Another Bun

I am going to have to spill the beans here, because I cannot keep such a monumental life change out of my writing. A week ago, we confirmed that I am pregnant! This will be my second child, my husband’s biological first child, and it’s a whole new ball game this time around. 
The first major difference of this pregnancy this far is the fact that I don’t have health insurance. Last year was the first year of my life I haven’t had health insurance through my employer, and this year will be no different. We signed up for a plan through the Market Place; however, I cannot pay the premium and start coverage until they have confirmation that my state plan has been terminated. So, I am sitting in this uncomfortable limbo waiting for paperwork before I can schedule an appointment with a doctor. It’s not an ideal place to be at the beginning of a pregnancy.
On the plus side, I have been alcohol and nicotine free since prior to becoming pregnant. I started taking a prenatal about a month before conceiving as well and have cut out all other medications, caffeine, and risky foods. It has only been five years since I was last pregnant, but I was surprised to realize how much I had forgotten already. 
No more medicinal teas. No more melatonin to help me sleep. No more eggs medium done or soft (unpasteurized) cheeses. No more energy drinks; even the “healthier” ones. No high intensity (high impact) exercise. No super hot baths (a necessity for surviving Chicago winters). 
It sounds terrible, and initially it is uncomfortable to not be able to reach for something in the medicine cabinet to fix all my problems. However, after a week of grumbles and growing pains, I am surprised with just how well, healthy, and pain free I can live without those things. Herbal teas, staying hydrated, meditation, heating pads, and Reiki seem to be keeping this formerly medicated momma pretty happy. How lovely is that? It makes me wonder how much time, money, and energy I have unnecessarily expended putting chemicals in my body. 
I will say, however, that I have yet to master sleeping well throughout the night without any form of chemical assistance. I have gone from hardcore prescription sleeping medications during college to medicinal tea with passion flower and melatonin supplements to help me fall and stay asleep. I am, somehow, able to fall asleep on my own relatively fast these days with the aid of SleepStories in the Calm app, but I am waking up several times a night and tossing and turning. This could be attributed to hormonal changes, but it is probably largely a transitional hiccup from no longer being on anti-depressants and sleep aids. I am also sure that it would be much worse if I was not exercising regularly. 
Regular exercise during the winter is more challenging this year than normal. Usually, I look in to a gym membership, but that is not a risk I want to take in this pandemic. So, I am left to lean back on my tried and true YouTube fitness channels to keep me on track. Thankfully, owning a home for the first time has given me the advantage of having a whole room to exercise in. Woohoo!
As with my first pregnancy, I anticipate a lot of research into healthy nutrition, exercise, and more, which I look forward to sharing with you along the way. So, stay tuned for lots of pregnancy tips and updates to come!!

Breaking Bad Habits and Building Better Ones

Habits, both good and bad, are hard to break. I have learned how to break bad habits and form new good habits effectively these past couple months. I have finally quit vaping and have incorporated yoga and meditation into my daily routine. Such a feat can seem overwhelming, but I actually found it to be relatively pain free. How can this be?

I have tried quitting smoking (when I smoked cigarettes) and vaping more times than I can count. Full disclosure, it is still a challenge even as I am writing this. Years of using nicotine rewires you brain to become very dependent upon it. Just thinking about vaping can illicit a powerful craving within me. The key to my successful cessation this time lies in what I did before quitting. Instead of setting out to rid my life of a toxic bad habit, like so many people have done for New Year’s resolutions, I decided to first ADD something into my life. I decided to actually give mediation a fair shot.

Dedicating time to a daily meditation routine, in addition to some exercise every day, gave me undeniable positive results. Let me say, I was not a “good” meditator initially. It’s hard for me to sit still for 20 minutes and almost impossible to quite the storm in my head. However, as with most things, time, practice, and dedication produced results. I found myself becoming more mindful in my day to day life. I was able to deal with stress differently and show myself compassion and appreciation for taking the time to do these thing every day. Now, my meditation and yoga/exercise habits are fully established. It is hard for me to “skip” a day, because I have turned it in to a positive habit in my life.

Now I was ready to break my old nemesis and cut ties with nicotine. The compounding benefits of meditation and exercise enable me to be mindful of cravings once I stopped; to label them as mere craving and let them go. During my journey into meditation, I read several books on mindfulness and Buddhist teachings. I am now able to observe my thoughts without getting to attached (most of the time), and find solace in the knowledge that I am not my thoughts and that everything changes.

There is something very empowering and comforting in being able to say to myself that “this is just a craving. It will pass. I am growing.” Also, knowing that the craving and discomfort of no longer vaping would pass was very helpful too. These are things I had hear before but never gave much confidence too. However, in a mindful lifestyle imbued with meditation and self appraisal, I have learned how my thoughts can be so very powerful and also very insignificant. It sounds like an oxymoron, but I’m not nearly as eloquent as a Buddhist monk.

What I can say, is that I have never regretted taking time to meditate. I always feel better to some degree after taking this time to slow down and at the very least I am never worse off for doing so. Exercise is another great mood boosting habit. If you are having a hard time breaking a bad habit, I would highly recommend by starting with adding good habits into your life first. Building these habits gave me an increased sense or self-worth and appreciation for the time and energy I spend doing things. It will help put into perspective the true nature of bad habits working against you.

I have started to pick new good habits to add to my life. These habits include: drinking water first thing in the morning, drinking tea before bead, and stopping eating food for the day after dinner. I enjoy the journey of adding new good habits into my life now, because I know that on the other side of the initial struggle to establish these things in my life is a level of satisfaction and reward that continues to pay off.

<p value="<amp-fit-text layout="fixed-height" min-font-size="6" max-font-size="72" height="80">What do you want to make a new habit in your life? Have you had similar success in breaking bad habits? What works (doesn't work) for you?What do you want to make a new habit in your life? Have you had similar success in breaking bad habits? What works (doesn’t work) for you?