Sunday, February 6, 2022

Wellness Sunday: Moving forward for health & happiness

Forward with a look back to find wellness destinations

I'm joining my friend Leslie who blogs at Once Upon a Time and Happily Ever After to set and move forward on some priority Wellness Goals for the rest of the year. 

I asked for help finding a word for the year that fit and was meaningful. A great suggestion was "movement" and I am trying that out with these goals and with the image above which was taken years ago right before we took a hot air balloon ride in Aspen. The sensation of joyful movement I experienced on that ride is the type of emotional wellness I would like to recreate.

After my January insights about how my personality based habits were impacting my ability to move forward, I spent some time trying to think about it differently.

Then I spent some time listing what I liked about my wellness in the past in terms of physical, mental and emotional well being. The second step was brainstorming how I could regain some of those things in my current circumstances. So here goes!


First up was that I liked having a Pilates body that was also shaped by walking hills and stairs a lot. The outdoor walks were in an interesting, beautiful area where there were things to see and/or destinations like a great coffee shop. It also truly was a case of walking uphill both ways due to the terrain, lots of stairs in our home and lots of very physical yard work. I let all that go after moving 5 years ago to a single story home with no yard in a flat area with no nearby interesting destinations, but this is not the first time I have had to remake my physical health and exercise habits. 

I broke it down with allowance for still recovering a bit from foot surgery, living in an uninspiring walking area (boredom reigns), and being both out of shape and heavier than I want to be. 

1. Start Pilates again. 

I can't work with a trainer at a studio (thanks COVID) but there are great resources online. I found a 25 minute standing beginner workout that is perfect for right now at The Girl with a Pilates Mat. I looked it up and two to three times a week is a good starting point. I'll send her a donation at the beginning of each month to pay for my classes.

2. Take one or two Challenge Walks each week. Work on distance, speed and climbing (hills/stairs).

I will walk where there are hills or stairs or balance challenges and drive to a starting point if needed. I brainstormed some ideas and came up with mall walking (stairs), a walk to the closest Starbucks or deli, a walk to a nearby park, and walking the very uneven Ventura pier. I'm going to see what may work for me. Then I'll look into any trails or other walking routes that may be nearby once I am more fit.

3. Cut way back on alcohol. 

I didn't drink at all for at least 2 years after coming back from a previous health crisis and then only very occasionally for several years after than. Like many, during the pandemic I have gotten in the habit of a drink before dinner basically every day. I don't need the calories and my liver and sleep patterns would certainly benefit from less imbibing. Starting with February being a very limited alcohol month.


Secondly, I really liked having more mental stimulation and sharing it with people with whom I could be fully myself. This one is much harder for me to visualize and operationalize.

We used to go to a world class art museum, lots of small live theater, outdoor art shows or walks. We went out to eat regularly with Thai food being one of our favorites. I was a member of a very interesting book club that also had parties and took weekend trips together. I took lots of art classes. I had a close friend with whom I could talk about anything. 

Then we moved to a very suburban area where I had no connections and just as I was finding some of these things the pandemic hit. I do have some nice local friends who I enjoy and who are great emotional support, but not that feel free to bare your soul type of best friend one. 

I am determined though that staying healthy and getting stimulation can't be mutually exclusive despite the challenges of COVID.

1. Take full advantage of the local artists' studio and all their exhibits and events. 

Look into becoming a member and perhaps volunteering in some way. Find any other art exhibits in the area.

2. Find a way to spend time making art again.

Try drawing a series of pictures with a theme. Perhaps try a class with one of the artists from the art studios. I know there is a figure drawing workshop, glass art and I'm sure many others.

3. Read what I really enjoy and write reviews of it. 

Period or other location mysteries anyone? Victorian, WWI or WWII. Paris, London, etc. Go to the small local bookstore and see what they have. 

4. Figuring out how to increase the types of friendship connections I crave. 

Who might I have met or meet who could be a kindred spirit? How can I get together with people to deepen connections during this endless pandemic? 


  1. Hope you update us on your progress in a month or two. I predict #4 will be the hardest to accomplish followed by #3.

    1. I so agree with your predictions! Updates will happen.

  2. "Who might I have met or meet who could be a kindred spirit? What a great question!

  3. I hope you will begin creating art again. You might check the online collage classes of Jennifer Chamberlin. I have so enjoyed them. Have also enjoyed doing the book 365 Days of Creativity. Did you tell me about it?

    I am trying to walk outside in the sun a few moments a day. Have been doing StepBet for about a year now. Really enjoy participating in those challenges because they inspire me to walk.

    Hope to return to alcohol only on the weekends. Drinking is so glorified in all my books and in all the TV shows I watch. Everyone has a drink before dinner, with dinner and after dinner, before bed, with breakfast. And no mention of drinking problems!! Or weight issues!! Much less concern about liver damage.

  4. Since the weather has improved slightly (still winter so battling snow and ice as well as cold every so often) I am back out with my cleats walking. My outlook has improved so much.

    Looking forward to your updates.

    God bless.

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  6. This is going to be long, my apologies, but your list really got me brainstorming.
    re: 1)I mentioned to my husband this evening that for our anniversary coming up I would like to have a one-year dual membership at a local(ish) art museum and the two of us have a museum date once a month...he shocked me by saying he would enjoy that. Cool! Thanks for the idea!
    re: 2) This may not be your thing, but for what it's worth, small artwork is so fun to receive as mail. When one of my artist friends was going to live in Germany, I gave her a pad of watercolor postcards and asked her to consider sending small paintings or pen & ink drawings of local sights to us friends back home. I received a drawing of a village scene with a hilltop church.
    re: 3) In 2010 I started keeping a Reading List page on my blog. I list every title and author and date read, and a few short sentences about my thoughts on it. A few years ago I started giving each book a 1-10 point rating based on some criteria also listed on that page of my blog. It is very helpful to look back if someone asks me if I've read something and how I liked it.
    re: 4) This one is SO hard for me. We've lived here for ten years, and I don't have any local friends that I consider kindred spirits. But I have several kindred spirits who have moved to other states that I stay close to. Not so handy to have lunch or see a movie with though. Funny story: about 30 years ago I was in a new area that was not very welcoming of outsiders. I was so lonely for a friend that I considered putting an ad in the local paper 'seeking best friend', but never did it. Eventually I met a woman new to our church and we really hit it off. The funny part of the story...her husband was the publisher of the local paper. :)
    Okay, I'll stop now.

    1. I love your comments! I have realized that Santa Barbara has a nice art museum so when I feel comfortable to go out more we can join that and have a nice day out. I have realized that I have traded off a marvelous group of friends for being closer to family but then we weren't able to move close enough to be in contact with them in person frequently. I am sad that you too haven't found a local best friend.

  7. "I really liked having more mental stimulation and sharing it with people with whom I could be fully myself." I really relate to this. Fortunately I work at a public library where most of the staff are happy to talk about books, movies and podcasts. But I miss plays, concerts and exhibits. In the interim, I have started attending some online lectures. One of my benchmarks for a potential friendship is whether they tease about my vocabulary or detail-oriented hobbies!
    - Dar @ anexactinglife

    1. I like the idea of benchmarks for potential friendships!


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