicious. It just needed some chicken…very very badly.

Day 3

There is no day 3. I will not participate in day 3, so ‘day 3′ will just have to excuse me. Tomorrow morning when I wake up I am going to make myself some eggs and toast. Maybe I will go make it now and get a head start on tomorrow.

If according to the blood type diet I am supposed to be a vegetarian, then that diet is sorely mistaken. Either that or my mother doesn’t know my blood type and told me the wrong thing. Maybe its ‘B’ after all, which would make me a carnivore. Hmmm

God bless all of you vegetarians out there. More power to you. I couldn’t last 2 full days. If you can do it longer than that, then you have nothing but my love and respect. The next time I see someone at Chipotle say, “no meat for me”, I will hug them and we will both have a good cry. Ok, I won’t go that far.

Caroline ;)

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Dessert First Then Lunch Please

 

Today I went to a coffeehouse in D.C. that made me feel like I wasn’t in D.C. I felt like I was in San Francisco, or a much more laid back city than D.C. It was a place called Tryst where people go to sit with their laptops or notebooks and drink wine in the middle of the day on a weekday. Nothing wrong with that.

It made me realize that D.C. is not as stuffy as I thought. There were people from all walks of life there getting work done, drinking spiked coffee and eating desserts and sandwiches.

I sat there with a friend as I worked on my book and she read hers. Our tea and hot cocoa and food was whisked away to make room for a red wine blend and ‘Death by Chocolate’. If you are going to be off on a Wednesday, why not spend it this way?

As I looked around the room I noticed that others were indulging in the same delicious treats. The table behind us had their dessert first then the lunch came last. Nothing wrong with that either.

It was like we were all in a safe little bubble where the rules of the Wednesday workday did not apply. Outside the coffeehouse, the world went on just as usual, but we were safe from the drudgery of the typical Wednesday. Normal conventions no longer applied. People were nice to each other. I saw a lady sit at a two person table across from a woman she did not know. (it was packed and there were no empty tables anywhere) The woman was happy to sit across from the stranger and they introduced themselves as if this was not D.C., but rather a quaint little town in the south. Nothing wrong with that.

It’s nice to get a day in the week to yourself once in a while and do something that is not a part of your routine. It was also nice to have chocolate waffles drizzled with nutella and topped with strawberries for no reason at all. Do something kind for yourself. Make the time for it and steal away to your own little place away from the everyday hustle and bustle. There is nothing wrong with that. ;)

Caroline

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Bagpipes And Other Shenanigans

Two things I saw today on my usual drive home from work that struck me as odd. No, it wasn’t the usual jaywalking of the pedestrians running in front of cars. It wasn’t the insane offensive and defensive D.C. driving that occurs on a daily basis.

It was a man walking down Macarthur Blvd. happily playing the bagpipes for no one in particular other than himself. I looked around as I drove past, he was alone. He was the lone bagpipe player. Maybe he belongs to a band or something and this was his personal practice time. Perhaps he does weddings. (have you ever seen So I Married An Axe Murderer ? If not, go see it!)

I drove another mile and I saw a cab driver pulled off on the side of the road facing the woods. He was standing next to his car working his triceps with a Shake Weight. Ever seen the commercial for that ridiculous thing? Believe me, there was quite the scene going on next to that cab.

I had a not so great day today and I felt like these things were put in front of me at the end of it just to lighten my mood a bit. Laughter once again comes to the rescue of my day.

If you don’t take the time to notice the details and the things around you, then you can miss out.

Happy almost Friday!

Caroline

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The Dreaded Menu

 

Tonight I went to a tiny little basement restaurant with friends called Little Serow in D.C.  It was like being in your parents basement being served by strangers who kept bringing you bowls of spicy goodness. It is a set menu chosen by the chef. This is a huge plus for me because when it comes to food I can be a basket case of pure indecision. The menu at any restaurant can be as daunting to me as what one should do with the rest of their life. I agonize over the indecision of “chicken or pasta” more than a prospective college student spends on deciding their major.

I was spared the agony of the menu. Ok, they did have a menu but really it more like a statement on paper telling you this is what you will be eating and God help you if you didn’t like it. Luckily my momentary panic at seeing rabbit liver and duck egg was quickly quelled when plate after plate of delicious food was placed in front of us. It was only after we finished eating that I said, “hey! where was the duck egg?” I ate it and didn’t even know it. It reminds me of the time I went to a dinner party and ate cow tongue and didn’t realize it. I grew up hating cow tongue. (they eat it in my culture) The very thought is revolting to me. However, at this dinner party they had a buffet of fish, chicken and what I thought was shredded pork. I ate all three and loved my food. It wasn’t until I overheard a guest say, ‘that tongue was delicious!’, that I realized what had happened. I ran over to the buffet table and counted: definitely fish, definitely chicken, and…oops.

Anyways, my point is that everything was delicious at Little Serow. I realized that sometimes it is nice to not have to make decisions. We are bombarded with decision making all day long and it’s nice to take a break from that.

It is also nice to try new things not just with food, but with anything in life. When you take the decision out of your own hands once in a while, life can pleasantly surprise you.

Caroline

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Penciling in Sleep

The other day I got so caught up in all of the things I had to do that I actually put “get some sleep” on my to-do list. Sounds insane, but at the time I decided that unless it goes on the list then it won’t get done.

I know I have mentioned before in my previous posts that overwhelming to-do lists can be a trap that a person can easily fall into. If you try to cram in everything you want to get done into one day you set yourself up for failure. Only do the important things first. I do fall victim to this trap from time to time. It got so bad that I was forced to pencil in sleep.

Finally getting a good night’s sleep is miraculous. The next day I was filled with energy I hadn’t had in days. It was like I was a new ‘me’. It was the most important thing on the list and it took precedence over everything else.

This leads me to my next point. We need to take time to take care of ourselves.  I recently had a patient who had a major infection in his mouth for weeks. Because his work schedule was so busy, he kept putting off coming to the dentist. He decided that other things were more important and urgent. It wasn’t until the excruciating pain was ruining his productivity at work, that he had no choice but to address the problem.

Everyday I see people around me who don’t look out for themselves. They put everything else above what they really need to do. What should be highest on your list of things to do is to take care of yourself. When you are well taken care of then everything else will get done much easier. Be a friend to yourself. If you put your health and happiness high on your list then everything else will fall into place.

Caroline

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