During the first few months of the year, we are bombarded with messages about self improvement. I have no problem admitting that this time of year inspires me but I know it can be overwhelming for many people. This is why it’s crucial to be patient with yourself when you are working hard towards a personal goal. [Read more…]
*Note: I am not a doctor. I’m just sharing my experience.
Previously I mentioned that I was recently diagnosed with a uterine fibroid. Under normal circumstances this wouldn’t be very good news but considering the alternatives that we thought we were dealing with, it was a much better outcome. Still, I have had a challenging, frustrating, and all around interesting journey learning about fibroids since I was diagnosed in August.
I’ve learned that many women (like myself) don’t have any major symptoms of fibroids so it can be hard to tell that you have them. I’ve also learned that they are incredibly common with the majority of women having them at some point in their lifetime (but not necessarily knowing it). While most doctors will tell you that you need surgery, most likely a myomectomy, this isn’t always the case. Most women who opt to have surgery end up dealing with fibroids returning over and over again. There have been cases of women getting three or more surgeries for returning fibroids. But if you search the internet, you will find what doctors won’t tell you, which is that most of the time, fibroids can shrink naturally through a specific diet.
There are some other options that are better than surgery like the Curvawave (which isn’t covered by insurance because ‘Murica) but diet is the way to shrink fibroids and keep them from returning over and over again. Fibroids normally occur due to an imbalance in your hormones. When you have an estrogen dominance, fibroids (as well as other issues) are more likely to happen. As far as changing your diet, it’s not as simple as eating healthy, it’s eating with your estrogen dominance in mind.
After meeting with a surgeon, I decided that surgery wasn’t the best option for me. I am trying my best to shrink my large fibroid holistically, but I am considering a Curvawave treatment in the future in case I have trouble shrinking it on my own. Either way, I plan to eat a balanced diet that blocks estrogen and aids my liver in filtering out access estrogen for the rest of my life.
If you get diagnosed with fibroids, don’t freak out. First, go to see your OBGYN if another doctor has diagnosed you. Do not let them talk you into CT scans and MRIs like my doctors did. Your OBGYN will order an ultrasound to see your fibroid. (I can’t even tell you how mad my OBGYN was that my primary doctor and the surgeon I was sent to put me through so much unnecessary testing and worry. I have never seen a doctor more upset, which is how I know I’m in good hands).
Also, pay attention to signs that something is wrong in your body. For awhile I was having trouble losing weight. I was eating well and working on consistently, but I just kept telling myself that I wasn’t doing enough. I didn’t have any other symptoms of fibroids or even know that they existed, but the inability to lose weight is a direct result of my hormone imbalance. Had I not been so hard on myself, I would have been diagnosed earlier and maybe my fibroid would already be gone.
I’ll never forget the way the ceiling looked that day. Tiled, white, clinical. There was nothing imaginative about it. I could find no escape getting lost in it. The drugs being pushed into my veins felt warm, just like the nurse said they would. I tasted copper come up from the back of my throat and rest on the tip of my tongue. I knew the next side effect would be the “false sense of peeing”. The nurse assured me that I would only feel as if I was peeing through my pants but it wouldn’t actually be happening. She was correct, it did feel that way. It also felt hot, like I was straddling a warm furnace.
My skin itched under the hospital gown that I had put on fifteen minutes before. The act of putting it on made me feel more sick than I actually was. I held my breath for the seventh time as the machine moved my body up and down. “Breathe.” I heard the automated voice say again. Air released from my lungs and I wondered how many more times the machine would ask me to do that.
“Charisma?” the nurse called from the next room where the radiation wouldn’t effect her, “I see that your doctor only ordered a scan of the abdomen but we can only see the top of the mass from this scan. We need to scan your pelvis to see the full mass. I am going to call your doctor now to see if we can scan the abdomen as well. Will you be alright waiting in there?” “Sure”, I lied.
As tears silently ran down my face, I felt thankful that I was alone in the room. While the nurse called my doctor, my mind wandered back to my doctor visit. What I thought was a yearly check up and routine blood work ended up being me laying on a cold table while the nurse practitioner pressed hard against my lower abdomen with various worried expressions on her face while continually asking questions like, “You haven’t felt this?”
The nurse practitioner ordered an immediate CT scan which is how I found myself in this cold room inside of a machine that detects cancer. Somehow, I was holding on to a small glimmer of hope that the nurse practitioner was mistaken and there wasn’t an unknown mass inside of me. As soon as the nurse confirmed that the scan did indeed show a mass, panic sunk in.
When the doctor called with the results later that day, John was at work. The doctor quickly told me that I had a uterine fibroid, I would need surgery, and to contact a surgeon who’s information she then gave me. All I heard was YOU DON’T HAVE CANCER. As soon as I hung up the phone, I cried harder than I have in years. Relief flooded out of me even faster than the tears.
Confusion, anxiety, and gratitude still filled my head. I had no idea what a fibroid was, I was incredibly afraid of surgery, and I still felt somewhat betrayed by my body. However, I knew that whatever was happening, it was something that I could actually handle.
I’ve been working from home for the past eight years and I couldn’t be happier about it. I love the flexibility of creating my own schedule. I love having a creative and productive space that I designed for my specific entrepreneurial and creative needs. Sometimes I work from my home office, sometimes I work at a local coffee shop, and sometimes I head into a co-working space. However, working from home can come with it’s own unique challenges. These five tips have made my experience of working from home an excellent one.
Get out of your pajamas. Every. Single. Day.
Working from home means that you can easily go days without seeing anyone that doesn’t live with you, if you so choose. It also means that no one will notice if you are wearing your pajamas. There is nothing wrong with wearing comfortable clothing while you work (my uniform of choice is normally yoga pants) but it’s important not to get in the habit of sleeping and working in the exact same outfit everyday. Taking the time to get dressed and get ready for your work day will help signify the change from rest time to work time.
Getting proper rest is one of the most important things you can do for your health. Often times, entrepreneurs prioritize every aspect of their lives over sleep, not realizing the damage that this can do on their overall health. Even if it seems like you are operating well without sleep, it will eventually catch up to you and can wreak havoc on your health. Take the time to get the recommended 7-9 hours every night. Your body and brain will thank you for it.
Eat well and stay hydrated.
It’s easy to get caught up working on a project and look at the time only to realize that you worked straight through lunch. The body and mind need sustenance throughout the day to operate at their maximum potential. Be sure to have healthy food throughout your work day and plenty of water. If you need to, set timers to remind yourself to get up, stretch, and have a healthy snack.
Connect with friends.
Working from home can feel lonely sometimes, especially for those who spend most of our time behind a keyboard and computer screen. It’s important to befriend other freelancers, small business owners, and remote workers who understand what it’s like to work from home. It’s also beneficial to take a few breaks throughout the work day to interact with loved ones. It can be as quick as a series of short text messages to a more involved lunch break. Remember that if you worked at a regular job, you would have some time every day to interact with co-workers so there is no reason to feel guilty about taking the time to connect with friends during your workday. In fact, those personal interactions and breaks from work will help lower your stress levels and make it easier to concentrate when you are focused on work.
Do something creative.
Many of us who work remotely have careers that enable us to be creative on a daily basis. However, creativity is a muscle and it’s important to vary your workout. Try something outside of your comfort zone. Do something you have never done before. Engage in an activity that you know will be a complete challenge. Not only will it be potentially enjoyable and stress reducing, you most likely will find growth and inspiration in stepping outside of your specialty.
There is something very beautiful and calming to me about minimalism. I love it in art, design, decor, and clothing. As much as I admire minimalism, I still haven’t learned the art of mastering it. Growing up without a lot of extra money has made me a bit more materialistic than I care to admit. Even if I don’t often wear a certain dress or purse, or use a particular kitchen item, the act of buying it makes me feel secure in my finances. In actuality, keeping that money in my savings account would make my finances more secure and enable me to live a life where I am not bogged down by large amounts of stuff.
To be fair, John and I most likely do not have as much stuff as the average American couple. We live in a two bedroom/two bath apartment with a decent kitchen but a tiny living room so there is only so much that we can actually fit into our space. When it comes to furniture I think we have an appropriate amount for our home. When it comes to books, we can never have enough. But when it comes to stuff we don’t need, we have an abundance. Our stuff runeth over.
I’ve finally reached the point in my life where I have had enough and I am ready to conquer this mountain of stuff. I’ll never be quite on Joshua Field’s level but by the end of 2016 (or hopefully earlier) I plan to be completely organized and somewhat of a minimalist. I can’t promise to be a perfect minimalist but I will try my best.
Major changes don’t happen overnight (and stick) so I am writing out my minimalist goals and planning to accomplish one a week over the next six weeks.
- Clothing Purge
- Accessories Purge
- Reorganize Closet
- Stuff Purge
- Reorganize Office and Guest Closet
- Kitchen Purge and Reorganization
I’ll update you next Monday on how my first task goes. If you have any advice you want to share on minimalism and/or decluttering, tweet me!
Your morning can make or break your entire day. When your day starts off on the right foot, it’s a lot easier to keep that momentum going throughout your workday. When your mornings are hectic and stressful, you risk carrying those feeling into the rest of your day.
Although the schedules for both my days and nights fluctuate often, my morning schedule tends to be quite consistent. Without consistency in my mornings, the rest of my day would basically be a hot mess (trust me, I went awhile without a morning routine and it did NOT work well for me).
I shared my old morning routine back in July but it has already changed considerably since then. John and I have added morning workouts to our routine and we wake up two hours earlier to make sure we get them done without having to rush through our mornings. While most of my day remains flexible, 5AM to 9AM is a four hour block that I refuse to alter for anyone. Pairing a challenging workout with a relaxing breakfast before work is the perfect way for me to start my day.
As a bonus, I manage to get a lot of the important health related parts of my day done before I even start my workday so I don’t have to worry about doing them after work. If John and I manage to get in a second workout or go for a nice long walk in the evening, great. If not, I don’t feel guilty for curling up into a tea drinking ball on the couch after work.
So without further ado, here is my current morning routine:
5:00 AM Wake Up and Get Dressed
5:10 Head to the Gym
5:15 Arrive at Gym
5:20 Being Workout
6:30 End Workout and Drive Home
6:35 Oil Pull, Stretch, Shower, and Get Ready
7:00 Eat a Healthy Breakfast and Relax with John
7:30 Check Social Media
8:00 Begin my Work Day
9:00 Drink a Protein Smoothie and Take My Vitamins
What does your morning schedule look like? Are your mornings consistent or are they chaos? Perhaps they are somewhere in between? Do you prefer to mix it up or do you like to practice a few rituals or a routine in the morning?
The great news is that there is no right or wrong answer when it comes to our morning routines (or lack thereof). What works for some simply won’t work for others and what pushes some to be more productive will make others feel drained. Regardless of what your mornings look like, don’t be afraid to shake things up every few months and make small changes to make sure your morning routine is helping you start your day on the most positive note possible.